Health & Fitness

Northeastern College fires 11 college students for violating virus guidelines however retains their tuition charges

In one of the harshest sentences to date on students for violating coronavirus safety protocols, Northeastern University fired 11 freshmen this week and declined to refund their $ 36,500 tuition fees after being in a room a Boston hotel that served as a hotel's temporary dormitory.

Approximately 800 students live in two-person rooms at the Hotel Westin, less than a mile from the Boston campus to the northeast.

Two university employees who made rounds on Wednesday evening discovered the gathering, which violated the university's rules against "guests, visitors or additional residents," the university said in a press release.

In addition, the students did not wear masks or practice social distancing, despite the university's requirements, said a university spokeswoman Renata Nyul.

Northeastern's move comes as colleges across the country struggling to figure out how to end the partying on campus. This has already sparked outbreaks in a number of schools and closed some classes. The New York Times has counted at least 51,000 cases in universities and colleges across the country since the pandemic began, and many large university cities have become national hot spots.

Most colleges appear to try to influence students with warnings and requests, and rely on peer pressure to moderate behavior, but some are more punitive. Purdue University suspended 36 students after a cooperative house was caught partying less than 24 hours after the university president banned off-campus parties. At the University of Connecticut, several students were evicted from campus over a maskless college dorm bash.

Northeastern students have the right to challenge the action in an "accelerated hearing," the university said.

They took part in a program that usually provides international experience for freshmen, but some were brought to Boston this fall because of the pandemic.

The laid-off students will not be allowed to attend fall courses remotely, said the spokeswoman, Ms. Nyul, and they will have to start over as freshmen when they return.

They were told on Friday that they would have to leave the hotel within 24 hours, the university said, and that they would need to be tested for the coronavirus before leaving in the northeast. Anyone who tested positive was placed in a "wellness enclosure" at the university until they no longer had the virus.

Northeastern said all students on the program had been warned of the obligation to practice social distancing and wear masks, among other things. "Students attending an unsafe gathering, social gathering or party on or off campus may face suspension," Madeleine Estabrook, senior vice chancellor for student affairs, wrote in a letter to students.

Northeastern also sent an email warning certain incoming freshman students to follow social distancing guidelines. According to The Huntington News, Northeastern's student newspaper, these students had responded positively to a social media poll asking if they would like to party on campus.

The first famines of the coronavirus era loom in four chronically food-poor conflict areas – Yemen, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – warned the United Nations' chief humanitarian officer.

In a letter to members of the United Nations Security Council, Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said the risk of famine in these areas had been increased by "natural disasters, economic shocks and public health crises" compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Together, he said," These factors put the lives of millions of women, men and children at risk. "

The letter, which has not been made public, was forwarded from Mr Lowcock's office to the Security Council on Friday as part of its 2018 resolution requiring updates when there is a risk of conflict-related famine and widespread food insecurity. A copy of the letter was seen by the New York Times.

United Nations officials have previously said that all four areas are vulnerable to food deprivation due to chronic armed conflict and the inability of humanitarian agencies to freely distribute aid. But the added complications caused by the pandemic have now brought them closer to famine.

In April, David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Program, the United Nations' anti-hunger arm, warned the Security Council that we are "also on the verge of a hunger pandemic" with the coronavirus pandemic. In July, his program identified 25 countries facing devastating hunger due to the pandemic.

Mr Lowcock's new warning of impending famine effectively escalates those warnings. As part of a monitoring system for assessing starvation emergencies Famine is phase 5, the worst, characterized by "hunger, death, poverty and extremely critical acute malnutrition".

The lockdown in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, will be extended by two weeks on Sunday, officials said as they attempt to contain the country's worst coronavirus outbreak.

The lockdown, which began in early August and was scheduled to end on September 13, will now last at least until September 28, said Victoria State Prime Minister Dan Andrews. Expert modeling, he said, suggests that easing restrictions too quickly could lead to a new wave of infections and deter the state from meeting its goal of lifting almost all restrictions by the end of the year.

"I want a Christmas that is as normal as possible and this is the only way, these steps are the only way to get to this point," said Andrews as he unveiled detailed road maps to end restrictions in Melbourne, the state capital and the rest of Victoria.

The announcement came a day after around 200 protesters in Melbourne clashed with police at a "Freedom Day" rally calling for an end to pandemic restrictions. Police arrested 17 demonstrators and fined more than 160 others, almost all of whom violated authorities' instructions to stay home.

Tensions have risen in the fifth week following the lockdown on Victoria, one of the strictest in the world. All non-essential businesses are closed. Melburnians are only allowed out of the house to work, play sports, or buy groceries, and travel is limited to about three miles from home.

Among the changes Mr Andrews announced on the Sunday after September 13, the nightly curfew begins at 9 p.m. Outdoor exercise is limited to two hours a day instead of one instead of 8:00 p.m., and people who live alone are allowed to have a friend or family member in their home, while currently they can only meet with intimate partners. If the average daily increase falls below 50 in cases by September 28, Melbourne will move on to the next phase of reopening.

Restrictions in the rest of Victoria, which is less locked down, will be eased slightly after September 13th.

Daily new cases in Victoria have been declining since their peak in early August. On Sunday, the state reported 63 new coronavirus cases and five deaths, all of which were related to nursing homes. Australia, a country of 25 million people, had a total of more than 26,000 cases and 753 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

In other coronavirus news from around the world:

The Ministry of Health in Mexico said Saturday that the country had 122,765 more deaths than usual from the pandemic began through August, suggesting the actual death toll from the virus could be much higher than reported. Mexico had recorded nearly 630,000 cases and 67,326 deaths from coronavirus as of Saturday night, according to a Times database, although a Times investigation earlier this year found that the government in Mexico City, the capital, did not report hundreds, possibly thousands, of such deaths.

Not so long ago, before the coronavirus, India's future was very different.

There was a sizzling economy lifting millions out of poverty. The aim was to offer its citizens a bourgeois lifestyle, update their sad military, and become a regional political and economic superpower that can rival China, Asia's greatest success story.

However, the economic devastation caused by the pandemic is jeopardizing much of India's aspirations. The country's economy has shrunk faster than any other great nation. It is estimated that up to 200 million people could return to poverty. Many of the normally busy streets are empty, and people are too scared of the breakout to venture far.

Much of this damage was caused by a lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which experts say is both too tight and too permeable, both damaging the economy and spreading the virus. India now has the fastest growing coronavirus outbreak, topping four million confirmed cases, according to a New York Times database. On Sunday, the country reported a one-day increase of 90,632 cases, surpassing 90,000 for the first time, setting a world record.

A feeling of malaise creeps over the nation. Economic growth slowed even before the pandemic. The social divisions are increasing. Anti-Muslim sentiments are growing, in part due to a malicious social media campaign that mistakenly blamed Muslims for spreading the virus. China is increasingly pushing into Indian territory.

Scholars use many of the same words when thinking about India today: Lost. Listless. Wounded. Rudderless. Injustice.

"The engine was smashed," said Arundhati Roy, one of India's greatest writers. “Survivability has been destroyed. And the pieces are all in the air. You don't know where they're going to fall or how they're going to fall. "

President Trump has been pushing for a coronavirus vaccine to be available by October – shortly before the presidential election – and a growing number of scientists, regulators and public health experts have expressed concern about what they are causing as a pattern of political arm twisting Trump watch administration.

In this environment, a handful of drug companies competing to develop coronavirus vaccines are planning a joint pledge to reassure the public that they will not seek early approvals.

In their pending statement, the companies are expected not to release vaccines that do not meet strict efficacy and safety standards, according to representatives of three companies.

The joint statement was slated for early next week, but can be released earlier as its existence was published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Manufacturers believed to have signed the letter include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi.

Pfizer and Moderna are working with UK-based AstraZeneca to test their candidates in late-stage clinical trials. Pfizer's CEO said this week that the company could see results as early as October, but the others just said they plan to release a vaccine by the end of the year.

Companies have to navigate dangerous terrain. If they are among the first to bring a successful vaccine to market, they could generate significant profits and help restore the image of an industry hit by soaring drug prices.

However, if a vaccine turns out to have dangerous side effects for some people, the consequences can be catastrophic, damaging the company's reputation, compromising its broader product portfolio, and putting trust in vaccines, one of the great advances in human public health, largely undermine history.

Contagion is based on a simple rule: the more infections there are in an open population, the more chance there is for it to spread until enough people are protected by either immunity or a vaccine.

As a result, elected public health officials and experts fear that active coronavirus infections in the U.S. are roughly twice as high on Labor Day weekend as they were on Memorial Day. About a month after the holiday gatherings in late May, the 7-day average of the country's new daily cases had risen to its highest level, more than 60,000.

According to a New York Times database, the country is currently registering about 40,000 new cases per day, compared to about 22,000 per day on Memorial Day weekend. Outbreaks in colleges and university towns have increased as dormitories fill up and classes resume. “Many of the subway areas have had the most per capita cases in the past few days – including Auburn, Ala .; Ames, Iowa; and Statesboro, Ga. – have hundreds of university cases, ”the Times data analysts wrote.

In a thread on Twitter, Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, highlighted the worrying trends and described the current level of infection as "a minor disaster" as an increase in falls is expected as the flu season begins.

Some states still hold mass gatherings; Some made headway with state trade shows held on Labor Day weekend. Colorado and Maryland both host events, as does South Dakota, where cases have increased in recent weeks.

The spread of the virus is widespread, so few hospitals are as overwhelmed as many in New York, New Jersey and other areas that were badly hit this spring. And other treatments are available. Overall, fewer Americans are sick, hospitalized or dying from Covid-19 than in spring or summer.

According to a New York Times database, deaths have occurred in at least 12 states: Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Hawaii, Virginia, Montana, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, and Colorado. North Carolina appears to be joining that group, reporting 45 deaths on Saturday – a record for the state. Almost all of these states also have case numbers that have already been high or are trending upwards.

On Saturday, West Virginia officials announced more than 250 new cases, the third highest daily total. The state has announced more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day period.

The top-filled women's doubles team at the United States Open tennis tournament had to pull out of the event this weekend as the rules for players exposed to the virus change for the third time in less than a week and the second time in 24 Hours changed.

The team, Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos, pulled out because Ms. Mladenovic had been spending time with a player who tested positive, and health officials in Nassau County, where the players' hotels are located, ruled Friday that permission The team's game would violate the county's logs. Ms. Mladenovic had been in the tournament all week after being exposed to the virus, but she should now be quarantined at the hotel.

The team's Saturday game was removed from the schedule, although the day before a game involving another player who was exposed to the virus was allowed to take place, but after a delay of around two and a half hours to reflect the rule change.

"That probably cost us a Grand Slam," said Michael Joyce, Ms. Babos' coach, of the forced withdrawal of a couple who had already won three major double titles together – the 2018 and 2020 Australian Open and the 2019 French Open.

Two days before the start of the tournament, Benoît Paire from France tested positive for the corona virus. Mr. Paire was removed from the game, but the rules for those in contact with him changed over time.

Electronic contact tracing revealed that Mr Paire had been in close contact over an extended period – in a card game in one of the two hotels that hosted players on Long Island, and possibly through other contacts – with seven players, including Ms. Mladenovic France .

Following Mr. Paire's positive test, U.S. Tennis Association officials sought to create a revised set of procedures for players who were exposed but then tested negative, including daily screening and isolation from the rest of the players. The exposed players would have to confine themselves to their hotel rooms, unless they travel to the tournament site, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.

According to these rules, Ms. Mladenovic had stayed in the tournament despite causing frustration at her limitation after a breathtaking collapse in her single game in the second round.

"I have the impression we are prisoners or criminals," she said. “We have to ask permission for the smallest movement, even though we are tested every day and had 37 negatives. It's hideous. The conditions are cruel. "

The espionage service of every major country in the world is trying to find out what everyone else is up to when developing a vaccine.

The coronavirus outbreak>

frequently asked Questions

Updated September 4, 2020

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

In the beginning, the coronavirus appeared to be primarily a respiratory illness – many patients had fevers and chills, were weak and tired, and coughed a lot, although some people don't show many symptoms at all. Those who seemed the sickest had pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and were given supplemental oxygen. By now, doctors have identified many more symptoms and syndromes. In April the C.D.C. added to list of early signs of sore throat, fever, chills, and muscle pain. Gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and nausea have also been observed. Another tell-tale sign of infection can be a sudden, profound decrease in your sense of smell and taste. In some cases, teenagers and young adults have developed painful red and purple lesions on their fingers and toes – nicknamed "covid toe" – but few other serious symptoms.

Why is it safer to hang out together outside?

Outdoor gatherings reduce the risk as the wind spreads viral droplets and sunlight can kill some of the virus. Open spaces prevent the virus from building up and being inhaled in concentrated quantities. This can happen when infected people exhale in a confined space for long periods of time, said Dr. Julian W. Tang, virologist at the University of Leicester.

Why does it help to stand three feet away from others?

The coronavirus spreads mainly through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using this measure, bases its six-foot recommendation on the idea that most of the large droplets that people make when they cough or sneeze fall within six feet of the ground. But six feet has never been a magical number that guarantees complete protection. For example, sneezing, according to a recent study, can trigger droplets that are far farther than two meters away. It's a rule of thumb: it is best to stand six feet apart, especially when it's windy. But always wear a mask even if you think they are far enough apart.

I have antibodies. Am i immune now?

As of now, this seems likely for at least a few months. There have been scary reports of people appearing to be suffering from a second attack of Covid-19. However, experts say these patients may have a lengthy course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may only last in the body for two to three months, which may seem worrying, but that's perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it is highly unlikely to be possible in a short window of time after the initial infection or make people sick the second time.

What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?

China, Russia, and Iran have all made attempts to steal research from some of the United States' leading corporations and universities, according to US intelligence agents. The British secret service has picked up signals of Russian espionage in US, Canadian and British research. Washington and NATO have redoubled their efforts to protect the information gathered so far.

"It would be surprising if they didn't try to steal the most valuable biomedical research currently underway," said John C. Demers, a senior Justice Department official, last month during an event by the Center for Strategy and International on China Studies. "Financially valuable and invaluable from a geopolitical perspective."

China's advance is a complex one, and intelligence officials are focusing in part on universities because they see institutional data protection as less robust than that of pharmaceutical companies. Staff have also secretly used information from the World Health Organization to guide their vaccine hacking attempts in both the US and Europe, according to a current and former official familiar with the intelligence agency.

To date, no company or university has announced any data breaches resulting from the publicly identified hacking efforts. However, according to an American government official, some operations managed to at least penetrate the defenses to get into computer networks.

In more than four decades as a girl's basketball coach at Lebanon Catholic High School in southeastern Pennsylvania, Patti Hower had led the team to three state championships and 20 district titles. There were high hopes again this year.

But then, in April, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announced that the school would be permanently closed, citing insurmountable financial burdens exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We never thought, 'Hey, we will never come back to this place as a team," said Ms. Hower, 68, who attended the school along with her father and granddaughters.

As schools across the country debate how to reopen safely, more and more Catholic schools – which faced declining enrollments and donations before the pandemic – are closing for good.

About 150 Catholic schools have closed, said Kathy Mears, director of the National Catholic Educational Association, which is about 2 percent of the 6,183 schools that were operational last year. The number of closings this year is at least 50 percent higher than in previous years, she said.

As parents and families lost their jobs during the pandemic, many could no longer pay for tuition in Catholic schools. And when churches closed to contain the spread of the virus, that also ended an important source of donations, some of which were normally intended for parish schools.

One of the most famous Catholic schools that are closing their doors is the Institute of Notre Dame, a facility for girls in Baltimore. Some alumni are struggling to keep the school open and upset that school principals haven't pushed harder to avoid closing it.

Drena Fertetta, a graduate of Notre Dame in 1983, started a group dedicated to reopening the school the next year, perhaps in a different location.

"There is only one sorority that happens to the girls who attend this school," Ms. Fertetta said. "It's not something we just want to get away from."

Three deaths from Covid-19 and 147 infections have been linked to a wedding reception in north-central Maine in August, the spokesman for the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday. None of the deceased had, according to C.D.C. Speaker.

From the wedding in Millinocket, about 70 miles north of Bangor, the transfer went to a prison and long-term care facility – both of which are more than 100 miles from the wedding location.

There have been 144 wedding-related cases as of Thursday, said Nirav Shah, the director of Maine's C.D.C. Of those cases, 56 were wedding guests and their second or tertiary contacts, Mr Shah said at a briefing Thursday.

A York County Prison employee who tested positive for the virus attended the wedding, said Dr. Shah. Now, 18 additional staff, 46 of the prison inmates, and seven family members have staff confirmed cases, said Dr. Shah.

The Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Residential Center in Madison, about 100 miles away, is also affected by cases related to the wedding. A Maplecrest employee who is a secondary contact for one of the wedding guests tested positive, and there were 15 more infected people at the facility as of Thursday, said Dr. Shah. Eight of the cases concern residents and seven employees.

The state C.D.C. said about 65 people attended the indoor wedding. Maine has limited indoor gatherings to 50 people under governor's ordinance.

"Outbreaks are not isolated," said Dr. Shah. "One outbreak can quickly lead to multiple more outbreaks, especially in a nearby geographic area."

At a recent company-wide meeting, Facebook employees repeatedly argued that work guidelines created in response to Covid-19 "were primarily of benefit to parents".

A fight broke out on an internal message board on Twitter after a worker who had no children at home accused another worker who was saying goodbye to care for a child of not pulling on his or her weight.

As companies grapple with how to support their employees during the pandemic, some employees without children say they are being asked to carry a heavier workload. The gap is more pronounced in some tech companies, where workers tend to be younger and expect generous perks and benefits when they let their jobs take over their lives.

Tech companies were among the first to urge employees to work from home in the pandemic and offer generous vacations and extra time off once it became apparent that children would be staying home from school.

The tension was most evident on Facebook, which in March offered up to 10 weeks of paid time off for employees to care for a child whose school or daycare was closed or an elderly relative whose nursing home was closed.

When Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, hosted a company-wide video conference on August 20, more than 2,000 employees agreed on what more Facebook could do to support nonparents.

One employee wrote in comments on the video feed that it was "unfair" that nonparents could not use the same vacation policy that parents were granted. Another wrote that the vacation procedure is usually difficult, but "slightly breezy" for parents.

One parent replied in a note on their Facebook company page, which was only visible within the company, that the question was "harmful" because the parents felt they were being judged negatively and childcare leave was hardly a mental or physical health break.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, experts have warned that the coronavirus – a pathogen that affects the respiratory tract – is likely to benefit from the scarred lungs of smokers and vapers. Doctors and researchers are now beginning to determine how smoking and vaping appear to improve the virus' ability to spread from person to person, infiltrate the lungs and cause some of the worst symptoms of Covid-19.

"I have no doubt that smoking and vaping can increase the risk of bad results from Covid-19," said Dr. Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, a pediatric pulmonologist at Columbia University. “It's pretty clear that smoking and vaping are bad for the lungs and the predominant symptoms of Covid are the airways. Those two things will be bad when combined. "

While several studies have found that smoking can more than double a person's risk of severe Covid-19 symptoms, the relationship between vaping and Covid-19 is only gradually becoming clear. A team of researchers recently reported that young adults who vape are five times more likely to get a coronavirus diagnosis.

"If I had caught Covid-19 within a week of my illness, I would probably have died," said Janan Moein, 20, who was hospitalized in early December with a collapsed lung and a diagnosis of vaping-related lung disease.

Mr Moein vaped his first pen a year ago, and in late autumn he blew through several THC-laced cartridges a week.

Just months later, he was in the emergency room at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, where he fell into a medically induced coma and was forced onto a breathing apparatus. He lost nearly 50 pounds in two weeks.

At one point, Mr. Moein said, his doctors gave him a 5 percent chance of survival.

In the United States, approximately 34 million adults smoke cigarettes, many from color communities with low socioeconomic status – groups known to be more susceptible to the virus. According to a 2019 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than five million middle and high school students reported using vapes.

Reporting was by Julian E. Barnes, Alan Blinder, Damien Cave, Christopher Clarey, Ron DePasquale, Joe Drape, Sheera Frenkel, Marie Fazio, Matthew Futterman, Jeffrey Gettleman, Rick Gladstone, Emma Goldberg, Mike Ives, Jennifer Jett, and Andrea Kannapell written by Sharon LaFraniere, Michael Venutolo-Mantovani, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Zach Montague, Ben Rothenberg, Katie Thomas, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Noah Weiland, Will Wright and Yan Zhuang.

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