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August 30 coronavirus news

Dr. Gupta says nursing homes were tinderboxes for pandemic

What you need to know

  • More than 25 million people have been infected with Covid-19 since the pandemic began and 842,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s global tally. 
  • A CDC forecast projects more than 200,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Sept. 19, as the country approaches 6 million confirmed coronavirus cases.
  • At least 36 states have reported positive cases at colleges and universities as a new school year starts, with the University of Alabama alone recording 1,200 cases.
  • India reported 78,761 new cases in 24 hours and has now recorded 3,542,733 cases in total — behind only the US and Brazil.

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Some US experts are calling for an independent commission, separate from FDA, to review Covid-19 vaccines

Citing criticism of government agencies and increasing public distrust of vaccines, several prominent physicians and experts are calling for the creation of an independent commission to review data from coronavirus vaccine trials before a vaccine is allowed on the market.

The United States Food and Drug Administration regulates vaccines, and its OK is all that’s needed to put one on the market. The physicians fear, however, that after several government blunders during the pandemic, a layer of review independent from the government is needed to give Americans confidence that the shot is safe and effective.

Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said she thought of the idea of an independent panel to increase trust in the vaccine after several colleagues told her they did not want to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.

“I’m hearing this from my peers, from doctors and nurses. They’re not anti-vaxxers. They’re pro vaccine. They vaccinated their own children. But they are skeptical about this vaccine,” said Stephenson, director of the clinical trials unit at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Separately from Stephenson, bioethicist Arthur Caplan arrived at the same conclusion.

“We’re used to this world where if the FDA or the CDC or the NAS says something is safe and effective, that’s enough, but I don’t think this time that’s sufficient to overturn public skepticism,” said Caplan, referring to the US Centers for Disease Control and the National Academy of Sciences. “I think we desperately need an independent national commission.”

Read more:

One of the first South African Oxford vaccine trialists looks on as a medical worker injects him with the clinical trial for a potential vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa, on June 24 ,2020. (Photo by SIPHIWE SIBEKO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SIPHIWE SIBEKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Experts call for independent commission separate from FDA to review Covid-19 vaccines

Colombia records more than 8,000 new Covid-19 cases

A worker disinfects the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, an underground church built into a salt mine, in Zipaquira, 45 km north of Bogota, on August 30.

Colombia recorded 8,024 new Covid-19 infections and 300 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the country’s Ministry of Health reported Sunday. 

That brings the national total to at least 607,938 cases, including 19,364 fatalities, since the pandemic began, according to the ministry’s data.

Colombia surpassed Mexico on Thursday, August 27, to become the country with the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in Latin America, trailing only Brazil and Peru, according to data compiled by CNN and Johns Hopkins University. 

Mexico reports more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases

A Guadalajara staff member disinfects the stands before the start of a Mexican Apertura tournament football match between Guadalajara and Pachuca in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, on August 29.

Mexico’s Health Ministry reported 4,129 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 595,841.

The health ministry also reported 339 new deaths for a total of 64,158.

Mexico has the fourth-highest number of total coronavirus cases in Latin America, behind Brazil, Peru and Colombia, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Birx is hopeful for a vaccine, but convinced community spread can be stopped right now

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said that while she is hopeful for a vaccine, she is also convinced that community spread can be stopped right now.

Speaking at a media event in Minnesota Sunday, Birx said that people shouldn’t wait for a vaccine to do the right thing.

Birx also said that she is hopeful that when the data becomes available and the American people can see that a vaccine is safe and effective, that they will want to get vaccinated.

“Yes, I’m hopeful for a vaccine,” she said. “But I’m also very convinced right now that we can stop community spread by wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding crowds.”

Birx pointed out that crowds are not just things like large concerts, but also backyard barbecues with 25 people who aren’t wearing masks.

People need to be just as careful with Covid-19 at home as they are in public, Birx says

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that people need to ensure they are taking their public mitigation efforts home with them, when necessary.

Across the country, experts have seen that people sometimes make assumptions when gathering in private that “there couldn’t be anybody that has infection there,” Birx said during a press event in Minnesota. Because of this, they don’t wear masks when interacting, which leads to the virus spreading among family members and neighbors.

“We’re doing a much better job in public, in our public mitigations. We have to take those home to private and ensure we’re also doing that in the household – protecting our grandparents and our aunts and uncles that may have comorbidities,” Birx said.

Birx urged people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus to wear masks when interacting with those who may be more vulnerable to severe outcomes of Covid-19, and to try to get tested.

When someone knows they have done things that may have exposed them to the virus is when they really have to work on protecting others, she said.

“We know we can’t always be perfect. We know that we’ll put this message out about private gatherings and something will happen and you’ll realize you have been in a situation, you’ve been around people, you didn’t have your mask on,” Birx said. “That is the time to make sure you’re protecting others in your household and around you by wearing a mask when you’re around them, even if they’re family.”

Birx says knowledge gained about Covid-19 the last 6 months 'means we have power against it'

Deborah Brix

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said on Sunday that Covid-19 is a serious threat, but the knowledge that has been gained over the last six months means we have power against it.

“We see the numbers on the TV and in the news every single day of the number of Americans who have lost their lives to this virus. We don’t lose that many Americans to a virus like the flu virus every year,” Birx said during a media appearance in Minnesota. “So, this is a serious threat.”

Birx said while it’s true that Covid-19 is a more serious threat to certain individuals, we still don’t know for sure who those people are.

Birx said that over the last six months, we have learned more about why masks are important, that homemade cloth two-ply masks work well, that you have to cover your mouth and nose, that physical distancing is important, and that crowds – both indoors and outdoors – can and have spread the virus.

Not only is the virus real, the consequences of the virus is real. The hospitalizations that we still have every week is real. The number of Americans that we have lost to this virus are real,” Birx said. “But what is also real is we have a way to prevent its spread, and I think this really needs to be a balanced message of ‘we have power against this virus, but it requires all of us to exert our power together.’ ”

Brazil reports more than 16,000 new coronavirus cases

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fixes his face mask before the event "Brazil beating Covid-19" at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on August 24.

Brazil’s Health Ministry has reported 16,158 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 3,862,311.

The Ministry also reported 366 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, raising the country’s death toll to 120,828.

Brazil is second only to the United States in the highest total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Temple University to suspend in-person classes for two weeks following 103 active Covid-19 cases on campus

Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced on Sunday that it would be suspending in-person classes for two weeks following the identification of 103 active Covid-19 cases on campus.

The university said the 103 cases were found after conducting over 5,000 tests in the last two weeks. Most of the cases are asymptomatic and a small number have mild to moderate flu-like symptoms. The new cases appear to result from small social gatherings happening off-campus, Temple University said.

Students who were scheduled to take in-person classes will now take online classes through at least September 11 and an assessment will be made later to decide how classes will be conducted moving forward, the university said.

Twitter removes QAnon supporter's false claim about coronavirus death statistics which Trump had re-tweeted

Twitter took down a tweet containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics Sunday afternoon that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory – a post that President Donald Trump had retweeted earlier Sunday.

The tweet has been replaced with a message saying: “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”

The claim from tweeter “Mel Q,” copied from someone else’s Facebook post, was that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had “quietly” updated its numbers “to admit that only 6%” of people listed coronavirus deaths “actually died from Covid,” since “the other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses.”

Trump shared the false information with his 85 million-plus followers. As of 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, the now deleted “Mel Q” tweet Trump amplified had been retweeted more than 48,000 times.

Its latest regular update to a public statistics page on the pandemic, the CDC said that for 6% of the deaths included in its statistics, “Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned” on the deceased person’s death certificate. 

That is not at all the same thing as saying only 6% of reported Covid-19 deaths “actually died” from Covid-19. It simply means that the other 94% were listed as having at least one additional factor contributing to their death.

For example, the other 94% includes people whose death certificate listed both Covid-19 and obesity, both Covid-19 and diabetes, or both Covid-19 and heart disease – among other conditions. 

People can live with obesity, diabetes or heart disease for years but then get infected with Covid-19 and die quickly. The fact that they also had an underlying condition does not mean that Covid-19 was not a major reason, or the major reason, they died when they did. 

Georgia reports under 1,300 cases for first time since June

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,298 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. That’s the first time the state has reported under 1,300 cases in over two months.

The state of Georgia last reported 1,215 cases on June 22, according to state records.

Georgia also reported an additional 28 deaths.

In total, there have been 268,973 cases across the state of Georgia and 5,604 total statewide deaths.

Florida reports more than 2,500 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths

Florida health officials reported 2,583 new Covid-19 cases and 14 additional resident deaths on Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).  

This is the lowest daily death figure reported by the state since June 22 when 12 deaths were reported, CNN’s tally showed.   

The state has reported 614,753 positive cases among Florida residents and 621,586 total cases across the state, DOH data showed.         

There are 11,119 Florida residents who have died from the virus, the DOH said.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by Florida’s public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project   

Jordan records its highest daily number of locally transmitted Covid-19 cases

Jordan announced its highest daily number of locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic with 67 cases reported on Sunday. 

There were 61 cases in the capital Amman, according to the Jordanian health ministry. 

The country recorded 73 cases in total registered over the past 24 hours with six “imported” positives, according to the health ministry. Five of the imported cases were repatriated citizens who tested positive while in government quarantine and the sixth is a Jordanian truck driver who tested positive on arrival from Saudi Arabia. 

Some context: The government has ruled out a countrywide lockdown, opting for more localized shut downs, stricter enforcement of measures that include an extended nighttime curfew, and an increase in the number of contact tracing teams. 

In March, Jordan implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the world to combat the spread of the virus. 

Jordan is facing a “new wave” of the pandemic, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said in a televised address last week. 

The number of cases began to surge this month with more than 700 positives recorded in August. The Jordanian government attributed the rise in infections to its land border crossings with Syria and Saudi Arabia which had remained open to commercial traffic. 

The number of coronavirus cases in the US approaches 6 million

There are at least 5,969,916 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 182,841 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally.

As of Sunday afternoon, 8,820 new cases and 80 new deaths have been reported in the US since midnight.    

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.   

Brazilian Health Ministry corrects Covid-19 death toll figures from Saturday

Brazil’s Health Ministry issued a correction on Sunday regarding its daily Covid-19 death-toll figures for Saturday. 

On Saturday, Brazil surpassed 120,000 Covid-19 related deaths when the country’s health ministry reported 758 new deaths, bringing the national death toll to 120,262. 

However, on Sunday, the ministry corrected these figures to 958 new Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, with a new total death toll of 120,462. 

According to the ministry, Saturday’s original report was incorrect due to an error in the death toll reported by the Federal District (DF). Despite the mistake in death toll numbers, the ministry’s report of 41,350 new cases for a total of 3,846,153 Covid-19 cases countrywide still stands.

Reports of Sunday’s Covid-19 data have not yet been published. 

Joe Biden says he would relaunch "PREDICT" virus detection program if elected

If elected president, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pledged that he would re-launch “PREDICT,” a program launched after the 2005 H1N1 virus that was designed to help detect and combat potential pandemic threats like Covid-19. 

The program, which was shut down in 2019, focused specifically on the detection and discovery of “zoonotic diseases.” 

Some context: Biden has continually criticized President Trump on the campaign trail for shuttering the pandemic response office established under President Obama — officially called the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit — and promised to restore it if elected, so it is not surprising that he is now adding the “Predict” program to the list of pandemic response mechanisms he would reinstitute. 

“It did not have to be this bad. That’s the greatest tragedy of all. Donald Trump’s failures didn’t just start in July, when he simply gave up in the face of surging infections. They didn’t just begin in June, May, April, and March, when he refused to take basic public health measures to lay the groundwork for an effective recovery. Or even in January and February, when he ignored repeated warnings about Covid-19,” Biden said in the statement.

Biden’s statement continued, “I will re-launch and strengthen U.S. Agency for International Development’s pathogen-tracking program called PREDICT, which Donald Trump eliminated.”

The New York Times was first to report that Biden would restart this specific program. 

Tennis player withdraws from US Open after positive Covid-19 test

A player scheduled to play in this week’s US Open has tested positive for coronavirus and has been withdrawn from the tournament, United States Tennis Association (USTA) has announced. 

In a statement issued on Sunday, the USTA revealed the player is asymptomatic and has “advised” the player to self-isolate for at least 10 days. In addition, the USTA has begun conducting contact tracing to determine if anyone else will need to “quarantine for 14 days.” 

The statement did not identify the player by name.

The 2020 US Open is set to begin Aug. 31 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. 

MLB game Sunday postponed due to positive Covid-19 test

The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros game scheduled for Sunday has been postponed “out of an abundance of caution” following a positive coronavirus test in the Athletics’ organization, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced.

MLB said additional testing and contact tracing will be conducted. 

The game was slated to be played at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Operation Warp Speed officials cannot see coronavirus vaccine data early, official says

Operation Warp Speed officials cannot peek early at any data coming out of clinical trials of experimental coronavirus vaccine, an official told reporters Friday.

Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health Human Services, sought to reassure reporters that the process of approving any eventual coronavirus vaccine will be the same as for any vaccine.

“There is a thing called a Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent body that is assigned to each clinical trial,” Mango said during a telephone briefing. “We have no insight into the data until the DSMB says we can look at it. They can come back and say, ‘This is not a good vaccine.’ They could come back before we even have 30,000 folks enrolled and say ‘We have enough. This looks great.’ ”

Adverse reactions to the vaccine could also trigger the DSMB to stop the trial.

Makers of vaccines in advanced clinical trials in the US are seeking to enroll at least 30,000 volunteers so they can tell whether the vaccine is really safe and protects people from infection. But there could be enough data even before 30,000 people are enrolled, Mango said.

“What we are really looking for is cases — the number of positive cases from both the placebo and the vaccine group,” Mango said. “Once we get to 150 or so, statistically that is significant regardless of how many enrollees we have in the trial.” 

“That may be surprising to some, but really the number of events that have to occur … is relatively small,” added US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

This woman is beautifying Skid Row one makeover at a time. And not even the pandemic can stop her

For a few hours every Saturday, Los Angeles’ Skid Row – home to one of the nation’s largest concentrations of homeless people – transforms into an outdoor beauty salon.

There, where tents line city blocks, people gather to get makeovers from Shirley Raines, or one of her team of volunteers, made up of licensed hair stylists, barbers, makeup artists.

Raines came up with the idea for her non-profit, Beauty 2 The Streets, after recognizing that a haircut, a new hair color and makeup can help homeless people to thrive.

“Just because they live on the streets doesn’t mean that there aren’t things we can do to help them not appear as they live on the streets,” Raines told CNN. 

When California ordered all its residents to stay at home in late March due to the coronavirus, Raines and her volunteers complied. But the following Monday, she found messages on her social media from community members who were alone and hungry. 

“I realized that we didn’t have the luxury of self isolating because we built this relationship with the community so we need to still go out there and help them.” 

Homeless people are very vulnerable to Covid-19 because they live in close quarters and have limited access to cleaning facilities. So the team began handing out food, hand sanitizer and water, while adhering to distancing guidelines and wearing masks.

Still, the desire for beauty products is there, Raines said, so they have been slowly bringing out wigs, makeup, combs and brushes so homeless people can style themselves.

She said if there’s anything to learn from the pandemic, it’s that “any one of us could be them (homeless) at any given time.” 

Read the full story here:

skid row makeover homeless beauty 2 the streetz trnd

This woman is beautifying Skid Row one makeover at a time. And not even the pandemic can stop her from helping the homeless


Two Indian cricketers and 11 support staff test positive for Covid-19

Two cricket players and 11 staff members in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 Season have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement issued Saturday by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“Upon landing in the UAE [United Arab Emirates], all the participants have followed a mandatory testing and quarantine programme. Total of 1,988 RT-PCR COVID tests were carried out between August 20th-28th across all participant groups in the UAE. These groups include Players, Support Staff, Team Management, BCCI Staff, IPL Operational team, Hotel and ground transport Staff,” read the statement.

“13 personnel have tested positive of which 2 are players. All the affected personnel as well as their close contacts are asymptomatic and have been isolated from other team members. They are being monitored by the IPL Medical Team,” the statement said.

As per the IPL 2020 Health and Safety Protocols, testing on all participants will be conducted regularly throughout the IPL 2020 Season, the statement added. 

The IPL 2020 will begin on September 19 and the final will be played on November 10. 

Colleges and universities work to control outbreaks as a new school year starts amid coronavirus

A return to campus for the new academic year has colleges and universities across the United States struggling to both contain outbreaks of Covid-19 and enforce policies meant to prevent its spread. 

At least 36 states have reported positive cases at colleges and universities, adding more than 8,700 cases to the country’s tally. More than 5.9 million infections have been recorded in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Since classes started on August 19, 1,200 students at the University of Alabama have tested positive for the virus, the university system’s website showed Saturday. Classes at the University of Dayton will continue online for at least two weeks after the school reported 116 cases on Thursday and another 148 on Friday, according to the university’s website.

Several hundred students tested positive at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, according to their schools.

Providence College in Rhode Island has implemented policies to prevent the virus’ spread, but 17 students have been placed on “interim suspension” for violating those measures, meaning they will not be allowed on campus or in classes until they attend a hearing, college spokesperson Steven Maurano told CNN Saturday.

Read the full story here:

People line up outside to wait for limited access indoors to order food from Taco Mama, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. More than 20,000 students returned to campus at the University of Alabama for the first time since spring break, with numerous school and city codes in effect to limit the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

36 states report a total of 8,700 Covid-19 cases at colleges and universities; country nears 6 million

Married Delta pilots retire early after decades of service because of Covid-19

They’ve flown around the globe and have seen the world side by side from the best seat in the house – the cockpit of a Delta A330.

Meet Joe and Margrit Fahan, married and recently retired Delta pilots who chronicle their travels on their popular Instagram account, @flyingfahans

After completing their final Delta flight on August 13, the couple sat down with CNN Travel.

Capt. Joe Fahan has been a pilot for over 36 years. Commercial airline pilots must retire at age 65, and Fahan was a little over a year away from retirement when Covid-19 hit. Air travel basically ground to a halt, creating a major crisis for the industry. 

“All the airlines [were] losing an incredible amount of money they had to start scaling back. They offered early retirement, and it just made sense for us. So we decided to jump on it.” said Joe Fahan.

First Officer Margrit Fahan, Joe’s wife and co-pilot, has been flying for 35 years. The last six years she has shared the flight deck with her husband, Joe, and has since witnessed the devastating effects of coronavirus on her industry. “I think the airlines fell back to a 5% capacity, 5% of their operation,” said Margrit. 

Margrit still had a few more years of flying ahead of her and was not ready to retire – but she did.

Read the full story here:

Retired Delta pilots Joe and Margrit Fahan

Married Delta pilots retire early after decades of service

Elites are flouting coronavirus restrictions -- and that could hurt us all

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, with his special adviser Dominic Cummings, who refused to apologize for driving the length of England with his wife and child during lockdown, and was not sacked.

When countries impose restrictions to combat coronavirus, there’s an implicit pact between the government and people: we’re all in this together.

So when the powerful or influential break the rules, it provokes fierce public anger and puts society’s inequalities on full view.

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, who resigned from his post Wednesday for breaking Ireland’s coronavirus restrictions by attending a political golf society event with 80 other people, was just the latest member of the political elites to be caught flouting the rules.

Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary had already resigned over the so-called Golfgate scandal. The dinner was held a day after the government in which he served, facing a surge in cases, imposed restrictions – effective immediately – that limited indoor gatherings to six people, down from the 50 previously allowed.

On the other side of the world, New Zealand’s health minister, David Clark, was forced to resign last month after missteps including breaking the country’s stay-at-home order to take his family to the beach.

And social distancing appears to have been largely disregarded at the Republican National Convention in the United States this past week. In perhaps the most striking instance, more than 1,000 people gathered on a White House lawn, few wearing masks and sitting close together, to hear President Donald Trump accept his party’s nomination Thursday night.

Read the full story here:

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his political advisor Dominic Cummings leave 10 Downing Street on October 28, 2019 in London, England. EU leaders have announced that an agreement to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020 has been agreed in principle. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Elites are flouting coronavirus restrictions -- and that could hurt us all

More than 25 million have now been infected by coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

At least 25,009,250 people have been infected with Covid-19 worldwide since the global pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of cases Sunday.

The figures also show that at least 842,702 people have died after contracting the virus.

Case numbers have soared exponentially since they first were reported in China in December 2019. The world recorded 1 million cases more than three months later, on April 2. The tally hit 10 million cases on June 28 and took just six weeks to double.

While the world has learned a great deal about how to control the spread of the virus, governments are starting to lose their grip on the situation once more.

Countries that were hit early in the pandemic saw case numbers dip after they imposed strict rules around social distancing and movement. But the figures are rising fast again as lockdowns are lifted and frustrations among the public lead to a growing backlash against mask-wearing and other restrictions that have led to job losses, economic damage and widening inequality.

As fall approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, doctors are already seeing signs of a dramatic second wave of infection that will be almost impossible to contain until a vaccine is developed and widely distributed – another step that is already facing fierce opposition.

India records another 78,761 cases of Covid-19

A health worker in an enclosed kiosk collects a swab sample for a coronavirus test, at the Government District Hospital, on August 28, in Noida, India.

India has recorded 78,761 new infections of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Sunday, its second highest single-day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic.

The country has now recorded 3,542,733 cases of Covid-19.

The ministry also reported 948 new deaths due to the virus, bringing the India’s death toll to 63,498.

Only the US and Brazil have identified more Covid-19 cases than India. India has 765,302 active cases of coronavirus and 2,713,933 people have recovered.

After raising money at a cookie sale, Colorado Girl scouts made PPE for an elementary school

A Girl Scout troop in Colorado has made personal protective equipment (PPE) for a local elementary school – and they used money made from cookie sales to do it.

Emma Bangerter, a fifth grader at Wildcat Mountain Elementary School in Highlands Ranch – and a member of Troop 65430 – says the struggles associated with reopening schools amid a pandemic inspired her troop.

“My Girl Scout troop and I came up with the idea for this project out of the need … to ease the tension of going back to school for staff and students,” Bangerter, aged 10, told CNN. “So using our troop’s cookie money, we bought the material to make the sneeze guards, reusable masks and mask lanyards.”

Bangerter says most students at Wildcat are schooling via a hybrid model – they attend school in-person for two days a week and learn virtually the other days.

Read more:

Members of Girl Scout Juniors Troop 65430 delivered PPE to teachers and staff at Wildcat Mountain Elementary School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Colorado Girl Scout troop uses cookie money to make PPE for elementary school during the pandemic

The New York Philharmonic is bringing music to the streets

The New York Philharmonic was stuck in traffic.

It was late afternoon on a Friday, and the red, white and black Ford F-250 pickup truck at the heart of the Philharmonic’s new “pull-up” concert series was traveling at speeds familiar to anyone who has ever tried to cross a few miles worth of Brooklyn during rush hour.

It has been more than five months since the New York Philharmonic, the nation’s oldest symphony orchestra, closed the doors to its famous Lincoln Center concert hall in early March, as the coronavirus pandemic started to take hold of the city. In that time, over 23,000 New Yorkers are suspected to have died from Covid-19. Told to close their doors in the spring, many city stores, restaurants and museums remain shuttered.

“We like to think of the Philharmonic as New York’s orchestra,” said orchestra president Deborah Borda, a violinist. “Our musicians, their life is making music. They have been completely cut off from being able to give their gift to people.”

Read more:

Yulia Ziskel, Sumire Kudo and Cynthia Phelps perform in Brooklyn Bridge Park as part of the New York Philharmonic's Bandwagon

Unable to open its concert hall, New York Philharmonic brings its music to the streets

US venue tied to a Covid-19 outbreak says it made "an error" in interpreting social distancing rules

Big Moose Inn

A venue in Millinocket, Maine, that is tied to a Covid-19 large outbreak says it made an error when interpreting the US state’s rules on social distancing.

At least 87 people who attend a wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn have since tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“We understood that there could be no more than 50 persons in our largest room. We did make an error in the interpretation of that rule. Our interpretation was that we could take a wedding party of more than 50 persons, and split them between two rooms as long as it didn’t exceed our total capacity or a specific room’s capacity,” the venue said in a statement. “The state – perhaps, rightfully so – assumes that individuals from a larger group would ignore the room restrictions, and take the opportunity to co-mingle. Our interpretation of the rule put the Big Moose Inn in violation of the gathering of people over the maximum number allowed by Maine DECD guidelines.”

The Big Moose in said that it screened all wedding guests prior to entering. Once it was made aware of the outbreak, the venue began taking precautions to protect its staff, requiring them to be tested or undergo self-quarantine. None of the servers working that evening have tested positive.

“While we cannot be sure the virus was fully spread at our facility, we know that there are things that we can be doing better,” the statement read.

This great-grandmother beat coronavirus after 5 months of care

Marie Delus had not touched her mother since she took her to a New York City emergency room in March.

But after more than five months in hospital and a nursing home, Delus’ mother, Marie Jean-Pierre, was released on Saturday, her family told CNN.

Jean-Pierre, 73, was admitted to Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on March 21 with a low-grade fever and difficulty breathing. After testing positive for coronavirus, she was intubated and later placed on a ventilator, according to her daughter. At some point, she received a tracheotomy.

“She was fighting every step of the way. She was fighting the doctors, she was fighting the nurses,” Marie Delus said. “She didn’t want to be on the ventilator.”

Jean-Pierre, Delus and other family members had traveled to Spain in early March on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, returning on March 11. Multiple people who went on the trip became ill, with five becoming “very sick,” Delus said.

Jean-Pierre was “out of it,” remembering little of almost three months in the hospital, she told CNN. She was transferred to Brooklyn’s Saints Joachim and Anne Nursing and Rehab Center, where she had to relearn how to walk and talk, and was unable to see her family, except from behind glass, Jean-Pierre said.

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Costa Rica's government requests $1.75 billion in financing from International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In a letter dated Saturday to the International Monetary Fund, Costa Rica’s government formally requested financial assistance for roughly $1.75 billion to “support our ongoing efforts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We are writing to request, on behalf of the Republic of Costa Rica, follow-up financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund in the form of a three-year arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility, with access at 335 percent of quota (about USD 1.75 billion),” wrote Rodrigo Cubero, the president of the country’s central bank, and Elian Villegas, minister of finance.

The letter cites the “combined impact of the global shock and domestic containment measures” as factors in their decision to request the funding, and goes on to state that the country’s “Central Bank now projects GDP to decline by 5 percent this year.”