Coronavirus safety plans already put to the test as some communities start the school year

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“Don’t expect a normal school year,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Friday of the possibility of changing the state’s school plans in light of the increase in cases. “Normality is not within our reach at the moment. Let’s all accept that. ”

School districts have debated how to meet education and safety needs in a country with more than 4.5 million coronavirus cases and 153,314 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As the new school year began for some schools this week, 60 of America’s 101 largest school districts were planning to start the year entirely online, while others offered part-time or full-time in-person classes.

Senior infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that children returning to school will be “part of the experience” of understanding the virus.

A school district in Indiana was put to the test on the first day of Thursday when the Hancock County Health Department told a high school that a student who attended part of the day was tested positive, said Superintendent Dr. Harold Olin in his letter to parents.

The school adopted its “positive COVID-19 testing protocol,” isolated the student and professionally disinfected the school, Olin said.“It was very evident today that almost all of our families and students were prepared to properly follow the safety protocols that we established,” Olin wrote to parents. “Adherence to these protocols is essential to maintaining a safe environment for all students and staff. “

Infections in young people

While early data suggested older Americans were most at risk for the disease, concern for teens and young adults grew as they congregated in reopened public spaces and some were preparing to return to school.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first death of a teenager from coronavirus on Friday. The service did not provide information about the patient except to say that the teenager had underlying health issues.

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of this youngster whose death is a tragic and powerful reminder of the severity of Covid-19,” said Dr Sonia Angell, public health officer and director of the CRPD.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that he and the state’s public health commissioner were concerned about clusters of teens and young adults. The number of coronavirus infections among 10- to 19-year-olds had “doubled” recently, Lamont said, although he did not provide specific numbers.

“Now is not the time to relax our basic practices to slow the spread of the virus. Now is the time to stay vigilant, ”Lamont said in a statement.

Local leaders tackle the impacts of a resurgence

Other heads of state and local are adopting measures to slow the virus as cases continue to climb.

A variety of responses from US states are hurting the country's ability to contain the coronavirus pandemic, says Fauci

The city of Anchorage, Alaska canceled part of its economic reopening for at least the next four weeks, limiting outdoor gatherings to 50 people; prohibit indoor service from bars, nightclubs and restaurants; and extend the mandate of the city’s indoor mask to outdoor events where social distancing is not possible, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said at a press conference on Friday.

“We know a Covid storm is coming,” Berkowitz said. “It’s our time to fight. ”

A surge has already struck in Alabama, crushing the state’s testing capacity, the Alabama Department of Public Health said on Friday, asking doctors to focus testing on the most vulnerable populations.

Alabama is one of at least 39 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico to have some type of mask requirement in place.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over his mask requirement for the city, extended existing Covid-19 security measures until September 10, he said. announced in a press release on Friday.

While there is still no mask warrant, the order continues to ban gatherings of more than 50 people unless there are six feet between each person and sets out mandatory criteria for them. companies.

Race to develop tests

Health experts are speeding up coronavirus testing to help officials and the public fight the virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued emergency use authorizations for two tests that can not only tell if someone has antibodies to the coronavirus, but can also give an idea of ​​how much antibodies are present.

Operation Warp Speed ​​chief says he expects coronavirus vaccine to be highly effective, 'in the range of 90%'

Testing for antibodies is important because researchers are studying whether infected people develop immunity, a question that Dr. Tim Stenzel, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiologic Health at the Center for Devices and Radiologic Health at the FDA said responded.

“Patients should not interpret the results as telling them they are immune or have some level of immunity to the virus,” he said.

CNN’s Melanie Schuman, Rebekah Riess, Topher Gauk-Roger, Andy Rose, Shelby Lin Erdman and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

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