As people around the world celebrated the start of a new year, some countries and cities canceled or scaled back their celebrations while others carried on like any other year with no active outbreaks. In the United States – where the country recorded another record number of COVID-19 deaths per day on Wednesday – the virus also dampened many year-end celebrations.
In Washington, state officials plan to launch an online questionnaire in the New Year to determine eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations so those who administer vaccines do not need to have qualified police officers. Learn more about how the online tool works here.
We update this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Seattle area, the US and the world.
Click here to see the live updates from the past few days and all other coronavirus reports. Here’s how we are tracking the daily spread in Washington and the world.
Once a model, California is now struggling to tame COVID-19
California has been doing many of the right things for months to avoid a catastrophic spike in the pandemic. When Governor Gavin Newsom said on December 15 that 5,000 body bags would be distributed, it was clear that the most populous state in the country had entered a new phase of the COVID-19 crisis.
Infections have been spiraling out of control for weeks now, and California has routinely set new records for infections and deaths. It stays at or near the top of the list of states with the most new cases per capita.
Experts say a myriad of factors combined canceled past efforts that kept the virus at manageable levels for much of the year. Close housing, travel, and Thanksgiving gatherings contributed to the spread, along with public fatigue amid regulations that closed many schools and businesses and encouraged or required an isolated lifestyle.
California’s woes helped fuel the surge in US infections towards the end of the year and made attempts to reverse the scourge that has killed more than 340,000 Americans even more urgent. Even if vaccines become available, cases will almost certainly continue to rise, and are expected to continue to rise in the weeks following Christmas and New Years.
-The Associated Press
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– Kris Higginson
Seattle Times staff and news services