Coronavirus daily news updates, July 9: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – Seattle Times

9July 2020

Months into the United States’ coronavirus outbreak, testing is being ramped up, but the percentage of tests coming back positive is on the rise across nearly the entire country, hitting almost 27% in Arizona, 19% in Florida and 17% in South Carolina as of Wednesday. In Washington, 5.9% of all tests conducted in the state have been positive since testing began, and 5.3% have been positive in the past week.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to slice federal funding from schools if they do not reopen in the fall. Hours later, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would issue new guidance on school openings.

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 discuss the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH HERE:

Live updates:

9:52 am

Pandemic reaching ‘full speed’ in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed,” the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief said Thursday, while a South African official said a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves.

Just a day after confirmed coronavirus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was over 522,000 and climbing, with more than 12,000 deaths. With testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown.

South Africa has the most confirmed cases with over 224,000, and for the first time Gauteng province — home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria — has the country’s most cases with over 75,000, or 33%.

With painful memories of many people dying in Africa years ago while waiting for accessible HIV drugs, the Africa CDC on Thursday launched a consortium aimed at securing more than 10 late-stage COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials on the continent as early as possible.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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9:24 am

Americans confused by social-distancing rules

Confusion about rules has been less common in countries where social-distancing rules have been set by central governments and enforced diligently. In France, people needed paperwork to justify leaving the house and police were deputized to check them and impose fines.

But in the U.S., local officials have drafted a patchwork of sometimes competing standards — often in accordance with local political preferences — making it difficult to determine how to appropriately navigate life during the pandemic.

A growing number of public health experts agree that there need to be more nuanced guidelines for Americans that allow some liberties.

Read the full story here.

—Bloomberg
9:01 am

Brazilian president with COVID-19 touts unproven drug also promoted by Trump

In this file photo from May 25, 2020, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

In this file photo from May 25, 2020, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

In this file photo from May 25, 2020, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is touting an unproven anti-malaria drug as a treatment for the coronavirus and turning himself into a test case on social media.

Bolsonaro announced he had tested positive for the virus Tuesday after downplaying the severity of the pandemic for months.

Hours later, he shared a video of himself gulping down what he said was his third dose of hydroxychloroquine pills. On Wednesday, he again extolled the drug’s benefits on Facebook.

U.S. President Donald Trump also has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. But a string of studies in Britain and the United States, as well as by the World Health Organization, have found the drug ineffective against COVID-19 and sometimes deadly because of adverse side effects on the heart.

Brazil’s death toll neared 68,000 Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
8:36 am

Sea-Tac Airport traffic edges up, but airlines still in crisis

Passenger volume at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport notched another small gain last week, increasing to 15,500 average passengers per day from 14,500 the prior week. The latest figure is 75% below last year’s comparable week, according to statistics posted by the Port of Seattle.

Aircraft operations, meaning takeoffs and landings, are just 52% lower than a year earlier. One reason for the better recovery of aircraft traffic is that planes are being used to carry more cargo.

However, that doesn’t mean airlines are doing great. United Airlines warned employees Wednesday that 45% could be furloughed in October, once federal payroll funding runs out. And Alaska Air Group, the biggest single user of Sea-Tac with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights, said last month it anticipates cutting thousands of jobs next year and shrinking to survive the coronavirus-induced downturn.

Click here to see more economic news, including other charts illustrating how the pandemic is affecting various aspects of the economy, from condo sales to job listings.

—Seattle Times business staff
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8:29 am

Hugo House’s Scribes summer writing camp for young people goes digital this year

Tyree George took part in Hugo House’s Scribes summer creative writing camp in 2019. (Doug Manelski)

Tyree George took part in Hugo House’s Scribes summer creative writing camp in 2019. (Doug Manelski)

Tyree George took part in Hugo House’s Scribes summer creative writing camp in 2019. (Doug Manelski)

Arianne True was 15 years old when she wrote “Poem for The Name on a Tombstone,” the first piece she would perform at a poetry slam, as part of Seattle nonprofit community writing center Hugo House’s Scribes summer creative writing camp for fifth through 12th graders.

Thirteen years later, she’s teaching at the same camp, and sees her work from that age, with its particular teenage earnestness, as an asset to help her students.

“I was like, oh yeah, this is the kind of poetic stuff they’re working through,” True said of rereading her own work. “Or, this is what’s really pressing for them to write about. I remember so many of the lessons that I really loved and that changed something for me.”

Arianne True (Courtesy of Hugo House)

Arianne True (Courtesy of Hugo House)

Arianne True (Courtesy of Hugo House)

She wants to have that same impact on her students, but has to do so through a computer screen now that the camp moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Classes are now being offered via Zoom video conferences and Google Classroom and teachers are trying to figure out how to build a special experience for their students from far away.

Read the full story here.

—Annie Aguiar / Special to The Seattle Times
8:19 am

Trump’s Tulsa rally, protests ‘more than likely’ linked to coronavirus surge, health official says

Supporters of President Donald Trump listen as he speaks at a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, 2020. A surge in COVID-19 cases in and around Tulsa is probably connected to the campaign rally President Trump held there last month, the city’s top health official said on Wednesday, July 8. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Supporters of President Donald Trump listen as he speaks at a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, 2020. A surge in COVID-19 cases in and around Tulsa is probably connected to the campaign rally President Trump held there last month, the city’s top health official said on Wednesday, July 8. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Supporters of President Donald Trump listen as he speaks at a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, 2020. A surge in COVID-19 cases in and around Tulsa is probably connected to the campaign rally President Trump held there last month, the city’s top health official said on Wednesday, July 8. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

The crowd that showed up for President Trump’s rally in Tulsa last month was significantly smaller than expected, but a majority of the attendees didn’t wear masks.

Now, Tulsa County is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, and a top local health official has suggested Trump’s rally and other large events, including protests, “more than likely” contributed to the recent spike.

“The past two days, we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right,” Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart said. “So I guess we just connect the dots.”

Read the full story here.

—The Washington Post
8:15 am

CDC: No rewriting of guidelines for reopening schools

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Education building Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Education building Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Education building Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Despite President Donald Trump’s sharp criticism, federal guidelines for reopening schools are not being revised, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Dr. Robert Redfield said the agency would be issuing “additional reference documents” for parents and schools to facilitate the reopening and deal with safety concerns in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But he said there would be no changing of the overall guidance.

Redfield commented a day after Trump complained the reopening guidelines were “very tough and expensive” and the CDC was “asking schools to do very impractical things.” Speaking of CDC officials, he tweeted, “I will be meeting with them.!!!”

Redfield said, “It’s really important, it’s not a revision of the guidelines, it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward.” He made his comments on ABC’s ”Good Morning America.”

Trump is pressuring state and local officials to reopen schools this fall, threatening to withhold federal funds from those that keep their learning remote.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press
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7:30 am

‘I couldn’t let her be alone’

As her mother lay in a Southern California hospital in early May, Elishia Breed was home in Oregon.

Because of the pandemic, it wasn’t safe to visit her mom, Patti Breed-Rabitoy, who had entered a hospital alone, days earlier, with a high fever and other symptoms that were confirmed to be caused by COVID-19.

So, Breed called for help giving her mother a final gift, separated by 800 miles but still together.

Read the full story here.

—JoNel Aleccia / Kaiser Health News
7:20 am

Quarantine Corner: Things to do while keeping your distance

—Kris Higginson
7:13 am

How 7 Seattle schools won $100,000 to help students’ families

Callista Chen, incoming president of the Beacon Hill International School PTA, stands in front of the elementary school Wednesday. Chen helped a coalition of PTAs apply for funding from the Seattle Foundation to help families during the coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Callista Chen, incoming president of the Beacon Hill International School PTA, stands in front of the elementary school Wednesday. Chen helped a coalition of PTAs apply for funding from the Seattle Foundation to help families during the coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Callista Chen, incoming president of the Beacon Hill International School PTA, stands in front of the elementary school Wednesday. Chen helped a coalition of PTAs apply for funding from the Seattle Foundation to help families during the coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

“We saw there was a need,” Beacon Hill International School PTA President Callista Chen says, so she helped a coalition of PTAs land funding from the Seattle Foundation to help families pay for rent, groceries and more amid the pandemic.

In an era when PTAs get criticized for giving wealthy schools an extra boost, this is very different: Relatively well-off schools are using their might to help those that have more students living in poverty.

One single mom who’s already gotten help from a PTA says that without it, things would have been “disastrous.”

Read the full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz
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6:52 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washington state confirmed 521 additional coronavirus infections yesterday, including 10 deaths. Here’s how to understand what the numbers mean about the virus’ spread.

The CDC will issue new guidance on school openings, Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday, hours after President Donald Trump criticized earlier recommendations and threatened to cut federal aid for districts that defy his demand to reopen in person. Can he do that? Well … kind of, possibly.

Will Americans pick schools … or bars? A growing chorus of public health experts is urging federal, state and local officials to help kids get back to school safely by keeping high-risk spots like taverns and gyms closed.

While several restaurants were open on Alki Beach on Wednesday, Duke’s Seafood was closed by the health department because of a coronavirus outbreak among staff. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

While several restaurants were open on Alki Beach on Wednesday, Duke’s Seafood was closed by the health department because of a coronavirus outbreak among staff. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

While several restaurants were open on Alki Beach on Wednesday, Duke’s Seafood was closed by the health department because of a coronavirus outbreak among staff. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

The health department has shut down Duke’s Seafood on Alki Beach after a coronavirus outbreak. Two employees at Duke’s branches in Bellevue and Tacoma also tested positive, according to a source, and servers are sharing their concerns about management’s actions.

Volunteers are needed for large coronavirus vaccine studies set to begin this month. The race for a vaccine will depend crucially on tens of thousands of volunteers, who can sign up now. And a hot debate is already taking place over which Americans should get the vaccine first.

Seattle-based Sur La Table has filed for bankruptcy and will close nearly half its kitchenware stores. It’s a similar story for Brooks Brothers, the 202-year-old brand that claims to have dressed all but four U.S. presidents.

Kolby Wanchuk from Sherwood Park, Alberta, hangs on in the saddle bronc competition at the Pro Rodeo Tour Finale in the 2019 edition of the Washington State Fair. The 2020 fair has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. (Alan Berner / Seattle Times)

Kolby Wanchuk from Sherwood Park, Alberta, hangs on in the saddle bronc competition at the Pro Rodeo Tour Finale in the 2019 edition of the Washington State Fair. The 2020 fair has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. (Alan Berner / Seattle Times)

Kolby Wanchuk from Sherwood Park, Alberta, hangs on in the saddle bronc competition at the Pro Rodeo Tour Finale in the 2019 edition of the Washington State Fair. The 2020 fair has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. (Alan Berner / Seattle Times)

The 120-year-old Washington State Fair in Puyallup has been canceled. But there will still be takeout fair food, a drive-in concert series and a movie night.

Do workers have a right to wear Black Lives Matter masks? Tensions are flaring as some companies say no, even as they declare support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Here are the legal issues involved. Meanwhile, retail workers are getting pulled into a growing culture war between those who mask up, and those who don’t.

—Kris Higginson
6:47 am

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Source: seattletimes.com

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