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Coronavirus: Eight inmates die with suspected COVID-19 on California’s death row




A minimum of eight detainees on California’s death row have actually passed away with suspected coronavirus.

Kid killer John Beames, 67, is the current to die at San Quentin State Jail, north of San Francisco.

He was sentenced to death in Tulare County in 1995 for the murder and abuse of a 15- month-old.

California: The worst-hit United States state?

Beames, who passed away of what seemed problems associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday, is among 15 inmates to have actually passed away with suspected coronavirus at the jail, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehab.

The center is seeing the biggest jail break out of the infection in the state.

Up until now there have actually been 2,125 verified COVID-19 infections at the jail which has a population of 3,497

On Friday it reported 870 active cases. Around 153 of these detainees evaluated favorable for the infection in the last 2 weeks.

Another 43 inmates have actually been launched while still contaminated, according to the center’s COVID-19 tracker.

Kid rapist Troy Ashmus passed away with suspected COVID-19 Picture: California Department of Corrections and Rehab

On Monday, kid rapist Troy Ashmus, 58, passed away with suspected COVID-19 problems amidst the break out sweeping through the jail.

There have actually been more than 7,300 verified COVID-19 cases amongst inmates in the state jail system

More than 800 staff members likewise have active cases of COVID-19, according to corrections authorities.



Ga. School District Quarantines Hundreds Of Students Over Fears Of COVID-19 Exposure




A photo posted to Twitter last week of a largely maskless crowd at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., sparked a discussion about just how safe reopened Georgia schools really are. AP hide caption

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Barely a week after Georgia reopened its public schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a school district north of Atlanta has ordered 925 students, teachers and staff to self-quarantine after dozens tested positive for the coronavirus. The district also announced the temporary closing of one of its hardest-hit high schools.

Cherokee County School District Superintendent Brian Hightower said in a statement Tuesday that there had been 59 positive COVID-19 tests among students and staff since the Aug. 3 reopening.

“We are not hesitating to quarantine students and staff who have had possible exposure – even if the positive test was prompted by possible exposure rather than symptoms, as all positive cases can lead to the infection of others,” Hightower said.

He said Etowah High School would be closed to in-person learning effective at the end of classes on Tuesday. At the end of Monday, about 300 of the school’s 2,400 students, or 12.5%, were under quarantine, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The superintendent’s statement came a day after Gov. Brian Kemp said at a news conference that the reopening of the schools had gone well.

Although the governor has encouraged the wearing of masks, which have been shown to significantly reduce the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, he has insisted he will not require them. On Monday, Kemp ruled out any directive requiring students to wear masks, leaving that decision instead to district superintendents.

The Cherokee schools, with more than 42,000 students, opted not to mandate masks. It’s a decision that some parents have applauded. Georgia Public Broadcasting reports that about a dozen of them staged a rally on Tuesday in Canton, Ga., in support of the district.

It’s not clear how many Georgia schools mandate masks, as they are not required to report that information, a spokeswoman for the state’s department of health told NPR.

Cherokee public schools spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said the district had “made clear” that “we anticipated positive tests among students and staff could occur, which is why we put a system into place to quickly contact trace, mandate quarantines, notify parents and report cases and quarantines to the entire community.”

In an email to NPR, Jacoby added, “It’s worth noting that this level of public reporting is not required in any way, but is keeping with our longstanding commitment to transparency.”

In a news conference on Monday alongside U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at a new mega COVID-19 testing site at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Kemp, a Republican, praised what he described as the mostly smooth opening of the schools, with the exception of some photos shared on social media of crowded hallways of unmasked students.

Last week, a picture of hallways packed with students at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga. – with all but a few not wearing masks — made the rounds on social media. Six students and three staff later tested positive for the coronavirus, and the school was closed for two days to be disinfected.

“I think quite honestly this week went real well other than a couple of virtual photos,” Kemp said at Monday’s news conference. “But the attitude from what they’re telling me was good.”

He acknowledged, however, there will “definitely” be COVID-19 cases “when you open anything,” adding that’s why testing and making sure schools have adequate masks and cleaning equipment is important.

Last month, Kemp sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms after her directive that city residents wear masks in public amid skyrocketing cases in the capital – a stricter standard than the governor himself had issued. The lawsuit argued that Bottoms “does not have the legal authority to modify, change or ignore Governor Kemp’s executive orders.”


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The Big Ten, Pac-12 Postpone Football, Other Fall Sports Over Coronavirus Concerns




The Big Ten, one of the so-called Power Five NCAA conferences, is postponing fall sports because of the coronavirus. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

Updated 6:32 p.m. ET

Two major college conferences — the Big Ten and Pac-12 — each announced Tuesday they were sidelining college football and other fall sports because of the coronavirus, just weeks before schools were scheduled to play their first games.

The Big Ten, which includes universities with powerhouse sports programs, such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State, said it will look at holding some competitions in the spring.

The Pac-12, which includes elite sports programs Stanford, UCLA, USC and University of Oregon, announced shortly after the Big Ten, adding that officials reached a unanimous decision to call off athletic competition through the calendar year.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and president of Northwestern University, in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to football, the Big Ten’s decision postpones fall sports such as cross-country, field hockey, soccer and women’s volleyball. Under the college schedule, basketball is categorized as a winter sport.

News that the Big Ten would postpone or cancel the 2020-21 football season was first reported by the Detroit Free Press on Monday.

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.

“Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

The Pac-12 also said that when conditions improve, a return for impacted sports would be considered after January.

All of the Power Five conferences – the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12 and Big 12 – had previously announced their schools would be playing almost entirely within their own conferences for the upcoming season, hoping to preserve a popular fall ritual and fulfill TV contracts that bring in billions of dollars each year.

The Big Ten was among the first Football Bowl Subdivision conferences to adopt the conference-only plan — and now, it’s among the first to abandon it.

Other Power Five conferences could follow suit, but the SEC commissioner said late Tuesday his conference still intends to play.

Sportscaster Dan Patrick announced on his radio program Monday, “The ACC and the Big 12 are on the fence. The SEC is trying to get a delay to have teams join them.”

Patrick added that a source told him that the SEC is seeking exclusive television contracts and might bring in other schools, including some from the ACC and from Big 12 conference, to play games.

The setback for fall sports comes days after the U.S. surpassed 5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases — by far the most in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.

College head coaches speak out

Not everyone in the Big Ten agreed with the decision.

As rumors of the move circulated on Monday, Nebraska head football coach Scott Frost told reporters that his university “is committed to playing … no matter what that looks like.” Frost even left the door open to playing outside his conference, adding, “we’re prepared to look for other options.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh also pushed for playing games, saying, “This virus can be controlled.”

“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” Harbaugh wrote in a statement.

He also outlined several benchmarks that he says the Michigan program has met since football players returned to campus in June, including “zero positive tests among the coaches and staff over the entire eight weeks of testing” and “zero pauses in our training.”

“This isn’t easy. This is hard,” Harbaugh said. “We respect the challenge that the virus has presented. however we will not cower from it.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban agreed, telling ESPN on Monday that players would be safer living under the structure of his football program — if the season remains intact.

“I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety,” said Saban, who coaches in the SEC.

“Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2% positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of the July. It’s a lot higher than that in society,” Saban said. “We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”

Making “tradeoffs”

The Big Ten is sidelining fall sports less than a week after the conference announced plans to hold a 10-game, conference-only schedule that could kick off as early as Sept. 5.

But as news about the looming change emerged, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, sent a letter Monday to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten, telling them, “We should not cancel the college football season.”

“Life is about tradeoffs,” Sasse, a former president of Midland University in Fremont, Neb., wrote, adding that “these young men need a season.”

“There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true. But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season,” Sasse wrote.

Trump tweets

On Monday afternoon, President Trump lent his support to college athletes, coaches and fans who are urging conference officials to allow football games to go ahead.

“Play College Football,” Trump said in one tweet.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” Trump said in another tweet that used the hashtag “WeWantToPlay.”

The latter was a retweet of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, one of several top players who are expressing their desire to take the field — and who are calling for measures they say would provide safety and equity for players.

The measures include establishing universal health and safety procedures to protect college athletes among all NCAA conferences, allowing those who don’t want to play to opt out and guaranteeing eligibility whether a player chooses to play or not.

The Big Ten announced its decision one day after the Mountain West Conference, which includes Colorado State and Boise State, announced “the indefinite postponement of all scheduled fall sports contests and MW championship events” citing virus concerns.

Over the weekend, the Mid-American Conference announced it was postponing “all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to the concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

The MAC Council of Presidents vote was unanimous.

However, MAC officials said the hope is to hold competition from the fall sports in the spring semester of 2021, including for football, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.


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New Zealand On Alert After 4 Cases Of COVID-19 Emerge From Unknown Source




New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen here in May, said Tuesday that the country had four new cases of COVID-19. The government moved quickly to contain the outbreak and increased alert levels throughout the country. Hagen Hopkins/AP hide caption

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Hagen Hopkins/AP

More than three months after its last case of community spread, New Zealand has four new cases of the coronavirus from an unknown source. The island nation, seen as a global exemplar in the battle to contain the coronavirus, moved quickly to identify the source of transmission and halt further spread.

All four cases are members of the same family, who live in South Auckland, the government said Tuesday.

The first case identified in the cluster was a person in their 50s with no overseas travel history. The person has been symptomatic for five days and was confirmed positive on Tuesday. The six members of the person’s household were then tested: three tested positive and three negative.

While the cases are all in one household, more than one workplace was affected, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a late evening press conference on Tuesday in which she announced a heightened state of alert for the country.

All close contacts of the four cases will remain in self-isolation for 14 days, and casual contacts of the infected individuals will self-isolate until they have a test result. Testing for the virus is free in New Zealand.

“This case is a wake-up call against any complacency that may have set in. We cannot afford to let this virus spread,” New Zealand’s director-general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, said in a statement. “We have seen how quickly it can lead to a wider resurgence in communities overseas. Places that have had COVID-19 under control have seen flare-ups and gone back into a full lockdown.”

“We are working to not let that happen here. We’ve done this before and we can do it again,” he added.

Auckland is moving to Alert Level 3 for at least three days, and the rest of New Zealand to the lower Level 2. The country had been at Level 1 since June 9, during which life largely returned to normal. Its border remains closed to foreign nationals.

“These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how this case arose and make decisions on how to respond to it,” the prime minister said.

“We are asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread,” Ardern continued. “Act as if you have COVID and as if the people around you have COVID. At Level 3, you are asked to stay at home in your bubble, other than for essential movements such as going to the supermarket or local recreation.”

minhealthnz YouTube

Under the newly heightened measures, people in Auckland must work from home unless they are essential service workers, and schools and childcare facilities are closed, except for the children of essential workers. Travel into Auckland is barred except for those who live there.

Public venues in the city are to close, including libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets. Gatherings of no more than 10 people are permitted. Bars and restaurants in the city may only open for takeout.

Auckland residents are now urged to wear masks when out and about. Just a few days earlier, Bloomfield had suggested Kiwis add masks to their emergency kits but said there wasn’t any need to use them at the moment.

In the rest of the country, Level 2 means that people can still go to work and school but are urged to maintain social distance, wash hands frequently, wear a mask and keep track of where they’ve been and who they’ve seen. Gatherings are limited to 100 people.

“We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again,” Ardern said. “But we had also prepared for it. And as a team, we have also been here before. We know if we have a plan and stick to it, we can work our way through very difficult and unknown situations.”


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