First, the University of North Carolina. Now, North Carolina State University.
A day after university officials in Chapel Hill decided to pivot to online classes after at least four clusters of outbreaks of COVID-19 in student living spaces, the Raleigh university reported its first cluster of positive cases that included some of its own students.
Also Tuesday, the University of Notre Dame said it was moving to online classes for two weeks in hopes that infections won’t surge.
Meanwhile, a new survey shows that parents with children who have switched to online learning say they have gone into debt paying for all of the at-home school expenses, including breakfast and lunch, during the pandemic.
Some significant developments:
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 5.4 million confirmed infections and more than 171,000 deaths. Worldwide, there have been more than 781,000 deaths and 22.1 million cases, according to John Hopkins University data.
📰 What we’re reading: Wearing a mask in public restrooms should be mandatory during the pandemic, researchers say, because there’s increasing evidence that flushing toilets – and now urinals – can release inhalable coronavirus particles into the air.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to the Daily Briefing.
Film festivals go virtual making films more accessible than ever
Dreamed of actually snagging tickets to screenings at a major film festival? Because of the coronavirus pandemic, you make be able to see the films from your living room.
The festivals are where critics and insiders get early peeks at movies either slated for theaters or those hoping to receive the kind of breakout attention that will get them there. Because of the virus, the festivals have gone virtual – streamed to living rooms.
The New York Film Festival is kicking off Sept. 25 with an opening night featuring Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock,” and will premiere two other of the Black filmmaker’s works, “Mangrove” and “Red, White and Blue,” part of the same anthology. Also on tap: Chloe Zhao’s anticipated “Nomadland” with Frances McDormand, Sam Pollard’s documentary “MLK/FBI,” and the documentary “Time,” about a woman trying to get her husband released from his 60-year prison sentence.
Jeff Friday, founder of the American Black Film Festival, which runs through Aug. 30, has already seen the positives of making the move to virtual. Usually, 10,000 film fans show up for his annual June event in Miami; this year, he’s predicting 200,000 people interested in streaming more than 90 films celebrating Black cinema, as well as panel discussions featuring Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins, “Candyman” director Nia DaCosta, Mary J. Blige, Lena Waithe and Gabrielle Union.
– Brian Truitt
LGBTQ bars turn to crowdfunding to try to save their businesses
Bars that cater to members of the LGBTQ community are not just bars: they serve as community hubs and safe spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer folks. So when they had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, those spaces were lost. Fighting back, some have launched crowdfunding campaigns to stay afloat until they are full back in business.
The owner of Harlem’s Alibi Lounge, one of the only Black-owned LGBTQ bars in New York City, unveiled a campaign in May that has raised more than $166,000 and counting.
Julius’ Bar — part of the National Register of Historic Places, the oldest gay bar in New York City and one of the oldest continually operating bars in the city overall — has raised more than $97,000 via a GoFundMe campaign since early July.Its Greenwich Village neighbor, the Stonewall Inn, has raised more than $320,000 on the platform.
“When, all of a sudden, a pandemic like COVID-19 tells you that you have to isolate, that you have to stay home and if you go to a bar, you go to a restaurant, you could be at a high risk to be exposed to the virus, it makes people not even think twice,” said Alibi Lounge owner Alexi Minko. “They decide, ‘Well, in that case I am not going to a bar, I’m not going to a restaurant until I know that it’s safer.’ ”
–Alex Biese, Asbury Park Press
Many furloughed workers aren’t being recalled to their jobs
Many furloughed workers were not being immediately called to report back to duty, a new study finds. In an analysis of its small business clients, payroll service Gusto found that only 37% of workers who were initially furloughed in March and 47% of those who were furloughed in April had returned to their jobs by July. Furthermore, among those furloughed in March who were able to go back to work, nearly 25% had their wages reduced.
Furloughed workers are counted as unemployed when determining the jobless rate, which means the fate of those still in limbo could drive unemployment up or down in the coming months.
Since April, the jobless rate has slowly declined, but if a large number of furloughed workers are able to return to their employers, we could see those numbers drop even more. That would spell good news for an economy that’s stuck in a recession. On the other hand, a large chunk of furloughed workers could be permanently laid off in the coming months, too.
–Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool
HHS: Pharmacists in 50 states can now give childhood vaccinations
Pharmacists in all 50 states are now allowed to give childhood vaccinations under a new directive aimed at preventing future outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases.
Alex Azar, the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, took the step using emergency powers he has during the coronavirus epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency. The directive announced Wednesday will temporarily preempt restrictions in 22 states starting this fall.
The move is designed to help prevent vaccination rates from falling during the pandemic, Azar said.
– Associated Press
NYPD creates Asian Hate Crimes Task Force after spike in racist assaults
The New York Police Department announced its created a task force specifically to deal with a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been 21 reported anti-Asian hate crimes leading to 17 arrests since March around the time the pandemic intensified in the United States, which Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told reporters is higher than normal Tuesday.
“This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers either verbal attack or physical assault,” Harrison said. “We saw a spike in every borough throughout the city.”
— N’dea Yancey-Bragg
Bargoer may have spread COVID-19 at huge Sturgis bike rally
A patron who spent hours inside a bar during the Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota, which ended last Sunday, has tested positive for COVID-19, health officials confirmed.
The person spent nearly six hours at One-Eyed Jack’s Saloon on Aug. 11. State officials are encouraging anyone at the bar to monitor themselves for any symptoms of the coronavirus.
The 2020 Rally drew more than 460,000 vehicles during the 10-day event, according to a count South Dakota transportation officials released Tuesday. The event was scaled down, but face coverings were not required during the event.
– Michael Klinski, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Pope Francis warns against the rich getting priority for vaccines
Pope Francis on Wednesday cautioned against prioritizing future coronavirus vaccines based on wealth. Deviating from his planned weekly public address, he said that “we must come out better” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How sad it would be if for the COVID-19 vaccine priority is given to the richest,” he said. “The pandemic has laid bare the difficult situation of the poor and the great inequality that reigns in the world.”
The pontiff added that the vaccine should be “universal and for all,” rather than “the property of this nation or another,” not naming any countries in particular.
Wedding reception leads to Maine’s first outbreak from a social gathering
At least two dozen Maine residents tested positive for COVID-19 after a wedding reception in rural Maine — the state’s first outbreak linked to a social gathering.
About 65 people attended the indoor event at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, said Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long. About 18 people in attendance — and around 10 others who came into contact with attendees — all tested positive, according to WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine.
The owner of the Big Moose Inn could face a $10,000 fine if the state’s executive orders limiting group gatherings to 50 were violated, officials said.
During pandemic, are little kids OK? Survey shows COVID-19 is taking a toll
During the pandemic, people are talking a lot about children missing classes, graduations and proms. What has received far less attention, child development experts say, is the impact the pandemic is having on the youngest children: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners.
Birth to age five is a critical time for child development, research shows, and new data from the Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development Early Childhood Household Survey Project (RAPID-EC Project) shows caregiver distress is cascading down to young children in ways science shows can be toxic in the short- and long-term.
The project has been conducting weekly surveys since April and has found caregivers of young children are experiencing distress, material hardship and loss of emotional supports. Since the project’s data is sequential, it also is able to show a chain reaction. When a family is stressed about meeting basic needs, the next week they report more emotional distress, and the week after report increases in their child’s emotional distress.
“if you can’t buy food or you can’t pay your rent, that you are experiencing the kind of stress that is going to be toxic to your children,” said RAPID project director Phil Fisher.
– Alia E. Dastagir
Report: Nearly 80 teachers resign or retire in one Utah county
Nearly 80 teachers in Utah’s Salt Lake County have resigned or retired as in-person classes are set to resume at schools this year, the Salt Late Tribune reported.
The Tribune tallied 79 teachers who left their posts due to concerns about COVID-19. At least 16 of the resignations came in the last week, the newspaper reported.
Salt Lake County has the highest number of virus cases in the state, and teachers leaving the classroom told the newspaper that they’d rather resign or retire now than return in the fall, risking their own health or the health of their students.
“We’re just being told to jump in like nothing is wrong,” Jan Roberts, a teacher of 32 years who just retired, told the Tribune. “It’s not OK.”
DNC: Biden formally secures historic nomination in virtual roll call
After a virtual “Roll Call Across America,” former vice president Joe Biden formally secured enough Democratic delegates to become the party’s nominee to challenge President Donald Trump.
While the roll call was a formality, it occurred in unprecedented fashion as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep many Americans at home and away from large crowds. The pandemic has also dramatically shaped how the general election campaign plays out.
When the roll call was completed, applause erupted, showing Democratic supporters across the nation on video clapping as Biden, seated in a library with his wife, Jill Biden, were greeted by mask-wearing supporters throwing confetti.
– Christal Hayes and Jason Lalljee
North Carolina State University reports first cluster of COVID-19 cases
Health officials have identified a COVID-19 cluster at another North Carolina university.
A statement from North Carolina State University confirmed on Tuesday that Wake County health officials identified of COVID-19 cases at off-campus housing east of the Raleigh, North Carolina, campus.
The school said several people who have tested positive as part of this cluster have been identified, including some who are N.C. State students. Contact tracing has been initiated with direct communication to anyone known to have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the school.
The school said reports indicated a party or some type of gathering was hosted at the location on or around Aug. 6. The notice said it was not known how many people were at the gathering, but encouraged anyone who attended to visit their personal healthcare provider or Student Health Services.
Survey: Parents are going into debt paying for meals, at-home school expenses
Switching from in-person to online schooling has been hard on many families – and on their budgets.
About one-quarter of parents say they’ve gone into debt to pay for their kids’ at-home school expenses, and many blame the cost of their kids’ breakfasts and lunches when they switched to learning remotely from home.
A survey from Credit Karma examines how this school year could affect household finances. More than half of parents say they expect to spend slightly to significantly more on school supplies, the survey of more than 1,000 parents found.
The reasons for the debt are higher grocery prices and the sudden switch to at-home schooling in March.
– Aimee Picchi, Special to USA TODAY
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will allow high school sports — with some changes
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will allow high school sports to continue this fall.
Both contact and non-contact sports will be permitted to move forward, but they could look quite different. Spectators will be limited to a small number of people close to the athletes, marching band members or other participants.
Local health department and Ohio High School Athletic Association officials will have site inspectors at athletic events to ensure social distancing and other health regulations are followed. Teams and leagues can delay sports to the spring.
Students won’t need to be tested to participate in sports. DeWine said he anticipated most high schools wouldn’t have the resources to regularly test their athletes.
“It’s not going to be your typical Friday night football in Ohio,” DeWine said. “But the young people are going to get to play.
– Jessie Balmert and Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati Enquirer
Hawaii delays program allowing travelers until October
Hawaii Gov. David Ige has hinted about it for weeks as COVID-19 cases in the state surged, and on Tuesday he made it official: The state won’t reopen to tourism until October at the earliest.
The planned Sept. 1 start of a program that would allow out-of-state visitors to bypass Hawaii’s strict 14-day quarantine upon arrival by presenting a negative COVID-19 test at the airport has been delayed until at least Oct. 1, Ige said late Tuesday.
“We will continue to monitor the conditions here in Hawaii as well as key markets on the mainland to determine the appropriate start date for the pre-travel (COVID-19) testing program,” he said.
The delay, the second since the program was announced in June, will affect passengers who bet on the Sept. 1 reopening and bought airline tickets to Hawaii, airline flight schedules and, of course, Hawaii’s decimated tourism industry.
– Dawn Gilbertson
Australia announces COVID-19 vaccine deal with AstraZeneca
Australia has announced a deal to manufacture a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
“Under the deal, every single Australian will be able to receive the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement Wednesday.
Morrison said the Oxford University trial was in a phase-three stage and more work was needed to prove its viability. “If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians,” Morrison said.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper rips MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on COVID ‘cure’ claim
Anderson Cooper tore into My Pillow founder Mike Lindell for touting an unproven drug as a potential “cure” for COVID-19, calling the prominent supporter of President Donald Trump a “snake oil salesman” in a CNN interview.
Lindell has been advocating for the use of oleandrin, an extract from the oleander plant, as a treatment for the coronavirus. Lindell helped Andrew Whitney of Phoenix Biotechnology land an Oval Office meeting in July where they pitched the drug to Trump, according to reports from The Washington Post, CNN and Axios. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also attended the meeting, Axios reported.
“This thing works. It’s the miracle of all time,” Lindell told Cooper. After his inability to give specifics on where and when the drug was studied, Lindell told Cooper, “You’re just misconstrued because the media is trying to take away this amazing cure that works for everybody.”
“You have no medical background, you’re not a scientist,” Cooper said. “A guy called you in April, said he had this product. You are now on the board and going to make money from the sale of this product. The reason he reached out to you is because you have the ear of the president, so he gets a meeting with the president, and you stand to make money from this. How do you sleep at night?” Cooper asked.
– William Cummings
More COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
On Facebook: There’s still a lot unknown about the coronavirus. But what we do know, we’re sharing with you. Join our Facebook group, Coronavirus Watch, to receive daily updates in your feed and chat with others in the community about COVID-19.
In your inbox: Stay up-to-date with the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic from the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for the daily Coronavirus Watch newsletter here.
Tips for coping: Every Saturday and Tuesday we’ll be in your inbox, offering you a virtual hug and a little bit of solace in these difficult times. Sign up for Staying Apart, Together here.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID news: Maine wedding outbreak; North Carolina school clusters