Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, says it is ‘‘a bit of a reach’’ to say that schools should stay closed this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic and that there are a ‘‘whole bunch of things’’ that can be done to allow them to reopen.
Fauci spoke to CNN in a phone interview on Wednesday, a day after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he intends to see school buildings in his state open for the 2020-21 school year barring a huge spike in infections. In mid-March, DeWine was the first governor to shut down schools statewide in response to the spreading coronavirus outbreak.
‘‘The goal is to have kids back in the classroom,’’ DeWine said.
In his interview, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said:
‘‘Children can get infected, so, yes, so you’ve got to be careful. You got to be careful for them and you got to be careful that they may not spread it. Now, to make an extrapolation that you shouldn’t open schools, I think, is a bit of a reach.’’
‘‘In some situations, there will be no problem for children to go back to school,’’ he said. ‘‘In others, you may need to do some modifications. You know, modifications could be breaking up the class so you don’t have a crowded classroom, maybe half in the morning, half in the afternoon, having children doing alternate schedules. There’s a whole bunch of things that one can do.’’
Casinos see mixed bag when it comes to face coverings
LAS VEGAS — Mask use was spotty among customers as casinos in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada reopened Thursday for the first time since March following a closure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Wash your hands while saying, ‘Vegas Baby!’ 20 times,’’ a video marquee cheered on the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip.
Hotel-casinos in downtown and suburban Las Vegas were first to open right after midnight. Several dozen people waited at the high-rise D Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street to have their temperatures checked at the door. The casino quickly filled with revelers and gamblers while a bartender danced, wearing lingerie and a surgical mask.
Las Vegas Strip casinos opened hours later in a nod to recent nighttime protests over the death of George Floyd, some of which turned violent. A Las Vegas police officer remains hospitalized after being shot in the head late Monday during a protest on the Strip, and a man who authorities say was armed with several guns was shot and killed the same night outside downtown federal buildings.
State gambling regulators, citing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, required resorts to provide temperature screenings for hotel guests, but not casino patrons. Employees can be required to wear facial coverings, and customers were encouraged to do so.
Universal Orlando reopensto annual pass-holders
ORLANDO — With masks on their faces and temperature checks at entrances, Harry Potter fans and roller coaster lovers streamed back into Universal Orlando Resort this week in one of the first major steps toward reviving Florida’s theme park industry, which was left temporarily moribund by closures to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Universal Orlando became the first of Orlando’s major theme park resorts to reopen by allowing annual pass-holders to return to its three parks Wednesday and Thursday. It will open to the general public Friday for the first time since mid-March.
Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater is barred from entry under new procedures adapted by Universal Orlando and the area’s other theme parks. The number of people allowed in Thursday was restricted to allow for social distancing, blue circles on the ground showed visitors where to stand to maintain 6-feet distance and a recording in English and Spanish played in a loop over loudspeakers at the entrance reminding park-goers to wear face masks and keep their distance.
Workers with spray bottles and cloths wiped down the hand rails of flat-escalators leading into the parks and Citywalk, the resort’s restaurant-entertainment complex that has been open for more than two weeks.
New demographic details required for virus testing
The US government is requiring the collection of additional demographic details from people tested for COVID-19, including their sex, age, race, and ethnicity.
The extra data requirements apply to hospitals and laboratories and are intended to help track the virus’s impact on various racial, age, and regional groups. Currently, only a small segment of public health labs report the age, sex, and race of people who are tested.
The requirement comes amid growing concern about the pandemic’s impact on minorities. Federal health officials have previously reported that African-Americans represent a disproportionate share of patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
The collection of ZIP code information is also expected to aid in tracking new infections and distributing tests and treatments.
The federal requirements take effect in August, though hospitals and labs are encouraged to comply as soon as possible. They must report the testing information within 24 hours, including the type of test used and whether results were positive or negative.
N.Y. governor asks for protestors to get tested
ALBANY, N.Y. — The thousands of people protesting the death of George Floyd have a “civic duty” to be tested for the coronavirus and help New York avoid a spike in new cases as it slowly restarts its economy, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
There’s widespread concern that people packing in tightly for demonstrations, sometimes without faces coverings, could lead to more COVID-19 cases. Cuomo was particularly concerned about daily mass demonstrations in New York City, which is poised to relax some restrictions amid an intense, months-long effort to tame the outbreak.
An estimated 20,000 people have demonstrated in New York City alone, the governor said, as he expanded the state’s testing criteria to include people who attended recent protests across the state.
Malaria drug ineffectivefor virus protection
A malaria drug President Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective for that in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease. Results published by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the coronavirus.