NBC Says Trump Will Hold Town Hall Meeting Thursday, Competing Against Biden

President Trump may not be debating Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the same stage on Thursday night as originally planned. But the two candidates will still face off head-to-head.

NBC News confirmed on Wednesday that it would broadcast a prime-time town-hall-style event with Mr. Trump from Miami on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern, with the president fielding questions from Florida voters.

The event will directly overlap with an already-scheduled ABC televised town-hall meeting with Mr. Biden in Philadelphia, which will begin at the same time.

Mr. Biden’s town hall has been on the books since last week, after Mr. Trump, who had recently contracted the coronavirus, rejected plans to convert the second formal presidential debate into a virtual matchup; the debate was eventually canceled.

The NBC event, to be moderated by the “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie, had been contingent on the Trump campaign providing independent proof that the president would not pose a safety risk to the other participants — including NBC crew members, voters and Ms. Guthrie herself.

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As late as Tuesday afternoon, NBC executives were waiting for that proof, but the network determined late Tuesday that it would be comfortable moving forward, according to two people familiar with the planning.

On Wednesday’s “Today” show, the NBC anchor Craig Melvin said the town hall would occur “in accordance with the guidelines set forth by health officials” and proffered a statement from Clifford Lane, a clinical director at the National Institutes of Health.

In the statement, Dr. Lane said he had reviewed medical data about Mr. Trump’s condition, including a so-called P.C.R. test — a widely used diagnostic test for the coronavirus that is considered more reliable than a rapid antigen test — that the N.I.H. “collected and analyzed” on Tuesday. Dr. Lane concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that the president is “not shedding infectious virus,” NBC said.

The network did not explicitly say that Mr. Trump had received a negative result from the P.C.R. test.

Mr. Trump and his aides have not shared extensive details about the president’s medical condition with the public, and over the past few days, NBC executives were no exception. Until late Tuesday, the network had been prepared to cancel the event if the president’s team did not present convincing evidence that Mr. Trump would not potentially infect those around him, one of the people said.

The town hall on Thursday will be held outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and audience members will be required to wear face masks, the network said. Ms. Guthrie and Mr. Trump will be seated at least 12 feet apart.

NBC officials began discussing the possibility of a town hall with the Trump campaign last week, after Mr. Trump pulled out of the second planned presidential debate. The network made clear at the start that it needed outside proof of the president’s medical condition.

NBC officials did not say exactly what testing

Louisiana coronavirus: 526 new cases, 5 more deaths reported Thursday; see latest data | Coronavirus

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 526 more coronavirus cases and five more deaths in its daily noon update Thursday.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 12, and the number of patients in need of ventilators increased by one.

Here are a few key statewide statistics as of Thursday:

— Total cases: 170,621

— Total deaths: 5,416

— Currently hospitalized: 564

— Currently on ventilators: 79

— Presumed recovered: 157,873 as of Oct. 5 (updated weekly)

— Probable cases: 2,528 as of Oct. 7 (updated weekly)

Note: The Advocate and The Times-Picayune staff calculates daily case count increases based on the difference between today’s total and yesterday’s total of confirmed coronavirus cases. The Louisiana Department of Health releases a daily case count on Twitter based on the deletion of duplicate cases. That case count can be different than the one listed here.

You can view more graphs and charts breaking down the data by clicking here.

Louisiana began reopening for Phase 1 on May 15-16 then moved to Phase 2 on June 5. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s Phase 2 restrictions twice in August before moving the state to Phase 3 on Sept. 11.

This is a developing story. More details and analysis to come.

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Kemp’s Latest Order Starts At Midnight Thursday

ATLANTA, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp’s latest extension to his coronavirus executive order keeps most restrictions in place but makes two minor revisions: one for hospitality workers and another for those seeking Georgia scholarships.

One change allows restaurant and bar workers to return once they’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours following a known or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis. According to a news release from Kemp’s office, this follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The other change allows for some SAT/ACT test score deadlines to be extended for HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships.

The changes go into effect at midnight Thursday and run through Oct. 15.

Gov. Kemp’s office announced the extended executive order on Wednesday, the same day Georgia surpassed 7,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

GEORGIA’S CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS FOR THURSDAY, OCT. 1

Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta reported a total of 319,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. According to the health department’s website, that includes 1,376 newly confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.

Georgia also reported 7,063 deaths so far from COVID-19, with 43 more deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition, the state reported 28,668 hospitalizations — 146 more than the day before — and 5,300 admissions so far to intensive-care units.

No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.

Counties in or near metro Atlanta and other metropolitan areas continue to have the highest number of positives, with Fulton County still in the lead.

  1. Fulton County: 27,790 cases — 106 new

  2. Gwinnett County: 27,733 cases — 86 new

  3. Cobb County: 19,829 cases — 89 new

  4. DeKalb County: 18,938 cases — 79 new

  5. Hall County: 9,498 cases — 125 new

  6. Chatham County: 8,548 — 37 new

  7. Richmond County: 7,180 — 33 new

  8. Clayton County: 7,114 — 7 new

  9. Cherokee County: 6,159 — 41 new

  10. Bibb County: 6,097 — 8 new

Counties in or near metro Atlanta also continue to have the most deaths from COVID-19.

  1. Fulton County: 577 deaths — 2 new

  2. Cobb County: 427 deaths

  3. Gwinnett County: 409 deaths

  4. DeKalb County: 369 deaths — 2 new

  5. Dougherty County: 187 deaths

  6. Bibb County: 173 deaths — 2 new

  7. Muscogee County: 170 deaths

  8. Chatham County: 166 deaths — 3 new

  9. Richmond County: 164 deaths — 2 new

  10. Clayton County: 161 deaths — 1 removed

As of Thursday, Georgia has administered more than 3.2 million COVID-19 tests, with about 9 percent of those tests the less reliable ones used to detect antibodies.

For the more reliable test for the virus itself, 10.1 percent of tests came back positive. For the less reliable test for antibodies, 8.4 percent came back positive. The overall positive rate was about 10 percent.

As more Georgians were tested over the last month, the percentage of positive tests inched upward from about 8 percent to more than 10 percent. However, over the last few weeks, the percentage of positives has stabilized at

Washington Reports 6 Deaths, 594 Coronavirus Cases Thursday

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Health reported six more deaths and 594 more confirmed coronavirus infections in their daily update Thursday afternoon.

Deaths Thursday were reported in Clark, Kitsap, Mason, Stevens, and Whatcom counties.

Six deaths per day has become fairy average in recent weeks, but nearly 600 confirmed cases may be cause for alarm in some counties. In their latest pandemic briefing Wednesday, health experts shared concerns that daily case counts are no longer on the decline and in fact some counties may be seeing an increase in transmissions.

In total, the latest update means 2,132 Washingtonians have been killed, and 88,116 coronavirus infections have been reported since the pandemic began. That means roughly 2.4 percent of all coronavirus infections are fatal in Washington.

Catch up on the latest developments:

Rapid coronavirus tests headed to Washington

Right now a coronavirus nasal swab test can take a week or more for the patient to get their results. That can be costly as patients are expected to stay home from work and self-isolate after any potential coronavirus exposure until their tests come back negative.

Luckily, that may not be the case for much longer. The Washington State Department of Health says they are expecting a federal shipment of nearly 150,000 COVID-19 testing kits. Experts say the tests are capable of giving a result in as little as 15 minutes. They are expected to arrive within the next five to 10 days, and officials plan to have nearly 2.3 million of the tests come November. The first round of tests will be distributed to community health centers, hospitals and tribal clinics.

There is a catch, however. The Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests are only currently approved for patients already exhibiting coronavirus symptoms. The DOH also says the tests are typically less accurate than the standard nasal swab.

BinaxNOW antigen tests work similarly to a regular nasal swab in practice. The patient takes a nasal swab and inserts it into a test card. Within minutes, they have their result, which can even be sent to an app on the patient’s phone, in case they need to later prove they are negative or positive.

Read more: Rapid Coronavirus Test Kits Are Headed For Washington

Pierce County warns schools not to reopen classrooms

Pierce County is one of several counties seeing a resurgence of new coronavirus cases. As a result, Thursday county health officials warned school districts that it may be unsafe to reopen in-person learning to students at this time— an unfortunately-timed announcement considering many districts are on the cusp of doing just that.

Puyallup School District, for example, had planned to reopen classrooms four days a week to students in Kindergarten and 1st Grade starting next Monday. The following Monday students in grades 2 – 6 were also expected to return to school. But after the county released the new guidance, both plans are off and students will be learning remotely for at least the next few weeks. The district

New York City Schools Hit Last Step for Reopening Thursday

Students in hundreds of New York City middle and high schools start in-person classes Thursday, as the system gears up for its first effort at random testing for the new coronavirus.

In the third—and if all goes well—final phase of school reopenings for the nation’s largest district, roughly 1,600 traditional public schools will be open Thursday. On Tuesday, about 870 schools welcomed children in elementary grades, including schools serving children in kindergarten through fifth grade and K-8. Preschool and some special-education students returned to school last week.

“A really extraordinary number of schools will be open and ready to serve, and they’re doing it the right way,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Wednesday. He said virus testing in schools will start next week.

The mayor has pushed to be one of the few major districts nationwide to offer in-person classes, despite resistance from many teachers and parents concerned that gathering large numbers of people in aging buildings might spread the coronavirus.

An Edward R. Murrow High School student attended remotely from Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 21.



Photo:

caitlin ochs/Reuters

About half of the district’s one million students have chosen to study online full time, by city data. Many teachers have gotten permission to teach from home because they have medical conditions or live with someone who does.

The mayor has said schools will close if the share of people tested in New York City who are positive for Covid-19 hits 3% on a seven-day rolling average, and his administration was boosting testing and enforcement of mask wearing and other safety rules in areas seeing increases.

The daily share of people tested in New York City who were positive for Covid-19 hit 3.25% for the first time since June, Mr. de Blasio said Tuesday, just as most public schools began reopening. Despite the uptick, on Wednesday the mayor reported a positivity rate of 1.46% on a seven-day rolling average.

The in-school testing is a result of a deal the city negotiated in September with the teachers union to avert a strike vote. As part of a reopening deal with the union, City Hall promised random monthly testing of 10% to 20% of students and staff showing up in person at each school.

School staff members wore protective masks as they waited for students to arrive for in-person classes at Public School 188 Tuesday.



Photo:

John Minchillo/Associated Press

In correspondence with families, the city described its virus-surveillance program as free, quick and painless.

The city Department of Education asked parents this week to sign consent forms for testing. It said consent isn’t mandatory, but students who don’t have consent forms on file might be required to learn remotely if a school has too few permissions.

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City officials said the test isn’t a long swab, but a short, small one that only goes in the nostril. “We are