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University of Alabama sees 1,000 virus cases since reopening

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University of Alabama AFP

The University of Alabama, seen as a test case for returning to in-person learning amid the pandemic, has reported close to a thousand positive coronavirus cases since reopening.

The school has published a COVID-19 dashboard which shows a total of 566 positives since last Wednesday when term started, in addition to 400 people who tested positive when arriving.

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Local news site AL.com quoted university president Stuart Bell saying the problem did not stem from student behavior on campus but probably came from the community.

“What we have to do is identify where does the virus thrive and where does the virus spread and how can we work together with our students, with our faculty and with our staff to make sure that we minimize those places, those incidents,” he said.

The city of Tuscaloosa, which is home to the university’s main campus, announced Monday it would close bars and bar service at restaurants for the next two weeks.

The college has about 45,000 students across its Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville campuses making it a key test case for returning to in-person classes.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking 3,000 institutions, 20 percent have plans for primarily in-person classes, 27 percent say they will go primarily online, 15 percent are opting for a hybrid and 24 percent haven’t announced plans.

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Last week the University of Notre Dame in Indiana announced it was moving to online instruction after a coronavirus outbreak, as did the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michigan State.

Bell said the University of Alabama was continuing to take steps to stem the spread but wouldn’t say what it would take to move to online learning.


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‘Not gonna work!’: A Republican tried to promote masks — and got angrily booed by Trump voters

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Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted of Ohio learned quickly on Monday that President Donald Trump’s voters aren’t ready for even mildly encouraging statements about wearing masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.

He appeared ahead of the president at a Trump rally in Ohio, and he tried to promote a series of Trump-branded masks. To the attendees’ credit, his speech was pretty condescending. Husted seemed to think he could convince them to wear face masks — which have become demonized on the right — just because they were branded with Trump logos.

But Husted was at least trying to encourage healthy behavior among his voters, which Trump has repeatedly declined to do. Experts agree masks are one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the respiratory virus, and the fact that this advice has become anathema to large swaths of the country — primarily supporters of the president — is extremely dangerous on its own terms and disturbing for what it says about our politics.

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‘It affects elderly people … that’s it’: Trump falsely downplays coronavirus to Ohio supporters

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At a rally in Ohio on Monday, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that coronavirus only affects the elderly, and that young people don't die from the illness.

Trump: "We now know the disease... it affects elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That's what it really effects. That's it."

— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 22, 2020

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Ron DeSantis pushes bill legally protecting drivers who run over members of ‘a mob’

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On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed a bill that would aggressively crack down on the right to protest — and protect drivers from liability if they run over members of "a mob" in the course of trying to escape.

Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ

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