Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, June 6, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

Working-class Americans died of COVID-19 at five times the rate of those in higher socioeconomic positions during the first year of the pandemic, according to a new study. The report comes as the expiration of federal stimulus checks and surging inflation on staples like gas and food — are driving an even bigger wedge between the haves and have-nots.

Meanwhile, Seattleites are processing grief 2 years into the pandemic. Some Washingtonians are turning to creative outlets, like artistic performances and other forms of self-expression, to process their feelings around death and grief. From death cafes to grief circles, people who’ve experienced the trauma of a loved one’s death say these rituals help them find peace and connect with others on an often touchy and taboo subject.

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 the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

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My family got COVID. So why did we test negative?

As a science journalist, I’ve read dozens of research papers about COVID-19, and I’ve interviewed so many virologists, infectious disease physicians and immunologists over the past two years that I’ve lost count. But nothing prepared me for what happened after my 7-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago.

It started the way you might expect: On a Sunday evening, my daughter spiked a fever. The next morning, we got an email informing us that she’d been exposed to the coronavirus on Friday at school. I gave her a rapid antigen test, which quickly lit up positive. I resigned myself to the possibility that the whole family was, finally, going to get COVID-19.

But we didn’t — not exactly. I, for one, never developed symptoms or tested positive. On the day my daughter first tested positive, my 11-year-old son announced that he wasn’t feeling well and began developing classic coronavirus symptoms: headache, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose. My husband followed two days later with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Yet despite testing daily for seven days straight, my husband and son never tested positive for COVID-19 — including on PCR tests administered on my son’s fifth day of symptoms, and my husband’s third. (And yes, we did some throat swabs, too.)

We racked our brains as to what might have happened: Did my husband and son get COVID, even though they never tested positive? Or did they have another virus that caused identical symptoms and happened to infect them right after they were exposed to COVID-19? (Our pediatrician said that was unlikely.) Why hadn’t I gotten sick at all? I called experts in immunology, microbiology and virology to get their take.

One of the first questions experts asked me was whether my family was vaccinated. Yes, I said: My husband and I are vaccinated and boosted, and our kids are vaccinated but not yet boosted. This is a relevant question because, if you’re exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, “your immune system kicks into action a lot faster if you’re vaccinated versus not vaccinated,” said Gigi Gronvall, an immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. And this rapid response changes everything about what happens next.

Read the story here.

—Melinda Wenner Moyer, The New York Times
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Many parents reluctant to get their under-5 kids vaccinated against COVID

Zoli’s parents plan to get their 4-year-old son vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as shots for young children could finally become available later this month. Shyamli’s father won’t race to be first in line but does plan to vaccinate his daughter. Lovely and Josh Jr.’s parents won’t vaccinate their kids unless forced to.

Kids under 5 years old are expected later this month to become the last age group in America approved for vaccines.

But many parents aren’t sure if they want the shots, or how quickly. Just one in five parents was planning to immediately get their young children vaccinated, according to a national survey released last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health organization. More than a third wanted to wait and see how other children responded before getting doses for their own. About 40% are reluctant to get children under 5 vaccinated at all, and more than a quarter said they would “definitely not” get their children the shots, the survey found.

Read the story here.

—Jason Laughlin, The Philadelphia Inquirer

‘Go ahead. Cry.’: How some Seattleites are processing grief 2 years into the pandemic

For months, we’ve watched the number of COVID-19 deaths tick upward, steadily and in spikes. Each figure representing a life and a community left behind to mourn. 

Social distancing and quarantine gave people space. Some had time for quiet reflection to finally deal with deaths that occurred several years prior; some felt more distance than ever while grappling with tragedy. Others experienced loss over events canceled, relationships ending, and memories unmade.

Grief surrounds us.

As the pandemic persists two years later, some Washingtonians are turning to creative outlets, like artistic performances and other forms of self-expression, to process their feelings around death and grief. From death cafes to grief circles, people who’ve experienced the trauma of a loved one’s death say these rituals help them find peace and connect with others on an often touchy and taboo subject.

More than 1 million people have died from COVID across the United States in the last two years. As of May 27, Washington has seen nearly 13,000 deaths.

In the last year, society has started moving forward. Restaurants reopened. Students returned to in-person learning. Businesses began calling workers back into the office.

But for those grieving, the pain and sadness from death can long linger.

Read the story here.

—Michelle Baruchman, Seattle Times Mental Health Project engagement reporter

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tests positive for coronavirus

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Buttigieg said he is experiencing mild symptoms, joining large numbers of Americans who continue to contract the virus as precautions wane and people seek a return to normalcy in the pandemic’s third year.

Buttigieg has been crisscrossing the country to promote the infrastructure law that President Biden signed last year, while making frequent media appearances, speaking on issues as varied as gun violence and supply chains.

Read the story here.

—Michael Laris, The Washington Post
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California’s latest COVID-19 surge may be slowing, early data suggests

There are initial signs that California’s latest wave of coronavirus cases may be slowing, although it’ll take more time to be certain.

California reported an average of 13,800 new coronavirus cases a day over the past week, according to data released Friday, down 12% from the previous week. That’s 247 cases a week for every 100,000 residents. A rate of 100 cases a week for every 100,000 residents is considered a high rate of viral transmission.

The trend is the first week-over-week decrease in cases in two months.

One big question, however, is whether reporting delays from the Memorial Day weekend are contributing to the decrease. It’s still possible that gatherings from the holiday weekend and during the summer will worsen transmission levels.

Read the story here.

—Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

Overlapping, highly contagious COVID subvariants are spreading fast in Florida

Overlapping waves of omicron are sweeping through Florida, leading more people to get infected with COVID.

The more transmissible BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant became officially dominant in the U.S. last week, yet it already is being pushed out nationally by newcomers BA.4 and BA.5, both of which have arrived in Florida.

While BA.2.12.1 has gained an advantage by being more contagious than the omicron subvariant BA.2 before it, the newcomers (4 and 5) are particularly good at evading antibodies and infecting those who are vaccinated or previously infected.

Some epidemiologists are describing what’s happening as the “battle of omicron.”

Helix, a private lab that identifies COVID strains circulating in states, found BA.4 and BA.5 crept into Florida in May, and represent about 5% of samples. The majority of cases in Florida — about 58% — are still BA.2.12.1.

The omicron subvariant BA.4 was first identified in January in cases sequenced in South Africa, and BA.5 surfaced a month later. The omicron strain, BA.2.12.1, accounted for nearly all of South Africa’s daily cases at the end of February. By the end of April, however, BA.4 and BA.5 were found in 90% of all positive test samples analyzed in that nation, exemplifying the infectiousness of the newcomers.

—Cindy Krischer Goodman and David Schutz, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop

Diners returned to restaurants in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month Monday as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak in the capital under China’s strict “zero-COVID” approach.

Museums, cinemas and gyms were allowed to operate at up to 75% of capacity and delivery drivers could once again bring packages to a customer’s door, rather than leave them to be picked up at the entrances to apartment compounds.

The return to near-normal applied everywhere in Beijing except for one district and part of another, where the outbreak lingered. Schools, which partially reopened earlier, will fully do so on June 13, followed by kindergartens on June 20.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Novavax’s more traditional COVID vaccine is on the way

More than a year after people began rolling up their sleeves for cutting-edge coronavirus shots, a new vaccine — this one based on a classic, decades-old technology — is expected to begin rolling out in the United States this summer.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration are scheduled to debate Tuesday whether a shot developed by the Maryland biotechnology company Novavax, an underdog in the vaccine race, is safe and effective. If the shot gets the greenlight, it will become the fourth coronavirus vaccine in the nation.

For most people, some already on their third or fourth messenger RNA coronavirus shot from Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, it’s a puzzle: A new vaccine? Now? Why bother?

But for a small contingent of holdouts who have closely tracked the progress of the Novavax vaccine, this is a long-awaited moment of truth.

“Some people can’t take the mRNA vaccines, and it’s important to have a choice,” said Victoria Dawson, 74, of New York, who is allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA shots. She received a Johnson & Johnson shot and booster but hopes her next shot will be from Novavax.

Read the story here.

—Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Washington Post

Even mild COVID cases can cause long-term heart problems, researchers find

Chadwick Knight weathered a rough bout of COVID-19 back in January 2021 without being hospitalized, but he never bounced back to his former healthy self.

He got winded all the time. He experienced brain fog.

Then, well over a year since catching the coronavirus, the 47-year-old collapsed on his living room floor last month. He was rushed to an emergency room with a new, life-threatening post-COVID complication: a blood clot in an artery going from his heart to his lungs.

“You get sick, and you think you’re pretty much better and then you are still having issues. And now, it just seems like more things on top of things, and you don’t know what the future holds,” said Knight, who lived in metro Atlanta for several years before recently moving to Dothan, Alabama. “It causes you to worry a lot and weighs you down a lot mentally.”

Cardiac doctors are reporting a growing number of patients like Knight, who have lingering post-COVID cardiovascular symptoms or new, serious heart conditions. These patients may have a wide range of heart problems, including irregular or racing heartbeat, blood clots, coronary disease and heart failure.

A new large study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 1 in 5 adult COVID survivors under the age of 65 in the United States has experienced at least one health condition that could be considered long COVID. Among those 65 and over, the number is 1 in 4.

Read the story here.

—Helena Oliviero, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution