Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
Seven former FDA commissioners condemn White House influence on agency
Seven former commissioners of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined forces Tuesday to condemn increasing White House pressure on the agency they once headed.

The administration pressure is eroding the faith Americans have in an agency set up to protect them from bad drugs, contaminated food and other dangers, Drs. Robert Califf, Scott Gottlieb, Margaret Hamburg, Jane Henney, David Kessler, Mark McClellan and Andy von Eschenbach wrote in a commentary in the Washington Post.

Disney is laying off 28,000 employees as pandemic hammers its theme parks
Disney is laying off 28,000 people in the United States as the coronavirus pandemic hammers its parks and resorts business.

The cuts will affect the Disney's Parks, Experiences and Products unit. The company said 67% of the employees laid off will be part-time workers.

Disney's parks and resorts division has more than 100,000 US employees.

Disney's theme parks shut down globally this spring as the pandemic hit, dealing a huge blow to the company's bottom line. The company's profit dropped a whopping 91% during the first three months of 2020.

Coronavirus cases surge among college-aged individuals just as universities reopened, studies say
Cases of Covid-19 surged among college-age individuals in August and September, just as schools were opening across the country.

Two new studies released on Tuesday take an in-depth look what may be driving the numbers up.

In the first study, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at nearly 100,000 coronavirus cases reported to the agency between August 2 and September 5.

The study found that during that period, weekly Covid-19 cases among persons aged 18-22 years increased 55% nationally. Researchers found the greatest Increases in the Northeast at 144% and the Midwest at 123%.

The second study, led by a team at the North Carolina Department of Health and the University of North Carolina, showed what happened in real time as students began to return to campus on August 3. The university tried to make moving in safe, spreading it out over a week, reducing crowding in dining halls and taking other measures. But the students gathered and partied, anyway.

The university quickly determined the virus was spreading too fast and moved all classes online. It also asked students to move back home or off-campus.

By August 25, 670 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed, almost all of them in people under the age of 22.

The largest cluster was at an off-campus apartment complex affiliated with the university.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly says Covid-19 'spread like wildfire' on his team
Team doctors have traced an outbreak of Covid-19 on the Notre Dame football team to two specific events, including a pregame meal, head coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.

The University of Notre Dame announced Monday that 18 players had tested positive for the virus. Kelly told ESPN the team doctors are the ones who traced the infection to their game against South Florida 10 days ago. ... Stemming from their recent testing results, Notre Dame said Monday that 25 football players were in isolation with 14 others in quarantine.

White House Blocked C.D.C. Order to Keep Cruise Ships Docked
The White House blocked an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February, which would have displeased the politically powerful tourism industry in the crucial swing state of Florida.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the C.D. C., recommended extending the ban, worried that cruise ships could become viral hot spots once again. The current “no sail” policy is set to expire on Wednesday.

Families of Covid victims plan a national day of mourning on Oct. 4.
The mobilization for the ceremony comes as President Trump has been trying to play down the impact of the virus, claiming it “affects virtually nobody.” As they call on political leaders to do more to curb the spread of the virus, organizers say they are drawing inspiration from previous remembrances for victims of gun violence, of the AIDS epidemic and of terrorist attacks.

“The lack of recognition has compounded people’s grief and trauma,” said Chris Kocher, executive director of Covid Survivors for Change, an organization created in June that is leading the remembrance effort. “We want to give folks a space where their loved ones can be honored and remembered.”