The virus and forest fires prevented many students from attending ACT Saturday. The same thing can happen with the SAT this week.
After a spring and summer when most opportunities to take college admission tests were lost due to the pandemic, many students were expecting to take the ACT on Saturday, one of the first major standardized test dates this fall.
But once again there was a disaster. More than 500 ACT test centers across the country have been closed because of the coronavirus, the west coast forest fires, or both. Students hoping to take the test at a center in Reno, Nevada, learned it wasn't closed until they found a sign on a nearby car: "Canceled due to poor air quality."
The last time the test was offered in July, around 1,400 students who signed up had problems with closed testing centers.
The organization that administers the ACT has not disclosed how many students were affected by closings on Saturday. Earlier this month it was said it would help all affected students to re-register for a later test date.
The College Board has made a similar effort to run the competitive SAT test amid the pandemic. Of the 402,000 students enrolled in August, nearly half were unable to attend due to closed testing centers.
Many high school graduates have stayed in limbo while searching for an open testing center, and some have even crossed state lines.
"It's been 18 months since I first studied for the test," said Ava Pallotta, a high school senior in New Rochelle, New York, whose spring test date was canceled. "Month after month it was so nerve-wracking not knowing what my test result was."
The next SAT test appointment is on Saturday, and Ms. Pallotta is registered to take it in Albany, 150 miles from home. Like thousands of others, she does not pray for a last minute shutdown that would lead her to apply for college without a SAT score.
Most colleges and universities have been testing "optional" admissions guidelines since the coronavirus outbreak began, but many students still want to submit results. More than 1,600 of the country's 2,330 colleges and universities have at least temporarily stopped requiring the tests FairTest, a group committed to ending standardized tests for college admission.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tacitly put guidelines on their website – and tacitly withdrawn on Monday – recognizing that the coronavirus is primarily airborne.
The rapid reversal is another reason for a number of confusing missteps by the agency regarding official guidance that it publishes on its website. The most recent debacle concerns the spread of the virus through aerosols, tiny particles that contain the virus that can stay in the air for long periods of time and move more than a meter.
Aerosol experts noted Sunday that the agency had updated its description of the virus's spread to say the pathogen is mainly airborne.
The virus spreads through "respiratory droplets or small particles, such as aerosols, which are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, speaks or breathes," according to the C.D.C. said in his manual published on Friday. These particles can be inhaled and cause infection, the agency added, "This is believed to be the main spread of the virus."
But that language disappeared on Monday morning.
"A draft of the proposed changes to these recommendations was incorrectly posted on the agency's official website," the agency said. As soon as the final version is ready, "the update language will be released."
The document was "prematurely" posted on the C.D.C. published and is still being revised, according to a federal official familiar with the matter.
More than 200 aerosol transmission experts appealed to the World Health Organization in July to review the evidence of aerosol transmission of the coronavirus. The WHO. acknowledged that this avenue appears to be contributing significantly to the spread of the pandemic, but health experts disagree on its importance compared to the heavier breath droplets sneezed or coughed by infected patients.
In another change to the guidelines on its website, the C.D.C. said in August that people who were in close contact with an infected person but had no symptoms did not need to be tested. But last week after the New York Times reported that the guidelines were being dictated by government officials rather than academics, the agency reversed its position, saying that all close contacts made by infected people should be tested regardless of symptoms.
A mixture of joy, confusion and hope spread across New York City on Monday, the first day of school unparalleled in the country's largest school district.
Up to 90,000 preschool children and students with advanced disabilities poured into around 700 school buildings at the start of personal lessons. The vast majority of the city's 1.1 million students started the school year online on Monday and will have the opportunity to return to classrooms over the next several weeks.
The city's 1,400 school buildings were largely empty for six months after the city abruptly closed classrooms in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Early in the morning, Tiyanna Jackson, who quit her job that spring to care for her 4-year-old daughter Zuri, was awash with relief when she arrived at a pre-K center in the South Bronx. Finally she said that when Zuri started school she could go back to work.
In the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, Balayet Hossain's day began with disappointment after taking his two daughters to school only to find the kids, a kindergarten teacher and first grader, couldn't return to school buildings until next week.
And in Corona, a borough of Queens that was particularly badly affected by the virus in the spring, Baryalay Khan said he dropped his daughter Fathma off at Pre-K and made him feel like the city is finally recovering.
"Schools are reopening, which is a good sign," he said.
Although the reopening on Monday falls far short of what Mayor Bill de Blasio originally promised – all students have the option to return to classrooms – it is still a significant milestone in New York’s long journey towards fully reopening. It's one of the few cities in the country that has some kids back in the classroom now.
"Something great is happening in New York City today," the mayor said during a press conference Monday shortly after attending a Pre-K program in Queens.
Still, the start of the school year here is full of fears and strangers, many of which were exhibited on Monday morning.
The Department of Education's distance learning registration page crashed for about 10 minutes at 9 a.m. when hundreds of thousands of students tried to register for their first day of class. Dozens of parents expressed frustration over technology issues on Twitter, and some complained that few students were even able to sign up.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to re-cut nightlife, including early closings of pubs and restaurants in England, as he steps up the country's efforts to contain the rising tide of coronavirus infections.
Pubs and restaurants are legally only allowed to offer table service and must close at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Downing Street announced late Monday. There is usually no mandatory closing time, although many close at 11pm. The new rules are the strictest as restaurants, pubs and many other businesses were allowed to emerge from the full lockdown in July.
Mr Johnson was due to officially announce his final move in Parliament on Tuesday before making a radio address that evening. The intervention comes after days of speculation that the British could face tighter enforcement of existing regulations, new restrictions on different households that meet, and shorter opening times for pubs and restaurants.
There are already stricter restrictions in place in some parts of the country, and the virus alert rating was raised to level four on Monday, indicating that it is in general circulation and transmission is high or growing exponentially.
Like much of Europe, Britain is firmly in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic. Confirmed new infections fell from more than 5,000 per day in April and May to around 600 in early July, but rebounded to around 3,600.
Much of Europe is scrambling to avoid another round of economically devastating, widespread lockdowns as new spikes emerge in France, hospitals begin to fill in Spain and officials in the UK warn that a six-month battle to contain the virus is imminent.
New targeted lockdown measures went into effect in Madrid on Monday, preventing nearly a million residents from traveling outside their neighborhood, excluding essential activities such as work, school or emergency medical care.
The rules, which some residents protested over the weekend, are taking place across the country in some cases, but are centered in Madrid, where virus-related hospital stays have tripled. The number of new cases in Spain rose to an average of more than 10,000 per day in the past week and exceeded the official number in the spring when Spain was one of the worst affected nations in Europe. Tests are more common now.
Although the nationwide deaths have not risen to this year's level, Madrid authorities said on Sunday that 37 people had died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours and about 4,000 patients were hospitalized, including around 300 on the intensive care unit . The authorities there were preparing to reopen field hospitals if necessary.
In the UK, senior scientific and medical advisors warned Monday that infections could hit 50,000 a day by next month and cause a significant increase in deaths as Wales announced an extension of lockdown regulations, due to go into effect Tuesday.
"We literally went around the corner in the bad sense," said Chris Whitty, England's chief physician, in a rare television statement alongside Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific advisor.
They warned the UK of a six month battle to fight the virus. The UK has fined at least £ 1,000 (approximately $ 1,300) fines for those who fail to self-isolate after testing positive or exposure to the virus. Fines, which start on September 28th, can go up to a maximum of £ 10,000 for repeat offenders or for the most serious violations.
Although the UK has fewer cases or deaths than some European countries like France and Spain, there are fears that it will go down the same path, with cases increasing sharply as children return to school, students to colleges and workers to offices.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced Monday that the country would mandate virus tests for people traveling from Paris and other parts of France where the virus is "widely spread".
Black doctors distrust the F.D.A. and form an expert panel on veterinary vaccines.
A black medical organization is forming a task force to review federal decisions about coronavirus vaccines and treatments. This is the latest sign of the medical community's dwindling trust in the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President Trump.
The panel is set up by the National Medical Association, which was founded in 1895 when black doctors were banned from other medical societies, STAT News reported Monday.
Non-white communities have suffered disproportionately from the virus as hospitalization and mortality rates have been higher, especially in black communities.
"There is a need to provide a trusted ambassador for verified information to the African American community," said Dr. Leon McDougle, president of the association, told STAT News.
Dr. McDougle cited the Trump administration's urge to approve the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. The F.D.A. gave the drug emergency approval in March but revoked it in June when studies found significant risks and no benefits for Covid-19 patients.
Many experts fear that the urge to give a vaccine in a short amount of time will result in a vaccination that hasn't been rigorously reviewed and tested, said Dr. McDougle told STAT News, and which could lead to black people who have long been underrepresented in drug trials – believing that a government-approved vaccine may still not be safe.
The foundation of trust between Black Americans and the medical establishment has been shaken over the years by unequal and sometimes unethical treatment, particularly an infamous 40-year research study known as the Tuskegee Experiment that involved black men infected with syphilis were intentionally left untreated by federal health officials so they can watch the disease progression. The experiment ended in 1972. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the men as part of the experiment were infected by the officers; they weren't.)
An N.I.H. The official continued conspiracy theories about the pandemic while at the agency.
A public affairs officer at the National Institutes of Health is retiring after reports that he secretly and conspiratorially attacked his employer as the executive editor of the right-wing website RedState.
The officer, William B. Crews, worked for the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases while also overseeing the work of the agency and its boss, Dr. Anothony S. Fauci, denounced and her research and health advice in wild and conspiratorial terms under the pen name "Streiff" rejected.
His writing on the blog was first reported by The Daily Beast, along with a number of posts on Twitter spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci as "Maskennazi" while another warned that people would be forced to "cooperate with the Gestapo for public health" under "Fascist Governor Jay Inslee", the Democratic governor of Washington.
The revelation comes after the New York Times reported last week that the chief of communications at NIH's parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, also accused federal scientists of using the coronavirus to try to find Mr. Trump to defeat. That official, Michael R. Caputo, went on vacation Wednesday, and his scientific advisor, Dr. Paul Alexander, left the government.
"I can't think of any precedent for these malicious attacks against Dr. Fauci by someone in his own agency," said Joshua M. Sharfstein, professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It adds a terrible new twist to the pressures faced by many public health officials."
The WHO. According to 156 countries, they support their plan to buy and distribute vaccine doses worldwide.
Countries accounting for around 64 percent of the world's population are supporting a World Health Organization initiative to buy and distribute doses of coronavirus vaccine around the world.
Despite the notable absence of the United States, China and Russia in the project, officials stressed Tuesday that 64 high-income countries – including Japan, Britain and Canada – were now part of the effort, which involved 156 countries in total.
"At a time when the world was so concerned about countries going bilaterally, we now have 64 percent of the world's population, and it's still growing," Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to the WHO Director-General, said in a press conference. "This is a big step forward."
The participation of rich countries in the project known as the COVAX Global Vaccine Allocation Plan is seen as essential to pooling the resources necessary for an equitable distribution of doses around the world. Officials said they hope to ship around two billion cans worldwide by the end of 2021.
The W.H.O. The project led is to build on various efforts in different parts of the world to contain the spread of Covid-19. CEPI, a public-private partnership for vaccine development, is part of the W.H.O. Initiative and currently supports nine potential vaccines, eight of which are in clinical trials. It is estimated that there are more than 130 potential vaccines in development worldwide.
The WHO. On Monday, governments, vaccine manufacturers, and other funding sources, including philanthropic organizations and individuals, announced $ 1.4 billion to research and develop the vaccine. The WHO. added that an additional $ 700 million to $ 800 million would be needed to fuel the vaccination effort.
Cuba faces one of the worst food shortages in years after the pandemic devastated its tourist-dependent economy.
Cuba, a police state with a strong public health system, was able to control the coronavirus quickly even as the pandemic plunged wealthier nations into crisis. But its economy, already hurt by the crippling of US sanctions and mismanagement, was particularly vulnerable to the economic devastation that followed.
When nations closed airports and locked borders to fight the spread of the virus, tourist travel to Cuba collapsed and the island lost a major source of hard currency, plunging it into one of the worst food shortages in nearly 25 years.
Often times, what groceries are available can only be found in government-run stores that are stocked with imports and are priced in dollars. The strategy, also used in the 1990s during the economic crisis known as the "Special Period", is used by the government to collect hard currency from Cubans who have savings or receive money from friends or relatives abroad.
Even these stores are in short supply and prices can be exorbitant: a buyer recently couldn't find chicken or cooking oil, but there was a £ 17 ham for $ 230 and a £ 7 block of Manchego cheese with a price from $ 149 label.
And reliance on dollar stores, a move designed to prop up the socialist revolution in a country that prides itself on egalitarianism, has exacerbated economic inequality, say some Cubans.
In other international news developments:
The Taj Mahal, one of India's most famous landmarks and a major tourist attraction, reopened Monday after being closed for more than six months to contain the spread of the virus. The monument, which receives an average of 20,000 visitors a day, will limit entry to 5,000 people per day. The website reopened despite India having more than 5.4 million cases and more than 90,000 cases daily, the second highest case number behind the US.
The German city Munich will require masks in some of its open spaces starting Thursday, including busy streets and popular squares, the mayor said on Monday. Although masks are required when shopping, on public transport, or in other indoor spaces in most parts of Germany, outdoor public spaces have avoided the mask rules that apply in other European cities.
Virus restrictions on travel and gatherings will be lifted in most cases New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday from midnight. However, restrictions still exist in Auckland, the country's largest city, and will be eased but not completely lifted as of Wednesday. The city was the center of a mysterious outbreak in August. New Zealand, an island nation of five million people, has reported just over 1,800 cases of coronavirus and 25 deaths, according to a database from the New York Times.
It's an astonishing number, nearly 200,000 people who have died from the coronavirus in the United States and nearly a million people around the world.
And the pandemic, which has seen cases skyrocketing and trending down after lockdowns in many countries, has reached a precarious point. Will countries like the United States see the virus slow down further? Or is a new climb on the way?
"Nobody knows what's going to happen," said Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. "This virus has surprised us on many fronts and we may be surprised again."
Fewer new cases have been discovered week after week in the United States since the end of July, after outbreaks first hit the northeast, then the south and west.
But in the past few days, the daily number of new cases in the nation has been rising again, fueling concerns about a resurgence of the virus with universities and schools reopening and colder indoor weather.
Worldwide, at least 73 countries are seeing an increase in newly discovered cases.
More than 90,000 new cases are currently being discovered in India every day, bringing the total number of cases in the country to over five million.
In Europe, the virus is searing across the continent again after lockdowns helped stifle the spring crisis.
Israel, with nearly 1,200 deaths attributed to the virus, imposed a second lockdown last week, one of the few nations to have done so.
When the first wave of infections spread around the world, governments imposed extensive restrictions: more than four billion people were in some kind of home stay at one point in time. Now many countries are desperately trying to avoid such intensive measures.
"We have a very serious situation ahead of us," said Hans Kluge, Regional Director of the World Health Organization for Europe, last week. "The weekly cases have now exceeded the reported cases when the pandemic peaked in Europe for the first time in March."
Nearly 200,000 people died from the virus in the United States on Monday morning. It was only four months ago, in late May, that the nation's death list hit 100,000. According to analyzes, even the current balance sheet could represent a considerable undercounting of the toll.
Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said it was conceivable that the death toll in the United States could reach 300,000 if the public lost their vigilance.
"Nobody wants to admit that it's still outrageous": Bill Gates criticizes delays in virus test results.
Bill Gates, one of the world's richest and most influential health donors, said it was "outrageous" that coronavirus test results are not returned within 24 hours for most people.
"We have to come to terms with the fact that we have not done a good job," said Gates, founder of Microsoft, on "Fox News Sunday". "You know, part of the reluctance, I think, to fix the test system now, is that no one wants to admit that it's still outrageous."
Turnaround time will depend in part on the type of test being used and the processing capacity in the laboratory. For the types most commonly used in the United States, results can take up to two weeks, leaving people who might be infected thinking in the dark about whether they could put others at risk. Tests that give faster results, including 24-hour testing, come at a heavy cost, giving those who can afford them an edge over those who cannot.
Mr Gates criticized the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic, including its failure to develop a national test plan. The president has blamed tests for the increase in virus cases the country and has allowed politics to shape politics against the advice of experts.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds research and development programs related to the virus, Gates said. At the beginning of the crisis, he supported a popular testing program in Seattle that included virus testing at home. But the Food and Drug Administration ordered the program to be terminated.
Students attending schools in California's Cajon Valley Union School District, which serves a largely low-income community in San Diego County, have taken in-person classes as part of a hybrid learning model – a rarity in the state where more than nine out of ten of the 6 , 3 million California public students are only distance learning.
And so far it works.
The district's 27 schools have seen no outbreaks, although the county has had nearly 2,000 new cases in the past seven days. In one case, a group of students had to be quarantined for 14 days after a parent tested positive for the virus. However, no cases of students or teachers have occurred.
Two other factors contributing to the district's early success are the policy of providing a laptop for every student and the extensive high-tech teacher training it has offered over the past seven years.
In other developments in the United States:
The Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy apologized on Monday on behalf of the network for a recent report on a local subsidiary operating the Nashville Mayor, a Democrat, had hidden virus data. The partner withdrew his story, but not before the allegations made the rounds in conservative media.
The reporting was written by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Jenny Anderson, Stephen Castle, Manny Fernandez, Emma Goldberg and Apoorva Mandavilli. Raphael Minder, Zach Montague, Adam Nagourney, Jeremy W. Peters, Simon Romero, Marc Santora, Anna Schaverien, Christopher F. Schütze, Eliza Shapiro, Eileen Sullivan, Sameer Yasir and Karen Zraick.