According to a report by The Associated Press, DeSantis said he plans to seek a “bill of rights” for college students following crackdowns on parties and other social gatherings blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases on campuses around the country.
“I understand that universities are trying to do the right thing,” DeSantis said during a news briefing Thursday at the Capitol, “but I personally think it’s dramatically draconian that a student could get potentially expelled for going to a party. That’s what college kids do.”
A New York Times survey showed at least 88,000 cases and at least 60 deaths at more than 1,190 American colleges and universities since the pandemic began.
In Florida, school-age children and young adults account for one in every five of Florida’s virus cases, according to state health data. DeSantis, however, said he and state public health experts weren’t alarmed because many young people do not develop serious symptoms.
DeSantis did not specify what would be included in his proposed “bill of rights” for college students.
“I just think that we’ve got to be reasonable about this and really focus the efforts on where the most significant risk is,” the governor said, adding that focus should remain on protecting the state’s most vulnerable, including older residents.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats in Washington are moving forward with the development of a roughly $2.4 trillion stimulus bill that would provide pandemic aid to American families, restaurants and airlines.
Democrats resurrected aid talks amid growing pressure from moderates who demanded additional action before lawmakers leave Washington next week to campaign for re-election, according to The New York Times.
The measure is substantially smaller than the $3.4 trillion package the House approved in May, but it is expected to contain some of the same elements, as well as additional funding for needs that have emerged in recent months.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela Northam, have tested positive for the coronavirus after a member of the governor’s residence staff also tested positive.
While the governor said he wasn’t experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, Pamela Northam has reported mild symptoms.
READ: Governor Northam, First Lady Test Positive For Coronavirus
Huge numbers of low-income children are going without crucial medical care during the pandemic, according to
Child vaccinations are down more than 20 percent, while dental visits fell by nearly 70 percent, among other worrying trends, according to a Washington Post report.
“This decline may have significant impacts on long-term health outcomes for children,” CMMS officials said in a statement accompanying the data release.
Routine vaccinations aren’t the only thing decreasing. Undergraduate enrollment at U.S. colleges also dropped this fall, according to a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report. The decline was particularly sharp for community colleges, where enrollment went down by 7.5 percent from last September.
In past economic downturns, community colleges have typically seen enrollment increase.
The survey shows enrollment has fallen at all types of institutions. Those include private and nonprofit four-year colleges, which report a 3.8 percent drop, and for-profit colleges, where enrollment is down nearly 2 percent.
At least 885 new coronavirus deaths and 45,176 new cases were reported in the United States on Thursday, according to a New York Times database. Over the past week, there have been an average of 41,859 cases per day, an increase of 17 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
As of Friday, 27 states and Puerto Rico remained above the positive testing rate recommended by the World Health Organization to safely reopen. To safely reopen, the WHO recommends states remain at 5 percent or lower for at least 14 days.
More than 6.98 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday morning, and more than 203,000 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
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