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What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, August 17

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The election delay, announced today, has the backing of the country’s opposition. Auckland is currently under lockdown, meaning any candidates based there would be unable to campaign as usual, Julia Hollingsworth writes.

Ardern said that New Zealand’s electoral commission had assured her that a safe and accessible election would be possible on the new date.

More than 7,000 miles away, questions are growing about the integrity of America’s own election on November 3.

Trump admitted as much last week during a Fox News interview, saying he opposed much-needed funding for USPS because he believes an uptick in mail-in ballots during the pandemic will favor Democrats. USPS, which is mired in a financial crisis, warned nearly all 50 states that mail-in ballots may not be received by election offices in time to be counted, Maeve Reston writes.
Several states say they’re considering legal action against the Trump administration over the matter, and on Sunday Democrats launched an emergency effort to block changes at the post office.
The pandemic has created large logistical and political challenges for elections around the world, and dozens of countries have postponed electoral events due to outbreaks.
But that does not mean it can’t be done. South Korea’s parliamentary election in April attracted the highest voter turnout in nearly 30 years.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: Why can’t some people accept Covid-19’s realities?

A: With so much information available about the severity of the coronavirus and the need to follow guidelines, some people still refuse to accept reality.

The denial manifests itself in many ways, whether that be refusing to wear a mask or attending large gatherings. Using denial as a coping mechanism is not always a bad choice. Short-term, it gives someone the time to adjust to a situation. When it becomes a long-term crutch and puts others in harm’s way, it can be dangerous.

“When they’re in periods where there’s a lot of anxiety and it’s perceived as a threat, then people develop strategies to protect themselves, their sense of security and safety. And one of these is simply to deny whatever the threatening source is exists. In this case, you would simply say, “Well the epidemic is a hoax. It doesn’t really exist,” said Mark Whitmore, an associate professor in the College of Business.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

Covid-19 vaccine trials have been slow to recruit Black and Latino people

The multi-billion-dollar effort to get a coronavirus vaccine on the market could see delays because researchers haven’t recruited sufficient numbers of minorities to join the clinical trials.

Of the 350,000 people who’ve registered online for a coronavirus clinical trial, 10% are Black or Latino, according to Dr. Jim Kublin, executive director of operations for the Covid-19 Prevention Network.

That’s not nearly enough, as study subjects in trials are supposed to reflect the population that’s affected. Research shows that more than half of US coronavirus cases have been among Black and Latino people.

New saliva-based Covid-19 test could be a ‘game changer’

A new saliva-based test from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health could give Americans a fast and inexpensive option to learn if they have Covid-19. It was given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.

Unlike some other tests that require specialized supplies, the SalivaDirect test doesn’t require a specific swab or collection device. It can also be used with reagents from multiple vendors, CNN’s Holly Yan and Christina Maxouris writes.

Japan reports its worst GDP on record

Japan just reported its worst GDP on record as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak dented consumption.

The world’s third-largest economy shrank 7.8% in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter, the country’s cabinet office said on Monday. That translated to an annual rate of decline of 27.8%, the worst since modern records started in 1980 and the third consecutive quarter of contraction, CNN’s Kaori Enjoji writes.

But Japan performed better than other major economies in the April-June period, when the United States and Germany both recorded 10% falls over the previous quarter and British output crashed 20.4%.

South Korea warns of another outbreak tied to a religious group

South Korean authorities are pursuing legal action against the pastor of the Sarang Jeil Church in Seoul after 315 people connected to the parish tested positive for Covid-19.

A criminal complaint filed against the church’s leader, Rev. Jun Kwang-hoon, accuses him of holding gatherings in violation of the city’s infectious disease prevention law. The church’s legal team denied the allegations on Monday, claiming that they had fully cooperated with the authorities and threatening to sue the government for defamation.

The tiff revives memories of an outbreak at another religious group in February, primarily in the city of Daegu. Authorities barred all 7,560 churches in the South Korean capital from holding any gatherings due to the pandemic except for the usual weekly services, during which worshippers must abide by social distancing regulations.

Deadliest day for Australian state at center of outbreak

The Australian state of Victoria recorded 25 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the highest single-day increase in fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic.
In May, Australia was held up as a global model for its handling of the outbreak. But Covid-19 cases in Victoria have risen suddenly in recent weeks, with many new infections in aged care homes and among healthcare workers. At the beginning of August, Victoria and its capital Melbourne were put under strict new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

ON OUR RADAR

TOP TIPS

Some vacation spots, salons and a range of other service providers are asking consumers to waive any legal claim they might have if they’re sickened with Covid-19 while at the business. Here’s what you should consider before signing a waiver, says Richard C. Bell, a liability trial attorney in New York City.
  1. Read it carefully. “It should be in the kind of lay language you understand.”
  2. Inspect the business, see if they’re enforcing public health guidelines, and don’t sign if they’re not.
  3. “If they’re not meeting the new normal you have to say to yourself, ‘Am I really comfortable with this? If you’re not … walk out and go somewhere else.”

TODAY’S PODCAST

“At the time we were thinking about putting kids back in school, there are more than five million infections and more than 160,000 people have died.” — Dr. Sanjay Gupta

In today’s episode, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains his reasoning behind not sending his kids back to school this fall — based on his essay on the same issue. Listen Now.

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