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Coronavirus updates: Rhode Island OKs most schools to reopen in-person; Louisiana gov. wary of COVID-19 spike after Laura

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Just three weeks after surpassing 5 million confirmed coronavirus infections, the U.S. on Monday quietly rolled past 6 million cases.

Global cases surpassed 25 million on Sunday. But of course the actual number of infections is projected to be far greater. With the pressure on to alleviate the crisis, the FDA could authorize use of a vaccine before completion of Phase Three trials that now have multiple drug companies scrambling to enroll thousands of volunteers.

A Data Safety Monitoring Board "could come back before we've even had 30,000 folks enrolled and say, 'We've seen enough, this looks great. Pass it on to the FDA,'" said Health and Human Services deputy chief of staff Paul Mango.

New Jersey announced Monday that it will allow indoor restaurant dining for the first time in more than five months. A few miles away in Flushing Meadows, New York, the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament kicked off, albeit without fans.

Some significant developments:

  • The most complained-about industries during the pandemic include fitness, telecommunication, banking and vacation rentals, according to FairShake data provided to USA TODAY.

  • Schools across the nation are beginning to open, and some major universities are scrambling to adjust amid the ongoing pandemic.

📈 Today's numbers: Six states set records for new cases in a week while three states had a record number of deaths in a week, according to USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data. New case records were set in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Hawaii, Idaho and Oklahoma, and also Guam. The U.S. death toll surpassed 183,000. Globally, more than 847,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

📰 What we're reading: A Michigan nursing home told its staff not to wear face masks or other personal protective equipment. According to the state's health department, 19 residents died from COVID-19 at the home. Now, a victim's family members are suing the nursing home.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to the Daily Briefing.

Mississippi extends face mask mandate for two more weeks

Gov. Tate Reeves announced Monday that he is extending his mask mandate for two more weeks, warning that Mississippi is at a pivotal moment in the coronavirus pandemic. "We can really drive our daily case numbers down," Reeves said. "It is only possible if we are exceptionally aware going into Labor Day weekend."

Previous holidays, such as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, have led to bumps in the number of coronavirus cases in Mississippi, Reeves said. It's important to avoid a similar spike by wearing masks, staying socially distant and avoiding large gatherings, Reeves said, noting that coronavirus cases in Mississippi have been trending down.

"Please continue to make the effort," Reeves said. "I've said it a hundred times before, and I'm sure I'll say it a hundred times again, but in this crisis none of us has been perfect, including myself."

Reeves was spotted recently not wearing a mask or socially distancing during visits to North Carolina and Washington, D.C. When asked about the difference in his actions and his recommendations, Reeves said wearing a mask is a "nuisance," but he does it most of the time because it's much a better alternative than having to shut down the economy or issue another lockdown order.

– Giacomo Bologna, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Iowa has the highest coronavirus rate in the country, says the White House

White House coronavirus experts warned Iowa leaders Sunday that the state has the country's steepest coronavirus outbreak, and said the state should close bars in 61 counties and test all returning college students for the virus. The recommended actions are significantly stronger than put in place by Gov. Kim Reynolds, who last week ordered bars closed in six counties.

The White House task force has been sending such reports to states regularly. The Iowa Department of Public Health shared the most recent three such reports with the Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network, Monday.

"Rural and urban counties in Iowa continue to have increases in case and test positivity. Common sense preventive measures must be implemented to stop further spread," the Aug. 30 report says.

Meanwhile, Iowa State University plans to allow approximately 25,000 fans to attend its season opener at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 12 with social distancing and mitigation strategies.

– Tony Leys and Travis Hines, Des Moines Register

Louisiana governor worried hurricane refugees could spread COVID-19

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is wary of a COVID-19 spike just as the state's case numbers drop below the red line as displaced Hurricane Laura victims scatter across the state and first-responders and volunteers flow into the most damaged areas to help.

The concern comes as more than 300,000 households and businesses remain without power and another 176,000 remain without running water as victims dig out from the damage under a blistering summer sun pushing the heat index to 108.

Louisiana reported its lowest single-day number of new COVID-19 cases on Monday — 326 — since June 8 and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reduced the state from red to yellow in new infections.

"We're certainly doing better," Edwards said. But he said residents must be especially vigilant in heeding mitigation measures like masking and social distancing to stem the spread and avoid a spike. "I'm nervous as it is with all of the movement (caused by the storm)," Edwards said. "We're really concerned about that."

– Greg Hilburn, Monroe News-Star

Rhode Island gives most public schools the OK to resume in-person instruction

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday that all Rhode Island school districts, except Providence and Central Falls, have “the green light” from the Department of Health to reopen for full in-person learning on Sept. 14.

The governor said it is the state’s “expectation and hope” that most districts will fully open schools, but she said it is acceptable for them to phase in their reopening over four weeks. Raimondo says full in-person learning “must be in place” by Oct. 13.

Providence and Central Falls, which exceed the state’s threshold of 100 new cases per 100,000 residents per week, will be allowed to open for partial in-person learning through Oct. 13; at that point, the state will look at the numbers and determine whether the cities can move to full in-person learning.

– The Providence Journal

AstraZeneca to begin Phase 3 clinical testing for COVID-19 vaccine in U.S.

As part of "Operation Warp Speed," AstraZeneca will begin a Phase 3 clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. with plans to enroll 30,000 adult volunteers, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced Monday.

“Safe and effective vaccines will be essential to meet the global need for widespread protection against COVID-19,” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a statement.

“Positive results from preclinical research led by NIH scientists supported the rapid development of this vaccine candidate, which has also showed promise in early-stage clinical trials," Fauci said.

A single vaccine might be enough to fight COVID-19, researchers found

Researchers from the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences found that COVID-19 isn't mutating fast enough to warrant a new vaccine every year as the flu shot. "Even the few mutations that have become widespread likely did so by chance, suggesting that a single vaccine might be effective against all currently circulating viral strains," the report says.

Cold symptoms a problem for day care kids, parents in COVID-19 world

As schools make the difficult decision to go virtual or attempt in-person learning, child care providers are left to create their own blueprint for a safe reopening with little government guidance.

Most child care facilities adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say children shouldn’t be admitted to a facility if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees or “other signs of illness.” But now that flu, cold and allergy season is almost here, some parents are concerned their kids could be sent home for minor cold symptoms by coronavirus-wary caregivers.

“Children with a runny nose should be able to stay particularly if they’re over 2 years of age and if their masks are worn,” said Colleen Kraft, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. "We have families where parents are working outside the home or have a real need to focus on kids in school virtually."

Adrianna Rodriguez

Twitter deletes COVID-19 tweet after Trump retweet

Twitter has removed a post retweeted by President Donald Trump that falsely claimed the COVID-19 pandemic is not as deadly as officials have reported. The false claim points to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that COVID-19 "was the only cause mentioned" in 6% of the deaths registered so far. The other deaths averaged 2.6 causes or conditions – such as obesity and/or diabetes. The conspiracy theory alleges that this revelation means COVID-19 is not as deadly as previously claimed. This is not true. The CDC data does not mean the people would have died had they not contracted COVID-19.

– Nathan Bomey

'Detroit Memorial Day' honors victims of COVID-19

Detroit held its own Memorial Day on Monday to honor the 1,500-pus city residents who were victims of COVID-19. Belle Isle Park was designated as "Detroit Memorial Drive," and solemn car caravans slowly rolled past more than 900 large photos. Mayor Mike Duggan, whose father died in March following a lengthy illness, said he understood why a procession like today is important for families who were not able to properly bury their loved ones because of the coronavirus concerns.

“We didn’t have a visitation. We didn’t have a funeral. You don’t realized how much of an important part of the grieving process it is until you go through it,” said Duggan. "Today, we get a chance to mourn together.”

Detroit Free Press

New Jersey to allow restaurant dining indoors – at 25% capacity

New Jersey restaurants that survived the worst of the COVID-19 crisis are finally catching a break. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that indoor dining will be allowed for the first time in more than five months starting Friday. Restaurant owners were initially told they could open their dining rooms at 25% capacity on July 2. But on June 29, Murphy postponed the plan indefinitely, citing overcrowding at outdoor dining areas and patrons not wearing masks. The news devastated many restaurants that had already spent money on food, personal protective equipment, plexiglass barriers and cleaning supplies in preparation for reopening. Outdoor dining has been allowed since June 15.

Rebecca King, NorthJersey.com

Flu shot protest in Boston could be prelude to COVID-19 vaccine response

A rally against mandatory flu shots that drew hundreds of parents in Boston could be a precursor to the response a COVID-19 vaccine will bring. Hundreds of parents and supporters rallied at the Massachusetts State House on Sunday, angered by a new state mandate requiring students to get flu shots by year's end. The state issued the order amid concerns that flu cases combined with COVID-19 patients could overwhelm the health care system.

Dr. Larry Madoff, head of the state Health Department's Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, said flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and "preventing the flu will save lives and preserve health care resources.”

“I just think that we should be able to choose what goes into my son’s body,” Jennifer Cordy, a parent who attended the rally with her son, told WBZ. “We should be able to say yes or say no, and government should not choose that for us.”

6 million U.S. cases: This is how we got here

The U.S. surpassed 6 million confirmed cases Monday, seven months and 10 days after the first U.S. case was confirmed soon after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began health screenings in airports. A few weeks later, two people died, on Feb. 6 and 17, and tests done in April determined they were positive for the coronavirus.

On March 11, President Donald Trump announced a ban on travelers from Europe after U.S. cases jumped from 100 to more than 1,000 in eight days. Two weeks later the U.S. was leading the world with 100,000 infections. On April 28 the number hit 1 million.

Khrysgiana Pineda

FDA could approve vaccine before completion of Phase Three trials

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is willing to provide "emergency use authorization" for use of a vaccine before Phase Three clinical trials are complete, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn says. Hahn told The Financial Times that if a vaccine developer applies before concluding the crucial testing phase – involving tens of thousands of patients – the FDA might find authorization "appropriate."

Multiple drug companies have begun Phase Three testing, but results are not expected before October or November. Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the authorization could allow use of the vaccine for high-risk populations.

"Full approval for the general population, where people can go to CVS and get a shot, that's really a 2021 event," Gottlieb said. "Maybe the first quarter of 2021, probably more likely the first half."

Over 1,000 University of Alabama students test positive

Officials at the University of Alabama's main campus in Tuscaloosa say 1,043 students have tested positive for the coronavirus since in-person classes began two weeks ago. Nine faculty and staff also have tested positive, the school said on its website. The school said 36% of the space set aside for isolating students who test positive was in use. University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John called the school's testing regimen the "most robust" in the state.

"Fortunately, our isolation occupancy is below capacity, and the number will be adjusted as students complete the isolation period," University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John said in a statement. "We are closely monitoring our data daily, and we will continue to adjust operations as the situation warrants.”

'Shame and blame': Are college COVID-19 cases the fault of campuses full of reckless partiers? Experts say no

A look at how other colleges are faring:

  • A day before classes are scheduled to begin, Utah State University announced Sunday that they will test nearly 300 students for COVID-19 after wastewater samples from four dormitories showed elevated levels of the coronavirus.

  • The State University of New York Oneonta in central New York will suspend in-person instruction for two weeks after more than 100 students and faculty tested positive for the virus. It's the first college to shut down in New York state as many schools prepare to reopen for online and in-person instruction this fall.

  • In West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University has reported 80 confirmed cases for COVID-19 since Aug. 1, including 60 confirmed in the past week since the school, with an enrollment of around 40,000, reopened. At least three houses with more than 100 students combined – a fraternity, a sorority and cooperative house – are on lockdown and arranging classes remotely at the start of the semester.

  • Temple University in Philadelphia will switch nearly all in-person classes to online for two weeks starting Monday after active COVID-19 cases spiked from 58 Friday to 103 Sunday.

  • Northwestern University outside Chicago plans to have freshmen and sophomores take classes remotely, while juniors, seniors and graduate students will be allowed to attend in-person instruction or a mix with online classes, the Chicago Tribune reported. The school is keeping fraternity and sorority houses closed in the fall.

Universal Orlando cuts 800+ jobs amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Hotels at the Universal Orlando Resort announced more than 800 employees will be losing their jobs as the Florida theme park industry continues to be devastated by the pandemic.

The employees at Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Cabana Bay Beach Resort were indefinitely furloughed or permanently terminated, according to a notice filed last week by the company Loews Hotels & Co.

A company director said in a letter to the state that the surge of confirmed cases in late June and July and other states' decisions to order Florida travelers to quarantine had caused a "sudden, dramatic and unexpected reversal in bookings."

Labor Day warning: Family gatherings can be as dangerous as big crowds

Images of packed beaches, lakes and bars have made the rounds on traditional and social media for much of the summer, drawing scorn from those concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak.

But experts say also troubling are the growing instances of case clusters arising from smaller gatherings. Social functions of various sizes among relatives, friends and co-workers are drawing scrutiny as public health experts sound the alarm ahead of Labor Day weekend.

“People don’t think of it in the same way as the Trump rally in Tulsa, a bunch of people on the beach or in the bars, but these small events add up to a lot,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. "It’s just invisible."

– Jorge L. Ortiz

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

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Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 news: US surpasses 6 million cases; India infections; US Open