CDC discourages traditional trick-or-treating, costume masks, indoor parties amid coronavirus pandemic

Fox News Flash top headlines for September 22

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews.com.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is discouraging Americans from participating in traditional trick-or-treating and indoor costume parties this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

However, if trick-or-treaters end up hitting the streets, they should not wear a costume mask as a replacement for their virus-related mask or in addition to one, the CDC said.

Costume masks should only be worn if they have two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the person's face, the CDC said, adding that trick-or-treaters should consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask instead.

IS HALLOWEEN STILL HAPPENING? NEARLY 25% PLAN TO TRICK OR TREAT DESPITE CITIES CLAMPING DOWN

The federal agency issued its Halloween guidelines Monday to help protect families and communities from COVID-19, which has infected more than 6.8 million Americans.

"Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," the CDC said in its advisory, adding that anyone who may have COVID-19–or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19–should not partake in any in-person activities during the holiday.

(iStock)

HALLOWEEN CANDY SLIDE MAY HELP TRICK-OR-TREATING STAY SOCIALLY DISTANCED

However, the agency noted that there are "several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween" and listed three categories identifying low-, moderate- and high-risk activities.

The CDC said its guidelines "are meant to supplement, not replace" any state or local rules and regulations regarding holiday gatherings.

Low-risk activities have been identified by the CDC as carving or decorating pumpkins with family or at a safe distance with neighbors or friends. The category also includes virtual Halloween costume contests, Halloween movie nights with people in your household as well as trick-or-treat-style scavenger hunts with people in your household.

Moderate-risk activities include attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and guests are socially distanced. One-way trick-or-treating "where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go" is also described as a moderate-risk activity.

'HALLOWEEN TREES:' SOCIAL-MEDIA USERS SHOW OFF THEIR EERIE DECORATIONS MONTHS BEFORE HOLIDAY 

Families and friends can also have an outdoor Halloween movie night or hold a costume parade as long as people are spaced at least six feet apart and are taking proper precautions. Outdoor haunted forests are also a moderate risk activity as long as participants remain socially distanced.

High-risk activities include traditional trick-or-treating, where treats are handed to children, or having "trunk-or-treat" events, where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots. Attending crowded costume parties inside is also discouraged.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Source: Read Full Article

New virus cases decline in the US and experts credit masks

The number of Americans newly diagnosed with the coronavirus is falling—a development experts credit at least partly to increased wearing of masks—even as the outbreak continues to claim nearly 1,000 lives in the U.S. each day.

About 43,000 new cases have been reported daily over the past two weeks across the country, down 21 percent since early August, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. While the U.S., India and Brazil still have the highest numbers of new cases in the world, the trend down is encouraging.

“It’s profoundly hopeful news,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who credits the American public’s growing understanding of how the virus spreads, more mask-wearing and, possibly, an increasing level of immunity.

“Hopefully all those factors are coming into play to get this virus under control in this country that’s really been battered by the pandemic,” she said.

The virus is blamed for more than 5.7 million confirmed infections and about 178,000 deaths in the U.S. Worldwide, the death toll is put at more than 810,000, with about 23.7 million cases.

Jeffrey Shaman, a public health expert at Columbia University, said he is skeptical enough people are immune to significantly slow the spread. But he agreed that changes in Americans’ behavior could well be making a difference, recalling the impact that people’s actions had in containing Ebola in West Africa several years ago.

“Ebola stopped for reasons we didn’t anticipate at the time. It was so horrifying that people stopped touching each other,” Shaman said. Something similar may be happening with the coronavirus, he said.

“I know I don’t have nearly the number of contacts that I used to,” Shaman said. “But if we relax that, if we get complacent, will we just see another outbreak?”

The decline in newly reported cases in the U.S. comes even as deaths from the virus remain alarmingly high. Over the past two weeks, state officials have reported an average of 965 deaths a day from COVID-19, down from 1,051 a day in early August.

The percentage of those testing positive for the disease has also declined over the past two weeks, from 7.3% to 6.1%. But that comes as the total number of tests administered has fallen from its August peak of more than 820,000 daily, leveling off in recent weeks at about 690,000 a day.

It’s not clear what will happen to case numbers as more school districts bring students back to classrooms and colleges reopen their campuses. In recent weeks, schools including the University of North Carolina and Notre Dame have moved instruction online after outbreaks on their campuses.

Officials at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville said Monday that four students are facing disciplinary proceedings after three hosted off-campus parties with no mask or other distancing and another left isolation to meet with others despite testing positive for the virus.

Source: Read Full Article

Face masks mandatory in northeast Spain amid virus uptick

Authorities in northeast Spain will start fining individuals who do not wear face masks 100 euros ($113) starting Thursday when the use of masks becomes mandatory in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region following a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Spain ended a nationwide lockdown in mid-June after restrictions on movement and public activity succeeded in reining in the country’s virus outbreak after it had pushed the healthcare system to the breaking point and killed thousands of people.

But with most restrictions lifted and some people not following social-distancing rules, the number of confirmed new cases reported daily in Spain has begun to creep up. Confirmed cases doubled between Tuesday and Wednesday amid dozens of small outbreaks.

The biggest increase was in the Catalonia region, with 52 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period and nearly 2,000 in the past two weeks.

A number of the 500 recent confirmed cases in a rural county around the city of Lleida have been tied to the summer fruit harvest, which draws in migrant day laborers who often work and live in poor conditions. Regional authorities locked down the area on Saturday and have linked 11 of 15 outbreaks there to farm work.

Health authorities warn that the area’s hospitals are already filling up. An inflatable emergency ward has been installed at the gates of a local hospital, a grim reminder of the makeshift medical facilities and morgues set up in Spain when it was among the world’s leading virus hot spots in the spring.

“We are not saturated now, but we could be in the next few days if we don’t reinforce our medical staff and start transferring patients,” regional health official Ramón Sentís said Wednesday.

Masks are mandatory in shared indoor spaces and also outdoors when distance can’t be maintained throughout Spain. Catalonia, which has a population of 7.5 million, is the first region to extend the requirement to situations when people are able to remain 1.5 meters (5 feet) from one another.

The move comes after a notable drop in face mask use in the streets and adherence to social distancing rules.

A county in the northwest Galicia region that is home to 71,000 residents also has been closed off, while masks are now mandatory in a town in the central north Basque Country region. Both Galicia and the Basque Country have regional elections scheduled for Sunday.



The uptick in cases comes as Spain is hoping to salvage its critical tourism industry by encouraging Spaniards to take vacations inside the country and sending the message to foreigners that Spain is a safe place to visit despite the pandemic. Spain had a pandemic death toll of more than 28,390 as of Wednesday.

Neighboring Portugal, which had done well in controlling the virus, is also concerned about an increase in new virus cases in the capital of Lisbon.

Portugal’s Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 443 new cases, 74% of them in the Lisbon metropolitan area.

Source: Read Full Article

Finally! You Can Get Adult & Kids Face Masks at Old Navy

Unless you’ve been lucky enough to have sewing skills and spare breathable fabric lying around the house, you might be in the same boat as so many of us, still struggling to find good masks for our children and ourselves. Today we have good news for you: Old Navy has is now selling super cute, stylish kids masks and adult masks, at rather incredible prices.

The masks are in the kind of preppy and preppy prints Old Navy has always used for its shorts and pajamas. There are plaids, checks, paisleys, anchors, tropical motifs, stripes, polka dots, and the occasional Warhol-esque banana. You can’t choose, however. The kids masks and adult masks are sold in “surprise packs” of five for $12.50.

All the masks are three-ply 100 percent cotton, with elastic over-ear straps.

There is a catch here. As hospitals have known long before us, it’s pretty difficult to get something — even something as simply designed as a reusable cloth mask — into production very quickly, especially when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. So even Old Navy’s factories aren’t able to get us instant gratification here. These masks have only been available for pre-order since 5 a.m. ET Friday, are selling so fast that they the estimated shipping date is May 27 as of this writing. Get your orders in soon!

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes. 

Still mask shopping? Most of these kids masks are available right now.






Source: Read Full Article