Covid-19 News: Live Updates – The New York Times

In a reversal, the Big Ten Conference will try to play football in 2020.

The Big Ten Conference said Wednesday that it would try to play football as soon as the weekend of Oct. 23, stepping back from its leadership’s decision just more than a month ago not to compete this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move by chancellors and presidents representing the Big Ten’s 14 universities will quell some of the pressure — from prominent coaches, parents, players, fans and even President Trump — faced by the first Power 5 league to drop plans for football in 2020. But it is also likely to provoke new outrage from those who will believe the league is prioritizing profits, entertainment and a measure of public relations peace over health and safety.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the league said players, coaches, trainers and others who are on playing and practice fields would undergo daily testing for the virus, and that any player who tested positive would be barred from games for at least 21 days.

Leagues that have returned to play, like the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12, have so far found it tricky to navigate the epidemiological perils of the pandemic. A handful of games have been postponed, some teams have held out players because of positive tests or contact tracing and stadiums are operating with fewer spectators in the stands or none at all.

Now the Big Ten is poised to try to join them, potentially salvaging the seasons of some of the most renowned and lucrative names in college sports, including Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

It was only on Aug. 11 that the league, which had already moved to a conference-only schedule, said it would not compete until at least 2021.

The drug is a monoclonal antibody, a man-made copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Many scientists hope that monoclonal antibodies will prove to be powerful treatments for Covid-19, but they are difficult to manufacture and progress has been slow.

The announcement, by Eli Lilly, was not accompanied by detailed data; independent scientists have not yet reviewed the results, nor have they been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The findings are the interim results of a trial sponsored by Eli Lilly and the National Institutes of Health. Officials at the N.I.H. declined to comment until they have more thoroughly reviewed the data.

According to Eli Lilly, 452 newly diagnosed patients received the monoclonal antibody or a placebo infusion. Some 1.7 percent of those who got the drug were hospitalized, compared with 6 percent of those who received a placebo — a 72 percent reduction in risk.

Blood levels of the coronavirus plummeted among participants who received the drug, and their symptoms were fewer, compared with those who got the placebo.

Every treatment so far shown to help coronavirus patients — the antiviral drug remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone — is intended only for seriously ill hospitalized patients. Those with mild to moderate disease have had to wait and hope for the best.

Dr. Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he was impressed.

“It’s exciting,” said Dr. Cohen, who was not involved in the study. The clinical trial appears to be rigorous, and the results are “really compelling.”

Other companies, too, are developing monoclonal antibody drugs to combat the coronavirus, he noted: “This is the opening of a door.”

“I didn’t downplay it,” he said at a town-hall-style event in Philadelphia, which came two weeks before the first of his three debates against the Democratic nominee for president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. “I actually, in many ways, up-played it in action.”

Then Mr. Trump downplayed it again, insisting that the virus would disappear on its own, and contending that “we’re rounding the corner” of a crisis that has taken more than 195,000 lives in the United States — views radically at odds with those of public health officials.

Earlier this year, Mr. Trump told the journalist Bob Woodward privately that the virus was “deadly stuff” even as he was telling the public that it was akin to the average flu. “I wanted to always play it down,” he told Mr. Woodward in a recorded conversation that was made public in recent days. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

On Tuesday, the president said that a vaccine could be ready in “several weeks,” despite warnings by federal officials that it will take much longer, and repeated several unsupported claims about his administration’s response to the virus.

For example, he repeated his characterization of restrictions placed on travel from China and Europe as “bans” that saved “thousands of lives.” But the restrictions applied only to foreign nationals and included exceptions, ultimately allowing 40,000 people to travel from China to the United States from the end of January to April.

Mr. Trump also said the coronavirus “goes away” even without a vaccine.

“You’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality,” he said. “It’s going to be — it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.”

Herd immunity (not mentality) depends on enough people getting sick that a broad immunity is developed against the virus, but experts said it would result in many more deaths.

The president’s 90-minute appearance at the forum broadcast by ABC was one of the few instances during this campaign season when he has faced voters who were not already his committed supporters and a rare open-ended encounter on a network other than on his favorite, Fox News. From the start of the event in the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, he seemed defensive about his handling of the coronavirus and sought to change the subject to more comfortable terrain.

A new study adds to growing evidence that people of color have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

People of color have higher rates of coronavirus infection, hospitalization and death during the pandemic than white people do, according to a large-scale analysis of electronic health record data for about 50 million patients from 399 hospitals in 21 U.S. states.

The analysis, released on Wednesday, is a joint project of the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation and Epic Health Research Network, a publication of Epic, the electronic health records data company. By providing insight into a large population across a range of states and health care systems, it builds on a growing body of research that shows people of color are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.

The data show that while testing rates differed little by race and ethnicity, Hispanic patients were more than two and a half times as likely, and Black and Asian patients were nearly twice as likely, as white patients to test positive. Patients of color were also typically sicker than white patients when diagnosed, and were likelier to be in an inpatient setting and likelier to require oxygen or ventilation at the time of diagnosis.

Hispanic and Black people were far likelier than white people to require hospitalization. The study found that for each 10,000 people hospitalized, 30.4 were Hispanic; 24.6 were Black but just 7.4 were white. Death rates for Black and Hispanic patients were more than twice as high as for white patients.

“This analysis points to delays in testing for people of color, who are sicker and more likely to be infected when they do get tested,” Drew Altman, the president and chief executive officer of Kaiser Family Foundation, said in a statement.

The authors of the study sought to determine whether socioeconomic factors explained the disparities, and found they did not. Even after controlling for sociodemographic factors and underlying health conditions, the study found, Asian patients were 49 percent likelier than white ones to die from the virus. Hispanic patients were 30 percent likelier to be hospitalized and die compared with white patients with similar characteristics and underlying health conditions, and Black patients were 19 percent likelier to die after controlling for these factors, the research found.

Texas surpassed 700,000 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, making it the second state in the country, after California, to reach the milestone, according to a New York Times database.

In recent days, inconsistencies and problems with Covid-19 data collection in Texas had clouded the picture of the pandemic’s trajectory in the state, prompting some residents and officials to say they could not rely on the numbers to tell them the truth. In mid-August, five metropolitan areas in South Texas had the highest rate of new coronavirus cases relative to their population, according to The Times’s data. More than 14,500 people have died in the state.

In other developments around the U.S.:

  • A small study of 26 college athletes who tested positive for the coronavirus found signs of heart inflammation in four of them. It brings up the issue of whether Covid-19, although primarily a respiratory disease, might also affect the hearts of infected people, even if they are young and otherwise healthy. Two of the four athletes had experienced mild symptoms; the other two had been asymptomatic. None reported any cardiac concerns. The researchers concluded that the athletes displayed signs of myocarditis, which can occasionally be triggered by viral infections. In severe cases, it can cause permanent heart damage.

  • Scientific American, which has been in circulation since Abraham Lincoln was a humble lawyer in Springfield, Ill., made its first presidential endorsement Tuesday, backing Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a scathing editorial that condemned President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and other science-related issues.

Six months after locking down the country to curb the spread of the virus, Nepal is starting to welcome back trekkers and mountaineers. The decision is aimed at reviving the country’s ailing economy, which is heavily dependent on mountain tourism.

So far, Nepal, a small Himalayan nation between India and the Tibetan region of China, and home to Mount Everest, has recorded over 55,000 cases of the virus with fewer than 360 deaths. The country has more than 15,000 active cases as it starts to reopen and welcome back tourists. It reported 1,062 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday.

As of Thursday the government is allowing hotels, restaurants, travel companies, intercity flights, and long-distance bus services to resume business.

“A team of climbers from Bahrain Royal family has just landed,” said Mira Acharya, a tourism official, adding that the team will try scaling two mountains during their monthlong stay in the country.

The 18-member team, including a Bahraini prince, arrived on a chartered flight, and went through a mandatory seven-day quarantine before heading to their mountaineering destinations.

In addition to Mount Everest, Nepal is home to seven mountains that are among the world’s highest peaks, above 8,000 meters.

Trekkers visiting Nepal will have to produce a coronavirus certificate showing they have tested negative before flying to the country. And they will have to quarantine before traveling to tourist destinations.

Government officials said Nepalese embassies and diplomatic missions were told to issue travel advisories and arrange travel for tourists.

Global Roundup

Germany agrees to take 1,500 refugees from Greece, where fires destroyed a quarantined refugee camp.

Germany said on Tuesday that it would allow 1,553 people from 408 families who have already been recognized as refugees by Greece to settle in the country. The decision followed intense debate within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, with some officials arguing that Berlin should wait to take action until there is a joint European Union response to the crisis in Greece.

The officials feared that a unilateral move by Ms. Merkel, while showing solidarity with Greece, could create the politically unpopular impression that Germany had reopened its borders — as it did in 2015, when it accepted more than one million people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In other developments around the world:

  • Vietnam has recovered sufficiently from its second outbreak of the virus that it will resume international flights on Friday to destinations in Asia, although not yet for tourists. After controlling its initial outbreak without any fatalities, Vietnam went nearly 100 days without a case of local transmission. But an outbreak in July in the coastal city of Danang spread throughout the country and caused 35 deaths before it was contained. Now, without a confirmed case of local transmission for two weeks, the government has lifted travel restrictions in Danang and will resume flights to China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for Vietnamese nationals, certain workers, diplomats and investors.

  • Officials in the West African states of Guinea and Togo said Tuesday that they were extending measures to curb the spread of the virus, Agence France-Presse reported. The Guinean president, Alpha Condé said in a televised speech that restrictions would be extended by another month starting Thursday, while in Togo, Prime Minister Komi Sélom Klassou said a “health state of emergency” would continue for another six months. Guinea’s virus rules include restricting public gatherings, and critics say virus-containment laws are being used to stop protests ahead of presidential elections on Oct. 18. Guinea has recorded 10,111 cases of the virus and 63 deaths, according to a New York Times database. Togo has had 1,595 cases and 40 deaths.

Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Alan Blinder, Michael Corkery, Melissa Eddy, Mike Ives, Gina Kolata, Sapna Maheshwari, Benjamin Mueller, Richard C. Paddock, Linda Qiu, Gretchen Reynolds, Bhadra Shrama, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Glenn Thrush, Marc Tracy, Noah Weiland and Sameer Yasir.


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