Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, March 25: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

0
91
Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, March 25: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

The anxious wait for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will end by May 1 for all adult Washingtonians, when everyone 16 and older can get in line for a shot, state officials confirmed Wednesday. In Seattle, the city plans to stop providing free coronavirus testing at facilities in West Seattle and Rainier Beach on March 31, as it seeks to increase distribution of vaccines at those sites. Transitioning both sites to vaccination-only will allow each site to vaccinate 1,500 people a day, up from 1,000 a day currently, according to city officials.

A coronavirus outbreak inside the King County Jail accounts for most of the 46 total cases among the in-custody population at the downtown Seattle facility and inside the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent as of Wednesday, according to the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. Additionally, seven department employees — all of them assigned to the jail in downtown Seattle — have tested positive since March 9.

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.

Gov. Jay Inslee has set a press conference today at 3:15 p.m. to discuss the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch here:

Bolsonaro under fire as Brazil hits 300,000 virus deaths

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, center, arrives for a press conference following a meeting about the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the presidential residence Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. In recent weeks, Latin America’s largest country has become the pandemic’s global epicenter, with more deaths from the virus each day than in any other nation. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, center, arrives for a press conference following a meeting about the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the presidential residence Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. In recent weeks, Latin America’s largest country has become the pandemic’s global epicenter, with more deaths from the virus each day than in any other nation. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Brazil is in political disarray as it surpassed 300,000 deaths from the virus Wednesday evening. Foes and allies alike are pleading with President Jair Bolsonaro to change course to stem a recent surge of daily deaths accounting for almost one-third of the total worldwide.

Bolsonaro, who has rejected vaccine offers and last year called coronavirus a “little flu,” has began shifting his rhetoric on the value of vaccines but continues to promote unproven COVID-19 cures to refuses restrictions, calling them an infringement on personal freedom.

“We must fight against the virus, not against the president,” he said Tuesday after Brazil posted a single-day coronavirus record.

His address was met with pot-banging protests in major cities.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

9:34 am

Iceland introduces restrictions after UK variant is detected

Gym classes, happy hours and the near-normal life enjoyed so far by the people of Iceland ended abruptly on Thursday, when the government ordered new restrictions after detecting six coronavirus cases believed to be the variant first found in Britain.

Authorities ordered all schools closed, as well as gyms, pools, theaters, cinemas and bars. Restaurants, shops and hairdressers can remain open in a limited capacity. Gatherings of more than 10 people will be banned for three weeks.

“We need to hit the brake,” Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said Thursday.

Iceland has had just 5,384 cases and 29 deaths from COVID-19, according to official figures. But in the past week, six people were infected with the British variant, which authorities say is more transmissible.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

8:31 am

With no COVID-19 patients, immunized Gibraltar drops curfew

People cross the Gibraltar airport runway towards the border crossing with Spain, backdropped by the Gibraltar rock, in Gibraltar, Friday, March 5, 2021. Gibraltar, a densely populated narrow peninsula at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, is emerging from a two-month lockdown with the help of a successful vaccination rollout. The British overseas territory is currently on track to complete by the end of March the vaccination of both its residents over age 16 and its vast imported workforce. But the recent easing of restrictions, in what authorities have christened “Operation Freedom,” leaves Gibraltar with the challenge of reopening to a globalized world with unequal access to coronavirus jabs. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

People cross the Gibraltar airport runway towards the border crossing with Spain, backdropped by the Gibraltar rock, in Gibraltar, Friday, March 5, 2021. Gibraltar, a densely populated narrow peninsula at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, is emerging from a two-month lockdown with the help of a successful vaccination rollout. The British overseas territory is currently on track to complete by the end of March the vaccination of both its residents over age 16 and its vast imported workforce. But the recent easing of restrictions, in what authorities have christened “Operation Freedom,” leaves Gibraltar with the challenge of reopening to a globalized world with unequal access to coronavirus jabs. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

With its hospital free of COVID-19 patients and only one new coronavirus infection reported in a full week, the tiny British overseas territory of Gibraltar is allowing itself some prudent celebration.

The territory of 33,000, located in the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, is ending a night-time curfew imposed three months ago to contain a surge of infections. Masks will also no longer be mandatory in all outdoor areas starting at midnight Saturday, the government announced.

“The global pandemic isn’t entirely behind us and we must all move forward carefully to safeguard this incredible progress in the weeks and months ahead,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement. But, he said, “We are at last leaving behind us our deadliest winter and entering our most hopeful spring.”

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

8:14 am

Poland orders stricter pandemic measures for Easter period

FILE – In this Saturday, March 20, 2021 file photo, few people walk on the streets after Poland reintroduced a partial nationwide lockdown on Saturday to curb a sudden spike in new COVID-19 cases, in Warsaw, Poland. Many regions in Central Europe and the Balkans are facing one of the most difficult moments since the coronavirus pandemic struck over a year ago. Poland recorded its highest daily number of new coronavirus infections Wednesday March 24, 2021, as hospitals buckled under a new surge. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

FILE – In this Saturday, March 20, 2021 file photo, few people walk on the streets after Poland reintroduced a partial nationwide lockdown on Saturday to curb a sudden spike in new COVID-19 cases, in Warsaw, Poland. Many regions in Central Europe and the Balkans are facing one of the most difficult moments since the coronavirus pandemic struck over a year ago. Poland recorded its highest daily number of new coronavirus infections Wednesday March 24, 2021, as hospitals buckled under a new surge. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

Poland’s government ordered stricter pandemic measures for the two-week period surrounding Easter, describing the new rules Thursday as an attempt to limit human contacts amid a deadly surge in the coronavirus pandemic.

Details of the new restrictions — which include the closure of nursery schools, furniture stores and beauty salons — come as Poland registered a record for daily coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day.

The new restrictions come as the nation recorded 520 new deaths on Thursday and more than 34,000 new daily cases, 4,000 more than the 30,000 that set a bleak record on Wednesday.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

7:30 am

Cuomo’s family is said to have received special access to COVID-19 tests

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at Grace Baptist Church, a new pop-up vaccination site, in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at Grace Baptist Church, a new pop-up vaccination site, in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration arranged special access to government-run coronavirus testing for members of his family and other influential people as the pandemic descended on New York last year, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move to make testing of people closely tied to Cuomo a priority was carried out by high-ranking state health officials, one of the people said. It mostly happened in March 2020, as the seriousness of the virus was still becoming clear to the broader public and testing was not widely available.

Among those who benefited from the special treatment was the governor’s brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, and his family, who were tested several times in the pandemic’s early phase, this person said. The governor’s mother, Matilda Cuomo, and at least one of his sisters were also able to take advantage of the state-administered tests, the two people said.

The revelation comes as Cuomo confronts the most significant crisis of his political career, with many of his fellow elected New York Democrats calling for him to resign in the face of multiple sexual harassment allegations and questions about his administration’s handling of the virus-related deaths of nursing home residents.

Read the story here.

—J. David Goodman and Ed Shanahan, The New York Times

7:21 am

1 report, 4 theories: Scientists mull clues on virus’ origin

A team of international and Chinese scientists is poised to report on its joint search for the origins of the coronavirus that sparked a pandemic after it was first detected in China over a year ago — with four theories being considered, and one the clear frontrunner, according to experts.

FILE – In this file photo dated Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, a worker in protectively overalls and carrying disinfecting equipment walks outside the Wuhan Central Hospital where Li Wenliang, the whistleblower doctor who sounded the alarm and was reprimanded by local police for it in the early days of Wuhan’s pandemic, worked in Wuhan in central China. A lengthy written report published Thursday March 25, 2021, from a team of international and Chinese scientists on a joint mission to Wuhan aims to help unearth the origins of the coronavirus since it was first detected in China more than a year ago. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, FILE)

FILE – In this file photo dated Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, a worker in protectively overalls and carrying disinfecting equipment walks outside the Wuhan Central Hospital where Li Wenliang, the whistleblower doctor who sounded the alarm and was reprimanded by local police for it in the early days of Wuhan’s pandemic, worked in Wuhan in central China. A lengthy written report published Thursday March 25, 2021, from a team of international and Chinese scientists on a joint mission to Wuhan aims to help unearth the origins of the coronavirus since it was first detected in China more than a year ago. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, FILE)

Team member Vladimir Dedkov, an epidemiologist and deputy director of research at the St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute in Russia, summarized the four main leads first laid out at a marathon news conference in China last month about the suspected origins of the first infection in humans. They were, in order of likelihood: from a bat through an intermediary animal; straight from a bat; via contaminated frozen food products; from a leak from a laboratory like the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Officials in China, as well as Chinese team leader Liang Wannian, have promoted the third theory — the cold-chain one — while the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump played up the fourth one, of the lab leak. But Dedkov said those two hypothesis were far down the list of likely sources.

He suggested an already infected person probably brought and spread the virus at the Wuhan market associated with the outbreak, where some contaminated frozen products were later found.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

7:15 am

With a police raid and the threat of export curbs on vaccines, the EU plays tough

Tipped off by European authorities, a team of Italian police inspectors descended on a vaccine-manufacturing facility outside Rome over the weekend. They discovered 29 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, feeding suspicions that the company was trying to spirit them overseas instead of distributing them in the European Union.

Four days later, Italian officials accepted AstraZeneca’s explanation that the doses were going through quality control before being shipped to the developing world, and to European countries.

The cinematic raid — intended to put a little muscle behind European Union threats to make the company stop exporting doses — now stands as a vivid example of just how desperate the hunt for vaccines is getting. It was also a sign of continuing tension between the bloc and those it suspects might be cheating.

Read the story here.

—Matina Stevis-Gridneff, The New York Times

6:23 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

All Washingtonians older than age 16 will be eligible for vaccines by May 1, the state says — but brace for frustrations, because the supply won’t meet the demand. Here’s the path ahead, and our updated guide to getting your vaccine. As this unfolds, Seattle is halting its free coronavirus testing at two sites so they can focus on vaccinations. 

Can you take painkillers when you get your vaccine? It depends, doctors and the CDC say. Here are their recommendations, along with other steps you can take to ease side effects.

Some widely available hand sanitizers that Americans snapped up last year contain high levels of a chemical known to cause cancer, tests found. Know what to check for.

King County would spend $600 million on COVID-19 recovery under County Executive Dow Constantine’s blueprint for “the largest supplemental budget in county history.”

How does a kid wear a mask, a football helmet and a mouth guard? It took time, but Washington’s high-school teams have finally tackled this and other safety measures.

Free with your vaccine: beer, doughnuts, marijuana … the list of swag is growing.

—Kris Higginson


Seattle Times staff & news services