Coronavirus daily news updates, August 18: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

18August 2020

As universities around the United States prepare for the start of the school year, officials are scrambling to deal with COVID-19 clusters that are already popping up around campuses, mostly within dorms, fraternities and other student housing.

Another day — Election Day — is also quickly approaching, prompting concerns locally and nationwide that mail delivery issues with the U.S. Postal Service, which is facing financial strains exacerbated by the pandemic, could affect vote counts nationwide this election season.

Throughout Tuesday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Monday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

Data for Aug. 16 is as of 4:30 p.m., not 11:59 p.m., because routine maintenance interrupted lab-report processing at the state Department of Health (DOH) on that day. This likely caused a lower count of cases and deaths for Aug. 16. Also, the state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties for the lack of negative testing data, announced Aug. 12 it is changing its test-tracking methodology and won’t report testing totals or the state’s positivity rate again until its new data reporting system is operational, which it estimates will be the week of Aug. 24.

Data for Aug. 16 is as of 4:30 p.m., not 11:59 p.m., because routine maintenance interrupted lab-report processing at the state Department of Health (DOH) on that day. This likely caused a lower count of cases and deaths for Aug. 16. Also, the state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties for the lack of negative testing data, announced Aug. 12 it is changing its test-tracking methodology and won’t report testing totals or the state’s positivity rate again until its new data reporting system is operational, which it estimates will be the week of Aug. 24.

Data for Aug. 16 is as of 4:30 p.m., not 11:59 p.m., because routine maintenance interrupted lab-report processing at the state Department of Health (DOH) on that day. This likely caused a lower count of cases and deaths for Aug. 16. Also, the state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties for the lack of negative testing data, announced Aug. 12 it is changing its test-tracking methodology and won’t report testing totals or the state’s positivity rate again until its new data reporting system is operational, which it estimates will be the week of Aug. 24.
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

2:41 pm

King County awards $2 million grants to science, arts organizations and music venues

Science, art and culture organizations, and independent live music venues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving $2 million in one-time grants from King County.

The funding, backed by the federal CARES Act, will go to 62 organizations that draw tourists, and “is designed to ease the economic burden of the pandemic while also increase public health measures,” according to a statement from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The grants may be used to make improvements so that the organizations can comply with public-health safety measures necessary to prepare for safe reopening, such as plastic barriers, floor marking or public outreach materials.

The grants may also be used to reimburses costs between March 1 and December such as payroll, rent, mortgage payments (excluding property taxes), healthcare insurance for employees and utility expenses “necessary to sustain the business during and after the public health emergency,” the statement said.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the support from King County, nor could it have come at a better time,” Hallie Kuperman of The Century Ballroom on Capitol Hill, said in the statement. “All music and nightlife venues need right now is financial support, pure and simple.  If we want our arts community and economy to rebound, we need money to get us through this period.”

Said Constantine: “By carefully and thoughtfully helping with rent, payroll and other expenses, we can help ensure that more of our cultural touchstones survive and continue to contribute to the vitality of our region.”

—Nicole Brodeur
Advertising
11:19 am

Save the gaiters! Scientists say fear over their virus protection is unwarranted

The reports of the demise of the neck gaiter have been greatly exaggerated.

A gaiter is a tube of fabric worn around the neck, often to keep skiers or runners warm in cold weather. But during the coronavirus pandemic, lightweight neck gaiters have been popular with runners, cyclists and people with beards because they can be pulled up to cover the nose and the mouth and used as a mask.

But in recent days, there has been a backlash against the gaiter. It started after a small study from Duke University demonstrated a new, inexpensive testing method for masks that uses lasers and phone cameras.

The study’s authors hypothesized that wearing a neck gaiter might cause more small droplets to spew through the fabric, not fewer.

New York Yankees designated hitter Clint Frazier is distinctive for his team-logo gaiter that covers nearly his entire face. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Yankees designated hitter Clint Frazier is distinctive for his team-logo gaiter that covers nearly his entire face. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Yankees designated hitter Clint Frazier is distinctive for his team-logo gaiter that covers nearly his entire face. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A wave of reports on news sites and social media quickly followed. “Wearing a neck gaiter could be worse than wearing no mask at all,” read the headline in The Washington Post. (Read it here in The Seattle Times.)

But that’s not quite true. Doubled, a gaiter can actually prevent 90% of aerosol particles, a new study has found.

“We should be encouraging people to use the most effective masks that are practical for community settings, but in general, any face covering is probably better than none,” said Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and an assistant professor in the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The more that people see face coverings out in the world, regardless of what kind, the more that social norms will shift in favor of masking.”

Read the story here.

—The New York Times
9:59 am

Teens struggle to balance school, family, work amid COVID-19

Kara Apuzzo said balancing school, work and helping to care for a sibling left her very stressed. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Kara Apuzzo said balancing school, work and helping to care for a sibling left her very stressed. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Kara Apuzzo said balancing school, work and helping to care for a sibling left her very stressed. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

With her baby brother in her arms, Kara Apuzzo tried to follow along in an online class as he squirmed or slept. Other times, the 18-year-old rushed to get ready for work at a front-line job at Target as her virtual high school lessons were still wrapping up.

Last school year was further complicated by computer issues that kept her from logging in and online tools that bedeviled even her teachers. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Apuzzo, who lives in New Haven, Connecticut, knew she wanted to go to college right after high school. Now, she’s not so sure.

“Right now, I don’t know where I want to go with my life,” she said. “I feel so behind when it comes to what do college kids actually do. … It’s scary, it’s so new — I don’t have any idea what I’m even doing.”

Educational disruptions forced by the pandemic are hurting teenagers at a time when many families also are struggling with layoffs and child care for young kids — challenges that are expected to persist as a new school year gets underway, largely with remote learning.

Some teens have to share computers with siblings or sign in to classes in crowded households or from their cars. Others have been laid off from after-school jobs that help provide for their families or work extra hours in essential industries, leaving less time for school. Students whose parents can’t work from home also have less structure to push them to get their work done.

“They’re at home being their own teachers,” said Nick Mathern, vice president of K-12 Partnerships for the nonprofit Achieving the Dream, which helps students complete degrees through community colleges.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
8:35 am

S. Korea shuts Seoul nightspots, churches amid virus spike

South Korea will ban large public gatherings and shut down churches and nightspots in the greater capital area amid an alarming surge in viral infections that health officials describe as the country’s biggest crisis since the emergence of COVID-19.

In a nationally televised announcement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said strengthening social distancing restrictions for the Seoul metropolitan area, which is home to half of the country’s 51 million people, was inevitable because a failure to slow transmissions there could result in a major outbreak nationwide.

South Korea reported 246 new cases Tuesday, mostly from the capital area, pushing its total for the last five days to 959.

The measures, which will take effect Wednesday in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province and the city of Incheon, prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Nightclubs, karaoke rooms, buffet restaurants, computer gaming cafes and other “high-risk” venues will be shut. Churches, which have emerged as major clusters of infections allowing attendees to sing and eat together, will only be allowed to provide online services.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
Advertising
8:34 am

In UK, rates of depression double among adults during lockdown

Rates of depression appear to have almost doubled in Britain since the country was put into lockdown in late March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the country’s official statistics agency.

The Office for National Statistics said in a special study released Tuesday that 19.2% of adults were likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression in June, three months into the lockdown of large chunks of society and the economy. That proportion is up from 9.7% recorded between July 2019 and March.

The statistics agency, which assessed the same 3,527 of adults before and during the pandemic, said feelings of stress or anxiety were the most common way adults were experiencing some form of depression, with around 85% of those reporting symptoms.

“Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time,” said statistician Tim Vizard.

Though all age brackets reported higher levels of depression, the study found that younger adults between 16 and 39 years of age were proportionately more likely to do so, with nearly a third reporting symptoms of depression — a generational contrast to the coronavirus’ impact on physical health.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
7:14 am

Quarantine Corner: Things to do while staying home

This week, Sadie Davis-Suskind offers a back-to-school recipe: peach streusel breakfast muffins. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

This week, Sadie Davis-Suskind offers a back-to-school recipe: peach streusel breakfast muffins. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

This week, Sadie Davis-Suskind offers a back-to-school recipe: peach streusel breakfast muffins. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
—Kris Higginson
7:13 am

Set your child up for success in online school

(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

Teachers, curriculum developers and parents are offering helpful tips on making the most of digital learning.

Meanwhile, Seattle’s public schools are delaying their start date to give teachers more time to prepare. School is tentatively set to start Sept. 4, two days later than originally planned.

If you’re comfortable talking about how this bizarre schooling season will impact your work and finances, we’d like to hear from you.

—Kris Higginson
Advertising
7:09 am

Pandemic pets

Grayson Knutzen, 7, managed to convince his mom, Michelle, to keep puppy Gidget on a permanent basis. (Courtesy of Michelle Knutzen)

Grayson Knutzen, 7, managed to convince his mom, Michelle, to keep puppy Gidget on a permanent basis. (Courtesy of Michelle Knutzen)

Grayson Knutzen, 7, managed to convince his mom, Michelle, to keep puppy Gidget on a permanent basis. (Courtesy of Michelle Knutzen)

With many people working from home, the Seattle area saw a surge of adoptions and, now, a shortage of pets.

We’re loving these photos — don’t miss fuzzy little Julian the pig.

—Kris Higginson
6:52 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Good news: A smaller portion of COVID-19 tests done in King County is coming back positive. But there are big exceptions. See what’s happening in your area as FYI Guy outlines where positive tests are surging, and where they’re falling. (Here’s where to get tested, by the way.)

U.S. colleges are scrambling to deal with virus clusters, with one prominent (and partying) university throwing all its classes online just a week after reopening. How bad is COVID-19 at your or your kid’s college? A few data trackers will tell you.

Potential accuracy issues with a widely used coronavirus test could lead to false results for patients, federal officials are warning. Meanwhile, a “horrifying” glitch messed up case numbers that are dictating big decisions about schools in Iowa, meaning “we have no idea what’s going on.”

With the pandemic worsening Seattle’s child care crunch, the City Council has OK’d land-use changes to speed the creation of new child care centers.

Jason Bliss, the owner of Waterland Arcade, lowered his mask briefly for a portrait Monday in Des Moines. Bliss used the Southside Promise toolkit from the South Seattle Chamber of Commerce to safely reopen his business. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Jason Bliss, the owner of Waterland Arcade, lowered his mask briefly for a portrait Monday in Des Moines. Bliss used the Southside Promise toolkit from the South Seattle Chamber of Commerce to safely reopen his business. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Jason Bliss, the owner of Waterland Arcade, lowered his mask briefly for a portrait Monday in Des Moines. Bliss used the Southside Promise toolkit from the South Seattle Chamber of Commerce to safely reopen his business. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Businesses trying to reopen safely in South King County can get their hands on a free toolkit.

Boeing will offer buyouts to workers for the second time this year as the virus-stricken planemaker extends its cuts beyond the original 10% target unveiled in April. The company is “evaluating every aspect of our business,” its CEO says.

“We cannot waste the sacrifices made in the past months.” Europe is clamping down as new outbreaks surge. And in South Korea, a pastor who defied authorities to hold services and massive rallies has tested positive.

“There’s nothing like family,” even when you can’t see each other in person. Here’s how one sprawling family cherished its traditions at a virtual 112th annual reunion, complete with a dance party, a banquet and great tales of reunions past.

—Kris Higginson
6:41 am

Connect with us

Want major coronavirus stories sent to you via text message?
Text the word COVID to 855-480-9667 or enter your phone number below.

Source: seattletimes.com

Our Score
Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upgrade Your Listing

Add images, video, and more details to your listing! More information means more clicks. More clicks means more quotes!

Free listing includes: business name, address, phone, website, google map

Upgraded listing includes: business name, address, phone, website, EMAIL ADDRESS, COMPANY LOGO, VIDEO, IMAGE SLIDE SHOW, FEATURED LISTING PLACEMENT