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

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

Researchers are discovering that a change in the novel coronavirus is starting to appear. Although the work hasn’t been peer-reviewed, at least four laboratory experiments suggest that the mutation makes the virus more infectious.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday pushed through a package expanding Obamacare coverage. The measure spotlights how the pandemic, and President Donald Trump’s efforts to obliterate that law, have fortified health care’s potency as a 2020 campaign issue.

Throughout Tuesday, on this page, we’ll post updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Monday can be found here, and all our COVID-19 coverage can be found here.

Live updates:

Fauci: U.S. ‘going in wrong direction,’ could reach 100,000 new cases a day

The U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” with the coronavirus surging badly enough that Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators Tuesday some regions are putting the entire country at risk — just as schools and colleges are wrestling with how to safely reopen.

With about 40,000 new cases being reported a day and Americans not following public health recommendations, Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said he “would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”

“I am very concerned,” he told a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

Asked to forecast the outcome of recent surges in some states at the Senate hearing on reopening schools and workplaces, Fauci said he can’t make an accurate prediction but believes it will be “very disturbing.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci arrives to a Senate Committee hearing on Tuesday, where he warned coronavirus cases could grow to 100,000 a day in the U.S. if Americans don’t start following public health recommendations. (Bloomberg)

Fauci said areas seeing recent outbreaks are putting the entire nation at risk, including areas that have made progress in reducing COVID-19 cases. He cited recent video footage of people socializing in crowds, often without masks, and otherwise ignoring safety guidelines.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

As virus roars back, so do new layoffs

The reopening of Tucson’s historic Hotel Congress lasted less than a month.

General manager Todd Hanley on June 4 ended a two-month coronavirus lockdown and reopened the 39-room hotel at half-capacity, along with an adjoining restaurant for outdoor dining. Yet with reported COVID-19 cases spiking across Arizona, Hanley made the painful decision last weekend to give up, for now.

“We are closing everything,’’ he said. “We are going to live to fight another day.’’

The move means that once again, most of Hanley’s employees will lose their jobs, at least temporarily.

A resurgence of confirmed cases across the South and West — and the suspension or reversal of re-openings of bars, hotels, restaurants and other businesses — is endangering hopes for an economic rebound in the region and perhaps nationally. At stake are the jobs of millions of people who have clung to hopes that their layoffs from widespread business shutdowns this spring would prove short-lived.

On Thursday, the government is expected to issue another robust monthly jobs report. But it will be outdated and won’t fully capture the impact of the COVID upsurge in the South and West and the desperate steps being pursued to try to control it.

“We’re still in a very deep hole,’’ said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the firm Grant Thornton. “This makes the June employment report backward-looking instead of forward-looking.’’

A sign outside the West Alabama Icehouse shows the Houston, Texas, bar is closed Monday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shut down bars again and scaled back restaurant dining on Friday as cases climbed to record levels. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Eager to jump-start their economies, governors in several states across the Sun Belt had lifted their lockdowns before their states had met reopening guidelines that were set — yet largely shrugged off — by the White House.

Reported infections quickly spiked and some officials changed course again.

“It is the virus, not lockdowns, that dictates the course of the economy,” said Yongseok Shin, an economist at Washington University and a research fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “We cannot have a full economic recovery without reining in the epidemic.”

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Biden hammers Trump over handling of coronavirus pandemic

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday blistered President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic as he tried to demonstrate to voters how he’d handle the public health and economic crisis if he were in the White House.

Biden accused Trump of “waving the white flag” and refusing to lead the country through a pandemic that has killed 125,000 Americans and led to Depression-level unemployment.

“Despite the administration’s propaganda that their response should be a cause for celebration, despite President Trump’s request that we should slow down testing because he thinks that makes it look bad, COVID-19 is still here,” Biden said. “It didn’t have to be this way.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks Tuesday in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Biden said a national system of testing for the virus and tracing the exposure path of those who are diagnosed are necessary to restore enough confidence for businesses to reopen and consumers to re-engage in the economy. And he added that widespread use of masks and social distancing practices must be normal protocol for the “foreseeable future,” warning that COVID-19 “will likely worsen” during the coming flu season.

“We can’t continue half recovering, half getting worse,” Biden said. “We can’t continue half with a plan and half just hoping for the best. We can’t defeat this virus with a piecemeal approach.”

In a separate outline released ahead of his address, Biden’s campaign called it “impossible” to predict the state of the pandemic on Inauguration Day next January, but said Biden “won’t wait to take action,” and promised one of his first actions would be to ask Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious disease expert, to continue serving.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Coronavirus outbreak spreads in California’s San Quentin prison

With about a third of San Quentin State Prison’s inmates now infected with the coronavirus after a transfer of prisoners from a Southern California correctional facility overrun by the illness, Marin County officials revealed Monday that a death row inmate found dead last week in his cell tested positive for COVID-19.

Richard Stitely’s death was the first at San Quentin, California’s oldest and most notorious prison, where 1,059 inmates and 102 correctional and medical staff have tested positive for the virus.

An inmate walks to his cell as corrections officers patrol at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California. About a third of San Quentin’s inmates are infected with the coronavirus. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, file)

The Marin County prison has surpassed the California Institution for Men in Chino as the most infected prison in the state.

Marin County’s hospitals have been inundated with intensive care patients from the prison. On Monday, 22 inmates were being treated at the county’s hospitals, officials said.

In a letter sent Monday to the state, Marin County Board of Supervisors President Kate Rice requested the “establishment of on-site capacity to manage the care of inmates sickened with COVID-19 and the establishment of an Incident Commander at the facility with outbreak management expertise.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state was coming up with a plan that included using Seton Hospital in Daly City to treat infected inmates.

Stitely had been on death row for nearly three decades since being sentenced for the 1990 rape and murder of Carol Unger, 47, who was last seen leaving a Reseda bar with him.

He was one of 725 death row inmates housed at the Bay Area prison. Of those, nearly 200 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read the whole story here.

—Los Angeles Times

Former VP Joe Biden to criticize Trump’s handling of coronavirus pandemic

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, will hold a news conference Tuesday in which he is expected to attack President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

As the coronavirus resurges, it is moving into red states that supported Trump in 2016, causing officials to back off or reverse their reopening courses.

Because the pandemic is hitting states with Republican leaders, Trump is not able to cast the public health crisis on Democratic governors or claim it’s a problem confined to the coasts.

Biden is expected on Tuesday to lay out a case that appears to be gaining traction even with some Trump loyalists — that neglect and mismanagement by the White House has allowed the virus to careen out of control in this country even as other nations have successfully contained it, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Watch the news conference, which begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, here:

—Christine Clarridge

E.U. reopens its borders to 14 nations but not to U.S. tourists

In this file photo from Tuesday, April 7, 2020, a woman walks her dog on a Paris bridge, with the Eiffel tower in background, during a nationwide confinement to counter the COVID-19. The European Union announced Tuesday, June 30, that it will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S. (Christophe Ena / The Associated Press, file)

BRUSSELS — The European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S.

Travelers from other big countries like Russia, Brazil and India will also miss out.

Read the full story here.

—Lorne Cook / The Associated Press

As infections and deaths surge in India, prime minister calls the situation ‘critical’

Naga women hold sacks containing local vegetables at a market early morning in Kohima, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Several Indian states have reimposed partial or full lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Yirmiyan Arthur)

NEW DELHI — India on Tuesday reported more than 18,000 new coronavirus infections, raising the country’s case count to 566,840, the fourth-highest in the world. The addition of 418 deaths in the past 24 hours raised India’s fatalities to more 16,000, according to the nation’s health ministry. Experts say the true toll of the disease around the world is much higher.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a live address Tuesday that coronavirus death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.” Modi said “people are becoming careless” about wearing masks, and he urged local administrations to be more stringent about enforcing distancing norms.

Also, Indian company Bharat Biotech said it would start clinical trials of a potential vaccine. Multiple vaccine trials are in a preclinical stage in India, and several other candidates are being tested around the world.

Read more about Modi’s response and see other developments in the Asia-Pacific region.

—The Associated Press

4 ways to celebrate the Fourth of July even if local fireworks shows are canceled

Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks in 2019 light up the sky above the Brooklyn Bridge. This year’s July Fourth celebration will go forward in New York City with each borough getting a fireworks show — a twist meant to keep spectators from congregating in large numbers during the coronavirus pandemic. The finale will be broadcast on NBC starting at 8 p.m. (Frank Franklin II / The Associated Press, file)

Celebrating Independence Day amid the restrictions of pandemic prevention will require some creativity this year. The large fireworks shows are all canceled. And there won’t be any big barbecues at the park with extended family or big beach parties with friends (at least, there shouldn’t be).

Celebrations may be smaller relative to past years, but you and your family can still have fun on what looks to be a sunny Fourth of July. Here are four ideas to try.

—Gemma Alexander / Special to The Seattle Times

Quarantine Corner: Things to do while staying home

Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club has spoken: The next pick is the first novel in a mystery series. Join the fun.

Celebrate summer with five fun things for kids to do at home, from (safely) creating their own mini fireworks to making giant board games in the driveway.

Grilled peaches with big bursts of flavor: We’ll be trying teen chef Sadie’s divine-sounding recipe. Plus, the delicate apricots at local farmers markets capture sunshine, and so does this jam recipe.

Sadie Davis-Suskind’s grilled peaches with whipped cream and fregolotta. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
—Kris Higginson

Traveling this summer?

Public health experts have safety tips for you, from picking your route (here are four good ones) to minding your “bubble.”

Plus, Travel Troubleshooter lays out guidelines on sticking to your budget.

The much-revered road trip will be the spark that reignites travel, but it’s also an example of unequal access for all — and that deserves a harder look.

The Great American Road Trip holds a revered place in our country’s lore. But the ideal is a myth to many, and deserves a closer look. (Photo illustration by Stephanie Hays / The Seattle Times)
—Kris Higginson

Are the protests responsible for driving COVID-19 cases way up?

COVID-19 cases have risen locally and nationwide, but some researchers say the George Floyd protests do not appear to be significantly driving this surge. Above, some 1,000 people in the Seattle Youth Protest sit on June 10 in the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Virginia Street outside the Police Department’s West Precinct. They sat in silence for 8-1/2 minutes to observe the time it took George Floyd to die at the hands of police in Minneapolis. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Health investigators say recent protests don’t appear to be a significant factor in the rise of local infections, although some public health experts offer a different view. We looked at the case numbers before and after the protests began, and dug into what contact tracing tells us.

Find charts, mask how-tos and more to help you understand the pandemic and get through it safely.

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Washington state may need federal loans to cover unemployment claims by year’s end. But “benefits never run out,” the state says.

COVID-19 cases are exploding in California, with L.A. County alone announcing more than 2,800 new cases yesterday. It was the first state to shut down, and one of the most aggressive in fighting the virus. What went so terribly wrong?

Is another pandemic waiting in the wings? Researchers are watching a strain of swine flu that’s infecting humans, with “all of the essential hallmarks” of a pandemic virus.

Piglets at a pig farm in Langfang, China. A strain of flu virus spreading in Chinese pigs has shown it can also infect humans, suggesting that another pathogen with pandemic potential. (Gilles Sabrien / Bloomberg, file)

The first effective coronavirus drug will go to the U.S. first. Remdesivir’s maker and federal officials have announced an unusual agreement that puts price tags on the drug.

A tiny coronavirus mutation has taken over the world, and scientists are racing to understand why.

At least 285 U.S. children have been hit by a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus. Two new studies provide the fullest report yet on the condition and its symptoms.

Seattle-area home sales: You’d never know we’re in a pandemic, judging by the new home-sales listings in our Coronavirus Economy daily chart.

—Kris Higginson

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