In our news wrap Thursday, New York City has again postponed in-person schooling for more than 1 million students. Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement, saying schools need more time to implement the “gold standard” in COVID-19 protocols. Also, smoke over parts of the fire-ravaged West Coast cleared some for the first time in days. Crews hope scattered weekend rain will help douse flames.
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In the day's other news: New unemployment claims fell to 860,000 last week, but job layoffs from the pandemic remained at historic highs.
Meanwhile, airline executives were at the White House warning that they may have to cut 40,000 jobs next month, unless Congress can pass a new relief bill.
The World Health Organization warned today against letting politics affect pandemic policy. That came after President Trump publicly criticized Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, for his statements on masks and vaccines.
Meanwhile, Olivia Troye, who is a former aide to Vice President Pence, who played a central role in the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that she is voting for Joe Biden because the president placed reelection ahead of saving human lives.
We will return to pandemic politics after the news summary.
New York City has again postponed in-person schooling for more than one million students. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that most elementary school students will return to the classroom on September 29. Middle and high schoolers will start October 1.
De Blasio said that schools need more time.
Bill De Blasio:
We have to have social distancing throughout schools, cleaning constantly, face coverings on students and adults alike, a host of measures that have to be put in place, all systemwide.
We're continuing to deepen those efforts, because we have to meet that gold standard for the good of all in our school community.
The city's schools are still wrestling with shortages of staff and supplies.
Smoke over parts of the fire-ravaged West Coast cleared some today for the first time in days. Still, air quality over Portland, Oregon, and other cities remained at hazardous levels. Fire crews hope that scattered rain expected this weekend will help douse more of the fires, and dissipate the smoke.
The head of the FBI says that its agents are focused on violent extremism, and not ideology, in nationwide protests over racial injustice. Director Christopher Wray testified at a congressional hearing today. It followed reports that a federal crackdown on violence during protests has netted more than 300 arrests.
And, on Wall Street, stocks gave ground on concerns about the economy and doubts that Congress will pass more pandemic aid. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 130 points to close at 27902. The Nasdaq fell 140 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 28.