Coronavirus daily news updates, February 23: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

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As the United States surpassed 500,000 coronavirus deaths on Monday, President Joe Biden tried to strike a balance between mourning and hope. The number all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.

Meanwhile, some providers in Washington state are slated to receive twice as much vaccine this week — a “double delivery” — after ice and snow delayed last week’s shipments across the nation.

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.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

8:11 am

Farewell to bras, ‘hard pants’ and business casual: How COVID-19 has changed what we wear and how we feel about clothing

(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)
(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

We want to be comfy but also look good on Zoom. We didn’t know how uncomfortable jeans were until we stopped wearing them. If you wore one at the office, you might still wear your work badge at home. Some of us are ineffably fancy. Black masks go with everything. And we really, really hate bras.

Once dictated by climate and office culture, our clothing has changed significantly over the year we’ve weathered the coronavirus pandemic. Between mask mandates, the rise of remote work, the fall of going out, and stay-at-home orders, we dress more idiosyncratically now than perhaps ever before. Our social worlds have narrowed, and so have our sartorial choices. After all, when your job goes remote overnight, the external fashion rules go, too — and in Seattle, we didn’t have that many to begin with.

The result? Those of us privileged enough to work from home during the pandemic have also been gifted the opportunity to wear whatever we want. From 24/7 full athleisure to eveningwear at the grocery store, our clothes (and the categories we put them in) have become softer and more inventive. Formality is often a waist-up enterprise, or an intentional choice that adds momentary brightness to a world that feels more and more like a communal endurance piece with each passing day.

Read the story here.

—Megan Burbank

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8:02 am

Drug execs face Capitol Hill questions on vaccine supply

Executives from the major COVID-19 vaccine producers are set to answer questions from Congress on Tuesday about expanding the supply of shots needed to curb the pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

The hearing comes as U.S. vaccinations continue to accelerate after a sluggish start and recent disruptions caused by winter weather. But state health officials say demand for inoculations still vastly outstrips the limited weekly shipments provided by the federal government.

The Energy and Commerce Committee panel will hear from the five companies with contracts to supply COVID-19 shots to the U.S.: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax.

“We want to know what these companies are doing to ramp up production and what else can be done to get these vaccines distributed sooner to those who need them,” Rep. Diana DeGette said in a statement announcing the hearing. The Colorado Democrat leads the investigative subcommittee with oversight of U.S. health care.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

7:51 am

Alaska nonprofit group to donate vaccine doses to Juneau

A nonprofit health organization plans to donate some of the COVID-19 vaccine supplies it receives from the federal Indian Health Services to the City and Borough of Juneau.

Juneau City Emergency Manager Robert Barr said the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium vaccine donation will be used during the borough’s next mass vaccination clinic March 12 and 13, KTOO Public Media reported.

The consortium and the city are partnering to help vaccinate a larger portion of the Juneau area’s eligible population, Barr said.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

6:14 am

Catch up on the past 24 hours

  • Some Washington state vaccine providers will get double deliveries after last week’s stormy weather delayed doses across the U.S. Here’s what to expect, and how to find a vaccine.
  • Seattle is hitting the brakes on reopening school buildings. The district, still locked in negotiations with its teachers union, now says the youngest students won’t return until at least March 8. Even that date is no guarantee.
  • Glimmers of hope arrived on the same day the U.S. somberly marked a half-million COVID-19 deaths, with cases falling and strong evidence emerging in Britain that vaccines are working “spectacularly well.” But U.S. leaders worry Americans will lower their guard. “Now is not the time to say, ‘We’re doing really well, let’s pull back,'” Dr. Anthony Fauci warned. 
  • In a virus-ravaged U.S. city, where competition for vaccines is intense, nearly 400 million doses are being made — and shipped elsewhere.
  • The post-COVID-19 loss of smell is nothing to sniff at, with some people experiencing dysfunction long after other symptoms have vanished. Food is tasteless and depression is a risk: “Their lives will be much poorer.”
  • People who wear glasses may be less likely to get the virus, according to a new study.
—Kris Higginson

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9:11 pm, Feb. 22, 2021

How is the pandemic affecting you?

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