Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, Nov. 9, 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 It is no longer being updated.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 race to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus continues. Pfizer’s early data signals its COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective, the company said Monday. The Department of Veterans Affairs is recruiting 8,000 volunteers for Phase 3 clinical trials of at least four vaccine candidates. And Seattle-area researchers are looking for 1,700 volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves for experimental injections in three vaccine trials that will start soon. Here’s how this will work, and where to get involved.
Washington state continues to exceed 1,000 infections daily, with 1,320 new cases reported Sunday. Oregon is getting close to that number, which is also breaking records.
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.
Tokyo Olympic officials talk of test events early next year
TOKYO — Tokyo Olympics organizers on Tuesday said they were encouraged by a gymnastics meet over the weekend and are now ready to hold test events early next year.
The Sunday meet featured 22 Russian, Chinese and American athletes entering Japan and competing in Tokyo with a few thousand fans attending.
Hidemasa Nakamura, the Tokyo Olympic games delivery officer, told an on-line briefing that plans are now in the works for more test events starting in March.
“We are discussing how to deal with COVID-19 together with the Japanese government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government,” he said. “From the beginning of next year we will begin operations and proceed to have test events in March.”
Holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be far more difficult than a one-day event with a few dozen athletes. Reports said no staff or athletes tested positive for the virus at the meet.
Tokyo Olympic officials, the International Olympic Committee, and the Japanese government are trying to convince the world that the postponed Games can open on July 23 despite so much uncertainty in the ongoing pandemic.
US allows first emergency use of a COVID-19 antibody drug
WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials have allowed emergency use of the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental approach against the virus that has killed more than 238,000 Americans.
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday cleared the experimental drug from Eli Lilly for people 12 and older with mild or moderate COVID-19 not requiring hospitalization. It’s a one-time treatment given through an IV.
The therapy is still undergoing additional testing to establish its safety and effectiveness. It is similar to a treatment President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus last month.
Early results suggest the drug, called bamlanivimab, may help clear the coronavirus sooner and possibly cut hospitalizations in people with mild to moderate COVID-19. A study of it in hospitalized patients was stopped when independent monitors saw the drug did not seem to be helping in that situation.
The government previously reached an agreement to buy and supply much of the early production of Lilly’s drug.
As cases rise, states say they’ll work with Biden on virus
The incoming Biden administration is promising a cohesive national strategy to combat the worsening coronavirus outbreak, something many public health officials and Democratic governors say they welcome after months of mixed messaging under the Trump administration.
Consistency about the need to wear a mask to reduce the virus spread is just a start. Among other things, they say they need help with testing and contact tracing, deploying an eventual vaccine and more money to shore up their budgets, including to help keep schools open.
Biden on Monday announced members of a coronavirus task force and his staff started reaching out to governors. In New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham praised Biden for “leading with science and de-politicizing the federal government’s pandemic response.”
Another Democrat, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, praised Biden’s embrace of a national strategy to combat the virus. And in Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert ordered a statewide mask mandate for the first time late Sunday.
Shanghai airport worker gets virus; 8,000 tested
BEIJING — Authorities in China’s financial hub of Shanghai have quarantined 186 people and conducted coronavirus tests on more than 8,000 after a freight handler at the city’s main international airport tested positive for the virus.
No additional cases have been found, the city government said on its microblog Tuesday. It remains unclear how the 51-year-old man contracted the virus, which has largely spared the sprawling metropolis despite its dense population and strong international links.
In the northern port city of Tianjin, more than 77,000 people have been tested after a locally transmitted case was reported there on Monday. That case was believed to be linked to a cold storage warehouse, reinforcing suspicions that the virus may be spreading to victims from frozen food packaging.
The National Health Administration on Tuesday reported 21 additional cases brought from overseas, while 426 people remain in treatment for COVID-19, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
After Cal cancellation, UW’s Jimmy Lake prepared for more COVID-19 surprises: ‘We’re going to be ready for it’
At 11 a.m. Thursday, a smiling Jimmy Lake told local media members that “we just had a great practice, and we are ready to travel to Berkeley and go try to get a first victory.”
Exactly one hour later, Washington’s football season opener at California was canceled.
Later that day, Cal coach Justin Wilcox reported that contact tracing stemming from a positive COVID-19 test within his team had effectively wiped out an entire position group.
In the age of coronavirus, things can change that quickly.
“I found out right after I met with you guys on Thursday. It’s never good when you have a number of missed phone calls from (athletic director) Jen Cohen,” said Lake, who hopes to make his head-coaching debut against Oregon State at 8 p.m. Saturday. “We had an emergency team meeting about 45 minutes after that, and I let the team know. They were extremely disappointed, but I’m proud of them. They did not flinch one bit."
Of course, that roller-coaster ride could have taken another unexpected twist. After the game Saturday between Utah and Arizona was canceled Friday morning due to the Utes’ COVID-19 concerns, UW and Arizona’s administrators discussed the possibility of playing an impromptu game between the Huskies and Wildcats in Seattle instead.
Washington State football team has one active case of COVID-19
It’s been Washington State’s policy to refrain from reporting on team-specific COVID-19 numbers, instead offering totals for the athletic department as a whole.
But, according to Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury News, the Cougars’ football team has one active case of COVID-19. Wilner’s report was based on an anonymous source, and it’s unclear which position group the active case comes from, or how long it’s been active.
It’s also unclear if the WSU player who tested positive traveled to the Cougars’ season opener Saturday in Corvallis, Oregon. Coach Nick Rolovich is scheduled to meet with members of the media Monday night at roughly 6:15.
After the opener at Oregon State, the first-year coach applauded WSU for its perseverance in a 38-28 victory despite having 32 players absent — something he brought up unprompted. Rolovich did not initially break down how many of those were COVID-19-related, if any, and refused to answer a follow-up question on that topic.
California seeing biggest jump in virus cases in months
California’s coronavirus cases are at their highest levels in months, a disquieting reality Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday was “obviously sobering” and that led San Francisco Bay Area health officials to urge people who travel outside the region to quarantine for two weeks upon return.
Newsom said some of the increase could be tied to Halloween celebrations while Barbara Ferrer, the health director for Los Angeles County, urged people who gathered during the weekend to celebrate Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race to quarantine to avoid fueling the spread.
LA County is home to 10 million people, roughly one-quarter of California’s population, and was seeing 750 cases per day in September. Last week, four days saw case counts above 2,000.
The positivity rate — the number of people who test positive — climbed from 2.5% to 3.7% in about three weeks, hospitalizations are 29% over 14 days and “that trendline continues up,” he said. Meantime, California is nearing two grim milestones: 1 million cases and 18,000 deaths.
State confirms 1,239 new COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths
The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,239 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, and 21 new deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 118,570 cases and 2,460 deaths, meaning that 2.1% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. 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.
The DOH also reported that 9,031 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus.
Statewide, 2,627,515 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of Sunday night.
In King County, state health officials have confirmed a total of 31,186 COVID-19 diagnoses and 826 deaths.
Funding for Pfizer vaccine came from Berlin, not Washington
The encouraging data from Pfizer’s experimental covid-19 vaccine had plenty of people in Washington lining up to take credit.
Vice President Mike Pence was among Trump administration officials saying support from the government’s Operation Warp Speed program helped accelerate the development of the vaccine, which was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infections in an interim analysis.
But Pfizer received no funding from Operation Warp Speed for the development, clinical trial or manufacture of the vaccine.
Its partner, BioNTech, did receive government money — from Germany not the United States.
Ukraine’s president tests positive for COVID-19
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced Monday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will be working in self-isolation while being treated.
“There are no lucky people in the world for whom COVID-19 does not pose a threat,” Zelenskiy tweeted. “However, I feel good. I promise to isolate myself and I continue to work.”
Ukraine’s coronavirus infections began surging in late summer and have put the country’s underpaid doctors and underequipped hospitals under severe pressure.
Testing timeline: What’s ahead for COVID-19 vaccines
Pfizer’s surprising news that its COVID-19 vaccine might offer more protection than anticipated — an announcement right after a fraught U.S. presidential election campaign — is raising questions about exactly how the different shots will make it to market.
Pfizer Inc. and the maker of the other leading U.S. vaccine candidate, Moderna Inc., have been cautioning for weeks that the earliest they could seek regulatory approval for wider use of their shots would be late November. In Britain, AstraZeneca recently said it hoped to prove its own vaccine was effective by year’s end.
While COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speeds in hope of ending the pandemic, when they’re ready for prime time depends on a long list of research steps including how many study volunteers wind up getting the coronavirus — something scientists cannot control.
Virus-ravaged India bets on farmers to rescue economy
India’s economy left cratered by the pandemic is drawing energy from one of its invisible and often-neglected engines: farmers.
Business leaders, policy makers and politicians alike are pinning hopes on the rural sector as bountiful rains have set the stage for another year of record crops. Higher disposable incomes with farmers are expected to boost demand from automobile to cement to gold jewelry.
Rural incomes have stayed strong as production of monsoon-sown food grains is estimated to hit record 144.5 million tons.
That contrasts with the urban areas, where companies are still struggling to boost their sales following the pandemic that has hit business activities, hurt demand and caused labor shortage.
How the coronavirus upended South King County youth — and what they say they need
Young people in South King County are struggling to live, learn and work through the pandemic — but they have some ideas on how things could be better.
They want schools to focus on getting mental- health services directly to them. They want more interaction with their teachers. And they want more opportunities to help their communities’ pandemic response.
That’s according to the results of a new youth-led survey, the Road Map Project, a communitywide effort to improve education in South King County, released last week. Road Map partners SOAR, King County’s Reconnect to Opportunity and the Community Center for Education Results (CCER) convened 22 young people to help formulate the questions, which were asked in May.
The survey shows how the coronavirus upended youths’ lives — often differently across racial lines. In response to a question about online learning, 20% of white respondents said the lessons were “not useful,” compared to 27.6% of Latino respondents, 26.83% of Asian respondents and 37.8% of Black respondents.
Tsion Debebe, a 16-year-old student intern working with the county to distribute the survey, said the goal is to uplift youth voices and make sure adults recognize their needs. “I want to see people in the community recognize youth voice,” she said. “I’ve seen it myself, when people in schools or just staff, they don’t ask youth what they’d like. They don’t ask for feedback.”
Thanksgiving and other holidays will be different this year. Here are 5 ideas for approaching holiday eating
If you’re committed to avoiding possible exposure to the coronavirus, lets face it — the 2020 holidays are not going to be business as usual. You might be sharing the holiday table with different people than usual, such as friends in your pandemic pod. You might be celebrating only with family within driving distance who hopefully are being as careful as you are. Or, you might be narrowing the festivities to your immediate household — which may be a party of one.
For some, downsizing holiday celebrations could be a relief — with the threat of COVID-19 serving as a welcome excuse to not spend the holidays with dysfunctional extended families — but for many, this is a sorrow.
Either way, it’s worth asking yourself this question: “If the holidays won’t be ‘normal,’ how do I want them to look — and feel?”
Notre Dame mandates COVID testing after football celebration
The University of Notre Dame has implemented mandatory coronavirus testing for students and strict penalties for those who don’t comply after students rushed the school’s football field to celebrate a double-overtime upset over Clemson and held numerous weekend parties.
The mass of students, players and coaches crammed close together on the field in the minutes following the Fighting Irish’s 47-40 win Saturday night in South Bend over then-No. 1 Clemson. Many of the thousands who stormed the field were not wearing masks or had their masks pulled down.
Now, all Notre Dame students are required to undergo coronavirus testing before they leave South Bend for the extended winter break, Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins told students Sunday night. The email announcement didn’t specifically reference the storming of the field, but rather “many gatherings” over the weekend.
If a student is exposed or tests positive, they’ll be required to quarantine on campus for two weeks. If students don’t complete the mandatory coronavirus test — or if they leave the campus area before they receive the results of their exit test — they will be prevented from registering for classes, university officials said.
UN: Pandemic threatens Latin America’s next generation
Jenashly Matos may only be 9, but she has big dreams of one day becoming a doctor and helping people but the challenges she faces growing up in a poor barrio in Venezuela’s capital amid a historic pandemic are hefty.
The novel coronavirus has shut down schools in Venezuela and throughout Latin America. To keep from falling behind, she’s started attending a neighborhood tutorial for a couple hours each morning to get help with assignments her teacher sends home.
The pandemic has left millions of students like her falling behind in the world’s most unequal region, a study released Monday finds.
The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says that COVID-19 has deprived 97% of children in Latin America and the Caribbean of their normal schooling, depriving roughly 137 million children of education with no end in sight to the pandemic. . Distance learning is especially challenging for families without internet, computers, TV and radio, further dividing the rich and poor.
COVID-19 infections in animals prompt concern
The decision this past week by the Danish government to kill millions of mink because of coronavirus concerns, effectively wiping out a major national industry, has put the spotlight on simmering worries among scientists and conservationists about the vulnerability of animals to the pandemic virus and what infections among animals could mean for humans.
The most disturbing possibility is that the virus could mutate in animals and become more transmissible or more dangerous to humans. In Denmark, the virus has shifted from humans to mink and back to humans, and has mutated in the process. Mink are the only animals known to have passed the coronavirus to humans, except for the initial spillover event from an unknown species.
The versions of the virus that have mutated in mink and spread to humans, found in 12 people so far, was less responsive to antibodies in lab tests.
Mink are not the only animals that can be infected with the coronavirus. Dogs, cats, tigers, hamsters, monkeys, ferrets and genetically engineered mice have also been infected.
Oregon officials announce new COVID-19 restrictions amid record-breaking numbers of cases
Following a record-breaking day of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, officials on Friday announced new restrictions that will be implemented in at least five of the state’s counties as part of a two-week pause on social activities.
The updated safety measures, which begin Nov. 11, include halting visitations to long-term care facilities, reducing the capacity of indoor dining at restaurants to 50 people, encouraging all business to mandate work from home and urging Oregonians not to gather with people who do not live in their household, but if they do to limit it to six people.
Currently, statewide safety measures in Oregon include banning indoor get-togethers of more than 10 people, the closure of restaurants and bars by 10 p.m., a capacity limit for restaurants and gyms and mask requirements for people five years or older in indoor public spaces, universities, office spaces and outdoor areas where physical distancing can not be maintained.
Salzburg players out of national teams after 6 virus cases
Austrian soccer club Salzburg stopped its players from joining their national teams on Monday after six coronavirus cases were found in the squad.
The Austrian champions said they received results Sunday showing six positive tests among players who were due to head to their national teams during the international break. Salzburg hasn’t named the players and said they are all in isolation and no one is showing symptoms.
The cases cause yet more disruption for upcoming international games as coronavirus case numbers rise across Europe. Clubs in Germany and Italy have also delayed releasing players or refused to release them at all.
Salzburg said everyone at the club tested negative in samples taken Friday before the team played to a 1-1 draw with Rapid Vienna on Sunday. Another round of testing is planned for Monday.
The club said “all international call-ups … have also been rejected for now” and that the situation could change once players have undergone more tests.
Airlines are bringing back inflight snacks and drinks. But should you eat on the plane?
In addition to halting most vacations in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has largely stripped away one of air travel’s few small pleasures: in-flight food and drink service.
Since March, most airline vastly limited or wholly suspended flight attendant service of food and drinks to reduce cabin interactions that could spread the virus. But some airlines are beginning to bring back plane snacks and drinks as we knew them, allowing longer flights to offer free refreshments, for-purchase food and even alcoholic beverage service.
Knowing what scientists have learned about studying coronavirus transmissions linked to flights recently – and as daily infections hit record highs in the United States – can how you choose to eat on the plane impact your chances of picking up (or spreading) the coronavirus?
David Freedman, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Alabama who has reviewed studies on in-flight transmission, said he would only eat food on the plane if it was bagged ahead of the flight and he could pick it up by himself on the boarding bridge otherwise he would bring his own.
Indian capital struggles with surge in cases
India reported 45,674 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, with the capital coping with a sharp surge of nearly 7,000 cases a day this week.
India’s tally of confirmed cases — currently the second largest in the world behind the United States – has exceeded 8.5 million. The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 559 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 126,121.
India has seen an overall steady dip in new cases after touching nearly 100,000 a day in mid-September.
However, the tally in New Delhi continues to hover around 7,000 a day after dropping to nearly 1,000 in September. The Indian capital also reported 79 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest since June.
The government warns that the situation could worsen due to festival shopping crowds, coupled with the onset of winter and high air pollution levels.
Sergio Garcia withdraws from Masters after positive COVID-19 test
Sergio Garcia pulled out of the Masters on Monday after informing Augusta National he tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the second player to withdraw following a positive test.
Joaquin Niemann of Chile previously announced over the weekend he tested positive and withdrew.
His withdrawal brings to 15 the number of PGA Tour players who have tested positive since golf returned in June from the COVID-19 pandemic-caused shutdown. That includes Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player, who sat out two events last month.
Germany slams virus protesters for endangering all
German officials on Sunday condemned the actions of 20,000 people who demonstrated against coronavirus restrictions by jamming together in a Leipzig city square largely without wearing masks, and called for an investigation into how the protest was able to get out of control.
The eastern city had tried to move Saturday’s demonstration to a larger location after calculating only 5,000 people could gather in Augustusplatz plaza and maintain a safe distance from one another. A court at the last minute overturned the city’s order, however, and the demonstration went ahead.
After it ballooned to more than 20,000 people and authorities determined that coronavirus regulations mandating mask wearing and social distancing weren’t being followed, the crowd was told to disperse. But thousands lingered, some scuffling with reporters and throwing projectiles and fireworks at police.
Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht condemned the attacks on police and the press and called for an investigation into how the situation was able to escalate, a sentiment echoed by many, including opposition parties.
UK bans non-resident arrivals from Denmark over mink fears
The British government has banned freight drivers who have traveled through Denmark over the past 14 days and aren’t residents of the U.K. from entering England, as it tightened travel restrictions from a country witnessing widespread coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms.
Under the new rules that came into force at 4 a.m. Sunday, passenger planes and ships traveling from Denmark, and carrying accompanying freight, also won’t be allowed to dock. Freight drivers had been exempt from the ban.
Denmark ordered the cull of all 15 million minks bred at Denmark’s 1,139 mink farms and put more than a quarter million Danes into lockdown after a mutation of the virus was found in 12 people infected by minks.
Portugal and Hungary join the rest of Europe in lockdown
Portugal and Hungary on Monday became the latest European countries to impose curfews against the resurgent tide of coronavirus infections and deaths lashing the continent and filing its emergency wards. But glimmers of hope emerged from France, Belgium and elsewhere that tough restrictions might be starting to work.
Portugal, which like other European countries has seen new cases and hospital admissions surge in recent weeks, imposed a state of emergency and ordered some 7 million people — around 70% of its population — to stay home on weeknights from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for at least the next two weeks. They’ll be even more limited over the weekends, allowed out only in the morning until 1 p.m., unless to buy essentials at supermarkets.
Hungary also imposed its strictest measures so far: an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. All businesses must close by 7 p.m.
Other measures in Hungary mirrored those becoming depressingly familiar across Europe, including limits on eateries and sports events, family gatherings limited to 10 people and remote learning for high school and university students. The restrictions kick in Tuesday at midnight and will remain for at least 30 days.
Utah governor issues statewide mask mandate amid virus surge
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency and ordered a statewide mask mandate in an attempt to stem a surge in coronavirus patient hospitalizations that is testing the state’s hospital capacity.
Several of the state’s largest counties already required masks, but Herbert, a Republican, had resisted extending the rule to the entire state despite a two-month surge of cases.
Herbert and the Utah Department of Health late Sunday issued executive and public health orders requiring residents to wear face coverings in public, at work and when they are within 6 feet (2 meters) of people who don’t live in their households.
Herbert said Sunday night that the time to debate masks had passed and insisted his orders won’t shut down the economy.
Quarantine Corner: Things to do while staying home
Something to cook: Seeking warmth and comfort? This hearty beef stew looks like just the thing.
And a few things to watch:
- Seattle singer Payge Turner is wowing the judges on "The Voice." Hear her on the show's battle rounds portion, which starts tonight.
- Later in the week, the History channel’s "Mysteries" series will track a new effort to solve the infamous D.B. Cooper case in Washington state.
- Seattle Opera is experimenting with a socially distanced stage production, filmed movie-style.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Pfizer's early data signals its COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective, the company said Monday. And Seattle-area researchers are looking for 1,700 volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves for experimental injections in three vaccine trials that will start soon. Here's how this will work, and where to get involved.
President-elect Joe Biden today launched his official war on coronavirus, naming a team of doctors and scientists to inform his proposals and turn them into concrete plans. On his first day in office, he plans a blitz of executive actions to unwind President Donald Trump's agenda and signal a shift in the United States' place in the world. Early priorities range from mask-wearing to abortion, the environment and more.
Spotted without a mask at the White House election night party: Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who tested positive last week and was likely still infectious.
The lame-duck Congress is getting awfully mixed messages as it returns today, confronting coronavirus relief at a moment of extraordinary national uncertainty.
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