Arizona has most child infections; Florida is to begin Disney World cast testing

California is seeing a decline in confirmed infections of COVID-19 and hospitalizations rates. A week after reporting a technical glitch in the state’s system that counts positive cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is “turning the corner on this pandemic” as it reported a significantly lower number of daily cases Wednesday.

A new national report shows Arizona is leading the country in the highest number of COVID-19 infections in children, followed by South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 Conference announced Wednesday that it will move ahead with its fall football season. Its championship game has been scheduled for Dec. 5. The announcement comes a day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences postponed their seasons for the fall.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The U.S. reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 deaths Wednesday since mid-May, according to the Washington Post.
  • After a two-month dispute, Disney World and the union for its actors and singers reached a deal that will provide them with COVID-19 testing and allow them to return to work.
  • The Seattle school board voted to begin the school year with remote teaching only.

Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 5.1 million cases and more than 166,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University data. Worldwide, there have been almost 750,000 deaths and more than 20.6 million cases.

📰 What we’re reading: The coronavirus pandemic will affect back to school shopping season this year as some schools across the country are still deciding whether to begin the year in person or online-only.

Basic hand-washing at schools around the world a struggle

The United Nations estimates that 43% of schools around the world don’t have access to water and soap for basic hand-washing. The new report comes as countries wrestle with when and how to safely open schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF says more than one-third of the 818 million children around the globe who lacked basic hand-washing facilities at their schools last year are in sub-Saharan Africa.Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.

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The report says authorities must balance health concerns with economic and social ones in deciding on opening schools, and it notes the negative effects that long closures have on children.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: California COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations decreasing

California is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 confirmed cases and hospitalizations as the state begins to clear backlogged cases caused by a technical glitch, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. Hospitalization rates are down 21% with ICU admissions down 15% over the past two weeks, according to Newsom. 

The state reported 5,433 new infections Wednesday, which Newsom referred to as “another indication that we’re turning the corner on this pandemic.” Last month the state reached a record number of 12,807 new daily cases amid the pandemic. 

Report: Arizona has highest number of COVID-19 infections among children

Arizona is leading the country with its rate of COVID-19 infection among children, a national report says, though there are some limitations to the data. The report, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, is updated weekly, with the most recent update published on Aug. 6. In both its July 30 and Aug. 6 rankings, Arizona led the nation in COVID-19 infections in children.

Arizona’s pediatric rate is reflective of its overall COVID-19 infection rate, which remains one of the highest in the country when all age groups are included. The state’s rate of cases in children and young adults ages 19 and younger is 1,206.4 per 100,000 people in that age group, and it’s the only non-Southern state in the top five.

The states with the top rates in order are Arizona, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Over 1 million more Americans expected to file unemployment claims

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims may continue to seesaw, creeping up, then slightly falling, but the level will likely remain high as economic uncertainty lingers amid surges in coronavirus cases. About 1.25 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, economists estimate.

That would be a slight increase over the previous week and comes as out-of-work Americans make do without the extra $600 federal weekly benefit that began during the pandemic but ended in July.

Unemployment fell to 10.2% in July, down from 11.1% in June. But the fledgling economic rebound has been uneven, with rehiring increasing in certain industries while stalling in others.

Disney World cast members to get COVID-19 testing after dispute

Florida will begin providing coronavirus testing for Disney World cast members this week, ending a nearly two-month dispute with a union that represents stage actors at the park. According to Disney, the testing site will be run by the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and will be located on Disney property, though not in the park. Testing will be available to Disney employees and visitors, as well as Florida residents. 

Disney officials said in a notice to its workers that there would be a dedicated testing lane for its workers and their families, and that reservations could be made for testing starting Thursday. “As a reminder, testing is voluntary and cast members will not be paid for testing time,” the notice said.

According to Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association, the union has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for hundreds of actors to return to work. The union began pushing Disney World to offer testing for its members in late June, before the park’s July reopening. 

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