Coronavirus Update – Sept. 23, 2020

Your coronavirus update for September 23; stay up to date with Elite.

More than 31.2 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Sunday evening, including at least 962,000 deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 6.9 million positive COVID-19 cases and at least 203,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

CDC’s Website “Error” Causes Confusion Among Scientists

Erroneous content on the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sparked a bit of confusion among its officials and experts in the infectious disease community. The now deleted content related to published information that suggested the coronavirus can spread beyond the 6-foot parameter that’s become commonly accepted as appropriate social distancing policy, according to a report by Yahoo Finance.1 According to the report, the CDC removed guidance that infected aerosol particles can linger in the air for longer than previously thought. The new language was said to posted by mistake, according to the report.

Amid a fair amount of controversy due to changes in philosophy related to mask-wearing and social distancing by the CDC and other officials over the last several months, one expert, Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and visiting scientist in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said trust in the CDC is “woefully deficient.”1

Not Wearing Masks Could Become Crime In PA

Officials in the state of Pennsylvania are reportedly considering charging residents with a misdemeanor if they refuse to follow the mandate to wear a mask in public during the pandemic. According to a report by Philly Voice, Sen. Art Haywood has introduced a bill that would classify not wearing a mask as “recklessly endangering another person.”2

The legislation was introduced several days before a federal judge ruled some of the emergency orders issued by Gov. Tom Wolf were unconstitutional, according to the report. The mandate reportedly requires that people wear a face covering when they are outdoors and are unable to maintain a six-foot distance from people outside their household. The order also applies to indoor locations where members of the public are generally permitted, the report claims.2 The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further review.

EPA Adds Disinfectants To Approved List

More antibacterial disinfectants have been accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective in protecting against the virus that causes COVID-19. The products are manufactured by Zep Inc., a maintenance and cleaning solution company based in Atlanta, GA. The approval is reportedly based on testing data submitted by the company that showed its Antibacterial Disinfectant & Cleaner with Lemon, Spirit II Ready-To-Use Detergent Disinfectant, and All-Purpose Bathroom Disinfectant Cleaner can kill the virus on hard, nonporous surfaces in 60 seconds.
EPA officials inform those who are using any EPA-registered disinfectants to follow the label directions for safe, effective use and to ensure that contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet, is followed. These products are for use on surfaces, not humans, the EPA stresses. For more information, consult the EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).3

Virus Causing Low-Income Students To Drop Out Of College

As schools across the country decide whether or not to open for in-person classes, remain closed with virtual classes only, or institute a hybrid style of classes, one segment of the population appears to be deciding strictly to not attend in any fashion: low-income students. According to a report by the Washington Post, these students are dropping out or choosing not to enroll in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.4 In fact, about 100,000 fewer high school seniors completed financial aid applications to attend college this year, according to a National College Attainment Network analysis of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data through August, the Post reports.

Lower-income and minority populations have also experienced higher levels of unemployment and incidence of COVID-19, and students from families with incomes less than $75,000 are nearly twice as likely to cancel plans to take classes this fall as compared to students from families with incomes of more than $100,000, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey in late August, the Post reports. Conversely, 

College enrollment during the Great Recession grew and enrollment tends to increase during economic downturns because jobs are tougher to get and people look to become more educated and skillful, according to the Post report. The concern as it relates to education is that low-income students who stop attending school are rare to return, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, the Post reports.

Additionally, enrollment trends show steep drops among Black students and rural White students due to difficulty paying for college, job losses, and the public health crisis.4 Official fall enrollment data won’t be known until October, but education research company EAB claims deposits are down 8.4 percent among families making less than $60,000 pert year.4 Also troubling is that students from lower-income families and students of color have helped to drive undergraduate enrollment growth over the past two decades and that progress made in higher education for these populations could suffer.

According to the report, reasons for not returning include frustration or uncertainty about online classes or changing class formats and content; fear of contracting the virus; and inability to pay for classes after the student or parent lost a job or took a financial hit. 

FAFSA reports that its completions are down four percent overall among high school students and are down nearly six percent among students from Title I high schools.

References

  1. Khemlani A. Coronavirus update: CDC changes — then deletes — new guidance on airborne transmission. Yahoo Finance. 2020. Accessed online: www.yahoo.com/finance/news/coronavirus-update-cdc-changes-then-deletes-new-guidance-on-airborne-transmission-164441858.html
  2. Tanenbaum M. Pennsylvania senate considering mask law that would make defiance a misdemeanor crime. Philly Voice. 2020. Accessed online: www.phillyvoice.com/pennsylvania-mask-law-covid-19-misdemeanor-bill-senate-coronavirus
  3. List N: disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). EPA. 2020. Accessed online: www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19
  4. Long H. The latest crisis: low-income students are dropping out of college this fall in alarming numbers. The Washington Post. 2020. Accessed online: www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/16/college-enrollment-down

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