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Your Tuesday Update: Summer Jobs Disappearing with the Pandemic, Florida Reports Largest Single Day Death Toll, Orange County Health Department Tours Sports Venues

Photo: CDC @cdc
Photo: CDC @cdc

Summer jobs for young people are vanishing with the pandemic

The Associated Press

The iconic summer job for high school and college students has been on the wane for nearly 20 years.

But the pandemic is squeezing even more young people out of the workforce.

Some are borrowing more money. Others have turned to pick-up jobs like Instacart, only to compete with older people who are similarly sidelined.

A Drexel University education professor says summer work remains crucial for young people’s development, often leading to higher earnings and higher levels of education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people ages 16 to 24 was 18.5% in July compared with 9.1% the same month last year.

Florida reports largest single day coronavirus death toll

Danielle Prieur, WMFE 

The Florida Department of Health reported 276 new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, the largest single jump in the death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state also added 5,831 new coronavirus cases.

Since mid-March, 8,553 people have died and 542,792 have become ill with the virus in Florida.

Orange County continues to lead Central Florida with the most cases adding 191 cases today, for a total of 32,042.

The most important mail you'll ever send: A ballot

Life Kit, NPR

The 2020 election is going to be different than any election in American history.

States are already working to change everything to accommodate the coronavirus, from stocking up on hand sanitizer to making arrangements to use NBA arenas as polling places. But the biggest difference is mail-in voting.

Voting is slightly different in every county and state across the country — but on the whole, it will be easier to vote by mail than ever before. States are relaxing restrictions on who's eligible to do it, and in some states, they're spending money on sending ballot request forms or even ballots to all registered voters.

That means more people are going to vote by mail than ever before, and it also means millions of voters are going to vote-by-mail for the very first time in November.

We've broken down the logistics here to make voting by mail a little less daunting.

Read the full article here.

Epidemiologists with the Orange County Health Department have toured two Central Florida sports venues looking to bring fans back to live sports

Abe Aboraya, WMFE

Both Orlando City Soccer Club and the University of Central Florida are reportedly working on plans that would allow some percentage of stadium capacity.

Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County:

“My major concern with these events, even when we can keep social distancing by seating arrangements, is coming in and egress and the volume of people bumping into each other, so we will have to find a solution to that as well.”

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he did not think now was the time to relax social distancing measures in the county. 

The Orange County Commission will meet Tuesday, and will discuss a $20 million dollar eviction diversion program.

Lake County Public Schools started a massive testing program Monday using rapid antibody tests from Healgen 

Joe Byrnes, WMFE

Adult Medicine of Lake County tested nearly 2,000 school employees and found about 20 may have the coronavirus. 

Those will be swabbed and retested.

The district plans to check students before the school year begins and use the antibody tests again three days after possible exposure.

But the FDA, CDC and state Health Department do not recommend antibody tests to diagnose COVID-19 - because the immune response is not detectable right away.

Officials: Florida man lied to get $60,000 in virus loans

MIAMI (AP) — Prosecutors say a South Florida man fraudulently obtained $60,000 in federal coronavirus relief loans.

A criminal complaint says 32-year-old Judlex Jean Louis was arrested and charged last week with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and aggravated identity theft.

The complaint says the Lauderhille man received proceeds from three fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans in early June.

Authorities say each loan application hid Louis’s identity as the true loan recipient. Prosecutors say Louis had PPP loan money deposited into accounts that he controlled.

Officials say surveillance cameras caught him withdrawing cash from one of these accounts after the funds were deposited. His attorney declined to comment on the case.

Kathryn Nesbitt breaks ground as MLS is Back final referee

The Associated Press

When the Portland Timbers play Orlando City in the MLS is Back tournament championship on Tuesday, assistant referee Kathryn Nesbitt will become the first woman to work a Major League Soccer title game.

Nesbitt and Felisha Mariscal are the only two women among more than 40 officials that have been sequestered — just like the teams — in Florida for the monthlong tournament.

The final is no chance assignment for Nesbitt. She’s earned her way there having officiated in some 60 MLS matches since her first in 2015.

California Gov. says Trump unemployment executive action spells disaster for budget

Vanessa Romo, NPR

California's coffers are nearly exhausted, and forcing the state to cover a part of extended unemployment benefits would cause "enormous economic strife and enormous stress," Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday.

Despite the state's robust reserves at the start of the year, Newsom said, President Trump's latest executive action would put the state in a perilous position.

Over the weekend Trump bypassed Congress, signing an executive action that would extend now-expired unemployment payments to $400 a week for those whose jobs have vanished in the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the plan requires states to provide a quarter of the payments.

That is just not possible, according to Newsom, who added it would cost $700 million a week to get checks in the hands of all of the state's unemployed residents.

"There is no money sitting in the piggy bank of the previous CARES Act to be reprioritized or reconstituted for this purpose," Newsom said. "Simply, it does not exist."

Since mid-March, which marks the start of the statewide shutdown, more than 8 million people have applied for unemployment insurance.

Read the full article here.

Republican Convention to mandate masks, track attendees' movements

Steve Harrison, NPR

Delegates at the scaled-back Republican National Convention in Charlotte later this month must wear masks, and the GOP plans to track everyone's movements with badges equipped with blue-tooth technology.

The special badges will allow officials to find out who they came in contact with if someone later gets sick from the novel coronavirus, said Jeffrey Runge, the convention's health consultant.

That will make contact tracing easier, he said.

"It knows when other badges are close to it. And how long they are close to it. And the identity of who is wearing it is in a database," Runge said. "No one will ever crack that code, unless somebody gets sick."

The health plan is in stark contrast to an earlier proposal for its Charlotte convention. In June, President Trump wanted the city's Spectrum Center full, and he didn't want people wearing masks and standing six feet apart.

Read the full article here.

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn has vetoed a mask ordinance passed by the city council

Joe Byrnes, WMFE

The council approved the mask ordinance 4-to-1 as a measure to combat the coronavirus. The same four votes would be needed to override the veto. 

In a letter, Guinn says the ordinance violates religious freedom and puts an unfair burden on business owners. He says the government cannot mandate that medical devices be worn.

The ordinance applied to businesses, churches and government offices. It required workers to wear face coverings indoors. And business owners had to post signs, make announcements and make reasonable requests to visitors who were not wearing a mask. 

Business owners could be fined $25 per violation after a couple of warnings. 

City Councilman Matt Wardell had offered the ordinance as a compromise after a broader mandate failed to get four votes.

More than 500 medical professionals had signed a petition asking the council for a mask mandate.

Marriott recovering in China, Royal Caribbean posts losses

The Associated Press

On land and sea, the travel industry is hurting but holding out hope for a recovery.

Marriott says it has reopened most of its hotels around the world, helped by a rebound in business travel in China.

The average occupancy at its hotels is also improving, although still at depressed levels.

The hotel giant’s CEO voiced optimism that the worst damage from the pandemic is over. The damage in the second quarter was clear: Marriott lost $234 million, as its revenue plunged 72%.

In another corner of the travel industry, Royal Caribbean posted a $1.64 billion loss as cruise ships remained anchored in port.

Orlando, Portland vie for MLS championship like no other

The Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — In a year like no other, this will be a championship like no other. Orlando City and Portland will meet in the MLS is Back tournament finale.

The winner will hoist a trophy less than 24 hours before the league resumes its revised regular season in home markets. It’s a strange situation, for sure.

But given how the sports world unraveled and changed in 2020, it might just be a fitting end to an event that set a Guinness World Record for being the largest single-location soccer tournament.

Orlando and Portland emerged as the best of the bunch.

Lab to process COVID-19 tests in 24 hours or less

Robbie Gaffney, WFSU
Florida State University and Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare are partnering to operate a lab that can quickly process COVID-19 tests. The lab can process 1,000 tests per day and give results in 24 hours or less. It will process samples from FSU students, faculty, and staff as well as TMH patients.

Gary Ostrander is Vice President for Research at Florida State University. He says fast results are important since asymptomatic people who have COVID-19 sometimes take fewer precautions, leading them to spread the virus while waiting for test results. “You know, they don’t feel bad so there’s no reason to stay home and stay isolated.” Ostrander says cutting down on that wait time via the lab could help curb the spread. “If I test you tomorrow morning and I have a result by tomorrow night, the number of people you’ve interacted with is a whole lot less than if I don’t get a result to you 'til next Monday.” Ostrander says the lab is meant to be temporary and not permanent.

Briogeo: Nancy Twine

How I Built This, NPR In 2010, a tragic personal event changed the trajectory of Nancy Twine's life. Suddenly, her promising job on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs no longer seemed fulfilling; she wanted something more. Drawing inspiration from the homemade hair treatments she used to make with her mom, Nancy decided to create a line of shampoos and conditioners that catered to all textures of hair without using harmful additives. But as an African American entrepreneur pitching beauty products to white, male investors, she had a tough time raising money. Finally in 2013, with an investment of $100K, Nancy launched Briogeo, eventually landed it in Sephora, and—even in the midst of an economic crisis—is expecting it to do $40M in sales this year.

Palm Beach County positive COVID-19 cases trending down

Wilkine Brutus, WLRN Palm Beach County residents and businesses are taking whatever good news they can get. As of Monday, the county’s daily coronavirus positivity rate has stayed below the 10 percent threshold for two weeks. County leaders say this is encouraging.

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said Friday the county was seeing fewer hospitalizations as well. “Obviously any new case in our county is not a positive thing." Kerner stressed how unfortunate the coronavirus deaths in Palm Beach County have been. But positive COVID-19 cases continue on a downward trajectory. The county’s COVID-19 Education Compliance Team is still inspecting businesses and enforcing safety guidelines. With thousands of daily and nightly inspections, the county has cracked down on businesses operating outside emergency code enforcement rules. "There have been 52 warnings issued formally, so obviously, if there was some sort of error or noncompliance, there could be a verbal warning. We don't track those, those are really more of an educational opportunity. There's been 20 foreclosures of various businesses for noncompliance." Kerner says the compliance measures have been recognized by the Surgeon General of the State of Florida as a best practice.

Fewer Floridians voting early in 2020

Tom Urban, WLRN One week into early voting, more than 1.7 million Floridians have already cast ballots ahead of next Tuesday's primary elections. The vast majority, nearly 90 percent, have been cast by mail. For comparison, vote by mail accounted for 67 percent of ballots cast ahead of the primary election day two years ago. Marty Bishop is the Supervisor of Elections in rural Jefferson County in North Florida. He says the drop in early voting is likely attributed to COVID-19, and the push most supervisors have made to have people vote through the mail. Bishop says supervisors across Florida are doing their best to make it safe for those who still choose to vote in person. “When the voter comes in and marks the ballot, they are told to carry the pen with them. We are not using secrecy folders because of the contact of using them over and over again. We have masks and we have hand sanitizer.” The August 18th primary includes partisan primary races for several Congressional and legislative seats. Additionally, citizens are casting ballots in numerous local contests, many of which are nonpartisan. As of midday Monday, 840,000 Democrats have voted, 649,000 ballots have been cast by Republicans and 244,000 voters with minor or no party affiliation have gone to the polls or turned in ballots.

All good: WNBA has reported no positive coronavirus tests

The Associated Press

The WNBA bubble appears to be working a month into its compressed season.

The league has had no positive coronavirus tests for its players.

The players and staff are tested daily, and while there have been good results for the league, there have been at least two inconclusive positive tests that forced two players to miss games.

Those players later tested negative keeping the COVID-19 cases at zero.

Roller coaster economy (scream inside only)

The Indicator from Planet Money, NPR The economy has followed a wholly unusual trajectory during the pandemic. It hasn't followed a recession and recovery cycle, where a big decline over a year or longer is followed by a slow and steady upswing to the norm. Instead, we've been on a roller coaster. First we had that initial collapse back in March, when the pandemic hit and economies locked down. That was followed by an almost instant recovery, around April and May, as a number of states began reopening, and the economy was juiced by the injection of trillions of dollars via the CARES Act. But as coronavirus infections surged back in the early summer, the recovery has slowed, as some states were forced to close down big parts of their economies again. That downswing on the roller coaster has come at a really bad time, because it coincides with the turning off of the CARES Act cash spigot. Which means that the economic recovery is threatening to stall just as its key support is expiring. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are fighting; the President is shooting off constitutionally dubious executive actions like they're fireworks; and the American worker is left wondering whether they'll get any help from the government at all. The situation has made a mockery of many ordinary indicators, so today we're looking at three alternates to gauge the health of the economy.

Now is the time to start biking

Life Kit, NPR Like many others, I've spent much of these last few months cooped up in my apartment. But lately, I've been trying something new to combat the  COVID-19 Blues: When the world is too much, I hop on my bike. Out in the road, the breeze on my face makes the air feel crisper. Lush tree canopies arch over the street in front of me. I can hear the whirring of my wheels on the pavement. I feel apart from everything. I feel safe and relaxed. I'm not the only one. In March, when the pandemic began to dominate public consciousness in the U.S.,  bike sales were 50% higher than the year before. It makes sense: Experts say the risk of coronavirus infection is  lower outside than it is inside, and it's fairly easy to maintain social distance on a bike. Plus, regular exercise is good for your mental and physical health. If you ever had an inkling that biking might be for you, now seems like a good time to try it out. Like any new habit — and, let's be honest, any new  exercise habit — starting to bike regularly is easier said than done, so we asked three expert bikers to guide us along.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.