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.

In Europe, a 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.”

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health confirmed 475 new COVID-19 cases, and no new deaths by 11:59 p.m. Friday. Overall, Washington has 93,035 confirmed cases, and 2,190 deaths, according to state health officials.

Throughout Sunday, 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.
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.
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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Data processing glitch prevents state from updating COVID-19 numbers

The Washington State Department of Health said it was unable to update its daily COVID-19 data dashboard on Sunday due to "data processing issues."

The state normally posts updated coronavirus infection, hospitalization and death numbers on its website every afternoon. The state posted Sunday that it hopes to "resolve these issues and return to regular reporting on Monday."

The health department said the glitch also prevented it from providing the public with an updated weekly COVID-19 data file usually available for download.

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Pandemic, new phone app bring dreaded dental appointments home

Hate going to the dentist? Well, the COVID-19 pandemic and a new app for your phone have combined to give you the opportunity to make those dreaded "visits" from the comfort of your own home.

Dvora Brandstatter used to drive her son Elchanan half an hour to the orthodontist and back every month to make sure his braces were working properly. Now, from the comfort of her home in Bergenfield, New Jersey, she attaches a special scope to her smartphone camera, opens an app and inserts the contraption into the 11-year-old’s mouth. A video of the boy’s choppers is sent to his dentist, who checks progress, diagnoses any issues and sometimes ends the appointment right there.

“As a parent, having fewer appointments is a good thing,” Brandstatter said. “I haven’t seen a downside so far. It’s probably the way everything is moving anyway.”

The app and the scope were created last year by New Jersey-based startup Grin. After the pandemic hit, Chief Executive Officer and dentist Adam Schulhof said the company sped up development of the technology and partnered with manufacturer 3M to quickly distribute it to as many orthodontists as possible. About 5,000 units have shipped out and roughly 1,000 patients have used the system so far, according to Grin. Read the story here.

Twitter flags President Trump for claiming "immunity" to COVID-19

Twitter flagged one of President Donald Trump’s tweets for spreading misinformation on Sunday after he claimed he was immune from coronavirus.

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday,” Trump wrote. “That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

Twitter quickly slapped a disclaimer above the tweet.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Since he was released from the hospital after contracting coronavirus, Trump’s doctors have selectively released information about his health. Trump has also repeatedly claimed he was immune to coronavirus.

Coronavirus can persist for four weeks on banknotes, study finds

The new coronavirus may remain infectious for weeks on banknotes, glass and other common surfaces, according to research by Australia’s top biosecurity laboratory that highlights risks from paper currency, touchscreen devices and grab handles and rails.

Scientists at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness showed SARS-CoV-2 is “extremely robust,” surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes at room temperature, or 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). That compares with 17 days survival for the flu virus.

Virus survival declined to less than a day at 40 degrees Celsius on some surfaces, according to the study, published Monday in Virology Journal. The findings add to evidence that the covid-19-causing coronavirus survives for longer in cooler weather, making it potentially harder to control in winter than summer. The research also helps to more accurately predict and mitigate the pandemic’s spread, the researchers said.

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg
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Twitter flags Trump for claiming he’s immune to coronavirus

Twitter flagged one of President Donald Trump’s tweets for spreading misinformation on Sunday after he claimed he was immune from coronavirus.

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday,” Trump wrote. “That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

Twitter quickly slapped a disclaimer above the tweet.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Since he was released from the hospital after contracting coronavirus, Trump’s doctors have selectively released information about his health. Trump has also repeatedly claimed he was immune to coronavirus.

—New York Daily News

GOP governors in spiking states strain for silver linings

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have hit their highest points recently throughout the Midwest, where the growth in new cases has been the worst in the nation. But that’s not the message coming from a number of Republican governors in the region, who are working to find silver linings in the ominous health data as outbreaks surge in their states.

“In South Dakota, we didn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach and the results have been incredible,” Gov. Kristi Noem told lawmakers in her state, which Johns Hopkins University says ranks second in the country for new cases per capita.

Oklahoma’s governor has been effusively upbeat about progress against the virus, despite what figures compiled by public health experts and a White House task force show. North Dakota’s governor has called his state’s test positivity rate an achievement, even though its rate of new cases tops the nation.

The rhetoric in some cases is mirroring that of President Donald Trump, who continues to downplay the virus’ risk even after being hospitalized with COVID-19. And it’s worrying public health experts concerned about a flu season that may exacerbate the outbreak’s effects.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Average US gas price dips

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell half a penny over the past two weeks to just under $2.25 per gallon.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday prices may change a little in the coming days as hurricanes pummel the Gulf Coast, impacting oil production. Still, a decline in demand for gasoline because of the pandemic means there is plenty of petroleum available for motorists.

Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gas is in the San Francisco Bay Area at $3.36 per gallon. The lowest average is in Houston at $1.78 per gallon.

The average price of diesel in the survey taken Friday was $2.50 a gallon, down a penny from two weeks earlier.

—The Associated Press
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Turkey to report full COVID-19 figures, health minister says

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey will start to report its total number of coronavirus cases later this week, the country’s health minister said in an interview published Sunday, after Ankara was criticized for only releasing figures for patients showing symptoms of infection.

Fahrettin Koca told the newspaper Hurriyet that asymptomatic cases would be included in Turkey’s published data from Oct. 15, which would be shared with the World Health Organization.

Last month, the minister revealed Turkey had been publishing only the daily number of patients displaying symptoms of COVID-19. This led to criticism from medical groups and opposition parties that had long questioned the accuracy of the statistics.

Turkey’s latest daily figures from Saturday showed 1,649 new patients and 56 deaths. It has reported more than 334,000 patients since the outbreak started, and 8,778 fatalities.

—The Associated Press

GOP US. Rep. Bost of Illinois tests positive for COVID-19

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois has tested positive for COVID-19, the latest lawmaker now confirmed to have the virus.

The Republican whose district covers most of deep southern Illinois tested positive late Thursday, according to a statement from his office Friday. He had experienced “a mild cough and a rapid loss of both taste and smell,” prompting him to take the test.

“We are taking this situation seriously and will continue to serve the people of Southern Illinois while doing our best to ensure their health and safety,” he said in a statement. “I will provide additional updates in the days ahead and am anxious to get back to work as soon as I make a full recovery.”

In recent days, White House staff and a growing number of lawmakers have tested positive, including Democratic Rep. Salud Carbajal of California and Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican.

Bost said he’ll quarantine and postpone his public schedule as he isolates and that the staff members he’s been in contact with will do the same. His office was also reaching out to constituents he had met with in recent days. Bost said he has consulted with the Capitol’s attending physician.

Bost, a former state legislator, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2014. He is now seeking a fourth term.

—The Associated Press

Wave of ‘Nutcracker’ cancellations hits dance companies hard

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — For many, it’s not Christmas without the dance of Clara, Uncle Drosselmeyer, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King and, of course, the Nutcracker Prince.

But this year the coronavirus pandemic has canceled performances of “The Nutcracker” around the U.S. and Canada, eliminating a major and reliable source of revenue for dance companies already reeling financially following the essential shutdown of their industry.

“This is an incredibly devastating situation for the arts and in particular for organizations like ours that rely on ticket sales from the Nutcracker to fund so many of our initiatives,” said Sue Porter, executive director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio.

“The Nutcracker” typically provides about $1.4 million of the company’s $2 million in annual ticket sales, against a $7 million budget. That money goes to school programing and financial aid for dance class students, Porter said. It’s the first year since 1977 that the company isn’t staging the ballet in Ohio’s capital.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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UK at ‘tipping point:’ England braces for more restrictions

LONDON (AP) — Millions of people in northern England are anxiously waiting to hear how much further virus restrictions will be tightened as one of the British government’s leading medical advisers warned Sunday that the country is at a crucial juncture in the second wave of the coronavirus.

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said the U.K. is at a “tipping point similar to where we were in March” following a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases.

“But we can prevent history repeating itself if we all act now,” he said. “Now we know where it is and how to tackle it — let’s grasp this opportunity and prevent history from repeating itself.”

All across Europe including the U.K., there have been huge increases in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks following the reopening of large sectors of the economy, as well as schools and universities. Infection levels, — and deaths — in the U.K. are rising at their fastest rates in months.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

COVID-19 coverage safety net has plenty of holes in US

COVID-19 can do more than torment patients physically. It also clobbers some financially.

Even though many insurers and the U.S. government have offered to pick up or waive costs tied to the virus, holes remain for big bills to slip through and surprise patients.

People who weren’t able to get a test showing they had the virus and those who receive care outside their insurance network are particularly vulnerable. Who provides the coverage and how hard a patient fights to lower a bill also can matter.

There are no good estimates for how many patients have been hit with big bills because of the coronavirus. But the pandemic that arrived earlier this year exposed well-known gaps in a system that mixes private insurers, government programs and different levels of coverage.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

French nurses’ poll paints grim picture as virus cases soar

PARIS (AP) — A significant number of French nurses responding to a poll say they are tired and fed up, with 37% saying that the coronavirus pandemic is making them want to change jobs.

The poll published Sunday by the National Order of Nurses comes as COVID-19 infection rates soar across the nation.

French health authorities counted nearly 26,900 new daily infections Saturday and had four more cities join Paris and Marseille in the maximum alert category: Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne in the southeast and Lille in the north.

There were just under 5,000 new hospitalizations over the past week, with 928 of them in ICUs, and the positive rate for the increasing number of COVID-19 tests climbed to 11%. Nearly 32,690 coronavirus deaths have been counted in France, but the actual number is likely far higher, due to limited testing and missed cases.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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Trump insists he’s free of virus, ready for campaign trail

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday declared he was healthy enough to return to the campaign trail, a day after the White House doctor said he was no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus but did not say explicitly whether Trump had tested negative for it.

Trump, who was poised Monday to host his first rally after his COVID-19 diagnosis, declared he was now “immune” from the virus, a claim that was impossible to prove and comes amid a series of outstanding questions about the president’s health.

“I’m immune,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News. “The president is in very good shape to fight the battles.”

In a memo released Saturday night by the White House, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley said Trump met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk. The memo did not declare Trump had tested negative for the virus.

But sensitive lab tests — like the PCR test cited in the doctor’s statements — detect virus in swab samples taken from the nose and throat. Some medical experts had been skeptical that Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early in the course of his illness.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Remote learning leaves children with disabilities behind

For many special education families, online learning is simply not working, and some parents say their children are regressing. The state has received at least 45 special education-related complaints since schools closed last March. And three special education families have filed a lawsuit asking Thurston County Superior Court to overturn statewide emergency rules that relaxed the number of instructional hours schools provide students.

Amid school closures, regular sessions with state-funded behavioral technicians are one of the only supports Caroline’s son, a 17-year-old Lake Washington boy, has. His district recently granted him a couple of hours each day of in-person learning — but it’s not enough, said Caroline, who is pleading with the district for more face-to-face time.

Like districts across the state, Lake Washington was unprepared to switch to remote learning in the spring for normally developing students, much less those with learning disabilities. 

Special education staff largely stopped evaluating children who might newly qualify for specialized services, creating a backlog of at least 1,308 students statewide, state officials say. Read the full story here.

—Hannah Furfaro

Catch up on the past 24 hours

The delivery of a coronavirus vaccine can be expected in January 2021, according to a Trump administration official leading the response to the pandemic, despite statements from the president that inoculations could begin this month.

COVID-19 has become a political issue in this in fall's races. The coronavirus has killed more than 210,000 Americans, shut down the economy and upended the lives of pretty much everyone. And on the virtual campaign trail, candidates have to answer to all facets of the pandemic, from basic facts like whether they believe the virus is deadly and if they wear masks, to longer-term questions of how they’ll address economic impacts and health care.

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.”

Teresa Taylor and Freddie Lane, of Lummi Nation, secure a Washington Native Vote Day sign outside the tribe’s administration building. The image on the sign is a modified version of Edward Curtis’ 1899 photograph titled “Lummi Woman.” (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Teresa Taylor and Freddie Lane, of Lummi Nation, secure a Washington Native Vote Day sign outside the tribe’s administration building. The image on the sign is a modified version of Edward Curtis’ 1899 photograph titled “Lummi Woman.” (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

Washington state's tribes have found new energy to help get out the vote in next month's elections, pouring campaign cash into state and federal races. Every election is important. But to Native people, this election feels more like a matter of survival.

Every Wednesday for two hours, Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is mask-free so visitors with disabilities that might make it hard to wear a mask can enjoy the venue.

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