Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Saturday, April 4, as the events unfolded. Click 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.

It’s time to start looking for T-shirts or bandanas to cover your face: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now encouraging people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings to shield their nose and mouth while outdoors. While the new guidance raises concerns that it could cause a sudden run on masks, local leaders and communities in Washington are rallying to round up as many masks and other medical supplies as possible to support health care workers.

The state Department of Health confirmed an additional 625 cases and 26 deaths from COVID-19 , totaling 7,591 cases and 310 fatalities in Washington on Saturday. The bulk of the cases remain in King County, where 2,898 people have fallen ill and 200 have died. The state has recently struggled to report these numbers in a timely manner, a problem it blames on a flood of data swamping the state’s disease-reporting system. The technical difficulties are partially blinding health officials and the public to the latest information about the disease’s spread.

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

The following graphic includes the most recent numbers from the Washington State Department of Health, released Friday.

Live updates:

Data shows majority of COVID-19 fatalities are men

Novel coronavirus data reported by more than a dozen states and New York City shows that in most states, slightly more women are getting infected than men. But of more than 3,600 deaths in 13 states and New York City that report fatalities by gender, the majority of victims are men.

The disproportionate toll of the virus appears to have deep biological roots. An emerging body of research has revealed that women’s bodies are better at fighting off infection, thanks to the hormones in their systems and the genes on their two X chromosomes.

Scientists say these differences may partly explain why men have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. And they may provide a vital clue in the search for a cure.

—Washington Post

More than 7,000 have tested positive for COVID-19 in Washington state and 310 have died

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Washington state has reached 310, according to numbers released Saturday by the state Department of Health.

The state tallied 625 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 7,591 since the first case in the nation was recorded in a Snohomish County man Jan. 19.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in King County jumped by 111, and 14 more people have died, according to numbers released by Public Health - Seattle & King County on Saturday.

The new deaths bring the county's total to 200 and the additional cases push the county's total number to 2,898, which is about 13% of people tested for the new coronavirus.

—Ryan Blethen

President Donald Trump met by phone with many U.S. pro sports leaders Saturday to discuss how that industry has been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, saying he was looking forward to the resumption of competitions "as soon as we can."

"I want fans back in the arenas," Trump said later in a briefing at the White House. "I think it's … whenever we’re ready. As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too."

A person with direct knowledge of what was discussed on the call said Trump believes the NFL season — scheduled to begin Sept. 10 — will start on time with fans in seats. But that seemed too optimistic for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was asked if he thought the NFL season would start on time.

"I'm not anticipating that happening in this state," said Newsom, whose state has three NFL franchises.

The NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB were all represented on the call by their commissioners — Adam Silver, Gary Bettman, Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred, respectively. None of the leagues released any immediate public comment about the call.


King County now has 200 deaths from COVID-19

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in King County jumped by 111, and 14 more people have died, according to numbers released by Public Health - Seattle & King County on Saturday.

The new deaths bring the county's total to 200 and the additional cases push the county's total number to 2,898, which is about 13% of people tested for the new coronavirus.

Since the nation's first reported case of COVID-19 was detected in a Snohomish County man in late January, the state has recorded 284 deaths and 6,966 cases.

The state has not yet released updated totals for Saturday.

—Ryan Blethen

Despite Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-at-home order, traffic on Seattle's roads hovers around 50% of its typical volume

Traffic around the country has plummeted since governments began enacting stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus outbreak, but data from vehicle navigation systems and other monitors shows many of us are still out of our homes and on the road.

Nationwide, traffic analytics firms say, daily traffic remains at about 60% of normal levels, even as the vast majority of Americans tell pollsters they’re staying home more.

In California, where a stay-at-home order took effect March 19, daily trips statewide remain at 58% of normal levels, according to Wejo, a British company that collects data from sensors in some passenger vehicles.

On Wednesday — two days after the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland enacted stay-at-home orders — daily car trips in the region remained at 51% of normal in D.C., 53% in Maryland and 59% in Virginia, according to Wejo, which does not include trucks or other commercial vehicles.

The figures are similar in parts of the country at the forefront of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak and where people have been under shelter-in-place orders longer.

Washington state officials announced a stay-at-home order March 23. More than a week later, distances traveled on Seattle roads remained at about 55% of normal, according to INRIX, a Kirkland, Washington-based traffic analytics firm that crunches data from vehicle navigation systems, cellphones and other devices.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

President Trump speaks with sports commissioners about coronavirus response

President Donald Trump spoke by telephone Saturday with commissioners of America’s professional sports leagues, most of which have suspended operations for three weeks, to discuss the “all-of-America response to COVID-19,” according to the White House.

“The President recognized the good work being done by many teams and players to take care for their communities, workforces, and fan bases across the nation,” read a White House statement.

“The commissioners thanked President Trump for his national leadership and for his interest in the sports industry. President Trump encouraged them to continue to support their fellow Americans during this challenging time.”

The following people participated in the call: President Trump; Kellyanne Conway, assistant to the president and senior counselor; Andrew Giuliani, special assistant to the president and associate director of the Office of Public Liaison; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman; WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert; MLS commissioner Don Garber; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred; WWE president Vince McMahon; PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan; NBA commissioner Adam Silver; UFC president Dana White; Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske; LPGA commissioner Michael Whan; and Breeders’ Cup president Drew Fleming.

Read about it here.

—The Los Angeles Times

Another cruise ship with virus victims docking

Another cruise ship with coronavirus victims on board, including two fatalities, is docking in Florida.

The ship with 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members has been in limbo for days awaiting permission to dock.

The Coral Princess had been on a South American cruise that was due to end March 19 in Buenos Aires. Since then, the ship has encountered obstacles to docking because of various port closures and cancellation of airline flights.

The Coast Guard said as of Saturday there are 114 cruise ships, carrying 93,000 crew members, either in or near U.S. ports and waters.

The cruise line industry announced a voluntarily suspension of most ship operations from U.S. ports on March 13. The next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a “no sail” order to all cruise ships that had not suspended operations.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

As cases plateau there, Italy considers who should go back to work

Cases of the novel coronavirus have plateaued in Italy and officials now are considering how to unlock the country’s population without unleashing another deadly wave of new contagion.

Who can go back to public life, and work, could be determined by antibodies in blood, which could indicate immunity against the virus.

Researchers are not certain that antibodies indicate immunity, though many are hopeful.

But the idea of allowing those with antibodies to participate more fully in society, while others remain locked down, raises compelling bioethics questions.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

Home for the quarantine? Foster a pet. Many Americans are doing just that.

The Simeon family was heading home to Omaha from a Smoky Mountains vacation when Kim Simeon spotted a social media post from the Nebraska Humane Society, pleading with people to consider fostering a pet amid concerns about how the coronavirus would affect operations.

A day later, a 1 1/2-year-old black lab mix named Nala was nestling in at her home. Nala is one of 35 dogs and cats that have been placed with Omaha-area families as part of an emergency foster care program.

“I just felt like, with all the virus stuff going on, it just seemed like a need we could help with,” Simeon said. “We’re all quarantined anyway. I mean, what a perfect opportunity to do something good.”

Amid an avalanche of bad news, Simeon’s story and thousands like it across the country are prompting smiles as suddenly isolated people rush to care for animals, easing a burden on shelters and providing homes — even if just temporarily — for homeless dogs, cats and other pets.

Shelters from California to New York have put out the call for people to temporarily foster pets. Thanks to an overwhelming response from people who suddenly found themselves stuck at home, shelters say they have placed record numbers of dogs, cats and other animals. If past trends hold, many of those who agree to temporarily care for a pet will ultimately decide they want the animal to stay for good.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Some states, including Oregon, have received masks with dry rot, broken ventilators from federal stockpile

Some states and cities that have been shipped masks, gloves, ventilators and other essential equipment from the nation’s medical stockpile to fight the coronavirus have gotten an unwelcome surprise: the material is unusable.

Nearly 6,000 medical masks sent to Alabama had dry rot and a 2010 expiration date. More than 150 ventilators sent to Los Angeles were broken and had to be repaired. In Oregon, it was masks with faulty elastic that could cause the straps to snap, exposing medical workers to the disease.

“Several of the shipments we have received from the strategic national stockpile contained (personal protective equipment) well past expiration dates and, while we are being told much of the expired equipment is capable of being used for COVID-19 response, they would not be suitable for use in surgical settings,” Charles Boyle, a spokesman for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, said in an email.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Fact check on some of Trump's recent statements

Is President Donald Trump a wartime president or a backup point man? Trump seems to go back and forth on that, or both ways at once, in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his recent rhetoric, the president who declared “It’s a war” and invoked wartime powers enabling him to direct the production and shipment of medical supplies sought to avoid responsibility for persistent shortages. “The federal government,” he told New York’s governor, “is merely a backup for state governments.” Meantime the government changed its online description of the national stockpile to put state responsibility more front and center.

Here's a look at how some statements by the president over the past week compare with the facts.

—The Associated Press

Oregon, China sending more than 1,100 ventilators to New York, Gov. Cuomo says

New York is poised to get more than 1,100 ventilators from China and Oregon as it scrambles to line up more breathing machines for the sickest coronavirus patients, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

He said the state of Oregon had volunteered to send 140 breathing machines.

Cuomo had said on Thursday that the state’s stockpile of ventilators would be exhausted in six days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate. New York is the pandemic’s U.S. epicenter, with over 113,700 confirmed cases as of Saturday morning.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Face coverings recommended, but Trump says he won’t wear one

President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus. The president immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.”

The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors.

The president exempted himself, saying he could not envision himself covering his face while sitting in the Oval Office greeting world leaders.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

CDC testing problems could have been circumvented, some scientists say

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assured state and local public health officials in January that it would soon have a test to detect COVID-19, which at that time was a mysterious viral disease spreading in China.

But CDC test kits delivered in early February produced untrustworthy results. For the next three weeks, Trump administration officials relied on the flawed CDC test as outside lab scientists grew alarmed and exasperated.

Some scientists say they were hindered by federal regulations and bureaucracy from deploying their own tests and that by the time regulations were relaxed, COVID-19 was spreading across the country.

Read the full Washington Post story here.

(The Seattle Times also previously documented issues with the CDC testing process and the Food and Drug Administration's testing approval process.)

—The Washington Post

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Americans should wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus, according to new federal guidelines announced Friday. President Donald Trump said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee slashed $445 million in spending from the state operating budget, as the coronavirus is effectively shuttering Washington’s economy and crushing state tax collections.

More than $500 million in federal aid is headed for transit agencies in the Puget Sound region. The funding is meant to back fill lost funding for transit systems and help cover extra cleaning costs, as ridership plummets and tax revenues sink.

A Washington nonprofit has filed a lawsuit against Fox News in King County Superior Court, claiming the news station, its parent companies and owners violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and acted in bad faith by disseminating false information about the novel coronavirus.