In our state, coronavirus cases continue to rise, with 920 new confirmed cases recorded Saturday. Elsewhere, Texas and Florida are struggling to keep up as new cases overwhelm emergency rooms.
Throughout Sunday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Saturday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
920 new coronavirus cases reported
A total of 920 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Washington on Sunday, bringing the state's total to 46,946. The Washington State Department of Health also reported three additional deaths. In Washington, 1,447 people have now died from the disease.
In King County, 13,153 cases and 635 deaths have been reported, an increase of 200 cases and two deaths from the day before.
The data reported Sunday was updated as of 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
A total of 809,339 tests have been conducted in the state, with 5.8% of them coming back positive.
Millions apply for food stamps
More than 6 million people enrolled in food stamps in the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented expansion that is likely to continue as more jobless people deplete their savings and billions in unemployment aid expires this month.
From February to May, the program grew by 17%, about three times faster than in any previous three months. Among the 42 states for which The New York Times collected data, caseloads grew in all but one.
Trump declines to say whether he will accept November election results
President Donald Trump declined to say whether he will accept the results of the November election, claiming without evidence that mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic could “rig” the outcome.
In a wide-ranging interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, the president also continued to play down the severity of the coronavirus crisis in the country, declined to say whether he is offended by the Confederate flag and dismissed polls showing him trailing former vice president Joe Biden by a significant margin.
Several states switched to primarily vote-by-mail primaries earlier this year, and the U.S. Postal Service is bracing for an onslaught of mail-in ballots this fall as states and cities seek alternatives to in-person voting.
In the “Fox News Sunday” interview, Wallace asked Trump whether he considers himself a “gracious” loser. Trump replied that he doesn’t like to lose, then added: “It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do.” Trump’s comment echoed unfounded claims he has made in recent weeks that mail-in voting is susceptible to widespread fraud. Read the full story here.
Trump demands payroll tax cut while GOP eyes benefit cuts for unemployed
President Donald Trump sought to draw a hard line on the coronavirus relief bill Sunday, saying it must include a payroll tax cut and liability protections for businesses, as lawmakers prepare to plunge into negotiations over unemployment benefits and other key provisions in coming days.
“I would consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll tax cut,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Democrats strongly oppose a payroll tax cut, and some Republicans have been cool to it, but Trump said “a lot of Republicans like it.”
Trump’s comments come as Senate Republicans are exploring new limits on emergency unemployment benefits for people who were high earners before losing their jobs, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of internal planning.
If the White House and Senate GOP priorities make it into the bill, the legislation would effectively cut taxes for people who have jobs while cutting benefits for the unemployed. Read the full story for more details about the $1 trillion-plus stimulus proposal, which may extend federal unemployment benefits for a limited period of time.
Trump challenged over claims as coronavirus deaths mount
With coronavirus cases rising across the country and the U.S. death toll topping 137,000, President Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed concerns about the spike in infections, telling Fox News that “many of those cases shouldn’t even be cases.”
“Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day,” the president told Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview. “They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test.”
Trump’s remarks came after another week of grim data highlighting the uncontrolled spread of the virus. Infections rose in states from every region of the country, with more than a dozen states on Saturday reaching record highs in their seven-day averages for new daily cases.
Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kentucky reported new single-day case records on Saturday, while states from Vermont to North Dakota to Oregon showed significant increases in their weekly averages, according to tracking by The Washington Post. Read the full story here.
Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin express concern about training-camp safety
NFL training camps are still on schedule to start July 28 for most teams, with rookies set to report this week.
But much about how camps and the preseason will be conducted — including how COVID-19 testing will work and whether there will be exhibition games — remains unsettled. And on Sunday morning, many of the NFL’s top players — including Seahawks Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin — took to Twitter to state their concerns about camps starting with so much remaining uncertain.
Many, including Wilson’s, came with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay, making it clear it was part of a coordinated effort. Tweeted Wilson: “I am concerned. My wife is pregnant. @NFL Training camp is about to start. And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety. We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones. #WeWantToPlay.”
Read the full story about questions other Seahawks players hope will be cleared up before they're set to report to training camps. Prominent players from several other teams also took to social media on Sunday to express concerns, which you can read about in another story here.
Texas coronavirus cases include more than 80 infants
AUSTIN, Texas — A health official on the Texas Gulf Coast said 85 infants have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said Friday that the 85 infants are each younger than 1, but offered no other details, including how the children are suspected to have become infected.
“These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us to stop the spread of this disease” by staying home except for necessary trips, socially distancing and wearing masks in public, Rodriguez said during a public health update in Corpus Christi.
Texas health officials reported more than 10,000 new cases for a fifth consecutive day on Saturday and said 130 more people have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bringing the number of reported cases to 317,730 and the number of deaths to 3,865. Read the full story here.
Congress confronts new virus crisis rescue as pandemic grows
It stands as the biggest economic rescue in U.S. history, the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill swiftly approved by Congress in the spring. And it’s painfully clear now, as the pandemic worsens, it was only the start.
With COVID-19 cases hitting alarming new highs and the death roll rising, the pandemic’s devastating cycle is happening all over again, leaving Congress little choice but to engineer another costly rescue. Businesses are shutting down, schools cannot fully reopen and jobs are disappearing, all while federal emergency aid expires. Without a successful federal plan to control the outbreak, Congress heads back to work with no endgame to the crisis in sight.
“It’s not going to magically disappear,” said a somber Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a visit to a hospital in his home state to thank front-line workers.
Lawmakers return Monday to Washington to try to pull the country back from the looming COVID-19 cliff. While the White House prefers to outsource much of the decision-making on virus testing and prevention to the states, the absence of a federal intervention has forced the House and Senate to try to draft another assistance package. Read the full story about the $1 trillion-plus stimulus proposal.
How the coronavirus spread through one immigration facility
SAN DIEGO — Gregory Arnold walked into the warden’s office April 1 as the novel coronavirus ripped through one of the largest immigration detention centers in the United States. Waiting with about 40 guards to begin his shift, he heard a captain say face masks were prohibited.
Incredulous, he and a guard who recently gave birth wanted to hear it from the boss. Arnold told Warden Christopher LaRose that he was 60 years old and lived with an asthmatic son.
“Well, you can’t wear the mask because we don’t want to scare the employees and we don’t want to scare the inmates and detainees,” Arnold recalls the warden saying.
In the weeks that followed, Otay Mesa Detention Center would see the first big outbreak at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 221 detention centers. The origins of the outbreak are uncertain, but accounts of workers and detainees reveal shortcomings in how the private company that manages the center handled the disease: There was an early absence of facial coverings, and a lack of cleaning supplies. Symptomatic detainees were mixed with others. Read more about the outbreak here.
Teaching changed almost instantly due to COVID-19. How long will it take to revolutionize equity in education?
When the coronavirus forced Washington school buildings to close in March, the changes to education were swift and complete. Class went online. Parents became de facto teachers. Lesson plans were replaced by a focus on student well-being and safety.
The transformation left many wondering: Why haven’t we made changes overnight — or even over decades — so education is truly equitable for all children?
Puget Sound education leaders, especially people of color who have long known schools set up Black and brown children for failure, say it’s past time to reimagine how education could better serve their communities.
But they see a dawning awareness among mostly white leaders that the country’s education system is rife with racism and inequity. The inequities are structural — the training and diversity of teachers, what children are taught and how they are disciplined — and are all rooted in methods that harm Black and Latino students more than their peers and fail to help them succeed.
The pairing of a pandemic that changed the basic structure of school — indeed, no one’s certain whether or how schools will reopen in just a few weeks — with a simultaneous conscience-raising social movement has opened a window where radical change is possible. Read more here about what this change could look like.
Telling your pandemic story for those 50, 100 years from now
It’s always the personal stories that bring events to life. So how are future generations going to learn about the pandemic of 2020? The statistics and charts show the catastrophic figures, but, after a while, the numbers seem to meld into each other.
Now, the Seattle Public Library, along with the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum are among those asking you to send in your COVID-19 stories and photos to chronicle the pandemic’s effects on ordinary life.
For now, at least, that means through their websites. At some later date, when it’s possible, your contributions might be accepted in person.
“We are living in this historic moment, and we need to try and capture that. I was surprised at how thoughtful the submissions were,” says Maggie Wetherbee, head of collections for the Historical Society museum in Tacoma. Read more about the project here.
If the COVID-19 shutdown didn’t kill your business, trying to reopen might
Tom Fox, owner of Martini Cleaners in Burien, has doubts about the future of business casual.
Dress shirts, slacks and other office garb made up more than half of Fox’s dry cleaning, pressing and tailoring business before the pandemic. Today, he sees only a fraction of that, thanks largely to COVID-related work-from-home regimens that have left office workers everywhere in sweatpants and T-shirts.
Like many businesses, Fox has limped along by cutting staff hours and thinks he can stay open at least through the end of year. But he has no idea whether that will be long enough for business casual to return to business as usual.
Anxieties like these are now standard operating procedure for business owners and managers, who know they face months of uncertainty until a vaccine or other treatment is widely available. That leaves them in constant fear of a COVID-19 outbreak among staff or customers, or another statewide lockdown. Read the full story here.
Campaigning during COVID-19: ‘There’s no playbook’
April Berg, a Democrat and Everett school board member, was trying to get elected to the Legislature without being in the same room as her campaign manager. COVID-19 and social-distance guidelines had kept them apart.
Berg, vying for a 44th District open seat in the House, was in Mill Creek. Katharine Gillen, just graduated from Whitman College, lived in Walla Walla. They were spending a lot of time on the phone and emailing, when Berg had an idea: Gillen could move in with Berg's family. If they lived together, they could be in the same “bubble,” social distancing with outsiders but not each other.
That’s not to say all the challenges of the campaign are gone as Washington’s Aug. 4 primary looms, with ballots now arriving at voters’ homes. The novel coronavirus pandemic has made almost every candidate’s life more difficult — but also sparked innovation as many campaigns shift, like everything else these days, online. Read more about candidates' creative campaign strategies here.
Catch up on the last 24 hours
Teaching changed almost instantly due to COVID-19. Class went online. Parents became de facto teachers. Lesson plans were replaced by a focus on student well-being and safety. So why haven't we made changes overnight — or even over decades — so education is truly equitable for all children? Education Lab explores what nearly a dozen education experts said they’d like to see change as schools reopen.
How do you campaign during COVID-19? The novel coronavirus pandemic has made almost every candidate’s life more difficult — but also sparked innovation as many campaigns shift, like everything else these days, online. Washington’s Aug. 4 primary looms, with ballots now arriving at voters’ homes.
If the COVID-19 shutdown didn’t kill your business, trying to reopen might. Many businesses are bracing for months of lower revenue from health restrictions, consumer uncertainties, and the complicated economic ripple effects of stay-at-home and other social changes during the pandemic.
Older children can spread the coronavirus just as much as adults, a new study found. In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the coronavirus to others. A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than age 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10-19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.
The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, The Washington Post reported Saturday. The administration is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, according to people familiar with the talks.
Police in Barcelona closed down access to a large area of the city’s beaches on Saturday after too many sunbathers ignored authorities’ request to stay at home amid a new wave of surging coronavirus infections.
How will future generations remember what we're all going through? The Seattle Public Library, along with the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum are among those asking you to send in your COVID-19 stories and photos to chronicle the pandemic’s effects on ordinary life. Find out more on how to participate.
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