Today's word count is 1,153, or a 4-minute read.
Today's word count is 1,153, or a 4-minute read.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
Only a few weeks into the school year, hundreds of students, teachers and staff across the country have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or sent home to quarantine after being exposed.
Why it matters: For now, most of the affected schools are opting to play coronavirus whack-a-mole, providing a complicated alternative to in-person and virtual learning.
The big picture: The bizarre new reality that we've all had to adjust to is no different than what is now playing out in classrooms across the country: We all have to monitor our contacts, and if we're unlucky enough that one of them gets sick with the coronavirus, we have to stay home for two weeks.
Yes, but: America has failed miserably at containing the coronavirus via testing, contact tracing and isolation. Families across the country are now relying on schools — which are not staffed by public health professionals, although often are working with public health departments — to do better than the country as a whole has so far.
Between the lines: There's no one-size-fits-all approach, as evidenced by a crowdsourced spreadsheet detailing school outbreaks across the country.
The other side: Some schools are shutting down temporarily or throwing in the towel indefinitely after seeing cases, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. continues to slow, driven by significant progress in the South and Southwest, where cases skyrocketed earlier this summer, Axios' Sam Baker and Andrew Witherspoon report.
Why it matters: All of the second-order controversies consuming the U.S. — like whether to open schools for in-person instruction — would be easier to resolve if we could get the virus under control and keep it there.
The big picture: The number of new infections in the U.S. fell by nearly 8% over the past week — the fourth straight week of nationwide improvement.
By the numbers: The U.S. averaged just under 49,000 new cases per day over the past week — still a lot of cases, and far too many to declare any sort of victory over the coronavirus, but an improvement from the 65,000 daily cases we were averaging in mid-July.
Yes, but: New warning signs cropped up this week in Kentucky and a handful of Midwestern states.
P.S.: Maine looks bad on the map, but only because it jumped from 11 cases per day to 23.
An entire sector of America's education workforce faces paycheck jeopardy in the coming weeks that moving to remote teaching can't easily fix, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) cautioned against calling his state a "COVID success story," during an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.
Hawaii announced it will delay reopening its borders to visitors from the mainland U.S. through at least Oct. 1, as coronavirus cases continue to surge in other U.S. states, the Washington Post reports.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said governors won't have any incentive to reopen if Congress passes another major coronavirus stimulus package. He also said people will be less likely to return to work. Democrats and Republicans remain deadlocked over a deal.
Sweden recorded its highest death tally since 1869 in the first half of 2020 — and COVID-19 pushed the toll 10% higher than the average for the period over the past five years.
Italy and Spain both reported record new coronavirus case numbers on Wednesday since ending their lockdowns in May and June respectively, AP reports.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is deploying repressive security forces to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Officials have labeled people who may have come into contact with the virus as "bioterrorists," per the New York Times.
Iran reported over 20,000 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday — the highest death toll from the virus in the Middle East.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Wednesday 500 more army personnel would be deployed at managed isolation facilities as a health official confirmed another five infections linked to the Auckland cluster and one imported case.
Even after months of building up testing capacity, more than 67 million Americans — or 20% of the population — live far away from a coronavirus testing site, according to a new analysis by GoodRx.
Why it matters: The spread of the virus makes it clear that nowhere is immune from it, and the only way to stop its spread is to know who has it.
Details: The millions of Americans who live in "testing deserts," defined by GoodRx as a census tract that is at least 10 miles away from a testing center, live in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas an average of 22 miles from the nearest testing site.
Between the lines: Within testing deserts, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, along with American Indians and Alaskan Natives, tend to live furthest away from test sites.
Candidates' positions on reopening schools could affect how people vote in November, according to new poll results from a Morning Consult/Murmuration national survey of 2,200 voters.
Details: 34% of adults said they would be much less likely to support a candidate for local office who pushed for schools to open for in-person learning in the fall, and 25% said they'd be much more likely to support a candidate who backed online-only learning, Axios' Kim Hart reports.
By the numbers: By a wide margin, responding adults say they would be less likely (51%) rather than more likely (29%) to vote for local officials who push to reopen in-person schooling this fall.
Trust in government's ability to safely reopen schools has plummeted, per the survey.