Covid-19 News Briefs for Thursday, September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

 The coronavirus is surging once again across the US with cases rising in 22 states over the past week. The country is now averaging 43,000 new cases per day, a 16% increase from a week ago

 Medical experts are saying that it is impossible to tell the difference between the flu and Covid-19 without a test because of such similar symptoms — body aches, sore throat, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and headaches are shared symptoms. However, one difference is that people with the flu typically feel sickest during the first weeks of illness. With Covid-19, people may feel the worst during the second or third week, and they may be sicker for a longer period

 As the pandemic drags on, Zoom and other platforms used to teach children have also provided a stage for emotional breakdowns, and rattled parents across the US have shared experiences of their children frustrated and crying. Educators say that whether schooling is happening in person or virtually, tantrums and tears happen when children aren’t having basic psychological and security needs met and that young children in particular haven’t learned how to communicate their needs. Psychologists recommend that parents be honest with their children about what’s going on in the world and reassure them that they are going to be safe. And social emotional learning should become more of a priority during this time

 Young adults are now the largest group of Americans getting Covid-19, according to the CDC. The median age of people with coronavirus has declined, with adults in their 20s — 21% in August — now accounting for more cases than people in any other age group. Americans in their 30s made up the second-highest group and the share of cases among adults 40 and older has decreased steadily

 The number of people seeking US unemployment aid rose slightly last week to 870,000, a historically high figure that shows that the pandemic is still squeezing restaurants, airlines, hotels, and many other businesses 6 months after it first erupted. The figure coincides with evidence that some newly laid-off Americans are facing delays in receiving unemployment benefits as state agencies intensify efforts to combat fraudulent applications and clear their pipelines of a backlog of jobless claims. California has said it will stop processing new applications for 2 weeks as it seeks to reduce backlogs and prevent fraudulent claims. Pennsylvania has found that up to 10,000 inmates are improperly receiving aid. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits declined to 12.6 million. The steady decline in that figure over the past several months reflects that some are being re-hired. Yet is also indicates that others have exhausted their regular jobless aid which lasts 6 months in most states

 A $1 billion fund Congress gave the Pentagon in March to build up the country’s supplies of medical equipment has instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used to purchase jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms, according to CDC Director Redfield in US Senate testimony he gave last week. The Pentagon has lent its acquisitions expertise to the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase needed medical equipment and contended that it sought to strike a balance between boosting medical production and supporting the defense industry

 The Metropolitan Opera, the largest performing arts organization in the US, announced that it has cancelled its entire 2020-2021 season, and won’t return until the fall of 2021 at the earliest. In a press release, the Met explained the decision was based on the advice of health officials who helped them determine that it would not be safe for them to resume its usual rehearsals and performance schedule until a vaccine is available and widely in use, and wearing of masks and social distancing were no longer requirements

 Voting in person during the pandemic appears to be about as safe as going to the grocery store — low risk but not no risk. Many states are taking measures, like spacing out voting booths, to increase safety. Health experts also recommend that you should wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet from others. In most states, you can vote early even if you’re voting in person

 A rash of serious injuries among high-profile NFL players over the weekend has aroused suspicion that the pandemic may be responsible. While it could be a coincidence, some have surmised that in a normal year, these injuries would have occurred before the start of official play. Instead, the coronavirus forced teams to delay hitting in practice at their training camps until mid-August, and to skip their usual preseason games. The changes meant that certain injuries that typically happen in August instead came later, even though teams have been working out since late July

 Missouri Governor Parson tested positive for Covid-19. He had repeatedly urged residents to wear masks and social distance, but he has been an outspoken opponent of mask mandates. Missouri has seen escalating coronavirus cases with a total of 116,946 since the pandemic began. The state has also reported 1,947 deaths, including 83 reported Wednesday, the highest single-day total

 United Airlines on Thursday announced it will be the first US airline to launch a Covid-19 testing program for travelers, and it’s starting with passengers at San Francisco Intl. Airport on October 15 — customers traveling on United to Hawaii will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip

 In the middle of a pandemic, Southern California home prices keep setting records. The 6-county region’s median price reached $600,000 in August, up 12.1% from a year ago, according to data released by DQNews. That was the largest percentage increase since 2014 and the third consecutive month where prices set a new alltime high. Sales rose 2.4% from a year earlier. Interest rates have plunged and compared to low-wage workers, people who tend to have the financial ability to buy homes have been far less likely to lose their jobs and analysts say the trend reflects the uneven effect of the coronavirus and its fallout

 LA County reported an additional 1,165 cases and 39 deaths. Totals are now 264,414 cases and 6,455 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 107,330/2,744; Long Beach 11,684/240; Carson 1,830/61; El Segundo 131/1; Gardena 1,234/50; Hawthorne 1,928/45; Hermosa Beach 208/4; Inglewood 2,838/89; Lawndale 632/10; Lomita 240/9; Manhattan Beach 357/5; PV Estates 97/2; Rancho PV 300/13; Redondo Beach 551/11; Rolling Hills 12/0; Rolling Hills Estates 42/2; Torrance 1,415/69

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, STAT, televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases