Covid-19 Updates: 3 States Link Cases to Sturgis Rally

The coronavirus circulated at the Sturgis motorcycle rally, then spilled outward.

Health officials in several states are linking cases of the virus to the 10-day Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota, which drew hundreds of thousands of participants this month in spite of the pandemic.

Kris Ehresmann, the infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health, said at a briefing on Friday that at least 15 cases in Minnesota were identified as having originated from rally attendees. Seven more cases were identified in Nebraska, according to reporting from CNN.

Health officials in South Dakota said this week that they had traced several cases to a popular bar along Sturgis’s main street, where photos showed thousands of people congregating without masks over the course of the rally.

The rally ended last Sunday, but health officials warn that it will take time before the extent of associated outbreaks can be measured, as it can take days for symptoms to appear in people who have been infected.

Ms. Ehresmann said on Friday that she expected to see more cases recorded as additional information about the outbreak and subsequent contact tracing became available.

On Saturday, officials in South Dakota announced more than 250 new cases, a single-day record for the state.

Struggling to salvage some normalcy — and revenue — from a crippling pandemic, more than a third of the country’s 5,000 campuses are trying limited openings, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. There are strict rules: No parties. Mandated coronavirus tests or routine self-checks for symptoms. No setting foot into public spaces without masks.

But outbreaks at dozens of colleges have underscored the limitations of any college to control the behavior of young people who are paying for the privilege to attend classes.

Recent videos from several campuses — such as the University of North Georgia — have shown scores or hundreds of students gathering without masks or social distance. On Thursday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill moved undergraduates to remote instruction when at least 177 students tested positive, largely in clusters linked to dormitories, sororities and fraternities.

Residence hall advisers are the front line in dorms. Students started arriving over the past week at Cornell University, and Jason Chang, a 24-year-old doctoral student who oversees undergraduates in his dorm, has been overwhelmed with violations of distancing rules.

“Constant insanity and madness,” Mr. Chang said. “That’s been my life this week.”

Penalties can run to suspensions and expulsions from campus housing, but education officials say it is generally not in the nature of colleges and universities to function like police states.

Many university officials seem to be relying on students to report one another to enforce coronavirus restrictions. Some colleges are advertising hotlines where students can anonymously report unsafe behavior.

A recent TikTok video that has more than 3.4 million views captured the spirit of self-enforcement, with two young men warning that they would rather tell on their classmates than be sent home. “I will rat you out,” one emphatically warns, adding: “I’m not doing Khan Academy from home. I refuse. And I hate the cops.”

A big wedding in New York State is blocked at the last minute.

A couple who planned to hold a wedding with 175 guests in western New York State on Saturday had to postpone it after a federal appeals court judge blocked the event, responding to a legal challenge by the state government over the crowd’s expected size.

The ruling, issued on Friday, came two weeks after a lower court said weddings at venues in the state that also function as restaurants where indoor dining is allowed were not subject to a 50-person cap on gatherings that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo imposed to help fight the coronavirus.

The lower court ruling opened the door for such wedding venues to host parties of more than 50 people under the same rules that apply to restaurants. Those rules now limit indoor service to half a restaurant’s typical capacity.

The lower court’s decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed by two couples who had booked weddings at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Akron, N.Y., about a half-hour’s drive northeast of Buffalo. One of the couples was married the day the ruling was issued. The other was to be married this weekend.

State officials, who have argued in court filings that weddings pose a greater public health risk than indoor dining and are potential “super-spreader” events, immediately appealed the ruling.

On Friday, Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted state lawyers’ emergency request to halt the second wedding until a panel of judges could consider their arguments more fully.

So many people were dying that it was obvious the government’s numbers couldn’t be accurate. Calls to pick up bodies were inundating the country’s forensic office. By July, agents were gathering up to 150 bodies per day, 15 times the usual amount in previous years, said Bolivia’s chief forensic official, Andrés Flores.

Republicans prepare for a convention featuring an in-person segment.

Coming on the heels of the Democratic National Convention, which concluded on Thursday, Republicans are gathering for a convention of their own, including an in-person roll call in Charlotte, N.C.

Despite the recent rise of coronavirus infections in Germany, 4,000 people lined up to watch singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko on Saturday in the eastern city of Leipzig.

But this wasn’t another story of an entertainment venue flouting public health concerns in order to get back to business. The daylong show was an experiment set up by scientists to help figure out why mass events are so effective at spreading the virus and how the most risky behaviors could be avoided.

Each of the concertgoers passed a Covid-19 test and had their temperature taken before entering the closed arena. They were also all given trackers to allow researchers to monitor who they came close to, as well as an FFP2 respirator mask to wear and a bottle of special fluorescing hand sanitizer that allowed researchers to learn which areas were most frequently touched.

Researchers from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg will spend weeks analyzing the data to determine when and where transmission of the virus was most likely to occur at the venue.

“We want to find out: what are the moments, what are the situations where this risk happens,” said Dr. Stefan Moritz, the lead researcher, in a video statement about the project, called Restart-19.

On Friday, Germany’s authorities registered 2,034 cases, its highest daily total since the end of April, when the country managed to slow the spread of the virus through a countrywide lockdown.

The House is expected to approve a bill today intended to shield the Postal Service ahead of mail-in voting.

The House interrupted its annual summer recess on Saturday for a rare weekend session to consider legislation blocking cost-cutting and operational changes at the Postal Service that Democrats, civil rights advocates and some Republicans fear could jeopardize mail-in ballots this fall.

The measure, put forward by Democratic leaders, would also require the Postal Service to prioritize the delivery of all election-related mail and grant the beleaguered agency a rare $25 billion infusion to cover revenue lost because of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure it has the resources to address what is expected to be the largest vote-by-mail operation in the nation’s history.

Lawmakers are expected to approve it on Saturday afternoon, but the bill, as written, appeared unlikely to move through the Republican-controlled Senate. The White House pledged a veto because administration officials see the bill as overly prescriptive and costly.

Democrats framed Saturday’s action as an emergency intervention into the affairs of an independent agency to protect vital mail and package services that have seen significant delays this summer as the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, moved swiftly to cut costs to close a yawning budget gap. They said it was also necessary to instill confidence in American voters that the agency would safeguard their ballots despite near daily attacks by President Trump on mail-in voting.

“It makes absolutely no sense to impose these kinds of dangerous cuts in the middle of a pandemic and just months before the elections in November,” Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the lead author of the bill, said before the session.

Some U.S. states and school districts provide detailed data on coronavirus outbreaks in schools. Others keep such information under wraps.

On the first day of school in Camden County, Ga., local Facebook groups were buzzing with rumors that a teacher had tested positive. The next day, a warning went out to school administrators: Keep teachers quiet.

“Staff who test positive are not to notify any other staff members, parents of their students or any other person/entity that they may have exposed them,” Jon Miller, the district’s deputy superintendent, wrote in a confidential email on Aug. 5.

In the weeks since, parents, students and teachers in the community have heard by word of mouth of more positive cases linked to district schools. Some parents said they had been called by local officials and told that their children should quarantine.

But even as fears of an outbreak have grown, the district has not publicly confirmed a single case, either to the local community or to The New York Times.

As schools in parts of the country have reopened classrooms amid a still-raging pandemic, some districts have sent weekly — and in some cases daily — reports to families and updated online dashboards with the latest positive test results and quarantine counts. Others districts have been silent, sometimes citing privacy concerns.

State notification polices also vary widely. Officials in Colorado and North Carolina are reporting which schools have had positive cases, while Louisiana, which had not previously identified specific schools with outbreaks, said this week that it was creating a new system to “efficiently report relevant Covid-19 data in schools for greater public visibility.”

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Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Julia Calderone, Choe Sang-Hun, Emily Cochrane, Ron DePasquale, Conor Dougherty, Nicholas Fandos, Gillian Friedman, Anemona Hartocollis, Shawn Hubler, Annie Karni, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Dan Levin, Zach Montague, Allison McCann, Elisabetta Povoledo, Christopher F. Schuetze, Ed Shanahan, María Silvia Trigo and Sameer Yasir. The Coronavirus Pandemic