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On Thursday, the White House released eight new recommendations for the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The recommendations are not specific to schools and follow similar nationwide efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Recommendations include ensuring that students and staff “understand the symptoms of COVID-19” and require “all students, teachers and staff to self-assess their health every morning before coming to school.” In addition, the use of masks is encouraged but not required, and requires “students, teachers and staff to socially distance around high-risk individuals.”

The recommendation adds that the White House will provide “high-risk teachers and students options to engage in distance teaching and learning,” and CDC teams can be deployed to schools that need assistance with their reopening plans.

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

For the first time in five months, jobless claims fell below 1 million last week. 963,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits, the lowest number of weekly initial claims since the pandemic began.

Continued jobless claims, which represents people who have filed for unemployment benefits for at least two weeks in a row, is 15.5 million.

Negotiations between White House officials and top Democratic leaders continue as lawmakers try to seal the deal on a new coronavirus relief package. Both sides are blaming the other for the delay, and, according to lawmakers and aides in both parties, the negotiations could drag into September.

A hefty price tag is the main disagreement in the negotiations. The White House and Senate Republicans want to limit the cost of aid to $1 trillion, while Democrats say citizens, states and small businesses need the nearly $3.5 trillion to survive the ongoing pandemic. Last week, Democrats agreed to lower the price tag by $1 trillion if the White House increased their cost by $1 trillion but the offer was rejected.

On Thursday, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, attended a briefing from a panel of public health experts assembled by the Biden campaign. The experts have advised Biden on pandemic policies over the past few months.

Biden announced that the pair will be briefed for one to one and half hours, four times per week on the state of the virus in the U.S. and worldwide.

Despite a tally of over 550,000 cases of coronavirus in Florida and a mask mandate by the city, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods has issued a mandate for all employees and people entering the sheriff’s offices: no masks.

In an August 11 email to the department, Woods’ reason for the mandate included clear communication and identification purposes. He made a few exceptions when masks need to be worn: “at the courthouse, schools, hospitals and while on patrol and responding to a nursing home or involving a high-risk elderly individual.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom says the state is “turning the corner on this pandemic.” In a mid-week press conference, Newsom announced that ICU admissions have decreased by 16% and hospitalizations are down by 19%.

He encouraged citizens to continue mask wearing and physical distancing.

To address racial disparities brought to light by the pandemic, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued a series of actions directed to the city’s chief health officer.

In a release, the health officer is to: develop and publicize a report on Covid-19 racial and ethnic disparities in Atlanta; gather an advisory council of community partners to outline recommendations to address the Covid-19 racial and ethnic disparities identified in the report; establish a mask campaign to promote awareness about disparities among the most vulnerable populations; and schedule and plan a series of virtual town hall discussions concerning the effects of Covid-19, beginning October 10.

According to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), almost one-third of new coronavirus cases in Kentucky at the end of July were among young people aged 19 and under.

In Mississippi, Black residents represented 58.5% of the state’s new cases for the month of July.

On a positive note, the national test-positivity rate continues to decrease. Over the past week, the rate was 6.6%, down from 7.9% from the previous week.

Five states and territories had increasing cases, while two states are at a plateau and 49 states are going down.

Authorities in China report a sample of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil has tested positive for the coronavirus. The unnamed brand was tested in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The report comes a day after coronavirus was found on the packaging of shrimps imported from Ecuador, another South American country that has been hard-hit by the pandemic.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have said the possibility of catching the virus through food is low.

Florida State University wide receiver Warren Thompson is accusing the school’s athletics department of lying “multiple times” about player health conditions during the first week of football camp.

In a letter posted on Instagram, Warren says that he has faced ridicule for expressing concern about player safety. Some of Warren’s teammates disagreed on social media, saying they felt safe with FSU’s protocols. When asked about the post, FSU coach Mike Norvell said, “It’s obviously disappointing to see what was said. We’ve been very open and transparent throughout this process.”

On August 20, AMC Theatres will be opening more than 100 theaters and by September 3, will have two-thirds of its theaters open for business. In order to commemorate its reopening, AMC is offering tickets for 15 cents, promoting “movies in 2020 at 1920 prices.”

AMC will also implement cleaning procedures to increase customer safety, social distancing, mask requirements and “significantly limited seating capacity.”

Coronavirus Update: White House Releases Suggestions for Reopening America’s Schools  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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