Coronavirus daily news updates, July 17: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

17July 2020

Washington could be in for another round of coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday, during a news conference where he announced a limit of 10 people at social gatherings in Washington counties that are further along in the reopening process.

Inslee’s announcement came as Washington set a new record for confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with state health officials Thursday reporting 1,267 new cases and six additional deaths. The tally clocked in at nearly twice the average number of cases per day in the past two weeks. 

Throughout Friday, 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 Thursday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

Live updates:

11:03 am

When should you wear a mask? An expert debunks myths as coronavirus spreads

People wear masks in a subway station in Beijing on Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

People wear masks in a subway station in Beijing on Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

People wear masks in a subway station in Beijing on Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

America’s mainstream medical establishments have given their endorsement: Universal masking is essential for the nation to find its way out of a crippling COVID-19 pandemic and get schools back in session and the economy restarted.

“The data is clearly there, that masking works,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday in a webcast with the Journal of the American Medical Association. “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think that in the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.”

A CDC study released Tuesday said that by early May, a survey estimated that about 76% of American adults who left home in the previous week had used a cloth face covering.

Another report by the CDC about two hairstylists at a salon in Missouri showcased masks’ remarkable effectiveness in preventing disease transmission.

The stylists fell ill with respiratory symptoms yet continued to work at the salon for several days, only to later test positive for the coronavirus.

The stylists served 139 clients while they were ill, typically spending 15 to 45 minutes with each of them. Yet not a single client was reported to have become sick, and none of those tested receive a positive test result. The reason? Scientists believe it was because both the hairstylists and their customers wore masks.

Here are four common myths about masks, debunked.

Read the story here.

—Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
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10:07 am

Chicago plan has kids in classrooms 2 days per week

Most Chicago children would return to the classroom two days a week and spend the other three days learning remotely once the school year begins under a tentative plan outlined Friday by officials from the nation’s third-largest school district.

Chicago Public Schools officials called the proposed hybrid approach a preliminary framework, though, and asked parents, students and staff to weigh in. A final decision about in-person instruction for fall classes won’t come until late August, with classes set to begin Sept. 8.

“We have to be ready for any possibility,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “COVID-19 has been unpredictable from the start and we have a responsibility to be prepared for what the public health indicators dictate, whether that means remote learning, in-person learning or something in between.”

The Chicago Teachers Union this week called on the district to stick with virtual instruction to start the fall.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
10:07 am

Review into England’s coronavirus death total amid questions

The British government ordered an urgent review Friday into how daily coronavirus death figures in England are calculated amid claims the current method overestimates the tally.

Soccer referees form an honor guard on Thursday and clap for the hearse carrying Jermaine Wright, a referee of the Hackney Marshes grassroots football league, who died of COVID-19 in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Soccer referees form an honor guard on Thursday and clap for the hearse carrying Jermaine Wright, a referee of the Hackney Marshes grassroots football league, who died of COVID-19 in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Soccer referees form an honor guard on Thursday and clap for the hearse carrying Jermaine Wright, a referee of the Hackney Marshes grassroots football league, who died of COVID-19 in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The review was prompted by concerns over why England is still recording way more deaths than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Researchers looked at whether differing methods may account for the discrepancy.

On some days recently, England has seen more than 100 daily virus-related deaths as opposed to none in the other parts of the U.K. As a whole, the U.K. has recorded a coronavirus death toll of 45,119, the third-highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
9:08 am

Mayor: NYC poised to open zoos, play ball

New York City is on track to allow zoos to open at limited capacity and allow professional sports to begin without spectators starting next week under the next phase of its reopening plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

While a formal approval from the state had yet to be announced, de Blasio said the city is set to begin a limited version of Phase 4 of the reopening process starting Monday.

That means botanical gardens and zoos can reopen at 33% capacity, production of movies and TV shows can proceed and professional sports like baseball can be played without fans in the stands, de Blasio said.

The rest of the state is already in Phase 4, which typically permits opening malls and certain arts and entertainment centers. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week that even if the city is approved to enter Phase 4, the state won’t allow “any additional indoor activity” in places like malls and museums because of coronavirus transmission risks.

Visitors wear masks as they walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in March. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Visitors wear masks as they walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in March. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Visitors wear masks as they walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in March. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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9:00 am

Elbows? Masks? Presents? Let this divisive EU summit begin!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, jokes with Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face on Friday for the first time since February, despite the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic,. Leaders were in good spirits at the start despite the serious topics on the table. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, jokes with Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face on Friday for the first time since February, despite the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic,. Leaders were in good spirits at the start despite the serious topics on the table. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, jokes with Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face on Friday for the first time since February, despite the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic,. Leaders were in good spirits at the start despite the serious topics on the table. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

At the start of one of the most daunting and divisive summits in recent history, the atmosphere among the European Union leaders was downright giddy.

Blame the coronavirus pandemic. With all kinds of masks, social distancing rules, and new ways of greetings, some of the leaders reveled in the novelty of it all as they met in person for the first time since February.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, so often a study in gravity at such meetings, was all merriment when she saw Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov with his mask slipped. With her face drawn in fake shock and horror, she pointed at his exposed nose to show he had committed a serious COVID-19 faux pas.

Other leaders at the summit in Belgium were trying out various versions of the elbow bump, with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel almost turning it into an elbow duel. But there was no mistaking his good nature since he had “Moien!” — the Luxembourgish for “Good morning!” — printed on his mask.

The apparently carefree mingling and schmoozing disguised the reason they had all gathered in a cavernous Brussels meeting room instead of holding their summit by videoconference: The issues they are grappling with are so historic and divisive they need to look one another in the eye, and have face-to-face talks as they negotiate.

Since the pandemic hit Europe early this year, the EU has seen an unprecedented recession with the economy of the 27-nation EU contracting by 8.3% this year and lost 135,000 of its citizens to the disease.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
8:28 am

Oregon hits new daily record for COVID-19 cases

With infection spreading through social gatherings, Oregon set yet another single-day record on Thursday with 437 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority reported.

The latest daily tally, the highest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, raised the state’s case count to 13,509. Two more deaths were reported on Thursday as well, raising Oregon’s death toll from the disease to 249. The dead, both from Malheur County, were a 97-year-old man with underlying medical conditions and a 58-year-old woman whose health conditions are being confirmed.

States all over the country have seen surging case counts since they began easing limits on gatherings and business operations. Washington state also reported a single-day record Thursday, with 1,267 new cases.

Read more here.

—Bennett Hall, Albany Democrat-Herald, Ore.
8:21 am

Atlanta mayor says Trump broke city’s mask rule, ignored science

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sued the city of Atlanta over its face-mask requirement just after President Donald Trump arrived in the city without wearing a mask, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Friday.

In an interview on CBS “This Morning,” Bottoms questioned the timing of the lawsuit filed shortly after Trump’s Wednesday visit to the city, calling the litigation “really odd.”

“I pointed out that Donald Trump violated that order when he landed at our airport and did not wear a mask,” she said.

She said Kemp “is a Trump loyalist and he seems to work very hard to please the president of the United States, and that is often at the expense of the people in our state.”

Asked whether she thinks Trump encouraged Kemp to file the lawsuit, she said she couldn’t speak about whatever conversations they had.

But she added that Trump “was violating the rules of our city in just a blatant disregard for the science.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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6:25 am

India hits 1 million virus cases, nations battle flare-ups

A return of stringent coronavirus restrictions in Israel, another daily record of reported cases in Japan’s capital and outbreaks in remote areas such as China’s Xinjiang region underscored Friday the ongoing battle to quash COVID-19 flare-ups as the world’s latest hot spots pushed the confirmed global case tally toward 14 million.

India said the country’s total confirmed cases surpassed 1 million, the third-highest number behind the United States and Brazil, and its death toll reached more than 25,000. That followed Brazil’s announcement Thursday evening that its confirmed cases exceeded 2 million, including 76,000 deaths.

A health worker checks the body temperature of a boy at a medical camp to screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms in Mumbai, India, Friday, July 17, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country’s feeble health care system. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

A health worker checks the body temperature of a boy at a medical camp to screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms in Mumbai, India, Friday, July 17, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country’s feeble health care system. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

A health worker checks the body temperature of a boy at a medical camp to screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms in Mumbai, India, Friday, July 17, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country’s feeble health care system. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Governments are frantically trying to prevent and put down fresh outbreaks and keep their economies running as the pandemic accelerates in some parts of the world and threatens to come roaring back in others. Worldwide, confirmed cases numbered more than 13.8 million Friday and COVID-19 deaths totaled more than 590,000.

Israel on Friday reimposed sweeping restrictions to tackle a new surge in coronavirus cases in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “interim steps” to avoid another general lockdown.

Stores, malls, barber shops, beauty salons, beaches and tourist sites will also be closed on weekends. Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people indoors or 20 outside.

New virus cases have soared in Israel since restrictions were lifted in late May. The country reported around 1,900 new cases on Thursday. At least 384 people have died since the outbreak began.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
6:22 am

Catch up on the Past 24 Hours

—Kris Higginson
6:17 am

Quarantine Corner

—Kris Higginson

Source: seattletimes.com

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