The Latest: Georgia schools quarantine 800 students
ATLANTA — A Georgia school district has quarantined more than 800 students because of possible exposure to the coronavirus since it resumed in-person teaching last week.
Data updated Tuesday by the Cherokee County School District outside Atlanta also show it has quarantined 42 staff members since the start of the year on Aug. 3. The district serves more than 42,000 students.
A district spokeswoman says the district anticipated the possibility of positive tests among students and staff and put a system in place to quickly contact trace and mandate quarantines. Other Atlanta-area school districts scrapped in-person learning amid a spike in cases of COVID-19 in Georgia.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Florida reports 5,800 virus cases, daily high 276 deaths
— Russia clears virus vaccine despite scientific skepticism
— Global coronavirus cases top 20 million, doubling in 45 days
— Transit systems around the world are requiring riders to wear masks and encouraging people to socially distance. Experts say the coronavirus spreads through droplets when people talk or cough, so the best prevention is a mask and staying 6 feet apart.
— Kids give their opinion on whether they should go back to school in-person or online. They join parents, teachers, public health experts and President Donald Trump, who have weighed in on the topic.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
DOVER, Delaware — Delaware officials are using $40 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to help people struggling to make their rent or mortgage payments because of the pandemic.
Officials announced Monday that they are reopening the Delaware Housing Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance for renters affected by COVID-19. The program was initially launched in March but halted in April following an overwhelming number of applications.
Under the revised program, up to $5,000 will be available for those with a maximum household income post-pandemic at or below 60 percent of the area median. Applications must now be submitted by landlords or property owners on behalf of tenants, and payments will be made directly to the property owners.
The Delaware State Housing Authority also is providing emergency assistance of up to $5,000 to homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, which was established several years ago. Funding for the housing assistance is being split equally between the state and New Castle County using Coronavirus Relief Funds received from the federal government.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says the state cannot afford $100 per week the state is being asked to pay to bolster unemployment payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the Republican governor is praising President Donald Trump for proposing that states provide the money.
The federal government’s $600-a-week jobless benefit supplement recently expired. That prompted Trump on Saturday to bypass the nation’s lawmakers and claim the authority to replace the expired benefit with a lower amount, with the federal government paying $300 a week and the states paying $100 a week. Critics question the validity of the order.
Reeves says Mississippi had $706 million in its unemployment trust fund in early March. Last week, the fund had $489 million. That included $181 million that came from the federal government through a coronavirus relief act.
Mississippi is currently spending about $22 million a week from its unemployment trust fund, and the Trump proposal would double the state’s weekly expense, Reeves says. He adds that would drain Mississippi’s unemployment trust fund in about 10 weeks.
The state has reported 68,293 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,944 deaths.
BEIRUT — Lebanon has registered a new record of coronavirus cases and deaths as the number of patients increase in the country that had a deadly explosion last week.
Cases in Lebanon have been increasing since early July when Beirut’s international airport was re-opened and a lockdown was eased.
The health ministry on Tuesday say 307 people tested positive, raising the total registered cases to 7,121 since the first case was reported in late February. The ministry reported seven new deaths, raising the confirmed total to 87.
Dr. Firas Abiad, director general of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, told The Associated Press last week that the number of cases is expected to rise in the coming days following the Aug. 4, explosion that killed and wounded thousands of people. He says crowding in hospitals, where thousands of wounded were rushed would raise the numbers.
MADRID — The regional government in Spain’s Canary Islands says more than 85% of new coronavirus infections detected during the past week were among people under 30 years old.
Regional health chief Blas Trujillo says the new COVID-19 cases resulted from leisure time and family get-togethers without social distancing.
He says the constant appearance of new cases -- 85 in the previous 24 hours -- could bring a return to an economically damaging lockdown.
Even though most young people were asymptomatic, contact tracing requirements overload the health system and the colleagues of those testing positive have to stay at home.
MILAN — Italy’s new cases of coronavirus increased 412 on Tuesday.
Sicily had the highest number with 89 after 64 migrants tested positive at a screening center. That brings to 73 the number of migrants in the Pozzallo center who are currently positive for the virus.
After weeks of new cases averaging in in the 200-300 range, confirmed new infections have spiked up as more people travel for summer, with people returning from beach vacations abroad testing positive as well as seasonal workers.
Italy’s total cases have reached more than 251,000. Six more deaths were reported Tuesday, with total confirmed deaths at more than 35,000.
Miami — Florida is reporting a daily record of 276 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising total confirmed deaths in the state to 8,685.
The state’s health department reported about 5,800 cases on Tuesday.
The new deaths bring Florida’s seven-day average in daily reported deaths to 165 — down from a high of 185 a week ago. Texas averaged 210 deaths in the past week.
The number of patients treated in Florida hospitals for the coronavirus stands at 6,729, down nearly 30 percent from highs of 9,500 last month.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky congressman says he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies and plans to donate his plasma.
The Courier-Journal reports Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie made the comments last week on the radio show of political commentator Glenn Beck. Massie said he took a coronavirus test and an antibodies test at the end of July and received a positive result for the latter.
At least 11 members of Congress are known to have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Massie told Beck he is “convinced” he had the virus in January and described being sick with a fever, sore throat and low energy.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s foreign affairs minister says the government has agreements with three companies to carry out advanced clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccines in Mexico this fall.
Secretary Marcelo Ebrard saysMexico had memoranda of understanding with Janssen Pharmaceuticals of the United States and the Chinese companies Cansino Biologics and Walvax Biotechnology. He says the agreements would guarantee Mexico’s access to a vaccine if they prove successful.
Ebrard says the trials would be carried out between September and January. In total, Mexico is talking to 15 companies about potential trials. Mexico has more than 53,000 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, the third highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil.
PARIS — The French government is urging local officials to impose more mask requirements and extending a ban on large gatherings through October as virus infections rise again.
Prime Minister Jean Castex says the situation has been “evolving in the wrong direction” for two weeks and warned that tougher action is essential to avoid losing control over the virus and a return to “major new confinement.”
Interrupting his holiday, President Emmanuel Macron convened a special security meeting Tuesday to discuss virus measures.
France has reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases in the past week. France has 30,300 virus-related deaths, seventh highest in the world.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — U.S. Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar has redoubled accusations that China failed to adequately warn of the coronavirus after it was first detected in Wuhan.
Azar says China’s ruling Communist Party “had the chance to warn the world and work with the world on battling the virus. But they chose not to, and the costs of that choice mount higher every day.”
The Trump administration has repeatedly accused China of withholding information from the U.N. World Health Organization and the international community as the virus began to take hold.
China denies the charge, saying it communicated information as soon as it had it, although records appear to show new cases weren’t being tabulated during a key meeting of the provincial legislature.
Since then, the U.S. has announced it will withdraw from the WHO.
Azar says Beijing had been lobbying against an investigation into the origins of the virus along with “reforms desperately needed to make WHO a more effective institution.”
Azar, the highest-level U.S. official to visit Taiwan since formal relations between the sides were severed in 1979, praised Taiwan’s response to the coronavirus.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Swedish official says schools should expect “a tough fall” as children return next week after the summer break.
Sweden opted for the approach of keeping large parts of the society open in the spring when the coronavirus outbreak ran across Europe. Sweden didn’t close its schools.
Peter Fredriksson, head of the National Agency for Education, says the school challenges remain great, and it “applies to teachers and students.”
He says it is up to the local authorities and schools to work out how to practically plan for the return.
The infection rate is declining in Sweden, which health authorities say is thanks to citizens voluntarily adhering to social distancing. Swedish guidelines say people must “keep a distance” from others in indoor and outdoor locations such as shops, offices and museums. Wearing a mask is also voluntary.
Sweden on Tuesday reported four new deaths, bringing the total confirmed toll to 5,770.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch public health institute reports 4,036 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the last week, an increase of 1,448 from the previous week.
The institute says the confirmed COVID-19 deaths rose by nine to 6,159. The true number of deaths is likely higher because not all people who died of suspected COVID-19 were tested.
The increases come despite local initiatives aimed at reining in infections, which have been climbing since the Dutch government relaxed lockdown measures on July 1. The country’s two most populous cities — Amsterdam and Rotterdam — last week made masks mandatory on busy streets and at markets.
The percentage of people who tested positive also is rising, from 2.3% in the previous week to 3.6% in the last seven days.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that authorities have found four cases of the coronavirus in one Auckland household from an unknown source, the first cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.
Ardern said Auckland, the nation’s largest city, will be moved to Alert Level 3 from midday Wednesday, meaning that people will be asked to stay at home and bars and many other businesses will be closed.
She said the rest of the country will be raised to Alert Level 2.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the infections were confirmed after a person in their 50s went to their doctor on Monday with symptoms and was swabbed twice, testing positive both times. Six other people in the person’s household were then tested, with three more positive results.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the world has reached 20 million. That’s according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Health officials believe the actual number is much higher, given testing limitations and the fact that as many as 40% of all those who are infected have no symptoms.
The U.S., India and Brazil have together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all cases since the world hit 15 million on July 22.