Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Saturday, May 30, as the day unfolded. To find resources and the latest extended coverage of the pandemic, click here.
Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled a new coronavirus recovery plan Friday — days before his existing stay-at-home order expires — which could soon allow a range of businesses in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to reopen, including barbershops, hair salons and some restaurant dining. And the new directive adds something else: Workers in Washington will have to wear facial coverings at their jobs, unless they don’t have in-person interactions.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Friday leveled an extraordinary broadside at the Chinese government, accusing it of a comprehensive “pattern of misconduct” and ordered U.S. officials to begin the process of revoking Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law.
Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll post 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 Friday 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 Saturday.
State health officials confirm 278 new COVID-19 cases
State health officials confirmed 278 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Friday, as well as seven additional deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 21,349 cases and 1,118 deaths, according the Department of Health’s (DOH) data dashboard. The dashboard reports 3,480 hospitalizations in Washington.
So far, 354,354 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH. Of those, 6% have come back positive.
King County, the state's most populous, has reported 7,993 total cases and 567 deaths (three of which were confirmed Friday), accounting for 50.7% of the state's death toll.
Seattle city workers plan to hand out one-time masks for protesters
Representatives with the Seattle parks and neighborhoods departments plan to hand out single-use use masks to people taking part in Saturday's demonstrations.
The workers will be handing out hundreds of masks in downtown Seattle, according to the City of Seattle. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Washington State Department of Health recommends that people wear face coverings when they are in a public setting and can't be 6 feet or more away from someone else. Distance is always recommended.
Thousands of people have gathered in downtown Seattle to demonstrate over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and demand more police accountability. Floyd, a Black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd's neck as he pleaded for air.
Several groups at the demonstrations have handed out masks, water and sanitizing wipes to participants.
Free masks and water near Westlake Center. pic.twitter.com/mObpzxFz5M
— Scott Hanson (@shansonSeaTimes) May 30, 2020
See live updates from Saturday's protests here.
Large-scale survey of Seattle-area kids shows 1% had antibodies to the coronavirus
About 1% of kids who visited a Seattle hospital in April had been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to the first large-scale survey for antibodies in children. The study also found most of the youngsters developed a robust immune response, an encouraging sign for a future vaccine.
“If children can respond to the virus, then children can respond to a vaccine,” said Dr. Janet Englund, an infectious disease specialist at Seattle Children’s and co-author of the report. “And vaccines that are given to children are one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of disease in the community.”
Most of the children who tested positive for antibodies had no symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That fits with widespread evidence that children are much less likely than adults to become ill or die.
The analysis has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal, and researchers caution it is just a snapshot that doesn’t shed light on two of the most vexing unknowns about the pandemic: the role of children in spreading the virus, and what is likely to happen when schools reopen.
Read the full story here.
Seattle Premium Outlets reopens after two month closure
Seattle Premium Outlets on the Tulalip Reservation has reopened, with restrictions, after a two-month closure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Snohomish County shopping center’s 100-plus stores will limit how many customers can enter at one time, and face masks, sanitizing wipes and temperature testing will be available at the outlet mall’s entrances, owner Simon Property Group said Saturday in a news release. Some common areas will have signs directing traffic flow.
Simon Property Group owns 200 properties across the U.S., including Northgate Mall in Seattle, North Bend Premium Outlets in North Bend and Tacoma Mall. The owner announced it was closing all its properties on March 18.
The Northgate, North Bend and Tacoma shopping centers remain closed.
Seattle may mandate sick days, premium pay for gig drivers
Every day at lunchtime, gig workers rush in and out of the noodle, dumpling and gyro joints that line University Way Northeast to grab meals ordered through online apps. During the coronavirus pandemic, their deliveries are keeping Seattle restaurants open and allowing customers to stay home.
Like supermarket checkers and postal carriers, they chance exposure to the virus. Yet they do their jobs without protections that many other essential workers count on, and their pay doesn’t always stack up.
“Some trips, when I don’t get tipped, I might make $3,” said Daisy Torres, walking briskly across the Ave with DoorDash app orders in both hands.
That’s just not enough, according to some Seattle City Council members, who say meal-delivery companies like DoorDash and Postmates, grocery-delivery companies like Instacart and ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft should provide their independent contractors with paid sick days and $5 “premium pay” for each trip until the crisis subsides.
They’ve introduced emergency bills that would mandate those benefits, urged on by the labor-backed advocacy organization Working Washington, which says no other city in the county has taken such steps. While delivery drivers are connecting restaurants to customers, ride-hail drivers are shuttling nurses and patients to Seattle hospitals.
Pandemic’s overall death toll in U.S. likely surpassed 100,000 weeks ago
The number of people reported to have died of the novel coronavirus in the United States surpassed 100,000 this week, but an analysis of overall deaths during the pandemic shows that the nation probably reached a similar terrible milestone three weeks ago.
Between March 1 and May 9, the nation recorded an estimated 101,600 excess deaths, or deaths beyond the number that would normally be expected for that time of year, according to an analysis conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health.
That figure reflects about 26,000 more fatalities than were attributed to COVID-19 on death certificates during that period, according to federal data.
Those 26,000 fatalities were not necessarily caused directly by the virus. They could also include people who died as a result of the epidemic but not from the disease itself, such as those who were afraid to seek medical help for unrelated illnesses. Increases or decreases in other categories of deaths, such as motor vehicle accidents, also affect the count.
Such “excess death” analyses are a standard tool used by epidemiologists to gauge the true toll of infectious-disease outbreaks and other widespread disasters.
Researchers warn COVID-19 could cause debilitating long-term illness in some patients
Researchers are raising alarms that the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes will also leave in its wake a potentially large population with post-viral problems that could be lifelong and, in some cases, disabling.
At the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere, scientists who have been studying post-viral ME/CFS are seizing the opportunity to focus on COVID-19 patients. They want to understand what biological factors separate those who regain their health from those who remain sick.
“We want to look at who recovers and who doesn’t,” said Avindra Nath, the head of clinical neurology at NIH’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, who is gearing up to study COVID-19 patients. “It’s quite possible some will never get their health back.”
In addition to emerging reports of damage to lungs, kidneys and hearts, COVID-19 patients are complaining of ongoing crushing fatigue, muscle pain, cognitive problems and other symptoms.
Catch up on the past 24 hours:
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal by a California church challenging limits on attendance at worship services. In the 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California. Roberts wrote that the restrictions allowing churches to reopen at 25% of their capacity, with no more than 100 worshipers at a time, “appear consistent” with the First Amendment.
A federal judge has given Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials until Tuesday to explain why they can’t begin immediate testing for the novel coronavirus of the more than 600 immigration detainees at the Northwest Immigration and Customs Enforcement Processing Center.
Federal authorities have sent a warning letter telling a Seattle-based entrepreneur to stop all efforts to sell a purported coronavirus “vaccine’’ and remove any online claims that he can treat, cure or prevent COVID-19 symptoms.
A developer is pulling out of a planned $25 million deal to purchase the site of the former 13 Coins restaurant in South Lake Union. Onni, the Vancouver, B.C., real-estate group, cited the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic in cancelling its plans. Nine months ago, Onni paid $1 million for an exclusive option to purchase the parcel, which is entitled for a 40-story apartment building.
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