Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, Oct. 5, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.
As President Donald Trump battles COVID-19, updates about his condition have contradicted each other and fueled confusion. The president left the military hospital and returned, maskless, to the White House Monday, though he received supplemental oxygen over the weekend and is being treated with a powerful steroid amid indications of possible lung damage. But that didn’t stop him from waving to supporters yesterday in a motorcade trip that left Secret Service agents and medical experts aghast.
Find the latest developments here, along with help separating what’s known, and what isn’t, about Trump’s condition. Meanwhile, the challenges facing his campaign are enormous as VP Mike Pence steps into the spotlight.
Joe Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative yesterday. Both U.S. senators from Washington state have also tested negative for the virus, they confirmed this weekend.
Throughout Monday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Sunday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
Trump’s return means more anxiety for White House reporters
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s return to the White House to recover from the coronavirus seems certain to raise the already heightened anxiety level of the journalists assigned to follow him.
Three reporters have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days while covering a White House described as lax, at best, in following basic safety advice like wearing masks. Discomfort only increased Monday with news that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had tested positive.
Journalists are left to wonder if a still-contagious president will gather them for a public appearance and how their safety will be ensured.
After McEnany’s announcement Monday, Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts spent part of his afternoon waiting outside an urgent care center for his own test. He had attended McEnany’s briefing last Thursday. She didn’t wear a mask, and neither did one of her assistants who later tested positive, and Roberts sat near both of them. He tested negative.
He called it an inconvenience, but stronger emotions were spreading. American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan said she found it infuriating that Trump and his team had risked the health of her colleagues. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins said it was “irresponsible, at best.”
Airlines look to help ailing industry with coronavirus testing at airports (but it’s not a cure-all)
Financially strapped airlines are pushing an idea intended to breathe new life into the travel industry: coronavirus tests that passengers can take before boarding a flight.
Several airlines, including United, American, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Alaska, have announced plans to begin offering testing — either kits mailed to a passenger’s home or rapid tests taken at or near airports — that would let travelers enter specific states and countries without having to quarantine.
The tests will cost fliers $90 to $250, depending on the airline and the type of test.
At Los Angeles International Airport, a design company has announced plans to convert cargo containers into a coronavirus testing facility with an on-site lab that can produce results in about two hours. On Thursday, Tampa International Airport began offering testing to all arriving and departing passengers on a walk-in basis.
It’s an idea that has gone global, with a trade group for the world’s airlines calling on governments to create a testing standard for airline passengers as a way to fight the COVID-19 pandemic instead of using travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines.
White House nixes tougher FDA guidelines on vaccine approval
WASHINGTON — The White House has blocked new Food and Drug Administration guidelines on bringing potential vaccines for COVID-19 to market that would almost certainly have prevented their approval before the Nov. 3 election.
At issue was the FDA’s planned requirement that participants in the ongoing mass clinical trials for nearly a half-dozen vaccine candidates be followed for two months to ensure there are no side effects and that the vaccines provide lasting protection from the virus in order to receive emergency approval. A senior administration confirmed the move Monday evening, saying the White House believed there was “no clinical or medical reason” to add additional screening protocols.
The White House action was first reported by The New York Times.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has pledged that career scientists, not politicians, will decide whether any coronavirus vaccine meets clearly stated standards that it works and is safe. Vaccine development usually takes years, but scientists have been racing to shorten that time.
“Science will guide our decisions. FDA will not permit any pressure from anyone to change that,” Hahn said recently. “I will put the interest of the American people above anything else.”
Oilers say McDavid tests positive for COVID-19
EDMONTON, Alberta — The Edmonton Oilers say Connor McDavid has tested positive for COVID-19.
The team says the star forward is self-quarantining at home and experiencing mild symptoms.
The 23-year-old McDavid is widely considered the best player in the NHL. The captain of the Oilers had 34 goals and 63 assists in 64 games during the pandemic-shortened season.
Seattle closed its park playgrounds more than six months ago; they’re set to officially reopen Tuesday
All playgrounds in Seattle parks will reopen to the public with special guidelines Tuesday, more than six months after they were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, Seattle Parks and Recreation announced Monday.
The play areas were closed on March 21 in an attempt to combat the pandemic. Parks locked swings together, posted signs and hung caution tape around play structures. Some families began using the play areas again over the summer, although they were officially closed, with Parks replacing the signs and tape on a rolling basis.
Parks has developed guidelines for using the play areas, working with the Washington State Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle & King County.
- Limit each piece of play equipment (swings; play structures; ziplines) to five children at a time
- Stay home if anyone in your family is sick
- Wash your child’s hands before and after play (play areas are not regularly sanitized/cleaned)
- Ensure all children over 2 years old wear masks (except for children with disabilities that make it hard for them to wear masks)
COVID-19 outbreak in UW’s Greek system grew by 27% over the weekend
New cases of COVID-19 on the University of Washington’s Greek Row continue to be reported nearly a month after a second outbreak began in the community north of the Seattle campus.
The number of confirmed cases has climbed by more than 27% in just the past three days, from 131 cases as of 4 p.m. Friday to 167 as of 4 p.m. Monday, according to the university’s tally.
Infections have been reported in seven sororities and five fraternities in the 45-house system.
The outbreak, which was identified Sept. 11 but first reported Oct. 1, is the second to hit the school’s Greek system since this summer, when 154 students in 15 fraternity houses tested positive over about a month.
State secretary of health, King County board of health chair denounce Trump's comments on COVID-19
In a statement today, Washington state Secretary of Health John Wiesman urged Washingtonians not to listen to President Donald Trump's claim earlier today on Twitter that Americans should not be afraid of COVID-19.
“The president’s tweet is highly irresponsible and makes every public health official’s job that much more difficult," said Wiesman. "COVID-19 is a serious disease that is easily spread. We shouldn’t fear it; we should protect ourselves from it. Wear your mask. Watch your distance. Wash your hands. These are the basic facts.”
Joe McDermott, chair of the King County Board of Health, also released a statement denouncing the comments made by Trump, calling him "irresponsibly wrong about COVID-19."
“The residents of King County deserve to know that COVID-19 is a real, dangerous, deadly disease that is still spreading in our community," said McDermott. "We must remain vigilant and smart if we’re going to prevent more deaths from this global pandemic here in King County."
McDermott noted that COVID-19 infections are "back on the rise" in King County. "This is alarming and should reinforce our commitment as a community to take active steps, informed by science, to slow the transmission of this deadly virus," said McDermott. “For any leader to say, ‘Don’t be afraid of COVID’ is irresponsible and puts lives at risk if we take that statement seriously."
McDermott urged King County residents to continue to complying with local health directives including physical distancing, wearing face coverings and frequent hand-washing.
“This is not a partisan issue. This is dire public health issue," he said. "And a deeply personal issue to the families of over 760 people in King County who have lost their lives to this terrible virus."
McDermott and Wiesman's comments come after Gov. Jay Inslee also criticized Trump for making remarks downplaying the severity of the new coronavirus while the president was hospitalized.
New testing sites to open in Tukwila, Federal Way
Two free COVID-19 testing sites will open starting this week and next, according to a news release from Public Health - Seattle & King County. The testing centers, located in Tukwila and Federal Way, build on previous additions in Renton and Auburn, as Public Health works to expand testing capacity in areas disproportionately affected by the virus.
The sites will be run by King County with assistance from local fire departments and CHI Franciscan's St. Anne Hospital and St. Francis Hospital.
“These sites in Tukwila and Federal Way, combined with our two other recently opened testing sites in Auburn and Renton, represent another step toward closing our community’s gaps in access to COVID-19 testing," said Public Health Director Patty Hayes in the news release.
According to Public Health, South King County has the highest positive testing rate in the county, "which indicates more COVID spreading in the community there, with Black, Indigenous and people of color in King County shouldering a disproportionate burden of cases."
“Adding these new testing sites means more people can get the results they need to help stop the outbreak in its tracks,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in the news release. “More access to testing, safe social distancing, and wearing masks in public all fit together to ensure everyone in King County can stay safe.”
Public Health is encouraging testing for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has the illness.
The new Tukwila testing location is located at The Church by the Side of the Road (3455 S. 148th St., Tukwila). It opens Tuesday, Oct. 6. The Federal Way site is slated to open Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center (650 S.W. Campus Drive, Federal Way).
Both testing centers will be open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Though not required, registration is encouraged and available at chifranciscan.org/freetesting.
King County is also offering assistance with isolation and quarantine. More information on these services is available by calling the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977. More information on COVID-19 testing is available on Public Health's testing website.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected how you'll vote in local and state races? We want to hear from you
Trump leaves hospital, exhorts nation don’t fear virus
Stepping gingerly, President Donald Trump walked out the military hospital Monday night where he has been receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19, immediately igniting a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
Wearing a mask, Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a waiting SUV that carried him to Marine One for the short helicopter flight back to the White House. Trump’s doctor, Navy Cdr. Sean Conley, said the president would not be fully “out of the woods” for another week but that Trump had met or exceeded standards for discharge from the hospital. Trump is expected to continue his recovery at the White House, where the reach of the outbreak that has infected the highest levels of the U.S. government is still being uncovered.
Still Trump, who remains contagious, indicated he won’t be kept from campaigning for long, tweeting before leaving the hospital, “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!”
Trump made a point of sounding confident earlier. He tweeted, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. … I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
However, that message alarmed infectious disease experts and suggested the president’s own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease, which has also infected the first lady and several White House aides, including new cases revealed on Monday.
Washington confirms 402 new coronavirus cases
State health officials confirmed 402 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Monday and 16 new deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 90,276 cases and 2,158 deaths. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Tallies may be higher early in the week, as the Department of Health is no longer reporting COVID-related deaths on weekends.
The DOH also reported that at least 7,622 people have been hospitalized in the state because of the virus.
In King County, the state’s most populous, state health officials have confirmed 23,115 diagnoses and 771 deaths.
‘He hasn’t learned a thing’ – Inslee slams Trump for downplaying COVID-19 while hospitalized
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Monday criticized President Donald Trump for making remarks downplaying the severity of the new coronavirus while hospitalized.
“The president’s reckless comments reflect exactly the same nonsense thinking behind his failed pandemic response that increased the risk of COVID, a virus that has caused 210,000 deaths in the United States already — and hundreds more each day,” said Inslee in a statement. “He hasn’t learned a thing.
“Since he tested positive for COVID, more than 2,000 additional Americans have died and downplaying this danger is the best he can do?” added Inslee.
The remarks come after Trump tweeted Monday morning from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center telling people not to be afraid of the virus.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good!” the president tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Trump was taken to the hospital Friday after testing positive for the virus and requiring supplemental oxygen, officials have said.
Meanwhile, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have again been on the rise across the nation.
Millions of Americans are still taking precautions, such as wearing face coverings and keeping their distance to prevent the spread of the virus, said Inslee, and “they deserve a president who will do the same."
Coronavirus has former NJ Gov. Chris Christie ‘knocked back,’ ‘not knocked down’
Coronavirus has former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "knocked back” but “not knocked down,” according to a columnist with the Star Ledger who talked with Christie Monday.
Christie announced Saturday morning he tested positive a day after President Donald Trump’s own diagnosis. He was with the president when Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court pick. He's been in the hospital since Saturday.
Nearly one-third of COVID patients in study had altered mental function
Nearly a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients experienced some type of altered mental function — ranging from confusion to delirium to unresponsiveness — in the largest study to date of neurological symptoms among coronavirus patients in a U.S. hospital system.
And patients with altered mental function had significantly worse medical outcomes, according to the study, published Monday in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. The study looked at the records of the first 509 coronavirus patients hospitalized, from March 5 to April 6, at 10 hospitals in the Northwestern Medicine health system in the Chicago area.
These patients stayed three times as long in the hospital as patients without altered mental function.
Trump tweets he'll leave hospital Monday evening
President Donald Trump said in a midday Twitter post he will be leaving Walter Reed Medical Center at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
"Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," he wrote. "...I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"
In long-awaited update, CDC says airborne transmission plays role in coronavirus spread
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes be infected with the coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation.
The long-awaited update to the agency web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.
The update follows an embarrassing incident last month when the agency removed a draft that referenced aerosols – tiny droplets that can stay in the air, potentially traveling a significant distance.
New Jersey governor: Trump fundraiser ‘put lives at risk’
President Donald Trump’s golf club fundraiser just hours before he announced he had coronavirus was wrong and “put lives at risk,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.
Murphy called the trip the “wrong decision at every level” and said it should have been canceled. The state is trying to keep tabs on the 206 attendees and 19 workers in an effort to thwart a potential outbreak stemming from the large gathering Thursday, which included an indoor roundtable with the president that one attendee said lasted 45 minutes or more, he said.
“The actions leading up to and following this event have put lives at risk,” Murphy said at an afternoon news conference. “This is very much a race against the clock.”
Murphy, a Democrat, made several television appearances Monday, saying state and federal officials were still working on contact tracing. He urged anyone at the club while the president was there to quarantine for two weeks.
Governor orders some NYC schools closed amid virus flare-up
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he’s ordering schools in certain New York City neighborhoods closed within a day in an attempt to halt a flare-up of the coronavirus.
The governor took the action a day after the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, asked the state for permission to reinstate restrictions on businesses and schools in nine ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens where the virus was spreading more quickly.
The mayor’s plan, which required state approval, would close about 100 public schools and 200 private schools including religious schools.
COVID-19 outbreak in UW’s Greek system grows to 163 cases
Five more students in the University of Washington's Greek system have tested positive as of 8 a.m. Monday, bringing the Greek row outbreak's total tally to 163 students in 12 fraternities and sororities, according to the school.
It's the second such outbreak to strike the UW's Greek system since June.
The recent outbreak on the Seattle campus stood at 104 cases among nine fraternity and sorority houses on Thursday, then grew to 144 cases in 11 houses by Saturday afternoon and, by 5 p.m. Sunday, totaled 158 cases in 12 houses.
The growing numbers underscore the difficulties in managing a modern urban college campus during a pandemic.
Public health officials say it’s also yet another sign that Seattle-area residents need to remain vigilant about the virus.
New Polish education minister tests positive for coronavirus
The official swearing-in of Poland’s reshuffled government was postponed Monday and some members were put into quarantine after one of the ministers tested positive for COVID-19.
The ceremony had been planne for Monday afternoon, but the new education minister, Przemyslaw Czarnek, tested positive for the coronavirus and went into quarantine.
Clorox wipes are still the hard-to-find pandemic item
For six months, May Vanegas hunted her prey.
She scoured grocery stores. She arrived at Target and Walmart early in the morning, hoping to catch a delivery. She followed social media accounts, searching for clues on where her quarry was last sighted in her area.
And then, finally, one day in mid-September when the 41-year-old mother of two teenagers stopped at her local Target in San Antonio, she stumbled across what she had long been stalking: Clorox disinfecting wipes.
“My daughter and I started screaming in the store, ‘Oh, my god! Oh, my god!’” Vanegas said. “I had given up looking for them in the last month. I had lost all hope.”
Informed that the store was allowing shoppers to buy only a single canister, Vanegas and her daughter each grabbed one. The two canisters of Clorox wipes are now displayed on the kitchen counter at Vanegas’ home, trophies from this strange time when American life has been completely upended by the coronavirus.
Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for coronavirus
President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, tested positive for coronavirus infection on Monday, she said in a statement posted on Twitter.
McEnany said she isn’t experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely,” she said.
Trump continues to recuperate from the disease at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A number of his aides other than McEnany have also tested positive, including his campaign manager, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and one of his personal assistants.
Malaysia PM quarantines as Cabinet minister tests positive for virus
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday he will self-quarantine after a Cabinet minister he was in contact with tested positive for the coronavirus, as new cases in the country hit a record high.
Muhyiddin had chaired an Oct. 3 meeting attended by Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who confirmed Monday he has been hospitalized for treatment.
New virus cases hit a record daily high of 432 on Monday, bringing Malaysia’s tally to 12,813 with 137 deaths. Nearly half were from a prison in a northern state, and 130 were in Sabah.
Indoor dining: How to spot the coronavirus risks
The risk of coronavirus transmission is lower for outdoor than for indoor dining in almost every case, and the safest course of all is staying at home. But if you do decide to eat inside a restaurant, try to go at an hour when it’s less crowded. Before you sit down, take a quick look around. If the management doesn’t seem to be taking things like airflow and masks seriously, public health experts suggest eating somewhere else.
“A poorly ventilated indoor space with people talking is the virus’s dream,” said Lindsey J. Leininger, a clinical professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
When should you leave? When is it safe to stay?
Huge questions for UK govt after spike in virus cases
The British government faced questions Monday over its coronavirus testing system after a tripling in the number of daily positive cases over the weekend that was blamed on a technical glitch.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to make a statement to lawmakers later Monday after the opposition Labour Party asked the government to explain why the cases were not tabulated when they should have been.
The latest problems to afflict the U.K.’s test and trace program emerged over the weekend when public health officials revealed that a total of 15,841 virus cases weren’t tabulated from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2.
WHO: 10% of world’s people may have been infected with virus
The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization said Monday its “best estimates” indicate that roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus — more than 20 times the number of confirmed cases — and warned of a difficult period ahead.
Dr. Michael Ryan, speaking to a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board focusing on COVID-19, said the figures vary from urban to rural, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.” He said the pandemic would continue to evolve, but that tools exist to suppress transmission and save lives.
Pandemic pushes start of holiday shopping earlier than ever
Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of time-honored traditions being upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers are kicking off the holiday season earlier than ever this year in hopes of avoiding big in-store crowds and shipping bottlenecks in November and December.
Stores like Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target typically offer their biggest Black Friday deals over Thanksgiving weekend, but now they’re starting them in October so people don’t crowd their stores later, creating a potentially dangerous situation during a pandemic.
And with more people expected to shop online, retailers are trying to avoid a rush of orders closer to Christmas, which could lead to late packages and more expensive shipping. Many had a hard time keeping up with the surge in buying when shoppers were locked down in their homes during the early days of the pandemic. Even Amazon, which has spent 25 years building warehouses and a delivery network, had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to meet demand.
How can students learn online if they don’t know the language?
Experts and educators say distance learning is likely exacerbating existing educational disparities, especially for the 134,000 public school students in Washington who are also learning to speak English.
The ongoing crisis has had an “added social-emotional impact for our multilingual English learners,” said Veronica Gallardo, Washington’s director of migrant and bilingual education.
But this pattern isn’t necessarily fixed in stone. And as the country’s nearly 5 million English learners continue treading in yet another disrupted semester, the factors that helped other school systems avoid failing them could teach Washington’s school leaders valuable lessons.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
President Donald Trump received supplemental oxygen on Saturday and is being treated with a powerful steroid amid indications of possible lung damage. But that didn't stop him from waving to supporters yesterday in a motorcade trip that left Secret Service agents and medical experts aghast. Trump's doctor, who has come under fire for rosy assessments and contradictions, said the president might go home today — even as he announced the use of the steroid, which is recommended only for the very ill. Find the latest developments here, along with help separating what's known, and what isn't, about Trump's condition. Meanwhile, the challenges facing his campaign are enormous as VP Mike Pence steps into the spotlight.
The coronavirus outbreak in UW’s Greek system has grown to at least 158 cases. Should the university crack down on fraternities and sororities? That approach has perils.
Fewer children are getting vaccinations in Washington since coronavirus hit. Health officials now worry that outbreaks of preventable diseases will stress the health-care system.
More than 500 Regal cinemas in the U.S. will close after the latest potential blockbuster — and lifeline — was postponed. (In Washington state, indoor theaters are allowed to operate under tight limits in some counties. Here's our county-by-county look at what you can and can't do these days.)
Drinking has risen most sharply in women and middle-aged people, according to a new study that lays out how alcohol use has changed during the pandemic.
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