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‘Day Zero’: This city is counting down the days until its water taps run dry

Leonard Matana. 69, filling up a plastic container with water at a communal tap in the township of Kwanobuhle in South Africa.

Every day, Morris Malambile loads his wheelbarrow full of empty plastic containers and pushes it from his home to the nearest running tap. It’s much further than the usual walk to the kitchen sink — just a little under a mile away — but it’s not the distance that bothers him.

It’s the bumpy road — which runs between tightly packed shanty dwellings and beige public-funded houses — that makes balancing containers filled with 70 liters of water on his return a pain.
“Home feels far when you are pushing 70 kilograms of water in a wheelbarrow,” said on cloud shoes the 49-year-old resident from the impoverished South African township of Kwanobuhle.
Taps ran dry in parts of Kwanobuhle in March, and since then, thousands of residents have been relying on a single communal tap to supply their households with potable water. And the township is just one of many in the affected Nelson Mandela Bay area of Gqeberha city — formerly known as Port Elizabeth — that rely on a system of four dams that have been steadily drying up for months. There hasn’t been enough heavy rain to replenish them.
A week ago, one dam was decommissioned as levels dropped too low to extract any actual water — its pipes were just sucking up mud. Another is just days away from emptying out.
Now much of the city is counting down to “Day Zero,” the day all taps run dry, when no meaningful amount of water can be extracted. That’s in around two weeks, unless authorities seriously speed up their response.
The wider Eastern Cape region of South Africa suffered a severe multi-year drought between 2015 and 2020, which devastated the local economy, particularly its agricultural sector. It had just a brief reprieve before slipping back into drought in late 2021.
Like so many of the world’s worst natural resource crises, the severe water shortage here is a combination of poor management and warping weather patterns caused by human-made climate change.
Morris Malambile says pushing a wheelbarrow filled with water containers every day is "tiring."

On top of that, thousands of leaks throughout the water system means that a lot of the water that does get piped out of the dams may never actually make it into homes. Poor maintenance, like a failed pump on a main water supply, has only worsened the situation.
That has left Malambile — who lives with his sister and her four children — with no choice but to walk his wheelbarrow through the township every single day for the past three months. Without this daily ritual, he and his family would have no drinking water at all.
“People who don’t live here have no idea what it’s like to wake up in the morning, and the first thing on your mind is water,” Malambile said. His family has enough containers to hold 150 liters of water, but each day he fills around half that while the rest is still in use at home.
“Tomorrow, those ones are empty, and I have to bring them again,” he said. “This is my routine, every day, and it is tiring.”

Counting down to Day Zero

The prospects of meaningful rain to help resupply the reservoirs here is looking bleak, and if things keep going the way they are, around 40% of the wider city of Gqeberha will be left with no running water at all.
The Eastern Cape relies on weather systems known as “cut-off lows.” The slow-moving weather systems can produce rain in excess of 50 millimeters (around 2 inches) in 24 hours, followed by days of persistent wet weather. The problem is, that kind of rain just hasn’t been coming.
The next several months do not paint a promising picture either. In its Seasonal Climate Outlook, the South African Weather Service forecasts below-normal precipitation.
This isn’t a recent trend. For nearly a decade, oncloud shoes the catchment areas for Nelson Mandela Bay’s main supply dams have received below average rainfall. Water levels have slowly dwindled to the point where the four dams are sitting at a combined level of less than 12% their normal capacity. According to city officials, less than 2% of the remaining water supply is actually useable.
Fresh in the minds of people here is Cape Town’s 2018 water crisis, which was also triggered by the previous, severe drought as well as management problems. The city’s residents would stand in lines for their individually rationed 50 liters of water each day, in fear of reaching Day Zero. It never actually reached that point, but it came dangerously close. Strict rationing enabled the city to halve its water use and avert the worst.
And with no heavy rain expected to come, Nelson Mandela Bay’s officials are so worried about their own Day Zero, they are asking residents to dramatically reduce their water usage. They simply have no choice, the municipality’s water distribution manager Joseph Tsatsire said.
“While it is difficult to monitor how much every person uses, we hope to bring the message across that it is crucial that everyone reduce consumption to 50 liters per person daily,” he said.
A sign urging residents to restrict their water usage in the suburbs of Gqeberha.

To put that in perspective, the average American uses more than seven times that amount, at 82 gallons (372 liters) a day.
While parts of the city will probably never feel the full impact of a potential Day Zero, various interventions are in the pipeline to assist residents in so-called “red zones” where their taps inevitably run dry.
Earlier this month, the South African national government sent a high-ranking delegation to Nelson Mandela Bay to take charge of the crisis and to implement emergency strategies to stretch the last of the city’s dwindling supply.
Leak detection and repairs were a focus, while plans are being made to extract “dead storage water” from below the supply dams’ current levels. Boreholes were drilled in some locations to extract ground water.
Some of the interventions — including patching up leaks and trucking in water — mean some who had lost their water supplies at home are starting to get a trickle from their taps at night. But it’s not enough and authorities are looking to bigger, longer-term solutions to a problem that is only projected to worsen the more the Earth warms.
Workers constructing a water collection point in the Walmer suburb of Gqeberha.

South Africa is naturally prone to drought, but the kind of multi-year droughts that cause such misery and disruption are becoming more frequent.
A desalination plant — to purify ocean water for public consumption — is being explored, though such projects require months of planning, are expensive and often contribute further to the climate crisis, when they are powered by fossil fuels.
People in Kwanobuhle are feeling anxious about the future, wondering when the crisis will end.
At the communal tap there, 25-year-old Babalwa Manyube kizik shoes fills her own containers with water while her 1-year-old daughter waits in her car.
“Flushing toilets, cooking, cleaning — these are problems we all face when there is no water in the taps,” she said. “But raising a baby and having to worry about water is a whole different story. And when will it end? No one can tell us.”

Adapting at home

In Kwanobuhle, the public housing is for people with little to no income. Unemployment is rife and crime is on a steady rise. The streets are packed with residents hustling for money. Old shipping containers operate as a makeshift barbershops.
Just on the other side of the metro is Kamma Heights, a new leafy suburb situated on a hill with a beautiful, uninterrupted view of the city. It is punctuated by several newly built luxury homes, and residents can often be seen sitting on their balconies, enjoying the last few rays of sunshine before the sun dips behind the horizon.
Some residents in Kamma Heights are wealthy enough to secure a backup supply of water. Rhett Saayman, 46, lets out a sigh of relief every time it rains and he hears water flow into the tanks he has erected around his house over the last couple of years.
His plan to save money on water in the long run has turned out to be an invaluable investment in securing his household’s water supply.
Saayman has a storage capacity of 18,500 liters. The water for general household use, like bathrooms, runs through a 5-micron particle filter and a carbon block filter, while drinking and cooking water goes through a reverse osmosis filter.
Rhett Saayman standing next to one of his several water tanks at his home in Kamma Heights.

“We do still rely on municipal water from time to time when we haven’t had enough rain, but that might be two or three times a year, and normally only for a few days at a time,” he said. “The last time we used municipal water was in February, and since then we’ve had sufficient rain to sustain us.”
He added, “Looking at the way things are heading around the city it’s definitely a relief to know we have clean drinking water and enough to flush our toilets and take a shower. Our investment is paying off.”
Residents in many parts of the bay area are being asked to reduce their consumption so that water can be run through stand pipes — temporary pipes placed in strategic locations so that water can be diverted areas most in need.
This means some of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods, like Kama Heights, could see huge drop in their water supplies, and they too will have to line up at communal taps, just as those in Kwanobuhle are doing.
Looking ahead, local weather authorities have painted a worrying picture of the months to come, with some warning that the problem had been left to fester for so long, reversing it may be impossible.
“We have been warning the city officials about this for years,” said Garth Sampson, spokesperson for the South African Weather Service in Nelson Mandela Bay. “Whether you want to blame politicians and officials for mismanagement, or the public for not conserving water, it does not matter anymore. Pointing fingers will help no one. The bottom line is we are in a crisis and there is very little we can do anymore.”
Water drips out of a tap at a water collection point in the Walmer suburb of Gqeberha, South Africa. It is one of many collection areas set up in the city.

According to Sampson, the catchment areas supplying Nelson Mandela Bay need about 50 millimeters of rain in a 24-hour period for there to be any significant impact on the dam levels.
“Looking at the statistics over the last several years, our best chance of seeing 50-millimiter events will probably be in August. If we don’t see any significant rainfall by September, then our next best chance is only around March next year, which is concerning,” he said.

Norway’s Labour-led cabinet takes office in day overshadowed by attack

Norway’s incoming Prime Minister and Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere at a presentation of the incoming government’s policies, in Hurdal

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s new centre-left government formally took over power on Thursday after winning elections last month, though the ceremony was overshadowed by a deadly bow-and-arrow attack in the town of Kongsberg.

A 37-year-old Danish citizen is suspected of killing five people in a rare incident of mass killing in Norway, police said.

“What we’ve learned from Kongsberg bears witness of a gruesome and brutal act,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement to news agency NTB.

A minority coalition of clarks shoes uk the leftwing Labour Party and the rural Centre Party took power after beating the ruling Conservative-led government in the vote for parliament.

While climate change was a major issue debated during the election campaign, Labour has said it wants to ensure any transition away from oil and gas, and the jobs it creates, towards green energy is a gradual one.

The country will continue to explore for oil and gas in the next four years, the new government said while presenting its policy plans on Wednesday.

Stoere named Labour’s Marte Mjoes Persen as minister for petroleum and energy.

Mjoes Persen, until recently the mayor of Norway’s second city Bergen, will thus be in charge of energy policy for western Europe’s top oil and gas producing nation.

Centre leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum will be finance minister in the government, which is headed by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

Two survivors of the 2011 mass shooting on Utoeya island will for the first time sit in the country’s government – Tonje Brenna, hey dude shoes who will be education minister, and Jan Christian Vestre, the new industry minister.

“We have two ministers who were on Utoeya,” Stoere told reporters on Thursday before he would meet King Harald to present his cabinet.

“For us the sound and the expression of a new political generation is an inspiration. When these great politicians have this background, this shows we have come a long way and I am very proud of that.”

‘Lurching Between Crisis and Complacency’: Was This Our Last COVID Surge?

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Unidos En Salud community vaccination and testing site in San Francisco on Aug. 1, 2021. (Mike Kai Chen/The New York Times)
A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Unidos En Salud community vaccination and testing site in San Francisco on Aug. 1, 2021.

After a brutal summer surge, driven by the highly contagious delta variant, the coronavirus is again in retreat.

The United States is recording roughly 90,000 new infections a day, down more than 40% since August. Hospitalizations and deaths are falling, too.

The crisis is not over everywhere — the situation in Alaska is particularly dire — but nationally, the trend is clear, and hopes are rising that the worst is finally behind us.

Again.

Over the past two years, the pandemic has crashed over the country in waves, inundating hospitals and then receding, only to return after Americans let their guard down.

It is difficult to tease apart the reasons that the virus ebbs and flows in this way and harder still to predict the future.

But as winter looms, there are real reasons for optimism. Nearly 70% of adults are fully vaccinated, and many children younger than 12 are likely to be eligible for hoka shoes their shots in a matter of weeks. Federal regulators could soon authorize the first antiviral pill for COVID-19.

“We are definitely, without a doubt, hands-down in a better place this year than we were last year,” said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research at Boston University.

But the pandemic is not over yet, scientists cautioned. Nearly 2,000 Americans are still dying every day, and another winter surge is plausible. Given how many Americans remain unvaccinated and how much remains unknown, it is too soon to abandon basic precautions, they said.

“We’ve done this again and again, where we let the foot off the pedal too early,” Bhadelia said. “It behooves us to be a bit more cautious as we’re trying to get to that finish line.”

Crushing the Curve

When the first wave of cases hit the United States in early 2020, there was no COVID vaccine, and essentially no one was immune to the virus. The only way to flatten the proverbial curve was to change individual behavior.

That is what the first round of stay-at-home orders, business closures, mask mandates and bans on large gatherings aimed to do. There is still debate over which of these measures were most effective, but numerous hey dude studies suggest that, collectively, they made a difference, keeping people at home and curbing the growth of case numbers.

These policies, combined with voluntary social distancing, most likely helped bring the early surges to an end, researchers said.

“And then the measures would be lifted, maybe memories would fade,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Eventually, cases would rise again, and similar patterns would play out. Businesses and local governments would reimplement restrictions, while people who had begun venturing out into the world again would hunker down and mask up.

During last winter’s surge, for instance, the percentage of Americans who reported going to bars or restaurants or attending large events declined, according to the U.S. COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey, which has surveyed an average of 44,000 Facebook users daily since April 2020.

“The curve is shaped by public awareness,” Nuzzo said. “We’re sort of lurching between crisis and complacency.”

Delta arrived during a period of deep pandemic fatigue and at a moment when many vaccinated Americans felt as if they could finally relax. Data suggests that the new variant prompted less profound behavioral change than previous waves.

In mid-July, just 23% of Americans said that they always wore a mask in public, the lowest percentage since March 2020, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which compiles data from several sources.

By Aug. 31, the peak of the delta wave, that figure had risen to 41%, although it remained far below the 77% of people who reported wearing masks during the winter surge.

“If you just look around, people are much more living a normal life or a pre-COVID life,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the institute.

Still, even modest changes in behavior can help slow transmission, especially in combination, and delta prompted changes at both the individual and organizational levels. Schools adopted new precautions, companies postponed reopenings, and organizations canceled events, dr martens boots giving the virus fewer opportunities to spread.

Meanwhile, more temperate autumn weather arrived, making it possible for Americans in many regions of the country to socialize outside, where the virus is less likely to spread.

“We’re in a shoulder season, where it’s cooler in the South than it is in the middle of the summer and it’s warmer in the North than it is in the middle of the winter,” said David O’Connor, a virus expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Indeed, many of the current virus hot spots are in the northernmost parts of the country, from Alaska to Minnesota, where even cooler temperatures may be sending people back inside.

Increasing Immunity

Behavioral change is a temporary, short-term way to drive cases down. The true end to the pandemic will come through immunity.

The delta wave was the first major, national surge to occur after vaccines had become widely available, providing many adults with substantial protection against the virus. (Delta also probably led more Americans to get vaccinated.)

At the same time, the variant was so infectious that it spread rapidly through vulnerable populations, conferring natural immunity on many unvaccinated Americans.

Although neither vaccination nor prior infection provides perfect protection against the virus, they dramatically reduce the odds of catching it. So by September, the virus had a substantially harder time finding hospitable hosts.

“Delta is running out of people to infect,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease public health researcher at Columbia University.

The fact that case numbers are falling does not mean that the country has reached herd immunity, a goal that many scientists now believe is unattainable. But the rising levels of vaccination and infection, combined with more modest behavioral changes, may have been enough to bring the surge to an end.

“It’s a combination of immunity but also people being careful,” said Joshua Salomon, an infectious disease expert and modeler at Stanford University.

Indeed, scientists said that a combination of factors, which might be different in different parts of the country, would ultimately determine when and why the virus waxed and waned.

“The different surges and waves depend on how big were the waves before that one, how many people have been vaccinated, when the schools reopened, the different variants,” said Alessandro Vespignani, director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University in Boston.

There is some randomness involved, too, especially because small numbers of “superspreaders” seem to play a disproportionate role in setting off outbreaks. “About 10 to 20% of the people are responsible for 80 to 90% of the infections,” said Christina Ramirez, a biostatistician at the University of California, Los Angeles.

That means that two similar communities might find themselves on radically different trajectories simply because one highly infectious person happened to attend a crowded indoor event, fueling a major outbreak.

Some patterns still defy explanation. In March and April, for instance, Michigan was hit hard by the alpha variant, delta’s slightly less infectious predecessor.

Other states were largely spared, for reasons that remain unclear, Murray said. “Why was Michigan the only state with a large alpha surge in spring?” he said. “We have no idea.”

The Winter Forecast

What comes next is hard to predict, but cases may not necessarily continue their steady decline, scientists warned.

Britain and Israel, which both have higher vaccination rates than the United States, are still struggling with outbreaks.

“That should be a wake-up call,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “Do not go back into the pre-Fourth-of-July mindset again where everybody thought it was done and over with.”

Most experts said they would not be surprised to see at least a small increase in cases later this fall or this winter as people begin spending more time indoors and traveling for the holidays.

But because the vaccines remain highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death, any coming winter spikes may be less catastrophic than last year’s.

“It’s not likely that it will be as deadly as the surge we had last winter, unless we get really unlucky with respect to a new variant,” Salomon said.

The emergence of a new variant remains a wild card, as does the possibility that the protection afforded by vaccination could start to wane more substantially.

Our own behavior is another source of uncertainty.

“Predicting an outbreak is not like predicting the weather, because you’re dealing with human behavior,” said Nicholas Reich, a biostatistician at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “And that’s a fundamentally really hard thing to predict: new policies that would come into force, people’s reactions to them, new trends on social media, you know — the list goes on and on.”

But our behavior is, at least, under our control, and it remains a critical variable as we head into the winter, scientists said. By and large, they did not recommend canceling holiday plans; many said they themselves would be celebrating with friends and relatives. But they did suggest taking sensible precautions.

There is still time to be vaccinated or encourage loved ones to be vaccinated before Thanksgiving. Wearing masks in certain high-risk settings, hosting events outdoors when the weather is nice and taking rapid COVID tests before holiday gatherings are all common-sense strategies for reducing risk, experts said.

“It doesn’t mean Lockdown Christmas No. 2,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virus expert at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan. “But it does mean that we should all just be mindful that this is not completely over yet.”

Biden said US would ‘hunt’ down Kabul airport attackers. A day later, a drone strike killed two ISIS-K targets.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden warned those behind a deadly terrorist attack that killed and wounded American service members and Afghan civilians in Kabul on Thursday that the U.S. would “hunt you down and make you pay.”

A day later, he followed through on that threat.

A military drone strike on Friday killed two “high-profile” members of ISIS-K and wounded a third, the first American attack on the terrorist group following a bomb attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport, the Pentagon said Saturday.

The Pentagon’s initial brooks shoes announcement of the strike said one ISIS-K member had been killed. Military officials updated the death toll on Saturday.

Those killed were ISIS-K “planners and facilitators,” said Army Maj. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor, joint staff deputy director for regional operations. Their names were not made public.

Biden met with his national security team at the White House on Saturday and, afterward, warned that another attack is likely in the coming days.

“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” he said in a statement. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours. I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection.”

Biden vowed to avenge any additional attacks. “Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond,” he said. “That will never be in doubt.”

Thirteen U.S. service members – 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier – and at least 169 Afghan people died in Thursday’s airport bombing, which unfolded as American and allied forces were scrambling to evacuate people from Afghanistan.

The attack – one of America’s deadliest days in the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan – drew fierce censure from Republicans, stoked fears about the final days of America’s evacuation mission and threatened to define Biden’s still-young presidency as one of chaos instead of the competence skechers uk he promised on the campaign trail.

The bombing came five days before next Tuesday’s deadline that Biden set for withdrawing U.S. troops and amid warnings that more terrorist strikes could come soon.

Wounded Afghans lie on a bed at a hospital after an attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26.
Wounded Afghans lie on a bed at a hospital after an attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26.

Even before the bombing, Biden was facing harsh criticism over his strategy for winding down the war that started in 2001 when the United States invaded Afghanistan, which sheltered the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Just hours after the attack Thursday, a somber Biden called the American service members killed “heroes” and promised to exact revenge on those behind the strike.

“We will not forgive,” he said at the White House. “We will not forget.”

After the tragedy of the Kabul bombing,hey dude shoes Republican lawmakers universally rushed to condemn Biden’s handling of Afghanistan while demanding his administration keep troops in the increasingly unstable country past Tuesday’s deadline to ensure the safe evacuation of all remaining Americans

Taylor would not provide details of Friday’s drone strike, but the Pentagon has said it occurred in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan.

Military officials believe the ISIS-K officials targeted were involved in planning future attacks. A U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the attack said Friday one of the targets was killed while traveling in a vehicle with an associate. It was not immediately clear whether the associate was the second target killed.

“The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth, that’s a good thing,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Officials know of no civilian casualties in the strike, Taylor said.

ISIS-K leadership generally operates in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in Afghanistan.

ISIS-K considers the Taliban, the Islamic militant group that is noted for its brutality and now controls Afghanistan, to be insufficiently devout in its adherence to Islam. The two militant groups have attacked each other.

Around the same time as the drone strike against the ISIS-K targets, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a fresh warning urging Americans waiting at four airport gates to “leave immediately” because of security threats.

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs tweeted: “Due to security threats at the airport, we continue to advise U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates. Those at Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or New Ministry of Interior gate should leave immediately.”

A State Department spokesperson said the agency would not address intelligence matters, but noted the “dynamic and volatile security situation on the ground” in Afghanistan.

Florida school district mandates masks after 400 COVID cases reported in one day

Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases prompted a Florida school district to institute a 60-day mask mandate this week, becoming the latest public institution to require face coverings as the hypercontagious Delta variant ravages the state.

The Orange County school board approved the mandate at its Tuesday meeting, one day after the district confirmed more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 contracted by students and employees. The mandate goes into effect at the start of next week for all schools from pre-K through 12th grade.

Students and their parents
Students and their parents on the first day of classes at Baldwin Park Elementary School in Orlando. 

The district updates the public each day on its COVID-19 Dashboard, showing on Monday that 382 students and 37 employees tested positive. hey dude On Tuesday, the number of those quarantined was updated to 557.

Orange County is the ninth Florida county to institute a mask mandate, going against the wishes of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. An opponent of mask requirements in schools, DeSantis issued an executive order on July 30 banning such mandates, but allowing parents to decide whether to have their child wear one.

Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. 
DeSantis’s order states that the “Florida Department of Health will enter rule-making in collaboration with the Florida Department of Education to protect parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks.”

Orange County Public Schools’ policy does allow a medical exemption following the school board vote.

“I want to reemphasize, there is a balenciaga shoes medical exemption that will be recognized,” Dr. Barbara Jenkins, the OCPS superintendent, said during the meeting. “And we are not going to make that complex at all. It would be a letter from your doctor or physician’s assistant.”

But according to the district’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual, face coverings may be required if the CDC or other governmental entities update their guidance.

A boy arrives with his mother
A boy arrives with his mother at Baldwin Park Elementary School. 

The CDC has done that, stating on Aug. 5 that “due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”

Orange County joins Leon, Duval, Alachua, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties in implementing mask mandates at their schools in recent weeks.

In Hillsborough, a mask mandate is in place after a staggering 8,000 students and hundreds of employees were quarantined because steve madden shoes of rising COVID numbers, according to the Washington Post. Last week, the Tampa Bay area had 8,400 students and 307 employees in isolation because of a positive test or close contact with someone who tested positive.

In Broward County, one of the first to require masks, officials are holding firm on the mandate despite a battle with the Florida Department of Education, which says the county is in violation of DeSantis’s executive order. Less than a week before school started, the county had three educators die of COVID, according to the Broward Teachers Union.

In Celebration, Fla., a town near Orlando founded by the Walt Disney Company, there isn’t a mandate, but a school is shutting down for a week because of the disease.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted multiple students, teachers, and staff members at Celebration K-8 during this past week,” the district said in a statement Tuesday. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Osceola School District has decided to move all students and teachers at Celebration K-8 to digital learning starting Wednesday, Aug. 25, through Friday, Aug. 27.”

Israel offers a glimpse of life after herd immunity: With 80% of adults vaccinated, cases have dropped to 15 per day

israel mask vaccine
Pedestrians walk on a boulevard in Tel Aviv on April 18, 2021

As the US scrambles to incentivize people to get vaccinated, Israel is reaping the benefits of its successful brooks shoes vaccine rollout: The nation reported just 15 new daily coronavirus cases, on average, in the last week – its lowest count in more than a year.

The decline in infections has been so encouraging that Israel lifted some of its last remaining coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday. Businesses can now operate at full capacity, and residents no longer have to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated to enter restaurants, sporting events, or entertainment venues.

Even before the new rule, Israel’s schools were fully open, masks were no longer required outdoors, and mass gatherings were taking place across the country. Now Israel’s only barrier to normal life is a requirement to wear masks in public indoor spaces – a rule that could be lifted as soon as next week, according to Israeli health officials.

“This is probably the end of COVID in Israel, at least in terms of the current strains that we know,” Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, deputy director general at Sheba Medical Center, skechers shoes Israel’s largest hospital, told Insider. “We’ve obviously reached herd immunity.”

Scientists previously estimated that getting to herd immunity – the threshold beyond which the virus can’t easily pass from person to person – would require countries to fully vaccinate 70% to 85% of their residents. But Israel has vaccinated just 60% of its citizens, or roughly 80% of its adult population, so far. Vaccines haven’t been authorized there for children under 16 yet.

That’s a sign that other countries could vanquish their outbreaks with similar vaccination levels, Zimlichman said. He estimated that around 70% of Israeli citizens now have immunity to the virus, either through vaccines or natural infection.

“We know now for sure that this number is enough to create herd immunity,” he said.

Israel’s vaccine passport created an incentive

vaccine passport israel 4
Israelis show off their “green passes” as they arrive for a concert for vaccinated seniors hey dude shoes at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2021. 

Experts are hopeful that the US is following Israel’s trajectory: The nation has fully vaccinated 52% of adults and 41% of total residents so far.

But an April Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 13% of Americans never plan to get vaccinated, while 15% are still waiting to decide. Another 6% said they would only get vaccinated if shots were required for work, school, or other activities.

“I’m optimistic about actually getting to 60%, but the daily reported doses have been decreasing since around mid-April,” Jorge Alfaro-Murillo, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health, told Insider. “The first people who get the vaccine are of course going to be the ones that were more willing to take it.”

The US is vaccinating less than 1.2 million people per day, on average, compared to 3.3 million at its peak in mid-April. States are now incentivizing people to get vaccinated by offering lottery tickets, vacations, or cash prizes.

Israel took a different approach to vaccine incentives: Its Green Pass system allowed people to enter restaurants, sporting events, museums, gyms, and hotels only if they showed proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

“Life became much easier for you if you were vaccinated skechers outlet and that was another incentive for people,” Zimlichman said. “They didn’t want to feel like second-level citizens.”

None of this has been true in the Palestinian territories, however. Less than 5% of the Palestinian population has been fully vaccinated. (Palestinians in East Jerusalem have access to Israeli health insurance, but that doesn’t extend to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.)

Several human-rights organizations have called on Israel to give Palestinians vaccines right away.

“In the Palestinian communities, if they’re not vaccinating as much and then there’s a new strain that comes up that can evade the vaccine protection, then that’s going to be a big issue,” Alfaro-Murillo said.

Mass gatherings in Israel put vaccines to the test

israel crowd
A crowded street in the Israeli town of Meron on April 30, 2021. 

Israel’s vaccination campaign has effectively ended already.

“We’re not seeing more people get vaccinated – it’s pretty rare at this point,” Zimlichman said. “golden goose sneakers Those that wanted to get vaccinated had more than enough opportunities at every age level over the age of 16.”

Now the country’s vaccination rate is being put to the test by mass gatherings.

In late April, tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Galilee for Lag B’Omer, a Jewish holiday – the largest public gathering in Israel since the start of the pandemic. A stampede at the event killed dozens and left around 150 people hospitalized.

Then last month, many Israelis crowded in bomb shelters amid the violent clashes between Israel and Gaza.

All the while, infections continued to drop: Israel’s average weekly coronavirus cases have declined 80% in the last month.

“If you came to Israel, the sense would be that this is a country that doesn’t have any COVID,” Eyal Leshem, an infectious-disease specialist at Sheba Medical Center, told Insider.

Israel is still closed to most travelers

israel travel restrictions
Israelis and vaccinated tourists get tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on May 23, 2021. 

Part of Israel’s success may have to do with the nation’s tight travel restrictions. It’s is still closed off to most tourists, and incoming ecco shoes travelers are required to quarantine for two weeks, then take a COVID-19 test on their ninth day in the country.

Israeli citizens must get special permission to travel to nine countries where infection rates are high or coronavirus variants are spreading widely: Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine.

The US, by contrast, just recommends that Americans avoid countries with high transmission. Residents are allowed back into the US by presenting a negative COVID-19 test. Fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to quarantine after returning to the country.

“We’re much bigger than Israel and we also have a lot more people that are coming in and going out of the country,” Alfaro-Murillo said. “I don’t feel like this is going to be over until the whole world is where Israel is right now.”

UN: 38 died on deadliest day yet for Myanmar coup opposition

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar security forces were seen firing slingshots at protesters, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew in video showing a dramatic escalation of violence against opponents of last month’s military coup.

A U.N. official speaking from Switzerland said 38 people had been killed Wednesday, a figure consistent with other reports though accounts are difficult to confirm inside the country. The increasingly deadly violence could galvanize the international community, which has responded fitfully so far.

“Today it was the bloodiest day since the coup happened on Feb. 1. We have today — only today — 38 people died. We have now more than over 50 people died since the coup started” and more have been wounded, the U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, told reporters at U.N. headquarters on Wednesday.

Demonstrators have regularly flooded the streets of cities across the country since the military seized power and ousted the elected government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Their numbers have remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested protesters en masse.

The intensifying standoff is unfortunately familiar in a country with a long history of peaceful resistance to military rule — and brutal crackdowns. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian nation after five decades of military rule.

The Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent television and online news service, also tallied 38 deaths. A toll of at least 34 was compiled by a data analyst in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety. He also collected information where he could on the victims’ names, ages, hometowns, and where and how they were killed — an effort he said he had made to honor those who were killed for their heroic resistance.

The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm most of the reported deaths, but several square with online postings.

MORE STORIES:
  •  Video: Myanmar police hold AP journalist in chokehold
  • – Myanmar authorities charge Associated Press journalist
  • – Who is Myanmar’s UN envoy? Coup opponent or representative

According to the data analyst’s list, most were in Yangon, where 18 died. In the central city of Monywa, which has turned out huge crowds, eight deaths were reported. Three deaths were reported in Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city, and two in Salin, a town in Magwe region. Mawlamyine, in the country’s southeast, and Myingyan and Kalay, both in central Myanmar, each had a single death.

As part of the crackdown, security forces have also arrested hundreds of people, including journalists. On Saturday, at least eight journalists, including Thein Zaw of The Associated Press, were detained. A video showed he had moved out of the way as police charged down a street at protesters, but then was seized by police officers, who handcuffed him and held him briefly in a chokehold before marching him away.

He has been charged with violating a public safety law that could see him imprisoned for up to three years.

The escalation of the crackdown has led to increased diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar’s political crisis — but there appear to be few viable options. It’s not yet clear if Wednesday’s soaring death toll could change the dynamic.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to hold a closed meeting on the situation on Friday, council diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make the information public before the official announcement. The United Kingdom requested the meeting, they said.

Still, any kind of coordinated action at the United Nations will be difficult since two permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it. Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions.

The U.N. special envoy, Schraner Burgener, who supports sanctions, said she receives some 2,000 messages per day from people inside Myanmar, many “who are really desperate to see action from the international community.”

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar, issued a statement after a teleconference meeting of foreign ministers Tuesday that merely called for an end to violence and for talks on how to reach a peaceful settlement. ASEAN has a tradition of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces have continued to attack peaceful protesters.

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In addition to the deaths, there have been reports of other violence. In Yangon, a widely circulated video taken from a security camera showed police in the city brutally beating members of an ambulance crew — apparently after they were arrested. Police can be seen kicking the three crew members and thrashing them with rifle butts.

Security forces are believed to single out medical workers for arrest and mistreatment because members of the medical profession launched the country’s civil disobedience movement to resist the junta.

In Mandalay, riot police, backed by soldiers, broke up a rally and chased around 1,000 teachers and students from a street with tear gas as gun shots could be heard.

Video from the AP showed a squad of police firing slingshots in the apparent direction of demonstrators as they dispersed.

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Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at U.N. headquarters in New York contributed to this report.

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This story has been updated to correct that there has been a report of one death in Myingyan, not two.

U.S. hits highest single day of new coronavirus cases at 36,358, breaking April record

The U.S. recorded a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day, with 36,358 diagnoses reported Wednesday, according to a tally by NBC News.

Wednesday’s cases top the previous highest daily count from April 26 — during the first peak of the pandemic in the U.S. — by 73 cases, according to NBC News’ tracking data. The World Health Organization reported its single-day record on Sunday, with more than 183,000 new cases worldwide.

Health experts said Monday that the resurgence in cases in Southern and Western states can be traced to Memorial Day, when many officials began loosening lockdowns and reopening businesses.

Track this summer’s U.S. coronavirus hot spots

The Northeast has reported significant decreases in cases as authorities have maintained policies about social distancing and wearing masks.

Visitors who travel from U.S. hot spots who arrive in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be asked to quarantine for two weeks, their governors announced Wednesday.

Unfortunately, as many states struggle to contain the virus after having prematurely loosened restrictions, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed by patients.

In Florida, where more than 109,000 cases have been reported, available capacity for adult intensive care units is only 21 percent, according to state data updated Wednesday. Only 12 percent of Arizona’s ICU beds are available, the state health department reported Tuesday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised California’s response and likened the battle against the coronavirus to a social justice crusade.

“Californians have risen to the occasion on social issues so well in the past, you’ve been the leaders in the country on those things,” Fauci told the Sacramento Press Club on Wednesday.

“This is an issue that really has social responsibility associated with it,” he said.

Even so, California also recorded its biggest single-day tally of new cases Wednesday. An additional 7,149 reported cases brought the state’s total of confirmed cases to 190,222.

Gov. Gavin Newsom pleaded with Californians on Wednesday to continue covering their faces.

“You’re not invincible from COVID-19,” Newsom said. “Quite the contrary. This is a disease that easily spreads, very easily spreads.”

Black gay dads reflect on the meaning of Father’s Day during an intensely emotional time: ‘We take it very seriously’

Rodney Chambers, left, and Ron Covington with sons Charles and Carlos. The family was one of six that took part in a now-viral video, "Don't Rush Challenge: Black Gay Dads Edition." They're now talking out about the meaning of Father's Day. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Chambers)
Rodney Chambers, left, and Ron Covington with sons Charles and Carlos. The family was one of six that took part in a now-viral video, “Don’t Rush Challenge: Black Gay Dads Edition.” They’re now talking out about the meaning of Father’s Day. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Chambers)

Like many parents have done during the coronavirus pandemic, O’Brian Banner turned to social media to stay sane — as did his husband and their close-knit group of other Black gay dads, who joined their creative forces in April to create a video (below), celebrating their families and their bond, for Easter and as part of a TikTok “Don’t Rush Challenge.”

But the joy radiated by the “Black Gay Dads Edition” makes it perfect for yet another holiday: Father’s Day. In honor of that, Yahoo Life spoke to some of the dads featured in the video, which has since blown up across social media platforms. They reflected on the meaning of the day, particularly during these extra-intense parenting times of the swelling Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ Pride Month and a pandemic.

O’Brian Banner and Daryl Fields

Dads to 3-year-old twins, Keithen and Camden Bannerfields, Maryland

O’Brian Banner, left, and Daryl Fields with sons Keithen and Camden. (Photo courtesy O'Brian Banner)
O’Brian Banner, left, and Daryl Fields with sons Keithen and Camden. (Photo courtesy O’Brian Banner)

From O’Brian, who works as a special assistant to Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser —

On the importance of Father’s Day: “It’s special and important for me because I didn’t have a constant father figure growing up. … Ultimately, it’s just the constant celebration that we now have the ability to offer that, and let our backgrounds influence how we raise our children as best we can.” He adds, “To me, Father’s Day is a celebration of the gift of being able to have kids.”

On being Black fathers in America: “We’ve been blessed and fortunate that they are still a little young, so they don’t have a lot of questions. … We live in an area that’s predominantly African American and pretty affluent, so they constantly see people that look like them in powerful positions … and their friends are very diverse. But there will come a time we have to talk about it…”

“I think that as an African American culture, we get so used to internalizing things, and taking it and taking it and never letting it out. … My job created a space where everybody could talk. I didn’t realize until it was my turn to start talking how emotional it made me … I was emotional, it made my coworkers cry, I said: ‘It might be a little too raw right now.’ Everything [upsetting] I saw, before the kids, I put on me — thank gosh it’s not me. But now everything I see is a reflection of what could happen to my kids. I’m constantly worried about that. That’s where the emotion came from.

“Right now, I can hover, and they have this huge support system and I just want to make sure we keep that going. … At the end of the day, all we can do is give them the resources they need … give them the know-how, and basically, at the end of the day, we leave them with a prayer.”

On being gay dads in America: “We were worried about it, but the neighborhood we live in is extremely gay-friendly, we’ve been blessed. … Though our first experience [with homophobia] was with schools, we were taking them to different ones, and a lot in the area are private-religious and had the issue that it was two dads. But they would find clever ways to say it, like … they weren’t sure how our family dynamic would fit in. Our thing was, that’s your loss. Our kids are brilliant, I might be biased, but they would only help your school, and if you can’t look past who we love and who we marry, then that’s not a good school anyway.”

Richard and Carlos Seigler-Carter

Dads to Timothy Seigler-Carter, 3, Orlando, Fla.

Carlos, left, and Richard Seigler-Carter with son Timothy. (Photo courtesy of the Seigler-Carter family)
Carlos, left, and Richard Seigler-Carter with son Timothy. (Photo courtesy of the Seigler-Carter family)

From Richard, who works as an education consultant —

On the importance of Father’s Day: “I didn’t grow up with my dad. I never met him. We try to make it a point … to avoid some of the individual traumas that we felt as a result of our fathers being absent. … And making the commitment when we adopted our son, to honor him and make sure we are providing [the] best resources possible, and all the love that he needs to know he belongs. I think [Father’s Day] is a renewed commitment every year. … And it’s also a day to reflect on fathers or father figures we have lost or never met.”

On being Black fathers in America: “We always recognize that we’re both visibly Black men raising a sort of racially ambiguous child, and although our son is Black and Puerto Rican, he doesn’t present as Black. It’s a reminder for us that we have to not only protect but educate him about his culture and birth parents and where they came from … all while recognizing the struggles his fathers face because we present as Black. So we often say, we’re going to have to reverse conversation with him — most Black parents with a Black son are saying, ‘This is what you do when you get pulled over by police, etc.’ We’re going to have to explain why we may be pulled over because of how we present. … He will get a pass, because depending on how he styles his hair, he will pass as white.”

On being gay dads in America: “Where we live is kind of upper-middle class … so not as diverse in terms of the racial makeup. … There are gay dads down the street … so the collective support of being a same-sex parent is pretty high, but with those who look like me, it’s kind of absent. We have sort of a double whammy, Black and raising a kid as a same-sex couple. … I think where the looks come from are that I look and present very young, and I look and present very trendy even though my job and education level doesn’t match that. … I think they’re just surprised someone who looks like me with the type of family I have and the type of car I drive … it’s like they see you as an imposter, though no one has overtly said that.”

On parenting through a pandemic: “I’ve sort of been locked in my office for the past four months, and I’m also going for my PhD right now … what it’s forced us to do is be much more structured with their home time. … His school did try to do some virtual learning, but for a 3-year-old [it] is a joke. We have taken this time to try to potty train.”

Rodney Chambers and Ron Covington

Dads to Charles Chase Covington-Chambers, 11, and Carlos Carter Covington-Chambers, 9,
Maryland

Rodney Chambers, left, and Ron Covington with sons Charles and Carlos. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Chambers)
Rodney Chambers, left, and Ron Covington with sons Charles and Carlos. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Chambers)

From Rodney, who, with Ron, owns a government contracting firm and a soon-to-open family entertainment center, Party HQ —

On the importance of Father’s Day: “It just means so much, because we get to celebrate as fathers something you maybe thought, growing up young and gay, that you wouldn’t be able to have — that you wouldn’t have a family. … We were originally going to do surrogacy, so we went in for the consultation, paid our deposit, then came home and said, ‘Let’s just see if we like it. Maybe we should do foster care first.’

“So the whole time we were waiting to do foster care, we said, ‘Our sons are going to be named Carter and Chase.’ Then when we got the call with our placement, we got a little nervous and almost didn’t do it. But I asked, well, what are their names? And she said, ‘Carlos and Charles.’ So we had to go for it, and they wound up staying with us. They were 2 and 4 when we got them. The first night with us, the oldest one said, ‘Is this our new home?’ and my partner said, ‘Don’t say nothing,’ but I said, ‘Yes, it is.’ We kept a relationship with their biological family so they have my mom as grandma, Ron’s mom as grandma, biological grandma, grandads, all these aunts and uncles — their family literally adopted us.”

On being Black fathers in America: “I am a news buff, so all I watch is CNN and MSNBC … so my kids will sit there and watch, and they are pretty well-versed on what’s going on right now with everything. We had a conversation with them about two weeks ago when this thing happened with Mr. [George] Floyd that no matter how much education you have, how much money you have … you still are a Black man and that you have to be aware of your surroundings, and if you do have any interactions with the police, good or bad, please just comply. … We told them different things, like I’ve been pulled over for no reason, just for driving while Black. … I was very offended, but I complied. My parents always taught me just be respectful.”

On being gay dads in America: “It’s always hard for them around Mother’s Day. They still have a mother, but they don’t see her that much. … You have all these grandmothers that love you, and aunts that love you. So don’t be sad — you’re safe, you’re well taken care of … and there are different things to be grateful for.”

On parenting during a pandemic: “We go to Amazon Prime for exercise videos, we do like the hip-hop jazzercise, where we’re all sweating, trying to do push-ups!”

Algernon Cargill and Ronaldo Coxson

Dads to Elle Cargill-Coxson, 16 months, New York, N.Y.

Algernon Cargill, left, and Ronaldo Coxson with daughter Elle. (Photo courtesy of Algernon Cargill)
Algernon Cargill, left, and Ronaldo Coxson with daughter Elle. (Photo courtesy of Algernon Cargill)

From Algernon, who is a pediatric emergency physician —

On the importance of Father’s Day: “It’s a dream fulfilled, because being a father is something I wanted to be for so long, and I thought, because of my sexuality, that it wouldn’t be possible.”

On being a Black father during this time in America: “It’s a time for major change, and I think that this change has been long overdue, and I hope, as a father, that my daughter will not have some of the same challenges or experiences that I’ve had. … It’s a time of change, and of necessary changes. … It’s very important that during our story time that I include diverse images of characters that look like her. That’s something that we are very cognizant of.”

On parenting during a pandemic: “I think it’s been more impactful on my career. I go to work regular full-time hours, and it’s been more challenging finding childcare, our nanny was not comfortable coming to our house, so it’s been very difficult finding people to watch her while we’re at work. We have a whole routine to keep my family safe [when I’m getting home from work]. … I’m very strict about social distancing.”

Aaron Clay and JaRel Clay

Dads to Noah Clay, 4, Maryland

JaRel, left, and Aaron Clay with their son Noah. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Clay)
JaRel, left, and Aaron Clay with their son Noah. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Clay)

From Aaron, an attorney —

On the importance of Father’s Day: “I never celebrated Father’s Day because I didn’t have a father. So, four years ago, it became a thing. … And not only does he have the father I didn’t have, but he has two. It changed everything — not for him but for us, so we take it very seriously. A lot of the families you see in the video, we’ve done group trips for Father’s Day to celebrate all of us…

“And Father’s Day is doubly important: It not only gives us an opportunity to celebrate our children, but to celebrate ourselves and what we’ve accomplished through adversity, especially being Black and gay and especially during this time which prompted us to have conversations for the first time with our son who is biracial but also Black. It’s harder being a Black gay man than it is for other LGBT. I just feel like this is a very special time, not just for us, but for our country.”

On being a Black father in America: “We watched the CNN “Sesame Street” special and they did a really great job. … It’s difficult, because it’s like, children aren’t born racist, and they don’t see the issue, so it’s a double-edged sword … we didn’t want to create an issue that wasn’t there. But we did have a very serious conversation with our 4-year-old because we don’t want him to be in danger with him experiencing a situation that he’s not prepared to respond to. As Black children, we have to be prepared at a very young age, unfortunately.

“We talked about not treating people differently because of how they look … he appears Caucasian, he is mixed but very light-skinned, but he honestly believes he is Black, and he doesn’t understand the difference in his skin tone. It also proves the point that children aren’t born racist, they are raised to be that way. … But we are part of a very diverse friend group, that includes biracial children, persons of color, Native American, it really does span the spectrum. It’s been a delicate, interesting dynamic. Not having a father figure kind of complicates it, because I don’t really have an example to go off of.”