Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Friday, May 1, as the events unfolded. Click here to find the latest extended coverage of the outbreak of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2; the illness it causes, COVID-19; and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world.

State and local governments continue to struggle under the weight of pandemic-induced costs, and are seeking up to $1 trillion in federal aid to avoid layoffs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. On Mercer Island, where city officials project they’ll end the year with a $5.6 million deficit, more than 60 city employees have been laid off.

Newly available federal benefits helped draw more than 145,000 new unemployment claims in Washington state last week, pushing the state’s total to nearly three-quarters of a million. Seattle-area households are falling behind on their mortgages, and the idea of a rent strike has traction here and elsewhere. Businesses, too, are finding it hard to pay the rent.

Throughout Friday, on this page, we’ll be posting 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 Thursday 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 Friday afternoon.


Live updates:

The last time the government sought a ‘warp speed’ vaccine, it was a fiasco

The federal government has launched “Operation Warp Speed” to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine by January, months ahead of standard vaccine timelines.

The last time the government tried that, it was a total fiasco.

Gerald Ford was president. It was 1976. Early that year, a mysterious new strain of swine flu turned up at Fort Dix, New Jersey. One Army private died. Many others became severely ill. The nation’s top infectious disease doctors were shaken.

“They were well aware of the ravages of the 1918 flu, and this virus appeared to be closely related,” political scientist Max Skidmore wrote in his book, “Presidents, Pandemics, and Politics.” “The officials were concerned about a repetition of the tragedy, or the threat of perhaps an even more virulent pandemic.”

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

Many businesses may follow Amazon in stretching out work-from-home policies, crimping downtown recovery

Amazon’s decision to let engineers and other office staff keep working from home through at least Oct. 2 was another blow for struggling merchants in downtown Seattle and Bellevue, which have been virtual ghost towns since the coronavirus crisis emptied the cubicle farms in March.

The decision, which the Seattle-based online retailer shared with employees Thursday, also could signal a broader trend toward extending work-from-home practices. Other white-collar employers are realizing that returning to the workplaces is likely to require extensive precautions — and pose heightened health risks — even after business gets the all-clear from Gov. Jay Inslee.

Zillow announced last week it will continue to allow employees to work from home through the end of year. Microsoft has said employees in King County could continue to work from home until further notice. At the Seattle-based Gates Foundation a spokesperson said the work-from-home policy is in place “at least June 30.”

Business and government insiders say other companies and organizations are contemplating similarly extended time frames as they consider the new realities of the workplace in the COVID-19 era.

Read the full story here.

—Paul Roberts

King County has big racial disparities in coronavirus cases and deaths, according to public-health data

Hispanic people in King County have died from COVID-19 at a rate nearly two-and-a-half times higher than that of white people, according to a new study of data released Friday showing the novel coronavirus is disproportionately affecting people of color.

Hispanic, Black and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander groups also have been infected and hospitalized at significantly higher rates in King County than white people, according to the analysis conducted by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

The new figures mirror national disparities in COVID-19 cases as well as a higher prevalence of other diseases for communities of color in general, public-health officials said. The analysis also underscores the effects of long-standing inequities in health care, social services, housing and other socio-economic challenges, they said.

Reasons for the disparities are still being examined, but officials said there are probably multiple contributors.

Read the full story here.

—Lewis Kamb

New analysis reveals the likely coronavirus infection ‘iceberg’ in King County

New modeling and data from a community testing program are providing a clearer picture of the prevalence of novel coronavirus infections in King County, as well as additional evidence that transmission rates continue to decline thanks to social distancing.

Researchers say the number of confirmed cases in the county — about 6,300 as of Friday — represents the tip of a much larger iceberg. In reality, about 46,000 people have likely been infected since the local epidemic began, according to information released Friday by Public Health – Seattle & King County. That translates into about 2% of county residents.

But the estimate, in a new report from the Bellevue-based Institute for Disease Modeling, comes with an uncertainty range between 15,000 and 108,000.

The discrepancy between confirmed and total infections isn’t a surprise. But this is the first time scientists have tried to put a ballpark number on total possible infections locally.

Read the full story here.

—Sandi Douhgton

Tim Eyman and small-business owners sue Gov. Jay Inslee over coronavirus stay-home order, calling it ‘tyranny’

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman joined Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier and some small-business owners in suing Gov. Jay Inslee in federal court Friday, contending the governor’s stay-home order to prevent spread of the coronavirus has imposed “unacceptable tyranny.”

In a news conference in front of the federal courthouse in Tacoma, Eyman and other plaintiffs railed against Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order as overstepping his authority and argued that state businesses and schools should be reopened.

Didier said Washingtonians should be allowed to mingle again, arguing spreading the disease would be a positive development and build immunity.

“We can take care of this virus by letting the people catch it,” he said.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner

MLS to allow player workouts at team facilities, but Sounders must follow Washington guidelines and wait

As states across the U.S. begin to reopen businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Soccer on Friday issued guidelines for how its teams could hold individual player workouts beginning May 6. First, however, is being in compliance with local health and safety protocols.

That initial requirement eliminates the Sounders from returning to Starfire Sports in Tukwila for any type of training until June at the earliest. Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday extended his stay-at-home order through May 31 and subsequently unveiled a four-phase plan to fully lift the mandate.

MLS’s guidelines don’t align with Inslee’s order until Phase 2, which allows gatherings of five people. Sounders matches at CenturyLink Field wouldn’t be allowed until Phase 4. Inslee said at his news conference that the time frame between each stage is at least three weeks, meaning Sounders matches wouldn’t be permitted in Washington until at least July.

Read the full story here.

—Jayda Evans

FAA nixes proposal to temporarily close Paine Field passenger terminal

Paine Field’s passenger terminal is remaining open for now despite a proposal by its operator to shut the facility down for several weeks in order to carry out ramp repairs.

“The terminal’s not closing, that’s all I can say,’’ said Brett Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports, a New York-based company that partners with airport authorities to develop and operate terminals. “We were looking at carrying out some repairs, but it isn’t happening.’’

The company sent an email inquiry to the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday about shutting the terminal down, given the minimal passenger traffic amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But the FAA nixed the proposal to suspend passenger operations at the year-old facility.

Read the full story here.

—Geoff Baker

Washington state confirms 14,637 COVID-19 cases

State health officials on Friday announced 310 new cases of COVID-19, including 10 new deaths, bringing the state total to 824.

The update brings Washington’s total case count to 14,637.

According to the state, 198,724 tests for the coronavirus have been conducted in Washington. The update notes that 7.4% of Washingtonians tested have returned positive samples, and that 5.6% of total confirmed cases have been fatal.

King County remains the statewide leader in cases, with 6,274 positive test results and 452 deaths.

—Trevor Lenzmeier

What Inslee’s 4-phase plan to reopen Washington’s economy means for your life

No one is getting a professional haircut before May 25, nor will you be able to sit in a restaurant before then. Missing public libraries or your gym? You’ll have to go at least another month without. Oh, and there will be no big concerts played in Washington at least until July.

As expected, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that Washington’s stay-home order to curb the coronavirus spread has been extended through May 31. However, Inslee also unveiled a four-phase plan that state officials will adhere to as they try to navigate the reopening of businesses in Washington.

Phase 1 is expected to begin on Monday. Inslee noted that each phase will run for a minimum of three weeks to give officials time to evaluate whether it’s safe to move on to the next level. He conceded that it’s possible the four-phase timeline could be accelerated if “we catch some massive break because of climatic conditions or because a cure is found.” But, “We can’t count on that,” Inslee said.

Based on that rough timetable laid out in a four-phase plan that assumes a minimum of three weeks between each phase, we outlined the best-case scenario of when you can expect various attractions and amenities to reopen. Read the full story here.

—Stefanie Loh

All Seattle parks will remain open this weekend, with same coronavirus restrictions

All Seattle parks will remain open this weekend, with the same “keep it moving” restrictions that have applied since mid-April, according to the city. The restrictions are meant to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Firepits are closed and beach activities are banned at Golden Gardens and Alki Beach. The loop trails at Green Lake Park and Seward Park are open only to pedestrians. Parkgoers are encouraged to walk, run or bike rather than linger in parks.

Parking lots at certain large parks are closed. Residents are encouraged to visit smaller parks in their neighborhoods.

Playgrounds, athletic fields and sports courts are closed, including basketball courts and tennis courts.

Crowding concerns prompted Mayor Jenny Durkan to close 15 major parks during the weekend of April 11, which was marked by sunny spring weather. The city has kept those parks open since then. Seattle’s hundreds of smaller, neighborhood parks have been open throughout the pandemic.

—Daniel Beekman

Inslee extends stay-home order through May 31

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday he would extend Washington’s stay-home order through May 31, as he and state officials try to keep the new coronavirus from roaring back.

The governor also said that Washington’s businesses would reopen in four phases.

The order had been set to expire at the end of the day May 4. Put in place March 23, Inslee had already extended the restrictions once as state officials tried to dampen the outbreak of COVID-19 that has killed more than 800 Washingtonians and sickened thousands.

The governor had earlier announced he wouldn’t yet lift the stay-home order, saying that public health data — such as the number of daily confirmed cases, and the transmission rate of the virus in King County — have not yet been favorable enough.

Yet as pressure has grown, Inslee has opened up some activities in the past week. He has allowed some construction projects and medical procedures to resume, reopened some state lands for recreation and given the go-ahead for hunting and fishing.

Read more here.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

FDA allows emergency use of drug for coronavirus

U.S. regulators on Friday allowed emergency use of an experimental drug that appears to help some coronavirus patients recover faster.

It is the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19, which has killed more than 230,000 people worldwide.

President Donald Trump announced the news at the White House alongside Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who said the drug would be available for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Click here for more information.

—The Associated Press

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon postponed due to coronavirus

The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon scheduled for June has been postponed, organizers of the series announced Thursday.

The decision is in line with most sporting and large gatherings now suspended or canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. The Ironman Group, which hosts the races globally, was set to debut a “Virtual Running Club” (VRC) series to this summer’s event and launched earlier than planned to offer an alternative to runners.

Seattle rap legend Sir Mix-A-Lot was slated to headline the event that stages musical artists throughout the 26.2-mile course. This year’s path was set to start and finish at the Seattle Center, weaving more than 15,000 runners past sites like the original Grey’s Anatomy House and Kerry Park.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon held its inaugural event in Seattle in 2008. The races — marathon, half-marathon and 8K – were updated to include entries for elite athletes, a 5K and those with disabilities.

Read more here.

—Jayda Evans

Oregon to do random testing on 100,000 people for coronavirus

Oregon will launch an ambitious random testing program and increase contact tracing as it readies to reopen the economy, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday, though a top state official said reopening will inevitably cost lives.

She announced at a news conference that ultimately 100,000 volunteers will be needed.

“This program is a game changer,” Brown said. “It will give us a more accurate understanding of the true rate of infections in Oregon and to have ongoing precision monitoring of any new outbreaks.”

The program will be carried out in a partnership with Oregon Health & Science University, she said.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

UW expects to teach in-person this fall

The University of Washington is planning to open its three campuses to in-person instruction this fall, and may also teach the second half of its summer session in person, UW President Ana Mari Cauce said during a virtual town hall Friday.

But classes will likely be very different, Cauce said: “I don’t think any university leader can say it’s going to be business as usual, or back to normal.”

The changes might include switching to online delivery of lectures normally given in large lecture halls, and doing frequent testing and contract tracing, as well as health surveillance in the dorms, she said.

The university expects to lose at least $50 million, and perhaps as much as $100 million, in revenue it would have received from student housing, food services and athletics, said Provost Mark Richards. The losses at UW Medicine will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, he said. The university is also likely to see steep cuts in state funding, because higher education is a discretionary part of the state budget, “which leaves us particularly vulnerable,” he said.

Click here to read the full story.

—Katherine Long

Alaska Airlines to require passengers to wear masks

Alaska Airlines says passengers will soon need to wear face masks on flights because of the threat from coronavirus.

In a statement Friday, the Seattle-based airline said face masks will be mandatory beginning May 11. Employees who can’t maintain 6 feet of distance between passengers and other employees will also be required to wear masks.

“In light of COVID-19, we’re in a new era of air travel and are continually updating our safety standards to better protect our guests and employees,” said Max Tidwell, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of safety.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

New data shows racial disparity in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations in King County

In King County, some communities of color have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, being infected and hospitalized at higher rates than white people, according to new public health data.

Results released Friday from a study by Public Health — Seattle & King County show that, among people who told researchers their race, those who are Hispanic, Black, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander represent a significantly higher number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations compared to white people.

While the total number of deaths among white people in King County is higher, the death rate for Hispanic and Native Hawaiian people is more than double that of white people, according to the study.

COVID-19 is also prevalent among American Indians in King County, but because the population is so small, the rate difference in the study was not statistically significant.

The rates of cases and hospitalizations among Asian populations in King County is slightly lower compared to white people.

Between March 8 and April 26, the disparities among Hispanic, Black and Native Hawaiian people have grown more stark. Their share of King County's total cases rose in that time period, while white and Asian people have come to represent a decreasing proportion of total cases.

Higher rates of confirmed cases have been traced to people who live in south Seattle and south King County as well as north and northeast King County — areas where more communities of color reside, according to county data.

Public health officials suggested a few explanations for the racial disparity in COVID-19 cases. For example, more people of color are essential workers, making them more susceptible to exposure to the virus.

But, the researchers noted, more research is needed, especially because race and ethnicity aren't reported for 30% of the county's cases.

—Michelle Baruchman

Snohomish County will open parks May 5

Snohomish County parks will open Tuesday after being closed for nearly two months.

County officials are urging people to be thoughtful about using the parks and to plan trips carefully.

The parks, which were closed on March 17 in conjunction with social distancing efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus, will have limited facilities available. Park-goers should bring what they need and use the restroom before heading to the park, said the Snohomish Health District's health officer, Dr. Chris Spitters.

It is important to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others and "stick with your squad" while at county parks, County Executive Dave Somers said during a press briefing Friday.

If a park is crowded, find another one close to home, Somers said.

"Please stay local and enjoy our county and enjoy our park system," he said.


—Ryan Blethen

Fact check: Was the new coronavirus accidentally released from a Wuhan lab? It’s doubtful.

Is it possible that the new coronavirus — which causes COVID-19 — leaked from a lab?

For months, Chinese authorities have pointed to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan as the virus’s likely origin. A cluster of early cases had contact with the market. It sold a wide variety of wildlife which, officials hypothesized, was critical to the virus’s formation and spread. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which cause similar symptoms, were formed after a coronavirus from a bat transformed in another animal and then jumped to humans.

The logic seems straightforward. But a more complete analysis of early cases suggested locating the origin of the virus may not be so simple. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that of the first 425 patients, only 45% had connections to the market. A separate Jan. 24 analysis published in the Lancet found that three of the first four cases — including the first known case — did not have market links.

Daniel Lucey, a pandemics expert at Georgetown University, put it simply: “In my opinion, the virus came into the market before it came out of the market.”

President Trump and his aides have speculated the new coronavirus sprang from a Chinese research lab. Here's why scientists say that is almost certainly wrong.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

Seattle Public Schools has started using school buses to deliver meals to students

Following the lead of many other districts in the state and nation, Seattle Public Schools began using school buses to deliver food to families this week, according to the district's website.

The meals, which come in sacks, are prepared by the district's kitchen staff. This effort complements the free food already offered for pick-up at 25 different sites around the city.

For more information about the program, call 206-252-0900.

—Dahlia Bazzaz

Seattle will open 11 more miles of streets to pedestrians, cyclists by banning vehicle traffic

Eleven more miles of residential streets in Seattle will close to vehicle traffic, giving people space and permission to walk, bike and skate in the streets.

The new closures will take place in Lake City beginning Friday and in Aurora-Licton Springs, Ballard, and Delridge/Highland Park next week, according to a city blog post.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has already closed almost nine miles of streets in the Central District, West Seattle, Greenwood, Othello, Rainier Beach and Beacon Hill neighborhoods to most drivers as part of the city's Stay Healthy Streets program.

This week’s closure brings the total mileage of Seattle streets prioritized for pedestrians and bicyclists up to nearly 20, exceeding the city’s original goal to close about 15 miles of streets during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Through traffic is not permitted, but people who live along the streets can still drive to their homes. Delivery workers are allowed to operate on the streets.

Here are the streets that will close:

  • In Ballard, 17th Avenue Northwest will close between Northwest 58th Street and Northwest 89th Street.
  • In Lake City, 27th Avenue Northeast and a portion of 25th Avenue Northeast will close between Northeast 125th and Northeast 145th streets.
  • In Aurora Licton Springs, Fremont Avenue North between North 92nd and North 110th streets will close. Northwest 100th Street between First Avenue Northwest and College Way North will close. Also, Ashworth Avenue North between North 92nd and North 100th streets will close. And North 92nd Street between Fremont Avenue North and Wallingford Avenue North will close.
  • In the Delridge and Highland Park neighborhoods, 21st Avenue Southwest and 17th Avenue Southwest will close between Southwest Cambridge Street and the Puget Park entrance near Southwest Dawson Street. Also, a portion of Southwest Trenton Street will close between 17th Avenue Southwest and the Highland Park Playground entrance.
  • In the Central District, 22nd Avenue East between East Columbia and East Olive streets will close. The new closure on 22nd Avenue East connections with a portion of East Columbia Street that closed last week between 12th Avenue East and 29th Avenue East.

The closures will remain in place for the duration of Washington’s stay-home order, or until otherwise announced.

Several cities across the U.S., including Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Denver, have made similar decisions to expand space for people walking and biking by banishing cars from certain streets.

However, Seattle’s effort still falls below other cities.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, after initial skepticism, agreed to close or modify 40 miles of streets in May, with a goal to expand the network to 100 miles before the end of the pandemic.

The city of Oakland, Calif., plans to restrict access to vehicles on almost 74 miles of streets.

—Michelle Baruchman

Fauci warns states of 'significant risks' in rushing to reopen

With the White House’s social distancing guidelines expiring Thursday and states largely in charge of deciding how to move forward, Anthony Fauci warned local leaders to avoid “leapfrogging” critical milestones in an effort to reopen their economies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously you could get away with that, but you’re making a really significant risk,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday evening on CNN.

Fauci, who has repeatedly cautioned against prematurely easing restrictions, said he already noticed that some states and cities are not adhering to the steps laid out in the White House’s recently issued guidance on reopening — a plan that administration officials say will now replace the expired federal social distancing measures.

“If you follow the guidelines, there’s a continuity that’s safe, that’s prudent and that’s careful,” he said.

But if governors rush to reopen when they aren’t ready, Fauci cautioned that the move would likely set back progress.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation, you’re going to start seeing cases crop up here and there,” he said. “If you’re not able to handle them, you’re going to see another peak, a spike, and then you almost have to turn the clock back to go back to mitigation.”

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post

‘I died and came back’: 12-year-old recovers from virus

One of the sickest children to be treated for COVID-19 is now expected to make a full recovery.

The 12-year-old Louisiana girl's coronavirus journey didn’t start with many of the symptoms that have affected adults — breathing problems, for example. She had stomach pain and vomiting, and her mother, Jennifer Daly, a radiologist, thought maybe it was appendicitis or some type of stomach problem. But the girl's lips were turning blue and her limbs were cold.

Daly's daughter, Juliet, quickly ended up in the emergency room of the local hospital where she had a heart attack, underwent CPR, and was eventually airlifted to Ochsner Medical Center.

Dr. Jake Kleinmahon was one of the doctors who was there to meet her and care for her over the next 10 days.

“Juliet came in as one of the sickest children we’ve taken care of with COVID-19,” said Kleinmahon. The top chamber of her heart was not working correctly with the bottom chamber, and she was developing “multisystem organ failure,” he said.

Kleinmahon said children with coronavirus infections often have different symptoms than adults, such as the abdominal problems Juliet had, or rashes in other cases. He said many children also have another virus besides the coronavirus and that was the case with Juliet.

The girl was on a ventilator for four days, during which she was sedated and then was eventually able to breathe on her own. She was discharged on April 15. The doctor said her heart function is completely normal. Although she likely has a little trauma to her heart that should decrease over time, he expects she’ll have a “totally normal life.”

“I died and came back,” Juliet said.

Read the story here.



—The Associated Press

Women, people of color and immigrants bear higher burden as front-line workers

The pandemic is exacting a heavy toll on front-line workers who've been there since the beginning, packing supplies, caring for the sick, cleaning and disinfecting.

They've watched coworkers fall ill, gotten sick themselves, died.

And the burden on them has not been evenly borne across gender, racial and socioeconomic lines, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data in the country’s 100 largest cities. Most of these front-line workers are women, people of color and immigrants.

Workers deemed “essential” are also more likely to live below the federal poverty line or hover just above it. They are more likely to have children at home, and many live with others who also have front-line jobs.

“What is important about this pandemic is that it has shined a spotlight on workers who have always been essential but before this were invisible,” said David Michaels, professor of environmental and occupational health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Not the beaches! Some Californians draw line at closing what's seen as birthright

Californians have made innumerable sacrifices in the face of the coronavirus crisis. They stopped working. They kept their children home from school. They have worn masks to the grocery store, canceled birthday parties, called off funerals.

And they have done so willingly, for the most part, successfully keeping the number of cases of COVID-19 and deaths much lower than in hot spots like New York and New Jersey.

But when Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered a temporary “hard close” of all state and local beaches in Orange County despite the protests of elected officials, surfers and cooped-up people who just want to dip their toes in the sand after six weeks of stay-at-home orders, he touched a nerve in a state where a day at the beach is akin to a birthright.

As tensions rise over how and when to reopen the state, the beaches have become a flashpoint in a way some many other parts of life like shopping, working and cheering the Dodgers and Lakers have not.

Read the story here.

—Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times

Lives of essential workers

Essential worker Rocío Luquero, a social worker for the Seattle World School, delivers food to Rosa Ajanel, who gave birth last week. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

"My heart was racing for three weeks."

Social worker Rocío Luquero braves the pandemic to help some of Seattle's most vulnerable children, delivering food and guiding families to resources. Other essential workers bag our groceries. They tend to the sick and dying. They drive. They prepare our food.

As they fight on the front lines of a pandemic they never expected to face, a few of these workers share how it’s changing their lives, and what they want you to know.

Patients struggle to get UW’s antibody test amid suspicions, misinformation

Lisa Roberts sits inside her deceased brother’s Dodge Challenger on Thursday. Lisa and her brother, Eric Braunberger, who lived together, felt sick in January. He died April 8 without being tested for COVID-19. Roberts has recovered; she has an appointment for a test next week. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Was it COVID-19 that sickened Lisa Roberts and killed her brother?

UW's virology lab is performing blood tests in an effort to determine whether people were infected, but Roberts and others have had trouble getting their primary care doctors and clinics to order the test.

The troubles come as antibody tests are at the center of political and scientific debates over their reliability.

Read the full story here.

Quarantine Corner: Making it easier to be stuck at home

Bored at home? Perhaps treat yourself to some takeout. Our food critics really liked the takeout options at Homer. For instance, these lamb ribs with cumin, pear, pistachio and mint. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

A new month brings new things to do at home.

Here are our top ideas for weekend fun, and our staffers' favorite TV shows to match your mood, whether you need comfort or a laugh. (Or both. Or gourmet Doritos.)

—Kris Higginson

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Seattle houses seen from Queen Anne’s Ella Bailey Park on Feb. 2. The rise in delinquencies, during a month when the opposite usually happens, is troubling to housing market watchers, but it doesn’t yet spell a foreclosure boom like during the Great Recession. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)

The number of Seattle-area households behind on their mortgages rose nearly three times faster than the U.S. average as coronavirus spread. Home-sales activity, though, appears to be rebounding after a major slide. If you need emergency aid, here's where to find it.

Mom-and-pops and corporate giants alike are struggling to pay the rent in Seattle as the real-estate world is wracked by coronavirus impacts.

Thousands of Amazon employees can keep working from home until at least October. This raises the prospect that one of Seattle’s busiest neighborhoods could be largely deserted for another five months. And sales are way up, Amazon reported yesterday, but coronavirus costs may soon wipe out profit.

Early test results suggest a widespread outbreak at Washington state's biggest beef plant, which largely shut down last week.

This is the 1,400-employee Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Wallula, in Walla Walla County, where the novel coronavirus is spreading. (GREG LEHMAN / Walla Walla Union Bulletin)

Senior White House officials pushed U.S. spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government lab in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the pandemic, according to current and former U.S. officials. The U.S. is crafting possible retaliatory actions against China for its handling of the pandemic.

Four out of five restaurants may not reopen on the other end of the coronavirus crisis, owners say. Critic Bethany Jean Clement looks at what we stand to lose in Seattle, and what we need to rethink.

Macy’s plans to reopen all of its 775 stores in six to eight weeks, starting Monday. The company is describing what a pandemic-era shopping experience might look like.

Boeing is telling the government "no thanks." The plane maker sold $25 billion of bonds to eliminate the need for federal aid and the strings that would be attached to it.

Bill Gates is standing tall on COVID-19 at a time when leadership is rare in our "fractious, divided republic," columnist Jon Talton writes. He contrasts the world’s second-richest person's actions with what the richest one is doing.

—Kris Higginson

How is the pandemic affecting you?

What has changed about your daily life? What kinds of discussions are you having with family members and friends? Are you a health care worker who's on the front lines of the response? Are you a COVID-19 patient or do you know one? Whoever you are, we want to hear from you so our news coverage is as complete, accurate and useful as possible. If you're using a mobile device and can't see the form on this page, click here.