Coronavirus day by day information updates, February 18: What to know immediately about COVID-19 within the Seattle space, Washington state and the world

Editor’s notice: It is a dwell account of COVID-19 updates from Friday, February 18, because the day unfolded. It’s not being up to date. Click on right here to see all the latest information concerning the pandemic, and click on right here to seek out further assets.

An estimated 73% of U.S. residents have turn out to be proof against the omicron variant, well being officers and specialists mentioned. Regardless of the hopeful outlook, they reminded people who on common, 2,000 deaths are being reported every day throughout the nation.

In the meantime, Gov. Jay Inslee introduced that COVID-19 masks necessities shall be lifted on March 21 for colleges, little one care services, grocery shops, bars, gyms and different indoor settings. The information got here someday after King County introduced eating places, bars, theaters and gymnasiums will not be required to verify the vaccination standing of their patrons starting March 1.

We’re updating this web page with the most recent information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and its results on the Seattle space, the U.S. and the world. Click on right here to see the remainder of our coronavirus protection and right here to see how we observe the day by day unfold throughout Washington.

Extra teenage ladies with consuming problems wound up within the ER throughout the pandemic

In the course of the pandemic, emergency rooms throughout the nation reported a rise in visits from teenage ladies coping with consuming and different problems, together with nervousness, despair and stress, in line with new knowledge from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

The report offers new element concerning the sorts of psychological well being points affecting a technology of adolescents.

Psychological well being specialists hypothesize that the pandemic prompted some youth to really feel remoted, lonely and out-of-control. Some coped by in search of to have management over their very own habits, mentioned Emily Pluhar, a pediatric psychologist at Boston Kids’s Hospital and teacher at Harvard Medical Faculty.

“You’re taking a really weak group and placed on a worldwide pandemic,” she mentioned. “The consuming problems are uncontrolled.”

Learn the complete story right here.

—Matt Richtel, The New York Instances

Distant faculty makes tutorial, Olympic juggling act simpler

Right here’s one factor the pandemic has made simpler for the younger stars of the Beijing Olympics: juggling the calls for of elite athletic competitors with school life.

Distant education, now a truth of life for college kids in every single place, additionally is useful whenever you’re a world away from campus for weeks at a time. And the expertise has been battle examined for 2 years now.

Nathan Smith, a pupil at Minnesota State College and certainly one of 15 school gamers on the U.S. males’s hockey group, has been capable of sustain along with his faculty work and even discuss along with his academics.

“I wasn’t positive what sort of connection and every thing I’d have over right here,” Smith mentioned. “I’m making an attempt to do my greatest and sustain with it.”

Learn the complete story right here.

—Sally Ho, The Related Press

Masks to turn out to be non-obligatory in Anchorage colleges

Masks-wearing shall be non-obligatory for college kids and employees in Alaska’s largest faculty district beginning Feb. 28, the district superintendent mentioned Friday, citing partly declining COVID-19 instances locally.

Deena Bishop, in an internet message mentioned the transition will happen absent “unexpected situations.”

“It’s time to do that for our college students,” she wrote, including later: “I imagine that continued necessary masks carrying is counter-productive and negatively impacts our college students’ schooling, mental growth, and emotional well-being.”

Bishop mentioned the district is ready to supply COVID-19 exams by way of the top of the varsity yr to employees and college students who exhibit signs of COVID-19.

Learn the complete story right here.

—The Related Press

2 extra arrested in ex-lawmaker’s COVID reduction fraud case

Two extra folks have been arrested Friday in a federal prison case involving a former Connecticut state consultant accused of stealing federal pandemic reduction funds from the town of West Haven whereas he was working as an aide to the town council.

A newly launched, six-count federal grand jury indictment accuses former Democratic Rep. Michael DiMassa, his spouse Lauren Knox and two others of conspiring to steal greater than $1.2 million in COVID-19 reduction funds and different cash from the town. DiMassa and his former enterprise affiliate, John Bernardo, had beforehand been charged with stealing $600,000.

All 4, who dwell in West Haven, face conspiracy and fraud expenses.

On Friday, Knox, 37, and John Trasacco, 50, a enterprise proprietor, have been arrested for the primary time in reference to the case. They each appeared earlier than a federal Justice of the Peace and pleaded not responsible to 1 depend of wire fraud and one depend of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from two separate alleged schemes involving DiMassa, the New Haven Register reported. Each have been launched on bond pending trial.

Learn the complete story right here.

—Susan Haigh, The Related Press

America’s physician, household get COVID-19 regardless of safeguards

Surgeon Normal Vivek Murthy introduced Friday that he and his younger household have COVID-19 regardless of their greatest efforts to keep away from an infection by getting vaccinated and taking different precautions.

Writing on Twitter, America’s physician mentioned, “Once you’ve been as secure as you’ll be able to, getting COVID-19 will be irritating and disappointing. I’ve felt that. It can be a supply of disgrace. Many individuals assume you could have been careless to get sick. Our security measures scale back danger however they will’t remove danger. Nothing can.”

As new instances and hospitalizations plummet, and deaths have lastly began to say no, the Murthy household’s bout with COVID calls consideration to the actual dangers of a virus that many individuals assume is lastly on the best way out.

Murthy, a daily participant at White Home COVID job pressure briefings, mentioned he and his spouse, doctor and political activist Dr. Alice Chen, have gentle signs. She has a headache and fatigue, and he mentioned he was coping with muscle aches, chills, and a sore throat.

Learn the complete story right here.

—Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Related Press

State well being officers verify new coronavirus instances, deaths

The state Division of Well being (DOH) reported 3,347 new coronavirus instances on Wednesday and a pair of,626 on Thursday. It additionally reported 93 extra deaths over these days.

The replace brings the state’s totals to 1,409,253 instances and 11,615 deaths, which means that .82% of individuals identified in Washington have died, in line with the DOH. The information is as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday. New state knowledge is reported on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

DOH knowledge programs are experiencing slowdowns inflicting delays in reporting instances, hospitalizations and deaths. The company didn’t have an estimate of duplicate instances on Friday.

As well as, 57,442 folks have been hospitalized within the state as a result of virus — 297 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state’s most populous, state well being officers have confirmed a complete of 361,753 COVID-19 diagnoses and a pair of,473 deaths.

Since vaccinations started in late 2020, the state and well being care suppliers have administered 12,954,260 doses and 67% of Washingtonians have been totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, in line with vaccination knowledge, which the state updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Suppliers are at the moment giving a median of about 11,658 vaccine photographs per day.

The DOH says its day by day case experiences may additionally embody duplicate check outcomes, outcomes assigned to the unsuitable county, outcomes which can be reported for immediately however are literally from a earlier day, occasional false optimistic exams and different knowledge discrepancies. Due to this, the day before today’s whole variety of instances plus the variety of new day by day instances doesn’t add as much as the brand new day’s whole variety of instances. State well being officers advocate reviewing the dashboard’s epidemiologic curves tab for probably the most correct illustration of the state’s COVID-19 unfold.

—Daisy Zavala

Six African international locations to obtain mRNA vaccine expertise

The primary African international locations chosen to obtain the expertise mandatory to supply mRNA vaccines in opposition to COVID-19 are Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, a summit assembly of European Union and African Union nations heard on Friday.

The six international locations have been chosen to construct vaccine manufacturing factories as a part of a bid the World Well being Group launched final yr to copy what are believed to be the simplest licensed photographs in opposition to COVID-19.

Africa at the moment produces simply 1% of coronavirus vaccines. In keeping with WHO figures, solely 11% of the inhabitants in Africa is totally vaccinated, in contrast with the worldwide common of about 50%.

Learn the story right here.

—Samuel Petrequin, The Related Press

COVID instances climb at Larch Corrections Middle

The Washington Division of Corrections reported 55 energetic COVID-19 instances Wednesday amongst incarcerated people at Larch Corrections Middle.

The variety of energetic instances amongst employees — six — has remained the identical since Monday, in line with Wednesday’s DOC bulletin.

The minimum-security jail close to Yacolt was positioned on facility-wide outbreak standing Feb. 7 after 4 inmates within the dwelling unit examined optimistic.

Learn the story right here.

—Jessica Prokop, The Columbian

‘Fortress Australia’ has a brand new message: Come again

Moments after the Australian authorities introduced that it will reopen the nation’s borders to worldwide vacationers later this month, Emily Barrett locked in a fare for a flight to Sydney. The 32-year-old nanny from Palo Alto, California, spent three days researching and speaking to Australian pals earlier than she determined to e book her journey to the island continent, which for 2 years had a few of the world’s strictest border controls and longest lockdowns geared toward controlling the unfold of the coronavirus.

“All of them mentioned, ‘if we return right into a lockdown now, folks will go into the streets,’” she mentioned. Her two-week journey is scheduled to begin a couple of days after the border opens Monday.

Potential vacationers and tourism operators alike are cautiously optimistic about “Fortress Australia’s” reopening, however many surprise if the remoted nation’s ongoing COVID restrictions — reminiscent of vaccine and testing necessities, in addition to masks mandates — will make the return of worldwide journey extra of a trickle than a splash. Australia’s fame for rigidity and reclusiveness throughout the pandemic — at odds with the inviting, easygoing nature portrayed by the nation’s tourism boards — may additionally be a hurdle to beat.

Learn the story right here.

—Isabella Kwai and Tacey Rychter, The New York Instances

Well being minister: Germany has crossed omicron peak

 Germany has crossed over the height of latest day by day infections with the omicron variant of COVID-19 in decline, the nation’s well being minister mentioned on Friday.

Well being Minister Karl Lauterbach mentioned authorities measures to curb an infection numbers have been efficient, however he warned in opposition to enjoyable the general public well being guidelines too rapidly.

Learn the story right here.

—The Related Press

A light US flu season is waning, however is it actually over?

This winter’s gentle flu season has light to a trickle of instances in a lot of the U.S., however well being officers aren’t able to name it over.

Because the starting of the yr, optimistic flu check outcomes and physician’s workplace visits for flu-like sickness are down. However second waves of influenza are usually not uncommon, and a few specialists mentioned it’s potential a late winter or spring surge may very well be coming.

COVID-19 instances have been falling, resulting in a decline in masks carrying and behaviors that will have been preserving flu down this winter and a few indicators present flu exercise inching up.

Learn the story right here.

—Mike Stobbe, The Related Press

From Amazon to Zillow, Seattle employees think about getting again to workplace. Or not

For a lot of within the Seattle space, Monday’s back-to-back back-to-office bulletins by Microsoft and Expedia appeared to substantiate an actual momentum within the area’s restoration from COVID.

Since then, politicians and enterprise leaders have talked of “tipping factors” and have predicted extra back-to-office bulletins — together with the welcome prospect of extra employees returning to still-moribund downtowns and industrial districts. Virtually on cue, a day after Monday’s information, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell used his first State of the Metropolis handle to announce that many metropolis employees at the moment working remotely will come again to the workplace subsequent month.

“What it alerts is that there’s relative confidence within the security of bringing the workforce again collectively,” Patrick Bannon, president of the Bellevue Downtown Affiliation, mentioned of Microsoft’s announcement. “I can’t wait to see extra folks again in downtown, particularly on this space the place the workplace towers have been actually quiet throughout the pandemic.”

However, in a approach, the flurry of bulletins additionally confirmed how far the area’s office-based economic system stays from its pre-pandemic glory. 

Learn the story right here.

—Paul Roberts

World instances are dropping, however the WHO is watching an omicron subvariant

The omicron surge appears to be slowing in a lot of the world, however a subvariant that scientists imagine is much more contagious is on the rise, and a decline in testing has muddled the worldwide image, the World Well being Group mentioned.

New instances worldwide dropped 19% from Feb. 7-13, in contrast with the week earlier than, in line with the company. However the omicron subvariant, BA.2, gave the impression to be “steadily rising” in prevalence and that BA.2 had now turn out to be dominant in a number of Asian international locations, together with China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, WHO mentioned.

BA.2 now accounts for roughly 1 in 5 new omicron instances recorded the world over, in line with the WHO.

Learn the story right here.

—Alyssa Lukpat, The New York Instances

S. Korea retains crowd limits as omicron causes 25-fold spike

South Korea will lengthen restaurant eating hours however keep a six-person restrict on personal social gatherings because it wrestles with a large coronavirus wave pushed by the extremely infectious omicron variant.

The 109,831 new instances reported on Friday was one other file and a few 25-fold enhance from the degrees seen in mid-January, when omicron turned the nation’s dominant pressure. The greater than 516,000 infections counted up to now seven days alone raised South Korea’s caseload to over 1.75 million.

Lengthy strains snaked round public well being places of work and testing stations within the densely populated capital Seoul, the place well being employees in hazmat fits distributed speedy antigen check kits and picked up throat and nasal samples from senior residents and different high-risk teams.

Learn the story right here.

—Kim Tong-Hyung, The Related Press

‘No-COVID’ coverage drags on Hong Kong economic system as instances surge

Hong Kong’s Fung Shing Restaurant was bustling this week as prospects got here for one final style of the standard Cantonese dim sum that has made it well-known.

With COVID-19 restrictions reducing too deeply into its backside line, the restaurant will shut its doorways for good on Sunday, one other financial sufferer of the pandemic.

Many worry the worst is but to return with Hong Kong experiencing its most extreme outbreak, and fret the authorities’ dedication to stay to mainland China’s “zero-tolerance” technique might forestall it from recovering as a monetary and journey hub.

“Although perhaps zero-COVID will be reached, there’s nonetheless uncertainty on how lengthy it may be maintained and what the price is of sustaining it,” mentioned Natixis senior economist Gary Ng.

“The largest danger of Hong Kong in 2022 is that it might be coming into the trail of principally, if not recession, not less than a downward drag in financial development once more whereas the world begins to normalize,” Ng mentioned.

Hong Kong has seen banks shut branches and film theaters have shut down. The streets of in style purchasing and eating districts are lined with outlets displaying “for lease” indicators. Its worldwide airport is sort of devoid of vacationers.

Learn the story right here.

—David Rising and Alice Fung, The Related Press

Canadian police begin arresting protesters in Ottawa

Police started arresting protesters Friday in a bid to interrupt the three-week, traffic-snarling siege of Canada’s capital by lots of of truckers offended over the nation’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Officers have been seen going door to door alongside a line of vans, campers and different automobiles parked on Ottawa’s snow-covered streets.

Some protesters surrendered and have been taken into custody, police mentioned. Some have been led away in handcuffs. One individual being taken away carried an indication that learn “Mandate Freedom.”

Lots of the truckers remained defiant.

“Freedom was by no means free,” mentioned trucker Kevin Homaund, of Montreal. “So what in the event that they put {the handcuffs} on us they usually put us in jail?”

Police made their first transfer to finish the occupation late Thursday with the arrest of two key protest leaders. In addition they sealed off a lot of the downtown space to outsiders to stop them from coming to assistance from the self-styled Freedom Convoy protesters.

Learn the story right here.

—The Related Press

Atone for the final 24 hours

COVID-19 masks necessities shall be lifted on March 21 for colleges, little one care services, grocery shops, bars, gyms and different indoor settings, Gov. Jay Inslee introduced Thursday. The information got here someday after King County introduced eating places, bars, theaters and gymnasiums will not be required to verify the vaccination standing of their patrons starting March 1. Our Q&A dives into what it’s essential know concerning the current bulletins.

California turned the primary state to formally shift to an “endemic” method to the coronavirus with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement Thursday of a plan that emphasizes prevention and fast response to outbreaks over mandated masking and enterprise shutdowns.

The omicron surge appears to be slowing in a lot of the world, however a subvariant that scientists imagine is much more contagious is on the rise, and a decline in testing has muddled the worldwide image, the World Well being Group mentioned.

—Seattle Instances employees

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