King County should plan on being moved back to the second phase of Washington’s three-phase COVID-19 reopening plan, forcing restaurants, churches, gyms, museums and theaters to trim their capacity, the county’s director of public health said Tuesday. The possible backslide comes as case numbers and hospitalizations continue to rise in King County and statewide, amid what Gov. Jay Inslee last week called the state’s fourth wave of the pandemic. Counties are due for their next assessment on Monday.

Americans will have more time to get the Real ID that they will need to board a flight or enter federal facilities. The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday extended the Real ID deadline until May 3, 2023. The deadline had been Oct. 1, 2021, but it was becoming clear that many people wouldn’t make it, in part because the COVID-19 outbreak has made it harder for states to issue new licenses. Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. 

Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.


South Africa resumes giving J&J jabs to health care workers

 South Africa has resumed giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to health care workers after a more than two-week pause in the use of the only COVID-19 inoculation in the country.

South Africa on Wednesday restarted its drive to inoculate 1.2 million health care workers with the J&J vaccine.

South Africa suspended the use of the J&J vaccine on April 13 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that it might be linked to rare blood clots. The country’s drug regulatory body determined that the vaccine is safe and Cabinet approved resuming its use.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press


Vaccine teams do house calls for Rome’s homebound

Nurse Luigi Lauri administers a dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 85-year old Giorgio Tagliacarne at his home in Rome, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The doctor and nurse manage just 12 shots day _ six in the morning, six in the afternoon _ making house calls to Rome’s homebound elderly to administer coronavirus vaccines and along with them, the hope that Italy’s most fragile might soon emerge from the pandemic. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Nurse Luigi Lauri administers a dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 85-year old Giorgio Tagliacarne at his home in Rome, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The doctor and nurse manage just 12 shots day _ six in the morning, six in the afternoon _ making house calls to Rome’s homebound elderly to administer coronavirus vaccines and along with them, the hope that Italy’s most fragile might soon emerge from the pandemic. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The doctor and nurse manage just 12 shots a day — six in the morning, six in the afternoon — visiting Rome’s home-bound elderly to administer COVID-19 vaccines and, with them, the hope that Italy’s most fragile might soon emerge from the pandemic.

It’s a time-consuming but crucial part of the vaccination campaign in Italy, which has the world’s second-oldest population and tends to care for its aged at home rather than in institutional facilities.

In the Lazio region around Rome, some 30,000 people over age 75 and with conditions that made it impossible for them to get to vaccination centers requested a house call. On Tuesday, a dozen of them got their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech thanks to Dr. Elisa Riccitelli and nurse Luigi Lauri.

When they ring a doorbell, they are welcomed inside like heroes.

“It’s really a very nice feeling,” Riccitelli said. “We often vaccinate bedridden patients who cannot move, the extremely elderly, so the feeling is that we’re doing something really useful.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press


BioNTech boss: Europe will reach herd immunity this summer

Europe can achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus within three to four months, the head of German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, which developed the first widely approved COVID-19 vaccine with U.S. partner Pfizer, said Wednesday.

While the exact threshold required to reach that critical level of immunization remains a matter of debate, experts say a level above 70% would significantly disrupt transmission of the coronavirus within a population.

“Europe will reach herd immunity in July, latest by August,” Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s chief executive, told reporters.

Read the story here.

—Frank Jordans, The Associated Press


Chinese companies considers mixing vaccines, booster shots

In this file photo taken Sept. 6, 2020, samples of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinopharm subsidiary CNBG are displayed near a 3D model of a coronavirus during a trade fair in Beijing. Chinese vaccine makers are looking at mixing their jabs and whether a booster shot could help better protect against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

In this file photo taken Sept. 6, 2020, samples of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinopharm subsidiary CNBG are displayed near a 3D model of a coronavirus during a trade fair in Beijing. Chinese vaccine makers are looking at mixing their jabs and whether a booster shot could help better protect against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Chinese vaccine makers are looking at mixing their jabs and whether a booster shot could help better protect against COVID-19.

Sinovac and Sinopharm, the two Chinese manufacturers that combined have exported hundreds of millions of doses all over the world, say they’re are considering combining their vaccines with those from other companies.

Sequential immunization means mixing different vaccines and it is a strategy that could boost efficacy rates, said Ashley St. John, an immunologist at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.

The practice is being considered in other countries as well and could have public health implications worldwide as governments around the world face delays in getting their vaccines in a timely manner and logistical hurdles in rolling out the shots.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press


Greek PM: Vaccine hesitancy driving high death rate

Greece’s prime minister has issued an appeal for elderly Greeks to get vaccinated, blaming hesitancy for persistently high rates of death and hospitalization.

Greece’s vaccination program has remained roughly in line with the European Union average, but deaths are higher and the number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care unit treatment is at its highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Health experts say Greeks over age 80 and below 70 are failing to make or skipping vaccination appointments in significantly larger numbers than those in the 75 to 79 age bracket.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press


The expected COVID baby boom may be a baby bust

When most of the U.S. went into lockdown over a year ago, some speculated that confining couples to their homes — with little to entertain them beyond Netflix — would lead to a lot of baby-making. But the statistics suggest the opposite happened.

Births have fallen dramatically in many states during the coronavirus outbreak, according to an Associated Press analysis of preliminary data from half the country.

The COVID-19 baby boom appears to be a baby bust.

Nationally, even before the epidemic, the number of babies born in the U.S. was falling, dropping by less than 1% a year over the past decade as many women postponed motherhood and had smaller families.

But data from 25 states suggests a much steeper decline in 2020 and into 2021, as the virus upended society and killed over a half-million Americans.

Births for all of 2020 were down 4.3% from 2019, the data indicates. More tellingly, births in December 2020 and in January and February 2021 — nine months or more after the spring 2020 lockdowns — were down 6.5%, 9.3% and 10% respectively, compared with the same months a year earlier.

December, January and February together had about 41,000 fewer births than the same three-month span a year earlier. That’s an 8% decline.

Read the story here.

—Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press


India grieves 200,000 dead with many more probably uncounted

COVID-19 deaths in India officially surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, but the true death toll is believed to be far higher.

In India, mortality data was poor even before the pandemic, with most people dying at home and their deaths often going unregistered. The practice is particularly prevalent in rural areas, where the virus is now spreading fast.

This is partly why this nation of nearly 1.4 billion has recorded fewer deaths than Brazil and Mexico, which have smaller populations and fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases.

India had thought the worst was over when cases ebbed in September. But infections began increasing in February, and on Wednesday, 362,757 new confirmed cases, a global record, pushed the country’s total past 17.9 million, second only to the U.S.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press


Hit both by pandemic and quality problems, Boeing reports more losses

A line of Boeing 777X jets are parked nose to tail on an unused runway at Paine Field, near Boeing’s massive production facility, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash.  Boeing Co. on Wednesday, April 28,  reported a loss of $537 million in its first quarter. The Chicago-based company said it had a loss of 92 cents per share. Losses, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $1.53 per share.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A line of Boeing 777X jets are parked nose to tail on an unused runway at Paine Field, near Boeing’s massive production facility, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash. Boeing Co. on Wednesday, April 28, reported a loss of $537 million in its first quarter. The Chicago-based company said it had a loss of 92 cents per share. Losses, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $1.53 per share. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Boeing reported Wednesday that it lost $561 million in the first quarter on revenue of $15.2 billion, results largely in line with market expectations, though it burned through cash at a higher than expected rate of $41 million per day.

In the first three months of the year, demand for commercial jets was depressed from the COVID-19 pandemic. And due to a manufacturing problem, Boeing managed to deliver late in the quarter just two 787 Dreamliners, one of the planes that some airlines still want to take.

However, Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun offered optimism for 2021 and told employees in a message Wednesday morning that the company has taken “important strides” toward transforming the business to adapt to the realities of the downturn.

Read the story here.

—Dominic Gates


Get set for a ‘tsunami’ of people changing jobs once the pandemic ebbs, experts say

There’s a seismic shift in the workforce brewing, one that experts say is altering the way employees view their workplace and how companies do business.

That’s according to Prudential Financial’s most recent Pulse of the American Worker Survey, which shows that 1 in 4 workers, 26%, plan to look for a job at a different company once the pandemic has subsided.

The survey, which polled 2,000 adults working full-time, also shows that 80% of those who are planning to leave their job are concerned about career growth, and 75% say the pandemic has made them rethink their skill sets.

The nation’s workforce is right at the beginning of a “tsunami” of people changing jobs, according to David Cathey, a partner with recruiting company Unity Search Group.

A year into the pandemic, 68% of American workers say that having the ability to work both remotely and at the work site is the ideal workplace model, according to the survey. Of workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 87% want to continue working remotely at least one day a week once the pandemic subsides.

Read the story here.

—Eric Schwartzberg, Dayton (Ohio) Daily News


Catch up on the past 24 hours

—Kris Higginson



Source link