Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, Nov. 2, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
The United States “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” to stem rising coronavirus infections and deaths as more people gather indoors during the colder fall and winter months, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, told The Washington Post. He said the U.S. will need to make an “abrupt change” in public health precautions. President Donald Trump then threatened to fire him.
Throughout Monday, on this page, we’ll post updates on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Updates from Sunday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
New Delhi sees worst wave as India’s cases drop
NEW DELHI — India’s capital is seeing its worst wave of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, even as the nation’s overall cases fall.
New Delhi has averaged more than 5,200 newly confirmed cases a day this past week, the highest this trend has been since the first case was recorded in the capital on March 2.
The Health Ministry has attributed the surge in New Delhi to the festival season and warned the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping, coupled with the onset of winters and high air pollution levels in the capital.
India is maintaining an overall decline in new cases, registering 38,310 in the last 24 hours. The Health Ministry also Tuesday reported another 490 fatalities, raising the overall death toll to 123,097.
With 8.2 million cases of coronavirus, India is the second worst-hit country behind the U.S.
Pac-12 announces in-season COVID-19 testing protocols to solve the false-positive problem on game day
The Pac-12 unveiled an in-season testing plan Monday designed to reduce the on-field spread of coronavirus and eliminate the potential for players to be held out of competition due to false-positive results.
The protocols include the use of rapid PCR tests, which would be available on game day as a safety net in case the antigen tests produce a positive result.
In addition, air ambulance services will be available for any players or coaches who test positive while on the road.
The season begins Saturday with seven games in seven weeks.
Antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests but have a turnaround time of less than one hour. They will be administered to all players prior to practice and competition.
Traditional PCR tests are the gold standard but usually take 24-48 hours for results and must be processed in a lab.
However, rapid PCR tests can be evaluated within 30 minutes, providing the conference with a means of confirming — or voiding — a positive antigen test.
Pandemic reinvents holiday hiring for retailers
NEW YORK — Wanted this holiday shopping season: Cart sanitizers, curbside delivery workers and mask enforcers.
The push to hire temporary workers has begun in earnest this holiday season — in some cases, weeks earlier than last year. But the pandemic has reshaped the kinds of jobs retailers are recruiting for.
As more shoppers shy away from stores and shift their purchases online during the pandemic, retailers have stepped up the pace of hiring at warehouses. At the same time, they are looking for workers who can handle new tasks like checking temperatures and booking store appointments for shoppers who still want the in-store experience but are jittery about exposure to the coronavirus.
Retail store jobs were down 13% the week ending Oct. 13 compared to the week of March 1 before the pandemic hit, according to Snagajob, which recruits for with major retailers. Postings for e-commerce warehouse jobs, however, were up nearly fourfold.
Some big-box stores and warehouses may nonetheless end up hiring fewer seasonal workers because they already added hundreds of thousands of workers in March and April to meet a sudden surge online ordering when the pandemic began.
Amazon N.Y. warehouse workers’ COVID lawsuit tossed by judge
A federal judge dismissed a New York warehouse workers’ lawsuit against Amazon, ruling that their allegations about the company’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic should have been brought to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instead.
The lawsuit filed in June accused Amazon of creating a “public nuisance” by exacerbating COVID-19 risks, including by maintaining a “culture of workplace fear” in which workers are told to “work at dizzying speeds, even if doing so prevents them from socially distancing, washing their hands, and sanitizing their work spaces.”
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York, ruled Sunday that the federal agency was better situated “to strike a balance between maintaining some level of operations in conjunction with some level of protective measures,” given courts’ lack of expertise on workplace safety and public health, and the risk that judges around the country would reach conflicting conclusions.
“Court-imposed workplace policies could subject the industry to vastly different, costly regulatory schemes in a time of economic crisis,” he wrote.
The workers’ lawyers said they were weighing an appeal of Cogan’s ruling. The judge’s deference to OSHA “should be very concerning to anyone who cares about the health of American workers, given that OSHA has been virtually AWOL throughout this crisis,” they said in a statement.
Health officials confirm 1,039 new coronavirus cases in Washington
State health officials reported 1,039 new coronavirus cases and 12 more deaths in Washington on Monday.
The state Department of Health's (DOH) most recent update brings the total number of reported cases to 109,354 and the number of deaths to 2,378. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Because DOH is no longer reporting deaths on weekends, tallies may be higher early in the week.
At least 8,634 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus, according to DOH.
In King County, the state's most populous, DOH has confirmed 28,223 diagnoses and 817 deaths.
Oregon records 1,600 COVID-19 cases over weekend and Monday
Officials from the Oregon Health Authority have reported more than 1,600 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state over three days.
The rise in case numbers, transmission and positivity rate have been occurring in Oregon since mid-September. As of Monday, the state’s total COVID-19 case count, since the start of the pandemic, has reached 45,978. The death toll is 692.
On Saturday authorities reported that 14 people in the state had died from COVID-19, matching the highest death toll reported in a single day as the state struggles to contain the coronavirus.
Polling places are latest front in battle over face masks
America’s fight over masks has reached a new front: polling places.
On Election Day, voters across the country will face varying rules about mask-wearing when they cast a ballot as officials try to balance public safety precautions amid a global pandemic with the constitutional right to vote.
Most states, even ones with broad mask mandates, are stopping short of forcing voters to use a face covering. Instead, they’re opting for recommendations to wear them while providing options for voters who refuse.
In one case that caught national attention, a Maryland man was arrested after refusing to wear a mask while trying to vote last month. In Texas, the issue has wound up in court.
More than half the residents of a Seattle work-release facility have tested positive for the coronavirus
More than half the residents of a work-release facility in Seattle have now tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to the Washington state Department of Corrections (DOC).
The outbreak at Bishop Lewis Work Release on Seattle’s First Hill has ballooned since two cases were first identified Oct. 16.
As of Oct. 30, 28 of Bishop Lewis’ 49 residents had contracted the virus, including nine cases discovered last week and 17 the previous week.
South African firm and Johnson & Johnson strike vaccine deal
South African pharmaceutical firm Aspen Pharmacare has announced a deal with U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, if it is approved in South Africa and internationally.
In a statement issued on Monday, Aspen said that if ongoing trials bring international health authorities to endorse the J&J vaccine as effective and safe, it would be produced at Aspen’s manufacturing facility in Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
The company said the facility has a capacity to manufacture more than 300 million doses of the vaccine a year.
Johnson & Johnson’s test vaccine, Ad26.COV3-S, is one of four different vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials in South Africa.
Pregnant women are more likely to die from coronavirus, though risk remains small
Pregnant women who catch the coronavirus are at greater risk of death and severe illness than women who are not pregnant, even as the risk overall remains small, according to federal statistics released Monday.
The data – the most comprehensive U.S. accounting to date of how the virus affects pregnant women – show that pregnant women are almost three times more likely to be admitted to intensive care units, and more than three times more likely to be put on a ventilator. The findings echo previous studies linking pregnancy to increased risk for severe illness.
The overall risk to pregnant women remains small because they tend to be younger and healthy, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of 19,600 pregnant women studied, 33 died – a 0.2 percent death rate. For women who are not pregnant, the death rate was 0.1 percent, the report said.
The CDC study also reinforced findings about the disparate path of the pandemic in the United States, with Black, Hispanic and Asian women at greater peril from the virus.
The increased risk to pregnant women should serve as a warning to those who are expecting a baby to be especially vigilant against infection, experts said.
Hospitals competing for nurses as US coronavirus cases surge
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.
Even before the virus took hold some hospitals had a shortage of nurses and now experienced nurses are getting burned out or quitting.
Health systems are training nurses to provide care in fields where they have limited experience, cutting some services and turning to short-term travel nurses to help fill the gaps.
They're also competing for the same pool of nurses, offering pay ranging from $1,500 a week to more than $5,000, said April Hansen, executive vice president at San Diego-based Aya Healthcare, which recruits and deploys travel nurses.
Texas records highest number of total COVID-19 cases in US
Texas has surpassed California in recording the highest number of positive coronavirus tests in the U.S. so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation, the data from Sunday — the most recent available — says that there have been 937,317 cases in Texas, the nation’s second-largest state. Texas health officials have reported more than 18,000 deaths so far from COVID-19.
California, the most populous state, has had 936,198 cases, followed by Florida with 807,412.
Crushed by the virus, 2 mall operators file for bankruptcy
Two shopping mall operators filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, hurt by the coronavirus pandemic that has forced their tenants to permanently close stores or not pay rent.
Both companies, CBL and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, said their malls will remain open as they go through the bankruptcy process.
Even before the virus, malls struggled to attract shoppers who are increasingly shopping online or elsewhere. But the pandemic forced many of them to temporarily close for months. Mall tenants, which operators rely on for rent payments, are also stressed. Some are going bankrupt and closing stores, such as department store chain J.C. Penney.
As the virus rages, some are convinced it’s too late to stop it
COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — The congregation of Candlelight Christian Fellowship gathered around tables in the church sanctuary one night last week to sip coffee and grapple with theological questions. From down the hall came the laughter of dozens of children at play.
With a potluck dinner, no masks and plenty of shared hugs, the night felt like a throwback to the pre-pandemic era except for a noticeable exception on the stage: The lead pastor, Paul Van Noy, was addressing the congregation with the aid of supplemental oxygen, piped into his nostrils from a small tank.
About a month ago, Van Noy, 60, was discharged from a hospital in a wheelchair after a COVID-19 infection brought him to the brink of death. But while that scare ravaged his lungs and rattled the church, it has done little to alter the growing sentiment among many people in northern Idaho that the coronavirus cannot be stopped and efforts to contain it are doing more harm than good.
“I think we just open up and we just let it take its course,” said Nancy Hillberg, 68, as church members mingled after the service. “Just let it be done.”
Another restaurant chain, Friendly’s, stumbles in pandemic
Friendly’s Restaurants, an East Coast dining chain known for its sundaes, is filing for bankruptcy protection.
The company, which runs the restaurants under the parent company FIC Restaurants Inc., will sell substantially all of its assets to the restaurant company, Amici Partners Group.
All 130 of its locations will remain open while in restructures under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company said late Sunday.
The pandemic has hit the restaurant sector hard, particularly those that rely on people in their dining rooms. At least 10 chains have filed for bankruptcy protection since the pandemic began this year.
A UW student’s 3D video game depicts life during COVID-19 pandemic for people of color
During the pandemic, many people have leaned into art and hobbies to ease the stress of everyday life.
For Chanhee Choi, a multidisciplinary interactive artist and Ph.D. candidate in the University of Washington Digital Arts and Experimental Media department, art became a way to reflect on her experience with discrimination and racism as a Korean in America during the pandemic.
Pandemic 2020 not a traditional video game, Choi said. It’s an art game that’s more about experiencing the digital world as a player forced to interact with hostile characters rather than racking up points.
In March, after the first few cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed the United States, but before the pandemic completely shut down life as we knew it, Choi said she was walking down the street with a face mask on when a man shouted a racial slur at her, saying, "Hey, you (expletive) Chinese, you brought coronavirus."
Is the COVID-19 risk on airplanes really that low? Here’s what experts say
With the demand for air travel still in a slump, the airline industry is promoting studies that suggest the risk of contracting the coronavirus while flying is low.
The most prominent study, which measured a fluorescent aerosol spray that was emitted from a mannequin placed in various seats in two types of Boeing jets, was conducted and sponsored by United Airlines, Boeing and the U.S. Department of Defense.
The mannequin was moved throughout the cabins of the planes, with sensors installed in surrounding seats to measure how far the aerosol spray traveled. More than 300 tests were conducted, with variables such as having the mannequin emit aerosol at different strengths to replicate breathing, speaking or coughing. Tests were performed with and without the mannequin wearing a mask.
The study concluded that the “aerosol exposure risk is minimal even during long duration flights,” with the highest risk coming to those sitting in the same row as the mannequin.
Do healthcare experts agree? Only partially.
UK’s Johnson faces opposition from his own party on lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing opposition from his own party as he prepares to ask British lawmakers to back plans for a second national lockdown to combat the exponential spread of COVID-19.
Johnson will on Monday provide the House of Commons with details of a proposed four-week lockdown in England that is set to begin Thursday. The plan was hurriedly announced Saturday after scientific advisers told the government rapidly rising infection rates risked swamping hospitals in a matter of weeks.
The prime minister is facing opposition from some members of his own party who say the lockdown will cost jobs and infringe on human rights. Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party has criticized the delay in implementing a policy first recommended on Sept. 21, although the party says it will back the restrictions when they come to a vote on Wednesday.
“Faced with these latest figures, there is no alternative but to take further action at a national level,″ Johnson will tell lawmakers, according to excerpts of his speech released in advance.
As Seattle grapples with COVID-19 crisis, city leaders weigh budget decisions big and small
For the first time since the Great Recession, Seattle’s economy is wavering, so City Hall leaders are considering reductions in the year ahead. The revenue streams that allowed programs to grow during the city’s boom have been choked by the COVID-19 crisis, leaving politicians with tough choices to make.
Seattle’s budget hole would be larger had the City Council not adopted a new tax this summer on high salaries at large corporations. Still, the 2021 plan that Mayor Jenny Durkan sent to the council in September includes significant trims at a juncture when the city’s needs are greater than ever.
Council members are weighing dozens of other changes, big and small, as they try to determine what residents can — and can’t — do without.
Cuts could affect police funding, neighborhood safety, sidewalks, homeless support and libraries.
Germany starts ‘wave-breaker’ shutdown as Europe locks down
Several European countries are tightening restrictions this week, starting with a partial shutdown Monday in Germany, as authorities across the continent scramble to slow a rapid rise in coronavirus infections that threatens to overwhelm their health care systems.
Britain and Austria will follow suit later in the week, closing restaurants, bars and many leisure activities. Italy, Greece and Kosovo also announced new measures. In some places, the new rules — which vary in strictness — are prompting violent protests by people frustrated at once again having to forgo freedoms.
Restrictions have been slowly ramping up for weeks in many European countries, but virus cases have continued to rise. There was a sign of hope from hard-hit Belgium, however, where a leading virologist said that “the high-speed train is somewhat easing up.”
Alaska hospital virus overflow site remains in ready status
A major overflow site is prepared for a quick start to take Alaska patients if the coronavirus pandemic overwhelms bed capacity, but staffing remains a concern, officials said.
Heidi Hedberg of the state Department of Health and Social Services said the hospital overflow site at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage can be ready for use within 48 hours, Alaska Public Media reported Friday.
The arena was converted to an overflow site in April in case hospitals were overloaded with COVID-19 patients, while another facility at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks also was prepared.
Neither were used for medical treatment, but throughout the summer the Alaska Airlines Center remained ready for medical use rather than reopening for sports, said Hedberg, the department’s director of public health.
“That’s what we consider a ‘warm,’ ready status,” Hedberg said.
Prince William reportedly diagnosed with virus in spring
Prince William caught the novel coronavirus in the spring around the same time that his father, Prince Charles, also tested positive, according to various British media reports.
The Duke of Cambridge, 38, was left “struggling to breathe,” according to the Sun newspaper, which first published the story.
The British tabloid said that William, the second in line to the throne, kept the diagnosis secret because “he didn’t want to alarm the nation.” His diagnosis came a few days after the palace revealed in late March that Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, had the virus.
A spokeswoman for Kensington Palace said on Sunday evening that the palace did not want to comment on the reports.
Police on curfew patrol as Spain fights nightlife infections
At 10:00 p.m. each night, Barcelona’s professional crime fighters become wet blankets in uniforms.
Police officers fan out across the coastal city in northeastern Spain to break up clandestine parties and to clear the streets of young adults drinking alcohol, enforcing a nationwide curfew the Spanish government ordered to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
For European nations battling the resurgence of COVID-19, the assignment is critical and the conflict between reining in personal desires for the greater public good or giving in to individual pleasure is at the heart of Europe’s renewed struggle against the virus.
Cambodia reopens schools after virus shutdown
Schools in Cambodia opened on Monday for the first time since March, but class sizes and hours were limited as a coronavirus precaution.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said schools might have to be reclosed if any students become infected while attending classes. He said students and teachers must observe safety measures because the virus is still raging in Europe and the United States and a vaccine is not yet available.
Some schools in the capital, Phnom Penh, and parts of eastern Cambodia opened last month in a trial phase, and Hang Chuon Naron said the good results prompted the nationwide reopenings.
WHO chief Tedros to quarantine after contact gets COVID-19
The head of the World Health Organization says he will self-quarantine after being identified as a contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter late Sunday that he is “well and without symptoms” but will self-quarantine in “coming days, in line with WHO protocols, and work from home.” The tweet did not identify who among his contacts had been infected.
On Monday, the U.N. health agency’s clarified that “contrary to some incorrect reports,” Tedros has not tested positive himself.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Washington schools' plans keep crashing down as the virus surges, and reopening buildings will be many magnitudes harder than originally imagined. Missing from the public conversation about reopening is a serious look at how schools will contain cases when they arise, with districts left to interpret the data and navigate political pressures on their own.
Trump is threatening to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after tomorrow’s election. This comes just after Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said the U.S. "could not possibly be positioned more poorly" and needs to make an "abrupt change" in public health practices and behaviors.
Will Election Day be a superspreader event? Spiking cases in key presidential battleground states are amplifying health and logistical concerns for voters, poll workers and political parties.
A U.S. diplomat who coughed repeatedly has European allies worried and irritated about their own exposure after he tested positive.
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