A version of this story appeared in the September 4 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
(CNN)”We ain’t got nowhere to go,” Israel Rodriguez Sr. told Deputy Bennie Gant of the Harris County Constable’s Office in Houston, who had come to evict him and his young family.
Rodriguez had plenty of warning about his non-payment of rent, both from his apartment manager and from the Harris County court. But the warnings didn’t change his circumstances — he still didn’t have the thousands in rent money he owed having lost his job when the pandemic hit, Kyung Lah and Rob Kuznia report. The US could be facing one of the most severe housing crises in its history due to Covid-19. Rodriguez was one of an estimated 30 to 40 million Americans living on the edge of eviction, while already struggling with job losses in the coronavirus economy.
The federal CARES Act helped stall problems through a weekly $600 stipend that helped pay rent and other bills. But those payments stopped on July 31 along with eviction moratoriums, and Rodriguez is a victim of a predicted onslaught of people being thrown out on the streets. A temporary halt in residential evictions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came into force today. That will delay mass evictions but not solve the rental crisis, according to Emily Benfer, a housing expert and co-creator of a Covid-19 housing policy scorecard at Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. Congress will have to bolster it with significant rental assistance “for its purpose to be realized,” Benfer said.Read MoreBut the CDC’s temporary reprieve did not come in time for Rodriguez. Standing with his children in the parking lot of his now-former apartment complex, he told CNN that he came to Houston to get away from the street elements that marked his hard upbringing. Without a car, they would have to leave the possessions from their apartment behind. With no family to turn to in Houston, Rodriguez and his girlfriend were left to contemplate where their feet would take them.
Israel Rodriguez, 24, holds his 20-month-old son, also named Israel.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: Is it really possible we could have a coronavirus vaccine by election day?A: Doctors who are running the clinical trials would know best, and they don’t think so.”Do the simple math,” said Dr. Larry Corey, who is leading the team coordinating clinical trials for federally backed coronavirus vaccines in the US. “We designed the trial to get to 130, 140 endpoints seven months from starting the trial,” Corey told CNN. “The first one started in mid-July.” “Endpoints” are coronavirus infections — so the trials are designed to go on until around 140 people catch it. The researchers then would look to see if people who got the real vaccine were less likely to be among those infected. But if you add seven months to July, you get February. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have an answer before then. In the case of a highly effective vaccine, researchers might get one in five months, Corey said.But there are other obstacles. Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said most of the Phase 3 trials underway now aim to enroll 30,000 people each. But none is fully enrolled yet and many, if not most, of the volunteers have yet to receive their first dose.Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Trump mocks Biden for wearing maskUS President Donald Trump mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing a face mask on Thursday, even as the US continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases, with more than 6 million infections.Speaking to a largely mask-less crowd in Pennsylvania, Trump asked his supporters if they know “a man that likes a mask as much” as Biden. “It gives him a feeling of security,” the President said. “If I was a psychiatrist, I’d say this guy has some big issues.”This is just the latest Trump comment to run counter to the advice of public health experts, who have emphasized the importance of face coverings amid the country’s reopening. Masks are primarily to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.Brazil tops 4 million infectionsBrazil surpassed 4 million cases of the virus yesterday. The health ministry reported 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths, raising totals to 4,041,638 infections and 124,614 fatalities. While cases and deaths continue to rise, both Brazil’s infection rate and virus-related mortality rate appeared to decline last month, CNN analysis showed. An average of 869 deaths were recorded daily in the final week of August, the country’s lowest daily average since May 20.This follows a health ministry announcement on Wednesday stating that a Covid-19 vaccination would not be mandatory in Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro also said that he won’t approve a vaccine for the public until after Brazil’s health surveillance agency gives a second opinion.Designate quarantine spaces for students in college, says FauciColleges should only consider reopening if they have several protocols in place, including testing every student, surveillance testing at various intervals and readily available quarantine spaces, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’ leading infectious disease expert, told CNN Thursday. He emphasized the importance of specific quarantine spaces for students who contract the virus, “because if you send them home, they’re only going to re-enter the community from which they came.”It’s a problem universities around the world are facing as students begin the school year. In Hong Kong, many students have to contend with both the pandemic and a new national security law — which bans subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces. Students are now taking their courses via video link from home, James Griffiths writes. But this puts them at greater risk of surveillance, and students may be less willing to participate in politically sensitive discussions while under Chinese jurisdiction.New Zealand reports first death in months, while India continues to break grim records A man in his 50s is New Zealand’s first reported Covid-19 death in more than three months, according to its health ministry on Friday. The man was linked to a cluster in Auckland, and brings the country’s death toll to 23. There have been 1,413 virus cases in the country, which was put under lockdown in August following an outbreak of new cases. The country will remain at Alert Level 2, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today, which means face coverings are mandatory on public transportation and no more than 100 people are allowed at gatherings. India reported 83,341 new Covid-19 cases on Friday — the highest daily increase for the country — and 1,096 deaths. It continues to press ahead with its re-opening despite the skyrocketing figures. The nation’s caseload now stands at over 3.9 million, with more than 68,000 fatalities.
ON OUR RADAR
- Covid-19 cases could explode after Labor Day: It’s up to Americans to stop that happening.
- Production on “The Batman,” the forthcoming film starring Robert Pattinson, has been halted after a member of the production tested positive for coronavirus.
- Black Americans, hit hardest by the pandemic, feel they’re hurt by both the virus and inequities tied to race.
- Wear a mask while having sex and avoid kissing new people, Canada’s top doctor advises.
- The elderly are among the pandemic’s greatest victims, and the WHO chief says our lack of concern shows “moral bankruptcy.”
- A woman was charged in Australia for inciting anti-lockdown protests.
- Covid-19 has killed more law enforcement officers this year than all other causes combined.
- Coronavirus cases tied to a Maine wedding have more than doubled in a week.
If your days are filled with online school for the children, social distancing, masks and a daily death toll, isn’t it no wonder adults are having nightmares at night? Here’s some ways to ease bad dreams:
- Establish a sleep routine
- Cut back on alcohol
- Don’t eat before bed
- Practice stress-relieving activities
- Journal your worries
- Use a white noise machine
- Check up on your mental health
“We’re at a greater risk of infection… but we don’t have that wave of energy to ride on.” — Parsia Jahanbani, healthcare worker Jahanbani’s job might be killing him. Some of his patients are rude to him. He’s working longer and harder, while the rest of the country tries to move beyond the pandemic. CNN’s Senior Writer Thomas Lake tells the story of a frontline worker at the breaking point. Listen Now.