Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Wednesday, November 3, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
Health officials gave the final approval for Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot on Tuesday. The children’s vaccine dosage is a third of what adults receive and is available to millions of children as young as 5 and up to 11 years old.
While many states have gone back and forth with lifting and implementing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 when case rates fluctuate, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said restrictions and safety precautions would be lifted only when 70% of the population is fully vaccinated, even as case rates plummet.
Meanwhile, in Greece, officials announced they would place tougher restrictions on most activities for unvaccinated people amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Beginning on Saturday, unvaccinated people will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before entering outdoor restaurant areas, indoor public areas, such as banks, government buildings, and some shops, excluding supermarkets, pharmacies and places of worship.
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.
How to look for kids’ COVID vaccine appointments in Washington state
With the approval of kid-sized doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, parents are now faced with a new challenge: finding an appointment.
While walk-in appointments for people ages 12 and up have been available for months, doses for younger kids will require appointments — at least initially. For now, appointments are scarce and there is no comprehensive way to search for doses for children ages 5 to 11.
The Pfizer pediatric vaccine is given as a two-dose series, three weeks apart. Each dose is 10 micrograms, a third of the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and older.
The vaccine locator tool from the Washington state Department of Health added an option to search for pediatric Pfizer doses on Wednesday but said the functionality is limited right now since there are few appointments available.
Dutch police arrest 2 for selling fake vaccination proofs
Two doctor’s assistants in Amsterdam have been arrested on suspicion of selling fake COVID-19 vaccination registrations, police in the Dutch capital said Wednesday.
Vaccination registrations are needed to get a COVID-19 pass that people have to show to get into bars and restaurants in the Netherlands.
The announcement came a day after the Dutch government said it is extending the use of COVID-19 passes to more public places starting Saturday, amid sharply rising infection rates and hospital admissions.
The women allegedly were paid $580-1,160 for each certificate.
Air Force says nearly 8,500 miss deadline for COVID-19 shots
Nearly 8,500 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force have missed the deadline for getting COVID-19 vaccinations, including 800 who flatly refused and nearly 5,000 with pending requests for a religious exemption, the Air Force said Wednesday.
The Air Force said that of the 326,000 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force, 95.9 percent are fully vaccinated and 96.9 percent have gotten at least one shot.
“A vaccinated force is a protected force, better able to deploy and to defend our interests anywhere at any time,” said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman. “Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a necessary requirement to keep our people safe and healthy. This is a readiness issue.”
Tuesday was the Air Force deadline for all active-duty members to receive vaccinations. The Air Force deadline was the first of all the military services, providing an initial glimpse into how America’s military will handle the mandate.
LA Mayor Garcetti tests positive for coronavirus in Scotland
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is on a trip to the U.N. climate conference in Scotland, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, his office said in a posting on his official Twitter account.
The tweet, which said Garcetti is fully vaccinated, did not specify the location of the hotel, but Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar confirmed that the mayor was in in Glasgow.
State health officials confirm 1,691 new coronavirus cases
The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,691 new coronavirus cases and 31 new deaths on Wednesday.
The update brings the state's totals to 733,535 cases and 8,727 deaths, meaning that 1.2% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
In addition, 40,637 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 123 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 165,670 COVID-19 diagnoses and 2,002 deaths.
Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 9,860,461 doses and 60.4% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to vaccination data, which the state updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Providers are currently giving an average of about 26,498 vaccine shots per day.
The DOH says its daily case reports may also include duplicate test results, results assigned to the wrong county, results that are reported for today but are actually from a previous day, occasional false positive tests and other data discrepancies. Because of this, the previous day’s total number of cases plus the number of new daily cases does not add up to the new day’s total number of cases. State health officials recommend reviewing the dashboard's epidemiologic curves tab for the most accurate representation of the state's COVID-19 spread.
Health care workers in Greece protest mandatory vaccines
Hundreds of Greek health care workers protested in central Athens against mandatory coronavirus vaccines for their profession Wednesday, a day after the government imposed more restrictions on unvaccinated Greeks amid a spike in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
About 300 demonstrators chanted slogans and held up banners outside the parliament building, protesting regulations that call for unvaccinated health care workers to be suspended from their jobs.
Health care unions have said they do not oppose the vaccines but object to them being required. Vaccines against the coronavirus are compulsory for workers in Greece’s health care sector and those working in care homes for the elderly.
On Tuesday, Greece reported a record 6,700 new daily COVID-19 cases and 59 deaths, bringing the total in the country of around 11 million to over 750,000 infections and more than 16,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases rise in Europe for 5th consecutive week
The number of coronavirus cases has risen in Europe for the fifth consecutive week, making it the only world region where COVID-19 is still increasing, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday.
In its weekly report on the pandemic, the U.N. health agency said new cases jumped by 6% in Europe compared to an 18% increase the previous week. The weekly number of new infections in other regions either fell or remained about the same, according to the report.
The sharpest drops were seen in the Middle East, where new cases decreased by 12%, and in Southeast Asia and Africa, where they fell by 9%.
Overall, 3 million new weekly cases were reported globally, the report states. The number of deaths from COVID-19 worldwide rose by 8%, driven mainly by Southeast Asia, where deaths spiked by 50%.
Thai companies accused of fraud in sales of medical gloves
Police in Thailand announced Wednesday the arrest of the head of a company suspected of cheating overseas buyers of millions of dollars they paid for undelivered medical rubber gloves during the coronavirus pandemic.
Thai authorities have been cracking down on a surge in rubber glove fraud, including the sale of substandard and used gloves.
Police Lt. Gen. Jirabhob Bhuridej said Florida-based company Rock Fintek filed a complaint that Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy City Co. failed to deliver 2 million boxes of nitrile gloves worth $15.5 million for which it had paid a 40% deposit.
In another case Tuesday, the Thai attorney-general’s office announced that a Thai employee of Paddy the Room Trading Co., Pipatpon Homjanya, was sentenced to four years in prison. The company had exported millions of substandard or secondhand gloves to the United States which were packed without permission in legitimate glove boxes.
Child vaccinations begin in California with toys and gifts
Scavenger hunts and blow-up animals greeted children at some of California’s vaccination sites Wednesday as children aged 5 to 11 got their first COVID-19 shots a day after the federal government approved kid-size doses of the vaccinations.
As part of an ambitious plan to offer coronavirus vaccinations to California’s 3.5 million children in that age group, the state intends to offer the vaccines at locations including school clinics, pharmacies, pediatrician offices and county sites, many of which will launch in the coming days. Health officials said they are expecting 1.2 million initial doses of the pediatric vaccine.
California has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, and has also had some of the strictest masking and vaccination requirements, but new cases and hospitalizations have plateaued recently after a steady two-month decline that saw California boast the nation’s lowest infection rate. State models show a gradual increase in hospitalizations in the next month as colder weather and holidays drive people inside.
Death on the high seas: Cruise passengers face headwinds with COVID lawsuits
Lucio Gonzalez started showing symptoms similar to those of a common cold several days after disembarking in San Francisco from a cruise on the Grand Princess. Within three weeks, the 73-year-old retired state park worker was connected to a ventilator in an intensive care unit in a Marin County hospital.
Gonzalez died March 27, 2020, becoming the first known case of COVID-19 in Marin County.
His son, Miguel, has sued Princess Cruise Lines and its parent company, Carnival Corp., alleging the companies failed to warn passengers that they risked contracting the deadly virus by boarding the ship in the early months of a pandemic that has now killed more than 700,000 Americans.
He is far from alone. The cruise line industry faces a wave of lawsuits from passengers and their families saying they or their loved ones contracted COVID-19 on a ship, resulting in either death or severe illness.
Yet maritime and corporate law makes it difficult to extract significant damages from cruise lines. Even after a series of coronavirus outbreaks at sea and a growing number of lawsuits, the industry’s biggest players face little serious threat, legal experts say.
What to know about vaccines for kids aged 5-11
Vaccinations finally are available to U.S. children as young as 5, to the relief of some parents even as others have questions or fears.
Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final OK for youngsters age 5 to 11 to get kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. Pediatricians and other doctors’ groups praised the move and are gearing up to help families decide whether to vaccinate their children.
The shots could be available as soon as Wednesday and will be offered at pediatricians offices, clinics and pharmacies. Like COVID-19 vaccines for adults, they are free.
Should elementary school-aged children get vaccinated?
Yes, according to U.S. health authorities and leading doctors’ groups. Even though the virus tends to be more severe in adults than children, COVID-19 is causing plenty of preventable suffering among youngsters. About 1.9 million kids ages 5 to 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Some 8,300 have been hospitalized, about a third needed intensive care, and at least 94 deaths have been verified.
Ukrainians protest vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases soar
More than a thousand people blocked several streets in the center of the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, protesting against COVID-19 vaccine certificates and state-imposed restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.
The protesters, mostly women and young people, didn’t wear masks and held up signs reading “Say No to COVID Passports”, “Say No to COVID Genocide” in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv.
The rally comes in response to restrictions, including one that requires teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or have their salaries suspended.
The measures come as Ukraine reports a record-high level of new infections and deaths from the coronavirus.
Authorities have mainly blamed the surge on widespread public reluctance to get vaccinated. About 17.1% of the 41-million population has been fully vaccinated, which is Europe’s second-lowest rate after Armenia.
“I don’t want to participate in an experiment on myself, but I am deprived of the right to choose,” said Tamara Ustinova, 35, a teacher from Mariupol.
In Russia, COVID-19 surge shows no signs of abating
Daily coronavirus cases and deaths in Russia remained at their highest numbers of the pandemic Wednesday as more regions announced extending existing restrictions in an effort to tame the country’s unrelenting surge of infections.
Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 40,443 new confirmed cases from a day earlier. It was the fifth time in seven days that the country reported more than 40,000 infections. The task force also reported a daily record of 1,189 COVID-19 deaths.
Russia is five days into a nationwide non-working period that the government introduced to curb the spread of the virus. Some regions are extending the restrictions.
“One non-working week is not enough to break the chain of infection,” Tomsk governor Sergei Zhvachkin said in extending the restrictions.
Governors of at least three other regions have said they were considering extending the non-working period.
WHO authorizes Indian-made COVID vaccine, months into use
The World Health Organization granted an emergency use license Wednesday to a coronavirus vaccine developed in India, offering reassurance for a shot the country’s regulators allowed long before advanced safety and efficacy testing was completed.
The U.N. health agency said in a statement that it had authorized Covaxin, made by India’s Bharat Biotech. The action makes Covaxin the eighth COVID-19 vaccine to receive WHO’s green light.
“This emergency use listing expands the availability of vaccines, the most effective medical tools we have to end the pandemic,” said Dr. Mariângela Simão, WHO’s assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products.
Covaxin was developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research, the government’s apex research body. The vaccine is made using a killed coronavirus to prompt an immune response and is given in two doses.
WHO said the vaccine was found to be about 78% effective in preventing severe COVID-19 and was “extremely suitable” for poor countries due to its much easier storage requirements.
UK official warns of hard months ahead amid high COVID rates
England’s deputy chief medical officer said Wednesday that too many people believe the pandemic is over, warning that the U.K.’s very high coronavirus rates and rising deaths mean that there are “hard months to come in the winter.”
Jonathan Van-Tam also said he was worried that increasing numbers of deaths showed infections were “now starting to penetrate into older age groups.”
Coronavirus “rates are still very high at the moment. They are higher than in most of Europe,” Van-Tam told the BBC. “We are running quite hot. And, of course, it’s of concern to scientists that we are running this hot this early in the autumn season.”
“I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it’s not over,” he added.
Britain’s government recorded 33,865 infections Tuesday and 293 deaths, the highest daily death figure since February. While the number of cases have been coming down from a peak of around 46,000 a day in October, the country’s case rates are still much higher than in most of Europe.
Colorado hospitals can turn away patients as state grapples with COVID-19 surge
Colorado’s governor said hospitals can turn away new admissions as they deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases that has strained the state’s hospitals.
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order authorizing the state’s public health department to determine whether hospitals or emergency departments are at or will soon hit capacity. The department can order such facilities to halt admissions and redirect or transfer patients, according to the order, which will be in effect for 30 days starting Sunday.
The move highlights the continued trouble parts of the country face, even as numbers at the national level suggest that the delta-variant-driven surge that swamped emergency rooms this summer and fall has started to ebb. Officials say the state’s staffing shortages are also contributing to the burden from rising cases, and one bioethicist said the upward trend is particularly troubling without actions that can help bring numbers back down.
In a separate Sunday order, the governor said that “despite significant progress, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant and the 20% of Coloradans who have yet to get the highly effective, safe vaccine.”
NYC unions warned vaccine mandates would pull 10,000 police off streets; so far it’s 34
The heads of the five major unions representing members of the New York City Police Department warned that 10,000 unvaccinated police officers were “set to be pulled from [the] streets” as a Nov. 1 vaccine mandate deadline for New York City employees passed.
So far, the number is 34.
Fewer than three dozen uniformed officers out of about 35,000 were placed on unpaid leave on Monday when the deadline expired, in addition to 40 civilian NYPD staff out of roughly 17,000, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a news conference.
Many more await a decision from the city on their requests for religious or medical exemptions, Shea said. In total, 85% of NYPD staff are vaccinated, he added.
There were no major disruptions to city services as a result of the vaccine mandate coming into force, New York Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the same news conference.
About 9,000 city employees overall were placed on leave-without-pay status on Nov. 1, out of a workforce of more than 300,000, while roughly 12,000 had applied for a religious or medical exemption to vaccination and were waiting for a response from the city, de Blasio added.
“Now, remember at any hour, any of those 9,000 can say, wait a minute, I’m willing to get vaccinated and come back, and we saw over the weekend, a lot of that happening, thousands of people changing their mind coming back,” he said.
Los Angeles County sheriff won’t enforce vaccine mandate
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday he won’t comply with a mandate requiring deputies be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face termination, claiming thousands could leave the department and that will lead to more crime.
His defiance to the order that was approved last summer by the LA County Board of Supervisors brought a rebuke from Janice Hahn, one of the panel’s five members who unanimously backed the policy.
“He is putting both his deputies and the public they come face-to-face with every day at unnecessary risk,” she said in a statement. “What we need from the sheriff right now is leadership, for once.”
Villanueva, who faces a reelection challenge next year, has defied other health orders during the pandemic. Last month, he said he wouldn’t have his deputies enforce a mandate requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks at indoor public settings.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
How vaccinated are your school district's staffers? Levels are high in many areas, but pockets of unvaccinated workers still exist, the majority with religious exemptions. Take a district-by-district look.
Today begins a new phase in the pandemic as children ages 5-11 start getting vaccines, after clearing the final hurdles yesterday in what health officials hail as a major breakthrough. Here's a quick guide to what parents and guardians should know, plus 12 tips for easing kids’ pain and anxiety while getting this vaccine — or a shot of any kind.
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