• Social distancing makes normally populated locations around town look spooky, but it appears to be flattening the curve. The New York Times headline: "Coronavirus Slowdown in Seattle Suggests Restrictions Are Working." As Mike Baker reports:
Deaths are not rising as fast as they are in other states. Dramatic declines in street traffic show that people are staying home. Hospitals have so far not been overwhelmed. And preliminary statistical models provided to public officials in Washington State suggest that the spread of the virus has slowed in the Seattle area in recent days.
• That is good news, but don't get too excited. All it means is we should keep doing what we're doing right now.
• There have now been 195 deaths in Washington, according to the state's official tally. That is a rise of six deaths since the last update, but that does not represent a full 24-hour period. The total number of cases in the state is 4,896, a rise of 586 since the last update.
• New York City reported 237 deaths in 24 hours on Sunday, a significant jump over the 161 deaths in the previous 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases in New York state jumped by 7,200 in one day.
• So much for that Easter miracle: Trump extended social-distancing guidelines until the end of April. "The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks," he added, which means... Easter Sunday.
• An organization representing ER doctors is called for an investigation into the firing of the Bellingham doctor who had criticized his hospital's safety procedures.
• In addition to Saturday's rule change about funerals, Inslee clarified rules for real-estate transactions and tribal nations.
• In New York, an emergency field hospital is being constructed in Central Park.
• The field hospital at CenturyLink—for people "with broken legs and car accidents and everything else," according to a briefing last week at the Pentagon—could be "up and ready to operate by Tuesday."
• Spain reported 838 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, marking the country's highest daily jump in fatalities. Total death count in Spain is now at 6,528.
• Italy reported 756 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, bringing its total deaths to 10,779—"by far the highest of any country in the world."
• King County now has more than 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
• The US could see 100,000 to 200,000 deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated on CNN on Sunday morning. "But I don't want to be held to that. We're going to have millions of cases."
• "A Snoqualmie company’s technology that played an important part of NASA's moon landing is now helping doctors and nurses care for patients infected with coronavirus." That technology is equipment that monitors patients’ vital signs remotely.
• The bright side of stay-at-home: Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, says, "We’re not using our fossil fuel infrastructure as much as we typically do."
• Governor Inslee relaxed the rules for funerals. According to a memo, funerals are now permitted if they "are only attended by immediate family members" who are "staying six feet apart."
• At least seven people who work at FEMA have tested positive for COVID-19.
• For the first time in the US, a toddler has died from the coronavirus.
• Governor Inslee announced Saturday afternoon that the field hospital being built by the Army at the stadium where the Seahawks play "will address non COVID-19 medical needs to free up our health delivery system to deal with this virus."
• Inslee announced this in a press conference with Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and others, all socially distanced from each other:
• Inslee also said, "We need additional hospital beds, we need additional ICU beds, additional ventilators, across the state of Washington."
• In Oregon: People are now allowed to pump their own gas "to ensure the health and safety of gas retailers."
• In the UK, a medical fetish website is donating their "entire stock of disposable scrubs" to the cause.
• An Amazon worker in a Kent fulfillment center has tested positive, but the company is not closing the warehouse.
• Nordstrom, the largest employer of tailors in North America, is going to sew more than 100,000 masks for health care workers.
• An emergency room doctor who criticized his Bellingham hospital's "lack of protective measures" has been fired.
• "Postal workers say they don't have hand sanitizer, gloves, or masks, and are being told to work despite illnesses."
• The field hospital being built by the Army at CenturyLink Field in downtown Seattle will have "at least 150 hospital beds."
• FDA approves a 15-minute coronavirus test.
• "At least 17 states have more than 1,000 known cases... All across the country, numbers are rising quickly as containment efforts falter."
• New York's April 28 primary has been moved to June 23.
• There are now over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. We are the first country to pass that grim milestone. Thursday evening, the United States passed China and Italy by confirming around 84,000 positive cases. Find up-to-date data here.
• Trump spent a good part of his week feuding with Democratic governors: "We have people like Gov. Inslee, he should be doing more: He shouldn't be relying on the federal government."
• Friday evening, Trump told governors that they should be "appreciative" or he won't help them.
• As Mudede wrote: "The US is paying an exorbitant price for an incompetency that's permitted only to white males."
• Friday evening, Trump signed the $2 trillion relief bill. It is the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history. The New York Times released an F.A.Q. on the package here.
• A survey of the nation's mayors has found that...
• 91.5% (192) of the cities do not have an adequate supply of face masks for their first responders (including police, fire, and EMTs) and medical personnel.
• 88.2% (186) do not have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) other than face masks to protect these workers.
• 92.1% (186) do not have an adequate supply of test kits.
• 85% (164) do not have an adequate supply of ventilators for use by health facilities in their city or area.
• 62.4% (131) have not received emergency equipment or supplies from their State.
• Of those receiving help from their State, 84.6% (66) say it is not adequate to meet their needs.
• So you want a rent strike...
• The Zuck is giving away $25 million dollars to develop therapeutic treatments for COVID-19.
• California used to have a ventilator stockpile in preparation for a pandemic, but they dismantled it years ago.
• Here are some good graphs on coronavirus testing in the U.S. Unsurprising: New York and Washington are leading the U.S. in testing.
• Don’t be prematurely optimistic, Washington. We’re in for a long ride.
• Get ready for a global condom shortage.
• Grim: Italy continues to beat its record daily death tallies. The country saw its highest daily tally of COVID-19 deaths on Friday, reporting 919 new fatalities. The country's coronavirus death toll is around 9,134.
• Seattle has a new flag. Sort of. God knows we needed it.
Mayor Jenny Durkan raises a flag reading "We Got This Seattle" on the roof of the Space Needle. The region has endured one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the U.S. https://t.co/q6jOYN7YTA pic.twitter.com/xn8j46bR9i
— ABC News (@ABC) March 26, 2020
• China is temporarily closing its borders to foreign nationals.
• Washington's Governor Inslee suggested during a press conference on Thursday that Washington's "stay-at-home" order, which he called a "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, may need to extend past two weeks.
• Councilmember Kshama Sawant sent a letter to Governor Inslee requesting a suspension of rent, mortgage, and utility payments. An excerpt:
Elected officials have a moral and political duty to ensure the burden of this serious crisis does not land on the same working people and marginalized communities who are already struggling under “normal” periods of capitalism. It would be criminal to allow landlords to carry out rent increases during this pandemic, leading to further evictions and putting public welfare and health at grave risk.
I urge you to immediately enact a rent freeze through the rest of 2020. Additionally, I urge you to suspend all rent, mortgage, and utility payments for as long as the pandemic lasts. This is the least you can do for working people, while big banks and corporations get bailed out by the Trump administration.
• School in Washington will, apparently, start again by Monday—digitally.
• We've got record unemployment, baby! It's a big record.
Here's one measure of just how severely the coronavirus outbreak has already hurt the U.S. job market.
Read more. https://t.co/XuA079OpZd pic.twitter.com/yIurEo1eTC
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 26, 2020
• A 38-year-old Italian man who is recovering from COVID-19-related pneumonia described his experience to the Guardian: "It suddenly takes away from you freedom, freedom... It's really lonely. You can't have your family close by, nobody to support you... This experience has changed my life... Coronavirus walks on the legs of people without symptoms."
• 4Culture has announced more details on its $1 million Culture Relief Fund, which aims to prop up arts organizations and independent artists in King County. You can apply for up to $2,000 in “financial hardship” funds or to start your own arts project here. The form takes ~15 minutes to fill out, and they promise to get back to you in 10 days. First round of funding will go out April 1 through May 15.
• A Tacoma homeless shelter is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases: "Unprecedented decisions here. It’s tough."
• The City of Los Angeles is threatening to shut off the water and power to nonessential businesses that are not closing down despite the city's coronavirus restrictions.
• Prince Charles tested positive for the virus. He's 71.
• Seattle area distilleries have pivoted to fighting coronavirus by creating hand sanitizer. More of this, please!
• The White House is saying that anyone who has left New York City should self-quarantine for 14 days.
• KUOW pulls the plug on Trump's live briefings:
However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time. (2)
— KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW) March 24, 2020
• The Washington State Employment Security Department has issued a new series of emergency rules "to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and quarantine for workers and businesses." Some of the changes:
• If you are laid off work as a result of the governor’s stay home order issued on March 23, you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
• Work search requirements are optional for all claimants until further notice.
• You can request standby status for up to 12 weeks.
• The one-week waiting period to be eligible for unemployment benefits is waived.
• What does our new "stay at home, stay healthy" order restrict? We break it down here.
• India is under "total lockdown." Yes, India, the country with 1.3 billion people. The lockdown is expected to go on for 21 days to fight the spread of COVID-19.
• Everett, Washington has a drive-thru coronavirus testing site, baby!
• California's governor estimates the state will be short about 17,000 hospital beds.
• Looking for a job? The Washington Employment Security Department is hiring.
• The Olympics? They're going to be postponed.
• Wondering what happened last week? Read last week's live coronavirus update post here.