Covid-19 News: Live Updates

The 30-day notice period following a U.S. moratorium on evictions has expired, leaving 12 million tenants at risk. Researchers in Hong Kong find that in rare cases, a person can get reinfected.Right NowRepresentative Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, and several other officials, including the island’s House speaker and Senate majority leader, tested…

Covid-19 News: Live Updates

The 30-day notice period following a U.S. moratorium on evictions has expired, leaving 12 million tenants at risk. Researchers in Hong Kong find that in rare cases, a person can get reinfected.Right NowRepresentative Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, and several other officials, including the island’s House speaker and Senate majority leader, tested positive for the coronavirus, a week after a primary there drew politicians to many indoor events.ImageKatie Stallings, a second grade teacher, set up her classroom before her students return to school at MacFarlane Park IB Elementary, last week in Tampa, Fla.Credit…Octavio Jones for The New York TimesA judge struck down a state order requiring most Florida schools to open for in-person instruction.A Florida judge ruled on Monday that the state’s requirement that public schools open their classrooms for in-person instruction violates the Florida constitution because it “arbitrarily disregards safety” and denies local school boards the ability to decide when students can safely return.The ruling was a victory for the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, and one of its affiliates, the Florida Education Association. The unions sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and Richard Corcoran, the education commissioner, last month in the first lawsuit of its kind in the country.The state’s order required that school districts give students the option to go back to school in person by Aug. 31 or risk losing crucial state funding. An exception was made only for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus and plan to start the school year online.“The districts have no meaningful alternative,” Judge Charles W. Dodson of the Leon County Circuit Court wrote of the rest of the state’s schools. “If an individual school district chooses safety, that is, delaying the start of schools until it individually determines it is safe to do so for its county, it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught.”Later Monday, the state filed an appeal to the ruling, prompting an immediate stay. “This fight has been, and will continue to be, about giving every parent, every teacher and every student a choice, regardless of what educational option they choose,” Mr. Corcoran said in a statement.In Tampa, the state’s reopening order prevented the Hillsborough County school district from starting the school year with four weeks of online-only instruction, as the school board wanted to do. The Hillsborough board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, although no vote is expected, a district spokeswoman said. The superintendent, Addison Davis, said in a statement after the ruling that the school system continued to plan to start classes on Aug. 31 with a choice of in-person or online instruction.During a three-day hearing last week, the unions presented testimony from public health experts and teachers concerned about risking their health. One teacher said he would quit to avoid exposure to the virus. Another, who is quadriplegic, said he could not afford to leave his job, though his doctor had warned him that Covid-19 would threaten his life.“In a pandemic, none of these things are great victories, but it is a reprieve for human life,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. “It is a pushback on reckless disregard of human life. It is a pushback on politics overtaking safety and the science and the well-being of communities.”

Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States ›
On Aug. 23
14-day change
TrendNew cases
32,340
-22%
New deaths
446
-5%
Where cases are
highest
per capita

A U.S. measure protecting 12 million tenants from eviction ends, as requests for help in housing court spike.ImageRenters and housing advocates protested outside a courthouse in Los Angeles last week.Credit…Valerie Macon/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesWith a federal eviction moratorium coming to an end in the United States, legal aid lawyers say they are preparing to defend renters in housing court.The fourth-month moratorium followed by a 30-day notice period, protected about 12 million tenants living in qualifying properties. Local moratoriums in some states have protected others not covered by the federal law.For tenants, especially those with limited means, having a lawyer can be the difference between being evicted and being able to stay, but tenants in housing courts rarely have legal representation. Surveys in several big cities over the years have found that at least 80 percent of landlords, but fewer than 10 percent of tenants, tend to have lawyers.The president’s recent executive order on assistance to renters doesn’t offer much immediate hope for people facing eviction; it merely directs federal agencies to consider what they could do using existing authority and budgets. “Tenants are not equipped to represent themselves, and eviction court places them on an uneven playing field,” said Ellie Pepper of the National Housing Resource Center.Demand for legal assistance with housing issues is on the rise in states where local moratoriums have ended. “Our caseloads haven’t yet exploded, because the courts just started hearing cases that were pending before the pandemic struck,” said Lindsey Siegel, a lawyer with Atlanta Legal Aid. “But it’s coming.”Work by researchers in Hong Kong finds that reinfection may be possible in rare cases.ImageShoppers went through temperature checks before entering a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Saturday.Credit…Miguel Candela/EPA, via ShutterstockA 33-year-old man was infected a second time with the coronavirus more than four months after his first bout, the first documented case of so-called reinfection, researchers in Hong Kong reported Monday.The finding was not unexpected, especially given the millions of people who have been infected worldwide, experts said. And the man had no symptoms the second time, suggesting that even though the prior exposure did not prevent the reinfection, his immune system kept the virus somewhat in check.“The second infection was completely asymptomatic — his immune response prevented the disease from getting worse,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University who was not involved with the work but reviewed the report at The New York Times’s request. “It’s kind of a textbook example of how immunity should work.”People who do not have symptoms may still spread the virus to others, however, underscoring the importance of vaccines, Dr. Iwasaki said. In the man’s case, she added, “natural infection created immunity that prevented disease but not reinfection.”“In order to provide herd immunity, a potent vaccine is needed to induce immunity that prevents both reinfection and disease,” Dr. Iwasaki said.Doctors have reported several cases of presumed reinfection in the United States and elsewhere, but none of those cases have been confirmed with rigorous testing. Recovered people are known to carry viral fragments for weeks, which can lead to positive test results in the absence of live virus.But the Hong Kong researchers sequenced the virus from both of the man’s infections and found significant differences, suggesting that the patient had been infected a second time.The study is to be published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Times obtained the manuscript from the University of Hong Kong.The man’s first case was diagnosed on March 26, and he had only mild symptoms. He later tested negative for the virus twice and had no detectable antibodies after that first bout. He was positive again for the coronavirus on a saliva test on Aug. 15 after a trip to Spain via the United Kingdom. The man had picked up a strain that was circulating in Europe in July and August, the researchers said.His infections were clearly caused by different versions of the coronavirus, Dr. Kelvin Kai-Wang To, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said: “Our results prove that his second infection is caused by a new virus that he acquired recently, rather than prolonged viral shedding.”Common cold coronaviruses are known to cause reinfections in less than a year, but experts had hoped that the new coronavirus might behave more like its cousins SARS and MERS, which seemed to produce protection lasting a few years.It’s still unclear how common reinfection from the new coronavirus might be, because few researchers have sequenced the virus from each infection.

Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States ›
On Aug. 23
14-day change
TrendNew cases
32,340
-22%
New deaths
446
-5%
Where cases are
highest
per capita

EDUCATION ROUNDUPZoom fixes partial outages that disrupted the first day of virtual classes for many U.S. students.The video call service Zoom reported partial outages on Monday morning, causing problems on the first day of remote classes for many schools in the United States.Zoom said it began receiving reports of users being unable to start or join meetings at about 8:50 a.m. on the East Coast, as working and school hours began. About two hours later, the company said that it was “deploying a fix across our cloud,” and at about 12:45 p.m. it said “everything should be working properly now.”As the pandemic has kept students out of classrooms and workers out of offices, Zoom has quickly become critical infrastructure for many school districts, companies and local governments. The partial disruption in service, which lasted approximately four hours in some areas, adds another element to the contentious debate over how to safely and effectively resume learning this fall. The Atlanta school district, which serves about 50,000 students, was among those affected by the outage. And students and professors at Penn State University reported widespread problems on campus on Monday morning, as did Michigan’s Supreme Court, which has conducted hearings online since the pandemic began.Another online learning platform, Canvas, also experienced technical issues on Monday. Cory Edwards, a spokesman for the company, said the system had slowed down for about 75 percent of its U.S. customers for about a half-hour on Monday morning. The problem probably resulted from heavy usage as many students returned to school this week, he said.The website DownDetector, which tracks outages at social media companies
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