Labor Day is typically summer’s final hurrah. That one last chance to get together with friends and family for a cookout or a trip to the beach or the river.
It could be the difference between life and death this year, warned governors from across the U.S. as the nation’s coronavirus death toll approached 190,000, some 60,000 more than any other country.
“We’re facing the challenge of our lifetimes and we must do better,” Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday while announcing that The Bluegrass State had set a record for the second straight week for most positive cases with 4,742, up from 4,503 the previous week.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, expressed similar worry as The Peach State surpassed 6,000 deaths: “This #LaborDayWeekend, I am urging all Georgians to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash their hands … By staying vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, we can continue to protect people & paychecks in GA!,” he said on Twitter.
Mapping coronavirus:Tracking the U.S. outbreak, state by state
While Californians contending with record-breaking temperatures of 110 degrees and higher flocked to the beaches, creating the potential for further spread of the virus in the state with the most reported cases, New Orleans was warning against “unacceptable” gatherings that “could have serious consequences that show up in the data two weeks from now,” city officials said.
There were 36 calls about large gatherings and 46 calls for businesses not following the rules on Friday and Saturday in New Orleans, according to the city.
President Donald Trump urged safety ahead of the holiday weekend, pushing for “social distancing, wearing a mask whenever the distancing is not possible.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has many times sparred with Trump, did the same: “Wear a mask. BE SMART. I know we’re tired of #COVID19 but literal lives are at stake,” he said on Twitter.
Some significant developments:
- A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Saturday shows three states had a record number of deaths in the last week: Kentucky, Missouri and North Dakota.
- Ahead of the Jewish New Year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered overnight curfews in many cities beginning Monday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
- At least 7,000 health care workers worldwide have died from the coronavirus, according to Amnesty International. That total includes more than 1,000 deaths in the U.S.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 6.2 million confirmed cases and nearly 189,000 deaths. Globally, there are 26.9 million cases and more than 881,000 fatalities.
📰 What we’re reading: Do you need a COVID-19 test if you plan to travel? It’s confusing. That’s in part because states have different views on COVID-19 risks, the role of testing and the need for quarantine.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.
Frances Tiafoe, last hope for American men at US Open, ‘ready’ for Labor Day match
Frances Tiafoe, the last American male standing at the U.S. Open, began his summer by announcing on the Fourth of July that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He’s hoping for a different sort of positive on Labor Day, in Arthur Ashe Stadium, in a round-of-16 matchup against No. 5 Daniil Medvedev, who battled Rafael Nadal over five sets in last year’s final.
“I’m ready to go now,” Tiafoe told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. “Feeling good and playing well. My (COVID-19 result) was definitely a shock to everybody. My symptoms weren’t too bad, thank God.”
Nicknamed “The Foe,” Tiafoe, 22, is one of the best stories in American tennis. He is the son of refugees who fled Sierra Leone amid a civil war. His father, Constant, helped on the construction of the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in College Park, Maryland, then worked as a maintenance man there, where his 5-year-old boy would hit the ball against the wall, pretending he was playing Roger Federer at the U.S. Open.
– Wayne Coffey, Special to USA TODAY Sports
Israel imposes overnight curfews in hardest-hit cities amid COVID-19 surge
With new infections at record levels less than two weeks before the Jewish New Year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered overnight curfews in some 40 cities and towns, beginning Monday at 7 p.m.
It’s unknown how long the curfews will remain in place. People will not be allowed to venture more than 500 yards from their homes, and nonessential businesses must close.
Netanyahu, however, resisted reported recommendations for full lockdowns after an uproar by politically powerful religious politicians following hours of consultations on Sunday.
CDC to oversee ‘mind-boggingly complex’ COVID-19 vaccine supply chain
When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, there’s a plan in place for its distribution from manufacturers to the American public.
The process will be run by the CDC, which for decades has overseen vaccine distribution in the United States and ran the last national vaccination effort during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
Still, Tinglong Dai, a professor of operations management who studies health care analytics at the Johns Hopkins University, told USA TODAY he expects the vaccine supply chain to be “mind-bogglingly complex.”
- Who will get it first? While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still finalizing plans, front-line medical workers, first-responders and people at high risk for severe disease are likely to get first dibs.
- Who will pay for it? All the vaccine supplied in the initial phases will be purchased by the U.S. government and no one will be charged for the actual dos.
- What about availability? Vaccine is expected to be in short supply, at least in the beginning, though CDC planning documents say significantly more will be available by January 2021.
– Elizabeth Weise
COVID-19 toll on health workers: At least 7K deaths, Amnesty International says
At least 7,000 health workers worldwide have died after contracting COVID-19, human rights organization Amnesty International said last week.
“For over seven thousand people to die while trying to save others is a crisis on a staggering scale. Every health worker has the right to be safe at work, and it is a scandal that so many are paying the ultimate price,” Steve Cockburn, Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
At least 1,320 health workers are confirmed to have died in Mexico alone, the highest known figure for any country, the group said. The U.S. has seen the second-highest number of health care worker deaths, Amnesty International said, with more than 1,000 deaths.
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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Contributing: The Associated Press