As the coronavirus pandemic restricts people throughout the country from gathering for yet another holiday, many Washingtonians are finding ways to be creative with outdoor meals and virtual dinners. But, to health officials’ dismay and despite their pleas, millions of Americans still risked traveling for Thanksgiving to see their loved ones.
In Europe, a top EU official said Wednesday that the first citizens in the 27 nation bloc could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Christmas.
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.
Dead mink spark new scare amid Denmark’s botched mass burial triggered by COVID-19 concerns
Millions of dead mink thrown into mass graves have resurfaced in Denmark, triggering a new wave of finger pointing over how the country is handling the crisis.
The animals, which were culled earlier this month after Denmark found a mutation of the coronavirus in mink that could spread to humans and hamper vaccine efforts, have since started to rot. The gas in their bodies is now causing the mink to rise to the surface, fanning contamination fears.
The development marks the latest embarrassment for Denmark’s government, which was slammed by parliament for failing to consult the legislature before ordering farmers to cull their mink.
Alaska Native Medical Center exceeds coronavirus capacity
The Alaska Native Medical Center based in Anchorage, which specializes in health care for Alaska Native and American Indian people in the state, said it is now over capacity with coronavirus patients and had to open an alternate care site to handle overflow.
The hospital’s Acting Administrator Dr. Robert Onders said during a virtual town hall on Monday that the critical care unit is so flooded that it cannot hold all the Anchorage hospital’s most seriously ill patients.
“So we’re extremely tenuous right now,” Onders said.
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region in southwestern Alaska had the highest coronavirus case rate in the state as of Tuesday with about 273 cases per 100,000 people across the region on Tuesday.
The state reported a record-high 13 deaths in a single day on Tuesday, though only five of the deaths were classified as “recent.” Alaska reported a record-high number of new confirmed cases on a single day on Nov. 14 with 745.
Farmer-support program shifts focus during COVID-19
A program designed to support farmers, Farm Rescue, is shifting its focus during COVID-19.
“We’ve helped several farmers that have had COVID, including some who have been on a ventilator for three or four weeks and have survived and are back farming now,” said Bill Gross, founder of Farm Rescue.
The group has given assistance to about 700 farm families in the last 15 years in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. The group usually helps farmers beset by injuries, illness or natural disasters, but volunteers have this year been helping those taken out of commission by COVID-19.
The pandemic has rippled through the farm economy, leading to yet more bankruptcies.
“It’s affected farmers drastically. They were already at what I feel was the breaking point,” Gross said. “There’s been persistently low commodity prices, natural disasters and now COVID, and then when you add a major injury or illness to the challenges they already faced, it just can be overwhelming to them … financially and emotionally.”
Washington liquor agents followed and confronted after notifying bar of COVID violation
State liquor control officers were followed and confronted after they served a notice of violation at Koko’s Bartini in Kennewick this week.
Officers for the Washington state Liquor and Cannabis Board stopped at the bar Tuesday afternoon to deliver the notice, which said the bar was serving liquor indoors in violation of a state ban on indoor service during the COVID pandemic.
It was the fourth time liquor control officers have visited the bar since it refused to end indoor service as required by Gov. Jay Inslee’s pandemic-safety mandate starting Nov. 18.
When Gov. Inslee reinstated the ban on indoor restaurant and bar service last week, Koko’s remained open for indoor service in what it has called a “peaceful protest” against state mandates that limit businesses.
On the bar’s regular business days over the last week it has invited people to come to the bar to drink and eat, telling them to bring protest signs.
Their teeth fell out. Was it another COVID-19 consequence?
One survivor of COVID-19, Farah Khemili of New York, experienced a unique sensation months after her bout with the disease — a loose, wiggling tooth.
The next day, the tooth flew out of her mouth and into her hand. There was neither blood nor pain. After suffering from COVID-19 this spring, Khemili has joined an online support group as she has endured a slew of symptoms experienced by many other “long haulers”: brain fog, muscle aches and nerve pain.
There’s no rigorous evidence yet that the infection can lead to tooth loss or related problems. But among members of her support group, she found others who also described teeth falling out, as well as sensitive gums and teeth turning gray or chipping.
She and other survivors unnerved by COVID’s well-documented effects on the circulatory system, as well as symptoms such as swollen toes and hair loss, suspect a connection to tooth loss as well. But some dentists, citing a lack of data, are skeptical that COVID-19 alone could cause dental symptoms.
“We are now beginning to examine some of the bewildering and sometimes disabling symptoms that patients are suffering months after they’ve recovered from COVID,” including these accounts of dental issues and teeth loss, said Dr. William W. Li, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that studies the health and disease of blood vessels.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade continues today despite COVID-19. The pandemic, which shut down theaters in March, may have upended most traditions this holiday season, but the annual New York City parade will march on with balloons, dancers, floats, Broadway shows and Santa — albeit heavily edited for safety.
COVID-19 in King County is spreading mostly in households, at workplaces and at social gatherings, new report says. More than a third of people who have been infected with COVID-19 in the last 60 days likely became infected because of transmission within their household, according to a new review of COVID-19 exposures by Public Health — Seattle & King County.
Inslee prohibits non-urgent health care and dental services. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced new list of restrictions Wednesday, prohibiting all medical and dental facilities from providing non-urgent health care, dental services and surgeries “unless specific procedures and criteria are met,” in an attempt to conserve PPE for health care workers.
Congress braces for Biden’s national coronavirus strategy. Congress is waiting for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration’s state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine.
Millions still traveled for Thanksgiving today at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.
Vaccines could be released as soon as mid-December. The federal government plans to send 6.4 million doses of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to communities across the United States within 24 hours of regulatory clearance, which could happen as early as mid-December.
Do you have questions about the coronavirus that causes COVID-19?
Ask in the form below and we’ll dig for answers. If you’re using a mobile device and can’t see the form on this page, ask your question here. If you have specific medical questions, please contact your doctor.