Coronavirus daily news updates, August 31: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

31August 2020

Cases of the new coronavirus are plateauing or even falling in some parts of Washington state, but new outbreaks have popped up in other parts, including in Pullman just as WSU students return.

In King County, COVID-19 has likely surpassed Alzheimer’s disease as the third leading cause of death, according to a county-by-county analysis of the virus’s toll.

The newest global hot spot is India, population 1.4 billion, which has the fastest-growing daily caseload of any country in the world. A surge of more than 75,000 new cases each day for four straight days has raised the country’s tally to more than 3.5 million. It comes as the government plans to reopen the subway in New Delhi, the capital, and to move ahead with limited sports and religious events next month.

Throughout Monday, on this page, we’ll be posting updates on the outbreak 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.

The state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties, 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. Also: On Aug. 28, the DOH announced it is ending the publication of COVID-19 death counts over weekends, starting Aug. 28-30. Regular publishing of death data will take place Mondays-Fridays, and the number of weekend deaths will be added to Monday and Tuesday reports.

The state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties, 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. Also: On Aug. 28, the DOH announced it is ending the publication of COVID-19 death counts over weekends, starting Aug. 28-30. Regular publishing of death data will take place Mondays-Fridays, and the number of weekend deaths will be added to Monday and Tuesday reports.

The state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties, 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. Also: On Aug. 28, the DOH announced it is ending the publication of COVID-19 death counts over weekends, starting Aug. 28-30. Regular publishing of death data will take place Mondays-Fridays, and the number of weekend deaths will be added to Monday and Tuesday reports.
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

4:20 pm

State confirms 315 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths

State health officials reported 315 new COVID-19 cases in Washington as of Sunday night, and 10 new deaths.

The update brings the state’s totals to 74,635 cases and 1,915 deaths, meaning that 2.6% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). 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-19-related deaths on weekends.

Statewide, 6,763 have been hospitalized and 1,473,245 COVID-19 tests have been administered.

In King County, the state’s most populous county, state health officials have confirmed 19,643 diagnoses and 723 deaths.

—Megan Burbank
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12:53 pm

From schools to Tour de France, images show a world inching back open with coronavirus precautions

—Courtney Riffkin
12:47 pm

First two games of Mariners’ homestand postponed after A’s report positive COVID-19 test

There will be no baseball played at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The first two games of the Mariners’ three-game series vs. the Oakland A’s have been postponed because a member of the A’s traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 while the team was in Houston.

The A’s sent out a tweet announcing that the first two games of the series have been postponed.

Read the story here.

—Ryan Divish
12:35 pm

A Zoom Thanksgiving? Better plan for it

As the Summer of COVID draws to a close, many experts fear an even bleaker fall and suggest that American families should start planning for Thanksgiving by Zoom.

Because of the many uncertainties, public health scientists say it’s easier to forecast the weather on Thanksgiving Day than to predict how the U.S. coronavirus crisis will play out this autumn. But school reopenings, holiday travel and more indoor activity because of colder weather could all separately increase transmission of the virus and combine in ways that could multiply the threat, they say.

As many people start to decide whether to book holiday flights, some have already decided.

Cassie Docking, 44, an urgent care nurse in Seattle, is telling her parents — both cancer survivors — that Thanksgiving will be by FaceTime only.

Seattle nurse Cassie Docking said she told her parents — both cancer survivors — that Thanksgiving will be by FaceTime only. “We all want to get to 2021 and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do,” Docking said. (Courtesy of Cassie Docking via AP)

Seattle nurse Cassie Docking said she told her parents — both cancer survivors — that Thanksgiving will be by FaceTime only. “We all want to get to 2021 and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do,” Docking said. (Courtesy of Cassie Docking via AP)

Seattle nurse Cassie Docking said she told her parents — both cancer survivors — that Thanksgiving will be by FaceTime only. “We all want to get to 2021 and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do,” Docking said. (Courtesy of Cassie Docking via AP)

“We all want to get to 2021,” she said, “and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do.”

Caitlin Joyce’s family is forging ahead with a holiday feast. They plan to set up plywood tables on sawhorses in a large garage so they can sit 6 feet apart.

“We’ll be in our coats and our sweaters,” said Joyce, 30, of Edmonds, who plans to travel to her grandparents’ home in Virginia. “It will be almost like camping.”

Caitlin Joyce holds family photographs showing her parents and her 90-year-old grandfather. She’ll travel to Virginia for a socially distanced Thanksgiving dinner using plywood tables set on sawhorses in a large garage. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Caitlin Joyce holds family photographs showing her parents and her 90-year-old grandfather. She’ll travel to Virginia for a socially distanced Thanksgiving dinner using plywood tables set on sawhorses in a large garage. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Caitlin Joyce holds family photographs showing her parents and her 90-year-old grandfather. She’ll travel to Virginia for a socially distanced Thanksgiving dinner using plywood tables set on sawhorses in a large garage. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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11:50 am

What is herd immunity and why are Trump officials pursuing an idea WHO calls ‘dangerous’?

Trump administration officials are starting to implement policies that suggest a “herd immunity” strategy — a controversial approach that involves deliberately allowing the coronavirus to spread to build up population resistance more quickly, while protecting the most vulnerable.

In theory, as the number of survivors with immunity increases to a certain level, the virus’s spread would slow and eventually stop. The only problem: A whole lot of people would die before that point.

Pedestrians wear masks in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York City. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Pedestrians wear masks in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York City. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Pedestrians wear masks in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York City. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

At a news briefing last week, World Health Organization officials called pursuing such a herd immunity strategy “very dangerous.”

“If we think about herd immunity in a natural sense of just letting a virus run, it’s very dangerous,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the pandemic. “A lot of people would die.”

Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said “there really hasn’t been any infectious disease that has been controlled just by allowing natural immunity to happen.”

Read the story here.

—William Wan, The Washington Post
9:45 am

Detroit honors COVID-19 victims with extraordinary park memorial

Vehicles drive past photos of COVID-19 victims on Detroit’s Belle Isle on Monday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Vehicles drive past photos of COVID-19 victims on Detroit’s Belle Isle on Monday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Vehicles drive past photos of COVID-19 victims on Detroit’s Belle Isle on Monday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

An island park in Detroit has become an extraordinary memorial garden, with cars packed with families slowly passing hundreds of photos of city residents who have died from COVID-19.

Mayor Mike Duggan declared Monday Detroit Memorial Day to honor the 1,500-plus city victims of the pandemic. Hearses escorted by police led solemn all-day processions around Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River after bells rang across the region at 8:45 a.m.

Mourners drive past the nation’s first citywide memorial to honor victims of the pandemic. Fourteen consecutive funeral processions on Detroit’s Belle Isle wound past nearly 900 large photos of the victims. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Mourners drive past the nation’s first citywide memorial to honor victims of the pandemic. Fourteen consecutive funeral processions on Detroit’s Belle Isle wound past nearly 900 large photos of the victims. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Mourners drive past the nation’s first citywide memorial to honor victims of the pandemic. Fourteen consecutive funeral processions on Detroit’s Belle Isle wound past nearly 900 large photos of the victims. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Radio station WRCJ, which plays classical music and jazz, added gospel to its playlist and read the names of the deceased.

“It is our hope that seeing these beautiful faces on the island today … will wake people up to the devastating effect of the pandemic,” said Rochelle Riley, Detroit’s director of arts and culture.

Read the story and see more pictures here.

—The Associated Press
8:13 am

In China’s Xinjiang, forced medication, draconian measures accompany lockdown

When police arrested the middle-aged Uighur woman at the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak, she was crammed into a cell with dozens of other women in a detention center.

There, she said, she was forced to drink a medicine that made her feel weak and nauseous and strip naked while being hosed with scalding disinfectant “like firemen,” she said.

The government in China’s far northwest Xinjiang region is resorting to draconian measures to combat the coronavirus, including physically locking residents in homes, imposing quarantines of more than 40 days and arresting those who do not comply. Furthermore, in what experts call a breach of medical ethics, some residents are being coerced into swallowing traditional Chinese medicine, according to government notices, social media posts and interviews with three people in quarantine in Xinjiang. 

This photo, taken by a Uighur under quarantine in China’s Xinjiang region, shows a bottle of unidentified traditional Chinese medicine. Harsh measures reported in the region include the forced use of unproven remedies. (AP Photo)

This photo, taken by a Uighur under quarantine in China’s Xinjiang region, shows a bottle of unidentified traditional Chinese medicine. Harsh measures reported in the region include the forced use of unproven remedies. (AP Photo)

This photo, taken by a Uighur under quarantine in China’s Xinjiang region, shows a bottle of unidentified traditional Chinese medicine. Harsh measures reported in the region include the forced use of unproven remedies. (AP Photo)

The latest grueling lockdown, now in its 45th day, comes in response to 826 cases reported in Xinjiang since mid-July, China’s largest caseload since the initial outbreak. 

Read the story here.

—Dake Kang, The Associated Press
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8:06 am

New understanding of how virus disarms body’s ‘foot soldiers’ creates race to boost them

An improved understanding how the coronavirus disarms some of a body’s immune fighters, called interferons, is creating excitement among scientists who theorize they might be able to counter that process and prevent infections from developing into severe disease.

Interferons are immune proteins that normally interfere with a virus’ life cycle – hence the name, interferon. In addition to their antiviral properties, they summon natural killer cells, “the best soldiers, as it were, of the innate immune system,” Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview.

That system is both the body’s whooping air-raid siren and its emergency responders rushing to the scene. The virus’s ability to hamstring this system may be one of the keys to its success.

Now, several trials are underway in the United States and elsewhere to see whether giving interferon to coronavirus patients early on might prevent severe disease, or hasten recovery, if administered later.

Read the story here.

—Ben Guarino, The Washington Post
7:50 am

Australia records its deadliest day of pandemic

Australia recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic Monday as the government contemplates lifting the lockdown on the country’s second-largest city.

Victoria’s health department reported 41 deaths from COVID-19 and 73 new infections in the latest 24-hour period, a state and national high.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, though, that only eight of the 41 fatalities occurred in the latest 24-hour period. The other 33 fatalities occurred in aged care since late July and were reported on Sunday following a tightening of reporting obligations and a review of previous reporting.

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews talks about the coronavirus pandemic Monday in Melbourne, Australia. (James Ross/AAP Image via AP)

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews talks about the coronavirus pandemic Monday in Melbourne, Australia. (James Ross/AAP Image via AP)

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews talks about the coronavirus pandemic Monday in Melbourne, Australia. (James Ross/AAP Image via AP)

A six-week lockdown in the city is due to be relaxed on Sept. 13, but the state government has not said how it will be relaxed or given any assurances that it won’t be extended.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
6:41 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

COVID-19 has likely become the third leading cause of death in King County, surpassing Alzheimer’s disease. FYI Guy takes a county-by-county look at the virus’ toll and the factors behind the numbers.

Coronavirus cases are plateauing or even falling in some parts of Washington state, health officials say. But it’s not all good news: New outbreaks have cropped up, particularly around prisons, college towns and hospitals. In Pullman, cases are spiking as students return to WSU, even though it’s closed to in-person instruction.

Airlines’ new measures to fight the virus may be doing just the opposite.

A waiter serves guests at the pool of the Cape Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Kevin Sieff / The Washington Post)

A waiter serves guests at the pool of the Cape Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Kevin Sieff / The Washington Post)

A waiter serves guests at the pool of the Cape Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Kevin Sieff / The Washington Post)

A Mexican resort town is trying to lure tourists back in the middle of one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks. “It’s life or death for us,” says a tourism official in Cabo San Lucas. “There’s nothing else here.”

When the virus recedes, will telehealth stay? The pandemic has more Americans making phone and video visits to health care providers, but there are concerns about privacy and the quality of care.

The strangest Tour de France has set off in an anti-coronavirus bubble, although no one is sure that riders can negotiate their way through France’s worsening infections to the finish. Meanwhile, runners are preparing for the storied — and virtual — Boston Marathon.

—Kris Higginson
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6:36 am

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Source: seattletimes.com

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