Coronavirus daily news updates, July 30: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

30July 2020

While Washington’s new coronavirus infections may be starting to level off day by day, hospitalizations related to the virus have almost doubled, affecting nearly all age groups, a state health officer said Wednesday.

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt differently throughout King County, with communities on the South End showing the highest rate of positive tests while wealthier, whiter areas generally show lower positive test rates.

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

Gov. Jay Inslee will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today to provide an update on the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to participate in a Round Table Discussion at noon Pacific Daylight Time on donating plasma. You can watch it here.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

Live updates:

11:37 am

Wisconsin governor orders masks statewide amid virus surge

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday issued a statewide mask mandate amid a spike in coronavirus cases, setting up a conflict with Republican legislative leaders who oppose such a requirement and successfully sued to kill the governor’s “safer at home” order.

Evers, a Democrat, declared a new public health emergency and ordered the wearing of masks for everyone age 5 and up starting on Saturday for all enclosed spaces except a person’s home. The new order also applies to outdoor bars and restaurants, except when people are eating or drinking.

Anyone who violates the order would be subject to a $200 fine. It is scheduled to run until Sept. 28.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency, after his initial one expired in May. (AP Photo / Scott Bauer, File)

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency, after his initial one expired in May. (AP Photo / Scott Bauer, File)

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency, after his initial one expired in May. (AP Photo / Scott Bauer, File)

“This virus doesn’t care about any town, city, or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” Evers said in a statement, citing the recent rise in cases across the state. “We’ve said all along that we’re going to let science and public health experts be our guide in responding to this pandemic, and we know that masks and face coverings will save lives.”

The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court in May tossed out an order from Evers’ health secretary closing most nonessential businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
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10:14 am

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain 74, dies of COVID

Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of a major pizza chain who went on to become an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 74.

A post on Cain’s Twitter account Thursday announced the death. Cain had been in an Atlanta hospital after becoming ill with the virus.

It’s not clear when or where he was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June. Cain had been co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” read an article posted on the Twitter account.

White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany tweeted on Thursday that Cain “embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
9:14 am

2nd U.S. virus surge hits plateau, but few experts celebrate

While deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are mounting rapidly, public health experts are seeing a flicker of good news: The second surge of confirmed cases appears to be leveling off.

Scientists aren’t celebrating by any means, warning that the trend is driven by four big, hard-hit states — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — and that cases are rising in at least half of all the states, with the outbreak’s center of gravity seemingly shifting from the Sun Belt toward the Midwest.

The future? “I think it’s very difficult to predict,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s foremost infectious-disease expert.

Dante Hills, left, passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Dante Hills, left, passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Dante Hills, left, passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The virus has claimed over 150,000 lives in the U.S., by far the highest death toll in the world, plus more than a half-million others around the globe.

The latest surge in cases became evident in June, weeks after states began reopening after a deadly explosion of cases in and around New York City in the early spring. Daily case counts rose to 70,000 or more earlier this month. Deaths, too, began to climb sharply, after a lag of a few weeks.

Some researchers believe that the recent leveling off is the result of more people embracing social distancing and other precautions.

“I think a lot of it is people wearing masks because they’re scared,” said Ira Longini, a University of Florida biostatistician who has been tracking the coronavirus.

But Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska College of Public Health, said the trend could also be due to natural dynamics of the virus that scientists to do not yet understand.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press
8:55 am

Florida couple jailed for refusing to quarantine

Two residents of the Florida Keys have been jailed for failing to quarantine after testing positive for the new coronavirus.

Jose Interian, 24, and Yohana Gonzalez, 26, are facing charges of violating isolation rules for a quarantine and violating emergency management disaster preparedness rules, according to jail records. They were arrested Wednesday in Key West, according to The Associated Press.

The Miami Herald reports Interian and Gonzalez had been ordered by the health department to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, but neighbors said they were ignoring the order.

Someone videotaped the couple and gave it to Key West police, according to Greg Veliz, Key West’s city manager.

“There were complaints from the neighborhood of them continuing to be outside, going about normal life functions,” Veliz said.

There were no court records in an online docket for the Monroe County court system, so it was not clear whether Interian or Gonzalez had an attorney who could comment.

The Florida Keys island chain was closed to nonresidents for two months in the spring to keep outsiders from spreading the new coronavirus. It reopened to visitors in June.

—The Associated Press
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8:01 am

Can the coronavirus spread through the air?

Can the coronavirus spread through the air?

Yes, it’s possible.

The World Health Organization recently acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions. (AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin)

The World Health Organization recently acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions. (AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin)

The World Health Organization recently acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions. (AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin)

The World Health Organization recently acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions.

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks in crowded indoor settings — restaurants, nightclubs and choir practices — suggest the virus can hang around in the air long enough to potentially infect others if social distancing measures are not strictly enforced.

Experts say the lack of ventilation in these situations is thought to have contributed to spread, and might have allowed the virus to linger in the air longer than normal.

In a report published in May, researchers found that talking produced respiratory droplets that could remain in the air in a closed environment for about eight to 14 minutes.

The WHO says those most at risk from airborne spread are doctors and nurses who perform specialized procedures such as inserting a breathing tube or putting patients on a ventilator. Medical authorities recommend the use of protective masks and other equipment when doing such procedures.

Scientists maintain it’s far less risky to be outside than indoors because virus droplets disperse in the fresh air, reducing the chances of COVID-19 transmission.

—The Associated Press
7:43 am

Quarantine Corner: Things to do while staying home

Jamie Foxx in “Project Power.” (Skip Bolen / Netflix)

Jamie Foxx in “Project Power.” (Skip Bolen / Netflix)

Jamie Foxx in “Project Power.” (Skip Bolen / Netflix)

Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are teaming up in the action thriller “Project Power,” one of the new Netflix releases in August. ​

What kind of delivery food has been hottest in Seattle this year? A new survey is revealing interesting trends.

And the winner of the Seattle Times Pantry Kitchen Challenge’s Champions Round is … a home chef who turned popcorn into silk and added a summery kick. Behold that creation and see the recipes from this round.

—Kris Higginson
7:35 am

Shut-down attractions — and region’s blood supply — get an infusion of new life

Bloodworks Northwest is using pop-up sites at familar venues to get blood donations, including this one at The Museum of Flight. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Bloodworks Northwest is using pop-up sites at familar venues to get blood donations, including this one at The Museum of Flight. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Bloodworks Northwest is using pop-up sites at familar venues to get blood donations, including this one at The Museum of Flight. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Blood donations plunged at the start of the pandemic. Then, out of desperation came a stroke of genius: Bloodworks Northwest decided to hold pop-up blood drives in the very places its donors are missing.

The latest pop-up was yesterday at the Museum of Flight, above, and more pop-ups are coming to a winery, the Seattle Repertory Theatre and McCaw Hall, where an opera singer will serenade donors.

Read the full story here.

—Nicole Brodeur
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7:03 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

New infections in Washington may be leveling off, but hospitalizations are rising for almost all age groups, health officials say. They also warned of an increasing number of scams related to COVID-19.

The U.S. death toll, by far the highest in the world, has surpassed 150,000 people as the response has splintered. Only a nationwide lockdown could completely contain the virus now, some experts say. Misinformation is also spreading like wildfire, and health experts worry it’s dangerously undermining efforts to slow the virus.

Nearly half of the state’s 1.1 million students could be learning online this fall, after Snohomish County officials yesterday joined the growing calls to keep school buildings closed. In King County, researchers have laid out what it should take to reopen them. And scientists estimated that school closures in the spring saved tens of thousands of lives.

The U.S. today is expected to report a dizzying economic plunge that may be more than triple the worst drop we’ve ever seen. Making matters worse, the $600 federal jobless benefit runs out tomorrow unless Congress acts, and those talks are looking all kinds of messy. More than 1.4 million Americans applied for benefits just last week.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, questions Attorney General William Barr during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Matt McClain / The Washington Post)

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, questions Attorney General William Barr during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Matt McClain / The Washington Post)

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, questions Attorney General William Barr during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Matt McClain / The Washington Post)

Congress is rattled by an anti-mask lawmaker’s positive test after he participated in hearings this week. Rep. Louie Gohmert, contradicting medical consensus, says he blames his diagnosis on wearing a mask. Now the House has a new mask mandate, the attorney general is off to get tested, and lawmakers are buzzing about whether it’s too risky to conduct the nation’s business in person.

What cooler weather may bring: We’re getting a real-time window, and it’s not pretty. Deep in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, a virus resurgence is dwarfing the first outbreak. Meanwhile, in the summery part of the world, a virus cluster at a French seaside resort is becoming a textbook case of the virus pitting generations against each other. And after 99 days of success, the virus has returned to haunt Vietnam.

If you’re going back to work, will you have to sign a COVID waiver? As workplace requirements stir outrage, lawyers are talking about what is and isn’t legal.

And if you’re going to Alaska, you’ll have to show a negative COVID-19 test. But not many people are these days, at least from Seattle; our Coronavirus Economy chart shows passenger traffic at Sea-Tac Airport is slipping again.

—Kris Higginson
6:45 am

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Source: seattletimes.com

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