Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, July 21 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

With the coronavirus crisis worsening in the United States and emergency relief about to expire, President Donald Trump has resumed his daily coronavirus briefings and is talking with top Republicans in Congress about the next step for another COVID-19 aid package.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Washington say they’ve developed a promising vaccine candidate.

Throughout Tuesday, 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 Monday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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Live updates:

After touting virus drop, South Korea sees cases rise

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Just days after South Korean officials hopefully declared the country’s COVID-19 epidemic was coming under control, health authorities reported 63 new cases following a dual rise in local transmissions and imported infections.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said at least 36 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of the country’s 51 million people live.

The KCDC didn’t immediately confirm whether the numbers included a new cluster of infections discovered at a front-line army unit in Pocheon, north of Seoul, where at least 13 troops have reportedly tested positive.

The KCDC said 29 of the new cases were local transmissions and tied the other 34 to international arrivals as the virus continues to spread in Asia, the United States and beyond. 

—Associated Press
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King County Council approves transit worker raises, despite pandemic budget woes

Bus drivers and other transit employees will get pay bumps, despite a call from King County Executive Dow Constantine to walk back a labor deal reached with the workers before the local coronavirus outbreak. 

In an 8-1 vote, the Metropolitan King County Council approved the three-year deal between the county and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587, which represents Metro workers.

Drivers, mechanics and other Metro employees have worked through the pandemic, with some of them deemed “first responders.” Two Metro drivers,  Samina Hameed and Mike Winkler, have died after contracting the coronavirus. 

On Tuesday, two Metro workplaces were closed for about two hours for deep cleaning after employees who worked at the locations were diagnosed with COVID-19. Metro declined to provide details.

Read the full story here.

—Heidi Groover and Mike Lindblom

Alaska Airlines avoids pilot layoffs for now, but outlook for other employees remains unclear

Thanks to a large number of pilots opting to either retire or take voluntary leave at reduced pay, Alaska Airlines will avoid layoffs among its 3,000 pilots in the immediate future. Other employee groups at the airline still await news of possible layoffs, and might not be so lucky.

In a message to the pilots Monday evening, Will McQuillen, chairman of the Alaska unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) union, said management’s need for staffing cuts among pilots was fully addressed by participation in the voluntary options.

More than 1,000 Alaska Airlines pilots took the incentives: 137 chose to retire early and an additional 929 opted to take extended leave ranging from 6 to 24 months.

John Ladner, Alaska’s vice president of flight operations, cautioned that due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on air travel, the future remains uncertain, without a clear schedule for a recovery in air travel.

Read the full story here.

—Dominic Gates

Bolivia police recover 420 dead in possible COVID-19 cases

LA PAZ, Bolivia — A special police unit collected 420 bodies over the preceding five days in two Bolivian cities, and 80% to 90% of the deceased were thought to have succumbed to COVID-19, authorities said Tuesday.

Col. Ivan Rojas, director of the special crime-fighting force, said his officers recovered the bodies from streets, vehicles and homes in the capital, La Paz, and in Bolivia’s biggest city, Santa Cruz.

Bolivia’s Institute of Forensic Investigations said that nationally from April 1 through Sunday, its workers had recovered 3,016 bodies of people in possible COVID-19 cases. Andrés Flores, director of the agency, said the Santa Cruz department which includes the city of that name, had the highest number of deaths, followed by Cochabamba.

As of Tuesday, officials said Bolivia has recorded 60,991 confirmed coronavirus infections and 2,218 deaths from COVID-19.

—Associated Press
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The NFL is getting its dose of coronavirus reality, and faces the ultimate test as training camps near

The NFL is indisputably the king of professional sports in our country. The revenue, the ratings, the insatiable appetite for the product in all its forms — up to and including such seemingly mundane matters as the schedule reveal each spring — makes that crystal clear.

And now, with the 2020 football season on the horizon, at least theoretically, the NFL is facing the ultimate test — trickier, more intricate and with a much smaller margin for error (i.e., potential for disaster) than its sporting brethren.

Rookies are starting to trickle into training camps, followed closely by injured players and quarterbacks. By next Tuesday, all players on all 32 teams are to have reported. Yet whether that schedule will proceed as planned, and whether the season will play out according to form, remains a huge, open question.

Through a quirk in timing, the NFL has been uniquely situated during this COVID-19 pandemic, a gift that didn’t keep on giving.

Read the full column here.

—Larry Stone

WIAA reorganizes high-school sports seasons in wake of coronavirus pandemic, moves football to spring

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Tuesday night that there will be high-school football this academic year — but it’ll be in spring.

That was decision of the Executive Board, which also decided to turn the normal three-season school year into four sports seasons.

For the 2020-21 school year, cross country, slowpitch softball, girls swimming and golf and tennis (for leagues that don’t hold those sports in the spring) will be in the fall, or Season 1, which runs from early September until early November.

The WIAA will take a break during November and December, and Season 2 will start in early January with the normal winter sports: basketball, bowling, boys swimming and diving, gymnastics, cheerleading and wrestling.

Season 3, which will have the normal fall sports of football, girls and small-school boys soccer and volleyball will run from early March into early May. Season 4, with all the normal spring sports of baseball, fastpitch softball, track and field, tennis, golf and boys soccer will run from early May until late June.

Read the full story here.

State confirms 832 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new deaths; statewide all-time positive test rate is 5.8%

State health officials confirmed 832 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths in Washington as of Monday night.

The update brings the state’s totals to 48,575 cases and 1,465 deaths, meaning about 3% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Monday.

So far, 841,184 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH, with about 5.8% of those coming back positive. Over the past week, about 5.5% of tests in Washington have been positive.

In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed 13,450 diagnoses and 638 deaths, accounting for 43.5% of the state’s COVID-19 death toll. 

—Nicole Brodeur
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‘Stay calm’: Walmart trains staff how to deal with the maskless

Walmart has some advice for employees who have the unenviable task of reminding shoppers to wear masks: Stay calm, listen intently and show understanding. But if customers insist on walking in without one, staffers should just get out of the way.

That’s the message from a short training video for Walmart’s new “Health Ambassador” role. The two-minute guide teaches employees how to deal with customers who are not wearing masks — an issue that has divided the nation as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

The animated video explains to Health Ambassadors — who receive no additional pay for the role — that not all customers can wear a mask due to age, health conditions or religious reasons.

“If a customer tells you they can’t for one of these reasons, listen and tell them you understand,” says the video, which is dated July 13, just two days before Walmart decided to require that all customers wear masks regardless of local mandates. “And thank them for shopping at Walmart.”

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg

How long should you isolate if you test positive for COVID-19? New CDC guidance says 10 days, not 14

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s self-isolation rules have been a facet of pandemic life in the nation since March.

Those who test positive for the coronavirus but who do not have symptoms have counted down the minutes until they could be free to venture out, while the sick have worried about how long they could be a danger to their loved ones.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledging expanded understanding about the infectiousness of the novel coronavirus, has changed some of its recommendations.

It now advises most people with active cases of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, to isolate for 10 days after symptoms begin and 24 hours after their fever has broken. For those who have a positive test but are asymptomatic, the public health agency as of Friday recommended isolating 10 days from the testing date. The CDC had previously recommended people isolate until two negative swabs for the coronavirus — but that turned out to be impractical given the shortage of tests.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

Oregon tops 15,000 coronavirus cases; Warm Springs tribes impose quarantine

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority has reported 299 additional confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in the state, bringing the state’s total number of cases since the pandemic began to more than 15,000.

In addition on Tuesday, seven more deaths were reported, bringing the state’s death toll to 269 people. That ties the state’s record for the most deaths reported in a single day, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Oregon’s total number of coronavirus cases is now 15,139.

The authority also said an outbreak of 23 cases of COVID-19 has been reported at a Walmart Distribution Center in northeastern Oregon’s Umatilla County. The case count includes every person linked to the outbreak, which officials said may include household members and other close contacts to an employee.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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U.S. virus aid far off as EU digs deep to aid ailing economies

MITO, Japan — U.S. lawmakers remained far apart Tuesday on a deal to provide more financial relief for Americans as European leaders thrashed out a plan for their pandemic-ravaged economies.

Meanwhile, testing of an experimental vaccine showed it may produce an immune response against the coronavirus. The urgency of such research is rising with the pandemic still gaining momentum in parts of the U.S., India and elsewhere in the developing world.

India added more than 37,000 new cases for a national total that now exceeds 1,155,000, the third most behind the U.S., with more than 3.8 million, and Brazil, with 2.1 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Snohomish County health officer: Gatherings of more than 5 people are spreading COVID-19

Snohomish County officials said gatherings of more than five people, which are not allowed in the county under the state’s reopening rules, are contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District, said contact tracing over a two-week period identified dozens of infections associated with gatherings. Spitters said preliminary data from June 20 through July 11 identified 82 cases of COVID-19 that were associated with 36 social gatherings of more than five people.

“This data suggests many people are making choices to exceed that number in their social activities,” Spitters said. An average of 13 people attended the gatherings for which Spitters shared data.

As many as nine COVID-19 cases were tied to specific gatherings. Spitters urged county residents to keep social events small and avoid the potential harm of adding a person or two beyond the five-person maximum.

“These findings show it is a big deal. There is very little margin of error for this virus,” Spitters said.

The proportion of younger people in their 20s or 30s who are contracting COVID-19 is growing, Spitters said.

He worries these young people will spread the virus to older and more vulnerable populations.

“We expect new hospitalizations and deaths to trend up in the state," Spitters said. "Washington state is in the early stages of an exponential statewide outbreak that has zero chance of being reversed without changes in our collective behavior.”

—Evan Bush

Trump show returns: President resuming virus briefings

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump pulled the plug on his freewheeling daily coronavirus briefings when they turned into a political liability this spring, but he was reviving them Tuesday, looking to halt a campaign-season erosion of support as new cases spike across the country.

The early evening show at the White House was rolling out as the next stage of the federal government’s response to the pandemic was being crafted on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers and White House officials were opening negotiations on a trillion-dollar-or-more “phase four” rescue package.

Trump announced he would revive the briefings on Monday, though White House officials said hours before he was to take the podium that the format and frequency hadn’t been finalized.

He was not planning on sharing the stage with public health experts including Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx — at least in his first briefing — according to a White House official.

—The Associated Press
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Virus hits frontline workers in nation’s taxed public health system

As a veteran public health worker, Chantee Mack knew the coronavirus could kill. She already faced health challenges and didn’t want to take any chances during the pandemic. So she asked — twice — for permission to work from home.

She was deemed essential and told no.

Eight weeks later, she was dead.

Mack, a 44-year-old disease intervention specialist, lost her life this spring after COVID-19 struck the Prince George’s County Health Department in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. The coronavirus infected at least 20 department employees, some of whom had attended a staff meeting where they sat close together, union leaders said.

The spread of COVID-19 underscores the stark dangers facing the nation’s public health army — the very people charged with leading the pandemic response.

“We’re the ones called to the fire to do this during an emergency. We are essential. People don’t look at us as first responders, but we are,” said Mack’s co-worker Rhonda Wallace, leader of a local branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who, like other union members, stressed she wasn’t speaking for the health department.

Such outbreaks are a grim threat facing overburdened and underfunded health departments across the nation. An ongoing Associated Press-KHN investigation found that public health spending per person fell 16% from 2010 to 2018 nationally when adjusted for inflation — and 17% in Maryland.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Most in the U.S. are still susceptible to the coronavirus, CDC study finds

A nurse draws blood last month for an antibody test at a District of Columbia testing site. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)
A nurse draws blood last month for an antibody test at a District of Columbia testing site. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

Only a tiny fraction of the population in many parts of the United States had antibodies to the novel coronavirus as of mid-May, indicating most people remain highly susceptible to the pathogen, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency also said the number of actual coronavirus infections is probably 10 times higher than reported cases, confirming its previous estimate of a vast undercount. There are about 3.8 million reported cases; the CDC data suggests the actual number of infections could be 38 million.

The data appeared Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine as the nation struggles with a wily pathogen that can produce no symptoms at all, or sicken and kill — 138,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus to date.

Large swaths of the nation are in turmoil as many communities debate how to reopen schools this fall, wrestle with rising virus-related hospitalizations and, in some cases, roll back restrictions to restart a flailing economy.

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post

Most Washingtonians say it's not time to reopen, new poll finds

A majority of registered voters in Washington who were polled this month remain wary in the face of COVID-19, with nearly three-quarters saying they wear masks regularly and 59% saying that any reopening should be at least paused for the time being.

According to the Crosscut/Elway poll gauging public opinion on pandemic response and policing, which was conducted by phone and online earlier this month, 35% of participants said they or someone they know personally has contracted coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Nearly 50% of the respondents said they are not yet back to their normal work routine and more than 30% reported wearing a mask at all times in public, in- and out-of-doors; 43% said they wear a mask in public when indoors or unable to social distance outdoors.

“People are taking this pandemic seriously,” said pollster Stuart Elway.

Questioned on politics, 49% of the 402 respondents gave Gov. Jay Inslee positive marks for his handling of the pandemic while the same number viewed his record negatively. About 45% of those polled said they intend to vote for Inslee and 14% said they favor GOP candidate Loren Culp.

According to the poll, released on Tuesday, a little over 25% want to reimpose state restrictions to contain the virus, and a third said the state should put reopening on hold to see how things develop. However, 38% said the state should continue reopening, “and learn to live with the virus.”

—Christine Clarridge
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Washington added to Northeast states’ quarantine list as COVID spikes

Residents from 31 states — including Washington — must now quarantine for 14 days when arriving in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as dozens of states experience rising positive COVID-19 rates.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged Tuesday that the quarantine is “imperfect,” but said the quarantine could help protect the states against the risk of increased spread. The list of states no longer includes Minnesota, but now includes Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington.

“The infection rate across the country is getting worse, not better,” Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged Tuesday that the quarantine is “imperfect,” but said it could help protect the states that imposed it against the risk of increased spread. He’s shown speaking in May. (Jacquelyn Martin / The Associated Press, file)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged Tuesday that the quarantine is “imperfect,” but said it could help protect the states that imposed it against the risk of increased spread. He’s shown speaking in May. (Jacquelyn Martin / The Associated Press, file)

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut last month issued a joint travel advisory that requires a 14-day quarantine period for travelers from a list that now includes 31 states, including Texas and Florida, where COVID-19 appears to be spreading.

The advisory includes states if their seven-day rolling average of positive tests exceeds 10%, or if the number of positive cases exceeds 10 per 100,000 residents.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

‘Your whole life can change if you get this;’ COVID-19 patients at risk for chronic fatigue

As the world continues to watch the number of COVID-19 cases increase (and daily records being broken), patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome, want to tell those recovering from coronavirus to listen up.

COVID-19 patients may be at risk of developing the neuroimmune condition ME/CFS, which depletes one’s energy. ME/CFS, which leaves 75% of those affected unable to work and 25% homebound or bedridden, impacts 15 million to 30 million people worldwide, and symptoms may be triggered by an infection, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says some people diagnosed with coronavirus are showing symptoms that resemble those seen in ME/CFS patients.

“The ME/CFS community is saying: 80% of us had some sort of virus and that went away, and we’re still stuck with all of these symptoms,” said Sanna Stella, an Oak Park resident who was diagnosed with ME/CFS. “If you’re a patient, you really have to listen to your body and not all those ‘shoulds’ we tell ourselves. … Because if you keep pushing, for some of these patients, it really will make things a lot worse.”

Read the story here.

—Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune

UW Medicine lays off 100 as it reels from COVID-19's financial impacts

UW Medicine laid off about 100 staffers, the hospital system announced Monday. 

The layoffs include those who work in outpatient therapy, laboratory medicine, population health, enterprise records, information technology and voluntary psychiatric care. 

UW Medicine previously announced the closure of Seven North, its voluntary psychiatric care unit. 

“This was a difficult decision, and we sincerely regret the hardship this will create for the employees affected by these layoffs,” said Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics. “As a critical provider of healthcare in the Pacific Northwest, we recognize the need to allocate resources in new ways so that we can continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and meet all of the health needs of our patients.”

COVID-19’s disruptions, including the cancellation of many elective procedures early in the pandemic, have caused financial hardship for the health care system.

The organization sent furlough notices to some 5,500 staffers in May in an effort to shore up its budget.

—Evan Bush
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Antibody study will gauge prevalence of COVID-19 in Washington

The new coronavirus has been present in Washington state since at least January, when a Snohomish County man received the United States’ first known diagnosis.

Yet, public health officials and researchers still don’t know how many people have been infected because many people who have the virus show mild symptoms or, in some cases, no symptoms at all.

The state Department of Health (DOH) and UW Medicine are setting out to discover how prevalent COVID-19 is across the state by studying the blood of Washingtonians.

“We’re still trying to really understand, at a state level, where’s the virus really been? How many people have had it? And how does that vary between different parts of the state?” said Dr. Keith Jerome, head of the virology division in UW Medicine’s Department of Laboratory Medicine.

Dr. Keith Jerome, head of the virology division in UW Medicine’s Department of Laboratory Medicine, is next to a machine that detects whether blood samples have coronavirus antibodies. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
Dr. Keith Jerome, head of the virology division in UW Medicine’s Department of Laboratory Medicine, is next to a machine that detects whether blood samples have coronavirus antibodies. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

The survey is expected to provide a clearer picture of whether certain populations — for example, racial and ethnic groups, or people working particular types of jobs — have been infected at higher rates, Jerome said.

Serological surveys detect whether people have antibodies that develop in response to the body fighting an infection. Specimens for an antibody test are collected by drawing blood, as opposed to the nasal swabs used for diagnostic tests. Antibodies can develop five days to two weeks after symptoms stop.

The study is also intended to provide data to inform policymakers’ public health decisions as cases of COVID-19 continue to mount.

Washington state saw its largest one-day total on July 16, with 1,267 new cases. As of Monday, 47,743 people in the state had been infected, including 1,453 who have died.

Read the story here.

—Ryan Blethen

Florida is recording more coronavirus deaths than any state

Florida’s skyrocketing coronavirus death rate is now higher than any other state, edging out Texas, which has about 25% more people.

Florida recorded another 134 deaths Tuesday, bringing its daily average for the past week to 115, topping the 112 deaths a day Texas has reported during that same time, Associated Press statistics show. A month ago, Florida was averaging 33 coronavirus deaths a day.

Overall, 5,317 people have died in Florida from COVID-19 since March 1 and nearly 370,000 have tested positive for the disease. About 19% of tests have returned positive in Florida over the last week, compared to 10% a month ago and 2.3% in late May.

The state reported that an additional 517 people have been admitted to hospitals with the disease.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a scheduled news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the outbreak.

People visit Clearwater Beach in early May in Clearwater, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images North America)
People visit Clearwater Beach in early May in Clearwater, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images North America)

—The Associated Press

U.S. accuses Chinese hackers in targeting of COVID-19 research

An American flag flies outside the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The Justice Department has accused two Chinese hackers of stealing trade secrets from companies worldwide. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
An American flag flies outside the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The Justice Department has accused two Chinese hackers of stealing trade secrets from companies worldwide. (Andrew Harnik / AP)

The Justice Department on Tuesday accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

The indictment, which officials expected to discuss at a news conference, says the hackers in recent months had researched vulnerabilities in the computer networks of companies publicly known for their work in developing vaccines and treatments.

The indictment includes charges of trade-secret theft and wire-fraud conspiracy against the hackers, who federal prosecutors say stole information not only for themselves but also details that they knew would be of interest and value to the Chinese government.

The charges are believed to be the first accusing foreign hackers of targeting scientific innovation related to the coronavirus, though U.S. and Western intelligence agencies have warned for months about those efforts.

Last week, for instance, authorities in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom accused a hacking group with links to Russian intelligence with trying to target research on the disease.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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More than 1 in 5 in Delhi have had coronavirus, study indicates

More than one in five people in Delhi have been infected with the coronavirus, according to a study released Tuesday, indicating that most cases in the Indian capital region have gone undetected.

The National Center for Disease Control tested 21,387 people selected randomly across Delhi, the state that includes New Delhi, and found that 23.48% had antibodies to the virus. Adjusting for false positives and negatives, it estimated that 22.86% of the population had been infected by the virus, Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, who heads the institute, said in a news conference Tuesday.

Delhi, with a population of 29 million, has officially reported 123,747 cases and 3,663 deaths. The study, however, indicates more than 6.6 million likely cases, with most not identified or tested.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Virus concerns nudge some teachers toward classroom exits

As pressure mounts for teachers to return to their classrooms this fall, concerns about health risks from the coronavirus are pushing many toward alternatives, including career changes, as others mobilize to delay school reopenings in hard-hit areas.

Among those opting for early retirement is Liza McArdle, a 50-year-old high school language instructor in New Boston, Michigan. She considered the health risks and the looming instructional challenges — trying to teach French and Spanish with a mask obstructing her enunciation, or perhaps a return to virtual learning — and decided it was time to go.

Rachel Bardes demonstrates in front of the Orange County Public Schools headquarters  in downtown Orlando, Fla., earlier this month as teachers protest what they see as unnecessarily aggressive timetables for reopening school classrooms.  (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel via AP, file)
Rachel Bardes demonstrates in front of the Orange County Public Schools headquarters in downtown Orlando, Fla., earlier this month as teachers protest what they see as unnecessarily aggressive timetables for reopening school classrooms. (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel via AP, file)

“We’re always expected to give, give, give. You’re a teacher. You have to be there for the kids,” McArdle said. “And now it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, now you have to put your life on the line for the kids because they need to be in school.’”

Teachers unions have begun pushing back on what they see as unnecessarily aggressive timetables for reopening. The largest unions say the timing should be guided by whether districts have the ability — and funding — to implement protocols and precautions to protect students and teachers, even if that means balking at calls from President Donald Trump to resume in-person instruction.

On Monday, a teachers union filed a lawsuit to block the reopening of schools in Florida, where state officials have ordered school districts to reopen campuses as an option unless local health officials deem that to be unsafe. Educators in several cities have called for the school year to start with remote instruction. Some have joined demonstrations in Arizona, where three teachers sharing a classroom during summer school tested positive for the virus and one died.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Judge recuses self in lawsuit over Atlanta coronavirus mask rule

A judge has recused herself from hearing a lawsuit filed by Georgia’s governor to get Atlanta to stop enforcing a mask mandate and other measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a hearing scheduled for Tuesday to be canceled, according to the attorney general’s office.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Ellerbe had scheduled a hearing for 11 a.m. Tuesday on Gov. Brian Kemp’s emergency motion. But a spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Carr said the hearing is not happening because Ellerbe is recusing herself. Further details were not immediately available.

The state plans to seek another emergency hearing once the case has been assigned to another judge, Carr spokeswoman Katie Byrd said in an email.

Atlanta is among at least 15 local jurisdictions statewide that has ordered people to wear masks in many public places to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In a lawsuit filed Thursday against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the members of the City Council, Kemp argues that local leaders do not have the authority to impose measures that are more or less restrictive than those in his executive orders.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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The flood of information — and misinformation

Seileen Mullen, with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps, passes through the halls where the Alexandria Health Department of Alexandria, Va., set up offices for coronavirus contact tracing and investigations. (Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post)
Seileen Mullen, with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps, passes through the halls where the Alexandria Health Department of Alexandria, Va., set up offices for coronavirus contact tracing and investigations. (Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post)

Lacking federal guidance on how to navigate the pandemic safely, Americans are turning elsewhere: friends, social media, self-appointed experts, TV entertainers. The result: a hodgepodge of practices and beliefs.

Here's advice on inoculating yourself against rumors and not spreading them yourself, along with four myths about masks, debunked.

—Kris Higginson

Quarantine Corner: Things to do while staying home

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake is one of the classic recipes in Maida Heatter’s book “Happiness is Baking.” The recipe comes from Heatter’s daughter, who lived on East 62nd Street in New York. (David Miller / The Seattle Times)
East 62nd Street Lemon Cake is one of the classic recipes in Maida Heatter’s book “Happiness is Baking.” The recipe comes from Heatter’s daughter, who lived on East 62nd Street in New York. (David Miller / The Seattle Times)

Some of the best recipes are the oldest ones. One such classic, burnished by time: this summery lemon cake.

You need only five ingredients to make your own delicious flour tortillas. Seattle teen chef Sadie Davis-Suskind explains how.

"Marrying Millions": Nonie Creme is rich, Reese Record is not, and the Seattle couple is headed for reality TV. Age and wealth gaps aren't issues for them, Creme says, but filming the show has had its moments.

—Kris Higginson

Catch up on the past 24 hours

UW researchers say they’ve developed a promising vaccine candidate that induced a strong immune response in monkeys and mice. Trials of the vaccine, created in partnership with a Seattle biotech, may start this summer.

President Donald Trump has reversed course on masks, tweeting “it is Patriotic" to wear one. He added a photo of himself wearing one: “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!” He's also bringing back his public coronavirus briefings.

Congress and Trump are deeply divided over virus aid as emergency relief for Americans nears its expiration date. Among the toughest issues: school reopenings and a payroll tax cut.

The U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens is transformed into a temporary hospital on April 8, 2020. New York City spent at least $52 million to convert the tennis center into a field hospital, but the facility ultimately treated only 79 patients. (Hilary Swift / The New York Times)
The U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens is transformed into a temporary hospital on April 8, 2020. New York City spent at least $52 million to convert the tennis center into a field hospital, but the facility ultimately treated only 79 patients. (Hilary Swift / The New York Times)

An overwhelmed New York hurried to open a new hospital for virus patients, at the cost of $52 million. It treated just 79 people before closing.

Workers have sued Whole Foods, accusing the grocer of discriminating against them when it barred them from wearing Black Lives Matter face coverings while on the job.

The Beefeaters guarding the millennium-old Tower of London are facing job cuts for the first time in their storied 535-year history.

—Kris Higginson
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