As coronavirus cases continue to spike in the United States, President Donald Trump is pushing to reopen the economy and the White House is working to undercut its most trusted coronavirus expert.
In Washington state on Monday, health officials released two unusual numbers related to the pandemic, reporting 39 fewer deaths and a record-high 1,101 additional cases.
Throughout Tuesday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Monday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
Pence heads to Louisiana amid renewed surge in virus cases
Vice President Mike Pence travels Tuesday to Louisiana, which has reemerged as one of the nation’s hot spots for the coronavirus only months after seeming to contain its outbreak.
The vice president was scheduled to meet with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and others to discuss Louisiana’s response to COVID-19 as well as college reopening plans and the future of university sports programs in the pandemic.
Pence’s visit comes as Louisiana’s confirmed virus cases, percentage of positive tests and COVID-19 patient hospitalization rates surge — worrying public health experts in a state that previously appeared successful in combating the virus outbreak.
“Louisiana has been on the radar, literally front and center, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since the very beginning. We’ve never come off of that radar,” Edwards said. “I think that’s a big reason why the vice president chose to come to Baton Rouge and to Louisiana.”
In response to the surge, the Democratic governor enacted a statewide mask mandate for people 8 and older that took effect Monday. He also returned bars to takeout and delivery only. Restaurants, casinos, gyms, salons and other businesses remain open, with occupancy restrictions.
Louisiana has had nearly 80,000 confirmed cases since its first positive test in March.
—The Associated Press
Quarantine restrictions tightened around the world as new infections rise
An Australian state is toughening its punishments for anyone caught violating coronavirus quarantines, including jailing rule breakers for up to six months — a warning that follows rising virus cases worldwide and violations of restrictions that are now being further tightened.
The current set of fines for breaking a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for some visitors or lying about their whereabouts “appears not to be enough” in some cases, Queensland state Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.
With higher fines and a threat of six months’ imprisonment, “I hope that will demonstrate to the public just how serious we are about enforcing these measures,” Miles said.
The measure is one of many around the world being taken by leaders to quell the spread of the virus that occurred when restrictions were lifted.
Queensland shut its state borders to successfully contain the coronavirus outbreak, but reopened to all but residents of Victoria, Australia’s worst affected region, two weeks ago.
Disney officials announced that Hong Kong Disneyland Park is closing Wednesday following the announcement of new coronavirus restrictions by city leaders.
South Africa imposed tighter restrictions including a ban on alcohol sales, mandatory face masks in public places and an overnight curfew, as a surge in new infections pushed it into the 10 worst-affected countries with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins tally.
—The Associated Press
Almost 30 new cases tied to July Fourth parties
About 30 new COVID-19 cases in Cowlitz County are connected to two separate Independence Day gatherings, and more cases related to those gatherings likely will emerge in the next few days, the county’s top health official reported Monday.
Dr. Steve Krager, county deputy health officer, said 20 reported cases are associated with one July Fourth party and 10 others are linked to a family get-together that weekend.
Cowlitz County Monday reported 13 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing the county’s total to 286. The county recorded 28 cases Friday, its biggest one-day report since the pandemic began.
So far this month, Cowlitz County’s caseload has jumped 52 percent with 98 new cases. Infections among people 39 and younger increased in July, 60 percent of the total cases.
—The Daily News, Longview
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Washington state yesterday reported a record daily high of 1,101 new cases. As the coronavirus re-invades our state and others that already beat it back once, experts say the resurgences share common causes: “Nobody likes being told what to do.” California’s governor did just that, shutting down much of society yesterday as the state’s biggest school districts said they won’t bring students back soon.
“Don’t tell me my kid has to wear a mask”: Anger and fear are colliding as schools slam into the politics of reopening. The Trump administration has cited the American Academy of Pediatrics to make its case — but the pediatricians are pointing out they never called for the kind of reopening Trump wants. Here’s what the AAP did say.
More than 5 million Americans lost their health insurance in just four months, according to a new analysis coming out today.
Business travel evaporated in a flash when the virus hit. When will it recover? That could take several years, say analysts who are describing what would have to happen for businesses to send workers out into the world again.
The coronavirus came to light in Wuhan, China, but how did it start? Why did it spread so fast? A disease detective says we can fight it better if we know, and he wants the answers to eight key questions.
Can your dog or cat catch COVID-19 from a human? Yes, says the CDC, but it’s rare. Here are tips on keeping your pets safe.
Mary Daniel used to visit her husband at his assisted living facility for hours each evening, until March, when visitors suddenly weren’t allowed. More than 100 days passed — then she hired on as a dishwasher to see him, and the tears started streaming.
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Seattle Times staff & news services