Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, June 22, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
While coronavirus was listed as the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, recent data has shown it’s fallen down the list this year — news that comes as vaccination efforts reached an encouraging milestone on Monday: 150 million Americans have been fully vaccinated.
But the nation’s youngest adults remain the least likely to be vaccinated against the virus, and their weekly rates of vaccination are declining, according to federal data released Monday.
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.
Where are cooling spaces in Seattle? City announces options, limited by COVID-19
With temperatures running high all week and expected to climb past 90 degrees this weekend, Seattle is pointing residents to public sites where they can cool off, including library branches, wading pools, spray parks and swimming beaches.
Some COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, however, and there aren’t yet as many air-conditioned sites open as during heat waves in past years. Also, the city has yet to turn on drinking fountains in most parks. Temperatures could hit 100 degrees in some Puget Sound locations before the hot stretch is done.
Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management will monitor the weather throughout the week to determine whether additional air-conditioned spaces should be opened, spokesperson Kate Hutton said.
Focused approach will help Washington state reach 70% vaccination goal, Inslee says
Gov. Jay Inslee toured an Auburn pop-up clinic on Tuesday as the state continues to take a targeted approach to vaccinate harder-to-reach populations in areas where vaccination rates are down in Washington.
While vaccination numbers and equitable distribution of shots have gone up significantly because of mass vaccination sites, Inslee said a focus on certain regions in the state can help address a recent slow down.
The Auburn COVID-19 clinic at the Outlet Collection sees about 200 people each day. Staff are getting ready to shift to a smaller space to increase their efficiency.
”Having this facility in the southern part of the county, which has less uptake in the vaccine, is very, very important so that we can have as much equity in the administration of the vaccine as humanly possible,” Inslee said.
Sea-Tac Airport gets $176 million more in federal COVID relief funds
The Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced the allocation of $8 billion in grants to help U.S. airports recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airports in Washington state will receive a total of $217 million, the tenth-largest allocation among all states. Of that, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will receive $176 million.
Spokane airport will get $16.8 million; the Tri-Cities airport $5.6 million; Paine Field in Everett $5.4 million; and Bellingham’s airport $4.5 million.
The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, which targeted airports in order to maintain jobs and keep construction projects going.
Airports receiving the aid must maintain at least 90% of their pre-pandemic employment level.
Mobile homeowners fear evictions as pandemic protections end
For more than two decades, Kimberly Burnworth has lived in a mobile home in rural West Virginia on a tract her grandfather acquired in the 1960s. A single mother, Burnworth is paid by the government to be a caregiver to her 11-year-old son, David, who has muscular dystrophy.
Between food, medicines and a $61,000 mortgage, money is a constant worry. Increasingly, Burnworth is also worried she will be evicted. She has not made a mortgage payment in nearly two years after losing her job. The lender — 21st Mortgage, a company controlled by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway — is trying to foreclose on her home. And the federal moratorium on evictions put in place during the pandemic is ending this month.
In May, a local judge bought Burnworth some time when he temporarily stopped 21st Mortgage from foreclosing and delayed a trial until this fall. She has the money to restart her mortgage payments of $507 a month, she said, but she cannot afford the $14,900 the company also wants for the missed payments.
“I have made mistakes, but they won’t work with me,” said Burnworth, 50, who had a prior bankruptcy filing with her ex-husband.
What are we going to wear once the pandemic is over?
The world of retail runs on predicting the future. What you buy in July was decided on in November. Trendspotting used to happen largely in person — retailers had eyes and ears on the ground, hunting for cool.
Now it is an obsessive study in web traffic and reviews, Instagram and TikTok posts, bridal registry data, and restaurant and hotel bookings. This was always a piece of the puzzle for many chains, but it became central to their survival in the past year.
So as we are preparing to head back into the real world, what we will buy and wear once we’re out there is being dictated more than ever by our lives online.
Big retailers have been feeling enormous pressure to make the right bets on what consumers will want in the second half of 2021 and beyond with apparel sales in the U.S. declining 19% overall last year.
Retailers say comfort will still be key, but Jenn Hyman, CEO of Rent the Runway, said, “If it was lounge-y enough, comfortable enough, boring enough, gray enough to wear in 2020, we’re not buying it for 2021.”
Help wanted: Labor crisis shocks California restaurants
California fully reopened its economy on June 15 and did away with limits on capacity at restaurants, retail stores and other businesses. People are eager to return to sporting events and amusement parks and enjoy a meal out.
But instead of full dining rooms, many restaurants are being forced to cut operating hours or leave tables open because they can't recruit new employees.
The worker shortage is also affecting restaurants across the U.S. The National Restaurant Association has reported the eating and drinking industry shed 2.5 million jobs in 2020 and now has 1.4 million job openings in the restaurant and hotel sector.
“Hiring is a nightmare,” said Caroline Styne, owner and wine director at The Lucques Groupshe in Los Angeles. “I’ve never been in a situation like this.”
U.S. to narrowly miss Biden’s July 4 vaccination goal, White House says
The United States will miss President Joe Biden’s original goal of getting coronavirus shots to at least 70% of adults by July 4, a White House official confirmed Tuesday to The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to preview planned remarks.
The White House will instead announce a new goal: ensuring that 70% of Americans age 27 and up receive at least one shot through the July 4 holiday weekend, the official said. Seventy percent of Americans age 30 and up have already received at least one shot, the official said.
The White House’s planned announcement Tuesday is a formal acknowledgment of what had become clear in recent weeks: The United States had fallen behind Biden’s goal as vaccinations slowed, particularly in the South and Midwest.
State health officials report 421 new coronavirus cases
The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 421 new coronavirus cases and 5 new deaths on Tuesday.
The update brings the state's totals to 448,142 cases and 5,843 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. Monday. Tallies may be higher earlier in the week because new state data isn’t reported on Sundays and COVID-related deaths aren’t reported on the weekends.
In addition, 25,081 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 45 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 111,725 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,615 deaths.
Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 7,658,911 doses and 48.7% 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 27,531 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.
Pandemic brought out something positive for some people — resilience
While the pandemic has been a time marked by stress, grief and hardship for many Americans, some have also experienced a surprising outcome: a sense of resilience.
Out of the challenges of navigating a disorienting new world came a shift in perspective and priorities. They made decisions and formed healthy habits that could shape their lives for the better.
While a pandemic might seem like an unusual catalyst for inspiring positive life changes, experts say it’s typical to see a range of responses to a collective trauma.
In some individuals, the toll of the past year led to worsening mental health. But research indicates others may emerge more resilient.
Oregon lawmakers pass amendment to ‘pause’ evictions
With the state and federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of June, Oregon lawmakers passed an added safety net for struggling tenants on Tuesday that will “pause” some evictions.
Under the “Safe Harbor” amendment on Senate Bill 278 tenants who are unable to pay their July or August rent would not be evicted for 60 days if they provide proof to their landlord that they’ve applied for rental assistance through Oregon Housing and Community Services.
The amended bill, which passed in the House 56-2 and in the Senate 26-3, will head to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk next to be signed.
An eviction moratorium has been in place in Oregon since April 2020. In addition, last month Oregon lawmakers voted to extend the grace period for past-due rent during the moratorium, allowing tenants to have until Feb. 28, 2022, to pay back rent.
They relied on Chinese vaccines. Now they’re battling outbreaks
Mongolia promised its people a “COVID-free summer.” Bahrain said there would be a “return to normal life.” The tiny island nation of the Seychelles aimed to jump-start its economy.
All three put their faith, at least in part, in easily accessible Chinese-made vaccines, which would allow them to roll out ambitious inoculation programs at a time when much of the world was going without.
But instead of freedom from the coronavirus, all three countries are now battling a surge in infections.
The experiences of those countries lay bare a harsh reality facing a post-pandemic world: The degree of recovery may depend on which vaccines governments give to their people.
Almost 900 Secret Service employees were infected with COVID
Roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to government records obtained by a government watchdog group.
Secret Service records show that 881 people on the agency payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
More than half — 477 — worked in the special agent division, which is responsible for protecting the president and vice president, as well as the families of these leaders and other government officials.
Pressure builds to lift travel restrictions on U.S.-Canada border
As restrictions on nonessential travel across the U.S.-Canada land border enter their 16th month this week, pressure is rising on both sides for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden to crack it open — even a little — or to provide something, anything, about what a reopening plan might look like.
Ottawa on Monday did announce some changes at the border, to start July 5. They’d allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are fully inoculated with a Health Canada-authorized vaccine, and who test negative for COVID-19 before and after arrival, to bypass some quarantine and testing requirements.
But the announcement means most fully vaccinated foreigners, including Americans, who hope to enter Canada for nonessential purposes are out of luck. And a growing number of lawmakers, residents and business groups on both sides of the world’s longest undefended border are out of patience.
However, while some Canadian businesses want to let Americans back in. Most Canadians don’t.
Add boats to the list of what’s hard to find (and more expensive)
Many parts of the economy are dealing with a sudden increase in demand, and the boat market is one of them. The uptick in sales and charters of boats began early in the pandemic, as the wealthy looked for a safe place to be out with their families.
As a result, anyone looking to buy a small runabout may need time to find one. Someone seeking to charter a megayacht will also need to be patient. And in both cases, prices are up.
Yatco, an international database of all yachts for sale and for charter, ran the numbers and found that sale prices and charter rates had increased significantly from their pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Sales of boats under 50 feet are up 27% from 2019 and 35% over last year. Sales of larger yachts have increased as well, with yachts over 150 feet up 62% from last year and 47% from 2019.
Coronavirus cases surge in Cornwall, England, after G-7 summit, sparking backlash
Coronavirus cases are rising in Cornwall — but Downing Street says the Group of Seven summit held in the British town earlier this month is not to blame.
The seven-day case rate in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has soared from 4.9 per 100,000 people in early June to 130.6 per 100,000 people on June 16, the Guardian reported. Rates of infections are particularly high in Carbis Bay, where the summit was held, and several nearby areas where delegates to the gathering of world leaders stayed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson on Monday denied any direct causation between the G-7 summit — with its influx of journalists, police officers and support staff — and the rise in coronavirus infection rates.
Some health experts have suggested that the surge in Cornwall cases has been driven by infections among students, as well as increased travel among young people during the summer break from school. Young people ages 15 to 24 have predominantly fallen sick this round.
Puyallup to hold Meeker Days festival in August. No masks required if you’re vaccinated
Puyallup is holding one of Pierce County’s first events after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered large gatherings.
Following Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement of the state’s reopening on June 30, the Puyallup Main Street Association has brought back Meeker Days.
Meeker Days is a heritage festival that started in 1939 to commemorate the city’s founder, Ezra Meeker. It has since become a summer celebration that includes live music, bounce houses, face painting, vendors and a beer garden.
From Aug. 13 to 15, Main Street from Second Street Southwest to Second Street Southeast will be shut down and Pioneer Park will be full.
The events will be outside, and masks will not be required for those vaccinated. Admission is free.
Hungary’s immunity cards allow packed stands, raise concerns
Tens of thousands of soccer fans packed the Puskas Arena in Budapest last week to attend Euro 2020 matches. It was the first full-house international soccer event in Europe in more than a year — made possible largely by Hungary’s adoption of government-issued immunity cards.
The only one of the tournament’s 10 host countries to allow full crowds in stadiums, Hungary has conducted one of Europe’s most successful COVID-19 vaccination drives. The immunity cards attest that their bearers have received at least one vaccine dose or recovered from COVID-19, and allow them access to sports events as well as to services and venues such as hotels, spas, concerts, theaters and indoor restaurant dining.
Yet while the cards have allowed many to regain many aspects of pre-pandemic life, others worry that their use could impact fundamental rights and add to separations between those who have a vaccination card, and those who do not.
Desperate for COVID care, many poor immigrants resort to unproven drugs
On a Tuesday afternoon in April, among tables of vegetables, clothes and telephone chargers at Fresno’s biggest outdoor flea market, were prescription drugs being sold as treatments for COVID-19.
Vendors sold $25 injections of the steroid dexamethasone, several kinds of antibiotics and the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — the malaria drugs pushed by President Donald Trump last year — make regular appearances at the market as well, as do sham herbal supplements.
Health and consumer protection agencies have repeatedly warned that several of these treatments, as well as vitamin infusions and expensive injections of “peptide therapies” sold at alternative wellness clinics for more than $1,000, are not supported by reliable scientific evidence.
But such unproven remedies, often promoted by doctors and companies on social media, have appealed to many people in low-income immigrant communities in places across the country where COVID-19 rates have been high but access to health care is low. Some turn to unregulated drugs because mainstream medicine is too expensive or is inaccessible because of language or cultural barriers.
White House: 70% of Americans 30 or older get COVID-19 shot
More than 70% of Americans age 30 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the White House said, even as President Joe Biden is set to fall short of reaching his goal of giving a shot to the same percentage of all American adults by Independence Day.
The Biden administration is releasing the new data Tuesday showing it expects to reach 70% of Americans age 27 or older with at least one shot by the July 4 holiday. A White House official said it is now redoubling its focus on vaccinating younger Americans age 18-26.
Duterte threatens to arrest Filipinos who refuse vaccination
The Philippine president has threatened to order the arrest of Filipinos who refuse COVID-19 vaccination and told them to leave the country if they would not cooperate with efforts to end a public health emergency.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who is known for his public outbursts and brash rhetoric, said in televised remarks Monday night that he has become exasperated with people who refuse to get immunized amid a health crisis.
“There is a national emergency. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, I’ll have you arrested and I’ll inject the vaccine in your butt,” Duterte said. He also told the vaccine hesitant to leave the country for India, the U.S. or "somewhere."
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra acknowledged on Tuesday that there was no Philippine law criminalizing refusal to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have dipped below 300 a day for the first time since March 2020, and vaccinations hit another bright milestone yesterday. The virus is not the nation's third-leading cause of death anymore.
But young adults, already the least likely age group to get vaccinated, are quickly losing interest in the shots.
Nearly $130 million will flow to Seattle residents, programs and businesses under a spending plan that the City Council approved yesterday for federal COVID-19 relief money. Here's the breakdown.
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