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Many traditional Halloween activities are a risk to spreading COVID-19, so here are some suggestions the CDC has stay safe this spooky season.

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Students in Miami-Dade County, Florida, will soon be allowed to go back to school. In person.

The Miami-Dade County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to start a staggered reopening plan on Oct. 14 in the country’s fourth largest district, with all students back in classrooms by Oct. 21. The plan applies only to families who wish for their children to resume in-person instruction.

Also Tuesday, President Donald Trump said it was “a shame” that the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 had surpassed 200,000, the most of any country in the world.

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward sees it differently. He told CNN he was “quite frankly embarrassed” by Trump giving himself an A+ grade for his response to the pandemic.

And the FDA will impose a higher standard for emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine in an effort to gain public trust, the Washington Post reported.

Some significant developments:

  • Mayor Kirk Caldwell is easing coronavirus restrictions in Honolulu. The city will allow gatherings of up to five people, retail businesses to open at 50% capacity and restaurants to seat five people per table.
  • The CDC advised against traditional trick-or-treating this year amid the pandemic.
  • The NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors approved a plan Tuesday to move fall sports championships – including the FCS football championship – to spring 2021.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 6.8 million cases and 200,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, there have been more than 31.5 million cases and 969,000 fatalities. 

📰 What we’re reading: Our travel writer David Oliver checked in at a few hotels to check out their coronavirus protocols. Here’s what he found.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

Miami-Dade County schools will reopen classrooms beginning Oct. 14

The Miami-Dade County School Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to gradually start in-person instruction on Oct. 14 after a record-breaking two-day meeting, the Miami Herald reported.

The staggered reopening plan will begin with students in Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade and students with special needs. All students can return to classrooms by Oct. 21. Families who prefer remote-learning – which accounts for 51% of the district’s families – can stick to that option, the newspaper reported.

The decision “reflected a collective effort from a community that has been appropriately concerned about the potentially disastrous impact of prematurely reopening physical classrooms,” United Teachers of Dade president Karla Hernandez-Mats told The Herald in a statement.

The decision comes after New York City, the country’s largest school district, began in-person instruction on Monday.

Virginia lawmakers demand answers on ‘troubling conditions’ at federal jails 

Four lawmakers have renewed bipartisan calls demanding answers for “troubling conditions” at two federal jails in Virginia, citing a lack of personal protective equipment and spoiled food being served to inmates.

Senators Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine and Reps. A. Donald McEachin and H. Morgan Griffith wrote a letter to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons expressing frustration on the lack of correspondence to concerns they addressed in a May 21 letter. The concerns are regarding FCC Petersburg in Prince George County and United States Penitentiary Lee in Lee County.

“Given the close quarters and frequent person-to-person interaction, correctional staff and incarcerated individuals are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Lack of PPE also creates additional risk of community spread outside the facilities,” the letter says. “Relatedly, we have learned from facility staff that showers are restricted for individuals incarcerated at FCI Petersburg, a policy which further exacerbates sanitation and hygiene issues during a global pandemic.”

The lawmakers also say correctional officers were working 16-hour shifts without meal breaks, calling it “unacceptable and dangerous.”

– William Atkinson, The Progress-Index

FDA to impose higher standard for emergency authorization of vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration, whose autonomy has been questioned amid repeated interference from the Trump administration, will impose a higher standard for emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine in an effort to gain public trust, the Washington Post reported.

The new requirement would make it highly unlikely a vaccine would be available before the Nov. 3 election, contrary to what President Donald Trump has predicted.

Vaccine manufacturers will have to follow participants in Stage 3 clinical trials for at least two months after they receive a second shot of the vaccine candidate, the newspaper said. Surveys have shown many Americans are skeptical a new coronavirus vaccine would be safe and effective, with as many as half the respondents saying they would not get the immunization if it were available today.

The FDA granted emergency authorization to hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, two treatments for the virus touted by Trump but questioned by public health experts.

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Donald Trump on 200K coronavirus deaths in US: ‘It’s a shame’

Making his first remarks on the latest grim milestone in the nation’s battle with coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Tuesday lamented the loss of 200,000 Americans who have died from the disease, describing it as “a shame.”  

“It’s a horrible thing,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he left for a rally in Pennsylvania.

But, speaking later at a rally in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Trump mocked his Democratic opponent Joe Biden for wearing a face mask – something his own administration has recommended – and asserted that his administration had done an “A-plus job” dealing with the pandemic.

During 90 minutes of remarks, Trump did not mention the death toll from the virus but instead blamed China for allowing it to become a pandemic, promised a vaccine will be widely available for Americans soon and criticized social distancing measures approved by state officials that his own public health experts have called for.

– John Fritze, Michael Collins and David Jackson

Bob Woodward ’embarrassed’ for Trump’s self-praise 

Veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward reportedly said Tuesday that he was ‘quite frankly embarrassed’ for President Donald Trump that he had given himself an A+ grade for his coronavirus response.

Woodward, speaking at an invite-only forum for the Citizen by CNN 2020 conference, said in his experience of covering nine different presidents he has “never seen anything like” Trump’s mangled handling of the ongoing pandemic.

Woodward recently released an explosive book on Trump titled “Rage,” which included the president telling the journalist in a recorded interview weeks before the first death in the U.S. that despite knowing how “deadly” and serious the coronavirus pandemic would be, he wanted to “play it down” and would to continue to do so. 

Trump additionally told Woodward in an interview on Feb. 7 about how much “more deadly” COVID-19 would be than the flu, a startling juxtaposition from the president’s public remarks at the time and in subsequent months.

– Savannah Behrmann

Trump administration supports relief bills to avoid airline worker layoffs

The Trump administration indicated Tuesday that it would support separate funding measures to provide more financial relief for airlines, a move that could stave off layoffs of thousands of workers and drastic cuts to flight schedules.

With talks for an overall additional stimulus deal stalled, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany encouraged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to send separate funding bills, including one for airlines.

“At this point, the onus is really on Speaker Pelosi,” McEnany said at the daily media briefing. “We encourage her to send one-off bills, perhaps airline funding or other elements that we could work through the process to get to the American people.” 

Despite many empty seats, airlines have kept flying with help from a $50 billion allotment that was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that passed in March. 

– Chris Woodyard

Restaurant chain Sizzler files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing COVID-19 impact

Sizzler, the famous steakhouse started 62 years ago, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest business to suffer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Sizzler said it filed for voluntary Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District in California on Monday. The restaurant chain will start a restructuring process to reduce debt and renegotiate its leases with landlords.

“Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic’s economic impact due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords’ refusal to provide necessary rent abatements,” said Chris Perkins, president and chief services officer for Sizzler, in a statement.

The chain operates 107 locations across 10 states, including Puerto Rico, and has 485 employees.

– Brett Molina

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

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Contributing: The Associated Press

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