New York. New school closings, additional contact restrictions and fear of overloading the clinics: Governments around the world are reacting to the second corona wave with drastic measures. According to a count by Johns Hopkins University, the United States passed the 250,000 death mark on Wednesday evening (local time) – more than twice as many US soldiers as died in World War I. Several states imposed new restrictions. Nationwide, almost 158,000 new infections with the coronavirus were reported in the United States on Wednesday, bringing the total number of detected infections in the country to more than 11.4 million. The number of deaths from the coronavirus hit a global record of 250,029.
The pandemic is currently particularly bad in the Prairie State of North Dakota. Two days ago, the state in the north of the USA jumped over, which – by a long way to most US states and almost all countries worldwide – now has the highest death rate per 100,000 inhabitants. In the meantime, one in 1,000 residents has died. Only last Friday, after months of pleading with medical professionals, the state’s Republican governor turned around and issued a decree ordering the wearing of masks. Almost too late: A contact follower from North Dakota described the system as being overwhelmed, they had “given up” and could currently only inform those affected who had tested positive, but not research and inform all of their contacts.
The state of New York is currently significantly less affected, but the number of cases there is also increasing again. That’s why schools in New York City have to close again this Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke of a “precautionary measure.” “We have to fight the second Covid-19 wave,” he said. The schools in the east coast metropolis were only reopened in September.
New York City is the largest school district in the United States, with 1.1 million students and 1,800 public schools. However, only around a third of the students had attended face-to-face classes again in the fall. Many parents let their children take part in online classes for fear of infection, which continued to be offered. During the first wave of infections in the spring, New York was one of the major cities in the world hit hardest by the pandemic.
However, the city council and teachers’ unions had agreed to close them again if the city exceeded a three percent rate of positive tests. The closure of the schools is controversial: According to the head of the school district, Richard Carranza, the positivity rate at the schools is 0.19 percent lower than the city-wide average. The positivity rate in New York is also significantly lower than in many other areas of the USA.
Refusal of asylum applications based on corona is not permitted
Meanwhile, a US federal judge has banned the administration of President Donald Trump from deporting unaccompanied minor refugees or migrants with reference to the corona pandemic. Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled on Wednesday in the capital, Washington, that this spring practice was unlawful.
The Trump administration began in the spring to immediately turn away migrants apprehended at the US border. This was justified with the fight against the corona virus. The measure was also applied to unaccompanied minors who have a special right to protection. According to the civil rights organization ACLU, 13,000 minors have already been deported to Mexico or their home countries without being able to apply for asylum.
“Today’s decision is an important step in stopping the Trump administration’s unprecedented and illegal attempt to deport children under the guise of public health,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who represents a Guatemalan youth in court. The civil rights organization CGRS also welcomed the verdict and criticized the “cruel policies” of the Trump administration.
Test yourself at home – self-tests permitted
The US drug agency FDA has meanwhile approved a corona test for home use for the first time. The test kit from the US manufacturer Lucira Health received emergency approval, the FDA said. “This new test option is an important diagnostic advance to combat the pandemic and reduce the public burden of disease transmission,” said FDA chief Stephen Hahn. The test, which reacts to the genome of the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen, is suitable for home use for people aged 14 and over and is initially only available on prescription from a doctor.
If you use the test, you have to take a sample from your nose with a stick, then place it in a tube and then fix the tube in a test module. According to the FDA, the display of the test module will then show a positive or negative result in a maximum of 30 minutes.
Those who get a positive result should isolate themselves and contact their doctor. If you have a negative result but still develop symptoms, you should also contact your doctor, because the test cannot completely rule out an infection with the coronavirus.
According to the manufacturer, the test is reliable: Compared to another method approved by the FDA, it correctly assigned 94 percent of the Sars-CoV-2 infections and 98 percent of the corona-free samples. The test should come on the market in Florida and California in the near future and nationwide in spring. Agencies / nd