Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Friday, July 1, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

The Food and Drug Administration told COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers that updated booster shots for the fall season will need to have added protections against the latest omicron subvariants.

Meanwhile, New York City will offer the first mobile testing units in the U.S. to give people who test positive for COVID-19 an antiviral drug treatment known as Paxlovid at no cost.

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 the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

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Several King County COVID-19 testing sites, vaccine clinics closing on Fourth of July

Several testing sites and vaccine clinics in King County will close on the Fourth of July, Public Health- Seattle & King County said.

The Federal Way, Renton and Tukwila COVID-19 testing sites will close on Monday, the agency said. Vaccine clinics set-up in The Auburn Outlet Collection and Eastgate Public Health Center will also close on the Fourth of July

The sites will return to normal hours on July 5.

—Daisy Zavala
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Florida nursing home that diverted vaccines to rich donors pays $1.7 million

The text message from the chief executive of MorseLife Health System, a luxury nursing home in West Palm Beach, Fla., was unambiguous.

“Of course go after the billionaires first,” the CEO wrote to the facility’s fundraisers in December 2020, explaining who should get priority for scarce coronavirus vaccine shots intended for residents and staffers.

He advised: “Do not be weak be strong you have the opportunity to take advantage of everyone who needs the shot and figure out what they have and what we can go after . . .”

“I’ll go for the billions,” he promised.

Read the full story here.

—Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post

Wuhan sees COVID return, days after Xi visits to reinforce zero-tolerance policy

COVID-19 has returned to the central Chinese city where it first emerged, with two cases reported in Wuhan and a swelling outbreak in a neighboring province that’s already seen counties locked down.

Two port workers in Wuhan came down with asymptomatic COVID infections, authorities said Friday. They’re the first cases there in more than a month and come just days after President Xi Jinping’s symbolic visit to the city, where he reiterated China’s pursuit of a zero-tolerance pandemic policy that’s leaving the country isolated and subject to unpredictable restrictions.

Meanwhile, Anhui province to the east reported a significant increase in cases, to 107 on Friday from 14 a day ago, mostly in a small county of some 763,000 people that has already been locked down. The county will undergo a fourth round of mass testing to weed out infections, with positive cases and their close contacts sent to government quarantine, in line with China’s ongoing approach. Late Friday, the neighboring county of Lingbi — home to more than 1 million people — was also locked down.

Beijing and Shanghai reported zero COVID cases on Friday, with the leader of China’s top financial hub declaring victory over COVID earlier in the week and describing a grueling two-month lockdown where millions were confined to their homes and suffered food shortages as “completely correct.” Beijing managed to avoid a full lockdown with more targeted restrictions, such as work-from-home orders.

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg News

Some King County vaccine and testing sites will be closed on Monday

—Amanda Zhou
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N. Korea suggests balloons flown from South brought COVID-19

North Korea suggested Friday its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact with balloons flown from South Korea — a highly questionable claim that appeared to be an attempt to hold its rival responsible amid increasing tensions over its nuclear program.

Activists for years have flown balloons across the border to distribute hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and North Korea has often expressed fury at the activists and at South Korea’s leadership for not stopping them.

Global health authorities say the coronavirus is spread by people in close contact who inhale airborne droplets and it’s more likely to occur in enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces than outdoors. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said there was no chance South Korean balloons might have spread the virus to North Korea.

Read the story here

—Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

After two pandemic years, a summer travel bounce — and chaos

At a tourism conference in Phuket last month, Thailand’s prime minister looked out at attendees and posed a question with a predictable answer.

“Are you ready?” Prayuth Chan-ocha asked, dramatically removing his mask and launching what’s hoped to be the country’s economic reset after more than two years of coronavirus-driven restrictions. When the crowd yelled its answer — yes, according to local media — it might have been speaking for the entire pandemic-battered world.

But a full recovery could take as long as the catastrophe itself, according to projections and interviews by The Associated Press in 11 countries in June. They suggest that the hoped-for rebound is less like a definitive bounce — and more like a bumpy path out of a deep and dark cave.

Read the story here.

—Laurie Kellman

COVID cases up by more than 30% in Britain last week

The number of new coronavirus cases across Britain has surged by more than 30% in the last week, new data showed Friday, with cases largely driven by the super infectious omicron variants.

Data released by Britain’s Office for National Statistics showed that more than 3 million people in the U.K. had COVID-19 last week, although there has not been an equivalent spike in hospitalizations. The number of COVID-19 deaths also fell slightly in the last week.

“COVID-19 has not gone away,” said Dr. Mary Ramsay, of the Health Security Agency. “It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces,” she said. Britain dropped nearly all its coronavirus measures, including mask-wearing and social distancing months ago and masks are rarely seen on public transport.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Commission report blasts decision to cull all Denmark’s mink

A Danish Parliament-appointed commission has harshly criticized the country’s government for its decision to cull millions of healthy mink at the height of the coronavirus pandemic to protect humans from a mutation of the virus.

The 2020 decision to wipe out Denmark’s entire captive mink population had stirred strong controversy, particularly as the necessary legislation to allow such a drastic move was put in place more than a month after the cull had started.

In its report released Thursday, the commission said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was “grossly misleading” during a Nov. 4 news conference when she announced that all mink — infected and healthy animals alike — should be culled. The report also criticized other top Danish officials.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press