Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Wednesday, Nov. 10, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

The United States will likely deliver enough coronavirus vaccine shots for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday, adding that states should aim to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings.

Following suit, Gov. Jay Inslee announced teachers and licensed child care workers will be able seek COVID-19 vaccines immediately, assenting to new directions from the federal government. The Biden directive, however, causes concerns for other groups of frontline workers in Washington, as they see their position moved down in the list.

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.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)


In Italy, the coronavirus devastates a generation

CREMONA, Italy — In one of the hardest-hit parts of the West’s most aged nation, the coronavirus blitzed through a generation in a matter of weeks. It killed more than 100 of 400 residents in the local nursing home. It forced this city to rush-order eight refrigerated trailers to hold the corpses. It created a horrifying landscape of ambulances racing to the private homes of seniors, who were dying at a rate 400% above the norm.

“The pain was atrocious,” said Gilberto Anelli, 82, who lost his wife of 57 years and now starts every morning speaking to her photograph.

As a global event, the coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every person’s life. But in the country that was Europe’s first major epicenter, a year of data and personal accounts show how the virus concentrated its blow on a single, already-vulnerable age group, causing a historic spike in elderly mortality.

All the while, the very measures designed to keep the elderly safe have erected a wall around them. Survivors in places such as Cremona are trying to cope with a mass death event that has also left many feeling cut off, depressed and without purpose.

—The Washington Post

California to give 40% of vaccine doses to vulnerable areas

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will begin setting aside 40% of all vaccine doses for the state’s most vulnerable neighborhoods in an effort to inoculate people most at risk from the coronavirus and get the state’s economy open more quickly.

Two officials in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration shared details Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The doses will be spread out among 400 ZIP codes with about 8 million people eligible for shots. Many of the neighborhoods are concentrated in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley. The areas are considered most vulnerable based on metrics such as household income, education level, housing status and access to transportation.

Once 2 million vaccine doses are given out in those neighborhoods, the state will make it easier for counties to move through reopening tiers that dictate business and school reopenings.

—Associated Press

Washington state teachers, school employees move to head of the vaccine line — now what?

Corinne Barrett was in the middle of grading assignments when a colleague messaged her: “It’s happening.”

Within hours of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Tuesday announcement that school employees and child-care workers could join the ranks of the vaccinated, Barrett, a P.E. and health teacher in the Bellevue School District, hatched a plan. 

Before sunrise Wednesday, she was fifth in line outside a walk-in vaccine clinic operated by Sea Mar Community Health Centers in South Seattle. By 8 a.m., she had her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Since the news flooded their social-media feeds and work emails, school employees and child-care workers shared stories of scouring the internet and consulting their friend groups in search of appointments. By Wednesday morning, a 37,000-member Facebook group set up to help Washington state residents find vaccination sites was flooded with dozens of posts from educators seeking help. Kaiser Permanente, a common insurance provider for school-district employees, reported a “significant increase” in calls inquiring about the vaccine. 

Throughout the next month, the state and federal governments plan to help with programs to speed up vaccinations for education and child-care workers, who number about 260,000 in Washington state. 

Read the full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz, Jenn Smith and Hannah Furfaro

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen inoculated against COVID-19

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodian Prime Minister Hu Sen was inoculated Thursday with a vaccine supplied by the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative, as a plan to immunize up to two-thirds of the country’s population was on track to be completed by the end of the year.

Hu Sen received a shot donated by India, one of 324,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived Tuesday.

His vaccination comes as Cambodia fights to quell a fresh surge in infections that has mostly affected the Chinese community in Sihanoukville, a city home to the country’s main port and huge Chinese investments and construction projects.

Hu Sen said travel to and from the city was being restricted.

Cambodia reported 31 new virus cases on Thursday, for a total 909 since the pandemic began.

—Associated Press

Oregon reaches 1 million COVID-19 vaccination mark

SALEM, Ore. — More than 1 million people in Oregon have been vaccinated against COVID-19, officials said on Wednesday.

The total number of doses administered in the state had reached 1,019,767, The Oregon Health Authority said. The first dose was given on Dec. 14.

Approximately one in five Oregonians who likely are eligible have received at least one dose, officials said.

The vaccine has been delivered to every Oregon county, long-term care and residential are facilities, adult foster homes, group homes for those with disabilities, hospitals, mass vaccination events, mobile events, clinics, Tribal health centers, group homes, congregate care settings, pharmacies, outpatient clinics, federally qualified health centers and other locations throughout the state, officials said.

“This could not happen without the partnerships that have been strengthened and developed to move Oregon closer to community immunity, and the thousands of providers, volunteers, nurses and countless other Oregonians who made this happen,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said in a statement. “Every day we are delivering more than 22,000 doses of vaccine that will bring us to the end of this difficult journey for so many.”

—Associated Press

Spanish king’s sisters vaccinated on trip to see dad in UAE

BARCELONA, Spain — Two untimely coronavirus jabs have dealt another blow to the reputation of Spain’s royals.

The sisters of Spanish King Felipe VI acknowledged Wednesday that they got COVID-19 vaccine shots during a visit to the United Arab Emirates to see their father, the former monarch who has faced financial investigations at home.

The vaccination by the king’s sisters was widely criticized across Spain. The two women would not have been eligible yet to get COVID-19 vaccinations in their home country.

In a statement published by leading newspaper La Vanguardia and other media, the Infantas Elena, 57, and Cristina, 55, said they were “offered the possibility” of receiving the vaccines while in Abu Dhabi to visit their father, former monarch Juan Carlos I.

The sisters said they agreed to accept the vaccines “with the goal of obtaining a health passport” that would allow them to regularly visit their father, who left Spain in August amid investigations into alleged financial wrongdoing.

—Associated Press

Brazil economy faces headwinds after worst plunge in decades

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil dodged the most dire economic forecasts in 2020, but official figures released Wednesday show the COVID-19 pandemic still battered the nation and it continues to dim the outlook for recovery.

Brazil’s gross domestic product contracted 4.1% in 2020, the biggest annual recession since the series began in 1996, according to Brazil’s official statistics institute, known as IBGE. Still, the result is better the 5.3% plunge forecast by the International Monetary Fund in April last year.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been adamant that the economy must keep running, arguing that lockdowns and restrictions would inflict greater hardship on the population than the disease. That position, which flew in the face of public health experts’ recommendations, helped stave off an even deeper recession, at least in the short term — as did a generous pandemic welfare program.

But the country is once again recording more than 1,000 daily deaths from COVID-19, which could cause further economic slowdown.

—Associated Press

Slovakia’s political crisis, triggered by Sputnik V, deepens

PRAGUE — The political crisis in Slovakia deepened on Wednesday after a member of the ruling coalition demanded a reconstruction of the Cabinet.

The crisis was triggered by a secret deal to acquire Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine orchestrated by the country’s prime minister despite disagreement among his coalition partners.

Richard Sulik, head of the Freedom and Solidarity party, said the situation in the coalition is so serious that “we can hardly continue this way.”

“It’s evident we haven’t succeeded in the fight against the pandemic,” Sulik said. His party said unspecified changes in the government are needed for the coalition to continue.

Sulik has often clashed with Prime Minister Igor Matovic over how to tackle the pandemic but the current crisis is the most serious problem the coalition has faced.

Matovic has defended the deal to acquire 2 million Sputnik V vaccines, saying it will speed up the vaccination program in one of the European Union’s countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

—Associated Press

Biden limits eligibility for stimulus payments under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats

WASHINGTON – President Biden has agreed to narrow eligibility for a new round of $1,400 stimulus payments in his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, a concession to moderate Senate Democrats as party leaders moved Wednesday to lock down support and finalize the sweeping legislation.

Under the new structure, the checks would phase out faster for those at higher income levels, compared to the way the direct payments were structured in Biden’s initial proposal and the version of the bill passed by the House on Saturday.

The change came as the Senate prepared to take an initial procedural vote to move forward on the bill as early as Thursday. Biden and Senate Democratic leaders were scrambling to keep their caucus united since they cannot lose a single Democrat in the 50-50 Senate if Republicans unite against the legislation.

In addition to the stimulus checks, the sweeping economic package would also extend unemployment benefits through August, as well as set aside $350 billion for state and local aide; $130 billion for schools; $160 billion for vaccinations, testing and other health care system support; increased the child tax credit; and spend billions more on a variety of other provisions including rental aid and food assistance.

—The Washington Post

It’s back to school for Jill Biden and new education chief

MERIDEN, Conn. — Jill Biden, the teacher in the White House, along with new Education Secretary Miguel Cardona went back to school Wednesday in a public push to show districts that have yet to transition back to in-person learning that it can be done safely during the pandemic.

“Teachers want to be back,” the first lady said after she and Cardona spent about an hour visiting classrooms and other areas at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut. “We want to be back. I’m a teacher. I am teaching virtually.”

Biden is a veteran community college English professor who is now teaching remotely from the White House. She said her students recently told her they can’t wait to be back in the classroom.

“But we just know we have to get back safely,” she said.

The trip was the first order of business for Cardona, Connecticut’s former education commissioner, who was sworn into his new Cabinet job only the day before.

—Associated Press

Vaccine allotment for Safeway, Albertsons in Oregon will double as pharmacies receive Johnson & Johnson doses

Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies across Oregon will have their weekly COVID-19 vaccine allotment doubled this week as they begin receiving doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Roughly 200 total doses will be going to each of approximately 115 Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies across Oregon this week through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, according to Jill McGinnis, a spokesperson for Safeway and Albertsons, which share a common owner.

That enables the chains to double the number of appointment slots they are offering to eligible Oregonians. McGinnis said the company anticipates making at least 200 appointments available for each participating pharmacy beginning this Thursday at 5 p.m.

Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies in Oregon were previously receiving 100 doses each per week through the federal program.

—The Oregonian

Retailers holding the line on masks in stores as Texas, other states drop requirements

As several U.S. states begin to lift safety mandates amid a health crisis that has yet to subside, some of the country’s biggest retailers have decided to stick with face mask requirements at least for now.

Target, Macy’s, and Kroger are among the stores that will continue to require face coverings as chains navigate sometimes contradictory local, state and federal directives simultaneously. Costco also is sticking with its mask-required policy in Texas, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Several chains have said they plan to keep their guidelines in accordance with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The decisions come after Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask requirement and said all businesses can open at full capacity beginning March 10, defying health officials who say safety measures shouldn’t be ended too early. Mississippi also lifted its mask mandate, joining several earlier states including Montana.

The move by Texas, one of the most populous states in the country, raises thorny issues for retailers, whose frontline workers have faced health risks for the past year while interacting with customers.


More than 5,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in Washington state

Washington health officials on Wednesday reported the state has surpassed 5,000 deaths due to the novel coronavirus, an announcement that comes a few days after the one-year anniversary of the country’s first COVID-19 death.

The state Department of Health (DOH) counted 24 new coronavirus deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 5,012 and the percent of deaths among total cases to 1.5%. Health officials also reported 799 new infections, tallying 342,236 total cases in the state.

“Each of these 5,000 lives were more than a number to us,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement Wednesday. “At the same time, it is fitting and proper to be thankful for the efforts of our citizens to fight COVID-19.”

In King County, the state’s most populous, state health officials have confirmed 84,488 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,406 deaths as of Wednesday.

“Obviously 5,000 deaths is a pretty grim milestone,” said Judith N. Wasserheit, the chair of the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and co-director of the school’s Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness. “You can’t look at that number without recognizing the tremendous pain and devastating losses for their loved ones and families and our community at large.”

Read the story here.

—Elise Takahama

State health officials confirm 799 new coronavirus cases

The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 799 new coronavirus cases and 24 new deaths on Tuesday.

The update brings the state's totals to 342,236 cases and 5,012 deaths, meaning that 1.5% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. 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, 19,466 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 33 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 84,488 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,406 deaths.

On Dec. 16, DOH’s case, hospitalization and death counts started including both confirmed cases and probable cases in its total count. According to DOH, probable cases refer to people who received a positive antigen test result but not a positive molecular test result, while confirmed cases refer to those who have received a positive molecular test result.

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.

—Brendan Kiley

Plan to Ditch the Mask After Vaccination? Not So Fast.

A mask required sign is displayed on the entrance to a business  March 2 in Dallas. (LM Otero / The Associated Press)

With 50 million Americans immunized against the coronavirus, and millions more joining the ranks every day, the urgent question on many minds is: When can I throw away my mask?

It’s a deeper question than it seems — about a return to normalcy, about how soon vaccinated Americans can hug loved ones, get together with friends, and go to concerts, shopping malls and restaurants without feeling threatened by the coronavirus.

It seems clear that small groups of vaccinated people can get together without much worry about infecting one another. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected shortly to issue new guidelines that will touch on small gatherings of vaccinated Americans.

But when vaccinated people can ditch the masks in public spaces will depend on how quickly the rates of disease drop and what percentage of people remain unvaccinated in the surrounding community.

Why? Scientists do not know whether vaccinated people spread the virus to those who are unvaccinated. While all of the COVID-19 vaccines are spectacularly good at shielding people from severe illness and death, the research is unclear on exactly how well they stop the virus from taking root in an immunized person’s nose and then spreading to others.

Read the story here.

—Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times

New Mexico corrections officer sues over vaccination mandate

A corrections officer is suing a New Mexico county over a requirement that first responders and other employees be vaccinated, setting up another legal fight during a pandemic that is testing local and federal public health laws.

Isaac Legaretta says in a complaint filed Feb. 26 in federal court that a directive forcing Dona Ana County employees to take vaccines that are not yet fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration violates federal law.

Legaretta is facing termination for declining a vaccination. His attorney, N. Ana Garner, is seeking an injunction to keep the county from firing or disciplining the officer before a ruling is issued. The attorney said that while she’s not aware of a similar lawsuit in the U.S., she would be surprised if there was none.

The complaint centers on the FDA’s authorization of the vaccines for emergency use, noting that the clinical trials, which officials will rely on to ultimately decide whether to license vaccines, are still underway. It could take two years to collect adequate data to determine safety and efficacy, the complaint said.

Read the story here.

—Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press

Alaska expands eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations

An all-female medical crew from Alaska’s Maniilaq Health Center took a sled to deliver vaccine to the isolated village of Shungnak in December. (Katrina Bengaard).

 A state vaccine task force on Wednesday vastly expanded eligibility for people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Alaska, adding those 55 to 64 and people 16 and older who meet certain criteria.

That criteria includes being considered an essential worker, living in a multigenerational household, being at or at possible high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or living in communities lacking in water and sewer systems, the state health department said in a release.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Lessons learned at Life Care Center: Lake Washington Insitute of Technology students remember pandemic’s first days

A little bit of a virus was going around, so the dining room was closed and the patients were eating in their rooms.

“Nothing was unusual, nothing was concerning,” Ruth Gelbach remembered. “Until later in the day.”

That’s when staffers at the Life Care Center in Kirkland started to rush around. Nurses and physicians who were scheduled to speak with Gelbach and seven other Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT) students were suddenly unavailable. Through the window that overlooked a courtyard, and on the other side of the building, Gelbach could see nurses gathered around certain patients.

“Everyone was running around,” Gelbach remembered. “The staff was trying really hard to be there for the patients. We could tell something was going on.”

After a day of helping a nurse get patients up, dressed, fed and cleaned, Gelbach and the other students gathered around 2 p.m. for a debrief with one of their teachers. That’s when an administrator pulled the teacher aside.

“You should not come back next week,” the administrator said.

That was Friday, February 28, 2020. The following morning, news would break that the novel coronavirus had arrived in the United States — at Life Care Center, where Gelbach had just spent the day.

In a matter of days, Gelbach would test positive for the virus.

Read the story here.

—Nicole Brodeur

Majority of small businesses not requiring vaccines, tests

A majority of small businesses are not requiring their employees to get tested for the new coronavirus or get any COVID-19 vaccines, though the health care and hospitality industries are ahead of the curve on this requirement, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bureau’s most recent Small Business Pulse Survey, taken in February, showed 70% of the small businesses surveyed said “no” when asked if they had required employees to test negative for COVID-19 before coming to work in the last week.

Of the small businesses, two sectors, health care and accommodations/ food service had higher rates than the national average.

When asked if employees would be asked to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination in the past week, 2.2% of the small businesses answered “yes” and 78.4% answered “no,” with 19.4% saying it wasn’t applicable, according to the survey. Of small businesses in the health care industry, 62% said they were requiring a vaccine, the survey said.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Fans from abroad unlikely for postponed Tokyo Olympics

A giant five-ring Olympic symbol reappeared on Dec. 1, 2020 at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. (Japan News-Yomiuri).

The new president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee stopped short of saying there would be no foreign fans at this year’s games, but she certainly hinted at it Wednesday after online talks with IOC President Thomas Bach and others.

“If the situation is tough and it would make the (Japanese) consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said.

The newspaper report came just before Hashimoto’s meeting with Bach. She said a decision on foreign fans will come by the end of the month, and she wants one by March 25, when the torch relay begins from northeastern Japan.

The Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Western state vaccine experts declare J&J vaccine safe, says Inslee

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, with experts from Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada, has given its approval to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday on Twitter.

The one-dose J&J vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, giving the nation three approved vaccine options.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup was established to independently review and assess data on COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States.

In the U.S., the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were 95% protective against symptomatic COVID-19. J&J’s one-dose effectiveness of 85% against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66% when moderate cases were rolled in.

But the Pfizer and Moderna research finished before concerning variants began spreading while J&J's study spanned three continents, including countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are in play.

The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death.

—Christine Clarridge

Czechs turns to other nations to treat its COVID-19 patients

With hospitals in some parts of the Czech Republic filled up, the country turned to Germany and other European countries with a request for help.

The Czech Republic, one of the hardest-hit European Union countries, has been facing a surge of new cases attributed to a highly infectious coronavirus variant that is believed to originate in Britain.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on Wednesday Germany, Switzerland and Poland may be able to offer beds.

After the day-to-day increase of new confirmed cases reached 16,642 on Tuesday, the fourth highest since the start of the pandemic, a record of more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients needed hospitalization.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Waiting list for extra shots open to Shoreline, Bothell, Kenmore and Lake Forest Park residents

Residents of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Bothell and Kenmore who are over 65 years old may be able to get a spur-of-the-moment vaccine shot by leaving contact information with a COVID-19 vaccination hotline.

The pop-up opportunities are centered on the extra doses sometimes available once the fire department has administered all vaccines scheduled in a day, the Shoreline Area News reported this week.

On occasion, Shoreline officials said, "The Fire Department has called us with extra supply of the Moderna vaccine, between 5 and 30 shots a day."

These are not guaranteed appointments, but a chance to possibly receive one of those extra shots.

Call 206-785-9426 if you qualify and leave your information.

—Christine Clarridge

Tactical shift: Europe seeks vaccine ‘overdrive’ to catch up

Slow off the blocks in the race to immunize its citizens against COVID-19, Germany faces an unfamiliar problem: a glut of vaccines and not enough arms to inject them into.

A worker cleans cabins for the start of corona vaccinations at the Rhein-Main-Congress-Centrum in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dec. 7, 2020. (Boris Roessler / The Associated Press)

Like other countries in the European Union, its national vaccine campaign lags far behind that of Israel, Britain and the United States. Now there are growing calls in this country of 83 million to ditch the rulebook, or at least rewrite it a bit.

Germans watched with morbid fascination in January as Britain trained an army of volunteers to deliver coronavirus shots, then marveled that the U.K. — hit far worse by the pandemic than Germany — managed to vaccinate more than half a million people on some days.

Hans-Martin von Gaudecker, a professor of economics at the University of Bonn, said, “What normally makes German bureaucracy stolid and reliable becomes an obstacle in a crisis and costs lives.”

Read the story here.

—Frank Jordans, The Associated Press

Lake City to hold vaccination event for North King County BIPOC residents

A vaccination event for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) who are residents of North King County will be held on Saturday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The vaccines are for those who are members of the BIPOC communities, which have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and who are in in Phase 1A, Tiers 1 and 2; and Phase B, Tier 1.

The event will be held in Lake City and the location will be sent out once an appointment has been confirmed, according to Lake City officials.

To sign up, send an email to community@lakecitycollective.org or call 206-208-9899 and leave a message with your name, phone number, age and language. That information will not be shared with anyone except the Fire Department.

Read more here.  

—Christine Clarridge

After a tough year, Seattle-area bowling alleys have cautiously reopened under COVID-19 guidelines

A bowler knocks down all the pins, called a strike. 

Spin Alley Bowling in Shoreline is reopening under the state’s COVID-19 guidelines after a tough year for bowling alleys in Washington.

On a recent Friday night, the scene at Spin Alley Bowling in Shoreline looked almost … pre-COVIDian. 

All 16 lanes were occupied with bowlers who were knocking down pins, knocking back drinks and laughing. There was a lot of laughing, even if you couldn’t see the smiles behind masks.

“I’m happy to be here,” said Scott Andresen, whose son, Paddy, was busy racking up frames as fast as he could. “I’m happy to just be with other people.”

Washington state’s bowling alleys rolled out the balls again on Feb. 1 in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased reopening after losing most of the winter to lockdown. Like most businesses, bowling centers are now restricted to 25% occupancy in Phase 2 and have rules on sanitizing equipment and ensuring social distancing. They must also follow bar and restaurant rules if they serve food and alcohol.

Read the story here.

—Chris Talbott, Special to The Seattle Times

COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to African nations pick up speed

More African countries received the long-awaited first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, with Kenya and Rwanda benefiting from the global COVAX initiative that aims to ensure doses for the world’s low-and middle-income nations.

African and other health officials have been frustrated with the sight of a handful of rich countries rolling out vaccines after snapping up large amounts for themselves.

“We will be known as the continent of COVID” if Africa doesn’t quickly reach its target of vaccinating 60% of its population of 1.3 billion people, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, said last week.

So far Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Angola and Congo also have received their first vaccine doses via COVAX, with several other countries including Mali, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda set to receive them this week.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Dolly Parton, who helped fund Moderna vaccine, gets ‘dose of her own medicine’

Dolly Parton in 2019 in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, file)

The melody was familiar but the words were written for the moment: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine vaccine. I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.”

Dolly Parton, country music legend and beloved philanthropist, was in Tennessee on Tuesday to get the Moderna vaccine that she helped fund.

Amid swaths of vaccine skepticism in the United States, prominent politicians and celebrities have received their shot publicly to encourage others to sign up. The video came as President Joe Biden said the country would have enough vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, up from July as previously announced, bringing with it the promise of a more normal summer.

In February the singer told USA Today that she wouldn’t “jump the line” to get vaccinated.

On Tuesday, it was Parton’s turn, and she had a message for others.

“I just want to say to all of you cowards out there, don’t be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot,” the 75-year-old said in a video on Instagram.

—The Washington Post

California clinics: More vaccines going to rich than at-risk

Edward Muro gets a shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Tustin, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Teresa Parada is exactly the kind of person equity-minded California officials say they want to vaccinate: She’s a retired factory worker who speaks little English and lives in a hard-hit part of Los Angeles County.

But Parada, 70, has waited weeks while others her age flock to Dodger Stadium or get the coronavirus shot through large hospital networks. The place where she normally gets medical care, AltaMed, is just now receiving enough supply to vaccinate her later this month.

Parada said TV reports show people lining up to get shots, but “I see only vaccines going to Anglos.”

“It’s rare that I see a Latino there for the vaccine. When will it be our turn?” she said.

Officials at community health centers that are considered the backbone of the safety net for the poor in the U.S., focused on health equity, say they are not receiving enough doses for their patients — the very at-risk residents the state needs to vaccinate.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washington's teachers and child care workers can now get vaccines. Gov. Jay Inslee jumped them higher in line under new federal directions that could speed students' return to classrooms. 

The U.S. will have enough vaccines for "every adult American" by the end of May, President Joe Biden said yesterday after two rival drugmakers joined forces to produce the shots. Here's what we know about the weeks ahead, and how to find your vaccine. A substantial number of people, though, are refusing the shots.

People were dying, staff were risking their lives, and there was nothing to be done. After a devastating year at Washington nursing homes, fears are diminishing but the grief is raw. "It’s like there’s no closure," says one woman who still can't have a funeral for her mom.

“Texas is OPEN 100%. EVERYTHING,” the governor tweeted yesterday as he ended the mask mandate and other restrictions. But freaked-out health officials there and in Mississippi — which took similar steps — have a starkly different message. 

There's a new outbreak in the land, a pandemic of preening over who slayed the COVID-19 monster the best. But hold on: Washington may be a bigger sitting duck for a major outbreak than almost any other state, columnist Danny Westneat writes.

Seattle-area bowling alleys have rolled out the balls again with new rules. Take a look inside, and catch up on which activities you can and can’t do across the state these days.

We won't have to wear masks on planes forever. But maybe we should, health experts say.

A coronavirus variant by any other name … please. The strings of letters, dots and numbers are getting simpler names, and everyone has ideas — some of them weirder than others.

—Kris Higginson

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