Florida is lifting state restrictions on restaurants and many other businesses, the governor said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday that the state will move into the next phase of reopening, lifting state restrictions on restaurants and many other businesses.
Mr. DeSantis, an avid Republican supporter of President Trump who spoke Thursday at the president’s rally in Jacksonville, said he would sign an order that will allow restaurants and many other businesses to operate at full capacity as part of Phase 3 of the reopening. of its administration. Plan.
County governments would be allowed to limit capacity but not by more than 50 percent, DeSantis said – a new restriction on local control.
“I think this will be very, very important to the industry,” DeSantis said, calling the wholesale closure of restaurants in particular unacceptable. “You can’t say no after six months and have people squirming in the wind.”
Mr. DeSantis refused to enforce the use of the mask in the state, insisting that such a decision should be left to local governments. However, his administration has increasingly intervened to prevent counties from imposing stricter restrictions on viruses. Many of Florida’s larger counties are run by Democrats.
According to the state’s reopening plan, Phase 3 allows bars and nightclubs to operate at full capacity “with limited social distancing protocols”. Bars have yet to reopen in Miami-Dade County, the county most affected by the virus. The county mayor said he hopes to allow some restricted operations such as table service only.
Cases dropped significantly in the state after a sharp rise over the summer. The governor has publicized that Florida has been able to drop off the peak without imposing a freeze as evidence that business closures shouldn’t be contemplated to try to contain the virus in the future.
As of Thursday, Florida was testing 38% of a test target developed by researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute. The state had a 12 percent positivity rate for the total number of tests processed in the two-week period ending Thursday, according to data analyzed by The Times. Positive rates should be 5% or less for at least 14 days before a state or country can safely reopen, according to the World Health Organization.
Emergency room visits related to the virus peaked in early July and hospitalizations on July 21, Mr. DeSantis said.
“It was over two months ago,” he noted. Since then, “we have actually seen more economic activity, more interactions. Schools have opened. All theme parks are open. More people have visited. And what happened with the admissions? Covid-positive admissions fell by 76 % from the peak of July “.
On Friday, Florida added more than 2,800 new cases and 120 new deaths. In total, the state has recorded more than 695,000 cases and more than 13,900 deaths, according to a Times database.
If a county wants to limit restaurant capacity to between 50 and 100 percent, DeSantis said, it will need to provide a justification to the state.
“The idea that the government enforces this is better than them making decisions so that their customers have confidence, I think is out of place,” he said.
Other states also tried to curb municipalities where local officials wanted to impose restrictions beyond what the state required. In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, filed a lawsuit in mid-July against the mayor of Atlanta, a Democrat, that he wanted to require his constituents to wear masks in public. At that time, the cases in Atlanta were increasing day by day. Mr. Kemp eventually withdrew his complaint.
In Texas, after weeks of resisting requests for masks from mayors in some of the state’s largest cities, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, was beaten up by members of his own party when he changed course and ordered Texans. to wear masks in public. At the time, at the end of July, the state health system was overwhelmed by the spike in patients, as the average number of new cases per day had risen to seven times the size it was in early June.
In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, had opposed allowing local governments to issue their own mask warrants, but reversed that position in June in response to pressure from mayors of Arizona’s largest cities.
Two former leaders of a Massachusetts veterans home were indicted on charges of criminal negligence in connection with the coronavirus deaths of at least 76 residents at the facility, the state attorney general said Friday.
Bennett Walsh, 50, and Dr. David Clinton, 71, were indicted Thursday by a state grand jury on charges related to their work at the facility, Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass.
“We began this investigation on behalf of families who lost loved ones in tragic circumstances and to honor these men who bravely served our country,” state attorney general Maura Healey said in a statement. “We affirm that the actions of these defendants during the Covid-19 outbreak at the facility have put veterans at greater risk of infection and death and justify criminal charges.”
Each man was indicted on five counts, and the specific charges were for caretakers who “arbitrarily or recklessly” allow or cause physical injury and abuse, neglect or mistreatment of an elderly or disabled person.
Attorneys for Mr. Walsh and Dr. Clinton, of Springfield e S.outside Hadley, Mass., was not immediately reached.
The soldiers’ house, a state facility providing health care, hospice care and other assistance to veterans has been under investigation since early April, when the attorney general’s office learned of “serious problems with Covid-19 infection control procedures “.
Investigators focused on the events of March 27, when staff members combined two dementia wards with infected veterans and healthy residents, “increasing asymptomatic veterans’ exposure to the virus,” the attorney general’s office said.
Due to the staff shortage, the facility consolidated the units, which had a total of 42 residents who had different statuses, the office said. Residents who were positive or symptomatic were placed six in a room that typically housed four veterans, he said.
Residents deemed asymptomatic were placed in nine beds in the dining room, where they were “a few meters apart” and close to the room where the infected patients were, he said.
“Residents in the consolidated unit were purportedly mingling together, regardless of the state of Covid-19,” the Attorney General’s office said, adding that this decision was reckless from an infection control perspective and put veterans asymptomatic at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. “
The office said Mr. Walsh and Dr. Clinton would be arraigned in Hampden County Superior Court, but did not specify a date.
Faced with a worrying increase in cases in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, New York City health officials began carrying out emergency inspections in private religious schools on Friday and it threatened to impose an extraordinary closure on those communities that would be the city’s first major retreat upon reopening since the start of the pandemic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the police department and sheriff’s office to enforce public health guidelines in several Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, where residents often don’t wear masks or engage in social detachments. But community leaders said residents resisted the guidelines due to hostility towards Mr. de Blasio and the growing influence of Mr. Trump, whose views on the masks and the pandemic were widely accepted.
The crackdown is happening just before Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, which begins Sunday night, and it was not immediately clear the impact the measures could have on people’s ability to congregate in synagogues. The Department of Health said that if significant progress towards meeting the guidelines was not made by Monday, officials could issue fines, restrict meetings or force the closure of businesses or schools.
“This may be the most precarious time we have been facing since we came out of the blockade,” said Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, at a news conference in Brooklyn.
Officials this week released statistics showing that the positivity rate in some Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods has grown from 3 percent to 6 percent, significantly more than the city’s overall rate of between 1 percent and 2 percent. Officials are particularly concerned about the positivity rates in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park, Midwood and Gravesend, which they called the “Ocean Parkway Cluster.”
Mr. de Blasio told the Brian Lehrer Show on Friday that the city has closed four yeshivas for violations of social distancing rules. “This is an indicator of something that we will be fighting for a while here,” he said.
The rise in these neighborhoods represents the first major viral challenge for the city after months of decline or fixed numbers. The concern now is that if the epidemic spreads further in the Orthodox community, it could begin to take hold elsewhere, with even more serious consequences. If the city’s overall positivity rate reached 3%, this would trigger a new lockdown, including the closure of public schools.
Visits to Borough Park have shown that the rules are often ignored. The outbreak devastated New York’s Orthodox Jewish community in March and April, but this week there was hardly a mask in sight, as if the pandemic never happened.
Elsewhere in the New York area:
Less than a week before indoor dining in town resumes, the mayor said Friday the town is outdoor lunch program it would be made permanent and for the whole year. When temperatures drop, restaurants will also have the option to enclose their outdoor area, but if they do, they will have to abide by the 25% capacity indoor dining restrictions, the mayor said.
In fact, the city’s public school hybrid system program – in which students are in class for up to three days a week and learn remotely otherwise – has in one reality proved a logistical quagmire. The city still needs to hire thousands of teachers to staff in online and in-person classes, and a network of restrictions, pushed in part by the teachers’ union, has essentially forced principals to create two versions of the school: one in person and one online.
Argentina’s death rate rises as the virus spreads to provinces far from the capital.
Epidemics affecting various parts of Argentina are raising alarm as the country grapples with one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world.
Argentina reported 2,306 deaths in the past seven days, a rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. That puts Argentina behind only tiny St. Maarten in the Caribbean in per capita virus deaths during that time, according to a Times database.
The country has recorded a total of 76,553 cases in the past seven days, the sixth highest total in the world, behind India, the United States, Brazil, France and Spain. But its per capita case rate at that time, 172, was higher than all those countries.
In the Americas, only Aruba and Costa Rica reported more cases per capita than Argentina during that period.
The growing figures reflect how the virus can get out of control when mitigation efforts are relaxed. Argentina, which implemented one of Latin America’s toughest blockades in March, now appears to be faring worse than countries like Brazil and Mexico, which have faced devastating epidemics.
But they can also reflect inconsistencies in data reporting that can blur the picture of what the virus is doing. Federico Tiberti, a Princeton doctoral student analyzing the coronavirus data reporting in Argentina, underlined that 80 of the 390 deaths reported Thursday in the country involved deaths from more than a month ago, as officials work their way through a backlog.
The delay in registering the deaths raises the possibility that the virus may have spread more intensively in the country than previously estimated in recent weeks.
While the Buenos Aires metropolitan area had previously been hit by epidemics, the spread of the virus in provinces with fewer health resources is fueling concerns. In the Rio Negro province, 87 percent of the I.C.U. the beds are occupied, followed by Salta and Mendoza, both at 81%, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
“The cities that have greater mobility due to economic and productive activity is where there is more incidence of cases”, Fabián Puratich, health minister of the southern province of Chubut, where cities like Comodoro Rivadavia and Puerto Madryn are facing outbreaks, said in a video message this week.
Argentina saw a total of 678,266 cases and 14,766 deaths, according to a Times database.
The governor of Virginia and his wife test positive for the virus.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said Friday that he and his wife, Pamela Northam, tested positive for the virus.
They were tested after learning that they had been in close contact with a staff member who had been infected. Mr. Northam, a Democrat, said he felt fine while his wife had mild symptoms.
“As I reminded Virginians during this crisis, #COVID-19 it’s very real and very contagious “, Mr. Northam wrote on Twitter. “We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us and, more importantly, your Virginia comrades, is to take this virus seriously.”
The state reported a relatively low number of new virus cases per day – about 862 – over a seven-day period ending Thursday, according to a New York Times database. Deaths, while increasing, are still modest with an average of around 28 deaths over seven days.
Mr. Northam is the third governor to test positive. On Thursday, Governor Mike Parson of Missouri, a Republican, announced that he would cancel the campaign events in his re-election run and isolate himself after he and his wife, Teresa, tested positive. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, also a Republican, contracted the virus in July.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican who became known for his aggressive approach to containing the virus, initially tested positive as part of a screening to meet with President Trump in August, but it was a false positive. He later received a negative result from a more accurate test.
In other US news:
The number of known cases in the United States surpassed seven million on Thursday, according to a Times database, and California, the most populous state in the country, has registered its 800,000th case since the start of the pandemic. The United States hit six million cases less than a month ago on Aug.30.
A federal judge banned the Trump administration on Friday from ending the Census 2020 a month in advance, the latest breakthrough in years of political and legal warfare for a disputed population count that was delayed for months due to the pandemic. In the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Lucy H. Koh issued a preliminary injunction preventing the administration from closing the count by September 30, one month before the scheduled completion date of September 31. October.
Oklahoma Friday reported 1,276 new cases, a one-day record for the state. More cases have been reported in Oklahoma in the past week than in any other seven-day period of the pandemic.
Indiana University closes a fraternity until next summer after health rules are ignored.
Join a growing number of colleges they have taken disciplinary action against Greek organizations violating health regulations, Indiana University forced a fraternity to shut down next summer because it held a big event where people didn’t wear face masks or socially at a distance.
The fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, has agreed to close its chapter house in Bloomington. The Monroe County Health Department found that fraternity members had “intentionally set up, allowed or maintained conditions that can transmit the spread of Covid-19,” second a press release from the department.
The closure derives from an event held at the brotherhood house on the night of September 16. A university official said the meeting was likely a commitment event to select new members.
“This agreement directly addresses the health concerns in this home and reflects the seriousness of ensuring the safety of students,” Chuck Carney, a spokesman for the university, said in an email Thursday.
Mr. Carney said 14 fraternities and fraternities are in quarantine. The most recent positivity rate for Greek home residents was 3.3% – down from 14.6 percent the week before – although it remained above the rate among students living in dormitories, according to the university’s Covid-19 dashboard.
Universities have struggled to prevent fraternities and fraternities from turning into virus groups. Earlier this month, the University of New Hampshire suspended a fraternity that was hosting a party linked to at least 11 cases. Furman University in South Carolina suspended a fraternity for at least four years during a party held in August. In the same month, the University of Kansas issued termination and desist orders to two fraternities accused of violating health and safety guidelines.
Israelis will be allowed to fly out of the country for the holidays only if they have already bought air tickets before the new virus blocking rules went into effect at 14:00. Friday, officials said.
Travel restrictions are part of a national effort to cope with a growing workload. Israel has recorded nearly 37,000 new cases in the past week, a per capita rate that is the highest in the world, according to a New York Times database.
Outbound tickets purchased after Friday’s deadline will not be honored, the Israeli Ministry of Transport said in a statement, but thousands of Israelis already abroad will be able to return to their original flights and self-quarantine upon arrival. if necessary.
Only a very few countries currently accept Israeli travelers, including Greece and Serbia.
The national blockade, Israel’s second this year, began last week. It is expected to last at least another two weeks, but will likely continue in some way until the end of October. In light of rising infection rates, the government approved the tightening of restrictions on Thursday.
The authorities had considered closing Ben-Gurion International Airport for all flights except cargo and emergency flights. But since airlines are unlikely to cancel all of their scheduled flights at short notice, there were concerns that thousands of Israelis who had already purchased airline tickets would sue the state for reimbursement, Israeli media reported.
Miri Regev, Israel’s transport minister, said the decision to reduce outbound travel was intended to balance the interest in keeping the airport and its workers running, the rights of those who had already bought airline tickets and “the principle of social solidarity” as part of the national effort to combat the pandemic.
Australian regulations restricting air travel into the country leave thousands of people stranded overseas.
Australia is one of the few places in the world that prevents citizens from leaving their country and limits the number of those who can return. The strict regulations have raised legal concerns about the right to freedom of movement and have been particularly painful for the large number of Australians who turn to travel as a balm against the tyranny of distance from the rest of the world.
“We wanted to get our children out of the Australian bubble,” said Daniel Tusia, 40, of his family’s decision to travel overseas for a year. Mr. Tusia ended up spending $ 14,000 on business class tickets to take his wife and two children, one of whom has special needs, back to Australia after weeks of trying to get home.
“It never occurred to us before this point that Australia would actually physically and legally bar you from entering,” he said.
Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, has called the country’s uncompromising approach as crucial to avoiding the kind of rampant spread of the virus experienced in countries that have broader or non-existent travel restrictions, such as the United States.
“As an island continent, controlling our borders has been a means by which we have kept Australians safe,” he wrote in a letter in August sent to those seeking consular assistance in returning. He acknowledged the measures were “frustrating”, but said they were necessary.
But as many of those stranded overseas became more publicly outspoken about their plight, some opposition politicians expressed more empathy. “These are people who have the right to return to their country, because they are Australians,” Kristina Keneally, a senior Labor Party Home Affairs official, told Parliament in September.
Last week, under mounting pressure, Morrison said the limits for passengers entering the country would increase to 6,000 per week from 4,000. These numbers, however, depend on the cooperation of states and their ability to quarantine arrivals, and travel industry experts said they are still far below demand.
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin has asked older people to stay at home and businesses to relocate to remote work, in the clearest sign that the authorities are wary of the growing number of cases in the city.
The mayor also highlighted doctors’ concerns that the flu coincides with the pandemic, risking more lives, and warned that if people don’t take orders seriously, a complete blockade could follow.
“We don’t really want to go back to the rigid constraints of this spring,” Sobyanin said.
The order for a partial blockade contrasted with suggestions by President Vladimir V. Putin that Russia has largely under control the virus and that a vaccine is ready. Mr. Putin warned on Thursday of cases on the rise.
Reported cases have increased in the Russian capital after stabilizing at a few hundred per day over the summer. On Friday, Moscow reported 1,560 new cases. Last week, Moscow hospitals reported a 30% increase in virus patients, Mr. Sobyanin said.
The increase in Russian cases comes despite the country being the first to do so register a vaccine last month for emergency use. High-risk people, such as doctors and teachers, can legally take the vaccine outside of a clinical trial, but few have. As of Friday, 126 health workers in Moscow have taken the vaccine, not enough to slow the spread of the virus in a city of 13 million.
Russia has recorded at least 1.1 million cases of the virus, the fourth highest tally in the world after the United States, India and Brazil.
In other international news:
South Korea announced on Friday new guidelines for social distancing as millions of people prepared to travel to their hometowns during one of the largest holidays in the country. The Chuseok holiday runs from Wednesday to October 4 and represents a new challenge for health officials who have struggled to contain cases. As of Monday, villages cannot hold community parties of more than 50 people indoors and more than 100 outdoors, and entertainment facilities, including drinking, will be closed in provincial towns.
The annual carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro it will be postponed to next year for the first time in more than a century, Brazilian news outlets reported Thursday. During a typical Carnival, held during the peak of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, rowdy street parties and performances envelop the city. But that may now be an epidemiologist’s nightmare, in a country that has so far reported more than 4.5 million cases and nearly 140,000 deaths, and whose president, Jair Bolsonaro, announced in July that he tested positive. According to a Times database, Rio de Janeiro alone has reported more than 250,000 cases, including more than 11,000 in the past week.
The regional government in the capital of Spain, Madrid, added eight areas to the partial blockade that went into effect this week. Spain is battling a resurgence of the virus, and Friday’s addition extends the restrictions to around one million residents.
London it will become an “area of concern” and will be added to the UK government’s list of hot spots that may soon be subject to a local blockade. Reacting to the news, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement that the city was “at a very worrying turning point” and urged residents to follow health guidelines, calling on the government to increase capacity. of test.
Participation to the French Open The tennis tournament, which begins on Sunday, will be limited to 1,000 spectators per day as part of tightened restrictions in France, which has recorded a daily average of nearly 12,000 new cases per day in the past week.
The report was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Pam Belluck, Choe Sang-Hun, Emily Cochrane, Johnny Diaz, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Antonella Francini, Winnie Hu, Mike Ives, Isabel Kershner, Juliana Kim, Andrew E. Kramer , Dan Levin, Raphael Minder, Saw Nang, Richard C. Paddock, Azi Paybarah, Daniel Politi, Alan Rappeport, Simon Romero, Liam Stack, Daniel E. Slotnik, Anna Schaverien, Eliza Shapiro, Jeanna Smialek, Mitch Smith, Eileen Sullivan, Michael Wines, Elaine Yu, Mihir Zaveri and Karen Zraick.