The Canadian Press
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas’ largest public school district has scrapped plans to allow its middle and high school students to attend some in-person classes amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the state.
Three counties also have imposed new restrictions inspired by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kansas is seeing its largest numbers of new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached the state in early March. The state health department is now reporting more than 103,000 cases and 1,181 deaths. Public health officials say people aren’t wearing masks enough and are letting their guard down at gatherings, including family events such as birthday parties and baby showers.
In Wichita, the state’s largest city, the local school board decided Monday that middle and high school students will continue to take classes remotely until the end of the current semester. The district had planned to allow them to have in-person classes twice a week, starting this week.
Sedgwick County, where Wichita is located, imposed new restrictions on gatherings, as did neighbouring Harvey County. Jefferson County in northeast Kansas imposed a mask mandate.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— US to allow limited supplies of new antibody drug
— Doctors, nurses may be better prepared for US virus surge
— Norway gives quarantine exemption to 2020 Nobel winners
— Intensive care space is dwindling across Europe as beds fill again with coronavirus patients
— A safe Thanksgiving is possible, though health experts know their advice about avoiding the risks are tough to swallow
— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
GILETTE, Wyo. — The son of a Wyoming state representative who opposed COVID-19 public restrictions says his father was positive for the coronavirus when he died.
The Gillette News Record reports Roy Edwards, 66, died Nov. 2 at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper after being hospitalized for more than a week with an undisclosed illness.
Mitch Edwards says his father was initially told he had a sinus inflammation and did not need to be tested for COVID-19.
Edwards continued to oppose public restrictions resulting from the pandemic during his recent campaign to retain his House seat. He was reelected the day after he died.
SALEM, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon health officials warned Tuesday of the capacity challenges facing hospitals as COVID-19 case counts continue to spike in the state.
The Oregon Health Authority recorded a record 285 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals Tuesday — a 57% increase in just the past week and an 83% increase in the past four weeks.
Currently, out of Oregon’s 703 listed intensive care unit beds, 27% are available and about 18% of non-ICU adult hospital beds in the state are available, based on data on from the health authority’s website.
The previous record for hospitalizations in the state, outside of November, was 179 in October.
Prior to the end of October, the record of COVID-19 related hospitalizations was 165 in July.
TORONTO — The top health official for Canada’s largest city says the spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto so she’s using her powers to continue to prohibit indoor dining in Toronto.
Toronto had been due to lift some restrictions this coming weekend but Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says there are 533 new cases in the city on Tuesday.
She says the test positive rate is now a high of 5.9%. She is urging people in Toronto to limit social gatherings to only the people with whom they live.
Toronto Mayor John Tory says unprecedented actions are necessary.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Authorities at a county jail in Colorado have said 859 of the 1,246 inmates in custody last Sunday tested positive for COVID-19 along with 66 employees.
The El Paso County sheriff’s office says two of the employees were hospitalized over the weekend as coronavirus cases surged at the facility.
The Gazette reports that spokeswoman Deborah Mynatt did not disclose the status of the two employees who were hospitalized or if they were civilian employees or deputies, citing privacy concerns.
Officials first reported the outbreak on Oct. 26 when eight inmates tested positive for COVID-19.
Mynatt compared the outbreak to a wildfire and said officials are trying to control further spread.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that she will require that people wear masks if they join indoor gatherings of 25 or more people as Iowa sees a surge of coronavirus infections that is threatening to overwhelm hospitals.
Reynolds said she signed a proclamation taking effect Wednesday that would require masks for the indoor gatherings and for outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people. The governor continued the requirement of 6 feet of distance between groups in bars and restaurants and limited groups to eight people unless they’re all members of the same household. She said the new rules don’t apply to school districts — nearly all of which already have the option of shifting to online-only learning because of the high positivity rate throughout the state.
Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo said her department has approved for 24 school districts to move to some level of online instruction since Nov. 1 including the state’s largest district in Des Moines, and is reviewing three more applications.
The Republican governor has repeatedly refused to impose a statewide mask mandate and was among the first governors nationally to remove most limits on gatherings that were imposed in the spring when the virus first began to surge.
Separately the Iowa Supreme Court issued an order postponing jury trials until Feb. 1 unless the jury is sworn in by Nov. 16.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported on Tuesday 4,441 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, the fourth consecutive day new case counts surpassed 4,000. There were 27 additional deaths, raising the state total to 1,872. Hospitalizations grew to 1,135.
SANTA FE, N.M. — After three weeks of trying to make in-person learning work, Santa Fe Public Schools are calling it quits.
With the city posting its own record numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospital beds filling up, Superintendent Veronica García says it is time to pump the brakes.
Around 200 elementary school students had been allowed in-person learning thanks to 58 school teachers and other staff who volunteered to teach.
Starting Nov. 20, the district will return to remote-only classes. The news comes as more students in Santa Fe and around the state are failing at least one class.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota bars and restaurants must stop serving at 10 p.m. and attendance at weddings, funeral and social gatherings will be limited under new restrictions Gov. Tim Walz announced Tuesday to try to slow the accelerating spread of the coronavirus.
The new rules, which take effect Friday, are aimed at young adults, ages 18 to 35, who are often carriers of the virus without showing symptoms and are among the primary spreaders in the state.
While young adults don’t usually get very sick with COVID-19, they can transmit the virus to people who do. The new limits will kick in shortly before college students return home for Thanksgiving, a popular time for reunions with friends.
The new restrictions come after record-setting highs in recent days in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday reported 4,906 new cases to raise the state’s total to 189,681, and 23 new deaths for a total of 2,698.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota health officials acknowledged Tuesday that they include intensive care unit beds designed for infants in their total count of hospital beds available in the state — a key metric that the governor has used to defend her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 hospitalizations reached 607 on Tuesday, marking a new high for the fifth day in a row. The Department of Health reported that about 37% of general-care hospital beds and 32% of ICU beds are available.
State epidemiologist Josh Clayton said the number of neonatal ICU beds is much smaller than the total number of ICU beds, but did not immediately provide the number of neonatal ICU beds included in the count. The Department of Health receives a total count of ICU beds from hospitals and the number of neonatal ICU beds is not separated in the count, according to Clayton.
He also pointed out that adults could receive medical care in pediatric units if necessary.
Health officials have repeatedly guided people to the Department of Health’s website that tracks the percentage of hospital beds available statewide. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has insisted the state is doing well by pointing out the percentage of COVID-19 hospitalized patients against total beds.
Hospital systems have scrambled to make beds and space available for COVID-19 patients. But the hospital systems’ capacity also depends on doctors and nurses being available to staff the beds.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Hospitalizations from the coronavirus continued to climb in Maryland, as the state reported Tuesday morning that 54 more people were hospitalized compared with the previous day.
The total number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to a total of 761, the highest since June.
Maryland also reported 1,338 new cases. It marks the seventh straight day the state has had at least 1,000 cases. Maryland has confirmed more than 156,000 virus cases since the pandemic began. The state also reported 12 more deaths. Maryland has reported a total of at least 4,084 virus-related deaths.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has scheduled a news conference for 5 p.m. Tuesday. Last week, Hogan warned of a surge. On Monday, he wrote on Twitter that the state has reached a “critical turning point” in the fight against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the state health department announced the launch of a new app for people with smartphones to receive notification if they might have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“MD COVID Alert complements our traditional contact tracing efforts to notify users of possible exposure to help contain the virus,” said Health Secretary Robert Neall. “I encourage Marylanders to use MD COVID Alert to help protect the people around them, including those they might not know directly.”
Starting Tuesday, state residents with an iPhone or Android smartphone will receive a push notification inviting them to receive exposure notification alerts. IPhone users will be able to opt in by enabling exposure notifications in their phone’s settings and selecting Maryland as their region. Android users will be prompted to opt in by installing the MD COVID Alert app from the Google Play Store.
The app is available at no cost and is voluntary. Users can disable exposure notifications at any time.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee counties that have not required wearing masks in public are on average seeing COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates, according to a report released Tuesday.
The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine study focused on three groups of counties: 11 early adopters with mask mandates as of July 10; 17 late adopters with mandates implemented after July 10; and 67 that never adopted a requirement.
Researchers found the early and late adopting groups saw death rates that had been increasing start to drop within a few weeks of implementing requirements, while the group with no requirements continued to see death rate increases.
The early adopters on average had a rate of about 1 death a week per 100,000 people as of the first week in October; late adopters’ death rate was about 2; and the counties without mask mandates had a rate of 4, according to the report.
The analysis comes as new case counts rise in Tennessee, where Republican Gov. Bill Lee has opposed a statewide mask mandate, stressing personal responsibility. He has instead allowed counties to decide whether to require masks.
O’FALLON, Mo. — Twenty-eight employees of the election board in one of Missouri’s largest counties are sick with the coronavirus.
A director believes they most likely got infected from voters, though local health officials aren’t convinced.
The Jackson County Election Board’s Republican director, Tammy Brown, said Tuesday that eight full-time and 20 part-time employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Most are doing well and recovering at home, but two part-time workers are hospitalized, including one in intensive care.
Brown says thousands of voters came into the offices to pick up absentee and mail-in ballots, vote, and to drop off ballots.
The employees also worked a drive-thru line for voters with the coronavirus and people in quarantine.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is continuing its record-setting increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and new infections, state health officials said Tuesday as the state once again surpassed 4,000 new cases and reported 63 more deaths.
The newly reported deaths raised Indiana’s pandemic death toll to 4,731, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections, the Indiana State Department of Health said in its daily statistics update.
The 4,879 new infections reported Tuesday were Indiana’s second-highest daily count of newly reported COVID-19 cases and marked the sixth straight day the state reported more than 4,000 new cases.
Indiana’s seven-day rolling average for newly confirmed cases rose to 4,490, according to Tuesday’s daily update of the state’s coronavirus dashboard. That is the highest level Indiana has seen during the pandemic.
Indiana’s hospitalizations were also at an all-time high, setting a record for the eighth straight day with 2,336 patients admitted. Of those hospitalized, 599 were in intensive care — the most since April 25.
The Associated Press
'It's as if a bomb has gone off in our economy' – Wealth Professional
Low interest rates mean government revenues will grow faster than interest payments and help the debt burden. However, Poloz said the way governments spend this money during the fiscal expansion will affect the sustainability of the debt, creating a balancing act between investing in infrastructure and increasing the labour force, and printing money to create inflation.
Poloz said: “We have what looks like an inflationary policy today. But that’s only because it must counter a huge deflationary shock. It’s as if a bomb has gone off in our economy and a gigantic crater has opened up in front of us. The question is, how do we move forward?
“One way would be to walk down into the crater, cross it and walk up the other side. That’s a process that could take years and would amount to what we did during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Now, instead, central banks have filled the crater up with liquidity, meaning we can row our boats to the other side.
“At the moment, it takes an inflationary policy to counteract deflationary forces and the future depends on the balance between the two.”
Unsurprisingly, Poloz believes central banks will get this transition right but he warned there are multiple scenarios where things could go wrong. The biggest risk is politics; Governments have an incentive to inflate and, in turn, highly indebted households have an incentive to vote for it. Populism, therefore, carries a risk, especially as it’s often driven by widening imbalances in income distribution.
National child-care system would boost women's job numbers and economy, report says – CTV News
A new report estimates that hundreds of thousands of women could get back into the labour force if the Liberals follow through on a pledge to create a national child care system.
The paper to be released Wednesday makes the case that federal spending to create a national program would “pay for itself” in the form of extra income tax, extra spending and reduced social costs as more parents entered the workforce.
There is also the potential for tens of thousands of construction jobs as new centres and spaces are built, along with an employment boost in the child-care sector as it expands.
Report author and economist Jim Stanford says the lack of accessible and affordable daycare is a key reason why fewer women in their 30s and 40s are in the workforce than men the same age.
He estimates that between 363,000 and 726,000 women in the “prime parenting age cohort” between 25 and 50 could join the labour force over a 10-year period as a national child-care program is developed.
Among them would be up to 250,000 women moving into full-time jobs.
Stanford’s paper builds on previous research into the economic spinoffs of Quebec’s publicly funded daycare system, but develops estimates based on how a national system might look.
The Liberals have promised to make a long-term spending commitment to create a national child-care system, seeing it as a key avenue to help women harder hit during the pandemic in what has been dubbed a “she-cession.”
“Economists have agreed for years that child care has huge economic benefits, but we just can’t seem to get the ball over the line in Canada,” says Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work.
“I finally think the ducks are being lined up here and we can actually make this happen,” he adds.
“This really is the moment when we can finally move forward, and it is a moment when Canada’s economy needs every job that it can get.”
A recent report by RBC economists Dawn Desjardins and Carrie Freestone calculated that 20,600 women fell out of the labour force between February and October even as 68,000 more men joined it.
The situation was most acute for women ages 20 to 24, and 35 to 39; one of the reasons the duo cited for the sharper drop was the pandemic-caused closure of child-care centres.
Child-care centres, which often run on tight margins and rely on steep parental fees, couldn’t keep up with costs during spring shutdowns and shed about 35,000 jobs between February and July. Some centres have closed for good.
The worry Stanford notes is that many of the job losses will become permanent and more centres will close without financial assistance from governments.
Scotiabank economists Jean-Francois Perrault and Rebekah Young suggested in September that creating nationally what Quebec has provincially would cost $11.5 billion a year.
Their analysis also suggested federal coffers could reap billions in new tax revenue as women in particular would get into the workforce in greater numbers, offsetting some of the overall cost.
Stanford’s estimate is for a boost to government revenues of between $18 billion and $30 billion per year, split between federal and provincial governments.
“This literally is a social program that pays for itself,” Stanford says.
“The economic benefits of giving this first-class care to early-age children, and getting their mothers in the labour market working to their full potential, are enormous.”
He argues that provinces, mired in a fiscal quagmire worse than the federal government’s, shouldn’t stand in the way of “reasonable demands” from the federal government to create a national system.
Provinces have responsibility for child-care delivery. Stanford says they cannot afford to look this gift horse of new revenues in the mouth given the federal government would foot most of the bill.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.
ECB's de Guindos says Yellen's appointment good for global economy – SaltWire Network
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The appointment of Janet Yellen as the next U.S. Treasury secretary is good news for the global economy as the former Federal Reserve chair is aware of the global ramifications of her country’s policy, the vice president of the European Central Bank said on Wednesday.
“Janet Yellen knows perfectly what the U.S. economy needs and she is perfectly aware of the implications that the economic policy of the United States is going to have on the world economy,” Luis de Guindos said at a news conference.
“The appointment of Janet Yellen is good news for the U.S. economy and the global economy.”
The ECB has criticised Donald Trump’s outgoing administration for its protectionist stance and was attacked by the U.S. president over the euro-dollar exchange rate.
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)
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