The pace of vaccinations in the Seattle area accelerated Saturday with the opening of the city’s mass vaccination site at Lumen Field Event Center, where 2,160 doses were administered.

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.

Yo-Yo Ma surprises clinic with cello performance

How do you while away 15 minutes of post-vaccination observation time after you receive a coronavirus shot? For Yo-Yo Ma, the answer was to give a mini cello concert.

The world-famous cellist, who had gone to the vaccination clinic at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Mass., for his second coronavirus vaccine Saturday, played the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, as well as "Ave Maria."

"It just brought that whole room together," said Hilary Bashara, a nurse administering vaccines at the clinic who administered both of Ma's doses. "It was so healing."

Read the story here.

—Paulina Firozi, The Washington Post

Flu? What flu?

So far this season, influenza has been a no-show.

The U.S. is experiencing the lowest number of flu cases on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Washington, which averages about 160 confirmed flu deaths a year, has recorded none.

And it's not just the flu — Washington researchers testing for 27 respiratory pathogens found nearly all have been close to nonexistent in the state this season.

The phenomenon demonstrates the power of simple measures to rein in a wide variety of dangerous viruses, and some believe it will lead to permanent changes in behavior, like seasonal masking.

But there's a danger that people could be more vulnerable to a resurgence next season. Read more about the lack of a flu season here.

—Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times

Seattle considers easing restrictions on home businesses

In the months since the COVID pandemic forced small businesses to shut their doors, many entrepreneurs have had to move their operations into their homes. Now, the Seattle City Council is considering changes to zoning laws that would make it easier for people to run businesses out of their homes or garages, at least temporarily.

The proposed changes would ease restrictions, allowing home businesses to have more visible signage and more than one additional employee. Customer visits would no longer need to be appointment only, and parking requirements would be eased.

Read more about the proposed new regulations here.

—David Gutman, Seattle Times

Maryland has relaxed COVID capacity limits - though it's not yet a return to normal

Gyms, restaurants, bars, houses of worship and retail businesses in Maryland began operating this weekend under Gov. Larry Hogan’s order removing capacity limits. Yet it's some way off from a return to normal life.

Many establishments were proceeding with caution. And because social distancing guidelines and mask requirements are still in place, the removal of the capacity limits won’t make much difference in some venues, particularly at smaller retail stores and restaurants.

Local officials in some counties opted to keep some restrictions in place.

Read more.

—Joe Heim and Rachel Weiner, Washington Post

Seattle Times special Sunday section: A Year of Pandemic

A year ago, we embarked on a journey none of us chose.

We've suffered from the virus — or fear of it. We've learned to mask up and adapt. We've wept for family members lost, dreams dashed and businesses closed. We've grown hopeful — for vaccines, for an end.

These are the stories of our year with COVID-19 — one that has changed us all.

Read more.

—Evan Bush and other Seattle Times staff

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