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A split decision on high school sports

Nassau postpones high school sports, but Suffolk will try to play

At an emergency meeting Wednesday morning, Nassau school superintendents voted to postpone high school sports until 2021.

Section XI, the governing body for Suffolk high school athletics, held an executive board meeting Wednesday and voted to plan to have lower-risk sports begin practice and play on Sept. 21.

For Nassau, the intention is to play all three sports seasons between January and June when, potentially, the danger of COVID-19 transmission has decreased, there is a treatment or a vaccine. The seven-person committee of Section VIII officials voted unanimously.

“This decision comes from an abundance of caution and health and safety for our students,” said Hank Grishman, Jericho’s superintendent of schools. “No matter what procedures are put in place it’s just not safe to return to sports – there’s still too many unknowns with the virus."

Section XI officials – including representation of superintendents – voted 12-0 to go forward, according to section executive director Tom Combs.

High school sports were halted across the state in March and the entire 2020 spring season was ultimately wiped out. Cuomo on Monday issued guidance that would permit lower-risk sports – which he named as soccer, tennis, cross county track, field hockey and swimming – to begin Sept. 21. Read more about the plans.

The number of new positives reported today: 55 in Nassau, 44 in Suffolk, 260 in New York City and 566 statewide.

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The chart below shows the cumulative number of coronavirus tests performed in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Search a map and view more charts showing trends in new cases, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Cuomo: CDC reversal on COVID-19 measures 'indefensible'

Cuomo harshly criticized new federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that relax COVID-19 testing requirements, calling the change of direction "indefensible" and accusing the agency of bowing to political pressure from President Donald Trump.

He said the decision that people without symptoms associated with the virus do not need to be tested — even when they may have come in contact with a person with the virus — "strains credulity" and shows political maneuvering aimed at convincing the country there's no COVID-19 problem.

The CDC also changed its guidance to not require quarantining of travelers returning from international trips or areas with high infection levels. New York continues to issue a list of states and territories from which travelers need to quarantine upon arrival.

“What possible rationale is there to say you are in close contact with a COVID-positive person and you don’t need a test?" Cuomo said during a telephone briefing. “The only plausible rationale is they want fewer people taking tests, because as the president has said, if we don’t take tests, you won’t know that people are COVID-positive. And the number of COVID-positive people will come down."

Pharmacies offering flu shots early while COVID-19 lingers

Preparing for a double hit of COVID-19 and seasonal flu this fall, many large-chain pharmacies on Long Island are offering flu shots early, even though experts say there's a chance it could make them less effective if the season runs long.

The recommended time to get a flu vaccine is usually mid-September through late October, experts said. Anything earlier could mean its protection — especially for older adults — could wane later in the flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But some doctors said the risk of people not getting flu shots at all this year, and adding to a health care system already grappling with COVID-19, is a more serious problem than getting the shot a few weeks early.

“We don’t want one single extra case of flu making it harder for us to deal with COVID-19,” said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, chair of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital.

Who should get a flu shot, and when? Get the answers to frequently asked flu questions here.

Owner of 75 Main says he's sorry

The owner of 75 Main in Southampton Village expressed remorse Tuesday after investigators cited the business for violating COVID-19-related guidelines for the third time this summer and suspended its liquor license.

The popular Main Street restaurant and bar, where elected officials toasted the reopening of New York’s economy in June, had its liquor license suspended following a Saturday joint inspection by the state, Suffolk County police and Southampton Village police.

Violations found there over the weekend, according to a news release from Cuomo’s office, included “a line of patrons waiting to enter the premises, ignoring social distancing, with most not wearing facial coverings. Investigators also observed two bartenders and three servers without facial coverings.”

“We’re never going to win in this stupid virus if we don’t behave,” owner Zach Erdem said Tuesday. “Am I upset [about the suspension]? Yes. But on the one side I know Cuomo and the officers are right.”

More to know

The MTA is considering slashing LIRR service in half — including eliminating one or more branches — to help close a budget deficit, officials said.

Smithtown officials are trying to hire teachers and find space for a full-day, school-age child care program for working parents, weeks before the school year that will mix in-person and remote learning begins.

Long Island’s unemployment rate rose to 13.8% last month, growing by one percentage point from the 12.8% rate reported for June, data shows.

American Airlines said it will cut more than 40,000 jobs, including 19,000 through furloughs and layoffs, in October as it struggles with a sharp downturn in travel.

A memorial service for Tony Award nominee Nick Cordero, who died at age 41 after battling the coronavirus, will stream on Broadway on Demand on Sept. 6.

News for you

Where to get your outdoor photos taken. Even in the pandemic, photographers say milestone photoshoots remain popular. Long Islanders seeking family portraits or photos to mark special occasions can find these scenic spots around the Island as a good photo op. 

Something new to see outside. This fall into the winter offers opportunities to see meteor showers, planetary sightings and supermoons. Here are the best places to observe the stars.

Remote learning and safety in school. Join us for Newsday's free virtual event on Thursday that will bring together education experts to answer parent questions from remote learning to PPE in Long Island schools. Register here

Plus: Catch up on the schedule of upcoming events, either virtual or socially distant, to stay active toward the end of the season. Here's a list.

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.

Commentary

LI couple writes COVID-19 book to educate kids. When Port Washingtonians Lauren and Adam Block first settled in to the new normal of the coronavirus, sticking to home as much as possible, they were spending a lot of time reading to their kids, twins Elise and Brandon, 7, and Jordan, 5, writes Lane Filler in a Newsday Opinion column.

“I couldn’t help noticing there was nothing to read them to explain what was going on in their lives right now,” said Adam, 42, an economist and assistant professor of public health at New York Medical College in Valhalla. “I mean, I love reading them books about dinosaurs, but it doesn’t have much relevance.”

Lauren, 39, is a primary care physician and an associate professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, so the couple had plenty of insight and expertise to throw at the problem.

The pair acted quickly and in May put out their first book, “Kelly Stays Home,” an explainer for elementary school-aged kids (and their parents) about what is happening with COVID-19, and why. It quickly found an audience, with more than 500 physical copies sold and more than 14,000 free downloads of the PDF distributed.

Now, feeding off that momentum, they've launched a second title with illustrator Alex Brissenden, “Kelly Goes Back to School.”

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