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The World Health Organization on Sunday reported the highest one-day increase in coronavirus infections since the pandemic began: more than 308,000 new cases. India, the United States and Brazil logged the largest numbers of new infections on Sunday.

The WHO also warned that Europe will see a surge in coronavirus-linked deaths in the fall as new infections have been soaring over the past weeks to levels not seen since the spring.

Here are some significant developments:
  • At least 190,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States. More than 6,488,000 cases have been detected since February.
  • A top communications official for the administration’s coronavirus response urged President Trump’s supporters to prepare for an armed insurrection after a contested election and accused government scientists of “sedition” in a Facebook Live chat.
  • Orders by Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf to limit gatherings and close non-essential businesses to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus were unconstitutional, a federal judge said on Monday.
  • States that have reopened bars experienced a doubling in the rate of coronavirus cases three weeks after the opening of doors, on average, a Post analysis found.
  • Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services have sought to change, delay and prevent the release of reports about the coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because they were viewed as undermining President Trump’s message that the pandemic is under control.
  • Amazon announced it will hire 100,000 new workers to meet the surging demand of e-commerce in the covid era, bolstering an already-dramatic expansion of jobs this year.
  • It could be next summer before most of the Washington region’s workers return to offices after months spent teleworking because of the coronavirus, according to a new survey.
September 14, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
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Perspective: Americans who can afford to hoard cash are waiting for a vaccine to spend it

By Michelle Singletary

Until there’s an effective vaccine, many Americans who can afford to save money are playing it safe and hoarding their cash, according to a poll.

While tens of thousands of people are struggling to pay their rent or buy food, others have been able to squirrel away some savings and pay off debt because they’re spending less on eating out, vacations and consumer goods.

The U.S. personal savings rate hit a record 33 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The rate has been going down since then, hitting 17.8 percent in July. Still, the data shows that many people are able to save.

Gallup and Franklin Templeton released a survey that found 54 percent of Americans are saving at least a little money, and until there’s a vaccine, they largely plan to keep stashing it away. The survey was conducted Aug. 3-11.

September 14, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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State Dept. lifts ‘do not travel’ advisory for Mexico as border closure is due to expire

By Shannon McMahon

The U.S. State Department has lowered its travel advisory for Mexico to a Level 3 from its highest possible Level 4, days before the U.S.-Mexico border closure is due to expire on Sept. 21.

The modified travel advisory says U.S. travelers should “reconsider travel to Mexico due to covid-19” as well as “crime and kidnapping.” A border closure restricting nonessential travel has been in place between the United States and Mexico since March 21 in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

The border closure terms only apply to land and water crossings, as flights between the United States and Mexico have largely continued since the early days of the pandemic. Until last week, the State Department’s Mexico advisory was a Level 4 (do not travel) nationwide. Some less-visited regions of Mexico remain classified Level 4 for “crime and kidnapping.”

September 14, 2020 at 10:00 PM EDT
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With safety protocols working, Smithsonian to reopen four more museums on Friday

By Peggy McGlone

Two months after the Smithsonian successfully reopened the National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., four more museums will welcome back visitors on Friday.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Renwick Gallery are the next sites in the gradual reopening of the world’s largest museum complex. The success of the zoo and Udvar-Hazy gave the Smithsonian confidence to introduce more, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III said.

September 14, 2020 at 9:53 PM EDT
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Trump seizes on judge ruling that Pennsylvania lockdown is ‘unconstitutional’

By Meryl Kornfield

Shutdown restrictions ordered by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus were unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday — a decision that was quickly celebrated by President Trump, who said he hopes the decision is followed by similar pronouncements in other states.

The state’s limits on gatherings and closure of nonessential businesses violated the First Amendment and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, according to a 66-page opinion by U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee. The governor’s office confirmed it will appeal the decision.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed in May by four Pennsylvania counties — Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington — that argued against the state’s orders to close “non-life-sustaining” businesses and limit gatherings to 25 people indoors or 250 people outdoors.

September 14, 2020 at 9:30 PM EDT
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How you can rent a room in the ‘Fresh Prince’ mansion (with covid-specific rules)

By Natalie Compton

Perhaps to take our minds off the nightmare year we’re living in, Airbnb has been reviving relics of the ’90s this summer. First they put the world’s last Blockbuster up for rent. Now, they’re offering a bedroom in the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” mansion in Los Angeles.

Coinciding with the sitcom’s 30th anniversary, Will Smith himself listed a room in the fictional Banks’s family mansion on Airbnb for $30 per night. It will be up for grabs starting Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. Pacific time.

Because we’re still in a pandemic, there are coronavirus-specific rules, including the requirement that guests must provide a negative virus test dated within 72 hours of their stay and wear a face mask during check-in and checkout.

September 14, 2020 at 9:09 PM EDT
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Top Trump health appointee warns of armed insurrection after election

By Yasmeen Abutaleb, Lena H. Sun, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind Helderman

A top communications official for the administration’s coronavirus response urged President Trump’s supporters to prepare for an armed insurrection after a contested election and accused government scientists of “sedition” in a Facebook Live chat that he described in detail to The Washington Post on Monday.

Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, which is overseeing the coronavirus response, leveled the accusations and promoted other conspiracy theories in a Facebook Live event first reported by the New York Times. Caputo confirmed the authenticity of the video in comments he made to The Post.

“Since joining the administration my family and I have been continually threatened and in and out of criminal court dealing with harassment prosecutions,” Caputo said in a statement. “This weighs heavily on us and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe.”

September 14, 2020 at 8:45 PM EDT
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Michigan reports new outbreaks at eight colleges

By Meryl Kornfield

Michigan reported more than 280 coronavirus infections linked to several school clusters, according to statewide data published Monday, as the nation wrestles with bringing students back to classrooms amid the pandemic.

Of the 286 cases tallied by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services since its previous reporting last Monday, 94 percent of new infections came from eight colleges. Nationwide, more than 88,000 cases have been traced to colleges, the New York Times reported, with students housed in close quarters, sometimes flouting restrictions.

More than 200 of the new cases came from Michigan State University, where local health officials ramped up restrictions at fraternities, sororities and other off-campus housing where there have been clusters.

The announced restrictions Monday for the residents at several off-campus housing sites, among those were 13 fraternities and 10 sororities. The limitations included banning nonessential travel, requiring mask-wearing and prohibiting visitors.

At least 342 people affiliated with the school have tested positive, according to the health department.

The county has seen a “staggering” number of infections, health officer Linda S. Vail told The Post, adding that contact tracing has identified the spread of the virus among students who did not comply with mandatory restrictions.

“We have the data,” Vail said. “We have information about parties, social gatherings, [and people saying] ‘No, we weren’t wearing masks.’”

Vail is not the first health official to mandate quarantines for shared college housing — as officials at Indiana University at Bloomington and the University of Wisconsin at Madison have ordered similar measures. The restrictions, which Vail said she would consider imposing if there are continued outbreaks, can reduce the spread of the infection where transmission is most likely to occur.

“These large congregate settings are always kind of the breeding ground for just fueling outbreaks,” she said.

September 14, 2020 at 7:26 PM EDT
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More cities and states are opening bars and restaurants despite mounting evidence of potential danger

By Rachel Weiner, Chris Alcantara and Andrew Ba Tran

In New York City, diners will be able to have a meal inside a restaurant at the end of the month, something that hasn’t happened there since the coronavirus pandemic began. In Florida, bars are set to reopen Monday for the first time since late June.

One decision appears to be riskier than the other, according to an analysis of cellphone and coronavirus case data by The Washington Post.

States that have reopened bars experienced a doubling in the rate of coronavirus cases three weeks after the opening of doors, on average. The Post analysis — using data provided by SafeGraph, a company that aggregates cellphone location information — found a statistically significant national relationship between foot traffic to bars one week after they reopened and an increase in cases three weeks later.

September 14, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT
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Analysis: How the Trump team has meddled in health officials’ coronavirus work

By Aaron Blake

The White House is still fending off new revelations via author and Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward that President Trump said early in the coronavirus outbreak that he understood the true threat and deliberately downplayed it. But even as it did so this weekend, a pair of new reports drove home the consistent, ongoing effort to downplay the virus and apply pressure on apolitical government officials to fall in line.

One report found that Department of Health and Human Services political appointees regularly sought to water down the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while another detailed Trump’s effort to push top health officials to approve an unproven treatment for emergency use.

While political officials make the ultimate calls, there is extensive evidence of an attempt to interfere in the recommendations of health officials that could call those final decisions into question.

September 14, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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Pfizer CEO says Americans could get coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year

By Hamza Shaban

Americans could start receiving a coronavirus vaccine as soon as this year, said Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla, if government regulators approve the company’s experimental vaccine.

Pfizer, one of the pharmaceutical companies racing to develop a product that would prevent people from being infected by the novel coronavirus, will reach a crucial milestone next month. It’s then, Bourla said, that the company will know if its potential vaccine is safe and effective. “We will have a good sense if the product works by the end of October,” he said, during an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

In July, Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, reported promising results after administering an experimental vaccine to recipients. The companies are relying on a technology platform that uses the body’s own cells to produce the distinctive spike-shaped protein found on the surface of the coronavirus.

Since the positive early results, Pfizer has moved to recruit individuals for a 30,000-person final trial. In late August, the company said it will expand the trial further, with plans to increase the diversity of the participants to better reflect the population and to address the disproportionate impact the virus has had on racial minorities. Pfizer will also recruit younger people and individuals with existing illnesses and prior conditions to verify if the vaccine works safely among other vulnerable groups.

If the vaccine proves viable after the late-stage trial, regulators at the Food and Drug Administration will decide whether to approve of the product. Pfizer is planning to provide 100 million doses of a vaccine by the end of the year and 1.2 billion doses in 2021.

September 14, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT
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Majority of the Washington region’s workers unlikely to return to the office before summer, survey says

By Luz Lazo

It could be next summer before the bulk of the Washington region’s workers return to their offices after months spent teleworking because of the novel coronavirus, according to a new survey.

More than six months after the pandemic hit the region, forcing hundreds of thousands of residents to work from home, many of their employers remain uncertain when and how they will be allowed back in the office, based on a study led by the Greater Washington Partnership.

The survey of more than 400 employers in the District, Maryland and Virginia shows most are struggling with how to safely bring back workers while the nation remains in the midst of the pandemic, even as states move forward with reopening their economies.

September 14, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT
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If you’re traveling for the holidays, now is the time to book flights

By Natalie Compton

In the old days, experts advised that late September through the end of October was the best time to book Thanksgiving and holiday flights if you were looking for the best deals. If you missed that window, you could find low outlier fares, thought it was tricky.

But like many things in 2020, this rule of thumb does not apply during the pandemic.

“With regards to the best time to book — things have changed,” says Mark Crossey, the director of sales at Skyscanner. “From a price point, generally speaking, it is competitive for travelers at the moment.”

September 14, 2020 at 3:45 PM EDT
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Kids who caught coronavirus at day-care centers spread it to others, CDC study says

By Brittany Shammas

Twelve children who became infected with the coronavirus at three child-care facilities in Utah passed it to others despite having mild or no symptoms, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As a result, the researchers recommended testing people who have been in contact with coronavirus cases in child-care settings, including those who are asymptomatic. That advice comes weeks after a controversial shift in the CDC’s testing recommendations saying that people without symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”

Research has already shown that children older than 10 can spread the virus, the authors of the child-care study noted. But limited data is available on coronavirus transmission by young children, especially in child-care settings.

The study published Friday suggests they can also spread the virus — even if they don’t become seriously ill or show symptoms.

The research focused on three outbreaks that occurred at child-care facilities in Salt Lake County between April and July, using contact tracing data to “retrospectively construct transmission chains” and determine how the virus spread. The researchers found that of the 12 children who were infected, all had mild or no symptoms.

The children transmitted the virus to 12 of the 46 people they were in contact with, including a parent who required hospitalization. Two of the children who spread the coronavirus had asymptomatic cases, showing that even those who are not displaying symptoms can transmit the virus.

“Detailed contact tracing data show that children can play a role in transmission from child care settings to household contacts,” the researchers wrote. “Having SARS-CoV-2 testing available, timely results, and testing of contacts of persons with COVID-19 in child care settings regardless of symptoms can help prevent transmission.”

They also recommended the use of masks, particularly among staff members.

September 14, 2020 at 3:00 PM EDT
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Perspective: All my takeout has delivered a mountain of trash. So I asked experts how to minimize it.

By Tom Sietsema

Until March, I could count on one hand the number of times I ordered takeout or delivery this year. Food critics tend to eat away from home a lot — in my case, 10 or so meals a week, give or take a salad night off.

What a difference a pandemic makes. Since March, I’ve ordered more takeout than Anthony S. Fauci has corrected official statements. Want to see my trash?

For three weeks this summer, I saved every scrap of takeout packaging, including the tiny containers of chutney from Vegz and the yard-long cardboard box holding two nights’ worth of dinners from Rose’s at Home. The stream of paper, plastic, aluminum and glass that came through my door from roughly 30 orders shocked and depressed me. I accumulated enough waste to fill two recycling containers — nearly 100 gallons of space — not to mention a torrent of guilt.