Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, July 6, 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 It is no longer being updated.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 states continue to relax shelter-in-place orders, Texas, Florida and Arizona officials warn that early reopenings in their states caused a surge in new coronavirus infections.
In Washington, the state reported 1,087 new coronavirus cases and 11 additional deaths, which brings the total cases to 36,985 and 1,370 deaths statewide, according to the state Department of Health.
Economists say that Europe is more likely to financially recover from the pandemic faster than the US because European governments chose to freeze their economies in place.
The coronavirus pandemic has also fostered misinformation and conspiracy theories, found the University of Washington’s newly created Center for an Informed Public. But it is possible to detect falsehoods about coronavirus and other topics by using a fact checking process developed by a digital literacy expert at Washington State University.
Throughout Monday, 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 Sunday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
The following graphic includes the most recent numbers from the Washington State Department of Health, released Monday.
Seattle’s Tom Douglas permanently closes his 2 Amazon-area restaurants
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurateur Tom Douglas has announced that his two Seattle spots that are located in the heart of Amazon’s now-quiet headquarters will not be making a comeback.
Closed since March, neither the casual burgers-and-beers Bravehorse Tavern nor the upscale pasta place Trattoria Cuoco will reopen. With both restaurants reaching the end of their 10-year leases, Douglas says, “At the end of the day, there is a new reality in the … real estate market. This could go on for years.”
Company spokesperson Madeline Dow Pennington elaborates that it was “too difficult to renew, not knowing what next week’s going to look like — or next month, or next year.”
In addition to the leases ending during COVID-19, Pennington notes there’s “obviously the unknown factor of the workforce down there,” citing uncertainty about when — or if — employees of Amazon and other South Lake Union tech firms will return to on-site work.
International students can’t stay here if their college goes all-online, ICE says
International students going to college in the United States may have to leave the country or transfer to another college if their schools decide to teach all classes online, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday.
If the coronavirus worsens and causes more schools to close campuses and move online, as they did in spring, the decision could affect thousands of college students in Washington.
But so far, only one public state institution — Eastern Washington University — has announced plans to teach all of its fall classes online. The rest of the state’s two- and four-year colleges and universities plan to teach using a hybrid model, with some classes online and some classes in-person.
Health officials confirm 36,985 coronavirus cases in Washington
Washington health officials confirmed 1,087 additional coronavirus cases on Monday, including 11 more deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 36,985 cases and 1,370 deaths, meaning about 3.7% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
DOH spokesperson Lisa Stromme Warren noted that while the Monday update reflects the highest daily total of infections reported since the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers are not just from the past 24 hours.
Over the past four days, she added, the average daily case total has been 711.
"Data processing issues over the holiday weekend caused a backlog, and as a result we are reporting a large number of cases all at once," Stromme Warren wrote in an email to The Seattle Times.
So far, 629,256 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH. Of those, 5.9% have come back positive since testing began.
Overall deaths are concentrated in King County, Washington's most populous county, where DOH has confirmed 11,105 diagnoses and 622 deaths.
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms contracts COVID-19
ATLANTA — Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive,” Bottoms, a potential Democratic vice presidential candidate, tweeted.
She told MSNBC that she decided her family members should get tested again because her husband “literally has been sleeping since Thursday.”
Bottoms, in her first term as mayor, has risen to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been noted for her earlier criticism of Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on his slowness to order Georgians to shelter in place and his quickness to lift that order.
Overwhelmed nursing homes kept taking new patients. Some got sick and died.
Lorraine Sheppard moved into Potomac Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for physical therapy in mid-April, just as the nursing home reported its first coronavirus case. Within three weeks, the largely healthy 92-year-old was dead.
Sheppard was one of at least three newly admitted short-term residents who contracted the coronavirus at Potomac Valley — a Rockville, Md., facility that continued to take new patients even as it struggled to contain a growing outbreak.
What happened to her points toward a thorny question faced by all nursing homes: Whether to continue taking new patients during a pandemic that has devastated the elderly and infirm, leaving many facilities short-staffed and overwhelmed.
Governments in New York and other states have been lambasted for forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients to free up hospital beds, but less attention has been paid to the implications of nursing homes choosing to accept non-COVID-19 patients into their ranks.
For these facilities, closing the door to new residents means shutting off a precious source of revenue and turning away people in desperate need of care. But continuing admissions risks exposing new and existing residents to the coronavirus, especially if the facility is unable to properly isolate patients or lacks staff and protective gear.
UW Greek Row COVID outbreak has infected 146
At least 146 students who are either living in University of Washington fraternity houses or have visited the houses this summer have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university’s Interfraternity Council.
Of those, UW health officials have confirmed 137 of the cases.
The outbreak was first reported over the weekend of June 27-28. The university set up a pop-up testing site on campus, and by Friday, more than 100 students had tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Public health officials have said the outbreak is concerning because they fear young adults will spread the disease to more vulnerable populations. So far, most students either have mild symptoms or none at all, and no one has been hospitalized as far as the university knows, said UW spokesperson Victor Balta. Most students with the virus are staying in quarantine in the fraternity houses.
Health officials believe the virus took root and spread fast on Greek Row because it is relatively dense housing, with close social networks among the houses.
State opens phone line to help Washingtonians manage pandemic-related stress
To help Washingtonians cope with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Health Care Authority has instituted a new mental health support program known as Washington Listens. It includes an anonymous phone line that will connect callers with support specialists and community resources for assistance in managing stress related to the pandemic.
"Washington Listens helps people cope and strengthen their resiliency in these uncertain times," Sue Birch, director of the Washington State Health Care Authority, said Monday in a news release announcing the program's launch. "It complements the state's behavioral health response services by providing an outlet for people who are not in crisis but need an outlet to manage stress."
The support line can be reached by calling 1-833-681-0211 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
South Dakota governor, exposed to virus, joined Trump on jet
Shortly after fireworks above Mount Rushmore disappeared into the night sky on Friday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem accompanied President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One despite having had close contact with Trump’s son’s girlfriend, who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Trump has been in a position all along to encounter a virus that spreads from people who don’t feel sick, such as Noem, who had interacted closely at a campaign fundraiser with Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who turned out to be infected. Noem didn’t wear a mask on the plane and chatted with the president as the flight returned to Washington, D.C., according to her spokesperson, Maggie Seidel.
Noem had tested negative for COVID-19 shortly before welcoming Trump to South Dakota on Friday, a day after she had interacted with Guilfoyle. One photo on social media showed Noem and Guilfoyle, who is also a Trump campaign staff member, hugging. The Trump campaign announced that Guilfoyle had tested positive on Friday. Read the full story here.
Bali set to welcome back tourists even as virus cases surge
Bali, Indonesia’s most-popular holiday destination, will welcome back visitors from the end of this month even after the resort island reported a four-fold increase in virus cases in June as pressure mounts on authorities to rescue the battered tourism industry.
While local tourists can visit the beaches, temples and the popular surfing spots across the island starting July 31, foreign visitors will be allowed from Sept. 11, the Bali government said in a statement. The reopening of the tourism industry is part of a plan to restart the economy in a phased manner, it said.
Bali, popular with backpackers from Australia to China, had some success in containing the virus outbreak in its early phase, but saw infections soar in June with the return of more migrant workers and a ramp-up in testing. The island’s tourism-dependent economy was ravaged by the nearly four-month shutdown of hundreds of resorts and hotels. Read the full story here.
Miami-Dade County reimposing restrictions after cases spike
Florida’s most-populous county ordered restaurants and gyms closed again Monday because of a rise in confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, as the U.S. emerged from what health officials said was a make-or-break Fourth of July weekend of picnics, pool parties and beach outings.
The see-saw effect — restrictions lifted, then reversed after a resurgence of cases — has been seen around the U.S. in recent weeks and is expected again after a long holiday that saw party-goers and sunbathers gathering, many without masks, on one of the biggest weekends of the summer.
Confirmed cases are on the rise in 41 out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus is increasing in 39 states. Florida, which recorded an all-time high of 11,400 cases Saturday and has seen its positive test rate over the past two weeks reach more than 18%, has been especially hard hit, along with other Sunbelt states such as Arizona, California and Texas. Read the full story here.
Debates turn emotional as U.S. schools decide how and if to open
School districts across America are in the midst of making wrenching decisions over how to resume classes in settings radically altered by the coronavirus pandemic, with school buses running below capacity, virtual learning, outdoor classrooms and quarantine protocols for infected children the new norm.
The plans for the upcoming school year are taking shape by the day, and vary district to district, state to state. The debates have been highly emotional, with tempers flaring among parents and administrators, and have been made all the more vexing by record numbers of COVID-19 cases being reported each day.
Parents, wrung out after months of juggling full-time work and full-time home schooling, are desperate for help. Children, isolated from their peers, are yearning for social interaction. And everyone, including teachers, is concerned about stepping into the unknown, with so much still uncertain about the virus. Read more about plans in Florida, New York, New Mexico and elsewhere here. Find ongoing coverage of Washington schools here.
Trudeau turns down White House invitation amid pandemic
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned down a White House invitation to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement in Washington with U.S President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Trump and López Obrador are due to meet Wednesday in Washington, but Trudeau spokesperson Chantal Gagnon said Monday that while Canada wishes the U.S. and Mexico well, Trudeau won’t be there.
“While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the prime minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament,” Gagnon said.
Trudeau is conducting online Cabinet meetings instead of in person meetings because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more about Trudeau's decision here.
Harvard invites freshmen to campus, but classes stay online
Harvard University’s freshman class will be invited to live on campus this fall, while most other undergraduates will be required to learn remotely from home, the Ivy League school announced Monday.
University officials decided to allow only 40% of undergraduates on campus in an effort to reduce density and prevent the spread of COVID-19. All freshmen will be invited, along with some other students who face challenges learning from afar.
All classes will be taught online, however, regardless of where students live. Students living on campus would live in dorm rooms but continue taking their classes remotely, the university said.
Harvard joins a growing number of universities announcing plans to bring back only a portion of their students. Yale University last week said 60% of its students will be invited for the fall. Read the full story here.
Broadway veteran Nick Cordero, 41, dies of virus complications
Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero, who specialized in playing tough guys on Broadway in such shows as “Waitress,” “A Bronx Tale” and “Bullets Over Broadway,” has died in Los Angeles after suffering severe medical complications after contracting the coronavirus. He was 41.
Cordero died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai hospital after more than 90 days in the hospital, according to his wife, Amanda Kloots. “God has another angel in heaven now,” she posted on Instagram. “Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband.”
Cordero entered the emergency room on March 30 and had a succession of health setbacks, including mini-strokes, blood clots, septic infections, a tracheostomy and a temporary pacemaker implanted. He had been on a ventilator and unconscious and had his right leg amputated. A double lung transplant was being explored. Read the full story here.
As the Virus Surged, Florida Partied. Tracking the Revelers Has Been Tough.
MIAMI — Miami’s flashy nightclubs closed in March, but the parties have raged on in the waterfront manse tucked in the lush residential neighborhood of Belle Meade Island. Revelers arrive in sports cars and ride-shares several nights a week, say neighbors who have spied professional bouncers at the door and bought earplugs to try to sleep through the thumping dance beats.
They are the sort of parties — drawing throngs of maskless strangers to rave until sunrise — that local health officials say have been a notable contributing factor to the soaring coronavirus infections in Florida, one of the most troubling infection spots in the country.
Just how many parties have been linked to COVID-19 is unclear because Florida does not make public information about confirmed disease clusters. On Belle Meade Island, neighbors fear the large numbers of people going in and out of the house parties are precisely what public health officials have warned them about.
Are protests unsafe? What experts say may depend on who’s protesting what.
As the pandemic took hold, most epidemiologists have had clear proscriptions in fighting it: No students in classrooms, no in-person religious services, no visits to sick relatives in hospitals, no large public gatherings.
So when conservative anti-lockdown protesters gathered on state capitol steps in places like Columbus, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan, in April and May, epidemiologists scolded them and forecast surging infections. When Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia relaxed restrictions on businesses in late April as testing lagged and infections rose, the talk in public health circles was of that state’s embrace of human sacrifice.
And then the brutal killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25 changed everything.
Soon the streets nationwide were full of tens of thousands of people in a mass protest movement that continues to this day, with demonstrations and the toppling of statues. And rather than decrying mass gatherings, more than 1,300 public health officials signed a May 30 letter of support, and many joined the protests.
That reaction, and the contrast with the epidemiologists’ earlier fervent support for the lockdown, gave rise to an uncomfortable question: Was public health advice in a pandemic dependent on whether people approved of the mass gathering in question? To many, the answer seemed to be “yes.”
The fullest look yet at the racial inequity of coronavirus
Early coronavirus numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates.
But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Washington state reported 651 new cases of coronavirus yesterday as the national number topped 2.8 million. This comes amid dire predictions about how the virus will multiply across the U.S., with officials saying a rush to reopen fed the explosion in cases.
Is the coronavirus airborne? Scientists around the globe are accusing the World Health Organization of ignoring growing evidence that the virus floats in the air for long periods, making spaces dangerous even when people stay 6 feet apart. If true, the consequences for our daily lives will be significant.
President Donald Trump says 99% of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless," but that doesn't match up with the suffering of millions of COVID-19 patients. Read the fact check. And no, garlic can't protect you from the coronavirus. Here's some myth-busting about what can and can't help.
COVID-19 meets Election 2020: As we're seeing, a superstorm of misinformation is raging — and it will only get worse, UW's new Center for an Informed Public says. Know the simple, effective ways to inoculate yourself against falsehoods.
Prospects are dimming for a special legislative session to confront the $8.8 billion hole that coronavirus blew in Washington state's budget.
How to keep your distance on an airplane: You'll have to be proactive, Travel Troubleshooter writes. Even then, there's only so much you can do: One major airline is ditching social distancing and booking flights to full capacity.
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