Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, Jan. 11, 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 It is no longer being updated.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 pandemic continues, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new plan last week called “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery.”

This new plan takes effect Monday, and unlike the state’s previous “Safe Start” plan, “Healthy Washington” consists of two phases instead of four, with the state divided into eight regions.

Every region will start in Phase 1, and reopenings will happen by region rather than county. Additionally, regions do not have to apply to move forward to the next phase. The state Department of Health (DOH) will promote regions based on whether they hit four key metrics. The DOH will examine data every Friday to determine if each region can move forward on the following Monday.

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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India starts shipping COVID-19 vaccine to cities

NEW DELHI — India has started shipping COVID-19 vaccines to multiple cities, four days ahead of the nationwide inoculation drive.

The first consignment of vaccines developed by the Serum Institute of India left the Indian city of Pune on Tuesday. The vaccines rolled out from Serum Institute of India’s facility in temperature-controlled trucks to the city’s airport from where they were loaded into private air carriers for distribution all over the country.

Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri called the shipping of vaccines a “momentous mission.”

Beginning Saturday, India will start the massive undertaking of inoculating an estimated 30 million doctors, nurses and other front-line workers. The effort will then turn to inoculating around 270 million people who are either older than 50 or have secondary health conditions that raise their risks of dying from COVID-19.

The first vaccine shipments contain the COVISHIELD vaccine made by the Serum Institute and developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

—Associated Press
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California turns stadiums into COVID-19 vaccination centers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is transforming baseball stadiums, fairgrounds and even a Disneyland Resort parking lot into mass vaccination sites as the coronavirus surge overwhelms hospitals and sets a deadly new record in the state.

California’s COVID-19 death toll reached 30,000 on Monday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

It took six months for the nation’s most populous state to reach 10,000 deaths but barely a month to jump from 20,000 to 30,000 deaths. California ranks third nationally for COVID-19-related deaths, behind Texas and New York, which is No. 1 with nearly 40,000.

Public health officials have estimated about 12% of those who catch the virus will require hospital care, usually several weeks after infection as they get sicker.

—Associated Press

Rep. Pramila Jayapal tests positive for COVID-19 after being locked down with lawmakers who wouldn’t wear masks

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal takes questions in February 2020 in Seattle. Jayapal’s office said she tested positive for the coronavirus after last week’s attack on the Capitol. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal takes questions in February 2020 in Seattle. Jayapal’s office said she tested positive for the coronavirus after last week’s attack on the Capitol. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal tested positive for coronavirus Monday night, her office said, after she was in lockdown during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol with “Republican lawmakers who cruelly and selfishly refused to wear masks.”

Jayapal’s office said she was locked in a secure room, as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, for “multiple hours” and several Republican colleagues “not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.”

Jayapal, a Democrat from Seattle, began quarantining immediately after the attack, her office said, fearing that she may have been exposed.

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said Monday night. “Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.”

Jayapal, in a prepared statement, did not say if she was feeling ill or experiencing symptoms. She is the second Democratic member of Congress to test positive since the siege on the Capitol. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., announced a positive test earlier Monday.

Read the full story here.

—David Gutman

New Zealand requiring virus test for visitors

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand will soon require that travelers from most countries show negative coronavirus tests before they leave for New Zealand.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says New Zealand is in a fortunate position to have stamped out community spread of the virus but takes nothing for granted.

The new rules will require travelers to have a negative test within 72 hours of departure. The rules will be imposed on travelers from the U.S. and the U.K. from Friday and most other countries soon after.

Travelers from Australia and some Pacific nations will be exempted.

In addition to the test requirement, New Zealand will continue to place new arrivals in mandatory two-week quarantine at the border.

—Associated Press
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China expands lockdowns, local political conference delayed

BEIJING — Lockdowns have been expanded and a major political conference postponed in a province next to Beijing that is the scene of China’s most serious recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Residents of the city of Gu’an just south of Beijing have been ordered to stay home for seven days starting from Tuesday. Similar measures have been ordered around the country, particularly in the central city of Wuhan where 11 million people were placed under lockdown for 76 days last winter as the pandemic was just beginning.

Hebei has also delayed the meetings of the provincial People’s Congress and its advisory body that are usually held in February. It wasn’t clear when the meetings would be held.

China last year postponed the holding of the National People’s Congress and its advisory body in Beijing from March until May, shortening the sessions and limiting media access in a sign of the seriousness with which the ruling Communist Party was treating the outbreak.

Hebei’s provincial health commission on Tuesday reported 40 new confirmed cases, all but one in the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang just south of Beijing where transport links have been cut and residents told to stay home. Local authorities say several dozen of the more than 300 confirmed cases reported this year in the city appear to be linked to wedding gatherings.

—Associated Press

Malaysia under virus emergency in reprieve for embattled PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s king Tuesday approved a coronavirus emergency that will suspend parliament at least until August and halt any bids to seek a general election in a political reprieve for embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin assured citizens in a televised speech that the emergency was “not a military coup and curfew will not be enforced.” He said his civilian government will remain in charge during the emergency, that will last until Aug. 1 or earlier depending on the situation.

The emergency declaration came as a surprise just a day after Muhyiddin announced that Malaysia’s biggest city Kuala Lumpur, the administrative capital Putrajaya and five high-risk states will return to a near-lockdown from Wednesday for two weeks.

It also comes amid threats by the United Malays National Organization, the largest party in the ruling coalition, to withdraw support from Muhyiddin so an early general election could be held. Many in UMNO are unhappy that the party is playing second fiddle to Muhyiddin’s own Malay party.

Muhyiddin said he will call a general election once the pandemic has eased when it is safe to hold polls.

—Associated Press

CES goes full pandemic with smart masks, stickers to detect COVID and the biggest Wi-Fi update in years

SAN FRANCISCO – At CES, the tech industry’s biggest showcase, COVID-19 has inspired new products to power extreme digital living. Here comes a big WiFi update, smart masks and even robot comfort cats.

The pandemic has also forced the event online. Instead of gathering 171,268 geeks in Las Vegas for a week of gadget demos, schmoozing and hiking conference halls, CES this year is all virtual, featuring thousands of competing Zoom streams at all times of day and night. We warmed up our webcams and watched hours of product presentations so you don’t have to.

Sure, the news may be focused on fighting a killer virus and America’s constitutional crisis. But in a way, consumer tech has never been more relevant. Hear us out: Sales for the U.S. tech industry hit historic highs in 2020 according to the NPD Group, rising 17 percent because so many people were buying notebooks, tablets, headphones, TVs and smartwatches.

Samsung’s CES keynote presentation, a half-hour video, calls its focus a “Better Normal for All.” 

—The Washington Post
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100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — More than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Oregon, the state’s health authority reported on Monday.

Originally, state officials had set a goal of vaccinating 100,000 people with first doses of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of last of 2020, but by New Year’s Eve less than 40,000 doses had been administered.

Last week Gov. Kate Brown set a new goal of 12,000 vaccinations per day by Jan. 18.

Since then, health authority officials have worked to expand the number of administration sites and adjust prioritization requirements. In addition Brown said on Friday that she is deploying the Oregon National Guard in Salem at the state fairgrounds to support a mass vaccination event.

“The goal is to vaccinate 250 people per hour, vaccinating thousands of Oregonians,” Brown said.

—Associated Press

‘It was a joke’: Some small businesses got $1 relief loans

The Paycheck Protection Program was a lifeline for millions of small businesses brutalized by the pandemic. Over a four-month span, the government program distributed $523 billion in forgivable loans to more than 5 million companies. The average recipient got just over $100,000.

And then there were the roughly 300 business that received loans of $99 or less.

Judith Less, who runs a thrift shop in New Jersey, got $27. Nikki Smith, a baker and caterer in Oregon, collected $96. A.J. Burton, the founder of a record label in Arkansas, got $78. And Susana Dommar, a chiropractor in Texas, received a loan for just $1.

Stephanie Ackerman, a self-employed college admissions consultant, was shocked when her loan deposit, for $13, showed up in her bank account.

“That’s supposed to help my business? It was a joke,” said Ackerman, whose company, Tomorrow Today College Consulting in Red Bank, New Jersey, lost months of sales last spring as the coronavirus crisis took hold.

The tiny sums were equally frustrating for the banks and other lenders that made the government-backed loans. For each, they were paid 5% of the value — meaning they collected just pennies on the smallest loans, far less than they cost to make. Ackerman’s loan netted her lender, Bank of America, a fee of 65 cents, paid by the government.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

State reports 2,214 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths

The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,214 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Monday.

The update brings the state's totals to 276,686 cases and 3,699 deaths, meaning that 1.4% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday. 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, 15,978 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 207 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 70,059 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,105 deaths.

The new cases may include up to 1,150 duplicates, and negative test results data are incomplete from Nov. 21-30, 2020 and Dec. 28 through Monday, according to DOH. Today’s COVID-like illness hospitalizations data are incomplete, while death data have not been updated since Jan. 8, the agency said. Regular reporting with resume on Tuesday.

Testing tab and case counts “should be interpreted with caution,” the DOH said. “The Epidemiologic Curves tab is the most accurate representation of COVID activity and is update daily as new cases are identified and duplicates are resolved.”

—Nicole Brodeur
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Congresswoman tests positive after sheltering with maskless lawmakers in Capitol siege

From left, Reps. Frederica S. Wilson, Barbara Lee, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Lois Frankel gather around as Ya Kaka and Hauwa open their gifts after a roundtable discussion about gender-based violence hosted by Wilson at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2018. (Carolyn Van Houten / Washington Post)
From left, Reps. Frederica S. Wilson, Barbara Lee, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Lois Frankel gather around as Ya Kaka and Hauwa open their gifts after a roundtable discussion about gender-based violence hosted by Wilson at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2018. (Carolyn Van Houten / Washington Post)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor, has tested positive for the coronavirus after taking shelter in a room with other lawmakers, some of whom refused to wear masks, during last week’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

“I received a positive test result for COVID-19, and am home resting at this time,” she said in a statement. “While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents.”

Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said she believes she contracted the virus while in protected isolation during the riot. Many lawmakers were sheltered in a large committee room together as the mob stormed the Capitol.

On Sunday, Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress and the Supreme Court, told lawmakers that the people in that room may have been exposed to someone with the virus.

Read the full story here.

— Colby Itkowitz, The Washington Post

Lebanon plans 11-day, 24-hour curfew, hospital beds fill up

Lebanese authorities tightened a nationwide lockdown Monday, including an 11-day, 24-hour curfew, amid a dramatic surge in coronavirus infections and growing criticism of uncoordinated policies many blame for the spread of the virus.

People shop at a supermarket as they stock up on provisions, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Panic buyers swarmed supermarkets after reports the government planned to also order them shut in the tightened lockdown. Long lines formed outside chain supermarkets, sparking fear the crowds could further spread the virus. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
People shop at a supermarket as they stock up on provisions, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Panic buyers swarmed supermarkets after reports the government planned to also order them shut in the tightened lockdown. Long lines formed outside chain supermarkets, sparking fear the crowds could further spread the virus. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

News of the restrictions to be implemented starting Thursday morning sparked panicked grocery buying as people lined up outside of supermarkets to stock up, raising fears the crowds could further spread the virus.

Lebanon had only just announced a nationwide lockdown last week. But many, including the health minister and officials on a government committee, considered it to be too lenient because it exempted many sectors, such as florists, plant nurseries and factories. Hospitals, meanwhile, were running out of beds amid rapidly multiplying COVID-19 cases.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

‘We did something right here’: Seahawks finish season as only NFL team without a positive COVID-19 test

Pete Carroll heads out to the field for Saturday’s playoff game with the Rams. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Pete Carroll heads out to the field for Saturday’s playoff game with the Rams. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Seahawks players will disperse now. They’re heading off, out of town, back home, or on vacation somewhere to start a long offseason. But before going, coach Pete Carroll wanted to remind them about the challenges of reacclimating to society during a global pandemic.

“There’s a lot that we dealt with, and these guys are going to continue to deal with staying healthy,” Carroll said in the opening remarks of his season-ending news conference Monday.

From the time the Seahawks got together in July to begin training camp, Carroll has treated the pandemic as a competition — as another opponent his team must overcome. And that approach worked for the Seahawks, who were the only NFL team not to have a player test positive for COVID-19 during the season.

Defensive end Jonathan Bullard on Saturday was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but Carroll revealed Monday that Bullard had a false-positive result last week.

The Seahawks were the last team to place on a player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list in early December, when defensive tackle Bryan Mone was added. That was not for a positive test but as a precaution after a close-contact situation, Carroll said then.

“We’ve been after it all year long, and that’s a major concern right now — is when everybody goes home and those that leave the area, they take the lessons that they’ve learned and the discipline that they’ve acquired and share it with their families and the people that they’re going to be around and be really, really careful how things move forward,” Carroll said Monday. “That has not lost its emphasis during the course of this year.”

Read the full story.

—Adam Jude
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'Tsunami' of evictions feared once virus aid vanishes

If Washington’s extended ban on evictions expires at the end of March, 46-year-old Antonio Salazar could potentially lose his housing.

Salazar, a native of Mexico and 20-year resident of Redmond, worked as a chef until a few years ago when he suffered an accident that required spinal surgery. His only source of income had been workers’ compensation, which he said the state terminated a year ago, just before the pandemic set in. 

His landlord had tried to evict him before the moratorium and a King County eviction prevention program brokered an agreement, covering six months of his $1,422 monthly rent in exchange for the owner forgiving three months that he owed last year, Salazar said. But the rental relief ended in November and he is still trying to get the Department of Labor and Industries to reopen his case.

The eviction moratorium bought Salazar time to try and get his life back together, but he still needs additional surgeries on his hip and knee and hasn’t been able to work.

“I don’t have anywhere to go if they evict me from here,” he said in Spanish. 

Renters who have long lived on low incomes or who lost their jobs during the pandemic have found temporary relief by the third extension of the state eviction moratorium. But they are also staring down continually amassing debt, and homelessness providers and housing attorneys are scared that many of the estimated 175,000 people behind on rent in Washington state will be part of what some predict will be a “tsunami” of evictions once federal, state and local eviction bans disappear. 

Read the story here.

—Sydney Brownstone and Daniel Gilbert

Albania carries out 1st vaccinations with donated doses

Albania’s prime minister on Monday was among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with a dose that the country has received from an undisclosed European Union member.

Edi Rama said he was “not authorized” to say which EU country had provided 975 doses. Albania’s main vaccination campaign is due to start next week.

Rama was inoculated after the head of the infectious diseases hospital where most people infected with the virus go first. Rama said he did it to show that it “not only is safe but that it is the weapon to kill this invisible enemy.”

The government has contracted 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, of which the first 10,000 are due to arrive next week.

Rama repeated complaints made by several countries in the Western Balkans that the European Union has left them behind in its vaccination program.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Biden gets 2nd dose of vaccine as team readies COVID-19 plan

President-elect Joe Biden received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday, three weeks after getting his first one with television cameras rolling in an attempt to reassure the American public that the inoculations are safe.

Biden took off his sport jacket and said, “Ready, set, go.” Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cumin administered the Pfizer vaccine at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, close to the president-elect’s home.

Biden got his first shot on Dec. 21.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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UN: COVID-19 herd immunity unlikely in 2021 despite vaccines

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned that even as numerous countries start rolling out vaccination programs to stop COVID-19, herd immunity is highly unlikely this year.

Sergeant Brian Patrick McKnerney, of the New Jersey State Police, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Morris County, vaccination site, in Rockaway, NJ, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.   Gov. Phil Murphy toured what’s being called a vaccine megasite at a former Sears store in Morris County on Friday where health officials hope to vaccinate more than 2,000 people per day in coming weeks and months. (Sarah Blesener/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
Sergeant Brian Patrick McKnerney, of the New Jersey State Police, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Morris County, vaccination site, in Rockaway, NJ, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Gov. Phil Murphy toured what’s being called a vaccine megasite at a former Sears store in Morris County on Friday where health officials hope to vaccinate more than 2,000 people per day in coming weeks and months. (Sarah Blesener/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

At a media briefing on Monday, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said it was critical countries and their populations maintain strict social distancing and other outbreak control measures for the foreseeable future. In recent weeks, Britain, the U.S., France, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and others have begun vaccinating millions of their citizens against the coronavirus.

Scientists typically estimate that a vaccination rate of about 70% is needed for herd immunity, where entire populations are protected against a disease. But some fear that the extremely infectious nature of COVID-19 could require a significantly higher threshold.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

India’s quick nod to homegrown COVID-19 vaccine seeds doubt

As the director of a large hospital in the Indian state that has seen the country’s most coronavirus cases, Dr. S.P. Kalantri had been waiting for the day a vaccine would be approved and bring protection not only to his community but also himself.

But now he has his doubts about getting the shots after India took a regulatory shortcut to approve a vaccine by Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech before late clinical trials showed it was effective in preventing illness from coronavirus infections.

“I’d rather wait and watch,” said Kalantri, who runs a hospital in Maharashtra state’s Wardha district.

He’s not alone. Many scientists have said that approving a vaccine without evidence from late trials is risky and a lack of transparency in the approval process could increase vaccine hesitancy in the world’s second-most populated country, where more than 10.4 million coronavirus cases have been reported among the nearly 1.4 billion people.

The homegrown vaccine was one of two that India authorized for emergency use on Jan. 3. The approval for the other — a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by world’s largest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India — was given on the basis of partial results from studies in Britain and Brazil that suggested it was about 70% effective at preventing illness from coronavirus infection.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Young Chicago students begin return to classroom learning

Chicago Public Schools students began their return to the classroom Monday as school doors opened to thousands of pre-kindergarten and some special education students.

The nation’s third-largest district, with about 355,000 students, plans a gradual return to in-person instruction after going remote last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pre-kindergarten and some special education students can return this week or continue online learning. Students in kindergarten through 8th grade have the option next week. No date has been set for high school students’ return.

Nearly 40% of eligible students, about 77,000, expressed interest in returning, with about 6,000 students in pre-kindergarten and special education expected Monday. District officials didn’t immediately release data on how many students returned or how many teachers reported to work.

The Chicago Teachers Union has opposed reopening over safety concerns.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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China: WHO experts arriving Thursday for virus origins probe

 Experts from the World Health Organization are due to arrive in China this week for a long-anticipated investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said Monday.

The experts will arrive on Thursday and meet with Chinese counterparts, the National Health Commission said in a one-sentence statement that gave no other details.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the experts will travel to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019.

Negotiations for the visit have long been underway. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed disappointment last week over delays, saying that members of the international scientific team departing from their home countries had already started on their trip as part of an arrangement between WHO and the Chinese government.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Storied Swiss ski races canceled because of virus outbreak

FILE – In this Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 file photo, Monaco’s Arnaud Alessandria speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men’s World Cup downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. The signature Alpine skiing race in Switzerland is cancelled this year due to COVID-19.. (Gabriele Facciotti / The Associated Press)
FILE – In this Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 file photo, Monaco’s Arnaud Alessandria speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men’s World Cup downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. The signature Alpine skiing race in Switzerland is cancelled this year due to COVID-19.. (Gabriele Facciotti / The Associated Press)

Switzerland’s signature ski race was canceled Monday after a rise in COVID-19 infections was blamed partly on tourists from Britain.

Wengen was to host three races on the iconic Lauberhorn mountain from Friday to Sunday.

The widely expected cancellation was confirmed by the Swiss ski federation. It followed a second day of talks between the International Ski Federation and local organizers with health officials in Bern.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

US ramps up vaccinations to get doses to more Americans

FILE – In this Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, file photo, Medical professionals from Oregon Health & Science University load syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore. The U.S. is entering the second month of the largest vaccination effort in history with a massive expansion of the campaign, opening up football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff / The Associated Press)
FILE – In this Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, file photo, Medical professionals from Oregon Health & Science University load syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore. The U.S. is entering the second month of the largest vaccination effort in history with a massive expansion of the campaign, opening up football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff / The Associated Press)

The U.S. is entering the second month of the biggest vaccination effort in history with a major expansion of the campaign, opening football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people.

After a frustratingly slow rollout involving primarily health care workers and nursing home residents, states are moving on to the next phase before the first one is complete, making shots available to such groups as senior citizens, teachers, bus drivers, police officers, firefighters and people with underlying medical conditions.

“Every shot in the arm is a step closer to ending this pandemic,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Romania Holocaust survivor Tucarman dies from COVID-19 at 98

Iancu Tucarman, one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Romania, was buried Monday after dying from COVID-19 last week. He was 98.

Dozens gathered at Tucarman’s funeral in Bucharest to pay respects and mark a horrific legacy of World War II. The funeral was held in line with anti-virus measures.

Tucarman died on Jan. 8 after battling the coronavirus. Romania has been hit hard in the outbreak, recording more than 16,000 deaths in the country of 19 million people.

Tucarman was 18 years old in June 1941 when German and pro-Nazi Romanian troops rounded up thousands of other Jews in the northwest city of Iasi during the events that became known as the “Iasi Pogrom.”

Iasi Jews were crammed into trains and driven around Romania until most of them suffocated inside or died of dehydration. About 13,000 people died.

“A survivor of unimaginable horrors during the Iasi Pogrom, a man with an incredible will to live, Iancu Tucarman could not fight this unforgiving virus,” Israeli Ambassador David Saranga said after Tucarman’s death.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

South Africa struggles with post-holiday spike in COVID-19

South Africa is struggling to cope with a spike in COVID-19 cases that has already overwhelmed some hospitals, as people returning from widespread holiday travel along the coast spread the country’s more infectious coronavirus variant.

Of particular concern is Gauteng province, the country’s most populous, which includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Authorities say it is already seeing a spike in new infections after people traveled to coastal areas, where the variant is dominant.

The Steve Biko Hospital in the Pretoria area has already reached capacity and is putting COVID-19 patients into a field hospital outside the main building.

In response to the resurgence, South Africa has reimposed restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, including banning alcohol sales, closing bars, enforcing a night curfew and limiting attendance at public gatherings including church services and funerals.

South Africa, with a population of 60 million, has reported 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, representing more than 30% of all the cases in Africa, which this week exceeded 3 million.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

80% say Tokyo Olympics should be called off or won’t happen

FILE – In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic Symbol is reinstalled after it was taken down for maintenance ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Odaiba section in Tokyo. More than 80% of people in Japan who were surveyed in two polls in the last few days say the Tokyo Olympics should be canceled or postponed, or say they believe the Olympics will not take place. (Eugene Hoshiko / The Associated Press)
FILE – In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic Symbol is reinstalled after it was taken down for maintenance ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Odaiba section in Tokyo. More than 80% of people in Japan who were surveyed in two polls in the last few days say the Tokyo Olympics should be canceled or postponed, or say they believe the Olympics will not take place. (Eugene Hoshiko / The Associated Press)

More than 80% of people in Japan who were surveyed in two polls in the last few days say the Tokyo Olympics should be canceled or postponed, or say they believe the Olympics will not take place.

The results are bad news for Tokyo organizers and the International Olympic Committee as they continue to say the postponed Olympics will open on July 23.

Tokyo is battling a surge of COVID-19 cases that prompted the national government last week to call a state of emergency. In declaring the emergency, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he was confident the Olympics would be held.

The surge has heightened skepticism about the need for the Olympics and the danger of bringing into the country 15,000 athletes and tens of thousands of coaches, judges, officials, VIPs, sponsors, media and broadcasters.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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‘It Became Sort of Lawless’: Florida Vaccine Rollout Turns Into a Free-for-All

 Linda Kleindienst Bruns registered for a coronavirus vaccine in late December, on the first day the health department in Tallahassee, Florida, opened for applications for people her age. Despite being 72, with her immune system suppressed by medication that keeps her breast cancer in remission, she spent days waiting to hear back about an appointment.

“It’s so disorganized,” she said. “I was hoping the system would be set up so there would be some sort of logic to it.”

FILE — People queue for COVID-19 vaccinations at a sports complex in Fort Myers, Fla., Dec. 29, 2020. Florida decided people 65 and older should get the coronavirus vaccine first but demand has overwhelmed supply, and people are frustrated. (Octavio Jones / The New York Times)
FILE — People queue for COVID-19 vaccinations at a sports complex in Fort Myers, Fla., Dec. 29, 2020. Florida decided people 65 and older should get the coronavirus vaccine first but demand has overwhelmed supply, and people are frustrated. (Octavio Jones / The New York Times)

Phyllis Humphreys, 76, waited with her husband last week in a line of cars in Clermont, west of Orlando, that spilled onto Highway 27. They had scrambled into their car and driven 22 miles after receiving an automated text message saying vaccine doses were available. But by 9:43 a.m., the site had reached capacity, and the Humphreyses went home with no shots.

“We’re talking about vaccinations,” said Humphreys, a retired critical care nurse. “We are not talking about putting people in Desert Storm.”

Florida is in an alarming new upward spiral, with nearly 20,000 cases of the virus reported Friday and more than 15,000 Saturday. But the state’s well-intended effort to throw open the doors of the vaccine program to everyone 65 and older has led to long lines, confusion and disappointment.

Read the story here.

—The New York Times

English health official warns pandemic entering worst weeks

People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at Millennium Point centre in Birmingham, England, Monday Jan. 11, 2021. The centre is one of the seven mass vaccination centres now opened to the general public as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination programme against Covid-19. (Jacob King / The Associated Press)
People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at Millennium Point centre in Birmingham, England, Monday Jan. 11, 2021. The centre is one of the seven mass vaccination centres now opened to the general public as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination programme against Covid-19. (Jacob King / The Associated Press)

England’s chief medical officer warned Monday that the coming weeks would be the worst of the pandemic for the National Health Service as he appealed to the public to strictly follow guidelines meant to prevent the spread of the disease.

Chris Whitty said political leaders are considering tightening the rules as a new, more transmissible variant of COVID-19 aggravates an already difficult situation. Hospitals are overflowing and exhausted medical staff are under strain.

“I think everybody accepts that this is the most dangerous time we’ve really had in terms of numbers into the NHS,’’ Whitty told the BBC.

The warning comes as hospitals in England struggle to keep up with a surge in coronavirus infections that has seen the number of beds filled by COVID-19 patients rise steadily for more than a month. English hospitals are now treating 55% more COVID-19 cases than during the first peak of the pandemic in April.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Idaho ski resort punts twilight skiing after people defy COVID-19 rules, abuse staff

Twilight skiing at Schweitzer Mountain Resort has been called off next weekend due to noncompliance with mask and social distancing policies, the resort announced Sunday.

“The bottom line is, the rules are the rules and we need everybody to comply with them, and it’s not happening,” said Dig Chrismer, marketing manager at the Sandpoint, Idaho resort.

In a Facebook post Sunday morning, the resort said “due to an overwhelming lack of compliance with our mask policies and social distancing,” twilight skiing will not be offered over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend from Jan. 15-17.

Schweitzer requires skiers and snowboarders to wear face coverings when they are unable to socially distance from people outside of their household.

“I will not continue to tolerate the verbal abuse that has been directed towards our staff as they have attempted to enforce our safety requirements,” wrote Tom Chasse, president and CEO. “We hope this will only be a ‘pause’ but we will need to reassess our approach to twilight skiing before we commit to any future dates.”

Read the story here.

—Emma Epperly, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.
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California virus deaths top 30,000 after deadliest weekend

California has hit another grim coronavirus milestone. Data from John Hopkins University on Monday showed the nation’s most populous state has recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the pandemic started nearly a year ago.

Deaths have exploded since a COVID-19 surge began in October. It took the California six months to record its first 10,000 deaths. But in barely a month, the total rose from 20,000 to 30,000.

Over the weekend, state officials reported a two-day record of 1,163 deaths. Hospitalizations also have exploded and many hospitals are stretched to the limit.

Health officials have warned the worst is yet to come later this month, when there’s full picture on infections from the holidays.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Quarantine corner: Diversions to get you through the day

Seattle "Jeopardy!" superstar Ken Jennings starts his guest-host stint tonight, not long after he was embroiled in a storm over "Bean Dad." You can also watch the sentimental video tribute that closed late host Alex Trebek's final episode on Friday.

Got an Instant Pot and a few veggies? Then follow this formula to make a velvety, fragrant soup with whatever you have on hand.

—Kris Higginson

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Our state's new reopening plan starts today, and some of the most visible changes affect fitness centers. Here's what you can and can't do now, and what's coming in the next phase.

A Washington ski resort is trying to "stop the madness" by halting its popular twilight skiing as people refuse to follow COVID-19 rules and verbally abuse workers.

With 175,000 Washingtonians behind on rent, what will happen when eviction bans end? There's no plan to tackle the COVID-19 debt that could follow some people for much of their lives, and some fear a "tsunami" of evictions will be just the beginning.

"The Shootist," one of the most prolific bank robbers in U.S. history, has been granted early freedom — along with dozens of other federal felons in Washington state — because of COVID-19. Former Bothell resident Johnny Madison Williams Jr., 69, hadn't been scheduled to go free until 2072.

Why is Washington still struggling to vaccinate the most vulnerable people, three weeks after doses arrived? A Times Watchdog look inside the rollout reveals reasons for the frustratingly slow pace.

Vaccines in the trash: New York keeps loosening rules on who can get vaccinated as precious doses go to waste. And Florida threw open the doors to everyone 65 and older, but the result is chaos.

—Kris Higginson