September 24, 2020

GiuseppeLanzetta

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Covid 19 Live Updates – The New York Times

Covid 19 Live Updates - The New York Times


Northeastern ousts 11 students for violating safety protocols, and keeps their $36,500 tuition.

In one of the harshest punishments imposed to date against students for violations of coronavirus safety protocols, Northeastern University dismissed 11 first-year students this week and declined to refund their $36,500 tuition after they were discovered crowded into a room at a Boston hotel serving as a temporary dormitory.

About 800 students are staying in two-person rooms at the hotel, the Westin, which is less than a mile from Northeastern’s Boston campus.

Two university staff members making rounds on Wednesday evening discovered the gathering, which violated university rules against any “guests, visitors or additional occupants,” the university said in a news release.

In addition, the students were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, in defiance of university requirements, a university spokeswoman, Renata Nyul, said.

The lockdown in Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city, will be extended by two weeks, officials said Sunday, as they try to contain the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

The lockdown, which began in early August and had been set to end on Sept. 13, will now last until at least Sept. 28, said Dan Andrews, premier of the state of Victoria. Expert modeling, he said, suggests that easing restrictions too quickly could lead to a new wave of infections and keep the state from reaching its goal of lifting almost all restrictions by the end of the year.

“I want a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible and this is the only way, these steps are the only way, that we will get to that point,” Mr. Andrews said as he unveiled detailed road maps for ending restrictions in Melbourne, the state capital, and the rest of Victoria.

The announcement came a day after about 200 protesters in Melbourne clashed with the police at a “Freedom Day” rally calling for an end to pandemic restrictions. The police arrested 17 protesters and fined more than 160 others — nearly everyone who had flouted the authorities’ instructions to stay home.

Tensions have surged in the fifth week of Victoria’s lockdown, which is one of the strictest in the world. All nonessential businesses are closed. Melburnians are allowed to leave the house only for work, exercise or buying groceries, and travel is restricted to within about three miles of home.

Under the changes Mr. Andrews announced on Sunday, after Sept. 13 the nightly curfew will begin at 9 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., outdoor exercise will be limited to two hours a day instead of one, and people living on their own will be allowed to have one friend or family member in their home whereas currently they can meet only with intimate partners. If the average daily rise in cases falls below 50 by Sept. 28, Melbourne will move on to the next stage of reopening.

Restrictions in the rest of Victoria, which is under a less severe lockdown, will be eased slightly after Sept. 13.

On Sunday, Victoria reported 63 new coronavirus cases and five deaths, all of them linked to nursing homes. Australia, a country of 25 million people, has had a total of more than 26,000 cases and 748 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

In other coronavirus news from around the world:

  • Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, told reporters on Friday that some states where the virus is surging, including Mexico and Baja California, had run out of death certificates last month. He said that more than a million new ones had been printed and were being distributed to health officials. The country had recorded 66,851 coronavirus deaths as of Saturday, though a Times investigation in the spring found that the government was not reporting hundreds, possibly thousands, of such deaths in Mexico City, the capital.

  • A former prime minister of the Cook Islands, Joseph Williams, has died of Covid-19 in New Zealand, the country’s Health Ministry said on Saturday. He became the 24th person to die of Covid-19 in New Zealand, which has been under lockdown over the past few weeks to get a second small coronavirus outbreak under control. Mr. Williams, 85, was a well-known doctor in Auckland and served briefly as the Cook Islands’ prime minister in 1999.

To counter fears over Trump’s urgency for a vaccine, 5 drug companies plan a joint safety pledge.

The companies must navigate perilous terrain. If they are among the first to bring a successful vaccine to market, they could earn major profits and help rehabilitate the image of an industry battered by rising drug prices.

But if a vaccine turns out to have dangerous side effects for some people, the fallout could be catastrophic, damaging their corporate reputations, putting their broader portfolio of products at risk and broadly undermining trust in vaccines, one of the great public health advances in human history.

In a thread on Twitter, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, reviewed the troubling trends, calling the current level of infections “a bit of a disaster” given that a fall surge is to be expected just as the flu season sets in.

The top-seeded women’s doubles team at the United States Open tennis tournament was forced to withdraw from the event this weekend as the rules for players exposed to the virus changed for the third time in less than a week, and the second time in 24 hours.

The team, Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos, withdrew because Ms. Mladenovic had spent time with a player who tested positive, and health officials in Nassau County, where the players’ hotels are located, decided on Friday that allowing the team to play would violate the county’s protocols. Ms. Mladenovic had been participating in the tournament all week after being exposed to the virus, but she was now expected to quarantine at the hotel.

The team’s Saturday match was removed from the schedule, even though the day before a match that included another player who had been exposed to the virus was allowed to take place, albeit after a delay of about two and a half hours to consider the rule change.

“This probably cost us a Grand Slam,” Michael Joyce, Ms. Babos’s coach, said of the forced withdrawal of a pair that had already won three major doubles titles together — the 2018 and 2020 Australian Open and the 2019 French Open.

Two days before the tournament began, Benoît Paire of France tested positive for the coronavirus. Mr. Paire was removed from play, but rules about the people in contact with him shifted over time.

Electronic contact tracing revealed that Mr. Paire had been in close contact for an extended period — in a card game at one of the two hotels housing players on Long Island and possibly through other socializing — with seven players, including Ms. Mladenovic, also of France.

The spy service of every major country around the globe is trying to find out what everyone else is up to in developing a vaccine.

China, Russia and Iran have all made attempts to steal research by some of the United States’ top companies and universities, according to U.S. intelligence agents. British intelligence has picked up signals of Russian spying on U.S., Canadian and British research. Washington and NATO have both redoubled efforts to protect the information garnered so far.

In more than four decades of coaching girls’ basketball at Lebanon Catholic High School in southeastern Pennsylvania, Patti Hower had led the team to three state championships and 20 district titles. This year, there were high hopes again.

But then in April, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announced that the school was permanently closing, citing insurmountable financial stress, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We never thought, ‘Hey, we’re never going to get on that court together again as a team,’” said Ms. Hower, 68, who attended the school, like her father and granddaughters.

As schools around the country debate how to reopen safely, a growing number of Catholic schools — already facing declining enrollments and donations from before the pandemic — are shutting down for good.

About 150 Catholic schools have closed, said Kathy Mears, the director of the National Catholic Educational Association, equal to about 2 percent of the 6,183 schools that were up and running last year. The number of closures is at least 50 percent higher this year than in previous years, she said.

As parents and families lost their jobs during the pandemic, many could no longer pay tuition at Catholic schools. And when churches began shutting down to curb the spread of the virus, that also ended a major source of donations — some of which would normally be allotted for parish schools.

Among the best-known Catholic schools shutting its doors is the Institute of Notre Dame, an all-girls facility in Baltimore. Some alumni are fighting to keep the school open, upset that school leaders haven’t pushed harder to avoid closure.

Drena Fertetta, an alumnus who graduated from Notre Dame in 1983, began a group dedicated to reopening the school next year, perhaps at a different site.

“There is just a sisterhood that happens to the girls who go to that school,” Ms. Fertetta said. “It’s not something we’re willing to just walk away from.”

A Maine wedding reception seeded over 100 infections. The three people who died weren’t among the guests.

Three deaths from Covid-19 and 147 infections have been linked to an August indoor wedding reception in north-central Maine, the spokesperson for the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday. None of those who died had attended the wedding, according to the C.D.C. spokesperson.

From the wedding in Millinocket, about 70 miles north of Bangor, transmission passed into a prison and a long-term care facility — both of which are more than 100 miles from the wedding venue.

As of Thursday, there were 144 cases associated with the wedding, said Nirav Shah, the director of Maine’s C.D.C. Of those cases, 56 were wedding guests and their second or tertiary contacts, Mr. Shah said at a briefing on Thursday.

A member of the York County jail staff who tested positive for the virus attended the wedding, Dr. Shah said. Now 18 additional staff members, 46 of the jail’s inmates and seven family members of staff have confirmed cases, Dr. Shah said.

The Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison, about 100 miles away, has also been affected by cases linked to the wedding. A staff member at Maplecrest who is a secondary contact of one of the wedding guests tested positive, and as of Thursday there were 15 more infected individuals at the facility, Dr. Shah said. Eight of the cases are among residents, and seven among the staff.

The state C.D.C. said that about 65 people attended the indoor wedding. Maine has limited indoor gatherings to 50 people, according to the governor’s executive order.

“Outbreaks are not isolated events,” Dr. Shah said. “One outbreak can quickly lead to several more outbreaks, especially in a close geographic area.”

How the virus has devastated India, which now has over four million reported cases.

Not so long ago, before the coronavirus, India’s future looked entirely different.

It had a sizzling economy that was lifting millions out of poverty. It aimed to give its people a middle-class lifestyle, update its woefully vintage military and become a regional political and economic superpower that could rival China, Asia’s biggest success story.

But the economic devastation caused by the pandemic is imperiling many of India’s aspirations. The country’s economy has shrunk faster than any other major nation’s. As many as 200 million people could slip back into poverty, according to some estimates. Many of its normally vibrant streets are empty, with people too frightened of the outbreak to venture far.

Much of this damage was caused by a lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that experts now say was both too tight and too porous, both hurting the economy and spreading the virus. India now has the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreak, with more than 80,000 new infections reported each day. The country has now topped four million confirmed cases.

A sense of malaise is creeping over the nation. Its economic growth was slowing even before the pandemic. Social divisions are widening. Anti-Muslim feelings are on the rise, partly because of a malicious social media campaign that falsely blamed Muslims for spreading the virus. China is increasingly muscling into Indian territory.

Scholars use many of the same words when contemplating India today: Lost. Listless. Wounded. Rudderless. Unjust.

“The engine has been smashed,” said Arundhati Roy, one of India’s pre-eminent writers. “The ability to survive has been smashed. And the pieces are all up in the air. You don’t know where they are going to fall or how they are going to fall.”

Reporting was contributed by Julian E. Barnes, Alan Blinder, Damien Cave, Christopher Clarey, Ron DePasquale, Joe Drape, Sheera Frenkel, Marie Fazio, Matt Futterman, Jeffrey Gettleman, Rick Gladstone, Emma Goldberg, Mike Ives, Jennifer Jett, Andrea Kannapell, Sharon LaFraniere, Michael Venutolo-Mantovani, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Zach Montague, Ben Rothenberg, Katie Thomas, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Noah Weiland, Will Wright and Yan Zhuang.





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