Drug developers are racing to create a vaccine, but the a post-pandemic world won’t suddenly arrive when one is successfully developed.
A return to “normal living” won’t come until “several months” after a vaccine first arrives, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN. That’s likely to be about a year away, as a successful vaccine still needs to be manufactured and distributed at a massive scale.
In the meantime, Americans are learning more about risks associated with several parts of normal life that remain. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies documented health challenges in dining and daycare. One study found dining out was linked with higher infection rates in adults. Another study documented children who were infected in daycare and spread the virus at home.
Meanwhile colleges continue to be hotspots for the virus: Of the 25 hottest outbreaks in the U.S., communities heavy with college students represent 19 of them.
Some significant developments:
- California reached a bleak milestone, becoming the first state in the nation to reach 750,000 coronavirus cases. Los Angeles County claims a third of those cases, becoming the first county to surpass 250,000 cases.
- The Senate failed to pass a slimmed-down coronavirus relief bill Thursday in a 52-47 vote. One Republican senator voted with Democrats against the bill.
- New York City, transit commuters will face a $50 fine beginning Monday if they refuse to wear a face mask
📈 Today’s numbers: A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Friday shows two states set records for deaths in the week ending Friday: Montana and North Dakota, and also Guam and Puerto Rico. No state records for new cases were set. The U.S. has more than 6.4 million confirmed cases and more than 193,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, there are more than 28 million cases and more than fatalities.
📰 What we’re reading: Stress and isolation brought on by the pandemic are certainly bad for our mental health, but dentists say they’re seeing evidence our oral health is suffering too.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state
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New York City teachers union warns it won’t let the nation’s largest school district reopen without PPE
The New York City teachers union warns it won’t let the nation’s largest school district reopen for in-person classes this month if the city doesn’t issue protective equipment, conduct testing and clean schools properly.
Union leader Michael Mulgrew in a Friday video accuses the city of not acting with enough urgency on the pandemic. The return of public school students to classrooms was delayed from Sept. 10 to Sept. 21 so coronavirus safety precautions could be worked on further.
Mulgrew says the city knows what it needs to do to make schools safe and, in his words, “if you can’t make that happen before the children come into schools, then we’re not going to let you open these schools.”
– The Associated Press
NIH directer ‘puzzled and rather disheartened’ by large events, Trump rallies
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, expressed disappointment in the political divisiveness over protection measures against the coronavirus, as seen by the large crowds that gather at President Donald Trump’s rallies.
“As a scientist, I’m pretty puzzled and rather disheartened,” Collins said Thursday when asked during a CNN town hall what he thinks of large events such as Trump’s Michigan rally where few wore masks or kept distance from each other.
Trump’s campaign rally on Thursday, held at MBS International Airport near Saginaw, drew more than 5,000 supporters. Despite state guidelines that require masks in areas where it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of distance from others, many in the crowd were seen without them.
Trump’s recent rallies have often featured largely maskless crowds. The Republican National Convention was also criticized for speeches delivered in front of large crowds.
— Jeanine Santucci
Study: Kids infected at day care spread coronavirus at home
Children who caught the coronavirus at day cares and a day camp spread it to their relatives, according to a new report that underscores that kids can bring the germ home and infect others.
Scientists already know children can spread the virus. But the study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “definitively indicates — in a way that previous studies have struggled to do — the potential for transmission to family members,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher.
The findings don’t mean that schools and child-care programs need to close, but it does confirm that the virus can spread within those places and then be brought home by kids. So, masks, disinfection and social distancing are needed. And people who work in such facilities have to be careful and get tested if they think they may be infected, experts said.
The study also shows that children with no symptoms, or very mild symptoms, can spread the infection, just like adults can.
— The Associated Press
Cases and deaths are down, but remain devastating
Wisconsin on Thursday set a record for the most coronavirus cases in a week – and it was the only state to do so. In July’s devastating surge, it wasn’t unusual for a dozen states to have new records every day.
But while most states are doing better than their worst, the country continues to bear a terrible burden. Deaths are still more than a third higher than they were at the beginning of July. An American has been dying of COVID-19 every two minutes, Johns Hopkins University data shows. Nearly 5,000 Americans died in the latest week.
America has been averaging about 35,000 cases per day. In the latest week, that means every 2.45 seconds another American is diagnosed with the coronavirus. In the latest week, nearly a quarter-million Americans tested positive.
On a person-by-person basis, America reports in four days the number of cases South Korea has reported in the entire pandemic. Adjusted for population, America reports as many deaths between breakfast and lunch as Vietnam has ever had. Cases are rising again in the European Union, but the United States has substantially more cases with substantially less population. And the European Union has been reporting deaths at a fifth the pace of the United States.
The United States has about 4.3% of the world’s population, 22.7% of the world’s reported cases and 21.1% of its deaths.
– Mike Stucka
Adults with COVID-19 are more likely to have dined out: CDC study
Eating out at restaurants is a high-risk activity, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study found adults with confirmed COVID-19 were about twice as likely as other study participants to say they dined out at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming sick.
Also, positive patients were more likely to report going to a bar or coffee shop when the analysis was limited to those without close contact to people with known coronavirus.
The study included 314 symptomatic adults who were tested for COVID-19 in July at 11 health care facilities across multiple states. Of that group, 154 patients tested positive for COVID-19.
Ohio State plans to cancel spring break
Ohio State University students can expect the “new normal” on campus this semester to last at least through the spring, officials said in an announcement Friday.
The university announced plans to continue a mix of in-person and online courses for the spring semester, cancel spring break and make other changes to the academic calendar as it continues to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Provost Bruce A. McPheron said in an email to the university community that existing health measures and policies will continue to be in place in the spring. Instead of spring break, there will be two “instructional breaks,” or days with no classes.
“This approach will keep our community together throughout the semester and reduce travel-related exposures,” McPheron said.
– Jennifer Smola, The Columbus Dispatch
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press