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The F.D.A. Wanted to Ban Some Hair Straighteners. It Never Happened.

Heat is crucial to the process: Directions call for applying the product to the hair, blow drying the hair with a hair dryer, and then using a flat iron heated to at least 380 degrees to straighten the hair. The concern is that heat converts the liquid formaldehyde into a gas and releases it into the air.

Reached by phone in early October, Monte Devin Semler, who is listed in California business records as the trustee of an entity that manages GIB LLC and who says on his LinkedIn profile that he is the owner and founder of Brazilian Blowout, hung up after being asked to comment. He did not respond to emails.

Another manufacturer, Van Tibolli Beauty PR, was told by the F.D.A. on Sept. 2, 2015, that its GK Hair Taming System products contained formaldehyde, and that labels warning consumers of possible health effects, including cancer, were required. F.D.A. officials said last week that the case had been resolved, but refused to provide further details. The company’s president, Van Tibolli, said in a phone interview that some of his company’s hair straightening products still contain methylene glycol, the liquid form of formaldehyde.

Products containing formaldehyde may soon be taken off the market in at least one state: Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act into law. The law prohibits the use of a dozen chemicals in cosmetics, including formaldehyde, mercury, phthalates and parabens.

Salon workers experience the most exposure to the hair straightening products, according to the nonprofit group Women’s Voices for the Earth. Many hair dressers say they always assumed products that were on the market were safe.

“When I would try to speak up about this, my co-workers always said, ‘If it was that bad for you, it wouldn’t be legal,’” said Emily Baedeker, a hair dresser in Alameda, Calif., who got migraines when Brazilian Blowout was used around her. “The assumption is that there is an invisible safety net that protects us.”

Susan Beachy contributed research.

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California’s feared surge of virus cases hasn’t happened

That hasn’t happened. Instead, state data shows hospitalizations have fallen by about 15% since that warning while the weekly average number of new cases continues to decline even as other more populous states like Florida, Ohio and Illinois see increases.

California’s good news isn’t enough to change what Newsom calls his “slow” and “stubborn” approach to reopening the world’s fifth-largest economy. He again cautioned people against “being overly exuberant” about those coronavirus numbers, pointing to a “decline in the rate of decline” of hospitalizations.

While California’s 14-day average of hospitalizations is down, the 7-day average is up ever so slightly to 2,241 patients. The number peaked in July at more than 7,100.

“Boy, what more of a reminder do you need than seeing these numbers begin to plateau?” Newsom said Monday during his weekly news conference.

But Brad Pollock, associate dean of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, said this shows models that try to predict how the coronavirus will behave are “not that great.”

“We don’t have a model that accurately predicts what’s going to happen next,” he said.

Hospitalizations are trending younger in Los Angeles County, where people 18 to 29 now account for about 10% of all coronavirus-related hospitalizations compared with 5% in mid-May. Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said it was one of the troubling trends in the nation’s most populous county with about 10 million residents.

Collectively, people 18 to 49 now account for 58% of all new coronavirus cases in the county.

“If you were to add teenagers in the mix — these are oftentimes young people who may be out socializing — individuals between the ages of 12 and 50 account for fully 68%,” she said.

Newsom’s go-slow approach has frustrated the state’s tourism industry, which is trying to recover after seven months of shutdown. As of last week, the state has lifted its most severe restrictions on all but 10 of the state’s 58 counties, with another update scheduled for Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Newsom administration for the first time said it was OK for up to three households to gather but only if it is outdoors and people remain socially distanced.

But Newsom still has not allowed for large public gatherings or theme parks to reopen, even with modifications. The Walt Disney Co. has criticized the state for delaying reopening rules for theme parks, saying it contributed to the company’s decision to lay off 28,000 workers at its parks in California

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A nurse repeatedly voiced concern about a Chesapeake doctor’s unusual surgery practices to supervisors. Nothing happened, she says

Most every Friday afternoon, Dr. Javaid Perwaiz performed outpatient surgeries at a medical center in Suffolk.

And while there were lots of other doctors who operated regularly at the Bon Secours Surgery Center at Harbour View, there were none quite like Dr. Perwaiz, operating room nurse Jean Kennedy said.

His schedule was so packed and fast-paced the surgical center’s staff had a special name for it: the Perwaiz-a-thon.

“When someone asked you what are you doing today, staff would frequently say, ‘I’ve got the Perwaiz-a-thon,’” Kennedy said during testimony Monday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. “It was an extremely busy tempo. Very stressful. At times it was chaotic.”

Perwaiz, 70, a longtime obstetrician-gynecologist who had offices in Chesapeake for decades, is on trial for multiple counts of heath care fraud, making false statements related to health care and identity theft. The trial began Wednesday and could last more than a month.

Prosecutors allege that Perwaiz frequently performed unnecessary surgeries and procedures, regularly induced labor for pregnant patients two weeks before they were due, and changed dates on forms to make it look like he was complying with insurance rules and regulations.

Kennedy testified Perwaiz typically had more than one operating room in use on Fridays and bounced back and forth between them. The other doctors just had one, she said.

And while the other doctors had their patients check in at staggered times, all of Perwaiz’s patients were told to report at the same time. Many of them didn’t seem to understand why they were having surgery, she said. And many had been there before.

“It was a first-come, first-serve basis,” she said. “There was no set schedule. It was just whoever was prepped and ready.”

The practice made Kennedy nervous because she feared it could lead to confusion and mistakes, she said.

Kennedy also said she occasionally saw the doctor write down post-surgery notes, in which he lists what he saw and did during the procedure, before the operation had even begun.

And unlike the other doctors, Perwaiz never used a scope with a camera on the end that could project images from inside the patient’s body onto a monitor for everyone in the operating room to see, she said.

Kennedy, who had once been a patient of Perwaiz and had worked in his office for a couple of years, said she and other hospital employees told supervisors of their concerns about Perwaiz’s unusual and concerning practices.

“They were fully aware,” she testified.

“And what happened?” prosecutor John Butler asked. “Nothing,” she said. “Things continued as they always had.”

In other testimony Monday, a 51-year-old former patient told jurors how she went to see Perwaiz after learning she had an abnormal pap smear. The woman had already survived breast cancer and feared getting cancer again.

The woman said Perwaiz performed one procedure, told her it didn’t work and that she’d need to get a hysterectomy. She said she was adamant about having it done vaginally because

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Oct. 16 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

The state also said the seven day-average of coronavirus tests coming back as positive has climbed to 5.1%, surpassing a threshold recommended by the World Health Organization for safely reopening economies.

The record comes as the state also reports the highest number of test results returned in a 24-hour period. The 87,759 results reported Friday outstrips the previous high of 74,286 on Sept. 19. There were 2,529 newly confirmed cases that day.

There also were 38 more fatalities reported Friday, bringing the statewide death toll to 9,165 since the pandemic began. In all, there have been 336,174 known cases of COVID-19 in Illinois.

Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools announced Friday that all students will continue with remote learning when the second quarter starts in November but that some of the district’s “most vulnerable” children will have the option to begin returning to schools before the end of the calendar year.

In explaining their rational for offering in-person classes first to pre-kindergarten and some special education students, CPS officials cited enrollment figures they released Friday that show a drop of 34% in total preschool enrollment from last year.

Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

5:40 p.m.: Lake County moved off COVID-19 warning status, but officials warn return to all-remote schooling is a possibility

Lake County was removed from orange COVID-19 warning status by the Illinois Department of Public Health Friday, and is now the only county along the Wisconsin state line not so situated, according to department’s website.

While the reclassification may give residents a temporary sigh of relief, Hannah Goering, the marketing and communications manager for the Lake County Health Department, said it could be short-lived.

5:25 p.m.: COVID-19 numbers are rising in Illinois. How worried should the Chicago area be?

Illinois just announced a record number of new COVID-19 cases. Positivity rates for coronavirus testing are up too. So are hospitalizations and deaths.

But a deeper look at the data can soften the sense of alarm somewhat — at least for the Chicago area, where many pandemic metrics have remained steady for months until some recent upticks. And the state as a whole is still in better shape than its neighbors on most of those same statistics.

As a pandemic-weary public braces for winter, the latest Illinois figures have prompted researchers and public health officials to offer a mix of warnings and reassurance. They worry a second surge may be starting in Illinois while also noting that the shifting pandemic threatens some areas more than others.

3:45 p.m.: Kane, Will counties back on state COVID-19 warning list; Kane health director outlines ‘concerning’ trends

Kane and Will counties have returned to the state’s list of those showing “warning signs” of increased coronavirus risk.

They were among 34 counties statewide on the list Friday, based on measures of the virus’ spread. Their addition to the warning list came the same day Illinois public health officials announced a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases for the second

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