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.

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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.

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Tenafly suspends recreation programs after new COVID-19 cases, middle school goes virtual

Tenafly has suspended the borough’s recreation programs, and the district’s middle school has gone to all-virtual instruction after new coronavirus cases.

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Mayor Mark Zinna said the two-week suspension started on Thursday after the borough was notified that two teens who participate in recreation programs and attend Tenafly Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19. Also, the borough’s basketball courts, Soccer Cage and skate park are closed for two weeks.



a sign in front of a brick building: A former Tenafly Public Works employee, Peter Quinn, is suing his former boss Ken Kraus, along with the borough and other unnamed employees claiming he was terminated from his job in 2018 due to part to a "vendetta" against him.


© Ricardo Kaulessar/NorthJersey.com
A former Tenafly Public Works employee, Peter Quinn, is suing his former boss Ken Kraus, along with the borough and other unnamed employees claiming he was terminated from his job in 2018 due to part to a “vendetta” against him.

“We did that just to be cautious because obviously the kids in school are in the recreation programs, and we didn’t want there to be any crossover to infect more people,” Zinna said.

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Zinna said the two students had tested positive after attending a religious event outside Tenafly recently where there was no social distancing or mask wearing.

Zinna said that those two were among nine new cases that occurred between from Oct. 2 to Oct. 9. The new cases last week brought the total in Tenafly to 232 as of Friday including 23 deaths. 

The mayor said the recreation programs, which have kids in grades K to 8, will be suspended until Oct. 22 but could reopen sooner if it turns out that just the two children who are infected and it has not spread to anyone else participating in the programs.

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Meanwhile, the Tenafly Middle School has been doing full-virtual instruction since last week and will continue to do so until Oct. 21 when the school resumes its hybrid schedule, according to Tenafly Schools Superintendent Shauna DeMarco in a letter posted on the school district’s website.

DeMarco said the move was done out of an “abundance of caution” and that the new cases in town had “no direct correlation to our schools.”

DeMarco said in an email to NorthJersey.com that if additional cases arose with other Tenafly Middle School students, the district “will continue to follow the practice of conferring with and receiving the guidance of local health officials when making any decisions that affect our schools, students and staff.”

Ricardo Kaulessar is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @ricardokaul 

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Tenafly suspends recreation programs after new COVID-19 cases, middle school goes virtual

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Covid-19 Cases Are Back To July Levels, And Rising Fast

Here we go again. Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19 numbers are going in the wrong direction in 29 of 50 states.

Despite President Trump saying repeatedly that Covid-19 is “going away,” the data shows that the virus is not going anywhere.

The U.S. is seeing widespread increases in Covid-19 cases at the same level the country was at just after the July 4th holiday weekend, prior to the big summer surge. This has public health experts concerned that the country is heading for a third spike.

“We have a baseline of infections that vary between 40 and 50 thousand per day,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNBC’s Shepard Smith yesterday. “That’s a bad place to be when you’re going into the cooler weather of the fall and the colder weather of the winter.”

Meanwhile, domestic air travel has been ticking up, too. Last month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 900,000 passengers on just two days, both during Labor Day weekend, according to the agency’s throughput data. The TSA has already hit that milestone on four days in October, and the month isn’t even half over.

For Americans trying to figure out whether it’s safe to take an upcoming business or leisure trip during the latest surge, several excellent tools can help make sense of the trends.

If your travel dates are imminent, turn to the Covid-19 risk-assessment map run by Harvard Global Health Institute and Brown School of Public Health. The color-coded map provides an easy way for Americans to assess how quickly the disease is spreading in a state or county. Each community has a rating of green, yellow, orange or red, based upon the number of new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average.

With coronavirus hot spots sprawling across the Midwest and Mountain West, nearly one in three states is now colored red, meaning the community is “at a tipping point” for Covid-19 infections. The number of high-risk states has jumped from four to 13 in the past month.

If your trip is still a week or more away, there is a better metric to look at. According to Dr. Fauci, the best predictor of the next hot spot is a rising positivity rate. You can consult Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracking map to find out which states are most likely to turn into hot spots.

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