Coronavirus tally in D.C. region hits two-month high; Maryland’s Hogan says earlier restrictions unlikely

The seven-day average of new infections across the region stands at 1,874 cases, the highest since Aug. 13, when it stood at 1,916. The number of new cases reported Tuesday in D.C., Maryland and Virginia surpassed 2,000 for the fourth time this month, mirroring a rise seen across much of the country.

Hogan said Tuesday during a WBAL radio interview that the pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better but that it’s unlikely that restrictions imposed during the height of the pandemic will return to Maryland.

“I don’t anticipate going back to some of the measures we took before,” he said.

In March, hoping to stop the spread of the virus, Hogan issued a stay-at-home order that prohibited residents from leaving their houses unless they worked at an essential job or were buying groceries or medicine. Six weeks later, he began lifting some of those restrictions.

His gradual reopening of the state did not sit well with many members of the state’s Republican Party, some of whom wanted it to occur more quickly. ReOpen Maryland held rallies across the state and in Annapolis demanding an end to coronavirus-
related restrictions.

A poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Strategies, released Tuesday, shows more than a quarter of Republicans say the governor has done a fair or poor job handling the crisis, while 66 percent think he has handled it well. Meanwhile, 82 percent of Democrats give Hogan high marks for his handling of the virus.

Hogan said the state is “ready” for another wave.

“We do anticipate it getting worse in the fall, having a hospital surge, which is why we built 6,000 new hospital beds,” Hogan said of preparations taken earlier this year.

He said Marylanders should also brace themselves for the effect a second wave could have on the state’s economy as people become less comfortable with going to large gatherings and entertainment venues and eating inside restaurants.

The Gonzales poll found that 41 percent of Marylanders feel comfortable returning to their regular routine, while 57 percent say they do not feel comfortable resuming their pre-pandemic lives.

“Maryland has been one of the few that has kind of avoided [a big uptick in metrics] so far, but we don’t have any magic wall that’s going to keep the virus out of our state,” Hogan said.

The 897 new cases reported Tuesday in Maryland were the most in a single day since 922 cases were reported Aug. 9, while hospitalizations and test positivity rates have also ticked upward. The state also reported nine new fatalities.

The greater Washington region Tuesday recorded 2,125 new cases and 30 additional deaths. Virginia added 1,134 cases and 19 deaths, while D.C. added 94 cases and two deaths.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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Chicago, Denver Tighten Limits; French Deaths Soar: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Germany is looking at closing restaurants and prohibiting large events as governments across Europe seek to tackle rising infections and fatalities while avoiding full-scale lockdowns. Italy reported a record number of new cases, while deaths in France were the highest since April.

In the U.S., Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen at least 10% in the past week in 32 states and the nation’s capital as the month-old viral surge increasingly weighs on America’s health-care system. Chicago and Denver tightened restrictions in an attempt to stem outbreaks.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company may know by the end of October whether or not its vaccine is effective. Cadila Healthcare Ltd., one of two Indian companies trying to develop a vaccine, is in talks with potential partners to ramp up production.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 43.4 million; deaths exceed 1.15 millionSlow Covid recovery stalks health industry as new cases surgeAll-in push for vaccine in U.S. raises risk virus will lingerEuropean governments running out of options to avoid lockdownsVaccine Tracker: Vaccine trials restart, providing hope

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.



chart, histogram: Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again


© Bloomberg
Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again

El Paso Hospitals Fill With Virus Patients (5:30 p.m. NY)

More than 40% of the hospital beds in El Paso, Texas, are occupied by virus patients as the worsening outbreak in the state’s biggest hot spot tested the region’s health-care infrastructure.

Just a week ago, the Covid-19 census in El Paso-area facilities was under 25%, state health department figures showed. Federal and state agencies have opened field hospitals and deployed 1,000 nurses and other personnel to aid locals. Outbreaks are also accelerating in Lubbock and Amarillo, where more than 20% of hospital beds are taken by virus victims.

Statewide, hospitalizations have risen in seven of the past eight days and are now at levels not seen since late August. Texas hospitals housed 5,512 virus patients as of Tuesday, a 65% increase since the start of the month.

California’s Theme Parks Staying Closed (5 p.m. NY)

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is hesitant to allow theme parks, including Disneyland, to reopen as coronavirus cases surge again across the world.

Walt Disney Co. and other theme park operators have been pushing the state for permission to resume operations, particularly after Florida parks started operating again in June. But Newsom said Tuesday that other states and countries that have been more permissive about letting businesses reopen are now enduring another wave of infections.

“Self-evidently, we should be concerned about opening up a large theme park, where by definition people mix from every conceivable walk of life,” he said during an update with reporters.

Illinois Suspends Indoor Dining in Chicago (4:36 p.m. NY)

Illinois will suspend indoor restaurant and bar service in Chicago starting Friday amid a surge in cases, according to Governor J.B. Pritzker. The region that

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Wisconsin facing ‘urgent crisis’ as cases rise

Wisconsin’s governor on Tuesday warned of an impending crisis as the state continues to see coronavirus cases rise and its hospitals overwhelmed.



a boy wearing a hat: Nyasia Camara, medical assistant, checks in a person for a COVID-19 test at the drive-thru testing site at Mercy Health Anderson Hospital, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. You must have an ID. They're open from 8am - 1pm and do about 70 tests each day. Over 5,000 deaths in Ohio have been reported during the pandemic, according to Ohio Department of Health.  Testing Political Signs Scenes For Wwlt


© Liz Dufour/The Enquirer/Imagn/USA Today
Nyasia Camara, medical assistant, checks in a person for a COVID-19 test at the drive-thru testing site at Mercy Health Anderson Hospital, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. You must have an ID. They’re open from 8am – 1pm and do about 70 tests each day. Over 5,000 deaths in Ohio have been reported during the pandemic, according to Ohio Department of Health. Testing Political Signs Scenes For Wwlt

“There is no way to sugarcoat it, we are facing an urgent crisis and there is an imminent risk to you and your family,” Gov. Tony Evers said.

Hospital beds in the state are 84% full, as well as 87% of intensive care unit beds, according to state data, as hospitalizations continue to escalate.

The state opened a hospital facility at the state fair grounds October 14, and five patients have been cared for there as of Tuesday.

More than 5,000 confirmed cases were reported in Wisconsin as of Tuesday, bringing the total number there to more than 200,000 — a “tragic” and “concerning” milestone, Evers said. The state’s death toll rose by 64 Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,852.

“The increasing cases, and our increase in deaths today are the largest single day increases we’ve seen throughout the course of this pandemic,” said Andrea Palm, Secretary-designee of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services. “We must take significant and collective action.”

The state’s seven-day average of new cases has increased by more than 400%, Palm said. It took seven months for cases to reach 100,000 there, and only 36 days to hit 200,000 Evers said.

Evers’ warning comes as nearly half a million Americans tested positive for Covid-19 in just the last week as a fall surge of the contagious virus claws its way into every region of the country.

More than 8.7 million in US infected since pandemic began

The past seven days have been marked by daunting coronavirus records and upticks, with 489,769 new cases reported since October 20.

In the US, more than 8.7 million people have now been infected since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The fall resurgence has led some local and state officials to rein in their reopening plans, as hospitalization numbers increase and states report case records. Still, public fatigue and political unwillingness to require masks and restrict gatherings — exemplified by the White House chief of staff’s frank admission that “we are not going to control the pandemic” — suggest worse days to come.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that the US was at a tipping point, where aggressive action could stem the worst of the pandemic.

“But we’re not going to do that and I understand why. There’s a lot of fatigue set in and a lot of policy resistance

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Alabama adds another 1,000-plus coronavirus cases; When is mask order set to end?

Alabama added another 1,000-plus coronavirus cases overnight.

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Oct. 27 10 a.m. numbers show the state has had 186,437 cases since March, adding 1,115 since yesterday.  Of those cases, 159,439 are confirmed and 26,998 are probable. The state added 26 deaths to its total, bring the death toll to 2,892.

Hospitalizations also increased, rising by 32 to 967.

Alabama’s mask order

Alabama remains under a mandatory face mask covering order until Nov. 8.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris first issued the mask order on July 16.

The mask order requires people to wear coverings over their nostrils and mouth when within 6 feet of people from another household in indoor spaces open to the public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service, or an outdoor space where 10 or more people are gathered. Masks are not required for children 6 and younger, people with a medical disability that prevents wearing a mask, people voting, or those “actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship.”

At the time of the most recent extension, Ivey cited the importance of protecting people from coronavirus on election day. She has not indicated if she will extend the order past next week.

Here are the latest county-by-county numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The numbers include both confirmed and probable cases with the overnight increases shown in parenthesis:

Autauga – 2082 (+6)

Baldwin – 6712 (+18)

Barbour – 1042 (+9)

Bibb – 850 (+7)

Blount – 1972 (+30)

Bullock – 650 (+1)

Butler – 1012

Calhoun – 4647 (+26)

Chambers – 1368 (+16)

Cherokee – 756 (+11)

Chilton – 1904 (+11)

Choctaw – 393 (+1)

Clarke – 1366 (+13)

Clay – 753 (+4)

Cleburne – 573

Coffee – 1807 (+12)

Colbert – 2060 (+19)

Conecuh – 565 (+4)

Coosa – 209 (+4)

Covington – 1759 (+4)

Crenshaw – 609

Cullman – 2557 (+49)

Dale – 1789 (+17)

Dallas – 1881 (+9)

DeKalb – 3492 (+31)

Elmore – 3246 (+19)

Escambia – 1749 (+19)

Etowah – 4341 (+19)

Fayette – 589 (+5)

Franklin – 2064 (+3)

Geneva – 921 (+5)

Greene – 346

Hale – 777

Henry – 723 (+4)

Houston – 4193 (+13)

Jackson – 2194 (+19)

Jefferson – 23,573 (+130)

Lamar – 508 (+2)

Lauderdale – 2338 (+25)

Lawrence – 869 (+8)

Lee – 6571 (+21)

Limestone – 2936 (+43)

Lowndes – 716 (+2)

Macon – 539 (+2)

Madison – 9422 (+28)

Marengo – 1026 (+1)

Marion – 1103 (+6)

Marshall – 4426 (+15)

Mobile – 16,994 (+60)

Monroe – 655 (+7)

Montgomery – 10,352 (+54)

Morgan – 4223 (+31)

Perry – 595 (+2)

Pickens – 869 (+9)

Pike – 1345 (+1)

Randolph – 835 (+6)

Russell – 1960 (+7)

St. Clair – 3040 (+41)

Shelby – 7504 (+68)

Sumter – 474 (+2)

Talladega – 2714 (+40)

Tallapoosa – 1339 (+9)

Tuscaloosa – 10,462 (+48)

Walker – 2837 (+14)

Washington – 751 (+2)

Wilcox – 570

Winston – 940 (+3)

S

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Governor bans indoor dining in Chicago as virus cases surge

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Surging COVID-19 cases in Chicago prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday to ban indoor dining and bar services and limit the number of people gathering in one place.

The rules taking effect Friday will force diners and bar patrons outdoors and shut down service at 11 p.m. No more than 25 people may gather at one time, or fewer if that number would exceed 25% of room capacity.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us, because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring,” Pritzker said, referring to the start of the pandemic, when health care resources were pushed to the limit because of the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases.


Chicago, which comprises Region 11 of the state’s 11 COVID-19 monitoring regions, joins six other regions subject to what the Pritzker administration calls “resurgence mitigations.” A day earlier, Pritzker imposed the restrictions on Region 10, Cook County outside of Chicago and Lake County to the north.

After a summer of declining case numbers — Illinois fared better than many other states, particularly in the South and West — they began climbing again in August and jumped precipitously this month. There were 4,000 new infections and 46 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing total cases to 382,985 with 9,568 deaths.

There were 2,758 hospitalized, an 86% increase from a month ago, and both intensive care patients at 595 and the 241 on ventilators represented increases in the 70% range.

Other regions which hit the mitigation bar did so when positive rates of COVD-19 test results topped 8% for three consecutive days. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state public health director, said the latest additions, Cook County on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday, have seen the troubling rise in numbers of sick people requiring inpatient treatment as well as a jump in positive test results.

“Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems,” Ezike said.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, predicted the action taken by the governor, pointing out that while COVID-19 is not as prevalent in Chicago as during the pandemic’s early days in March, the number of confirmed cases is doubling every nine days.

“COVID is widespread here in Chicago, and we need you to double down on the things that you know work,” Arwady said. “Please as much as you can, if there are interactions you’re having that are not essential, back off on those.”

___

Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago.

___

Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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Novavax delays U.S. trial of COVID-19 vaccine to November

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Vaccine COVID-19” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

(Reuters) – Novavax Inc on Tuesday delayed the start of a late-stage U.S. trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by roughly a month to the end of November, citing delays in scaling up the manufacturing process.

The U.S.-based drug developer said data from a separate Phase III trial being conducted in Britain was expected by the first quarter of 2021 and could be the basis for global regulatory approvals although it did not elaborate. Shares of the company rose nearly 3%.

It is not immediately clear whether that could apply in the United States. Novavax did not respond to a request for clarification.

“I think the FDA has generally been loathe to approve vaccines for Americans that haven’t been tested in Americans, historically,” Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, said on in an interview with the editor of JAMA medical journal on Tuesday.

Data from an early-to-mid stage trial of the vaccine is expected on Friday, the company said. Earlier data had showed the vaccine produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus.

A handful of companies, including larger rivals Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc, are conducting late-stage trials of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines, though none have reported pivotal data that would be used to seek emergency authorization or approval.

The companies, including Novavax, have already made distribution deals with several countries for the vaccines, once approved.

Novavax in August said it will supply 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the UK from as early as the first quarter of 2021.

The company is also preparing to deliver 100 million doses to the United States by January after it was awarded $1.6 billion for its potential vaccine, and has also signed supply agreements with Canada and Japan.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Bill Berkrot

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Federal judge rules against gym owner who sued CA governor

The front entrance at Fitness System’s health club in Sacramento, with a copy of the Bill of Rights taped to the door. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, that the owner had filed against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

The front entrance at Fitness System’s health club in Sacramento, with a copy of the Bill of Rights taped to the door. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, that the owner had filed against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

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A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Joaquin County and Lodi officials that had been filed by the owner of three Sacramento-area gyms after officials ordered the shutdown of fitness centers last spring because of COVID-19.

After a Zoom hearing in Sacramento federal court, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez agreed to requests by the defendants that the lawsuit be dismissed and found that the coronavirus pandemic was so dangerous that officials were within their authority when they first ordered the closures.

The orders were “a constitutional response to an unprecedented pandemic,” Mendez said.

Attorney John Killeen argued for the state that since Newsom’s original stay-at-home orders the state has loosened restrictions on fitness centers, including allowing some outdoor exercising and indoor workouts in San Joaquin County at 10% of capacity.

“A number of restrictions have been lifted,” Mendez said.

“I just don’t see any basis for allowing this lawsuit to go forward in the district court,” he added.

The suit was brought by Sean Covell, owner of Fitness System gyms in Land Park, West Sacramento and Lodi, and argued that the shutdown orders violated the Constitution and were costing his operations huge amounts of revenues and lost memberships.

The lawsuit was one of numerous complaints filed by fitness centers, churches and businesses against orders Newsom and health officials issued to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The lawsuits have largely been unsuccessful, although some are pending and yet another involving gyms in Dixon and Sacramento was filed in federal court in Sacramento on Monday.

Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.

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Young people struggling with eating disorders find support on TikTok

TikTok creators are offering meal support for people in need. (Photo: Getty Images)
TikTok creators are offering meal support for people in need. (Photo: Getty Images)

A recent trend on TikTok is providing young people suffering with or recovering from an eating disorder with meal support by featuring creators eating food and offering users a safe space to virtually join them.

“I thought that it would be nice for you guys to have a video of me just sitting there eating so that if you ever are having a hard time eating you can come back to this video, sit there with me and enjoy your meal with me,” Clara Guillem says in a voiceover of a video of her eating a sandwich. “So, yeah. I love you guys. Use this whenever you want. I love you.” The sound has been used in 3,357 videos on the platform.

The 24-year-old who is currently living in Nashville, Tenn., tells Yahoo Life that she developed anorexia at the age of 14, sharing that social media platforms that perpetuated toxic content about body image encouraged her eating disorder. Now, as a full-time content creator focused on body confidence, eating disorder recovery and general mental health, she’s looking to change the way that young people interact with these platforms as well as with the people on them.

“My anorexia continued until I was about 20 years old,” Guillem says. “I remember the exact moment I decided to turn my account into a safe space for those with eating disorders. I had made a video asking people to stop posting toxic ‘what I eat in a days’ [videos] showing off their low-calorie meals on a kid’s app. Then, I got a comment from a 13-year-old girl saying she was struggling. I responded to the comment and all of a sudden I received hundreds of comments from kids that age saying they were unhappy with their bodies and engaging in harmful eating disorder habits. I knew then, that as an adult who had been through it all, and who they seemed to trust, it was my place to share my story and inspire others to get help.”

Guillem began to post videos where she shared her own experience with anorexia and her journey to recovery. She also would show herself eating food items that she previously deemed “fear foods” — what National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA) Communications Manager Chelsea Kronengold explains to Yahoo Life as different foods that might “trigger” someone with an eating disorder.

“That food can be associated with trauma for somebody, so that might be a fear food,” Kronengold says. “Generally speaking, fear foods are usually higher in calories, foods that the media perpetuates as ‘bad’ foods, even though at NEDA we don’t believe that there’s good or bad foods.”

Guillem is spreading that same message with content created specifically to share evidence of herself enjoying a variety of foods without guilt. During a TikTok live one day, she even realized the need to provide followers with more opportunities to feel encouraged to eat

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Lilly Stops Antibody Trial in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Eli Lilly announced it will halt its ACTIV-3 trial evaluating the antibody bamlanivimab in combination with remdesivir for people hospitalized with COVID-19, after new evidence regarding efficacy emerged.

The new data from the National Institutes of Health suggest that the experimental neutralizing antibody therapy does not offer significant clinical benefit for people with more advanced COVID-19 illness, according to a company statement.

Eli Lilly also announced it plans to continue its other trials evaluating the antibody, including those assessing a potential role in treating people in the earlier stages of COVID-19.

“While there was insufficient evidence that bamlanivimab improved clinical outcomes when added to other treatments in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we remain confident based on data from Lilly’s BLAZE-1 study that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19,” the statement reads.

The ACTIV-3 trial was paused on October 13 after a data and safety monitoring board cited safety concerns.

The most recent data update that triggered an end to the trial did not reveal any significant differences in safety, though.  

Damian McNamara is a staff journalist based in Miami. He covers a wide range of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology, and rheumatology. Follow Damian on Twitter:  @MedReporter.

For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Alabama statewide school COVID tracker to debut Oct. 30; Here’s how it works

Alabamians anxious to get a look at the prevalence of COVID-19 among students, teachers, and staff in schools statewide will get their chance on Friday.

The dashboard, in the works since late August, will be published on the Alabama Department of Public Health website and will include the number of self-reported positive COVID-19 cases in each school system, but will not be broken down by school.

After discussion between Alabama State Department of Education officials during a Monday afternoon training session for school nurses about whether to report only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases or whether to report all known self-reported positives among students and faculty, Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey told AL.com the school tracker will follow the same reporting protocol school nurses follow now on the ADPH report card.

“The (Alabama Department of Public Health) school dashboard will use the same protocols for reporting as the ADPH report card,” Mackey wrote to AL.com.

Currently, the ADPH report card—the mechanism through which school nurses report positive cases to ADPH for contact tracing—does not require laboratory confirmation of positive cases.

Schools currently rely on parents and staff to report positive cases of COVID-19, but schools are not required to collect laboratory results before reporting a positive case.

K-12 schools have not appeared to be the source of community spread of coronavirus, something many feared prior to the opening of schools in August. The school tracker, Mackey said earlier this month, is important for two reasons, Mackey said: “So people take it seriously, and so they don’t overreact.”

“We want to be fully transparent so that people know that there are cases in the community,” Mackey said. Knowing the level of spread, he added, helps people to continue to do the things needed to mitigate that spread.

The school tracker will include positive cases for the week ending each Tuesday evening, officials said. State department of education nurses will review the data, and it will be published online by 10 a.m. each Friday morning.

A school district’s lead nurse is the only school official who can complete the school tracker report for the district, and while student and faculty cases will be reported separately, only a total will be reported to the public. Five cases or fewer will not be reported by number for privacy reasons, officials said.

While there is no national template or standard for reporting cases in schools, some states provide a more detailed breakdown than Alabama is planning to report.

Florida reports positive cases by school and whether the person is a student, teacher, or other staff member. Their report also includes whether persons were showing symptoms. Louisiana reports cases weekly but only by parish, or county. Utah breaks case data down into three age groups, 5 to 10 years old, 11 to 13 years old and 14 to 18 years old.

For its school reporting dashboard, New York’s public health department not only relies on self-reporting, but also uses official lab results, matching the lab results to the

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