Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, Feb. 10, 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 It is no longer being updated.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 the United States surpassed 500,000 coronavirus deaths on Monday, President Joe Biden tried to strike a balance between mourning and hope.

Meanwhile, some providers in Washington state are slated to receive twice as much vaccine this week — a “double delivery” — after ice and snow delayed last week’s shipments across the nation.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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The pandemic is receding in the worst hotspots. Will it last?

LONDON — A month ago, the pandemic looked bleak. More than 750,000 coronavirus cases were tallied worldwide in a single day. Infections surged across the entire United States. New variants identified in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa threatened the rest of the world.

But the last month has brought a surprisingly fast, if partial, turnaround. New cases have declined to half their peak globally, driven largely by steady improvements in some of the same places that weathered devastating outbreaks this winter.

Cases are an imperfect measure, and uneven records and testing mask the scope of outbreaks, especially in parts of Africa, Latin America and South Asia. But fewer patients are showing up at hospitals in many countries with the highest rates of infection, giving experts confidence that the decline is real.

The lull in many of the world’s worst outbreaks creates a critical opportunity to keep the virus in retreat as vaccinations begin to take effect. Experts believe vaccines have done little to slow most outbreaks so far, but a small group of countries, primarily wealthy ones, plans to vaccinate vulnerable groups by the spring.

—The New York Times
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Florence café fined nearly $18K over COVID-19 rules

FLORENCE, Ore. — The state of Oregon has fined a Florence restaurant nearly $18,000 for willfully exposing workers to COVID-19 after an investigation in which officials say compliance officers were threatened.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Tuesday announced the fine for The New Blue Hen, The Register-Guard reported.

The New Blue Hen, doing business as Little Brown Hen Café, had been allowing indoor dining since at least Dec. 26, a state investigation found.

“The business did so despite knowing it was violating a public health order limiting the capacity for indoor dining to zero in an ‘extreme risk’ county,” the state news release said.

The restaurant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

—Associated Press

Seattle veteran is ready for his close-up — and a 2nd COVID-19 vaccine

Gene Shea Moy, 103 and a military veteran, received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, a week before he is set to accept the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest honor for distinguished achievement. Moy, who was born in China in 1917, is among the oldest living Chinese American veterans.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945 and recalls deployments to the Philippines, Japan and Guadalcanal, where the Allied forces launched a successful campaign during World War II. Moy co-owned two Seattle restaurants in the 1940s and ’50s, according to his son Corey, and worked for Boeing for 27 years as a mechanic. Moy is among six Chinese American WWII veterans who will receive the top congressional honor March 3.

View the full story here.

—Steve Ringman

Lawsuits filed against auto insurers over rates in pandemic

LAS VEGAS — Class action lawsuits were filed in Nevada against 10 major auto insurance companies on Tuesday, contending that the companies charged excessive insurance premiums during the pandemic by failing to account for a drop in driving and crashes.

The lawsuits acknowledge that some insurers provided discounts over the emptier roads and drop in accidents and claims, but the discounts did not offer “any meaningful relief that actually reflects the reduction in cars on the road and reduced driving during the pandemic,” according to the court filings. The rates that were charged violate state law against excessive premiums, the lawsuits contend.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Nevada insurance customers against State Farm, USAA, Geico, Acuity, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, Progressive, Travelers, Nationwide and Allstate.

“The filing of a lawsuit does not substantiate the allegations within the complaint,” State Farm, the country’s largest auto insurer, said in a statement. “We’ve recently learned about the filing, and it is premature to comment at this time.”

—Associated Press
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San Marino finally gets vaccines, but goes with Sputnik V

ROME — The Republic of San Marino finally can start its coronavirus vaccination drive after the first shots arrived Tuesday. But the city-state surrounded by Italy had to resort to its “Plan B” and buy Sputnik V jabs from Russia after plans to get European Union-approved doses from Italy got delayed.

A pink and yellow truck escorted by police cars brought the first 7,500 Sputnik V vaccines into San Marino and delivered them at the main hospital. Officials said the Russia-made doses will eventually be enough to vaccinate some 15% of the microstate’s population of around 33,800.

San Marino bought Sputnik V shots at the last minute after an agreement to have Italy send a proportion of the vaccines it received through the EU’s vaccine procurement system got delayed. San Marino, located near Rimini on the Adriatic coast, isn’t an EU member, and as such was excluded from the deals the 27-nation bloc negotiated with pharmaceutical firms.

The San Marino secretary of state, Luca Beccari, said during a news conference last weekend that the negotiations with Italy took a long time and that under an agreement signed Jan. 11, San Marino was to receive one dose for every 1,700 that Italy received from the EU.

But the deal hit a snag as Italy and other EU countries faced delivery delays for the three EU-approved vaccines, the ones from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Italy has administered some 3.7 million doses.

—Associated Press

Diplomatic doses: Israel shares vaccines with allied nations

JERUSALEM — After jumping out to a quick start in its vaccination campaign, Israel announced Tuesday that it has decided to share a small surplus of its coronavirus vaccines with several friendly countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to share the vaccines with his diplomatic partners comes at a time when Israel has come under international criticism for not providing significant quantities to the Palestinians. He also faced accusations from a rival of acting unilaterally and wasting taxpayer funds.

Netanyahu’s move is the latest illustration of how coronavirus vaccines have emerged as a kind of diplomatic currency, with countries that have the medicines using their supplies for political gain.

While Israel does not produce vaccines, Netanyahu has moved aggressively to secure enough vaccines for Israel’s 9.3 million people in deals with Pfizer and Moderna. In just under two months, Israel has vaccinated roughly half its population, one of the highest per capita rates in the world, and is aiming to have virtually all of its adults fully vaccinated by the end of next month.

—Associated Press

Mexican president says Mexico doing better than US on virus

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Tuesday that his country is doing better than the United States in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, even though Mexico’s per capita death rate is probably higher and the country has vaccinated less than 1% of its population.

López Obrador said Tuesday that comparing countries is in “bad taste,” but went on to say “the most powerful nation on earth, our neighbor, did worse than us.”

The Mexican government’s “estimated” death toll from COVID-19 is now about 201,000. The United States death toll is around 500,000, but its population is 2.6 times larger.

Moreover, estimates of excess deaths in Mexico since the start of the pandemic suggest the COVID-19 toll is now well above 220,000. Mexico has administered about 1.7 million vaccine doses, while the U.S. has given 64 million shots.

López Obrador blamed rich countries for “hoarding” vaccines, calling that “totally unfair,” and said “the U.N. has to intervene.”

—Associated Press
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Food groups fight to save one Trump virus program

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the Biden administration sets up shop, many policies initiated by its hard-right predecessor are being targeted for extinction. But agricultural groups and anti-hunger organizations are fighting to keep one they’ve come to depend on, which channels food that might otherwise be plowed under to people reeling under the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture began the Farmers to Families Food Box program last April after many people were shocked to see farmers destroy crops because restaurants and institutions abruptly canceled orders due to the virus even as food banks were crushed by demand from people suddenly out of work.

The USDA hurriedly paid roughly $3 billion to contractors who within weeks worked with food banks to begin handing out boxes filled with 20 pounds of produce to motorists who queued up in lines that would snake through stadium parking lots and down suburban streets. Photos of those lines became among the most emblematic images of the suffering inflicted by the virus.

“Hunger is always with us, but it was more apparent with those photos,” said Matt Herrick, a USDA spokesman.

—Associated Press

This 105-year-old beat COVID-19. She credits gin-soaked raisins.

 Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident of her New Jersey nursing home, tested positive for the coronavirus on her 105th birthday, one day after her second vaccine shot. Surviving the coronavirus, she said, may have had something to do with a staple in her life: the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she has eaten each morning for most of her life.  (Michael Neiman via The New York Times)
Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident of her New Jersey nursing home, tested positive for the coronavirus on her 105th birthday, one day after her second vaccine shot. Surviving the coronavirus, she said, may have had something to do with a staple in her life: the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she has eaten each morning for most of her life. (Michael Neiman via The New York Times)

Ask Lucia DeClerck how she has lived to be 105, and she is quick with an answer.

“Prayer. Prayer. Prayer,” she offers. “One step at a time. No junk food.”

But surviving the coronavirus, she said, also may have had something to do with another staple: the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she has eaten each morning for most of her life.

“Fill a jar,” she explained. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.”

Her children and grandchildren recall the ritual as just one of DeClerck’s endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)

“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy,’” said her 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil, of Los Angeles. “Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

Macy’s sales plummet in 2020, highlighting pandemic’s toll on retail

Macy’s, the retailer that also owns Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury, said Tuesday that its sales last year plummeted 29%, highlighting the toll that the pandemic has taken on mall chains and the uncertainty around how traditional retail will recover in a post-pandemic world.

Macy’s said that sales fell to $17.3 billion in the year ended Jan. 30, and that it posted a net loss of $3.9 billion, compared with a $564 million profit the prior year. The company said it “anticipates 2021 as a recovery and rebuilding year” after a better-than-expected holiday selling season, with momentum building in the second half of the year. Fourth-quarter sales declined by 19% from a year earlier.

With more than 700 stores, Macy’s is often viewed as a barometer for the health of department stores, malls and American consumers. On Tuesday, executives emphasized that Macy’s was building its digital business, which it expects to reach $10 billion in sales in the next three years.

It is moving out of unfavorable U.S. malls as part of previously announced store closures and expanding its off-price chains like Macy’s Backstage, which aims to compete with T.J. Maxx. And it is testing smaller stores called Market by Macy’s and Bloomie’s away from traditional malls.

—The New York Times
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State confirms 746 new coronavirus cases and 24 new deaths

The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 746 new coronavirus cases and 24 new deaths on Tuesday.

The update brings the state's totals to 335,693 cases and 4,881 deaths, meaning that 1.5% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Monday. Tallies may be higher earlier in the week because new state data isn’t reported on Sundays and COVID-related deaths aren’t reported on the weekends.

In addition, 19,160 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 50 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 83,195 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,371 deaths.

On Dec. 16, DOH’s case, hospitalization and death counts started including both confirmed cases and probable cases in its total count. According to DOH, probable cases refer to people who received a positive antigen test result but not a positive molecular test result, while confirmed cases refer to those who have received a positive molecular test result.

The DOH says its daily case reports may also include duplicate test results, results assigned to the wrong county, results that are reported for today but are actually from a previous day, occasional false positive tests and other data discrepancies. Because of this, the previous day’s total number of cases plus the number of new daily cases does not add up to the new day’s total number of cases.

—Megan Burbank

U.S. steeply increases key genetic analysis for COVID-19 variants

The U.S. is now analyzing about 14,000 coronavirus cases each week with genetic sequencing to detect faster-spreading variants, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said.

That’s up from 250 sequences a week when Walensky took office last month, she told a House Appropriations subcommittee panel Tuesday morning.

New variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil appear to spread more efficiently. Each of those variants has been found in the U.S., adding urgency to the country’s effort to understand how they’re spreading.

About 3% of all cases are being sequenced to find variants, Walensky said. “That obviously needs to scale up,” she said.

The CDC is working with seven academic institutions to sequence about 4,000 samples a week, and commercial labs are sequencing about 6,000 cases a week, Walensky said. They are expected to further expand capacity.

Congress is proposing $1.75 billion in additional funding to expand sequencing as part of President Joe Biden’s economic stimulus plan.

—John Tozzi, Bloomberg

States rush to catch up on delayed vaccines, expand access

A giant vaccination center is opening in Houston to administer 126,000 coronavirus doses in the next three weeks. Nevada health officials are working overtime to distribute delayed shots. And Rhode Island is rescheduling appointments after a vaccine shipment failed to arrive as scheduled earlier in the week.

From coast to coast, states were scrambling Tuesday to catch up after winter storms delayed delivery of 6 million doses and led to clinic closures and canceled appointments nationwide.

A limited supply of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines had hampered the pace of vaccinations even before extreme weather. The White House promised Tuesday that help is on the way.

States can expect about 14.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine this week, an almost 70% increase in distribution over the past month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

The stepped-up efforts come as the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. surpassed 500,000, far more than any other country.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Why vaccines are in short supply, after billions spent and dozens of wartime declarations

The U.S. government has invested billions of dollars in manufacturing, used a wartime act dozens of times to boost supplies and yet there’s still not enough coronavirus vaccine on the way to meet demand — or even the government’s own goals for national immunization.

President Joe Biden, in remarks at the National Institutes of Health this month, said the nation is “now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July.” But at the current rate of production, Pfizer and Moderna will miss their targets of providing at least 100 million doses each by the end of March, let alone 200 million more doses each has promised by July.

Moderna would need to more than double its vaccine production rate from January — when it made roughly 19 million doses — to meet its contractual obligations. Pfizer supplied 40 million vaccine doses by Feb. 17. It has roughly six weeks left to deliver the first 120 million doses it has promised.

Critics want to know whether the government did enough, fast enough, to guarantee that companies would meet the urgent challenges of the pandemic, why manufacturers bolstered by extraordinary sums of taxpayer money did not share technology sooner or move more quickly into production partnerships.

Read the story here.

—Rachana Pradhan and Arthur Allen, Kaiser Health News

California's coronavirus strain looks increasingly dangerous: 'The devil is already here'

A coronavirus variant that emerged in mid-2020 and surged to become the dominant strain in California not only spreads more readily than its predecessors, it also evades antibodies generated by COVID-19 vaccines or prior infection and it’s associated with severe illness and death, researchers said.

In a study that helps explain the state’s dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths — and portends further trouble ahead — scientists at UC San Francisco said that the cluster of mutations that characterizes the homegrown strain should mark it as a “variant of concern” on par with those from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

“The devil is already here,” said Dr. Charles Chiu, who led the UCSF team of geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians and other scientists in a wide-ranging analysis of the new variant, which they call B.1.427/B.1.429. “I wish it were different. But the science is the science.”

The strain is as worrisome as those from the U.K. and South Africa and will probably account for 90% of the state’s infections by the end of next month, said Chiu, an infectious diseases researcher and physician.

The U.K. and California variants are each armed with enhanced capabilities, and the likelihood that they could circulate in the same population raises the specter of a return to spiking infections and deaths, Chiu said. It also opens the door to a “nightmare scenario”: That the two viruses will meet in a single person, swap their mutations, and create an even more dangerous strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read the story here.

—Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times

Biden messed up the math comparing war deaths to COVID-19 toll

When remarking on the deaths of Americans from the illness caused by the coronavirus, President Joe Biden likes to compare the total to the deaths the nation has suffered in war. In his inaugural address, for instance, the president noted: “A once-in-a-century virus, it silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II.”

Now, about a month later, he has added two more wars to his comparison when he marked 500,000 dead in a solemn address at the White House on Monday.

“Today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone: 500,071 dead. That’s more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.

Is Biden’s math right?

If you start with a base of 405,399 deaths during World War II and add in World War I and the Vietnam War, using the same metrics of battlefield deaths and in-service deaths, you end up with 580,000:

— World War I: 116,516 deaths

— World War II: 405,399

— Vietnam: 58,220

Read the story here.

—Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post
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From coronavirus to waterlogged homes, Texas’ epic winter nightmare

KILLEEN, Texas — After her pipes burst and flooded her house, after she spent one night on a church couch and another fleeing a four-alarm fire in the hotel where she and her husband sought refuge, Janet Culver, 88, finally made it home a week after Texas’ epic winter nightmare began.

Rickey Tyler of OneCall Plumbing with a map and posts indicating requests for help, in Houston, Feb. 18, 2021. Since a winter storm and hard freeze swept through the state last week, knocking out power and heat, homeowners have swamped plumbers with urgent repair calls. (Mark Felix / The New York Times)
Rickey Tyler of OneCall Plumbing with a map and posts indicating requests for help, in Houston, Feb. 18, 2021. Since a winter storm and hard freeze swept through the state last week, knocking out power and heat, homeowners have swamped plumbers with urgent repair calls. (Mark Felix / The New York Times)

But oh, what she found.

The sunken living room where Culver and her 91-year-old husband, Jim, had sequestered themselves from the coronavirus was now a frigid pond. The floorboards in the dining room were warped by water. Their tightknit Episcopal church, which has lost three members to the virus over the past awful year, had also flooded.

“I’m at the end of my rope,” Janet Culver said.

Who wasn’t by now? Even with power back on across most of the state and warmer weather in the forecast for much of this week, millions of Texans whose health and finances were already battered by a year of COVID-19 now face a grinding recovery from a storm estimated to cost upward of $20 billion, the costliest in state history, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

Read the story here.

—Jack Healy, The New York Times

Coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa pops up in Washington state for 1st time

The first known case of the coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa has popped up in King County, and 19 additional cases of the variant first found in the UK have been identified, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

The B.1.351 variant of SARS-CoV-2, first seen in South Africa in December, was identified through genomic sequencing at the UW Medicine Virology Laboratory. It has been found in 10 states in the U.S.

The B.1.1.7 strain, which was first identified in the UK, seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants and was first found a month ago in Washington state.

The appearance of the variants in Washington is not a surprise, Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said at a news briefing Tuesday. The virus will continue to evolve and not all variants are worrisome, but those that are — called “variants of concern” — include both the UK and South Africa variants, he said.

Duchin said the new strains should cause people to “double down on their efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmissions.”

Read the story here.

—Christine Clarridge

Food fight: Meat-free school meals spark furor in France

FILE – In this Jan.18, 2019 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron meets pupils as he visits a school canteen in Saint-Sozy, southwestern France. By taking meat off the menu at school canteens, the Green Party mayor of Lyon has kicked up a storm of protest and debate in a country increasingly asking questions about the environmental costs of its meaty dietary habits. With a meatless four-course meal that Lyon City Hall says will be quicker and easier to serve to children who must be kept socially distanced while eating lunch to avoid coronavirus infections. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP, FILE)
FILE – In this Jan.18, 2019 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron meets pupils as he visits a school canteen in Saint-Sozy, southwestern France. By taking meat off the menu at school canteens, the Green Party mayor of Lyon has kicked up a storm of protest and debate in a country increasingly asking questions about the environmental costs of its meaty dietary habits. With a meatless four-course meal that Lyon City Hall says will be quicker and easier to serve to children who must be kept socially distanced while eating lunch to avoid coronavirus infections. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP, FILE)

By taking meat off the menu at school canteens, the ecologist mayor of one of France’s most famously gastronomic cities has kicked up a storm of protest and debate as the country increasingly questions the environmental costs of its meaty dietary habits.

Children in Lyon who were regularly offered such choices as beef and chicken in rich sauces found their meat option missing this week when they returned from school holidays. In its place: a meatless four-course meal that Lyon City Hall says will be quicker and easier to serve to children who, because of the coronavirus pandemic, must be kept apart during lunch to avoid infections.

City Hall insists that the meatless meals are temporary and that school canteens will again offer meat options when social distancing rules are relaxed and children once again have more time to dwell on their food choices and to eat.

And the meat-free menus still contain animal proteins. This week’s planned main courses include fish on Monday and Friday and eggs — either as omelettes or hard boiled with a creamy sauce — on other days. Children also get salad starters, a milk product — often cheese or yoghurt — and dessert.

Still, farmers saw red. Some drove farm vehicles, cows and goats in protest on Monday into Lyon, which is fiercely proud of its rich restaurant culture and signature dishes, many of them meaty.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Ukraine gets first vaccine shipment as hospitals struggle

Two medical workers escort an elderly woman suffering from COVID-19 into a hospital in Kolomyia, western Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. After several delays, Ukraine finally received 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine marketed under the name CoviShield, the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine doses. The country of 40 million is one of the last in the region to begin inoculating its population. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Two medical workers escort an elderly woman suffering from COVID-19 into a hospital in Kolomyia, western Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. After several delays, Ukraine finally received 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine marketed under the name CoviShield, the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine doses. The country of 40 million is one of the last in the region to begin inoculating its population. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Ukraine on Tuesday received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine, raising hopes that authorities can start beating back the virus’ spread in a country where cases have strained the fragile health care system.

A consignment of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was flown to the capital Kyiv from India.

Officials said the first tranche of vaccine will be administered to medical workers and military personnel in eastern Ukraine, where conflict with Russian-backed separatists has been ongoing since 2014, and to regions of western Ukraine where the rate of infections has been the most severe.

Ukraine also expects to receive more vaccine doses under the COVAX distribution program, including those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Novavax. The country has also signed an agreement to buy 1.9 million doses of vaccine from the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, the first deliveries of which are expected in April.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ukraine has recorded 1.3 million infections and 25,309 deaths.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Netherlands sees increase in coronavirus infections

People enjoy the sun in Vondelpark after a sudden change in weather brought spring conditions to Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Sunday. (Peter Dejong / AP)
People enjoy the sun in Vondelpark after a sudden change in weather brought spring conditions to Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Sunday. (Peter Dejong / AP)

Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by nearly 19% over the past week as more people got tested following a week of icy conditions, the country’s public health institute announced Tuesday.

The percentage of positive tests in what the institute called a “third wave” of infections declined slightly from 11.5% to 9.8%.

The announcement came ahead of a press conference at which Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to announce an extension of the country’s coronavirus curfew and keeping non-essential shops, bars, restaurants and other venues like cinemas shuttered.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

World Bank might suspend financing of vaccines to Lebanon

 The World Bank threatened Tuesday to suspend financing for coronavirus vaccines in Lebanon over what it said were violations by members of parliament who were inoculated without registering in advance.

A man waits his turn to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a nationwide vaccination campaign, at the Saint George Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Lebanon launched its inoculation campaign after receiving the first batch of the vaccine — 28,500 doses from Brussels with more expected to arrive in the coming weeks. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
A man waits his turn to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a nationwide vaccination campaign, at the Saint George Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Lebanon launched its inoculation campaign after receiving the first batch of the vaccine — 28,500 doses from Brussels with more expected to arrive in the coming weeks. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Such a move by the World Bank would have grave consequences as Lebanon struggles through severe financial and economic crises and is in desperate need of aid. The World Bank said last month it approved $34 million to help pay for vaccines for Lebanon to inoculate over 2 million people.

The vaccination campaign began Feb. 14 and Lebanon has so far received nearly 60,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Sharaf Abu Sharaf, president of Lebanese Order of Physicians, said the violations included vaccinating people who were not registered or not included in the first phase of the campaign.

Lebanon is notorious for corruption and nepotism, which has brought the Mediterranean nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Farewell to bras, ‘hard pants’ and business casual: How COVID-19 has changed what we wear and how we feel about clothing

(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)
(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

We want to be comfy but also look good on Zoom. We didn’t know how uncomfortable jeans were until we stopped wearing them. If you wore one at the office, you might still wear your work badge at home. Some of us are ineffably fancy. Black masks go with everything. And we really, really hate bras.

Once dictated by climate and office culture, our clothing has changed significantly over the year we’ve weathered the coronavirus pandemic. Between mask mandates, the rise of remote work, the fall of going out, and stay-at-home orders, we dress more idiosyncratically now than perhaps ever before. Our social worlds have narrowed, and so have our sartorial choices. After all, when your job goes remote overnight, the external fashion rules go, too — and in Seattle, we didn’t have that many to begin with.

The result? Those of us privileged enough to work from home during the pandemic have also been gifted the opportunity to wear whatever we want. From 24/7 full athleisure to eveningwear at the grocery store, our clothes (and the categories we put them in) have become softer and more inventive. Formality is often a waist-up enterprise, or an intentional choice that adds momentary brightness to a world that feels more and more like a communal endurance piece with each passing day.

Read the story here.

—Megan Burbank

Drug execs face Capitol Hill questions on vaccine supply

Executives from the major COVID-19 vaccine producers are set to answer questions from Congress on Tuesday about expanding the supply of shots needed to curb the pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

The hearing comes as U.S. vaccinations continue to accelerate after a sluggish start and recent disruptions caused by winter weather. But state health officials say demand for inoculations still vastly outstrips the limited weekly shipments provided by the federal government.

The Energy and Commerce Committee panel will hear from the five companies with contracts to supply COVID-19 shots to the U.S.: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax.

“We want to know what these companies are doing to ramp up production and what else can be done to get these vaccines distributed sooner to those who need them,” Rep. Diana DeGette said in a statement announcing the hearing. The Colorado Democrat leads the investigative subcommittee with oversight of U.S. health care.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Alaska nonprofit group to donate vaccine doses to Juneau

A nonprofit health organization plans to donate some of the COVID-19 vaccine supplies it receives from the federal Indian Health Services to the City and Borough of Juneau.

Juneau City Emergency Manager Robert Barr said the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium vaccine donation will be used during the borough’s next mass vaccination clinic March 12 and 13, KTOO Public Media reported.

The consortium and the city are partnering to help vaccinate a larger portion of the Juneau area’s eligible population, Barr said.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Catch up on the past 24 hours

  • Some Washington state vaccine providers will get double deliveries after last week's stormy weather delayed doses across the U.S. Here's what to expect, and how to find a vaccine.
  • Seattle is hitting the brakes on reopening school buildings. The district, still locked in negotiations with its teachers union, now says the youngest students won't return until at least March 8. Even that date is no guarantee.
  • Glimmers of hope arrived on the same day the U.S. somberly marked a half-million COVID-19 deaths, with cases falling and strong evidence emerging in Britain that vaccines are working "spectacularly well." But U.S. leaders worry Americans will lower their guard. "Now is not the time to say, 'We’re doing really well, let’s pull back,'" Dr. Anthony Fauci warned. 
  • In a virus-ravaged U.S. city, where competition for vaccines is intense, nearly 400 million doses are being made — and shipped elsewhere.
  • The post-COVID-19 loss of smell is nothing to sniff at, with some people experiencing dysfunction long after other symptoms have vanished. Food is tasteless and depression is a risk: "Their lives will be much poorer."
  • People who wear glasses may be less likely to get the virus, according to a new study.
—Kris Higginson

How is the pandemic affecting you?

What has changed about your daily life? What kinds of discussions are you having with family members and friends? Are you a health care worker who's on the front lines of the response? Are you a COVID-19 patient or do you know one? Whoever you are, we want to hear from you so our news coverage is as complete, accurate and useful as possible. If you're using a mobile device and can't see the form on this page, click here.