Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Tuesday, Nov. 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
On this year’s Election Day, polling places across the country have become the latest front in the battle over face-covering requirements.
In Washington state, political divisions over how to handle COVID-19 are illustrated starkly in the race between Gov. Jay Inslee and Loren Culp.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s leaders are facing tough budget decisions as the city’s revenue streams have been choked by the pandemic-induced recession.
Throughout Tuesday, 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 Monday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
After Halloween rave amid a COVID-19 spike, officials say partygoers ‘absolutely will become ill’
Thousands of people gathered in the desert to party in costumes, many without masks, in Utah on Saturday at a rave that broke the state’s pandemic restrictions.
They may have gotten away with it, too, if a crowd-surfing woman hadn’t fallen on her head, prompting other partygoers to call 911 after she was knocked unconscious for several minutes, KSTU reported.
After attendees phoned for medical aid for the unnamed woman, who was taken to a nearby hospital, police in Utah County worked with organizers to break up the massive, unpermitted event, which may have drawn several thousand people, police estimated. Multiple people also crashed their cars trying to leave the area, and also requested official assistance, Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, told KSTU.
Drone footage of the party showed thousands of people packed together, dancing in front of a stage lit with purple lights where a DJ played music. In photos and videos posted to social media, young people in Halloween costumes clung to one another and danced, often touching one another, in the sand.
The Utah County Health Department, which includes the desert area where the party took place, said Sunday that the county “has been experiencing record COVID-19 cases” in recent days.
“To see an event of this size is extremely disheartening, as Utah deals with it’s worst COVID-19 outbreak yet,” said Aislynn Tolman-Hill, a spokeswoman for the health department, told KSTU Monday. “Individuals who attended this event absolutely will become ill, we will have positive cases.”
Woman’s mission is to honor COVID-19 victims
ST. LOUIS — It broke Jessica Murray’s heart that so many people in the St. Louis area were dying from the coronavirus and that they were being remembered less for who they were than as statistics of the pandemic, so she decided to do something about it.
In June, Murray began the website stlouiscovidmemorial.com to honor lives lost to COVID-19. She mostly relies on information she can glean online, including from obituaries and other news stories about the dead. Her site and Facebook page serve as memorials to the area’s pandemic victims, providing glimpses into their lives and deaths.
Murray, 40, typically works a couple hours a night on her laptop at the dining room of her duplex in St. Louis’ Dutchtown neighborhood, often with her cockatoos Boo, Arthur and Misha providing comfort nearby when the stories overwhelm her.
The St. Louis region was an early hot spot. About half of Missouri’s more than 3,000 deaths have been in St. Louis or its surrounding counties. And hundreds of others have died just across the Mississippi River in Illinois.
Murray was scrolling through her phone while waiting for her dinner to arrive in June when she saw a New York City website that was tracking lives lost to the virus. By the time her food arrived, she had purchased her domain name.
Since then, Murray has posted mostly short life stories about more than 125 people.
Bay Area weighs 2-week quarantine for residents who travel over the holidays
San Francisco Bay Area residents who travel out of state this holiday season to visit family and friends may be met with a 14-day quarantine advisory when they return.
A group of public health officers from across the Bay Area — including the large cities of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland — are considering implementing the coronavirus quarantine as pandemic fatigue continues to drive travel outside the area, Marin County Public Health Officer Matt Willis said Tuesday.
The proposal will likely be a “strong recommendation,” not an order, Willis said. If adopted widely, the decision could affect the region’s more than 7 million residents, as well as potentially millions more who might travel to the area.
Once a traveler quarantines for the specified time and shows no symptoms, they can resume regular activities, Willis said. There’s a possibility that a traveler could take a coronavirus test within a shorter time frame, perhaps five to seven days after a trip, but he said the science was still out on whether the person would need to quarantine for an additional week.
South Korea OKs single test for COVID-19 and flu
SEOUL, South Korea — Health officials in South Korea have approved a new test that’s designed to detect both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza from the same samples, which would help prevent disruption at hospitals as the pandemic stretches into the flu season.
The country has struggled to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which some experts say could spread more broadly during cold weather when people spend more time indoors.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Wednesday reported 118 new cases of COVID-19, most of them in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area. The national caseload is now at 26,925, including 474 deaths.
People have been increasingly venturing out in public after the government eased social distancing restrictions last month to support a weak economy.
“Despite efforts by health authorities to trace contacts and suppress transmissions, such efforts have been outpaced by the speed of viral spread,” senior Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho said during a virus briefing.
The new test, which targets genes that are specific to both COVID-19 and seasonal flu, is an evolved version of PCR tests that are used to detect COVID-19 from samples taken from noses or throats. Laboratories use machines to amplify genetic materials so that even tiny quantities of the virus could be detected.
The illnesses are hard to tell apart by their symptoms, so having a diagnosis for both in three to six hours “would be convenient for patients and also reduce the burden of medical workers,” Yoon said.
Coronavirus opens a stark divide in America’s aerospace industry
Third-quarter financial earnings reported in recent weeks reveal a stark economic divide in America’s aerospace industry, an export-rich sector that employs hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers across all 50 states.
The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus has elevated those who build jets, missiles and other advanced weaponry for the U.S. military and its allies. But companies involved in commercial-aircraft production have seen their finances wrecked by a persistent global slowdown in air travel.
Analysts said the divide illustrates how the coronavirus has created unexpected winners and losers throughout the economy.
“Companies that are largely in the defense business are doing just fine … the impact of COVID-19 on their operations has been minimal,” said Ron Epstein, managing director for aerospace and defense at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.
Meanwhile, “It looks like it’s going to be a pretty rough winter for commercial aerospace,” Epstein later added.
Virus trails economy as voters’ top issue, according to exit polls
WASHINGTON — The virus that has confined many Americans to their homes for much of 2020 trailed the economy as the leading issue for voters, who cast ballots in huge numbers by mail and in person, early exit polls showed Tuesday.
About 2 in 10 voters said the pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans and upended life around the globe was the most important issue on their minds as they selected a president and other officials to lead the United States out of its more than nine-month public health crisis. About the same number cited racial inequality, according to the data collected by Edison Research, a consortium of television networks.
But about one-third said they were primarily motivated by the economy, including 6 in 10 of the voters who supported President Donald Trump.
A slight majority of voters said it is more important to contain the coronavirus now, even if the necessary measures hurt the economy. About 4 in 10 said the economy is more important, even if restoring the nation’s economic health impedes efforts to limit the spread of the virus.
Amid the resurgence of the coronavirus in much of the United States, preliminary exit polling showed that voters are closely divided on whether U.S. efforts to contain the virus are going “well” or “badly.” But roughly twice as many voters say efforts to control the pandemic have gone “very badly” than say they have gone “very well.”
Early signs show how the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting foster youth
It’s hard to say exactly how foster youth are faring through the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new report offers an early glimpse.
One major insight in the report from Treehouse, a Seattle-based organization that supports children through foster care up to age 26: The shift to distance learning was especially hard.
One in four foster students lost ground on their academics after schools shut down, according to the report. More than one-quarter of Treehouse’s students reported being “largely disengaged” from school.
Foster youth are particularly vulnerable because they’re often moving from place to place; a safe and stable home is not a guarantee. They’re also highly connected with the justice system, representing 40% percent of youth in Washington’s juvenile rehabilitation system — a trend that Treehouse leaders trace back to the disparate discipline that foster youth receive in school when their trauma and loss is misunderstood.
With winter coming and Trump still in charge, virus experts fear the worst
WASHINGTON — Regardless of the election’s outcome this week, President Donald Trump will be the one steering the country through what is likely to be the darkest and potentially deadliest period of the coronavirus pandemic, and he has largely excluded the nation’s leading health experts from his inner circle.
Trump will still have control of the nation’s health apparatus and the bully pulpit that comes with the Oval Office until at least Jan. 20, as infections crest above 100,000 a day and death rates begin to rise as hospitals are strained to their breaking points.
But the president has largely shuttered the White House Coronavirus Task Force and doubled down on anti-science language, telling voters that the country is “rounding the corner” in the fight against the virus that has claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives.
State confirms 657 new COVID-19 cases -- 114 in King County -- and reports 22 new deaths
The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 657 new COVID-19 cases in Washington state Wednesday, and 22 new deaths.
In King County, the state’s most populous, 114 new cases were reported.
The update brings the state’s totals to 110,011 cases and 2,400 deaths, meaning that 2.2% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Monday.
The DOH also reported that 8,675 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus-- 41 new hospitalizations since the weekend.
Statewide, 2,495,151 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of Monday night.
In King County, state health officials have confirmed a total of 28,337 COVID-19 diagnoses and 821 deaths.
Two Dick's Drive-In locations closed after employees test positive for COVID-19
Two Dick's Drive-In locations have been closed after employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to Q13 News.
The Kent and Queen Anne locations of the popular burger restaurants will remain closed until further notice.
The Kent location was the first to close after an employee tested positive for the virus. It underwent a deep cleaning -- with the help of employees from the Queen Anne restaurant -- and reopened.
Since then, a second Kent employee tested positive, and the restaurant was closed. The Queen Anne location was closed so employees who had helped out in Kent -- and were exposed to the positive employee -- could quarantine, the report said.
Dick’s owners consulted with officials at Public Health - Seattle & King County who told them that the risk of a COVID-19 transmission to customers is “extremely unlikely,” the report said.
NFL expands sideline to provide more distancing
The NFL is expanding the sideline area to give teams more space to distance and mask usage is now mandatory before and after games and at halftime.
The updates to the COVID-19 protocols were sent to clubs in a memo on Tuesday, a day after the league learned two players who played in games Sunday tested positive.
The league also is strongly encouraging players to wear masks whenever they come off the field and teams in intensive protocol are prohibited from holding in-person coaching and personnel meetings.
“What we are trying to convey is masks can prevent you from becoming a high-risk contact, which is our goal, so it’s in everybody’s best interest to wear a mask for their protection and again to reduce exposure,” NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said on a conference call. “We believe that the mask use whether it’s in the locker room, on the sideline, it just reduces your chance of becoming a high-risk contact should someone turn positive.”
Yakima awards $1.3 million to 176 local businesses struggling due to COVID-19
More than 170 small Yakima businesses have received almost $1.3 million in pandemic-specific financial aid.
The city of Yakima has offered three different funding opportunities for COVID-19-related losses: a micro-enterprise grant program for local businesses with fewer than five employees, a small business grant program for local businesses with fewer than 25 employees, and a grant program for local nonprofits.
To date, 176 businesses in Yakima have received about $1.3 million from the city grants and the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security (CARES) Act.
An update to the Yakima City Council on Tuesday noted 35 of the 99 businesses that applied were eligible. Recipients included salons, barbershops, tanning facilities, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retail stores, a tattoo parlor and a dance studio, with disbursed funds topping $269,000.
An additional 45 micro-enterprises received funding through the city’s small business grant program, Yakima County CARES Act funding or other Department of Commerce funding, bringing the total up to 80 micro-enterprises and $479,641.
The city’s small business grant program, supported with CARES Act funding, received 369 applications. The 141 eligible businesses received almost $982,000. The majority of businesses included cosmetology shops, retail stores and restaurants, according to a city memo.
Virus hospitalizations surge as pandemic shadows US election
Americans went to the polls Tuesday under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching record highs in a growing number of states.
While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.
Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week. Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states to cope with the surge. Hospital officials in Iowa and Missouri warned bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed.
The resurgence loomed over candidates and voters, fearful of both the virus itself and the economic toll of any new shutdowns to control its spread.
Cruise industry throws in the towel on 2020, looks to 2021
The cruise industry has jettisoned hopes of restarting operations this year.
Days after both Carnival and Norwegian extended a halt on cruises through the end of the year, the group that represents cruise lines with 95% of global ocean-going capacity said Tuesday that its members have agreed to extend the suspension of U.S. sailing operations for the rest of 2020.
The announcement comes just days after the U.S. government effectively lifted its no-sail order despite a global spike in coronavirus infections.
Cruise Lines International Association — which includes cruise giants Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean — said that its members have voluntarily opted to maintain the current suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through the end of the year.
NFL legend John Elway tests positive for the coronavirus
John Elway, the legendary quarterback who has become a Super Bowl-winning front office executive while overseeing the Denver Broncos’ football operations, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Elway and Joe Ellis, the team’s chief executive officer, were told Tuesday morning that they had tested positive, the Broncos said in a written statement.
Ellis is experiencing mild symptoms, according to a person familiar with the situation.
English retailers fret over Christmas as lockdown 2.0 looms
This year, the annual illumination of the Christmas lights on London’s famous Oxford Street was very much a bittersweet moment.
The lights, which were turned on this week, are celebrating the people who helped during the coronavirus pandemic. They should have symbolized the start of a keenly awaited retail season following a year marked by lockdown restrictions.
But with a second lockdown in England set to come into place on Thursday, shops selling nonessential items such as books and sneakers have been ordered to close, at least until Dec. 2. During the first lockdown they closed for nearly three months until mid-June.
The latest decision, according to Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, represents nothing less than a “nightmare before Christmas.”
Alaska leaders say governor’s mask advice beyond their power
Alaska’s governor said imposing mask mandates to stem the spread of the coronavirus should be implemented by local governments, but some municipal leaders argue they do not have that power.
Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has resisted imposing a statewide mask mandate despite to slow increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases, Alaska Public Media reported Saturday.
Some Alaska cities have adopted mask mandates, including Anchorage, Juneau, Dillingham and Cordova. But the virus is spreading fastest in the Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai Peninsula boroughs, which have not mandated masks. Municipal officials there say they can't mandate masks as they have only the powers explicitly granted them by the state.
Kendall Jenner held star-studded birthday bash as daily COVID cases rise
Kendall Jenner is a model — of what not to do during an ongoing global pandemic.
On Halloween, the 24-year-old — who will turn 25 on Nov. 3 — held a star-studded early birthday party at Harriet’s Rooftop at 1 Hotel in West Hollywood.
Representatives for Jenner did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.
In attendance at the party: singer The Weeknd (dressed as the 1996 Eddie Murphy character Sherman Klump), rapper Saweetie (body painted as the “X-Men” character Mystique), singer Doja Cat (dressed as Tyra Banks) and Jenner’s sister, Kylie Jenner.
By many accounts the party reportedly included signs asking guests not to post to social media, stating “NO SOCIAL MEDIA: Take all of the photos you want, but please do not post on social media of any kind.”
Kylie, however, was seemingly posting live updates of her sister’s birthday bash all night.
The coronavirus is surging, but Canada is keeping schools open
As cases in Canada surge again, provinces are closing businesses, reimposing restrictions on public spaces and urging people to curb private gatherings but keeping schools open.
All 13 provinces and territories are holding classes in person; in only some are hybrid or remote learning even options. Officials say open schools are the key to restarting the economy, and the longer they’re closed, the greater the effects on students’ education and mental health.
In Quebec, home to nearly half of Canada’s cases and two-thirds of its deaths, in-person attendance is largely mandatory. Quebec Premier François Legault has called the approach a “calculated risk.”
How's it going?
“On balance, it’s been as expected,” said James Kellner, head of the pediatrics department at the University of Calgary. “And how that’s been has been concerning, but not terrible so far.”
Germany eyes antigen tests to keep elderly safe from virus
As Europe tries to break a surge in coronavirus infections, Germany is counting on a new type of test to avoid closing nursing homes to visitors, a move that caused considerable anguish among residents and relatives in the spring.
So-called antigen tests, which look for a specific protein on the virus, were first launched months ago. They are cheap and fast, but experts said at the time they are also less accurate than the standard PCR test, which detects even the tiniest genetic trace of the virus.
Still, Germany — which has managed to contain the spread of the outbreak better than many of its neighbors — announced recently that it is bulk-buying millions of antigen tests each month.
Nursing homes will receive up to 20 free monthly tests per resident. These can be used to test patients, staff and — crucially — visiting relatives, who might be unwitting carriers of COVID-19, posing a potentially devastating threat.
New Russian infections soar
Coronavirus infections hit a new high this week in Russia, while Germany and the U.K. announced plans to expand virus testing as European nations battled rapidly increasing infections and hospitalizations that strained health care systems.
Infections have spiked in Russia, where authorities on Tuesday reported 18.648 new infections, bringing their total to over 18,000 daily cases for the fifth straight day, much higher than the record of over 11,000 daily infections in the spring.
The country lifted most virus-related restrictions this summer and officials have said the health care system is able to cope. However, alarming reports have surfaced in recent weeks about overwhelmed Russian hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers.
Russia has the world’s fourth-highest coronavirus caseload of more than 1.6 million and has reported over 28,000 deaths in the pandemic.
UK to roll out rapid COVID-19 testing in Liverpool
A half-million people in the English city of Liverpool will be regularly tested for COVID-19 in Britain’s first citywide trial of widespread, rapid testing that the government hopes will be a new weapon in combating the pandemic.
Testing will begin later this week at sites throughout the city using a variety of technologies, including new methods that can provide results in an hour or less, the government said in a statement Tuesday. Everyone who lives or works in the city in northwestern England will be offered the test, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes mass testing will provide a way out of the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 46,000 people across the U.K. in Europe’s deadliest outbreak. England is scheduled to go into a second national lockdown on Thursday as the government struggles to control a second wave of infections that risks swamping hospitals and emergency rooms.
Experimental hormone therapy may speed recovery for COVID patients
Every time the phone rang, it seemed to Kristine Smoley like more bad news about her husband, who contracted COVID-19 and was in a hospital intensive care unit on a ventilator because he couldn’t breathe on his own.
Smoley was prepared for the worst when a nurse from Duluth’s Essentia Health called with hope — albeit with risks and no solid evidence it would save her husband.
“They asked if I wanted to consider signing off on an experimental treatment for him,” Smoley said. “A treatment that had never been done before.”
Essentia’s Dr. Tim Rich and the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Dr. David Ingbar had studied for years whether a common thyroid hormone could be repurposed for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), an often fatal type of lung failure. The doctors received federal approval late last year to test the therapy, so when COVID-19 caused a sudden surge in ARDS, they were ready for their first patient — Smoley’s husband, Bob Schlicht.
The turnaround that followed was so remarkable that Rich and Ingbar have advanced their research — unique for a regional medical provider in a world of urban and academic COVID-19 studies — to a phase 2 U.S. Food and Drug Administration study.
Birx issues blunt coronavirus warning starkly at odds with Trump
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who has carefully straddled the line between science and politics as she helps lead the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, delivered a stark private warning Monday, telling White House officials that the pandemic is entering a new and “deadly phase” that demands a more aggressive approach.
The warning, contained in a private memo to White House officials as the nation’s daily coronavirus caseload has broken records and approached 100,000, amounted to a direct contradiction of President Donald Trump’s repeated — and inaccurate — assertions that the pandemic is “rounding the corner.”
In the memo, Birx suggested that Trump and his advisers were spending too much time focusing on preventing lockdowns and not enough time on controlling the virus.
“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,” Birx wrote, adding: “This is not about lockdowns — it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”
I should go outside? Brrrr! It's one of the best ways to take care of bodies and brains. But it's not easy on dark, chilly, wet days. Here are ideas for getting your kids — and yourself — out there.
Check out six new paperbacks, including the return of deliciously funny and unforgettable miserabilist Olive Kitteridge.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Washington state officials reported 1,039 new coronavirus cases and 12 more deaths yesterday. The recent surge shows up clearly in these graphics tracking the pandemic.
More than half the residents of a Seattle work-release facility have tested positive for the virus.
How did the virus invade the White House? Officials didn't take steps to track the outbreak's genetic fingerprints, but Seattle researchers did.
Some are convinced it’s too late to stop the virus, saying we should "just open up and ... let it take its course." The sentiment, spreading along with COVID-19 in places like north Idaho, has health experts awfully nervous.
Is the COVID-19 risk on airplanes really as low as airlines and Boeing say? The industry has funded studies, but infectious-disease specialists don’t wholeheartedly agree with their conclusions.
Booze, weed, gambling, porn, candy, sloth: Will our pandemic-acquired vices hang around after COVID-19 wanes? Quite possibly, say experts who are offering keys to climbing out of the morass.
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