Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, May 18, as the day unfolded. Click here to find resources and the latest extended coverage of the pandemic.
King County’s new directive on face coverings goes into effect today, and so does Sea-Tac Airport’s requirement that passengers wear them. (Many people don’t do this right — here’s a guide to wearing your mask properly.) The rule has some Seattleites caught in a conundrum, using masks warily as they worry about racial profiling.
COVID-19 deaths topped 1,000 in our state over the weekend, with more than half of those in King County, the state’s most populous.
A total of 285,243 tests for the coronavirus have so far been administered statewide, up a little more than 36,000 compared to a week ago. There’s been a modest decline in the rate of positive tests results — 6.5% as of late Saturday, compared to 6.8% the previous Saturday.
Throughout Monday, 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 Sunday 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 Monday.
Seattle council to consider restricting encampment removals, concerned about coronavirus spread
After a recent encampment removal in Ballard raised concerns about dispersing people during a public-health crisis, Seattle City Council members on Monday introduced an emergency budget amendment to more narrowly define when encampments can be removed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The city said in March that it would largely halt encampment removals in order to focus on outreach during community spread of the coronavirus, unless an encampment presented an extreme circumstance for accessibility and an “extraordinary public safety hazard” that put people at risk.
But Councilmember Tammy Morales, lead sponsor of the legislation, said the city’s recent encampment removals during the pandemic have demonstrated that the city’s March statement “was really just a statement” and that the pandemic rules needed to be formalized in legislation.
Washington Department of Corrections officer dies of COVID-19
OLYMPIA – Corrections officials Monday evening announced that one of their workers has died of the new coronavirus.
The officer, Berisford Anthony Morse, 65, passed away on Sunday from complications due to COVID-19, according to the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC). His death is being honored as a line of duty fatality.
Morse, who joined DOC in 2003, worked at Monroe Correctional Complex’s minimum security unit, where 14 inmates have tested positive for the virus.
“It is a tragedy to lose a member of our public safety community and correctional family,” said Stephen Sinclair, Secretary of Corrections in a statement, adding later: “Our hearts go out to Officer Morse’s grieving family and the sacrifice they have made.”
Morse last worked at the prison on April 24, and went home after reporting symptoms to his shift commander, according to the statement. Corrections officials learned on April 27 that he tested positive for the virus.
Earlier that month, Morse had been identified in contact tracing as having interacted with an incarcerated male in the minimum security unit who had COVID-19, according to the statement.
During the pandemic, Monroe Correctional Complex has been an epicenter of fear within Washington’s prison system for inmates and families worried about the spread of the virus in confined spaces.
As of Monday, nine staffers and 18 inmates at Monroe Correctional Complex had tested positive for COVID-19, according to DOC.
Seattle asks state to create $100 million coronavirus relief fund for undocumented immigrants
The Seattle City Council passed a resolution Monday asking Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington state lawmakers to help undocumented immigrants who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure urges Inslee and the Legislature to create a “Washington Worker Relief Fund,” with an initial allocation of at least $100 million, “to provide emergency economic assistance to undocumented Washingtonians.” The vote was 9-0, and Mayor Jenny Durkan will add her signature.
The nonbinding resolution, a lobbying move that won’t change conditions on the ground in Seattle, also asks the state leaders to create a wage-replacement system for workers who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits.
Undocumented immigrants are barred from federal assistance, so they aren’t getting stimulus checks and they aren’t collecting unemployment benefits.
As dental offices start to reopen, some hygienists still wary of coronavirus risk; here’s what to expect if you visit your dentist
Dental offices throughout the state are reopening for routine care this week, and while dentists say they’re taking numerous precautions to protect patients and employees from coronavirus exposure, some hygienists still have concerns about returning to work.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday announced new guidelines for nonurgent medical procedures to resume, which call for doctor’s offices and dental practices to have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for their staffers, keep enough distance between people and check visitors and patients for symptoms of COVID-19.
A general lack of PPE was a major concern for hygienists leading up to this week, as was a lack of adequate COVID-19 testing. Some, including Jennifer Zbaraschuk, president of the Washington Dental Hygienists’ Association, are now satisfied by the state’s new guidelines.
But some hygienists — who are among workers facing the greatest coronavirus risk — remain hesitant.
Inslee’s office issues coronavirus safety guidelines for pet groomers under second phase of Washington’s recovery plan
OLYMPIA – Pet groomers will be able to restart business with new safety guidelines under the second phase of Washington’s coronavirus recovery plan, according to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.
Inslee’s office released those guidelines Monday evening, which covers pet-grooming operations by individuals, or retail or veterinary locations that provide such services.
Most of Washington’s 39 counties are expected to begin the second phase of the four-part reopening plan June 1, if public-health data surrounding the virus remain favorable.
But 10 smaller Washington counties have been given permission to begin the second phase now. Those counties are: Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman counties.
To restart, pet-grooming operations must adopt a written procedure that shows they can, among other things, keep a six-foot distance between groomers and clients during interactions and provide personal protective gear like face masks and gloves as needed.
Groomers not working alone must wear, at the least, facial coverings made of cloth. Groomers must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 at the beginning of their shifts.
The guidelines for pet groomers can be found here.
Business owners and operators with questions about coronavirus reopening guidelines can submit inquiries to the governor’s office here.
Puget Sound cargo shipping drops sharply as coronavirus pandemic stalls trade
As cargo volumes to major Washington ports fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, shippers are canceling sailings and ports are shutting their gates to trucking operations some days of the week, causing backups, delays and container shortages.
Total containerized shipping volume fell by 23.5% last month compared to April 2019 — the steepest slide since the start of the pandemic, confounding port officials’ initial expectations that trade could begin to normalize in the second quarter after March’s nosedive.
Overall, canceled sailings have cut vessel capacity by roughly 30%, said Peter Ku, Seattle-based branch manager at OEC Group, a global freight forwarder.
“Space is very tight right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of people having issues getting [goods] onboard.”
Secretary of Health John Wiesman, a leader in Washington’s coronavirus response, to take job in North Carolina
OLYMPIA — Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman, one of the state’s leaders during the coronavirus pandemic, has taken a position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Wiesman made the decision in early March, according to Tara Lee, spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee. He will remain secretary of health, which oversees the Department of Health (DOH), through Inslee’s current term, which ends in January 2021.
In an email, Lee wrote that Wiesman “is committed through the end of the governor’s term and will continue to do the outstanding work he has done around the COVID response.”
“He is not being asked to leave, the governor and all of us are sad to see him go,” she wrote. “The decision to take this position was made before the COVID outbreak, as I understand it.”
In a March 3 email to DOH employees, Wiesman said he was taking a faculty position with the university’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.
“There I will direct the doctoral program from which I graduated, the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program in health leadership,” Wiesman wrote in the email. “I will also teach public health classes at the doctoral, masters and bachelors levels, hopefully inspiring the next generation to join our ranks.”
Inslee announces dentists, doctors can reopen offices using guidelines to prevent spread of coronavirus
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Monday announced new guidelines for nonurgent medical procedures to resume — such as visits to dentists and family medical practitioners — which are intended to protect against outbreaks of the new coronavirus.
The plan calls for doctor’s offices and dental practices to have enough personal protective equipment for their staffers, put in place social-distancing policies and check visitors and patients for symptoms of COVID-19.
Inslee’s guidelines also require those businesses to develop plans that would let them expand or contract their work based on whether and how a COVID-19 outbreak is affecting their community.
Not all health care services may decide to completely open back up, however, since one of the guidelines involves whether regional emergency health care providers are ready to handle any COVID-19 outbreak.
Seattle public schools and library partner to offer all K-12 students and teachers access to online learning resources
All Seattle Public Schools students, teachers and select staff will have access to the city's public library digital books and online resources starting Tuesday, in an effort to make remote learning easier during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement from the library.
Students and staff won't need a library card, but rather will use their identification number to gain access, the statement said.
The library and public school system had previously launched a partnership to give sixth- through 12th-grade teachers and their students access to online learning tools, but the two sides worked together to expand the program in response to "the need for remote-learning resources during the time of COVID-19," the statement said.
“Seattle Public Schools’ five-year strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, prioritizes early literacy for our students, with an intentional focus on students furthest from educational justice,” said Seattle schools Superintendent Denise Juneau in the statement. “We are thrilled that the Library Link expansion will support our Seattle Super Readers' early literacy campaign by giving our youngest scholars access to Seattle Public Library’s wealth of educational resources.”
More information about the partnership can be found here.
Health officials confirm 18,611 COVID-19 cases in Washington
State health officials confirmed Monday an additional 178 cases and one new death from COVID-19 in Washington.
The new numbers bring the state's totals to 18,611 cases and 1,002 deaths. One additional death was also reported Sunday afternoon, and eight were reported Saturday.
King County still accounts for more than half of all deaths in the state since the coronavirus outbreak began: 528 people here have died, the data shows. No other counties reported new deaths Monday.
A total of 289,135 tests for the coronavirus have so far been conducted statewide, with 6.4% returning positive.
UW Medicine furloughs 1,500 staffers, with more on the table; what might $500 million mean for coronavirus response?
As one of a handful of measures intended to address its $500 million budget shortfall, UW Medicine officials on Monday announced one- to eight-week furloughs for 1,500 professional and non-union-classified staff, which includes management and administrative workers.
Management and unions will bargain this week over furloughs for unionized staffers and could have an agreement by week’s end, said Dr. Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine Hospitals and Clinics.
Other proposed cost-saving measures include reduced pay for senior leadership, pausing any capital projects that aren’t “mission-critical,” a hiring freeze for any job not associated with patient care, and a halt to all discretionary spending.
While Ramsey’s budget announcement last week mentioned “FTE (full-time employee) reductions,” it isn’t yet clear whether UW Medicine will resort to layoffs.
The cost-reduction measures sting even more because UW Medicine has cemented itself as a key resource in the world’s fight against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, with an array of efforts that includes creating widely used outbreak models and processing a majority of Washington state’s diagnostic tests.
UW Medicine officials wouldn’t say whether they will cease any efforts surrounding COVID-19, or how the system can continue to do what it is doing with fewer people working fewer hours.
The rollout of the furloughs has fueled labor strife in the Seattle-based health care system.
The need to go is a big barrier to going out. Why public bathrooms are a stumbling block for reopening.
Whether it’s the mall, restaurants, concerts, ballparks or even drive-in movie theaters, Americans are making it clear: They won’t be ready to go out to their favorite destinations until they feel confident about being able to go.
To the bathroom, that is.
The idea of a return to life in public is unnerving enough for many people. But it turns out that one of the biggest obstacles to dining in a restaurant, renewing a doctor’s appointment or going back to the office is the prospect of having to use a public restroom — a tight, intimate, and potentially germ-infested space.
Read the story here.
Trump says he’s taking malaria drug in case he gets virus
President Donald Trump said Monday that he is taking a malaria drug to lessen symptoms should he get the new coronavirus, even though the drug is unproven for fighting COVID-19.
Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.” Trump spent weeks pushing the drug as a potential cure for COVID-19 against the cautionary advice of many of his administration’s top medical professionals. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus.
Read the story here.
Whatcom County residents must start wearing face masks by Friday
Whatcom County health officials announced Monday that residents will be required to wear face masks in public by Friday.
Under the directive, cloth masks must be worn in food and retail establishments as well as outdoor spaces where maintaining six feet of distance between people isn't possible. It follows King County's face covering directive, which was announced last week and went into effect on Monday.
Residents exempted from the rule include young children (under two) and those with physical disabilities or illnesses that make face coverings unsafe, according to a press release from the county. The county will purchase and distribute non-medical masks to businesses and vulnerable populations, the release said.
Washington Department of Health OK’s Asotin County to reopen more quickly under state coronavirus recovery plan
OLYMPIA – Washington health officials have cleared Asotin County to reopen more quickly under Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase coronavirus recovery plan.
Monday’s announcement brings to 10 the number of Washington’s 39 counties allowed to move to the second phase of Inslee’s reopening plan.
Under the second phase, counties can start letting restaurants to open to 50% capacity, with tables of no more than five people and special health guidelines to protect staff and diners.
Likewise, barbershops, hair stylists, tattoo and makeup artists and other personal-service businesses can reopen with protections, as can a host of professional services.
Counties being allowed to reopen on a faster basis have small populations and no recent confirmed cases of COVID-19. The other counties to begin the second phase of reopening so far include: Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman counties.
Most of Washington’s counties remain in the first phase of the reopening plan. Most counties will likely start with the second phase on June 1, Inslee and health officials have said, provided public-health data about the virus looks favorable.
The safety guidance allowing businesses to reopen issued so far by the governor’s office can be found here.
Second COVID-19-positive immigrant transferred to Northwest detention center in Tacoma
Immigration officials have transferred a second person who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus to the Northwest detention center in Tacoma.
The man was transferred from the Oregon Department of Corrections, which had notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that he was nearing the end of 90-month sentence for kidnapping, burglary and robbery, according to an ICE court filing.
The Oregon department told ICE’s health service last Wednesday that the man had tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic. ICE took him into custody two days later and transferred him to the detention center, known officially as the Northwest ICE Processing Center.
He was taken to an isolation room in the detention center’s medical unit and will remain there for at least 14 days and until he tests negative for the virus twice. Only after those two tests, given 24 hours apart, will he be released to the general population, according to the ICE filing.
Judge finds Oregon governor’s coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings ‘null and void’
A judge in Oregon on Monday ruled that Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions on religious gatherings were “null and void” because her emergency order amid the coronavirus pandemic had exceeded its 28-day limit.
Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff granted 10 churches that had sued the governor a preliminary injunction, finding they had shown “irreparable harm” from the deprivation of the right to freely exercise their religions.
“The governor’s orders are not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols at larger gatherings involving spiritual worship,” he ruled.
He found that the churches can take necessary social distancing precautions, just as grocery stores and other essential businesses have done. He also ruled that the injunction was in the public’s interest, allowing people the right to freely worship and the ability to restore economic viability.
Fact Check: Trump falsehoods on virus
President Donald Trump: “What we’ve done on testing, we’ve now tested more than the entire world put together.”
THE FACTS: False. The U.S. has not tested more than all other countries combined, let alone double the number for the entire world. It also lags many countries in testing its population proportionally.
Together, just three countries — Russia, Germany and Italy — have reported more tests than the U.S.
This week, the U.S. had reported conducting more than 10 million tests since the pandemic began, after failing in the crucial early weeks of the outbreak. That compared with more than 23 million tests by the other countries in the top 10 of the testing count.
The U.S. was followed by Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, India, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and France.
San Juan County to require masks as businesses reopen
San Juan County will require people in all indoor businesses and indoor public spaces to wear masks when the county moves to the next phase of reopening and more businesses are allowed to resume service, the county's health officer announced.
Currently in San Juan County, people are encouraged but not required to wear masks in indoor public places. There are exceptions for young children and people who can't wear masks for a health reason.
But when the county moves to the second phase of Gov. Jay Inslee's phased reopening plan, masks will be required, with few exceptions. Phase 2 allows the reopening of barber shops, salons, manufacturing and restaurants and bars, at reduced capacities.
When the county enters, Phrase 2, "customers or other visitors may not enter or remain inside a business unless they are wearing cloth face coverings, even if they are unable to wear or remove a face mask," the county wrote in announcing the change. "Business owners and operators are responsible for enforcing this rule. People who cannot or will not wear face coverings will not be allowed inside businesses."
The only exception, the county wrote, is for people eating and drinking in restaurants and bars.
King County, last week, directed residents to wear masks in public, a policy that begins today, but is not conducting any enforcement.
Community Transit to reinstate fares on Swift Blue, Green bus lines
Community Transit will resume collecting fares on its Swift Blue and Green bus rapid transit lines June 1, after suspending payment for a few months during the coronavirus pandemic.
All other Community Transit buses will remain fare-free for the month of June. The agency plans to reinstate fare collection "in the coming months based on updated safety measures," according to a news release.
The Snohomish County transit agency announced March 19 it would not collect fares from riders after four transit operators tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. As of May 14, 11 employees were listed as having recovered; one new case was listed as positive, and one test was pending, according to Community Transit's website.
Temporarily eliminating fares allowed riders who needed to use transit for essential trips to board and exit through the rear doors and avoid unnecessary contact between riders and drivers.
Swift riders pay fares at Swift stations, not at the front of the bus. Beginning June 1, riders can pay for rides using an ORCA fare card or with cash or a credit card at the vending machines. Equipment and ORCA readers will be disinfected regularly, according to the news release.
Sound Transit said Monday it will resume fares, at a reduced rate, on light rail and commuter trains starting June 1.
Washington State Ferries makes new social distancing guidelines
As the state begins partially reopening some businesses and industries, Washington State Ferries has issued new guidelines to maintain social distancing.
The agency is limiting the maximum number of people permitted to wait inside terminals to 50. Passengers will be spaced 6 feet apart with floor and chair markings while they wait inside the terminal and outside on the sidewalk to board a vessel.
Washington State Ferries has adjusted its sailing schedule because of reduced ridership during the pandemic.
Spokane group rebuilds vandalized pandemic memorial
A group in Spokane has rebuilt a memorial for victims of the coronavirus pandemic after it was vandalized by protesters on Friday.
KREM-TV reports that 30 people have died among 396 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Spokane County since the outbreak began. Stronger Together Spokane, a group that works to oppose religious and political extremism, helped create crosses for COVID-19 victims at City Hall in early May.
The group posted a video to Facebook that shows members of the Proud Boys — who attended the protest in support of reopening local businesses in defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order — taking credit for vandalizing the memorial.
The Proud Boys are designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, though they adamantly deny connection to the “alt-right.”
Sound Transit will resume fares, but at reduced rate, on light rail, commuter trains June 1
After suspending fares during the coronavirus outbreak, Sound Transit will once again begin charging customers to ride light rail and commuter trains starting June 1, though cheaper fares will be available for the month of June. ST Express buses will remain fare-free for now.
From June 1 through June 30, "Recovery Fares" will be available for $1 on Link light rail and $2 on Sounder commuter rail before fares return to normal prices. The discounted tickets can be purchased from vending machines or through the Transit GO Ticket app, but cannot be used for transfers. ORCA cards will be charged full fare.
Sound Transit, along with Metro and other systems around the region, stopped collecting fares earlier in the pandemic to reduce interaction between passengers and drivers or fare enforcement officers.
Agencies also cut service on light rail, commuter rail and buses following dramatic drops in ridership and staffing issues. In restarting fares, Sound Transit cited financial pressures and “unsanitary conditions, rider complaints and incidents of vandalism.”
When fares return to Sound Transit on June 1, Link light rail, which has been running every half hour, will begin running every 20 minutes during the day on weekdays. Sounder commuter rail will continue reduced service.
Some seats aboard trains will be cordoned off for social distancing and extra cleaning will continue, “with particular emphasis on ticket vending machines and other high-touch areas including hand rails,” Sound Transit said in a news release. Sound Transit and Metro have asked riders to wear face coverings while riding transit.
Starting Tuesday, fare enforcement officers will begin telling riders about the return of fares. Starting June 1, officers will check for valid tickets but will not issue warnings or tickets in order to allow for social distancing, said spokesman John Gallagher. Officers will instead ask riders without fare to leave the train at the next station. Before the pandemic, fare enforcement officers would photograph the IDs of riders without fare as part of the process of issuing warnings or tickets. Sound Transit has not yet set a date for when that process may return, Gallagher said.
Riders whose income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level, or about $52,400 for a family of four, can apply for discounted ORCA LIFT cards online or over the phone.
Vashon Island docs create test-and-track coronavirus tool kit for rural communities
In mid-March, Dr. Jim Bristow’s wife came down with gastrointestinal issues. Then, she couldn’t stop coughing.
Her symptoms pointed to coronavirus, but she couldn’t get tested — in part because of the nationwide test shortage, but also because the pair lived on Vashon Island, with scant medical resources. When Dr. Anthony Fauci of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force said that the United States was failing with regards to testing, Bristow said that it “really struck me.”
Bristow felt inspired to collaborate with other members in the Vashon community to develop a model to test, trace and isolate — in essence, a coronavirus response plan that they call the Rural Test & Trace Toolkit.
Bristow, a retired cardiologist who was trained at the start of the AIDS epidemic, now believes that their model can be replicated, or serve as a guideline, for other isolated parts of the U.S., including rural and tribal communities as they continue to face outbreaks.
“While rural areas are typically under-resourced and disadvantaged as it comes to health and health care, a model like this shows that rural places can be particularly nimble and flexible,” said Carrie Henning-Smith, deputy director of the University of Minnesota’s Rural Health Research Center.
“We’re an hour and a half from the nearest emergency room, we don’t have acute care facilities on the island, and our ambulance system can be easily overwhelmed,” said Dr. John Osborn, who works as an emergency room physician in Seattle and also leads Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps. “The challenges we face are faced by many other rural communities.”
Read the story here.
Bicycle sales surge with Americans eager to get moving again
Mike Olson, who owns 13 bike shops in Oregon and California, hasn’t had a moment’s peace.
Since COVID-19 hit, customers have been lining up outside his Bike Gallery and Trek Bicycle Superstore shops every single day, sometimes for two hours. Models of all types have been flying out the door, leaving Olson in a struggle to stay stocked.
“It’s crazy and was not expected,” Olson said. “We are just seeing lots of new customers. Customers bringing out their cobweb-covered bikes and getting them tuned up.” Bike sales were up 30% in April, and have risen 60% so far in May, Olson said. He is now trying to hire 40 more staffers to meet surging demand.
Bike shops across the nation are seeing a spike in demand. With gyms closed, some consumers switched to bikes for exercise and stress relief.
In Seattle, new riders as well as veteran pedalers are exploring urban routes, including these five street-cycling loops.
Commuters are turning to bicycles to stay away from crowds in subways and buses. More than 80% of Americans see cycling as safer than taking public transportation, according to an April survey of 1,000 Americans by manufacturer Trek Bicycle, one of the the biggest-selling brands in the U.S., and researcher Engine Insights.
As a result, the $54 billion global bicycle market, which grew 6.9% last year, should see some road-bike categories shoot up 35% this year, according to WinterGreen Research, based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Before the pandemic, the industry largely was stagnant, with battery-powered e-bikes and gravel bikes showing growth, and sales of traditional road bikes plummeting.
Read more here.
Early coronavirus vaccine results are encouraging, says maker
An experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results in very early testing, triggering hoped-for immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers, its maker announced Monday.
Study volunteers given either a low or medium dose of the vaccine by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. had antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19.
In the next phase of the study, led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, researchers will try to determine which dose is best for a definitive experiment that they aim to start in July.
Read more here.
Machete-wielding man attacks 2 over coronavirus closures
A Nashville couple were in critical condition after a man attacked them with a machete because he was angry about shutdowns that were taking place during the coronavirus pandemic, police said.
Kelvin D. Edwards, 35, attacked Kevin Craft, 55, and his wife Leanne Craft, 50, on Sunday afternoon in a Public Storage in the city, the Metro Nashville Police Department said in a statement.
Edwards took the machete from his bin at the storage facility and continued striking the couple even after they were bleeding on the floor, police said. The victims were transported to a hospital after officers who responded to the scene used multiple tourniquets to control their bleeding.
Police said they found Edwards with his hands raised in surrender on the street outside the facility three minutes after they got a 911 call about the attack.
Investigators said Edwards, who is homeless, told them he attacked the couple to demonstrate his anger about the coronavirus shutdowns and his inability to get into Rescue Mission, an organization that serves homeless people. According to its website, the Nashville Rescue Mission has remained open to individuals without shelter during the pandemic.
Read the story here.
Nearly one-third of Americans dealing with lower income due to pandemic, survey shows
Since the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown, 30% of Americans have experienced a decrease in household income, according to a new survey by Bankrate.
Of the 2,653 Americans surveyed about their financial situation, 1 in 5 workers reported applying for unemployment since mid-March, 30% reported a decline in income, one in five said their emergency savings fell and around 16% reported increasing their debt.
“The pandemic is deepening the financial hardship for millions of Americans,” says Greg McBride, CFA and Bankrate chief financial analyst. “Nearly one-third of households report lower income since the start of the pandemic, with half of those same households now having more debt and they are three times as likely to have seen their emergency savings also decline.”
Read the story here.
70 new coronavirus cases one week after schools reopen in France
Just one week after a third of French schoolchildren went back to school in an easing of the coronavirus lockdown, there’s been a worrying flareup of about 70 COVID-19 cases linked to schools.
Some schools opened last week, and a further 150,000 junior-high students went back to the classroom Monday as restrictions were loosened by the government. The move initially spelled relief: the end of homeschooling for many hundreds of thousands of exhausted French parents, many of whom were also working from home.
But French Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer sounded the alarm Monday, telling French radio RTL that the return has put some children in new danger of contamination. He said the affected schools are being closed immediately. French media reported that seven schools in northern France were closed.
Read more here.
Quarantine Corner: Making it easier to stay home
What’s for dinner? Try these edible science experiments that will engage the family and check a few homeschool boxes. And simmering chicken in chocolate milk sounds like an especially weird science — but it's delicious.
Keep your kids happily out of your hair. Here are five ideas for a cloudy week, from origami projects to a sugar rainbow.
Can the pandemic's cooking renaissance change our lives in a lasting way? Nutritionist Carrie Dennett looks at what this experience can teach us about healthful living.
‘More fun than the supermarket’
The fishing boat St. Jude scored tons and tons of high-quality tuna — and returned to find a Puget Sound area with no restaurant dining rooms.
So, they're selling it directly to the public, with a side of cooking tips.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Washington state relied heavily on a Chinese firm for coronavirus supplies, ordering $227.5 million worth of masks and other gear. So where is it? Mostly not available yet. Read the Times Watchdog story.
Caught between coronavirus and racial profiling, some Seattle residents are using masks warily, columnist Naomi Ishisaka writes.
The pandemic is creating a paradise for scammers. Know how to keep them from stealing your identity and money, and what to do if your name is used by unemployment fraudsters. Washington state officials are dealing with a flood of bogus unemployment claims — and with a U.S. attorney who got their hackles up by commenting on the state's "vulnerabilities" to fraud.
COVID-19 patients were dying during every round Dr. Edward Rippe made. The needs were so dire that he took just eight days off to fight his own bout with the virus. Rippe and other doctors from the Seattle area who helped treat patients in New York are describing "hell" in the coronavirus hotspot.
Specialty's Café & Bakery will close permanently. The national chain has locations in Seattle and Bellevue. We took a look at whether the grand delivery experiment is working for other local restaurants. And forlorn foodies may find a bit of solace in one familiar sight: Tom Douglas grilling Copper River salmon.
Travelers don't have adequate protection from the coronavirus, writes Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, who's pushing for "clear, uniform" national guidelines at airports and on planes. Here's what to expect when you travel.
Jack McMorrow, 14, woke up with "straight-up fire" running through his veins. The previously healthy New York teen was hospitalized with heart failure, a stark example of the coronavirus-linked severe inflammatory syndrome that has been identified in about 200 children. It's shaken confidence that children were largely spared from the pandemic.
"COVID toes" are popping up more and more. For some people, it’s the first — or only — thing they notice on the growing list of bewildering coronavirus symptoms.
Homeowners who can’t make mortgage payments have a new deferral option.
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