Coronavirus daily news updates, November 1: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

New COVID-19 cases continue to drop in Washington state and the nation, but the coronavirus’ spread is persistent and continues to affect nations around the world. The pandemic appears to be winding down in the United States in a thousand subtle ways, but without any singular milestone, or a cymbal-crashing announcement of freedom from the virus.

The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems.

In the United Kingdom, some are pushing to delay an in-person U.N. climate change conference that had already been postponed a year because of a COVID spike in the country. Russia is experiencing a ‘fourth wave’ as they struggle with a vaccination rate of about 35%.

But while many developing countries don’t have enough vaccines, Western countries are providing booster shots or have too many shots for the parts of their populace who don’t want to be vaccinated. In the U.S., fights continue over how many exemptions from vaccine mandates can be allowed among large employers and the government.

In Oregon, almost two weeks after Gov. Kate Brown mandated vaccines for public employees, data shows some local governments, especially in rural parts of the state, have allowed large chunks of their employees to take advantage of religious or medical exemptions. In the city of Medford, where 44% of the city’s emergency medical technicians asked for and received exceptions, only 56% of the city’s EMTs are fully inoculated against COVID-19. In Spokane, Washington, a few firefighters who opted to leave rather than be vaccinated might return for work, if the firefighters’ union gets their way. They would not return in their original job, but in a different role in the department,  city spokesman Brian Coddington said.

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.


Catch up on the past 24 hours

The 10-month-old story of vaccines in Washington is taking a new turn this week, with local vaccine clinics preparing to give a first batch of 300,000 doses to kids ages 5 to 11. Here’s what you should know about kids’ vaccines, side effects and the delta variant.

The world hit a grim milestone today: 5 million deaths from COVID-19, with the U.S. recording more lives lost than any other nation. The global toll is about equal to the populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. Some experts see signs that the pandemic is starting to wind down, but they want the public to stay on task: “Don’t you think people in 1943 were tired of World War II?”

A 15-second breath test for COVID appears to be highly accurate, according to a new study.

The happiest place on Earth suddenly became one of the most unnerving ones last night as Shanghai Disneyland locked 33,000 people inside and kept them for hours of virus testing, apparently because a single case had emerged. Photos show the jarring scene.

—Kris Higginson

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Article Source: The Seattle Times