Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, April 13, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.
Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties will roll back to the second phase of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington plan. As part of the rollback, they will have to lower capacity limits for indoor spaces like restaurants and fitness centers to 25% occupancy, down from the current 50% cap. The increased restrictions, which take effect Friday, will cover more than 1 million Washingtonians, most of them in Pierce County.
Just past the stroke of midnight Monday, a few select establishments in England served their first drinks since being forced to close in January, and more than a year after the first of three national lockdowns was imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, The New York Times reports. Later in the morning, thousands of gyms, salons and retail stores opened their doors for the first time in months and thousands more pubs resumed business at noon, though they were limited to outdoor service.
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world.
Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.
The WA Department of Health has scheduled a media availability today at 10 a.m. to discuss its decision to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.
Navigating the pandemic
- How to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster in Washington state
- Should you still wear a mask after mandates lift? How to tackle that choice
- How to navigate the COVID pandemic in the Seattle area: resources on masks, tests, vaccines and more
State reports 1,114 new coronavirus cases and 11 new deaths
The state Department of Health reported 1,114 new coronavirus cases and 11 new deaths on Tuesday.
The update brings the state's totals to 379,056 cases and 5,340 deaths, meaning that 1.4% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Monday. Tallies may be higher earlier in the week because new state data isn’t reported on Sundays and COVID-19-related deaths aren’t reported on the weekends.
The new cases may include up to 200 duplicates, according to DOH.
In addition, 21,184 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 127 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 95,001 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,487 deaths.
Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 4,189,884 doses and 22.25% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to vaccination data, which the state updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Providers are currently giving an average of about 57,577 vaccine shots per day.
The DOH says its daily case reports may also include duplicate test results, results assigned to the wrong county, results that are reported for today but are actually from a previous day, occasional false positive tests and other data discrepancies. Because of this, the previous day’s total number of cases plus the number of new daily cases does not add up to the new day’s total number of cases. State health officials recommend reviewing the dashboard's epidemiologic curves tab for the most accurate representation of the state's COVID-19 spread.
Dutch government says it’s too early to start easing lockdown
The Dutch government on Tuesday presented a roadmap for relaxing coronavirus lockdown measures, but caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte stressed that it is still too early to ease restrictions.
In a nationally televised press conference, Rutte said hospitals in the Netherlands are as crowded with COVID-19 patients now as they were during the first wave of the pandemic last year and that it would be irresponsible to relax the country’s months-long lockdown now.
The government had previously said it hoped the first relaxation could have started April 21, but Rutte said that was too soon.
“The reality is that the end is in sight, the reality that society can reopen again in a responsible way. We will take the first step when the peak of the third wave has passed,” Rutte said.
Biden says ‘pause’ on J&J shots shows wisdom of his approach
President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign hit a snag Tuesday when federal regulators recommended a “pause” in administering Johnson & Johnson shots. But the White House portrayed the action as important validation of his measured approach throughout the rollout.
Biden declared that even with a temporary loss of J&J's one-shot vaccine, there is a huge supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, enough that “is basically 100% unquestionable, for every single solitary American.”
Perhaps more concerning than any worry about supply, however, is the potential blow to public confidence in all of the vaccines, as polls suggest potentially tens of millions of Americans are hesitant to get the shots that public health experts say are necessary for the nation to emerge from the pandemic.
Turkey imposes partial Ramadan lockdown amid record cases
Turkey’s president announced a partial lockdown Tuesday during the first two weeks of the Muslim month of Ramadan to curb COVID-19 infections as the number of infections hit a record.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the government was re-imposing bans on intercity travel and stressed that crowded Iftar, or Ramadan fast-breaking dinners, would also not be allowed.
Turkey now ranks among the badly-hit countries. Single-day infections have increased more than five-fold since March. On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 59,187 new infections in a single day, the highest since the start of Turkey’s outbreak.
EXPLAINER: What’s known about COVID vaccines and rare clots
A rare, rogue immune response is the main suspect as authorities investigate highly unusual blood clots following use of two similar COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
The U.S. recommended that states pause giving the J&J vaccine on Tuesday while authorities examine six reports of the unusual clots, including a death, out of more than 6.8 million Americans given the one-dose vaccination so far.
But the small number of cases sparked concern because just last week, European authorities said similar clots were possibly linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet OK’d in the U.S. That led some countries to limit its use to certain age groups. Also Tuesday, J&J delayed its imminent European rollout.
These are not typical blood clots. They’re weird in two ways.
First, they’re occurring in unusual parts of the body, such as veins that drain blood from the brain. Second, those patients also have abnormally low levels of platelets — cells that help form clots — a condition normally linked to bleeding, not clotting.
Seahawks players say they will not attend in-person, voluntary offseason workouts due to COVID-19 concerns
Seattle Seahawks players said in a statement released through the NFL Players Association Tuesday they will not attend voluntary in-person workouts due to continuing concerns about COVID-19. The offseason program is scheduled to begin Monday.
“For the protection of everyone’s safety, we the Seattle Seahawks are deciding to exercise our CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) right to not participate in voluntary in-person workouts,’’ the statement read. “While many states in this country are still seeing rising COVID-19 numbers, we believe that a virtual offseason is best for everyone’s protection. Our hope is that we will see a positive shift in the COVID-19 data that will allow for a safe return for players when mandatory workouts are set to begin.’’
NFL teams are set to begin Phase One of the three-phase offseason program on Monday. Phase One consists of strength and conditioning and meetings. Phases Two and Three can include some on-field work, building up to a mandatory minicamp in June, which includes three on-field practices.
The NFL had not yet set the exact schedule for this year’s offseason program other than to say that Phase One would begin Monday, with teams able to welcome players to their facilities. Players, in fact, have already been allowed into team facilities during the offseason.
What you should do if you’ve received the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
The medical issues that led to Tuesday’s recommended pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are exceedingly rare, government health officials said at a news conference.
Six women who received the vaccine are known to have suffered cerebral venous sinus thrombosis — a rare form of stroke — also had low platelet counts in their blood. Platelets help your blood clot to stop bleeding.
But the illness is severe. One of the six women has died, authorities said, and another is in critical condition. All the known cases are among women between the ages of 18 and 48.
So what should you look for if you are one of the 6.8 million people who have received Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine, or are scheduled to receive it soon?
First, health officials said the women’s symptoms appeared to begin between six and 13 days after vaccination, with a median of nine days. That’s important because the vaccine commonly causes some flu-like symptoms — including headache, body aches and fatigue — within 24 to 36 hours. Those common symptoms do not appear to signal a clotting issue.
But if severe headache, leg pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath crop up in the week or two after receiving the vaccine, the recipient should consult a doctor to determine whether he or she has a low platelet count. At this point, government health experts do not have a probable cause but speculated that in very rare cases the Johnson & Johnson vaccine activates platelets in some way, leading to harmful blood clots that can cause strokes.
US intel report: Virus impact to cause global ‘aftershocks’
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are expected to contribute over the next year to “humanitarian and economic crises, political unrest, and geopolitical competition,” according to a new intelligence report that also warns about the threats from foreign adversaries and from violent extremists inside the United States.
The U.S. government’s annual assessment of worldwide threats, released Tuesday ahead of congressional hearings expected to cover similar territory, charts a broad array of potential dangers anticipated by the intelligence community over the coming year. Its grim assessment of diverse threats echoes in some ways the conclusions of a separate intelligence report from last week that examined likely global challenges, including related to the pandemic, over the next 20 years.
The report singles out for concern the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 3 million people worldwide, warning of the ways in which the recovery will “strain governments and societies.” The pandemic has already disrupted health services in certain areas of the world and will lead to continued health emergencies, according to the report, and has raised tensions as countries compete for advantage. The economic fallout in developing countries has been especially severe, with food insecurity worldwide at its highest point in more than a decade, intelligence officials say.
“No country has been completely spared, and even when a vaccine is widely distributed globally, the economic and political aftershocks will be felt for years,” the report says.
India reels amid virus surge, affecting world vaccine supply
The Indian city of Pune is running out of ventilators as gasping coronavirus patients crowd its hospitals. Social media is full of people searching for beds, while relatives throng pharmacies looking for antiviral medicines that hospitals ran out of long ago.
The surge, which can be seen across India, is particularly alarming because the country is a major vaccine producer and a critical supplier to the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative. That program aims to bring shots to some of the world’s poorest countries. Already the rise in cases has forced India to focus on satisfying its domestic demand — and delay deliveries to COVAX and elsewhere, including the United Kingdom and Canada.
India said Tuesday that it would authorize a slew of new vaccines, but experts said that the decision was unlikely to have any immediate impact on supplies available in the country. For now, its focus on domestic needs “means there is very little, if anything, left for COVAX and everybody else,” said Brook Baker, a vaccines expert at Northeastern University.
Michigan at ‘record high’ for COVID-19 hospitalizations of children
DETROIT – Children aren’t immune to COVID-19. They can get sick, just like adults do. They can be hospitalized, the same as adults. And rarely, they can even die.
That’s the message doctors at several of Michigan’s children’s hospitals want people to hear as the state confronts yet another massive surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, which reached 3,953 Monday, surpassing the state’s November/December spike.
“The state is at a record high for hospitalizations for pediatrics during the entire pandemic and our hospital reflects that,” said Dr. Rudolph Valentini, a pediatric nephrologist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and group chief medical officer for the Detroit Medical Center.
Statewide, 49 children were hospitalized Monday with either confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, according to state data.
With Michigan’s case rate of 515.8 per 100,000 people over the last week — the worst in the nation and four times higher than the rate in neighboring Ohio, according to data from the CDC — more people in general are going to get sick. And that includes kids.
Muslims mark Ramadan amid virus surge and new restrictions
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Muslims in many parts of the world marked the start of Ramadan on Tuesday, but a spike in coronavirus cases in several countries has once again put curbs on the holy month’s signature feasts and lengthy prayers in mosques.
Still, there were glimmers that Ramadan 2021 could feel less restricted than last year, when Islam’s holiest period coincided with the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Mosques have since reopened and limits on movement have eased as vaccine rollouts continue in Muslim-majority nations. Clerics in such places as Indonesia have issued assurances the vaccine does not break one’s daytime fast.
Ramadan is marked by longer prayers, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts with family and friends, though crowded shoulder-to-shoulder gatherings in mosques and large gatherings for meals remain prohibited due to the continued spread of coronavirus globally.
Throughout Ramadan, Muslims abstain from any food or drink — including water — from morning to night. The monthlong practice is aimed at heightening remembrance of God, curbing unhealthy habits and deepening gratitude.
Washington state suspends rollout of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine as feds review clotting
Washington state on Tuesday paused the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses in Washington state.
"Use of that vaccine will be put on hold until we receive further recommendations from our federal partners about how best to move forward. Safety is the highest priority when it comes to all COVID-19 vaccines," the Washington State Department of Health said in a statement on Tuesday.
The vaccine's pause follows the appearance of a rare but serious side effect of blood clots in six women, all under age 50.
Washington officials aren’t aware of any instances of blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccines here, according to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.
“There are no incidents that we are aware of with blood clots here,” wrote Inslee spokesperson Tara Lee in an email, adding later: “Hopefully people are aware that it is six people out of 6 million doses total nationwide.”
Federal health agencies called for an immediate pause in administration of the vaccine after six women who had received it developed a rare condition involving blood clots.
About 149,000 doses of J & J vaccine have been administered in Washington so far, out of more than four million doses total. At this time, we have no knowledge of the six patients who experienced these blood clots being Washington residents.
"For those who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk of this complication is very low at this time," the Washington State Department of Health said.
Seattle pauses J&J shots but vaccine appointments go on
Seattle is pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccines while the FDA and CDC investigate reports the vaccine could be tied to rare blood clots in six women, but that will not affect vaccine appointments in the city.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said on Twitter on Tuesday that appointments are not being canceled. People scheduled to get the J&J vaccine will instead get the Pfizer shot, she said.
"If you had an appointment with the @CityofSeattle for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, your appointment remains and you will receive the Pfizer vaccine," she wrote. "Nationwide, nearly 200 million Pfizer and Moderna shots have occurred – let’s keep it up!"
Washington officials aren’t aware of blood clot instances in Washington from vaccine
OLYMPIA – Washington officials aren’t aware of any instances of blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccines here, according to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.
“There are no incidents that we are aware of with blood clots here,” wrote Inslee spokesperson Tara Lee in an email, adding later: “Hopefully people are aware that it is six people out of 6 million doses total nationwide.”
Inslee and State Health Secretary Umair Shah spoke this morning about the issue, which has prompted several states to pause use of the vaccine. The state Department of Health will be releasing a statement shortly, Lee added.
UK hits vaccine target; Johnson warns of more virus deaths
Britain began offering coronavirus vaccinations to anyone over 45 on Tuesday after hitting its target of giving at least one dose to everyone over 50 by the middle of April.
Despite the good news, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the U.K. would inevitably see “more hospitalization and deaths” as it emerges from lockdown. On Monday, non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms, restaurant patios and beer gardens reopened in England.
Days before its self-imposed April 15 deadline, the government said everyone in its top priority groups — over 50s, health care workers and people with serious medical conditions — had been offered a jab, and about 95% of them received one. More than 32 million people, over 60% of the country’s adults, have had a first shot and almost 15% of adults have gotten both doses.
France suspends all Brazil flights due to virus variants
France suspended all flights from Brazil on Tuesday amid mounting fears over the particularly contagious coronavirus variant that has been sweeping the South American country.
Although France has seen comparatively few known cases of the P.1 variant striking Brazil, the ravages it is causing in Latin America’s largest nation are increasingly raising alarm bells in France. The government faced mounting calls from health experts for a flight suspension to further limit potential spread.
They tested negative for COVID. Still, they have long COVID symptoms
Long after their initial coronavirus infections, patients with a malady known as “long COVID” continue to struggle with varied symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, muscle and joint pain, and neurological issues. Some despite testing negative for COVID-19.
The haphazard protocols for testing people in the United States, the delays and difficulties accessing tests and the poor quality of many of the tests left many people without proof they were infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
People who didn’t test positive for COVID — due either to a lack of access to testing or a false-negative result — face difficulty getting treatment and disability benefits. Their cases are not always included in studies of long COVID despite their lingering symptoms. And, sometimes as aggravating, many find that family, friends or even doctors have doubts they contracted COVID at all.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be "paused" while reports of blood clots are investigated, the U.S. recommended this morning. More than 6.8 million doses have been given in the U.S., the vast majority with no serious side effects.
Three Washington counties have been sent back to the second phase of reopening because of rising COVID-19 cases. Residents of Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties will see tighter restrictions on restaurants, fitness centers and more, leaving one county's leader quite displeased with the state. We've updated our guide to the activities you can and can't do in each county.
Dozens of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for a third dose of vaccine, testing shots that have been tweaked for the virus' worrisome variants. (Here's our guide to getting your normal doses of vaccine.)
One shot of a two-dose vaccine may be enough to protect COVID-19 survivors from getting infected again, scientists in Seattle and elsewhere are finding. But if that's you, don't cancel your second appointment just yet.
COVID-19 has 200,000 merchant sailors still stuck at sea. Some have been out there for as long as 20 months, with little hope in sight. This is a window into their invisible, isolated world.
Less urgent, but still meaningful: In the privacy of quarantine, some young women let their hair go gray and silver — and found that they love it.
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