Progress as of June 18 in Meeting the Criteria to Move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan – Evanston RoundTable

The Restore Illinois plan contains three criteria relating to the trend in hospitalizations, the surge capacity of hospitals, and the positivity rate of testing that must be met for a region of the State to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4. The plan also has an internal goal relating to contact tracing. An article explaining the criteria is available here.

This article provides data as of June 18 showing how the Northeast Region is doing in terms of meeting the mandatory criteria, and it also provides data showing the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths. The earliest data any region can move to phase 4 is on June 26.

New COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Surge Capacity

While the Restore Illinois criteria focus on the number of hospitalizations, rather than new COVID-19 cases, the number of new cases is still important, because about 30% of the people who test positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of Illinois Department of Public Health. In addition, people may be infectious even if they are not hospitalized.*

The data below show new COVID-19 cases in Evanston, Cook County, and Illinois, and the decline in hospitalizations in the Northeast Region.

New COVID-19 Cases

New cases and deaths of Evanstonians: There were 2 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, bringing the total to 763 cases. Of those, 31 are active.

Over the last seven days, the City reported an average of 2.0 new COVID-19 cases per day. For the seven days prior, there was an average of 3.0 new cases per day. The trend is shown in the above chart.

No Evanston resident has lost their life due to COVID-19 in the last 72 hours. The total number of Evanstonians who have died due to the virus is 66.

As of June 11, 45 residents of long-term care facilities in Evanston died of COVID-19. Thus, more than two-thirds of the Evanstonians who have died due to COVID were residents of long-term care facilities.

New Cases and deaths in Cook County and Illinois: There were 320 new cases of COVID-19 in Cook County in the last 24 hours, and 593 in the State. While State officials have been concerned about a potential surge of cases due to the mass protests and gatherings following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, a surge has not yet occurred.

Between June 14 and June 18, the average number of new COVID-19 cases per day in Cook County was 320, and in the State, it was 581. The trend is shown in the smaller chart above.

The number of deaths in Illinois due to COVID-19 increased by 65 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Illinois to 6,537.

Hospital Admissions and Surge Capacity in the Northeast Region

Two metrics being used to determine if a region may move to Phase 4 are that there be no overall increase in hospital admissions for 28 days and that hospitals in the region have an unused bed capacity of at least 14%.

IDPH reports that in the last 28 days hospitalizations in the Northeast Region declined by 85%. IDPH does not report the number of hospitalizations in the Region, but there is a downward trend.

The Northeast Region has available 34% of its medical/surgical beds, 42% of its ICU beds, and 72% of its ventilators. This easily meets the minimum capacity of 14%.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 3,336 on May 29 (the date the State moved to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan). As of midnight on June 17, the number had declined to 1,878. The second chart in the chart box shows the trend in hospitalizations since May 29.

Adequacy of Testing

Widespread testing is essential to controlling the spread of the COVID-9 virus and to open an economy safely.

Test-Positive Rate

One measure used by researchers to assess whether the amount of testing is adequate is to look at the percent of people who test positive on COVID-19 tests. The World Health Organization said on May 15 that the test-positive rate should be below 5% before opening an economy. A higher test-positive rate reflects that there is an inadequate amount of testing. **

In the Restore Illinois plan, one criterion to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 is that a region have a test-positive rate below 20%. In determining whether this criterion is met, IDPH says it will use a seven-day rolling average.

IDPH reported that the test-positive rate for the Northeast Region as of June 18 was 6%, down 5 percentage points in the last 14 days.

While the Northeast Region meets the criterion of the Restore Illinois Plan, it is just slightly above the rate recommended by WHO.

On a Statewide basis, the test positivity rate on June 18 was 2.3%. The average for the last five days was 2.5%.

The Number of Tests in Illinois

In a May 7 study, the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) estimated that Illinois needed to be administering 64,167 tests a day in order to safely open the economy. On the same day, Gov. Pritzker said, I think were going to need many more tests than that.***

While the State has almost quadrupled the number of tests it has been administering since the beginning of April, the average number of tests per day between June 14 and June 18 is 22,997 still far short of the target of 64,167 set by HGHI.

On June 18, there were 25,504 tests.

The IDPH recommends that those who have participated in a recent mass gathering, such as a march or rally, get tested 5 to 7 days after the event, or immediately if symptoms develop.

Contact Tracing

Widespread contact tracing is also essential to controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to open an economy safely.

In its criteria to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4, the Restore Illinois plan provides with respect to this criterion: Begin contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis for more than 90% of cases in region.

While both Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike say that contact tracing is essential to open an economy safely, it appears that the regions will not be required to meet this criterion to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4. Dr. Ezike said it is an internal goal.

IDPH is not monitoring this criterion for any region.

On a Statewide basis, Gov. Pritzker said on May 29 that contact tracing is only being done on about 30% of the known cases, far short of the 90% goal. IDPH has not provided more recent data.

Cook County recently received about $41 million in grant funding from IDPH to rapidly scale-up its COVID-19 contact tracing program in suburban Cook County over the next three to six months.

Where to Get Covid- 19Tests

The City of Evanstons Health and Human Services Department is partnering with AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital to offer two COVID-19 health screening and testing events to Evanston residents who may not otherwise have access to testing or online virtual health visits.

Community testing will be offered at the James Park Field House parking lot, located on Mulford Street west of Dodge Avenue and the Levy Senior Center, on the following days while supplies last:

Testing will be offered in a drive-through format; however, walk-ins will also be accepted.Testing is free, and no appointment is needed to participate. A doctor will be on site to answer questions, and Spanish-speaking team members will be available to assist, as needed.

Participants in need will be provided with a face covering upon arrival, and should maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from non-family members at the event.

Test results are expected to be available within four days of testing. AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital will follow up with all who are tested to provide results, whether positive or negative, and additional education and instructions, as needed.

In addition to these community testing events, residents can access free testing at Statecommunity-based testing sites. Testing may also be provided through a resident's primary healthcare provider.

For more information about COVID-19, please visitcityofevanston.org/covid19or call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 311 in Evanston.



* IDPH reports only the number of COVID-19 cases which have been confirmed through a test. The number does not include people who are infected, but who have not been tested, which may include people who are asymptomatic or who have minor symptoms.

On May 21, the Imperial College, London, published Report 23: State-level tracking of COVID-19 in the United States on May 21, 2020. One part of the study estimates the number of infectious individuals in every state in the U.S., including Illinois, as of May 17, which includes people who have not been tested for COVID-19 and who may be asymptomatic. As of May 17, the report estimates that there were 176,000 infectious individuals in Illinois, with a potential range of a low of 54,000 to a high of 395,000.

The report says, Despite new infections being in a steep decline in the United States, the number of people still infectious, and therefore able to sustain onward transmission, can still be large. This discrepancy underscores the importance of testing and case based isolation as a means to control transmission.

Link: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/mrc-gida/2020-05-21-COVID19-Report-23.pdf

** On May 26, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said on its website that the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments [on May 15] that before reopening,rates of positivity in testing (i.e., out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.

Johns Hopkins explains, The rate of positivity is an important indicator, because it can provide insights into whether a community is conducting enough testing to find cases. If a communitys positivity is high, it suggests that that community may largely be testing the sickest patients and possibly missing milder or asymptomatic cases. A lower positivity may indicate that a community is including in its testing patients with milder or no symptoms. Link: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/testing-positivity

***Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, the Faculty Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), and two colleagues conclude in a May 7 report, HGHI and NPR publish new state testing targets that, on a nationwide basis, 900,000 tests for COVID-19 are needed each day to open the economy. They also provide estimates of the tests each state should be ready to provide by May 15. For Illinois, they say that 64,167 tests a day are needed. Link to HGHIs report: https://globalepidemics.org/2020/05/07/hghi-projected-tests-needed-may15/

And link to accompanying article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/07/851610771/u-s-coronavirus-testing-still-falls-short-hows-your-state-doing

A report, Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience, published by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, concludes that on a nationwide basis the nation needs to be doing 5 million tests per day by early June to deliver a safe social reopening. Link: https://ethics.harvard.edu/files/center-for-ethics/files/roadmaptopandemicresilience_updated_4.20.20_0.pdf

Continued here:

Progress as of June 18 in Meeting the Criteria to Move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan - Evanston RoundTable

Coronavirus | Punjab has shown good progress in containing the COVID-19 virus spread: Health Ministry – The Hindu

The Health Ministry on Monday said Punjab has shown good progress in containing the COVID-19 virus spread by following a multi-pronged strategy of focusing on high risk/vulnerable population from containment zones and adding to its testing capacity.

Coronavirus, June 22 updates | State Helpline numbers for COVID-19

To reduce mortality, vulnerable population groups including those above 60, those having cardiac or renal disease, hypertension, diabetes or with immune-compromised conditions etc. are line listed. Such persons are offered the facility of government quarantine outside their containment zone till their area comes out of containment, the Ministry noted.

It said Punjab has also implemented a stringent containment strategy where the zones are clearly delineated as a street or two adjoining streets, a Mohalla or a residential society.

Full coverage: Lockdown displaces lakhs of migrants

It has also ramped up the testing capacity: it is conducting about 8000 tests/day. Mobile testing vans are being used to boost testing. While the number was 71 tests/million on April 10, 2020, it has significantly been ramped up to 5,953 tests/million. With this, Punjab has recorded more than 83 times increase in testing.

To restrict the spread of the virus, it has now imposed restrictions on weekends and holidays and is ensuring strict enforcement of all protocols through fines.

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Exterior Progress Continues on 1059 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side – New York YIMBY

Exterior work is progressing steadily at 1059 Third Avenue, a 481-foot-tall mixed-use tower on Manhattans Upper East Side.Designed byManuel Glas Architectsand developed byReal Estate InverladandThird Palm Capital, the slender 30-story superstructure is located between 62nd Street and 63rd Street and will yield a total of 127,000 square feet of newly built space. Inside will be 38 condominiums spread across 103,900 square feet, averaging around 2,740 square feet apiece.

Recent photos from Tectonic show the subtle changes to the curtain wall since YIMBYs lastupdate back in February. Much of the towers dark gray intermittent walls continue to stand exposed between the fenestration, but this temporary surface will eventually be covered with a large structural assembly to which the final exterior panels will be attached. This framework is most readily apparent on the lower portion of the northern elevation.

1059 Third Avenue. Photo by Tectonic

The final stories of 1059 Third Avenue incorporate a darker envelope than the rest of the building, and it will be interesting to see how this visually merges with the rest of the design. The main rendering shows a tight weave of intersecting mullions between the floor-to-ceiling windows, alongside what looks like vertical walls of stone slab and cut-out corner windows. Setbacks at the midpoint and below the roof parapet appear to make way for private landscaped terraces.

1059 Third Avenue. Photo by Tectonic

1059 Third Avenue. Photo by Tectonic

The first few levels above the ground floor are now fully clad in their glass curtain wall, which looks to have a light gray opaque finish.

1059 Third Avenue. Photo by Tectonic

1059 Third Avenue. Photo by Tectonic

1059 Third Avenue. Photo by Tectonic

The project is also set to contain 7,100 square feet of office space on the second floor, a hospital facility measuring around 9,700 square feet on the third and fourth floors, and amenities such as a fitness center, a spa, and a residential lounge.

A formal completion date for 1059 Third Avenue has not been announced, but it looks like sometime in 2021 is plausible.

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Exterior Progress Continues on 1059 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side - New York YIMBY

How will India-China relations progress after the Galwan Valley incident | The Hindu In Focus podcast – The Hindu

The June 15 clash in Galwan Valley, which claimed 20 Indian soldiers in the worst violence since 1967, has brought India-China relations into uncharted waters. Where do the two countries go from here? Has there been a collapse of the mechanisms carefully built to keep the peace on the border? What is the way forward for disengagement? How will India's China policy change after the Galwan tussle?

Guest: Gautam Bambawale, former Indian Ambassador to China and Pakistan.

Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu.

Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in

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How will India-China relations progress after the Galwan Valley incident | The Hindu In Focus podcast - The Hindu

The Ban on Commercial Off the Shelf Drones: Progress at the DoD – DroneLife

The U.S. Department of Defense has come out against the use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) drones, instituting a ban on COTS Unmnanned Aircraft in 2018. But after nearly a year of coordination, collaboration, and development, two North Dakota drone solutions companies are making progress in working with the DoD:Botlink and InnoVets Aerospace flew over a DOD facility using a COTS Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to collect imagery last week.

Botlink and InnoVets are two of North Dakotas drone industry success stories. North Dakota offers a tremendous range of both assets and access to drone companies working out of the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. Grand Sky offers a unique testing environment, including shared use of the runway at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. InnoVets is a 100% veteran owned drone services and consulting company: Botlink is an innovative drone software and hardware developer.

Operating from Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park, InnoVets and Botlink operated two UASs to collect updated aerial imagery of the park, says a joint press release. This marks the first time this imagery was allowed to be updated since the ban on small COTS UASs went into effect.

The ban on small COTS drones was the result of ongoing security concerns about technology manufactured in listed countries, like China home of not only the worlds largest drone manufacturer, DJI, but much of the worlds technology manufacturing in general. The ban has resulted in something of a gap in the fleet of the D0D and other government departments. Many U.S. manufactured industrial or military use UAS are too large and too expensive to perform routine tasks and image gathering more appropriate to a smaller, less expensive tool.

Botlink and InnoVets worked with local Air Force leadership to go through the process of obtaining a waiver to the ban.This is a team effort. DoD has security concerns regarding the small COTS UAS market, and our goal is to work with our military partners to promote safe and secure operations through the combination of operational protocols and innovative U.S. technology manufacturers stated Mike Whitted, CEO of InnoVets Aerospace.

The team operated drones designed, built and tested by the Botlink team in Fargo. Botlink has a long history of taking on the biggest challenges, and creating world-class technology in the UAS market, said Terri Zimmerman, Botlink CEO, This is another example of how Botlink is laying the foundation for the UAS industry.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.For drone industry consulting or writing,Email Miriam.


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The Ban on Commercial Off the Shelf Drones: Progress at the DoD - DroneLife

Heavily armed police add to tensions and inhibit progress, advocates say – MLive.com

Rasheed Jeffries, who participated in several recent police brutality demonstrations in Michigan, saw firsthand the confrontations between protesters and officers equipped with riot gear.

Coming with tanks and things does not deescalate, but escalates emotions, Jeffries said. "They are triggering things.

While there were no reports of actual tanks being used by police, The Detroit-area man says the sight of armored vehicles and the heavily armed police lines may have instigated the vandalism seen in some cities, rather than preventing it.

In the wake of George Floyds death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, there have been calls to defund police departments across the nation and rebuild public safety services from the ground up.

Related: What defund the police means to advocates in Michigan

As advocates rally in large numbers to protest police brutality and demand change, they are often met by lines of police officers and, in some cases, Michigan National Guard troops, dressed in riot gear and armed with large batons, pepper spray and tear gas.

While many police officials view the equipment as essential tools needed to keep the peace, others are arguing just the opposite -- that militarized police may escalate confrontations between protesters and police.

Parris McMurray, of Grand Rapids, believes wholesale defunding of police departments is not the best move. However, he is confident that demilitarizing would help reduce tensions between community members and police.

Why are we using those funds to militarize it? McMurray asked. We need them to be able to understand how to serve black people. Funding should go toward training, mentality and psychology for their jobs and to put different regulations in place to hold them accountable.

McMurray, 33, participated in recent protests in Grand Rapids, and said when police confront protesters with the military-style gear and weapons, it halts an important conversation that protesters are trying to start.

Like many other protesters that have marched and demonstrated in Michigan and across the nation, McMurray is advocating for more closely monitored police departments with better policies in place.

The militarys whole function is to protect this country by shooting and killing the enemy, he said. They are not for domestic.

Jeffries, 48, serves as a minister at Embassy Covenant Church in Walled Lake, near Detroit, and was part of several recent protests, including demonstrations held in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Southfield, Novi and elsewhere in Michigan. Though Jeffries also voiced opposition to totally defunding the police, he questions the seemingly blurred line between military tactics and equipment and those of police.

Each protest Jeffries attended was peaceful. Though he commends police for protecting protesters despite being the target of their ire, the minister still questions the impact of the equipment and tactics being employed during demonstrations in places like Detroit.

At a protest, not a riot, the end goal of the protesters is that their voices be heard, Jeffries said. There should be a sense of open ears and providing a platform for listening."

Though he commends police for protecting protesters despite being the target of their ire, Jeffries still questions the impact of the equipment and tactics being employed during demonstrations in places like Detroit.

Related: Detroit George Floyd police brutality protest turns violent as police fire tear gas, rubber bullets

Though police agencies have long operated under a paramilitary structure, the acquisition of surplus military equipment by departments in Michigan and nationwide is a relatively newer development.

Since about 1990, police have been able to acquire surplus items from the federal government through the 1033 Program at no cost to the local departments. But it was not until late 2014 that the Pentagon began releasing detailed information about the surplus items going to police agencies across the nation.

Between 1997 to 2014, the Department of Defense transferred $4.3 billion in military equipment to local law agencies, according to a report from PBS News Hour. A study on the topic, published in 2018 in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, also found that the image alone of militarized units being used by local police can affect public confidence in departments and raise concerns about their funding.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others have also raised concerns in the past about police using surplus military-style and SWAT vehicles for seemingly routine operations.

Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth said demilitarization is not as easy as it sounds, since police departments are paramilitary structures by design.

We are not military, but the officers take orders, said Ruth, who also questioned potential consequences of calls to defund police.

You got to have police, he said. "You got to have someone there when someone is getting shot at or robbed. When somebody kills someone, you got to have someone there to find the murderer.

The city chiefs view that demilitarizing police is easier said than done is shared by Buena Vista Township Police Chief Reginald Williams II. Williams previously served as a police officer under Ruth in Saginaw, and has worked for more than 21 years in law enforcement.

I can understand why people feel the way they do, but they have to understand that we are a paramilitary entity, Williams said. We are going to have similar equipment. But that doesnt mean that we operate like them.

Protests have taken place in communities across the nation in recent weeks, in reaction to George Floyds death in Minneapolis. Some community activists are calling for more control of police protocols, and even the wholesale defunding of departments. Many see the military-style equipment as an issue as well.

Daja Johnson, 24, who lives in Kalamazoo, said she could not believe what she witnessed during a recent protest in her hometown.

Crowds of people were laying flat in front of officers and they (officers) just doused them with tear gas, Johnson said. They didnt pose no threat. It was wild.

Johnson took up the microphone to share some of her thoughts as a spoken word performance during a Black Lives Mater vigil in Battle Creek.

Some who witnessed the June 1 protests in Kalamazoo have suggested that when police arrested a protester on unrelated felony drug warrants during that evenings demonstration it may have instigated the chaotic and destructive night that followed.

Related: Arrest of protester ignited unrest Monday night in Kalamazoo, some say

There, the city recently announced plans to hire an outsider investigator to scrutinize the police response to protests, including officers use of tear gas.

Elsewhere, cities are discussing police policies and other changes. In Grand Rapids, city officials plan to add an explicit ban on chokeholds to an existing use of force policy and, in Ann Arbor, city officials are considering a comprehensive review of the current system as well as instituting better citizen oversight.

Johnson said that she is not in favor of defunding police departments. Rather, she is in favor of them being held more accountable when interacting with the public.

I believe we should have police departments, Johnson said, But I feel like they are here to serve and protect us. Its like they are not serving us. They are doing more harm. I feel like some of the choices that are being made are not some of the best choices. They should be here for us and not against us.

Paramilitary organizations like police agencies follow a chain of command similar to the military. Like many other departments across the state, both Saginaw and Buena Vista have military-style vehicles, like bullet-proof Humvees, and say they are used for a variety of special situations.

We use the armored vehicles in those situations, Ruth said, referring to hostage situations and standoffs, but said it can serve other purposes as well.

It is a rescue vehicle, he said. "We utilized it several times in shooting situations.

The Oakland County Sheriffs department has been one of the biggest recipients of gear through the 1033 program in Michigan, getting an armored personnel carrier, 250 pairs of night-vision goggles, six sets of body armor and six utility trucks. Between 1999 and 2015, it had received more than 7,000 items with an original value totaling nearly $4.8 million, according to a quarterly report from the Defense Logistics Agency program.

The Michigan State Police got a $3.1 million airplane in 2013. The Allegan County Sheriffs Department picked up a mine-resistant vehicle from a Detroit military office in late 2013, then deputies drove it to Allegan. In 2014, the Tuscola County Sheriffs Department obtained a Humvee through the program.

Related: Michigan police bulk up with military surplus - armored trucks, grenade launchers

In West Michigan, the most expensive and noticeable items snagged by police agencies are Humvees and the more hulking mine-resistant ambush protected, or MRAP, vehicles.

Muskegon Countys sheriff said in 2014 that MRAP vehicles are considered just another tool for the sheriffs office to use during incidents of barricaded gunmen or dangerous, volatile situations where it isnt safe for officers to approach. Elsewhere on the Lake Michigan shoreline, Holland rolled out a military surplus Desert Storm Humvee as the latest addition to its fleet in 2013.

Saginaws Chief Ruth said the vehicles are just one example of much-needed gear that help police do their jobs.

Three weeks ago, we used our vehicle in the flood, and we rescued 50 people in Saginaw County, Ruth said, referencing recent catastrophic flooding in Midland County that affected nearby counties as well.

For Saginaw, looming in the background of discussions of police brutality is the 2012 fatal shooting of Milton Hall by police.

Hall was a mentally ill man with a knife who was shot 11 times by officers and killed on July 1, 2012. Police officers surrounded Hall while wearing tactical gear and using military-style weapons. The shooting sparked outcry from the community.

The department has seen an overhaul of its policies and culture in the eight years since, said Ruth, who has been an officer in Saginaw for 26 years and the citys police chief for six years.

We did a total policy review, and we changed just about every policy within the department to make it more user-friendly within the community, Ruth said. Training is the most important thing that we can do in a police department. We conducted cultural diversity training, cultural competency training; we even trained on Bridges Out of Poverty.

More on MLive:

Armored surplus military vehicle now part of Muskegon County Sheriffs Office arsenal

Humvee adds brawn to Holland police tactical teams training

Military vehicle has new home at Tuscola County Sheriffs Department

Original post:

Heavily armed police add to tensions and inhibit progress, advocates say - MLive.com

Utah AD Mark Harlan pleased with the progress being made to bring college sports back – Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY Utah athletics director Mark Harlan said he is pleased with the progress announced by the NCAA on Wednesday. Theres more light at the end of the tunnel regarding the return of sports in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The path is now understood for what an on-time start to the football season will look like and some definition around summer access for football and mens and womens basketball, Harlan said. This is an important step and an exciting development for our student-athletes and coaches. We have our first group beginning voluntary workouts this week, with more on track to join them the next two weeks in Phase I.

Its a positive step and we will continue to work diligently to provide the safest environment possible for our student-athletes, he added.

The Utes, who were cleared to begin voluntary workouts on Monday, are scheduled to open the football season Thursday, Sept. 3 at Rice-Eccles Stadium against BYU. As such, theyll be allowed to begin up to eight hours of conditioning, film review and weight training from July 11 to July 21.

Beginning July 22 through Aug. 4, Utah can conduct up to 20 hours per week and no more than four hours per day of countable athletically related activities. The list includes a maximum of eight hours for conditioning and weight training, a maximum of six hours for walk-throughs with use of a football and a maximum of six hours for meetings (film review, one-on-one, position and/or team gatherings).

Players are requited to get at least two days off during the 14-day stretch. No adjustments were made to the 29-day preseason practice period that follows.

In other action, the NCAA council also approved a summer plan for mens and womens basketball opting to extend voluntary workouts and up to eight hours of virtual nonphysical activities through July 19. Required summer activities may get started the next day.

Continued here:

Utah AD Mark Harlan pleased with the progress being made to bring college sports back - Deseret News

Miami Dolphins offensive line will be a work in progress – PhinPhanatic

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 12: Austin Jackson #73 of the USC Trojans blocks during a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 12, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated USC 30-27. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Is this the end of the Miami Dolphins constant merry-go-round of offensive lineman. A turnstile that has continued to rotate for the better part of a decade? The last time that the Dolphins had a good offensive line was when Richie Incognito was the starting guard, Mike Pouncey was the starting center, and Jonathan Martin was the starting right tackle. Thanks Martin!

Since then, the Dolphins brass has viewed the line as something they could get by with and not something they needed to fix. It was patchworked. A piece here then a removal there and another mid-round draft pick that wouldnt pan out. These were the Jamal Douglas, Billy Turner, and Dallas Thomas types. And then there was the horrible line coaching that resulted in turnover at that level as well.

Now, we see that the Dolphins have put an emphasis on fixing the problems that have plagued the team but they need to be coached because there are questions. These guys can be great or simply another in a long line of players walking through that revolving door.

Entering the 2020 off-season, the Dolphins needed to make the line a priority. Last year was more of the same. In free agency, they added Ereck Flowers, a former first-round pick who was drafted to play tackle but performed better as a guard. The Dolphins are hoping he can continue that improvement.

The team invested a first-round pick in Austin Jackson this year but he is not a walk-on ready NFL tackle. He will need to develop a little more and while it was a mild reach at 18 overall, he was viewed as the best tackle remaining at that time. In round two, the Dolphins went big again with Robert Hunt. Hunt is a big lineman with a mauler mentality but like Jackson, he needs to develop at the next level and good coaching will bring that out. Brian Flores believes the team can do just that.

The Dolphins were not done with offensive lineman. In round four they drafted another big body lineman, Solomon Kindley who played next to first-round pick Andrew Thomas at Alabama. Thomas was drafted 4th overall and was scouted by the Dolphins. Kindley is another physical football player and it shows a shift in ideas within the Dolphins organization. Miami is looking for physical players. Its why the signed former Patriots center Ted Karras in free agency as well.

Most believe that Miami is ready to improve leaps and bounds over the last few seasons but the reality is all of these players will need to develop but more importantly they will need to learn to play together. The good news is they will get that chance. They are all coming onto the roster at the same time and all share youth on their side.

Read more:

Miami Dolphins offensive line will be a work in progress - PhinPhanatic

Frank Reich makes progress on makeover of Colts’ offense – Indianapolis Colts Blog- ESPN – ESPN

INDIANAPOLIS -- Frank Reichs fingerprints are all over the Indianapolis Colts' moves this offseason.

From the new starting quarterback to the tight end he coached in Philadelphia to the first two players taken in this years NFL draft, the Colts coach has been working to get the players he wants to run to his offense.

The offensive struggles of 2019 couldnt be placed squarely on the shoulders of Reich or even quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Nobody expected quarterback Andrew Luck to retire just two weeks before the start of the regular season. Reich still took the blame for an offense that ranked 30th overall in the NFL in passing last season.

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That hurt, Reich said in February during the NFL combine. Ive always taken pride in having a dynamic passing game. Everywhere that weve been, Im not saying weve been the best in the league, but the teams Ive been on have been pretty dynamic for the most part. You cant always have it all. We made some good strides in the running game. Thats a very important step for our team and where were going and how we get to the next level. I know we can do this other side of it. We just have to figure that out and get better there, and I think the end result will be a good thing.

Thats what accountable coaches do. Reich, who broke into coaching as an offensive assistant after a 14-year career as a quarterback, vowed to correct the problem.

Enter QB Philip Rivers.

Reich and Rivers spent three seasons together with the Chargers. Rivers, despite throwing 20 interceptions last season, isnt timid when it comes to taking shots down the field. That was a weakness of the Colts last season with Brissett at quarterback.

Rivers essentially has been running Reichs offensive system since 2013, when Reich was quarterbacks coach with the Chargers.

Why is that important? Because it's likely there won't be as many workouts and practices this spring and summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Colts would like to have as smooth a transition as possible for Rivers while playing behind one of best offensive lines in the NFL.

As far as Philip is concerned, I havent worked with him for three years -- getting an inside look at his accuracy, at his toughness, physical and mental toughness, at his playmaking ability, not just the three years I was with him, but when you look over the course of his career, Reich recently said on ESPN Radio's Golic and Wingo show. And then when you look at when he has been at his best, and theres been a ton a great football games and great years in his career, is I think back to those days when he had LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) and they were running the ball great. One thing about Philip is, he knows how to create big plays in the play-action game, and on the trend that were on, I just think hes the playmaker and leader that can help take us to the next level.

Then there was the signing of tight end Trey Burton following his release from the Chicago Bears after two seasons. Burton could take the place of Eric Ebron as the team's pass-catching tight end.

Burton is another player familiar with the offense, as he was coached by Reich when the Colts coach was the Eagles' offensive coordinator. Search "Philly Special" on YouTube and youll see Burton throwing a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles in Philadelphias Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots after the 2017 season.

Heading into the draft last weekend, Reich and the Colts had their eyes on USC receiver Michael Pittman Jr. The Colts, in their draft video on the team website, compared the 6-foot-4 Pittman to former receiver Vincent Jackson because of his combination of speed, size and toughness.

T.Y. Hilton, who will turn 31 in November, is still the teams No. 1 receiver, but Pittman has the potential to become their top receiver down the road. He had 101 receptions for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns last season at USC. Ballard said Pittman can win at all three levels. And by that he means the receiver is big, strong to the ball, competes, got better every year in college.

Hes kind of a guy who plays above the rim. He brings an element that we were kind of missing to our wideout room [in 2019], that big-bodied presence, Colts area scout Chris McGaha said. Hes somebody that I never saw, watching in practice, lose a one-on-one rep. I know that might sound crazy, but its true. It speaks to his competitiveness. Wasnt a guy who won a rep and let you know about it. He went about his business.

The addition of Pittman -- selected No. 34 overall -- gives the Colts a player capable of using his strength to go up and get contested passes. He should complement the speedy receivers Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni like to use in crossing routes.

But one thing won't change: Reich still wants to run the damn ball. The Colts proved that when they traded up three spots from No. 44 to select Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

Taylor dominated on the ground last season at Wisconsin, rushing for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns. His 12 career games with at least 200 rushing yards are the most by any player in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

But what about Marlon Mack, who rushed for 1,091 yards last season?

The way Reich looks at it, the more bodies in the backfield, the better. He texted Mack and told him they were going to select Taylor, and Mack told his coach he was ready to roll with it.

I think sometimes you do it by committee, but everybody has their emphasis, Reich said. ... With Jonathan into the mix, I really envision that itll be Jonathan and Marlon really being that one-two punch. When you look at good teams over the years, its a long season. Its a grind, and when you run the ball as much as we run it, its really good to be able to change that up. I think their styles will really complement each other very well. Marlon has that great vision. He can run that outside zone well, he can surge, surge, surge and then he can accelerate in the hole.

"Then you have a guy like Jonathan. He has the size and speed to be able to have good vision, and when he hits it, Jonathan Taylor is an explosive player. That size and 4.3 [40-yard dash] speed -- we want to turn those 10-yard gains into 50- and 60-yard gains. Now both he and Marlon can add that element to our offense.

Go here to read the rest:

Frank Reich makes progress on makeover of Colts' offense - Indianapolis Colts Blog- ESPN - ESPN

3 Ways NJ Is Showing Big Progress In Coronavirus Outbreak – Patch.com

NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking during a Saturday news conference, showed three ways New Jersey is making big progress in the coronavirus crisis as he gets ready to make a decision on schools. Murphy spoke as state and county parks reopened this weekend (you can watch it here, below).

The updates comes as Murphy said on Saturday that he plans to hold a news conference at 12 noon on Monday, and will likely address his decision on schools. Patch will cover it live. "We will give you that guidance on Monday," he said. "We want to get this right." Read more: Gov. Murphy To Make Decision On NJ Schools In Coronavirus Crisis

Murphy also announced 2,912 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, raising the overall total to 123,717. The governor also reported 205 more deaths, raising that "unfathomable" total to 7,742. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here's What You Need To Know

In the coronavirus crisis, Murphy said the trend lines are pointing in the right direction, and he hopes they will eventually lead to a "responsible" opening of New Jersey economy as soon as possible. He has said he hopes for a reopening in June or July.

"We need to keep seeing these lines moving in these directions before we can put New Jersey on the road back and before we are able to responsibly restart our economy, Murphy said. "Public health creates economic health."

Here are three ways New Jersey has made big progress, Murphy said:


Hospitalizations have trended downward, particularly over the last week. The number of hospitalizations have dropped by 1,000 in one week, or about 18 percent, to 5,713.

The number of new hospitalizations dropped to 378 for one day on Saturday, among the lowest nubmers in weeks. Here are two graphics that show the trend lines:

Hospitalizations have dropped particularly in North and Central Jersey, though the same figure has risen a little in South Jersey:

Decline in overall number of cases

After routinely exceeding 3,500 new cases a day and even peaking above 4,000 at times New Jersey's daily case averages fell below 3,000 all week.

"Heat map"

The "heat map" that shows counties and their rate of doubling of new cases has dropped dramatically over the past week.

Nine of New Jersey's counties now see their cases double every 30 days or more. A month ago, cases in those same counties every day.

Those same counties have also improved since a little more than a week ago, when Murphy said New Jersey briefly "backslid" on the heat map. Read more: Gov. Murphy: NJ 'Backslides' In Coronavirus Outbreak

Two maps show the progress between April 24 and May 2. Here is May 2:

Here is April 24:

The heat map "continues to get lighter and lighter as the rate of doubling of cases continues to slow," Murphy said. "We'll be watching these charts to see (what happens) as we reopen our parks."

So far, Murphy said, reports of park behavior on Saturday was "so far, so good."

Murphy also paid tribute to those who died:

This is a developing story. Patch will have more information as it comes in.

Watch Murphy here:

New Jersey Coronavirus Updates: Don't miss local and statewide announcements about novel coronavirus precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

Here's what else you should know:

How It Spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention always recommends taking preventive actions to contain the spread of viruses. This includes:

Read more here:

3 Ways NJ Is Showing Big Progress In Coronavirus Outbreak - Patch.com

Gov. Northam talks testing progress and where Virginia stands – WHSV

RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) Virginia Governor Ralph Northam addressed the commonwealth on Friday for his latest briefing on Virginia's response to COVID-19.

The governor's Friday briefing comes after he announced on Wednesday that elective procedures would resume at medical facilities across Virginia as of May 1 and addressed testing challenges that Virginia has faced up to this point. On Monday, he discussed the situation at meat processing plants and the need for continued pediatrician visits throughout the pandemic.

Northam's blueprint on reopening Virginia established last Friday calls for the commonwealth to see two weeks of a trend showing declining daily case totals before we can enter Phase 1 of the process.

This past Sunday and Monday saw declining daily case totals, but a rise of 804 from Monday to Tuesday broke that streak. From Tuesday to Wednesday, cases rose by 602, and then, as testing began increasing, so did the case numbers reported, with 885 from Wednesday to Thursday and then 1,055 from Thursday to Friday.

The Virginia Department of Health's numbers reported on Friday also appeared to show the highest single-day increase of tests reported to the state, with nearly 15,000. However, in Friday's briefing, state health commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver said the number of tests from Thursday to Friday was about 5,800. It's just that the health department changed their methodology to now report the total number of tests for Virginia rather than the total number of people tested, which included people who had been tested multiple times. (More on that can be found in today's updates below).

While cases appeared to skyrocket, the percentage of Virginians who have gotten tested and received positive test results dropped by about a percentage point, to 16%, with more tests now available.

As of May 1, Virginia has 16,901 confirmed tests and clinical diagnoses for COVID-19. Month-by-month, that was more than 11 times the total of 1,484 that had been reported on April 1.

Virginia's projected peak, according to most data modeling, should be around now, but the number of reported cases may continue to rise significantly as Virginia works to ramp up testing.

You can watch each of the governor's briefings through WHSV's livestream at whsv.com/livestream2 or on the WHSV News app. That livestream can also be watched through our Roku and Amazon Fire apps. You'll also be able to watch it live in the video player above during the briefing.

The testing timeline in Virginia

Governor Northam started Friday's briefing by recapping the commonwealth's timeline for COVID-19 leading up to May.

The governor highlighted that when Virginia's first positive COVID-19 case was confirmed on March 7, less than eight weeks ago, there was a real fear that hospitals could be overwhelmed in Virginia, as had been seen in places like Italy and New York.

Northam said the state struggled to obtain supplies for testing and PPE at the start of the pandemic, but implemented restrictions, including the Stay at Home order and business closures, to help prevent that situation from happening.

He said the commonwealth waited to see if those restrictions would work, "and it has worked."

Highlighting the fact that hospitals have not been overwhelmed, with plenty of ventilator and ICU capacity available, Northam said while the case count continues climbing, so does testing.

Testing, Northam said, is the key to moving forward carefully, and he presented a slideshow on where Virginia stands as far as testing.

Showing graphs on Virginia's cumulative testing and daily cases reported, he pointed out the steady rise in cumulative cases and the increase in daily cases, saying that the daily cases will need to begin declining for future steps.

A graph showing hospitalization numbers alongside cumulative cases made the governor's point that capacity is available in hospitals, which he said was part of the state decision to resume elective procedures.

Also key to increasing testing, the governor said, is a steady supply of PPE. To help make that possible, Northam said the state is opening up three new facilities to decontaminate mass quantities of masks and other PPE to allow more supplies to be reused.

Testing: A multi-step process

Dr. Karen Remley, the former Virginia Department of Health commissioner who's been leading Virginia's testing task force, took part of Friday's briefing to outline the testing process.

Dr. Remley called it a 5-step process, with the 5 steps being: sick patient, clinician, specimen collection, lab test, test result

Each of those steps, she said, is a place Virginia can improve the process.

First, Dr. Remley said the key is getting patients who are experiencing symptoms to get themselves tested, which she said can still be a challenge. She said patients who are experiencing possible symptoms can go to the Virginia Department of Health website and find an online map that shows all testing locations in the state with a search by zip code.

As far as collecting the test itself, she said Virginia is implementing the CDC's newest guidance on testing, which allows doctors to let individuals perform their own nasal swab test, using less PPE and allowing testing in many more locations.

For lab tests, Dr. Remley said Virginia's state lab has increased testing capacity by at least 3,000 tests a day with new contracts with private labs in Virginia and North Carolina.

Touching back on the blueprint outlined by Gov. Northam last week for reopening, she said Virginia is now in Phase 2 of testing, which calls for around 5,000 tests to be administered a day.

Phase 3 calls for 7,500 tests a day, Phase 4 calls for 10,000 tests a day, and Phase 5 calls for 2,000 tests a day with a steady rate of testing once most cases have already been identified.

Dr. Remley said the state has gotten increased supplies necessary to ramp up testing, and is doing so, focusing on the people who meet the CDC's priorities for testing, including hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, and high risk populations.

As far as next steps, she said the health department is working with more private labs to do up to 5,000 more tests a week and that local health districts are establishing more drive-thru and mobile testing sites to get more people tested.

She heavily encouraged people to keep following all social distancing guidelines but to go out and get tested if you have symptoms.

Phase 1 and what's next

Gov. Northam said the big picture of all the data presented is that Virginia is making progress and that the measures taken have worked to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent any surges that would overwhelm hospitals.

He said PPE supplies are now steady, hospital capacity is available, and Virginia is increasing testing.

But what comes next?

Virginia has not entered Phase 1 of Northam's blueprint for reopening, and won't until we see a 14-day trend of declining daily case totals.

But the governor emphasized multiple times in Friday's briefing that where Virginia currently stands is what many states are calling their "Phase 1."

Virginia has resumed elective procedures and reopened dentist offices to non-emergency appointments. Beaches and parks have remained open for the purpose of exercise throughout the pandemic.

Each of those are steps other states are counting as parts of their "Phase 1."

As far as exactly what Virginia's Phase 1 will look like, when it can be implemented, and what it will mean for businesses, Northam said announcements on that will be made at his briefing scheduled for Monday.

Virginia's businesses and what's been able to stay open

Northam's Chief of Staff Clark Mercer answered a reporter question on Virginia's businesses, providing some insight into Virginia's decision to only close select non-essential businesses throughout the pandemic.

Touching on Northam's point that Virginia is already at what "Phase 1" is for some other states, he said Virginia never closed many non-essential stores, like toy stores, for instance, and only required the closure of businesses where social distancing isn't possible, like hair and nail salons and wineries.

Mercer said that was because they did not want, as a government, to define which businesses could sell the same type of product, effectively forcing people away from local toy stores into big box stores that also sell toys, to continue his toy store example.

Mercer said the key has been for all the non-essential stores allowed to remain open to keep following guidelines on social distancing and abide by the state's limit on gatherings of 10.

How can testing increase?

The governor, acknowledging studies showing that Virginia's per-capita testing was among the lowest in the country, said that the commonwealth focused on high-risk populations to start with, but is moving to a new strategy as they ask doctors to not turn away patients and have anyone who meets the CDC criteria for testing tested.

Northam said the goal is to make it as easy as possible for a sick person to get a test in a setting they trust. To do that, his administration is developing guidance for doctors to provide more tests in outpatient settings.

Why did the numbers on Friday show an increase of 15,000 tests?

The latest Virginia Department of Health numbers released on Friday morning appeared to show around 15,000 tests administered from Thursday to Friday, which would have been a huge increase over previous highs of about 5,000 tests a day.

That increase, according to state health commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver, was largely due to a change in methodology.

While testing did increase on Friday to around 5,800, the spike in testing numbers appeared because the VDH numbers now display the total number of tests administered overall, whereas they had previous reported the number of people tested.

According to Dr. Oliver, previously, it was not uncommon for a sick patient to get tested, get tested again in the hospital, and potentially get tested again going to a skilled nursing facility, and that would all display as one test on Virginia's system. Now, the system will indicate every single test, rather than just the total number of people tested.

The rationale behind the change, according to Northam's staff, is because every test administered uses testing supplies, reagents, and PPE that is critical to the state response.

They estimated about ten percent of people positive for COVID-19 received more than one test, causing the increase in Friday numbers.

It also is one explanation for why Virginia's testing numbers had been so low, compared to surrounding states.

The situation at long-term care facilities

Two weeks ago, Gov. Northam established a nursing home task force to set up COVID-19 testing at any facilities in the state with at least two confirmed cases. The testing, known as point-prevalence, has involved testing every single resident and staff member on the same day to determine the scope of outbreaks.

It's been performed in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health, UVA Medical Center, VCU Health, the Virginia state lab, and the National Guard, which helps run tests when needed.

Now, Northam says any long-term care facility in the state can reach out to their local health district to request point-prevalence testing at any point, thanks to the efforts of the nursing home task force.

The governor reminded people that the National Guard is in areas to help perform tests, and reminded Virginians that seeing their vehicles should be no cause for alarm.

The Census

The governor reminded Virginians that it's not too late to respond to the U.S. Census, saying it's critical to count every single person living in Virginia. He urged anyone who has not yet filled it out to do so online or through the mail.

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Gov. Northam said at this time, it's a reminder that many people of Asian descent have faced increased bigotry and harassment simply because the coronavirus originated in China, and reminded people that that is unacceptable.

Foster Care Month

May is also Foster Care Month, so Gov. Northam thanked foster parents for all they've done to welcome children into their lives and the social workers who support them.

Money granted for schools

Northam announced that the Virginia Department of Education has allocated $238.6 million in federal funding through the CARES Act, with 90% going directly to local school districts and 10% to statewide efforts.

What's the timeline on reopening schools?

Gov. Northam said so long as Virginians keep doing what they're doing, he's confident that K-12 schools will be able to begin again in August and September, as usual.

He said there's been no discussion on a start date for year-round schools who have been looking at July.

What's the timeline on reopening businesses?

When asked about a previous projection that Virginia may be able to enter Phase 1 and start reopening non-essential businesses on May 8, Northam said the plan for reopening businesses remains under consideration with the state's COVID-19 Business Task Force and will be fleshed out in his Monday briefing.

He said the task force is working on a blueprint and criteria to determine exactly what Phase 1 will look like

He thanked people for their patience as his administration considers a lot of data to make the decisions, and said he understands that consumers want to be reassured that entering a business is safe for them.

What is Virginia's contact tracing capability?

Dr. Norm Oliver was asked about Virginia's workforce on tracing the contacts of positive cases after Virginia did not have data to report to NPR when they reported on numbers for contact tracing nationwide.

He said the Virginia Department of Health does not have a central roster of the people doing contact tracing because it's handled by local health districts.

Citing an example of one district that increased their normal number of people working on contact tracing from 5 to 20, he estimated the number for Virginia as a whole is "in the hundreds" and said they're working to increase it to about 1,500.

Will Virginia identify specific facilities with outbreaks?

The governor was asked, for at least the third time in a briefing, if Virginia will be able to report the specific facilities where outbreak have been identified, especially involving long-term care centers.

For at least the third time, Dr. Norm Oliver explained that it's not a decision the Virginia Department of Health or the governor can make, because Virginia's state code defines facilities and businesses as "persons" and requires the health department to protect the anonymity of all "persons," effectively meaning that they can't identify facilities with outbreaks unless the facility agrees.

There's no way for that to change, Dr. Norm Oliver highlighted once again, unless legislators were to change the state code.

Cases in Virginia doubling

Gov. Northam said while Virginia has still seen the total number of cases doubling, it's happening with less frequency. At the start, Virginia saw its cases double around every 2 to 3 days. Now, that's around 9 to 12 days as the curve slowly begins to flatten.

Dr. Remley said part of the increase in Virginia's cases is due to an increase in testing, but that cases are increasing as well.

What about reopening Virginia by region?

Gov. Northam said in a prior briefing that he was open to the idea of reopening parts of Virginia on varying schedules, depending on the status of cases in each region.

However, on Friday, he said feedback on that idea from the state's business task force has been mixed.

He highlighted a concern from one business in southwest Virginia, where few cases have been reported, that reopening their business while similar businesses elsewhere in the state remained closed could result in people traveling from hot spots to them, ultimately causing a spike of cases in their area that would then force them to close again.

Northam said feedback from the business task force is being considered and once again pointed to Monday as the day he'll announce guidance for businesses looking toward Phase 1.


Gov. Northam said the Virginia Employment Commission has been inundated with applications, seeing more in a week than they had in the previous three years.

As many Virginians report not getting their unemployment benefits and a nearly impossible system to navigate, with a phone line that almost never gets you to a person and instead hangs up on you, Northam said VEC workers are "doing all they can" to handle the surge of claims.

Moving into the future

Gov. Northam reminded everyone to keep washing their hands, social distancing, and taking care of their friends, family members, and neighbors.

The governor said his administration will continue to reach out to businesses over the coming days and continue to assess data to establish new guidelines for Phase 1 of reopening.

Virginia remains under a series of public health orders and executive orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. The timeline of those measures can be seen below.

On Wednesday, April 29, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the first public health order to end, letting elective procedures resume on May 1. That also effectively re-opened dentist's offices for regular appointments and veterinarian's offices.

See the rest here:

Gov. Northam talks testing progress and where Virginia stands - WHSV

10 Iowa basketball topics, including the progress of Patrick McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon – Boone News-Republican

IOWA CITY Its way too early to have any idea what the 2020-21 college basketball season entails, but there is incremental clarity about what Iowa's 2020-21 roster does.

All-Big Ten guard Joe Wieskamp has already announced hes returning to school for his junior season. And while we can't definitively say that consensus first-team all-American Luka Garza and guard Jordan Bohannon will be back, the odds seem far better than 50/50 that they will be. Both have been serving as offseason team captains (along with Wieskamp and Connor McCaffery), with at least one eye on what's on the table if everyone returns.

"They all recognize, coach Fran McCaffery said Wednesday afternoon, the opportunity before us."

McCaffery indicated that there is no roster scrambling or contingency plans, further cementing the idea of a settled roster. With Cordell Pemsls transfer to Virginia Tech, Iowa would have 13 scholarship players the maximum allowed if Garza, Bohannon and everyone else returns.

Were not looking at any transfer pools or anything, McCaffery said. Were at 13. Were set at 13.

There you have it.

If thats the case, the Hawkeyes would be a preseason top-10 team and Big Ten Conference title contenders ... if not favorites.

As McCaffery said: What an opportunity.

On that note, lets ride with McCaffery to take a deeper dive into 10 offseason topics surrounding Hawkeye basketball.

No. 1: The Garza situation, impact.

Imagine the LSU football team bringing back Joe Burrow for one more year. Seems unthinkable, right? Yet if Garza returns, the impact on Iowa basketball would be similar. It would be returning someone who assembled the most prolific season by any Hawkeye men's player a school-record 740 points, a total that could have pushed 900 if there was a postseason.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pretty much eliminated the valuable parts of the NBA Draft exploratory process for guys like Garza and Wieskamp, which makes staying in school more attractive.

Its not the optimum situation for somebody who put their name in, McCaffery said. I think both felt confident if given those opportunities, they would have performed well. And I agree, they would have.

Stadiums Jeff Goodman on Wednesday reported that after speaking to multiple NBA executives, the verdict on Garza was unanimous that he should stay in school. (And Garza has said he wouldnt make the jump without a roster guarantee.) Goodman quoted the unnamed executive as saying 6-foot-11, 260-pound Garza needed to work on his body, his perimeter shot and his defense. Then maybe he gets drafted.

Bottom line: Boy, what a gift it would be for McCafferys 11th Iowa team to return the Big Ten player of the year who has off-the-charts work ethic. What an example he would set for five incoming freshmen.

Whenever you get a guy like Luka, you hope to coach him for four years, McCaffery said. Youd love to coach him for 40 years. Thats how great he is to be around.

No. 2: Hows Patrick doing?

This question rivals is Luka coming back? as the most-asked I've received from Hawkeye fans lately.

Patrick McCaffery, the coachs ultra-talented middle son, is doing very well. He was sidelined for all but two games of his true freshman season as he battled issues related to past thyroid cancer. (He is still waiting to hear about a medical-hardship waiver, which should be a formality.)

But now, his father reports, 6-foot-9 Patrick isnt as skinny as he used to be: Hes surpassed 200 pounds for the first time in his life. What a huge development if Patrick a top-75 national recruit is a full go 2020-21.

McCaffery said his home has a basketball court and lifting area, and that reminded me: Iowa actually has a huge advantage during this COVID-19 isolation, considering 25% of its returning scholarship players (two of eight) live with the head coach. Connor (who will be a redshirt junior) and Patrick are performing daily workouts, with youngest son Jack also involved at times.

Connor and Patrick have kind of pushed each other, their dad said.

No. 3: Jack Nunge's smooth rehab.

Youre going to notice a positive theme continuing here, even with the hard-luck case of Nunge, who tore his ACL in late November and missed the rest of the season. He is continuing to rehab back home in Indiana, where he is fortunate to have an indoor court to stay sharp.

Has had no setbacks from his knee. Hes been running. Thats a good sign, McCaffery said. But were not rushing anything.

While Nunge (6-11, 245) has only played five games over the last two seasons (he redshirted in Year 2), its easy to forget he, Garza and Connor McCaffery arrived in the same recruiting class. So he's a veteran presence who started 14 games as a true freshman. If Garza did depart for a pro opportunity, Nunge would be the top front-court replacement plan. At minimum, hes tracking to be a rotation contributor perhaps gobbling up the departed minutes of Ryan Kriener (who averaged 18.2) in 2020-21.

No. 4: How good can Bohannon be?

OK, I cannot actually answer that with specificity. Can anyone? None of us have yet truly seen Bohannon at full strength, save perhaps a few stretches as a freshman when he was reeling off nightly double-doubles. Considering hes played through significant pain for the past three seasons (well, 2), theres anticipation to see what the sharpshooting guard can do with two healthy hips and without plantar fasciitis.

McCaffery reports that Bohannon has probably felt the best he has in a really long time after left-hip surgery in late December. Rehab has been faster than from last May's right-hip surgery. The next step in his return to the court is his medical-hardship waiver he played the maximum-allowed 10 games to qualify to be permitted a fifth year of eligibility.

Assuming good news on that front comes in the next few weeks, McCaffery plans to have Iowas all-time leader in 3-pointers with 284 (90 shy of the Big Ten record) at his best level yet. The surgery timing, McCaffery said, had to be done for him to max out this opportunity. It gave him enough time to really get ready for next year.

No. 5: The schedule

Last seasons gauntlet bolstered Iowas metrics to the point that, even with a 20-11 record, it was projected to be a top-seven NCAA Tournament seed. The 2020-21 schedule wont be as difficult, it seems, after McCaffery confirmed that instead of traveling to an exempt tournament (like to the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Las Vegas in recent years), Iowa will be hosting one of its own. The details are thin, but The Athletic has reported South Dakota and Alabama State are among the opponents.

Before you yawn, lets take a step back. Iowa still will play 20 Big Ten games, and the league should again be strong. Given Iowas preseason expectations, the Big Ten/ACC Challenge should bring a premier program to Carver-Hawkeye Arena (maybe Louisville or North Carolina, which both hosted Challenge games last year while Iowa went on the road to Syracuse). Plus, a Dec. 10 home date vs. Iowa State is secured. A probable Gavitt Games road matchup (Villanova? Creighton? Butler?) is in the 31-game mix as well. The schedule will be plenty tough overall, and its OK if there are a few breathers mixed in.

If Iowa is as good as advertised, the results (and NET rankings) will take care of themselves.

No. 6: Is this McCafferys best roster yet? (*if everyone returns)

Yes, I think it would be*, because in Garza and Bohannon you have two of the greats of the McCaffery era, plus Wieskamp, who has a high ceiling in Iowa City and at the next level. An argument could be made for the 2013-14 team when Devyn Marble, Aaron White, Jarrod Uthoff, Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury and a young Peter Jok were among the key contributors but 2020-21 has a chance to be the gold standard.

A starting five of Bohannon, CJ Fredrick, Wieskamp, Connor McCaffery and Garza, plus a bench of Joe Toussaint (speaking of high ceilings), Nunge and Patrick McCaffery would provide a versatile and potent top eight before any of the incoming freshmen (more on them later) are factored in. And honestly, if those eight stay healthy, Fran McCaffery might not need to expand the rotation.

Iowa's experience and leadership* will become an even bigger factor the more the COVID-19 pandemic limits on-court time. These guys know the offense, know whats expected, and theyre motivated self-starters. These are probably the last college hurrahs for Garza, Bohannon and Wieskamp.

Theyre locked in. And when youre locked in like that, you have a credibility (with) your teammates, McCaffery said. I think we all recognize the challenge thats ahead in terms of (2020-21) expectation."

No. 7: Challenges for the five new faces.

A large freshman class is on the way. Typically, they would arrive on campus in early June and begin working out with their new teammates. Theres no guarantee thatll happen, of course, particularly for the Class of 2020s lone big man.

Josh Ogundele is back in his native London, England, with his family amid the pandemic. McCaffery isn't sure when the 6-foot-11 center will be cleared to return to the U.S., where he played his high-school ball. McCaffery said hes been in regular touch with incoming guards Ahron Ulis and Tony Perkins, as well as Keegan and Kris Murray.

The latter two might be most interesting, considering they spent a year at the DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida, after graduating from Cedar Rapids Prairie. Their father is former Hawkeye Kenyon Murray, so the 6-foot-8 twins have had a foot in the program already.

Theyre from here, theyve already been out of school for one year and kind of understand what were doing, McCaffery said. They used to come in last year and play with our guys in open gym. They know all our players.

No. 8: Whats the recruiting plan?

McCaffery only anticipates recruiting behind Garza and Bohannon after next season, though it seems like Wieskamp with a strong season is ready to jump to the next level. Iowa has no commitments for the Class of 2021 or beyond.

McCaffery would be wise to max out this 2020-21 season with his veterans while letting his youngsters learn the system and fight for niche roles.

Maybe we get one (2021 recruit), maybe we get two when its over, McCaffery said. Maybe we sign one and carry one to the following year because we redshirt a guy in this class. Theres a lot of ways to look at it."

No. 9: Has the team moved past the sting of a lost postseason?

In some ways, no. And that could be a good thing.

Weekly Zoom calls have affirmed to McCaffery that his guys are driven. Players felt like they were well-positioned (as the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and with one of the nations top players) for a fruitful postseason run. A coach that puts a premium on high-character recruits is seeing continued hunger during the pandemic.

And that should be encouraging to fans excitedly waiting for their next dose of Hawkeye hoops.

This is a self-motivated group. They put the time in. They take care of their bodies. They live their life the right way, McCaffery, who turns 61 later this month, said. Most importantly, theyre connected as friends, teammates and competitors. To be truthful, thats when its fun to coach.

No. 10: What could hold this team back?

Roster-wise, Garza going pro would be the biggest blow. That would dial expectations way back.

Defense remains an ongoing McCaffery-era concern. But dont forget, Fredrick (who McCaffery thinks is one of Iowas best defenders) and Bohannon have barely been healthy during their playing careers.

And the offense should be better than last season, when it was No. 5 (out of 353) nationally in efficiency, according to KenPom.com.

Theres a lot to be excited about. Now we wait to see what Garza decides, to see Bohannons fate. Then, lets hope there is a 2020-21 season to see how this all plays out.

Hawkeyes reporter Chad Leistikow has covered sports for 25 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.

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10 Iowa basketball topics, including the progress of Patrick McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon - Boone News-Republican

As parts of Pa. prepare to end coronavirus shutdown, Lehigh Valleys progress is mixed | Analysis – lehighvalleylive.com

Parts of Pennsylvania are preparing to lift some restrictions of the statewide shutdown. The Lehigh Valleys progress toward that goal is mixed.

A lehighvalleylive.com analysis of available data shows that the rate of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks one essential metric Gov Tom Wolfs administration is using to determine which areas are eligible to begin reopening has improved in Lehigh County, but grown worse in Northampton County over the last week.

The situation in nearby counties is similarly jumbled: The rate of new COVID-19 cases is worse in Bucks and Montgomery, but improved in Berks, Monroe and even Philadelphia.

(Cant see the map? Click here.)

The goal set forth last week by Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine is to see counties head below a rate of 50 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over two weeks.

A list of what counties will on May 8 move from red to yellow the second tier of Wolfs three-tier reopening plan is to be released sometime Friday, though Wolf told media on Thursday that the list was yet to be drafted.

(UPDATE: 24 Pa. counties will move to the yellow phase)

We will be looking at all of the things, Wolf said. We want to keep people safe.

This chart shows Gov. Tom Wolf's plan for reopening Pennsylvania, with different regions moving through three phases.

Data available as of Thursday afternoon shows 41 of Pennsylvanias 67 counties appearing to meet that threshold, scattered throughout the central and western regions.

In more densely populated eastern Pennsylvania, however, the situation is different.

A week ago, Northampton County had about 216 new cases per 100,000 people over the prior 14 days; Lehigh County had 231. This week, Northamptons two-week rate rose to about 234 new cases per 100,000 residents while Lehighs dropped to about 191.

Philadelphia, which has the most cases and deaths of anywhere in the state, improved, going from 288 new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks to 262.

Near the Lehigh Valley, the two-week rate of new cases in Bucks County rose from 187 to 214. And in Montgomery County, it increased from 181 to 195.

But in Berks County, the two-week rate of new cases dropped from 354 per capita to 276. In Monroe County, which, when accounting for population, has also been hard hit by the virus, the two-week new case rate fell from 160 to 116 per 100,000 people.

(Cant see the chart? Click here.)

The measurement is also being applied regionally. The Lehigh Valleys counties are considered to be the southernmost in the Northeast region, which extends through the Poconos to the New York state border. Last week, the region had 186 new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks. This week, the rate is 162.

The adjacent Southeast region, which includes Berks County and Philadelphia, last week was at 221 new cases per 100,000 people over two weeks. This week, it dropped slightly to 215.

The new cases metric is, as Levine described it Thursday, necessary, but not sufficient" on its own to determine when it is reasonably safe to progress from the red level to yellow. State officials are also considering testing availability, hospital capacity, disease forecast models, and an areas proximity to a hotspot in their decisions.

But, Levine said, if a county is significantly above that target level of 50 new cases per 100,000 over two weeks, its much less likely to go to yellow."

If theres a resurgence of coronavirus in a region, the state reserves the ability to close it down again.

Even as areas do progress through the tiers, masks will still be required, restaurants will still be closed to dine-in service and large gatherings will still be prohibited. Wolf, in a conference call with media on Thursday, said Pennsylvanians will have to adjust to a new normal, one with an infectious disease circulating in a way not seen in the last 60 to 70 years.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine, pictured at a news conference in March, say that the rate of new coronavirus cases over two weeks, hospital capacity, disease forecast models, and a region's proximity to a COVID-19 hotspot will all play into the decision to begin lifting shutdown restrictions by region. If the virus shows a resurgence, they can shut the area back down again. (Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com)

Moving from the more-stringent red lockdown to the gradual societal reopening laid out in the yellow phase is all about learning how we interact in this new world. Absent a rapid-fire vaccine or cure, social distancing and mask-wearing are a part of daily life for the near future. Businesses and workplaces will need to find new ways of operating.

We have to behave differently or were all going to get sick, Wolf said.

The stay-at-home order aimed to buy Pennsylvania time to ramp up testing capacity and avoid overwhelming the health care system, an attempt to to buy time in the crudest of ways, Wolf said.

U.S. governors are trying to navigate the uncharted waters of the pandemic in a way that keeps people safe, but also does the least damage, Wolf said. In many ways, he said, those are just irreconcilable goals. Individuals are going to have to decide what this means for themselves in many ways. Will their choices be driven by the hope of protecting a loved one from getting sick?

A lot of this is going to be invented as we go, Wolf said. Weve learned about how to contain the disease. Now we have to learn how to live with it.

It will not be a quick return to normal regardless, but it will be even longer for areas going backward and others nearby.

Tell us your coronavirus stories, whether its a news tip, a topic you want us to cover, or a personal story you want to share.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to lehighvalleylive.com.

Steve Novak may be reached at snovak@lehighvalleylive.com. Sara K. Satullo may be reached at ssatullo@lehighvalleylive.com.

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As parts of Pa. prepare to end coronavirus shutdown, Lehigh Valleys progress is mixed | Analysis - lehighvalleylive.com

Ron Wilson: Working together for educational progress – Sentinel-Standard

The coronavirus pandemic feels like something that is being done to us. There is a sense of powerlessness as we watch our worlds contract into our homes. But our response to the crisis can be something that we can do together.

During the next few weeks Ionia Public Schools will make a concerted effort to listen to our students, parents, staff and community members. We need your feedback as we enter our third week of distant learning. Accordingly, we need to survey teachers, students, and families about how things are going.

A simple three-question survey can gather valuable data:

I would like teachers to ask these questions of students; schools to ask these questions of parents; our district to ask these questions of faculty and families.

In the current scramble to remote learning, it may feel like nothing is more important than making something work for tomorrow or next week. However, I am concerned our current virtual leaning reality may continue into the next school year.

Given all of the challenges that we have encountered gearing up to teach remotely during this crisis, we need to invest substantial time in planning for improving our delivery model for summer and fall.

A friend, Allen Einstein shared some information with me this week and encouraged me to share it with you. It focuses on brain research and some great ideas to enhance your childs learning.

Allen said, When it comes to your brain, researchers have found there's no better superfood than a book. Reading aloud gives you a chance to explore new stories and spend quality time with your family."

He goes on to share the following recommendations from the National Education Association:

Ron Wilson is superintendent of Ionia Public Schools. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the views of Ionia school elected officials, employees, or students. Contact Ron by email at nimsob321@gmail.com.

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Ron Wilson: Working together for educational progress - Sentinel-Standard

Progress report: Checking in on the recruiting class of 2017 – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

The Class of 2017 is heading into its senior season. Heres a look at how that group has fared in the Big Ten, courtesy college basketball writer SCOTT RICHEY:

Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson (34) is congratulated by forward Justin Ahrens (10) after drawing a foul during the first half of Sunday's NCAA basketball game against the UMass Lowell River Hawks at Value City Arena in Columbus on November 10, 2019. Ohio State won the game 76-56. [Barbara J. Perenic]Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson (34) is congratulated by forward Justin Ahrens (10) after drawing a foul during the first half of Sunday's NCAA basketball game against the UMass Lowell River Hawks at Value City Arena in Columbus on November 10, 2019. Ohio State won the game 76-56. [Barbara J. Perenic]

Class: No. 75 Kaleb Wesson, No. 80 Kyle Young, No. 149 Musa Jallow

Breakdown: Wesson became the centerpiece for the Chris Holtmann era and has led the Buckeyes in scoring the past two seasons. Young ultimately transferred to Wisconsin, and Jallow missed all of the 2019-20 season with an ankle injury after being a part-time starter as a freshman and sophomore.

Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette llinois guard Trent Frazier (1) reacts to making the 3-point basket that put him over thew 1000 point mark in an NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, January 18, 2020.Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette llinois guard Trent Frazier (1) reacts to making the 3-point basket that put him over thew 1000 point mark in an NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

Class: No. 79 Mark Smith, No. 109 Trent Frazier, No. 177 DaMonte Williams, No. 510 Greg Eboigbodin, Matic Vesel

Breakdown: The two John Groce recruits have stuck around and carved out key roles for the Illini. Meanwhile, the three players Brad Underwood added after being hired all left the program after one year for Missouri (Smith), Northeastern (Eboigbodin) and home to Slovenia (Vesel).

New York, NY - 12/10/19 - Connecticut Huskies guard Alterique Gilbert (3), right, collides with Indiana Hoosiers forward Justin SmithNew York, NY - 12/10/19 - Connecticut Huskies guard Alterique Gilbert (3), right, collides with Indiana Hoosiers forward Justin Smith

Class: No. 78 Justin Smith, No. 134 Race Thompson, No. 151 Clifton Moore, No. 230 Aljami Durham

Breakdown: Both Tom Crean recruits, Smith and Durham, have developed into starters for Archie Miller the past two seasons. Thompsons tenure with the Hoosiers has been hampered by multiple injuries, while Moore transferred to La Salle after the 2018-19 season.

Nojel Eastern #20 of the Purdue Boilermakers puts up a shot in front of Donta Scott #24 of the Maryland Terrapins in the first half at Xfinity Center on January 18, 2020 in College Park, Maryland. (Rob Carr/Getty Images/TNS)Nojel Eastern #20 of the Purdue Boilermakers puts up a shot in front of Donta Scott #24 of the Maryland Terrapins in the first half at Xfinity Center on January 18, 2020 in College Park, Maryland. (Rob Carr/Getty Images/TNS)

Class: No. 69 Nojel Eastern, No. 174 Aaron Wheeler, No. 352 Matt Haarms, No. 374 Sasha Stefanovic, Eden Ewing

Breakdown: The 7-foot-3 Haarms (headed to BYU as a grad transfer) arguably made the biggest impact of the class, although Eastern and Stefanovic have filled key roles. Wheeler has been a role player, and Ewing lasted just six games at Purdue before transferring to Texas Southern.

Wisconsin Badgers forward Nate Reuvers (35) scores the first field goal of the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Feb. 23, 2020 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. (John Fisher/CSM/Zuma Press/TNS)Wisconsin Badgers forward Nate Reuvers (35) scores the first field goal of the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Feb. 23, 2020 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. (John Fisher/CSM/Zuma Press/TNS)

Class: No. 66 Nate Reuvers, No. 108 Brad Davison, No. 197 Kobe King

Breakdown: Reuvers remains the top dog in this class, but the group made headlines for non-basketball reasons in 2019-20. King left the team in the middle of the season, and Davison was suspended for one game for a low blow to Iowas Connor McCaffery.

Michigan forward Isaiah Livers (2) shoots a 3-pointer in the second half of their Big Ten Basketball game against Nebraska at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Michigan won the game, 82-58.Michigan forward Isaiah Livers (2) shoots a 3-pointer in the second half of their Big Ten Basketball game against Nebraska at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Michigan won the game, 82-58.

Class: No. 93 Jordan Poole, No. 133 Isaiah Livers, No. 201 Eli Brooks

Breakdown: Poole stayed just two seasons in Ann Arbor before declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft, where he wound up a surprise first round pick. Livers and Brooks, meanwhile, saw a significant increase in production in 2019-20 for first-year coach Juwan Howard.

Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman (23) gets by Maryland forward Jalen Smith (25) in the first half of their Big Ten basketball game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, on Saturday, February 15, 2020.Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman (23) gets by Maryland forward Jalen Smith (25) in the first half of their Big Ten basketball game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, on Saturday, February 15, 2020.

Class: No. 8 Jaren Jackson Jr., No. 112 Xavier Tillman Sr.

Breakdown: Size of the class, not talent, had more to do with the ranking. Jackson was one-and-done with the Spartans and became the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, while Tillman went from valuable sixth man to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Maryland's Darryl Morsell (11) celebrates late in the second half of a 67-60 win against Michigan State at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020.

Class: No. 74 Darryl Morsell, No. 87 Bruno Fernando

Breakdown: Fernando made a significant impact as a true freshman then blew up as a sophomore, averaging a double-double to turn into a second round draft pick. Morsell, meanwhile, has been a three-year starter and key role player for the Terrapins.

Iowa center Luka Garza celebrates a basket against Ohio State on Feb. 20, 2020, in Iowa City. Iowa center Luka Garza celebrates a basket against Ohio State on Feb. 20, 2020, in Iowa City.

Class: No. 118 Luka Garza, No. 152 Connor McCaffery, No. 202 Jack Nunge

Breakdown: Garzas presence alone means the Hawkeyes have out-produced their ranking with this class. Garza was a four-star recruit, but he turned into a national player of the year in 2019-20. McCaffery became a starter his past season, but Nunges year was cut short by an ACL tear.

Rutgers guard Geo Baker Rutgers guard Geo Baker

Class: No. 150 Mamadou Doucoure, No. 371 Myles Johnson, No. 414 Geo Baker, Souf Mensah

Breakdown: The Scarlet Knights hit big on Baker and Johnson. Baker has been a starter and double-digit scorer since day one, while Johnson emerged as a starter in 2019-20 as a redshirt sophomore. Mensah lasted just one year as a JUCO transfer, and Doucoure has played sparingly in three seasons.

Minnesota's Isaiah Washington (11) drives against Wisconsin's Brad Davison (34) in the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)Minnesota's Isaiah Washington (11) drives against Wisconsin's Brad Davison (34) in the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Class: No. 62 Isaiah Washington, No. 294 Jamir Harris

Breakdown: Washington was a huge get for the Gophers and Richard Pitino as a four-star point guard, but he lasted just two seasons in Minnesota before transferring closer to home at Iona. Harris didnt even last that long. He was one-and-done with the Gophers before transferring to American.

Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Illinois' guard Da'Monte Williams (20) and Nebraska's guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson (34) during their NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Monday, feb. 24, 2020.Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Illinois' guard Da'Monte Williams (20) and Nebraska's guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson (34) during their NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Monday, feb. 24, 2020.

Class: No. 103 Thomas Allen, No. 187 Nana Akenten, Thorir Thorbjarnarson

Breakdown: Only Thorbjarnarson, who started 24 of 32 games and averaged career highs in points, rebounds, assist and steals in 2019-20, is still with the Cornhuskers. Allen transferred to North Carolina State and Akenten to Southeast Missouri State after Tim Miles was fired last March.

Penn State guard Jamari Wheeler moves in toward the basket during a game against Wisconsin on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. (Phoebe Sheehan/Centre Daily Times/TNS)Penn State guard Jamari Wheeler moves in toward the basket during a game against Wisconsin on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. (Phoebe Sheehan/Centre Daily Times/TNS)

Class: No. 391 Jamari Wheeler, No. 527 Trent Buttrick, No. 531 John Harrar

Breakdown: While Buttrick has played just 54 games in three seasons and only sparingly off the bench in those appearances, Wheeler and Harrar have grown into key roles for the Nittany Lions. Wheeler is a two-year starter at point guard, while Harrar is a part-time starter in the frontcourt.

Ohio State's Luther Muhammad (1) works around Northwestern's Anthony Gaines in the first half at Schottenstein Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Brooke LaValley/Columbus Dispatch/TNS)Ohio State's Luther Muhammad (1) works around Northwestern's Anthony Gaines in the first half at Schottenstein Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Brooke LaValley/Columbus Dispatch/TNS)

Class: No. 189 Anthony Gaines

Breakdown: Gaines was off to a solid start in 2019-20 before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the year after just 10 games for a team that could have used his veteran presence on the court. The 6-foot-4 guard has averaged 5.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists for his career with the Wildcats.

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Progress report: Checking in on the recruiting class of 2017 - Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Record editorial: Caution remains the watchword even amid positive progress in pandemic response – The Park Record

So this is what life in our county looks like at least for now.

On Friday, Summit County officials enacted a new public health order, lifting the stay-at-home mandate but replacing it with a host of other measures meant to ensure the reopening of the local economy doesnt inadvertently cause a second spike in coronavirus cases.

Residents, the order said, should still remain at home as much as possible, even continuing to work remotely when they can. Businesses of all kinds must comply with a range of restrictions that require social distancing and enhanced sanitization. And Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough made clear that its still inappropriate for tourists to visit.

Is it anything like the way things were before the pandemic? Not even close.

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Is it positive progress, though there remains understandable concern among some that the health risks of loosening the restrictions outweigh the economic reward of starting to breathe life back into the economy. Even as most businesses were allowed to reopen Friday, it seemed likely that residents would take a dip-the-toe approach rather than immediately seizing the opportunity to patronize local shops and have dinner at restaurants.

Thats a prudent approach, given that its too early to know with precision what the health ramifications will be of moving into the stabilization phase of the pandemic response. County health officials have said it is safe to do so but have also been clear that the stay-at-home mandate could be reinstated if residents and businesses ignore the restrictions in an attempt to return to normalcy too quickly.

Parkites should harbor no illusions about what is at stake. The only way to ensure the reopening is successful is to be diligent about following the requirements the county has mandated, as disruptive as some of them may be.

As long as the coronavirus remains a threat, caution will be the watchword. Proceeding slowly is the only way to get the economy churning again without putting peoples lives at risk.

Normal? If residents have learned anything over the last month and a half, its that theres no such thing right now. There wont be for the foreseeable future. But can we adapt and learn to live with the new restrictions? No doubt.

And in any case, until the pandemic is over and the health of residents is no longer at risk, we dont have much choice.

Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

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Record editorial: Caution remains the watchword even amid positive progress in pandemic response - The Park Record

Calif. Governor Warns That Packed Beaches Put Coronavirus Pandemic Progress At Risk – NPR

People enjoy a day out on Sunday in Huntington Beach, Calif. High numbers of beachgoers over the weekend prompted warnings from officials that defying stay-at-home orders could reverse progress and bring the coronavirus surging back. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP hide caption

People enjoy a day out on Sunday in Huntington Beach, Calif. High numbers of beachgoers over the weekend prompted warnings from officials that defying stay-at-home orders could reverse progress and bring the coronavirus surging back.

High temperatures drew large crowds to beaches along the California coastline over the weekend, and Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that photos of the packed shorelines show "what not to do."

That behavior could put the progress the state has made in battling the coronavirus pandemic in jeopardy, the governor warned at a news conference.

"I cannot impress upon you more, to those Californians watching, that we can't see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere, in the state of California," Newsom said. "This virus doesn't go home because it's a beautiful, sunny day around our coasts."

Many counties across the state have shut down beach access in the face of the pandemic, but beaches in Orange, Ventura and Santa Cruz counties have largely remained open.

Still, officials in Ventura County commended beachgoers for adhering to social distancing guidelines, and the governor admitted the majority of open beaches saw good behavior.

Modifications of the statewide order are "weeks, not months away," the governor said, but any gradual loosening of that order is "driven by data and behavior."

"The only thing that will set us back is people stopping to practice physical distancing and appropriate social distancing," Newsom said. "That's the only thing that's going to slow down our ability to reopen this economy."

Newsom urged Californians to continue to heed the state's stay-at-home order, which was put in place in March and has yet to expire. On Monday, Bay Area officials announced an extension of their shelter-in-place order through May.

As of Monday, 43,600 Californians have been sickened with coronavirus and more than 1,700 have died. While those numbers have continued to rise over the past month, the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals has leveled in the past week.

The governor's warning comes as states such as Georgia and South Carolina are reopening access to many businesses and beaches.

Newsom also mentioned in the briefing more aggressive enforcement was likely in those beach communities that saw high traffic. Law enforcement and local officials in Orange and Santa Cruz counties plan to meet in the coming days to discuss potential tactics or additional orders to limit beach access.

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Calif. Governor Warns That Packed Beaches Put Coronavirus Pandemic Progress At Risk - NPR

Warren Buffett: ‘The progress of mankind has been incredible’ – Yahoo Finance

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B), has been a consistent voice of optimism on the U.S. economy and American innovation.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic sparked an unprecedentedly swift drop in equity markets this year, Buffett maintained his characteristically upbeat tone.

The progress of mankind has been incredible. And that won't stop, Buffett told Yahoo Finances editor in chief Andy Serwer in a March 10 interview at Berkshire Hathaways headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

While U.S. history is riddled social and economic turmoil, the country always seems to come out on top.

We haven't forgotten how to make progress in this country. And we haven't lost interest in making progress, he added. And that will benefit to varying degrees of all kinds of people, I think, around the world. But there will be interruptions.

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (Yahoo Finance)

When discussing investments, Buffett often reminds listeners to think long-term as it is difficult to predict cyclical economic downturns.

I don't know when they will occur, and I don't know how deep they will occur, he said. I do know they will occur from time to time, but I also know that we'll come out better on the other end.

Buffett used Serwers trip from NYC to Omaha to illustrate his thinking.

You flew over a country that 250 years ago, there wasn't anything here, Buffett added. That's only three of my lifetimes, and there wasn't anything here ... And I mean, it's incredible.

The pandemic has, however, impacted Berkshire Hathaways famed annual shareholder meeting this year, which is set to take place on Saturday, May 2. The event, often called the Woodstock of Capitalism, with thousands of investors convening in Omaha to hear directly from Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, will not include a physical audience this year. Though, it will be live-streamed exclusively on Yahoo Finance.

Source: David Foster/Yahoo Finance

This year Munger wont be joining Buffett on the stage, and in another departure from the format of past shareholders meetings, Greg Abel, Berkshires vice-chairman of the non-insurance operations, will join Buffett, with shareholders able to ask questions through three journalists.

In the weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak escalated in the U.S. in mid-March, Berkshire Hathaway has trimmed stakes in several of its portfolio companies amid the broader drawdown in the stock market. Berkshire Hathaway unloaded some shares in airlines Delta (DAL) and Southwest (LUV), and sold a small portion of its Bank of New York Mellon (BK) stake earlier this year, according to regulatory filings in April.

Still, however, Berkshire has been known for generally maintaining long-term stakes in its holdings, reaffirming Buffetts own core beliefs in what he calls the American tailwind.

If you stick around long enough, you'll see everything in markets, Buffett said. And it may have taken me to 89 years of age to throw this one into the experience, but, you know, the markets, if you have to be open second by second, they react to news in a big-time way.

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Warren Buffett: 'The progress of mankind has been incredible' - Yahoo Finance

Progress Underway On Union’s New Stadium Daniel Hawk Demolition started in January on Union’s new $42 – News On 6

Friday, May 1st 2020, 10:36 pm

By: Daniel Hawk

Demolition started in January on Unions new $42 million stadium project.

Union AD Emily Barkley said she has quite the site to behold when she makes her rounds to check in on construction.

"I kind of looked out my window when I came in here today a little bit just to get caught up. They are encasing the new light fixtures that we have up there and brick facade, Barkley said.

What used to be the press box at Union-Tuttle Stadium is now a giant hole.

On the east side of the stadium new bleachers have been placed in hopes of having a rowdy fan base to cheer from this fall.

"I just can imagine having a school year without it. It's what we know and what we do. I would love to see us get back those things those extracurricular and co circular things that really make us enjoy that high school experience, Barkley said.

keeping up the joneses is the mantra of high school in Oklahoma these days and Union is looking to move to the front of the class.

"We are very fortunate that our patrons voted on this in the bond issue, and we are able to see it through. I think it would be very comparable to some of the really elite ones that are down there in Texas as well, Barkley said.


Progress Underway On Union's New Stadium Daniel Hawk Demolition started in January on Union's new $42 - News On 6

Stocks charge higher on hopes for progress in fighting COVID-19 – Press Herald

Stocks around the world whipped higher Wednesday, riding a wave of optimism on encouraging data about a possible treatment for COVID-19.

The upswell of hope was so strong that investors completely sidestepped a report showing the outbreak drove the U.S. economy to its worst quarterly performance since the Great Recession. The S&P 500 vaulted 2.7 percent higher and extended a rally thats brought the U.S. stock market to the brink of its best month in 45 years.

The spark for Wednesdays rally was a report that an experimental drug proved effective against the new coronavirus in a study run by the National Institutes of Health. The nations top infectious diseases expert said the drug reduced the time it takes patients to recover, and it raised hopes that life around the world may eventually tiptoe back toward normal.

The S&P 500 rose 76.12 points to 2,939.51. It has surged 13.7 percent in April, and its a day away from closing out its best month since late 1974.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 532.31, or 2.2 percent, to 24,633.86, and the Nasdaq climbed 306.98, or 3.6 percent, to 8,914.71.

What youre finding now is you have this debate between optimism and realism, said Adam Taback, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it expects the health crisis to weigh on the economy over the medium term, as it promised to keep in place massive amounts of aid and interest rates at nearly zero. Oil prices, bonds and other markets besides stocks have also been dominated in recent weeks by worries about the economic impact of the virus outbreak.

Everything except equities is telling you things are not great, Taback said. This market is overly optimistic.

Gileads release about its remdesivir drug hit markets at the same moment as a government report showing the U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year.

Job losses have exploded since early April, as layoffs sweep the nation following widespread stay-at-home orders, and economists expect to see even worse numbers for the second quarter of the year.

The first quarter figure was merely the tip of the iceberg, said Michael Reynolds, investment strategy officer at Glenmede.

But stocks have been rallying over the last month as investors look beyond the current economic devastation and focus instead on the prospect of economies gradually reopening. Some U.S. states and nations around the world have laid out plans to relax restrictions keeping people at home and businesses bereft of customers. Any new treatment for COVID-19 could also lower the dread so prevalent among households and businesses around the world.

But what got the 31.4 percent rally for the S&P 500 started in late March was massive aid from the Federal Reserve and Congress. The Fed on Wednesday said it wouldnt be pulling back on the aid anytime soon.

The markets easing pessimism about the economys path is perhaps most clear in how the smallest stocks have been performing.

When recession worries were at their height, investors punished small-cap stocks and sent them to sharper declines than the rest of the market, in part on worries about their more limited financial resources. But the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks jumped 4.8 percent Wednesday. Its up 10.4 percent this week alone, more than double the gain for indexes of bigger stocks.

The markets gains were widespread and accelerated through the day. Big tech and communications stocks helped lead the way after Googles parent company said its revenue was stronger in the first three months of the year than Wall Street was expecting.

Alphabet jumped nearly 9 percent, which helped communications stocks in the S&P 500 rise 5 percent for one of the biggest gains among the 11 sectors that make up the index.

In Europe, the French CAC 40 rose 2.2 percent after being down before the Gilead report. The German DAX returned 2.9 percent, and the FTSE 100 in London added 2.6 percent. In Asia, Hong Kongs Hang Seng added 0.3 percent, and the Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.7 percent.

Many professional investors are skeptical of the U.S. stock markets big rally. Theres still a lot of uncertainty about how long the recession will last.

The vigorous rise for stocks over the last month also implies investors see a relatively quick rebound for the economy and profits following the current devastation. But it may take awhile for households and businesses to get back to how things used to be.

My concern is that the market is starting to get a little bit more focused on the rewards and less focused on the risks right now, said Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ. Maybe investors are getting a little too enthusiastic.

I dont think you just flip the switch and everybody goes back to work right away, he said.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose to 0.62 percent from 0.61 percent late Tuesday after paring earlier losses. Yields tend to rise when investors are upgrading expectations for the economy and inflation.

Oil prices are continuing their extreme swings after a collapse in demand has sent crude storage tanks close to their limits. Benchmark U.S. crude oil for June delivery rose $2.72, or 22 percent, to settle at $15.06 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose $2.08, or 10.2 percent, to $22.54 a barrel.

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Stocks charge higher on hopes for progress in fighting COVID-19 - Press Herald