Hawaii eases travel restrictions; Facebook to encourage flu shots; 38M global cases; 215K US deaths

Travelers planning a trip to Hawaii will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days if they tested negative for the coronavirus at least 72 hours before their departure from the mainland, starting Thursday.

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“I want people to come if they are fully prepared to test, know that they are healthy and are prepared to wear a mask,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who has taken a leading role in developing the Safe Travels program that was postponed after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, about 10,000 people are expected to show up at President Donald Trump’s rally at the Des Moines International Airport on Wednesday, defying advice from White House experts on limiting social gatherings to 25 people in a “yellow zone” for transmission of the virus.

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Some significant developments:



a group of people on a dirt road: A sign requiring face masks is posted on Monday as people walk inside Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, Calif.


© Jeff Chiu, AP
A sign requiring face masks is posted on Monday as people walk inside Bob’s Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 7.8 million cases and 215,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. There have been more than 38 million confirmed cases around the world and 1 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state.

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

Experts: COVID-fueled stress eating will add to childhood obesity struggles

Pediatricians and public health experts predict a potentially dramatic increase in childhood obesity this year as months of pandemic eating, closed schools, stalled sports and public space restrictions extend indefinitely.

About one in seven children have met the criteria for childhood obesity since 2016, when the federal National Survey of Children’s Health changed its methodology, a report out Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found. While the percentage of children considered obese declined slightly in the last 10 years, it is expected to jump in 2020.

“We were making slow and steady progress until this,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, a Northwestern University economist and professor. “It’s likely we will have wiped out a lot of the progress that we’ve made over the last decade in childhood obesity.”

The trend, already seen in pediatric offices, is especially concerning as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week expanded its definition of those at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death to include people with a body mass index of between 25 and 30. Previously, only those with a BMI 30 and higher were included. That could mean 72% of all Americans are at higher risk of severe disease based only on their weight.

– Jayne O’Donnell and Adrianna Rodriguez

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spar with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer over stimulus aid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer an “apologist for the Republican position” during a tense interview about the current state of a COVID-19 stimulus package.

“As you know, there are Americans who are being evicted from their homes. They can’t pay their rent. Many Americans are waiting in food lines for the first time in their lives,” Blitzer noted at the beginning of the interview with Pelosi. “Can you look them in the eye, Madam Speaker, and explain why you don’t want to accept the president’s latest stimulus offer?”

Pelosi then pondered if Blitzer would “ask the same question of the Republicans” before insisting the GOP bill doesn’t meet the needs of Americans. Blitzer asked Pelosi why she would not take the $1.8 trillion deal, referencing statements from Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who say she should.

“I don’t know why you’re always an apologist and many of your colleagues are apologists for the Republican position,” Pelosi said. “Ro Khanna — that’s nice. That isn’t what we’re going to do, and nobody’s waiting ’til February. I want this very much now because people need help now. But it’s no use giving them a false thing just because the president wants to put a check with his name on it in the mail,” Pelosi continued during the nearly 14-minute interview. 

– Savannah Behrmann

New York’s iconic Roosevelt Hotel is shutting down amid COVID-19

New York’s iconic Roosevelt Hotel is saying goodbye after being a midtown Manhattan mainstay for nearly 100 years. 

The New York City hotel, which has been around since 1924 and has made cameos in movies including “The Irishman” and “Maid in Manhattan” is closing its doors by the end of this year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The hotel is owned by Pakistan International Airlines and has been home to many historic American moments from serving as the headquarters for Gov. Thomas Dewey’s election campaign in 1984 when he incorrectly announced he’d defeated Harry Truman to being the first place Guy Lombardo and his orchestra performed in 1929.

– Rasha Ali

Facebook to encourage flu shots, ban anti-vaccination ads

Facebook is injecting itself into the public health debate by encouraging flu shots and banning anti-vaccination advertisements. But the social network may not be going far enough, some say, because nonpaid anti-vaccination posts are still allowed.

In a post Tuesday, Facebook said it would begin a flu shot campaign this week with a tool to find where to get a shot. Other features: News feed items and shareable flu reminders.

“Public health officials recommend that most people get a flu shot every year. This year, they think it is especially important to minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19,” said Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s head of health, and Rob Leathern, director of product management.

Facebook will also globally begin rejecting ads discouraging people from getting a vaccine and work with health groups to increase immunization rates, the network said. “Our goal is to help messages about the safety and efficacy of vaccines reach a broad group of people, while prohibiting ads with misinformation that could harm public health efforts,” the authors said.

– Mike Snider

Delta reports $5.4 billion quarterly loss due to COVID-19 pandemic

Delta Air Lines posted a massive $5.4 billion loss for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, results showing how the coronavirus pandemic is wrecking the airline industry.

Delta, the first of the largest airlines to report earnings for the quarter, said it plans to take additional steps cut its losses and conserve its remaining cash, including retiring 400 aircraft by 2025 and delaying taking new planes.

Though its losses are staggering, the company said it still has $21.6 billion in reserve to try to get it through the crisis.

“While our September quarter results demonstrate the magnitude of the pandemic on our business, we have been encouraged as more customers travel and we are seeing a path of progressive improvement in our revenues, financial results and daily cash burn,” said CEO Ed Bastian in a statement. 

– Chris Woodyard

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus updates: Hawaii eases travel restrictions; Facebook to encourage flu shots; 38M global cases; 215K US deaths

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