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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the state will be allowed to reopen further on Friday.
Phase two of his Roadmap to Recovery will permit indoor dining to resume at 50% capacity, while maintaining "distancing and following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, the FDA and the National Restaurant Association," Hogan said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
Phase two allows outdoor graduation ceremonies to be held with the proper capacity and social distancing measures. Outdoor amusement parks and rides and miniature golf and go-carts will also reopen safety protocols.
Hogan announced that gyms and other indoor studio fitness facilities will begin to reopen on June 19 at a 50% capacity, along with casinos, arcades and malls – all with strict health and safety protocols.
The annual Coachella and Stagecoach festivals — two of music’s largest events held in Southern California — have been canceled due to the spread of coronavirus, local health officials announced Wednesday.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival were originally scheduled to be held in April, but were postponed until October under the direction of Riverside County health officials.
“I am concerned as indications grow that Covid-19 could worsen in the fall,” Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said in a statement announcing the cancellation of the festivals. “In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Gov. (Gavin) Newsom’s stage four, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward.”
Health officials said they have been in contact with Goldenvoice, the festivals’ promoter about the issue.
“These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted,” Kaiser said. “My first priority is the health of the community.”
America’s nurses were ill-prepared for the coronavirus pandemic and work needs to start now to get them ready for the next emergency, a new report concluded.
Many nurses lacked the right training to deal with the onslaught of patients and were not given the support they needed to do their jobs well, the team at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security found.
The report cites a survey by the American Nurses Association found that only 11% of nurses felt that they were well prepared to care for a patient with Covid-19. It found that 87% of nurses feared going to work and 36% of nurses had cared for an infectious patient without sufficient protective equipment.
“Nurses have played and will continue to play a pivotal role in the response, yet compelling evidence from nurses in the field reveals a lack of access to personal protective equipment; inadequate knowledge and skills related to pandemic response; a lack of decision rights as they relate to workflow redesign, staffing decisions, and allocation of scarce resources; and a fundamental disconnect between frontline nurses and nurse executives and hospital administrators,” they wrote.
“Developing a national nursing workforce response for pandemic and public health emergencies will improve quality of care, help contain the emergency, and protect the health of nurses and other providers, patients, families, and community members.”
Recommendations include providing immediate coronavirus testing for all health care workers, including nurses, the team, led by Center director Dr. Tom Inglesby, said.
The team also suggested that the US Department of Health and Human Services develop a plan for ways that nurses can train to take on crucial pandemic roles, such as in dispensing medical supplies.
Nursing education also needs to change, adding training for nurses on pandemic preparedness as a specific requirement, the team recommended. And the government should fund training for the current nursing workforce to prepare them for emergencies such as pandemics.
Peru and Colombia showed a continued spread of Covid-19 Wednesday after their respective health ministries reported their daily tolls.
Peru, one of the recent hotspots in Latin America, saw 5,087 new confirmed cases Wednesday, bringing the country's total to at least 208,823.
The Peruvian Health Ministry also reported 165 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the death toll to at least 5,903.
Meanwhile, Colombia reported 1,604 new cases Wednesday, bringing the country's total to at least 43,682. Colombia also recorded 61 new deaths from the virus, bringing its death toll to at least 1,433.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has extended his "safe return" order another two weeks, while loosening some restrictions on businesses.
"As a reminder, these should not be taken as a signal that the risk is gone. Covid-19 is still here, still deadly, still contagious. It is purely a recognition of the costs of continued shutdowns and heavy regulation," Reeves said on Wednesday during a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi.
A 10 p.m. cut off time for restaurants and bars that serve alcohol has been lifted under the new order; and gyms and fitness center may increase the number of customers to 50% capacity, Reeves said.
The new order allows outdoor and indoor arenas to open under social distancing restrictions, such as limiting seating capacity to 25%, and following guidelines for business operations are in effect under Executive Order No. 1492, according to the governor’s website.
The amended safe return order will remain in place until 8 a.m. on June 29.
The Iowa State Fair has been postponed, according to the event's Twitter account, for the first time since World War II.
“We are heartbroken we can’t be together this August. We tirelessly analyzed all the unique traditions at the Iowa State Fair and believe it will be safer given the current COVID-19 situation,” according to a message posted on the fair's website.
The next Iowa State Fair will be August 12-22, 2021.
Only five fairs have been canceled in the past: 1898 because of the World’s Fair in Omaha, the Spanish-American War and World War II from 1942-1945, according to the fair's website.
Grocery stores, banks, dentists, universities and big box stores like Walmart should reopen earlier and face fewer restrictions as communities open up after pandemic lockdowns, researchers said Wednesday.
Cafes, gyms, sporting goods stores, bookstores, tobacco and liquor stores should be kept closed until later, they said in a new report.
The researchers taking part in a MIT-led initiative did a cost benefit analysis of 26 different location types to determine what the tradeoff would be between someone’s relative risk of getting infected during a visit and the importance of that establishment in that person’s life and to the economy.
They used anonymous geolocation data from 47 million mobile phones to track where people went in the US during February and March. They determined how risky a location could be based in part on how much social contact someone would have in that location, how many hours they’d spend there, how crowded it would be, how many visits they’d make, and how many unique visitors they may encounter.
They also factored in visits by people 65 years and older and the distance traveled to the location. They measured economic benefits using US Census statistics and nationally representative consumer survey data.
They found some surprises.
“We find colleges to offer a relatively good trade-off, but most have shut down, leading to a 61% decline in visits,” they wrote in their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Conversely, we find liquor and tobacco stores to be relatively poor trade-offs (due to mediocre economic importance and small busy stores), yet the number of visits to this category has declined by less than 5%.”
Some categories were easy — grocery stores have an obvious benefit and museums and movie theaters were of relatively low importance.
“Hardware stores are the location which has seen the largest increase in visits, as individuals scrounge for personal protective equipment and other home supplies,” the researchers noted.
Since many states have had to make reopening and closing decisions in the dark, the researchers hope their work will help policymakers figure out how to reopen the economy safely this time and if there are spikes in cases in particular regions.
Disneyland is proposing reopening its Southern California resort on July 17, according to a post on the park's official website.
The three main elements of their Anaheim, California, campus will begin with the reopening of the shopping district in Downtown Disney on July 9, theme parks Disneyland and California Adventure on July 17, and hotels Paradise Pier and Grand Californian on July 23.
As theme park capacity will be limited, Disneyland will implement a new reservation system along with new health and safety protocols.
The proposal is subject to the approval of the Orange County Health Department.
Some context: Disney CEO Bob Chapek previously told CNN that there will be “layers upon layers upon layers of defenses against the virus.”
This will include temperature checks for employees, or as Disney calls them, cast members.
Florida’s Disney World is set to reopen on July 11.