May 24 coronavirus news
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Schools in the Australian state of New South Wales will fully reopen beginning Monday, according to a news release from the state's education department.
Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian said a return to full-time, face-to-face teaching and learning was both safe and "crucial for the educational progress of every child in NSW from Kindergarten to Year 12.”
Schools will need to maintain safety precautions, including no assemblies and excursions, Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said.
As of Saturday, New South Wales had 3,087 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Two days after he said officials would not enforce capacity limits on businesses, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has changed his mind.
"The reality is that there are too many people who are coming together," Turner said during a news conference Sunday.
The mayor felt he had to change course after he saw a photo that appeared to show a club "clearly above their occupancy requirements of 25% or less," he said. Turner also saw images on social media of people gathering without masks or social distancing.
Going forward, the city will be enforcing the 25% capacity requirement for bars and clubs and 50% capacity for restaurants, Turner said. Businesses that don't comply face a citation or can be closed by the fire marshal.
"The goal is not to be heavy handed at all," Turner explained of the enforcement. "We want people to voluntarily comply to operate within the rules, the rules that apply to everyone."
The mayor also asked for compliance on Twitter, writing, "I want us to move forward but this will set us back."
He also tweeted a request to residents, asking them to social distance and "mask up!"
There has been a spike in coronavirus cases in Washington, DC, according to data from the DC Department of Health.The increase could pose a setback for the criteria Mayor Muriel Bowser is using to decide when Washington will begin stage one of its reopening.
Until this weekend, Washington had 11 days of declining community spread of the coronavirus. The city said 14 days of decline were needed as one of the measurements necessary before moving to stage one of reopening. Sunday would have been the 13th day of decline, but instead there was a small spike over the last two days.
Since the spike was small, the DC Department of Health said Sunday it would consider this a reset back to day 11 of the decline because the number of cases was fewer than the department’s calculation of the standard deviation for the number of cases.
"We don't have to go to day zero," Director of the DC Department of Health Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said in a conference call with reporters.
Bowser said last week that Washington could begin stage one of its reopening on Friday, May 29, barring any spikes in coronavirus cases.
With this increase in cases, DC could still have 14 days of decline before potentially reopening this Friday. Nesbitt would not comment on whether this reset affects when Washington could begin reopening.
There are two other factors for reopening: A less than 20% positivity rate and hospital capacity less than 80%. As of Sunday, the positivity rate is 19%, and the hospital capacity is 74%.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker released industry guidelines for businesses that will be operating when the state begins Phase 3 of its five-phase reopening plan. Pritzker said last week that Phase 3 could begin on Friday May 29.
Manufacturing facilities, offices, retail stores, salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits and other restrictions. For example, office employees should maintain 6 feet of distance and wear face coverings when that can't be done, according to the guidelines.
Meantime, bars and restaurants -- which have been limited to takeout and delivery -- will be allowed to have outdoor dining. But there should be a minimum of 6 feet between tables, and parties should be limited to 6 people or fewer.
As of Sunday, 5,604 members of the New York Police Department have returned to work full-time after recovering from Covid-19, according to the NYPD's daily coronavirus report.
To date, 5,739 members have tested positive for Covid-19, the report said. Seventy-four uniformed members are still out sick with Covid-19, along with 18 civilian members.
The number of NYPD personnel out sick each day continues to trend downward, the report said, with 927 members out sick Sunday. That's about 2.6% of the department's uniformed workforce, down from a high of 19.8%, per the report.
President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a proclamation suspending entry to the US for any individual who has been in Brazil within the 14 days immediately prior to their arrival.
"I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States," the proclamation reads in part.
The policy is aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus. As of Sunday evening, Brazil had more than 347,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the second most worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
"Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Sunday. "These new restrictions do not apply to the flow of commerce between the United States and Brazil."
Some context: Coronavirus has yet to peak in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and worst-infected city, but the health care system is already beginning to break down.
As the crisis deepens and the number of deaths continues to rise, President Jair Bolsonaro is urging businesses to reopen. He opposes many governors who are stressing social distancing measures to slow the spread.
Far from hospitals, Brazil's indigenous people are dying at an alarming rate. The death toll is double that of the rest of Brazil's population, according to the advocacy group Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.
Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill in Patchogue, New York, apologized on Sunday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office criticized the restaurant for allegedly easing restrictions on masks and social distancing for its customers because of rainy weather on Friday.
“From what I understand, it was raining on Friday evening and so the bar allowed patrons to come inside to pick up their food,” said Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, adding that was the explanation given to Suffolk County police, who broke up the crowd.
Restaurants in New York state are currently limited to take-out and delivery.
Photos from inside the bar at the time showed people not wearing masks, DeRosa said.
“That’s stupid -- stupid for you, it’s stupid for your surrounding patrons, it’s stupid for the bar,” she said. “I take them at their word that that’s what happened, but moving forward, they should be on notice and again, the enforcement is up to the locals.”
The restaurant later posted an apology on its Instagram story, saying “quick rainfall sent guests inside to the bar area.”
“There are no excuses when it comes to public safety. We should not have allowed anybody inside whatsoever,” the statement said.
"We apologize to anybody who may have been offended by the videos that surfaced," it said.
The Suffolk County Police Department confirmed it responded after "multiple 911 calls" regarding noncompliance at the restaurant. The department is "taking reports of noncompliance very seriously," it said in a statement.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Sunday that community pools will reopen on June 1, along with beaches.
Beaches and hotel accommodations for tourists are already expected to reopen that same day. The mayor's announcement also says "pools in condominium and apartment complexes and other private communities" can open as well.
The pool reopenings will be subject to certain restrictions which will be recommended by medical experts and the mayor later in the week, the statement said.