Covid-19 Live Updates: A Third Coronavirus Surge Has Taken Root in the U.S.

key data of the day

Credit…Tim Gruber for The New York Times

In Ohio, more people are hospitalized with the coronavirus than at any other time during the pandemic. North Dakota, which is leading the nation in coronavirus cases per capita, reported more than 1,000 cases on Tuesday, the state’s worst daily total yet. And as of Monday, 16 states had added more cases in the prior week than in any other seven-day stretch.

After weeks of spread and warnings in certain areas, a third surge of coronavirus infections has now firmly taken hold across much of the United States.

The latest wave — which is raging most acutely in the Midwest and West, but is also spreading in various areas around the country — threatens to be the worst of the pandemic yet.

Its arrival comes as cooler weather is forcing people indoors, setting up a grueling winter that will test the discipline of many Americans who have grown weary of wearing masks and turning down invitations to see family and friends. Over the past week, the country has averaged about 59,000 new cases a day, the most since the beginning of August. The daily total could soon surpass 75,687, a record previously set on July 16.

The high case count — which has so far not translated to soaring deaths — in part reflects increased testing. With about 1 million people tested on many days, the country is getting a far more accurate picture of how widely the virus has spread than it did in the spring.

But the latest developments also reflect a serious new level of the outbreak. Hospitalizations, the most accurate picture of how many people are seriously sick from the virus, are on the rise nationwide, worrying many public health officials. And a rise in deaths tends to lag behind a spike in cases.

Deaths among hospitalized patients have also dropped from 25.6 percent in the spring to 7.6 percent, according to one study. That may be because doctors have better treatments at hand, and the patients are younger and in better health on average than those in the first wave.

Still, Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, recently offered an ominous warning: with infections rising and compliance eroding, he said, “the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.”

Credit…Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Despite an uptick of coronavirus cases in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, New York officials said on Tuesday that travelers from those three neighboring states would not be required to quarantine, though each state meets the qualifications for the restriction.

The announcement came with no small amount of confusion: A senior adviser to the governor confirmed that Pennsylvania would be added to the quarantine list, and Mr. Cuomo later indicated in a news conference that New Jersey and Connecticut would not be required to quarantine, but he did not initially mention Pennsylvania.

But the governor later clarified in a statement that enforcement from Pennsylvania would also be too difficult to maintain, considering the vast number of people who cross the state’s northern border into New York and its eastern border into New Jersey.

That rationale was also articulated by Mr. Cuomo in reference to Connecticut and New Jersey, two neighbors to New York that have worked together for months to try to coordinate response to the coronavirus crisis.

“There is no practical way to quarantine New York from New Jersey and Connecticut,” Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said in a morning news conference. “There are just too many interchanges, there are too many interconnections, there are too many people that live in one place and work in the other.”

Adding to the confusion, Beth Garvey, special counsel to Mr. Cuomo, said during the morning news conference that New Jersey and Connecticut were both “being added” to the list on Tuesday, despite Mr. Cuomo earlier suggesting they would not be. In a brief aside after Ms. Garvey’s remarks, the governor said “Pennsylvania, we have the same basic issue.”

None of the states were on a quarantine list released on Tuesday afternoon by the governor’s office.

Still, Mr. Cuomo said that all nonessential travel among New York and the three states should be avoided and promised he would issue more guidance on that point on Wednesday.

New York did add two states to its list on Tuesday: Maryland and Arizona. All told, 40 states and territories are now on the travel advisory list, which Mr. Cuomo referred to as “really a bizarre outcome” considering that New York once faced one of the worst outbreaks in the country.

On Tuesday, more than 64,200 new cases and at least 517 new deaths were reported in the United States. Over the last week, there have been an average of 59,269 cases per day, an increase of 34 percent from the average two weeks earlier, and fears are growing in New York about a potential second wave. Two weeks ago, Mr. Cuomo closed nonessential businesses in parts of Queens and Brooklyn where positivity rates had spiked.

Since late June, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have worked in concert to create a list of states from which travelers to the region are subject to a two-week quarantine.

Essential workers have been exempt from the quarantine since it began in June.Other workers who cross state lines have technically been subject to the advisory, but officials have also said that the quarantine is only required by those who spend at least 24 hours in a state on the list — which would exclude most commuters.

The quarantine was intended to apply to any person arriving from an area with a positivity rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

New Jersey has a population of about 8.88 million people, and so anything over an average of about 888 new cases puts the state above that threshold. According to a New York Times database, New Jersey has seen an average of 1,016 cases per day in the last week, an increase of 54 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

For Connecticut, the threshold is around 356, and its daily average in the last week was at 378 cases per day.

Though New York has seen a significant increase in cases in parts of New York City and its suburbs, its overall positivity rate has remained lower than its neighbors. On Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo said the daily rate was 1.32 percent statewide, and 2.91 percent in the so-called “red zones,” areas where he recently imposed severe restrictions as virus hot spots sprang up across the state. Hospitalizations in the state increased by eight, to 942.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the citywide seven-day average positivity rate was at 1.58 percent.

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, told Republican senators privately on Tuesday that he has advised the White House not to strike a deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a new stimulus bill before Election Day, cautioning against reaching an agreement that most in the party cannot accept.

Mr. McConnell’s counsel, confirmed by three Republicans familiar with his remarks, threw cold water on Mr. Trump’s increasingly urgent push to enact a fresh round of pandemic aid before he faces voters on Nov. 3. It underscored the divisions within the party that have long hampered a compromise.

Ms. Pelosi had said earlier on Tuesday that she was “optimistic” a deal could be reached with the Trump administration in the coming days. But Republicans are growing increasingly anxious that Mr. Trump and his team are too eager to reach a multitrillion-dollar agreement and are conceding far too much to the Democrats. Republicans fear that scenario would force their colleagues up for re-election into a difficult choice of defying the president or alienating their fiscally conservative base by embracing the big-spending bill he has demanded.

Republicans in the Senate were also concerned that any vote on such a package could interfere with the Senate’s hasty timetable for confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by early next week. Mr. McConnell said he told the White House he was particularly concerned a deal before then could inject unwanted unpredictability into the schedule, according to the Republicans, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss a closed party luncheon.

Mr. McConnell made it clear that he knew his counsel was likely to leak out, making reference to the possibility that his remarks could appear in the news media, two of the Republicans said.

A short time later, outside the hearing room where Republicans met privately, Mr. McConnell told reporters the Senate would consider a broad bipartisan stimulus deal if the White House and Democrats struck one. But he would not say if it would hold a vote before Election Day, and members of his leadership team have warned that Republican votes could be hard to come by in the chamber.

“If a presidentially supported bill clears the House, at some point we’ll bring it to the floor,” he said, without elaborating on the timetable.

Ms. Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, were scheduled to discuss the matter at 3 p.m. Tuesday. “Hopefully, by the end of the day today, we’ll know where we all are,” the speaker said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

On Sunday, Ms. Pelosi said that to pass a bill before the election, a deal would have to be reached within 48 hours. But in the interview on Tuesday, she softened that time limit, saying instead that legislation would have to be finished by the end of next week for aid to begin flowing by Nov. 3.

“It isn’t that this day was the day that we have a deal,” Ms. Pelosi said. “It was a day that we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step.”

Mr. McConnell planned a test vote later Tuesday on a narrow measure that would revive the Paycheck Protection Program, a popular small-business loan program. While Democrats support the program, they are expected to oppose the narrow bill, contending that a far broader package is needed.

Credit…Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Researchers at Imperial College London are planning to deliberately infect healthy volunteers with the coronavirus early next year as part of the world’s first effort to study how people immunized with different vaccines respond to controlled exposure to the virus.

The study, known as a human challenge trial, is scheduled to begin in January at a quarantine facility in London with 34 million pounds, or $44 million, of British government funding, the government announced on Tuesday.

Such a study could save time in the race to winnow down a large number of vaccine candidates.

Rather than testing vaccines the usual way — by waiting for vaccinated people to encounter the virus in their homes and communities — researchers would expose them to the virus in a controlled setting.

In the first stage of the study, scientists will try to determine the smallest doses of the virus required to infect people. The scientists will test gradually increasing doses of virus on up to 90 healthy volunteers from 18 to 30 years old until they reach a level that reliably infects them.

Once they have decided on a dose — potentially by late spring, the government said — researchers will begin to compare a set of coronavirus vaccine candidates by immunizing people and then deliberately infecting them. The government will decide which vaccines to test, but it has not announced them yet.

It is possible that by early next year, some of the vaccine candidates now undergoing trials will have already received approval.

But experts in medical ethics are divided over whether such a study is acceptable, largely because there is no highly effective treatment for Covid-19. The Imperial College London researchers said they would use the antiviral medicine remdesivir, but that drug has been found to have only modest benefit. Most other challenge trials have involved diseases like cholera and typhoid, which can be quickly and reliably cured with drugs.

Another concern is that the illness caused by the coronavirus is unpredictable, and although young people in general do not become gravely ill, there have been unexpected and unexplained cases of severe illness in young patients.

The trial will need approval from Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency before volunteers are enrolled, and it will be monitored by independent experts once it begins, the researchers said.

At least initially, the challenge trial will involve only young, healthy volunteers, meaning the findings may not fully apply to the people at greatest risk of severe illness from Covid-19 — older people and those with underlying health problems.

The researchers said volunteers would be compensated for their time taking part in the trial and their two to three weeks in quarantine following infection. About 2,000 people in Britain have expressed interest in taking part in challenge trials through an American group, 1Day Sooner, that advocates for such studies.

The trial will be run by Imperial College London together with hVivo, a company that specializes in human challenge trials. It will initially be held at a hospital in north London.




Johnson Announces Highest Coronavirus Restrictions for Manchester

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said the highest level of coronavirus restrictions would be imposed for Manchester, which includes forbidding indoor socializing by people from different households.

Across the world, the countries that are waging the most successful fights against coronavirus are adopting regional and local measures to protect their populations. And that’s why last week, we launched the three local Covid alert levels for England with interventions based on the prevalence of the virus in local areas. Since then we’ve been undertaking discussions with local leaders in those parts of the country, which are currently bearing the brunt of the second wave of this epidemic. I don’t want anybody to think that your actions, our actions, are in vain or the efforts in vain because our collective action across the country has brought the R number well below its natural rate of about 3. As a result, the virus is not spreading as quickly as it did in February and March. Informed by the data that we’ve just seen, I can announce that Greater Manchester will move to the Very High Alert level. That means that pubs and bars must close unless they’re serving substantial meals. Households can’t mix indoors or in most outdoor settings. In some public outdoor spaces, groups must be limited to the Rule of Six. And we strongly advise against travel into and out of the area.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said the highest level of coronavirus restrictions would be imposed for Manchester, which includes forbidding indoor socializing by people from different households.CreditCredit…Jon Super/Associated Press

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain announced on Tuesday that Greater Manchester, the country’s second-largest urban area, would be put under the highest level of virus restrictions, shutting many pubs and bars and forbidding indoor socializing by people from different households.

The announcement came despite opposition from the area’s mayor, Andy Burnham, who had pushed for greater financial aid for affected residents, and amid a spike in cases around Europe that has reinvigorated the debate over how to balance economic and health concerns.

“I know these restrictions are tough on businesses and on individuals,” Mr. Johnson said. “Not to act would put Manchester’s N.H.S. and the lives of many of Manchester’s residents at risk.”

Mr. Johnson pointed to the area’s growing outbreak — it has reported more cases over the last seven days than any other place in England, according to a Times database. He added that he hoped that local officials would work with the central government to implement the restrictions, which take effect Friday.

The government will provide some 22 million pounds in aid, which Mr. Burnham argued was woefully insufficient. Talks over relief funds collapsed shortly before the announcement was made, though Mr. Johnson indicated they could be restarted.

“At no point today were we offered enough to protect the poorest people in our communities through the punishing reality of the winter to come,” Mr. Burnham said.

In London on Tuesday, Heathrow Airport, the country’s largest, began offering rapid tests for £80 ($104) to Hong Kong-bound passengers to meet its entry requirements, in an effort to encourage travel. The service will initially be offered for four weeks, and passengers must book it ahead of time. The tests will be done by private-sector nurses, with results expected within an hour.

Ireland on Monday became the first European country to reimpose a national lockdown, in a dramatic U-turn for the government, which two weeks ago fell short of imposing the highest level of restrictions despite advice from public health experts. The six-week period will begin on Wednesday.




Ireland Reimposes National Lockdown

Ireland will impose a six-week lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus cases with the hope of reopening in time for Christmas.

In the effort to suppress the virus, we have already introduced what is probably Europe’s strictest regime. As a result of this, we can see some evidence that these restrictions have been effective in slowing the growth and spread of the virus. However, as the daily figures show, these restrictions on their own have not been enough to significantly reduce the levels of infection. The government has decided that the evidence of a potentially grave situation arising in the weeks ahead is now too strong. Therefore, for a period of six weeks, from midnight on Wednesday night, the entire country will move to Level 5 of the framework for living with Covid-19. Even as the winter comes in, there is hope and there is light. If we pull together over the next six weeks, we will have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way. Every Christmas is important, but this year it is particularly so.

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Ireland will impose a six-week lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus cases with the hope of reopening in time for Christmas.CreditCredit…Paul Faith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

And in Italy’s northern region of Lombardy, the original center of the country’s outbreak, officials announced that they intended to impose a curfew aimed at curbing nightlife, especially in Milan, starting Thursday.

“The curfew is the best solution to hit the contagion, and it shouldn’t have serious repercussions on the economic situation,” Lombardy’s president, Attilio Fontana, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday, “It will allow us to avoid stricter measures.”

The president of Campania, in southern Italy, said on Tuesday that he would also request a curfew. He said previously that the move was aimed at preventing Halloween celebrations, which he labeled “immense, stupid Americanata.”

Italians are desperate to avoid new lockdowns after enduring Europe’s longest one. But Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday that while officials were preparing to avoid a generalized lockdown, more circumscribed ones could not be ruled out.

Credit…Arun Sankar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In a televised address Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India urged citizens to tighten up their vigilance against the coronavirus as the Hindu festival season approaches.

“Recently, we saw many photos and videos which clearly proved that people have lowered their guard,” he said. “This isn’t right.”

In the next few weeks, more than a billion Indians will celebrate several major Hindu holidays, including Dussehra and Diwali, and authorities are worried about people packing together.

India is rapidly catching up to the United States in terms of its reported infections, almost 7.6 million known cases there compared with 8.2 million in the United States. India had been outpacing the United States in new infections, reaching nearly 100,000 new daily infections in mid-September. But in recent days that number has come down. As of Monday, the seven-day average for new daily cases in India was approximately 61,000, according to a New York Times database, just slightly higher than the average over the same time in the United States.

Some experts say that the decline might reflect that the virus is reaching a plateau in India. Other scientists caution that the decrease could also be explained by a shift in testing methods. India is increasingly using cheaper, less reliable rapid antigen tests.

Mr. Modi said that the precautions taken by Indians since the pandemic started have left India in a “stable situation.” But he cautioned that “We must not let it deteriorate.”

He emphasized that India’s death rate remained much lower than those of the United States and other Western countries. And he promised that his government was making “all efforts” to ensure that every Indian has access to a coronavirus vaccine once it is available.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

It has becoming increasingly clear that while most people infected with the coronavirus have a relatively mild disease, symptoms can be gravely serious for some, leading to hospitalization, serious complications and death. But how much more dire are its consequences than those of influenza, which infects an estimated 45 million Americans each year and kills an average of 61,000?

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now have some estimates, based on data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a paper published in the Oct. 20 issue of the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Jonathan Cates and his colleagues found that hospitalized coronavirus patients had a higher risk of 17 complications as compared with hospitalized flu patients, including more than twice the risk of pneumonia. Covid patients were also more than five times as likely to die in the hospital — 21 percent of them died there, compared with 3.8 percent of those hospitalized with flu. More than a third of the Covid patients were admitted to an intensive care unit; fewer than a fifth of influenza patients spent time in an ICU.

Black and Hispanic Covid patients did worse than white ones, with greater risks of respiratory, neurological and kidney complications.

The V.A. data were from the electronic health records of 3,948 patients hospitalized with Covid between March 1 and May 31 and 5,453 patients hospitalized with flu between Oct. 1, 2018 and Feb. 1, 2020.

Credit…Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

Argentina has become the fifth country in the world to surpass one million confirmed Covid-19 cases.

With a population of around 45 million, Argentina is by far the smallest country on the list, which also includes the United States, India, Brazil and Russia, according to worldwide tracking by The Times.

Almost 100,000 of Argentina’s cases have been detected in the last seven days, reflecting how infections are soaring in the country, and experts worry that the true total could be far higher. Argentina’s reported test positivity rate has hovered around 50 percent for weeks and has reached as high as 75 percent, but the reliability of that data has been questioned recently, with reports that many negative test results were not recorded.

Argentina reported 12,982 new cases and 451 deaths on Monday. In total, 26,716 people have died of the coronavirus in the country, a fatality rate of 2.7 percent, according to the Health Ministry.

Argentina received praise early in the pandemic for imposing a strict quarantine in mid-March. It closed its borders and managed to keep the coronavirus largely under control while other South American countries, including neighboring Brazil, suffered gigantic outbreaks.

Though certain restrictions have since been relaxed, much of Argentina remains under some type of lockdown order.

Once concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the virus has since spread to much of the country, including remote areas with scarce medical resources, even though domestic flights and long-distance buses and trains have largely been grounded.

Argentina’s early success in controlling the virus, which was accompanied by a sharp increase in approval ratings for President Alberto Fernández, led to what some critics call an undue focus on the lockdown as the main strategy to combat the crisis.

“What they failed to do in parallel was containment and mitigation of the pandemic,” said Adolfo Rubinstein, an epidemiologist who was health minister under the previous president, Mauricio Macri, who was defeated by Mr. Fernández last year. “They needed to go out and detect community cases early, and mitigate the expansion of the pandemic.”

Credit…Carlo Allegri/Reuters

To reduce the number of students sent home to quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus, the Billings Public Schools, the largest school district in Montana, came up with an idea that has public health experts shaking their heads: Reshuffling students in the classroom four times an hour.

The strategy is based on the definition of a “close contact” requiring quarantine — being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more. If the students are moved around within that time, the thinking goes, no one will have had “close contact” and be required to stay home if a classmate tests positive.

Greg Upham, the superintendent of the 16,500-student school district, said in an interview that contact tracing had become a huge burden for the district, and administrators were looking for a way to ease the burden when they came up with the movement idea. It was not intended to “game the system,” he said, but rather to encourage the staff to be cognizant of the 15-minute window.

In an email to administrators last week, Mr. Upham encouraged staff to “whenever possible, disrupt the 15-minute timeline through movement, distancing, and masking.”

Infectious disease experts say that moving students around every few minutes is actually more likely to increase transmission of the virus, by exposing more people to an infected student. It will also complicate contact tracing efforts, they said.

“That is not an evidence-based practice or sound scientific policy,” said Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security who has been supportive of reopening schools for in-person instruction.

The 15-minute, 6-foot definition is a guideline for identifying who might be at greater risk of infection, not a hard-and-fast rule about when it can or cannot happen, Dr. Nuzzo said, adding that a person can certainly become infected in less time or from farther away, especially indoors.

Dr. Sarah Fortune, chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard’s school of public health, said the 15-minute definition was meant to help contact tracers “effectively and efficiently identify people with the highest risk and target intervention to them.”

Kelly Hornby, principal of Billings West High School, wrote in an email to his staff last week that moving students around every few minutes and then returning them to their original desks would help dissipate airborne droplets containing coronavirus, to the point “where the risk of being contaminated is greatly reduced.”

Dr. Fortune disagreed with that idea. “The particles that transmit Covid, they hang out in the air, and they spread through the air, and the aerosols can hang out for a very long time,” she said. “So stirring that air up or moving around from your spot doesn’t really limit your exposure or risk.”

Credit…Dana M. Paxton/Norton Telegram, via Associated Press

At the Andbe Home, a private nursing home in northern Kansas, a single resident tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 7. Two weeks later, all 62 residents have become infected, along with at least 12 staff members, and 10 of the residents have died.

That is how hard, and how fast, the virus can hammer the vulnerable in the rural Great Plains and Mountain West, where the pandemic is now raging. States in the region that were little affected in the spring and summer and tended to see the virus as a distant threat now have some of the highest per capita infection rates in the country.

“It is with great sadness and concern that I announce that we have a full Covid outbreak in our home, despite the precautions we have been taking since March,” Megan Mapes, the administrator of the Andbe Home, wrote Friday on Facebook.

The home has barred all visitors, and residents are isolated in their rooms, Ms. Mapes wrote.

Covid-19 is known to be particularly lethal to adults in their 60s and older who have underlying health conditions, which has put nursing home populations at a higher risk of being infected and dying. In 15 states, the number of residents and workers at nursing homes who have died accounts for at least half of all deaths from Covid-19.

Coming in a small community, such an outbreak inevitably hits home for many people. “My grandmother was one of the 10 deaths,” Jamie McCreery posted on Facebook. “I’m shattered and angry, but not at this facility or the workers,” who have known the residents and their families for many years.

With a population of just 5,400, Norton County, where the Andbe Home is located, is the hardest-hit county in Kansas right now, relative to its size. The county is grappling with two serious outbreaks — in the nursing home and in the Norton Correctional Facility, a state prison where 18 prisoners and three officers have tested positive. Of the 340 cases the county has reported in all, more than 300 have come this month.

The virus spreads readily in congregate living facilities like prisons, group homes and college dorms, and nursing homes have suffered some of the worst outbreaks, because older people with health issues are among the most vulnerable to the disease.

More than 540,000 coronavirus infections and more than 84,000 deaths have been reported among residents and employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database.

Deaths in the facilities represent about 38 percent of total coronavirus deaths in the country, a slight decline from late June, when nursing homes made up about 43 percent of U.S. deaths. However, the decline may be temporary, experts warn, amid a new surge of cases.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country, released a report on Tuesday warning that U.S. nursing homes could be facing another spike.

Danielle Ivory, Mitch Smith and Timothy Williams contributed reporting.

Credit…Gregory Bull/Associated Press

The the second-largest public school system in California is overhauling its grading system in an attempt to address what its board of trustees said were “discriminatory practices” that have worsened during the pandemic.

The San Diego Unified School District, with about 105,000 students, said it would de-emphasize behavioral factors like classroom conduct, allow students to retake tests, and base each student’s final grade more on the student’s grasp of material at the end of the grading period, rather than on homework, quizzes or mid-term exams.

“We’re not getting rid of grades; we’re not eliminating homework; we’re not eliminating attendance as a responsibility for students,” said Richard Barrera, the vice president of the board. “But if a student gets a few bad grades and then aces the final, we’re saying that shouldn’t just average to a C.”

Mr. Barrera said the new district-wide “standards-based grading” policy, approved last week, was already being used in the system’s elementary schools and is now being expanded into middle and high schools.

The idea was under discussion before the pandemic, stemming from disproportionate numbers of failing grades among Black and Latino students, and from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota. But it gained new urgency this fall, as the difficulties of remote learning deepened disparities in student performance.

Only 7.2 percent of white students in San Diego’s secondary schools received grades of D or F in the last school year, according to district data, compared with 20 percent of Black students, more than 22 percent of Latino students and more than 23 percent of Native American students.

Forty-six percent of the district’s students overall are Latino, 12 percent are Asian-Pacific Islander, 8 percent are Black and a small proportion are Native American, he said. Two-thirds of the teachers are white.

“We focused on becoming an anti-racist school district,” Mr. Barrera said.

The grading change has drawn criticism from some conservatives, who say it diminishes the idea of academic excellence. But Kevin Beiser, a trustee who teaches middle-school math in a nearby district, said standards-based grading is meant to mitigate inequities like teachers conflating behavior with academic achievement, or affluent students having greater access to tutors.

“It doesn’t matter when you learn how to solve for x in algebra, as long as you learn it before the end of the school year,” he said.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump doubled down on Tuesday attacking Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, saying “he’s been wrong” throughout the pandemic.

“The only thing I say is he is a little bit sometimes not a team player. But he is a Democrat,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday during an interview with Fox News. Mr. Trump has previously said without evidence that Dr. Fauci is a Democrat, even as Dr. Fauci has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

A day earlier, Mr. Trump attacked Dr. Fauci as “a disaster” during a conference call with his campaign staff just two weeks away from the election. “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots,” he said on the call.

Dr. Fauci has been distancing himself from the White House and has warned Americans to “hunker down” and prepare for a difficult winter — a message that directly conflicts with Mr. Trump’s rosy assessment that the country is rounding a corner on the virus, even as it set a record recently for the highest number of new virus cases in a day since July.

“It’s good if people trust him,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday, blaming news media for pitting the two men against each other.

Dr. Fauci’s position is “a view,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the president’s new virus adviser, Dr. Scott W. Atlas, has “a different view.”

Dr. Atlas is a neuroradiologist with no experience in infectious disease or epidemiology.

“By the way, everybody has a different view,” Mr. Trump said.

At a campaign rally Monday evening in Prescott, Ariz., Mr. Trump invoked Dr. Fauci as a way of ridiculing the coronavirus plan of his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Biden wants to lock it down. He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci,” the president said, referring to coronavirus-related restrictions on the economy. (Dr. Fauci, addressing a group of pathologists last week, said no one wants to “shut down the country again.”)

The Biden campaign, which has been emphasizing a promise to listen to science over politics, responded with relish: “Mr. President, you’re right about one thing: The American people are tired. They’re tired of your lies about this virus.”

Global Roundup

Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese vaccines have been administered to 60,000 people in clinical trials, many of them around the world, and none of them have experienced any serious adverse reactions, a senior Chinese official said on Tuesday.

The figures came from Tian Baoguo, a senior official at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, who spoke at a news conference. “Initial results show that they are safe,” he said.

China has four vaccine candidates in Phase 3 trials, the last stage of testing before regulatory approval. Because the outbreak is largely under control in China, these trials are conducted in more than 10 countries.

Within China, the Chinese government has not waited for clinical trials to conclude before vaccinating tens of thousands of people. Officials have already laid out plans to give shots to even more people, citing emergency use. But scientists have warned that taking a vaccine that has not completed Phase 3 trials carries health risks. On Sunday, the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu stopped the sale of a coronavirus vaccine after dozens of people demanded to be inoculated over the weekend.

China is expected to produce up to 610 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of this year, Zheng Zhongwei, head of China’s coronavirus vaccine development task force said at the news conference, adding output will grow next year.

In other developments around the world:

  • Starting Tuesday, Heathrow Airport in London will offer one-hour coronavirus tests to travelers to Hong Kong and Italy, which require arriving passengers to show a negative test result. Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world, typically sees more than 80 million passengers a year.

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The Great British Bake Off 2020: episode five – live | Television & radio


Bake a Cornish pasty.
*Linda bakes a samosa*

Bake an eclair.
*Linda makes churros*#GBBO

October 20, 2020

Poor Linda. It’s just not her week.

Laura’s cage looks ok, so is Hermine’s. Mark’s looks like he’s presenting a cheddar cheese slice fit for a sandwich.

And oh god. Linda’s has completely disintegrated. She’s a goner. Even though Mark’s looks quite bad (did it melt?), Linda is doomed because of what happened in her technical and signature. I also can’t remember a Showstopper in recent years where the bakers have either done amazingly, or terribly, with absolutely no bakers in between.

Hysterically fragile? Can relate.

Mark pronounces “pears” as “purrs” and I’m obsessed. I never want to hear a different pronunciation again. What if he was to come across a pair of pears? Throw a happy cat into that mix and it’d be carnage.

They are now taking their cages out of the oven. All of them look hysterically fragile.

The bakers are using a lattice cutter! The Bake Off stores seem to have everything. Was there anything the Bake Off cupboard wasn’t able to provide you, equipment wise?

*WHISPERS* Hermine has been getting better and better. She didn’t excel in bread or biscuit week, but so far in pastry week she’s nailed it. I’ll stop typing now because I’ve absolutely jinxed it haven’t I? *STOPS WHISPERING*

MANGO KLAXON! This week, it’s Dave that succumbed to our least favourite fruit’s tropical delights. When will we be free of this curse? Oh look, Scott’s done another bar graph. Or, a tart chart, if you will.

Scott Bryan

In case you are wondering, I have counted how many times mangoes have been included in recipes this series.

(the reason why there was loads in biscuit week was because it was in a technical) #GBBO

October 20, 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed the showdown there between Paul’s instinct and Lottie’s preparatory Googling. Pies don’t need walls – a triumph for the millennials!

They’ve claimed that Nicolas Cage is a big fan of this show. In an unrelated note, if you can link to your favourite Nicolas Cage memes BTL, Michael and I would very much appreciate it, thank you.

It’s the Showstopper.

This week they have to bake a sweet tart, placed within a highly decorative pastry cage. It’s a bit of a relief, after some pretty wild weeks, to only have a Showstopper that is only mildly challenging to find examples of on Google.

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Access to the latest and most effective diabetes drugs depends on where you live and what you earn

Access to the latest and most effective drugs for Australians with diabetes can depend on where they live and how much they earn, new data shows.

People in remote and lower-socioeconomic areas are more likely to be using older and less-efficient medications than those in wealthier or urban areas, according to the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute research.

The study tracked all 1.2 million Australians being treated for type 2 diabetes between 2007 and 2015.

It showed that two years after Australia’s newest diabetes medication came onto the market, people in remote areas were up to 62 per cent less likely to receive it than those in cities.

Co-author Jonathan Shaw said the older medications come with a higher risk of complications like heart and kidney disease.

“It shouldn’t matter where you live, it shouldn’t matter how wealthy or otherwise your suburb is, everyone should be entitled to the same interventions and same medication.”

The report stopped short of concluding why there was a gap in diabetes health care in Australia, but Professor Shaw said there were a few likely explanations.

The first is that information about the newest drugs takes longer to filter through to remote areas.

Secondly, he said diabetes care in remote areas was overwhelmingly provided by GPs struggling to cater to demand.

“We do see what some people call this postcode lottery and there are a number of reasons, one is it can be more difficult to access the best health care,” he said.

“We shouldn’t think health care in remote areas is poor or doctors are no good, they’ve got a big job to do and there aren’t as many health care professionals.

“There are time pressures, there are waiting rooms full of all sorts of people requiring urgent care.

“In that setting it can be a little bit more difficult to sit down and think what’s the absolute best that can be done, the newest that can be done.”

GPs caring for patients who can’t reach specialists

Konrad Kangru said regional areas lack the specialists who are often in better positions to prescribe new medication earlier than GPs.(Supplied: Angel Parsons)

Konrad Kangru, former president of Rural Doctors Association Queensland, said it was difficult for GPs to keep across new drugs hitting the market.

“We don’t have the specialists in the rural areas who are often the ones who are more confident in commencing these new medications or may have access to the additional supports these new medications might require,” he said.

One of Dr Kangru’s patients is 71-year-old Gay Gillies, who lives in the Far North Queensland coastal community of Dingo Beach.

Because her specialist is a 2-hour drive away, she receives most of her care from Dr Kangru in his Proserpine rooms.

To control her blood sugar levels more effectively, she was recently placed on a new type of diabetes medication.

But learning that medication was available for other Australians much earlier has left a bitter taste in her mouth.

“[I’m] not very happy, it’s a bit daunting you know, they think ‘Oh well we’re out there don’t worry about us’,” she said.

“I have enough problems going to specialist, it’s a 2-hour drive and I can’t do that unless I’ve got my daughter to help me.”

More complications and amputations in regional Australia


People in regional Australia are already more likely to have diabetes.

On top of that, they are also more likely to have diabetes-related amputations than those in metropolitan areas, and more complications resulting from their condition.

That gap in care is a persistent problem, according to Renza Scibilia from Diabetes Australia.

“This study is important because it once again shows that this postcode lottery is real. It shows there are certainly differences depending on where people live,” she said.

Professor Shaw said attracting more doctors to rural and regional areas and educating both patients and health professionals would help narrow the gap in care.

“I think we need to have ongoing monitoring of this, we need to know what’s happening so we can react to it,” he said.

“It’s very much from my perspective a matter for government, for example, to make sure people in those areas get access and education is available.”

Professor Shaw said his research had particular implications for Indigenous Australians, who are more likely to have type 2 diabetes and live in remote areas.

“The importance of this has grown since the time we collected this information,” he said.

“These newer drugs were interesting drugs with some advantages, but since 2015 we’ve further recognised they have even more advantages — particularly for preventing heart disease and also for preventing kidney disease.

“We have to make sure that particularly our Indigenous population who are so vulnerable to those sorts of complications are getting access to these medications.”

A spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government already provides considerable support to Australians with diabetes through subsidised medication and services.

“The Morrison Government is committed to improving access to health services for all Australians, providing quality, safe and affordable health care no matter where they live, and provides considerable support to people with diabetes,” he said.

“It subsidises essential medicines, like insulin, under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and diabetes-related products through the National Diabetes Services Scheme.”

He said improving the health of Indigenous Australians with diabetes was a key priority for the Federal Government, and that a national strategy was being developed which would partly look at the distribution of Australia’s medical workforce.

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Watch live as the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft snags a chunk of asteroid

Four years ago, NASA launched its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from Cape Canaveral. Two years ago, the spacecraft finally reached its target of the carbon-rich, Earth-adjacent asteroid Bennu. Today, OSIRIS-REx (the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) will fulfill its original mission and collect a rock and dust sample of at least two ounces from the asteroid—the largest sample of its kind ever collected.

The mission has been no easy feat for the NASA engineers involved. The engineers selected Bennu out of 500,000 potential asteroids in the Solar System because of its proximity to the Earth, relatively slow rotation, carbon-heavy chemical composition, and large diameter of approximately 500 meters. After selecting the asteroid, the engineers charted a course for the craft and, roughly two years after the launch in September of 2016, it began to orbit the asteroid. For the past two years, OSIRIS-REx has been in orbit, taking photographs and 3D scans of the asteroid’s surface to measure its temperature, rock mineral content, and x-ray emissions. Bennu is the smallest object that any NASA spacecraft has ever orbited.

The sample collected today could hold important information that will allow scientists to better understand the origins of life on Earth. The sample might also be used for more practical purposes, like determining whether it’s possible to use the material that comprises asteroids like Bennu to sustain human life on Mars or other planets. When the spacecraft finally returns the sample to Earth in 2023, it will be studied extensively for years to come.

OSIRIS-REx will use a robotic arm called TAGSAM (Touch and Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) to grab a fistful of loose dust and rock called regolith from the surface of the asteroid without ever actually landing. The spacecraft has plenty of time and enough fuel for three attempts at collecting a sample from the asteroid.

“It’s a very safe way (if such a thing exists) to retrieve a sample from an asteroid,” Rich Kuhns, Lockheed Martin’s OSIRIS-REx project manager, told Popular Science before the initial launch of the spacecraft in 2016. “Since you just have to be in contact with the asteroid, the technology allows us to collect our sample in only 3 to 5 seconds.”

However, the collection mission isn’t so simple as OSIRIS-REx just reaching out from its orbit and grabbing a bunch of rock. The collection site is hazardous, and NASA engineers will be issuing instructions to the spacecraft from Earth, which it will carry out autonomously. The craft is also designed with these hazards in mind and will perform several automatic functions to ensure that the mission is successful.

“The solar panels will pull back safely away so they can’t touch Bennu’s surface,” said Roger Harris, who served as Project Manager for OSIRIS-REx work at IV&V, in a NASA post. “The Natural Feature Tracking system will enable the spacecraft to pull back before the spacecraft is in danger of colliding with a hazardous area of the ‘Nightingale’ landing site, which while our best option for gathering surface material, is surrounded by massive mission-ending boulders.”

You can watch live coverage of the mission tonight starting at 5pm EDT. If all goes well and the sample is collected by OSIRIS-REx without a hitch, the spacecraft will still have quite a long way to go before it’s received at home. Because of differences in orbital alignments, it will not begin its return journey until 2021. Then, the spacecraft should travel home and touch down in Utah with its sample in 2023.

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COVID-19 has changed ‘get out the vote’ efforts on college campuses: Goodbye knocking on dorms, hello Instagram Live

Last fall, when Breanna Brown wanted to talk to her fellow students about voting, the then-freshman at Wayne State University would walk into a lecture hall (with the professor’s permission) and extol the virtues of civic participation before class started. 

In between classes, she and other organizers would “table” in highly trafficked areas, and guide students as they filled out a voter registration form on a friend’s computer. “We would have everybody touching that laptop,” Brown said. “That’s nothing you would ever imagine now.” 

Like most things during the pandemic era, the candidate forums, residence hall canvassing and other typical election season activity on college campuses has gone digital. As such, Brown, who works as a fellow for Rise, an advocacy organization focused on college affordability and other youth and student issues, has shifted her strategy from last year. 

Breanna Brown is working digitally to get out the vote on her college campus this year.

Now, she connects the interns she manages with resident advisors or other influencers on campus, to try and convince them to talk about voting with their networks. In between Zoom classes, the students Brown works with will send Instagram or Twitter direct messages to almost 50 people on some days hoping to discuss their voting plans — and maybe get a handful of responses. 

“It’s a lot more work,” Brown said of pandemic-era organizing. “It’s harder to have those conversations,” when you’re connecting digitally, “and really get to the meat of the subject with them, you just have to kind of put it out there and hope for the best.” 

More than 80,000 voting conversations

Rise is working with more than 500 students such as Brown in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and California to increase voter turnout among college students. Since the organization launched in 2017, its approach has always been to urge students to use the power of their relationships with friends, family and others to cut through the avalanche of messaging they receive around voting, said Max Lubin, the chief executive officer of Rise. 

A recent Rise retreat.

With fewer in-person opportunities to have these conversations, students are turning to text message chains, social media and other digital formats, he said. So far, Rise organizers have had conversations about voting with 80,000 young people and the organization’s voter registration and education platform,, has had 166,000 visits, Lubin said. 

Increasing voter turnout among college students has been a key component of their strategy of building youth political power to make college more affordable, advocate for students struggling to afford basic needs, and other policy priorities. “We no longer live in a society in which elected officials are always inclined to do the right thing by constituents; they’re really motivated by the voters that elect them,” Lubin said. 

Young people are a coveted demographic

Young people are a coveted demographic among candidates, said Hahrie Han, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University. For one, they account for a sizable portion of the electorate — one in 10 eligible voters this election season is from Generation Z, according to the Pew Research Center. In addition, habits that start when voters are young have the potential to set a precedent for the rest of their voting life, she said. 

Finally, because our politics are so polarized, elections are largely won on turnout, Han said. That typically involves two components: Turning out your base and bringing in new voters. “They don’t have this voting history to draw on so everyone is fighting for that vote,” Han said of young people. 

Though not all young people go to college, college campuses have historically played a role in creating a culture around voting and participating in civic life, she said. Some of those activities, like hosting a physical polling place, may be different this year, but many can still carry on in a remote format, Han added. 

Perhaps counterintuitively, the pandemic constraints have allowed the College Republicans to draw more students to events that aren’t at their college or in their region, said Courtney Britt, the organization’s southern regional vice chair. 

Students “are able to attend a national online conversation much more readily,” Britt said. Some of the issues the group is emphasizing as part of their get out the vote efforts include the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barret and the economy. “It’s a big deal. They need to have a strong economy to walk into,” Britt said of college students. 

In addition to holding events and town halls on Zoom

“it’s pretty much the default at this point,” Britt quipped — the organization launched a national effort to recruit student volunteers for phone banking, canvassing (when appropriate) and other activities for close campaigns, even if they live elsewhere. 

One of the biggest changes from previous years is an increased emphasis on voter education, Britt said. “This year it’s been a lot more focused on making sure people know how to vote early, how to vote by mail, making sure that they have the information and they have the resources they need — and making sure the ballots are going to the right places if they’re voting by mail.”

Integrating voter education into the websites where students turn in their homework

The Students Learn Students Vote Coalition — a group of nonpartisan organizations, colleges, universities and higher education associations working to increase college voter turnout — has also pivoted its efforts this year. The coalition formed in February 2016 initially to advocate that the U.S. Department of Education do more to make colleges aware of their responsibility to help students register to vote. The Higher Education Act requires colleges and universities to make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to students in years when there’s a federal election or governor’s election in their state. 

Initially, the group had planned to help colleges integrate one-on-one conversations about voting into typical touch points on campus, like registering for classes and orientation, said Clarissa Unger, the organization’s director. But once colleges began sending students home in the spring, the coalition, which was working with colleges on primary campaigns, had to switch gears, Unger said. 

Now the organization is helping colleges integrate voter education into learning management systems, the websites where students attend classes and turn in homework. It held a virtual National Voter Education Week this month and has provided campuses with messaging they can use to convey to students the importance of voting early, Unger said. 

College students face particular obstacles to voting

Despite these efforts, Unger worries about the obstacles students could face that are particular both to this election cycle and their status as students. “The biggest challenge that students are facing this year is just not having certainty as to where they’re going to be on Election Day,” she said. 

Students who might have had their mail-in ballots sent to their dorm room mail boxes could struggle to access them if they’re sent home due to a coronavirus outbreak. In this case, there’s little colleges could do because it’s illegal to forward election mail. 

And because college life is so different from a typical year — even for students who are on campus — much of the social incentives around voting are gone. When in-person campus activities were robust, students would “go over to the voting locations with the a capella group,” or other student organizations, “they can’t do that right now,” said Nancy Thomas, the director of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University. 

On top of those challenges are the hurdles college students typically face to voting — some states won’t accept student IDs as proof of identity and/or residency, others ban voters from using an out-of-state ID to confirm their identity — and Thomas worries college student turnout could be depressed from previous years. 

The average student voting rate in the 2018 midterm elections was 40%, according to Thomas’ organization, a much higher level than in previous midterm election cycles. That high level of participation was the result of a combination of several factors, according to Thomas, that included, for some, an interest in registering their displeasure with the policies of the Trump administration. Before the pandemic, she assumed college students would continue to turn out at high levels. 

“I was often giving talks to administrators on college campuses back in January saying ‘don’t worry about 2020, you need to worry about 2022’,” Thomas said. “Then COVID hit and that really changed the landscape.” 

Though the pandemic has increased the challenges students might face voting, the last several months have also brought into stark relief many of the issues important to young people, like economic and racial equality. That dynamic could fuel students’ enthusiasm for voting this year. More than 60% of students in a recent College Reaction/Axios poll said they would “confront or otherwise express disappointment” towards someone they know who chose not to vote if they couldn’t. 

Systemic racism, student debt, climate change and other issues are on the ballot

At the NAACP, student leaders at campuses across the country are holding Zoom tutorials on how to properly fill in a mail-in ballot and how to respond if you’re denied the right to vote at a polling place. They’re also hosting virtual candidate forums and Instagram

live conversations. During this programming, organizers work to convey that issues important to young people, such as student debt, climate change and police brutality are on the ballot. 

“It goes far beyond the candidates, it’s about the issues at stake,” said Russell Boyd, a national field organizer for the NAACP’s youth and college division. “It’s about the movement that we build to hold candidates accountable to support Americans, to support young Black Americans specifically, around their interests and their needs.” 

“There are so many of us who are actively seeing every day the importance of voting that goes beyond the president,” Boyd added.  

Indeed, that’s the case for Blaine Lewis-Thompson, a senior at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow at Rise. “When I look at civic engagement, I see it as our responsibility as United States citizens and I also see it as part of the experience of being part of the Black community.” 

Blaine Lewis-Thompson got involved in civic engagement when he started at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, an HBCU, as a freshman.

Lewis-Thompson first got involved in civic organizing in 2017, when he started as a freshman at Cheyney, a Historically Black College. There, Lewis-Thompson began to reflect on all of the micro-aggressions he’d experienced during his K-12 education in predominantly white schools. 

“My decision to go to an HBCU was looked down upon by past coaches, by past teachers,” he said. That experience pushed him to ask the question: “why is a predominantly Black space being looked down upon as opposed to my other options for schools.”

Now, Lewis-Thompson is managing a team of fellows and interns who are encouraging students to make a voting plan. “Things need to change and the greatest time to change them is now,” he said.  

For Aaeshah Siddiqui, the possibility of free or affordable higher education is a major part of what motivated her to get involved with Rise and its voter registration efforts. She works as the Michigan Deputy State Director for Rise. 

Aaeshah Siddiqui hopes her efforts registering students to vote will hold lawmakers accountable to priorities, like free and affordable higher education.

“When I was applying for college in senior year, I was like, ‘Oh my God what are the prices? This is too much, this is absolutely inaccessible for a lot of people,’” Siddiqui said, noting that her decision to attend Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, was based in large part on that it was the most affordable option. 

By registering students and young people to vote and helping them to develop a voting plan, Rise organizers can hold politicians accountable to their interests, like making college more affordable, she said. 

“Voting is the first step,” she said. 

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Live updates | Don’t lower your guard until there is a vaccine: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation at 6 p.m. on October 20. This is his seventh address to the nation since the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak.

With the onset of the festival season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this is not the time to be careless as the novel coronavirus is still around and even a small negligence can dampen the festive spirit.

Here are the updates:


Highlight from PM Modi’s speech:

We must keep in mind that the lockdown may have ended but the virus is still there.

COVID-19 fatality rate in India is 83 for one million population, while the figure is more than 600 in countries like U.S., Brazil and Spain.

This is not the time to be careless or to believe that COVID-19 has ended.

Of late many people have stopped taking precautions, this is not right.

If you are careless and moving around without mask, you are putting yourself, children and the elderly at risk.

Govt is making all efforts to ensure that COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it is launched, reaches every Indian.

Media personnel, people on social media should campaign and spread public awareness for following COVID-19 guidelines.


PM Modi’s address to the nation:

Dear countrymen,

“In the fight against coronavirus, we have travelled very far, from the days of the Janata curfew. We can also see economic activity picking up. Many of us are going out to perform our responsibility. In the festival season, the markets are looking up. Lockdown may have gone but virus has not gone. This is not the time to become irresponsible or believe that Corona has gone away. Or that there is no threat from COVID-19. Recently, we have seen videos and photos that people have become careless. You are harming yourself and others in your family.

“Recently, we have seen videos and photos that people have become careless. You are harming yourself and others in your family. Many countries were witnessing COVID-19 coming down, but again it is going up. And it is going up alarmingly.”

‘We cannot led the guard down’

He goes on to quote Kabirdas doha to say the farmer would think he has done a good job. But the job is not done until the harvest reaches home. He says we can’t think the job is over till the vaccine is ready. “We cannot led he guard down. The world is working on a war footing to find a vaccine for corona,” the PM says. “In India too we are working on vaccine, some are in advanced stage. And as and when it comes, we are working on a plan to reach every household as fast as we can,” he adds.

PM Narendra Modi quotes Ramcharitmanas and says the book warns that enemy and disease should not be taken lightly “It is festival time. It is time for happiness. We are coming out of bad times. Little carelessness can cause big problems.

Do gaj ki doori, safe dostancing, repeatedly washing hands using soaps and wearing masks are a must. I want to see you all safe and healthy. I appeal the media people and those on social media to create awareness on corona prevention.” He extends seasonal greetings to all of them.

Jab tak dawai nahi, dhilai nahi [Don’t lower your guard until there is a vaccine]. For every 10 lakh population, our COVID-19 infection is 5,500 whereas this figure is over 25,000 in countries like the U.S. and Brazil. Our recovery rate is very well and the number of deaths per 10 lakh population is 83.”


Will share a message with citizens: PM

Urging people to hear the address, the Prime Minister said in a tweet, “Will be sharing a message with my fellow citizens at 6 PM this evening”.

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When is Trump and Biden’s final face-off, and how can I watch it live in the UK?

Trading barbs through plexiglass shields, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris turned the only vice presidential debate of 2020 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Ms Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration”.

Mr Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, acknowledged that “our nation’s gone through a very challenging time this year”, yet vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed 210,000 Americans.

They also went head-to-head on abortion, the Supreme Court and the environment.

The meeting, which was far more civil than last week’s chaotic face-off between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Read more: Who won the vice-presidential debate?

October 15, Florida 

The second debate was scrapped, leaving an October 22 event the final Trump-Biden showdown before election day on November 3.

Mr Trump created a political storm after saying he would not participate in the October 15 event because it was being held virtually. 

Mr Biden’s campaign had vowed that its candidate would participate in the new-format debate. “Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people,” the deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

The Commission on Presidential Debates said the new measures had been put in place “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate”.

Steve Scully was due to moderate the 90-minute debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

The debate was to take the form of a town hall event, with Miami residents in the audience posing their own questions to the two candidates. 

The candidates instead took place in separate town hall events on Oct 15 (see below).

Read more: Donald Trump vs Joe Biden policies

October 22, Tennessee

The final presidential debate will be at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22 at 9pm ET (2am UK). 

Mr Trump and Mr Biden will have their microphones turned off at Thursday’s presidential debate to stop them talking over each other. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has announced that it will enforce two minutes of uninterrupted speaking time for each candidate per topic after the first debate between rivals became a farce.

The 90-minute event, moderated by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker, will also be divided into 15-minute segments on prepared topics. 

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UK coronavirus LIVE: London’s weekly Covid cases pass 10,000 as Wales confirms ‘firebreak’ lockdown

Jonathan Ashworth said the longer that Prime Minister Boris Johnson “dithers”, the harder it will be to take back control of the virus

He said: “To get the national R below one, more intervention will be needed than is currently proposed. So is it not in the national interest to now follow the advice of Sage and adopt a two to three-week circuit-break?

“Last week, the Prime Minister when asked about a circuit-breaker said, ‘I rule nothing out’ and he said he stands ready to apply those measures if necessary. But yesterday, (Michael Gove) ruled out a circuit-break.

“So for clarity, has the Government now completely ruled out a circuit-breaker in all circumstances? Because the cost of delay could be a deeper, longer, fuller lockdown. Is (Matt Hancock) now ruling that out?

“But can I say to him, we do have a window of opportunity. For much of the country, it’s half-term next week. If it’s politically easier for him, he doesn’t have to call it a circuit-break, he can call it a firewall, he can call it a national moment of reset.

“Whatever he calls it, we need something because the longer the Prime Minister dithers, the harder it becomes to take back control of this virus, protect the NHS and save lives. We urge him to act before it’s too late.”

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‘Fauci is a disaster’: Trump denigrates Covid expert in campaign staff call – live | US news

Florida isn’t the only state where in-person voting opens today. Residents in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho and North Dakota will also be able to cast their ballots today.

Tomorrow it is the turn of voters in Hawaii, Louisiana, Utah and Wisconsin. West Virginia follows on Wednesday.

The US election system is completely decentralised, which is why there is such a variation on dates and rules between states. Christina A. Cassidy reports this morning for the Associated Press on one particular question – what happens to your early vote if you die after it has been cast?

She spoke to Hannah Carson in North Carolina. At 90 years old and living through a global pandemic, Carson knows time may be short. She wasted no time returning her absentee ballot for this year’s election.

As soon as it arrived at her senior living community, she filled it out and sent it back to her local election office in Charlotte, North Carolina. If something were to happen and she doesn’t make it to election day, Carson told AP she hopes her ballot will remain valid. “I should think I should count, given all the years I have been here,” she said.

But in North Carolina, a ballot cast by someone who subsequently dies can be set aside if a challenge is filed before election day with the county board of elections.

Seventeen states prohibit counting ballots cast by someone who subsequently dies before the election, but 10 states specifically allow it. The law is silent in the rest of the country, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Even though a law might require such ballots to be rejected, it’s likely that some could still count depending on when the person dies and when election officials find out about the death.

“The law may say that the ballot of a person who dies in that situation can’t be counted, but it is a hard law to follow,” said Wendy Underhill, head of elections for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

When someone dies close to an election, it takes time for death records to be updated, and there is a narrow window between when a ballot is cast and counted. Colorado in 2016 had between 15 and 20 instances of voters who cast a ballot by mail and then died before Election Day. All were counted.

In Michigan’s primary earlier this year, 864 ballots were rejected because the voters died before the election even though they were alive when they filled them out. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a link to a story about the dead voters in Michigan that was later debunked for misrepresenting the issue.

With President Trump making unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, the question of whether ballots will count if early voters die soon after could be a source of further conspiracies to come.

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‘Saturday Night Live’: Issa Rae’s Needed Comic Energy

For a few merciful moments during last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live, viewers were offered a rare distraction from the fact that the nation is barreling toward a chaotic election. When Issa Rae, the evening’s host, stepped onto the stage for her opening monologue, I breathed a sigh of relief—in no small part because that meant the “Dueling Town Halls” cold open was over. That skit had eased the audience into the night’s antics with another satirical installment of conflict between presidential candidates: The narrator described the split-screen viewing experience as “trying to decide between a Hallmark movie and an alien autopsy.”

The segment delivered on its characterization of President Donald Trump’s town hall as a “thirst trap” laid out for him by NBC—midway through, viewers got a replay of the bizarre moment when a South Florida voter began her question for Trump by telling him, “You’re so handsome when you smile.” But even with Kate McKinnon’s Savannah Guthrie lodging pointed questions about the president’s refusal to condemn QAnon, Maya Rudolph’s Senator Kamala Harris joking about mimosas, and Jim Carrey’s former Vice President Joe Biden breaking into an impromptu Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood sing-along, the skit felt much like the rest of SNL’s recent political commentary—tepid, tedious, and woefully inadequate given the cataclysmic state of the country. As my colleague David Sims wrote of the Season 46 premiere earlier this month, “The show’s return to a standard format makes clear that its brand of topical satire simply won’t be enough for the chaotic months of pandemic and election uncertainty that lie ahead of us.”

Enter Issa Rae. After such a droll cold open, the host’s sunny demeanor enlivened last night’s episode and ushered in a handful of sketches that diverged from SNL’s standard political fare. The Insecure creator began her monologue as many SNL presenters do: by emphasizing the honor of standing on the stage where many of her comedy heroes, including Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, have performed. She then exclaimed that she was scared she “might throw up, [but] I’m gotta hold it down because I’m the first Black person to host SNL, y’all!” Rae quickly informed viewers that this alleged milestone wasn’t true, but that claim was just one of several jokes last night that poked fun at Hollywood’s ongoing struggle with diversity. (SNL has had a particularly abysmal record in this regard; Tiffany Haddish, for example, was the first-ever Black woman comedian to host the show, just three years ago.)

Rae’s monologue was delightfully self-aware, peppered with jokes about industry racism that felt fun and fresh even though they drew on familiar material. It’s hardly news that Black people in Hollywood and other predominantly white industries are often confused for other people who look nothing like them—I’ve certainly had it happen to me—but I still chuckled when Rae adopted a solemn tone to tell audience members, “If the show goes bad tonight, just blame it on me, Mary J. Blige.” Rae’s approach to tackling political comedy was similarly rooted in her own uncomfortable experiences. Insecure premiered four years ago this month, and Rae explained the awkwardness of having had a major personal breakthrough happen in the run-up to the previous presidential election. “It was rude for me to be peaking right when democracy was collapsing,” she said, adding that it “feels weird to say, ‘Thank God for what happened in the fall of 2016.’” Such remarks felt self-deprecating rather than boastful, a posture Rae has successfully spun into relatable comedy for much of her career. Her show is, after all, called Insecure.

Elsewhere, Rae brought Francophone humor to a skit about news in Montreal, playing a broadcast anchor named Awa Sene whose entire job is to man the program’s “Drake Watch” segment. Rae (née Jo-Issa Rae Diop), the daughter of a Senegalese-born father and Louisiana-born mother, hardly exhibited an authentic French accent, but it was still charming to see her in a comedic role that nodded to her heritage. Rae’s enthusiasm about the pursuit of local hero Aubrey Graham was outlandish in its intensity, a callback to the early part of the 2010s, when Drake could seemingly do no wrong. And a scene that took her to the top of Toronto’s CN Tower reminded me of the rapper’s own SNL stint, during a much simpler time. SNL’s Canadian jokes were predictably stale—French! cigarettes! weird bagels!—but the skit was also an amusing tie-in for the evening’s musical guest, Justin Bieber, another Canadian national treasure. Bieber’s performances, one of which included an assist from Chicago’s Chance the Rapper, were both remarkably earnest, a strange but not-unpleasant diversion from the rest of the show’s tone.

A series of topical sketches, many of which included Rae, brought levity and insight to the United States’ social climate without leaning too heavily on horse-race-style political jokes. A skit called “First Date Exes” saw her seated across from Chris Redd, preparing to eat dinner outdoors because the restaurant they’re frequenting is already at “2 percent capacity” inside. A string of former flames keeps coming up to their table and interrupting the pair, an absurd sequence that nonetheless captures the incredible awkwardness of pandemic-era dating. A later segment about a fictional “Five-Hour Empathy” product put a fantastical spin on the liberal hand-wringing that followed the first wave of racial-justice protests this summer. In a 2020 corollary to Queen Latifah’s famed “Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches” bit, Beck Bennett played a suburban man who insists he wants to know about the nation’s history of discrimination against people of color, but refuses to actually drink the magical elixir that would provide him with … well, five hours of empathy.

In perhaps the most devastating sketch of the night, a parody commercial for eBay encouraged viewers to just give up and sell the hobby equipment they purchased at the start of quarantine—when people naively thought they’d use the time at home to start needlepointing, read The Odyssey, or learn a new language. “Don’t be shy—if you admit that it’s unused, you’ll get more money,” a narrator tells characters who are contemplating the sale of their early-quarantine purchases. An important caveat comes at the end: “This commercial doesn’t apply to you if you worked or had kids.”

That such skits would be far more effective than SNL’s traditional political commentary isn’t surprising. The entertainment landscape is already saturated by politics—whether it be the debates or town halls themselves, cable news, podcasts, a West Wing reunion special, or baffling celebrity chatter. President Trump’s state of mind alone draws constant coverage, to say nothing of his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. As SNL’s creator and longtime producer, Lorne Michaels, told Vulture ahead of the Season 46 premiere, “So much of news coverage is, ‘Do you believe he did this?’ ‘Do you believe he said this?’ And somehow or another, he ends up being the thing everyone’s talking about … We try to get to the truth of it.” Last night’s episode attempted that with mixed results. The bulk of “Weekend Update” was packed, as ever, with groan-inducing one-liners, and portrayals of Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, and Eric Trump did little more than paint the siblings as buffoonish sycophants. But I was genuinely surprised to hear Michael Che deliver a line that criticized SNL’s own network for hosting the president’s town hall: “What can we say, we have a type,” he intoned, with a triptych of Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer, and President Trump being shown on-screen.

Even so, none of the night’s overtly political sketches packed as much humor as the one in which Kenan Thompson played the host of a talk show called Your Voice Chicago—and Rae played an NAACP lawyer who’s “voting for everybody Black,” a witty callback to the actor’s now-infamous comment at the 2017 Emmys. Joining the show alongside a journalist from The Root played by SNL’s Ego Nwodim, Rae’s character attempted to endorse the Black candidate in various political races despite an escalating series of flaws. Of a Black city-comptroller hopeful who had to give up the strip clubs he managed after being arrested for tax fraud, she noted that his familiarity with financial loopholes could be beneficial: “It’d be like hiring Wesley Snipes to do your taxes.” Rae’s character also forgave a billionaire and two conservative bloggers modeled after the real-life YouTube duo Diamond and Silk. But no matter how gracious or community-minded she might have been, there’s one candidate she just couldn’t get behind: “Kanye? F him.”

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