Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Thursday, April 23, as the events unfolded. Click here to see updates from Friday, April 24Click here to find the latest extended coverage of the outbreak of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2; the illness it causes, COVID-19; and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world.

Some parts of the state remain divided on Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, which he reminded residents Wednesday is meant to protect their health and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Some local Republican leaders have started to push back harder against the order, including one gubernatorial candidate who’s suing the governor in federal court. This comes as the White House pivots from encouraging people to stay home to encouraging states to reopen.

In Seattle, business leaders are voicing their support for the governor’s cautious approach to reopening the state’s economy. And on Wednesday, the Seattle City Council began deliberating a new proposal to tax big businesses to support lower-income households, a plan that could possibly underwrite coronavirus-relief cash payments.

Throughout Thursday, on this page, we’ll be posting updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Wednesday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

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Live updates:

Virus pits health vs. public duty for some state lawmakers

Kentucky lawmaker Gerald Neal had a big decision to make as the legislature gathered at the Capitol for some important votes amid the coronavirus outbreak.

His dilemma wasn’t simply whether to vote “yes” or “no,” but whether to even enter the state Senate.

At age 74 with diabetes and high-blood pressure, Neal was at high risk of developing life-threatening problems were he to contact the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Yet the Kentucky Senate — like most legislative chambers across the country — doesn’t allow remote voting.

Since the coronavirus outbreak led to widespread stay-at-home orders last month, 13 states have adopted some means of remote voting in at least one of their legislative chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those include seven Republican-led legislatures, five Democratic-led ones and the politically split Minnesota Legislature

—Associated Press
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As Boeing goes back to work, employees who got sick earlier are confirmed coronavirus cases

According to Boeing’s latest update to its daily internal listing of the company’s COVID-19 cases, two Everett employees were confirmed as positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday — the day thousands of workers on the 747, 767 and 777 jet programs returned to work at the factory.

Understandably, some among the Everett workforce were alarmed at the possibility of new infections, starkly illustrating the continuing challenge Boeing faces in tamping down fear of coronavirus contagion as its employees return to work.

However, Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Kowal said Thursday both of those infected employees had fallen ill in mid-March — before the four-week factory shutdown that began March 25 — and stayed home after becoming sick. At that time testing wasn’t widely available, and their results came through only this week.

Furthermore, she said, both employees have recovered and have been cleared to return to work.

Read the full story here.

—Dominic Gates

Meat-plant work takes a toll in southeastern Washington, where Tyson plant to halt work after 90-plus coronavirus cases, 1 worker death

WALLULA, Walla Walla County — Jose Trinidad Corral is a “chuck boner,” an almost-20-year veteran of the Tyson Fresh Meats packing plant that rises like a concrete fortress from a hillside by the Columbia River. In his wallet, he carries a letter that explains to law enforcement or anyone else who might ask why he continues to work each day when others shelter at home.

Drafted by his employer, the document cites President Donald Trump, who on March 16 found food-processing workers to bear a “special responsibility” to maintain their normal schedules during this national emergency.

In the days that followed this announcement, Corral and his colleagues performed this frontline duty largely without what are now deemed to be basic workplace protections to reduce the risk of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Not until April did the plant require the wearing of face masks and erect plexiglass barriers between line workers and more recently in dining areas, among other safety measures. By then the disease already had  slipped into the plant, morphing into a severe outbreak that has spread to some 100 workers and family members. Many more workers have stayed at home to quarantine or to avoid exposure.

The COVID-19 cases at Tyson’s Wallula plant are part of an avalanche of outbreaks that have hit U.S. beef, pork and poultry plants, and point to the pitfalls that may lie ahead for other businesses when they eventually bring back workers. The toll on the meat-processing industry has stunned some of industry’s biggest players, and prompted an urgent push to redefine workplace protections needed to keep products flowing into grocery stores.

Read the full story here.

—Hal Bernton

Seattle’s hair salons and barbershops left in the dark as city shuts down amid coronavirus

As the city shuts down amid coronavirus, Seattle’s hair salons and barbershops are left in the dark.

According to the Department of Licensing, there are 66,098 active cosmetology operators in Washington state, which includes shops that have barber and salon endorsements. All were deemed nonessential businesses under Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, and have been shut since March 16.

Stacie Bowie, owner of Bowie Salon in Capitol Hill, said she's been keeping a keen eye on her television, wary of politicians and celebrities who seem like they may still be getting their hair done somewhere.

“I’ve heard Anderson Cooper gets his hair cut once a week, and it’s still looking too fresh to not be,” said Bowie of the CNN news anchor. “We’re looking to our leaders for guidance, and it would be helpful to see that they’re in the same boat as us.”

For Gov. Jay Inslee, his wife, Trudi, is the one keeping his hair from getting too unruly, he said in a Thursday tweet.

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More Seattle households will receive supermarket vouchers for coronavirus relief

Almost 2,000 more Seattle households will receive supermarket vouchers meant to help them deal with the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said Thursday.

Durkan and the City Council last month allocated $5 million from the city to provide $800 each in vouchers to 6,250 households.

Another 1,800 will now get vouchers, for a total of 8,050, thanks to donations from United Way of King County’s Community Relief Fund, Safeway and NHL Seattle, the mayor’s office said.

The initial 6,250 households are those enrolled in city-subsidized child care and food assistance programs. They’ve received a round of $400 vouchers already through the mail and will receive another round in May, Durkan’s office said.

The additional vouchers paid for with the new money will be distributed by community organizations, with a focus on people who have lost jobs and who have been unable to access other assistance due to language barriers, deportation fears or gender-based violence concerns, the Mayor’s Office said.

The organizations involved will include: Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Ingersoll Gender Center, Providence Regina House, Refugee Women’s Alliance and Villa Comunitaria. They’ll distribute the vouchers to households they support.

The vouchers can be used at Safeway stores to purchase food and household goods, excluding tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets and fuel. Prospective donors can visit the United Way’s website.

Seattle is working with Safeway because the city and the company are partners for the existing Fresh Bucks program, which providers vouchers for fruits and vegetables.

—Daniel Beekman

Washington sees 82,000 new jobless claims as coronavirus pushes total toward 1 million

Washington state received more than 82,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance last week, and state officials are bracing for substantially more next week as a new federal pandemic program could push the state’s total number of jobless claims toward 1 million.

For the week ending April 18, Washington residents filed 82,435 initial claims for unemployment insurance, the state Employment Security Department reported Thursday morning.

Washington’s jobless claims figures mean the state now has a total of more than 605,000 initial and recurring claims, which is nearly twice the peak during the Great Recession and implies an unemployment rate of more than 15%.

And with the hundreds of thousands of additional claims that have continued to pour in since then, the implied employment rate could top 20%, meaning one of every five workers in Washington is now jobless.

Read the full story here.

—Paul Roberts

Washington Supreme Court rejects lawsuit seeking additional release of prisoners due to coronavirus threat

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday swiftly rejected a lawsuit seeking to force Gov. Jay Inslee to order the release of thousands of people from Washington prisons to protect them from potential exposure to the coronavirus.

In a 5-4 decision, a court majority found the emergency petition by Columbia Legal Services had not proven the state is failing in its duties to incarcerated people.

The decision is not expected to affect the ongoing early release of hundreds of people from DOC custody through commutations and other measures authorized by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this month, after the court ordered the governor to take “all necessary steps” to protect people in prisons from the virus. It just means the state will not be compelled to vastly increase those numbers.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner
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Administration considers leveraging emergency coronavirus loan to force Postal Service changes

The Treasury Department is considering taking unprecedented control over key operations of the U.S. Postal Service by imposing tough terms on an emergency coronavirus loan from Congress, which would fulfill President Donald Trump’s longtime goal of changing how the service does business, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Officials working under Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who will consider the $10 billion loan, have told senior officials at the USPS in recent weeks that he could use the loan as leverage to give the administration influence over how much the agency charges for delivering packages and how it manages its finances, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are preliminary.

Trump has railed for years against what he sees as mismanagement at the Postal Service, which he argues has been exploited by e-commerce sites such as Amazon, and has sought to change how much the agency charges for delivery packages.

—The Washington Post

State reports 259 more COVID-19 cases

State health officials have confirmed 12,753 positive cases — 8% of all tests conducted within the last day — and 711 deaths from COVID-19 in Washington.

The new Thursday numbers reflect an additional 259 cases and 19 deaths.

Ninety-two percent of tests have returned negative, according to the state Department of Health.

New deaths were reported in Benton, Franklin, King, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish and Yakima counties.

—Elise Takahama

Trump sows confusion about how to reopen the country

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump calls himself a “wartime president” and favors martial metaphors when describing the coronavirus pandemic, but as shown with his about-face this week on whether Georgia should start reopening businesses, the commanding general’s orders to the troops can, at times, be clear as mud.

Trump has issued contradictory advice to Americans and contradictory or inchoate directives to governors, mayors, Congress and the scientists who flank him at daily news briefings intended to showcase his leadership. Much of the confusion surrounds when and how to lift safety restrictions that have closed businesses, schools, parks and casinos as a means of slowing transmission of a virus that has killed more than 40,000 Americans.

Read the full story here.

—Anne Gearan, The Washington Post
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They lived in a factory for 28 days to make millions of pounds of raw PPE materials to help fight coronavirus

At his factory just off the Delaware River, in the far southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, Joe Boyce clocked in on March 23 for the longest shift of his life.

In his office, an air mattress replaced his desk chair. He brought a toothbrush and shaving kit, moving into the Braskem petrochemical plant in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, as if it were a makeshift college dormitory. The casual office kitchen became a mess hall for him and his 42 coworkers-turned-roommates. The factory’s emergency operations center became their new lounge room.

For 28 days, they did not leave – sleeping and working all in one place.

In what they called a “live-in” at the factory, the undertaking was just one example of the endless ways that Americans in every industry have uniquely contributed to fighting coronavirus. The 43 men went home Sunday after each working 12-hour shifts all day and night for a month straight, producing tens of millions of pounds of the raw materials that will end up in face masks and surgical gowns worn on the front lines of the pandemic.

No one told them they had to do it, Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich said. All of the workers volunteered, hunkering down at the plant to ensure no one caught the virus outside as they sought to meet the rocketing demand for their key product, polypropylene, which is needed to make various medical and hygienic items. Braskem’s plant in Neal, West Virginia, is doing a second live-in now. The story was earlier reported in Philadelphia’s WPVI.

—The Washington Post

Franklin County commissioners rescind vote to open businesses despite stay-at-home order

PASCO — The Franklin County commissioners have rescinded their controversial resolution allowing businesses to reopen in portions of the eastern Washington county despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The three-member board Tuesday had unanimously voted to “end recognition” of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order issued to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The Tri-City Herald reported Thursday the commissioners voted 2-1 to rescind that resolution, which had come under fire from Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

While the commissioners took action intending to defend out-of-work people, Commissioner Brad Peck said the execution of the effort wasn’t perfect.

“It brings us to a point today where it’s appropriate for the board to consider rescinding that resolution passed on Tuesday,” he said during a special meeting Thursday. “Further actions will be done in more careful contemplation with our legal counsel.”

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Somber Congress delivers nearly $500B more in virus aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress delivered a nearly $500 billion infusion of coronavirus spending Thursday, rushing new relief to employers and hospitals buckling under the strain of a pandemic that has claimed almost 50,000 American lives and one in six U.S. jobs.

The measure passed almost unanimously, but the lopsided tally belies a potentially bumpier path ahead as battle lines are being formed for much more ambitious future legislation that may prove far more difficult to maneuver through Congress.

The bipartisan measure neared passage as lawmakers gathered in Washington as a group for the first time since March 27, adopting stricter social distancing rules while seeking to prove they can do their work despite the COVID-19 crisis.

Lawmakers’ face masks and bandannas added an somber tone to their effort to aid a nation staggered by the health crisis and devastating economic costs of the pandemic.

“Millions of people out of work,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “This is really a very, very, very sad day. We come to the floor with nearly 50,000 deaths, a huge number of people impacted, and the uncertainty of it all. We hope to soon get to a recovery phase. But right now we’re still in mitigation.”

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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Seattle mayor will host virtual “town hall” on coronavirus Thursday

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is hosting a virtual “town hall” meeting Thursday at 4:30 p.m. to take questions about the coronavirus crisis. The meeting will be geared toward Central Seattle residents, and similar sessions in the coming weeks will be geared toward other parts of the city, Durkan's office said.

Andres Mantilla, the city's Department of Neighborhoods director, will select questions that participants submit using the meeting’s chatroom, spokeswoman Kamaria Hightower said.

Participants can join the meeting here, the mayor’s office said.

—Daniel Beekman

Sea-Tac’s $192M in federal coronavirus relief won’t be enough to cover losses, officials say

Plummeting passenger traffic and flight cancellations will cost Seattle-Tacoma International Airport roughly $251 million by the end of 2020, airport director Lance Lyttle said in a briefing Thursday, representing a 37% blow to the airport’s anticipated revenue for the year.

The anticipated hit to revenues is well over the $192 million in federal funds authorized for the airport’s use by the CARES Act stimulus package.

“It is good to have $192 million but it does not make us whole,” Lyttle said.

Sea-Tac will draw on the federal funds to service debt, cover payroll and meet operating expenses like maintenance and security, he said.

Most of the drop in revenue comes from losses in rents and fees paid by retail and dining tenants, parking and rental car operators and ground transportation companies that coincide with declining travel.

As efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic were implemented through the spring, passenger traffic at Sea-Tac plummeted. Preliminary figures for April show a 95% drop in passenger traffic compared to last year, Lyttle said.

Airlines canceled nearly 680 flights in April, double what they canceled in March. Amid the pandemic, just one international flight departs from Sea-Tac some days of the week.

Airport dining and retail have suffered heavy losses. Nearly 1,600 of Sea-Tac’s 2,100 dining and retail employees have been laid off or furloughed, Lyttle said. Two weeks ago, the Port deferred rent for airport dining and retail tenants affected by the pandemic, hoping to spur employers to continue providing health coverage to out-of-work staff.

But all of the airport’s 19,000 workers — from air traffic employers and pilots, to flight kitchen workers and wheelchair escorts — have been affected by an emptier Sea-Tac, said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman during the briefing.

“Financial stability for individuals is really what we’re concerned about now,” Bowman said. “The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on those who were already furthest from middle class.”

The Port has partnered with nonprofits Fair Work Center and Port Jobs to connect laid-off workers and Port employers to resources and new hiring opportunities.

Few Americans trust Trump’s info on pandemic, AP-NORC poll suggests

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has made himself the daily spokesman for the nation’s coronavirus response. Yet few Americans regularly look to or trust Trump as a source of information on the pandemic, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Just 28% of Americans say they’re regularly getting information from Trump about the coronavirus and only 23% say they have high levels of trust in what the president is telling the public. Another 21% trust him a moderate amount.

Read more here.

—Associated Press
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Seattle will close six more miles of streets to vehicle traffic to create space for pedestrians, bicyclists

Six more miles of streets in Greenwood, Othello, Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill and the Central District will be closed to vehicle traffic to create space for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The additional closures follow a decision last week by city officials to close two and a half miles of residential streets in the Central District and West Seattle to most drivers. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to close about 15 miles of streets across Seattle in the coming weeks to nonessential vehicle traffic.

Beginning this Friday, First Avenue Northwest between Northwest 73rd Street and Northwest 100th Street in Greenwood will be closed so people walking, biking, skating and moving around have more space to spread out.

In Beacon Hill, 18th Avenue South and Lafayette Avenue South will become "Stay Healthy Streets," optimized for pedestrian activity, between the Mountains to Sound Trail entrance near Interstate 90 and South Spokane Street.

A portion of road between South Holly Street and South Barton Place near the Rainier Beach Playfield and Othello Park will also close.

A new section along East Columbia Street between 12th Avenue East and 29th Avenue East will connect with the existing stretch in the Central District.

The city will install signs along the streets to alert residents about the effort.

Last week, Seattle also closed parking lots at Green Lake, Alki Beach, Seward Park and Golden Gardens.

—Michelle Baruchman

Children’s vaccine rates drop dangerously as parents avoid doctor visits

Health care workers administer health checks and vaccinations via a drive-up service in Norwalk, Conn. Afraid of COVID-19, parents are postponing well-child checkups, including shots, putting millions of children at risk of exposure to preventable deadly diseases. Doctors and nurses are finding new ways to get it done. (Monica Jorge / The New York Times)
Health care workers administer health checks and vaccinations via a drive-up service in Norwalk, Conn. Afraid of COVID-19, parents are postponing well-child checkups, including shots, putting millions of children at risk of exposure to preventable deadly diseases. Doctors and nurses are finding new ways to get it done. (Monica Jorge / The New York Times)

As parents around the country cancel well-child checkups to avoid coronavirus exposure, public health experts fear they are inadvertently sowing the seeds of another health crisis. Immunizations are dropping at a dangerous rate, putting millions of children at risk for measles, whooping cough and other life-threatening illnesses.

“The last thing we want as the collateral damage of COVID-19 are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which we will almost certainly see if there continues to be a drop in vaccine uptake,” said Dr. Sean T. O’Leary, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious diseases.

Read more

—The New York Times

Fear and apprehension in Pacific County over coronavirus: ‘If you live in Seattle, stay in Seattle.’

Emotions have gotten heated in isolated, picturesque Pacific County, pop. 22,000, a three-hour drive from Seattle, out there by the coast.

As an anonymous leaflet left on car windshields the weekend of March 28 at the WorldMark Long Beach timeshare condos put it: “Your vacation is not worth our lives. Go home. Stay home. Save lives. The Long Beach Peninsula has only ONE VENTILATOR. Do you really want to test those odds?”

The locals here know they have been very, very lucky, at least for a while.

Until April 10, Pacific was one of two Washington counties the daily COVID-19 statistics showed as “0 confirmed cases, 0 deaths.”

The other is Garfield County, in Eastern Washington’s wheat hills, the least populated of the state’s 39 counties.

On April 10, Pacific County left the 0/0 columns.

Read the full story here.

—Erik Lacitis
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Applications for food and cash assistance skyrocket in Washington as coronavirus pandemic continues

As the coronavirus continues to sicken hundreds of people in Washington state, more individuals and families in dire financial situations are applying for services to cover their basic needs, state data shows.

The number of low-income Washingtonians applying for state and federally-funded food- and cash-assistance programs more than doubled between March and early April, according to data from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Higher demand for these programs could result in a clash in the months to come as advocates strive to increase access to benefits while legislators look to balance the state’s precarious finances during an economic downturn.

The new numbers of applications were “stunning,” said labor economist and University of Washington professor Marieka Klawitter.

Read the full story here.

—Sydney Brownstone

School nurses are joining ranks in testing clinics, health departments to boost coronavirus efforts

Many cling to daily coronavirus numbers — infected, tested, recovered, dead — to understand the complexity of the pandemic and its path. But on a recent Friday, other figures loomed over Liz Pray, a school nurse.

120 phone calls. Seven hours. One infected employee.

When a school staff member in the Moses Lake School District tested positive for COVID-19, Pray was suddenly called to the frontlines. The local health department in the district about 180 miles east of Seattle has few staff, and needed help reaching the 100-120 people the employee had contact with: the staffer was contagious on the final day before schools closed. With a list of about 40 phone numbers in hand, Pray started dialing.

With school buildings closed through the summer, school nurses are busy tracing contacts. Staffing COVID-19 call centers. Giving medical advice to people with coronavirus-like symptoms. Some are taking the temperatures of children at day care centers, and essential school staff who make and distribute bagged lunches.

This is the new reality for Washington’s at least 400 school nurses, and for those across much of the United States.

Read the full story here.

—Hannah Furfaro

Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother dies of coronavirus

The oldest brother of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Donald Reed Herring, has died from the coronavirus, the Massachusetts senator said Thursday.

The former Democratic presidential candidate said her brother died Tuesday evening. He spent his career in the military after joining the U.S. Air Force at the age of 19 and was “charming and funny, a natural leader,” Warren tweeted.

“I’m grateful to the nurses and frontline staff who took care of him, but it’s hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say ‘I love you’ one more time—and no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close. I’ll miss you dearly my brother,” she said.

The Boston Globe reported that Reed, 86, died in Norman, Oklahoma, about three weeks after testing positive for the virus.

Read the full story.

—The Associated Press
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Health official: 1 million in NYC possibly exposed to coronavirus

As many as 1 million people in New York City may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the city’s health commissioner said Thursday.

More than 142,000 people in the city have tested positive for the virus, “but that really is, I think, the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.

She noted the city is still telling people who suspect they have the virus but aren’t seriously ill that they don’t need to seek a test, so the true number of sick people is unknown.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if, at this point in time, we have probably close to 1 million New Yorkers who have been exposed to COVID-19,” she said.

Read the full story.

—The Associated Press

Local law-enforcement guilds oppose release of inmates due to COVID-19

Guilds representing two local law-enforcement agencies will be in Olympia on Thursday  to voice opposition to Gov. Jay Inslee's planned release of 1,167 inmates from state prisons due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild President (SPOG) and vice president of the King County Police Officers Guild are scheduled to join crime victims and elected officials at the Temple of Justice in Olympia at 9 a.m., according to a SPOG statement.

“The inmates are behind bars for a reason and this is an injustice to crime victims," said SPOG President Mike Solan in the statement. "We disagree with Governor Inslee’s efforts to release inmates and view this as a critical public safety issue. Our officers work hard to fight for the safety of our neighborhoods and will continue to do so."

The Washington State Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case, Shyanne Colvin, et al. v. Jay Inslee, today.

Read the story on the lawsuit here.

 

 

 

—Christine Clarridge

Quarantine Corner: Making it easier to be stuck at home

One family is staying connected by playing favorite board games — online. Here's how to do that well, and how they've added role-playing games to the fun too.

Cyclists frustrated by trail closures can still enjoy scenery and great hill workouts on five Seattle street loops.

Refresh your reading list with six new paperbacks about everything from an astonishing American feat to murder, arson and salty cop talk.

Craving comfort food? We found it at three terrific places offering takeout in Newcastle.​

Family-sized meals are available at Newcastle’s Tapatio Mexican Grill; each comes with beans, rice, chips and salsa. Don’t miss the carne asada enchiladas.  (Jackie Varriano / The Seattle Times)
Family-sized meals are available at Newcastle’s Tapatio Mexican Grill; each comes with beans, rice, chips and salsa. Don’t miss the carne asada enchiladas. (Jackie Varriano / The Seattle Times)

—Kris Higginson
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Boeing workers return, in a test case for industrial recovery

Boeing employees, who returned to work this week, wear masks as they approach an entry gate to the final assembly plant in Everett on Wednesday.
 (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)
Boeing employees, who returned to work this week, wear masks as they approach an entry gate to the final assembly plant in Everett on Wednesday. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Boeing told about 27,000 workers to return to factories this week after deep-cleaning and putting new safety measures in place. With the coronavirus still spreading, they've been weighing the risks and coming back with varying levels of unease. It's a test of whether the U.S. economy can safely handle a return to work amid the pandemic.

—Dominic Gates

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Applications for food and cash assistance are skyrocketing in Washington, setting up a clash over the state's precarious finances. New unemployment figures show about one in six American workers has lost a job since mid-March, and about 90,000 Washingtonians filed unemployment claims last week. Here's where to find emergency help with food, rent and more.

How and when should Washington reopen? State Republican leaders are pushing back against Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home order, and a GOP candidate for governor has sued him. In Snohomish County, health officials are telling residents to "stay the course" after the sheriff said he won't enforce the stay-home order. But in Seattle, business leaders are supporting Inslee's roadmap to a cautious reopening.

This comes as the White House pivots from raising alarms to trying to convince people it's safe to restart the country. But Trump’s scientists pushed back on his claim that coronavirus may not return this fall. Las Vegas' mayor, meanwhile, is drawing howls after offering her city as a test case by reopening everything.

Masked U.S. lawmakers are voting in person today on a bill that would bring coronavirus aid so far to about $2.5 trillion — and lawmakers warn that more money will be needed almost immediately. Check back for updates, and learn how small-business owners can tap into new loans.

"If you live in Seattle, stay in Seattle." Pacific County, population 22,000, has very few COVID-19 cases. What the popular destination does have: plenty of fear and heightened emotions.

An anonymous leaflet left on car windshields the weekend of March 28 at the WorldMark Long Beach timeshare condos.  
(Rant & Rave Facebook page)
An anonymous leaflet left on car windshields the weekend of March 28 at the WorldMark Long Beach timeshare condos. (Rant & Rave Facebook page)

The fight against coronavirus will define our era, Bill Gates writes in an 11-page memo outlining his vision of how to tackle the disease and restore "semi-normal" lives.

A mysterious blood-clotting complication is killing coronavirus patients and pushing doctors to explore a controversial possibility: giving blood thinners to everyone with COVID-19, inside and outside hospitals.

Dreading coronavirus, Washington prison inmates and their families are taking their fight to the state Supreme Court.

Washington high-school students will get letter grades for the last chunk of the school year, but schools won't be allowed to fail them.

Metro buses have new passenger limits and are passing stops after riders reach certain numbers.

As Ramadan begins, many of the world's Muslims are trying to maintain cherished community rituals in isolation. But in Pakistan, imams have overruled the coronavirus lockdown, and worshipers are attacking police.

Keep cats indoors and dogs out of dog parks. The CDC is recommending social distancing for pets after two cats became the first U.S. pets to test positive.

—Kris Higginson

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