Here’s what you need to know:
- As global deaths approach one million, new hot spots continue to emerge.
- Melbourne further eases its lockdown as cases drop faster than hoped in the Australian city.
- Philanthropy has shifted since the start of the pandemic and the death of George Floyd.
- Sorry, kids. Snow days are probably over.
- The French Open, forced to move to autumn, debuts some useful added features.
- Vermont’s population is exploding, and its small towns are struggling to keep up.
As global deaths approach one million, new hot spots continue to emerge.
As the world moves toward another morbid threshold in the pandemic, a coronavirus death toll of one million, the countries where fatalities are increasing fastest remain spread out across the globe, with new hot spots constantly emerging.
The number of lives lost daily to the virus has been rising through most of August and September, reaching more than 5,000 in an average measured over seven days. As of Sunday morning, the global total stood at 993,600, according to a New York Times database.
On Saturday, India, the world’s second-most populous nation, continued to lead in daily virus-related deaths, with about 7,700 over the most recent seven-day period. The United States is second, with more than 5,000, Brazil third with more than 4,800, and Mexico fourth with nearly 3,000. Those four countries account for more than half of the world’s total deaths from the virus, according to the Times database.
New hot spots are also emerging in smaller countries like Israel, which led the world in new cases per capita over the past week. Warning that his country could be approaching “the edge of the abyss,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved this past week to require that everyone except essential workers stay home.
The pandemic continues to wreak havoc in South America, where countries including Argentina, Colombia and Peru are recording thousands of new cases daily along with some of the highest numbers of deaths per capita in the world.
With seasons changing, some countries that were hit hard by the virus in the spring and summer are beginning to shed lockdown policies, raising fears of future surges. In Europe, second waves of infections have already Britain, Spain and France.
Melbourne further eases its lockdown as cases drop faster than hoped in the Australian city.
Efforts to combat the coronavirus in the Australian state of Victoria are “ahead of schedule,” Premier Dan Andrews said on Sunday, as he announced a further easing of restrictions after two months of a severe lockdown in Melbourne, the state capital.
The curfew in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, will be lifted starting at 5 a.m. Monday, said Mr. Andrews, who denied it was because of a looming legal challenge. Child care facilities will reopen, and outdoor public gatherings of up to five people from two different households will be allowed. Primary students will return to school starting Oct. 12.
Melbourne residents are still required to stay at home except for care or caregiving, essential shopping, exercise and work or education that cannot be done from home. Restaurants and cafes remain closed for dine-in service. Other rules have been tightened, with fines for unlawful indoor or outdoor gatherings of almost 5,000 Australian dollars, or about $3,500, and residents now required to wear fitted face masks rather than scarves or bandannas.
The rolling 14-day average of new cases in Melbourne — which was over 400 at the height of the city’s outbreak last month — is now 22.1, well below the target of 30 to 50 for taking this second step out of lockdown. If the decline in cases continues, Mr. Andrews said, all restrictions on leaving home could be lifted on Oct. 19, a week earlier than planned.
“It’s a remarkable thing — and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian,” he said. “Because with grit and with guts and with heart, we are beating this thing. We are driving it down. We are winning.”
In other global developments:
Britain could end up “caught in a cycle of epidemic waves” without further restrictions, a member of the government’s scientific advisory board has warned. The adviser, Jeremy Farrar, wrote in the Times of London that tightened measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this past week were a “fudge” and would “neither deliver an open economy nor save lives.” Mr. Farrar called for a ban on people from different households meeting indoors, and said another closure of restaurants, pubs, gyms, places of worship and nonessential shops should also be considered as the country tries to arrest a steep climb in infections.
Philanthropy has shifted since the start of the pandemic and the death of George Floyd.
Charitable giving has increased this year and also gone in new directions, as donors big and small responded first to the pandemic and then to social justice causes after the killing of George Floyd in May.
Foundation Source, which advises smaller corporate and family foundations, recently surveyed its members and found that 39 percent of respondents had shifted their foundations’ missions in response to the events of this year, while 42 percent had increased their giving.
“We’ve seen a change in behavior,” said Stefanie Borsari, national director of client services for Foundation Source. “Of the top reasons that people shifted their mission or focus,” she added, “the biggest was certainly Covid, but about a third of respondents also noted social justice concerns.”
A June report from Fidelity Charitable, the largest grant maker in the United States, said that grants to food assistance programs were up 667 percent nationally, but that donors had continued to give to their regular charities.
What smaller foundations and individual donors have often lacked, though, is information on which nonprofits in which communities would best use their donations. Two new philanthropic databases are aiming to fill that breach by highlighting nonprofits that are addressing social justice and pandemic issues.
The first, Give Blck, which went online Friday, aims to call attention to Black-founded nonprofits that have been little known or too small to be highlighted by some of the leading philanthropic rating services. The second is an interactive map created by Vanguard Charitable, the mutual fund company’s donor-advised fund arm. It is set to be released next month.
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Sorry, kids. Snow days are probably over.
For generations, snow days meant sleeping in, loafing in front of the TV with hot cocoa, and hours of sledding and snowball fights.
Now, they are likely to mean logging into a laptop for a Zoom lesson on long division.
As the weather cools and winter looms, many school leaders in snow-prone states are preparing teachers, parents and students to say goodbye to snow days. This month, New York City, the nation’s largest school system, canceled them for the year, citing the pandemic, which has forced districts everywhere to look for ways to make up lost days.
New York’s decision followed moves that other administrators have been making since last March, when schools were forced to transition to online learning and officials realized they could do the same during hazardous weather.
“We said, ‘Wow, this could really be a solution for us for snow days in the future,” said Robb Malay, a school superintendent who oversees seven districts in southern New Hampshire.
For many teachers, the end of the snow day looks inevitable, said Denis Anglim, 31, who teaches high school English and history in Philadelphia.
“For the sake of continuity of the curriculum, it’s a good thing,” he said. “But not in terms of hanging on to the nostalgia of waking up at 5 a.m. and looking at the ticker at the bottom of the television to see if your school will be closed.”
The French Open, forced to move to autumn, debuts some useful added features.
The official poster for the 2020 French Open, which began Sunday and runs through Oct. 11, shows a view of a sunlit clay court through a dense ring of green leaves.
That poster was commissioned long before the start of this year’s tournament was postponed from May to September because of the pandemic.
If it were being painted for the French Open’s new dates, falling leaves and chestnuts would be more appropriate.
This is not the first time a major tennis event has been played at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris in the autumn. But none of the others ended in mid-October, and none of them had to deal with the coronavirus, which is on the rise again in France. The second wave forced organizers to scale back their grand plans for a nearly full house to a meager 1,000 spectators per day on the entire grounds.
A happier change is the new retractable roof over the main Philippe Chatrier Court, which will allow play to continue if the forecast of frequent rain for Week 1 turns out to be correct.
The Chatrier court and the 11 other courts at Roland Garros have also been equipped with lights for the first time, which will allow play to continue after dark.
Vermont’s population is exploding, and its small towns are struggling to keep up.
A population explosion began in Vermont this spring, when the state started to emerge as a model of virus control and city dwellers scrambled to settle their families far from hot spots.
For years, Vermont has been stuck at around 620,000 residents, a plateau so threatening to the labor force and tax base that in 2018 the state began offering a cash incentive of up to $10,000 for remote workers who moved to Vermont.
In towns like Winhall, which had a year-round population of 769 before the pandemic, that is not the problem anymore.
Instead, officials are hard-pressed to keep up with the burst of growth.
Elizabeth Grant, the town clerk, reckons that the town’s population topped 10,000 over the summer. When school reopened this month, the number of enrolled students had increased by 54, a jump of more than 25 percent, so the costs to taxpayers will exceed projections by half a million dollars.
The post office ran out of available P.O. boxes in mid-June. Electricians and plumbers are booked until Christmas. Complaints about bears have quadrupled.
Real estate agents in town knew something was up in late April, when Gov. Phil Scott began cautiously reopening businesses.
Since then, the number of available single-family homes in Winhall and Stratton, the adjacent ski resort, has dropped to 29 from 129, its lowest level since 2003, according to Tim Apps, a realtor with the Vermont Sales Group.
Now the question is whether the newcomers will stay, since many of their companies allowed remote working only on a temporary basis.
Officials will have a better sense of how many people have moved into the state in a few weeks, after gathering figures on school enrollment, which had been steadily declining in Vermont for a decade. They expect an increase of 2 to 5 percent statewide, and as much as 15 percent in some towns, said Michael S. Pieciak, commissioner at the state Department of Financial Regulation.
Reporting was contributed by Ellen Barry, Damien Cave, Christopher Clarey, Maria Cramer, Jennifer Jett, Zach Montague, Anna Schaverien, Eileen Sullivan and Paul Sullivan.