Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Thursday, October 1, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

After more than a month of decreasing daily COVID-19 infections in Washington, that number could be creeping back up, according to state health officials who on Wednesday reminded us all how relentless the virus is. They also announced an incoming shipment of 149,000 rapid antigen tests, which will initially be distributed to tribes, federally qualified health centers and critical access hospitals.

Thursday is the first day King County Metro will collect fares again after months of not doing so in an effort to prevent contact between riders and drivers. In a statement Wednesday, Metro encouraged riders to use contactless payment methods, such as ORCA cards.

Throughout Thursday, on this page, we’ll post updates on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Wednesday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

Navigating the pandemic
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)


President Trump and first lady test positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, the president tweeted early Friday.

Trump’s positive test comes just hours after the White House announced that senior aide Hope Hicks came down with the virus after traveling with the president several times this week. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has now killed more than 200,000 people nationwide.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted.

Trump announced late Thursday that he and first lady Melania Trump were beginning a “quarantine process” after Hicks came down with the virus, though it wasn’t clear what that entailed. It can take days for an infection to be detectable by a test.

—Associated Press

New California reopening rules require ‘equity’ measure

LOS ANGELES — California will begin to require counties to bring down coronavirus infection rates in disadvantaged communities that have been harder hit by the pandemic, a move that could slow the methodical reopening of the nation’s most populous state.

The complex new rules set in place an “equity metric” that will force larger counties to control the spread of COVID-19 in areas where Black, Latino and Pacific Islander groups have suffered a disproportionate share of the cases because of a variety of socioeconomic factors.

“We can’t allow transmission rates to be so disproportionately impacting those communities without significant effort to really reduce that disparity and reduce the burden on those communities,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health secretary, said Thursday.

The measure could further put the brakes on the state’s conservative approach to a return to business as usual after a more rapid reopening of a larger segment of the economy in the spring, including allowing bars and indoor restaurant dining, was accompanied by surge of infections in early summer.

The equity measure will require that positive test rates in its most disadvantaged neighborhoods, where rates are often much higher, do not significantly lag behind the county overall.

—Associated Press

Wisconsin is frazzled by surging virus cases and growing campaign frenzy

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Steve VanderLoop, 64, heard that several of his co-workers at a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin had fallen ill from COVID-19. Then there was his brother-in-law’s entire family in nearby Washington County. A good friend in Appleton, up the shore of Lake Winnebago. And last week, the gut punch: VanderLoop’s 96-year-old mother learned she had the virus.

“It’s just crazy here now,” he said of his home state, standing on his porch on a block whose yards and fences were festooned with Biden signs, billowing Trump flags, hand-painted posters and bumper stickers with peace symbols.

VanderLoop is one of many Wisconsinites living uncomfortably in a dual hot spot: of the coronavirus, which has spiked uncontrollably in counties throughout the state in recent weeks, and of the presidential campaign, whose attention seems to be unblinkingly focused on Wisconsin voters.

They have watched with growing alarm as coronavirus cases have exploded. Three of the four metro areas in the United States with the most cases per capita were in northeast Wisconsin, and one hospital in Green Bay, the third-largest city in the state, was nearly full this week.

Daily statewide deaths because of the coronavirus hit a record Wednesday when officials reported that 26 people had succumbed to the virus. On Thursday, hospitalizations were at a high since the pandemic began, and more than 3,000 new cases were reported, another record.

—The New York Times

Democrats push through their own coronavirus aid bill

WASHINGTON — House Democrats pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan Thursday that would provide aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers, advancing a wish list with little chance of becoming law as negotiations with the Trump administration failed to yield a bipartisan agreement.

Even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted there was still room for the talks to produce a deal, the vote reflected the continued failure of Congress and the White House to come together on another pandemic relief package and the dwindling chances that they could do so before lawmakers scatter to campaign for reelection.

The dysfunction has left Americans without aid payments or enhanced unemployment benefits they had relied on to weather the pandemic, and allowed help for struggling businesses to lapse at a critical time in a shaky recovery.

But the measure passed by a slim margin, 214-207, as Republicans panned the latest relief bill as too large and at least 18 moderate Democrats from conservative-leaning districts objected to the lack of Republican support and argued that a vote should have waited until a bipartisan agreement was struck with the administration.

—The New York Times

Trump in ‘quarantine process’ after top aide gets COVID-19

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he and first lady Melania Trump are beginning a “quarantine process” as they await coronavirus test results after a top aide he spent substantial time with this week tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump’s comments came after he confirmed that Hope Hicks, one his closest aides, had tested positive for the virus Thursday. Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota Wednesday evening, according to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, the person said.

Trump tweeted late Thursday: “The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process.”

Earlier, during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Trump said: “Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know. I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.”

It can take days for an infection to be detectable by a test, and it was unclear what Trump’s quarantine entailed. 

—Associated Press

Ex-congressman seeks to delay going to prison, citing COVID

NEW YORK — The first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president four years ago cited the coronavirus Thursday as he asked to delay or modify his 26-month prison sentence.

Christopher Collins, 70, is supposed to report to a federal prison camp in Pensacola, Florida, on Oct. 13 after pleading guilty last year to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials.

In a letter, lawyers for the former Republican congressman asked a judge who sentenced him in January to modify the sentence to eliminate incarceration or let him delay starting it until December.

“With a vaccine predicted in the near future, it is particularly prudent for a short additional delay,” they wrote, suggesting a Dec. 8 date to report.

They cited the coronavirus, saying it “continues to rage in Florida” and Collins’ age and health condition put him at great risk of serious or life-threatening complications if he contracts it. They said prosecutors opposed the request.

—Associated Press

Alaska Airlines to furlough or lay off more employees as COVID-19 grips travel industry

As federal aid for airlines runs out and negotiations over more coronavirus relief stall, Alaska Airlines has begun cutting nearly 450 more flight attendants and other employees from its payroll while borrowing $1.3 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

The furloughs, first reported by online aviation magazine The Points Guy, were hardly unexpected. In June, Seattle-based Alaska announced it would begin slashing 3,000 jobs from its 23,000-person workforce starting at the end of September to bring expenses more in line with revenues, which have plunged as the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed travel.

The vast majority of furloughed employees are flight attendants. Unless Congress and the White House come to a much-anticipated deal on additional coronavirus relief, including payroll support grants to airlines, many of those employees will need to find work elsewhere, said Jeff Peterson, the president of the Alaska flight attendants’ union, “but it’s not exactly a great job market to be in right now.”

“We need federal action on this by today,” he said Wednesday. “Well, really, we need it by yesterday.”

Read the full story here.

—Katherine K. Long

Amazon says nearly 20,000 employees have caught COVID-19

SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon said Thursday that nearly 20,000 of its U.S. employees had tested positive, or had been presumed positive, for the coronavirus since the pandemic started spreading through the country this year.

The retailer has faced harsh criticism this year as hundreds of workers and critics have said it hasn’t done enough to keep employees safe as they work in its warehouses amid a surge in demand to send items to shoppers across the country.

Amazon said in a blog that the number of employees who have had the illness includes its workers at its grocery store chain Whole Foods Market. In total, 19,816 employees have had COVID-19 between March 1 and Sept. 19, it said, or about 1.44% of the 1,372,000 front-line workers for Amazon during that period.

The Seattle-based company said it compared the COVID-19 case rates to the general population, as reported by Johns Hopkins University for the same period. Based on that analysis, if the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods employees were the same as that for the general population, it estimated it would have seen 33,952 cases among its workforce. That is 42% higher that Amazon’s actual rate.

—The Wahsington Post

Hope Hicks, one of Trump's closest aides, reportedly has COVID-19

FILE – In this March 29, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump poses for members of the media with then White House Communications Director Hope Hicks on her last day before he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s closest aides, and who travelled with him on Air Force One to and from Tuesday night’s presidential debates, as well as a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, has contracted COVID-19, according to Bloomberg News.

“The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told Bloomberg White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs. “White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the president is traveling.”

Deere did not mention by name the aide who has COVID-19.

But Jacobs Tweeted that Hicks was “in close proximity to (Trump), maskless, in recent days.”

Hicks was quarantined on Air Force One on the trip back from Minnesota, Jacobs reported.

Rising COVID-19 numbers put a pause on in-person elementary classes in Puyallup

The Puyallup School District has paused bringing back additional students for in-person learning after a rise of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County.

Based on the advice of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, the district will not return students in grades K-1 on Oct. 6; and grades 2-6 on Oct. 13, according to a statement from the district.

The pause in the return to in-person instruction for elementary students does not impact self-contained special education, developmental pre-school and secondary McKinney Vento students, the statement said.

General Education elementary students will continue in a distance learning instructional model, and new teachers and class rosters will go into effect Oct. 5.

Learning plans and schedules will be communicated to families on Friday and the following Monday for the full week.  

The pause will continue “until we see a trending decline in case numbers,” the statement said.

—Nicole Brodeur

State confirms 594 new COVID-19 cases and 6 new deaths

State health officials reported 594 new COVID-19 cases in Washington as of Wednesday night, and 6 new deaths.

The update brings the state’s totals to 88,116 cases and 2,132 deaths, meaning that 2.4% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

The DOH also reported that 7,573 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus. 

Statewide, 1,884,074 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of Wednesday night.

In King County, the state’s most populous, state health officials have confirmed 22,529 diagnoses -- 162 new cases -- and 759 deaths, which is two fewer than reported on Tuesday.

The state Department of Health removes deaths from the statewide total when the primary cause of death is determined not to have been COVID-19.

—Nicole Brodeur

UW's Greek Row has COVID-19 outbreak with 104 cases

A new outbreak of COVID-19 has been found in the University of Washington’s Greek community, while there have been few positive tests among residence hall students and students, faculty and staff.

Working with Public Health – Seattle & King County, the outbreak in the off-campus Greek community was identified via external testing and programs, including the City of Seattle’s free testing sites.

As of Oct. 1, 104 positive cases have been confirmed among nine fraternity and sorority organizations. Updates on confirmed positive cases due to this outbreak will be provided as they become available.

Residence hall students received move-in tests over four days last week, with 1,620 students tested and five positive cases identified by the Husky Coronavirus Testing program which is part of the Seattle Flu Study.

And as fraternity and sorority members moved into their houses, 1,256 were tested by the Husky Coronavirus Testing program, which identified four positive cases.

Since launching Sept. 24, the Husky Coronavirus Testing program has tested more than 1,000 individuals and reported 11 positive cases.

In response to the Greek Row outbreak, the student-run Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association, and the UW’s Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, are coordinating with UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) and local public health officials to ensure Greek residents and others who frequent the houses are engaged in active containment of the outbreak.

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program is providing surge testing on campus within walking distance of the Greek houses to address this outbreak. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for students living in Greek houses or apartments nearby to get tested.

Students in the Greek community who have tested positive or have COVID-like symptoms are being instructed to isolate in their current place of residence, and none have been hospitalized or reported severe symptoms of the virus. Others who may have been exposed to positive cases, as well as members of fraternities and sororities with positive cases, are also being asked to isolate in their current place of residence and to get tested.

Currently, there are fewer than 2,000 students living in 42 fraternity and sorority houses in the neighborhood north of campus. Additional fraternity and sorority members live in the surrounding area north of campus and away from campus.

Over the summer, a separate outbreak in the Greek community was identified and contained with a total of 154 positive cases identified over the course of about a month.

—Nicole Brodeur

Photos: What the pandemic looks like today around the world

In Athens, Greece, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, a paramedic adjusts a patient’s face mask as his colleague pulls the stretcher out of a nursing home where dozens of elderly people have tested positive for COVID-19. Greece is in a nationwide resurgence of the virus, with the number of new daily cases often topping 300, and both the number of deaths and the number of those in intensive care units are rising. (Thanassis Stavrakis / The Associated Press)

In Quezon city, Philippines, a teacher, left, hands over a student’s electronic tablet to a woman on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, as they prepare for online classes to start next week at Dona Rosario High School. Public schools, delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, will hold online classes using electronic gadgets and educational materials provided to students. (Aaron Favila / The Associated Press)

A farm worker carries dates at a farm in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. The harvesting season for dates usually starts at the beginning of October, after the first rain. (Adel Hana / The Associated Press)

Click here to see more photos from Oct. 1 across the globe.

—Courtney Riffkin / Seattle Times photo staff

China’s ‘Golden Week’ holiday kicks off in boost to battered tourism industry

Women hold Chinese flags as they visit the Temple of Heaven in Beijing on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, China’s National Day, which kicks off a weeklong holiday. (Mark Schiefelbein / The Associated Press)

Along the Great Wall, extra security guards have been deployed to deter rowdy tourists. Hotel bookings in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, have risen 600% from the same period last year. In Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak began late last year, visitor demand for the city’s Yellow Crane Tower has been so high that the landmark sits atop a major travel agency’s list of the “Country’s Hottest Scenic Spots.”

China has kicked off Golden Week, the annual spree of shopping and travel built around the Oct. 1 National Day celebrations and the first major holiday since the country brought its epidemic more or less under control.

In any year, the outlay of the weeklong holiday is a closely watched barometer of the country’s economic health. This year it may be especially so, offering the clearest measure yet of China’s recovery from the pandemic as people squeeze into train cars, crowd into ancient temples and do everything else that people in many other countries can still only dream of.

The early signs seem to confirm two trends. First: China has returned to near normalcy with remarkable speed. And second: Even so, the ripple effects of the pandemic are hard to shake off.

The week will also reflect how the pandemic has reshaped travel, turning China’s increasingly global tourists back inward. Most years, millions of Chinese go overseas during the holiday, but this year, they have little option but to stay closer to home.

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

COVID ‘long haulers’ have nowhere else to turn, so they’re finding each other online

As Chimére Smith clicked on the link to join the COVID-19 Slack support group, she could feel her body shaking. Not because of an internal buzzing sensation reported by some people struggling with the illness — though she is certainly familiar with that. Smith, a 38-year-old Baltimore middle-school teacher, fell ill in March with symptoms progressing rapidly from a sore throat to crushing fatigue to heart palpitations. Still dealing with symptoms several weeks in, she was confused and afraid but alive — though that, it seemed, could change at any moment.

For Smith, joining the Slack group meant accepting that as her struggle continued with no end in sight, she could not go on alone. “As strong and independent as I think I am, I had to admit that I needed other people to help me,” says Smith, who still has symptoms to this day.

The pandemic has spared no one from loneliness. The sick survive or die away from their loved ones. The healthy converse through computer screens, smile under face masks from 6 feet away.

But for “long-haulers” who have suffered COVID-19-related symptoms for 30-plus days, the isolation runs layers deep. They face doctors who don’t believe them; media that often ignore them; friends and family who don’t understand why they aren’t better; and a virus that, with each passing month, pushes them deeper into the unknown.

Being a long-hauler means being “displaced,” says Melanie Montano, 32, a New Jersey-based administrator for the Slack group. “We’re not dead but we’re not living.”

With nowhere else to turn, long-haulers have been finding one another online. They write collaborative histories in Facebook posts and develop their own lexicon in Slack channels. They organize academic studies of themselves and crowdsource advice on how to deal with skeptical doctors and why to avoid underwire bras.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post

Pfizer CEO pushes back against Trump claim on vaccine timing

The head of Pfizer, one of the drugmakers racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine, told employees he was disappointed that its work was politicized during this week’s presidential debate and tried to reassure U.S. staff that the company won’t bend to pressure to move more quickly.

Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla told employees Thursday the company is “moving at the speed of science,” rather than under any political timing, according to a staff letter obtained by The Associated Press.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wrote to  employees that he’s “disappointed” the timing for a vaccine to be available was politicized during Tuesday night’s presidential debate. He said the company won’t succumb to political pressure. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, file)

Despite top U.S. federal health officials repeatedly stating that a vaccine is unlikely to be available widely until 2021, President Donald Trump has insisted that a vaccine will be ready before Election Day.

During Tuesday’s debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump said he had talked with the companies whose experimental vaccines are furthest along in testing.

“I’ve spoken to Pfizer, I’ve spoken to all of the people that you have to speak to, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and others. They can go faster than that by a lot,” Trump claimed. “It’s become very political.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Paris bars face possible closure as virus patients fill ICUs

A bartender brings drinks to customers in a cafe of Saint Jean de Luz, southwestern France, Tuesday June 2, 2020. With COVID-19 patients now filling about one-third of the intensive care units in the Paris area, France’s health minister threatened Thursday to close bars and ban family gatherings, if the situation doesn’t improve. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

With COVID-19 patients now filling about one-third of the intensive care units in the Paris area, France’s health minister threatened Thursday to close bars and ban family gatherings, if the situation doesn’t improve.

Intensive care units in other regions of France are also filling up with virus patients, as more than two months of increasing infections have now spread to the country’s elderly and vulnerable populations.

Amid now-daily protests against virus restrictions on French cafes, the government has adopted relatively modest localized measures instead.

France has been recording more than 10,000 new confirmed cases a day for the past two weeks, and has reported a total of 31,956 virus-related deaths, among the highest tolls in Europe.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Washington state improving its case investigation, contract tracing, report says

Washington is partially achieving its case and contact investigation goals, according to a state report.

A regular report by the state Department of Health (DOH) on the program designed to help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19, shows some improvement. Case and contact investigators reached within 24 hours 65% of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Within 48 hours they reached 89% of those who have been in close contact with an infected person.

The state's goal is to reach 90% of people testing positive within 24 hours and 80% of close contacts within 48 hours.

The last report, which went through Sept. 5, showed DOH case and contact investigators had reached within 24 hours 49% of people who have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Within 48 hours, they’ve reached 70% of people who have been in close contact with an infected person.

The improved numbers are from Sept. 13 to Sept. 19. DOH's report covers case and contact investigation from Aug. 2 and doesn’t go further back because DOH had to get a system in place that could track tracing efforts, said the state’s health officer, Dr. Kathy Lofy.

Case and contact investigations begin when test samples are sent to laboratories. The samples are supposed to be accompanied by the test subject’s contact information. If a person tests positive, their phone number is passed to case investigators. An investigator then calls the person to determine who they have been in contact with and then calls the contacts.

—Ryan Blethen

Carnival is cancelled and Rio is reeling

For more than a century, Rio de Janeiro’s carnival has been an irrepressible force, unstoppable by wars, disease, labor strikes or political repression.

Raucous celebrations took over city streets despite the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, during both World Wars and through Brazil’s military dictatorship. Glitter flew, hips swayed and drummers pounded in 2008, despite a dengue outbreak that sickened more than 200,000 in the state.

Wagner Goncalves, artistic director of Estacio de Sa, one of the oldest samba groups in Rio de Janeiro, in front of a float from the previous carnival on Sept., 28. 2020. Wars, disease and political turmoil have never prevented Rio de Janeiro from putting on its famous carnival, but now, the coronavirus pandemic has forced a suspension of the annual parade, at great cost to the city and its residents. (Dado Galdieri/The New York Times)

Even in 2014, when trash collectors struck, the revelry continued amid the filth.

“Carnival is effectively uncontrollable,” said Felipe Ferreira, a researcher at Rio de Janeiro State University who has studied the evolution of the city’s world renowned festival. “It’s a time when people seize the streets.”

But now, amid the pandemic, the official carnival parade has been suspended, indefinitely.

Rio is reeling.

Read the story here.

— Ernesto Londono and Manuela Andreoni, The New York Times

Oregon State University finds virus traces in housing wastewater

Oregon State University has found traces of the coronavirus in the sewer outflows of two residence halls and one apartment building, university officials said.

The buildings affected are Sackett Hall on the west side of campus, the OSU-affiliated GEM housing complex just north of the campus on Kings Boulevard and the unidentified residence hall being used to quarantine students who test positive for COVID-19.

Larson said students living in Sackett Hall and the GEM have the option of being tested or quarantining for 14 days.

Similar levels of the virus were seen in Corvallis community wastewater the third week of July and those have since subsided, said Tyler Radniecki, OSU associate professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering and a TRACE co-principal investigator.

Read the story here.

—Jim Day, Albany Democrat-Herald, Ore.

Madrid to obey new virus rules while fighting them in court

People queue for a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 in the southern neighbourhood of Vallecas in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Madrid and its suburbs are preparing to enter a soft lockdown that restricts trips and out of the Spanish capital following a weeks-long political turf fight over Europe’s latest infection hot spot. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Madrid and its suburbs prepared Thursday to enter a soft lockdown that restricts trips in and out of the Spanish capital following a weeks-long political turf war that experts say has prevented an effective response to the coronavirus in Europe’s latest infection hot spot.

Regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso said she would implement new national health regulations that impose restrictions on movement, business and social activity in large Spanish cities with high infection rates while Madrid also mounts a legal challenge to the national government order requiring the measures.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

White House ups bid in last-ditch COVID talks with Congress

The White House is backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and is dangling the possibility of a COVID-19 relief bill of $1.6 trillion as last-ditch, pre-election negotiations hit a critical phase Thursday.

The offer by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on unemployment is higher than many Republicans would like in any potential COVID deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Significant, possibly unbridgeable hurdles remain.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, arrives for a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., at the Speaker’s office on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Trump administration is pressing for an agreement, more so than Capitol Hill Republicans.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Turkish government accused of hiding true extent of virus outbreak

Turkey’s government is being accused of hiding the true extent of the country’s coronavirus outbreak after the health minister revealed that the daily COVID-19 figures published by his ministry reflect only patients with symptoms and not all positive cases.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca acknowledged during a news conference late Wednesday that since July 29, Turkey has been reporting the number of patients being cared for in hospitals or at their homes. The count did not include asymptomatic positive cases, he said, ignoring a question about the number of new positive coronavirus cases per day, a key indicator of where the outbreak is headed in any country.

“We are talking about people with symptoms. We are giving this as the daily number of patients,” he told reporters.

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca speaks to journalists after a coronavirus meeting, in Ankara, Turkey. Turkey’s government is being accused of hiding the true extent of the country’s coronavirus outbreak after health minister Fahrettin Koca revealed during a news conference late Wednesday Sept. 30, 2020, that the daily COVID-19 figures published by his ministry reflect only patients with symptoms and not all positive cases. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

The revelation led to an outcry on social media, with people calling on the government to reveal the true spread of the coronavirus among the population of 83 million. The hashtag asking “what Is the number of cases?” in Turkish was trending Thursday on Twitter.

The minister’s admission came after an opposition legislator, Murat Emir, claimed that the true number of daily new infections in Turkey was 19 times higher than the daily figures reported by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Push to bring coronavirus vaccines to the poor faces trouble

An ambitious humanitarian project to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest people is facing potential shortages of money, cargo planes, refrigeration and vaccines themselves — and is running into skepticism even from some of those it’s intended to help most.

In one of the biggest obstacles, rich countries have locked up most of the world’s potential vaccine supply through 2021, and the U.S. and others have refused to join the project, called Covax.

A vial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate sits on a shelf during testing at the Chula Vaccine Research Center, run by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand on May 25, 2020. Refrigeration, cargo planes, and, above all, money: All risk being in short supply for the international initiative to get coronavirus vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

Covax was conceived as a way of giving countries access to coronavirus vaccines regardless of their wealth.

It is being led by the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency; Gavi, a public-private alliance, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that buys immunizations for 60% of the world’s children; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, another Gates-supported public-private collaboration.

—The Associated Press

New rules for Liverpool as virus cases in England quadruple

Britain imposed tighter restrictions on social gatherings in the port city of Liverpool and three towns as scientists reported Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases in England has quadrupled or more in the last month.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Thursday that the infection rate in Liverpool had risen to 268 per 100,000 people, seven times the national average. He said it was time to extend tougher measures to the city, as well as to the nearby town of Warrington and in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, which are on the other side of the country.

Workers from the event industry protest at Parliament Square in London, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, demanding help for their industry after the shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The restrictions are similar to those imposed in northeastern England earlier this week, which forbid mixing of households except public spaces like parks. The government also recommended that people visit nursing homes only in exceptional circumstances.

The measures announced Thursday are the latest in a series of controversial and heightened restrictions targeting local coronavirus hotspots as the British government struggles to control the spread of COVID-19. Confirmed daily new cases of COVID-19 rose above 7,000 in each of the past two days, the highest recorded since the pandemic began. Britain’s official death toll has passed 42,000 — the highest level in Europe.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Czech health care under pressure as virus records hit

A record surge of new coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic in September has been followed by a record number of virus patients being hospitalized, putting the nation’s health care system under serious pressure for the first time in the pandemic.

After relaxing almost all virus restrictions in the summer, the Czech government has responded to the new spike by declaring a state of emergency on Wednesday. That has been accompanied by strict restrictions ranging from limiting public events to a ban on singing at churches and schools.

The Czech Republic faced a record surge of new COVID-19 cases two weeks ago with more than 3,000 testing positive in one day. On Wednesday, it hit almost 3,000 new cases again.

On Tuesday, 151 COVID-19 patients were admitted at hospitals across the country, bringing the total number of those hospitalized to 976. Of them, 202 needed intensive care. All three categories are records.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Hundreds break social distancing after South Carolina game

Several parties and large gatherings coinciding with the University of South Carolina’s football game had to be broken up Saturday, as people celebrated the first game of the season, police said.

Columbia Police told The State newspaper Wednesday that three social distancing citations and four warnings were issued to residences that house some USC students.

Police said the largest gathering was at Reign Living at the Stadium apartment complex near the Gamecocks’ Williams-Brice stadium, where about 300 people got together after the game.

Another citation was issued to a residence in the Five Points area, where about 100 people gather before the kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

Columbia police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said property owners were also cited for the social distancing violation.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Fares return on Metro buses after coronavirus pause

Fares are again required on King County Metro buses after a summer of fare-free rides meant to reduce contact between drivers and passengers at the front of the bus.

Fares return Thursday to Metro buses, Seattle streetcars, water taxis to Vashon Island and West Seattle, Access paratransit and other Metro services, although fare enforcement officers will not issue warnings or tickets. 

On some buses, Metro recently began installing mask dispensers and plastic partitions between drivers and passengers. The agency encourages riders to use ORCA cards rather than cash when possible to speed up boarding.  

Fare enforcement is on hold through the end of the year. The county plans to look for alternatives to its system, which disproportionately affects people of color and people who are homeless. 

Metro drivers, labeled "first responders" early in the outbreak, have worried about exposure to the virus on the job. Two Metro drivers, Samina Hameed and Mike Winkler, died after contracting the virus. Nationwide, at least 200 transit workers have died, according to transit unions.

Metro ridership is less than half of its prepandemic levels. The agency says it lost about $5.5 million per month in fare revenue since suspending fares in March. Metro spends about $1 billion a year on operations.

Sound Transit, Community Transit and Pierce Transit restarted fares on some routes in June.

—Heidi Groover

In Appalachia, people watch COVID-19, race issues from afar

The water, so cold that it nearly hurts, spills relentlessly into a concrete trough from three pipes driven into a hillside near the edge of town.

People have been coming to the trough for at least a century, since horses were watered here and coal miners stopped by to wash off the grime. People still come – because they think the water is healthier, or makes better coffee, or because their utilities were turned off when they couldn’t pay the bills. Or maybe just because it’s what they’ve always done.

For years, Tarah Nogrady has filled plastic jugs here and lugged them back to a town so small it rarely appears on maps. As she collects water for her four Pekinese dogs waiting in the car, she doesn’t wear a mask, like so many around here. Nogrady doubts that the coronavirus is a real threat – it’s “maybe a flu-type deal,” she says.

Tarah Nogrady collects water from a trough in Athens, Ohio, on Sunday, July 26, 2020. People have been using it for at least a century, since horses were watered and coal miners would stop by to wipe off grime and dust. They still come – some they think the water is healthier, or makes better coffee, or because their utilities were turned off when they couldn’t pay the bills. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

It’s a common view in the little towns that speckle the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio, where the pandemic has barely been felt. Coronavirus deaths and protests for racial justice — events that have defined 2020 nationwide — are mostly just images on TV from a distant America.

For many here, it’s an increasingly foreign America that they explain with suspicion, anger and occasionally conspiracy theories. The result: At a time when the country is bitterly torn and crises are piling up faster than ever, the feeling of isolation in this corner of Ohio is more profound than ever.

Read the story here.

— Tim Sullivan, The Associated Press

Quarantine Corner: How to make staying home and staying safe a little easier

How can you socialize safely when dark, drizzly days descend? Seattle-area residents offer ideas on finding warmth together by using outdoor spaces creatively.

You could also embrace that colder weather with two chilling new crime novels.

Or curl up on the couch and enjoy the new shows on Netflix this month.

Does your family have a special holiday recipe that’s been passed through the generations? We’d love to hear from you.​​​​

Seattle chef Eric Rivera’s recipe for pavochon turkey (pictured here in 2019) is inspired by his Puerto Rican upbringing. Does your family have a special, intergenerational holiday recipe that you’d like to share? Tell us, and we might include you in a story this fall.  (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

—Kris Higginson

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Salish Lodge & Spa will close for a week to undergo deep cleaning. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times, 2019)

Salish Lodge & Spa is closed after at least 25 people were infected, and health officials recommend a coronavirus test for anyone who visited recently. (Here's where to get one.) Meanwhile, at UW, a second outbreak is ballooning in the Greek system.

COVID-19 cases appear to be creeping up across Washington after more than a month of decreasing numbers. Rising hospitalizations have health officials fretting, too. Check the numbers and know how to understand what they're showing.

When the coronavirus arrived, many King County residents left. Where did they go? The most popular forwarding addresses reveal some common themes.

American Airlines ticket agent Henry Gemdron, left, works with a customer at Miami International Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. The airline industry has been decimated by the pandemic. The Payroll Support Program given to the airlines as part of the CARES Act runs out Thursday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Airlines are beginning to furlough tens of thousands of workers today, as new awareness is dawning of how travel rules that drew the world closer also let COVID-19 take off.

Should you use a mask with an exhalation valve? What's the latest research on the best kinds? Catch up with a Q&A on all things mask-related, helpfully answering questions we didn't even know we had.

Creating your winter "COVID bubble": An infectious-disease specialist explains how to decide who's in and who's out of your close social circle — and how to navigate the tough conversations. Can you expand the bubble just for Thanksgiving if you quarantine for two weeks first? Here's how to weigh your risks and stay safe.

The White House has blocked a new CDC order to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. They're cleared to sail next month.

—Kris Higginson

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