Chicago Tribune: More than 100 University of Chicago MBA students are in quarantine after COVID-19 cases tied to off-campus gathering, classes move online by Elyssa Cherney
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is temporarily shifting to online classes and more than 100 of its students are under quarantine after a COVID-19 outbreak was connected to a large, off-campus gathering where some didn’t wear masks.
U. of C. administrators shared the news in a schoolwide email Wednesday, saying Booth’s downtown and Hyde Park campuses will be closed for two weeks.
A copy of the email provided by the school said officials “learned that within the last week a large group of full-time MBA students congregated off-campus on Chicago’s North Side, many without wearing face coverings. Some individuals from that group have since tested positive for COVID-19.”
More than 100 MBA students were instructed to quarantine for 14 days, and all students involved in the event were told to get tested, the email said. Students who attended the event are cooperating with contact tracers, the email said.
Al.com: Nick Saban: ‘I feel fine’ after positive test, ‘not concerned much’ about health by Mike Rodak
When Alabama began its fall camp unlike any other in August, Nick Saban said he did not fear COVID-19 but would take the necessary precautions to protect himself.
Even after testing positive Wednesday for the virus, Saban took the development in stride.
“I feel fine, so I’m not really concerned that much about my health, but you never know,” he said.
Saban, who has preached to his players the importance of managing their “personal bubbles” and the personal responsibility that is required to minimize exposure to the virus, will now almost certainly not be able to attend his team’s biggest game of the season to date Saturday against Georgia.
Saban has not experienced symptoms and was not expecting his positive result as part of the Alabama football program’s daily testing.
“This was routine every day," he said. "We test our players every day. I get tested every day. I feel fine. I felt fine. I was very surprised by this when we got the results back at one o’clock today.”
Detroit Free Press: Michigan safety officials issue new COVID-19 rules for employers by Dave Boucher
Michigan labor and safety officials are issuing new rules for employers that dictate what precautions and steps they need to take to have employees return to work and stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The emergency rules from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration come at the direction of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. They largely mirror the governor's previous directives on COVID-19 that were invalidated because of several recent rulings by the Michigan Supreme Court.
“While most Michigan job providers are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, these rules provide them with clarity regarding the necessary requirements to keep their workplaces safe and their employees healthy,” Whitmer said in a news release.
“I will continue to work around the clock with my partners in labor and business to ensure protections for every Michigan worker.”
Boston Globe: Mass. officials say census count will be flawed by early end by Zoe Greenberg
Massachusetts officials warned Wednesday that a Supreme Court decision allowing the Trump administration to halt the census count early could result in a botched final tally, even as federal officials asserted that the vast majority of households in the state had already been counted.
The disagreement underscored the high stakes of the most logistically challenging and politically contentious count in recent memory. The census is used to calculate federal funding and determine congressional seats; for Massachusetts, roughly $16 billion is on the line.
“We have parts of our city that are going to be undercounted,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a phone interview on Wednesday, adding that a low count would curtail funds for housing and food aid in the city.
The Census Bureau has said that while only 69 percent of households in the state “self-reported” online, by phone or mail, census employees successfully counted the rest by going door to door, achieving a 99.9 percent completion rate. But local officials and census experts believe that number is far too optimistic because, they say, federal officials are purposefully painting a too rosy picture and because in-person counting is much less reliable than self-responses.
SFGate: PG&E moves forward with power shutoff across California on Wednesday by Amy Graff
PG&E announced Wednesday afternoon it's moving forward with deliberately cutting power to 53,000 customers across California Wednesday evening amid critical wildfire weather marked by offshore winds and hot temperatures. (If you consider about three people live in each household on average, the outage could impact up to 159,000 people.)
California's largest utility company released a timeline for the Public Safety Power Shutoffs with outages beginning as early as 6 p.m. and continuing through the night.
Households in specified areas of Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties will see the electricity go out as early as 6 p.m., and residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as early as 8 p.m. To see a more specific timeline with outage times for cities within these counties visit the PG&E website.
Some customers could have their lights out until 10 p.m. Friday, while others may have power restored sooner.
Buzzfeed: The US Is Heading Into A Third Wave Of COVID Hospitalizations As Election Day Nears by Peter Aldhous
Less than three weeks out from an election that many see as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a “third wave” of COVID-19 hospitalizations is underway in the US.
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are now rising again across most of the nation, including the Northeast. But some of the biggest surges are currently happening across the Midwest and the northern plains, including Montana, Nebraska, and the Dakotas — states that escaped the worst of the previous two big surges in the spring and summer.
The plot of new confirmed cases shows three surges. Strictly speaking, these aren’t distinct waves of infection, like those seen in Western Europe. In those countries, cases surged in the spring before dying down and are now surging for a second time — triggering new lockdowns, including a nighttime curfew in Paris and eight other cities, announced today by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Buzzfeed: Major Public Health Groups Say A New Push For Herd Immunity Is Dangerous by Stephanie M. Lee
As the Trump administration signals a willingness to build “herd immunity” by purposely allowing the coronavirus to spread, major scientific organizations are denouncing a plan they say would be life-threatening and practically impossible.
That plan, laid out by three scientists in a controversial document called the "Great Barrington Declaration," calls for only protecting “vulnerable” people and letting everyone else get infected with COVID-19. The authors discussed the strategy in a meeting with two top White House officials last week.
This week, the head of the World Health Organization and more than a dozen groups representing thousands of infectious disease and public health experts fiercely pushed back in a series of formal denouncements.
“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
Science: The inside story of how Trump’s COVID-19 coordinator undermined the world’s top health agency by Charles Piller
On the morning of 13 July, more than 20 COVID-19 experts from across the U.S. government assembled in a conference room at the Department of Health and Human Services, steps from the Capitol. The group conferred on how best to gather key data on available beds and supplies of medicine and protective gear from thousands of hospitals. Around the table, masks concealed their expressions, but with COVID-19 cases surging out of control in some parts of the country, their grave mood was unmistakable, say two people who were in the room.
Irum Zaidi, a top aide to White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx, chaired the meeting. Zaidi lifted her mask slightly to be heard and delivered a fait accompli: Birx, who was not present, had pulled the plug on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) system for collecting hospital data and turned much of the responsibility over to a private contractor, Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies Inc., a hospital data management company. The reason: CDC had not met Birx’s demand that hospitals report 100% of their COVID-19 data every day.
According to two officials in the meeting, one CDC staffer left and immediately began to sob, saying, “I refuse to do this. I cannot work with people like this. It is so toxic.” That person soon resigned from the pandemic data team, sources say.
ProPublica: The Trump Administration Allowed Aviation Companies to Take Bailout Funds and Lay Off Workers, Says House Report by Jeff Ernsthausen and Justin Elliot
In the spring, Congress created a program to save aviation worker jobs. Then the Trump administration undermined that program by granting hundreds of millions of dollars in relief to aviation companies for jobs they’d already largely eliminated, according to a House report released Friday.
As a result, thousands of workers at airline caterers and other contractors are out of work while their employers received public funds that were supposed to be passed to workers. What’s more, at least two companies that received hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds restored full pay to management, the report found.
The report follows a monthslong investigation that the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched in July, citing ProPublica reporting on the program.
Washington Post: To Democrats’ frustration, GOP predicts clear sailing as Barrett testimony ends by Robert Barnes, Seung Min Kim, and Ann Marimow
Senate Republicans predicted clear sailing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as she concluded her confirmation testimony Wednesday, and said she will forge a new and prominent path as a conservative, religious woman who opposes abortion.
“There is nothing wrong with confirming to the Supreme Court of the United States a devout Catholic, pro-life Christian,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said as he pledged his support for Barrett.
He was echoing the earlier praise of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who said, “This hearing, to me, is an opportunity to not punch through a glass ceiling, but a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women.” He called Barrett “unashamedly pro-life,” saying she “embraces her faith without apology.”
CNN: Exclusive: Feds chased suspected foreign link to Trump's 2016 campaign cash for three years by Katelyn Polantz, Evan Perez, and Jeremy Herb
Washington (CNN)For more than three years, federal prosecutors investigated whether money flowing through an Egyptian state-owned bank could have backed millions of dollars Donald Trump donated to his own campaign days before he won the 2016 election, multiple sources familiar with the investigation told CNN.
The investigation, which both predated and outlasted special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, examined whether there was an illegal foreign campaign contribution. It represents one of the most prolonged efforts by federal investigators to understand the President's foreign financial ties, and became a significant but hidden part of the special counsel's pursuits.
The investigation was kept so secret that at one point investigators locked down an entire floor of a federal courthouse in Washington, DC, so Mueller's team could fight for the Egyptian bank's records in closed-door court proceedings following a grand jury subpoena. The probe, which closed this summer with no charges filed, has never before been described publicly.
Euronews: Golden Dawn: Leader of Greek neo-Nazi party Nikos Michaloliakos sentenced to 13 years in prison
The leader of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party was on Wednesday sentenced to 13 years in jail.
The court also handed Giorgos Roupakias, a self-confessed Golden Dawn member, a life sentence for the 2013 murder of the anti-fascist campaigner and hip-hop artist, Pavlos Fyssas.
Nikos Michaloliakos and six of the party's former lawmakers including MEP Ioannis Lagos were convicted of "leading a criminal organisation" last week. All but one were sentenced to 13 years in jail on Wednesday.
Eleven other former parliament members were jailed for between five and seven years for being members of a criminal organization.
AlJazeera: Thailand declares emergency, detains leaders, to curb protests
Thailand’s government has imposed a state of emergency in a bid to end three months of student-led street protests calling for reforms to the monarchy and the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, arresting at least 20 activists and two of the movement’s leaders early on Thursday.
The ruling bans gatherings of five or more people and the publication of news or online messages that could harm national security.
Protests have escalated for three months and protesters set up camp outside Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s offices in the capital Bangkok to demand his resignation late on Wednesday. The government said it also acted after demonstrators obstructed a royal motorcade.
Videos shared widely on social media showed police protecting the royals’ yellow vehicle from crowds of people holding their arms aloft in the three-finger salute that has become the symbol of the democracy movement and shouting their demands.
South China Morning Post: China ‘ready to work with Russia’ to resist US global dominance by Catherine Wong
China will work with Russia to defend multilateralism and resist US attempts at global dominance.
That was the message Beijing’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, delivered in an interview with Russian media.
“History and practice have proven that multilateralism is the right path to take. Upholding multilateralism and democratisation of international relations is not only the choice for China, but also the choice for most countries in the world,” Zhang said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on the embassy’s website on Tuesday.
“China is willing to work with the international community, including Russia, in upholding cooperation and multilateralism, opposing hegemony and power politics, jointly safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at the core, and jointly addressing common challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, terrorism, and climate change.”
Reuters: Jacinda Ardern eyes historic election win in COVID-free New Zealand by Praveen Menon
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is widely expected to win a second term this weekend, buoyed by a decisive yet compassionate leadership style under crisis, with polls showing her centre-left Labour Party comfortably in front.
Ardern’s globally lauded responses to the country’s worst mass shooting and the coronavirus pandemic were also well received at home, although questions have been asked of Labour’s credentials to tackle the looming economic crisis.
While it was initially thought Ardern could lead Labour to the country’s first outright majority government since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996, more recent polls have indicated she may need to lean on support from the minor Green Party.
That would produce the country’s first pure left-leaning government since 1999. Current coalition partner, nationalist New Zealand First, led by deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, is likely to exit parliament, according to the polls.
Variety: Movie Theater Owners Plead With Cuomo to Reopen New York Cinemas: ‘Many Will Not Survive’ by Rebecca Rubin
Movie theater owners, frustrated by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to keep cinemas closed, are pleading with him to reopen venues in the state. The executive committee of the Global Cinema Federation, a worldwide organization of major cinema operators, wrote an open letter urging Cuomo to soften his stance and consider allowing parts of the state to reopen multiplexes.
“We recognize your commitment to ensuring that the citizens of New York remain safe and protected from COVID-19. With certain zip codes in New York seeing spikes of the virus, we are, of course, not suggesting that you open the entire state at once. We are, however, requesting that you adopt a plan similar to that in California, where Governor Newsom has allowed openings on a county-by-county basis according to virus data,” reads the letter, signed by leaders from AMC, Cinemark, Cineplex and Cineworld, among the largest theater chains in the world.
Don’t forget that Meteor Blades is hosting a Wednesday night owls thread tonight.
Everyone have a good evening!