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NBC Says Trump Will Hold Town Hall Meeting Thursday, Competing Against Biden

President Trump may not be debating Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the same stage on Thursday night as originally planned. But the two candidates will still face off head-to-head.

NBC News confirmed on Wednesday that it would broadcast a prime-time town-hall-style event with Mr. Trump from Miami on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern, with the president fielding questions from Florida voters.

The event will directly overlap with an already-scheduled ABC televised town-hall meeting with Mr. Biden in Philadelphia, which will begin at the same time.

Mr. Biden’s town hall has been on the books since last week, after Mr. Trump, who had recently contracted the coronavirus, rejected plans to convert the second formal presidential debate into a virtual matchup; the debate was eventually canceled.

The NBC event, to be moderated by the “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie, had been contingent on the Trump campaign providing independent proof that the president would not pose a safety risk to the other participants — including NBC crew members, voters and Ms. Guthrie herself.

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As late as Tuesday afternoon, NBC executives were waiting for that proof, but the network determined late Tuesday that it would be comfortable moving forward, according to two people familiar with the planning.

On Wednesday’s “Today” show, the NBC anchor Craig Melvin said the town hall would occur “in accordance with the guidelines set forth by health officials” and proffered a statement from Clifford Lane, a clinical director at the National Institutes of Health.

In the statement, Dr. Lane said he had reviewed medical data about Mr. Trump’s condition, including a so-called P.C.R. test — a widely used diagnostic test for the coronavirus that is considered more reliable than a rapid antigen test — that the N.I.H. “collected and analyzed” on Tuesday. Dr. Lane concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that the president is “not shedding infectious virus,” NBC said.

The network did not explicitly say that Mr. Trump had received a negative result from the P.C.R. test.

Mr. Trump and his aides have not shared extensive details about the president’s medical condition with the public, and over the past few days, NBC executives were no exception. Until late Tuesday, the network had been prepared to cancel the event if the president’s team did not present convincing evidence that Mr. Trump would not potentially infect those around him, one of the people said.

The town hall on Thursday will be held outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and audience members will be required to wear face masks, the network said. Ms. Guthrie and Mr. Trump will be seated at least 12 feet apart.

NBC officials began discussing the possibility of a town hall with the Trump campaign last week, after Mr. Trump pulled out of the second planned presidential debate. The network made clear at the start that it needed outside proof of the president’s medical condition.

NBC officials did not say exactly what testing

COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday

The daily number of new known coronavirus cases announced by Illinois officials on Thursday was the highest in nearly five months, except for a day in early September when the state caught up on a testing backlog.

The 3,059 new known cases represents the first time the daily count has topped 3,000 since May 14, when the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,239 cases. The department reported 5,368 new cases on Sept. 4, but that was due to a backlog in processing test results.

In addition to the newly confirmed cases, which bring the total number known infections to 310,700 statewide since the pandemic began, officials on Thursday reported 32 more fatalities. That brings the death toll to 8,910. Officials also reported 72,491 new tests in the last 24 hours. The seven-day statewide positivity rate is 3.7%.

The new numbers come as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that the gains that most regions in Illinois had been making in bringing down COVID-19 positivity rates in recent weeks have “cooled off a bit.” The governor noted specifically that the northeastern region that includes Lake and McHenry counties has seen a reversal after a period of decline.

Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

6:20 p.m.: IHSA doctor says high school basketball could happen in Illinois if players wear masks

The senior member of the Illinois High School Association’s sports medicine advisory committee said Thursday that high school basketball might be possible this year if all players wear masks.

Dr. Preston Wolin said that idea is being considered by the Illinois Department of Public Health, whose COVID-19 guidelines place restrictions on high school and youth sports. As of now, basketball is considered a medium risk for virus transmission, meaning athletes can scrimmage but not compete against other schools.

The high school basketball season is supposed to start Nov. 16.

Wolin said recent communication between the IHSA and the state has included “a draft considering allowing a basketball season to proceed with everybody being masked. As to whether there is actually an IDPH policy that has been promulgated describing this, that I don’t think I can answer.”

Asked for comment, an IDPH spokeswoman responded: “There are no updates to the guidance planned at this time.”

An IHSA spokesman did not return a request for comment.

5:05 p.m.: Winnetka businessman charged with price gouging in sale of protective masks during pandemic

A North Shore businessman was charged in federal court in Chicago on Thursday with illegally price gouging customers seeking to purchase protective masks amid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krikor Topouzian, 60, of Winnetka, was charged in a criminal information with violating anti-price gouging laws. The charge carries a maximum of one year in prison.

According to the charge, Topouzian, who owns a medical supply company based in Skokie, accumulated in March and April a stockpile of nearly 80,000 respirator masks, including N95 masks, for roughly just over $5 per mask.

Topouzian later sold nearly 40,000

Louisiana coronavirus: 526 new cases, 5 more deaths reported Thursday; see latest data | Coronavirus

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 526 more coronavirus cases and five more deaths in its daily noon update Thursday.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 12, and the number of patients in need of ventilators increased by one.

Here are a few key statewide statistics as of Thursday:

— Total cases: 170,621

— Total deaths: 5,416

— Currently hospitalized: 564

— Currently on ventilators: 79

— Presumed recovered: 157,873 as of Oct. 5 (updated weekly)

— Probable cases: 2,528 as of Oct. 7 (updated weekly)

Note: The Advocate and The Times-Picayune staff calculates daily case count increases based on the difference between today’s total and yesterday’s total of confirmed coronavirus cases. The Louisiana Department of Health releases a daily case count on Twitter based on the deletion of duplicate cases. That case count can be different than the one listed here.

You can view more graphs and charts breaking down the data by clicking here.

Louisiana began reopening for Phase 1 on May 15-16 then moved to Phase 2 on June 5. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s Phase 2 restrictions twice in August before moving the state to Phase 3 on Sept. 11.

This is a developing story. More details and analysis to come.

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The Latest: Connection Entering 3rd Reopening Phase Thursday | World News

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s third reopening phase is set to begin Thursday, a milestone during the coronavirus pandemic that is getting a lukewarm reception from some business owners and arts aficionados.

A number of restaurant owners say they won’t be able to reach the new 75% capacity limit for indoor dining because they don’t have the space, primarily due to the requirement that tables be at least 6 feet apart. The indoor capacity maximum is being increased from 50%.

Indoor performing arts venues will be allowed to open beginning Thursday at 50% capacity, while outdoor event venues will be allowed to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%, with required masks and social distancing at all locations. But many theaters and concert venues have decided not to open this week, as shows already have been canceled and many say they can’t make money with half-full facilities.

The Phase 3 reopening comes as Connecticut has seen a slight uptick in coronavirus cases. Nearly 140 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, up from 50 from a month ago and the highest number since late June.

The positive test rate for the virus was less than 1% over most of the summer, but has edged up to around 1.5% recently.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— President Trump’s doctor says he’s been symptom-free for 24 hours

— What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

— Gov. Cuomo issues restrictions in parts of New York

— Eli Lilly and Company has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy.

— Ethics experts say the special treatment Trump received to access an experimental COVID-19 drug raises fairness issues and public’s right to know about his condition.

— Tennessee will not be returning to the team’s facility after two more players tested positive and New England Patriots have canceled practice through Thursday amid reports that a third player has tested positive for the coronavirus.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ORLANDO, Fla. — About 8,800 part-time union workers at Walt Disney World in Florida will be part of the 28,000 layoffs in Disney’s parks division in California and Florida, union officials said Wednesday.

The addition of the union workers to the almost 6,500 nonunion layoff already announced brings the Disney-related job losses in Florida to more than 15,000 workers.

Disney officials announced last week that it was laying off 28,000 workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involved part-time workers and they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic began spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

In a letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to

Connecticut enters 3rd reopening phase Thursday

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s third reopening phase is set to begin Thursday, a milestone during the coronavirus pandemic that is getting a lukewarm reception from some business owners and arts aficionados.

A number of restaurant owners say they won’t be able to reach the new 75% capacity limit for indoor dining because they don’t have the space, primarily due to the requirement that tables be at least 6 feet apart. The indoor capacity maximum is being increased from 50%.

Indoor performing arts venues will be allowed to open beginning Thursday at 50% capacity, while outdoor event venues will be allowed to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%, with required masks and social distancing at all locations. But many theaters and concert venues have decided not to open this week, as shows already have been canceled and many say they can’t make money with half-full facilities.

The Phase 3 reopening comes as Connecticut has seen a slight uptick in coronavirus cases. Nearly 140 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, up from 50 from a month ago and the highest number since late June.


The positive test rate for the virus was less than 1% over most of the summer, but has edged up to around 1.5% recently.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— President Trump’s doctor says he’s been symptom-free for 24 hours

— What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

— Gov. Cuomo issues restrictions in parts of New York

— Eli Lilly and Company has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy.

— Ethics experts say the special treatment Trump received to access an experimental COVID-19 drug raises fairness issues and public’s right to know about his condition.

— Tennessee will not be returning to the team’s facility after two more players tested positive and New England Patriots have canceled practice through Thursday amid reports that a third player has tested positive for the coronavirus.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ORLANDO, Fla. — About 8,800 part-time union workers at Walt Disney World in Florida will be part of the 28,000 layoffs in Disney’s parks division in California and Florida, union officials said Wednesday.

The addition of the union workers to the almost 6,500 nonunion layoff already announced brings the Disney-related job losses in Florida to more than 15,000 workers.

Disney officials announced last week that it was laying off 28,000 workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involved part-time workers and they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic began spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

In a letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow

Trump Was Already Infected with COVID-19 When He Called Into Fox News on Thursday: Reports

Drew Angerer/Getty Images President Donald Trump heads to Marine One outside the White House en route to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday night.

Amid a wave of conflicting information from the White House about when President Donald Trump was first diagnosed with COVID-19, multiple news outlets now report the president knew he had already tested positive by the time he called into Sean Hannity’s Fox News program on Thursday night.

The president had already tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid test and was awaiting further confirmation from a more secure PCR test while he was speaking with Hannity, according to CBS News and The Wall Street Journal which cited White House sources.

Calling into the program from the White House, Trump revealed his close adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive earlier in the day, calling it a “terrible thing.”

Trump, 74, then told Hannity that he and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, were waiting on their own test results—but failed to mention he already tested positive on a rapid test earlier that afternoon.

“So whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” Trump said, referring to Hicks’ infection.

RELATED: Trump’s Chief of Staff Says President’s ‘Blood Oxygen Level Dropped Rapidly,’ Had ‘Fever’ on Friday

Shutterstock Donald Trump

The reports further extend the timeline of Trump’s infection last week, while White House officials and the president’s doctors have since given contradictory statements about the president’s current health status and when, or how, he contracted the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Trumps’ positive diagnoses added their names to the 7.4 million Americans who have contracted the virus, according to a New York Times tracker. At least 209,603 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 this year.

“Don’t tell anyone,” Trump reportedly told a senior aide after he initially tested positive on Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images President Donald Trump waves to onlookers during a brief trip outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday.

RELATED: Ivana Trump ‘Stressed’ and ‘Afraid’ Over Ex-Husband Donald’s Hospitalization: ‘He Was Careless’

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images Donald Trump’s doctors

A White House official told CBS News that the Trump administration learned Hicks had tested positive “minutes before” Trump took off for a fundraising event at his private golf club in New Jersey on Thursday, forcing some officials to stay behind from the trip while a likely infected Trump carried on with his travels despite knowingly being exposed to the virus.

The official told CBS News that the White House isn’t able to do rapid testing on the road and Trump only received the rapid test upon returning back to Washington, D.C., later that evening.

RELATED: Secret Service Agents Slam Trump’s Car Ride Outside Walter Reed While Hospitalized with COVID-19

Yuri Gripas/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock President Donald Trump returns from Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday.

The Times reported that an infected Trump came in contact with

Kemp’s Latest Order Starts At Midnight Thursday

ATLANTA, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp’s latest extension to his coronavirus executive order keeps most restrictions in place but makes two minor revisions: one for hospitality workers and another for those seeking Georgia scholarships.

One change allows restaurant and bar workers to return once they’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours following a known or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis. According to a news release from Kemp’s office, this follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The other change allows for some SAT/ACT test score deadlines to be extended for HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships.

The changes go into effect at midnight Thursday and run through Oct. 15.

Gov. Kemp’s office announced the extended executive order on Wednesday, the same day Georgia surpassed 7,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

GEORGIA’S CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS FOR THURSDAY, OCT. 1

Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta reported a total of 319,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. According to the health department’s website, that includes 1,376 newly confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.

Georgia also reported 7,063 deaths so far from COVID-19, with 43 more deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition, the state reported 28,668 hospitalizations — 146 more than the day before — and 5,300 admissions so far to intensive-care units.

No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.

Counties in or near metro Atlanta and other metropolitan areas continue to have the highest number of positives, with Fulton County still in the lead.

  1. Fulton County: 27,790 cases — 106 new

  2. Gwinnett County: 27,733 cases — 86 new

  3. Cobb County: 19,829 cases — 89 new

  4. DeKalb County: 18,938 cases — 79 new

  5. Hall County: 9,498 cases — 125 new

  6. Chatham County: 8,548 — 37 new

  7. Richmond County: 7,180 — 33 new

  8. Clayton County: 7,114 — 7 new

  9. Cherokee County: 6,159 — 41 new

  10. Bibb County: 6,097 — 8 new

Counties in or near metro Atlanta also continue to have the most deaths from COVID-19.

  1. Fulton County: 577 deaths — 2 new

  2. Cobb County: 427 deaths

  3. Gwinnett County: 409 deaths

  4. DeKalb County: 369 deaths — 2 new

  5. Dougherty County: 187 deaths

  6. Bibb County: 173 deaths — 2 new

  7. Muscogee County: 170 deaths

  8. Chatham County: 166 deaths — 3 new

  9. Richmond County: 164 deaths — 2 new

  10. Clayton County: 161 deaths — 1 removed

As of Thursday, Georgia has administered more than 3.2 million COVID-19 tests, with about 9 percent of those tests the less reliable ones used to detect antibodies.

For the more reliable test for the virus itself, 10.1 percent of tests came back positive. For the less reliable test for antibodies, 8.4 percent came back positive. The overall positive rate was about 10 percent.

As more Georgians were tested over the last month, the percentage of positive tests inched upward from about 8 percent to more than 10 percent. However, over the last few weeks, the percentage of positives has stabilized at

Washington Reports 6 Deaths, 594 Coronavirus Cases Thursday

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Health reported six more deaths and 594 more confirmed coronavirus infections in their daily update Thursday afternoon.

Deaths Thursday were reported in Clark, Kitsap, Mason, Stevens, and Whatcom counties.

Six deaths per day has become fairy average in recent weeks, but nearly 600 confirmed cases may be cause for alarm in some counties. In their latest pandemic briefing Wednesday, health experts shared concerns that daily case counts are no longer on the decline and in fact some counties may be seeing an increase in transmissions.

In total, the latest update means 2,132 Washingtonians have been killed, and 88,116 coronavirus infections have been reported since the pandemic began. That means roughly 2.4 percent of all coronavirus infections are fatal in Washington.

Catch up on the latest developments:

Rapid coronavirus tests headed to Washington

Right now a coronavirus nasal swab test can take a week or more for the patient to get their results. That can be costly as patients are expected to stay home from work and self-isolate after any potential coronavirus exposure until their tests come back negative.

Luckily, that may not be the case for much longer. The Washington State Department of Health says they are expecting a federal shipment of nearly 150,000 COVID-19 testing kits. Experts say the tests are capable of giving a result in as little as 15 minutes. They are expected to arrive within the next five to 10 days, and officials plan to have nearly 2.3 million of the tests come November. The first round of tests will be distributed to community health centers, hospitals and tribal clinics.

There is a catch, however. The Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests are only currently approved for patients already exhibiting coronavirus symptoms. The DOH also says the tests are typically less accurate than the standard nasal swab.

BinaxNOW antigen tests work similarly to a regular nasal swab in practice. The patient takes a nasal swab and inserts it into a test card. Within minutes, they have their result, which can even be sent to an app on the patient’s phone, in case they need to later prove they are negative or positive.

Read more: Rapid Coronavirus Test Kits Are Headed For Washington

Pierce County warns schools not to reopen classrooms

Pierce County is one of several counties seeing a resurgence of new coronavirus cases. As a result, Thursday county health officials warned school districts that it may be unsafe to reopen in-person learning to students at this time— an unfortunately-timed announcement considering many districts are on the cusp of doing just that.

Puyallup School District, for example, had planned to reopen classrooms four days a week to students in Kindergarten and 1st Grade starting next Monday. The following Monday students in grades 2 – 6 were also expected to return to school. But after the county released the new guidance, both plans are off and students will be learning remotely for at least the next few weeks. The district

New York City Schools Hit Last Step for Reopening Thursday

Students in hundreds of New York City middle and high schools start in-person classes Thursday, as the system gears up for its first effort at random testing for the new coronavirus.

In the third—and if all goes well—final phase of school reopenings for the nation’s largest district, roughly 1,600 traditional public schools will be open Thursday. On Tuesday, about 870 schools welcomed children in elementary grades, including schools serving children in kindergarten through fifth grade and K-8. Preschool and some special-education students returned to school last week.

“A really extraordinary number of schools will be open and ready to serve, and they’re doing it the right way,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Wednesday. He said virus testing in schools will start next week.

The mayor has pushed to be one of the few major districts nationwide to offer in-person classes, despite resistance from many teachers and parents concerned that gathering large numbers of people in aging buildings might spread the coronavirus.

An Edward R. Murrow High School student attended remotely from Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 21.



Photo:

caitlin ochs/Reuters

About half of the district’s one million students have chosen to study online full time, by city data. Many teachers have gotten permission to teach from home because they have medical conditions or live with someone who does.

The mayor has said schools will close if the share of people tested in New York City who are positive for Covid-19 hits 3% on a seven-day rolling average, and his administration was boosting testing and enforcement of mask wearing and other safety rules in areas seeing increases.

The daily share of people tested in New York City who were positive for Covid-19 hit 3.25% for the first time since June, Mr. de Blasio said Tuesday, just as most public schools began reopening. Despite the uptick, on Wednesday the mayor reported a positivity rate of 1.46% on a seven-day rolling average.

The in-school testing is a result of a deal the city negotiated in September with the teachers union to avert a strike vote. As part of a reopening deal with the union, City Hall promised random monthly testing of 10% to 20% of students and staff showing up in person at each school.

School staff members wore protective masks as they waited for students to arrive for in-person classes at Public School 188 Tuesday.



Photo:

John Minchillo/Associated Press

In correspondence with families, the city described its virus-surveillance program as free, quick and painless.

The city Department of Education asked parents this week to sign consent forms for testing. It said consent isn’t mandatory, but students who don’t have consent forms on file might be required to learn remotely if a school has too few permissions.

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City officials said the test isn’t a long swab, but a short, small one that only goes in the nostril. “We are