Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Sunday, May 10, as the events unfolded. Click here to see updates from Monday, May 11. And 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.
All passengers traveling through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will be required to wear cloth face coverings starting May 18 to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Port of Seattle announced Saturday evening. The requirement also applies to airport workers, including Port of Seattle employees, and airport visitors who aren’t flying. People who can’t tolerate facial coverings for medical reasons, as well as very young children, will be exempt.
Some Washington residents say they’ve been subjected to threats and harassment after reporting businesses possibly violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order. The threats came after some groups hostile to the coronavirus restrictions, including the Washington Three Percenters, publicized the names, emails and phone numbers of complainants — information obtained through public records.
More cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, are confirmed every day. The Washington State Department of Health announced 217 new cases Sunday, bringing the state total to 16,891 as of 11:59 p.m. Saturday. In total, 931 people in Washington state are known to have died from the disease as of Saturday, 10 more than was reported as of Friday.
So far, 248,875 tests for the illness have been conducted in Washington, according to the latest data released by the Washington State Department of Health. About 6.8% of them have come back positive.
In King County, 84 new cases were reported Saturday, including four deaths, bringing total cases to 6,947, including 491 deaths.
Throughout Sunday, 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 Saturday 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 Sunday.
King County marks 500th death from COVID-19
King County has hit a grim milestone, with 500 deaths reported here as of late Saturday due to COVID-19, while statewide, a total of 931 people have succumbed to the disease, according to new numbers reported Sunday by the state Department of Health.
Of the 73,106 tests so far conducted for the coronavirus among King County residents, 9.6% of them have been positive, which is higher than the statewide average that has seen 248,875 tests conducted, with 6.8% of them coming back positive, the data shows.
The department reported 217 new cases as of 11:59 p.m. Saturday, and 60 of them were reported in King County. A day earlier, there were 286 new cases, with King County accounting for 84 of them.
In a state where white people make up 68% of the population, white people account for 45% of all confirmed cases but 74% of deaths, according to the data. Hispanic people — 13% of the population — make up one-third, or 33%, of confirmed cases and 9% of deaths.
The remainder of the population is made up of Asian (9%), Black (7%), multiracial (2%), Native American or Alaska Native (1%) and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (1%) people, the data shows. Each racial category accounts for between 1% and 8% of confirmed cases and between 1% and 9% of deaths.
Seattle’s first drive-in concert in coronavirus era one of the first in America
It was hot enough to make asphalt sweat as 30 or so cars gathered in a Seattle Center parking lot Saturday evening. Clutching a wireless microphone, Seattle rapper Raz Simone patrolled a roughly 13-foot-tall roof connecting two parking attendant booths. The local hip-hop mainstay was getting ready to lead Seattle’s first drive-in concert — and likely one of the first in America — since COVID-19 pulled the plug on the global live entertainment industry.
Simone’s DJ Anthony Danza, also a local rapper, set up on a folding table above an eerily obvious “No Attendant On Duty” sign. The surface lot at one of the city’s top tourist attractions was otherwise empty during what felt like the first weekend of summer. It was one of many signs that the surreal performance — equal parts drive-in movie, silent disco and hip-hop day rave — was operating in a world very different from the one we knew three months ago.
Organizers did not have permits to hold the free semi-secret show, and its location outside Memorial Stadium was disclosed privately to fans the day of the event. It may have also violated Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, which restricts public gatherings (though some drive-in religious services are currently allowed, under the governor’s four-phase reopening plan, if they meet guidelines such as people in each car being members of the same household, and remaining in vehicles with windows up). The governor’s office could not immediately be reached Sunday. Still, concertgoers seemed to be practicing more social distancing than many parkgoers did at a popular Seward Park beach earlier Saturday afternoon.
Read the full story here.
Reminder: How to properly wear a face mask
As weather in the Puget Sound region stays warm and more people consider venturing outdoors, here's a refresher on the appropriate way to wear a face covering.
In a nutshell, make sure your nose and mouth is fully covered. Don't touch it once it's on. To remove it, handle only the straps. And make sure to keep washing those hands throughout your handling of the mask.
You can check (or recheck) our visual guide from Seattle Times staff artist Jennifer Luxton here.
How risky is it right now to get non-coronavirus medical care?
Hospitals across the country have seen a sharp decline in patients coming in with heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest – even appendicitis – out of fears about COVID-19. Recently, the American Heart Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians and several other medical groups issued a joint statement urging those experiencing symptoms of such threatening conditions to call 911 and go straightaway to the hospital.
So how do we balance the risk of contracting COVID-19 at a health facility against the risk of not seeking care? Several moms told me they hover over stir-crazy kids’ risky behaviors to reduce the chance of needing an ER, but children (and even adults) break bones and can get sick. How do we stay safe when it’s necessary to get care?
“Hospitals and clinics are reducing the on-site transmission risk by limiting or restricting visitors, postponing elective procedures, screening staff for illness before they start their shifts and accelerating the use of telehealth,” Amy Williams, a physician and executive dean for practice at Mayo Clinic, said in an email. Read more here.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Healthcare workers started caring for COVID-19 patients two months ago. Although they survived a peak in Washington that wasn’t as overwhelming as expected, the patients keep coming, and workers are bracing for a possible second wave. Here, some describe the mix of emotions that’s come with their changing roles.
A blow to transit: King County Metro was bucking a trend: As few people rode buses in America’s cities, riders flocked to board here. But the coronavirus outbreak has decimated ridership, threatening to undo years of growth.
Virtual schools are expanding as some parents find them the logical answer to school closures. But with large class sizes, a lack of transparency and questionable results, experts question their value.
“V-shaped” recovery no more? By almost every indicator, the economic damage from the pandemic has been so much worse than expected that some economists are now drawing comparisons, not to earlier recessions, but to natural disasters.
Protection in your paper: A long-time Seattle Times mother-daughter newspaper delivery dropped notes into their newspapers asking subscribers if they needed free masks. Read the touching story about who received the message — and the masks — at just the right time.
Some (too many?) like it hot: On Saturday, locals flocked to parks to enjoy highs that reached up to 86 degrees in some areas. With temperatures expected to remain in the upper 70s and 80s Sunday, will social distancing get any easier?
France mandates face masks, while continuing to ban the burqa
PARIS – France, the originator of the burqa ban, has done more than any other Western nation over the past decade to resist face coverings in public. But as the country begins to emerge from its coronavirus lockdown on Monday, face masks are mandatory.
People are required to wear masks in high schools and on public transportation – or risk being fined. Shopkeepers also have the right to ask customers to wear masks or to please leave. Artificial-intelligence-integrated video cameras will be monitoring overall compliance on the Paris Metro.
All this has been accepted with little commentary or controversy. A recent BFMTV poll found that 94 percent of people in France supported wearing masks. That France has reported more than 26,000 coronavirus deaths no doubt contributes to that acceptance.
Read the full story here.
From working in the coronavirus ‘hot zone’ to protecting their families, Washington health professionals reveal their struggles
It’s been just over two months since Washington’s health care providers began taking care of COVID-19 patients. Those on the front line — from a Wenatchee nurse whose future in the U.S. is uncertain despite her work here, to a Mandarin-speaking Kirkland doctor who reached out to colleagues in China to learn from their experiences, to a Seattle respiratory therapist who speaks of her “passion for being here” despite a predawn hour’s commute from Puyallup — have faced the unknown and survived a peak that in this state was not as overwhelming as feared.
But coronavirus patients continue to come, with roughly 400 in hospitals statewide last week. Trying to keep them alive, yet in many cases watching them die, has brought what EvergreenHealth Medical Center’s Dr. Audrey Young calls a “huge mix of emotions.”
Read more here.
Newspaper carrier and her daughter deliver The Seattle Times — and free masks for coronavirus protection
The only contact Theresa Collins ever had with her newspaper carrier was just that: the paper, rolled up at the bottom of her driveway, every morning, for more than two decades.
Then one day last month, a note fluttered out of the newspaper. It was from Gina Singer, who, with her daughter, Brittany, had been working this Mason Lake route for years. If you needed a mask to protect yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, the Singers wrote, we’re happy to make you one. Let us know how many and what color. No charge.
It was just what the couple needed. In addition to caring for her husband, Eddie, who suffered a massive stroke 16 years ago, Theresa Collins has lung issues of her own. Going out for anything felt like she was bringing trouble back with it.
Read the full story here.
Parents gamble on virtual schools amid coronavirus closures. Who stands to gain?
Hundreds of families are turning to these schools, some in fear their children will slip backward as school building closures drag into summer.
Virtual schools were poised to step in. And they have. Like traditional schools, virtual programs are paid for by taxpayers. This includes schools managed by for-profit companies: WAVA is one of two virtual schools here operated by Virginia-based K12 Inc. The publicly traded company is a titan in the for-profit online education world. It runs about 70 online schools in 30 states, and has about 120,000 full-time students in its public programs.
Read more here.
In Yakima County, tensions grow as some want life back to normal while agricultural workers want more protection amid coronavirus
YAKIMA – Several hundred people gathered May 1 on a lawn near the county courthouse to call for the easing of stay-at-home restrictions imposed by Gov. Jay Inslee. They stood shoulder to shoulder, many not wearing masks. They carried American flags and a yellow one that declared “Don’t Tread on Me.”
“Most of us just want to get on with our lives… Nobody is asking for anything special. Go back to work,” declared Jason White, a Yakima city councilman who has garnered support from some local business owners with strident calls to get their doors reopened to customers.
Days later, a rebellion of a different sort unfolded as some 50 men and women walked off the job Thursday at an apple packing plant north of Yakima. They cited a scarcity of masks, and bore placards crafted from cardboard boxes calling for hazard pay as they labor through the pandemic.
These two protests reflect the escalating tensions in a Central Washington county that has emerged as a key battleground in ongoing state efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Cases here have surged in recent weeks amid growing unease in the agricultural workforce and vocal protests against Inslee’s policies.
Read the full story here.
Bus cuts, delayed projects, rider fear: Coronavirus will bring years of pain for transit agencies
Before the coronavirus pandemic, King County Metro was defying a trend.
As fewer people rode buses in cities all over America, riders were flocking to board here. Metro couldn’t hire and train drivers fast enough and didn’t have enough space at its maintenance bases to keep up with demand.
All that has changed.
The coronavirus outbreak has decimated ridership, kept some drivers and other employees at home sick or worried about exposure and pushed the agency into crisis-planning mode. Across the Puget Sound region, the same story is playing out at agency after agency.
Read more here.
It could take years for Washington state’s economy to rebound from coronavirus crash
By almost every indicator — from lost jobs and shuttered businesses to manufacturing slowdowns and falling tax revenues — the economic damage from the pandemic has been so much worse than expected that some economists are now drawing comparisons, not to earlier recessions, but to natural disasters, whose economic impacts can be particularly hard to overcome.
Indeed, forecasts now suggest a recovery that will be anything but V-shaped. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the national economy, which shrank by an annualized rate of 4.8% in the first quarter, will shrink by an astonishing 40% in the second.
That sets the stage for a recovery, in Washington and elsewhere, that is likely to stretch well into 2021 or beyond and have far-reaching impacts.
Read the full story here.
How is this outbreak 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.
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