Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, July 19, 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 It is no longer being updated.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 U.S. is experiencing yet another COVID-19 surge driven by the most transmissible variant known to date, but warnings about the new wave are “muted” and the data is not entirely clear.
While most people who have been ill with COVID-19 make a full recovery, millions suffer from long COVID. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in May found that about 1 in 5 adults between 18 and 64 had a health problem likely caused by a previous COVID-19 infection.
We’re updating this page with the latest news about COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, Washington state 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.
Jan. 6 panel chairman has COVID, prime-time hearing still on
Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Jan. 6 committee, has tested positive for COVID-19, but the panel will still hold its prime-time hearing on Thursday, according to a spokesman for the panel.
Thompson, D-Miss., announced Tuesday that he tested positive for the virus on Monday and is experiencing mild symptoms. Thompson, 74, said he will be isolating for the next several days, but Jan. 6 committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said the committee’s eighth hearing this summer will proceed. He did not say if Thompson will participate virtually.
The news of Thompson’s diagnosis comes as the nine-member panel is preparing for the hearing, which is expected to focus on what President Donald Trump was doing in the White House on Jan. 6, 2021 for several hours as his supporters were breaking into the Capitol and interrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Two White House aides who resigned immediately afterward are expected to testify, according to a person familiar with the hearing’s lineup.
Authorities in south China apologize for breaking into COVID quarantine rooms
Authorities in southern China have apologized for breaking into the homes of people who had been taken to a quarantine hotel in the latest example of heavy-handed virus-prevention measures that have sparked a rare public backlash.
State media said that 84 homes in an apartment complex in Guangzhou city’s Liwan district had been opened in an effort to find any “close contacts” hiding inside and to disinfect the premises.
The doors were later sealed and new locks installed, the Global Times newspaper reported.
The Liwan district government apologized Monday for such “oversimplified and violent” behavior, the paper said. An investigation has been launched and “relevant people” will be severely punished, it said.
China’s leadership has maintained its hard-line “zero-COVID” policy despite the mounting economic costs and disruption to the lives of citizens, who continue to be subjected to routine testing and quarantines, even while the rest of the world has opened up to living with the disease.
CDC endorses more traditional Novavax COVID shot for adults
U.S. adults who haven’t gotten any COVID-19 shots yet should consider a new option from Novavax — a more traditional kind of vaccine, health officials said Tuesday.
Regulators authorized the nation’s first so-called protein vaccine against COVID-19 last week, but the final hurdle was a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If you have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC’s director, said in a statement, endorsing an earlier decision from an influential advisory panel.
Most Americans have gotten at least their primary COVID-19 vaccinations by now, but CDC officials said between 26 million and 37 million adults haven’t had a single dose — the population that Novavax, for now, will be targeting.
CDC stops reporting coronavirus cases on cruise ships
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped reporting coronavirus levels for cruise ships in U.S. waters, ending a pandemic-era program that allowed the public to monitor the spread of the virus at sea.
A notice posted on the CDC website for cruise travel said the program ended Monday. A sortable color-coded chart and spreadsheet that detailed the level of spread on ships is no longer viewable on the webpage, the agency confirmed.
A statement posted in an FAQ section of the CDC’s cruise travel page says the agency ended the program because it “depended upon each cruise line having the same COVID-19 screening testing standards, which may now vary among cruise lines.” The site says cruise lines will continue to report coronavirus cases to the agency.
What experts know about ‘long COVID’ and who gets it
Most people who suffer from COVID-19 fully recover. Millions of others find complete healing to be frustratingly elusive, in what’s often referred to as long COVID.
Symptoms range from pulmonary, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal or neurological problems to cognitive issues such as so-called brain fog. No single explanation, diagnosis or treatment can be applied to them. Colloquially known as long-haulers, these patients reflect the pandemic’s lasting on society and the economy.
There’s no universally accepted definition of Long COVID yet. According to the World Health Organization, people with what it calls “post COVID-19 condition” have symptoms usually three months after an initial bout of COVID that last for at least two months and can’t be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
Scars of COVID persist for sickest survivors, their families
Freddy Fernandez almost wasn’t here, on his couch in his Missouri home, his baby on his lap, gnawing on the pulse oximeter that he uses to check his oxygen levels after a months-long bout with COVID-19.
Freddy, who was unvaccinated, spent five months hospitalized a four-hour drive away from the couple’s home in the southwest Missouri town of Carthage on the most intense life support available. The 41-year-old father of six nearly died repeatedly and now he — like so many who survived COVID-19 hospitalizations — has returned home changed.
While more than 1 million died from COVID in the U.S., many more survived ICU stays that have left them with anxiety, PTSD and a host of health issues. Research has shown that intensive therapy starting in the ICU can help, but it was often hard to provide as hospitals teemed with patients.
“There is a human cost that the patient pays for ICU survivorship,” says Dr. Vinaya Sermadevi, who helped care for Freddy throughout his stay at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. “It is almost like going to war and having the aftermath.”
Cyprus president tests positive for COVID-19, mild symptoms
The president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, has tested positive for the coronavirus, a government official said Tuesday.
In line with existing protocols, the president cleared his schedule, including commemorations of the 48th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, an event that cleaved the east Mediterranean island nation along ethnic lines.
According to Health Ministry figures, Cyprus had a 12.6% coronavirus infection rate between July 8 and July 14. The country reported 7 COVID-19-related deaths during the same period for an overall death toll of 1,086 since the start of the pandemic.
WHO: COVID triples across Europe, hospitalizations double
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that coronavirus cases have tripled across Europe in the past six weeks, accounting for nearly half of all infections globally. Hospitalization rates have also doubled, although intensive care admissions have remained low.
In a statement on Tuesday, WHO’s Europe director, Dr. Hans Kluge, described COVID-19 as “a nasty and potentially deadly illness” that people should not underestimate. He said super-infectious relatives of the omicron variant were driving new waves of disease across the continent and that repeat infections could potentially lead to long COVID.
WHO said the 53 countries in its European region, which stretches to central Asia, reported nearly 3 million new coronavirus infections last week and that the virus was killing about 3,000 people every week. Globally, COVID-19 cases have increased for the past five weeks, even as countries have scaled back on testing.
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