Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, Aug. 3 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

As Congress keeps butting heads over a huge COVID-19 relief bill and how best to help people unemployed due to the pandemic, parents nationwide are feeling extra nervous about the new school year, and the sports world is rattled by new diagnoses and more concerns about whether it’s safe to play.

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

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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Live updates:

Trump nursing home plan limits supply of free COVID-19 tests

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s plan to provide every nursing home with a fast COVID-19 testing machine comes with an asterisk: The government won’t supply enough test kits to check staff and residents beyond an initial couple of rounds.

A program that sounded like a game changer when it was announced last month at the White House is now prompting concerns that it could turn into another unfulfilled promise for nursing homes, whose residents and staff represent a tiny share of the U.S. population but account for as many as 4 in 10 coronavirus deaths, according to some estimates.

The weekly cost of testing employees could range from more than $19,000 to nearly $38,000, according to estimates by the national organization. LeadingAge is urging the administration to set up a nationwide testing program to take over from the current patchwork of state and local arrangements.

The Trump administration responds that nursing homes could cover the cost of ongoing testing from a $5 billion pot provided by Congress, and allocated to the facilities by the White House.

—Associated Press
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Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states

BALTIMORE — Kelyn Yanez used to clean homes during the day and wait tables at night in the Houston area before the coronavirus. But the mother of three lost both jobs in March because of the pandemic and now is facing eviction.

Yanez, who lives in the U.S. illegally, is among some 23 million people nationwide at risk of being evicted, according to The Aspen Institute, as moratoriums enacted because of the coronavirus expire and courts reopen. Around 30 state moratoriums have expired since May, according to The Eviction Lab at Princeton University.

Now, tenants are crowding courtrooms — or appearing virtually — to detail how the pandemic has upended their lives. Some are low-income families who have endured evictions before, but there are also plenty of wealthier families facing homelessness for the first time — and now being forced to navigate overcrowded and sometimes dangerous shelter systems amid the pandemic.

Experts predict the problem will only get worse in the coming weeks, with 30 million unemployed and uncertainty whether Congress will extend the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits that expired Friday. The federal eviction moratorium that protects more than 12 million renters living in federally subsidized apartments or units with federally backed mortgages expired July 25. If it’s not extended, landlords can initiate eviction proceedings in 30 days.

—Associated Press

UPS readies freezer farms to ship virus vaccine — if we get one

United Parcel Service Inc. is building two giant freezer farms capable of super-cooling millions of vials of a COVID-19 vaccine, preparing for the day when it will need to deliver the medicine at high speed across the globe.

The facilities, under construction in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Netherlands, near UPS air hubs, will house a total of 600 deep-freezers that can each hold 48,000 vials of vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit). That’s on par with some of the coldest temperatures in Antarctica.

Distributing a COVID-19 vaccine — if one is approved for use — will be the second huge logistical challenge spawned by the pandemic for delivery giants UPS and FedEx Corp., which earlier this year mobilized to airlift thousands of tons of protective gear across the world for health-care workers. This time the job is moving fragile vials of medicine under exacting conditions for the world’s best shot to stamp out the coronavirus and restore economies to normal.

“This truly will be a historic supply chain feat to distribute millions, if not billions, of life-saving COVID-19 vaccine vials to far-reaching global populations,” said Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare. “Lives will depend on us to get these vaccine deployments right, and we’re well-prepared to support all of these efforts until this pandemic is behind us.”

—Bloomberg

Health officials confirm 542 new coronavirus cases in Washington

State health officials reported 542 new COVID-19 cases in Washington Monday evening, including four additional deaths.

The update brings the state’s totals to 58,715 cases and 1,600 deaths, meaning that 2.7% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

So far, 1,008,822 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH. Of those, 5.8% have come back positive.

In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed 15,603 diagnoses and 658 deaths, accounting for a little less than half of the state’s COVID-19 death toll. 

—Elise Takahama
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In Washington state, gym clients will have to work out even farther apart as part of COVID-19 safety

OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released updated guidance Monday for gyms and fitness facilities that nearly triples the minimum distance required for patrons exercising indoors, except for those practicing certain team sports.

Starting Aug. 10, instead of the current requirement of 6 feet of distance between patrons, gyms and facilities in counties in the second and third phases of the state’s COVID-19 economic reopening plan will now be required to provide 300 square feet — about 17 feet — of distance. The number of people allowed in gyms, fitness facilities and fitness classes will be limited by the size of their space under this guidance, and occupancy in facilities and gyms that are larger than 12,000 square feet will be capped at 25%. 

In addition, showers, hot tubs, saunas, and tanning beds will be closed, as will steam rooms, squash courts, and racquetball courts. And indoor team sport facilities will be limited for practice and limited competition with no spectators.

Patrons won’t have to wear facial coverings while engaged in strenuous exercise, though they must wear them immediately before and immediately after exercise and at all other times while inside fitness facilities.

—Associated Press

Tests: 2.5% of Italians had COVID-19, far more in the north

ROME — Antibody testing in Italy indicates that nearly 1.5 million people, or about 2.5% of the population, have had the coronavirus. But officials said Monday that huge geographic variations in the results confirmed a nationwide lockdown was “absolutely crucial” to preventing the country’s south from getting slammed as badly as its north. 

The Health Ministry and the national statistics agency based their assessment on tests performed May 25-July 15 on a sample of nearly 65,000 Italians selected for their location, age and type of work. The government carried out the testing to understand how widely the virus circulated in the first country in the West to be overwhelmed by COVID-19, given that the bulk of confirmed cases and deaths occurred in northern Italy.

The sampling indicated that 1.482 million Italians nationwide had come into contact with the virus and developed an immunological response to it, six times more than Italy’s reported number of confirmed cases, said Linda Laura Sabbadini, a director at the Italian National Institute of Statistics, or ISTAT.

But there were significant geographic disparities.

—Associated Press

WHO advance team ends visit to China to probe COVID origin

GENEVA — The World Health Organization said Monday an advance team looking into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak has concluded its mission in China, and the U.N. health agency is preparing the deployment of a larger group of experts to the suspected outbreak zone.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the “international team” will deploy to Wuhan, the city where the pandemic is believed to have erupted late last year. Tedros said “terms of reference” have been drawn up by the WHO and China, but he did not specify.

He said “evidence and hypothesis” generated from the work would “lay the ground for further, longer-term studies.”

The comments came amid an increasingly heavy toll from the pandemic in the United States, Brazil and India, as investigators seek to clarify the origins of the virus and how it may have jumped from animals to humans late last year.

—Associated Press
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Philippine capital returning to lockdown as virus surges

The Philippine president has agreed to place the capital and outlying provinces back under a lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging “a losing battle” against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections.

Metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday.

Leaders of nearly 100 medical organizations held a rare online news conference Saturday and warned that the health system has been overwhelmed by infection spikes and may collapse as health workers fall ill or resign from exhaustion and fear.

“We need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” the groups said in a letter to Duterte that they read publicly. They expressed fears to Duterte that the Philippine coronavirus crisis may worsen like in the United States.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Spain’s new wave of COVID-19 infections isn't just hitting the elderly

Spain's three-month lockdown, instituted amid a COVID-19 onslaught that claimed more than 28,400 lives in the European Union nation, ended in late June. To kickstart its stalled economy, Spaniards were encouraged to cautiously resume their lives under a “new normality” based on wearing face masks, washing hands and social distancing.

The respite, though, didn’t last long.

Six weeks after the country began to reopen, the number of daily coronavirus cases has risen from 125 to 1,525. And unlike the early days of the pandemic, the latest infections aren't primarily among the elderly.

Outbreaks among farm workers and young people desperate to resume socializing after being cooped up have spread across northern Spain, spawning what some health officials fear could be the start of a dreaded “second wave” of infections.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Young smokers more at risk from COVID-19 than others their age, but state has 3rd fewest in nation

A man smokes a cigarette while waiting to cross a street in Brooklyn, New York. (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)
A man smokes a cigarette while waiting to cross a street in Brooklyn, New York. (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)

New research from the University of California San Francisco shows that young adults who smoke have double the risk of getting seriously sick with COVID-19 than do non-smokers.

Though young adults are perceived to be at lower risks for serious COVID-19 illnesses than older adults, smoking is the most significant risk factor for people between 18 and 25 years old, partly because that age group has so few other high-risk conditions, according to the study published July 13 in the Journal of Adolescent Health .

“The risk of being medically vulnerable to severe disease is halved when smokers are removed from the sample,” said senior author Charles Irwin Jr., MD, of the UCSF Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. “Efforts to reduce smoking and e-cigarette use among young adults would likely lower their vulnerability to severe disease.”

The study also said young adults are initiating first-time smoking at higher rates than adolescents, a reversal of previous initiation patterns.

A May study by University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers also found that smokers — and former smokers — of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to experience negative COVID-19 outcomes as people who had never smoked.

The authors of the May article say cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes increase damage to upper airways and decrease pulmonary immune function and that smokers have a known higher risk of infection and mortality from MERS-COV, a viral respiratory illness caused by a different coronavirus.

The UCSF studies do not address marijuana smoke.

Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education said in a newsletter the findings suggests "California’s ongoing strong tobacco control measures that have lowered smoking may, together with the state’s other strong public health interventions, be contributing to California’s efforts to thwart the effect of COVID-19.”

California has the second lowest smoking rate among adults in the nation after Utah, according to an analysis of CDC data by QuoteWizard.

Washington State is in third place with an estimated 12.2 percent of adult smokers followed by Connecticut and Maryland in fourth and fifth place.

The states with the highest percentage of smokers are West Virginia with more than a quarter of adults smoking, Kentucky with almost 25%, Arkansas, Indiana and, Ohio, which more than 21%.

"While we’re seeing young adults contracting COVID-19 at higher rates in recent months," wrote QuoteWizard, "it’s the young adult smokers who face the highest risk from the virus."

—Christine Clarridge
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‘The biggest monster’ is spreading. And it’s not COVID-19.

It begins with a mild fever and malaise, followed by a painful cough and shortness of breath. The infection prospers in crowds, spreading to people in close reach. Containing an outbreak requires contact tracing, as well as isolation and treatment of the sick for weeks or months.

This insidious disease has touched every part of the globe. It is tuberculosis, the biggest infectious-disease killer worldwide, claiming 1.5 million lives each year.

Until this year, TB and its deadly allies, HIV and malaria, were on the run. The toll from each disease over the previous decade was at its nadir in 2018, the last year for which data are available.

Yet now, as the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, consuming global health resources, these perennially neglected adversaries are making a comeback.

“COVID-19 risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the director of the World Health Organization’s global malaria program.

It’s not just that the coronavirus has diverted scientific attention from TB, HIV and malaria. The lockdowns, particularly across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, have raised insurmountable barriers to patients who must travel to obtain diagnoses or drugs, according to interviews with more than two dozen public health officials, doctors and patients worldwide.

Read the story here.

—Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times

Snohomish County Health District releases weekly drive-thru testing schedule

In a news release posted today, the Snohomish County Health District has announced its current hours for COVID-19 drive-thru testing, offered at McCollum Park (600 128th St. S.E., Everett.). Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may be at risk of exposure can register online at snohd.org/drive-thru-testing for appointments beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4. 

This week's testing hours at McCollum Park will be held Tuesday, August 4, from noon to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, August 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, August 6, from noon to 7 p.m.; and Friday, August 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tests will be provided to anyone who is ill and experiencing symptoms including fever, chills, cough, fatigue, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or nasal congestion.

Testing is also available for asymptomatic people who’ve had close contact with someone confirmed to have had COVID-19, work in fields that increase their risk of exposure, live in group settings, or are part of a group that has been disproportionately impacted by the virus; per Snohomish Health District, "this includes people who are Black, Latinx, Native American/Alaskan Native, or Pacific Islander."

More information on getting tested for COVID-19 is available here.

—Megan Burbank

Birthday parade honors a 90-year-old Chevy Chase man who’s spent months making masks

Dan Willkens has always made things.

The 90-year-old Chevy Chase resident likes to create with his hands, likes to watch hard work lead to a finished product. Decades ago, in his career as a mechanical engineer in manufacturing, he used to say, “You have to put something in the box.”

In late March, as the novel coronavirus pandemic took hold of the country and local hospitals faced a shortage of personal protective equipment, he saw an opportunity to make something new. Dan, who lives with his daughter Diane, announced the idea at the kitchen table one night.

“They need masks,” he said. “Why couldn’t I make them?”

Diane got him acquainted with a machine and together they looked up a guide to mask-making. Despite his inexperience, Willkens finished his first mask two days after his kitchen table announcement. By the end of the week he found a rhythm, looking comfortable with the machine and invigorated by his new hobby.

Soon, it took over his days. He spent the entirety of this spring at the sewing machine, starting work after breakfast and going until dinner. Diane estimates her father spent the final months of his 89th year working 10 hours a day.

Read the story here.

—Michael Errigo, The Washington Post
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Clorox becomes ‘it’ brand in world of COVID

Sales at Clorox jumped 22% in its most recent quarter, with millions of people growing more vigilant about cleaning routines in the pandemic.

There was a 33% jump in sales withing the company division that sells cleaning products.

People have loaded pantries with disinfectant wipes and sprays, pushing overall sales up to $1.98 billion for the three months ended June 30. That’s up from $1.62 billion a year earlier.

Clorox Co., based in Oakland, California, posted a profit of $310 million, or $2.41 per share. That’s better than the $2 per share Wall Street predicted.

Clorox company sales jumped as consumers buy cleaning supplies amid the pandemic.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Clorox company sales jumped as consumers buy cleaning supplies amid the pandemic. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
—The Associated Press

She survived the 1918 flu, cancer and COVID-19 and — and loves to crack one-liners

We are in a pandemic today that the world hasn’t seen the likes of in 102 years.

Mildred Geraldine “Gerri” Schappals is one of the few people in the world who has survived both.

The 102-year-old New Englander lived through a severe bout of the flu during the 1918 pandemic as a baby. And now, a century later, punctuated by two bouts of cancer, Schappals also has recovered from COVID-19 in the pandemic of 2020.

Schappals — an Irish Catholic known for her witty one-liners — is the oldest resident at the Huntington at Nashua, a retirement and assisted-living community in Nashua, N.H.

“I really think that having the 1918 flu strengthened everything about me,” she said. “I never had colds or illnesses until I got cancer, and even then I pulled through. It’s either that or Mother Nature thinks I died in 1918, so she ignores me.”

Gerri Schappals, 102, lives in Nashua, N.H. (Courtesy of Gerri Schappals)
Gerri Schappals, 102, lives in Nashua, N.H. (Courtesy of Gerri Schappals)

Read the story here.

—Kellie B. Gormly, The Washington Post

Virus relief bill remains up in air as negotiations resume

Slow, grinding negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill are set to resume, but the path forward promises to be challenging. Both the Trump administration negotiating team and top Capitol Hill Democrats reported progress over the weekend even as they highlighted their differences.

Ahead of Monday’s talks, all sides predict a long slog ahead despite the lapse of a $600-per-week supplemental COVID-19 jobless benefit, the beginning of school season and the call of lawmakers’ cherished August recess. Several more days of talks are expected, if not more.

The White House is seeking opportunities to boost President Donald Trump, like another round of $1,200 stimulus payments and extending the supplemental jobless benefit and partial eviction ban.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democratic negotiator, appears intent on an agreement as well, but she’s made it clear she needs big money for state and local governments, unemployment benefits and food aid.

Areas of agreement already include the $1,200 direct payment and changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to permit especially hard-hit businesses to obtain another loan under generous forgiveness terms.

“We still have a long ways to go,” said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. “I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows: “We still have a long ways to go,” on a new stimulus deal. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows: “We still have a long ways to go,” on a new stimulus deal. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Pelosi said she would consider reducing the $600 benefit for states with lower unemployment rates. Republicans want to cut the benefit to encourage beneficiaries to return to work and say it is bad policy since it pays many jobless people more money than they made at their previous jobs.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Scientists worry about political influence over coronavirus vaccine project

In April, with hospitals overwhelmed and much of the United States in lockdown, the Department of Health and Human Services produced a presentation for the White House arguing that rapid development of a coronavirus vaccine was the best hope to control the pandemic.

“DEADLINE: Enable broad access to the public by October 2020,” the first slide read, with the date in bold.

Given that it typically takes years to develop a vaccine, the timetable for the initiative, called Operation Warp Speed, was incredibly ambitious.

Technicians work on a coronavirus-vaccine assembly line in Pune, India. (Atul Loke / The New York Times)
Technicians work on a coronavirus-vaccine assembly line in Pune, India. (Atul Loke / The New York Times)

But with tens of thousands dying and tens of millions out of work, the crisis demanded an all-out public-private response, with the government supplying billions of dollars to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, providing logistical support and cutting through red tape.

The ensuing race for a vaccine — in the middle of a campaign in which the president’s handling of the pandemic is the key issue — is testing the system set up to ensure safe and effective drugs to a degree never before seen.

Under constant pressure from a White House anxious for good news and a public desperate for a silver bullet to end the crisis, the government’s researchers are fearful of political intervention in the coming months and are struggling to ensure that the government maintains the right balance between speed and rigorous regulation, according to interviews with administration officials, federal scientists and outside experts.

The longer that vaccines are tested before being released, the likelier they are to be safe and effective.

But with 1,000 people dying each day in the United States, schools finding it difficult to reopen and the deep recession inflicting economic pain across the country, the desire to find a way to return to normal life is powerful and transcends partisan politics and borders.

Read the story here.

—The New York Times

First students return to class in Germany after corona shutdown

Children returned to school Monday in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the first in the country to start the new school year following nationwide shutdowns at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek has advocated mask requirements inside school buildings. But the school system is largely a matter for the 16 state governments in Germany, and as the state’s 152,700 pupils returned to class in cities like Rostock and Schwerin, regional officials had not yet implemented such a rule.

The sparsely populated state has been Germany’s least-affected by the pandemic, with 877 positive tests for COVID-19 and 20 virus-related deaths among its 1.6 million residents.

In Hamburg, where students return on Thursday, and Berlin, where they return next week, state governments have ordered masks be worn. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s education minister, Bettina Martin, has said she was working on a proposal to require them as well.

Parents, teachers and children have been eyeing the reopenings warily as states grapple with how to safely resume in-class learning.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Outbreak hits Norway cruise ship, could spread along coast

A Norwegian cruise-ship line halted all trips and apologized Monday for procedural errors after a coronavirus outbreak on one ship infected at least five passengers and 36 crew members. Health authorities fear the ship could have spread the virus to dozens of towns and villages along Norway’s western coast.

The confirmed virus cases from the MS Roald Amundsen raise new questions about safety on all cruise ships during a pandemic even as the devastated cruise-ship industry is pressing to resume sailings after chaotically shutting down in March.

The Hurtigruten cruise line was one of the first companies to resume sailing during the pandemic, starting cruises to Norway out of northern Germany in June with a single ship, then adding cruises in July to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

The 41 people on the MS Roald Amundsen who tested positive have been admitted to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the ship is docked. The cruise line said it suspended the ship and two others – MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen – from operating for an indefinite period.

Norwegian cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen moored in Tromso, Norway, after a coronavirus outbreak on board. (Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix via AP)
Norwegian cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen moored in Tromso, Norway, after a coronavirus outbreak on board. (Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix via AP)

“A preliminary evaluation shows that there has been a failure in several of our internal procedures,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement. He added the company that sails along Norway’s picturesque coast between Bergen in the south and Kirkenes in the north is “now in the process of a full review of all procedures.”

It has contacted passengers who had been on the MS Roald Amundsen for its July 17-24 and July 25-31 trips from Bergen to of Svalbard, which is known for its polar bears. The ship had 209 guests on the first voyage and 178 guests on the second. All other crew members tested negative.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Debate begins for who’s first in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Who gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it’s a vexing decision.

“Not everybody’s going to like the answer,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told one of the advisory groups the government asked to help decide. “There will be many people who feel that they should have been at the top of the list.”

A nurse prepares a shot as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y., on July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
A nurse prepares a shot as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y., on July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Traditionally, first in line for a scarce vaccine are health workers and the people most vulnerable to the targeted infection.

But Collins tossed new ideas into the mix: Consider geography and give priority to people where an outbreak is hitting hardest.

And don’t forget volunteers in the final stage of vaccine testing who get dummy shots, the comparison group needed to tell if the real shots truly work.

“We owe them … some special priority,” Collins said.

It’s a global dilemma. The World Health Organization is grappling with the same who-goes-first question as it tries to ensure vaccines are fairly distributed to poor countries — decisions made even harder as wealthy nations corner the market for the first doses.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Travel loyalty programs desperate to keep customers

Travel loyalty programs are desperate to keep you at a time when no one is traveling. Whether they are successful or not depends on people like Mitchell Telsey.

A frequent traveler, Telsey made one of the most difficult travel spending decisions of 2020: whether to stay loyal to a preferred airline, hotel or points-earning credit card.

Telsey, a sales manager from Philadelphia, says the annual fee on his Chase Sapphire Reserve card rose from $450 to $550 in January. Then the pandemic struck. Chase offered cardholders like him a $100 credit if they renewed, but he declined.

“There’s no way I’m going to re-enroll when I’m not traveling for business like I used to,” he says. The primary reasons for having the card, like lounge access and extra points, have vanished. And now, so has his card.

Travel loyalty programs have been pulling out the stops to entice members to stay. They’ve reduced or waived annual fees on credit cards, added bonuses and tapped the brakes on point devaluations. It’s part of an industrywide effort to remain relevant at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is redefining the concept of customer loyalty.

But it’s still too soon to tell whether their strategies will work.

Read the story here.

—Christopher Elliott, Special to The Seattle Times

Captain and owners of NYC party boat arrested for crowded glam cruise

The captain and owners of a popular Manhattan party boat were arrested for defying coronavirus social-distancing mandates and going for a crowded booze cruise, officials said Sunday.

The Liberty Belle, a four-story riverboat that can hold up to 600 people, had just returned to Pier 36 in Lower Manhattan about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when officers from the New York City Sheriff’s department broke up the 1920-themed party and made arrests.

Officers arrested the boat’s owners in charge of the party, Ronny Vargas and Alex Sauzo, and gave them desk appearance tickets to appear in court at a later date.

They also arrested the captain, Joseph Spadaro of Staten Island, and issued him a summons, according to the sheriff’s department.

The party set sail around 8:30 p.m. with more than 170 revelers on board, many of whom excitedly posted pictures and videos of their onboard exploits to social media as they swilled Budweisers and Moet Champagne.

“So a packed Liberty Belle party boat just departed from Pier 36 on the LES waterfront with no apparent social distancing or mask requirement,” an alarmed local group, The Resident Association of The Two Bridges Waterfront Tower, tweeted along with a pic of the boat with two crowded decks. “Who has jurisdiction over these floating nightclubs?”

Read the story here.

—New York Daily News
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Alaska reports 159 new virus cases, with 111 in Anchorage

Alaska health officials reported that there were 159 new COVID-19 cases in the state Sunday, including 111 within the municipality of Anchorage.

The new cases included 145 Alaska residents and 14 nonresidents, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

The health department reported that 27 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized as of Sunday and 12 people were hospitalized with test results for the virus pending.

Alaska has had 3,280 confirmed cases of the coronavirus including 134 people who have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, officials said. There have been 24 deaths of Alaska residents connected to COVID-19.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Quarantine Corner: Things to do while staying home

A woman’s hair is smeared with colored powder during the Holi festival in Mumbai, India, in March. If you’re missing festivals in these solitary days, you might like Google Earth’s tour of Holi and other festivals around the world. (Rajanish Kakade / The Associated Press)
A woman’s hair is smeared with colored powder during the Holi festival in Mumbai, India, in March. If you’re missing festivals in these solitary days, you might like Google Earth’s tour of Holi and other festivals around the world. (Rajanish Kakade / The Associated Press)

Frozen chalk art, colorful festivals and a fun take on baking: Try these five ways to keep your kids occupied this week.

A tasty way to wake up: This yummy-sounding breakfast crumble has fruit, so it's healthy, right?

Replenish your entertainment supply and help a local business by ordering one of these six new paperbacks.

—Julie Hanson

Coronavirus changed King County’s homelessness system. Could it now be working better for Black people?

Giovanni Johnson and her two daughters now live in a two-bedroom apartment, thanks to a change in the way the county selects people for coveted spots in housing. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Giovanni Johnson and her two daughters now live in a two-bedroom apartment, thanks to a change in the way the county selects people for coveted spots in housing. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

As the coronavirus began raging through our area last spring, King County's homelessness system quickly changed how it got people into housing.

The new system had an unexpected but welcome outcome: More Black people were being helped.

Read the full story here.

—Sydney Brownstone
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'You can't make them walk the plank': Ferry system not enforcing state's mandatory-mask rule

Passengers stand on deck wearing masks after the MV Wenatchee arrives at Colman Dock on Thursday in Seattle. State ferries officials say their employees lack the authority to enforce rules requiring masks on board. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
Passengers stand on deck wearing masks after the MV Wenatchee arrives at Colman Dock on Thursday in Seattle. State ferries officials say their employees lack the authority to enforce rules requiring masks on board. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Washingtonians are under order to wear masks in businesses and other public places, but the Washington State Ferry system does not believe its workers have the authority to enforce that rule.

While it appears most passengers are complying voluntarily (and many are staying in their vehicles anyway), the number of unmasked passengers has some users concerned.

Read the full story here.

—Mike Lindblom

Catch up on the past 24 hours

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to reporters following a meeting at the Capitol with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a COVID-19 relief bill, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to reporters following a meeting at the Capitol with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a COVID-19 relief bill, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Slow, grinding negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill are set to resume today in Congress, but all sides predict a long slog ahead despite the lapse of a $600-per-week supplemental jobless benefit.

Tens of thousands of students across the country are set to resume in-person school today for the first time since March, which is giving some parents an extra dose of first-day-of-school jitters. In Washington state, nearly half our 1.1 million students could be fully online when their schools open for the fall. Catch up on the latest guidance and research on reopening schools.

Linebacker Joe Tryon takes the field during training camp in 2019.  (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
Linebacker Joe Tryon takes the field during training camp in 2019. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Pac-12 football players are threatening to "opt out" of the upcoming season. Their list of demands is long and goes far beyond coronavirus precautions and protections. Here's what we have learned about this movement and who's involved.

Elsewhere in the sports world: Ex-WSU quarterback and current Jacksonville Jaguars starter Gardner Minshew was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. In baseball, two outbreaks — 20 cases among the Miami Marlins and six among the St. Louis Cardinals, make the Major League Baseball season more precarious. And in the NFL, Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for COVID-19, the second head coach known to test positive.

—Julie Hanson

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