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Despite a study that found nearly 100,000 children were infected with the coronavirus in the final two weeks of July, President Trump on Monday reiterated the false claim that children are essentially immune to the virus, and that schools should reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.

“I think, for the most part, they don’t get very sick,” Trump said of children. “... It’s also a case where there’s a tiny fraction of death, tiny fraction, and they get better very quickly.”

Here are some significant developments:
  • President Trump suddenly exited his coronavirus briefing amid reports that the Secret Service shot a person outside the White House grounds. Secret Service confirmed that a shooting involving a U.S. Secret Service officer occurred at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • White House officials have been circulating a proposal that would give U.S. border authorities the extraordinary ability to block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from entering the country from Mexico if they are suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus.
  • College football players, including Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, spoke forcefully in favor of saving the fall season, even as momentum seemed to tilt toward cancellation, and urging players to unionize. President Trump tweeted Monday afternoon: “Play College Football!”
  • After one Georgia high school reopened with in-person instruction, viral photos showed hallways packed with maskless students. Now North Paulding High School is temporarily reverting to virtual instruction while the school is cleaned, after six students and three teachers tested positive.
  • California’s director of public health abruptly resigned Sunday night, a week after the state announced that an error with its electronic lab reporting system caused an undercount in newly reported coronavirus cases.
August 10, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT

In a bleak economy, these companies are flourishing

LEESBURG, Va. — Tucked into a suburban shopping center about two miles from a Civil War battlefield, this Tractor Supply Co. outlet has become a rare hot spot in an economy that has gone ice cold.

Since the first days of the coronavirus pandemic, the retailer for farmers, ranchers and suburbanites who fancy themselves farmers or ranchers has enjoyed what its chief executive calls an “unprecedented” sales surge. Fencing, bird feed, plumbing supplies, pet food, outdoor apparel, live chickens, lawn tractors — just about anything in stock has been flying out of its 1,881 stores nationwide.

“It’s been very steady,” said Tim Linch, 51, the store’s manager. “Early on, when everybody else was closed, people were coming in just because we were open. I’ve never seen so many people thank me.”

Read more here.

By David Lynch
August 10, 2020 at 11:12 PM EDT

Italians are reopening ancient ‘wine windows’ used during the plague

In the 1300s, Europeans lived in fear of the plague claiming lives across the continent. In 2020, Europeans face the threat of the coronavirus, a pandemic that has killed more than 728,000 worldwide.

While much about life has changed between the two cataclysmic health crises, one thing has not: mankind’s thirst for wine.

Between the wrath of the Black Death in the 1300s and the Italian Plague in the 1600s, wine merchants in the Italian region of Tuscany built “wine windows” to protect buyers and sellers from coming into close contact.

The socially distant precaution was ahead of its time.

Read more here.

By Natalie Compton
August 10, 2020 at 10:41 PM EDT

Governors raise concerns about implementing Trump executive moves

The nation’s governors raised concerns on a bipartisan basis Monday about implementing President Trump’s new executive action aimed at extending enhanced unemployment insurance, and called on Congress to act instead.

But on Capitol Hill, negotiations showed no signs of life as Democrats and Republicans traded accusations about their failure to reach a deal during two weeks of talks that collapsed on Friday.

In their statement, the governors pointed to “significant administrative burdens and costs” associated with attempting to implement a new plan Trump announced over the weekend, which would attempt to provide $400 weekly emergency unemployment benefits, with states required to apply for the funds and pay a quarter of the cost.

Read more here.

By Erica Werner, Tony Romm and Jeff Stein
August 10, 2020 at 9:57 PM EDT

Growing evidence suggests younger children may be affected differently by the coronavirus than older kids

Pictures of packed school hallways in Georgia and news of positive tests on the first day of classes in Indiana and Mississippi sparked the latest fraught discussions over the risk the coronavirus presents to children — and what’s lost by keeping them home from school. Friday brought reports of more infections among Georgia students, with dozens forced into quarantine in Cherokee County, among other places.

For months, parents and teachers, epidemiologists and politicians have chimed in with their views on the many still-unanswered questions about the extent to which the virus is a threat to children — and the extent to which they can fuel its spread.

Doctors are more confident that most children exposed to the virus are unlikely to have serious illness. Early studies on children and the virus were small and conflicting. But accumulating evidence suggests the coronavirus may affect younger children differently than older ones.

By Chelsea Janes and Ariana Eunjung Cha
August 10, 2020 at 9:25 PM EDT

White House looks at plan to keep out citizens and legal residents over virus

White House officials have been circulating a proposal that would give U.S. border authorities the extraordinary ability to block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from entering the country from Mexico if they are suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus, according to two administration officials and a person familiar with the plans.

It is unclear whether the Trump administration has the legal authority to block citizens and permanent residents from returning to their own country, but one official said the administration is weighing a public health emergency declaration that would let the White House keep out potentially infected Americans.

Read more here.

By Chelsea Janes, Brady Dennis, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey
August 10, 2020 at 9:02 PM EDT

Smash Mouth is the latest band to play a concert for the unmasked masses

Two weeks after the Chainsmokers caught flak for performing at a crowded event in the Hamptons, Smash Mouth is under fire for doing the same in South Dakota. The rock band performed Sunday night at the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a 10-day festival held in Sturgis, S.D.

Footage of the performance, which took place on the 600-acre Sturgis Buffalo Chip campground, circulated Monday after it was written up in multiple music publications. Attendees can be seen standing close to one another in footage captured by a local television station, most of them without masks. In a separate video, Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell can be heard saying, “F--- that covid s---!”

Read more here.

By Sonia Rao
August 10, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT

Assaulting retail workers who enforce mask rules is now a felony in Illinois

A newly signed Illinois law makes it a felony to assault employees who are enforcing state health orders mandating mask use indoors.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed the law, which took effect immediately, on Friday.

The law amends the Healthy Workplace Act, which in addition to the increased penalty also boosts paid disability leave for certain front-line workers and creates a tiered system of warnings that culminate in a $75-$2,500 fine for businesses that do not enforce mask rules.

“These rules will help ensure that the minority of people who refuse to act responsibly won’t take our state backward,” Pritzker said in a statement Friday after the law took effect.

Illinois’s struggle with mask orders reflects the wider battle across the United States, in which employees such as retail and grocery store workers have faced violence, sometimes fatal, in attempts to get members of the public to comply with state, local or store health protocols.

Illinois was among the early states to be hit hard by the pandemic, largely from cases in the Chicago metro area, home to about 10 million people. Cases fell in early summer only to rise again weeks later — a trend that has been recently fueled by cases in southern Illinois, where state officials have faced stronger opposition to health orders, including mask mandates.

In the United States, a proportionately small but noisy minority of the population has refused to enforce or obey mask orders. A Pew Research poll in June showed that 65 percent of American adults surveyed said they had personally worn a mask in stores or other businesses “all or most of the time” in the past month, compared with 16 percent who said they rarely or never did so.

By Kim Bellware
August 10, 2020 at 7:55 PM EDT

California governor seeks to reassure after glitch leads to 300,000 unprocessed test results

California Gov. Gavin Newsom sought to reassure residents that the state’s data is reliable and trending in the right direction Monday, just days after officials first detailed a glitch that led to a backlog of nearly 300,000 coronavirus test results.

In an afternoon news conference, Newsom (D) said the state was working to “ensure the kind of accuracy that all of you deserve.” His remarks came one day after the abrupt resignation of California’s director of public health, one of the leading voices in the state’s pandemic response.

“These things are unfortunate, but we are moving forward,” Newsom said.

The governor repeatedly declined to discuss why Sonia Angell, the public health chief, resigned, and he pointedly responded to a reporter’s question about whether her departure was related to the data failure.

“Forgive me for being human here,” Newsom said. “You want accountability, it’s with the state, it’s with the governor.”

“One thing I won’t do as a human being is get into detailed personnel conversations with you,” he added.

The data debacle — and the subsequent staffing shake-up — occurred at a critical time in California’s pandemic response. After the state spent weeks bearing the ignominious label “coronavirus hot spot,” Newsom allowed for a glimmer of optimism in his Aug. 3 briefing, showing slides of lower-than-expected case numbers. But later that night, the governor said Monday, his staff informed him of the computer error that caused 295,000 records to go unprocessed, undoubtedly contributing to an undercount.

“We would not have put out those data points had we known that,” Newsom said.

Even so, he added, he expects virus hospitalizations and the state’s test positivity rate to continue their downward trends.

“I believe over the course of the next day or two, when we assess the total number of positives based on that backlog, you’ll see exactly what we said was occurring a week ago,” Newsom said.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly told reporters Monday that the state has already made changes to its systems that will help correct the errors that led to the undercount.

“Although there’s always more work to do, we are reassured by the level of collaboration and work that we have the right way forward,” said Ghaly, who just three days before said the state’s computer system “was not built for this volume of data.”

By Reis Thebault
August 10, 2020 at 7:49 PM EDT

Trump reiterates schools should reopen, claims children ‘don’t get very sick’

Despite a study that found nearly 100,000 children were infected with the coronavirus in the final two weeks of July, President Trump reiterated Monday that schools should reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.

Asked during a news briefing Monday how the study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association affected his opinion that students should return to classrooms, Trump said young people were not at risk of extreme infection or death. He went on to confirm that he thinks children are immune.

“I think, for the most part, they do very well,” Trump said of children. “They don’t catch it easily, they don’t get very sick, and according to the people I’ve spoken to, they don’t transport or transfer it to other people, or certainly not easily.”

According to the national study, more than 338,000 children become infected by the coronavirus from the start of the pandemic through July 30 — or about 8.8 percent of the country’s total number of coronavirus cases. That fraction marks an increase from April 14, when children made up just 2 percent of those infected.

Many public health experts have disagreed with Trump’s assertion that children “don’t get very sick.”

“Children are not immune to covid,” UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital pediatrician Naomi Bardach told The Washington Post. “I have seen children in my clinic from young infants to teens with classic covid symptoms, including loss of smell in the older children, with positive covid tests.”

By Meryl Kornfield and Heather Kelly
August 10, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT

Trump suddenly exited his briefing amid reports Secret Service shot a person outside White House

President Trump suddenly exited his coronavirus briefing amid reports that the Secret Service shot a person outside the White House grounds.

The D.C. fire department was dispatched to outside the White House at 5:55 p.m. Monday after a call from the Secret Service reporting that they had shot a person in the upper body, D.C. fire spokesman Doug Buchanan said.

The president resumed the briefing a few minutes later.

Read more about this developing story here.

By Clarence Williams
August 10, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT

Royal Caribbean stock jumps 10 percent on demand for cruises next year

Stocks of Royal Caribbean surged 10 percent Monday as optimistic customers book trips for next year, in what the chief executive described as passengers yearning to return to travel after months of isolation.

In an interview with CNBC Monday, company head Richard Fain said: “I think we are seeing that there is a pent-up demand. People are frustrated being at home and being isolated."

Bookings for 2021 are trending within the company’s historical ranges, according to Royal Caribbean’s recent earnings report, released Monday.

The sign of potential recovery for the cruise business follows the decision in early March to cancel trips during the spring quarter and suspend Royal’s future sailing operations. As a consequence of the coronavirus, Royal lost $1.6 billion this period, compared to generating $473 million in profits during the same time last year.

About 60 percent of customers who booked trips for next year are for new itineraries, the company said. The remaining bookings, however, are from customers who rescheduled their cruises or are redeeming Royal Caribbean cruise credits from canceled trips. According to Royal’s website, the company is not offering customers cash refunds. The credits expire at the end of next year or 12 months after customers canceled their original cruise. That means that a significant number of next year’s bookings are tied to customers trying to salvage their 2020 plans without losing their money.

Shares of Royal Caribbean ended the trading session at $57.31, up 10 percent for the day and 156 percent from March lows.

Investors leaped to other stocks in the travel and leisure business after the hotel giant Marriott reported steep losses for the quarter but touted an increasing number of hotel reopenings and bookings.

By Hamza Shaban
August 10, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT

As the pandemic rages, foreign-trained nurses hope to get back to work

Elisabeth Bambara worked as a nurse for 10 years in her native Burkina Faso, but during a pandemic that has stretched hospitals to their limits, she can’t work as one in the United States.

Bambara has been trying to become certified as a nurse in the United States since she emigrated from the West African nation a decade ago. But the Montgomery County resident has been juggling working two jobs, raising three daughters and studying for the language and nursing exams that she would have to take to practice nursing here.

Ten years later, Bambara is working the night shift as a nursing assistant at an assisted-living facility — and wishing she could do more.

“When you know you can bring that help, but you don’t have enough time to get the certification, it doesn’t make you feel good,” she said. “I have to fight for my life. I have to fight for my kids. I don’t have time to study.”

Bambara is one of hundreds of internationally trained health-care providers who have worked with Montgomery County’s Welcome Back Center to try to get the certifications to resume work as a registered nurse, physician or other medical provider in the United States. During the pandemic, many are especially frustrated that they aren’t able to use all of their medical skills to help.

Read more here.

By Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff
August 10, 2020 at 4:40 PM EDT

Disney World to cut hours after reopening to smaller-than-expected crowds during the pandemic

One month after reopening amid the mounting coronavirus pandemic, with the United States surpassing 5 million cases over the weekend, Walt Disney World is modifying its hours of operation in a new schedule taking effect on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.

Disney’s already limited hours will be reduced by one to two hours per day, depending on the park. The change comes days after Disney reported unexpectedly low park attendance and “adversely impacted” earnings due to restrictions aimed at preventing the virus’s spread.

An updated schedule posted to the Disney World website over the weekend shows delayed opening times. Some parks will close earlier, with Epcot and the Animal Kingdom cutting back by two hours and the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios losing one hour per day.

Read more here.

By Shannon McMahon
August 10, 2020 at 3:57 PM EDT

Trump tweets ‘Play College Football!’ as officials weigh the season’s cancellation

With the cancellation of the college football season under serious consideration, President Trump joined Congress members and athletes opposed to the move, amplifying their calls to save the season.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled. #WeWantToPlay,” Trump tweeted Monday afternoon, employing the hashtag used by college athletes who on Sunday launched a drive to save the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lest Trump’s message be lost, he tweeted again 51 minutes later: “Play College Football!”

Read more here.

By Cindy Boren