Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Friday, May 8, as the day unfolded. Click here to find resources and the latest extended coverage of the pandemic.

Some Washingtonians may have breathed a sigh of relief this week as parts of the state’s stay-home order began to lift, but many local businesses and government officials have found themselves navigating confusion and uncertainty on the way to resuming commerce amid a pandemic. Several of the state’s industries continue to receive federal-relief dollars, including seafood firms, fishermen, tribes and charter boat operators, which expect about $50 million from the CARES ACT passed in March.

While some parts of the state start to reopen, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her decision Thursday to permanently close nearly 20 miles of city streets to most vehicle traffic in order to provide more space for people to walk and bike at a safe distance apart. The closures will continue even after Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order is lifted, Durkan said.

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.

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Live updates:

Two White House coronavirus cases raise question of if anyone is really safe

In his eagerness to reopen the country, President Donald Trump faces the challenge of convincing Americans that it would be safe to go back to the workplace. But the past few days have demonstrated that even his own workplace may not be safe from the coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the virus Friday, forcing a delay in the departure of Air Force Two while a half-dozen other members of his staff were taken off the plane for further testing. That came only a day after word that one of the president’s own military valets had been infected.

All of which raised an obvious question: If it is so hard to maintain a healthy environment at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the most famous office address in the world, where staff members are tested regularly, some as often as every day, then how can businesses across the country without anywhere near as much access to the same resources establish a safe space for their workers?

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times
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Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy dies from coronavirus at 75

Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy, the duo whose extraordinary magic tricks astonished millions until Horn was critically injured in 2003 by one of the act’s famed white tigers, has died. He was 75.

Horn died of complications from the coronavirus on Friday in a Las Vegas hospital, according to a statement released by publicist Dave Kirvin.

“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Siegfried Fischbacher said in the statement. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”

—Associated Press

Supermarket chains begin terminating ‘hero’ pay to workers as coronavirus pandemic continues

Shown here are shelves in the Fred Meyer store in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood last month. Because grocery stores were ruled essential under the statewide stay-home order, workers joined the ranks of those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)
Shown here are shelves in the Fred Meyer store in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood last month. Because grocery stores were ruled essential under the statewide stay-home order, workers joined the ranks of those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)

As parts of the country reopen for business amid ongoing coronavirus concerns, the debate about “hero” or “hazard’’ pay for supermarket workers is getting pushed to the forefront.

Kroger-owned QFC and Fred Meyer have confirmed they will be ending the $2 hourly bonus added to employee wages by the end of next week after company officials told employees in internal bulletins recently to expect the extra money to be discontinued. Other supermarket chains, including Safeway and Albertson’s, have yet to decide end dates for their $2 hourly bonus plans, while Walmart’s plan for some associates is due to expire in two weeks.

In response to Kroger’s announcement, grocery workers’ unions are calling on the public to support employees in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming by asking Kroger to maintain the extra $2 an hour in pay. They also want the public to join them in pressuring the company to improve store safety practices and provide coronavirus testing to all employees as the new coronavirus continues to impact local communities.

Read the full story here.

—Geoff Baker

The Korean Baseball Organization is back from the coronavirus shutdown. Is this what Mariners games will look like?

First base umpire Lee Ki-joong, wearing a mask and gloves as a precaution against the new coronavirus, makes a call during a game between the Hanwha Eagles and SK Wyverns in Incheon, South Korea, on Tuesday. (Lee Jin-man / The Associated Press)
First base umpire Lee Ki-joong, wearing a mask and gloves as a precaution against the new coronavirus, makes a call during a game between the Hanwha Eagles and SK Wyverns in Incheon, South Korea, on Tuesday. (Lee Jin-man / The Associated Press)

After a delay due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) started its 2020 season Monday. In the search for programming while leagues in the United States are shut down, ESPN worked out a deal to broadcast six live KBO games per week, with an English broadcast done by announcers in the U.S.

Beyond the joy of watching baseball, these games provide a glimpse of what Mariners games and other MLB matchups might look like if/when they return.

The status of the 2020 MLB season is in flux. Owners reportedly are preparing to submit a proposal to restart the season potentially on July 1 with a three-week spring training starting June 10, and with teams practicing and playing games in their home ballparks.

While the logistics and details have yet to be announced, one thing seems certain among baseball executives, staff and players — games will be played without fans for the foreseeable future.

Read the full story here.

—Ryan Divish
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Fraudsters are faking Washington unemployment claims amid coronavirus joblessness surge

As Washington grapples with a tsunami of legitimate unemployment claims — more than 100,000 last week — the state also is seeing a rise in attempts by fraudsters to siphon off a portion of the benefits.

Such phony claims have been submitted in the names of workers at school districts, nonprofits, the local chamber of commerce and The Seattle Times, among others.

During a news conference Thursday, Suzi LeVine, the ESD commissioner, acknowledged a “dramatic increase” in apparent fraud attempts. She attributed the rise both to the massive volume of new claims during the pandemic — currently, nearly 20 times higher than normal times — but also to the extra generosity of the benefits: Thanks to federal stimulus funds, a weekly payment of $600 has been temporarily added on top of regular unemployment checks.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner and Paul Roberts

1 out of every 3 King County nursing homes, assisted living facilities has had confirmed COVID-19 case

One out of every three King County nursing homes and assisted living facilities has reported a confirmed case of COVID-19, and 275 people associated with those facilities have died from the virus, according to data released Friday by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

There have been 1,209 COVID-19 cases, including 303 deaths, associated with 101 King County long-term care facilities since the start of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak in late February. The number includes all licensed nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family homes, which provide care for up to six people at one time.

The cases associated with the facilities account for 18% of all COVID-119 cases in King County, and for 64% of the COVID-19 deaths in the county. All but five people who died were residents, according to the health department. Two were employees and two were visitors. It’s unclear if the fifth person was a resident, employee or visitor.

Seventeen facilities have reported five or more deaths. At Life Care Center of Kirkland, considered the first epicenter of the outbreak, 43 died from the virus. Enumclaw Health and Rehab has reported 23 deaths, and Issaquah Nursing and Rehab reported 19.

The county’s new online data dashboard also includes a list of all nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have had a confirmed case. Adult family homes are not included on the list because of privacy concerns.

State officials have provided infrequent updates on the number of cases and deaths linked to these facilities. The Washington State Department of Health plans to have running totals on its online data dashboard, but has not provided a date when it will be available.

—Paige Cornwell

GOP’s Freed withdraws request for court order, lawsuit over coronavirus ban on religious gatherings continues

Republican gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed, who sued Gov. Jay Inslee in April over the state’s stay-home order, is free to conduct one-on-one Bible study sessions in his backyard under the terms of that order.

Freed, a former Bothell mayor, had sued Inslee in federal court, contending the ban violated the First Amendment’s guarantees of religious freedom, assembly and free speech. His lawsuit argued the ban interfered with his right to host a regular Bible study at his home.

He had requested a court order to immediately allow him to conduct one-on-one, socially distanced Bible study sessions in his backyard. But he withdrew that request on Friday after state lawyers said that was already permitted under Inslee’s order. The larger lawsuit, challenging the order’s ban on religious gatherings, continues.

Read the full story here.

—David Gutman
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TSA employees at Sea-Tac, other airports must now wear masks to slow spread of coronavirus

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Thursday that workers at its screening checkpoints, like those at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, are now required to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The new guidance comes nearly a month after federal health officials recommended people wear face masks in public. Five TSA employees nationwide have died of COVID-19, and 516 employees have tested positive, including seven at Sea-Tac, according to the agency’s website.

Airport employees are still not required to wear facial coverings, though the port has provided masks for frontline workers like janitors, airport guides and employee screening staff if they choose to wear them, Sea-Tac spokesperson Perry Cooper wrote in an email to the Seattle Times.

Read the full story here.

—Katherine K. Long and Lynda V. Mapes

Brandi Carlile reschedules Echoes Through the Canyon show at the Gorge due to coronavirus pandemic

Brandi Carlile has rescheduled her June 6 Echoes Through the Canyon show at the Gorge Amphitheatre to Aug. 14, 2021.

That show was part of several summer events the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter announced on Friday would be rescheduled, postponed or canceled due to the current health crisis.

Carlile’s Echoes Through the Canyon show last year was her first as the top draw at the Gorge, and felt like the celebratory culmination of her 2019 hot streak, which included three Grammys picked up on the strength of her career best “By the Way, I Forgive You” LP.

Read the full story here.

Locked-down California to send mail-in ballots to every voter

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Setting up a potential legal showdown over California’s presidential election, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the state will send every voter a mail-in ballot for the November contest, a move criticized by national Republicans as a pathway to possible large-scale abuse.

With the state still under stay-at-home orders and facing a future of unknowns from the coronavirus outbreak, the Democratic governor said sending postage-paid ballots to every registered voter was the best solution to addressing the anxiety felt by many people about gathering in large groups that are breeding grounds for the virus.

In-person voting places will remain available for those who might need them. But it wasn’t immediately clear how many would be available or where they would be located.

Newsom’s decision was praised by Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who said there is “no safer … way to exercise your right to vote than from the safety and convenience of your own home.” But the prospect of mailing more than 20 million ballots to voters was already raising the possibility of a courtroom fight: The Republican National Committee said its reviewing its “legal options to ensure the integrity of the election.”

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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Seattle parks open for sunny Mother’s Day weekend — with restrictions, shorter hours

Seattle parks will remain open for what’s expected to be a warm and sun-soaked Mother’s Day weekend, though officials are worried about crowds spreading the coronavirus.

More than a dozen major parks will have shorter hours than usual. Starting Friday, 17 large parks will close each day at 8 p.m., rather than 11:30 p.m., Mayor Jenny Durkan and parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said during an online news conference Thursday. The city is making the change to deter barbecues, bonfires and parties, they said.

Also, the same “keep it moving” restrictions that have been in place since mid-April will apply in the city’s parks this weekend, Durkan and Aguirre said. Under that policy, parks are supposed to be used for running, walking and biking, rather than picnicking, gathering and playing sports.

Motorized boat ramps, tennis courts, basketball courts, play areas, picnic tables and shelters and playgrounds are closed in all parks, as they have been for many weeks. Parking lots at major parks are closed, as well. Durkan and Aguirre said they want residents to visit Seattle’s more than 400 smaller, neighborhood parks rather than thronging to the city’s major, destination parks, and should consider visiting parks in the morning rather than the afternoon. They said parkgoers should stay six feet apart and said people who are sick should stay home.

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman

Report: Transmission rates in Western Washington may be rising again

The COVID-19 transmission rate in Western Washington may be steadily increasing, suggesting that the number of virus cases could potentially rise, while the number of COVID-19 cases in Eastern Washington is expected to increase based on current transmission rates, according to a report released by the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) in Bellevue.

The newest report contrasts with IDM’s previous modeling that suggested transmission of the novel coronavirus had slowed in King County in early April and may have reached a critical threshold. When the number of people who get the virus from an infected person drops below one, the epidemic begins to decline.

As of April 22, the best estimate for King County’s reproductive number is 0.89, though the range is between 0.47 and 1.32, according to the report. In Western Washington, the best estimate is 1, though it could be between 0.61 and 1.39. The estimated rise in transmission rates correlates with heavier traffic on King County’s highways, the report found.

“As we experiment with relaxing physical distancing policies in Washington, we will see increases in COVID-19 transmission,” IDM report authors wrote.

In Eastern Washington, the transmission rate has remained above 1 since late March, IDM found in its first analysis of the region, and as of April was between 0.96 and 1.32, with the best estimate at 1.14.

IDM’s modeling is tailored for Washington and is cited regularly by Gov. Jay Inslee and health officials.

—Paige Cornwell

CDC warns of potential measles outbreaks as kids fail to get routine vaccines during pandemic

The United States could begin seeing outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases because children are failing to get necessary immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

A newly released study found vaccinations for children and vaccine orders dropped precipitously in late March, about a week after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to the novel coronavirus. As social distancing restrictions are relaxed, diseases beyond COVID-19 could spread, it warns.

“The identified declines in routine pediatric vaccine ordering and doses administered might indicate that U.S. children and their communities face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases,” the authors wrote. “Assessment of state and local vaccination coverage is needed to quantify the impact among U.S. children of all ages and prioritize areas for intervention.”

The study is based on data from the federally funded Vaccines for Children Program, which covers about 50% of Americans under 18, and broader tracking data collected by the CDC.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post
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State confirms 16,388 COVID-19 cases

State health officials confirmed 157 new COVID-19 cases Friday, including 14 more deaths.

The update brings Washington's totals to 16,388 cases and 905 deaths. So far, 235,835 tests for the illness have been conducted in Washington, according to the latest data released by the Washington State Department of Health. Approximately 6.9% have come back positive.

King County, the state's most populous, has had 6,863 positive test results and 487 deaths, accounting for 53.8% of the state's death tol

—Trevor Lenzmeier

Inslee: Retail stores can do curbside pickup, 5 counties on faster track to reopen amid coronavirus

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday he was issuing guidance to allow retail stores to do curbside pickup services and get landscapers back to work with safety guidelines amid the new coronavirus.

Inslee also said five counties have been given approval so far to begin lifting restrictions more quickly.

The governor said the state has approved applications for Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln and Pend Oreille counties to move to the second phase in the state’s reopening plan.

“We are making progress in this fight,” Inslee said in a news conference Friday on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“And the fact we are making progress is not an accident,” Inslee added later, because Washingtonians had stayed home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Inslee’s stay-home order is in effect through May 31, but the first phase in his reopening plan has begun allowing some businesses and social activities to open earlier.

Read the full story here.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

More Stay Healthy streets to close in Rainier Valley, Alki

Three miles of streets in Rainier Valley and a small portion of Beach Drive Southwest on Alki (between 63rd Avenue Southwest and Alki Avenue) will close to most vehicle traffic Friday to create more space for people to walk, bike and recreate.

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that nearly 20 miles of Seattle streets will permanently close to most vehicle traffic by the end of May.

The streets had been closed temporarily to through traffic to provide more space for people to walk and bike at a safe distance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the closures will remain in place even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

The new additions in Rainier Valley and Alki will be evaluated by SDOT before becoming permanent, said Sam Zimbabwe, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Read the full story here.

—Michelle Baruchman
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FDA clears first home saliva test for coronavirus

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it had granted emergency authorization for the first at-home saliva collection kit to test for the coronavirus.

The test kit was developed by a Rutgers University laboratory, called RUCDR Infinite Biologics, in partnership with Spectrum Solutions and Accurate Diagnostic Labs.

Rutgers received FDA permission last month to collect saliva samples from patients at test sites but can now sell the collection kits for individuals to use at home. They will cost about $100 each, Rutgers said, and must be ordered by a physician.

“A patient can open the kit, spit into the tube, put the cap back on and ship it back to our lab,” said Dr. Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR.

Brooks said the tests should be used only by people who have COVID-19 symptoms. His lab can process 20,000 tests each day, with a 48-hour turnaround, but he expects other labs to adopt it for their own use.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

Churches sue Gov. Brown over Oregon coronavirus restrictions

Some churches are suing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, arguing her coronavirus stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the lawsuit by the churches, including Elkhorn Baptist in Baker City, are being led by Common Sense for Oregon, a nonprofit led by former Republican candidate for governor Kevin Mannix.

The Pacific Justice Institute is arguing the case for the plaintiffs. It says it “seeks to invalidate” three orders, starting with Brown’s initial emergency declaration, signed on March 8.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Jobless rate spikes to 14.7%, highest since Great Depression

The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record. The figures are stark evidence of the damage the coronavirus has done to a now-shattered economy.

The losses, reported by the Labor Department Friday, reflect what has become a severe recession caused by sudden business shutdowns in nearly every industry. Nearly all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost in one month.

The report indicated that a clear majority of April’s job losses — roughly 75% — are considered temporary, a result of businesses that were forced to suddenly close but hope to reopen and recall their laid-off workers. Whether most of those workers can return to their jobs anytime soon, though, will be determined by how well policymakers, businesses and the public manage their response to the public health crisis.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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At least 1 Oregon ski resort, Timberline, plans to reopen this spring

Some ski resorts in Oregon are preparing to reopen, but exactly when is still up in the air.

Gov. Kate Brown announced earlier this week that some outdoor recreation activities can resume as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Brown is expected to issue an executive order to officially allow ski resorts to resume operations in the coming days, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

John Burton, spokesman for Timberline Lodge and Ski Area on Mount Hood, said the resort, which touts year-round skiing, has been getting ready to reopen and plans to hire back workers it laid off in April. He said they also plan to hire additional full-time cleaning crews.

Depending on when the governor’s executive order comes out, Burton said Timberline could reopen at a limited capacity as early as the end of next week.

Operations at other ski resorts in the state are less clear.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Aide to Vice President Pence tests positive for coronavirus

An aide to Vice President Mike Pence has the coronavirus, marking the second person in the White House complex known to test positive this week.

The latest positive test was confirmed by a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

On Thursday, White House officials confirmed that a member of the military serving as one of President Donald Trump’s valets tested positive for the coronavirus.

The valet’s case marked the first known instance where a person who has come in close proximity to the president has tested positive since several people present at his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March. The person tested positive on Wednesday.

The White House was moving to shore up its protection protocols to protect the nation’s political leaders. Trump said that some staffers who interact with him closely would now be tested daily. Pence told reporters on Thursday that both he and Trump would now be tested daily as well.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Canada province allows locked-down households to pair up, forcing painful choices and hurt feelings

Pearl Martin was driving when she heard the news.

The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador would be tepidly easing coronavirus controls. After weeks of avoiding physical contact with those outside their household bubbles, residents from one household would now be able to mingle with those in another.

Martin, a retired teacher in Clarenville, Newfoundland, bubbled over. She thought immediately of her daughter, Michelle, and 4-year-old granddaughter, Penelope. She hadn’t been able to hug the little girl since mid-March.

But as she cruised along, a new thought burst her bubble.

“Oh no,” Martin realized. “I have a son as well. I can’t pick.”

While jurisdictions around the world begin to relax their coronavirus restrictions, a handful are pioneering a novel — and potentially fraught — approach: The double bubble. There are rules, and they’re not for the commitment phobic. Each household may join with only one other household. Both sides must agree — for better, for worse — to a mutually exclusive relationship. The decision applies to all members of both households. And it’s final.

Read the full story here.

—Amanda Coletta, The Washington Post
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Trump offers Biden rapid COVID-19 test so he can resume travel

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is willing to provide Joe Biden, his presumptive Democratic opponent, with a rapid COVID-19 testing system so Biden can return to the campaign trail.

Trump, who this week made his first trip out of Washington in more than a month, relies on a federal supply of coronavirus tests so that he can maintain a more traditional schedule, while Biden has been isolating at home for nearly two months.

In a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump said he would be willing to provide the former vice president with the same coronavirus tests he uses.

“Yes, 100%. I’d love to see him get out of the basement so he can speak,” Trump said, needling Biden for holding virtual campaign events and media interviews from a studio in his home.

He added, that if Biden’s team asked for them, “We would have it to them today.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Virus could ‘smolder’ in Africa, infecting millions, WHO warns

The coronavirus could “smolder” in Africa, which has so far not seen a dramatic explosion in cases, for years and take a high death toll across the continent, the World Health Organization has warned.

About 52,000 confirmed infections and 2,074 virus-related deaths have been reported by African countries, according to figures released Friday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of cases has risen by more than 42% in the past week.

The disease appears to be spreading more slowly across Africa than in Europe, according to the WHO report. Officials say that could be due to poor surveillance or less developed transport links.

“While COVID-19 likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smolder in transmission hotspots,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa who is based in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. She said outbreaks would likely peak about one month after the virus starts spreading widely in communities.

The WHO estimated that if no containment measures are taken, COVID-19 could cause deaths ranging from 83,000 to 190,000 people in Africa in the first year of the pandemic. As many as 44 million of the continent’s 1.3 billion people could be infected during the same period, the U.N. health agency estimated, based on its prediction model of 47 African countries.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Shanghai Disneyland reopening May 11; tickets sell out in minutes

Shanghai Disneyland sold out of tickets for its May 11 reopening after a four-month shutdown, a sign that consumers in China are prepared to spend as the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The theme park is implementing safety measures, including limiting visitors to one-third of the normal capacity of 80,000. Shanghai Disneyland was the first of Walt Disney Co.’s parks to close on Jan. 25 as the coronavirus began to spread from Wuhan, 520 miles west of the country’s business capital.

The $5.5 billion park’s reopening marks a tentative step toward Disney’s recovery from a global health crisis it blamed for lopping $1.4 billion off profit last quarter, largely by forcing it to shut resorts around the world. While Disney is keeping its U.S., Hong Kong and Paris parks closed, it said Thursday it will open a limited number of shops and restaurants in its Disney Springs mall outside its resorts in Orlando, Florida, on May 20.

The sellout was confirmed on the Shanghai Disney Resort website within minutes after bookings started 8 a.m. Friday local time.

—The Washington Post
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Wave of suicides could be next coronavirus crisis, study warns

The isolation, grief and economic hardship related to covid-19 are creating a mental-health crisis in the U.S. that researchers warn could make the already-rising suicide rate worse.

A study released Friday tried to quantify the toll. The paper, which was not peer-reviewed, found that over the next decade as many as 75,000 additional people could die from “deaths of despair” as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a term that refers to suicides and substance-abuse-related deaths. The research was done by the Well Being Trust and researchers affiliated with the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"Now, we see the economic and social dislocations catalyzed by COVID, triggering even more mental health and addiction problems. The combination of social, economic, and health related factors make the current situation a perfect storm for a 'second curve,'" said the Well Being Trust in a post on its website. "What is the 'second curve'? We know that with increasing unemployment and isolation will come a significant rise in rates of anxiety, depression, substance misuse and deaths of despair. So, while the physical threats of COVID are terrifying and must be addressed as priority #1 – it’s time we prepare for the 2nd curve addressing our mental health."

Even after the American economy rebounded from the last recession, suicides and overdoses cut into Americans’ life expectancy. Mental-health experts worry that the economic uncertainty and social isolation of the pandemic will make things worse at a time when the health care system is already overwhelmed.

The suicide rate in the U.S. has been rising for two decades, and in 2018 hit its highest level since 1941, according to a viewpoint piece in JAMA Psychiatry in April called “Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019 – A Perfect Storm?” Author Mark Reger argued social distancing could hamper suicide prevention efforts and said ensuring that doesn’t happen is a “national public health priority.”

“There’s a paradox,” said Jeffrey Reynolds, president of a Long Island-based nonprofit social services agency, the Family and Children’s Association. “Social isolation protects us from a contagious, life-threatening virus, but at the same time it puts people at risk for things that are the biggest killers in the United States: suicide, overdose and diseases related to alcohol abuse.”

Read the story here.

—Bloomberg

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Aaron Hooley thought he'd try to raise money for the Northwest Harvest hunger-relief network by putting sculptures out on his Montlake sidewalk and asking buyers to make a donation. He's created 50 to 60 sculptures so far, and the outpouring of generosity from neighbors has been far beyond what he imagined.

Washington businesses are reopening amid frustration, confusion and a flurry of activity. Gov. Jay Inslee has been laying out new rules and is expected to issue more today affecting everyone from retail shoppers to landscapers. News on reopening may not be far behind for businesses listed in the second phase of his plan.

Some King County parks, trails and public lands reopen today, just in time for a blast of hot weather. Here are the details and best practices to keep in mind if you go. And remember if you are venturing into the water this weekend, it may be hot outside, but the water will be cold and drowning danger high.

More than 20 million Americans lost their jobs in April, wiping out a decade of job gains in a single month, the Labor Department reported today. Roughly a third of the 810,000 Washingtonians thrown out of work by the crisis haven't gotten benefits yet, and some may be waiting another month or more.

Washington’s hardest-hit workers: Just about every bartender in Washington state has filed for unemployment. FYI Guy looked at jobless claims for the 100 most common occupations to see who else has been slammed hard — and who’s faring the best. Our daily chart fills out the picture with the five sectors feeling the most pain.

New U.S. guidelines could pave the way for millions of people to test themselves for the coronavirus at home. A game-changing test kit could cost less than $5 if the Gates Foundation has its way.

Look up: The U.S. Air Force is planning a flyover today over the Puget Sound region to honor essential workers.

One of President Donald Trump's valets has tested positive for the virus, setting off a White House scramble. Meanwhile, fact-checkers are crying foul after Trump declared kids safe from the virus.

Oregon is loosening some lockdown restrictions statewide next week. Gov. Kate Brown yesterday laid out her plan for reopenings.

—Kris Higginson

Quarantine Corner

Well, nobody’s taking Mom out to brunch this Mother’s Day. But there are creative ways to help your mother feel special on this socially distant holiday. Among them: putting a new spin on old traditions with a virtual movie night. You could check out one of these films with remarkable mothers or grandmothers.

Wow! Readers conjured kitchen magic in the “Chopped”-inspired Seattle Times Pantry Kitchen Challenge, in which they had to make the most of four simple ingredients. Check out the best creations from Round 1 and find out what your mission is for Round 2.

—Kris Higginson
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How is this outbreak affecting you?

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