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Covid-19 Live Updates: Latest News and Analysis

2020-08-22 12:55:47
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India, approaching nearly 3 million cases, is adding restrictions but allowing some religious gatherings.

As India approaches a total of three million confirmed coronavirus cases this weekend – the third highest worldwide after the United States and Brazil – the South Asian nation continues its delicate balance of allowing for public life such as major religious festivals. and it also adds restrictions aimed at thwarting the virus.

The country's Supreme Court on Friday allowed three Jain temples to be opened for a two-day festival in Mumbai, the Indian city worst affected by the pandemic, raising concerns that the religious shrines will become super spreader sites.

After petitions were circulated by some religious groups, the court had last month called for the reopening of places of worship, arguing that the live streaming of rituals was an insufficient substitute for physical visits to the sites.

But many regional governments in the country continue to restrict public gatherings. In the northern state of Punjab, the prime minister has limited them to no more than four people.

A major wedding in New York State is blocked at the last minute.

A couple who planned to hold a wedding with 175 guests in western New York State on Saturday had to postpone it after a federal court judge blocked the event, in response to a legal challenge from the state government over the expected size of the crowd.

The ruling, issued on Friday, came two weeks after a lower court said weddings held in state venues that also function as indoor dining restaurants were not subject to a maximum of 50 people at meetings governor Andrew M. Cuomo to help fight the coronavirus.

The lower court ruling opened the door for such wedding venues to host parties with more than 50 people under the same rules that apply to restaurants. Those rules now limit the office staff to half the normal capacity of a restaurant.

The lower court's decision was prompted by a lawsuit brought by two couples who had booked weddings at Arrowhead Golf Club in Akron, New York, about half an hour's drive northeast of Buffalo. One of the couples was married on the day the ruling was made. The other was to be married this weekend.

Government officials, who have argued in court that weddings pose a greater risk to public health than in-house dining and are potential “super-spreader” events, immediately appealed the ruling.

Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Friday granted state attorneys' emergency request to halt the second wedding until a panel of judges could have considered their arguments more fully.

So many people died it was clear the government's figures could not be accurate. Calls to retrieve bodies flooded the country's forensic office. In July, agents collected up to 150 bodies a day, 15 times the normal number in previous years, Bolivia's chief forensics officer Andrés Flores said.

The claim in his office suggested that the official number of Covid-19 deaths – now just over 4,300 – was a massive under-figure, Mr Flores said. But with limited tests, scarce resources and a political crisis tearing the country apart, the extra lives lost were largely unrecognized.

The likelihood of underreported cases and death toll is a concern in several places, including the United States, as test kits have been limited and some sick people have avoided hospitals for fear of the prospect of being cut off from loved ones.

But the unrest in Bolivia seems to have left many of its infected citizens particularly vulnerable to be overlooked.

New death figures reviewed by The New York Times suggest that the actual death toll from Covid-19 there is nearly five times the official number, indicating the country has one of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks. had. The extraordinary rise in deaths there during the pandemic, adjusted for the country's population, is more than twice that of the United States and much higher than the increases in Britain, Italy and Spain.

According to a Times analysis of Bolivian Civil Registry records, about 20,000 more people have died since June – in a country of only about 11 million – than in previous years.

Tour operators in the tropical Australian city of Cairns have already battled the perception that the Great Barrier Reef is in death as warming waters repeatedly create mass bleach that has robbed many corals of their vibrant colors. But where climate change has been more of an insidious threat to the reef's survival, and thus to Cairns tourism, the coronavirus has hit a hammer blow.

Now this city, so connected to the natural wonder just off the coast that it can hardly imagine life without the visitors who come in droves, is the prospect that it can no longer depend on tourists.

Foreign and local travelers, already put off by Last summer's devastating wildfires, now shut out by Australia's international and domestic travel bans, have all but disappeared, and a $ 4.6 billion industry built around the world's largest living structure has almost come to a standstill.

The sudden disappearance of visitors feels all the more surreal because the virus itself has barely touched Cairns: the city of 150,000 in Australia's far north-east has only a few dozen cases registered and currently none.

But there is no escaping the reach of the pandemic.

In Cairns, the number of visitors who usually cram the dock every morning while waiting to stack on boats has dropped from thousands to a few hundred, leaving operators out of work, boats moored at the quayside and some shuttered hotels and restaurants .

In other developments around the world:

  • South Korea reported 332 new cases on Saturday, the highest daily jump since early March, and fears that an outbreak at a church in the capital, Seoul, is spreading to the rest of the country. In the past week, the government has banned large gatherings and closed nightclubs, karaoke rooms and other high-risk facilities in the Seoul metropolitan area. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said on Saturday that the government would do the same in the rest of the country from Sunday to combat the spreading epidemic.

Some US states and school districts provide detailed data on coronavirus outbreaks in schools. Others keep such information secret.

On the first day of school in Camden County, Georgia, local Facebook groups were buzzing with rumors that a teacher had tested positive. The next day, a warning went out to school administrators: keep teachers quiet.

“Employees who test positive must not notify other staff members, parents of their students or any other person / entity that they may have exposed them,” Jon Miller, the district's deputy superintendent, wrote in a confidential email. mail on August 5.

In the weeks since, parents, students and teachers in the community have heard word of mouth about more positive cases related to district schools. Some parents said they had been called by local officials and told their children to be quarantined.

But even as fears of an outbreak have risen, the district has not publicly confirmed a single case, either to the local community or to The New York Times.

As schools in parts of the country have reopened classrooms amid a still-raging pandemic, some districts have weekly – and in some cases daily – reports to families and updated online dashboards with the latest positive test results and quarantine counts. Other neighborhoods were quiet, sometimes citing privacy concerns.

State reporting policies also vary widely. Officials in Colorado and North Carolina report which schools have had positive cases, while Louisiana, which had not previously identified specific schools with outbreaks, said this week it was creating a new system to "efficiently report relevant Covid-19 data in schools for increased public visibility."

At the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma doesn't require school districts to report Covid-19 cases to health departments. Tennessee this week withdrawn from a previous commitment by the governor to report the number of cases related to schools, and provides information by province only.

What we learned this week

Herd immunity, Greek life, Venezuela's crackdown: the week in coronavirus news.

What if "herd immunity" is closer than scientists thought?

To achieve herd immunity with the coronavirus – the point where it no longer spreads widely because there are not enough vulnerable people – scientists have suggested that maybe 70 percent of a given population must be immune, either through vaccination or because they have an infection survived.

Now some researchers are grappling with a hopeful possibility. In interviews with The New York Times, more than a dozen scientists said the threshold would likely be much lower: 50 percent, maybe even less. If that's true, it may be possible to reverse the coronavirus faster than ever thought.

Here are other highlights in coronavirus news from the past week:

Tips for protecting online privacy.

With Zoom meetings, distance learning, and the rest of the ways people spend life online, privacy is more important than ever. Here's how to keep your computer and information secure.

Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Choe Sang-Hun, Ron DePasquale, Conor Dougherty, Gillian Friedman, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Dan Levin, Allison McCann, Ed Shanahan, María Silvia Trigo and Sameer Yasir.

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