Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Saturday, Oct. 10, 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 It is no longer being updated.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 World Health Organization announced more than 350,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday: a record daily high for COVID-19 infections worldwide.

Wisconsin and the Dakotas, where mask usage is below the U.S. average of 50%. lead the nation in new coronavirus cases per capita.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health confirmed 642 new COVID-19 cases, as well as seven new deaths by 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Overall, Washington has 92,560 confirmed cases, and 2,190 deaths, according to state health officials.

Throughout Saturday, 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 Friday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

This data is from Saturday, the most recent available from the Washington Department of Health, which reported a data-processing problem on Sunday and was unable to provide updated figures.

Navigating the pandemic
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)


Trump official says vaccine expected starting in January

Dr. Robert Kadlec, of the Department of Health and Human Services, during a hearing with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on March 5. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times)

A Trump administration official leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic says the U.S. can expect delivery of a vaccine starting in January 2021, despite statements from the president that inoculations could begin this month.

And a growing, bipartisan chorus of lawmakers, experts and public health officials says the country is ill prepared for a projected winter surge of COVID-19.

Dr. Robert Kadlec said in an email Friday that the administration “is accelerating production of safe and effective vaccines … to ensure delivery starting January 2021.” Kadlec is the Department of Health and Human Services’ assistant secretary of preparedness and response. HHS says a vaccine could be approved before the end of the year but will take time to distribute.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Lesson not learned: Europe unprepared as 2nd virus wave hits

ROME — Europe’s second wave of coronavirus infections has struck well before flu season even started, with intensive care wards filling up again and bars shutting down. Making matters worse, authorities say, is a widespread case of “COVID-fatigue.”

Record high daily infections in several eastern European countries and sharp rebounds in the hard-hit west have made clear that Europe never really crushed the COVID-19 curve as hoped, after springtime lockdowns.

Spain this week declared a state of emergency for Madrid amid increasing tensions between local and national authorities over virus containment measures. Germany offered up soldiers to help with contact tracing in newly flaring hotspots. Italy mandated masks outdoors and warned that for the first time since the country became the European epicenter of the pandemic, the health system was facing “significant critical issues” as hospitals fill up.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

It’s not too late for coronavirus financial relief and other tips from the mailbag

The mailbag is full of notes from people with all-too-common financial dilemmas these days.

I’ll try to help some of the letter writers in the hope that the answers help you too.

Question from David H. in Short Pump, Virginia:  When I lost my job early in the pandemic, there seemed to be a lot of help out there from banks and credit-card companies for people who were unemployed. But we didn’t need help then, because my wife was working for [a major airline].

She was part of the layoffs they just announced. I’m making money working on some projects, but it’s not enough.  I don’t want to fall behind on the mortgage and the bills. But what can I say to my lenders now, so far into the pandemic, that would persuade them to help me, and why would they help me anyway if we have almost no income and don’t know when that will change?

Answer: Don’t worry about optics; push on.

Mortgage forbearance on federally backed mortgages was part of the CARES Act, the initial coronavirus stimulus package, and you should be able to pause mortgage payments for up to 12 months, in 180-day chunks, by contacting the lender about a COVID hardship.

Read the full column here.

—Chuck Jaffe, columnist

Seattle’s First AME Church to Hold 'Mourning Into Unity' candlelight vigils

In response to COVID-19 restrictions making it difficult for people to mourn the pandemic’s victims, Seattle’s First AME Church is joining a nationwide series of candlelight vigils, starting Oct. 12.

The “Mourning Into Unity” vigils — to be held at more than 20 sites around the country — will be held outdoors, with participants masked and socially distanced or attending online. The vigils will be led by faith leaders and medical professionals.

In Seattle, the #MourningIntoUnity vigils will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on two consecutive Mondays — Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 — at the First AME Church, 1522 14th Ave.

The church, founded in 1886, is the oldest African American church in the state of Washington.

“In 2020, a year of unprecedented loss, COVID has stopped America from mourning together,” read a statement from Reimagine, a San Francisco-based nonprofit “sparking community-driven festivals and conversations that explore death and celebrate life” that is organizing the vigils.

These vigils, the statement said, “offer a chance for healing.”

Nationwide, more than 211,000 people have died from COVID-19; 2,190 of them were in Washington state.

—Nicole Brodeur

Trump makes 1st public appearance since his hospital stay

President Donald Trump speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Saturday made his first public appearance after being hospitalized for the coronavirus, defying public health guidelines to speak to a crowd of hundreds even as the White House refused to declare that he was not contagious.

Trump took off a mask moments after he emerged on the White House balcony to address the crowd on the lawn below, his first step back onto the public stage with just more than three weeks to go until Election Day. He flouted, once more, the safety recommendations of his own government just days after acknowledging that he was on the brink of “bad things” from the virus and claiming that his bout with the illness brought him a better understanding of it.

And five days after Trump returned from Walter Reed Medical Center, his health remained a mystery as White House officials refused to reveal if he had tested negative or if he was still at risk of spreading the virus.

His return was a brief one.

With bandages visible on his hands, likely from an intravenous injection, Trump spoke for 18 minutes, far less than at his normal hour-plus rallies. He appeared healthy, if perhaps a little hoarse, as he delivered what was, for all intents and purposes, a short version of his campaign speech despite the executive mansion setting.

Though billed as an official event, Trump offered no policy proposals and instead delivered the usual attacks on Democrat Joe Biden while praising law enforcement to a crowd of several hundred, most of whom wore masks while few adhered to social distancing guidelines.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

White House virus aid offer is panned by Pelosi, Senate GOP

WASHINGTON — A new White House coronavirus aid offer got bad reviews from both ends of the political spectrum on Saturday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected the most generous Trump administration plan to date as “one step forward, two steps back.” The Republicans who control the Senate dismissed it as too expensive and a political loser for conservatives.

Pelosi said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal but it’s as clear as ever that GOP conservatives don’t want a deal on her terms.

The White House had boosted its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is eager for an agreement before Election Day, even as his most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Congress is unlikely to deliver relief by then.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.

The new offer totals about $1.8 trillion, aides familiar with it said, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aides were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

16 more Seattle-area restaurants close permanently in the COVID-19 era

Bar stools sit on top of the counter at Cafe Racer on March 18, 2020. Cafe Racer was in the midst of a fundraiser to save the cafe before the coronavirus effectively shut the city down.

COVID-19 continues to claim restaurants everywhere, with prospects for the future still looking grim heading into fall. Some of these Seattle-area closures are just sad — community favorites lost forever, places for cocktail fun gone dark — but bright spots are to be found, with owners converting to food trucks or deciding to provide us all with more wine. Support the places you love by getting takeout (and tipping big!), if you have the means — they need us now.

Hana Sushi on Capitol Hill: The low-key, low-cost, longtime Broadway standby is gone, leaving fans mournfully recounting three-plus decades of memories of friends, family and fun times inside the spot that functioned as the neighborhood’s Japanese cafeteria. Local high-end sushi hero Shiro Kashiba helped open the restaurant in 1986; it offered Seattle’s first conveyor-belt service, which failed to catch on way back then. They then took out the belt, and Shiro moved on, and the place went strong … until COVID-19.

Silence-Heart-Nest in Fremont: Also open since 1986, this vegetarian standby almost closed last year — the owner’s son decided to continue on after much sorrowful vegetarian outcry, but has now shuttered it permanently.

Cafe Racer in the University District: The beloved, oddball neighborhood hangout was the site of a tragic 2012 shooting, claiming four who will always remain in the hearts of those who knew them. After a near shutdown and new ownership, the place has closed permanently, but lives on in a fittingly sideways, musical and noncorporeal manner — it’s become an online radio station called Cafe Racer Radio. Moreover, it and its Official Bad Art Museum of Art (aka the OBAMA Room) may yet return in a different location, eventually … stay tuned.

Bamboo Garden in Lower Queen Anne: Another veritable institution, Seattle’s only free-standing, certified kosher restaurant closed forever at the end of July, with the owners deciding to retire amid pandemic problems. My colleague Joy Resmovits paid tribute to the cross-cultural joy found along with the vegetarian Chinese cuisine, writing that Bamboo Garden “bred diversity, feeding Buddhist monks, vegetarians and observant Jews, but also familiarity — a place where they could count on running into each other; servers who greeted diners with Hebrew phrases, anticipated your order and remembered your daughter’s age even when you hadn’t been there for a year or two.”

Copal in Pioneer Square: Despite providing picturesque outdoor seating on the cobblestones over the summer, this sunny spot for Latin American-inspired snacks and cocktails where Bar Sajor used to be could not weather the COVID-19 storm.

Read the full story here.

—Bethany Jean Clement

State confirms 475 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths

State health officials reported 475 new COVID-19 cases in Washington as of Wednesday night, but no new deaths.

The update brings the state’s totals to 93,035 cases and 2,190 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. Friday.

The DOH also reported that 7,786 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus 24 new hospitalizations since Thursday.

Statewide, 2,061,438 COVID-19 tests have been administered as of Friday night.

In King County, the state’s most populous, state health officials have confirmed 23,805 diagnoses -- 93 more than last reported -- and 784 deaths.

—Nicole Brodeur

Federal effort on rapid COVID test stumbles over risk of false positives

A COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kit developed by BD at Westminster-Canterbury senior living community in Virginia Beach, Va., Sept. 23, 2020. Nevada has suspended the use of rapid tests, including those from BD, after concerns about false positives. (Julia Rendleman/The New York Times)

A federal effort to arm nursing homes with rapid coronavirus tests is stumbling on concern the tests return false positives, putting at least one state at odds with federal officials over the value of the tests.

Nevada this month ordered nursing homes to stop using the point-of-care tests after they found more than 20 instances where positive findings were overturned by more precise assays. That was more than half of the positive samples re-tested. Other states are now questioning their accuracy as well.

Federal officials, meanwhile, said states don’t have the authority to bar the tests, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it would take “appropriate action” if Nevada didn’t cease the ban. Brett Giroir, an assistant health secretary leading the administration’s testing efforts, said Nevada was putting nursing home residents at risk.

Washington state health officials are also aware of false positives at long-term care facilities, said Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases. However, the state hasn’t required require faulty results to be reported, so it’s hard to gauge the scope of the problem, he said.

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg News

Pelosi dismisses latest White House coronavirus aid offer

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) speaks during a press conference on the introduction of legislation to establish a Commission on Presidential Capacity on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday dismissed the latest White House offer in COVID-19 aid talks as “one step forward, two steps back,” but said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal.

The White House had boosted its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is eager for an agreement before Election Day, even as his most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Congress is unlikely to deliver relief by then.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.

A GOP aide familiar with the new offer said it was about $1.8 trillion, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aide was not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

COVID’s comeback is bigger but less deadly, at least for now

The coronavirus was always expected to make a comeback this winter, but an autumn rebound in infections across Europe and North America could make the colder months even more daunting than public health officials had anticipated.

The pandemic’s resurgence is less deadly so far than during its bleak early months, when thousands were dying daily. The risk is that with official case numbers already jumping to records in many countries, caring for the sick will overburden hospitals.

The return of the virus has been particularly pronounced in Europe, where long lockdowns brought the virus to heel following a deadly spring. After authorities eased restrictions in an effort to jump-start their economies, infection rates began climbing in Spain, France and other nations in August, fueled by vacationers and the virus’s insidious ability to spread from asymptomatic people.

“When people went on vacation they really let their guard down,” said White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Deborah Birx at a Friday press briefing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “We’re asking now that you’re back from vacation, put your guard back up, not only in the public places but in your private places, including your home.”

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg News

Not headed in the right direction: Spokane-area COVID cases continue to climb

Spokane County will have to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19 or health officials might tighten current guidelines in the county.

In the last three days, health officials have confirmed more than 300 local COVID-19 cases. On Friday, the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 94 new cases.

“We have a false sense of being out of the woods or that the pandemic isn’t as prevalent in our county, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz said in a press release.

Spokane County now has an incidence rate of more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents.

Read the full story here.

—Arielle Dreher, The Spokesman-Review

UW Greek row outbreak up to 227

The Sigma Chi fraternity house, one of many fraternities and sororities in the University of Washington’s Greek system, is seen Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 in Seattle as UW and Greek Row struggle to contain COVID-19 outbreak.
(Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

The coronavirus outbreak in the University of Washington's fraternities and sororities is still growing, but there's evidence it may be slowing.

As of Friday afternoon, 227 UW students in 16 fraternities and sororities had tested positive for the virus, since the outbreak began, with two identified cases, about a month ago, the university said.

That represents 15 new cases since Wednesday. Still, that's a slower rate of growth than the Greek row had seen in the prior week, when cases more than doubled, from 104 cases to 212 cases.

It's the second outbreak in UW fraternities and sororities this year. A June outbreak infected 154 students in 15 houses.

“The congregant living situation in the Greek community certainly presents a greater challenge and we will continue to work with them to respond effectively and try to limit the spread,” Victor Balta, a UW spokesperson, said earlier this week.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce will give her annual address to the university on Monday. She plans to talk about "the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the University’s role in supporting an equitable recovery and resilient communities."

—David Gutman

Why won’t White House say when Trump last tested negative?

It is a basic, crucial question and one the White House refuses to answer: When was President Donald Trump’s last negative test for the coronavirus before he tested positive last week?

“Yeah, I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps every time the president’s tested,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters last weekend.

“I can’t reveal that at this time,” echoed Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications. “Doctors would like to keep it private.”

“I don’t want to go backwards,” said Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, seated left, and Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, listen as doctors talk with reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The answer could help fill in vital details about the course of the president’s illness as well as when he may have been contagious and whom else he may have exposed. And the White House refusal to answer makes it hard not to wonder what they’re hiding, given other details they’ve shared.

“At this point it’s just so strange that they’re unwilling to give us the information,” said Michael Joseph Mina, a physician and professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s school of public health. “It makes people start thinking things like, ‘Was the president the super-spreader?’… If there was no nefarious activity going on, then they should have no problem answering this question.”

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Amazon’s turnover rate amid pandemic is at least double the average for retail and warehousing industries

Amazon’s turnover rate among front-line workers was at least double the industry average during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, reinforcing the view among some critics that the Seattle commerce giant churns through workers.

It also raises questions about the role of automation — a major strategy Amazon has employed in the last five years to drive speed and efficiency — in employee retention. Some researchers say increasing automation may be a driver of higher turnover rates, while also reducing companies’ turnover costs in hiring and training replacement workers.

Amazon said this month that more than 1.37 million people had worked in front-line roles — shuffling products through its warehouses and stocking the shelves at Whole Foods Market stores — in the U.S. at some point between March 1 and Sept. 19.

Amazon’s current front-line U.S. workforce is far smaller, even as it continues to swell due to continued growth and in anticipation of what is typically the company’s busiest times of year: its annual Prime Day sale and the holiday season. The company declined to specify its current number of front-line employees, but earlier announcements indicate it employs between 650,000 and 700,000 people in the U.S. in all roles; the front-line work force, while making up the majority of its employees, would be smaller.

Read the full story here.

—Benjamin Romano

Whole Foods is left behind in Amazon’s pandemic-fueled boom

With millions of Americans still sheltering in place and cooking their own meals, the grocery industry has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise battered U.S. economy. Unless, that is, you are Whole Foods Market, the upscale chain acquired three years ago by Amazon.com.

Trips to Whole Foods in September were down 25% from a year earlier, according to Placer.ai, which tallies retail foot traffic from some 30 million mobile devices. Some of the decline is due to consumers consolidating shopping trips and buying more groceries online, but the traffic decline at Whole Foods is much steeper than at Walmart, Kroger and Trader Joe’s. Visits to Albertsons-owned stores, including Safeway, meanwhile, actually increased last month, compared with a year ago. And though Earnest Research estimates that Whole Foods sales (including online) rose by as much as 10% during the pandemic, some rivals are posting twice the gains.

“Everyone is buying more everywhere, but total customers are actually down for Whole Foods,” said Michael Maloof, who tracks consumer habits for Earnest Research. “Whole Foods is in a uniquely horrible place.”

Read the full story here.

—Matt Day, Bloomberg