ALHAMBRA, Calif. — It’s Tuesday morning, and teacher Tamya Daly has her online class playing an alphabet game. The students are writing quickly and intently, with occasional whoops of excitement, on the little whiteboards she dropped off at their homes the day before along with coloring books, markers, Silly Putty and other learning props — all of which she created or paid for with her own money.

Two of the seven children in her combined third and fifth grade class weren’t home when Daly came by with the gift bags. One of the two managed to find her own writing tablet, thanks to an older brother, but the other can’t find a piece of paper in her dad’s house. She sits quietly watching her classmates on Zoom for half an hour while Daly tries futilely to get the father’s attention. Maybe the student is wearing earphones; maybe the father is out of the room.

As children head back to school online across California and much of the nation, some of the disparities that plague education are growing wider. Instead of attending the same school with similar access

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A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey.

Chris Helgren | Reuters

It’s time to say goodbye to the $200 ticket-change fee.

United Airlines on Sunday said that it will permanently scrap fees to change domestic flights, a big bet that more flexible policies will win over much-needed customers as the pain from the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on air travel continue to mount.

It’s a page from the playbook of rival Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t charge customers fees to change their flights.

“Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service,” said United CEO Scott Kirby in a news release. “United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we’re taking a completely different approach – and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.”

United’s announcement that it will no longer charge travelers the $200 fee comes as airlines are scrambling to find ways to revitalize their businesses, which have been battered by the pandemic. This summer, Transportation Security Administration screenings at U.S. airports are hovering around 30% of

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A Detroit resident is tested for free for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and antibodies at the Sheffield Center in Detroit, Michigan, April 28, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

Coronavirus cases in the Midwest are beginning to increase following warnings from top U.S. health officials that the country’s heartland could be vulnerable to new outbreaks. 

Coronavirus cases were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to smooth out daily reporting, in 21 states and Washington D.C. as of Saturday, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University, an increase from 12 states on Monday. 

Several Midwestern states were among those reporting growing cases— Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota. 

Nationally, however, cases continue to decline, though at a slower pace than reported in previous days. The U.S. reported an average of 41,638 new infections a day over the last week, a decline of more than 5% compared with the prior week, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins’ data. 

Sun Belt states that have spent the summer months grappling with outbreaks are showing signs of improvement. Texas, Florida, California and Arizona all reported declines greater than 15% compared

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A pig with a Neuralink implant.

Screengrab of live demo

Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, conducted a live demo of its technology on Friday, showing a coin-sized device without wires.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO brought along three pigs, who had varying levels of interest in cooperating. Eventually, the audience was shown real-time neural signals from one of the pigs, which Musk named Gertrude. According to Musk, Gertrude has had the implant for about two months. 

The start-up, which launched in 2016 and is funded primarily by Musk, said it is designing tiny flexible ‘threads’ that are 10 times thinner than a human hair with the goal of treating brain injuries and trauma, along with someday enabling symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. The design has been tested on at least 19 different animals with robots with around an 87% success rate, according to the venture’s presentation last year. 

Musk described it on Friday as “like a Fitbit in your skull.”

Musk described the surgery to insert a Neuralink device as taking less than an hour.

Neuralink demo

This was one the company’s first demonstrations of the tech in action.

“We will show neurons firing in real-time on August

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Flu season will look different this year, as the country grapples with a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 172,000 people. Many Americans are reluctant to visit a doctor’s office and public health officials worry people will shy away from being immunized.

Although sometimes incorrectly regarded as just another bad cold, flu also kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. each year, with the very young, the elderly and those with underlying conditions the most vulnerable. When coupled with the effects of COVID-19, public health experts say it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot.

If enough of the U.S. population gets vaccinated — more than the 45% who did last flu season — it could help head off a nightmare scenario in the coming winter of hospitals stuffed with both COVID-19 patients and those suffering from severe effects of influenza.

Aside from the potential burden on hospitals, there’s the possibility people could get both viruses — and “no one knows what happens if you get influenza and COVID [simultaneously] because it’s never happened before,” Dr. Rachel Levine,

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Trump to announce $750 million deal with Abbott for at least 150 million rapid coronavirus tests

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