Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Thursday, June 10, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
Seattle on Thursday became the first major American city to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of residents 12 and older, helping push Washington toward its overall vaccination goal as the state urges residents to enter into a vaccine prize lottery and potentially win thousands of dollars if they get their shots.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden will unveil plans for the U.S. to donate 500 million vaccine doses around the globe over the next year, hoping to enlist other countries in the fight against the virus.
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 previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.
G-7 nations gather to pledge 1 billion vaccine doses for world
CARBIS BAY, England — World leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to share at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world — half the doses coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K.
Vaccine sharing commitments from President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday set the stage for the G-7 leaders’ meeting in England, where leaders will pivot Friday from opening greetings and a “family photo” directly into a session on “Building Back Better From COVID-19.”
“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” Biden said, adding that the G-7 nations would join the U.S. in outlining their vaccine donation commitments at the three-day summit. The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The G-7 leaders have faced mounting pressure to outline their global vaccine sharing plans, especially as inequities in supply around the world have become more pronounced. In the U.S., there is a large vaccine stockpile and the demand for shots has dropped precipitously in recent weeks.
2 passengers test positive for COVID on first North American cruise since pandemic started
Two people traveling on the first North American cruise since March 2020 have tested positive for COVID-19
The passengers on the Celebrity Millennium shared a room and are now in isolation, cruise owner Royal Caribbean said in a statement. Both people are asymptomatic.
All passengers on the cruise were required to be fully vaccinated if they were over age 18. All crew members were vaccinated, according to Royal Caribbean. The ages of the people who tested positive were not released.
The Celebrity Millennium departed the island of St. Maarten on June 5, making it the first North American voyage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another ship is scheduled to leave from the Bahamas on June 12.
The CDC’s new leader follows the science. Is that enough?
On her first day as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January, Dr. Rochelle Walensky ordered a review of all COVID-related guidance on the agency’s website. Some of its advice had been twisted by the Trump administration, and her message was clear: The CDC would no longer bend to political meddling.
Four months later, Walensky announced that vaccinated people could stop wearing masks in most settings. The recommendation startled not just the White House but also state and local leaders, prompting criticism that she had failed to prepare Americans for the agency’s latest about-face during the pandemic.
The two announcements captured the challenge that will define Walensky’s tenure at the CDC: restoring an agency once renowned as the world leader in public health but whose reputation has been battered by political interference, even as the country transitions out of a pandemic that has left nearly 600,000 Americans dead.
Washington vaccine lottery winner says he got lucky — first, by not getting COVID-19 and then by winning $250,000
The man who won the first $250,000 prize in Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery claimed his award Thursday, the Washington Lottery announced.
“I got lucky,” the winner, identified as Lance R., said in a statement released by the Lottery. “Mainly, I was lucky that I didn’t get hit with COVID before the vaccines were developed and available. Millions around the world haven’t had such good luck.”
Winning the money was “icing on the cake” and “totally unexpected,” he said.
The Lottery did not say which part of the state Lance R. lives in or provide further information about him.
His name was selected in Tuesday’s drawing, and he was reached by phone Wednesday. Lottery officials are waiting to hear back from this week’s other winners for merchandise prizes, after having to leave many voice mails, according to lottery spokesperson Dan Miller. Winners have 72 hours to claim their prizes.
Celebrations (and questions) greet US vaccine donation plan
U.S. plans to donate 500 million more COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries were met Thursday with both celebration and hesitation amid questions over whether the effort will be enough to help poor regions desperate for doses.
Some health officials and experts expressed hope that the pledge would encourage more donations to ease the inequities in vaccine supplies that have become pronounced in recent months.
The Biden administration’s decision to donate Pfizer vaccines raised doubts about whether the doses would reach the poorest of the poor because those doses need to be stored in ultra-cold conditions but was also “clearly a cause for celebration,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, particularly at a time when infections are increasing on the continent of 1.3 billion people, and some countries still have not administered a single dose.
Global disparity in vaccination has become a multidimensional threat: a human catastrophe, a $5 trillion economic loss for advanced economies and a contributor to the generation of mutant viruses.
Hong Kong opens vaccine drive to children aged 12 and older
Hong Kong will allow children age 12 and above to receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine as it seeks to boost immunization rates in the city.
Government officials said Thursday they will offer the vaccine to about 240,000 children from 12 to 15 years old starting Friday, joining other countries that have started vaccinating children.
The move comes as Hong Kong is urging its 7.5 million population to get inoculated and the private sector is offering a slew of incentives, including gold bars, a Tesla car and even an apartment.
State health officials confirm 722 new coronavirus cases
The state Department of Health reported 722 new coronavirus cases and 10 new deaths on Thursday.
The update brings the state's totals to 442,815 cases and 5,803 deaths, meaning that 1.3% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
The new cases may include up to 100 duplicates, according to DOH.
In addition, 24,730 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 57 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 110,799 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,611 deaths.
Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 7,301,374 doses and 44.98% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to vaccination data, which the state updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Providers are currently giving an average of about 27,209 vaccine shots per day.
The DOH says its daily case reports may also include duplicate test results, results assigned to the wrong county, results that are reported for today but are actually from a previous day, occasional false positive tests and other data discrepancies. Because of this, the previous day’s total number of cases plus the number of new daily cases does not add up to the new day’s total number of cases. State health officials recommend reviewing the dashboard's epidemiologic curves tab for the most accurate representation of the state's COVID-19 spread.
No cheers: Tokyo Olympic Village considering ban on alcohol
The Olympic Village has traditionally been a fun place to be, housing thousands of young athletes and staff ready to party and share a few beers and bubbly toasts.
But not at the Tokyo Olympics, which are to open in just over six weeks amid a pandemic. These are going to be the “no cheers” Olympics with testing and vaccinations taking priority over fun and games.
It’s not clear if alcohol will be allowed in the village, which will house 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians. Organizers say they have yet to decide on a policy, which is expected by the end of the month.
Research documents extent of wildlife trade in Wuhan’s markets
In the two years before the pandemic began, markets in the Chinese city of Wuhan were selling nearly three dozen animal species that can harbor pathogens that jump to humans, researchers have found.
In all, the researchers documented sales of more than 47,000 animals across 38 species in Wuhan markets between May 2017 and November 2019. Thirty-three of the species have previously been infected with diseases or disease-bearing parasites that can affect humans, the researchers said.
Many scientists support investigating all possibilities, including the laboratory origin, even though they think the virus was probably transmitted from animals to humans outside of a laboratory.
A team of experts who led a World Health Organization mission to Wuhan this year reached no firm conclusions about the markets’ role in the outbreak, or about the specific species through which the coronavirus might have spread to humans.
The question of the virus’s origins remains largely unresolved.
New federal COVID-19 safety rules exempt most employers
The Biden administration has exempted most employers from long-awaited rules for protecting workers from the coronavirus, angering labor advocates who have spent more than a year lobbying for the protections.
The Labor Department included only health care workers its new emergency temporary standard published on Thursday. The rules require employers to draw up a virus protection plan, and tighten requirements for recording and reporting COVID-19 cases among workers. They also require employers to provide workers with paid time off for COVID-19-related absences, including getting vaccinated and recovering from the shot’s side effects.
Rather than issue mandatory rules for other workplaces, the Biden administration released new nonbinding guidance that relaxed recommendations. Most workplaces where people are fully vaccinated no longer need to provide any protection from the coronavirus, according to the guidance issued by Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the federal agency responsible for protecting workers.
No audience, new venue, but Westminster dog show barks on
There will be plenty of tradition, pup and circumstance at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show this weekend.
But for the first time in its 145-year history, the storied canine competition is trading the buzz of the Big Apple for the airy grounds of a suburban riverfront estate, one of many changes prompted by pandemic precautions.
The show was rescheduled from its usual February dates and isn’t allowing in-person spectators. Dogs will compete as usual on green carpet for televised parts of the competition, but some other rounds will happen on the lawn at the Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, New York.
And the sought-after best in show trophy will be awarded under a tent outside Lyndhurst’s Gothic-castlelike mansion, not in the sports palace of Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden.
“It’s a heartbreak because that’s definitely part of the prestige of going, and the nostalgia,” says handler Renee Rosamilla of Ocala, Florida. “But I’m just, honestly, thrilled that they were able to let us have Westminster this year.”
Amazon says workers won’t need to spend all week in the office
Amazon corporate and tech employees globally won’t be expected to work in their offices full time after COVID restrictions are lifted, the company said in an internal memo Thursday.
Amazon workers can work remotely two days a week, Seattle’s largest office employer said in the first major update to its return-to-work policy since announcing in March that it envisioned a return to “an office-centric culture” by autumn.
The new policy follows backlash from some Amazon employees to what they interpreted as the expectation that they would have to return to the office full time once states reopen from COVID restrictions. Some tech companies launched recruiting campaigns that seemed targeted in part at some Amazon workers’ dismay over an end to remote work.
“Your company doesn’t embrace remote work or hybrid working??” asked Twitter Vice President Tracy Hawkins on LinkedIn the day after Amazon’s announcement in March. “Leave them in 2020, we’re hiring.”
Headliners and headdresses return to Las Vegas. Will tourists follow?
Fifteen months ago, this bustling tourist destination in the desert shut down almost overnight as theaters, restaurants and casinos emptied out and Las Vegas confronted one of the biggest economic threats in its history.
The stakes could not be higher as the Strip tries to emerge from the shadow of the pandemic, and the first crop of shows faces a challenging reality: It is hard to open shows without tourists, and it’s hard to draw tourist without shows.
But a walk through its bustling sidewalks last week suggests an explosion of activity, befitting — in its extravagance and this city’s appetite for risk — what has always made Las Vegas what it is.
The change since last spring, as measured by the return of surging morning-to-midnight crowds, is head-snapping. While just 106,900 tourists visited Las Vegas in April 2020, according to the Convention and Visitors Authority, some 2.6 million people visited this April — a big rebound, but still almost 1 million shy of what the city was attracting before the pandemic.
Millions in US struggle through life with few to trust and the pandemic made it worse
The findings of a recent poll suggest that for many Americans, the pandemic has chipped away at whatever social capital they had going into it.
Millions of Americans are struggling through life with few people they can trust for personal and professional help, a disconnect that raises a key barrier to recovery from the social, emotional and economic fallout of the pandemic, according to a new a poll from The Impact Genome Project and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll finds 18% of U.S. adults, or about 46 million people, say they have just one person or nobody they can trust for help in their personal lives, such as emergency child care needs, a ride to the airport or support when they fall sick. And 28% say they have just one person or nobody they can trust to help draft a resume, connect to an employer or navigate workplace challenges.
The General Social Survey, a national representative survey conducted by NORC since 1972, suggests that the number of people Americans feel they can trust had declined by the early 2000s, compared with two decades earlier, although there is little consensus about the extent of this isolation or its causes. The rise of social media has added another layer of debate, as experts explore whether it broadens networks or lures people in isolating echo chambers.
The Impact Genome/AP-NORC poll sought to measure how much social capital Americans can count as they try to pick up the pieces of lives fractured by the pandemic.
Yakima COVID-19 vaccination site moves to Union Gap for 2 days
The Yakima COVID-19 vaccine site is moving to the Yakima Valley Emergency Management parking lot in Union Gap on Thursday and Sunday, not the old Astria Regional location as previously announced.
The new, temporary location is at 2403 S. 18th St., Union Gap. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday before moving back to State Fair Park. The site is closed Fridays and Saturdays.
People can check YakimaVaccines.org for additional vaccine locations.
Germany starts rolling out a digital EU vaccination pass
Germany on Thursday started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gets ready for the key summer travel season.
The country’s health minister said starting this week vaccination centers, doctors practices and pharmacies will gradually start giving out digital passes to fully vaccinated people. The CovPass will let users download proof of their coronavirus vaccination status onto a smartphone app, allowing them easy access to restaurants, museums or other venues that require proof of immunization.
The vaccination passport should be available to everyone in Germany who is fully vaccinated by the end of this month, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
“By doing so, we in the European Union are setting a cross-border standard that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world yet,” Spahn said.
US extends expiration dates for J&J COVID vaccine by 6 weeks
Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that U.S. regulators extended the expiration date on millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by six weeks.
The company said a Food and Drug Administration review concluded the shots remain safe and effective for at least 4 1/2 months. In February, the FDA originally authorized J&J’s vaccine for up to three months when stored at normal refrigeration levels.
Thursday’s announcement comes after state officials warned that many doses in storage would expire before the end of the month.
Vaccine expiration dates are based on information from drugmakers on how long the shots stay at the right strength. J&J said the FDA added six weeks based on data from ongoing studies assessing the vaccine’s stability.
The FDA has been reviewing expiration dates on all three U.S. authorized vaccines as companies have continued to test batches in the months since the shots first rolled out. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, authorized in December, have a six-month shelf life.
China returns to strict COVID-19 limits to fight a new outbreak
Neighborhoods under strict lockdown. Thousands quarantined. Millions tested in mere days. Overseas arrivals locked up for weeks and sometimes months.
China has followed variations of that formula for dealing with the coronavirus for more than a year — and a new outbreak suggests that they could be part of Chinese life for some time to come.
The latest cases of the delta variant have been found in Guangzhou, capital of the southern province of Guangdong, where the city has put neighborhoods with a total of more than 180,000 residents into total lockdown, with practically no one allowed out except to go to medical testing.
The early infections appear to have jumped from person to person at a cluster of eateries. Each infected person has infected more other people than in any previous outbreak that China has confronted, Zhang Zhoubin, deputy director of the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control, said at a news conference.
Why do some people get side effects after COVID-19 vaccines?
Why do some people get side effects after COVID-19 vaccines?
Temporary side effects including headache, fatigue and fever are signs the immune system is revving up — a normal response to vaccines. And they’re common.
Here’s what’s happening: The immune system has two main arms. The first kicks in as soon as the body detects a foreign intruder. White blood cells swarm to the site, prompting inflammation that’s responsible for chills, soreness, fatigue and other side effects.
The second part, which will provide the real protection from the virus by producing antibodies, activates the immune system, sometimes causes temporary swelling in lymph nodes, such as those under the arm.
Regulators withdraw controversial California work mask rules
California’s workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial pending mask regulation while they consider a rule that more closely aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen from the pandemic on Tuesday.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s revised rule, adopted last week after it was initially rejected, would have allowed workers to forego masks only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That contrasts with the state’s broader plan to do away with virtually all masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people in concert with the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The board’s decision late Wednesday to withdraw that worksite rule before it goes into effect allows the board to consider changes at its June 17 meeting and potentially have them go into effect by month’s end.
Man accused of stealing vaccine cards from inoculation site
A Nevada man was charged Wednesday with stealing more than 500 blank vaccine cards from a COVID-19 vaccination center near Los Angeles, prosecutors said.
Muhammad Rauf Ahmed, 45 faces one felony count of grand theft for allegedly stealing the cards, potentially worth $15 apiece, from the Pomona Fairplex site where he worked, the LA County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
US deaths from heart disease and diabetes climbed amid COVID
The U.S. saw remarkable increases in the death rates for heart disease, diabetes and some other common killers in 2020, and experts believe a big reason may be that many people with dangerous symptoms made the lethal mistake of staying away from the hospital for fear of catching the coronavirus.
The death rates — posted online this week by federal health authorities — add to the growing body of evidence that the number of lives lost directly or indirectly to the coronavirus in the U.S. is far greater than the officially reported COVID-19 death toll of nearly 600,000 in 2020-21.
For months now, researchers have known that 2020 was the deadliest year in U.S. history. nearly 3.4 million Americans died in 2020, an all-time record. Of those deaths, more than 345,000 were directly attributed to COVID-19. But the data released this week showed the biggest increases in the death rates for heart disease and diabetes in at least 20 years.
“I would probably use the word `alarming,’” said Dr. Tannaz Moin, a diabetes expert at UCLA, said of the trends.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Vaccinated? Check your voicemail. Washington has already notified the winner of the jackpot in the first COVID-19 vaccine lottery, but officials are still leaving plenty of messages for winners of other prizes. Amid the initial confusion over who was entered into the lottery, state officials' math is offering hope that this is working the way it should.
Seattle's vaccination rate leads the nation, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced yesterday as the city hit a milestone. Gov. Jay Inslee, too, praised "an amazing moment in our state" and released a few more details on how the next reopening phase will work. But it's not time to drop all precautions yet, officials caution.
No, vaccines do not magnetize people. One doctor falsely testified to lawmakers that vaccinated people "can put a key on their forehead. It sticks." The video went viral.
Welcome back, tourists! Now work out the rules. Travelers to Europe may find themselves needing this guide to figure out who’s allowed into which country, how and when. And even then, this might not be the time to book your trip, Edmonds-based travel guru Rick Steves says.
Couples are racing to the altar in a vaccination-era wedding boom, and florists, caterers and dress shops can't keep up.
How to revive friendships disrupted by the pandemic: It can be an awkward struggle to interpret the distances of the past year. Relationship experts are offering their thoughts on reaching out with warm grace after the freeze.
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