For the first time in nearly 50 years, older workers face higher unemployment than their midcareer worker counterparts, according to a study released Tuesday by the New School university in New York City.

The pandemic has wrecked havoc on employment for people of all ages. But researchers found that during its course, workers 55 and older lost jobs sooner, were rehired slower and continue to face higher job losses than their counterparts ages 35 to 54.

It is the first time since 1973 that such a severe unemployment gap has persisted for six months or longer.

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Job seekers exercise social distancing as they wait to be called into the Heartland Workforce Solutions office in Omaha, Neb., in July. For the first time in nearly 50 years, older workers are facing higher unemployment than midcareer workers, according to a study released Tuesday. Nati Harnik/Associated Press

In every recession since the 1970s, older workers had persistently lower unemployment rates than midcareer workers — partly because of seniority benefits.

But in the current recession, older workers experienced higher unemployment rates than midcareer workers in each month since the onset of the pandemic.

The older workers’ unemployment rates from April through September were 1.1 percentage points higher than mid-career workers — at 9.7% versus 8.6%. The rates were compiled using a six-month rolling average and were far worse for older workers who are black, female or lack college degrees.

Read the full story here.

Oklahoma hits record high of 821 virus hospitalizations

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and state health officials on Tuesday announced a new plan to handle a surge in the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus.

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, shown in September, announced a plan on Tuesday to handle the surge in hospitalizations from COVID-19. Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The plan, announced as the number of hospitalizations in the state reached a record one-day high of 821, includes transferring virus patients from a hospital in a region of the state where hospitalizations are high to a a region that has more bed capacity available.

“This is based upon region, so when the capacity no longer exits within the region the patient will be transferred to the next region that can provide appropriate care,” said Oklahoma Hospital Association President Patti Davis.

The three-tiered surge plan is based upon coronavirus hospitalizations in each of the state’s eight regions of 15 percent, 15-19 percent and 20 percent, Davis said.

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus or under investigation for infection was 28 more than the previous high of 793 reported Friday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force last week said Oklahoma remains in the red zone for newly reported coronavirus cases and recommended residents wear masks among the ways to slow the virus’ spread.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has repeatedly said he will not implement a statewide mask mandate, saying a he doesn’t believe a such a mandate is enforceable in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.

”“Every county is different, we’re leaving that up to the municipalities,” Stitt said.

Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman, the state’s three largest cities, have implemented mask mandates.

The health department reported an additional 1,475 virus cases and 18 more deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. There have been 109,548 cases and 1,191 deaths since the pandemic began. The true number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The department reports 14,659 active cases and that 93,698 people have recovered.

U.S. has seen 300,000 more deaths than usual this year, CDC says

NEW YORK — A new government report shows that since the coronavirus pandemic began, the U.S. has seen 300,000 more deaths than it usually would.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking how many deaths have been reported and comparing them with counts seen in other years. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it’s closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5 percent increase.

The CDC says the coronavirus was involved in about two-thirds of the excess deaths. CDC officials say it’s likely the virus was a factor in many other deaths too. For example, someone with heart attack symptoms may have hesitated to go to a hospital that was busy with coronavirus patients.

The largest segment of the excess deaths, about 95,000, were in elderly people ages 75 to 84. That was 21.5 percent more than in a normal year. But the biggest relative increase, 26.5 percent, was in people ages 25 to 44. Deaths in people younger than 25 actually dropped slightly.

Deaths were up for different racial and ethnic groups, but the largest increase – 54 percent – was among Hispanic Americans.

Persistent cough keeps Melania Trump off campaign trail

WASHINGTON — Melania Trump’s return to the campaign trail will have to wait.

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First lady Melania Trump, shown on Sept. 29, has decided against accompanying President Trump to a campaign rally Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, because of a lingering cough after her bout with COVID-19. Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

The first lady has decided against accompanying President Trump to a campaign rally Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, because of a lingering cough after her bout with COVID-19, said Stephanie Grisham, her chief of staff.

It was to be Mrs. Trump’s first public appearance since recovering from the coronavirus, as well as her first time out on the campaign trail in more than a year.

The first lady’s announcement served as yet another reminder for the president that, as much as he wishes the virus would “just disappear” — as he has said — it remains a powerful presence in everyday life, including his.

Trump said Monday that people are tired of hearing about COVID-19. More than 58,000 Americans a day are testing positive for the virus, and more than 700 a day are dying from the disease.

Mrs. Trump continues to feel better every day “but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today,” Grisham said.

The first lady last appeared in public for the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. She and the president tested positive two days later.

The first lady announced in a blog post last week that she had recovered from a bout with COVID-19 that included headaches, body aches and fatigue, and had tested negative. She also revealed that the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, also had contracted the virus, but never had symptoms. He has since tested negative.

Chinese drugmaker setting up vaccine production lines

BEIJING — A state-owned Chinese drugmaker is setting up production lines to supply 1 billion doses of two possible coronavirus vaccines that are being tested on 50,000 people in 10 countries, the company chairman said Tuesday.

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A staff member tests samples of a potential COVID-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing in April. Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua via Associated Press

Testing by SinoPharm Group is “in the last kilometer of a long march,” chairman Liu Jingzhen said at a news conference. He gave no indication when results are expected.

China’s fledgling drug industry is part of a global race to produce a vaccine and has four candidates in final stages of testing. Health experts say, however, that even if China succeeds, stringent certification rules in the United States, Europe and Japan might mean its vaccine can be distributed only in other developing countries.

SinoPharm is testing two vaccines in countries including Egypt, Argentina, Jordan and Peru, Liu said. Both are inactivated, meaning they use a non-infectious version of the coronavirus.

According to Liu, production lines for vaccines are being set up in Beijing and Wuhan, the city in central China where the outbreak began in December.

“The production capacity will reach 1 billion doses next year, ensuring sufficient safety,” Liu said.

Chinese-developed vaccines have been tested on 60,000 people with “only slight adverse effects,” said Tian Baoguo, an official of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Thousands of people in China including healthcare workers and others deemed to be at risk have been given the experimental vaccines. Three city governments have announced plans to inoculate members of the public who need it.

UK researchers will experiment with infecting healthy volunteers with coronavirus

LONDON — U.K. researchers are preparing to begin a controversial experiment that will infect healthy volunteers with the new coronavirus to study the disease in hopes of speeding up development of a vaccine.

The approach, called a challenge study, is risky but proponents say it may produce results faster than standard research, which waits to see if volunteers who have been given an experimental treatment get sick.

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Danica Marcos, sits in a park in London on Oct. 16. Marcos is a volunteer as U.K. researchers are preparing to begin a controversial experiment that will infect healthy volunteers with the new coronavirus to study the disease in hopes of speeding up development of a vaccine. Associated Press/Frank Augstein

Imperial College London said Tuesday that the study, involving healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30, would be conducted in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and hVivo, a company that has experience conducting testing .

Professor Peter Openshaw, co-investigator on the study, says that “deliberately infecting volunteers with a known human pathogen is never undertaken lightly. However, such studies are enormously informative about a disease, even one so well studied as COVID-19.”

In the first phase, researchers will aim to determine the smallest level of exposure needed to cause the disease. Researchers will then use the same challenge model to study how potential vaccines work in the body, the bodies immune response and potential treatments.

Read the full story here.

Heathrow offers rapid tests for some flights

LONDON — London’s Heathrow Airport has launched a rapid coronavirus test service for passengers.

The pre-departure tests, which aim to provide results in an hour, will be offered to those flying to Hong Kong and Italy. The saliva swab costs 80 pounds ($104) and can return results quickly because they don’t need to be sent to a laboratory.

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Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport, in London on July 26. Andrew Matthews/PA via AP

Hong Kong and Italy are among destinations requiring travelers from Britain and other “high risk” countries to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours before their departure.

Aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport says the pre-departure tests are the “crucial next step toward keeping the travel industry moving while limiting the spread of the virus.”

Heathrow airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye says ultimately, the travel industry needs an international standard for pre-departure testing.

Nations battling rise in virus cases in Europe, Americas

NEW YORK — After entire nations were shut down during the first surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some countries and U.S. states are trying more targeted measures as cases rise again around the world, especially in Europe and the Americas.

New York’s new round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighborhoods, closing schools and businesses in hot spots measuring just a couple of square miles.

Spanish officials limited travel to and from some parts of Madrid before restrictions were widened throughout the capital and some suburbs.

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Pedestrians pass a storefront Thursday in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens in New York City as restrictions on operations are imposed because of an increase in COVID-19 infections. John Minchillo/Associated Press

Italian authorities have sometimes quarantined spots as small as a single building.

While countries including Israel and the Czech Republic have reinstated nationwide closures, other governments hope smaller-scale shutdowns can work this time, in conjunction with testing, contact tracing and other initiatives they’ve now built up.

The concept of containing hot spots isn’t new, but it’s being tested under new pressures as authorities try to avoid a dreaded resurgence of illness and deaths, this time with economies weakened from earlier lockdowns, populations chafing at the idea of renewed restrictions and some communities complaining of unequal treatment.

Read the full story here.

People should wear masks on public transit, tougher CDC guidance says

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday recommended in newly issued guidelines that all passengers and workers on planes, trains, buses and other public transportation wear masks to control spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Travelers check in at a United Airlines kiosk with help from a United employee in the main terminal of Denver International Airport this month in Denver. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strengthened its guidance on wearing masks on all mass and public transportation. David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The guidance was issued amid pressure from the airline industry, surging cases of the coronavirus in the United States and strong evidence on the effectiveness of masks in curbing transmission, according to CDC officials.

The recommendations fall short of what transportation industry leaders and unions had sought.

The CDC had previously drafted an order under the agency’s quarantine powers that would have required all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public transportation, according to a CDC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Such orders typically carry penalties. The order was blocked by the White House, the official said. It was first reported by The New York Times.

Read the full story on CDC guidelines here.

South Carolina authorities break up huge party amid pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Authorities in South Carolina broke up a party where at least 2,000 people were gathered without taking precautions to prevent spreading the coronavirus, fire officials said.

University of South Carolina fans cheer on the Gamecocks during an NCAA college football game Saturday in Columbia, S.C. Police broke up a party where at least 2,000 people were gathered during the game at a Columbia apartment complex. Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The gathering occurred Saturday at an apartment complex during the University of South Carolina’s football game, Columbia Fire Department spokesman Mike DeSumma told The State. Fire department photos show a huge crowd of young people with little evidence of face masks or social distancing.

Some people threw bottles at crews as they arrived to answer a medical call, DeSumma said. Sheriff’s deputies and university police helped break up the party after fire officials declared it an imminent danger.

“There were so many people there that our responders had trouble getting in,” DeSumma said. “If we had come out for a fire or an emergency situation it would have been impossible to get in.”

The fire chief planned to meet with apartment managers Monday to discuss what happened.

No citations were issued to partygoers, DeSumma said, but not wearing a mask is a civil infraction with a fine up to $25, and businesses face a $100 penalty, according to a pandemic ordinance in Richland County.

At least 3,650 people in South Carolina have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University. The state is 14th highest per capita in the nation for deaths, and the daily rolling average of new cases is up more than 15 percent over the last two weeks.

German district goes into lockdown after startling jump in cases

BERLIN — A district in Germany’s Alpine southeastern corner is going into a de-facto lockdown Tuesday after reporting well above 200 new cases per 100,000 residents in a week, the highest level in a country that is still in better shape than many others in Europe.

Schools, restaurants and other facilities in the Berchtesgaden district, on the border with Austria, are being closed for 14 days. Hotels there are closed to tourists and residents can only leave their homes for good reason.

Other areas across Germany are considering less onerous new restrictions as infections rise. The national disease control center said the country of 83 million people recorded 6,868 new cases over the past day — below the record of 7,830 on Saturday but considerably more than a week earlier.

Many of Germany’s biggest cities have exceeded the level of 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over a week that is supposed to trigger new local restrictions. As of Tuesday, the entire Ruhr industrial region in western Germany was above that figure.

Widespread violations of social distancing leads to 140 percent increase in fatalities in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — A Cabinet minister says Pakistan has witnessed a 140 percent increase in fatalities from COVID-19 in recent weeks due to widespread violations of social distancing rules.

Asad Umar, the planning and development minister who oversees Pakistan’s response to coronavirus, warned on Twitter “We will lose both lives and livelihoods” if people did not adhere to social distancing rules.

His comments Tuesday came shortly after the military-backed Command and Operations Center reported 14 deaths and 625 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned on Monday that Pakistan’s big cities could face a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming weeks because of increasing pollution in winter. Pakistan has reported 324,084 cases, including 6,673 COVID-19 deaths.

California won’t distribute coronavirus vaccine before it’s reviewed by state experts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state won’t allow distribution of coronavirus vaccines until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts.

Newsom says California wants its own independent review no matter who wins the presidential election next month.

The governor named 11 doctors and scientists to review any rollout of vaccines by the federal government or vaccine developers. The board members hail from top California top universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health officials.

Newsom’s position pledge raises the possibility that California’s 40 million residents might not receive a vaccine as distribution begins in other states.

Oregon to expand face covering requirements

SALEM, Ore. — As Oregon’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic nears 40,000, state health officials say face-covering requirements are being expanded.

Currently, Oregonians are required to wear masks at indoor public spaces and outside where they cannot maintain six feet of space between others. Health officials said Monday that they are expanding the guidance to include all private and public workplaces, including classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, colleges, universities, outdoor markets and private career schools.


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