Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Saturday, June 5, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

After Gov. Jay Inslee announced a lottery Thursday to further incentivize people to get vaccinated, dozens say they have hit a roadblock trying to verify their vaccine record. Some said the website was sluggish and others said calling the state did not allow them to get their vaccine status verified, either.

In other developments, Eastern Washington University officials said students and staff must be vaccinated to be on campus. The move reverses a decision made last month.

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.


Navigating the pandemic
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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As COVID recedes, anti-mask laws focused on the KKK resurface

When Virginia’s coronavirus state of emergency expires June 30, a mask ban from 1950 will come back into force.

More than a dozen states have laws barring people from covering their faces in public, most of them ordinances passed to deter the Ku Klux Klan.

Those laws were suspended, revoked or not enforced as mask wearing in many states became a public health exigency.

But as the pandemic recedes in the country and emergency orders related to the pandemic expire, the question of what to do with the old mask laws is resurfacing.

Read the whole story here.

— Thomas Fuller, The New York Times
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Europe, the U.S. take different approaches to ending pandemic restrictions

On the fundamental question of how to approach an end to coronavirus restrictions, America and Europe have diverged.

While the United States appears to be trying to close the curtain on the pandemic, with fully vaccinated people thronging restaurants and sports venues, across the ocean, in Britain and the European Union, it is quite a different story.

Despite plunging infection levels and a surging vaccine program, parts of Europe are maintaining limits on gatherings, reimposing curbs on travel and weighing local lockdowns.

In Britain, the spread of a new highly contagious variant first detected in India has scrambled calculations just as the country planned to return to something more like pre-pandemic life June 21.

Read the whole story here.

—Marc Santora and Benjamin Mueller, The New York Times

Asia-Pacific trade ministers mull vaccine access, supply

BANGKOK (AP) — Improved access to coronavirus vaccines and other tools needed to fight the pandemic are vital to crushing the pandemic and hastening a recovery, officials said Saturday in an online meeting of Pacific Rim economies.

The unprecedented crisis brought on by COVID-19 requires a coordinated, cooperative response, said New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor, who hosted the meeting. The 21-member APEC gathers economies all along the Pacific Rim, from tiny Brunei to the United States to Chile and New Zealand. One of its long-term aims is to promote a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific region.

The focus Saturday was on “the most pressing problem our region faces, getting people vaccinated against COVID-19 as quickly as possible,” O’Connor said, adding he would be asking his counterparts how they could speed up trade in vaccines and other needed goods.

“The successful distribution of vaccines across our region will be critical to our recovery,” he said.

APEC has long focused on dismantling trade barriers, and many of its members are still struggling to obtain and deploy enough COVID-19 vaccines to vanquish coronavirus flare-ups.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Foreign trips, softball games and full offices: Signs of normalcy return to Capitol Hill as pandemic wanes

WASHINGTON – Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., wasn’t allowed to talk about where he was heading, and that made him happy.

“I’m not at liberty to say. This has some security concerns,” the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services said May 27. He was heading abroad.

Since February 2020, the global pandemic had shut down critical overseas trips for lawmakers wanting to meet face-to-face with key allies. Finally, with vaccinations spreading throughout most of Congress, Inhofe and other senators were back up in the air during the Memorial Day recess, a traditional time to meet with overseas allies and see how U.S. military operations are handling certain hot spots.

“I think it’s a sign that all this thing that we’ve been going through with the last 15 months is coming to a close. I mean, that’s the good news,” Inhofe said.

From codels, as these trips for congressional delegations are known, to the return of annual rituals such as charity baseball games, a new normal is settling in on Capitol Hill.

Masks are no longer required in most places on the campus, official visitors can schedule in-person meetings, some lawmakers are hiring summer interns to work inside their offices, and some form of co-ed softball is likely to spring up across Washington.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post
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Cruise ships restart in Venice; protesters decry their risks

VENICE, Italy (AP) — The first cruise ship leaving Venice since the pandemic was to depart Saturday amid protests by activists demanding that the enormous ships be permanently rerouted out the fragile lagoon, especially Giudecca Canal through the city’s historic center, due to environmental and safety risks.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi’s government pledged this winter to get cruise ships out of the Venice lagoon, but reaching that goal will take time. But even an interim solution is not likely before next year and getting ships out of the lagoon could take years.

Venice has become one of the world’s most important cruise destinations over the last two decades, serving as a lucrative turnaround point for 667 cruise ships in 2019 carrying nearly 700,000 passengers, according to the association Cruise Lines International (CLIA).

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

D-Day spirit of remembrance lives on, despite the pandemic

CARENTAN, France (AP) — In a small Normandy town where paratroopers landed in the early hours of D-Day, applause broke the silence to honor Charles Shay. He was the only veteran attending a ceremony in Carentan commemorating the 77th anniversary of the assault that helped bring an end to World War II.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s D-Day commemorations are taking place with travel restrictions that have prevented veterans or families of fallen soldiers from the U.S., Britain and other allied countries from making the trip to France. Only a few officials were allowed exceptions.

Shay, who now lives in Normandy, was a 19-year-old U.S. Army medic when he landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Today, he recalls the “many good friends” he lost on the battlefield.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Washington reports 798 new coronavirus cases

The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 798 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.

The update brings the state's totals to 440,057 cases and 5,836 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. Friday, though the state does not report new death data on weekends or update its data dashboard on Sundays. 

In addition, 24,465 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 105,609 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,593 deaths.

Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 7,133,121 doses and 43.9% 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 23,270 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.

—Benjamin Romano
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Wisconsin priest digs in to refuse bishop’s demand to resign

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Rev. James Altman calls himself “a lowly priest” serving a blue-collar city in western Wisconsin. But when his bishop demanded his resignation – after a series of divisive remarks about politics and the pandemic – Altman refused to oblige and has since raised more than $640,000 from his conservative supporters to defend himself.

While not unprecedented, a Catholic priest’s refusal to abide by a bishop’s call to resign is certainly rare. Altman’s case, which has garnered national attention and made him a celebrity of sorts among conservative Catholics, has further fueled the divide between them and those urging a more progressive, inclusive church.

Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse, first came into prominence before the 2020 election with a fiery video on YouTube.

“You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat,” said Altman, admonishing people to “repent of your support of that party and its platform or face the fires of hell.”

He reiterated that sentiment recently while also criticizing vaccination efforts and restrictions on church gatherings related to COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

More Tri-Cities area COVID deaths, as new confirmed case counts jump this week

Two more deaths due to complications of COVID-19, the youngest a man in his 40s, were reported Friday by the Benton Franklin Health District.

The new cases came as 43 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced on Friday as the Washington State Department of Health cleared a backlog of case data. Some of the new reported cases stem from that numbers adjustment.

The COVID-19 vaccine is widely available in the Tri-Cities area, with one pop-up clinic in Pasco this weekend planning a $1,000 drawing for those who get the shot.

The man in his 40s who died recently was a Franklin County resident and the other man who died was a Benton County resident in his 80s.

The local health district reports COVID-19 deaths weekly and last month reported deaths averaged just over two a week for nine total in May, down from 12 in April.

Read the full story here.

—Tri-City Herald

As June 15 coronavirus reopening nears, Los Angeles County shopping malls brace for waves of shoppers

For nearly a year, Los Angeles County’s shopping malls resembled ghost towns amid lockdowns, restrictions and widespread stay-at-home orders. But with improving vaccination rates, falling virus numbers and easing restrictions visitors have been flocking back to retail centers.

As California is moving ahead to fully reopening its economy on June 15, malls are under pressure to adapt to high foot traffic and welcome more visitors.

“I’m not sure if more people will start shopping simply because June 15 rolls around,” said Steven Sayers, senior general manager at Glendale Galleria. “But we have been seeing a continued upswing in demand for the last several months. More people have been coming out shopping.”

Nearly 65% of consumers said last month they’d feel safe visiting a mall, a 7% uptick from a few weeks prior, marking consumer confidence in shopping in-person, according to consumer research company Morning Consult, which conducts weekly surveys among roughly 2,200 adults nationwide.

Read the full story here.

—Daily News, Los Angeles
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Two Vancouver senior care facilities see COVID outbreaks

Clark County Public Health has confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in two local senior care facilities.

A total of 21 COVID-19 cases have been discovered at Glenwood Place Senior Living in Vancouver, with 14 cases among residents and seven among staff. No deaths have been confirmed.

The other outbreak is eight cases at Van Vista Assisted Living in Vancouver. Six cases are residents and two are staff — one person has died, according to Public Health.

Key Property Services, the property management company for Van Vista, has placed the facility on a full lockdown quarantine, according to a Key Property statement. That means residents restricted to rooms, with communal areas closed and no congregate gatherings or visitors.

Key Property said it has been screening employees and any visitors prior to admittance to the building during the pandemic.

Personal protection equipment has also been offered. Vaccinations were offered on-site for all staff and residents, but some residents and staff have declined vaccination, according to the statement.

—The Columbian

GOP aims to revive Fauci attacks after email trove released

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci has been a political lightning rod since the early days of the pandemic, lionized by the left and villainized by the right.

But with the release of a trove of Fauci’s emails this past week, Republicans’ political attacks on the nation’s top government infectious-diseases expert have gone into overdrive.

On conservative news channels, President Joe Biden’s pandemic adviser has been baselessly pilloried as a liar who misled the American people about the origins of COVID-19 to protect the Chinese government. There’s no evidence of wrongdoing, but Republican calls for his resignation have grown louder, as have demands for new investigations into the origins of the virus.

“Given what we know now, I don’t know how anyone can have confidence that he should remain in a position of public trust and authority,” said Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a potential presidential hopeful who is calling for Fauci’s resignation and a full congressional inquiry.

The political moves by Republicans represent a new effort to find a reliable foil in the first few months of the Biden administration, as they have struggled to turn public sentiment against the new president. So far, Biden has enjoyed widespread job approval, buoyed by the public’s broad backing of his handling of the pandemic, which 71% of Americans support, according to a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Amid brutal case surge, Afghanistan hit by a vaccine delay

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan is battling a brutal surge in COVID-19 infections as health officials plead for vaccines, only to be told by the World Health Organization that the 3 million doses the country expected to receive by April won’t be delivered until August.

“We are in the middle of a crisis,” Health Ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said this week, expressing deep frustration at the global vaccine distribution that has left poor countries scrambling to find supplies for their people.

Nazari has knocked on the door of several embassies, and so far, “I’ve gotten diplomatic answers” but no vaccine doses, he said.

Over the past month, the escalating pace of new cases has threatened to overwhelm Afghanistan’s health system, already struggling under the weight of relentless conflict. In part, the increase has been blamed on uninterrupted travel with India, bringing the highly contagious Delta variant, first identified in India.

Also, most Afghans still question the reality of the virus or believe their faith will protect them and rarely wear masks or social distance, often mocking those who do. Until just a week ago, the government was allowing unrestricted mass gatherings.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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New England’s success against COVID-19 could be a model

BOSTON (AP) — For Dr. Jeremy Faust, the moment he realized the pandemic no longer dominated his workday came over Memorial Day weekend, when he didn’t see a single coronavirus case over two shifts in the emergency room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Kerry LaBarbera, an ER nurse a few miles away at Boston Medical Center, had a similar realization that same weekend, when just two patients with COVID-19 came through her unit, one of the busiest in New England.

“The past year and a half has been like going through a tornado or something terrible,” she said. “You’re holding on for dear life, and then you get past it and it’s like, ‘What just happened?’”

Massachusetts and the rest of New England — the most heavily vaccinated region in the U.S. — are giving the rest of the country a possible glimpse of the future if more Americans get their shots.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

More Boeing workers will return to worksites starting mid-July

Many of the thousands of Boeing employees who are still working remotely will begin shifting back to the office next month — though it’s not clear how many are coming back or how quickly that might happen.

In a Friday announcement to workers, Michael D’Ambrose, chief human resources officer, said Boeing will start bringing back some additional employees to worksites in the Puget Sound area and other U.S. locations as early as mid-July, “as local health and safety conditions permit.”

But D’Ambrose’s statement offered few specifics. The company isn’t saying how many employees are still working remotely, how many of those were expected to return or how long the entire return process might take.

Although many Boeing workers, including its roughly 27,000 local manufacturing workers, have long since returned to their physical worksites, many others continue to work remotely in some capacity.

Read the full story here.

—Paul Roberts

The ‘two societies’: 97% of new COVID cases are among people who haven’t gotten the shots

This being America, it was probably inevitable that we would turn the scientific breakthrough of a pandemic-ending vaccine into a game show.

It’s like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” with cash prizes, or “The Price is Right,” where you can “come on down!” to get a jab and a chance at an Xbox or free flights to Cancún or gift cards redeemable for topsoil (yes, really, topsoil).

Whatever works. It’s a little strange, though, that there’s not more hoopla around what’s happening with the vaccines themselves.

“For those of us in public health, it’s nothing short of amazing,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, the chief health officer for Seattle and King County, told me the other day.

Read the full story here.

—Danny Westneat