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President Trump said Thursday night that he and first lady Melania Trump would begin “the quarantine process” after one of his closest advisers, Hope Hicks, who traveled with him several times this week aboard Air Force One, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity during a live interview Thursday night that he and the first lady were tested after they learned about Hicks and were awaiting the results.

Here are some significant developments:
  • House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Thursday over intense GOP opposition, even as bipartisan talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued.
  • Amazon said nearly 20,000 of its U.S. employees had tested positive, or had been presumed positive, for the coronavirus since the pandemic started spreading through the United States this year.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said each of the state’s counties could only provide one mail-in ballot drop-off location for the November election, drawing criticism that the order amounted to voter suppression.
  • Coronavirus hospitalizations have reached their highest levels since at least May in nine states in the past week, according to a Washington Post analysis, with at least four states setting records Thursday, and another three reaching highs Wednesday.
  • Moderna’s chief executive, Stéphane Bancel, told the Financial Times that the company’s experimental covid-19 vaccine is not expected to be available for widespread use until the spring.
  • Food banks are removing a signed letter Trump wanted to include in every food-aid box.
  • The Smithsonian Institution laid off 237 employees from its shops, theaters and concessions this week, part of ongoing cost-cutting measures meant to limit the financial losses related to covid-19.
October 1, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT
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Migration, in reverse

By Joanna Slater and Kareem Fahim

In his long years away from his family, Ramakrishnan Athekkatil often imagined what it would be like to settle down back in India.

He never imagined he would return like this: laid off, in debt and pursued by a sickness racing around the globe

The family was part of a vast migration from South Asia to countries flush with wealth but short on labor. The migrants worked to raise gleaming cities in the desert, and built the schools, hospitals and power plants that helped transform collections of villages and port towns into modern Arab countries.

Now, one of the largest migration corridors in the world is flowing in reverse. The coronavirus pandemic and crashing oil prices have led to mass layoffs in gulf states, leaving foreign workers vulnerable and in some cases destitute. Out of money and fearing the virus, hundreds of thousands have returned home.

With a vaccine still months away and the number of coronavirus cases rising around the world, there is little prospect that anything will return to normal any time soon for the world’s 164 million migrant workers who cross borders.

October 1, 2020 at 11:23 PM EDT
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Trump begins quarantine as close aide Hope Hicks tests positive for coronavirus

By Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz

President Trump said Thursday night that he and first lady Melania Trump would begin “the quarantine process” after one of his closest advisers, Hope Hicks, who traveled with him several times this week aboard Air Force One, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hicks, 31, served as Trump’s 2016 campaign spokeswoman from the beginning of his candidacy and then as White House communications director before leaving in March 2018 for a job at Fox News. She returned to the White House in February in the role of counselor to the president.

Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity during a live interview Thursday night that he and the first lady were tested after they learned about Hicks and were awaiting the results.

October 1, 2020 at 11:15 PM EDT
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The Lightning encouraged a socially distant Stanley Cup parade. Photos tell a different story.

By Des Bieler

The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup after two months inside playing environments in Toronto and Edmonton that were carefully controlled and successfully prevented infiltration by the novel coronavirus. Days later, they staged a raucous celebration with fans in Tampa and what appeared to be little regard for social distancing.

Lightning players were photographed letting several fans drink directly from the Stanley Cup during the celebration, a boat parade up the Hillsborough River and an outdoor rally at Raymond James Stadium. Reports from the event indicated that many who turned out were clustered together while also not wearing masks.

October 1, 2020 at 10:33 PM EDT
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Conservative operatives face felony charges in connection with robocalls seeking to mislead voters

By Meryl Kornfield

Two right-wing operatives infamous for inventing outlandish conspiracy theories face felony charges in Michigan for allegedly intimidating voters with inaccurate robocalls that discouraged residents in urban areas from casting their ballots by mail.

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were charged with four felonies of intimidating voters, conspiring to violate election law and using a computer to commit a crime, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday, after thousands of residents from at least five states received the robocall aimed at discouraging absentee voting, at a time when many Americans are expected to vote by mail rather than in-person during the coronavirus pandemic.

October 1, 2020 at 10:30 PM EDT
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SBA has not forgiven any Paycheck Protection Program loans, watchdogs tell Congress

By Jonathan O'Connell

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration have not yet forgiven any of the 5.2 million emergency coronavirus loans issued to small businesses and need to do more to combat fraud, government watchdogs told Congress Thursday.

Small businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program funds, as well as their banks, have been frustrated by the difficulty in applying for loans to be forgiven despite rules saying if the funds are spent mostly on payroll they will not need to be paid back. SBA announced last week that it had received only 96,000 loan applications — less than 2 percent of the total number of loans — and has not processed any applications so far.

Treasury and SBA officials have said they plan to begin considering applications shortly. SBA officials say they opened the system for forgiveness Aug. 10, two days after the program closed. The agency has 90 days to consider each application after it receives bank approval, according to the Cares Act.

October 1, 2020 at 10:00 PM EDT
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September layoffs add on as unemployment claims remain stubbornly high

By Eli Rosenberg

A grim portrait of the U.S. economy is emerging more than six months into the pandemic, as a cascade of new layoffs announced this week puts pressure on an already strained labor market and further raises the specter of an economic u-turn with the recovery only partially underway.

The parade of bad news has picked up in recent days, with several large companies announcing wide layoffs.

Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 from its theme park division, insurance company AllState said it would cut 3,800 positions, and the airline industry, already battered by months with levels of consumer demand, saw more than 30,000 additional furloughs at American and United Airlines.

October 1, 2020 at 9:30 PM EDT
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House Democrats pass $2.2 trillion stimulus bill over GOP opposition; bipartisan talks continue

By Erica Werner and Jeff Stein

House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Thursday over intense GOP opposition, even as bipartisan talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued.

The legislation, which passed 214-207, has no chance of advancing in the Republican-led Senate and is opposed by the White House. But it’s been nearly five months since the House passed the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act -- which also went nowhere in the Senate. So with the House set to recess Friday through the election, Pelosi (D-Calif.) acceded to demands from moderate Democrats who wanted to take new action to address the toll of the coronavirus before heading home to campaign for reelection.

“This is not just a money debate and a language debate. It’s a values debate. It’s important for people to know that what this fight is about,” Pelosi said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “The people have needs, and we have to meet them.”

October 1, 2020 at 8:12 PM EDT
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Texas governor’s limit on drop-off sites for mail-in ballots criticized as voter suppression

By Felicia Sonmez and Meryl Kornfield

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Thursday said each of the state’s counties could only provide one mail-in ballot drop-off location for the November election, a proclamation that quickly spurred criticism and legal threats from Democrats and election officials.

The executive order, which amended a July 27 order by Abbott that expanded early voting and absentee ballot drop-offs, cites election security as the reason that counties must close sites that were already collecting early ballots. The news was immediately seized on by critics who threatened legal challenges and argued the change does not prevent fraud but hurts populous cities that are Democratic strongholds. Texas Democrats called Abbott’s move “a blatant voter suppression tactic.”

“Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Governor Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute," state Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. "Make no mistake, Democracy itself is on the ballot. Every Texan must get out and vote these cowards out!”

October 1, 2020 at 8:00 PM EDT
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Food banks remove signed letter from Trump included in food-aid boxes

By Laura Reiley and Kim Bellware

Thirty-five days before the election, food assistance boxes, doled out at food banks around the country, are coming with a surprise: a signed letter from President Trump. Anti-hunger advocates and food bank workers are outraged, saying the move violates the Hatch Act and compromises relationships with the food-insecure Americans they serve.

A letter in English and Spanish, on White House letterhead, exhorts needy Americans to wash hands and maintain social distance, closing with: “We will support Americans’ recovery every step of the way. Together we will overcome this challenge, and our Nation will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before.” And then Trump’s distinctive signature.

San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is removing the letters at distribution sites and asking any of the neighborhood pantries in their network that receive these boxes to do the same, says Keely Hopkins, the food bank’s communications and social media manager.

October 1, 2020 at 7:15 PM EDT
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Biden campaign to begin door knocking after criticizing the Trump campaign for doing the same during the pandemic

By Josh Dawsey and Matt Viser

The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will begin knocking on doors of prospective voters this weekend after saying for months that such action was unsafe and unnecessary during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s aides have been critical of President Trump’s campaign for its use of canvassers to contact potential voters, saying Republicans were putting the health and safety of Americans at risk amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 people.

Instead, the Biden campaign has focused on connecting with voters virtually, touting the metric of “meaningful conversations” — of which they say they had 5.9 million during September — rather than on the numbers of doors knocked.

October 1, 2020 at 6:40 PM EDT
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Smithsonian lays off 237 as covid-19 continues to limit operations

By Peggy McGlone

The Smithsonian Institution laid off 237 employees from its shops, theaters and concessions this week, part of ongoing cost-cutting measures meant to limit the financial losses related to covid-19.

The layoffs are the first permanent staff cuts made by the world’s largest museum organization since it was forced to close its sites March 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Smithsonian lost $49 million — from store and restaurant revenue as well as canceled ticketed events, classes and tours — between March and September, spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said.

Eight facilities have reopened in since July, including the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of the American Indian last week.

October 1, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT
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Amazon says nearly 20,000 employees have had the coronavirus

By Rachel Lerman

SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon said Thursday that nearly 20,000 of its U.S. employees had tested positive, or had been presumed positive, for the coronavirus since the pandemic started spreading through the U.S. this year.

The retailer has faced harsh criticism this year as some workers and critics have said it hasn’t done enough to keep employees safe as they work in its warehouses amid a surge in demand to send items to shoppers across the country.

(Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

October 1, 2020 at 5:40 PM EDT
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France announces new coronavirus restrictions as covid-19 cases rise

By James McAuley

PARIS — The French government Thursday announced a set of measures it said it was ready to impose to contain a rapid resurgence of the coronavirus.

For weeks, the country has relied on a regional system to implement restrictions in areas where transmission rates of the virus are high. On Thursday, Health Minister Olivier Véran said Paris could soon join the “maximum” risk category, which would mean another complete shutdown of bars, restaurants and cafes.

Some cities, notably Marseille, are already on the list. Paris so far has avoided further restrictions since a lockdown was lifted in mid-May. But Véran said that in the last 24 hours, the capital crossed multiple thresholds that make it a maximum risk environment: The transmission rate has risen above 250 cases per 100,000, and the percentage of those who’ve tested positive for the novel coronavirus who require intensive care is now hovering between 30 and 35 percent.

October 1, 2020 at 5:07 PM EDT
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Spinal fluid leak found after woman with skull base defect got a nasal coronavirus swab test, study finds

By Paulina Firozi

A woman with a skull base defect was found to have a spinal fluid leak after getting a nasal swab test for the coronavirus, according to a new study, in what researchers say is the first such case.

After getting a coronavirus test before an elective hernia surgery, a woman in her 40s started experiencing a headache, nausea, light sensitivity and drainage of clear fluid from one side of her nose, Christopher Blake Sullivan, a physician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, told The Washington Post.

“We were able to identify that she had a spinal fluid leak, called a cerebrospinal fluid leak,” said Sullivan, the study’s lead author.

“What is the likely reason that happened is she had nasopharyngeal swab testing done for covid,” he said, referring to coronavirus tests done with a long nasal swab.

Jarrett Walsh, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa and a study co-author, said the woman had a predisposing condition of intracranial hypertension, which is increased pressure in the fluid space around her brain, which led to the formation of a sac of brain fluid and tissue that bulged down into the sinus cavity.

“We presume the nasal swab was targeted in the wrong direction and may have punctured that sac that was hanging into her nose, thus causing the fluid leak,” Walsh told The Post.

In the article, the researchers write that “the swab itself did not result in a violation of the bony skull base, but rather the invasive test” penetrated the area with the preexisting defect.

Sullivan said the patient, who had also had a sinus surgery about two decades earlier, was probably in a “higher risk category for getting covid testing.”

Still, Walsh said this is a “very rare occurrence.” Even for people with similar preexisting conditions or who have had sinus or skull base surgery, “your risk of having this happen is exceedingly low.”

The researchers said the findings signal a need for better training on safely conducting nasal and nasopharyngeal swab testing, especially for high-risk groups. The study was published Thursday in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

Sullivan said that if people know they are in a higher-risk category — such as if they have had a prior sinus or skull base surgery, or if they have a known skull base defect — they can tell their health-care provider before they get a coronavirus test.

“Maybe that subset of patients … instead of just going through a drive-through testing center, those people should be looked at closer, referred to a higher level of care,” he said.

The study did not provide the results of her coronavirus test.

Sullivan said the woman’s skull base defect was repaired in the operating room and she recovered well from the procedure.

“As far as I know, probably at least a month or two out from that surgery, she’s doing pretty well,” he said.