Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, Feb. 15, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
Days of snow frustrated people faced with rescheduling long-awaited vaccinations. However, officials say availability of the shot is improving, and vaccine trials are underway for the youngest age group yet, by Oxford University.
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.
Mayor Jenny Durkan wants Seattle to be first city to vaccinate at least 70% of adults
Delivering a fourth, final — and very brief — State of the City address Monday evening, Mayor Jenny Durkan pitched an ambitious goal of making Seattle a national leader in COVID-19 vaccinations.
Durkan said she wants Seattle to be the first city to vaccinate 70% of its adults, a target she described as “the most daunting, difficult and important operation our city government has ever faced.”
Speaking from the Filipino Community of Seattle, Durkan said the Southeast Seattle community center will soon host a pop-up vaccination site — an example of the city’s efforts to prioritize communities of color, which have so far lagged behind whites in obtaining scarce vaccine doses.
After a bruising first term, Durkan announced in December she would not run for reelection this year. On Monday, she spoke for less than 10 minutes, delivering her address via video without the usual in-person audience of elected officials, dignitaries and guests.
Durkan acknowledged her vaccine goal will rely on the federal government increasing the flow of doses to the city.
COVID conspiracy shows vast reach of Chinese disinformation
BRUSSELS (AP) — It took just three months for the rumor that COVID-19 was engineered as a bioweapon to spread from the fringes of the Chinese internet and take root in millions of people’s minds.
By March 2020, belief that the virus had been human-made and possibly weaponized was widespread, multiple surveys indicated. The Pew Research Center found, for example, that one in three Americans believed the new coronavirus had been created in a lab; one in four thought it had been engineered intentionally.
This chaos was, at least in part, manufactured. More on this story here.
The superspreaders behind top COVID-19 conspiracy theories
As the coronavirus spread across the globe, so too did speculation about its origins. Perhaps the virus escaped from a lab. Maybe it was engineered as a bioweapon.
Legitimate questions about the virus created perfect conditions for conspiracy theories. In the absence of knowledge, guesswork and propaganda flourished.
College professors with no evidence or training in virology were touted as experts. Anonymous social media users posed as high-level intelligence officials. And from China to Iran to Russia to the United States, governments amplified claims for their own motives. More on this story here.
Bend high school returns to distance learning due to outbreak
BEND, Ore. (AP) — An outbreak of COVID-19 traced to Summit High School students who attended a party a week ago had infected 24 students as of Saturday, and extended the closure of in-person classes at the Bend school through Friday.
School principal Michael McDonald said in an email that Deschutes County had confirmed 24 cases of COVID-19 among youth who attend Summit High and were primary or secondary exposures from the party, the Bend Bulletin reported.
While Summit had in-person classes Feb. 8 and 9, there was no confirmed spread of the virus at school, he said. More of this story here.
Public Health --Seattle & King County: COVID-19 testing sites closed Monday
Medium and high volume COVID-19 testing sites run by Public Health -- Seattle & King County will be closed Monday because of the snow.
These are the testing site at Bellevue College, Auburn, Tukwila, Federal Way, Highline College, Enumclaw and Renton.
To register online for a test and more information from the county, go here.
Kent vaccination site opening late on Monday, Feb. 15
Due to expected icy conditions, the Kent vaccination site will re-open at noon on Monday, Feb. 15. People with morning appointments will receive a text or email with their new afternoon time on Feb. 15, said Public Health -- Seattle & King County.
Both the Auburn and Kent sites will return to regular schedule on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
EU’s anti-fraud body warns against COVID-19 vaccine scams
BRUSSELS (AP) — The EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, is urging member states to be vigilant against scammers offering to sell fake COVID-19 vaccines as the 27-nation bloc faces delays in the supply of shots.
In a statement Monday, OLAF said it was made aware of a number of reports of scammers offering to sell vaccines in a bid to defraud EU governments trying to speed up the pace of vaccination.
“For example, fraudsters may offer to sell large quantities of vaccines, deliver a sample in order to pocket the first advance payment and then vanish with the money,” said Ville Itälä, the OLAF director-general.
“They may deliver batches of fake vaccines,” Itälä added. “Or they falsely may purport to represent legitimate business and claim to be in the possession of or have access to vaccines. All of these claims have one thing in common: they are false.” More on this story here.
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