Some Washington residents say they have been threatened and harassed after reporting that companies may have breached Governor Jay Inslee’s home stay order. The threats came after certain groups hostile to the coronavirus restrictions, including the three percent in Washington, released the complainants’ names, emails and phone numbers – information obtained through public registers.
More and more cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, are confirmed every day. The Washington State Department of Health announced 286 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 16,674. A total of 921 people in Washington state died of the disease on Friday.
So far, 242,989 tests for the disease have been performed in Washington, according to the latest data released by the Washington State Department of Health. About 6.9% of them returned positive.
In King County, 84 new cases were reported on Saturday, including four deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 6,947, including 491 deaths.
Throughout Sunday, on this page, we will be posting updates from Seattle Times reporters and others on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Saturday’s updates can be found here, and all of our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
The following chart includes the most recent figures from the Washington State Department of Health released on Saturday.
Reminder: how to properly wear a face mask
As the weather in the Puget Sound area remains warm and more people are considering venturing outside, here is a reminder on the proper way to wear a face covering.
In a nutshell, make sure your nose and mouth are completely covered. Do not touch it once it is on. To remove it, handle only the straps. And be sure to continue washing your hands while handling the mask.
You can check out (or recheck) our visual guide to Seattle Times staff artist Jennifer Luxton here.
How risky is it right now to get medical care without coronavirus?
Hospitals across the country have experienced a sharp drop in the number of patients having a heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest – or even appendicitis – for fear of COVID-19. Recently, the American Heart Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians and several other medical groups issued a joint statement urging people with symptoms of such threatening conditions to call 911 and go to the hospital immediately.
So how can we balance the risk of contracting COVID-19 in a health facility against the risk of not seeking care? Several moms have told me that they hover over the risky behaviors of crazy children to reduce the risk of needing an ER, but children (and even adults) break their bones and can get sick. How to stay safe when it is necessary to seek treatment?
“Hospitals and clinics reduce the risk of on-site transmission by limiting or restricting visitors, delaying elective procedures, screening staff before starting their shift and accelerating the use of telehealth”, Amy Williams, doctor and executive dean for the practice at Mayo Clinic, said in an email. Learn more here.
—Steven Petrow, The Washington Post
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Health workers started taking care of COVID-19 patients two months ago. Although they survived a peak in Washington that was not as overwhelming as expected, patients continue to come and workers are preparing for a possible second wave. Here, some describe the mix of emotions that accompany their changing roles.
A blow for the transit: The King County subway contradicted a trend: while few people got on buses in American cities, passengers flocked to board here. But the coronavirus epidemic has decimated ridership, threatening to reverse years of growth.
Virtual schools are growing because some parents find them the logical answer to school closings. But with large classes, lack of transparency and questionable results, experts question their value.
Recovery in “V” more? According to almost all indicators, the economic damage caused by the pandemic has been so much more serious than expected that some economists are now making comparisons, not with previous recessions, but with natural disasters.
Protection in your paper: A long-standing delivery of the Seattle Times mother-daughter newspaper filed notes in their newspapers asking subscribers if they needed free masks. Read the touching story about who got the message – and the masks – at the right time.
Some (too?) Like this: On Saturday, residents gathered in the parks to enjoy peaks reaching up to 86 degrees in some areas. With temperatures expected to stay in the 70s and 80s on Sunday, will social distancing be easier?
France imposes face masks, while continuing to ban the burqa
PARIS – France, behind the burqa ban, has done more than any other western country in the past decade to resist face coverings in public. But as the country begins to emerge from its coronavirus lockup on Monday, face masks are mandatory.
People are required to wear masks in secondary schools and on public transport – otherwise they risk a fine. Traders also have the right to ask customers to wear masks or leave. Video cameras integrated with artificial intelligence will monitor the overall compliance of the Paris metro.
All of this was accepted with little comment or controversy. A recent BFMTV survey revealed that 94% of French people support the wearing of masks. The fact that France has reported more than 26,000 coronavirus deaths undoubtedly contributes to this acceptance.
Read the full story here.
—The Washington Post
From working in the coronavirus “hot zone” to protecting their families, Washington health professionals reveal their difficulties
It has been just over two months since Washington healthcare providers started taking care of COVID-19 patients. Those on the front lines – from a Wenatchee nurse whose future in the United States is uncertain despite her work here, to a Mandarin-speaking doctor in Kirkland who contacted colleagues in China to learn from their experiences, to a Seattle respiratory therapist who talks about his “passion for being here” despite the one hour pre-dawn trip from Puyallup – faced the unknown and survived a peak that in this state doesn’t wasn’t as overwhelming as we feared.
But coronavirus patients continue to come, with around 400 in state hospitals last week. Trying to keep them alive, but in many cases watching them die, has brought about what Dr. Audrey Young of EvergreenHealth Medical Center calls a “huge mix of emotions.”
Learn more here.
Journalist and daughter deliver The Seattle Times – and free masks for coronavirus protection
The only contact Theresa Collins ever had with her newspaper rack was just that: the paper, rolled up at the bottom of her entrance, every morning for more than two decades.
Then one day last month, a note came out of the newspaper. It was from Gina Singer, who, with her daughter, Brittany, had been working on this Mason Lake road for years. If you needed a mask to protect yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, the Singers wrote, we’re happy to create one for you. Let us know how much and what color. Free.
It was exactly what the couple needed. In addition to caring for her husband, Eddie, who suffered a massive stroke 16 years ago, Theresa Collins has her own lung problems. Going out for anything felt like it was bringing problems with it.
Read the full story here.
Parents play in virtual schools amidst coronavirus closures. Who has everything to gain?
Hundreds of families are turning to these schools, some fearing that their children will back away from the closure of school buildings in the summer.
Virtual schools were about to intervene. And they did. Like traditional schools, virtual programs are paid for by taxpayers. This includes schools run by for-profit companies: WAVA is one of two virtual schools here run by K12 Inc., based in Virginia. The publicly traded company is a titan in the for-profit online education world. It operates approximately 70 online schools in 30 states and has approximately 120,000 full-time students in its public programs.
Learn more here.
In Yakima County, tensions escalate as some want life back to normal while farm workers want more protection from coronavirus
YAKIMA – Hundreds of people gathered on May 1 on a lawn near the county courthouse to demand an easing of the stay restrictions imposed by Governor Jay Inslee. They stood side by side, many not wearing masks. They were carrying American flags and a yellow one that said “Don’t step on me”.
“Most of us just want to go on with our lives … Nobody is asking for something special. Get back to work, “said Jason White, a Yakima city councilor who got support from some local business owners with strident calls to reopen customers.
A few days later, a rebellion of a different kind took place when around 50 men and women left work on Thursday in an apple packing plant north of Yakima. They cited a shortage of masks and carried signs made from cardboard boxes calling for a risk premium while working during the pandemic.
These two protests reflect escalating tensions in a central Washington county that has become a key battleground in the state’s ongoing efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Cases here have increased in recent weeks amid growing unease in the agricultural workforce and vocal protests against Inslee’s policies.
Read the full story here.
Bus cuts, delayed projects, fear of cyclists: the coronavirus will make transport agencies suffer for years
Before the coronavirus pandemic, King County Metro challenged a trend.
As fewer people boarded buses in cities across America, passengers flocked to board here. Metro could not hire and train drivers quickly enough and did not have enough space in its maintenance bases to meet demand.
All this has changed.
The coronavirus epidemic has decimated traffic, kept some drivers and other home workers sick or worried about the exposure, and pushed the agency into crisis planning mode. In the Puget Sound area, the same story is played agency after agency.
Learn more here.
Washington state economy could take years to rebound from coronavirus crash
Almost all indicators – from job losses and closed businesses to manufacturing slowdowns and declining tax revenues – the economic damage caused by the pandemic has been so much worse than expected that some economists are now making comparisons, not not with previous recessions, but with natural disasters, the economic impacts of which can be particularly difficult to overcome.
Indeed, forecasts now suggest a recovery that will be anything but V. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the national economy, which fell by an annualized rate of 4.8% in the first quarter, will shrink by 40% in the second .
This paves the way for a recovery, in Washington and elsewhere, which is expected to extend into 2021 or beyond and have far-reaching repercussions.
Read the full story here.
How is this epidemic affecting you?
What has changed in your daily life? What types of discussions do you have with family and friends? Are you a healthcare worker on the frontline of the intervention? Are you a COVID-19 patient or do you know one? Whoever you are, we want to hear from you so that our news coverage is as complete, accurate and useful as possible. If you are using a mobile device and do not see the form on this page, click here.
Do you have questions about the new coronavirus?
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If you have specific medical questions, please contact your doctor.