The Latest: Brown dean calls Trump case ‘failure’ of WH team
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Dr. Ashish Jha, a leading infectious diseases expert, called President Donald Trump’s infection with the coronavirus “a total failure” to protect him.
Jha, the new dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, tweeted Friday: “This is a nightmare. COVID19 is a serious infection, especially for someone who is older like Mr. Trump. I can’t believe he was infected. This is a total failure by WH team to protect the President.”
Trump tweeted Friday that he’s quarantining in the White House, along with wife Melania, who also tested positive for the coronavirus.
A White House official says the president is experiencing “mild symptoms.”
Trump has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of a virus, which has killed more than 207,000 Americans.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Trump and first lady tested positive for coronavirus; he has ‘mild symptoms’
— Russia reports more than 9,000 new cases in a day
— India’s coronavirus death toll nearing 100,000
— Trump has several strikes against him — age, obesity, elevated cholesterol and being male — that could put him at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus.
— Amazon: Nearly 20,000 workers tested positive for virus. The online retail giant says the infection rate of its employees is well below the general U.S. population.
— Democrats controlling the House narrowly have passed a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, a move that came as top-level talks on a smaller, potentially bipartisan measure dragged on toward an uncertain finish.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
DETROIT — Bus riders were stranded Friday in Detroit as drivers concerned about the coronavirus refused to report to work.
A union official says drivers were having conflicts with riders about wearing masks and facing other challenges.
“Just because you ask someone about a mask, you’ve got to fend for your life,” Glenn Tolbert told The Detroit News. “It’s getting to the point with COVID and all the other pressures ... all of these things are just piling up. I’ve got people quitting on a daily basis.”
Detroit buses serve an average of 85,000 people a day.
In March, early in the pandemic, drivers staged a strike over safety and the condition of their buses. In response, Detroit eliminated fares, promised more cleaning and told riders to enter and exit from the rear door only. Masks are mandatory.
Detroit’s chief operating officer, Hakim Berry, says the city is listening to new concerns and working to get drivers back on the road.
A driver died of the coronavirus in March, days after posting an angry video on Facebook about a coughing passenger.
YAKIMA, Wash. — Two hospital nurses have filed a complaint with the Washington State Department of Health, saying staffing and sanitation practices are putting patients and staff at risk during the pandemic.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Sylvia Keller and Alice Westphal say Virginia Mason Memorial has been dangerously understaffed, resulting in nurses working every day “in anticipation of a disaster.”
Virginia Mason Memorial declined comment because of hospital protocol prohibiting comment on an ongoing investigation. Health Department spokesperson Kristen Maki confirmed the agency received the allegations but couldn’t confirm or deny if an investigation was opened.
HONOLULU — The family of a man who died after being infected with the coronavirus in a Hawaii veterans’ home has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the sons of Chris Drayer filed the lawsuit against the operator of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, where 27 resident have died from the coronavirus.
Noah Bennett-Drayer and Daniel Bennett-Drayer allege their father died as a result of substandard care by Utah-based Avalon Health Care and four of its affiliates. The 70-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam was tested for the coronavirus Aug. 28 and died Sept. 2.
HONOLULU — Up to 100,000 Hawaii residents receiving unemployment benefits are expected to receive $500 meal cards for use in restaurants throughout the state.
The money will be distributed through the Restaurant Card Program. It will distribute $75 million in the form of the debit-style cards to people who began receiving unemployment benefits after March 25.
The program funded by federal coronavirus relief money is designed to help struggling restaurants and farmers. Registration is not required for the nontransferable cards, which will be delivered by mail. The cards can only be used in restaurants between Oct. 20 and Dec. 15.
BRUSSELS — Speaking in the name of all 27 EU leaders, European Council president Charles Michel wished Donald Trump a prompt recovery after the U.S. president and his wife tested positive for coronavirus.
Speaking after a two-day meeting of heads of states and governments from the bloc in Brussels, Michel was asked by a reporter what lessons could be drawn from Trump’s positive test.
“Of course, we all wish him a speedy recovery,” Michel said, “But of course, personally I will not give a health advice.”
LONDON — A Scottish National Party lawmaker at the U.K. Parliament is under pressure to resign for travelling from London to Glasgow after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Margaret Ferrier apologized for breaching virus-related restrictions on travel but is facing growing calls to quit. That includes calls from her party leader, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The SNP leader Ian Blackford told BBC Radio Scotland that Ferrier had made a “tremendous error of judgment” and now must “do the right thing for her constituents.”
The SNP suspended Ferrier from the party on Thursday after learning of the breach.
People in Britain are told they must self-isolate if they have coronavirus symptoms and when they are waiting for a test result after reporting symptoms.
PORTLAND, Maine — The median age of people who contract coronavirus in the state of Maine is trending downward.
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah says the median age was 51.3 from March through the end of May. It dipped to 41.4 for the months of June through September.
He says the possible reasons include an increase in economic and social activity in recent months. Shah says the drop in median age is a motivator to maintain social distancing and take other precautions.
NEW YORK — Amazon says nearly 20,000 of its workers have tested positive or been presumed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Amazon says in a corporate blog it examined data from March 1 to Sept. 19 for its 1.37 million workers at Amazon and Whole Foods Market.
It said it compared COVID-19 case rates to the general population, as reported by Johns Hopkins University for the same period. Based on that analysis, if the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods employees were the same as it is for the general population, it estimated it would have seen 33,952 cases among its workforce.
The company says it is conducting thousands of tests a day, which will grow to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.
Companies have no legal obligation to publicly reveal how many of their workers have contracted the virus, and few are doing so.
However, employers must provide a safe working environment, which means they must alert staff if they might have been exposed to the virus, according to guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They are obligated to keep track of COVID-19 infections contracted on the job, and must report to OSHA if there is a hospitalization or death related to the disease.
MOSCOW — The coronavirus outbreak in Russia continues its rapid growth, with the government reporting over 9,000 new confirmed cases on Friday but the Kremlin saying a second lockdown is not being discussed.
The 9,412 new cases reported on Friday bring the country’s total to over 1.19 million and mark the highest surge since late May. Russia currently has the fourth largest caseload in the world and has so far reported over 21,000 deaths.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says another lockdown is currently not being discussed in the government.
At the same time in Moscow, which has been reporting over 2,000 new cases a day since Monday, officials have recommended the elderly self-isolate at home and have extended upcoming school holidays by a week.
On Thursday, Moscow’s mayor also ordered employers to have 30% of their staff work from home. “I hope that this measure will be enough to curb the rise of infections, and we won’t have to make more difficult decisions,” Sergei Sobyanin wrote in his blog.
ATHENS, Greece — Authorities have ordered the shutdown of a food canning company in northern Greece after tests on staff revealed 114 coronavirus infections.
The country’s civil protection authority said Friday the entirety of the company’s facilities in the village of Mavrovouni in the northern Greek province of Pella would be shut down for 10 days, until October 11.
Greece has been seeing a steady increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, leading to extra restrictions being imposed on some locations, including Athens, where the majority of new cases have appeared. The Greek capital, the country’s most populous city by far, has frequently accounted for more than half of confirmed new positive cases.
On Thursday, Greece reported 411 new confirmed cases and two new deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases to just under 18,900, with 393 deaths in this country of about 11 million.
JERUSALEM — Israeli media are reporting that a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 92, had initially opposed the closure of religious seminaries last spring, saying “the Torah protects and saves,” but began advocating for social distancing, mask-wearing and other measures as the full scale of the outbreak became clear.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished the rabbi a quick recovery in a message posted on Twitter.
Israel’s insular ultra-Orthodox community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, as many have flouted restrictions on public prayers and other religious gatherings.
The country, with a population of just 9 million, is currently dealing with one of the worst outbreaks in the world on a per capita basis. A new lockdown was imposed last month and tightened amid the Jewish High Holidays, which run until mid-October.
Israel has reported more than 250,000 cases and more than 1,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
LONDON — Irish airline Ryanair has lost its legal action against the country’s government over its coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Ryanair had claimed the restrictions were “unlawful” and amounted to a disproportionate interference in the rights of the airline and its passengers.
As well as urging people to quarantine for 14 days after their arrival from countries not on the so-called “green list,” people have been advised not to travel outside the island of Ireland except for essential purposes.
Ryanair said the guidelines went “well beyond mere travel advice” and represented the “imposition of restrictions on international travel.”
However, Justice Garrett Simons rejected Ryanair’s claims, ruling that the government had acted lawfully and was “entitled, in the exercise of the executive power, to provide such advice to the public.”
“The advice to avoid non-essential travel and to restrict movements on entry to the State is just that: advice,” the ruling read.
KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistan authorities have closed more than 100 restaurants and six wedding halls in the financial capital of Karachi over violations of social distancing rules amid a sudden increase in COVID-19 deaths.
The government has also imposed a lockdown in some of the city’s high-risk areas to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A similar crackdown over social distancing rules has also been ordered in other parts of the country.
Pakistanis have been seen routinely violating social distancing since last month when wedding halls were allowed to open on the condition they adhere to such rules.
Authorities earlier reported 13 out of the country’s 15 single-day COVID-19 fatalities in southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.
Pakistan has reported 313,431 confirmed cases with 6,499 deaths.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia and New Zealand have announced a partial opening of their borders to international travel between the neighboring countries.
Australian Transport Minister Michael McCormack says passengers will be able to fly to Sydney and Darwin without going into quarantine from Oct. 16 if they have spent at least two weeks in parts of New Zealand that are not considered COVID-19 hot spots.
But New Zealand will continue insist on travelers from Australia going into hotel quarantine for two weeks on arrival.
McCormack says, “We want to open up Australia to the world. This is the first part of it.”
The two countries separated by the Tasman Sea have long said that the return of international travel would begin with a so-called Trans-Tasman Bubble. McCormack says Australian authorities have concluded that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.
But travelers who have visited a New Zealand hot spot -- defined as a region that has reported three new infections a day over three days -- won’t be exempt from quarantine.
McCormack says the South Australia state capital Adelaide would likely become the next city to allow quarantine-free travel from New Zealand.
NEW DELHI — India’s COVID-19 fatalities are closing on 100,000 with another 1,095 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
The update by the Health Ministry on Friday raised India’s death toll to 99,773. Its reported deaths are low for a country with nearly 1.4 billion people and more than 6.3 million confirmed cases, but experts say it may not be counting many fatalities.
The ministry also reported 81,484 new cases.
Total cases jumped from 1 million in mid-July to more than 6 million in less than 2 1/2 months.
New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru are the main urban centers of the infections, accounting for one in every seven confirmed cases and one in every five deaths in the country.