Coronavirus daily news updates, July 15: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

15July 2020

In less than two weeks, the United States’ federal program that provides unemployment benefits to tens of millions of jobless Americans will expire — but White House officials are starting to signal their willingness to approve a narrow extension of the program.

In Washington state, the Department of Health is refining how it records deaths as it works to better track the pandemic. And Gov. Jay Inslee hit pause on any further reopening through July 28.

Throughout Wednesday, 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 Tuesday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

The Washington State Department of Health will hold a telebriefing at 11 a.m. today on an updated disease modeling report from the Institute for Disease Modeling, and implications for COVID and school re-openings.

Live updates:

9:01 am

Oklahoma’s governor says he’s tested positive for COVID-19

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he’s tested positive for the coronavirus and that he is isolating at home.

The first-term Republican governor has backed one of the country’s most aggressive reopening plans, has resisted any statewide mandate on masks and rarely wears one himself.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has tested positive for COVID-19 and isolating at home. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has tested positive for COVID-19 and isolating at home. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has tested positive for COVID-19 and isolating at home. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

Stitt attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last month, which health experts have said likely contributed to a surge in coronavirus cases there.

Oklahoma also has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19, with nearly 22,000 confirmed positive cases in the state and 428 total deaths.

One of Stitt’s cabinet members, David Ostrowe, tested positive for the coronavirus in March.

—The Associated Press
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8:18 am

Lockdowns in India return as virus surges

As India’s confirmed coronavirus cases approach 1 million, lockdowns are being reimposed in parts of the country as local governments try to shield the health system from being overwhelmed.

India on Wednesday reported nearly 30,000 new cases and 582 more deaths, raising its totals to more than 936,000 cases and over 24,000 fatalities. The actual numbers, like elsewhere globally, are likely to be far higher due to limited testing and poor surveillance, experts say.

A two-week lockdown that starts Thursday has been imposed in Bihar, an eastern state with a population of 128 million and a fragile health system. Since Saturday, Bihar has recorded over 1,000 cases a day despite limited testing.

A woman gets her nasal swab sample taken to test for coronavirus at a government health center in Hyderabad, India, on Wednesday. As India’s coronavirus caseload approaches 1 million, lockdowns are being reimposed in parts of the country. (AP Photob / Mahesh Kumar A.)

A woman gets her nasal swab sample taken to test for coronavirus at a government health center in Hyderabad, India, on Wednesday. As India’s coronavirus caseload approaches 1 million, lockdowns are being reimposed in parts of the country. (AP Photob / Mahesh Kumar A.)

A woman gets her nasal swab sample taken to test for coronavirus at a government health center in Hyderabad, India, on Wednesday. As India’s coronavirus caseload approaches 1 million, lockdowns are being reimposed in parts of the country. (AP Photob / Mahesh Kumar A.)

Nearly 2.5 million poor migrant workers who had been stranded during India’s initial lockdown of the entire country have returned to the state after losing their jobs in large cities.

In Bangalore, a key technology hub in southern India where offices for major tech companies like Amazon and Apple are, the government ordered a weeklong lockdown that began Tuesday evening.

The initial boost that India’s economy received in June after the nationwide lockdown was relaxed is being halted by these localized lockdowns in high-risk areas, experts say. 

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
8:14 am

Virus resurgence forces countries to reimpose restrictions

Countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and implementing new health checks at their borders in an effort to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus before it spins even further out of control.

A health worker takes a sample for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hospitalet, in Barcelona province, Spain, on Tuesday. Outbreaks in northern Spain and in the city of Barcelona are not only prompting new restrictions but also revealing the poor capacity that contact tracers have to track and control the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A health worker takes a sample for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hospitalet, in Barcelona province, Spain, on Tuesday. Outbreaks in northern Spain and in the city of Barcelona are not only prompting new restrictions but also revealing the poor capacity that contact tracers have to track and control the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A health worker takes a sample for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hospitalet, in Barcelona province, Spain, on Tuesday. Outbreaks in northern Spain and in the city of Barcelona are not only prompting new restrictions but also revealing the poor capacity that contact tracers have to track and control the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Starting Wednesday, all travelers arriving in Greece from a land border with Bulgaria were required to carry negative coronavirus test results issued in the previous 72 hours and translated into English. The new rules, which follow an increase in tourism-related COVID-19 cases, triggered an immediate drop in arrivals compared to recent days.

In Tokyo, Gov. Yuriko Koike said Wednesday that the spread of the infections in the Japanese capital have escalated to levels tantamount to “issuing an alarm” and requested that residents and business owners step up their preventive measures.

Residents of Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, were warned on Wednesday to comply with lockdown regulations or face tougher restrictions. Melbourne’s 5 million people and part of the city’s semirural surroundings are a week into a new, six-week lockdown to contain an outbreak there.

“The time for warnings, the time for cutting people slack, is over,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said. “Where we are is in a very serious and deadly position.”

The developments come with more than 13 million cases of coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide, and with over 578,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
8:04 am

Personality type may determine how you respond to COVID-19 pandemic

A lone passenger leaves a train station in Milan, Italy, in March. If you’re an extrovert, one who draws energy from being with other people, you may have had difficulty during quarantine because of the lack of social interaction. (AP Photo / Antonio Calanni, file)

A lone passenger leaves a train station in Milan, Italy, in March. If you’re an extrovert, one who draws energy from being with other people, you may have had difficulty during quarantine because of the lack of social interaction. (AP Photo / Antonio Calanni, file)

A lone passenger leaves a train station in Milan, Italy, in March. If you’re an extrovert, one who draws energy from being with other people, you may have had difficulty during quarantine because of the lack of social interaction. (AP Photo / Antonio Calanni, file)

How well you fare during the COVID-19 pandemic may be at least partially revealed by answering one simple question: Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

If you’re an extrovert, one who draws energy from being with other people, you may have had difficulty during quarantine because of the lack of social interaction, especially if you live alone. That’s because an extrovert thrives in social interactions large and small — from getting coffee with a co-worker to popping into a cubicle to chat to being part of a large meeting. All are energizing for an extrovert.

But if you’re an introvert, one who draws energy from being alone, the quarantine may have offered a reprieve from the draining effects of social interaction, especially if you live alone. That’s because an introvert prefers a quiet place to think and work, preferring not to engage with others unless it’s necessary. For an introvert, work or other situations that require social interaction can be exhausting.

Experts say both types, though, may find growth during the time of COVID-19 quarantine if introverts realize they miss people and extroverts embrace the opportunity for self-reflection.

Read the story here.

—Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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6:56 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee says the current rise of confirmed cases here — along with an estimated transmission rate indicating infected people are spreading the virus to others — leaves Washington in “a dangerous position” if left unchecked. (Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press)

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee says the current rise of confirmed cases here — along with an estimated transmission rate indicating infected people are spreading the virus to others — leaves Washington in “a dangerous position” if left unchecked. (Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press)

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee says the current rise of confirmed cases here — along with an estimated transmission rate indicating infected people are spreading the virus to others — leaves Washington in “a dangerous position” if left unchecked. (Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press)

Slow down, Washingtonians. Counties can’t relax restrictions further for at least two weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee said yesterday, warning that he may roll back parts of the reopening as cases climb. Here’s what you can do in each county now, from haircuts to dining out. Meanwhile, the state is changing the way it counts COVID-19 deaths.

Could Seattle kids return to school outdoors? The teachers union says the district’s rough plan for some in-person teaching would be “reckless” under the current conditions. A few School Board members are drafting an ambitious alternative.

Early results are promising from vaccine testing in Seattle. The test triggered strong immune responses in a small group of volunteers, preliminary results show, but red flags and big questions remain. Meanwhile, decades of HIV research are boosting the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

Expect the U.S., Canada and Mexico to keep their borders closed to non-essential travel until late summer, under a plan expected to be announced this week. New border rules and lockdowns are taking effect around the world today, with one Australian leader asserting: “The time for warnings … is over.”

The U.S. and Canada are poised to extend their agreement to keep their shared border closed to non-essential travel to Aug. 21, a source said in advance of an expected announcement this week. Above, a ditch marks the Canada-U.S. border and separates people walking on the road, right, in Surrey, British Columbia, and those gathered at Peace Arch Historical State Park, left, in Blaine, Wash., on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Although the B.C. government closed the Canadian side of the park in June due to concerns about crowding and COVID-19, people are still able to meet in the U.S. park due to a treaty signed in 1814 that allows citizens of Canada and the U.S. to unite in the park without technically crossing any border. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via AP)

The U.S. and Canada are poised to extend their agreement to keep their shared border closed to non-essential travel to Aug. 21, a source said in advance of an expected announcement this week. Above, a ditch marks the Canada-U.S. border and separates people walking on the road, right, in Surrey, British Columbia, and those gathered at Peace Arch Historical State Park, left, in Blaine, Wash., on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Although the B.C. government closed the Canadian side of the park in June due to concerns about crowding and COVID-19, people are still able to meet in the U.S. park due to a treaty signed in 1814 that allows citizens of Canada and the U.S. to unite in the park without technically crossing any border. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via AP)

The U.S. and Canada are poised to extend their agreement to keep their shared border closed to non-essential travel to Aug. 21, a source said in advance of an expected announcement this week. Above, a ditch marks the Canada-U.S. border and separates people walking on the road, right, in Surrey, British Columbia, and those gathered at Peace Arch Historical State Park, left, in Blaine, Wash., on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Although the B.C. government closed the Canadian side of the park in June due to concerns about crowding and COVID-19, people are still able to meet in the U.S. park due to a treaty signed in 1814 that allows citizens of Canada and the U.S. to unite in the park without technically crossing any border. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via AP)

The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the CDC and send all coronavirus patient information to a central database, starting today. This alarms health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.

Two hairstylists had coronavirus and came into close contact with 139 clients — but nobody fell ill. Why? Possibly because of the precautions they took. The effect has stunned researchers.

Be careful buying hand sanitizer. King County health officials are warning consumers against 11 manufacturers’ products because of the risk of methanol poisoning. Here’s what to look for on the label.

How risky is using a public restroom during the pandemic? As portable camping potties fly off the shelves of sporting-good stores, infectious-disease experts are describing their convoluted routines in the “worst place you can go.”

—Kris Higginson
6:49 am

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Source: seattletimes.com

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