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Coronavirus every day information updates, February 17: What to know immediately about COVID-19 within the Seattle space, Washington state and the world

Editor’s observe: It is a dwell account of COVID-19 updates from Thursday, February 17, because the day unfolded. It’s not being up to date. Click on right here to see all the newest information in regards to the pandemic, and click on right here to search out further sources.

A not too long ago revealed examine discovered that individuals who had COVID-19 have an elevated danger of creating psychological well being points within the months following an an infection. Individuals who had the virus had been 39% extra more likely to be identified with despair and 35% extra wish to be identified with anxiousness.

In the meantime, King County officers introduced that eating places, bars and gymnasiums will not be required to test for proof of vaccination or adverse check outcomes starting March 1.

In an analogous however larger-scale transfer, officers in Germany introduced most COVID-19 restrictions within the nation will finish on March 20. Austrian officers additionally introduced their resolution to finish most restrictions on March 5.

We’re updating this web page with the most recent information in regards to 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 every day unfold throughout Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee has set a press convention immediately at 2 p.m. to debate the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch right here:

What’s altering about masks and COVID vaccine necessities in WA and King County

Final yr, masks got here down after which again up. Now, guidelines for face coverings and offering proof of vaccination in Washington state are winding down once more.

Beginning March 21, the statewide masks requirement will raise for many indoor areas together with colleges, grocery shops, bars and gymnasiums.

Gov. Jay Inslee introduced Thursday masks will nonetheless be required in some settings, and vaccine-verification necessities may also loosen each statewide and in King County. It was not instantly identified Thursday whether or not King County will observe the state and raise their indoor and out of doors masks mandate, which was enacted in September. 

The adjustments come as coronavirus circumstances and hospitalizations fueled by omicron are declining, and as school-district superintendents have known as on leaders to loosen masks necessities for colleges — a measure different states have not too long ago taken.

Learn the total story right here.

—Amanda Zhou

Weak to COVID, high-risk Individuals can solely watch because the U.S. strikes on

Denisse Takes’ world may be very small nowadays. She makes a residing by producing songs from her lounge, performs “Animal Crossing” on-line with buddies and leaves her house in Burbank, California, solely often to stroll her canine.

Whilst her social media feeds are flooded with family and friends members returning to their regular lives, she sees nobody apart from her husband, who donated his kidney in 2015 in order that Takes, 37, may obtain a appropriate donor’s kidney in return.

The remedy that retains her immune system from rejecting the organ additionally suppresses it from creating antibodies in response to a coronavirus vaccine. Her physique is so dangerous at preventing off an infection that she has gone to the emergency room with frequent colds, she stated. She fears that COVID-19 would kill her.

However the isolation and despair — amplified as the remainder of the world seemingly strikes on from the pandemic with out her — have additionally taken their toll.

Learn the total story right here.

—Maggie Astor and Amanda Morris, The New York Occasions

California adopts nation’s first ‘endemic’ virus coverage

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday introduced the primary shift by a state to an “endemic” strategy to the coronavirus pandemic that emphasizes prevention and fast reactions to outbreaks over mandates, a milestone almost two years within the making that harkens to a return to a extra regular existence.

Newsom stated the strategy — which incorporates pushing again in opposition to false claims and different misinformation — means sustaining a cautious watchfulness attuned to warning indicators of the subsequent lethal new surge or variant.

“This illness isn’t going away,” he advised The Related Press prematurely of his formal announcement. “It’s not the top of the quote, unquote, conflict.”

A illness reaches the endemic stage when the virus nonetheless exists in a group however turns into manageable as immunity builds. However there will probably be no definitive flip of the change, the Democratic governor stated, in contrast to the case with Wednesday’s lifting of the state’s indoor masking necessities or an announcement coming Feb. 28 of when exactly the college mask-wearing mandate will finish.

Learn the total story right here.

—Don Thompson, The Related Press

Reservist, nurse charged with operating pretend vaccine card rip-off

A Marine Corps reservist who was charged in final yr’s riot on the U.S. Capitol additionally schemed with a nurse to steal, forge and promote lots of of coronavirus vaccination playing cards and destroy vaccine doses to pretend inoculations, federal authorities stated Thursday.

Reservist Jia Liu, 26, and nurse Steven Rodriguez, 27, had been awaiting a courtroom look Thursday on costs of conspiring to commit forgery and to defraud the federal authorities.

“By intentionally distributing fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination playing cards to the unvaccinated, the defendants put army and different communities susceptible to contracting a virus that has already claimed almost 1 million lives on this nation,” Brooklyn U.S. Lawyer Breon Peace stated in a press release.

Liu’s lawyer, Benjamin Yaster, declined to remark. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not Rodriguez had an legal professional who may communicate to the allegations.

Learn the total story right here.

—Jennifer Peltz, The Related Press

WA masks mandate for colleges, companies to finish March 21, Inslee says

Washington’s COVID-19 masks necessities will raise March 21 for colleges, youngster care services, grocery shops, bars, gyms and a bunch of different indoor institutions, Gov. Jay Inslee introduced Thursday.

Masking will nonetheless be crucial after March 21 for well being care services, long-term care services, prisons, public transit and faculty buses, and any personal companies or native governments that wish to proceed with masking necessities.

In a information convention Thursday, Inslee laid out the approaching adjustments and a broader path going ahead for colleges and commerce because the wave of COVID-19 circumstances and hospitalizations introduced by the omicron variant recedes.

State Division of Well being officers will launch up to date steerage for Okay-12 colleges through the week of March 6, to assist colleges put together for the March 21 transition.

Learn the total story right here.

—Joseph O’Sullivan

Portugal scraps some virus restrictions as pandemic abates

Portugal’s authorities introduced Thursday it’s winding down its coronavirus pandemic restrictions, following the trail of different European nations the place a surge in circumstances blamed on the omicron variant is ebbing.

Among the many necessities being scrapped are: isolation if an in depth contact checks constructive, limits on the variety of folks gathering in public areas, producing a digital vaccination certificates to realize entry to eating places and different venues, and proof of a adverse check to enter sports activities occasions, bars and discotheques.

Nonetheless, face masks should nonetheless be worn indoors and a digital vaccination certificates have to be proven to enter the nation and on hospital and care house visits.

“That is yet one more step towards regular life that was snatched away virtually two years in the past,” Cupboard spokeswoman Mariana Vieira da Silva advised a press convention.

Learn the story right here.

—The Related Press

Indonesian circumstances hit report however much less extreme, fewer deaths

Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus infections because the pandemic started crossed 5 million on Thursday, the very best in Southeast Asia, however the associated deaths and mattress occupancy fueled by the extremely transmissible omicron variant remained decrease than within the earlier outbreak.

Since Tuesday, every day COVID-19 circumstances have outpaced July’s report that had overwhelmed hospitals on the primary island of Java, hitting 63,956 on Thursday. The Well being Ministry additionally reported 206 deaths in comparison with greater than 2,000 a day on the peak of the surge final yr. Information confirmed the mattress occupancy price at 33%, and 25% for intensive case models.

Learn the story right here.

—Niniek Karmini, The Related Press

Israel to scrap COVID passport system as omicron wanes

Israel’s prime minister says the nation’s coronavirus vaccination “inexperienced cross” system will probably be suspended as new every day circumstances of COVID-19 proceed to say no.

Naftali Bennett stated Thursday after assembly with well being officers that Israel’s omicron wave “has been damaged” and that further reductions in coronavirus restrictions had been forthcoming.

The Inexperienced Cross, Israel’s digital vaccination passport, restricted entry to indoor venues and huge gatherings to individuals who had recovered from coronavirus or obtained at the very least three doses of the vaccine.

Though new infections stay excessive, Israel’s well being ministry has reported a gentle decline in critical circumstances of COVID-19 because the peak of the nation’s omicron wave earlier in February.

Israel raced out of the gate final yr to vaccinate most of its grownup inhabitants after placing a cope with Pfizer to commerce medical knowledge in alternate for a gentle provide of doses. Round 48% of Israel’s 9.4 million folks have obtained three doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine because the nation started rolling out immunizations in late 2020. Over 72% of the nation has obtained at the very least one dose.

Learn the story right here.

—The Related Press

CDC: NYC anime conference didn’t unfold omicron extensively

When an individual examined constructive for omicron after attending an anime conference in New York Metropolis in late 2021, well being officers raced to find out if the indoor gathering was a superspreader occasion.

It wasn’t, the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention concluded Thursday. Widespread masking, vaccinations and good air movement on the Javits Heart prevented the extremely contagious omicron variant from spreading extensively.

Investigators discovered 119 infections from about 53,000 individuals who attended the occasion over three days in November.

A Minnesota man who attended the conference turned one of many first Individuals identified with omicron. Omicron spreads extra simply than earlier variations of the coronavirus and drove a nationwide surge over the winter.

Whereas omicron circumstances had been discovered within the man’s small social circle, different circumstances turned out to be from the older delta variant, the CDC stated.

“This massive occasion didn’t result in widespread transmission” of omicron, the investigators wrote in one of many two research revealed by the CDC.

Learn the story right here.

—Mike Stobbe, The Related Press

Inslee anticipated to announce immediately when Washington’s COVID masks mandates will raise

OLYMPIA — The times of ubiquitous COVID-19 masks in Washington could also be drawing to an in depth.

Gov. Jay Inslee, scheduled to carry a information convention at 2 p.m. on Thursday, is predicted to launch particulars for when the state will finish emergency masks necessities protecting companies and colleges.

Thursday’s information convention arrives as Washington’s every day confirmed circumstances and hospitalizations because of the omicron variant have steadily declined. Hospital officers not too long ago warned, nevertheless, that the present wave is more likely to persist for a couple of weeks extra.

That hasn’t stopped the planning for a post-omicron world.

Final week, Inslee introduced the top of a statewide order requiring masks to be worn exterior at gatherings of 500 or extra folks.

Learn the story right here.

—Joseph O’Sullivan

Courtroom: Pilot, attendant will undergo below vaccine mandate

 A pilot and a flight attendant for United Airways will undergo “irreparable hurt” below the airline’s COVID-19 coverage that makes them select between getting vaccinated in violation of their spiritual objections or occurring unpaid depart, a divided federal appeals courtroom panel in New Orleans dominated Thursday.

The fifth U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals’ 2-1 ruling doesn’t block the airline’s mandate. Nevertheless it says a decrease courtroom decide in Texas should think about briefly blocking the requirement for the staff whereas they battle United’s vaccine coverage.

The choice to get vaccinated or go on depart “is an not possible selection for plaintiffs who wish to stay devoted however should put meals on the desk,” stated the bulk opinion from Jennifer Walker Elrod and Andrew Oldham.

They stated the decrease courtroom decide erred by stating that the staff didn’t face irreparable hurt, and despatched the case again to him to contemplate different components — together with whether or not the 2 staff are more likely to in the end win their courtroom battle.

The third decide on the panel, Decide Jerry E. Smith, rejected the bulk’s discovering in a stinging, prolonged dissent. Smith stated the decrease courtroom decide’s denial of an injunction final yr ought to stand.

“For each conceivable motive that the plaintiffs may lose this attraction, they need to,” Smith wrote, saying his fellow panel members’ ruling went in opposition to legal guidelines and courtroom precedents.

Learn the story right here.

—Kevin McGill, The Related Press

Trudeau says protests should finish, truckers brace for crackdown

Police poured into downtown Ottawa on Thursday in what truckers feared was a prelude to a crackdown on their almost three-week, street-clogging protest in opposition to Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Work crews within the capital started erecting fences exterior Parliament, and for the second day in a row, police handed out warnings to the lots of of protesters to go away. Busloads of police converged on the realm.

“It’s excessive time that these unlawful and harmful actions cease,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared in Parliament, not removed from the place the protesters had been parked.

“They’re a risk to our financial system and our relationship with buying and selling companions,” he stated. “They’re a risk to public security.”

Ottawa represented the self-styled Freedom Convoy’s final stronghold after weeks of demonstrations and blockades that shut down border crossings into the U.S., inflicted financial harm on each nations and created a political disaster for Trudeau.

Learn the story right here.

—Rob Gillies and Wilson Ring, The Related Press

Estimated 73% of US now proof against omicron: Is that sufficient?

The omicron wave that assaulted the US this winter additionally bolstered its defenses, leaving sufficient safety in opposition to the coronavirus that future spikes will seemingly require a lot much less — if any — dramatic disruption to society.

Tens of millions of particular person Individuals’ immune techniques now acknowledge the virus and are primed to battle it off in the event that they encounter omicron, and even one other variant.

About half of eligible Individuals have obtained booster pictures, there have been almost 80 million confirmed infections total and plenty of extra infections have by no means been reported. One influential mannequin makes use of these components and others to estimate that 73% of Individuals are, for now, proof against omicron, the dominant variant, and that would rise to 80% by mid-March.

This may forestall or shorten new diseases in protected folks and scale back the quantity of virus circulating total, seemingly tamping down new waves. Hospitals will get a break from overwhelmed ICUs, specialists agree.

“Now we have modified,” stated Ali Mokdad, a professor of well being metrics sciences on the College of Washington in Seattle. “Now we have been uncovered to this virus and we all know cope with it.”

The coronavirus — the present variant or future ones which can be certain to pop up — stays a harmful germ. It’s nonetheless infecting greater than 130,000 Individuals and killing greater than 2,000 every single day. Tens of hundreds of thousands of individuals stay susceptible.

Learn the story right here.

—Carla Okay. Johnson, The Related Press

Hong Kong hospitals hit 90% capability as COVID-19 circumstances surge

Hong Kong’s hospitals reached 90% capability on Thursday and quarantine services had been at their restrict, authorities stated, as the town struggles to snuff out a report variety of new COVID-19 circumstances by adhering to China’s “zero tolerance” technique.

To ease the pressure on the town’s healthcare system, officers stated they may take a unique strategy to hospitalization and isolation insurance policies and permit some sufferers to be discharged sooner. The transfer comes amid studies of sufferers being handled on beds exterior a hospital within the metropolis’s working-class neighborhood of Sham Shui Po.

Hong Kong reported 6,116 new coronavirus infections on Thursday. Any individual within the metropolis who’s contaminated with COVID-19 have to be admitted to a hospital or group isolation facility.

Learn the story right here.

—The Related Press

‘My spouse says I’m getting bizarre’: Man affords free pancakes to make buddies

Clad in a chef’s hat, Curtis Kimball ladled pancake batter onto an electrical griddle as lots of of hungry neighbors lined up for one in all his fluffy flapjacks.

It was a pancake get together, and Kimball, 43, hosted it on the entrance driveway of his house in San Francisco on Feb. 12. This was the second such occasion; the primary he kicked off in late January with a couple of humorous fliers.

“My spouse says I’m getting bizarre,” Kimball typed on sheets of paper, which he then taped to phone poles across the Bernal Heights neighborhood. “She says I have to make buddies. So I’m making pancakes.”

He offered an deal with, a time and different particulars, and added: “Come by and say hello and have some pancakes with me.”

“I wasn’t anticipating anybody to point out up as a result of I didn’t know if folks learn fliers,” Kimball stated.

Then he noticed almost 100 neighbors assembled in entrance of his home, primed for the inaugural pancake get together Jan. 22, and he determined: “I suppose they do.”

Kimball got here up with the idea of internet hosting a pancake get together as a method of bringing some pleasure to his neighborhood, the place he has lived for a few yr along with his spouse and two daughters. Given the pandemic, it’s been tough to fulfill folks, he stated, and “I simply don’t understand how grown-ups make buddies.”

Learn the story right here.

—Sydney Web page, The Washington Submit

Weekly US jobless claims up, however stay traditionally low

Functions for U.S. unemployment advantages rose final week however stay close to traditionally low ranges, reflecting comparatively few layoffs throughout the financial system.

Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 for the week ending Feb. 12, the Labor Division reported Thursday. Claims had been revised upward to 225,000 the earlier week.

But the four-week common for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 10,500 to 243,250. It was the second straight week of declines after rising for 5 straight weeks because the omicron variant of the coronavirus unfold, disrupting enterprise in lots of components of the U.S.

Learn the story right here.

—Matt Ott, The Related Press

Solomon Islands coronavirus outbreak inflicting rising concern

With the primary group outbreak of the coronavirus within the Solomon Islands spreading quickly via the largely unvaccinated inhabitants, the Purple Cross warned Thursday that the Pacific Island nation’s fragile well being care system is susceptible to changing into overwhelmed.

The capital Honiara has just one small hospital and authorities have already turned a sports activities constructing right into a area hospital and a soccer stadium right into a vaccination middle, stated Clement Manuri, secretary common of the Solomon Islands Purple Cross Society.

Learn the story right here.

—David Rising, The Related Press

COVID virus could also be airborne longer and unfold by air flow, exhibits Tri-Cities analysis

Scientists at Pacific Northwest Nationwide Laboratory in Richland have discovered an sudden approach that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could also be infecting folks.

A brand new examine investigated a method that the virus might stay viable within the air greater than 200 toes away from an contaminated individual and after the contaminated individual has left the room.

Conclusions will not be definitive, however they do elevate the likelihood that adjustments must be thought of in how buildings are ventilated to forestall the airborne unfold of the virus that induced COVID-19.

Learn the story right here.

—Tri-Metropolis Herald

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