The Latest: New Hampshire school cancels Betsy DeVos visit
CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Department of Education says a public school canceled a scheduled visit from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.
The McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford informed the department Friday morning that it had a positive test. DeVos did go on to visit Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford.
A state education spokesperson says the decision on McKelvie Intermediate was made by school officials in Bedford. According to a school board meeting this week, the schools had been chosen for visits because of how they notified families about earlier cases of the virus.
The U.S. Department of Education did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— Push is underway to test COVID-19 vaccines in diverse groups
— Guatemalan president tests positive for coronavirus
— Madrid sets up emergency tents, adds restrictive measures as cases spike
— U.S. health officials are dropping a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and telling all those who have been in close contact with infected people to get tested.
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing back against the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco’s criticism of COVID-related restrictions.
— North Carolina State University says its received permission from department of health to allow 350 fans to attend the football game against visiting Wake Forest on Saturday.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ROME — Public health authorities in Italy are warning that the average age of coronavirus patients is creeping up as young people infect their more fragile parents and grandparents, risking new strain on the hospital system.
The Superior Institute of Health issued its weekly monitoring report Friday as the country where COVID-19 hit first in the West recorded the highest number of new infections — 1,907 — since May 1. Another 10 people died over the past day, bringing Italy’s official death toll to 35,668.
While Italy hasn’t seen the thousands of daily new infections other European countries have seen recently, its caseload has crept up steadily over the past seven weeks. Initially, most new infections were in young people who returned from vacation hotspots. The health institute said Friday that they are now infecting their older and more fragile loved ones in home settings, with the average age of positive cases last week at 41 versus the low 30s in August.
The institute warned that while the health system isn’t overwhelmed, it risks further strain if Italians don’t rigorously adhere to mask mandates and social distancing norms.
SALT LAKE CITY — A spike of coronavirus cases in Utah that began after schools and colleges resumed classes has reached a new peak and led the state’s Republican governor to say again that he’s considering new measures to combat the spread of the virus.
Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday he will meet with his command team on Monday after what he described as an “alarming” spike that makes him question if previous warnings and public education are enough.
He said one day earlier he’s considering a state mask mandate — a move he’s stopped short of making despite making repeated pleas for residents to use face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible. He has instead allowed counties to decide if they needed bans.
The 1,117 cases reported Friday in Utah surpassed the previous record of about 875 hit twice in July, according to state data. That tally raised the state’s rolling average number of daily new confirmed coronavirus cases to 726, more than double 381 just one week ago. The state’s positive rate hit 12.5% Friday, up from 8.2% one month
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a second wave of the coronavirus is coming, on a day when the government reported 4,322 new confirmed cases, the highest since early May.
Speaking at a vaccine manufacturing center under construction near Oxford, Johnson says: “We are seeing it in France, in Spain, across Europe — it has been absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable we were going to see it in this country.”
The weekly survey released Friday by the Office for National Statistics revealed an average of 6,000 people in England were estimated as newly infected between Sept. 4-10, about double from the previous week.
England is preparing for more restrictions on gatherings and other activities in several areas of the country. There is growing speculation Britain may be sliding toward a lockdown in the coming weeks, partly because the testing regime is struggling to cope with higher demand.
The U.K. recorded 27 deaths on Friday, bringing the government’s official tally of deaths from COVID-19 to 41,732.
PARIS — France’s health agency has recorded 13,215 new coronavirus cases and 123 additional deaths in the last 24 hours.
Public Health France says the country surpassed the 10,000 mark in cases last weekend for the first time since May. In the Paris region, Ile-de-France, the agency reports 2,311 new hospitalizations and 86 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Many health officials believe France is in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The French government has said it will tighten restrictions in certain virus hotspots in the cities of Nice and Lyon.
The virus hot spots include academies in the cities of Lille, Toulouse, Aix-Marseille, Bordeaux and Versailles. Some 891 students tested positive for the virus in the 24 hours, bringing the weekly rolling tally to 5,056 students. Another 284 more staff tested positive, bringing the weekly rolling tally to 1,307 staff.
LONDON — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says new global cases of the coronavirus appear to have plateaued at about 2 million and 50,000 deaths every week.
Dr. Michael Ryan says while the global COVID-19 caseload was not rising exponentially, the weekly number of deaths was still very unsettling.
“It’s not where developing countries want to be with their health systems under nine months of pressure,” Ryan said.
He says there have been recent surges in Europe, Ecuador and Argentina. He adds a lack of large increases in African countries and other nations might reflect a lack of testing.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Daily coronavirus data in North Dakota set four records on Friday.
Active cases of coronavirus neared 3,000, while deaths continued to mount in Burleigh County.
The Bismarck Tribune reported cases totaled 508, active cases reached 2,986, hospitalizations totaled 77 and daily tests hit 10,006. All were daily highs.
The state through its North Dakota Health Alert Network issued a call for volunteer nurses and certified nursing assistants, saying “there is an urgent need for surge staffing for the next week in long-term care facilities.”
GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei says he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 64-year-old Giammattei told a local radio station he feels well. He has multiple sclerosis and uses canes to walk.
The announcement came on the same day the country reopened its borders and international flights. Guatemala had closed its airports and borders with Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador in March.
The country’s Health Ministry says travelers seeking to enter Guatemala will need to present a negative coronavirus test taken at most 72 hours before entry.
Guatemalans returning to their country and children under 10 won’t be subject to the test requirement. All those entering or leaving must wear face masks.
The country of 16 million has more than 83,600 confirmed cases and 3,036 deaths.
TORONTO — Canada is extending the agreement to keep the U.S. border closed to non-essential travel to Oct. 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says they’ll continue to base the decision on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended each month.
Many Canadians are concerned about a reopening. The U.S. leads the world with 6.6 million confirmed cases and 197,000 deaths.
MADRID — Citizens in Madrid are urged not to travel out of their neighborhoods unless they need to work or study.
The restrictions announced Friday affect 13% of Madrid’s 6.6 million residents in areas where one of every four new virus infections are being detected, regional chief Isabel Ayuso said. The new measures were aimed at avoiding any mandatory stay-at-home orders.
Madrid has a rate of transmission six times higher than the national average, which already leads European contagion charts.
On Friday, the region reported more than 5,100 new infections, 200 more than the day before. The regional hospitals were treating 2,907 people, including nearly 400 in intensive care units, one third of the country’s total.
Nationally, there have been 625,000 confirmed cases and at least 30,400 deaths, according to the Health Ministry’s official data.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece is tightening restrictions in the greater Athens region, stepping up testing and creating quarantine hotels due to an increase in coronavirus infections.
The government says from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4 there can be no more than nine people allowed at indoors and outdoors gatherings — except for restaurants, bars and coffee shops — in the capital. Maximum attendance at weddings and funerals will be reduced to 20.
Officials will ban concerts, close indoors cinemas and mandate remote working for many employees.
About half the 339 new infections reported in the country Friday were in the greater Athens area. There have been 14,000 confirmed cases and 327 deaths nationwide.
SAO PAULO — Brazil’s Supreme Court is suggesting attendees at last week’s inauguration of its chief justice be tested after six others confirmed they have the coronavirus.
The list includes newly inaugurated Chief Justice Luiz Fux, Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, Prosecutor General Augusto Aras, the head of another high court and two justices of another tribunal.
Brazil’s top court says its ceremonial team “is in contact with guests who were present at the ceremony to warn them about the importance of seeking medical service in case they have been exposed in any way, including at other events.”
Only 20% of the seats at the ceremony in Brasilia were occupied on Sept. 10. Face masks were required and all guests had their temperatures taken before entry, according to the court’s statement.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch justice minister will be fined for breaches of social distancing rules at his recent wedding.
Public prosecutors say Ferd Grapperhaus will be fined 390 euros ($460) for the breaches at his Aug. 22 wedding in the upscale town of Bloemendaal. Photos taken of wedding guests gathered outside showed that some were not adhering to the government’s required 1.5-meter (5 foot) social distancing rules.
The photos were an embarrassment for the Dutch government and Grapperhaus, who is the minister responsible for making sure coronavirus measures are enforced.
The announcement of the fine came amid rising coronavirus infection numbers in the Netherlands.
MADRID — A line of tents has been installed at the gates of a Madrid military hospital four months after similar structures for triaging patients were taken down.
Spain’s Defense Ministry, which manages the Gómez Ulla military hospital, says the tents are currently empty, installed protectively ahead of the second wave taking hold on the Spanish capital.
Madrid has a rate of transmission six times higher than the national average.
Officials are expected to announce measures to slow down the outbreaks. That might include localized lockdowns or other “restrictions on mobility” centered in the city’s hardest-hit areas, which are also the poorest and more densely populated.
Spain on Thursday added more than 11,000 new infections and 162 confirmed deaths.
The totals are 625,000 cases and at least 30,400 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.
BRUSSELS — The EU Commission has finalized a deal with Sanofi and GSK allowing its 27 member states to buy up to 300 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s the second contract signed by the bloc’s executive arm after a first agreement was reached last month with AstraZeneca for up to 400 million doses.
“With several countries in Europe experiencing new outbreaks after the summer period, a safe and effective vaccine is more instrumental than ever to overcome this pandemic and its devastating effects on our economies and societies,” said Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for health.
The Commission says some of the reserved shots could be donated to “lower- and middle-income countries.”
LONDON — The European Medicines Agency is recommending an inexpensive steroid be licensed for the treatment of people with severe coronavirus who need oxygen support.
The EMA says it is endorsing the use of dexamethasone in adults and adolescents age 12 or older who need either supplemental oxygen or a ventilator to help them breathe. The drug can be taken orally or via an infusion.
In June, British researchers published research showing dexamethasone can reduce deaths by up to one third in patients hospitalized with severe coronavirus. Shortly afterward, the U.K. government immediately authorized its use in hospitals across the country for seriously ill coronavirus patients.
Steroid drugs like dexamethasone are typically used to reduce inflammation, which sometimes develops in COVID-19 patients as their immune system kicks into overdrive to fight the virus.
ROME — The Sicilian town of Corleone, made famous by the fictional Mafia clan in “The Godfather,” has ordered schools closed and a limited lockdown because of a coronavirus spike.
The city administration told all guests at a wedding on Sept. 12 and anyone who lives with them to self-isolate and inform their doctors and city health authorities. In a Facebook post, Mayor Nicolò Nicolosi said he expected “maximum cooperation to overcome the current crisis.”
The town, which is part of the province of Palermo, has reported at least five positive cases in recent days. News reports said they were tied to a wedding reception involving some 250 people.
Corleone was the home and last name of the fictional crime clan in “The Godfather” movie. It was also the real-life stronghold of the late convicted mobster and reputed chieftain, Bernardo Provenzano. In 2016, the Italian government dissolved the municipal government after determining the mob had infiltrated it