While you were sleeping: Coronavirus updates for July 29

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INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Students in Avon head back to school today. They are one of the first in the state to get back to in-person learning. Many other districts made the decision to push back their start dates to August.

As you know, students have been out of the classroom since March because of the coronavirus.

Parents in Avon could decide if they were ready to send their kids back for in-person learning or do e-learning, but school officials made it clear the online curriculum is more limited than the in-person curriculum.

Either way, they wanted to give parents and students the option to decide what works for them and what they are comfortable with.

The district mentioned each school will follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff.

Parents we talked with had different opinions on Avon Community Schools making the decision to hold in-person classes earlier than other districts.

Some are ready and excited for their children to get back in the classroom. Others aren’t so sure sending kids back for in-person learning is the right choice, and they think it will only continue the spread of COVID-19.

The district is also giving parents the option to change their mind. If their initial decision for in-person or online learning just isn’t working out, they have until August 7 to switch.

The coronavirus is already messing up holiday plans. Irvington canceled parts of their Halloween festival, and Carmel canceled the Christkindlmarkt!

The Halloween festival street fair averages about 60,000 people, but unfortunately that is canceled.

It’s a big blow for Irvington businesses who consider it their “Black Friday.”

Organizers say some of the festival events will go virtual, while others will still be in person, like the masquerade ball.

The Christkindlmarkt drives in an estimated 300,000 people between mid-November and December. It has tripled in revenue since it began and brought in $3.1 million—and that’s not counting the impact to nearby restaurants and businesses.

Carmel is trying to find other ways to bring holiday cheer this year. Part of that discussion may involve using the Monon Greenway.

Franciscan Health is hoping their latest clinical trial may lead them one step closer to fighting off COVID-19. Eli Lilly has chosen Franciscan Health as one of their many research sites for their new BLAZE-1 study.

The study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of an antibody treatment drug. This antibody therapy comes from one of the first Americans to contract COVID-19. Studies show this particular antibody can neutralize the virus’s ability to infect and replicate cells.

The hospital is currently looking for patients to sign up. If you’re an adult, have tested positive for COVID -19, and experienced symptoms, you may be the perfect person to sign up for this clinical trial. More info here.

According to Dr. Fauci, the Midwest could be the next area to see a big surge in coronavirus cases.

States like Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky are “starting to have” a “very early indication” of rising COVID-19 positivity rates – a “surefire sign that you’ve got to be really careful,” Fauci told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.”

Farther south, Fauci noted, Tennessee is also at risk. The state is seeing one of the fastest per-capita increases in COVID-19 cases, with an average of 2,391 cases per day — up about 26% from the average two weeks ago, according to a report by WBEZ. The numbers in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky aren’t as dire, but that could quickly change, Fauci warned.

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