Mid-American Conference cancels fall football due to virus

The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first league at college football’s highest level to cancel its fall season because of the pandemic.

”I’m heartbroken we are in this place,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said.

With the MAC’s 12 schools facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly coronavirus protocols, and the uncertainty that campuses can be opened safely, the conference’s university presidents made the decision to cancel all fall sports – including soccer and volleyball – and explore making them up in the spring season.

Though postponing could also prove costly without revenue generated by football media rights deals and ticket sales.

”It would be naive to say that you don’t give thought and consideration to what the financial ramifications or any decision are, but this was a health and well-being decision first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. ”As we sit here today we don’t know what this

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21-year-old’s organs fail after mild case; masks optional at Sturgis rally; Trump may use executive orders on stimulus

Florida, ravaged by a historic spike in COVID-19 cases for weeks, is showing signs of progress in statistics such as hospitalizations and positivity rates according to its governor — but stories of the human toll of the virus on young and old in the state continue to emerge this week.

In one case, a 21-year-old who believed he had recovered from a mild case suddenly became gravely ill with multi-organ failure. He’s now sharing his story as a warning of the potential for long-term illness.

And in a heartbreaking story, a 90-year-old man likely caught the virus as he said his final goodbye to his dying wife. After his story gained international attention, he also tested positive and later died. His family says he had no regrets.

Those stories come even as other areas of the country have gone months without serious outbreaks. In South Dakota, low case counts have

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Colleges take different approaches to tracking COVID-19 as students return to campus

Students returning to their dorms at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have a new tool to help them navigate campus this semester: a COVID-19 dashboard.

Updated weekly, the CV-19 dashboard tracks numerous metrics, including the number of tests conducted, the number of positive cases, school isolation and quarantine capacity and the percentage of courses being taught in-person, remotely or a mix of both.

“Campus leaders wanted to make sure the Carolina community had a resource for monitoring a range of data points,” Leslie Minton, a university spokesperson, said. “The dashboard was created with input from Carolina’s infectious disease and data experts, emergency management services, UNC Health and our local health department.”

As of Aug. 4, when the dashboard was last updated, UNC-Chapel Hill had recorded 175 infections: 139 in students and 36 in university employees.

The decision to reopen campuses, and how widely, has generated national debate.

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Churches are essential. If protesters can assemble, so should people of faith.

As states started the first of their efforts to “slow the spread” of COVID-19 in late March, including stay-at-home orders, many churches went to an online platform and Americans attended Easter services via livestream and in their pajamas.

But as the lockdown continued, and marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores were deemed essential services while many churches were not, many people of faith said the closures infringed on the right to the free exercise of religion.

Religious groups became ever more angry when protests following the death of George Floyd — some of which quickly turned to riots where demonstrators burned churches, vandalized businesses and looted — were allowed to assemble with little to no social distancing and spotty mask-wearing.

This juxtaposition exposes the double standard by which some First Amendment rights are protected more than others.

Not all rights are treated equally

As restrictions started to lift in May, many

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Everything to know as students head back to class

As students head back to classes this fall – online, in-person or a hybrid of the two – millions of families are walking a tightrope, trying to balance safety with continued academic growth.

Most large public school districts have opted for fully online learning, but some have already returned to in-person classes and new cases of COVID-19 have already been reported at schools in Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. Colleges and universities, meanwhile, are increasingly altering earlier plans and opting for online fall semesters.

As the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. continues to evolve, we’re here to keep you updated on all the latest news and scientific developments. Check back for back-to-school resources, tips and tricks.

First, some resources: 

Can children get COVID-19?

Yes, children can catch COVID-19, but they are less likely to than adults. A study published in Science has shown that children under age 14 are between

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Covid puts financial stress on young people

<span>Photograph: Yurkevych Liliia/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Yurkevych Liliia/Alamy

Raymond Christie is having sleepless nights. The 18-year-old is worrying about how difficult it will be to find work opportunities as he anticipates an upcoming recession. Christie left school at 16 with no qualifications and went into training on a construction scheme that went into administration during the pandemic. Since then, he has had to rely on his family for financial support.

“My mental health has never been as bad as it has been over the last few months since my mid-teens,” he says. “Losing my place in something that I really enjoyed doing and the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty has made me struggle with deep moods of depression and boredom. Most days, I don’t want to do anything or get up from my bed and I find it hard to motivate myself with nothing to do.”

Christie is not alone in being so worried. The debt

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Trump moves on China apps may create new internet ‘firewall’

A ban by President Donald Trump’s administration on Chinese mobile apps such as TikTok and WeChat risks fragmenting an already fragile global internet and creating an American version of China’s “Great Firewall.”

Fears about the global internet ecosystem intensified this week with Trump’s executive orders banning the popular video app TikTok and Chinese social network WeChat, following a US government directive to prohibit the use of other “untrusted” applications and services from China.

The restrictions announced on the basis of what Trump called national security threats move further away from the long-promoted American ideal of a global, open internet and could invite other countries to follow suit, analysts said.

“It’s really an attempt to fragment the internet and the global information society along US and Chinese lines, and shut China out of the information economy,” said Milton Mueller, a Georgia Tech University professor and founder of the Internet Governance Project.

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L.A. Times Festival Of Books Going Digital For Fall Event, Casting Wary Eye At Spring 2021

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, canceled from its usual spring slot by the pandemic, is going virtual for a fall event.

Originally set for April and then bumped to an anticipated Oct. 3-4 run, the event now will be held online instead of at the University of Southern California campus.

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The country’s largest book festival is now scheduled to start Oct. 18. It will continue over four weeks rather than its traditional two days, but will still have author panels, readings and other events.

The full programming schedule will be announced in mid-September.

“Over the years, festival-goers have listened to Eric Carle read about a ravenous caterpillar; the late Congressman John Lewis discuss his lifelong work for racial equality; Julie Andrews reminisce about the Swiss Alps; Luis J. Rodriguez wax poetic about life in Los Angeles; Viet Thanh Nguyen expound on reclaiming historical narratives; Padma

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As leaders in Lebanon deflect responsibility for explosion, skepticism grows

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun meet Thursday. Macron visited Beirut to offer French support to Lebanon after the deadly port blast. <span class="copyright">(Thibault Camus / Pool report via Associated Press)</span>
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun meet Thursday. Macron visited Beirut to offer French support to Lebanon after the deadly port blast. (Thibault Camus / Pool report via Associated Press)

Following Tuesday’s deadly port explosion in Beirut, Lebanese officials face increasing ire from the public and a skeptical international community that has, nevertheless, promised to provide humanitarian aid to help the devastated city get back on its feet.

While both Lebanese citizens and foreign leaders have pushed for an overhaul in the governance of the small Mediterranean country that had already been in the throes of a major economic crisis before the explosion, Lebanese leaders appeared to be digging in their heels.

Beirut residents, who had already been protesting government corruption and inertia and failing public services since October, were enraged when it turned out that Tuesday’s blast had been caused by a stockpile of ammonium

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L.A. Times Festival of Books going virtual as community-wide gathering

Linda Arkin, 75, of Valencia, looks over the Festival of Books section of the Los Angeles Times on April 21, 2018. <span class="copyright">(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Linda Arkin, 75, of Valencia, looks over the Festival of Books section of the Los Angeles Times on April 21, 2018. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is opening a virtual chapter this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After being postponed from April to October, the 25th Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas will take place online instead of being held on the University of Southern California campus, The Times announced Friday.

The marquee event, a partnership between The Times and USC, will be reimagined as a virtual community-wide gathering.

The e-festival will still celebrate storytelling when it launches Oct. 18. It will continue over four weeks rather than two days. The Times will host author panels, readings and other events during that time.

The full programming schedule will be announced in mid-September.

“Over the years, festival-goers have listened to Eric Carle read

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