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More Than 1 Million People Have Died From COVID-19 Worldwide : Goats and Soda – NPR

Relatives at a mass burial of pandemic victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, mourn a family member.

Andre Coelho/Getty Images


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Relatives at a mass burial of pandemic victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, mourn a family member.

Andre Coelho/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has now killed at least 1 million people worldwide. That’s according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University. This sobering milestone was reached just nine months after the first reported fatality in China last January. And public health experts believe the actual toll – the recorded deaths plus the unrecorded deaths – is much higher. What’s more, in the five worst-off countries, the trend line remains worrisome. Here’s how they line up — and why Argentina could soon join their ranks.

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1. United States

Take the United States, which currently leads the world in terms of both total number of dead and total number of infected over the course of the pandemic. While several Northeastern states that were clobbered by the virus early on managed to use social distancing and masking to push down their new cases by early spring, states in other regions then quickly moved to re-open. This fueled an even bigger wave of deaths across wide swaths of the U.S. throughout the summer. Since then many states have managed to bring down their numbers — as well as the overall U.S. daily death count. Yet it remains far higher than it was in July. Also, most recently, daily deaths have actually begun rising again — largely driven by increasing transmission in various states in the Great Plains and the South.

2. Brazil

Brazil, the second-biggest driver of the worldwide death toll, is also once again trouble. Led by a president who repeatedly downplayed the threat from the coronavirus, Brazil’s initial response was chaotic at best, enabling a surge in deaths all through July and August. About a month ago, the daily death count began dropping. But more recently that progress seems to have stalled.

3. India

The trajectory has been even more unremittingly terrible in India — which has the third-highest death toll. Since May, when the government largely lifted a strict lockdown, infections and deaths have been on a virtually uninterrupted upward spiral. One caveat is that when these cases are measured as a share of India’s population, India actually ranks fairly low. That’s in marked contrast with both Brazil and the United States. Also, over the last several weeks India’s daily death count appears to have hit something of plateau. Still, the total number of people dying there remains extremely high — with an average of about 1,100 deaths each day over the last week.

4. Mexico

Mexico too is struggling. It doesn’t just follow the U.S., Brazil and India when it comes to highest total deaths over the entirety of the pandemic. Over the last two weeks, all four countries have also had the highest number of average daily deaths.

Why The Pandemic Could Change The Way We Record Deaths

5. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom — ranked fifth when it comes to total death toll — is faring only slightly better. New infections have risen to their highest level there since early May. And while the death toll remains much lower, it too has begun creeping up again. More alarming, however, is the situation in European neighbors Spain and France — where both daily new cases and daily new deaths have recently increased markedly, putting both countries in the top 10 on those measures over the last two weeks.

Could Argentina be far behind?

Meanwhile, countries such as Argentina offer a reminder that the full contours of the pandemic’s impact won’t be clear until it’s over. Three months ago Argentina seemed to be doing comparatively well. That’s one reason it still doesn’t quite rank among the top 10 countries in terms of total deaths over the entirety of the pandemic. But since June, Argentina has seen a steady increase in infections and fatalities. And over the last two weeks its daily new death count has ranked fifth-highest in the world, with little sign of slowing down.

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Nearly 9 million Americans haven’t received their stimulus checks, CDC guidance to schools is ‘inconsistent’: Report – ABC News

Nearly nine million Americans are still without their stimulus checks seven months after the CARES Act passed, according to a new report Monday from the Government Accountability Office.

The report also found key inconsistencies in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for schools, such as how to screen for the virus and when schools should close down if students or teachers start testing positive for the virus.

It’s the third such report put out by the GAO, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog known as “the investigative arm of Congress,” examining the implementation of the CARES Act and other pandemic relief actions.

Each report outlines steps for Congress and the Trump administration to take in order to improve the nation’s response. As part of the CARES Act, the GAO issues a report every two months.

“Our report contains 16 new, concrete recommendations where timely and concerted actions by the Administration and Congress can help address the coronavirus crisis,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, in a statement. “If implemented, those suggestions have the potential to significantly improve the nation’s response to the current pandemic as well as strengthen preparations for future public health emergencies.”

Nearly 9 million Americans have yet to receive their stimulus checks

While the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have tried to smooth out some of the flaws in the stimulus check program, the agencies still “lack updated information on how many eligible recipients have yet to receive these funds,” GAO found in its report Monday, and it’s estimated that “potentially millions of individuals” are still “at risk of missing their payment.”

The biggest demographic affected, GAO found, is Americans who don’t file taxes and, as a result, didn’t have information registered with the IRS about how much money they make per year, which would qualify them for the $1,200 one-time payment granted to a majority of Americans by the CARES Act. Generally, the main reason people don’t file taxes is because they have gross income below a certain amount and do not need to file a tax return.

While more than 26 million Americans who don’t file taxes did receive a payment, including over five million Americans who followed guidance from the IRS and registered online to receive a stimulus check, there are still an estimated 8.7 million or more Americans who are eligible but haven’t been identified by the IRS, the GAO report found.

It’s likely the people who need it most who haven’t received it, since Americans who don’t file taxes are likely to be very low-income, the report said.

There are also 1.1 million Americans who were underpaid, the GAO report found. These Americans are mostly people in need: around 355,000 non-filers with children who never got their qualifying payment of an extra $500 per child; domestic abuse survivors who don’t have access to the bank account that the check was deposited to and nearly 700,000 widows who never received a payment because their spouse died.

“GAO recommends that Treasury, in coordination with IRS, update and refine the estimate of eligible recipients who have yet to file for an EIP to help target outreach and communications efforts,” the report advised.

CDC’s ‘inconsistent’ guidance to schools

Screen kids. Don’t screen them. Shut down if someone tests positive. Don’t shut down if it’s just one case. Such was the “inconsistent” guidance the CDC has given to schools, according to the GAO report.

“Although the decision to physically reopen schools is primarily a state and local issue, state and local school district officials look to the federal government for leadership and clear guidance including recommendations about how to do so safely. Unclear federal guidance and messaging risks contributing to conflict, confusion, and indecision for schools,” the report said.

In one example, the CDC’s guidance didn’t recommend that schools conduct daily symptom screening for all K-12 students because some people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.

However, “contradictory guidance” on the CDC’s website said the exact opposite — it “directed schools to develop a plan to conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening or symptom checking) of staff and students.” Even further adding to the confusion, the report said, a third piece of guidance said schools “should not physically open unless they are able to screen students and employees upon arrival for symptoms …”

The same contradictions existed for guidance on closing down if COVID-19 cases emerge: “CDC guidance on what to do if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 is also inconsistent,” the report found.

Some guidance said a single case shouldn’t lead to a shut down; other guidance suggested closing down the school for two to five days.

“In its FAQ for School Administrators on Reopening Schools, CDC notes that in most instances, a single case of COVID-19 in a school would not warrant closing the entire school,” the report found. “In contrast, in the K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs FAQ for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, CDC notes that if a student or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, ‘you will likely dismiss students and most staff for 2–5 days.’”

At the same time, the White House has “urged that all schools ‘fully reopen’ and suggested that current or future federal funds may be withheld from school districts that do not return to in-person education,” which the GAO found does “not appear to align with a risk- based decision-making approach,” and contradicts Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ “own statements that returning to in-person education is a state and local decision.”

The CDC, in response, said “it strives to ensure that all content is consistent and up to date. It noted that updating these documents is an iterative and ongoing process and, as a result, there can be periods of time where some documents are updated and others are not,” according to the report.

The report also pointed out that some of the CDC’s guidelines are unachievable because of budgetary constraints. For example, the CDC suggested schools ensure “ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible,” but the GAO found that in June 2020, based on a nationally representative survey of school districts, “we estimated that 36,000 schools were in need of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning updates.”

The consequences, the GAO warned, could have a longstanding impact along racial lines.

“Exacerbating the situation, the poorest school districts may be least able to pay for efforts to retrofit and update schools to address COVID-19-related risks. These districts educate about 1.5 million more students than wealthy districts. We also know from our past work that 80 percent of students attending the poorest schools are Black or Hispanic, and that these students already face myriad educational challenges, from less access to coursework that prepares them for college to widespread discipline disparities,” the report said.

As a solution, the GAO recommended CDC Director Robert Redfield “should ensure that, as it makes updates to its federal guidance related to reassessing schools’ operating status, the guidance is cogent, clear, and internally consistent.”

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Apple has sold more than 500 million iPads over the last decade – The Verge

Apple revealed that it has sold more than 500 million iPads over the last 10 years. The announcement was made by CEO Tim Cook during Apple’s “Time Flies” live stream event, in which the company revealed a pair of new Apple Watch devices and an updated base model iPad and new iPad Air.

This is the first time Apple has disclosed how many iPads it’s sold after the company said in November 2018 it would no longer reveal unit sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs in its quarterly earnings reports.

The new eight-generation base model iPad announced today sports a 10.2-inch screen and an A12 chipset, first seen in the iPad Air and iPad mini models released last year. The new iPad Air announced today comes with the new A14 Bionic chip and design more closely resembling that of the iPad Pro.

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MTV VMAs Scores 6.4 Million Viewers; CW Has Strong Showing With Simulcast – Deadline

As award shows try to figure out the right formula for putting on an event comparable to live, pre-COVID TV events, MTV’s annual Video Music Awards put on quite a show Sunday. Complete with social distancing, COVID-compliant production numbers and lots of cool face masks (thanks to Lady Gaga), the VMAs delivered strong numbers with its 2020 ceremony hosted by Keke Palmer.

Although down 5% from last year, the VMAs still managed to net a solid 6.4 million viewers with its pre-show, post-show, main show and encores. The ceremony, which was simulcast on 13 ViacomCBS brands, was also up 8% from last year in Total Minutes Consumed on linear and digital combined (1.330 billion vs. 1.229 billion a year ago).

For the first time, the VMAs aired on broadcast TV via the CW, which helped grow the audience in the Sunday time slot specifically in the younger demo.

Executive produced by Den of Thieves co-founder Jesse Ignjatovic, the 2020 VMAs definitely spoke to an era as it included socially distanced red carpet interviews, virtual interactions with audience members at home, lots of segments that were clearly shot on a green screen and drive-in performances.

The ceremony could have easily been called the “Gaga Awards” as she topped the night with five Moon Persons including trophies for Artist of the Year and the inaugural Tricon Award. The Weeknd took home the award for Video of the Year with “Blinding Lights,” while Ariana Grande and K-pop super group BTS took home four awards each.

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New York City reaches $5.9 million settlement in death of transgender woman who couldn’t pay $500 bail – CNN

(CNN)The City of New York has reached a settlement with the family of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco for $5.9 million following her June 2019 death while in custody on Rikers Island.

The transgender woman was arrested in April 2019 and sent to the jail complex because she could not afford $500 bail, her family previously told CNN. She was found unresponsive in her cell on June 7, 2019, and later pronounced dead.
Civil rights groups say Polanco’s death represents a web of factors that can trap people of color in the justice system — especially transgender women of color — with devastating outcomes.
Her death also renewed conversation about the perils of cash bail and pretrial detention, raising questions about whether New York’s recent bail reform laws could have saved her.
The settlement was first reported by The City. The family lawyer, David Shanies, confirmed it to CNN on Monday.
“The family feels that this is a fair and appropriate settlement under the circumstances,” Shanies said. “Obviously, they want nothing more than to have their daughter and sister back.”

City calls her death ‘an absolute tragedy’

Polanco was arrested on misdemeanor charges of assault and harassment, court records show. She was taken into custody because she missed court dates as part of an alternative to incarceration program stemming from prostitution charges, court records indicate.
“The death of Ms. Polanco was an absolute tragedy and our thoughts remain with her family and loved ones,” the City Law Department said in a statement Monday. “The city will continue to do everything it can to make reforms towards a correction system that is fundamentally safer, fairer, and more humane.”
An autopsy found that Polanco died of complications from epilepsy.
Her family says the decision to place her in solitary confinement, despite knowing she had epilepsy, contributed to her death, Shanies said last year.

New York now has a bail reform law

New York state passed bail reform legislation in April 2019 that ends cash bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felonies.
Had Polanco been arrested after January 2020, when the new measures took effect, she would not have been held on bail.
“Polanco was caught at the intersections of terrible criminal legal policies, and this systemic violence led to her death,” Audacia Ray with the New York City Anti-Violence Project said last year.

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Another million applied for jobless benefits as coronavirus pandemic’s economic toll rises – CNBC

People wear their face masks waiting in line for an emergency food distribution at the 88th Street Temple Church of God in Christ on April 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits for the first time came in above 1 million for the 22nd time in 23 weeks as the economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Initial U.S. jobless claims totaled just over 1 million for the week ending Aug. 22, down from 1.104 million in the previous week. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial jobless claims expected claims to come in right at 1 million. 

It was the second-consecutive week that new claims was above 1 million. Initial claims were last below 1 million the week of Aug. 8, when they totaled 971,000. Since the pandemic began initial jobless claims have jumped by more than 58 million.

“Continuing claims continue to drop, but still indicate a highly stressed labor market,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group in Virginia. “Even a 1 million person drop in the total number unemployed isn’t enough — there is a lot of work to be done because 14 million people are still receiving UI assistance of some kind.”

Continuing claims — which account for those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks — fell by 223,000 to 14.535 million for the week ending Aug. 15. Data on continuing claims is delayed by one week. 

New Jersey and Florida saw the highest increases of initial claims for the week ending Aug. 15, as they rose by more than 11,000 in both states. Initial claims in New Yor  and Texas jumped by more than 9,000 in each state. Data at the state and territory level is delayed by one week. 

Thursday’s report follows a mixed batch of economic data. Durable goods orders for July surged by 11.2% last month while sales of new homes were up 36% last month. However, consumer confidence fell in August for a second straight month

Wall Street is also keeping an eye on the unemployment data as lawmakers have yet to move forward on a new coronavirus stimulus package. 

CNBC’s Kayla Tausche reported that Republicans are set to propose a stimulus bill that would provide roughly $500 billion in aid. However, this proposal is unlikely to gain traction in the Democrat-controlled House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has indicated she does not plan to restart negotiations until the GOP agrees to double the price tag of its existing proposal of roughly $1 trillion. 

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Nearly 1 million acres are burning due to wildfires across California, official says – CNN

(CNN)The deadly California wildfires have burned over 1 million acres — and there’s no end in sight as thousands of firefighters struggle to contain the blazes and more emerge.

Hundreds of fires were started by lightning, Cal Fire spokesman Steve Kaufmann said. There were approximately 12,000 lightning strikes that started 585 fires in the state over the past week. A total of 1.1 million have burned in the state with more than 13,000 firefighters working the fires, he said.
Firefighters have been struggling to contain the massive blazes that have killed at least four people. Two fires — the 325,128-acre LNU Lightning Complex Fire in the northern Bay Area and Central Valley, and the 339,926-acre SCU Lightning Complex Fire largely east of San Jose — are among the state’s three largest wildfires in recorded history.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Saturday the state has received a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration due to the fires burning in the Northern part of the state. This means President Donald Trump released federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in areas affected by the wildfires.
Those areas include Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, according to a White House statement. The SCU fire is now the 2nd biggest fire in state history while the LNU is the third.

Some firefighters are working 24-hour shifts

Though more than 13,000 firefighters are battling the flames — some on 24-hour shifts — there are too many fires and not enough resources to prevent more homes from being torched, Cal Fire officials have said.
One of the reasons for a resource shortage: Fewer prison inmates than usual are helping, because of early releases during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inmate firefighters “are an integral part of our firefighting operations,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Christine McMorrow said. The early releases have meant 600 fewer inmate firefighters are available this fire season compared to last year.
Firefighters are worried about forecasts that say dry thunderstorms — featuring lightning but little rain — could spark more fires and spread existing ones Sunday through Tuesday.

Fires cause more death and destruction than all 2019

California wildfires have caused more deaths and destruction so far this year than in all of 2019. Last year, wildfires charred a total of 260,000 acres and killed three people, according to Cal Fire.
The National Weather Service has issued air quality alerts for parts of at least six states: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico. These alerts warn of moderate to heavy smoke, and advise people — especially those with heart disease or respiratory illnesses — to consider staying indoors and limiting outdoor activity.
And as tens of thousands of people heed evacuation orders, they’re weighing the risk of coronavirus infections as they decide whether to head to official shelters.
Nearly 41,000 residents in Sonoma County were under evacuation warnings or orders Saturday, officials said.
On top of that, about 8 million people in parts of California, southern Oregon, Montana and southern Utah were under red flag warnings. This means “warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger,” according to the National Weather Service.

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$600 million settlement to be announced for Flint, Mich., water crisis – The Washington Post

DETROIT — The state of Michigan has reached a settlement agreement to pay $600 million to victims of the debacle that exposed tens of thousands of residents to lead-contaminated drinking water for nearly two years, a person close to the negotiations confirmed late Wednesday.

The settlement, which will be announced Friday, will award the most money to the city’s youngest children, who were at greatest risk for lead poisoning and the physical damage and neurological problems that can cause.

The water crisis, which began in 2014 when this economically distressed city changed the source of its municipal water supply to save money, became one of the nation’s worst public health disasters in decades.

According to the settlement, which was reviewed by The Washington Post, 80 percent of the monetary award will go to residents who were younger than 18 at the time of their exposure. More than half of that amount will go toward children who were younger than 6.

Between 18,000 and 20,000 children and adolescents lived in Flint during the water crisis, officials have estimated.

The remaining 20 percent of the settlement will go to plaintiffs whose lawsuits pertained to other issues, such as property damage and loss of revenue.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers reached an agreement with the state’s lawyers on behalf of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) last week. Whitmer is expected to announce the full details.

The resolution follows 18 months of negotiations involving attorneys acting on behalf of Flint residents and businesses, and court-appointed mediators overseen by U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy. Talks escalated greatly in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The settlement encompasses multiple lawsuits and cases filed against the state. It also will cover claims by residents who contracted Legionnaires’ disease because of their exposure. The deadly form of pneumonia spread through the city during the crisis and became one of the largest outbreaks of the disease in U.S. history. At least 90 people fell ill and 12 died — though one investigation concluded that the toll might have been far higher.

Including those sickened by Legionnaires’ in the deal represents a dramatic shift in tone by the state. In the months and years since the outbreak was revealed to the public, experts concluded that it was a direct result of the switch in water supply. But state health officials maintained that any link could not be proven.

Other claims against individual public officials, including former governor Rick Snyder (R), and private companies will still move forward.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley declined to comment Wednesday night on the details of the agreement.

The crisis began in April 2014 when Flint stopped drawing its water from Lake Huron and switched to the Flint River. But state officials failed to ensure that corrosion-control treatments were added to the new water supply. Without them, rust, iron and lead leached from the city’s aging pipes and contaminated the drinking water of homes and businesses.

Residents began complaining of discolored and foul-smelling water and then worse — with skin rashes after bathing — but their concerns were largely ignored by public officials.

Ampng some children tested in 2015 at a local hospital, the percentage with lead poisoning doubled after the switch in water sources. In some neighborhoods, it tripled. Rather than prompting immediate action, the test results were questioned and the pediatrician who tried to highlight them was harshly criticized.

When the city and state finally responded, forced in part by the federal Environmental Protection Agency invoking its emergency powers, a massive effort began to distribute bottled water and water filters throughout Flint. Snyder told residents in a State of the State address that “government failed you at the federal, state and local level.”

Though officials have declared the crisis over and Flint’s drinking water no longer a health hazard, residents say they have little trust in what comes out of their taps. Most continue to use bottled water.

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At least 1 million people may not get Trump’s $400 unemployment boost – CNBC

U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the White House in Washington, August 11, 2020.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

An extra $400

Trump’s executive order was one of four measures signed on Saturday to address jobless benefits, evictions, student loans and payroll taxes.

Top Democratic lawmakers and White House officials have struggled to compromise on another round of broad coronavirus relief since negotiations began about two weeks ago.

Unemployment aid was among the thorny issues holding up talks.

A $600-a-week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits, offered by a prior round of relief, lapsed at the end of July, throwing jobless Americans’ income off a cliff overnight.

House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill in May that would extend those $600 payments through early next year. Senate Republicans proposed a $1 trillion bill two weeks ago seeking to lower the relief to $200 a week in the short term.

Instead, Trump’s executive order offers an extra $400 a week — a $300 federal benefit and a $100 state benefit.

Significant questions remain as to how — and even if — states will implement the measure. Some workers, for example, may get just the $300 federal payment.

The benefit would last until Dec. 6 or a $44 billion disaster-relief fund runs dry, whichever comes first.

But many may not see extra aid at all.

Restrictions

That’s due to a restriction stipulating that eligible recipients must be getting at least $100 a week in state unemployment insurance benefits.

But most states set minimum weekly benefit payments far below that threshold.

Roughly 3% of those collecting unemployment insurance get less than $100 a week — implying about 1 million people, according to an analysis by Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at Evercore ISI.

Forsythe estimates the figure to be around 6%.

It’s hitting people who were already vulnerable and low-income before this job loss.

Eliza Forsythe

labor economist and assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

These workers are disproportionately low-wage, part-time and female workers (who were more likely than men to have low-wage or part-time jobs), Forsythe said.

“It’s hitting people who were already vulnerable and low-income before this job loss,” she said.

But the real figure of people omitted from the federal aid may be much higher.

For one, Forsythe’s analysis doesn’t factor in workers receiving partial unemployment benefits because their hours were cut.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Many workers currently receiving federally funded unemployment assistance may also miss out on the extra aid, according to Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.  

That could be the case for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, created by the CARES Act in March, for example. The federal program expanded the pool of workers eligible for unemployment benefits to include self-employed, gig, freelance and contract workers, among others.

There were about 13 million people getting benefits through that program as of mid-July, according to most recent Labor Department data — representing more than 40% of all recipients of jobless aid.

Trump’s order says states may satisfy their financial obligation ($100 a week) by counting their current benefit outlays. (In other words, a state wouldn’t have to put in additional funds if it already pays a worker $100 a week in state benefits.) But PUA is a federally funded program, meaning recipients don’t getting state money.

So, for PUA recipients to be eligible for the federal $300-a-week, states may have to kick in an extra $100 for these workers — which isn’t a given considering current state budget shortfalls, Evermore said.

The same would be true for other workers, like those getting aid through work-sharing programs and extended benefits, Evermore said.

However, this scenario is still the “subject of much speculation,” Evermore said. 

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US tops 5 million Covid-19 cases, with five states making up more than 40% of tally – CNN

(CNN)The US topped 5 million cases of coronavirus early Sunday — and as experts have highlighted before, the true number of infections could be many times higher.

The number means the country holds about a quarter of global cases of the virus and also tops the list with the most reported deaths in the world. Of the country’s 5,036,387 estimated cases, 162,851 have been deadly, according to data collected by John Hopkins University.
To put the number in perspective, that means the United States has had more Covid-19 cases than Ireland has people. The number of cases is also slightly higher than the entire population of Alabama.
To put the speed in which the number is growing in perspective: It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million, 43 days to hit 2 million, 28 days for 3 million and 15 days to surpass 4 million on July 23. The number has jumped to 5 million in 17 days.
“This is such a sobering number,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.
“That’s a huge number of cases and a very large number of hospitalizations and deaths — and more to come,” Schaffner said. “Because over much of this country, this virus is spreading unimpeded because so many folks are not getting with the program to contain it.”
The pandemic shows no sign of slowing, and deaths continue to climb, with more than 1,000 deaths reported each day over the past five days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s Covid Tracker. Since July 21, there have been only four days the US did not report more than 1,000 deaths.
As of this week, five states account for more than 40% of US infections: California (with the most cases in the country), Florida, Texas, New York and Georgia.
New York, once the country’s epicenter, has been surpassed by several states that have seen cases spikes in recent months. On Sunday, the state reported the day prior’s positivity rate — how many people are testing positive compared to how many were tested — was 0.78%, the lowest one-day positive infection rate since the pandemic began, according to the governor’s office.
“Our daily numbers remain low and steady, despite increasing infection rates across the country, and even in our region — and we had the lowest one-day positive rate since we started,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Sunday. “That’s an incredible achievement, all thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers.”
Florida reported 6,190 new cases on Sunday — the 13th consecutive day the state reported more than 6,000 cases, according to CNN’s tally. There are more than 527,000 cases among residents in the state, according to the state Department of Health.
California, reporting more than 7,000 cases Saturday for a total of more than 545,000, had a positivity rate of about 6% over the past two weeks, according to health officials. Hospitalizations across the state are dropping, and there are about 5,746 hospitalized patients — down more than 1,000 from two weeks ago.
In Texas, the governor extended his disaster declaration as the state reported its highest seven-day positivity rate: 19.41%. The previous high, 17.43%, was recorded around mid-July. More than 481,000 infections have been reported statewide and about 7,872 people remain in hospitals.

Schools begin welcoming students back

As schools reopen for classes, researchers are still working to understand the spread and effects of the virus when it comes to children.
Research has shown older children can transmit coronavirus just like adults, and another study said children younger than 5 have a higher viral load from the virus in their noses compared to older children and adults, also raising questions about how likely they are to transmit the virus.
While some US officials have said an infection poses less risks to younger populations, a 7-year-old boy with no underlying health conditions died in Georgia last week, becoming the youngest victim in the state. Earlier this month, two teenagers died in Florida from coronavirus complications, bringing the state’s total number of minors who have died in relation to the virus to seven.
With a positivity rate of less than 1%, New York has cleared all school districts across the state to reopen, Cuomo said Friday, adding that plans may change if infection rates begin spiking again ahead of the scheduled reopenings.
Local school districts will decide what their reopenings will look like, whether they choose to return in-person, conduct remote learning or opt for a hybrid model.
The New York City Department of Education will offer a blend of in-person and remote learning options. Families also have the choice of doing all-remote learning.
Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza told CNN last week that schools will implement a number of precautions, like requiring face masks, randomized temperature checks and one-way hallways.
Officials will be “looking like hawks at the numbers,” Carranza said. “If the numbers of the positivity rate start inching upwards and if it gets to 3%, we will remote learn for the entire system.”
In Georgia, many schools have already reopened.
Just outside Atlanta at North Paulding High School, which suspended then “rescinded” the suspension of a student who posted a photo of its crowded hallways, six students and three staffers have contracted the virus, according to a letter the principal sent to parents. As a result, the school district said Sunday that the school would have only online learning Monday and Tuesday.
At least 260 students and eight teachers in the Cherokee County School District were quarantined after multiple students and teachers tested positive for the virus during the first week of school. In a statement on its website, the district, which is north of Atlanta, reported positive cases in at least 11 students and two staff members. Among them was a second grader who tested positive for the virus after the first day of school.
Northeast of Atlanta, Barrow County Schools announced the district would start the year virtually after more than 90 staff members were forced to quarantine because they had a confirmed or suspected case of the virus, or were exposed to someone who did.

Thousands gather in small South Dakota city

As the virus runs rampant through many US communities, visitors have poured into a South Dakota city for the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The event, hosted in the city of about 7,000, brings in hundreds of thousands of people each year. While officials say this year will be a scaled-back version, people are still expected from all over the country — including hotspots such as Florida, Texas and Arizona.
In nearby campgrounds, there will be concerts, races and contests every day. City officials say they have recommended social distancing guidelines and capacity limits for bars and restaurants, but none of that is legally enforceable, City Manager Daniel Ainslie told CNN.
“I guarantee you, any number of people brought the virus to this event and it will spread among many of the participants and will be taken back to their homes where they will spread it further,” Dr. Schaffner from Vanderbilt University told CNN on Sunday. “This is an accelerant of the outbreak that we’re having in the United States today.”
South Dakota has so far recorded one of the lowest number of cases with about 9,605 infections, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease professor at Emory University, isn’t worried about the rally itself because it will mostly be outside, he said. Instead, he said he fears what will happen after hours, when people go to restaurants, bars and begin congregating indoors.
“I’m quite concerned that this event could potentially be a disaster,” he said. “There could not only be a lot of transmission there, but a lot of people could get infected there and go back to their home states and take the virus over there.”
The event is scheduled to run through August 16.

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