The list of California officials who have defied their own coronavirus restrictions is growing.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed dined at the same upscale restaurant where Gov. Gavin Newsom attended a birthday party just one day after the governor, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. And San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo issued an apology on Tuesday for attending an in-person Thanksgiving gathering after urging residents to cancel big gatherings.
In New Orleans, at least 41 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a swingers convention, according to NOLA.com. About 250 people attended the event in November due to restrictions, down from nearly 2,000 who checked in last year.
And, after a months-long impasse, a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a temporary $908 billion coronavirus aid package that would run until April but not include a second round of stimulus checks.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 13.7 million cases and over 270,500deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 63.7 million cases and 1.47 million deaths.
📰 What we’re reading: These four states have been hit hard by COVID-19 yet balked at restrictions and mask mandates. What is it like to live there?
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At least 41 people positive after New Orleans swingers convention
At least 41 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a swingers convention in New Orleans last month, according to NOLA.com.
Bob Hannaford, the event’s organizer, told NOLA.com most of the cases were asymptomatic or very mild. Only one attendee was hospitalized in critical condition but has since been released, he said.
Hannaford said Naughty in N’awlins attendees were required to wear masks, practice social distancing, use contact diaries and get tested for the coronavirus or antibodies before the event.
“If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again,” Hannaford wrote in a blog post on Friday. “I wouldn’t do it again if I knew then what I know now. It weighs on me and it will continue to weigh on me until everyone is 100% better.”
CDC panel votes on first access for COVID-19 vaccine
Public health officials voted Tuesday to add residents of long-term care facilities to front-line health care workers as the first Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Nursing home residents previously had been further down the priority list to vaccinate as doses become available.
“My vote reflects maximum benefit, minimum harm, promoting justice and mitigating health care inequalities,” said Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices chairman Dr. Jose Romero, chief medical officer of the Arkansas Department of Health.
Those in the so-called Phase 1a group would be followed by essential workers in Phase 1b, then adults with high-risk medical conditions and people 65 and older in Phase 1c. Other populations at lower risk of serious illness from COVID-19 would come later next year.
The ACIP is an independent group convened by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer advice on who should get specific vaccines and when. The ACIP vote is only for planning purposes, noted Dr. Sharon Frey of the Saint Louis University Medical School. The recommendations will not apply to a specific vaccine until one is authorized by the FDA and the ACIP votes on recommendations for that vaccine.
– Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub
Atlanta schools to hold virtual town hall on reopening plans
Atlanta public school officials will host a virtual town hall Thursday to discuss the plan to resume in-person learning in January after eight months of being closed. The public school system delayed the plan to reopen school buildings in late October due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Elementary school students will be given the option to return to classrooms first, followed by high school students, according to the district’s website. School officials canceled Wednesday online classes for the rest of December to allow teachers to prepare to reopen classrooms.
Hong Kong limits most gatherings to 2 people
Hong Kong is limiting most gatherings to just two people and ordering compulsory testing of workers at retirement homes and facilities for people with disabilities, among tightening measures to contain a new wave of coronavirus cases.
The semi-autonomous southern Chinese city reported 82 news cases on Wednesday, all but 10 of them listed as having been transmitted among local residets. Since Nov. 17, more than 1,000 cases have been reported, only a few of which were brought from outside the city.
That is prompting the government to raise penalties for failing to follow orders on mask wearing in public and for compulsory tests.
Exceptions were made for some group gatherings, including a limit of 20 people for weddings and shareholder meetings, but religious activities and group travel would no longer be exempt.
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press