Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Wednesday, Nov. 11, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world.

Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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Live Updates:

Unwelcome milestone: California nears million COVID-19 cases

California will be the second state — behind Texas — to eclipse a million known cases. The grim milestone in a state of 40 million comes as the U.S. has surpassed 10 million infections.

The timeline of COVID-19 in America often comes back to California. It had some of the earliest known cases among travelers from China, where the outbreak began. The Feb. 6 death of a San Jose woman is the first known coronavirus fatality in the U.S. That same month, California recorded the first U.S. case not related to travel and the first infection spread within the community.

On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order, shuttering businesses and schools to try to prevent hospital overcrowding.

The spread slowed, but California faced the same challenges as other states: providing enough protective gear for health workers, doing enough testing and providing timely results, tracking infections and those potentially exposed.

As the state tried to balance public health and the economy, cases rose as it relaxed business restrictions. Eleven counties this week had to reimpose limits.

—Associated Press
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New Delhi cases spike again ahead of Diwali fest

India reported 47,905 new cases of coronavirus infection with New Delhi setting another daily record Thursday.

The surge of 8,593 cases in the nation’s capital is the highest for any major Indian city and comes as people crowd shopping areas ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on Saturday.

Deaths, too, are climbing again, with 85 in New Delhi in the past 24 hours. Deaths are a lagging indicator of the impact of the virus, due to long periods of illness and medical treatment.

Overall, India’s new cases held steady. The Health Ministry also reported 550 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 128,121.

India’s tally of confirmed cases — currently the second largest in the world behind the United States – has exceeded 8.6 million.

Meanwhile, the New Delhi High Court ordered authorities to take the surging coronavirus spread seriously as people were ignoring masks and social distancing norms.

The Delhi government says that cases are projected to rise to nearly 12,000 daily by the end of November and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to the federal health ministry stating that its hospitals would need over 20,000 more beds for treating patients.

—Associated Press

Bellevue parents call for schools to reopen

A small group of Bellevue parents and students calling for school officials to resume in-person learning gathered for a rally on a busy downtown Bellevue intersection Wednesday.

The group, which calls itself “School is Essential,” is protesting school building shutdowns because they believe children’s mental health and academic progress is suffering. The group is comprised of Bellevue school district families who say they want the option of sending their kids to school for at least part of the week.

“I want my teachers to know I’m struggling in school and I need help,” said Brady Clines, 15, a freshman at Interlake High School in Bellevue.

The district was one of the largest to first announce it would allow younger children return to classes in school buildings. But in mid-October, the School Board delayed those plans until at least January after King County’s infection rate spiked beyond the threshold that the state Department of Health recommends for starting hybrid school.

Read the full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz

Aid group helping French nursing homes as virus deaths jump

PARIS — Aid group Doctors Without Borders is recruiting emergency help for French nursing homes, where more people with the coronavirus have died so far in November than reported in the previous five months combined, as a season of resurgent infections has caught up with France’s most vulnerable populations.

The group, founded in Paris in 1971 and renowned for its work in impoverished or conflict-torn countries, issued an appeal this week for medics, psychologists and other volunteers to work in Paris region nursing homes. Known by its French acronym MSF, Doctors Without Borders also deployed emergency help in Europe earlier this year when the virus first hit.

MSF coordinator Olivia Gayraud said Wednesday on France-Info radio that the nursing home recruitment is focused on relieving over-stretched staff and isolated residents, noting that the group has “expertise in crisis management” and experience helping “populations whose lives and health are threatened.”

Nursing homes are allowed to stay open under France’s current partial lockdown, unlike in the spring. But some facilities are again barring visitors and keeping residents in their rooms to protect the elderly as the virus claims more lives.

—Associated Press
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Fresno’s mayor-elect has COVID-19 after attending party

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno’s mayor-elect, Jerry Dyer, has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending an election night dinner with a few officials, including a Fresno County supervisor whose diagnosis late last week prompted the Board of Supervisors to close its offices and postpone its meeting by a week.

The former police chief told the Fresno Bee he went into quarantine after receiving the test result Tuesday. Dyer said he took the test after experiencing a light cough and that his symptoms developed with a headache, body aches, chills and a mild fever.

“I would equate my symptoms, at least at this point, to a severe cold or mild flu,” he said. “I consider myself very fortunate as I know others experience severe sickness and unfortunately, death.”

Dyer attended the dinner on Nov. 3 with Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, City Councilman Mike Karbassi, county Supervisor Steve Brandau. and several others at the home of a Kaiser Permanente government affairs manager Serop Torossian.

The hospital chain told KFSN-TV the gathering was a private party and was not associated with Kaiser Permanente.

—Associated Press

Airline alliances urge testing over quarantines

FRANKFURT, Germany — Three global airline alliances are urging governments to put into practice common guidelines for passenger testing and digital health pass technology, to help people start flying again.

Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam said testing could be part of an overall approach to restart international travel, by reducing reliance on the “blunt instrument” of quarantines aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.

New testing guidelines from the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Authority could “pave the way for a framework of trust to be established between countries,” Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh said in the joint statement on the oneworld.com website. Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and SkyTeam CEO Kristin Colvile joined in the statement.

The alliances — representing 58 member airlines — cited recent tests of the CommonPass digital health pass, which uses a smartphone app to securely verify that passengers have complied with health requirements, whether these be a test or a future vaccine.

—Associated Press

Survey outlines coronavirus impact on women’s soccer

Women’s professional soccer players have seen wages cut or suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic in 47% of the nations surveyed by international players’ union FIFPro.

FIFPro collected data from players’ associations from 62 countries. In the survey released Wednesday, 69% of the women said that communication about the virus was poor or very poor, and 40% reported that they had received no physical or mental health support during the outbreak.

In April, FIFPro released a report warning of COVID-19′s impact, saying it is “likely to present an almost existential threat to the women’s game if no specific considerations are given to protect the women’s football industry.”

And indeed there were setbacks, in part because federations experienced dramatic financial consequences from canceled matches and tournaments, as well as restrictions on attendance.

—Associated Press
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Cyprus locks down southwest over surge in coronavirus cases

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus put its entire southwest under a strict 19-day lockdown Wednesday, banning any non-essential movement of people and shuttering bars and restaurants after a string of escalating restrictions failed to curb a sharp increase in coronavirus infections.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the lockdown was deemed necessary after consultations with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control because infections in the Limassol and Paphos districts jumped from 28% to 70% of the national average in the last six weeks while two-thirds of hospitalized COVID-19 patients now receiving treatment hail from there.

Ioannou said a strict 8 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew will be in effect from Thursday through Nov. 30 and movement to and from the two districts will be barred to all except for emergency medical reasons and for those working in essential services such as health workers.

All public gatherings are banned, religious services will be conducted without any worshippers, public and private high schools and colleges will conduct classes online, and non-essential government employees will work from home. Museums and archaeological sites, theaters and cinemas, shopping malls, beauty parlors and hairdressing salons, gyms, pools and casinos cannot open.

—Associated Press

UW Athletics reports uptick in positive COVID-19 cases after pausing baseball program’s offseason workouts

Huskies baseball coach Lindsay Meggs coaches his team recently at the baseball stadium on the UW campus.     (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Huskies baseball coach Lindsay Meggs coaches his team recently at the baseball stadium on the UW campus. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

UW Athletics reported 13 active positive cases of COVID-19 within its department in a release on Wednesday night, four more than a week prior.

The athletes who tested positive “are going through our COVID-19 care and quarantine protocols,” the release states.

According to a source, that uptick is not directly connected to the Husky football program — which hopes to host its revised season opener against Oregon State at 8 p.m. on Saturday. UW’s game last weekend was cancelled after a Cal player tested positive for COVID-19 and the accompanying contact tracing eliminated an entire position group, making it impossible to play.

The Pac-12 football match up between Utah and Arizona was also cancelled last week after Utah could not reach minimum scholarship limits due to positive COVID-19 cases and contract tracing. Four SEC football games have been postponed this weekend as well.

UW declined to disclose which specific programs the active COVID-19 cases are connected to. 

Read the full story here.

—Mike Vorel

Oregon reports 876 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon recorded 876 new presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and five new deaths.

The daily number continues Oregon’s trend of high case tallies as health officials struggle to contain a surge in coronavirus transmission mostly fueled by small indoor gatherings as the weather turns colder. There were 298 reported cases alone in Multnomah County, which is home to Portland.

Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury pleaded with her constituents to wear a mask, work from home if possible and avoid even small social gatherings.

“We slowed the spread before, and together, we can do it again,” she said.

Hospitalizations are also on the rise, state health officials told reporters Tuesday.

—Associated Press
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For fall Masters, change comes to a tradition like no other

The pimiento cheese sandwiches are still here, and so is the Hogan Bridge over Rae’s Creek. So much else has changed at Augusta National this week, when the first fall Masters will be held without many of the traditions that make it a tradition unlike any other.

With COVID-19 still raging in Georgia and spiking across much of the country, tournament organizers canceled the Par 3 Contest, usually held on the Wednesday of tournament week and a draw for the practice round galleries.

Another tradition diminished without fans: golfers trying to skip their shots across the surface of the pond in front of the 16th green. Some players gave it a go — Jon Rahm notched a hole-in-one — but many more didn’t see the point without fans egging them on.

“I don’t think it will quite have the same effect if (caddie Mick Donaghy) is asking me to do it,” Tyrrell Hatton said. “I think we’ll leave that one for next April, hoping that, obviously, we’ll have fans here again.”

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Fever, symptom screening misses many coronavirus cases

Temperature and COVID-19 symptom checks like the ones used at schools and doctor’s offices have again proved inadequate for spotting coronavirus infections and preventing outbreaks.

A study of Marine recruits found that despite these measures and strict quarantines before they started training, the recruits spread the virus to others even though hardly any of them had symptoms. None of the infections were caught through symptom screening.

The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, has implications for colleges, prisons, meatpacking plants and other places that rely on this sort of screening to detect infections and prevent outbreaks.

“We spent a lot of time putting measures like that in place and they’re probably not worth the time as we had hoped,” said Jodie Guest, a public health researcher at Atlanta’s Emory University who had no role in the research.

—Associated Press

Minnesota governor criticizes South Dakota counterpart

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he wishes the neighboring Dakotas would take more aggressive steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus, singling out South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem for criticism.

Walz made the comments Tuesday during a news conference in St. Paul where he announced new restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in Minnesota. He lamented that Minnesota is catching up with the Dakotas, which lead the country in new cases per capita.

The Democratic governor said he’s not blaming neighboring states for that, but he said this summer’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was “absolutely unnecessary,” and that data shows it helped spread the virus beyond that state. Singling out Noem, who is a Republican, he said he wishes the state would have canceled the rally and imposed a statewide mask mandate, as Minnesota has.

Noem has repeatedly said she won’t issue a statewide mask requirement and has voiced doubts about health experts who say face coverings prevent infections from spreading. She has used her refusal to issue mandates to become a rising star among conservatives.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Russia says COVID-19 vaccine is 92% effective on early data

Developers of Sputnik V, Russia’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine, announced Wednesday that early, interim data from a large trial suggests the shot appears to be 92% effective.

The statement, which did not include detailed information about the trial, comes just two days after a similar one from Pfizer Inc., but is based on far fewer virus cases. Some experts suggest the data may have been rushed out in an effort to keep up with the worldwide race for a successful coronavirus vaccine.

On Wednesday, Russia’s Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the effort announced that an analysis of the early data of the study showed that the vaccine “had an efficacy rate of 92%.”

In this Sept. 15, 2020, photo, a Russian medical worker administers a shot of Russia’s experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Moscow, Russia. Developers of Sputnik V, Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, announced Wednesday that the jab appeared to be 92% effective in advanced trials, in a statement that comes just two days after a similar one from Pfizer Inc. and indicates Moscow’s eagerness to get ahead in the worldwide race for a successful coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr, File)
In this Sept. 15, 2020, photo, a Russian medical worker administers a shot of Russia’s experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Moscow, Russia. Developers of Sputnik V, Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, announced Wednesday that the jab appeared to be 92% effective in advanced trials, in a statement that comes just two days after a similar one from Pfizer Inc. and indicates Moscow’s eagerness to get ahead in the worldwide race for a successful coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr, File)

Russia touted Sputnik V, a two-shot vaccine, as the world’s first to receive a government go-ahead after it was approved in early August without completing advanced testing. The move drew considerable criticism from experts who said data from tens of thousands of people were needed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine before it is given widely.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Veterans Day in 2020: quiet parades, somber virtual events

Celebrations marking Veterans Day gave way to somber virtual gatherings Wednesday, with many of the nation’s veterans homes barring visitors to protect their residents from the surging coronavirus that has killed thousands of former members of the U.S. military.

Sam Zurzolo bows his head and holds his hat as he stands in front of a list of names of local people that have served in the armed forces during an annual Veterans Day ceremony, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Butler, Pa. Zurzolo served in the United States Marine Corps from 1957 and retired in 1990 as a sergeant major. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Sam Zurzolo bows his head and holds his hat as he stands in front of a list of names of local people that have served in the armed forces during an annual Veterans Day ceremony, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Butler, Pa. Zurzolo served in the United States Marine Corps from 1957 and retired in 1990 as a sergeant major. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Cemeteries decorated with American flags were silent as well, as many of the traditional ceremonies were canceled. With infections raging again nationwide, several veterans homes are fighting new outbreaks.

In New York City, a quiet parade of military vehicles, with no spectators, rolled through Manhattan to maintain the 101-year tradition of veterans marching on Fifth Avenue. President Donald Trump took part in an observance at Arlington National Cemetery, while President-elect Joe Biden placed a wreath at the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia.

More than 4,200 veterans have died from COVID-19 at hospitals and homes run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and nearly 85,000 have been infected, according to the department. American veterans are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their age and underlying health conditions, some of which can be traced to exposure to the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange and smoke from burning oilfields in the Persian Gulf.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

EU Central Bank head: Recovery could be stop-and-go despite vaccine news

European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde warned Wednesday that the economy could face a “bumpy,” “stop-start” recovery despite good news about vaccine development.

The top central banker for the 19 European Union countries that use the euro currency said there was a risk that fearful consumers could drag out the rebound, and that governments and central banks will need policies that bridge the gap until vaccination is widespread.

“We are seeing a strong resurgence of the virus and this has introduced a new dynamic,” she said in a speech opening an online ECB conference on monetary policy. “While the latest news on a vaccine looks encouraging, we could still face recurring cycles of accelerating viral spread and tightening restrictions until widespread immunity is achieved.”

She said “the recovery may not be linear, but rather unsteady, stop-start and contingent on the pace of vaccine roll-out. In the interim, output in the services sector may struggle to fully recover.”

FILE – In this Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 file photo, the buildings of the banking district are seen in Frankfurt, Germany. The German economy bounced back strongly in the third quarter compared to the previous three months, when the country was hit by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but experts warn recovery could be rocky. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
FILE – In this Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 file photo, the buildings of the banking district are seen in Frankfurt, Germany. The German economy bounced back strongly in the third quarter compared to the previous three months, when the country was hit by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but experts warn recovery could be rocky. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The eurozone economy rebounded a strong 12.7% in the July-September quarter amid stimulus efforts by the ECB and governments, and as infection numbers receded from the earlier part of the year. But in recent weeks the number of infections has been rising across Europe, leading to predictions that the recovery will go into reverse in the last three months of the year with falling economic output.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Shelter Fest Seattle online music festival to benefit local Black artists and restaurant owners

In an effort to support Black artists and restaurant owners in the greater Seattle area who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Bad Habit Media is producing Shelter Fest Seattle, an online benefit music festival featuring prerecorded performances and interviews with local chefs. The event will be streamed on the Shelter Fest Seattle website from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 14-15.

The event will be hosted by Nikkita Oliver, co-executive director of Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration, on Saturday, Nov. 14, and by Jace ECAj, Artist Engagement Coordinator for The Residency, a program that supports young artists from low-income families, on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Community organizer and attorney Nikkita Oliver, shown here speaking at a rally in June, is hosting Shelter Fest Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 14. The Shelter Fest benefit, on Nov. 14-15, is intended to support Black artists and restaurant owners in the greater Seattle area. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
Community organizer and attorney Nikkita Oliver, shown here speaking at a rally in June, is hosting Shelter Fest Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 14. The Shelter Fest benefit, on Nov. 14-15, is intended to support Black artists and restaurant owners in the greater Seattle area. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Saturday’s lineup includes artists Tiffany Wilson, Gifted Gab, Beverly Crusher, Maya Marie and Black Stax with guest appearances from Chef Grace Love of Nadine’s Kitchen and Chef Trey Lamont of Jerk Shack.

On Sunday, artists Clinton Fearon, BEARAXE, Da Qween, Rell Be Free and Grace Love are scheduled to perform, and chefs Edouardo Jordan of JuneBaby and Tarik Abdullah of Feed The People will be guests.

The event is free but event organizers are encouraging viewers to donate to the Seattle Artist Relief Fund which directly supports artists in the greater Seattle area who have been affected by the pandemic. There will also be virtual tip jars for the performing artists and a virtual food truck section to order from featured Black-owned businesses.

Register here to attend the event online.

—Yasmeen Wafai, Seattle Times news assistant

At On the Boards, a play in which you meet a stranger satisfies a pandemic-specific thirst for fresh intimacy

A plain wood table, with two wood chairs, stands on an otherwise bare stage in an empty theater. The only sound is the low thunder of the HVAC system. In the middle of the table, a plexiglass divider. At the bottom of the divider, a slot cut for a stack of notecards within easy reach from either side of the table. On each card, an arrow points to either person A or person B, indicating who should draw next.

Two strangers (wearing masks) enter the theater, sit, size each other up. We are the performers and the audience. The strangers begin drawing cards, each of which gives us text to speak, yes-or-no questions to ask, or actions to take. “A Thousand Ways Part Two: An Encounter,” at On the Boards, begins.

In the stripped-down theater, “Part Two,” by experimental, New York-based theater company 600 Highwaymen, looks stark and forbidding at first — are we waiting for Godot? — but quickly turns toward something softer and more delicately strange.

“A Thousand Ways Part Two: An Encounter,” at On the Boards, is a tiny performance in which two strangers — following prompts on a series of notecards — are both audience and performers. (Sara Ann Davidson)
“A Thousand Ways Part Two: An Encounter,” at On the Boards, is a tiny performance in which two strangers — following prompts on a series of notecards — are both audience and performers. (Sara Ann Davidson)

The three-part performances of “A Thousand Ways” are taking place all around the world (Singapore, Dublin, Abu Dhabi, Seattle) over a period of months: “Part One” happened in September, between strangers on the phone; “Part Three” is under construction, something involving a full audience once we cross the threshold into a post-pandemic world.

The encounter quenches a pandemic-specific thirst: fresh intimacy with unfamiliar faces and voices. It demonstrates that, if we can sharpen our attention, there’s no such thing as small talk. Look carefully enough, and even the way someone responds to “have you ever played a slot machine?” (a furrowed brow, then yelp of laughter, as if the idea were absurd) reveals something deeper about the answerer.

Read the story here.

—Brendan Kiley, Seattle Times arts and culture reporter

Vikings bar fans from final games as virus deaths hit record

 The Minnesota Vikings have given up on trying to host larger crowds and said Wednesday that the team will close the remaining home games to fans, as the state blew past its record for new deaths in a day.

The Vikings said in a statement that while players, coaches and staff have missed the energy and passion that fans bring on game day, the team would no longer seek approval to host more than 250 fans for the remaining games at U.S. Bank Stadium. The state’s health guidelines currently cap crowds at 250.

The Minnesota Department of Health Minnesota on Wednesday reported a record 56 new deaths from COVID-19, a 55% jump from Minnesota’s previous record of 36 deaths, reported on Friday.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Minnesota — an important measure of how fast the virus is spreading — has nearly doubled over the past two weeks from just under 7% on Oct. 27 to nearly 13% on Tuesday, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watches during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Indianapolis. The Vikings have given up on trying to host larger crowds and said Wednesday that the team will close the remaining home games to fans, as the state blew past its record for new deaths in a day(AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watches during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Indianapolis. The Vikings have given up on trying to host larger crowds and said Wednesday that the team will close the remaining home games to fans, as the state blew past its record for new deaths in a day(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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UK becomes 5th country to exceed 50,000 coronavirus deaths

The United Kingdom on Wednesday became the fifth country in the world to record more than 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths, a level that one of the nation’s leading doctors says “should never have been reached.”

Figures from the British government showed that 595 more people in the country died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, the highest daily number since May. The figure took the U.K.’s total death toll from the pandemic to 50,365.

Soldiers carry out mass coronavirus testing, set up at a marketplace in Liverpool, England, during the four-week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in England, Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020.  Everyone in Liverpool city, are being encouraged to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are not displaying symptoms, as authorities continue a mass testing pilot scheme to suppress the coronavirus.(Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Soldiers carry out mass coronavirus testing, set up at a marketplace in Liverpool, England, during the four-week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in England, Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020. Everyone in Liverpool city, are being encouraged to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are not displaying symptoms, as authorities continue a mass testing pilot scheme to suppress the coronavirus.(Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

The U.K, which has the highest virus-related death toll in Europe, joins the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico in reporting more than 50,000, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Asian shares mostly higher as focus shifts to virus recovery

Shares were mostly higher Wednesday in Asia after a worldwide rally spurred by hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will help the global economy return to normal.

Benchmarks advanced in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney but edged lower in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where new Chinese regulations focused on technology companies prompted selling in that sector.

A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. Shares were mostly higher Wednesday in Asia after a worldwide rally spurred by hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will help the global economy return to normal. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. Shares were mostly higher Wednesday in Asia after a worldwide rally spurred by hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will help the global economy return to normal. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

The proposed regulations issued Monday for public comment give guidelines on how China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law will be applied to internet companies. The announcement gave no indication operators are accused of wrongdoing but cited areas where regulators might look for problems including sharing of information and alliances or pricing services below cost to keep out new competitors.

As of midday, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares had fallen 7.3% and Tencent, owner of the popular WeChat social media platform, had lost 5% and online retailer JD.com was down 6.2%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 26,241.52 and the Shanghai Composite index declined 0.2% to 3,356.88. But other regional markets were mostly higher.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Recordings reveal WHO’s analysis of pandemic in private

As the coronavirus explodes again, the World Health Organization finds itself both under intense pressure to reform and holding out hope that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will reverse a decision by Washington to leave the health agency.

With its annual meeting underway this week, WHO has been sharply criticized for not taking a stronger and more vocal role in handling the pandemic. For example, in private internal meetings in the early days of the virus, top scientists described some countries’ approaches as “an unfortunate laboratory to study the virus” and a “macabre” opportunity to see what worked, recordings obtained by The Associated Press show. Yet in public, the U.N. health agency lauded governments for their responses.

One of the central dilemmas facing the WHO is that it has no enforcement powers or authority to independently investigate within countries. Instead, the health agency relies on behind-the-scenes talks and the cooperation of member states.

Critics say WHO’s traditional aversion to confronting its member countries has come at a high price. As COVID-19 spread, WHO often shied away from calling out countries, as big donors such as Japan, France and Britain made repeated mistakes, according to dozens of leaked recordings of internal WHO meetings and documents from January to April obtained by The Associated Press.

Some public health experts say WHO’s failure to speak out lent credence to countries adopting risky outbreak policies, possibly compromising efforts to stop the virus.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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In Iran, a massive cemetery struggles to keep up with virus

For over half a century, a massive graveyard on the edge of Iran’s capital has provided a final resting place for this country’s war dead, its celebrities and artists, its thinkers and leaders and all those in between.

But Behesht-e-Zahra is now struggling to keep up with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging Iran, with double the usual number of bodies arriving each day and grave diggers excavating thousands of new plots.

A cemetery worker prepares new graves at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery on the outskirts of the Iranian capital, Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. The cemetery is one of the world’s largest with 1.6 million people buried on its grounds, which stretch across more than 5 square kilometers, but it is struggling to keep up with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country.  (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
A cemetery worker prepares new graves at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery on the outskirts of the Iranian capital, Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. The cemetery is one of the world’s largest with 1.6 million people buried on its grounds, which stretch across more than 5 square kilometers, but it is struggling to keep up with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

“All of the crises that we have experienced at this cemetery over the past 50 years of its history have lasted for just a few days or a week at most,” said Saeed Khaal, the cemetery’s manager. “Now we have been in a crisis for 260 days, and it is not clear how many months more we are going to be facing this crisis."

With 1.6 million people buried on its grounds, which stretch across more than 5 square kilometers (1,320 acres), Behesht-e-Zahra is one of the world’s largest cemeteries and the primary one for Tehran’s 8.6 million people. But it was not big enough for the coronavirus, which roared into Iran early this year, seeding the region’s worst outbreak.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

How to handle an unfortunate Zoom incident and other pandemic workplace issues

What should you do if you accidentally use the restroom without shutting off video during a Zoom meeting?

In some cases, pretend it didn't happen.

(Margeaux Walter / The New York Times)
(Margeaux Walter / The New York Times)

One of the strangest aspects of this new normal is that our homes have now become our workplaces.

Our colleagues now know far too much about our personal lives and the spaces in which we spend our time.

They have access to intimacies we normally only share with our families and partners. When the lines between home and work are so blurred, accidents will happen.

Read more here.

—Roxane Gay, The New York Times

Tips: How to — finally! — set up your home office

If you live alone, you can sprawl your work across the dining room table or your living room, and nobody will mess with your stuff.

If you have roommates, family, pets or kids, however, finding a good place to work can be complicated — especially if you have an open floor plan, which can get noisy, crowded and offer little privacy.

But if you can find a good spot, invest in some ergonomic furniture and create a good Zoom background, working from home can allow you to be even more productive than at the office.

After all, your commute is a lot shorter.

Read the tips here.

—Jeff Collins, The Orange County Register
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Texas becomes 1st state to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases

 Texas has become the first U.S. state with more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases as the nation continues to face a surge of infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University early Wednesday.

The nation’s second-most populous state has recorded 1,010,364 coronavirus cases with 19,337 deaths since the pandemic began in early March, according to the count on the Johns Hopkins website.

Vehicles are lined up for drive-thru COVID-19 testing in El Paso, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (Aaron E. Martinez/The El Paso Times via AP, file)
Vehicles are lined up for drive-thru COVID-19 testing in El Paso, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (Aaron E. Martinez/The El Paso Times via AP, file)

Texas had recently surpassed California, the most populous state, in recording the highest number of positive coronavirus tests. The true number of infections is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

Texas recorded 10,865 cases on Tuesday, setting a new daily record that surpassed by 74 cases an old mark set July 15, state officials said.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Cambodia bans state-organized events in capital over virus

Cambodia on Wednesday banned all state-organized events in the capital and a neighboring province for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after a number of people connected to a Hungarian official’s visit tested positive.

The Interior Ministry did not elaborate on the ban on government events and meetings. It had already closed schools, nightclubs, beer halls and cinemas in Phnom Penh and neighboring Kandal province.

The decision came after the government struggled to trace people that came into contact with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who made a short visit to Cambodia on Nov. 3 before testing positive on arrival later that day in neighboring Thailand. All his meetings in Thailand were canceled and he flew home on Nov. 4.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Virus makes for one of Europe’s loneliest WWI remembrances

 When a dawn fog lifted over countless World War I cemeteries and monuments in Belgium and France Wednesday, the pandemic ensured that the remembrance of the millions killed in the 1914-1918 conflict was one of the loneliest ever.

Under the Menin Gate in western Belgium’s Ypres, at the heart of the blood-drenched Flanders Fields, usually thousands gather to pay tribute. On Wednesday, only half a dozen were allowed at the monument carved with the names of more than 54,000 fallen British and Commonwealth soldiers who have no known grave.

It made the mournful melody of the “Last Post” played by lone bugler Tonny Desodt even more poignant.

The Tyne Cot cemetery, empty of visitors and shrouded in fog, viewed from the Cross of Sacrifice on Armistice Day in Zonnebeke, Belgium, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing is a burial ground for the dead of the First World War in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front. It is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
The Tyne Cot cemetery, empty of visitors and shrouded in fog, viewed from the Cross of Sacrifice on Armistice Day in Zonnebeke, Belgium, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing is a burial ground for the dead of the First World War in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front. It is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Somber remembrances were held from London to Paris and at many places along the former Western Front, where Ypres saw some of the bloodiest battles in a war remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of chemical weapons.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Quarantine Corner: Ways to (safely) brighten up this strange year

Seattle-area escape rooms have gone virtual, helping people get out while staying in.

Or you could escape into a thrilling book. Critic Moira Macdonald recommends new page-turners and an older favorite.

Edmonds' new taproom leads the list of the things we like best about the city's lively food-and-drink scene. Be sure to follow all COVID-19 protocols if you visit — or, better yet, order takeout.

The beef bowl at Leftcraft comes with kimchi, pickled vegetables and a spicy gochujang dressing.  (Jackie Varriano / The Seattle Times)
The beef bowl at Leftcraft comes with kimchi, pickled vegetables and a spicy gochujang dressing. (Jackie Varriano / The Seattle Times)
—Seattle Times staff

Catch up on the past 24 hours

As COVID-19 levels reach record highs in Washington, health officials said yesterday that "any in-person gathering is risky," including Thanksgiving. Their dire warning: More hospitalizations and deaths are on the horizon if people don't wear masks and stay apart.

One patient has died and at least eight have become ill in a COVID-19 outbreak at Auburn Medical Center. Five staff members also have tested positive.

A sophisticated new study set out to determine the hot spots for spread of the coronavirus. The results confirmed a lot of folks' suspicions.

Notes to medical personnel are hung in an area as they prepare to ender a COVID-19 unit at Starr County Memorial Hospital, Monday, July 27, 2020, in Rio Grande City, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Notes to medical personnel are hung in an area as they prepare to ender a COVID-19 unit at Starr County Memorial Hospital, Monday, July 27, 2020, in Rio Grande City, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Starting today, the entire Portland metro area is on "pause." Restaurant capacity and other gatherings are restricted as the state tries to get control of an alarming spike in infections.

Seattle is going to give out another round of coronavirus relief for businesses, a total of $4 million in $10,000 increments. Recipients the first time around called the help a “godsend.”

The Seahawks are still hoping to bring fans back to CenturyLink Field, but it won’t happen this Sunday against Arizona.

—Seattle Times staff

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