Coronavirus: What's happening around the world on Tuesday
U.S. campus reopenings see more in-person classes suspended, lineups for COVID-19 testing
- Notre Dame becomes latest university to suspend in-person classes after surge in coronavirus cases.
- COVID-19 continues to spike in B.C. as province extends state of emergency to Sept. 1.
- No one-size-fits-all approach for U.S. school reopenings, Fauci says.
- Germany's Merkel speaks out against relaxing COVID-19 rules.
- Dutch government issues stricter recommendations after virus cases rise.
- Quebec announces $106 million in additional funding for public health authorities to deal with possible second wave.
- WHO says world should not live 'in hope' of achieving herd immunity without vaccine.
The University of Notre Dame on Tuesday suspended in-person classes and moved them online for at least two weeks after seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, the latest U.S. university to roll back campus reopenings.
School president John Jenkins announced the decision after the prestigious Catholic university near South Bend, Ind., reported a spike of 80 positive test results on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 147 since Aug. 3, according to the university's website.
The results from 418 tests represented a positivity rate —the percentage of tests that come back positive — of 19 per cent at the school with overall positivity at around 16 per cent since Aug. 3.
Notre Dame will close all public spaces on campus, restrict residence halls to residents only and limit gatherings to 10 people always wearing masks, Jenkins said in an online video presentation.
"If these steps are not successful, we will have to send students home as we did last spring," Jenkins said, adding the university's contact tracing analysis indicated most infections were from off-campus gatherings.
A day earlier, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said it was suspending in-person instruction for undergraduates just a week after classes began. That school also has been struggling with coronavirus clusters.
Schools and colleges across the United States have been grappling with how and when to reopen in the middle of a pandemic.
In New York City, once the centre of the U.S. pandemic, hundreds of New York University (NYU) students and staff waited in line outside a white tent on Tuesday for coronavirus testing ahead of some classes resuming in early September.
NYU is testing students who have chosen in-person learning, with classes for undergraduates beginning on Sept. 2. The university in Lower Manhattan is also giving students the options of remote learning or a blended program between the two.
New York now has an infection rate below one per cent, a benchmark for restarting certain activities coupled with physical distancing and mask wearing.
Schools in parts of the country that have a coronavirus infection positivity rate of more than 10 per cent would be better off easing into the new academic year with virtual classrooms, Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said on Tuesday.
Fauci said primary and secondary schools as a default position should try and reopen for the psychological health of children, but no single approach should apply to every school in the country.
"To make a statement on one side versus the other and take the country as a whole won't work — we're so heterogeneous with the infections," Fauci told a virtual Healthline conference.
WATCH | Teachers across Canada criticize back-to-school plans:
Some U.S. schools have closed almost as quickly as they welcomed back students as the level of new cases per day remains high in many states, including California, Florida and Texas.
The United States has more than 5.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, the highest in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 171,000 reported fatalities.
What's happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 123,154 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 109,357 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,080.
Health officials in British Columbia have confirmed another 83 infections of the coronavirus, driving the number of active cases to a new high of 775.
The latest COVID-19 update from the province, released in a written statement on Tuesday afternoon, brings the total number of cases to date to 4,677.
Earlier in the day, the provincial government extended its state of emergency to Sept. 1. B.C. has been in a state of emergency because of the pandemic since March 18.
"British Columbians have sacrificed a lot to keep transmission rates down, and now unsafe parties and gatherings are eroding that hard work. We're committed to getting our province back on track and will be announcing enforcement action against those who continue to put others at risk," Premier John Horgan said in a news release.
Quebec's health minister provided more details on Tuesday about what is being done to prepare for a possible second wave of COVID-19.
WATCH | Quebec between 1st and 2nd COVID-19 wave, health minister says:
Christian Dubé outlined a nine-point plan aimed at strengthening various points of the health-care system, including $106 million in additional funding for public health authorities, some of which will go toward hiring 1,000 full-time employees to conduct contact tracing.
The minister said he hopes the plan will be in place by Sept. 30.
- Ontario records another 99 new COVID-19 cases, death toll steady
- COVID-19 alert issued for northeast B.C. after Alberta prayer meeting attendees test positive
- Manitoba woman with COVID-19 warns mild symptoms may be serious, after positive test following golf event
- Quebec is spending $20M to make up for time lost by students, especially those with learning disabilities
Here's what's happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 21.9 million. More than 777,000 people have died, while 13.9 million have recovered.
The World Health Organization says the planet is nowhere near the amount of coronavirus immunity needed to induce herd immunity, where enough of the population would have antibodies to stop the spread of the virus.
Herd immunity is typically achieved with vaccination, and most scientists estimate at least 70 per cent of the population must have antibodies to prevent an outbreak. But some experts have suggested that even if half the population had immunity, there might be a protective effect.
WATCH | WHO urges flu shots to mitigate COVID-19:
WHO's emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan largely dismissed that theory at a media briefing on Tuesday, saying we should not live "in hope" of achieving herd immunity.
"As a global population, we are nowhere close to the levels of immunity required to stop this disease transmitting," he said. "This is not a solution and not a solution we should be looking to."
Most studies conducted to date have suggested only about 10 to 20 per cent of people have antibodies.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out against further relaxing coronavirus restrictions there, citing the recent rise in the number of new cases.
Merkel said Germany is "in the middle of the pandemic" and called on Germans to respect social distancing and hygiene rules.
She also expressed support for uniform rules for some aspects of the pandemic. Germany's 16 states largely set their own rules, often leading to a mish-mash of differing regional regulations that have prompted confusion and frustration in the country of 83 million.
Germany's disease control agency on Tuesday reported 1,390 new confirmed coronavirus cases.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tightened recommended measures Tuesday to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, warning that if the country does not control new infections the Netherlands could go "back to square one."
Rutte gave people "very, very, urgent advice" not to hold parties at home and to limit events like birthday celebrations and other private house gatherings to a maximum of six people. He also urged people to continue working from home. However, the Dutch government did not impose any new mandatory restrictions.
The number of new confirmed cases has been on the rise since the Netherlands removed most of its coronavirus restrictions on July 1. Students returned to high schools in the country's north this week for the first time in months without requirements for face masks or social distancing between children.
The French government plans to make wearing a mask compulsory in the vast majority of workplaces from Sept. 1 to try to stop a resurgence of the pandemic.
The Labour Ministry said on Tuesday the new arrangement would apply to all shared spaces in offices and factories, but would not extend to individual offices where only one employee is present.
It also said that working from home would remain its recommended option for employees. A government official said masks at work would become mandatory from Sept. 1.
South Korean health officials said Tuesday that they have found 457 coronavirus cases linked to a huge Seoul church led by a bitter critic of the country's president, driving an alarming surge of infections in the greater capital area.
WATCH | Scuffles outside Seoul church as South Korea tightens COVID-19 protocols:
Kwon Jun-wook, director of South Korea's National Health Institute, said outbreaks at the Sarang Jeil Church and elsewhere have pushed the country into the biggest crisis yet since the emergence of COVID-19.
He said a failure to slow transmissions in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, home to nearly 26 million people, could create a situation comparable to the "miserable scenes of the United States or European countries."
South Korea reported 246 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising its total for the last five days to 959.
India reported more than 55,000 new cases on Tuesday, putting its total virus caseload past 2.7 million.
India has the third-most cases, behind the United States and Brazil. It also has the fourth-most deaths from the coronavirus, with 51,797.
But India's deaths per million people stands at 34 — far lower than what has been reported in some North American and European countries.
New Zealand on Tuesday ruled out the possibility that a coronavirus outbreak in its biggest city of Auckland came from frozen food items or freight, as it reported 13 new cases.
Investigations suggested the virus had not come through chilled services or material arriving from overseas at an Americold cold-storage facility in Auckland where one of the recently infected individuals worked, health officials said.
"Seems clear now that the possibility is being ruled out from that investigation," Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters.
The origin of the latest outbreak is still unknown, and transmission through the environment in the cold storage was one theory being considered.
South Africa, which had one of the world's strictest anti-coronavirus lockdowns for five months, relaxed its restrictions Tuesday, permitting sales of alcohol and cigarettes in response to decreasing new cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19.
In a festive mood, people lined up at shops across the country wearing face masks and keeping a safe distance to purchase the previously banned liquor and cigarettes.
With files from Reuters and CBC News