Coronavirus updates: CDC releases new guidelines on quarantining, schools reopening; Trump cancels Jacksonville portion of GOP convention

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Coronavirus updates: CDC releases new guidelines on quarantining, schools reopening; Trump cancels Jacksonville portion of GOP convention

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During his briefing on COVID-19 response,

USA TODAY

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines Thursday for schools planning to reopen this fall. Students should wear face masks, wash their hands frequently and social distance, according to the CDC, which has faced pressure from President Trump to get schools reopened.

New CDC guidance was also issued for people who have mild to moderate COVID-19. They now only need to isolate for 10 days after their symptoms begin and don’t need to be retested before heading back to work, CDC says. The guidelines come hours after the U.S. reached a grim milestone: 4 million confirmed cases of infections. 

As the death toll approaches 150,000 in America, Senate Republicans plan to reveal a coronavirus relief package proposal next week after meeting Thursday to finalize details on the bill. So far, it will include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks and additional funding to help schools recover from the pandemic.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Republicans promised another round of $1,200 bonus checks and money for schools Thursday, while Democrats dug in to protect the $600 weekly unemployment benefit bonus.
  • The parent company of Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor and the Justice tween brand has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a move spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • After slowly dropping for over four months, the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims pushed higher last week with 1.4 million new claims.  

📈 Today’s stats: The U.S. has surpassed 4 million confirmed cases and has more than 144,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University data. Worldwide cases have surpassed 15 million with more than 633,000 deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: When will a vaccine be available to the general public? To understand when pre-COVID-19 life in the U.S. can resume, USA TODAY created a panel of experts who estimate we’re almost halfway to an available vaccine. 

Our live blog is being updated throughout the day. Refresh for the latest news, and get updates in your inbox with The Daily Briefing. 

Poll: 3 in 4 Americans want mask wearing required

An overwhelming 3 out of 4 Americans support requiring people to wear masks in public, a new poll found.

Almost 90% of Democrats as well as nearly 60% of Republicans support requiring masks outside of people’s homes. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll was conducted before President Donald Trump, who had been dismissive of wearing masks despite public health officials’ support, tweeted earlier this week that wearing a face covering is patriotic.

Although partisan rhetoric around masks has undermined what public health officials say is a simple step that can save lives, 95% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans say they’re wearing face coverings when leaving the house. 

The poll also found about two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling the pandemic.

Coronavirus is tearing through Latino communities – and it may get worse

The coronavirus’ continued rampage through the southern and western United States is almost certain to leave an especially deadly trail among Latinos, who not only represent a significant percentage of the population in those regions but often face structural conditions that make them more vulnerable.

A new study published Thursday, the first nationwide analysis of COVID-19 cases and deaths among Latinos, concludes that crowded housing arrangements and high-risk jobs in industries like meatpacking, poultry and hospitality are among the major reasons Latinos have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

As the virus extracts a heavy toll on California, Texas and Florida — the three states with the largest Latino populations — the death count among the country’s biggest minority group could be staggering.

“My prediction is that it’s very likely because the policies and practices that are needed to prevent infections and deaths are not in place,’’ said Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, the study’s lead author.

– Jorge L. Ortiz

CDC guidelines for schools: Wear masks, wash hands, don’t touch

Parent check-list for back-to-school: Label your child’s face mask with permanent marker. Have them practice putting on and taking off their mask without touching the cloth. Make a labeled, resealable plastic bag to store their mask during lunch time. Those are among the suggestions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for school administrators and parents as families prepare for school to resume in the fall.

Students should wear masks, wash their hands frequently and socially distance to protect against COVID-19 as schools reopen this fall, CDC urged in new guidance documents for administrators published Thursday. “It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield in a release.

CDC, the nation’s top public health agency, has faced considerable political pressure from President Donald Trump and others to get schools reopened.

A key consideration for school administrators, CDC said, was COVID-19 transmission rates in their communities. But the CDC guidance offered no specific metrics for what transmission rates would require specific actions.

– Elizabeth Weise

GOP backs more stimulus checks, funds for schools in new aid package

Senate Republicans were scrambling Thursday to finalize a $1 trillion coronavirus relief package that will include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks and additional funding to help schools recover from the pandemic.

GOP leaders and the White House said late Wednesday that they had agreed on key parts of the legislation, which will serve as a starting point for negotiations with Democrats, who have already passed their own bill in the House.

But Republicans are still struggling to put the finishing touches on the package. Congress and the White House are under pressure to clinch a deal on a fresh pandemic aid package; a federal program of expanded unemployment benefits is set to run out within days.

One item that will be missing from the GOP plan is Trump’s demand for a payroll tax cut. Republicans abandoned that proposal even though Trump had suggested he might not sign any bill that doesn’t include it.

Arizona governor announces guidelines for schools reopening

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered public health officials to choose data by Aug. 7 for schools to rely on when deciding when to reopen schools for in-person classes. When schools reopen, everyone will be required to wear masks, with some exceptions for students, Ducey added.

The plan comes with another major requirement for schools. Under the order, schools will be required to reopen for on-site learning on Aug. 17 for students who have nowhere else to go. That means, Superintendent Kathy Hoffman said, districts have to open at least one site for students to go, but do not have to open every school or require every teacher to show up to work in-person. Schools also are required to provide distance learning as an option.

– Lily Altavena, Arizona Republic

New CDC guidelines: People with mild to moderate COVID-19 only need to isolate 10 days

People who have had mild to moderate COVID-19 can come out of isolation after 10 days and don’t need to be retested before going back to work, new CDC guidelines say. Symptoms, not testing, are the guide. If patients had a fever, it needs to have been gone for at least 24 hours. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document, published Wednesday, says symptoms are a better gauge of how infectious someone is so they are “not kept unnecessarily isolated and excluded from work or other responsibilities.” 

The document acknowledges that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is so new that doctors are still gathering evidence for how it works. As more data becomes available, the medical community is gaining a better understanding of how people who are infected can avoiding passing on the disease. The new guidelines reflect the latest thinking.

– Elizabeth Weise

Amtrak tightens face mask requirement

Amtrak on Thursday joined U.S. air carriers in tightening face mask requirements, saying passengers could be removed or banned from its trains for non-compliance. The railroad service had begun requiring face masks in May, but had allowed passengers to remove them when seated alone. Now, passengers can only remove their masks when they’re in private rooms, an option only available on the company’s long-distance trains.

“Amtrak reserves the right to remove customers or ban them from future travel in the event of noncompliance with Amtrak’s face covering policy,” Amtrak said on its website.

– Curtis Tate

Trump cancels Jacksonville portion of RNC due to COVID-19

President Donald Trump announced Thursday he is canceling the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention because of the coronavirus pandemic, a major setback in his effort to energize his struggling bid for reelection. “The timing for this event is not right,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “There’s nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.” 

Trump said that he would deliver remarks to formally accept his party’s nomination for president but offered no detail on where or when that will happen. The abrupt decision was not only a significant blow to his campaign but also raised questions about the president’s narrative that the country is ready to reopen for business.

Trump said convention delegates will still gather in North Carolina, where the official business of the convention was set to take place, and formally nominate him for reelection.

Late Thursday, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez reaffirmed that his party will hold its national convention next month in Milwaukee, with a mostly virtual event. Delegates will vote remotely. Joe Biden has said he intends to accept the nomination in Milwaukee

– John Fritze, Courtney Subramanian, Michael Collins and Bill Glauber

AMC Theatres delays reopening again

AMC Theatres is delaying its planned reopening date again amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in dozens of states. The movie theater chain said Thursday that it is now planning to reopen its U.S. locations in “mid to late August.”

The company had previously set its reopening date for July 15 and then delayed it to July 30. But sharp increases in COVID-19 cases in states such as Texas, Florida and Arizona, coupled with Hollywood delaying film releases, have combined to make a swift return to indoor moving showings implausible.

– Nathan Bomey

Florida, Texas among states with deadliest weeks 

A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Wednesday shows 12 states set records for new cases over a seven-day period while six states had a record number of deaths over the period. New case records were set in Alaska, California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Florida, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

In Florida, the week’s death toll was 824, more than twice the number of any week during the spring COVID-19 surge. Still, Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to press for in-classroom learning when schools open, some in less than three weeks. DeSantis stressed that young people face the least risk from the virus. 

“It is our kids who have borne the harshest burden of the controlled measures instituted to protect against the virus,” DeSantis said Wednesday.

– Michael Stucka

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

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