Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Friday, Nov. 13, 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 It is no longer being updated.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, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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Trump, still not conceding defeat, trumpets vaccine progress

WASHINGTON — Gliding over significant challenges still to come, President Donald Trump offered a rosy update on the race for a vaccine for the resurgent coronavirus as he delivered his first public remarks since his defeat by President-elect Joe Biden. He still did not concede the election.

Trump spoke from the the Rose Garden Friday as the nation sets records for confirmed cases of COVID-19, and as hospitalizations near critical levels and fatalities climb to the highest levels since the spring. He said a vaccine would ship in “a matter of weeks” to vulnerable populations, though the Food and Drug Administration has not yet been asked to grant the necessary emergency approvals.

Public health experts worry that Trump’s refusal to take aggressive action on the pandemic or to coordinate with the Biden team during the final two months of his presidency will only worsen the effects of the virus and hinder the nation’s ability to swiftly distribute a vaccine next year.

As states impose new restrictions in the face of rising caseloads, Trump asked all Americans to remain “vigilant.” But he ruled out a nationwide “lockdown” and appeared to acknowledge that the decision won’t be his much longer.

“This administration will not be going to a lockdown,” he said. “Hopefully whatever happens in the future, who knows, which administration it will be I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.”

—Associated Press
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India virus surge continues in New Delhi

NEW DELHI — India’s overall tally of new coronavirus cases remained steady on Saturday, but officials were watching a surge of cases in the capital that comes as people socialize during the festival season.

India’s Health Ministry reported 44,684 new positive cases in the past 24 hours and 520 deaths. Of those, 7,802 new cases were reported in New Delhi, with 91 deaths.

India’s has seen 8.7 million infections since the pandemic began — the second-most in the world — but daily new infections have been on the decline from the middle of September. The county has also seen more than 129,000 virus deaths.

New Delhi has seen a spike in recent weeks, recording more new cases than any other Indian state. The rising numbers coincide with a busy festival season nationwide, with millions celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on Saturday.

COVID-19 beds in government-run hospitals are nearly full and the availability of intensive care unit beds with ventilator support in the city has reached an all-time low, according to the government data. The New Delhi government has said that cases are projected to rise to nearly 12,000 daily by the end of November.

—Associated Press

After Inslee address, Seattle-area business community braces for new coronavirus restrictions

Freddy Diaz wipes down a table at Rhein Haus in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in July. “Right now, we’re looking at a really potentially devastating winter,” said James Weimann, co-owner of Rhein Haus and seven other Seattle-area eateries. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
Freddy Diaz wipes down a table at Rhein Haus in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in July. “Right now, we’re looking at a really potentially devastating winter,” said James Weimann, co-owner of Rhein Haus and seven other Seattle-area eateries. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Gov. Jay Inslee stopped short of announcing new stay-at-home orders in his speech Thursday but many businesses and trade groups are already bracing for a new round of potentially costly restrictions as early as next week. 

“I can’t imagine that we’re not going to have more restrictions coming up, with the number of positive cases surging,” said Seattle restaurateur James Weimann, co-owner of Rhein Haus and seven other Seattle-area eateries.

While Weimann thinks such restrictions may be necessary, he fears what it’s going to mean for a company that has already laid off nearly two-thirds of its staff and is currently running at 30% of its 2019 revenues. “Right now, we’re looking at a really potentially devastating winter,” Weimann added.

He could be speaking for much of Washington’s business community at a moment when the 9-month-old pandemic appears to be moving into a more intense and uncertain phase.

Although new restrictions have been widely expected as coronavirus cases have soared, there is little consensus among businesses, trade groups or economists over what the governor might propose.

Read the full story here.

—Paul Roberts

CDC: Wearing a mask could keep you from catching virus

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are taking a new tack to encourage Americans to wear masks: They’re emphasizing recent research that a mask protects the person who wears it.

Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to wear masks because of evidence that it stops people who are infected with coronavirus — whether they know it or not — from spreading it to others.

But this week the CDC posted a new scientific brief discussing recent studies finding that a wearer gets some protection.

The agency’s guidance didn’t change. It continues to advise Americans to wear masks to stop the virus from spreading.

“But now we’re saying here’s another reason” to do it, said Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC’s COVID-19 emergency response.

Agency officials were influenced by a recent study led by Japanese researchers who used mannequin heads and artificial respirators to simulate the spread of coronavirus particles through the air, and assess how well masks blocked transmission.

—Associated Press
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Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tests positive for COVID-19

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 as the virus surges to record levels in the state and across the U.S.

The 66-year-old Democrat is the fifth governor to report testing positive for the coronavirus this year. Three governors, two Republicans in Missouri and Oklahoma, and one Democrat in Virginia contracted COVID-19 this year. Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive in August but received a negative test a few hours later. DeWine tested positive using a rapid test before testing negative later that day after using a more sensitive laboratory-developed test.

Sisolak said on a call with reporters he was not experiencing any symptoms and was swabbed for a rapid test on Friday morning as a matter of routine. After it yielded a positive result, he also underwent molecular testing and his sample is still being processed.

“I’m a little tired, but I’ve been tired since March when we started fighting COVID,” Sisolak said. “I think this just puts a spotlight on the fact that you can take all the precautions that are possible and you can still contract the virus. I don’t know how I got it, but we’re going to quarantine and get through it.”

Sisolak is the third person in his office to test positive for the virus.

—Associated Press

California governor went to party, violated own virus rules

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For months, Gov. Gavin Newsom has pleaded with Californians to resist the temptation to socialize with friends and relatives outside their household. Turns out, he’s the one who couldn’t resist.

Newsom acknowledged Friday he attended a birthday party with a dozen friends on Nov. 6 at the posh French Laundry restaurant in wine country north of San Francisco.

“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” he said in a statement.

His choice to do so could harm his credibility and alter his messaging as the state of nearly 40 million enters a critical holiday stretch with virus cases surging and health officials blaming the increase on social gatherings.

Newsom and state and local health officials have urged people to stay within their own households. If people must visit others, they should meet outside, include no more than three households, wear masks, stay socially distant and limit their interaction to two hours.

The dinner, first reported Friday by the San Francisco Chronicle, included 12 people sitting outside at the famed restaurant in Napa County. It was in celebration of the 50th birthday of Jason Kinney, a Newsom friend and political adviser. Newsom’s wife also attended.

—Associated Press

The coronavirus math says we either break this fever or it breaks us

The math of the coronavirus outbreak is like the math of the election – over time, as more is counted and more detail becomes known, the big picture is revealed and becomes irrefutable.

Yet big parts of society are stuck in denial about both.

“The anti-MAGA media clearly knows that the presidential race is far from over,” a local state senator, Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, wrote to his constituents the other day.

“Look for a lot of news about COVID-19 outbreaks as they try to distract people from the election.”

This is a fever that I naively thought would have broken by now. Here is a state senator, one of Donald Trump’s biggest backers in our state, who apparently believes that the current surge of the disease isn’t any more real than the fact that Trump just got fewer votes than his opponent.

Of course Trump himself has said he won the election and all this talk of “COVID, COVID, COVID” would be gone by now. We’re stubbornly all still talking about it – what to do about Thanksgiving is the talk of the town. So now they’ve come up with a new tack, which is that we’re only talking about the phony pandemic to cover up the stolen election.

It’s tenacious, this fever. When will it break?

Read the full column here.

—Danny Westneat
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King County COVID-19 hot spots: Positive test rates on the rise

It’s been a few months since I looked at the hot spots for the novel coronavirus in King County, so I figured it was time to revisit the data. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t look so good.

While the general patterns remain the same — the highest rate of positive tests for the virus are in South County, and the lowest are in parts of Seattle and Vashon Island — the overall picture is worse.

In my previous column, I looked at data for two weeks in July. At that point, the rate of positive tests countywide had dipped below 4%. That’s no longer the case.

From Oct. 3 through Oct. 17, 4.4% of the tests for coronavirus in King County were positive. In that period, there were nearly 48,000 tests administered, and more than 2,100 were positive for the virus. There is one more recent data release available, but it is subject to significant corrections. I used slightly older data to ensure that it is accurate.

The higher numbers we’re seeing now are driving an increase in hospitalizations, and Gov. Jay Inslee has made recommendations for increased caution. The governor has advised people to avoid nonessential out-of-state travel and to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country on nonessential travel.

Read the full column here.

—Gene Balk

Washington confirms highest daily total of COVID-19 cases with 2,142 new infections

Health officials have reported an additional 2,142 COVID-19 cases — a record number of daily cases — and 12 deaths in Washington as of Friday afternoon.

The latest update brings the state’s totals to 125,498 cases and 2,519 deaths, meaning that 2% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

"Just two weeks ago, we announced 1,000 new cases in a day for the first time since mid-summer," DOH said in a statement Friday. "And, each day this week we have reported over 1,000 new cases per day. This rapid escalation is extremely alarming."

DOH also reported that 9,266 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus, reflecting 88 new hospitalizations since Wednesday.

In King County, state health officials have confirmed a total of 33,043 COVID-19 diagnoses and 836 deaths. 

—Elise Takahama

Puerto Rico activating National Guard to enforce curfew, fight COVID-19

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor announced Friday that she will activate the National Guard to help enforce a curfew aimed at curbing a rise in COVID-19 cases and other measures, including once again closing beaches to everyone except those doing exercise.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez also said the government will limit capacity at restaurants, casinos, gyms, churches and other places to 30%.

The new restrictions start Nov. 16 and will remain in place until Dec. 11. Face masks and a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remain mandatory.

“We will not under any circumstance allow our health system to be placed at risk,” she said. “There are many who have lowered their guard and have not understood that this pandemic is still with us.”

Vázquez also urged people across Puerto Rico to be extremely cautious during the holiday season, encouraging families to get together via Zoom. She said that if violations continue into mid-December, she would close down more businesses and implement more restrictive measures.

—Associated Press
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Italy extends partial lockdown as Naples hospitals struggle

NAPLES, Italy — The regions of Italy that include the cities of Naples and Florence were declared coronavirus red zones Friday, the latest signals of the dire condition of Italian hospitals struggling with a surge of new admissions.

The director of the National Health Institute, Gianni Rezza, said the stricter measures were justified by a “worrisome increase in hospitalizations” as Italy’s rate of new confirmed cases reached 650 per 100,000 people. Confirmed cases hit a daily pandemic high of nearly 41,000 and 550 people died of the virus in 24 hours, bringing the country’s known death toll to 44,139. Italy has reported a total of more than 1.1. million virus cases.

Naples hospitals made headlines this week when a video that went viral showed an elderly man lying dead on the floor of an emergency room bathroom. The video, shot with a smartphone inside Antonio Cardarelli Hospital also shows what appears to be an overcrowded emergency area with patients lying on stretchers close together and left without medical assistance.

Unlike in wealthier northern regions, the medical system in southern Italy is more fragile. Many southerners have traditionally traveled to the north for non-routine medical care. The system in Campania, the region where Naples is located, emerged last December from a decade under government control aimed at wiping out waste and improving care. Union representatives note that 16,000 health care workers were cut in the 10-year period.

—Associated Press

As virus cases surge, elected officials resist restrictions

With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance across the country and the U.S. facing a long, dark winter, many governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for imposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring.

Some also continue to resist issuing statewide mask rules.

Among the reasons given: public fatigue, fear of doing more damage to already-crippled businesses, lack of support from Washington, how fiercely politicized it's become.

FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2020, file photo, a man walks past a coffee shop as the store displays information signs in Chicago. With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance across the country and the U.S. facing a long, dark winter, governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for reimposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2020, file photo, a man walks past a coffee shop as the store displays information signs in Chicago. With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance across the country and the U.S. facing a long, dark winter, governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for reimposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

While there are exceptions: Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico imposed a two-week stay-at-home order Friday and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday ordered a two-week “freeze” that requires businesses to close their offices to the public and mandate work-from-home “to the greatest extent possible.”

But governors in many other states, such as New York, Maryland, Virginia and Minnesota, have taken more incremental measures. In Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued after El Paso closed nonessential businesses because of a surge so severe mobile morgues were brought in.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Idaho governor mobilizes National Guard, ramps up restrictions to fight COVID-19

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order Friday mobilizing the Idaho National Guard to provide medical support, testing, decontamination and COVID-19 screenings.

Little also signed a public health order rolling Idaho back into a modified Stage 2 in the state's rebound plan, the Idaho State Journal reported.

Last month, a Coeur d’Alene hospital reached 99% capacity and officials began seeking to send COVID-19 patients to hospitals in Seattle and Portland.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little makes a COVID announcement in September in Boise, Idaho. Little signed an executive order Friday mobilizing the Idaho National Guard to provide medical support and rolling Idaho back into a modified Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan. Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman via The Associated Press, file)
Idaho Gov. Brad Little makes a COVID announcement in September in Boise, Idaho. Little signed an executive order Friday mobilizing the Idaho National Guard to provide medical support and rolling Idaho back into a modified Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan. Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman via The Associated Press, file)

Although Idaho is one of several states where a surge of COVID-19 infections is overwhelming hospitals, in part because cooler weather is sending people indoors, Little has so far declined to issue a mask mandate.

Now, COVID-19 has taken a toll on staff and health care leaders say they are on the verge of having to turn people away from emergency departments.

—Christine Clarridge
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A third of the world’s air routes have been lost due to COVID

Before the coronavirus, a decades-long aviation boom spawned a network of nearly 50,000 air routes that traversed the world. In less than a year, the pandemic has wiped almost a third of them off the map.

Sea-Tac Airport passenger volume is still far below its pre-pandemic peaks. But it has grown from the low volumes of this spring, as seen in this May photo. Before the coronavirus, a decades-long aviation boom spawned a network of nearly 50,000 air routes that traversed the world. In less than a year, the pandemic has wiped almost a third of them off the map. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Sea-Tac Airport passenger volume is still far below its pre-pandemic peaks. But it has grown from the low volumes of this spring, as seen in this May photo. Before the coronavirus, a decades-long aviation boom spawned a network of nearly 50,000 air routes that traversed the world. In less than a year, the pandemic has wiped almost a third of them off the map. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Border closures, nationwide lockdowns and the fear of catching COVID-19 from fellow passengers have crippled commercial travel. As thousands of domestic and international connections disappear completely from airline timetables, the world has suddenly stopped shrinking.

The crisis is unwinding a vast social and industrial overhaul that took place during half a century of air-travel proliferation. In years to come, overseas business trips and holidays will likely mean more airport stopovers, longer journey times and perhaps an additional mode of transport. Even when an effective vaccine is found, the economic reality of the recovery may mean some nonstop flights are gone for good.

In late January, 47,756 operational routes crisscrossed the world, more than half of them in the U.S., Western Europe and Northeast Asia, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide. By Nov. 2, there were just 33,416 routes on global schedules, the data shows.

Read the story here.

—Bloomberg

Main cooperative selling mink to shut as virus forces cull

 The cooperative that sells nearly half of Denmark’s mink furs, will “gradually downsize” and shut down over the next 2-3 years after the government last week ordered the culling of millions of animals to fight an outbreak of COVID-19 among the animals and staff.

Kopenhagen Fur CEO Jesper Lauge said Thursday that the discovery of coronavirus infections put the Danish mink industry “in an extreme and unusually difficult situation.”

Kopenhagen Fur employs some 300 people and sells the furs of the farms in its cooperative. There are 1,139 mink farms in Denmark, employing about 6,000 people, according to the industry.

Danish farms together account for 40% of global mink fur production and are the world’s biggest exporter.

Mink breeder Thorbjoern Jepsen holds up a mink, as police forcibly gained access to his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark, Friday,  Oct. 9, 2020. Denmark’s prime minister said Wednesday that the government wants to cull all minks on Danish farms, to minimize the risk of them re-transmitting the new coronavirus to humans. A mutation of the virus has shown up in 12 people infected by mink.    (Henning Bagger /Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
Mink breeder Thorbjoern Jepsen holds up a mink, as police forcibly gained access to his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. Denmark’s prime minister said Wednesday that the government wants to cull all minks on Danish farms, to minimize the risk of them re-transmitting the new coronavirus to humans. A mutation of the virus has shown up in 12 people infected by mink. (Henning Bagger /Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

Earlier this month, Denmark reported that 11 people were sickened by a mutated version of the coronavirus that had been observed among the mink. The country began killing farmed minks in the north of the country and plans to cull 15 million in all.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

G-20 agrees on framework for more debt relief amid COVID-19

The Group of 20 nations, representing the world’s biggest economies, announced Friday that low-income countries hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic could potentially get an extension on their debt payments beyond mid-2021, and in the most severe cases, a debt write-off.

The G-20 statement, released after a virtual gathering of the group’s finance ministers and central bank governors, declared that the countries had agreed on a “common framework” for “timely and orderly” debt restructuring that aims to treat creditors equally and negotiate debt on a case-by-case basis.

But it did not specify which creditors would agree to possible debt cancellation. China, for instance, has repeatedly objected to portions of the debt relief plans. The country, considered to be Africa’s largest creditor, is reluctant to give up the billions it is owed from its politically strategic projects across the developing world as its own economy slows.

FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2019 file photo, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a news conference to announce Saudi Arabia’s annual budget at the finance ministry, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  The Group of 20 nations, representing the world’s biggest economies, announced Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, that low-income countries hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic could potentially get an extension on their debt payments beyond mid-2021, and in the most severe cases, a debt write-off. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2019 file photo, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a news conference to announce Saudi Arabia’s annual budget at the finance ministry, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Group of 20 nations, representing the world’s biggest economies, announced Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, that low-income countries hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic could potentially get an extension on their debt payments beyond mid-2021, and in the most severe cases, a debt write-off. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The meeting comes a month after the G-20 agreed to suspend $14 billion in debt payments for an additional six months to support 73 of the world’s neediest countries in their fight against the pandemic. Developing nations now have until June 2021 to spend on healthcare and emergency stimulus programs without fretting about grueling debt repayments to foreign creditors.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Dutch govt bans New Year’s Eve fireworks to help hospitals

A year overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic will not go out with the usual bang in the Netherlands after the Dutch government announced Friday it is banning the sale and use of most fireworks.

New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, with people pouring out of their homes around midnight to ignite rockets and firecrackers and major cities hosting large-scale fireworks shows that draw thousands of viewers.

Customers seated in small glasshouses enjoy lunch at the Mediamatic restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday, June 1, 2020.  The Dutch government announced Friday that due to the pandemic it is banning the sale and use of most fireworks on New Year’s Eve because it is one of the busiest days of the year for hospitals treating people injured by the pyrotechnics. . (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Customers seated in small glasshouses enjoy lunch at the Mediamatic restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Dutch government announced Friday that due to the pandemic it is banning the sale and use of most fireworks on New Year’s Eve because it is one of the busiest days of the year for hospitals treating people injured by the pyrotechnics. . (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

However, it is also one of the busiest days of the year for hospitals treating people injured by the pyrotechnics. Last year, 1,300 people went to a hospital or doctor with firework-related injuries linked to New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The Dutch 2020 New Year’s Eve firework ban aims to ease the burdens on hospitals that are already swamped with COVID-19 patients.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Sounders report positive COVID-19 test for member of staff

A member of the Sounders’ technical staff has tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced Friday.

All players and other members of the coaching staff were re-tested multiple times and results were negative, according to the club.

This is the third reported COVID-19 case associated with the Sounders. An unnamed player tested positive in May and forward Raul Ruidiaz received a positive test in October while with his Peru national team.

Marcos Lopez of the San Jose Earthquakes and Cristian Roldan of the Seattle Sounders battle for possession in the first half at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 08, 2020 in Seattle. On Friday, the club announced that a member of the Sounders’ technical staff has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the third reported COVID-19 case associated with the team. 
(Abbie Parr / Getty Images)
Marcos Lopez of the San Jose Earthquakes and Cristian Roldan of the Seattle Sounders battle for possession in the first half at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 08, 2020 in Seattle. On Friday, the club announced that a member of the Sounders’ technical staff has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the third reported COVID-19 case associated with the team. (Abbie Parr / Getty Images)

The staff member who tested positive immediately self-isolated and were placed under the stipulated medical protocol, the Sounders reported. The club initiated contact tracing procedures and shuttered the indoor portions of their training facility at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.

Read the story here.

—Jayda Evans

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients two times more likely to die than those with flu, UW study finds

COVID-19 patients had an in-hospital death rate two times higher than that of influenza patients, according to a study published Friday.

This higher in-hospital mortality rate — of 40% for COVID-19 patients versus 19% for influenza patients — was independent of patients’ age, gender, co-occurring health conditions, and severity of illness while in the ICU, according to the study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

The study is believed to be the first in the United States to directly compare clinical features, laboratory results and health outcomes between COVID-19 patients and flu patients.

Lead author Dr. Natalie Cobb of UW Medicine and her co-authors reviewed the medical records of 65 patients critically ill with COVID-19 and 74 with severe influenza A or B who were admitted to the intensive care units of two UW Medicine hospitals between Jan. 1, 2019, and April 15, 2020.

Patients with COVID-19 needed to remain on mechanical ventilation longer and had worse lung functioning overall than flu patients, the study found. Patients with COVID-19 were also more likely to develop severe inflammation of the lungs than were those with the flu.

Cobb, a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician, said, “I strongly encourage people to get the flu vaccine and continue social-distancing measures and masking to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Read more here.

—Christine Clarridge
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Pandemic draws more Latin American poor into banking system

Sonia Fierro has lived her entire adult life selling children’s books on the streets of Colombia’s capital, earning wages that barely cover her living expenses, let alone the monthly fees that come with a bank account.

When the pandemic left her short on cash, she qualified for government aid, but she needed an account where the money could be sent. With the help of her tech-savvy daughter, she signed up for a virtual banking app called DaviPlata, which allows users to receive money, retrieve cash and make payments.

“It’s the best thing they could have done because it’s easy and doesn’t cost anything,” she said.

Across Latin America, the COVID-19 crisis has yielded a rare bright spot: Millions of people like Fierro who were long excluded from traditional banking have joined the financial system using digital banking services.

Tatiana Gomez talks during an interview in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Gomez, 35, a leukemia patient and mother of three is taking every precaution against the new coronavirus. Before the pandemic, she did not have a bank account and would have to go in person to pay bills with cash. Now she uses a digital wallet to complete transactions. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Tatiana Gomez talks during an interview in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Gomez, 35, a leukemia patient and mother of three is taking every precaution against the new coronavirus. Before the pandemic, she did not have a bank account and would have to go in person to pay bills with cash. Now she uses a digital wallet to complete transactions. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Governments tapped into the services to dole out emergency assistance, and the result has been a significant reduction in the number of people who rely solely on cash.

Read the story here.

—Mariana Palau, The Associated Press

Disney’s profits plummet as coronavirus keeps its core businesses flailing

A year ago this month Disney was riding high as it revealed it had racked up a massive $70 billion in revenue and $15 billion in operating income for fiscal 2019 while it also celebrated the launch of Disney Plus.

On Thursday, the company announced darker news for 2020: Amid the coronavirus, it saw operating income drop 45% for the year to just $8.1 billion, and fall a whopping 82% for the fourth quarter to just $600 million. Once taxes are factored in, the company lost $700 million during the quarter, which encompassed the July-September period, a rare drop for the country’s most prominent entertainment company.

FILE – In this March 13, 2020, file photo, visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. State health officials announced strict new rules for reopening theme parks on Wednesday, Oct.21, 2020. On Thursday, Disney announced darker news for 2020: Amid the coronavirus, it saw operating income drop 45% for the year to just $8.1 billion, and fall a whopping 82% for the fourth quarter to just $600 million. Once taxes are factored in, the company lost $700 million during the quarter. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin, File)
FILE – In this March 13, 2020, file photo, visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. State health officials announced strict new rules for reopening theme parks on Wednesday, Oct.21, 2020. On Thursday, Disney announced darker news for 2020: Amid the coronavirus, it saw operating income drop 45% for the year to just $8.1 billion, and fall a whopping 82% for the fourth quarter to just $600 million. Once taxes are factored in, the company lost $700 million during the quarter. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin, File)

Disney has been battered by the pandemic, which has kept it from attracting large numbers to its theme parks and from opening new movies in theaters.

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post

West Coast governors call for self-quarantine after interstate travel

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging people entering their states or returning from outside the states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The advisories urge people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encourage residents to stay local.

Essential travel is defined as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a social media video Thursday, “If we do not act immediately we will soon reach a breaking point.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee sounded a similar warning.

“We have to rethink spending time with people from outside our households right now, including Thanksgiving and the December holidays,” he wrote on social media. “This is temporary. We will get back to normal. But right now, it is just too dangerous to gather.”

—Christine Clarridge and The Associated Press
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To help economy, bank proposes tax on working from home

White collar staff reaping the financial benefits of working from home should be taxed to help other workers who aren’t getting the same advantages, experts at Deutsche Bank said in a new report.

In its report on how to rebuild the economy after COVID-19, the bank proposed a 5% daily tax on each employee that continues to work from home, which could raise tens of billions of dollars for governments. The money could be used to help lower income workers who have taken on greater risk because their jobs can’t be done remotely, it said.

The bank noted that the global pandemic has turbocharged the shift to remote work, a trend that looks set to last for the long term with many workers expecting to spend at least a few days of their work week at home even after the pandemic ends.

A pedestrian walks across the Millennium Bridge over the river Thames in London during a May lockdown  to help stop the spread of coronavirus. White collar staff reaping the financial benefits of working from home should be taxed to help other workers who aren’t getting the same advantages, experts at Deutsche Bank said in a new report on Tuesday (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
A pedestrian walks across the Millennium Bridge over the river Thames in London during a May lockdown to help stop the spread of coronavirus. White collar staff reaping the financial benefits of working from home should be taxed to help other workers who aren’t getting the same advantages, experts at Deutsche Bank said in a new report on Tuesday (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

The tax would amount to just over $10 a day, assuming the average salary of an American working from home is $55,000. That’s roughly the amount the worker might spend on commuting, lunch and laundry, which would leave them no worse off than going into the office, the report said. It could raise up to $48 billion in the U.S. Deutsche Bank carried out similar calculations for Germany and the U.K.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

130-plus Secret Service officers reported infected or quarantining after Trump’s campaign travel

More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing.

The spread of the coronavirus — which has sidelined roughly 10 percent of the agency’s core security team — is believed to be partly linked to a series of campaign rallies that President Donald Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election, according to the people, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the situation.

The virus is having a dramatic impact on the Secret Service’s presidential security unit at the same time that growing numbers of prominent Trump campaign allies and White House officials have fallen ill in the wake of campaign events, where many attendees did not wear masks.

Among those who are infected are White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and outside political advisers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. In addition, at least eight staffers at the Republican National Committee, including Chief of Staff Richard Walters, have the virus, according to officials at the organization.

President Donald Trump drives past supporters gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, when he had COVID-19. More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine this week  because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing. .  (Anthony Peltier / The Associated Press)
President Donald Trump drives past supporters gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, when he had COVID-19. More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine this week because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing. . (Anthony Peltier / The Associated Press)

Read the story here.

—The Washington Post

Seeking solace in virtual worlds

It’s 2014, and you’re relaxing with your best friend in a pastel-hued Florida condo the day after Thanksgiving. She’s checking Facebook and you’re on your iPad, playing a video game called Plague, Inc.

“You try to kill the entire world with a virus or a fungus,” you explain. “I mutated my virus to be more contagious. It’s now spreading in Europe.” She shoots you a horrified look. You show her the screen and turn up the volume to an ominous musical score with people coughing in the background. You both laugh.

You snort and take a sip of wine. “This could never happen in real life.”

Associated Press writer Tamara Lush plays video games during the coronavirus outbreak with the news on the television in the background Oct. 26, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. She started playing Plague, Inc. on her iPad in 2014. A pandemic could never happen in real life, she figured. But six years later, this Florida-based writer is seeking solace in virtual worlds, and found a poignant message in one Nintendo Switch game called Spiritfarer. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)
Associated Press writer Tamara Lush plays video games during the coronavirus outbreak with the news on the television in the background Oct. 26, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. She started playing Plague, Inc. on her iPad in 2014. A pandemic could never happen in real life, she figured. But six years later, this Florida-based writer is seeking solace in virtual worlds, and found a poignant message in one Nintendo Switch game called Spiritfarer. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)

It's now late 2020 and you haven’t played Animal Crossing in weeks because it seems pointless and repetitive. The cute animal characters are gratingly twee and you’ve whacked that annoying jock rooster with a net in hopes he’ll move. There’s still no news on your virtual island and everything feels stale.

There’s a crushing amount of news in real life, though. Too much news. In the United States, more than 240,000 people are dead. In between watching CNN and doomscrolling Twitter, you read about Spiritfarer. It’s billed as a “cozy management game about dying,” where you ferry others to the afterlife. How appropriate for 2020, you think.

You dread ferrying the character Summer to the afterlife and put it off for days. When the time comes, she gives a little speech.

“The only lesson I have left is to show you what you’re made of,” she says. “This is the last thing that I can teach you. That all things change, that all things end.”

And then you put down your game, and cry.

Read the story here.

—Tamara Lush, The Associated Press
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Socially distant things to do this cold, blustery weekend

As coronavirus levels have recently reached an all-time high in Washington state, health officials have stressed the importance of limiting gatherings, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.

But even while staying safe, there are still plenty of things you can do this weekend. Here’s are some ideas to get you started:

  • Start planning your holiday meals. Find some inspiration from six readers who have shared with us their holiday recipes that have been passed down through generations— and the family stories behind them.
  • Whether you’re looking for dine-in, takeout or delivery options, check out our updating list of restaurants that you can sort by neighborhood.
  • If you’re still trying to figure out your Thanksgiving dinner plans, here’s a list of restaurants doing advance-order take out, or that will be open on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Looking for some new crime fiction? Read these picks if you’re a fan of “Gone Girl” or stories with unreliable narrators.
  • Stream Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Wonderland” and “Ghost Variations,” and read critic Moira Macdonald’s review here.
  • Watch Seattle Opera’s specially online adapted version of “The Elixir of Love.”
  • Tune in to Shelter Fest Seattle, an online music festival that benefits local Black artists and restaurant owners.
  • Find something to stream from this list of what’s new on Video on Demand, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other services.
Kim Ninh’s banh bao, made from a family recipe, is photographed at her home in Mukilteo in October.  (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
Kim Ninh’s banh bao, made from a family recipe, is photographed at her home in Mukilteo in October. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Read here for more ideas.

—Amy Wong, Seattle Times features producer

Microsoft: Russian, North Korean hackers target vaccine work

Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers.

It said in a blog post Friday that most of the attacks in recent months were unsuccessful, but provided no information on how many succeeded or how serious those breaches were.

Chinese state-backed hackers have also been targeting vaccine-makers, the U.S. government said in July while announcing criminal charges.

FILE – This handout photo taken in Oct. 2020 and provided by Pfizer shows part of a “freezer farm,” a football field-sized facility for storing finished COVID-19 vaccines, in Puurs, Belgium.  Microsoft says state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers have in recent months tried to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and COVID-19 vaccine researchers.   (Pfizer via AP)
FILE – This handout photo taken in Oct. 2020 and provided by Pfizer shows part of a “freezer farm,” a football field-sized facility for storing finished COVID-19 vaccines, in Puurs, Belgium. Microsoft says state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers have in recent months tried to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and COVID-19 vaccine researchers. (Pfizer via AP)

Microsoft said most of the targets — located in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States — were “directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.” It did not name the targets but said most had vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials.

The company identified one of the state-backed hacker groups as Fancy Bear, the Russian military agents who Britain’s National Cyber Security Center said in July were behind such intrusion attempts. Two others were North Korea’s Lazarus Group and a group Microsoft calls Cerium.

Most of the break-in efforts involved attempts to steal the login credentials of people associated with the targeted organizations. The Lazarus Group posed as job recruiters while Cerium targeted spear-phishing emails that masqueraded as missives from World Health Organization representatives, Microsoft said.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

For business owners with COVID, virus is just one struggle

When Chris Hyland caught the coronavirus, his ordeal went beyond being sick and exhausted — he couldn’t help his business partners manage the virus’s impact on their company just as the outbreak was sweeping across the world.

When Hyland and his wife and children became ill in early March, customers were cutting back orders at his employee management software business, The Happiness Index. Revenue was plunging and the London-based company was forced to furlough 12 of 20 staffers.

Hyland tried to handle the crisis while also taking care of himself and his family but was so sick he had to hand off his responsibilities to his partners.

When small business owners are diagnosed with the coronavirus, being sick is just one of their problems. Like Hyland, they can be too ill to shepherd their companies through the crises the pandemic created, a painful situation for people used to being their enterprises’ driving forces.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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Tentative signs show UK’s virus outbreak is leveling off

Some tentative signs emerged Friday to suggest that the U.K.’s coronavirus resurgence is leveling off after wide-ranging restrictions were imposed.

In its weekly survey of new infections, Britain’s statistics agency said the rate of growth of the virus in England appeared to be slowing around the time a new four-week lockdown took effect on Nov. 5. And the British government’s main scientific advisory group said the virus’ reproduction rate dipped even before the latest lockdown.

Members of the British Army perform Covid-19 tests at army run testing center in Liverpool, U.K. on Nov. 6. Photographer: Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)
Members of the British Army perform Covid-19 tests at army run testing center in Liverpool, U.K. on Nov. 6. Photographer: Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

At first glance, both indicators appear to run counter to the near 50% rise in the number of new infections to 33,470 that was recorded on Thursday. The record daily increase stoked fears about the current outbreak, though some experts said it could be due to the positives resulting from the new citywide testing program taking place in hard-hit Liverpool.

Like others in Europe, the four nations of the U.K. have reimposed restrictions over recent weeks to get on top of the virus’ resurgence. On Thursday, the U.K. recorded another 563 virus-related deaths, taking the total to just under 51,000, the highest in Europe.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, sit in the governor’s office as they rehearse before making a statewide televised address on COVID-19, which health officials have warned is accelerating rapidly throughout the state, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, sit in the governor’s office as they rehearse before making a statewide televised address on COVID-19, which health officials have warned is accelerating rapidly throughout the state, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, yesterday urged Washingtonians to cancel plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers. Inslee will soon announce further restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, which “will affect what we do outside of the home,” he said. Across the nation, governors are cracking down with new rules as COVID-19 deaths soar, but many Americans are likely to attend big holiday gatherings anyway. We recommend trying these sweet ideas for a virtual Thanksgiving instead.

Hospitals in Washington have begun to implement COVID-19 surge plans as cases skyrocket, and even patients without the virus may feel the effects. Our FAQ looks at what state and local officials are doing to battle the virus, and what they want you to do

Exactly how risky is a Thanksgiving dinner in King County, or a 25-person wedding in Pierce County? Now you can see the COVID-19 risk anywhere in the U.S., in real time, with a new tool that's updated daily.

Washington state leads the nation in new jobless claims in numbers released yesterday, and economists say the state could be headed for another wave of pandemic-related job losses.

Costco is beefing up its face-mask policy, starting Monday.

Elon Musk says he's highly confused about whether he has the virus: "Something extremely bogus is going on." And more people who went to a White House election night party have tested positive, including  longtime Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski.

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