The latest on the coronavirus pandemic around the U.S. and the world.

Coronavirus-related deaths in the United States topped 1,000 again Tuesday after a weekend lag, suggesting that the trend of four-digit single-day death tolls will continue for a fourth week.

Tuesday also saw multiple states set new highs for fatalities linked to the virus. Major football conferences canceled their fall seasons. School districts around the country continued to grapple with how – and whether – to allow students back into classrooms.

The day unfolded like so many others in this pandemic summer – with glimpses of a country trying to inch back toward normalcy, alongside reminders of how far that goal remains. Stocks rose, then fell.

As the worldwide total of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million, the United States remained the epicenter of infections and death.

The global total represented double the infections that had been reported as recently as late June. After the first coronavirus cases surfaced in China in December, it took about six months for the worldwide count to reach 10 million. Another 10 million cases have been detected in the past six weeks alone.

The United States continues to outstrip all other nations with a total count of more than 5 million cases, though infections are climbing in a number of nations that were largely unscathed earlier in the pandemic, including Colombia, Peru, Argentina and South Africa.

Read the full story here.

Surging virus cases make U.S. a weak link in global economic recovery

FRANKFURT, Germany — People in China are back to buying German luxury cars. Europe’s assembly lines are accelerating. Now the global economy is waiting for the United States to get its coronavirus outbreak under control and boost the recovery, but there’s little sign of that.

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Model Arizona Muse, left, and designer and Officina del Poggio owner Allison Hoeltzel Savini present a creation of the Officina del Poggio women’s Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection, in Milan, Italy, last year. Officina del Poggio sells 60 percent of its vintage motorcycle-inspired satchels to U.S. customers, and the economic slowdown has Hoeltzel Savini worried for next year. Luca Bruno/Associated Press

The United States’ fumbling response to the pandemic and its dithering over a new aid package is casting doubt on its economic prospects and making it one of the chief risks to a global rebound.

After springtime restrictions, many U.S. states prematurely declared victory over the virus and began to reopen their economies, leading to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Confirmed infections are rising in most states, and many businesses have had to scale back or even cancel plans to reopen. And while it does not dominate global commerce like it did 20 years ago, America is still by far the biggest economy – accounting for 22 percent of total economic output, versus 14 percent for No. 2 China, according to the World Bank.

That makes its handling of the pandemic and its economy crucial for companies like Officina del Poggio, a producer of luxury handbags in Bologna, Italy, that sells 60 percent its vintage motorcycle-inspired satchels to U.S. customers.

Company owner Allison Hoeltzel Savini said retail sales dried up during the spring. She had already suffered a blow when Barneys, her main client, went bankrupt and didn’t pay for the spring-summer collection that had shipped.

Hoeltzel Savini said she has had to hold off on new hires, and hasn’t been able to do her usual sales trip to the United States. She recouped some sales by reaching out directly to customers through newsletters and social media during the height of Italy’s lockdown, but remains cautious about the future, as the U.S. market for her goods continues to slow down.

“I am really concerned for the next season, if wholesale clients will be placing orders,’’ she said.

Same for of Shenzhen Aung Crown Industrial Ltd., which makes baseball hats. The company usually sells about 60 percent of its output to the United States. “We can’t afford to lose the U.S. market,” said general manager Kailyn Weng. “It is difficult to find other markets that could digest such a great amount of high-quality hats. … We have no alternative but to focus on the U.S. market.”

The United States is unlikely to pull the world economy out of its rut as it did in past downturns such as after the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

“The U.S. won’t be the locomotive,’’ said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at research firm IHS Markit.

The American economy shrank at an annual pace of 32.9 percent from April through June, by far the worst quarter on record. The numbers are expected to bounce back strongly in the second half but to leave the U.S. economy well short of where it stood at the beginning of 2020.

Read the full story here.

Big Ten, Pac-12 conferences cancel football season

The Big Ten and Pac-12 won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, taking two of college football’s five power conferences out of a crumbling season amid the pandemic.

About an hour after the Big Ten’s announcement, the Pac-12 called a news conference to say its season would be postponed until the spring.

The Big Ten’s announcement comes six days after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only football schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

Instead, all fall sports in the Big Ten have been called off and a spring season will be explored.

The decision was monumental but not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

Read the full story here.

Worldwide virus cases double in 6 weeks, topping 20 million

It took six months for the world to reach 10 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It took just over six weeks for that number to double.

The worldwide count of known COVID-19 infections climbed past 20 million on Monday, with more than half of them from just three countries: the U.S., India and Brazil, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The average number of new cases per day in the U.S. has declined in recent weeks but is still running high at over 54,000, versus almost 59,000 in India and nearly 44,000 in Brazil.

The severe and sustained crisis in the U.S. — over 5 million cases and 163,000 deaths, easily the highest totals of any country — has dismayed and surprised many around the world, given the nation’s vaunted scientific ingenuity and the head start it had over Europe and Asia to prepare.

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People wearing face masks wait their turn to be called for a PCR test for the COVID-19 outside a local clinic in Santa Coloma de Gramanet in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday. AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

South Africa, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Russia and the Philippines round out the list of the top 10 countries contributing the most new cases to the global tally since July 22, according to an Associated Press analysis of Johns Hopkins data through Monday.

The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.

Read the full story here.

When summer jobs vanished in pandemic, students lost more than money

Sara Buie lined up a summer lifeguard job to help pay for a new laptop, textbooks and a backpack for her freshman year at Virginia’s James Madison University. But the coronavirus pandemic closed her community pool.

Megan Foster

Megan Foster a grad student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, was unable to get a paid internship or summer job in her field of communications. Chris Carlson/Associated Press

She tried offering online tutoring to middle school and high school students. But only one parent responded before disappearing.

“Having that money would be saving me from even more future stress,” said Buie, 18, who lives in northern Virginia. “I didn’t want to take out more student loans than I had to.”

The iconic summer job for high school and college students has been on the wane for nearly 20 years. But the pandemic is squeezing even more young people out of the workforce.

Some are borrowing more money. Others have turned to pick-up jobs like Instacart, only to compete with older people who are similarly sidelined.

“They’re at the very bottom of the labor queue. And when things get tough, they get pushed out very quickly,” said Paul Harrington, a Drexel University education professor and director of the Center for Labor Markets and Policy. “And that’s why we expect a historically low unemployment summer jobs rate.”

The unemployment rate for people ages 16 to 24 was 18.5 percent in July compared with 9.1 percent the same month last year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers released Friday.

A fuller picture will emerge on Aug. 18 when the bureau releases figures on 2020 summer youth employment. But it’s already clear that many jobs have vanished.

With the downturn, Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the website Savingforcollege.com, said the number of students appealing for more financial aid this fall could double or triple.

Kantrowitz added that, “more than a million parents of college-age children will have lost their jobs or experienced a pay cut or furlough.”

Read the full story about summer jobs here.

Virus reemerges in New Zealand after 102 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.

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In this image from a video, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, left, and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, right, attend a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand Tuesday, Aug. 11. TVNZ via AP

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.

Russia clears virus vaccine despite scientific skepticism

MOSCOW — Russia on Tuesday became the first country to clear a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite international skepticism. President Vladimir Putin said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated.

Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus. However, scientists at home and abroad have been sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which normally last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.

Speaking at a government meeting Tuesday, Putin said that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and is safe.

“I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity, and I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” he said. “We must be grateful to those who made that first step very important for our country and the entire world.”

Read the rest of this story here.

China, Hong Kong report low numbers

BEIJING — The number of new community infections reported in China fell to just 13 on Tuesday, while the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong saw a further decline to 69 new cases.

The mainland also saw 31 new cases brought by Chinese travelers from abroad arriving at eight different provinces and cities. China requires testing and a two-week quarantine of all new arrivals and has barred most foreigners from entering the country.

All new locally transmitted cases were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, whose main city, Urumqi, has been at the center of the country’s latest major outbreak.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 84,712 cases. Hong Kong has been bringing numbers of new cases down since its latest outbreak last month, partly by mandating mask wearing in public settings and stepping-up social distancing restrictions. The territory has reported 4,148 cases and 55 deaths.

British cruise line pushes back start of operations

LONDON — P&O Cruises, the U.K.’s largest cruise line, has pushed back the restart of its operations by a month until November.

It said this was due to the British government’s decision to advise people to avoid cruises as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sailings, which had been due to resume on Oct. 15, have been canceled until Nov. 12.

Two trips with longer itineraries due to begin in January — Aurora’s Caribbean and South America Adventure and Arcadia’s World Cruise — have also been suspended.

The industry faces a particularly uncertain future after many passengers tested positive for the virus in the early days of the pandemic in February and March.

Travelers will be tested upon arrival in Finland

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Travelers from so-called risk countries will be tested upon arrival in Finland after a large group of people arriving on a plane from North Macedonia over the weekend tested positive for the coronavirus.

Krista Kiuru, Finland’s minister for Family Affairs and Social Services, said late Monday the Nordic country will introduce the mandatory testing as soon as possible.

Whether they will carry out random sampling “or test everyone who comes across borders, is still unclear” she said.

Mika Salminen of Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare said a large part of the world’s countries are considered risk countries.

Tests will be made on anyone arriving from a country with more than 8 to 10 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days.

On Saturday, a plane from Skopje, North Macedonia, with 157 passengers landed in Turku, western Finland, and 24 turned out positive during voluntary tests, authorities said.

Salminen said that “on the whole the situation is relatively calm in Finland.” The Nordic country has seen a total of 7,601 cases and 333 deaths.

Pakistan warns citizens to continue social distancing

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s planning minister is warning his countrymen that their “victory” against the coronavirus could be reversed if they stop adhering to social distancing rules.

Asad Umar praised people on Tuesday for cooperating with the government since March, when a nationwide lockdown was enforced amid increasing COVID-19 deaths and infections.

His warning comes a day after Pakistan eased almost all restrictions on businesses. Schools have still not been reopened.

It also comes a day after the incoming president of the United Nations General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, during a visit to Islamabad praised Pakistan for quickly containing the coronavirus, saying the South Asian nation’s handling of the pandemic is an example for others.

Pakistan reported its first confirmed case in February and witnessed a peak in deaths and infections in June. Since then, it has experienced a steady decline in fatalities.

On Tuesday it reported 15 fatalities from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising its total COVID-19-related fatalities to 6,112.

India reports more than 53,000 new cases

NEW DELHI, India — India reported 53,601 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as its total confirmed infections near 2.3 million.

The Health Ministry said fatalities reached 45,257 on Tuesday after 871 new deaths were recorded.

India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June.

The Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s top medical research body, said about 25 million tests for the virus have been conducted in the country.

Health experts say the country needs to test more people given its high population. A country of 1.4 billion people, India has been conducting a little less than 18,000 tests per million population.

India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2% is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.


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