Two Oklahoma Universities delay spring semester

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Oklahoma’s two largest universities are both delaying the start of their spring semester and canceling spring break because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma each announced the delays Tuesday, with OSU beginning spring classes on Jan. 19 and OU starting on Jan. 25., one week later than previously scheduled.

“In the weeks and months ahead, we must remain mindful of the responsibility each of us has to our greater campus community to keep everyone well and safe,” OSU President Burns Hargis said in a statement.

At OU, all classes will be held online following the Thanksgiving holiday. “This is especially important as the seasons change, and the combined impact of influenza and COVID-19 spread could be incredibly detrimental to our campus and the surrounding community,” said Dr, Dale Bratzler, the university’s COVID officer.

Also, the governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe, Reggie Wassana, announced Monday that he tested positive for the virus.

Wassana said he had a mild headache and runny nose, but no fever.

The state health department on Tuesday reported 1,364 new confirmed cases and 11 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the overall totals to 93,346 cases and 1,066 deaths.

The department also reported a one-day record high of 699 people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 or a possible case of the disease.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Pentagon says top military leaders are under self-quarantine

— How do I politely ask someone to wear a mask? If in store or restaurant, have a manager make the request

— Virginia Gov. Northam has mild symptoms 2 weeks after virus diagnosis

— Despite decades of warnings about the fragile supply lines bringing protective gear from overseas factories to America’s health care workers, the U.S. was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.

— Hospitals and staff are stretched to their limits again in Madrid, where the surging number of COVID-19 patients in September forced an expansion of critical care beds into gymnasiums.

— Service workers in New Orleans who were laid off because of the coronavirus’s impact on the economy are earning a living by helping others survive during the pandemic.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SALEM, Ore. – Gov. Kate Brown says the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity is expanding to 80,000 tests per week.

Coronavirus cases in Oregon have been climbing during the past few weeks.

Health officials said that with Oregon’s jump in testing capacity, they recommend people who have symptoms of COVID-19 not only be tested but also people who have been in close contact with an infected person, regardless of whether they show symptoms.

The rapid antigen tests, which are being provided by the federal government each week through the end of 2020, can diagnose COVID-19 in 15 minutes.

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BOSTON — Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are teaming up for a six-month study of 10,000 people to help them better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in the area and to help identify potential surges during the fall and winter.

The study, called TestBoston, will provide monthly at-home kits for both the virus and antibodies against it, the organizers said Tuesday.

Participants, selected from Brigham and Women’s patients and reflecting the demographics of greater Boston, will also complete routine symptom surveys and will be able to seek additional testing should they develop symptoms.

Study results may reveal critical clues and warning signs about how COVID-19 cases are changing in the area, while helping investigators establish a model for at-home sample collection, the statement said.

The study will also help clinicians learn more about whether prior infection provides any protection against subsequent re-infection.

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has no plans to get tested for the coronavirus before heading back to the president’s campaign trail this week, even though she attended a fundraiser with the president shortly before he tested positive.

Noem’s spokesman, Ian Fury, said Tuesday she has “no plans to get tested in the immediate future” because she has not been in close contact with anyone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Republican governor tested negative for the virus on Sept. 29, a day before the Trump fundraiser in Minnesota. But she did not get close enough or spend enough time with the president to become a close contact, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Fury.

South Dakota has seen a surge in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. But Noem has not stopped traveling for the campaign or holding events. She spoke to South Dakota legislators gathered for a special session on Monday, and she will next head to Florida for a Trump rally. She is also slated to speak Friday at the American Priority Conference, a gathering of the president’s supporters, at Trump National Doral hotel in Miami.

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NEW YORK — The United States was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and failed to react quickly, despite decades of warnings about diminishing medical supplies and protective equipment.

That’s according to a seven-month Associated Press and “FRONTLINE” investigation that examines the deadly consequences of a fragmented worldwide medical supply chain.

Nurse Sandra Oldfield in Fresno, California, was among the first to become sick with COVID-19 after caring for an infected patient. She had asked for more protection but was only provided a flimsy surgical mask. Oldfield is one of more than 1,700 health care workers who have died from COVID-19, according to a National Nurses United study released in September.

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TUCSON — A new study indicates mask mandates and other measures helped beat back Arizona’s surge in coronavirus infections.

The CDC released the report, authored by a team of Arizona health officials.

The report noted the average number of daily cases skyrocketed in the state in early June, after a stay-at-home order lifted. But they leveled off and then dropped dramatically after local officials began implementing and enforcing rules about mask wearing, closures of certain businesses and other measures.

The study didn’t prove the measures caused the decline, but the researchers say there was a clear correlation and communities should take such steps against spread of the virus.

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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a new order limiting the size of public indoor gatherings in his state, which has become a hotspot for the coronavirus.

The state ranked third nationwide this week in the number of new cases per capita with 548, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The order from state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm limits public indoor gatherings to 25% of a room or building capacity. Gatherings in indoor spaces without an occupancy limit will be limited to 10 people. The order doesn’t apply to colleges, schools, churches, polling locations, political rallies and outdoor venues.

The limits take effect on Friday and run through Nov. 6.

“We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” Evers said in a statement.

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LONDON — Britain has recorded 14,542 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of nearly 2,000 in the past day.

The U.K. also recorded 76 more deaths Tuesday, a large uptick from 19 the previous day.

Large parts of northern England are under tough coronavirus restrictions as infection rates in that region have spiked.

The latest figures show the official coronavirus death toll in the U.K. has reached 42,445. However, that number only includes people who died within 28 days of testing positive.

The total is more than 58,000 if the death toll included cases where coronavirus was suspected.

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BERLIN — Berlin officials have issued a nightly business curfew to clamp down on rising coronavirus infections.

Starting this weekend, most stores, restaurants and bars will close between 11 p.m. – 6 a.m., with exceptions only for pharmacies and gas stations. The measures will last until Oct. 31.

The number of people allowed to congregate outside during those hours will be limited to five, or to members of two households. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed to participate in private indoor celebrations, down from 25.

On Monday, Germany surpassed 300,000 coronavirus cases. Another 2,639 confirmed cases were added overnight and 12 deaths, taking the overall death toll to 9,546.

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MADRID — Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa is highlighting key differences between the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the current second wave in his nation.

Illa says the death rate has dropped to 1% of cases from 12% during the initial outbreak.

In the first wave, authorities detected only around 10% of cases. Now, it’s around 70-80%. He also noted that 1 in 4 cases are asymptomatic.

Nearly 4.8 million residents in or around Madrid, are under restrictions on movement due to the second wave. The Health Ministry announced nearly 12,000 new cases on Tuesday.

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — An educator in a Des Moines suburb has died from complications of the coronavirus, but authorities are unable to say whether she contracted the virus at school. Jennifer Crawford, a special education assistant at Indian Hills Junior High School in West Des Moines, died Monday, Principal Shane Christensen announced.

School district spokeswoman Laine Mendenhall-Buck says Crawford was out of the state when her symptoms began, and she hadn’t been at the school for several weeks.

Iowa had the fourth-highest positivity rate in the nation on Monday. Iowa reported 11 additional deaths in the past day and 522 new confirmed cases.

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AMMAN, Jordan — Authorities in Jordan say they will impose a full lockdown on Friday and Saturday to contain a resurgent coronavirus outbreak and the army will deploy in all cities.

In-class education will be suspended from Friday until further notice. Universities also will shift to remote learning, except for medicine and nursing schools. The measures were announced Tuesday in a televised briefing by several senior officials.

People were ordered to remain in their homes Friday and Saturday, with only medical staff and those carrying out epidemiological investigations permitted on the streets.

Jordan reported 1,537 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to more than 19,000. It reported another 12 deaths, bringing its total death toll to 122.

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LOS ANGELES — Anne Rimoin, an infectious diseases expert at the UCLA, called for full involvement of the CDC in the contact tracing around President Donald Trump.

Rimoin says samples could be taken from people who are infected. By taking genetic material of the virus and sequencing it, scientists can build a “road map of who spread it to whom and reconstruct a much better timeline.”

White House doctor Sean Conley has refused to say when Trump last tested negative, saying he doesn’t want to “go backwards.” Rimoin says that’s exactly what contact tracing requires. Knowing how long the president was infected, and others around him, can help identify who was exposed.

Rimoin calls it “irresponsible and reckless” not to trace and “break chains of transmission to save lives right now and to learn more about super-spreading.”

(This quote has been corrected to show ‘chains’ of transmission.)

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RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he’s developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus a little less than two weeks after he and the first lady tested positive.

Northam told The Washington Post that he had some cold-like symptoms over the weekend and had lost his sense of taste and smell.

The Democratic governor, who is a physician, says he feels fine otherwise. While discussing his own illness, Northam says he was alarmed that President Donald Trump was playing down the severity of the disease even after being diagnosed with the virus.

In a tweet Monday, the president said of COVID-19, “Don’t let it dominate your life.” More than 210,000 Americans have died from the virus.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has loosened coronavirus-related crowd restrictions for indoor and outdoor events.

No indoor venue can hold more than 3,750 people and no outdoor venue can exceed a cap of 7,500 people. The new rules take effect Friday.

The state health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, cautioned officials “can and will dial back these new limits” if events are linked to outbreaks.

Wolf’s previous limits of 25 people indoors and 250 outdoors were thrown out by a western Pennsylvania federal judge. But the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the governor’s limits on Oct. 1 while that decision is appealed.

The Democrat called Tuesday’s shift “a gradual adjustment to our lives as we learn how we can do things safely” until there’s a vaccine for the virus.

Pennsylvania has nearly 160,000 confirmed cases and 8,244 deaths.

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