Latest coronavirus news for July 20, 2020: Live updates | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #parenting | #parenting | #kids

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What we don’t know about how COVID-19 affects kids

Marcellus Reid, 6, a first grade student at Kozminski Community Academy on the South Side. File photo.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

What role children play in the coronavirus pandemic is the hot-button question of the summer as kids relish their free time while schools labor over how to resume classes.

The Trump administration says the science “is very clear,” but many doctors who specialize in pediatrics and infectious diseases say much of the evidence is inconclusive.

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions. That is the biggest challenge,” said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a pediatrics professor at the University of Florida and former scientist at the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Several studies suggest, but don’t prove, that children are less likely to become infected than adults and more likely to have only mild symptoms.

An early report from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began last winter, found that fewer than 2% of cases were in children. Later reports suggest between 5% and 8% of U.S. cases are in kids.

Through July 9, about 200,000 kids had tested positive in the U.S., according to a count based on state reports by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The number of kids who have been infected is almost certainly far higher than that though, experts say, because those with mild or no symptoms are less likely to get tested.

The CDC says that 228 children and teens through age 17 have died from the disease in the U.S. as of Thursday. More than 138,000 Americans have died in total, and there have been more than 3.6 million confirmed cases.

Read the full report here.


8:43 a.m. ‘A dangerous environment’: As churches reopen, coronavirus outbreaks are sprouting and some are keeping doors shut

At a church in Sacramento, California, that has been closed for in-person services since March, congregants occasionally still stop by to pray outside and try to capture a sense of fellowship they dearly miss.

In Nashville, Tennessee, the pastor of an Anglican church has been handing out Communion in the parking lot for weeks.

South of Atlanta, the animated pastor of a 3,000-member congregation tries to summon every ounce of enthusiasm in his body to deliver a lively, music-filled service in front of a live audience of no one, hoping his message and spirit come through on various technology platforms.

None of those are ideal options, but they beat becoming the source of an outbreak of COVID-19.

Almost 40 places of worship and religious events have been linked to more than 650 U.S. cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to tracking by the New York Times. Along with the nationwide surge in infections that has followed the loosening of restrictions aimed at combating the virus, outbreaks connected to churches have sprouted at several spots.

Read the full story from USA Today here.

New cases

Analysis & Commentary

8:30 a.m. Even with patrons spaced far apart, moviegoing feels safe and communal

The world has been turned upside down.

A global crisis has resulted in millions taking ill and hundreds of thousands of dying. When a child coughs in the kitchen, the adults in the room share terrified glances: Is it serious? A father driving with his family issues a command: “Masks on!” Even our national games have been affected. In the middle of the summer, the New York Yankees are playing in front of about 54,000 fewer people than would normally be in attendance.

Sounds like snippets of our real-life world in 2020 — but in fact everything I’ve described is playing out in breathtaking 70mm in the main theater of the iconic Music Box Theatre in Lake View, which is open for limited capacity, social distance screening.

Over the last 126 days, I’ve watched more than a hundred films and streaming releases for review — but all at home. The last time I screened a film in a public environment was on March 10: the forgettable Vin Diesel actioner “Bloodshot” at the Navy Pier IMAX. I’m breaking the streak with a Saturday afternoon screening of “Interstellar,” Christopher Nolan’s beautiful, sprawling, ambitious, sentimental and sometimes insanely ludicrous sci-fi epic about a NASA pilot named Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who leads a team of researchers across the galaxy and through a wormhole in search of an inhabitable planet that could be the new home for humankind.

Read the full column from Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper here.

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