The Latest: Supreme Court nominee Barrett had virus over the summer, officials say | #students | #parents

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and her husband had coronavirus earlier this year and recovered, according to two administration officials.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, had coronavirus this year, officials say. It isn’t clear whether someone who has already had the virus can get it again. Erin Scott/Pool via Associated Press

The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Barrett was nominated to the high court last week after the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump held a press conference outside where few people wore masks. Barrett and her family were not wearing them.

Trump announced Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus, after aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed.

Barrett has also been meeting with senators ahead of her confirmation hearing, including Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who also announced Friday that he had tested positive for the virus.

The science is unclear on whether someone who has the virus can get it again.

More than 205,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.

Notre Dame’s president tests positive for coronavirus a week after visiting White House

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— The University of Notre Dame’s president announced Friday he tested positive for the coronavirus less than a week after he attended a White House event without wearing a mask.

The Rev. John Jenkins sent an email to university students and staff saying he was tested after finding out a colleague with whom he has been in regular contact tested positive for COVID-19.

“My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home,” Jenkins, 66, said in the message provided by a university spokesman.

Earlier this week, Jenkins apologized for not wearing a mask during Saturday’s Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee who is a Notre Dame graduate and law professor.

Trump also announced early Friday that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, tested positive for the virus.

Jenkins faced criticism from students after pictures surfaced online of him shaking hands and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with people without masks at the ceremony.

“I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,” Jenkins wrote in a Monday letter to students, faculty and staff. “I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.”

Jenkins said Monday that he was in quarantine. His message Friday said he was “entering an extended period of isolation” as directed by university and local health officials.

Notre Dame, which has about 12,000 students, paused in-person classes Aug. 18 and moved them online amid a surge that saw as many as 89 new cases a day. In-person classes resumed weeks later after a sharp decrease in infections.

The university’s online coronavirus dashboard showed four new cases reported on Thursday, giving the school 770 total infections among students and staff members. Of that total, the school estimated 54 active cases.

Notre Dame’s football team suspended practice and postponed its scheduled Sept. 26 game at Wake Forest after 18 players tested positive for COVID-19. The fifth-ranked Irish resumed practice this week ahead of their Oct. 10 home game against Florida State.

Jenkins Joined Notre Dame’s faculty in 1990 and has been the school’s president since 2005.

More than 200 students signed a petition asking the student senate to call for Jenkins’ resignation for not wearing a mask at the White House. The senate on Thursday voted against the measure, with some members saying they regarded it as too extreme of a step, The Observer campus newspaper reported.

White House virus protocols aren’t changing despite diagnoses

The White House does not appear to be making any changes to current virus protocol, even after President Trump and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19.

A senior White House official said Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as “a personal choice,” despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.

And the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after the one it uses failed to detect that adviser Hope Hicks had the virus the day she began experiencing symptoms.

The president, his White House and his campaign have generally taken a lax approach to the pandemic, continuing to hold large events and failing to abide by social distancing recommendations.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House thinking, defended the current system.

Governments urging flu shots have triggered shortages of vaccine

LONDON — First, the British government implored its citizens to, please, please, go and get a flu shot, saying it was vital to protect the state-run health-care system from being overwhelmed by a double-barrel blast of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza this winter.

Now, Britain is running low on flu vaccine, struggling to meet the skyrocketing demand, because people tried to do what the government asked of them.

Major pharmacies have halted flu shot appointments. Doctors’ offices are putting people on waiting lists — or telling them to call back in December. Although the government has urged calm and said more supplies are on the way, a survey of general practitioners in Britain found that only a quarter expect to have enough flu vaccine to last the winter.

A nurse administers a flu vaccine on Thursday in Mexico City. Associated Press/Rebecca Blackwell

The story is similar in many countries across Europe. As coronavirus cases rise, urgings from public health officials about the need to avoid a “twindemic” has upped demand for flu vaccines — and, in some places, triggered shortages. Governments are rationing flu shots to those most vulnerable, while they scramble for supplies.

In a limited way, it’s a trial run of what governments may face if and when coronavirus vaccines are available. It may also be an early indication that, even in countries traditionally skeptical of vaccines, large swaths of the population will be willing to get inoculated for COVID-19.

Prospect of a coronavirus vaccine unites anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and hippie moms in Germany

Ann Moen, World Health Organization’s chief of influenza preparedness and response, has acknowledged that some Northern Hemisphere countries are having trouble sourcing additional flu vaccines. The United States says it has plenty of doses stocked, but many countries in Europe don’t.

This past flu season was relatively mild in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina all glided through with low numbers. South Africa barely had any cases at all. But Europe is worried that even an average flu season, combined with the stresses of COVID-19, could be disastrous.

The vaccine supply problem stems in part from orders placed in 2019, before anyone knew that the second wave of a global pandemic might coincide with the northern flu season.

Still, public health experts have been surprised by the eagerness for flu shots this year, both in vaccine-embracing countries such as Britain, where more than 70 percent of people over 65 normally get a flu jab, and in nations where uptake is usually low.

Trump rally-goers urged to get tested if sick

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is encouraging people who were at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport on Saturday to get tested if they are feeling sick.

The department is asking people to download the COVID Alert PA phone app if they do test positive to anonymously alert people they may have come in contact with.

Thousands attended the outdoor rally, held hours after the president introduced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, from the Rose Garden at the White House. Those at the rally were required to pass through a security checkpoint and get their temperatures taken.

Trump announced earlier Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Europe’s virus fight threatens to shut Paris restaurants

Europe’s resurgent coronavirus pandemic is threatening to shut down Paris’s culinary institutions and spurring record cases in the continent’s east.

The disease is spreading at such a pace in Paris that positive tests and the number of intensive-care patients have climbed past the “maximum alert” level, French Health Minister Olivier Veran told reporters.

If the trend continues, “we have no choice” but to declare the capital and its nearby suburbs a high-risk area as soon as Monday, which would trigger the closing of bars and restaurants, he said on Thursday. Representatives of France’s hospitality industry are trying to thwart the move and plan to present proposals to authorities as soon as Friday.

Angry restaurant owners demonstrate in Lille on Friday as French officials warned that the government might need to take more stringent efforts to combat the coronavirus. Associated Press/Michel Spingler

The move comes amid a spate of tighter restrictions across Europe, threatening a stumbling recovery after national lockdowns hammered economies in the second quarter.

New COVID-19 cases hit daily records in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic — the second-worst outbreak in Europe, which declared a state of emergency this week. Ukraine had its third record increase in a row on Friday.

Trends are worrying across Europe. London residents are being told to take immediate action to avoid catching and spreading the disease amid warnings that the U.K. capital is at a “tipping point.”

Germany had the most new daily infections since April, as did Italy, where Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is seeking to extend his emergency powers to Jan. 31.

New cases in Germany are “predominantly due to transmission at family and other private events,” the country’s Robert Koch Institute said in its latest situation report. To counter the risk, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government this week recommended limits on public and private gatherings in hard-hit areas.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to avoid a second nationwide lockdown, but targeted measures have shown little impact. The country’s virus cases increased the most in Europe over the past two months and monthly COVID-related deaths tripled in September.

“For several weeks now, we’ve been in a phase of a worsening of virus circulation, which is putting pressure on our health-care system,” Veran said.

Unlike the initial phase of the pandemic, there is greater opposition to containment efforts, which has spurred protests across Europe, including an effort to break into the German parliament in Berlin. In Spain — again the epicenter of the pandemic on the continent — the virus fight has been bogged down by infighting.

Madrid is considering challenging coronavirus restrictions ordered by the national government to “defend the interests” of its people, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the region’s president, said in the local parliament on Thursday.

The resistance to measures, such as reducing capacity and operating hours of shops and public services in cities, has political undertones. The Madrid region is controlled by the main opposition party to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government.

To reopen economy, Calif. requires counties to address virus in poorer areas

LOS ANGELES — California’s plan to safely reopen its economy will begin to require counties to bring down coronavirus infection rates in disadvantaged communities that have been harder hit by the pandemic.

The complex new rules announced late Wednesday set in place an “equity metric.”

It will force larger counties to control the spread of COVID-19 in areas where Black, Latino and Pacific Islander groups have suffered a disproportionate share of the cases because of a variety of socioeconomic factors.

Some counties welcomed the news and said it will build on efforts underway. Supporters of a more rapid reopening criticized the measure.

New Orleans bars may operate at 75% capacity as virus numbers stay low

NEW ORLEANS — Starting this weekend, New Orleans bars will be allowed to sell drinks to go and restaurants may operate at 75% indoor capacity instead of 50% since a number of coronavirus indicators have stayed low, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.

The limit for restaurants and other businesses matches the state limit set weeks ago. If all goes well, New Orleans could match all state reopening levels by Oct. 31, with two more possible groups of changes, Cantrell said Thursday at a livestreamed news conference.

Those will depend on public response “ensuring we are a healthy city not only to live in but to visit,” she said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards let some bars reopen and restaurants and other businesses move to 75% of indoor capacity on Sept. 11. New Orleans, which had shut down bars in July, did not follow suit.

French Quarter and downtown stores cannot sell package liquor outside bars’ state-set hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. because when bars were allowed to reopen earlier, “crowds continued drinking package liquor” after 11 p.m., the mayor said.

Cantrell said the city had closed six businesses as of Wednesday for flouting pandemic restrictions.

First came flights to nowhere during the pandemic. Cruises to nowhere may be next.

If boarding a flight to nowhere to live out the good old days of travel doesn’t entice you, how about a round-trip cruise sailing to nowhere?

Singapore, which has not allowed port calls for any cruise ships since March 13, is exploring health protocol that would allow cruise companies in the area to operate voyages “to nowhere,” according to Singapore newspaper The Straits Times. Singapore’s tourism body has reportedly hired a risk management company to create a safety framework for the Singapore-only sailings, which could bolster cruise lines struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus’s impact on travel.

The newspaper reports that documents pertaining to the safety protocols envision “cruises to nowhere” sailing at 50 percent capacity. Cruise lines will need to be certified for compliance with the safety plan before returning to sea, the Straits Times says.

The news of a possible cruise to nowhere comes two days after Singapore Airlines dropped its plans to offer three-hour “flights to nowhere” because of environmental backlash. The airline said it reviewed opposition to the flights, which were slated to depart and return to Singapore’s Changi airport, and deemed them too wasteful. It will instead offer dining experiences in planes that remain on the ground rather than flying, the Straits Times reported.

Kentucky contends with an escalating outbreak

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky reported 17 more coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, one of its highest one-day totals as the state combats an escalating outbreak.

The latest deaths included a 29-year-old woman from Clark County who had “significant underlying health conditions,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. Her death marked the first coronavirus-linked fatality of someone in their 20s to be reported in Kentucky, he said.

The 17 deaths were the fifth-highest daily total in Kentucky since the start of the pandemic, he said.

The state also reported 910 new cases of COVID-19, down from the prior two days when daily case counts topped 1,000, the governor said. The spike in cases is hitting rural and urban areas, and Beshear said the state remains on course to set another record for the number of cases in a week.

“When we have a lot of cases, sadly a lot of death follows,” Beshear said at a news conference.

The Democratic governor continued to stress the need to wear masks in public, maintain social distancing and follow other health guidelines to contain the virus.

“We can turn this escalation around,” he said.

South Dakota reporting significant levels of virus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota health officials have reported all-time highs for the toll of the coronavirus with 13 deaths and 747 more people who tested positive.

State epidemiologist Josh Clayton says communities statewide — from cities to rural areas — are seeing significant levels of the virus. He noted that 245 of the infections reported were backlogged from previous days after a reporting error.

One of the largest outbreaks came from a women’s prison in Pierre as mass testing revealed that 29 more women in one housing unit had the virus. A total of 197 prisoners and staff have tested positive and 110 have recovered.

Russian outbreak continues, lockdown not discussed

MOSCOW — The coronavirus outbreak in Russia continues its rapid growth, with the government reporting over 9,000 new confirmed cases on Friday but the Kremlin saying a second lockdown is not being discussed.

The 9,412 new cases reported on Friday bring the country’s total to over 1.19 million and mark the highest surge since late May. Russia currently has the fourth largest caseload in the world and has so far reported over 21,000 deaths.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday another lockdown is currently not being discussed in the government.

At the same time in Moscow, which has been reporting over 2,000 new cases a day since Monday, officials have recommended the elderly self-isolate at home and have extended upcoming school holidays by a week.

On Thursday, Moscow’s mayor also ordered employers to have 30% of their staff work from home. “I hope that this measure will be enough to curb the rise of infections, and we won’t have to make more difficult decisions,” Sergei Sobyanin wrote in his blog.

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ATHENS, Greece — Authorities have ordered the shutdown of a food canning company in northern Greece after tests on staff revealed 114 coronavirus infections.

The country’s civil protection authority said Friday the entirety of the company’s facilities in the village of Mavrovouni in the northern Greek province of Pella would be shut down for 10 days, until October 11.

Greece has been seeing a steady increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, leading to extra restrictions being imposed on some locations, including Athens, where the majority of new cases have appeared. The Greek capital, the country’s most populous city by far, has frequently accounted for more than half of confirmed new positive cases.

On Thursday, Greece reported 411 new confirmed cases and two new deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases to just under 18,900, with 393 deaths in this country of about 11 million.

 

LONDON — Irish airline Ryanair has lost its legal action against the country’s government over its coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Ryanair had claimed the restrictions were “unlawful” and amounted to a disproportionate interference in the rights of the airline and its passengers.

As well as urging people to quarantine for 14 days after their arrival from countries not on the so-called “green list,” people have been advised not to travel outside the island of Ireland except for essential purposes.

Ryanair said the guidelines went “well beyond mere travel advice” and represented the “imposition of restrictions on international travel.”

However, Justice Garrett Simons rejected Ryanair’s claims, ruling that the government had acted lawfully and was “entitled, in the exercise of the executive power, to provide such advice to the public.”

“The advice to avoid non-essential travel and to restrict movements on entry to the State is just that: advice,” the ruling read.

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KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistan authorities have closed more than 100 restaurants and six wedding halls in the financial capital of Karachi over violations of social distancing rules amid a sudden increase in COVID-19 deaths.

The government has also imposed a lockdown in some of the city’s high-risk areas to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A similar crackdown over social distancing rules has also been ordered in other parts of the country.

Pakistanis have been seen routinely violating social distancing since last month when wedding halls were allowed to open on the condition they adhere to such rules.

Authorities earlier reported 13 out of the country’s 15 single-day COVID-19 fatalities in southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.

Pakistan has reported 313,431 confirmed cases with 6,499 deaths.

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CANBERRA, Australia — Australia and New Zealand have announced a partial opening of their borders to international travel between the neighboring countries.

Australian Transport Minister Michael McCormack says passengers will be able to fly to Sydney and Darwin without going into quarantine from Oct. 16 if they have spent at least two weeks in parts of New Zealand that are not considered COVID-19 hot spots.

But New Zealand will continue insist on travelers from Australia going into hotel quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

McCormack says, “We want to open up Australia to the world. This is the first part of it.”

The two countries separated by the Tasman Sea have long said that the return of international travel would begin with a so-called Trans-Tasman Bubble. McCormack says Australian authorities have concluded that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.

But travelers who have visited a New Zealand hot spot — defined as a region that has reported three new infections a day over three days — won’t be exempt from quarantine.

McCormack says the South Australia state capital Adelaide would likely become the next city to allow quarantine-free travel from New Zealand.

He says when New Zealand would allow quarantine-free travel from Australia is a question for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Australian states and territories have restricted movement across their borders to reduce the pandemic’s spread, particularly from Victoria state, which has accounted for 802 of the nation’s 888 coronavirus deaths.

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NEW DELHI — India’s COVID-19 fatalities are closing on 100,000 with another 1,095 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

The update by the Health Ministry on Friday raised India’s death toll to 99,773. Its reported deaths are low for a country with nearly 1.4 billion people and more than 6.3 million confirmed cases, but experts say it may not be counting many fatalities.

The ministry also reported 81,484 new cases.

Total cases jumped from 1 million in mid-July to more than 6 million in less than 2 1/2 months.

New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru are the main urban centers of the infections, accounting for one in every seven confirmed cases and one in every five deaths in the country.

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MANILA, Philippines — Two of the most popular Philippine tourist destinations, including the Boracay beach, have partially reopened with only a fraction of their usual crowds showing up given continuing coronavirus restrictions.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Friday that 35 local tourists, including seven from Manila, came on the first day of the reopening of Boracay, a central island famous for its powdery white sands, azure waters and stunning sunsets. Only local tourists from regions with low-level quarantine designations could go, subject to safeguards, including tests showing a visitor is coronavirus-free.

The mountain city of Baguio, regarded as a summer hideaway for its pine trees, cool breeze and picturesque upland views, has been reopened to tourists only from its northern region, she told ABS-CBN News.

Despite the urgent need to revive the tourism industry, it’s being done “very slowly, cautiously,” she said, adding mayors and governors would have to approve the reopening of tourism spots. “We really have to be careful,” she said.

Like in most countries, the pandemic has devastated the tourism industry in the Philippines, which now has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia at more than 314,000, with 5,504 deaths.

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