Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Wednesday, June 10, as the day unfolded. Click here to see updates from Thursday, June 11. To find resources and the latest extended coverage of the pandemic, click here.
For the past few weeks, the United States has been wrestling through tough conversations with itself about two pandemics: COVID-19 and systemic racism. Health care workers, particularly those of color, are emotionally and physically exhausted from living in the middle of both.
Many local and national initiatives, including one led by Beyoncé, have attempted to address the two issues simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday an extension of an emergency proclamation intended to protect workers at high risk of COVID-19 from losing their jobs or income.
The coronavirus is nowhere near finished with us, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned, even as more places ease measures meant to slow its spread.
Throughout Wednesday, on this page, we’ll post updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Tuesday 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 Wednesday.
Medical Teams International offers free COVID-19 testing in South Seattle to support at-risk populations
Portland-based nonprofit Medical Teams International announced Wednesday its plan to partner with South Seattle's Ethiopian Community Center to provide free COVID-19 testing this week.
"The testing is part of the organization’s broader, ongoing effort throughout Seattle and King County to reach at-risk populations without free access to testing," a statement from the organization said.
The testing will be offered Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ethiopian Community Center at 8323 Rainier Ave South.
"Earlier this month, Medical Teams took their mobile COVID-19 testing van on the road with the purpose to test vulnerable communities throughout the Greater Seattle area," the statement said. "Since beginning COVID-19 testing in March 2020, the nonprofit has participated in screening over 1,000 patients for the coronavirus."
The statement added that there's still a need for medical and dental professional volunteers. Those interested in getting involved can click here for more information.
State confirms 288 new COVID-19 cases
State health officials confirmed 288 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Wednesday, as well as 14 additional deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 24,642 cases and 1,190 deaths, according to the state Department of Health’s (DOH) data dashboard.
So far, 415,342 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH. Of those, 5.9% have come back positive.
King County, the state's most populous, has reported 8,550 positive test results and 582 deaths, accounting for a little less than half of the state's death toll.
Seattle’s coronavirus surveillance program resumes after being shut down by the FDA
A coronavirus surveillance program that allows participants to swab their own noses at home is resuming operation, after being shut down a month ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Launched in mid-March with approval from the Washington Department of Health, the greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, or SCAN, was notified by the FDA in early May that it also needed a federal Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the self-swab approach.
The program is still working with the agency to gain authorization.
But in the interim, SCAN is taking advantage of the fact that research studies approved by institutional review boards do not require federal EUAs for the use of self-swab kits.
Now, with approval and oversight from review boards at the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, SCAN is once again soliciting volunteers across the county
Inslee: As stockpile improves, more medical protective gear available to guard against coronavirus
OLYMPIA — Washington has gathered enough medical protective gear to guard against the new coronavirus to enable state officials to share the equipment more widely, Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday.
The state is still working to build a local supply chain of protective gear, Inslee said, as Washington continues to compete with other states and nations for scarce supplies amid a global pandemic that shows little sign of slowing.
In a news conference Wednesday, Inslee urged qualified entities — such as hospitals and homeless shelters — to request protective gear through their county emergency operations officials.
As of Tuesday, the state had acquired roughly 80 million pieces of personal protective equipment, Inslee said, with another 200 million items purchased and on the way.
Three more counties approved to advance to new phases of Washington’s coronavirus recovery plan
OLYMPIA — Washington Department of Health (DOH) Secretary John Wiesman has given approval for three counties to advance to new phases of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-part coronavirus reopening plan.
After being in the first and most restrictive phase of the plan, Chelan and Douglas counties can now move to a modified first phase, according to a DOH news release.
That modified version — which King County is currently in — allows for limited reopening of some businesses such as restaurants, hair salons and barber shops.
Meanwhile, Asotin County has been approved to move to the third phase of the four-part plan.
The third phase allows for a host of reopened businesses, museums, libraries, nonessential travel and some indoor sports activities.
As of Wednesday, three of Washington’s counties remain in the first phase and three are in a modified first phase, according to DOH. Meanwhile, 24 counties are in the second phase and nine counties are in the third phase.
In order for businesses to reopen in a new phase, they must follow safety and health requirements put forth by Inslee’s office and state officials.
More information about the four-part plan, including requirements for businesses, can be found here.
TV pastor Jim Bakker hopes attorney general halts probe into his health supplement
O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri-based TV pastor Jim Bakker hopes Arkansas’ attorney general does not obtain personal information of his congregation members as part of an investigation into his false promotion of a product claiming it cured the coronavirus.
Bakker’s attorneys said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s efforts were an affront to religious freedom and “disturbing,” according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
A civil action was filed late last week on behalf of Bakker and his Morningside Church and Morningside Church Productions, less than three months after the state of Missouri sued Bakker for falsely claiming that a health supplement could cure the coronavirus.
Bakker asked a judge to dismiss the state lawsuit in May. His product, ‘Silver Solution,’ is described as a colloidal silver, which is a product often sold on the internet as a dietary supplement.
Amid tears and laughter, visits resume in Massachusetts nursing homes
Many states have limited visits to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19, which has exacted a heavy toll among older Americans and ran rampant in nursing homes when the pandemic first hit the United States.
Nationally, more than 35,500 people have died due to coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, about a third of the national death toll, according to a running tally by The Associated Press.
But in Massachusetts, in-person visits resumed Wednesday with masks, social distancing — and plenty of tears and laughter.
Mall of America reopens nearly 3 months after going dark
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Mall of America was back in business on Wednesday, nearly three months after the Minnesota tourist attraction shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 150 of the 500 stores in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington reopened their doors to a new shopping experience that included signs encouraging social distancing, reduced seating, touchless hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass dividers at checkout areas.
The mall, which is the nation’s largest, initially planned to reopen on June 1, but it pushed back the date because of protests in the Twin Cities over the death of George Floyd.
European Union accuses China of waging pandemic disinformation campaign
BRUSSELS — The European Union on Wednesday accused China of a concerted effort to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, lumping it with the Kremlin as a global scofflaw seeking to sow divisions in European societies.
It was the European Union’s highest-level and most forceful criticism yet of the way Beijing has handled its messaging about the pandemic. The bloc, along with individual European capitals, has been struggling to strike a balance between the United States and China, two rivals that are increasingly at odds on a range of security and diplomatic issues, including the pandemic response.
“The pandemic showed that disinformation does not only harm the health of our citizens, but also the health of our democracies,” Vera Jourova, the senior E.U. official charged with rule-of-law issues, told reporters, unveiling a list of recommendations for the 27 E.U. member states to help promote facts and combat misinformation.
Photos: How the pandemic is playing out around the world
Around the world, in varying stages, restrictions are easing and people are resuming some of their normal activities — but with added precautions.
See more images from today of a world coping with a new version of daily life.
Ex-ambassador and Utah hopeful Jon Huntsman Jr. says he has COVID-19
SALT LAKE CITY — Former ambassador and current Republican candidate for Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. said Wednesday he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Huntsman said he has “classic symptoms” of the illness caused by the coronavirus, and will isolate himself while his campaign pushes through with less than three weeks before Election Day. Five staffers also have been infected.
The Royal Room’s virtual Staycation Festival offers music for fans and a way to earn money for musicians
Shuttered Seattle nightclubs are facing hard times, but one venue that seems determined to squeeze lemonade from pandemic lemons is Columbia City’s eclectic Royal Room, which late last month launched its delightful — and, of course, entirely virtual — Staycation Festival. The festival streams at 7:30 p.m. Sundays from the club and Wednesdays from musicians’ homes all over the world, through Aug. 9, and is accessible at Live Concerts Stream and The Royal Room's Facebook page.
The concerts are not only a treat for fans, they offer a welcome way for musicians to earn money at a time when that has become difficult. Though tuning in is free, the streaming sites offer donation options that have been bringing in substantial sums, ranging from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars per show. The Royal Room is giving 100% of the proceeds to the artists.
GOP expects to move its convention to Florida after dispute with N.C. over pandemic safeguards
Seeking a city willing to allow a large-scale event amid the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans have tentatively settled on Jacksonville, Fla., as the new destination for the premier festivities of the Republican National Convention in August, according to three Republican officials briefed on the plans.
The details of the arrangement are still in flux and RNC aides are scrambling to determine whether the northern Florida city has enough hotel rooms to accommodate the quadrennial event, which typically kicks off the final stretch of the presidential campaign.
The convention’s more routine and lower-profile meetings still would take place in Charlotte, the original host site for the convention, according to two officials. Those smaller meetings are intended to honor the RNC’s contractual obligation to hold its convention in North Carolina and shield the party from lawsuits for moving the large events elsewhere.
King County health director declares racism a public health crisis
Racism is a public health crisis, King County's top public health official declared Wednesday.
Decades of systemic racism has adversely affected Black people and other people of color in the United States, said Patty Hayes, director of Public Health – Seattle & King County.
"It's not a new crisis," Hayes said during Wednesday’s King County Board of Health meeting.
She pledged that her agency will "recommit ourselves to work with the community" and with King County executive Dow Constantine’s office to break down the systemic issues that lead to negative health impacts for people of color.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Black, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic people have been infected at significantly higher rates than white people in King County and in Washington state overall.
Coronavirus hospitalizations rise sharply in several states, including Oregon, after Memorial Day
As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase worldwide, and more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are recording their highest averages of new cases since the pandemic began, hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day.
In Oregon, California, Texas, North and South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, there are an increasing number of patients under supervised care since the holiday weekend because of COVID-19 infections. The spikes generally began in the past couple weeks and in most states, are trending higher.
Data from states that are reporting some of their highest seven-day averages of new cases are disproving the notion that the country is seeing such a spike in cases solely because of the continued increase in testing, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
Read more here.
WHO sends mixed messages on efficacy of masks adding to confusion
It’s an issue that’s been argued about for months, both by experts and by people strolling through parks all over the world: Can people who don’t feel sick spread the coronavirus, and if so should we all be wearing masks to stop it?
Even the World Health Organization can’t seem to get it straight. On Tuesday the U.N. health agency scrambled to explain seemingly contradictory comments it has made in recent days about the two related issues.
The confusion and mixed messages only makes controlling the pandemic that much more difficult, experts say.
On Friday, WHO changed its mask advice, recommending that people wear fabric masks if they could not maintain social distancing, if they were over age 60 or had underlying medical conditions. Part of the reasoning, WHO officials said, was to account for the possibility that transmission could occur from people who had the disease but weren’t yet symptomatic.
But when Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19 was asked about the frequency of this kind of transmission this week, she said “It still appears to be rare that asymptomatic individuals actually transmit onward.”
Read the story here.
Virus pummels global economy, jobs – even without 2nd wave
The virus crisis has triggered the worst global recession in nearly a century — and the pain is not over yet even if there is no second wave of infections, an international economic report warned Wednesday.
Hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs, and the crisis is hitting the poor and young people the hardest, worsening inequalities, said the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its latest analysis of global economic data.
“It is probably the most uncertain and dramatic outlook since the creation of the OECD,” Secretary General Angel Gurria said. “We cannot make projections as as we normally do.”
In the best-case scenario, if there is no second wave of infections, the agency forecast a global drop in economic output of 6% this year, and a rise of 2.8% next year.
If the coronavirus re-emerges later in the year, however, the global economy could shrink 7.6%, the OECD said.
“With or without a second outbreak, the consequences will be severe and long-lasting,” the report says.
Read more here.
State publishes data on COVID-19 cases and deaths at long-term care facilities
In Washington, 3,860 cases of COVID-19 are associated with long-term care facilities, including 690 deaths, according to data published Monday by the state Department of Health.
Long-term care facilities emerged early on as a deadly front of the pandemic as it hit the United States. But until now, no agency was tracking the number of cases in these facilities across the state, making the full scope of the crisis unclear.
Class of 2020, welcome to your unexpected ending.
Graduates, families and schools have wrestled with how to preserve some vestiges of this rite of passage, minus all the hugging.
“If I’m being candid about it, I’ve cried a lot,” one student says.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
"It isn't over yet," Dr. Anthony Fauci warned in a wide-ranging talk to biotech executives. Although Fauci had known that an outbreak like this could occur, one aspect of the novel coronavirus has surprised him: “how rapidly it just took over the planet.”
The pandemic has triggered the worst global recession in nearly a century — and the pain will remain if there's no second wave of infections, an international report warned today. Even its best-case scenario is grim.
One effect on the local economy: Seattle-area rents have stopped zooming up. In West Seattle, the added blow of the bridge closure has made things "absolutely bleak" for landlords. They're offering special deals and still not filling their units.
Plus, Seattle-area job openings are rebounding slower than in the U.S. as a whole, according to our daily chart explaining the coronavirus economy. Find more graphics and other economic news here.
Major League Baseball is trying to stem its losses from the coronavirus shutdown. But as it negotiates with players, MLB is administering self-inflicted wounds from which it might never fully recover, sports columnist Larry Stone writes.
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle is joining other Democrats in Congress in backing Amazon employees' lawsuit over working conditions.
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