US surpasses 11M infections, 246K deaths; Michigan governor tightens school, dining restrictions

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Michigan is the latest state to announce coronavirus restrictions as the United States surpassed 11 million infections just days after reaching 10 million.

Starting Wednesday, indoor dining at restaurants and bars will be suspended for three weeks, along with in-person instruction at high schools and colleges statewide, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Sunday.

White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas was quick to criticize Michigan’s new restrictions on Twitter: “The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas said.

On CNN, Whitmer said, “We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular. I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals.” Atlas later clarified his tweet by saying he does not endorse violence.

The U.S. has reported 11 million cases and more than 246,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 54.4 million cases and 1.31 million deaths.

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka tests positive for coronavirus

Minnesota Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka on Sunday announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The lawmaker said in a statement that he has been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms on Monday and is following the advice of his doctor. He said he expects to make a “full recovery.”

“We have learned a lot about this virus and how to treat it, we must remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a way to live with it,” Gazelka said.

Gazelka’s statement said the “blaming and shaming of a positive COVID diagnosis has got to stop” and some are using a “COVID diagnosis as a political tool to blame just Republicans when community spread is uncontrolled is indicative of failed leadership looking for a scapegoat.”

Catholic protesters demand France relax restrictions for religious services

Catholic protesters on Sunday demanded French authorities to relax coronavirus lockdown measures to allow religious services. Gatherings were reported outside the Saint-Louis Cathedral in Versailles, in front of a Virgin Mary statue in Nantes and other cities.

France banned Mass and other religious services for all of November as infections continue to rise nationwide. However, individuals are still allowed to visit churches and other religious sites to pray.

France’s interior minister is scheduled to meet with religious leaders Monday to discuss when and how services could again be permitted.

Around the US: Michigan restrictions; 35 states now require masks in public

Michigan became the latest state to implement additional coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announcing in-person classes at high schools and colleges statewide will be suspended for three weeks. The new restrictions take effect Wednesday and include a ban on indoor dining at restaurants and bars for that period.

Whitmer is the latest governor to take action as COVID-19 infections surge across the U.S.: Her counterparts in New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia have all tightened coronavirus measures since Friday.

New Mexico leaders seek COVID-19 relief funds for outdoor industry

New Mexico’s outdoor recreation industry is one of its fastest growing, and officials at both the state and federal level advocated for it to receive more federal relief funds to survive the COVID-19 health crisis and maintain the momentum.

Recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed the outdoor industry contributed $2.4 billion to the New Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year. RVing, equestrian and snow sports were the top three contributors to New Mexico’s outdoor economy, the report read, followed by boating and fishing.

New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division Director Axie Navas said the industry was one of the top sectors in the state’s economy and leaders should provide more funds to help its recovery after the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 health crisis has hurt many of our businesses in this space – a fact not captured in this new tranche of data. It’s our job to aid in the recovery of the outdoor industry, so it continues to be a vibrant economic engine in the state,” Navas said.

Longtime Syracuse hoops coach Jim Boeheim tests positive for COVID-19

Longtime Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim announced on Twitter Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Boeheim, 75, said the positive result turned up following the most recent round of regular testing the Orange received as they ready for the 2020-21 season. He said he is currently asymptomatic and isolating at home.

“I am not experiencing any symptoms at this time, and will continue to monitor my health closely as advised by the medical staff,” Boeheim wrote in a statement. “Thank you for the well wishes,” he added. “I look forward to getting back on the court with my team.”

Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement that Boeheim’s positive test led to another round of testing for “all members of the basketball program” that turned up one additional positive test. Due to that, Wildhack said the Orange were pausing “all basketball-related activities.”

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