New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, and professional sports (without fans). A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
Here's the latest:
- State Board Of Elections Says It Needs $50 Million To Get November Election Right
- NYC Public Schools Reopening Plan: Here's What We Know So Far
- Full Scope Of NY's Nursing Home COVID Death Toll Still Unknown
- Parents Who Work In NYC Schools Still Wondering What To Do With Their Own Kids
- Independent NYC Venues Join Forces For "Save Our Stages" Effort
1:45 p.m. In a major reversal, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is expected to announce on Wednesday that schools statewide will be permitted to offer all-remote learning this fall. The Democrat previously said schools needed to offer at least some in-person instruction.
Although the state had seen an uptick in cases last month, New Jersey has one of the lowest positivity rates in the country, that of 1.35%. Public health officials had recommended that communities reopen with in-person instruction as long as the positivity rate was below 5%.
But school districts and educators unions in New Jersey have been pressuring Murphy to keep the schools closed. Many districts, like Jersey City, had submitted reopening plans for approval to the state that did not include any in-person learning. Others, like Elizabeth, said they did not have enough teachers who wanted to return to the classroom.
On Tuesday night, the state’s largest teachers union, together with the principal and superintendent associations, jointly called on Murphy to direct all schools to reopen remotely.
“Reopening schools for in-person instruction under the current conditions poses too great a risk to the health of students and schools staff,” the unions said in a statement.
The school year begins in three weeks for the state’s more than 500 school districts.
Schools In Texas May Not Reopen Until October
Some Texas school districts may not reopen for in-person instruction until October, a reflection of the severity of coronavirus outbreaks that crippled the state's hospitals last month.
“Whatever is the best strategy determined by the school district is exactly the pathway that school district should follow," said Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday.
The announcement came on the same day Texas surpassed 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Although infections have showed signs of leveling off in recent weeks, the state has a record high positivity rate, currently 20% as a 7-day moving average, according to Johns Hopkins University's tracking website. More than 9,300 people in the state have died from the virus.
Governor Abbott said bars, which were ordered to close at the end of June, could reopen if the state were able to reach a positivity rate of "well below 10%" and sustain it. He added that operators would also have to follow safety protocols of limited gatherings and mask wearing.
A Republican, Abbott was heavily criticized for rushing the state's reopening and undermining local mask orders. But facing a massive outbreak, he has been forced to adopt many of the measures he once resisted. Last month, Texas issued a statewide face covering order.
“The most important thing I can convey today is that even though the numbers of COVID-19 have improved,” he said. “COVID-19 has not left Jefferson County, has not left Orange County, has not left the State of Texas.”
"We're At A Tipping Point": Europe Sees Concerning Rise In Virus Cases
Several major countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain, are seeing a spike in outbreaks, prompting expanded mask wearing restrictions and public health warnings.
The surge in cases come as many countries had been trying to lift restrictions, including those on travel during what is typically the busiest tourist season. Similar to here in the United States, health officials have attributed many of the infections to young people and cited illegal parties and underground raves as well as beach crowds and bar-goers.
On Monday, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued an update, saying "While many countries are now testing mild and asymptomatic cases, which has resulted in increased case reports, there is a true resurgence in cases in several countries as a result of physical distancing measures being relaxed."
Germany on Wednesday recorded 1,226 new cases, the highest level since early May. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the clusters were “in almost all regions of the country."
France, which has reported an average of about 1,600 new infections a day for the past seven days, announced that it will increase police checks to enforce face mask rules as well as social distancing.
“We’re at a tipping point," a French government spokesman said.
On Wednesday, organizers announced on Twitter that the Paris Marathon, scheduled for November 15th, would be canceled.
Meanwhile, Spain last week surpassed the U.K. in having the most coronavirus cases. The country currently has more than 326,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University's database.
Spain, which was one of the early European hot spots, has recorded 1,500 cases per day in the first 10 days of August, up from average caseloads of a daily average of 132 in June.
The UK reported 1,148 new cases on Tuesday, its highest daily total since June 21st. The country has plunged into the deepest recession among all world economies, a more than 20% quarterly drop in economic output. It is the worst performance since record-keeping of such economic indicators began in 1955.