‘Normal living’ will come months after vaccine, Fauci says; Florida bars to re-open at half-capacity

‘Normal living’ will come months after vaccine, Fauci says; Florida bars to re-open at half-capacity

  • September 12, 2020
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On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, Americans are struggling with feelings of safety once again as another American is diagnosed with the coronavirus every 2.45 seconds.

While a race to a vaccine is widely considered the only path back to a pre-pandemic way of life, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned that a safe and effective vaccine will not immediately bring back normalcy.

A return to “normal living” — life without masks and physical distancing, where people can go to a movie or a large gathering without fear of becoming infected with COVID-19 — won’t come until “several months” after a vaccine first arrives, Fauci, said on CNN.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said infection rates need to drop dramatically, something expected after the months-long logistical nightmare of manufacturing hundreds of millions of vaccines and distributing them.

Meanwhile, most state case counts and deaths, with the exception of Wisconsin, are improving across the nation, but deaths are still more than a third higher than they were at the beginning of July. America has been averaging about 35,000 cases per day. 

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.

  • Chinese scientists began Phase 1 human trials for a coronavirus vaccine nasal spray.

  • New York City, transit commuters will face a $50 fine beginning Monday if they refuse to wear a face mask

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 6.4 million confirmed cases and more than 192,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, there are more than 28 million cases and more than 911,000 fatalities.

📰 What we’re reading: The sprint to create a COVID-19 vaccine started in January. So, where do things stand? We took a look at how we got here – and how far we have to go. Read it here

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

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

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

1 in 5 hospitalized young adults require intensive care, research letter says

New data suggests that young people may be more at risk for severe developments from coronavirus infection than previously thought.

A study of more than 3,200 hospitalized young adults, age 18 to 34, found that about 1 in 5  of them required intensive care, according to a Harvard research letter published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers also found that 10% required mechanical ventilation and 2.7% died.

While the in-hospital mortality rate is still lower than that reported for older adults with COVID-19, young adults with at least one underlying condition faced risks comparable with those observed in middle-aged adults without them. Harvard scientists also noted that more than half of these patients requiring hospitalization were Black or Hispanic.

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.  

Florida bars will be allowed to reopen Monday at half capacity, state says

Raise a glass: Florida bars may reopen Monday at half capacity. Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, announced Thursday night that bars may reopen after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 26 ordered all bars shut down. 

“Starting Monday, all bars will be reopened at 50% occupancy,” Beshears announced on Twitter on Thursday evening.

Restrictions put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic still limit restaurants to operating at only 50% capacity for indoor dining rooms, with tables 6 feet apart to comply with social distancing orders.

– Sarajane Sullivan, Naples Daily News

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Trump: ‘I do not feel misled’ on COVID-19

Revelations that President Donald Trump publicly downplayed the dangers of the novel coronavirus have not shaken Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s faith in Trump’s handling of the pandemic, the Republican leader said Thursday.

“I do not feel misled,” Ducey said at an afternoon news briefing, which primarily focused on suicide prevention. “There has been a sense of urgency and seriousness about this since Day One.”

Ducey brushed off the news of the president’s conflicting remarks, sidestepping a question about whether he knew of Trump’s plans to downplay the virus’ gravity and arguing that, for him, “trust is built through experience and actions.”

According to a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, Trump knew weeks before the first confirmed U.S. coronavirus death that COVID-19 was deadly, highly contagious and a threat to young people, not just older adults.

– Maria Polletta, Arizona Republic

Airline workers look to Congress to save them from October layoffs

The days are quickly counting down for thousands of pilots, flight attendants, gate agents and other airline workers who face the prospect of being laid off at the end of the month if Congress doesn’t come through with a new stimulus agreement.

“Without additional federal aid, U.S. airlines will be forced to make very difficult business decisions including furloughs and service reductions,” wrote Carter Yang, spokesman for the airlines’ chief industry organization, Airlines for America, in a note to USA TODAY.

Why the urgency? The Department of Transportation barred airlines that accepted stimulus money from laying off employees until at least Oct. 1, when $25 billion in payroll support protection money from the CARES Act expires.

On Thursday, the Senate failed to reach the 60-vote minimum needed to pass a slimmed-down, $300 billion GOP coronavirus relief package that didn’t allocate any aid for the airline industry. That leaves open the chance that airline funds could be included in a compromise measure with the House.

– Chris Woodyard

Survey: Joe Biden more empathetic to those with COVID-19 than Donald Trump

Nearly three quarters of Americans say they see Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as more caring to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, while less than half say the same of President Donald Trump, a new survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project finds.

Also, a combined 66% of Americans say Biden is more caring to those who have lost their jobs, compared with Trump at 53%.

Robert Griffin, the research director for the Democracy Fund, said that Biden is likely seen more empathetic because he is seen as a “relatively compassionate person,” while Trump is seen as a “no nonsense deal maker.”

– Rebecca Morin

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID news: Fauci on ‘normal living’; Florida bars; CDC on dining out

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