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Alabama coach Nick Saban cleared to be at today’s game after third negative Covid-19 test



A medical worker takes a nasal swab sample from a student to test for Covid-19 at a pop up testing site in New York on October 8.
A medical worker takes a nasal swab sample from a student to test for Covid-19 at a pop up testing site in New York on October 8. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

New York state will employ a “micro-cluster” strategy to combat Covid-19 during the fall months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Saturday.

Cuomo acknowledged that the state will likely see an increase in the transmission rate in the coming months due to schools reopening and cooler weather driving people indoors. Additionally, increased rates throughout the country will continue to affect New York, because many people have continued to travel to New York, Cuomo said. 

The “micro-cluster” strategy will use enhanced data that the state has been able to collect through increased testing and will enable state authorities to fight Covid-19 on a “block by block” level, rather than on a larger state, region, or county level. 

Cuomo said the state has now been able to collect testing data that is so specific that they are not permitted to show it because it would violate privacy laws. However, the data will allow the state to target Covid-19 clusters to the block(s) where it is originating, and therefore allow for targeted mitigation and enforcement efforts, he said. 

By fighting “micro-clusters” at the block level, rather than at a larger state or county level, mitigation efforts will cause less disruption to other areas with low transmission rates, Cuomo said.

When a “micro-cluster” is identified, the state will ramp up testing, mitigation, and social distancing enforcement in those specific areas, Cuomo said, adding that this approach would continue even after a vaccine becomes available.


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US election concerns, record virus cases push stocks down



Investors are concerned that a contested US election result could lead to volatile prices in stocks and other assets.

Asian stocks slipped on Tuesday as investors adjusted risk exposure heading into the United States election and as a deadline for Washington to pass an economic stimulus bill approached while Europe reported record daily coronavirus infections.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.11 percent lower after US stocks ended Monday’s session in the red. Australian and Japanese stock indices also dipped while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was 0.09 percent lower.

Investors globally are expressing concerns that the outcome of the November 3 US presidential election could be contested, leaving the world’s biggest economy in political limbo as it struggles to escape the pandemic and revive growth.

“Such an event would very likely upset global markets considerably until the US reaches an accepted resolution,” said American Century Co-chief Investment Officer Keith Creveling.

‘Wild West territory’

Chris Weston, the head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone, said that while there were worries about the US stimulus package, recent declines were more likely due to investors taking precautionary positions ahead of the election.

“Do you really want to hold those exposures into what could be a volatility event?” Weston said. “We’re getting into the Wild West territory where it becomes more whippy.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped by 0.34 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index bucked the regional trend, rising by 0.16 percent.

Investors await key earnings results later in the week for companies including Netflix Inc and Tesla Inc.

Debate outcome

They were also waiting to see if the final debate between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Thursday shifts the trajectory of the election.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.44 percent, the S&P 500 was 1.63 percent lower and the Nasdaq Composite settled down 1.65 percent.

European shares closed lower as surging COVID-19 cases raised investor concerns. Parts of the United Kingdom were put into lockdown and France imposed curfews.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the US last week rose 13 percent to more than 393,000, approaching levels last seen during a northern summer peak, according to figures compiled by the Reuters news agency.

In contrast to equity markets, currency investors were less pessimistic about the prospect of a stimulus breakthrough with the safe-haven dollar edging slightly lower amid expectations that US legislators might still agree on a fiscal stimulus package at the 11th hour.

US dollar moves, however, were modest with the dollar index 0.015 percent lower on Tuesday. The dollar rose 0.03 percent against the yen to 105.46 while the euro was up 0.03 percent to $1.1772.

The Australian dollar fell 0.2 percent versus the greenback at $0.7045, hurt by expectations that the central bank would soon cut rates and expand its massive bond buying campaign to lower borrowing costs.

In oil markets, US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 0.3 percent to $40.69 per barrel while Brent crude futures dipped 0.6 percent to $42.36 per barrel.


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Covid-19 hospitalizations in Colorado are now the highest they’ve been since May



Long-term heart damage is likely in some survivors of Covid-19, a team of doctors reported Monday.

The doctors found that Covid-19 dysregulates the way the blood clots, and damages the lungs and their ability to process fresh oxygen into the blood, they wrote in a review for the American College of Cardiology.

Patients who have had to undergo ventilation — and the medicated sedation that goes along with that — are most in danger, wrote Dr. Sean Pinney of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and his colleagues.

The doctors noted that about a third of survivors of the closely-related severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus in 2003-2004 had persistently abnormal lung function a year after illness, with lower exercise capacity — and Covid-19 appears to damage the heart even more.

A second study noted a kind of damage to the heart known as myocardial injury in about a quarter of coronavirus patients.

A third study in the same journal noted that patients with excess body fat, uncontrolled blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol face much higher risks of complications from coronavirus. Many Americans have all four problems.


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UK to start rapid COVID-19 tests at Heathrow on Tuesday: Report



Airlines argue pre-departure virus tests crucial to get people travelling safely again.

Passengers travelling to Hong Kong and Italy from Britain’s Heathrow Airport will undergo a one-hour coronavirus test before flying out of the United Kingdom under plans to open up international travel, The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Rapid tests will be introduced from Tuesday at Heathrow Airport in London to allow travellers to enter countries where a negative COVID-19 test result is needed to avoid a lengthy quarantine, the newspaper said.

Passengers are required to book a test in advance at a cost of 80 British pounds ($103), the report added.

Aviation services firms Collinson and Swissport have set up rapid-testing facilities for outbound passengers at Heathrow, the newspaper said.

The testing facilities will initially be open for four weeks and could be extended if there is sufficient demand from passengers, the report added.

Heathrow, Collinson and Swissport did not immediately respond to the Reuters news agency’s requests for comment early on Tuesday.

Airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific are among the first to be offering the facility to passengers using Heathrow’s Terminals 2 and 5.

More than 40 million people around the world have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus and there has been a wave of new cases in Europe. Countries like Hong Kong have kept the virus in check with strict border controls and quarantines.


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