ADVERTISEMENT

The Latest: Ohio Gov. DeWine issues mandatory mask order

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a mandatory mask order will be expanded statewide to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

DeWine says the mask mandate will go into effect Thursday evening for people 10 and older.

The Republican governor in recent weeks had resisted calls for a statewide mask order and instead required masks in counties considered “hotspots.” But he says more counties are seeing increasing numbers.

DeWine says the rate of increase has slowed in those counties where masks were required.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Florida adds nearly 10,000 new coronavirus cases

— Brazil president still tests positive for virus

— Study: Nearly half of Spaniards gained weight during lockdown

— California’s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation. However, California has nearly 8,000 deaths compared to New York's 32,000.

— The mayor of Washington, D.C., will issue an executive order making face masks mandatory outside the home. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the order will include possible fines for violations.

— A new poll finds very few Americans think schools should return to normal operations this fall, even as President Donald Trump pushes for a full reopening. The poll is from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s largest public school district will delay the start of its school year by three weeks and have online learning until at least November.

The Board of Education for Oklahoma City Public Schools voted to delay the start of the school year from Aug. 10 to Aug. 31.

Superintendent Sean McDaniel says, “The best education is when we have teachers and students face to face and we want to get there as quickly as we can. But we want to be safe and thoughtful about it.”

McDaniel says a recent study revealed nearly 30% of the district’s 45,000 students were without either Internet connectivity or computer access. But the district has used federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase 1,500 internet hot spots and will distribute computers to all students.

State health officials reported 918 confirmed cases and 13 deaths on Wednesday. The statewide totals topped 28,000 cases and 474 deaths.

___

TOPEKA, Kan. — Local school boards in Kansas can reopen elementary, middle and high schools in mid-August, despite a surge in coronavirus cases in the state.

The Republican-controlled State Board of Education rejected Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to postpone the start of fall classes for three weeks until after Labor Day.

The 10-member elected board’s action leaves decisions about when to reopen to the state’s 286 local school boards. The GOP has an 8-2 majority on the board, and five Republicans voted against Kelly’s proposal, saying conditions with the virus differ across the state.

___

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas area schools won’t resume classroom instruction when the semester starts next month. Clark County school trustees cited concerns of spreading the coronavirus and unanimously decided to begin the school year using online education.

The vote came despite concerns about a shortage of laptops, lack of Internet access for some students and the possibility of losing federal funds if schools don’t open. District administrators considered two days of classroom attendance and three days of online instruction each week.

But the superintendent says keeping the more than 350 schools closed a matter of health and safety.

___

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University will use one residence hall for students who test positive for the coronavirus.

Students who test positive can move to Akers Hall or return home for a certain period. The dorm can hold roughly 500 people, according to Kat Cooper, spokeswoman for Residential and Hospitality Services.

Students, staff and visitors are required to wear masks on campus and maintain social distance.

The fall term starts Sept. 2.

___

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile’s government is letting its elderly out of the house after a four-month ban on people 75 and older in public.

The government says the elderly will be allowed to leave their homes just for an hour three times a week.

The age-based restriction was one of the strictest, though it’s not clear how much it helped. The South American nation’s hospital critical care units remain 82 percent occupied.

The country of 19 million has recorded 336,000 confirmed infections of the coronavirus and 8,700 deaths.

___

GENEVA — The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization says many people who develop moderate illness from COVID-19 face long-term health issues.

Dr. Michael Ryan says an inflammatory process in air sacs and small blood vessels during coronavirus infection can cause the lungs to take a long time to regain normal function, along with the cardiovascular system.

Fatigue, lower exercise tolerance and lower lung function, including in otherwise healthy young people, can result and take months to fully recover.

___

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida added 9,785 new confirmed cases Wednesday, bringing the total since March 1 to nearly 380,000.

Florida recorded more than 100 new coronavirus deaths for the seventh time in two weeks, pushing its death toll from the pandemic to nearly 5,500.

The state health department reported 138 more deaths, bringing Florida’s weekly average to 118 a day, equal with Texas for the worst current seven-day average in the nation. A month ago, Florida was averaging 33 deaths a day.

The percentage of positive tests has remained at about 18% the last two weeks, quadruple about 4% in June.

___

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania county filed suit Wednesday to compel Gov. Tom Wolf to release nearly $13 million in federal coronavirus relief funding withheld after county leaders defied his shutdown orders.

Wolf withheld $12.8 million in funding from Lebanon County, where local Republican leaders voted in mid-May to lift pandemic restrictions in defiance of the Democratic governor. Wolf’s decision left Lebanon as the only Pennsylvania county to have been cut off from $625 million federal coronavirus relief money distributed by the state.

The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court, cast the Board of Commissioners’ vote as merely symbolic. The suit said Wolf had no legal right to withhold funding appropriated by the Legislature, accusing him of a “gross abuse of power” and acting like a “de facto King.”

Wolf addressed his decision to withhold the money at a news conference last week, saying Lebanon County had to pay a price for its recalcitrance.

___

MADRID — Authorities in northern Spain are tightening restrictions in a neighborhood in the city of Pamplona due to an outbreak of the coronavirus among young people.

Spain reported 731 confirmed new cases over the last 24 hours on Wednesday, up from 529 the day before.

The regional government of Navarra announced it will reintroduce limitations on occupancy for restaurants, shops and places of worship to 50% for the neighborhood of Mendillorri in Pamplona.

The neighborhood has 122 virus cases, says regional health chief Santos Induráin. This month, Pamplona cancelled its famous running-of-the bulls festivities to try to limit contagion.

Induráin says authorities are ordering tests for more than 2,000 youths, saying people age 17 to 28 make up for 93% of the infections.

___

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation.

Johns Hopkins University data shows California has about 1,200 more cases than New York.

However, New York’s 32,520 confirmed deaths are four times California’s tally of nearly 8,000 deaths.

California is by far the most populous U.S. state, at nearly 40 million people, while New York has about 19.5 million.

Scientists say reported coronavirus cases vastly underestimate the true number of infections because of the small number of tests.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study says COVID-19 cases were more than 10 times higher than reported in most U.S. regions from late March to early May. It’s based on COVID-19 antibody tests performed on routine blood samples in 16,000 people in 10 U.S. regions that showed many with the virus antibody.

(The item has been corrected to show New York state has 32,520 confirmed deaths, according to a tally be Johns Hopkins University.)

___

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities are extending coronavirus restrictions until Aug. 31, after reports of more than 800 new infections a day.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says keeping restrictions in place will allow the government to control the level of contagion. Ukraine imposed a tight lockdown in March, when it only had a handful of cases. Now the caseload exceeds 60,000.

Several restrictions have been significantly eased in mid-May, and regional governments could decide which restrictions to keep. Wearing a mask in public places and keeping 1.5 meters of social distance remains a requirement for all regions.

Travelers from other countries must self-quarantine for two weeks or take a virus test.

___

BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazil’s government says President Jair Bolsonaro is still testing positive for the coronavirus following his July 7 announcement.

The positive test Tuesday came after a follow-up check on July 15. The government says he remains in good health.

The World Health Organization says the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks.

The government say Bolsonaro will keep holding videoconferences instead of face-to-face meetings. He had to cancel a trip to northeastern Brazil. At least four members of Bolsonaro’s Cabinet have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Bolsonaro repeatedly dismissed the disease as a “little flu” and often mingled in crowds, sometimes without wearing a mask. He is treating his COVID-19 with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus and can be dangerous for some people.

Brazil’s government says the country has recorded more than 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 81,000 deaths. That’s second only to the United States in both categories, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

___

MADRID — Frequent snacking and a lack of exercise during over two months of mandatory home confinement against the spread of the coronavirus has taken a toll on Spaniards’ waistline.

A survey by Spain’s Obesity Society, or SEEDO, says 44% of Spaniards gained weight during the spring mandatory order to stay at home. Of those, 73% added between 1 to 3 kilograms (2.2 to 6.6 pounds).

The study suggests anxiety and boredom led to more alcohol consumption and frequent trips to the pantry in search for sugar-heavy snacks. The difficulty of exercising while at home contributed to the weight gain.

More than half of the respondents say they exercised less than before mid-March, when Spain enacted a strict lockdown to fight the pandemic. One third of the 1,000 surveyed by telephone say they spent an average of 5 hours per day watching television.

Currently, the country is dealing with 224 smaller outbreaks. Spain has reported more than 28,400 deaths from the virus.

___

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania has confirmed more than 1,000 new daily cases of the coronavirus for the first time.

The 1,030 new confirmed cases and 27 deaths were reported by the government. That raises the totals to 40,163 confirmed cases and 2,101 deaths.

The village of Cartojani, outside of the capital of Bucharest, will be quarantined for two weeks starting Wednesday after 32 people were confirmed infected with the coronavirus. They reportedly took part in a private event on the coast of the Black Sea.

According to new regulations, quarantines can be imposed on locations were the number of confirmed cases is above 3 per 1,000 residents and no other measures are deemed capable of containing the spread of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced Tuesday that 954 localities had reported at least one coronavirus case in the past two weeks, up from around 350 locations in early June.

___

Bg pattern light

UPGRADE TO PREMIUM

Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?