Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Sunday, June 14, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.

As Washington counties slowly begin to reopen, coronavirus infections are on the rise throughout Washington, according to a new report from the state Department of Health. State epidemiologists have seen large increases in Benton, Yakima, Spokane and Franklin counties. Gov. Jay Inslee said the report shows that “cases and deaths will soon increase substantially if COVID-19 continues to spread at the current levels.”

On Sunday, state health officials confirmed 296 new COVID-19 cases in Washington, along with four deaths. Scientists are finding that the length of the novel coronavirus symptoms varies by person, with some people remaining sick for months.

Worldwide, Brazil now has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, trailing only the U.S. China reported 57 new cases on Sunday, the most the country has had in two months, showing how the virus can return after coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Throughout Sunday, 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 Saturday 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 Sunday.

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Live updates:

296 new coronavirus cases reported in Washington

Washington health officials reported 296 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the state's total to 25,834 cases as of midnight Saturday. The Washington State Department of Health also reported four more people have died from the virus, with the total now standing at 1,217 deaths.

In King County, the total number of cases stands at 8,722, an increase of 28 cases from the previous day.

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How accurate are coronavirus tests? No one really knows

In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — How accurate are the coronavirus tests used in the U.S.?

Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out.

When the new virus began spreading, the Food and Drug Administration used its emergency powers to OK scores of quickly devised tests, based mainly on a small number of lab studies showing they could successfully detect the virus.

That’s very different from the large patient studies that can take weeks or months, which experts say are needed to provide a true sense of testing accuracy.

The FDA’s speedy response came after it was initially criticized for delaying the launch of new tests during a crisis and after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stumbled in getting its own test out to states.

But with the U.S. outbreak nearly certain to stretch on for months or even years, some experts want the FDA to demand better evidence of the tests’ accuracy so doctors know how many infections might be missed.

There have been more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 115,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Cases in nearly half of U.S. states are rising.

In recent weeks, preliminary findings have flagged potential problems with some COVID-19 tests, including one used daily at the White House. Faulty tests could leave many thousands of Americans with the incorrect assumption that they are virus-free, contributing to new flare-ups of the disease as communities reopen.

“In the beginning, the FDA was under a lot of pressure to get these tests onto the marketplace,” said Dr. Steven Woloshin of Dartmouth College, who wrote about the issue in the New England Journal of Medicine last week. “But now that there are plenty of tests out there, it’s time for them to raise the bar.”

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Slowing the coronavirus is speeding the spread of other diseases

As poor countries around the world struggle to beat back the coronavirus, they are unintentionally contributing to fresh explosions of illness and death from other diseases — ones that are readily prevented by vaccines.

This spring, after the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic could spread swiftly when children gathered for shots, many countries suspended their inoculation programs. Even in countries that tried to keep them going, cargo flights with vaccine supplies were halted by the pandemic and health workers diverted to fight it.

Now, diphtheria is appearing in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Cholera is in South Sudan, Cameroon, Mozambique, Yemen and Bangladesh.

A mutated strain of poliovirus has been reported in more than 30 countries.

And measles is flaring around the globe, including in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Nigeria and Uzbekistan.

Of 29 countries that have suspended measles campaigns because of the pandemic, 18 are reporting outbreaks. An additional 13 countries are considering postponement. According to the Measles and Rubella Initiative, 178 million people are at risk of missing measles shots in 2020.

The risk now is “an epidemic in a few months’ time that will kill more children than COVID,” said Chibuzo Okonta, president of Doctors Without Borders in West and Central Africa.

As the pandemic lingers, the WHO and other international public health groups are now urging countries to carefully resume vaccination while contending with the coronavirus.

At stake is the future of a hard-fought, 20-year collaboration that has prevented 35 million deaths in 98 countries from vaccine-preventable diseases, and reduced mortality from them in children by 44%, according to a 2019 study by the Vaccine Impact Modeling Consortium, a group of public health scholars.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

A commuters walks on a nearly empty subway platform in New York, Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A commuters walks on a nearly empty subway platform in New York, Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City that was lingers everywhere in the New York City that is, like flashes of movement out of the corner of your eye.

The subways run, but not all hours, and definitely not with anywhere near as many riders. Your favorite corner deli has your bagel and coffee — as long as you take it to go and wear a mask to get it. Go enjoy the sunshine in a park, but too many other people better not have the same idea.

It begs the question: Who do we become when we can’t be who we were?

Read more about how NYC is navigating its new realities.

—Deepti Hajela, The Associated Press
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Stay home, stay well

Nicole Tsong does yoga in her living room. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)
Nicole Tsong does yoga in her living room. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)

Lots of folks are staying fit with in-home exercise machines or videotaped yoga or exercise classes. But for work/life balance coach and yoga instructor Nicole Tsong, it look live, online classes to get her hooked on exercising at home.

Read more about how to find an exercise community online that suits you.

—Nicole Tsong

Bicycle sales spike around the world during pandemic

In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, photo, bicyclists wear pandemic masks while riding in Portland, Maine. Bicycle sales have surged as shut-in families try to find a way to keep kids active at a time of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, photo, bicyclists wear pandemic masks while riding in Portland, Maine. Bicycle sales have surged as shut-in families try to find a way to keep kids active at a time of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Fitness junkies locked out of gyms, commuters fearful of public transit, and families going stir crazy inside their homes during the coronavirus pandemic have created a boom in bicycle sales unseen in decades.

In the United States, bicycle aisles at mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target have been swept clean, and independent shops are doing a brisk business and are selling out of affordable “family” bikes.

Bicycle sales over the past two months saw their biggest spike in the U.S. since the oil crisis of the 1970s, said Jay Townley, who analyzes cycling industry trends at Human Powered Solutions.

“People quite frankly have panicked, and they’re buying bikes like toilet paper,” Townley said, referring to the rush to buy essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer that stores saw at the beginning of the pandemic.

The trend is mirrored around the globe, as cities better known for car-clogged streets, like Manila and Rome, install bike lanes to accommodate surging interest in cycling while public transport remains curtailed. In London, municipal authorities plan to go further by banning cars from some central thoroughfares.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Contact tracing in Washington proves challenging

Kimberly Steele-Peter, a supervisor for a team of contact tracers at the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, makes a tracing call in her office.  (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Kimberly Steele-Peter, a supervisor for a team of contact tracers at the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, makes a tracing call in her office. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Quickly tracking the contacts of COVID-19 patients is vital for reopening Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee has said, but his administration can’t tell you if it’s meeting its own goal to reach people within 48 hours of a positive coronavirus test.

Three months into the pandemic, state officials have drafted and trained a small army of workers who are now finally ready to make phone calls — but they’re mostly just waiting as counties instead have staffed their own investigators.

Those who are doing the work have found that more than 40% of phone numbers and other key information is missing, due in part to gaps in reporting from laboratories and illegible handwriting. They are often filling out paper forms because the state’s central database for tracking disease is inadequate.

And people who test positive aren’t always responsive when investigators call.

Despite these glitches, counties across the state are largely able to track their individual cases, and some, including King County, are at or near their goals.

Read The Seattle Times watchdog story here.

—Mike Reicher, David Gutman and Ryan Blethen