Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Friday, Oct. 9, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.
Youth sports leagues across Washington state are gearing up for a traditional fall season — or at least something close to it — after Gov. Jay Inslee OK’d new safety guidelines. Inslee also extended the ban on evictions until 2021 and announced $15 million in federal grant money to help businesses struggling amid the pandemic-induced downturn.
Meantime, the coronavirus continues to dominate the nation’s political scene. President Donald Trump, who announced his COVID-19 diagnosis a week ago, is balking at virtual debates, insisting he’s ready for rallies and being selective about what information he releases about his health.
Throughout Friday, 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 Thursday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
State confirms 642 new COVID-19 cases and 7 new deaths
State health officials confirmed 642 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Friday afternoon in addition to seven new deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 92,560 cases, per the state Department of Health (DOH) data dashboard, and 2,190 deaths. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
The DOH also reported that 7,762 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus.
Statewide, there have been 2,037,946 tests administered for COVID-19.
In King County, the state’s most populous, state health officials have confirmed 23,712 diagnoses and 784 deaths, which is two more than reported on Thursday.
New worldwide daily record high with more than 350,000 COVID cases Friday
The World Health Organization has announced a new daily record high in coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide, with more than 350,000 infections reported to the U.N. health agency on Friday.
The new daily high of 350,766 cases surpasses a record set earlier this week by nearly 12,000.
British scientists reported this week that the COVID-19 outbreak is doubling every few weeks and French hospitals are running out of ICU beds. India reported another 70,496 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s total since the pandemic began to more than 6.9 million.
Trump says experimental drugs may have saved him from virus
President Donald Trump said Friday he could have become very ill and might not have recovered from COVID-19 without experimental drugs, a far worse outlook than what his doctors were telling the American people.
“I was asking the doctors today … and I said, ‘How bad was I?’ They said: ‘You could have been very bad. You were going into a very bad phase,'” Trump told Rush Limbaugh during his radio show.
Trump said that “I might not have recovered at all” without treatment with experimental drugs.
Trump is among fewer than 10 people who have been able to access the drug under “compassionate use” rules without enrolling in a study.
Official says vaccine expected in January, countering Trump
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.
President Donald Trump has said at rallies, debates and press conferences that a vaccine could arrive within weeks. “We think we can start sometime in October,” Trump said at a White House press briefing last month.
Kadlec wasn’t the first health official to counter the president’s optimistic timeline. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday that there could be 100 million vaccine doses available by the end of the year “pending FDA authorizations.”
China joins COVAX coronavirus vaccine alliance
China, which has at least four coronavirus vaccine candidates in the last stage of clinical trials, said Friday it is joining an international initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide known as COVAX, a move that may help the country find an international market for its coronavirus shots.
The country signed an agreement with Gavi, the co-leader of the project, on Thursday, China’s foreign ministry said.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping previously said the country would make the vaccine a global public good and would distribute its shots in Africa — but only after China’s own immunization program had been completed.
Sri Lanka orders closures to contain virus
Sri Lankan health authorities worked Friday to contain a growing cluster of new coronavirus infections, ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and spas.
The Indian Ocean island nation over the weekend reported its first locally transmitted infection in more than two months, which led to finding a cluster centered around a garment factory in densely populated Western province.
By Friday the number of infections linked to the cluster climbed to 1,053, with more than 2,000 more people asked to quarantine at home. The majority are co-workers of the first patient, a worker at the garment factory.
As virus fills French ICUs anew, doctors ask what went wrong
During a single overnight shift this week, three new COVID-19 patients were rushed into Dr. Karim Debbat’s small intensive care ward in the southern French city of Arles. It now has more virus patients than during the pandemic’s first wave and is scrambling to create new ICU beds elsewhere in the hospital to accommodate the sick.
Similar scenes are playing out across France.
COVID-19 patients now occupy 40% of ICU beds in the Paris region, and more than a quarter of ICUs nationwide as weeks of growing infections among young people spread to vulnerable populations.
Polish minister-designate broke virus rules, tested positive
Poland’s opposition says the country’s education minister-designate visited his grandmother in the hospital, in breach of rules designed to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Two days later, lawmaker Przemyslaw Czarnek tested positive for COVID-19, forcing many staff and patients at the hospital to go into quarantine.
Poland is currently seeing a steep spike in cases, with more than 4,000 a day being recorded, leading the government to declare the whole country a yellow zone where face masks and social distancing are required even in the open air, effective Saturday.
Tensions rise as virus cases surge in Wisconsin, Dakotas
A surge of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin and the Dakotas is forcing a scramble for hospital beds and raising political tensions, as the Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as one of the nation’s most troubling hot spots.
The three states now lead all others in new cases per capita, after months in which many politicians and residents rejected mask requirements while downplaying the risks of the disease that has now killed over 210,000 Americans.
Soldiers, experts to help German cities as virus cases rise
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Friday that the federal government will offer German cities the help of soldiers and public health experts to battle a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Merkel said she and the mayors of 11 large cities have agreed on measures to slow the spread of the virus by ensuring that social distancing and hygiene rules are respected and contact tracing can continue — despite the growing number of infections Germany is now experiencing.
“We all feel that the cities, the metropolitan areas, are the places that will determine whether we can keep the pandemic in Germany under control, just as we managed to do for months, or whether we will lose control,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin. “That’s precisely the point we’re at now.”
Mask-free pastor holds service after WH superspreader event
A Texas megachurch pastor who attended a White House function that has since been labeled a superspreader event held a church service on Sunday and took to the stage without a mask.
Robert Morris, who is the senior pastor of the Dallas-area Gateway Church, attended the Rose Garden ceremony on Sept. 26 for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Several people who attended the Rose Garden ceremony have contracted the virus, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former White House aide Kellyanne Conway.
Trump’s COVID treatments were tested in cells derived from fetal tissue
When the Trump administration suspended federal funding in 2019 for most new scientific research projects involving fetal tissue derived from abortions, officials argued that whatever the scientific benefits, there was a pressing moral imperative to find alternative research methods.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement released at the time.
Yet the treatment for COVID-19 received by Donald Trump — a combination of monoclonal antibodies he described as a “cure” in a celebratory video posted on Twitter — was developed using human cells derived from a fetus aborted decades ago.
Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that the president received late last week, was also developed with those cell lines. At least two companies racing to create a vaccine against the coronavirus, Moderna and AstraZeneca, are also relying on the cells. Johnson & Johnson is testing its vaccine in another so-called cell line originally produced from fetal tissue.
As participants in the White House’s Operation Warp Speed, all three vaccine-makers have received federal funding.
Brazil strains at quarantine as virus cases pass 5 million
Dozens of people converged on the cobblestone streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro for its traditional Pedra do Sal samba party — the first since the pandemic began — and it seemed Brazil was returning to normal.
Among those dancing Monday were Luana Jatobá and two friends, all of whom overcame COVID-19. As a nurse technician caring for coronavirus patients, she knows better than most that occupancy rates at Rio’s intensive-care units have surged as the city’s seven-day average number of cases reaches its highest level since June.
But, she said, everyone is desperate for a respite from the gloom.
“We take care of the people who are sick with COVID, but something that isn’t discussed is that there’s a very serious disease all over the world, which is depression,” said Jatobá. “After confinement, this samba circle is really to rescue those who felt downbeat and were oppressed. It’s not just the virus that kills.”
Spanish govt imposes state of emergency in virus-hit Madrid
Spain’s government declared a state of emergency in Madrid on Friday, wresting control of efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 from local authorities in a region that is experiencing one of Europe’s most significant coronavirus outbreaks.
The step, which took immediate effect and lasts for two weeks, forced Madrid authorities to restore restrictions on travel that had been introduced by the national government but were struck down the previous day by a Madrid court ruling.
That successful legal challenge by Madrid officials was part of a long quarrel between the country’s main political parties over their coronavirus response. Those differences, and the changing rules, have often dismayed and confused local residents.
“Well, it is all very nauseating,” Vicente de la Torre, a 22-year-old Madrid mechanic, told The Associated Press. “We have no idea what we should do or what we shouldn’t do.”
How to talk to your family about COVID-19, politics and other thorny subjects
Peggy couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
The Seattle-area resident and a longtime friend sat down for a meal together recently and the conversation worked its way around to current events and the coronavirus.
Peggy asked that her real name be withheld for this story because she values her friendship and doesn’t want to end it. But she feels her story is instructive for a lot of us who are finding ourselves in sometimes difficult and surprisingly antagonistic conversations with close friends and family as the pressure cooker that is the United States in 2020 continues to build steam.
“The things she was saying to me in that conversation were pretty cuckoo and she was so defensive. I’ve come to the conclusion that she may have weird thoughts about the coronavirus — she said she wouldn’t get a vaccine even if it was available — but that doesn’t mean she isn’t my friend.”
As social media-driven divisiveness reaches new heights, stoked by pandemic paranoia, diverging economic fortunes, racial strife and our excruciatingly slow march to Election Day, we’re now a nation of Peggys and difficult conversations are a feature of daily life.
One piece of advice from experts: know your goals before having the conversations and ask yourself why.
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Quarantine Corner: Things to do while keeping your distance
A trail run? An alluring autumn recipe? Here's what you can do in the Seattle area (or in your kitchen or living room) this fall weekend.
Tonight on Netflix, you can see Everett’s Cheyenna Clearbrook in the new reality series "Deaf U," which grew out of a desire to show how layered the deaf community is.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, questioning the president's fitness to serve, is aiming to use the 25th Amendment to allow Congress to intervene and remove him from executive duties. President Donald Trump, though, says he's ready for rallies. He's suggesting his infection came from interactions with Gold Star families. Meanwhile, health officials in D.C. are faulting the White House for a Rose Garden event that broke virus rules, and the lack of contact tracing that followed. The situation has inspired editorial cartoonist David Horsey's "Adventures of Captain Superspreader."
Play ball! Youth sports leagues across the state are gearing up for a traditional fall season — or at least something close to it — after Gov. Jay Inslee OK'd new safety guidelines. Inslee also extended the ban on evictions until 2021.
The White House chief of staff hosted a lavish indoor wedding in Atlanta with about 70 guests and no masks. Pictures of people clustered closely together are emerging from the May event, which violated virus restrictions limiting gatherings to 10 people.
How medical experts' kids are celebrating Halloween: From a haunted hunt to trick-or-treating with new rules, nine experts are sharing their families' plans. This comes after the CDC and Seattle-area health professionals outlined do's and don'ts for a healthy Halloween.
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