Adults With COVID-19 Twice As Likely To Have Eaten At Restaurants, CDC Study Finds

Since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 29 million cases of COVID-19 across the planet. More than 924,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Efforts to curb the outbreak have led […]

Since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 29 million cases of COVID-19 across the planet.

More than 924,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Efforts to curb the outbreak have led to the global disruption of daily life and the economy, as schools and workplaces shuttered in hopes of slowing transmission. After months of precautions and lockdowns, governments have begun to reopen their economies.

HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects.

Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)

No Live Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade This Year, NYC Mayor Says ― 9/14/20 11:40 a.m. ET

The iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will not be held live this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The annual parade, which boasts dozens of giant balloons and floats, typically draws millions of spectators along its 2.5-mile route through Manhattan. But this year, the streets will be noticeably quieter.

“It will not be the same parade we’re used to,” de Blasio said during a press conference Monday. “It will be a different kind of event. They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history, and you will be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online. Not a live parade, but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day.”

De Blasio did not elaborate on the details, but he said Macy’s would reveal more at a later date.

“In this case, it’s really important to keep these traditions continuing, to make sure that that history is unbroken,” de Blasio said. “We’ll keep going forward, and then next year, again, I look forward to things coming back in all their greatness so we can enjoy them together in person again.”

In a statement Monday, Macy’s said it planned to “reimagine” the parade as it did with its July 4 fireworks display. The department store chain did not disclose the locations of its fireworks displays this year to avoid crowds gathering to watch.

— Hayley Miller

COVID-19 Patients Are Twice As Likely To Have Eaten In Restaurants Before Getting Sick, CDC Study Finds — 9/14/20 9:40 a.m. ET

A monthlong investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that a sampling of adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were roughly twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within the two weeks before the onset of illness than those who tested negative for the virus.

The findings, published Friday, follow a review of symptomatic outpatients who sought testing at 11 U.S. health care facilities during the month of July. The review included 154 symptomatic participants who tested positive for the virus and 160 control participants who were symptomatic but tested negative.

Participants were not asked as part of the survey whether they had dined indoors or outdoors.

The report did not find a significant difference in positivity rate when it came to the patients who participated in activities other than dining at a restaurant, such as going shopping, going to a gym or office or using public transportation. This difference with restaurant dining is believed to come down to mask-wearing.

“Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to places that offer on-site eating or drinking, might be important risk factors for acquiring COVID-19,” the CDC’s report states. “As communities reopen, efforts to reduce possible exposures at locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities.”

— Nina Golgowski

Italian Schools Finally Reopen After 6-Month Closure — 9/14/20 7:15 a.m. ET

More than 5.6 million students in Italy are expected to return to their desks on Monday for face-to-face school lessons after a six-month shutdown, the longest in Europe.

The Italian government shut the nation’s schools in early March after the country found itself at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. But efforts to make classrooms safe again have been mired in controversy.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose son will also start school on Monday, admitted that “at the beginning, there are going to be problems” with the resumption of classes, HuffPost Italy reported.

Many of the new 2.4 million single desks needed to guarantee social distancing have failed to arrive on time, unions have said, while thousands of teaching positions remain vacant and older staffers have expressed concerns about the heightened risks they face.

Fifty-nine percent of all Italy’s primary and secondary school teachers are over the age of 50, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, making the education system particularly vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks.

More than 35,000 people have died of COVID-19, the largest death toll in the European Union, and the recent increase in new cases has raised fears of a second wave.

— James Martin

Infectious Disease Expert Warns Of ‘Really Hard Road Ahead’ — 9/13/20 12:10 p.m. ET

The rate of coronavirus cases and deaths nationwide has declined in recent days, but the U.S. is far from out of the woods, according to Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Osterholm told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that he agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assessment that Americans should prepare to “hunker down” during the fall and winter.

“We will, with the colleges and universities opening, with the spillover that’s occurring with even more pandemic fatigue, … we’re going to see these numbers grow substantially,” Osterholm said.

President Donald Trump said a vaccine could be ready as early as November, but Osterholm said any “meaningful” vaccine likely won’t be available to the majority of Americans until the beginning of 2021.

“And then it’s still going to take us months to vaccinate the population of just this country,” Osterholm said. “We really have another 12 to 14 months of a really hard road ahead of us,” he added. “And that’s what I’m concerned about today. … What is our national plan? We don’t have one.”

— Hayley Miller

New U.K. Data Shows Pandemic Is Probably Growing Rather Than Shrinking — 9/11/20 1:50 p.m. ET

The rate of reproduction of the coronavirus — called the R rate in the U.K. or R-naught in the U.S. — has risen dramatically above 1.0 across most of the United Kingdom and could be as high as 1.7, British scientists said Friday. 

Official estimates by U.K. government scientists put the key figure — which shows how quickly the virus is spreading — between 1.0 and 1.2 across the whole of the country.

An R rate above 1.0 is likely to spark fresh demands for new lockdown measures in Britain as it means that the pandemic is growing rather than shrinking, HuffPost UK reported.

Separate research also suggested that coronavirus cases in England were doubling every seven to eight days at the beginning of September, with the highest rates among 18- to 24-year-olds.

“What we are seeing is evidence of an epidemic in the community and not a result of increased testing capacity,” said Professor Paul Elliott from the School of Public Health. “This is a critical time, and it’s vital that the public, our health system and policymakers are aware of the situation as we cannot afford complacency.”

It comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the legal limit on social gatherings in England would be cut from 30 to six from Monday. 

The U.K. reported 3,539 new cases on Friday – the highest in almost four months. The rise brings the total number of people in the U.K. infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic to 361,677. 

— Rachel Wearmouth and James Martin

For more on the pandemic, go here.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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