Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
Coronavirus is #1 global security threat
The coronavirus pandemic is out of control and is the "number one global security threat in our world today," United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said Wednesday at a news conference detailing his messages for this year's General Assembly, which is largely being held virtually due to the pandemic.

Guterres is pushing for more global cooperation to develop and distribute an affordable vaccine, and warned against "deadly misinformation" that could deter people from taking it.

Indonesians caught without a mask forced to dig graves for Covid-19 victims
Villagers who refuse to wear masks are being forced to dig graves for victims of Covid-19 by local authorities in one part of rural Indonesia, in the hopes that a little bit of manual labor and empathy will convince others to do their part to help stop the pandemic.

Three middle-aged men and five minors in Cerme district of Gresik Regency, East Java, were given the unique punishment on September 9, authorities said.

Though mask-wearing is mandatory in public throughout Indonesia, there has been a vocal segment of the population that has been reluctant to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Report noisy karaoke singers to help fight coronavirus, Philippine governor urges public
A provincial governor in the Philippines has set his sights on a set of people who he says are hurting the fight against the pandemic: karaoke singers.

In a Facebook post in the early hours of Tuesday morning, local time, the governor of Cavite province, Jonvic Remulla, urged the public to report noisy karaoke singers to authorities to help fight against coronavirus.

In the post, which began by quoting lyrics from "My Way" by the late American crooner Frank Sinatra and The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," Remulla told his constituents that getting a good night's sleep was one of the best ways to strengthen the immune system.

"Curfew isn't just made to reduce nonsense night strolls. It is also meant to strengthen the body through a good and sound sleep," he said.

But one of the most frequent complaints from constituents had been the "tireless abuse" from people singing karaoke, he said.

"This is the favorite hobby of those who have nothing to do from last night until dawn," Remulla said.

"If you're drunk, over the amount of drinking and most of all your excursion is against the time, you can be charged and taken to the precinct on the spot," he wrote. "If you don't want to sleep early, please let yourself sleep! Learn to respect the neighbors who have to wake up at 4 a.m. (like me)."

Parents send student to school while knowingly infected with coronavirus, mayor says
Almost 30 teenagers have to quarantine after parents sent their child to a Massachusetts school despite knowing they were positive with Covid-19,a ccording to Attleboro Public Schools and the town's mayor. A Covid-19 positive student attended class on Monday, but the school wasn't notified of their diagnosis until the next day, Attleboro High School superintendent David Sawyer said in a letter sent out to families Tuesday night. Twenty-eight students who had close contact with the infected person have been notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days, Sawyer said. The school did not identify the student and family.

C.D.C. Testing Guidance Was Published Against Scientists’ Objections
A heavily criticized recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month about who should be tested for the coronavirus was not written by C.D.C. scientists and was posted to the agency’s website despite their serious objections, according to several people familiar with the matter as well as internal documents obtained by The New York Times.

The guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus. It came at a time when public health experts were pushing for more testing rather than less, and administration officials told The Times that the document was a C.D.C. product and had been revised with input from the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield.

But officials told The Times this week that the Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then “dropped” it into the C.D.C.’s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process.

“That was a doc that came from the top down, from the H.H.S. and the task force,” said a federal official with knowledge of the matter, referring to the White House task force on the coronavirus. “That policy does not reflect what many people at the C.D.C. feel should be the policy.”

Americans’ willingness to get a coronavirus vaccine is dropping, a new poll finds.
The Pew Research Group, which surveyed 10,093 American adults from Sept. 8 through Sept. 13, found that 51 percent of Americans said they would get the vaccine. That’s a decline of 21 percentage points from May, when 72 percent indicated they might take it.

Now, 49 percent of respondents said they would “probably” or “definitely” not get it.

Fully 78 percent of those surveyed believed that the development process has been too hasty. While self-described Republican voters were less critical of the process than Democrats, a significant majority of both groups were skeptical about the speed. (Despite the president’s repeated claims that a vaccine will be available in October, scientists, companies and federal officials all say that most people won’t get one until well into next year.) Also, 77 percent of respondents said they believed a vaccine will be approved before its safety or efficacy is fully understood.

... The poll also found sharp divisions along race and ethnic lines; 52 percent of white respondents said they would take a vaccine, compared to 32 percent of Black respondents. Both numbers are lower than they were in May. The groups most inclined to receive a vaccine were Asians, at 72 percent, and Latinos, at 56 percent.

More than 40 percent of U.S. school employees are at high risk for severe Covid-19 cases, an analysis finds.
A new paper published Thursday in the medical journal Health Affairs estimates that at least 42 percent of the employees who work in America’s schools are at high risk for developing severe cases of Covid-19, a significant increase over previous evaluations of the risk to school employees.

Nearly 10 million adults work in schools across the United States, including teachers, administrators and support staff members, the authors estimate. Previous research focused on teachers, concluding that roughly a quarter of them, or 1.5 million, have conditions that put them at high risk for severe complications from the coronavirus.

The new study expanded to look at all school employees, using data from a household survey that collects detailed health, socioeconomic and employment data from American families. The survey is conducted annually by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists several factors that put people at high risk for a severe case of Covid-19, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and being 65 or older. The study’s authors, who work for the federal research agency, estimated that at least 42 percent of school employees fall into at least one of those categories.

One in 7 reported COVID-19 infections is among health workers, WHO says
One in seven cases of COVID-19 reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a health worker and in some countries that figure rises to one in three, the agency said on Thursday.

The WHO called for frontline medical workers to be provided with protective equipment to prevent them from being infected with the novel coronavirus, and potentially spreading it to their patients and families.

“Globally around 14% of COVID cases reported to the WHO are among health workers and in some countries it’s as much as 35%,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

... “It’s not just the risk of infection. Every day, health workers are exposed to stress, burnout, stigma, discrimination and even violence,” he added.

The New York Times Coronavirus Briefing
The pastor of an evangelical church in Idaho has been hospitalized with Covid-19 for about two weeks after defying a county mask mandate and holding in-person worship services.