Los Angeles is "making good progress" and has seen success over the past three weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in a news conference on Wednesday.
According to Garcetti, there are fewer coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations, a lower positivity rate, and stable and strong hospital bed availability in Los Angeles hospitals.
“We are making progress. We are making good progress, Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. “Our success over the last three weeks is real. It’s tangible and it’s reflected in our numbers.”
The mayor attributed the drop in new infections and deaths to the wearing of face masks, washing hands, maintaining physical distance from others, and staying home, calling these actions “sacrifices to protect one another.”
The rate of transmission for Los Angeles County has dropped to 0.86 from 0.91 last week, Garcetti said.
While the Covid-19 threat level in Los Angeles still remains at “orange” -- the second highest level meaning residents should minimize contact with anyone outside of their households -- Garcetti said the past few weeks have made a difference and there are no plans to move forward with any further closures or restrictions.
Electronic reporting system issues: Garcetti confirmed that a fraction of the case data numbers from a backlog has been received. He also warned that case numbers may increase once the county receives the backlog of data.
Garcetti urged residents to continue wearing masks, washing hands, physical distancing, and staying home.
“These things work and they are working to drive down the curve.”
New Zealand health officials said Thursday they had identified 14 new coronavirus cases -- and warned they were likely to find more -- as the country tackles a fresh outbreak that ended a run of more than 100 days without any locally transmitted infections.
“We are fully expecting there will be further cases,” New Zealand’s Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said at a news conference Thursday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated that sentiment.
"As we all learnt from our first experience with Covid, once you identify a cluster it grows before it slows. We should expect that to be the case here," she said
All but one of the cases are locally transmitted, and are connected with four confirmed cases in Auckland, the country's most populous city. The other case is a woman in managed isolation who recently entered the country from the Philippines.
Of the 13 cases that are locally transmitted, three patients are employees at Americold, a cool storage facility where one of the previously reported cases worked. Seven of the cases are family members of Americold employees.
One school student also tested positive for the virus, Bloomfield said. The student is a close contact of one of the four cases reported on Tuesday.
What's happening in New Zealand: On the weekend, the country -- which has been held up as an example of how to combat the virus -- marked 100 days without any locally transmitted infections.
But that streak came to an end this week. On Tuesday, New Zealand announced four new locally-transmitted cases -- and on Wednesday, Auckland went into a level 3 lockdown for three days.
Parliament was set to be dissolved Wednesday ahead of the country's national election in September, but it was postponed. Ardern hasn't announced whether she will postpone the election, which is scheduled for September 19.
New Zealand has recorded more than 1,200 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 22 deaths.
The National Basketball Association will allow players to invite a select number of guests to the league campus in Orlando between the first and second rounds of the restart playoffs.
In a Wednesday memo to teams, the NBA said players' families and "longtime close personal friends" were eligible as guests in the NBA bubble. The league excluded as visitors business associates, casual acquaintances and "any individual the player has not previously met in person or with whom the player has had limited in-person interactions (e.g., known by the player only through social media or an intermediary)."
The details: Each team will receive up 17 individual guest rooms. Players can host no more than four guests, although some exceptions are made for those with small children.
Teams advancing to the playoffs must appoint a "Player Guest Liaison" from their existing staff to act as point of contact between the team and the NBA.
A "Quarantine Coordinator" must also be assigned in the team’s market to ensure guests have met requirements for the health protocols, including a seven-day self-quarantine at home.
Player guests can arrive on campus as early as August 24 and must complete a seven-day in-room quarantine upon arrival.
Read more about the NBA's "bubble":
One day after the Martin County School District in southeast Florida reopened for in-person instruction, an entire elementary school classroom was placed under quarantine, according to district spokesperson Jennifer DeShazo.
This happened after a student began exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
DeShazo said nine students from a classroom at SeaWind Elementary have transitioned to remote learning for 14 days. The remaining students were already learning remotely.
Some context: This is the first Covid-19 related incident at the Martin County School District that has resulted in requiring students to quarantine and transition to remote learning.
The South Bend Community School Corporation deployed 35 WiFi-equipped buses across town on Wednesday to provide students with internet access needed for virtual learning, according to the school district.
The school district started will provide 35 Wi-Fi-equipped buses parked in areas that lack internet service so that all students can successfully engage in e-learning, the district said.
The school district will park the buses "near benches or covered areas," according to the statement. Students will automatically be able to log on to the WiFi using their Chromebooks. Students and families will not be allowed on the buses for safety and health reasons.
Buses will be at their designated locations Monday through Friday.
Some context: The South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees voted on Aug. 4 to begin the 2020-21 school year with at least eight weeks of full-time e-learning for all students on Aug. 12.
“The soonest students would return in person to classrooms is October 5,” said Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings in a statement. “We will remain flexible and will confer with health officials as we plan for learning options after Oct. 5. The health and safety of our students, teachers, and families will drive any of those decisions.”
The Big East Conference announced Wednesday that it has decided to postpone its fall sports competition and assess the options to stage fall sports contests in the spring of 2021.
The conference said in a statement that the decision was made in consultation with the Big East Covid-19 task force, an intra-conference medical advisory group that includes administrators, doctors, athletic trainers, student-athletes and national experts in global pandemics and infectious diseases.
The Big East Conference does not participate in football.
The fall sports affected are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball, and field hockey.
The White House released eight new recommendations for schools as they prepare to reopen, however the recommendations are little more than basic hygiene tips and don’t outline what schools should do if they face coronavirus cases in their halls.
The broad recommendations are similar to coronavirus mitigation efforts across the country, and not particularly specific to schools.
The “general recommendations for all schools,” which were released at the President’s daily coronavirus news conference, focus on what students and teachers should do to attempt to keep people safe as they return to the classroom.
The recommendations include ensuring that students and staff “understand the symptoms of COVID-19” and requiring “all students, teachers and staff to self-assess their health every morning before coming to school.”
The recommendations also encourage the use of masks, but do not require students, teachers or staff to wear masks. They also “require students, teachers and staff to socially distance around high-risk individuals,” however it’s unclear how schools will go about doing that.
Trump did say “we’re also providing high-risk teachers and students options to engage in distance teaching and learning.”
The President said one of the reasons he wants students to return to school is because there are very few fatalities in younger Americans.
“College age students also continue to be one of the lowest risk demographics," Trump claimed, adding that most Covid-19 deaths "occur in people over 24 years of age,” Trump claimed.
This new list released by the White House echoes much of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included in their guidelines for reopening schools, which do contain additional details.
Trump also said CDC teams can be deployed to schools that need assistance with their reopening plans.
Earlier on Wednesday, adviser to the President Kellyanne Conway said that despite the resources the federal government will provide, the decision to reopen schools will still need to be made at a local level.
“We’re the federal government. We’re not telling school districts what to do. We’re providing guidance and resources,” Conway said.
President Trump claimed Wednesday that the federal government will provide up to 125 million masks to school districts around the United States.
“Today I am pleased to announce that we will provide up to 125 million reusable masks to various school districts around the country,” Trump said during a White House press briefing. “My administration also stands ready to deploy CDC teams to support schools that are opening and schools that need help in safety and in order to safely reopen.”
The announcement comes amid a push by the Trump administration to reopen schools around the country.
President Trump said the US is “working with Europe on the difficulties” that countries are facing due to the pandemic, despite the fact that US has more deaths from the virus than any country in the world.
At a news briefing Wednesday, the President said that countries in Europe have “40% higher excess mortality than the United States” and made the case that the US economy is “significantly better than Europe.”
“While our economy is performing significantly better than Europe, which people have to understand very strongly, it's performing better than any market anywhere in the world, actually. At the same time, Europe is experiencing 40% higher excess mortality than the United States,” Trump said during his opening remarks. “And I will say that that a significant number.”
It’s true that the mortality rate is higher in many European countries than it is in the US, but the US has vastly more cases and deaths than any single European country.
“We're working with Europe on the difficulties and we are going to help them all the way, we're doing very well as you know in the vaccines and the therapeutics,” the President said.