Coronavirus daily news updates, November 11: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – The Seattle Times

Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Thursday, November 11, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.
In an attempt to block COVID-19 vaccine requirements for hath care workers, ten states sued the federal government on Wednesday. The lawsuit filed argues that the requirement threatens the jobs of health care workers and could “exacerbate an alarming shortage” of employees.
COVID hospitalizations in Washington continue to decrease slowly and COVID-19 trends continue to plateau overall. But amid the plateau in COVID-19 case rates, state health officials shared concerns Wednesday that a higher number of patients are becoming sick with other respiratory infections as colder weather approaches.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are on the rise in northern states and the Mountain West, including Illinois, Minnesota and Vermont where health officials are reporting, on average, 50% more cases on average. About 23 states in the northern and Mountain West regions reported an increase in cases of at least 5%.
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.
Coronavirus deaths in Europe rose 10% in the first week of this month and made up over half of the 48,000 coronavirus deaths reported globally in that time, even as new cases and deaths dropped or remained stable in the rest of the world, according to World Health Organization figures released this week.
The highest number of deaths were recorded in Russia, which has reported record COVID-19 tolls in recent weeks, followed by Ukraine and Romania. The numbers of new infections were highest in Russia, Britain and Turkey, according to the WHO figures.
Europe accounted for about two-thirds of the world’s 3.1 million new reported cases that week, the agency’s report said, and officials in hard-hit countries are weighing new restrictions to try to quell the outbreaks as winter approaches.
In Germany, where about 67% of the population is fully vaccinated against the virus, tens of thousands of new cases are being reported every day, the country’s highest caseloads since the pandemic began. Several of its states are now working on new regulations to introduce mask mandates and require proof of vaccination or past infection for entry to some venues.
Read the full story here.
The University Hospital of Giessen, one of Germany’s foremost clinics for pulmonary disease, is at capacity. The number of COVID-19 patients has tripled in recent weeks. Nearly half of them are on ventilators.
And every single one is unvaccinated.
“I ask every patient: Why didn’t you get vaccinated?” said Dr. Susanne Herold, head of infectious diseases, after her daily round on the ward Thursday. “It’s a mix of people who distrust the vaccine, distrust the state and are often difficult to reach by public information campaigns.”
Patients like hers are the main drivers of a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases in Germany that has produced tens of thousands of new daily infections — more than the country has had at any point in the pandemic.
Read the full story here.
Twitter says it has permanently banned Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson from its service for repeated violations of its COVID-19 misinformation policy.
The social media company had earlier given Robinson a one-week ban for sending out a message to “Christians” that falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines contained a bioluminescent marker called Luciferase that allows people to be tracked.
Newsmax subsequently took her off the air for an investigation.
On Tuesday, Robinson briefly returned to social media, tweeting that “I’m back … on Twitter at least” and linking to an article she had written on Substack about the supposed marker. A Twitter spokesman said Thursday her account had been permanently banned.
Read the full story here.
Facing a surge in coronavirus infections that threatens to overwhelm Colorado hospitals, Gov. Jared Polis defied federal guidance on COVID-19 booster shots Thursday by issuing an order allowing all state residents 18 and older to get them.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules allow booster shots for those 18 and over who are at high risk of exposure to the virus. The FDA also permits boosters for people 65 and older, and adults with special medical conditions. Polis’ order declares all of Colorado at high risk of infection, significantly expanding the number of residents eligible.
“Because disease spread is so significant across Colorado, all Coloradans who are 18 years of age and older are at high risk and qualify for a booster shot,” the Democratic governor said in his order.
Requests for comment from the FDA were not immediately returned on Thursday, a federal holiday.
Read the full story here.
The European Medicines Agency has recommended the authorization of two new medicines against the coronavirus for people at risk of severe disease.
In a statement on Thursday, the EU drug regulator said it had concluded that the monoclonal antibody treatments — a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, and the drug regdanvimab — have both been proven to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in patients vulnerable to serious COVID-19.
The EMA described the safety profile of both medicines as “favorable,” and said that despite a small number of side effects, “the medicines’ benefits are greater than their risks.”
The drug combination of casirivimab and imdevimab is made by Roche; it was granted an emergency use license by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last November.
Read the full story here.
A federal judge has ruled that a ban imposed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, on mask mandates in schools violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, a decision that could have national implications as several other states are embroiled in legal battles over face covering requirements for children.
The ruling Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, the latest development in the closely watched feud, allows local leaders to once again decide whether they want to implement mask mandates in their school districts.
The state says it plans to appeal the ruling.
Disability Rights Texas, an advocacy group, challenged the Republican governor’s ban in August, arguing that it discriminates against students with disabilities — many of whom have health conditions that put them at greater risk for severe illness or death — by forcing them to risk exposure to the coronavirus or stay home from school. Disability advocates have argued that the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal law enacted in 1990, superseded Abbott’s order from late July.
Read the full story here.
The contagious delta variant is driving up COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Mountain West and fueling disruptive outbreaks in the North, a worrisome sign of what could be ahead this winter in the U.S.
While trends are improving in Florida, Texas and other Southern states that bore the worst of the summer surge, it’s clear that delta isn’t done with the United States. COVID-19 is moving north and west for the winter as people head indoors, close their windows and breathe stagnant air.
“We’re going to see a lot of outbreaks in unvaccinated people that will result in serious illness, and it will be tragic,” said Dr. Donald Milton of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
In recent days, a Vermont college suspended social gatherings after a spike in cases tied to Halloween parties. Boston officials shut down an elementary school to control an outbreak. Hospitals in New Mexico and Colorado are overwhelmed.
Read the full story here.

Several northern, mostly rural states that are battling coronavirus surges with few mask mandates and low vaccine rates are now leading the nation on another preventive front: booster shots.
The rate at which fully vaccinated residents are getting the shots is highest in the states that also have high rates of new coronavirus cases, including Alaska, North Dakota and Montana, according to a review of state data by The Washington Post. In swaths of the country where health officials will not impose mask and vaccine mandates to curb the virus’s spread, or have had their powers stripped away by Republican state lawmakers or governors, boosters are one of the few shields left for those worried about contracting and spreading the virus.
“It’s really become impossible for local public health authorities to implement any sort of social distancing measures that could help slow down the spread,” said Matt Kelley, CEO of the Montana Public Health Institute. “Getting that booster shot is one of the few tangible things that you can do to protect yourself.”
Read the story here.

The last three school districts in Florida that required at least some students to wear masks are dropping their mandates for student facial coverings.
Starting Friday, grade school students in Miami-Dade schools can opt out of wearing a mask if they have their parents’ permission. Masks already had been optional for high school and some middle school students.
The fight between the districts and the state resulted in docked school board salaries, withholding of district funding and had drawn the attention of federal education officials. A judge ruled last week that DeSantis was within his authority to allow parents to opt out of mask mandates.
Read the story here.
The movies are clawing their way back in theaters, but, so far, not everyone is showing up like they used to.
While certain segments of moviegoers are closer to pre-pandemic levels, older moviegoers and family audiences have been slower to return. That’s shrunk already narrow opportunities for non-franchise films to find audiences. Well before the pandemic, superheroes and spectacles were already a bigger and bigger slice of the box-office pie. Right now, they’re closer to the whole meal.
David A. Gross, who runs the movie consultancy Franchise Entertainment, estimates that while superhero films are back to about 75% of pre-pandemic levels, adult character-driven genres are down 66% to 75% from normal, and family films are at least than 50% off. That can naturally be attributed to COVID-19 concerns.
But if the trend is more than temporary, it wouldn’t be a surprise to those who have long forecast that the theatrical movie — once the most powerful pop-culture juggernaut on the planet — has split into two increasingly separate camps: Blockbuster and boutique.
“It’s a little early to make long-term projections. But the trend was already in place where blockbusters were making up a bigger part of the box office. Like other things that were in place, the pandemic accelerated some of those trends,” says Rich Gelfond, chief executive of IMAX. “When people go out, they want something that’s more special. People got used to watching different kinds of content on their couches.”
Read the story here.
The contagious delta variant is driving up COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Mountain West and fueling disruptive outbreaks in the North, a worrisome sign of what could be ahead this winter in the U.S.
While trends are improving in Florida, Texas and other Southern states that bore the worst of the summer surge, it’s clear that delta isn’t done with the United States. COVID-19 is moving north and west for the winter as people head indoors, close their windows and breathe stagnant air.
“We’re going to see a lot of outbreaks in unvaccinated people that will result in serious illness, and it will be tragic,” said Dr. Donald Milton of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
To protect yourself, imagine that everyone you spend time with is a smoker and you want to breathe as little of their smoke as possible, said Virginia Tech’s Linsey Marr, a leading researcher on the airborne spread of the coronavirus.
Marr, who predicted the northward spread of the virus in a Twitter post Sept. 15, said the virus spreads in the air and can build up in enclosed rooms with poor ventilation. Colder weather means more people are indoors breathing the same air.
“The closer you are to a smoker the more exposure you have to that smoke,” Marr said. “And if you’re in a poorly ventilated room, the smoke builds up over time.”

Read the story here.
When San Francisco police officer Jack Nyce missed the city’s Nov. 1 deadline to submit his coronavirus vaccination record, he was placed on a month of paid administrative leave, the San Francisco Chronicle first reported.
It was during that time that Nyce – who was not vaccinated – became ill with COVID-19, Lt. Tracy McCray, vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, told the paper.
Nyce, a 17-year veteran with the force, died of coronavirus complications Saturday at a Manteca, Calif., hospital with his wife by his side.

Nyce’s death comes as several police departments across the country struggle to enforce city vaccination mandates. In Chicago, days before police officers were due to report their vaccination status following a citywide mandate, the head of its police union urged officers to ignore the deadline and “hold the line.” Thousands of Los Angeles Police Department employees say they’ll seek vaccine exemptions after police officials filed a federal lawsuit against the city over immunization and mask mandates. In Massachusetts, at least 150 state officers, the police union recently reported, have resigned or submitted paperwork to do so over vaccine requirements. And last month, New York City’s largest police union sued to challenge a policy requiring all city employees to get their first vaccine doses before Nov. 1.
Read the story here.
It’s probably not a big shock to learn that less screen time and more physical activity for children leads to better mental health. A recent University of Washington pediatric study backs up that theory with new details on kids’ increased problems during the pandemic.
The study, published last month in JAMA Network Open, takes a snapshot of the daily activities of children ranging from ages 6 to 17 between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2, 2020, when a third wave of new COVID-19 cases in the United States began taking shape.
Of the 1,000 children surveyed, 22.2% were attending school in person, 50.6% were attending classes virtually and 27.2% were in a hybrid arrangement, the study said. Surveyed families reported a daily average of 4.4 hours in recreational screen time for their children — a figure the study notes is in line with most pre-pandemic estimates.
The mental health of the children in the study was assessed using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Among them, 143 were either diagnosed with or undergoing evaluation for anxiety, 110 for depression, 160 for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 116 for a behavioral problem.
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire scores in the UW survey showed 11.9% had difficulties, higher than the 7.1% documented in previously published studies of U.S. norms.
“As expected, children whose families experienced the most pandemic-related stressors exhibited the most mental health and behavioral problems,” the researchers wrote.
Read the story here.
Russian authorities said Thursday they were preparing new restrictions aimed at curbing the unrelenting surge of coronavirus infections that has engulfed the vast country in recent weeks.
The state coronavirus task force announced it was drafting legislation to expand the system of QR codes, already used in many regions to restrict access to certain public places, to include public transport, cafes and shops. The system only allows access to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered from the virus recently or can provide a negative coronavirus test no older than 72 hours.
COVID-19 infections and deaths in Russia remain at all-time highs. The task force on Thursday reported 40,759 new confirmed cases and 1,237 deaths — both numbers only slightly lower than the record daily tallies of 41,335 infections and 1,239 deaths registered earlier this month.
The surge in infections and deaths comes amid low vaccination rates, lax public attitudes toward taking precautions and the government’s previous reluctance to toughen restrictions.
Read the story here.
The Dutch public health institute on Thursday announced the highest daily tally of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, as the government reportedly considered a limited lockdown to put the brakes on spiking infections.
The institute said it recorded 16,364 new positive tests in the 24 hours to 10 a.m., a rise of 3,688 over the previous day.
The soaring number of cases in this nation of 17.5 million comes despite more than 84% of the Dutch adult population being fully vaccinated. The caretaker Dutch government re-introduced the use of face masks in stores and other public locations over the weekend and Prime Minister Mark Rutte is scheduled to give a nationally televised press conference Friday evening to discuss possible new measures.
Read the story here.

Tom Gonzales, director of public health in Colorado’s sixth-largest county, made a decision in mid-October that felt like a dismaying retreat in the battle against the coronavirus. He reinstated an indoor mask mandate.
It was not a popular move, but Gonzales felt he had no choice. Hospitals in Larimer County, which stretches eastward from the Continental Divide to the high plains and encompasses Fort Collins, were overwhelmed with covid-19 patients. The uptick began slowly in August, plateaued for a while – and then exploded unexpectedly once the leaves began to turn. By the end of last week, the number of covid-19 patients in the county’s hospitals matched the peak in December 2020.

Colorado’s setback is not an outlier on the national landscape. The late summer and early autumn easing of the nation’s burden of new coronavirus infections has come to a halt over the past two weeks. Twenty-three states have seen at least a 5% increase in cases over the past two weeks, with Illinois, Minnesota and Vermont reporting 50% more cases on average.
The looming question is whether this is the start of what would be the fifth national wave of infections since the start of the pandemic – and if so, what the amplitude of that wave might be.
Read the story here.

Austria’s chancellor on Thursday stepped up threats of lockdown measures for unvaccinated people, as new coronavirus cases in the Alpine country are soaring.
Austria has taken a series of measures in recent weeks in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and encourage more people to get vaccinated.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said late last month that unvaccinated people in Austria could face new lockdown restrictions if infection numbers continue to rise — which they have.
During a visit Thursday to Bregenz in western Austria, Schallenberg said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated is “probably unavoidable” and that the unvaccinated face an “uncomfortable” winter and Christmas, the Austria Press Agency reported.
“I don’t see why two-thirds should lose their freedom because one-third is dithering,” Schallenberg said.
Read the story here.
Germany reported a record-high number of more than 50,000 daily coronavirus cases on Thursday as lawmakers mulled legislation that would pave the way for new coronavirus measures.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control center, registered 50,196 new cases, up from 33,949 daily cases a week earlier. Infections have multiplied so quickly in recent days that hospitals in the hardest-hit regions canceled scheduled surgeries to allow medical personnel to focus on COVID-19 patients.
One of the country’s top virologists, Christian Drosten, warned on Wednesday that another 100,000 people could die in the coming months if the country’s vaccination rate didn’t accelerate quickly.
Unlike some other European countries, Germany has balked at making vaccinations mandatory for certain categories of workers and has struggled to persuade more people to voluntarily get shots.
Read the story here.
How can you make your holiday gathering safer? Home test kits for COVID-19 can add a layer of safety and reassurance by providing on-the-spot results, health officials say.
“It continues to be a difficult time in our state,” says Washington state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah. Though COVID hospitalizations are slowly decreasing, there’s growing concern that more patients are becoming sick with other respiratory viruses.
A federal judge yesterday ordered a halt to the enforcement of Texas’ ban on mask mandates in schools, ruling the ban violated a federal law protecting disabled students’ access to public education.
Universities with COVID-19 vaccine mandates have seen widespread compliance even though many schools made it easy to get out of the shots by granting exemptions to nearly any student who requested one.


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