Top Trump officials seen not wearing masks or social distancing at White House Supreme Court announcement
From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi and Kate Bennett
Many of the guests for US President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nomination announcement arrived at Saturday's event with masks on, but as the Rose Garden event got underway, masks were virtually non-existent.
Some of the Trump administration's top health officials, as well as other attendees, were seen not wearing masks or social distancing at the highest-profile event at the White House since the Republican National Convention in August.
Seats for guests in the White House Rose Garden at the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett also did not appear spaced apart the recommended six feet, CNN reporters observed, as US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 200,000.
Alex Azar, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, put on a mask at one point during Trump's speech announcing the President is nominating Barrett as the nominee.
But as he left the ceremony, the nation's top health official fist-bumped without a mask on — going against the health recommendations he has espoused during the pandemic. Azar has repeatedly encouraged Americans to wear a facial covering and to practice social distancing.
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White House has pivoted away from daily Coronavirus Task Force meetings, says Fauci
From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas
The Trump administration has pivoted away from receiving daily guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force to focus more heavily on the economy, US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
“The way things have evolved at the White House is that there has been a pivot away from the reliance on a daily type of a taskforce discussion -- policy making, policy implementation -- more towards how we're going to get this country open again, economically,” Fauci told AIDS activist Peter Staley on Friday during an Instagram Live.
He added that the Task Force has a good level of interaction with the Vice President.
“Obviously it's clear that the Task Force does not meet as often as we used to. We used to meet at one point, 7 days a week, then five days a week. We're meeting now on an average of one and at the most two times a week,” Fauci said.
Israel sees another highest 24-hour increase in Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Oren Liebermann
Israel once again shattered its highest number of daily coronavirus cases, reaching 8,315 new cases in 24 hours on Friday, according to data from the country's health ministry.
The number of patients in serious condition climbed to 728 while the number of patients on ventilators hit 200.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,441 Israeli citizens have died as a result of the coronavirus out of a total of 227,100 reported cases.
The previous high was set one day earlier, when the final update for new cases on Thursday was 8,178.
The new record comes on the day Israel imposed a series of tighter restrictions on the public during the country’s second general lockdown, including limitations on workplaces and prayer gatherings.
Notably, restrictions on public protests were not passed by the Knesset because of disagreements within the coalition, allowing a large protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to proceed in Jerusalem on Saturday night.
US' New Jersey reports its highest daily increase in new Covid-19 cases since June
From CNN's Laura Ly
New Jersey reported 760 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, marking the highest daily case count for the US state since June 4, when 864 cases were reported, according to the state’s Covid-19 data dashboard.
Almost a third of the new cases were in Ocean County, which includes part of the Jersey Shore, state data showed.
New Jersey has now reported at least 202,850 total cases and at least 14,312 deaths during the pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday.
Meanwhile, in nearby New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced there were 1,005 additional cases of Covid-19 across the state. That is a slight uptick from the 908 cases reported Friday, Cuomo said.
1,700 students told to self-isolate for 2 weeks at UK university after 127 Covid cases are confirmed
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy
About 1,700 students have been told to self-isolate at Manchester Metropolitan University in northern England or risk facing “disciplinary action,” after 127 Covid-19 cases were confirmed on campus, according to the university and local authorities.
Students living in two main dorms were asked via email on Friday night to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
A statement from Manchester City Council on Friday said a joint decision had been taken along with the university and Public Health England to “implement a local lockdown for student accommodation at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls” in a bid to “stop the transmission of the virus among students and prevent it getting into the wider community.”
In a press release, city councillor Bev Craig acknowledged that the lockdown would “be difficult for all of the young people involved,” saying that the city council would be working with public services to “make sure that any of the students affected get the support they need.”
The university tweeted that it was working with local health authorities to help the students in the two dorms concerned. "If you are not directly affected, you MUST NOT try to visit friends who live in these halls," it added.
The move comes after students in Scotland were banned Friday from visiting pubs, restaurants and cafes this weekend, as several universities across the country report major outbreaks of infections.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that although Scotland “will see campus cases continue to rise in the days to come” these measures “can help stem that flow.”