The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a decline in mortality from coronavirus cases across the country is in sight but adds that “we need to stay vigilant to the mitigation steps right now.” (Aug. 20)
President Donald Trump held an indoor campaign rally in Nevada on Sunday, his first since June in Tulsa, Oklahoma, drawing a rebuke from the state’s Democratic governor.
“Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said Sunday night on Twitter.
Trump’s rally in Henderson near Las Vegas followed a Saturday night event on the tarmac at Minden-Tahoe Airport that drew at least 5,000 largely maskless supporters.
The nation’s institutions of higher education continue to grapple with COVID-19. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is the latest one to announce the temporary suspension of in-person instruction on Sunday amid a spike in campus cases.
Meanwhile, in South Korea, health officials reported the country’s lowest daily toll of cases in a month and announced the easing of physical distancing restrictions in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Some significant developments:
- Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University have resumed clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the United Kingdom after a brief global pause in testing.
- South Korea is easing coronavirus restrictions after reporting its lowest daily toll of infections in a month.
- Dentists say they’re seeing evidence our oral health suffering amid the pandemic.
📈 Today’s numbers: Montana, Kansas, Guam and Puerto Rico set records for deaths this week, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data through late Saturday. New case records were set in Wisconsin. The U.S. has had about 6.5 million confirmed cases and more than 194,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, there have been more than 29 million cases and about 924,000 fatalities.
📰 What we’re reading: Eating disorders thrive in isolation which explains why health experts have seen a surge in people seeking help amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The National Eating Disorders Association has reported up to 78% during some months, in the number of calls and online chats compared to a year ago.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state
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Images of Florida fans maskless at football opener draws criticism
Florida State University officials on Sunday said they were upset that fans were not wearing face masks during the football opener over the weekend. Images of maskless fans led to criticism on social media.
“We were disappointed with some fans, particularly some student fans, at the Georgia Tech football game who did not comply with our policies regarding social distancing and wearing masks while in their seats,” FSU Athletic Director David Coburn said Sunday in a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, part of the USA TODAY Network.
“There was ample room for all fans to remain safely distanced. We have three weeks until our next home game, and we will re-double our efforts to both inform our patrons and improve compliance with the new rules,” the statement read.
The criticism comes after a video on social media showed what was believed to be a pre-game FSU party off-campus with a large group of people not wearing face masks, the Democrat reported.
Rite Aid: Fired manager ‘created an escalation’ when attacked by maskless customer
Rite Aid has responded to a worker’s claim that she was fired for defending herself when a man who refused to wear a mask attacked her, asserting that she lost her job because she possessed and displayed a knife during the episode — not because she defended herself and others in the store.
Previously, the drug store chain headquartered in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, had declined to publicly discuss details of the Sept. 3 confrontation between shift manager Elena Santiago and an unidentified young man who refused to wear a mask in the chain’s downtown store in York, Pennsylvania.
But after news of her firing spread across the country, the chain released a statement that asserted Elena Santiago, a 40-year-old single mother of three who had worked at the store for four and a half years, was not fired from her $11-an-hour job for defending herself.
“We understand the concern regarding the incident in York, PA,” Savarese wrote in the email. “For many reasons, we have a no tolerance policy specific to associates bringing weapons to our facilities and having weapons on person. The primary reason is to keep our associates, customers and communities safe, and to mitigate an escalation of any situation. In this unfortunate incident, the show and use of weapons by our associate created an escalation.”
– Mike Argento, York (Pa.) Daily Record
Scientists ‘aghast’ over White House appointees’ meddling with CDC reports
Scientists and physicians reacted with words such as “aghast,” “despicable” and “outrageous” over the weekend as news spread that White House appointees interfered with a basic national public health report when it conflicted with President Donald Trump’s coronavirus messaging.
Michael Caputo, the Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs, acknowledged Saturday that since June, he and an advisor have been scrutinizing and at times pushing for changes to a weekly health report distributed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. William Schaffner, who is on the publication’s editorial board, said he was “aghast” and “appalled” by the reported attempts to delay, stop or change reports. He described the publication as a vital part of the global conversation among public health officials who track diseases and dangers.
The meddling, first reported by Politico, included efforts to stop the publication of a report last week on the use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug often touted by Trump, delay a 10-state study of COVID-19 infection statistics in June and another on the spread of coronavirus at a Georgia sleep-away camp.
– Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub
Mother, 2-year-old escorted from Southwest flight over mask policy
A woman traveling from Fort Myers, Florida, to Chicago said she was escorted off her Southwest Airline flight on Saturday because her 2-year-old son was snacking prior to takeoff and wasn’t wearing his mask.
Jodi Degyansky, 34, wants airlines to have more compassion for parents who have toddlers that might have difficulty donning their masks for a long time. “We are trying to get used to it, but he’s 2,” Degyansky said.
Degyansky said she flew to Florida to visit her family in Naples. On her arrival flight to Southwest Florida International Airport, the flight attendants were much more understanding, she said.
– Melissa Montoya, Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse halts classes for two weeks amid COVID-19 spike
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse suspended in-person undergraduate classes for two weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases. Officials on Sunday said they will require face coverings on all campus property, both indoor and outdoor, and will expand a previous edict for shelter in place that was limited to one residence, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network.
In-person instruction is scheduled to resume on Sept. 28.
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
- On Facebook: A lot is still 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.
- 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.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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