LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ten California counties were cleared to ease coronavirus restrictions Tuesday, including some in the Central Valley that saw major case spikes over the summer, but the state’s top health official warned that upcoming Halloween celebrations pose a risk for renewed spread.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state health secretary, said no counties moved backwards in California’s color-coded, four-tiered system for reopening, but Riverside was on the verge of reverting to the most restrictive purple tier. The county of about 2.5 million residents has asked for a review of its data and will stay in the red tier until the state makes a decision on its status later this week.
For premed students hoping to gain some research experience before applying to medical school, the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic poses a challenge to that goal. At a time when so much medical research has taken off, it is hard for students to find places on research teams. Hospitals and other clinical facilities are limiting entry into buildings, as are research labs at universities.
Since research experience can be an important part of a medical school application, figuring out where your application stands in terms of research and whether it makes sense to pursue opportunities at this time is imperative.
As a 2020-2021 applicant to med school, you will likely find yourself in one of three applicant categories.
First are students who already have robust research experience. These students may wish to strengthen their skills further or may have had research projects interrupted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Second are students who have some research experience, but this research may not be related to science or health care and it may have involved few participation hours.
Finally, some students may have no research experience at all, and they face the prospect of applying to medical school without having had these opportunities.
Students With Robust Research Experience
If you are part of the first category of students, take a deep breath. You have had quality research experiences and have had the chance to hone the research skills that med schools value.
While you can still ask around about furthering your experience, do not worry if you cannot find another research opportunity. Instead, think about other activities that will meaningfully add to your application – like an online class or volunteering to deliver groceries to those at risk for complications from the coronavirus – and pursue those.
Students With Less or No Research Experience
If you are in the second or third groups of students, do not panic. While research is a good thing to have on your med school application, it is not the sole determinant of your admissions worthiness.
For example, I had no research on my med school application and I was admitted to med school. If you find yourself barred from in-person research environments due to the pandemic, reach out to a mentor or faculty member involved in an interesting project and offer to help with literature reviews or data analysis. Both of these types of work are critical to the research process, and they can be done remotely.
If you are unable to secure a research position, think about other means of strengthening your application. And if you are absolutely sure you want to do research prior to enrolling in med school, you always have the option to delay your application to a later cycle. The option to apply to med school will exist whenever you are ready to take it.
Remember that medical schools are sensitive to the disruptions resulting from the coronavirus. While it is important to present the most complete application
The San Francisco Fire Department has revealed the circumstances leading to the death of a firefighter during a training exercise last week, noting that restrictions implemented to stem the spread of the coronavirus might have played a role.
Jason Cortez, 42, was knocked off a third-floor fire escape Wednesday by an inadvertent water blast, the report said. He was alone on the fire escape of a training facility at 19th and Folsom streets when he opened the gate of a hose adapter that did not have a hose lined attached, and the stream of water struck him in the chest and pushed him backward.
Although accidental in nature, Cortez’s death could be linked to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the report. His engine company, Station No. 3, was conducting a solo training exercise that typically requires multiple firefighters from two stations.
“Because of COVID 19 concerns, multi-company drills are suspended,” the report said. Engine 3 “was forced to conduct a pump operation drill alone. … Each [firefighter] was required to carry out tasks individually which are normally done as part of a team.”
The San Francisco Fire Department was one of the first in the nation to implement aggressive COVID-19 guidelines in accordance with recommendations from doctors, hazardous-industry specialists and epidemiologists, according to spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter. The social distancing measures are meant to ensure the safety of fire crews and the communities they serve.
“We don’t want to cross-pollinate those crews unless we absolutely have to,” Baxter said. “Cross-pollination does occur during actual emergencies, but those are uncontrolled. When we have controlled sessions, such as a training session, we try to limit the exposure as much as possible.”
Baxter said it was likely that those guidelines would be reevaluated in light of Cortez’s death, but he said training and community safety must remain top priorities.
“We can’t put training on hold during COVID-19 because emergencies aren’t going to go on hold,” he said. “We have to be prepared, especially when we have so many new and young firefighters that need to be trained and tested on skill sets. … But one fatality, one injury, is one too many.”
Cortez was a father of two and the son of a retired San Francisco firefighter. He was treated for critical injuries at the scene and transported to San Francisco General Hospital shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday. He died from his injuries less than an hour later.
Station No. 3, in the Tenderloin neighborhood, is regularly ranked one of the busiest in the country, often with up to 40 calls during a 24-hour shift.
“If you looked at Jason at 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning, he had a positive attitude, smile on his face, excellent customer service,” Baxter said.
LONDON (AP) — Millions of people in northern England are anxiously waiting to hear how much further virus restrictions will be tightened as one of the British government’s leading medical advisers warned Sunday that the country is at a crucial juncture in the second wave of the coronavirus.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said the U.K. is at a “tipping point similar to where we were in March” following a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases.
Public indoor pools and fitness centers in D.C. are reopening next week. Learn how to book a time slot for your workout or your swim.
If you want to get some exercise in D.C. when indoor facilities open up next week, you’ll have to first exercise your fingers and computer mouse.
Visit the District’s Department of Recreation reservation website to book a time. For swimming and gym time, you’re limited to 45-minute blocks. You need to be sure to bring your photo I.D. to your reservation after booking.
For fitness centers, you can make one reservation per day, with a maximum of four per week. Lots of slots are already booked for the first week, but there are still some available.
Indoor pools are open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to noon and again from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seven locations are currently available for booking. Saturdays, the pools are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed Sundays.
The fitness centers have similar rules, as they are closed in the middle of the day. During the week, the 13 fitness centers are open from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. They’re closed on Sunday and open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While the pools and fitness centers may be open, the locker rooms and changing areas are not. So, you have to show up in your activity clothes and wear a mask at all times, unless you’re swimming.
Reservations are available seven days in advance.
If you have questions about the District’s plan to reopen gyms and pools, there are two virtual info sessions coming up on Oct. 15. One is from noon to 1:30 p.m. and the other is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sign up in advance in order to get an invitation to the web meeting.
More Coronavirus news
Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.
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The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked enforcement of federal government restrictions on women seeking access to an abortion drug during the coronavirus pandemic, in the high court’s first abortion-related decision since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.
The ruling would, for now, continue to allow women to obtain an abortion pill by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The high court has returned the case to a federal trial court in Maryland for further review of the issue. Justices Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, as the justices begin a new term following the recent death of their colleague, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (AP)
The ruling comes nearly three months after a federal judge in Maryland ruled that, during the coronavirus pandemic, health care providers can arrange for mifepristone to be mailed or delivered to patients. The FDA has approved mifepristone to be used in combination with a second drug, misoprostol, to end an early pregnancy or manage a miscarriage.
Thursday’s ruling from the high court is temporary in nature, while the larger legal ramifications play out in court. It comes in response to the case, “FDA vs. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”
DEMOCRATS RESIGNED THAT AMY CONEY BARRETT CONFIRMATION IS INEVITABLE: ‘WE CAN’T STOP THE OUTCOME’
The administration is asking to be allowed to enforce a U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule. The administration has suspended similar in-person visits for other drugs, including opioids in some cases, but refused to relax the rules for getting the abortion pill.
Alito and Thomas said they would have granted the administration’s request. “Six weeks have passed since the application was submitted, but the Court refuses to rule,” Alito wrote.
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The court called for the federal judge to take a new look at the issue and rule within 40 days – postponing any further high court action until after the November Election.
This story contains material from the Associated Press.
A council leader has warned a delay to new local lockdown measures in the north of England will encourage a “final weekend of partying”.
Reports emerged on Thursday that pubs and restaurants would be shut down in many northern cities from Monday amid surging cases.
David Mellen, Nottingham council leader, warned ministers the delay in bringing in the new plans, which were leaked to a number of newspapers, will mean another weekend where people can mix and risk spreading COVID-19.
Nottingham is facing enhanced restrictions after a sharp rise in cases.
Asked whether people will have “one last blowout” before the hospitality shutdown, Mellen told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Absolutely. That is our concern, absolutely.”
He added: “There is a chance this weekend that people will think: ‘This might be the last chance before Christmas, so let’s go out and party.’ And we can’t have that.”
Mellen said that it felt like Nottingham residents are “victims of a government change of approach”.
He went on: “And therefore, even though we’ve got very high numbers that we’ve known about since the beginning of the week, we’ve got ‘til next week for government to bring in what we expect will be restrictions in Nottingham.”
Watch:150 people break coronavirus law with a ‘dangerous’ rave in an abandoned pub
Local politicians have hit out at the government over their approach to lockdown measures in the North, saying they have been kept in the dark and that their local expertise has been ignored.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said on Thursday that ministers had not made him aware of the plans to shut down hospitality.
The first time I heard that all bars and restaurants across the North are to close was when I read it in @thetimes. I’ve had two meetings with Cabinet Ministers this week along with other Mayors and it wasn’t mentioned once. https://t.co/S2nbYL1qlJ
On Friday, Oct. 9, Ontario reported a record-high 939 new cases of COVID-19. The update is part of a worrisome trend that has been developing in Canada’s most populous province, which has led to Premier Doug Ford announcing new restrictions for its three three hotspots.
For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.
18,784 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 177,600 diagnoses, 9,583 deaths and 149,233 recoveries (as of Oct. 9, 11:00 a.m. ET)
Alberta – 2,097 active cases (19,718 total cases, including 283 deaths, 17,338 resolved)
British Columbia – 1,394 active cases (10,066 total cases, 245 deaths, 8,398 resolved)
Manitoba – 863 active cases (2,344 total cases, 27 deaths, 1,454 resolved)
New Brunswick – 24 active cases (225 cases, 2 deaths, 199 resolved)
Newfoundland and Labrador – 4 active case (277 total cases, 4 deaths, 269 resolved)
Northwest Territories – 0 active cases (5 total cases, 5 resolved)
Nova Scotia – 3 active cases (1,089 total cases, 65 deaths 1,021 resolved)
Ontario – 5,652 active cases (57,681 total cases, 2,997 deaths, 49,032 resolved)
Prince Edward Island – 3 active case (61 total cases, 58 resolved)
Quebec – 8,572 active cases (834,094 total cases, 5,936 deaths, 69,586 resolved)
Saskatchewan – 143 active cases (2,012 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,845 resolved)
Yukon – 0 active cases (15 total cases, 15 resolved)
Nunavut – 0 active cases (no resident cases)
CFB Trenton – 0 active cases (13 total cases, 13 resolved)
Ontario sees record-high increase, leading to more restrictions
Ontario reported a record-high 939 new daily cases of COVID-19, which has prompted Doug Ford’s provincial government to impose new restrictions on hotspots Toronto, Peel Region and York.
It’s the 12th straight day the province has exceeded the 500-case mark. Ontario’s daily case count continues to increase, breaking its own record on four occasions over two weeks. Before the recent stretch, the province had not reported more than 500 cases since May 2.
Of the most recent 939 cases, 336 were identified in Toronto, 150 in Peel, 126 in Ottawa, 68 in York, 59 in Halton, 40 in Hamilton, 32 in Durham, 28 in Simcoe-Muskoka and 24 in Middlesex-London. The remaining 25 public health units reported fewer than 20 cases, while nine of them reported no new patients at all.
The latest patients were identified after the province completed 44,914 tests. The 2.1 per cent positivity rate is the highest it has recorded since June 7.
There are 358 new cases among those 20-39 years old, the most of any age group. There are 266 new cases among those 40-59, 156 among those 19 and under, and 153 involving those who are at least 60 years old. Twelve of the patients involve long-term care residents and 12 involve health-care workers.
In K-12 schools across Ontario, there are 56 new cases of COVID-19. That includes 32 among students, nine among
Indoor shopping centers opened Wednesday as Los Angeles County officials eased pandemic-related restrictions on businesses, but one of the biggest mall operators in the region is suing to stop the county from shutting down centers again.
The owners of Westfield-branded malls, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the county in late September that called for the county to lift prohibitions it called “unlawful and unjustifiable” in part because they are targeted at indoor centers, which were then mostly closed.
Although the county gave the green light to indoor mall stores operating with limits on the number of customers who can be inside, Westfield is suing in federal court to stop officials from repeatedly opening and closing stores to blunt the impact of the pandemic.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has likened such openings and closings of businesses to a dimmer switch that the state can raise or lower in relation to the transmission of COVID-19. When fewer new cases are diagnosed, restrictions on occupancy of stores, restaurants and other businesses will be loosened. If more people get sick, restrictions will retighten.
Los Angeles County has lagged behind other parts of California in reopening businesses because of its continued high numbers of new cases and deaths. But on Wednesday, “nonessential” stores in indoor shopping centers reopened with limited capacity for the first time since July.
Westfield and the owner of Del Amo Fashion Center, a regional indoor mall in Torrance, have both filed lawsuits intended to stop the county from effectively shutting down their shopping centers as a coronavirus prevention measure. Merchants including a sports apparel seller and a children’s clothing boutique operator have joined the lawsuits.
The county has not commented on the litigation, but its public information office said in a statement last month that the county “has been intensely committed to protecting the health and safety of its residents through an unprecedented crisis using science and data and responding in real time to a deadly and previously unknown virus that has tragically claimed thousands of lives and upended life for millions of people.”
County officials continue “to assess the data, the science and the state guidelines to safely guide the reopening” of local businesses, the statement said.
In an interview with The Times, Jean-Marie Tritant, president of U.S. operations for Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, discussed his company’s litigation and efforts to conduct business prudently during the pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Your company has been in discussions with state and local officials since the early days of the pandemic about how to operate safely in a dangerous time. What
“While COVID-19 has provided the ground for restrictions on First Amendment rights, the District Court saw the pandemic as a ground for expanding the abortion right recognized in Roe v. Wade,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
Alito said the court has “stood by” while officials imposed restrictions on religious activities and “drastically limited speech, banning or restricting public speeches, lectures, meetings, and rallies.”
The court’s action in this case cannot be squared with that, Alito wrote.
Chuang ruled in July that requiring an in-person visit to obtain the medications needed to induce abortion was unduly burdensome. There is no requirement that a woman take the medication in a clinic setting, and most take the pills that end a pregnancy in its early stages at home.
At the request of abortion providers and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Chuang imposed a nationwide injunction against the Food and Drug Administration directive.
After a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit refused to put Chuang’s order on hold, acting solicitor general Jeffrey B. Wall went to the Supreme Court.
Instead of agreeing with the government’s petition, the court’s order issued Thursday night directed Chuang to “promptly consider a motion by the government to dissolve, modify, or stay the injunction, including on the ground that relevant circumstances have changed.”
The case took on added significance because it was the first abortion order issued after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s most outspoken advocate for abortion rights.
The unsigned order and compromise decision may indicate the court was deadlocked, although only Thomas and Alito declared their views.
Wall told the court that, even in the pandemic, the government had not changed its views on how the drugs should be dispensed.
“The FDA has made, and continuously adhered to, the judgment that these requirements mitigate serious health risks associated with the drug, which can increase if the patient delays taking the drug or fails to receive proper counseling about possible complications,” Wall wrote.
Abortion providers told the court that there was no reason an in-office visit was necessary.
The rules “force patients seeking early abortion care and their health care providers to unnecessarily risk exposure to a life-threatening disease by mandating that patients travel to a health center for the sole purpose of picking up a pill and signing a form,” Julia H. Kaye of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a brief to the court.
Medication abortions require taking two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. They have been in use since 2000, and in 2016 the FDA eliminated the requirement that the first drug be administered in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. FDA experts said it was just as safe for a woman to take the medications at home.
But the FDA did not relax the requirement that women pick up the pills in person and sign for