Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, September 13, 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 It is no longer being updated.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.

COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 could be available by the end of October, two experts said Sunday, even as Biden administration officials have cautioned that approval was unlikely for children that young before the end of the year.

Hospitals in northern Idaho are so full with COVID-19 patients that officials are warning they will have to ration health care, as the region’s longstanding anti-government sentiment continues to undermine public-health efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A group of gorillas recently tested positive for the coronavirus at a zoo in Atlanta. Nationally, more animals are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, as zoos try to prevent outbreaks within their walls.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.


Navigating the pandemic
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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WSU’s Nick Rolovich remains mum with clock ticking to follow COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Monday was the deadline for Nick Rolovich to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 shot and remain on track to be fully vaccinated by Gov. Jay Inslee’s Oct. 18 deadline for public, private and charter-school employees, but the Washington State football coach still isn’t elaborating on his vaccination status.

“I still plan on what I said,” he told reporters Monday’s during his weekly news conference via Zoom. “Following the mandate and in doing what I need to be the coach. That’s all I can really say about that.”

Rolovich, who is the highest-paid state employee in Washington at $3.2 million annually, announced in July that he had elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination “for reasons which will remain private.”

He was pressed Monday by reporters and continued to stay mum.

Read the full story here.

— Marisa Ingemi
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Harassment, vandalism, obstruction plague COVID vaccine clinics across the country

Roving central Colorado with three vans, pop-up tents and folding chairs, public health workers in Jefferson County set out this spring to get coronavirus vaccines to the people who were hardest to reach. They brushed off heckling from passersby who sometimes yelled that COVID-19 was a hoax or that the shots were “poison.”

But the harassment grew more frequent, said Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Dawn Comstock. And more threatening.

One man slashed the mobile clinic signs with a knife, Comstock said, while another person threw lit fireworks into one of the tents. People drove menacingly toward staffers and ran over signs. They hurled insults, trash and liquid, she said, each time fleeing before law enforcement could hold anyone accountable.

Last weekend, Comstock said, it was so bad that she pulled the mobile clinics off the street and said they would go out only with security. She said she is done being “polite” about the vitriol over vaccines that have been proved safe and effective, and she called the harassers “cowards.”

Read the full story here.

—Hannah Knowles, The Washington Post

Blue Jackets drop assistant coach who won’t get vaccinated

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets said Monday that the team has replaced an assistant coach who declined to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Sylvain Lefebvre was replaced on coach Brad Larsen’s staff by Steve McCarthy because “Lefebvre has decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and thus will not be able to perform the duties required of him given current NHL protocols,” according to a team statement.

NHL coaches and other team staff who closely interact with players are required to be fully vaccinated.

“While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

County mandates security at vaccine clinics after reports of fireworks attack and slashed signs in Colorado

Roving central Colorado with three vans, pop-up tents and folding chairs, public health workers in Jefferson County set out this spring to get coronavirus vaccines to the people who were hardest to reach. They brushed off heckling from passersby who sometimes yelled that covid-19 was a hoax or that the shots were “poison.”

But the harassment grew more frequent, said Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Dawn Comstock. And more threatening.

One man slashed the mobile clinic signs with a knife, Comstock said, while another person threw lit fireworks into one of the tents. People drove menacingly toward staffers and ran over signs. They hurled insults, trash and liquid, she said, each time fleeing before law enforcement could hold anyone accountable.

Last weekend, Comstock said, it was so bad that she pulled the mobile clinics off the street and said they would go out only with security. She said she is done being “polite” about the vitriol over vaccines that have been proved safe and effective, and she called the harassers “cowards.”

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post
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State health officials confirm 2,786 new coronavirus cases

The state Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,786 new coronavirus cases and 64 new deaths on Monday.

The update brings the state's totals to 607,160 cases and 6,981 deaths, meaning that 1.1% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Tallies may be higher earlier in the week because new state data isn’t reported on Sundays and COVID-related deaths aren’t reported on the weekends.

In addition, 34,054 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus — 533 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state's most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 143,248 COVID-19 diagnoses and 1,799 deaths.

Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 8,774,782 doses and 56.1% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to vaccination data, which the state updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Providers are currently giving an average of about 13,382 vaccine shots per day.

The DOH says its daily case reports may also include duplicate test results, results assigned to the wrong county, results that are reported for today but are actually from a previous day, occasional false positive tests and other data discrepancies. Because of this, the previous day’s total number of cases plus the number of new daily cases does not add up to the new day’s total number of cases. State health officials recommend reviewing the dashboard's epidemiologic curves tab for the most accurate representation of the state's COVID-19 spread.

Most schools do not yet meet Biden’s demand for testing and vaccines

For schools to stay open and safe, President Joe Biden said last week, they need to require vaccinations for teachers and staff, regularly test unvaccinated people and have universal masking. So far, many large districts are succeeding at one — masking — but only a minority offer the others.

In a sample of 100 large urban districts, including a district in each state, 9 in 10 are requiring students to wear masks, according to the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, which has been tracking districts’ responses to the pandemic since its start. Just one quarter are requiring teachers to be vaccinated. Fifteen are regularly testing students. And student quarantine policies are generally much less strict than they were last spring.

New York City public schools, which start Monday, are an anomaly on several measures, including the absence of a remote option and a more strict approach with quarantines.

So far this school year, there have been temporary closures but none of the 100 districts have stopped offering full-time, in-person school for COVID reasons. But many plans were hastily revised as school neared and as the delta variant spread. (Children under 12 cannot be vaccinated and most likely will not be eligible until November. Nationwide, less than half of those ages 12-18 are fully vaccinated.)

Read the full story here.

—The New York Times

Yes, you can get a covid booster and a flu shot together. Here’s what you need to know.

With flu season swiftly approaching in a country already battling a resurgence of the coronavirus, experts are urging Americans to avail themselves of any and all vaccines they are eligible for – whether it’s their first coronavirus vaccination, a booster vaccine dose to combat waning immunity or a flu shot.

“It’s terribly important” to get both the flu and coronavirus vaccines, said William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “They are both very nasty respiratory viruses that can make many people very, very sick.”

And because the coronavirus and flu vaccines “train your immune system to protect you against completely different viruses,” getting a shot that protects you against one virus will not offer any protection against the other, said Kelly Moore, president and CEO of the Immunization Action Coalition.

“It’s like protecting yourself against a bee and a wasp, both of which can sting you,” Schaffner said. “You’ve got to protect yourself against each one separately.”

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post
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Washington’s COVID hospitalizations could be plateauing, but hospital leaders say it’s too early to say for sure

A nurse at Samaritan Healthcare puts on new sheets for a COVID-19 patient in December. As of Monday, the state said there is one fewer COVID-19 patient hospitalized in Washington than the week before. Officials say it is too soon to say whether the hospitalizations will continue to plateau. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)

While the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Washington may be showing early signs of a plateau, infection numbers are still high and scenes inside health care facilities remain “really bad,” some state hospital leaders said Monday.

Hospital officials counted 1,673 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state as of Monday, compared with last week’s count of 1,674, Taya Briley, executive vice president of the Washington State Hospital Association, said at a news conference.

“While these numbers are steady, they are still very sobering,” Briley said. “We’re in the midst of the worst peak of COVID cases we’ve experienced since the beginning of the pandemic.”

The stable number of hospitalizations also doesn’t yet take into consideration the effects of recent summer mass gatherings, including fairs, large concerts and school activities, she said.

Read the full story here.

—Elise Takahama

Dozens of Washington State Patrol troopers, corrections workers and others sue Inslee over COVID vaccine mandate

A demonstrator walks at the state Capitol in August at a protest opposing mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Dozens of Washington State Patrol troopers, firefighters and other government employees have sued  Gov. Jay Inslee over the vaccine mandate affecting state workers, health care workers and school employees. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

Dozens of Washington State Patrol troopers, firefighters and other state and local government employees have sued Gov. Jay Inslee, contending that his COVID-19 vaccine mandate oversteps his legal authority and violates their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Walla Walla County Superior Court, lists more than 90 individual plaintiffs. They include 53 State Patrol employees, a dozen Department of Corrections workers, plus firefighters and state ferry system workers.

Reacting to a spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations driven by unvaccinated persons, Inslee last month ordered all state employees and contractors, K-12 education staffers and health-care workers to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or lose their jobs.

Employees are allowed to seek medical or religious exemptions, but patrol employees and others have been told they could still face firing or reassignment even if their exemption applications are approved.

Read the full story here.

—Jim Brunner

Fauci says he supports vaccine mandates for air travel

Top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci says air travelers should get the coronavirus vaccine to fly.

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, that you should be vaccinated,” he told theSkimm.

The news site tweeted a clip of the interview with Fauci along with the caption: “Would you support vaccine mandates for airline travel?” The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where Fauci is director, did not immediately respond to a question from The Washington Post about his position on vaccine mandates.

Last week, the Biden administration announced widespread new vaccine requirements for businesses with more than 100 workers, certain health care facilities and federal employees. But the mandates do not extend to travelers, The Washington Post reported last week.

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post
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School vaccine campaigns targeting students face blowback

FILE – Francesca Anacleto, 12, receives her first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot from nurse Jorge Tase, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Miami Beach, Fla. In most states, minors need the consent of their parents in order to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Navigating family politics in cases of differing views has been a challenge for students and organizers of outreach campaigns, who have faced blowback for directly targeting young people. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

Fearing his parents wouldn’t approve of his decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine but needing their signature, Andrew signed up for the appointment in secret, and then sprang it on them at the last minute.

They said no. Andrew cursed at his mother and father and called them idiots. Andrew’s dad grabbed him by the shirt collar.

“He said, ‘You’re not getting this damn vaccine; you need to lower your voice. Watch your tone when you talk to me.’ It was, it was the first time my dad had ever done something like that — he grabbed my shirt and yelled in my face,” said Andrew, a 17-year-old student in Hoover, Alabama.

In most states, minors need the consent of their parents in order to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Navigating family politics in cases of differing views has been a challenge for students and organizers of outreach campaigns, who have faced blowback for directly targeting young people.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

COVID-19 testing at home is both possible and reliable. Here’s what you need to know.

Yifat Kahana takes a swab sample from her daughter, Ariel, 10, for a COVID-19 antigen test kit ahead of the first day of school, at their home in Moshav Talmey Yafe, Israel, on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. (Tsafrir Abayov / The Associated Press)

Remember when a COVID-19 diagnostic test meant waiting in your car for a nurse wearing head-to-toe PPE to shove a long swab down your throat and send the sample to a lab that would take a week or more to return results?

That was so 2020.

Now you can get molecular test kits delivered to your door — no prescription needed ― then mail a shallow nose swab or a saliva sample to a lab that returns results in a day or two. Or, if you’re willing to sacrifice some accuracy for convenience, you can order antigen tests online that give rapid results right at home. You may have to pay for the test, depending on why you need it and what your insurance covers.

The Food and Drug Administration has even authorized emergency use of what sounds like an ideal pandemic diagnostic tool: a highly accurate molecular test that requires no prescription, can be used anywhere, and provides immediate results. Alas, the CUE COVID-19 Test is not yet being sold directly to consumers, just to institutions that contract to buy it in bulk.

Read the full story here.

—The Philadelphia Inquirer

FDA experts among group opposing US booster shot plan

Parsia Jahanbani prepares a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a mobile vaccine clinic operated by Families Together of Orange County in Santa Ana, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The average person doesn’t need a COVID-19 booster yet, an international group of scientists — including two top U.S. regulators — wrote Monday in a scientific journal.

The experts reviewed studies of the vaccines’ performance and concluded the shots are working well despite the extra-contagious delta variant, especially against severe disease.

“Even in populations with fairly high vaccination rates, the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission” at this stage of the pandemic, they concluded.

The opinion piece, published in The Lancet, illustrates the intense scientific debate about who needs booster doses and when, a decision the U.S. and other countries are grappling with.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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Vietnam speeds up Hanoi vaccine drive; 1M jabs over weekend

A man receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Vung Tau, Vietnam, Monday, Sep. 13, 2021. Vietnam is speeding up its vaccination program in an effort to loosen coronavirus lockdown restrictions in major cities by the end of September, the government said. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam is speeding up its vaccination program in an effort to loosen coronavirus lockdown restrictions in major cities by the end of the month, the government said Monday.

Health workers administered vaccines throughout the night in the capital, Hanoi, which has been under lockdown since July.

More than a million vaccine shots were given over the weekend in Hanoi, out of around 5.5 million administered there since vaccinations started in March, the Health Ministry said.

“We have to speed up the vaccination program so we can make a plan to reopen the city,” Hanoi mayor Chu Ngoc Anh said Sunday. More than half of the country’s 98 million population is also under lockdown.

Read the full story here.

—Hau Dinh, The Associated Press

UK OKs vaccines for 12 year olds, aims to avoid lockdowns

FILE  – In this Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 file photo, from left, Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attend a media briefing in Downing Street, London.  Johnson is set to announce how his government plans to control the coronavirus during the fall and winter. He is hoping vaccinations, rather than restrictions, will keep COVID-19 in check. At a news conference on Tuesday, Johnson is expected to say that mask-wearing, work-from-home advice and social distancing rules that were lifted in July could return if cases climb. (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP, File)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s chief medical officers said Monday that children aged 12 to 15 should be vaccinated against coronavirus, despite a ruling by the government’s vaccine advisors that the step would have only marginal health benefits.

England Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said Monday that the age group should be given a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They have yet to decide on whether to give the students a second dose.

The government has said it’s highly likely to follow the recommendation. Expanded vaccinations are expected to be part of a “tool kit” to control COVID-19 infections this fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce Tuesday at a news conference.

Johnson’s Conservative government is hoping that widespread vaccinations, rather than restrictions, will keep COVID-19 infections in check.

Read the full story here.

—Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

School starts for 1 million NYC kids amid new vaccine rules

FILE – In this Sept. 29, 2020 file photo, Students arrive for in-person classes outside Public School 188 The Island School,  in the Manhattan borough of New York.  Classroom doors are swinging open on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, for about a million New York City public school students in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — About a million New York City public school students went back to school Monday in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the school year coincides with several milestones in the city’s pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates.

Nearly all of the city’s 300,000 employees will be required to be back in their workplaces, in person, Monday as the city ends remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing to remain in their jobs.

The city was also set to start enforcing rules requiring workers and patrons to be vaccinated to go indoors at restaurants, museums, gyms and entertainment venues. The vaccination requirement has been in place for weeks, but had not previously been enforced.

There will also be a vaccine mandate — with no test-out option — for teachers, though they have been given until Sept. 27 to get their first shot.

Unlike some school districts across the country that are still offering online instruction to families that prefer it, New York City officials say there will be no remote option despite the persistence of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

—Karen Matthews, The Associated Press
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A quarter of a million long commutes disappeared during the pandemic in the Seattle area

Very light traffic on Interstate 5 running through Seattle at about 10 a.m. on March 12, 2020. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

We all know about the rise of remote work during the pandemic. With more people working from home or some other distant location, a lot of commutes simply no longer exist — at least for the time being.

But which commutes converted to work-from-home, and which ones didn’t?

Some new data shows that not all commuters were affected equally in the Seattle metro area. The number of workers with longer commute times — those that took 20 minutes or more each way — plummeted. But the number of people with short commutes actually increased a little.

Read the full column here.

—Gene Balk

Idaho’s COVID crisis is straining hospitals across the border in Washington

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Blaine Woodcock, a critical care nurse, cares for a COVID-19 patient at Kootenai Health regional medical center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Sept. 6, 2021. (Sgt. Kaden D. Pitt / U.S. Army via AP)

SPOKANE — Surgeries to remove brain tumors have been postponed. Patients are backed up in the emergency room. Nurses are working brutal shifts. But at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, the calls keep coming: Can Idaho send another patient across the border?

Washington state is reeling under its own surge of coronavirus cases. But in neighboring Idaho, 20 miles down Interstate 90 from Spokane, unchecked virus transmission has already pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point.

Read the full story here.

—Mike Baker, The New York Times

Catch up on the past 24 hours

COVID-19 testing at home is both possible and reliable, though some tests are far more accurate than others. As the tests evolve, here’s what to know about each kind.

Children ages 5-11 may be getting vaccines by Halloween as pediatric hospitalizations rise, two experts say, although senior White House officials have painted a different picture.

How vaccine exemptions will be handled in Washington: Our guide walks through who has the ultimate say under mandates for educators, state workers, employees of large companies and others. If you're an educator or state worker, tomorrow is the last day you can get your first Pfizer dose to meet the deadline. (If you're getting the J&J shot, you have more time.) Find more details on that vaccine mandate.

"Sophie’s choice, over and over": Death panels are the new phase of the pandemic in the Northwest, columnist Danny Westneat writes as he looks at what's happening in Idaho.

An Alabama heart patient died after being turned away from 43 hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients, Ray DeMonia's family wrote in his obituary. Meanwhile, a New York hospital will no longer deliver babies after staffers resigned over a vaccine mandate there.

—Kris Higginson