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

The virus surge across the Upper Midwest region of the U.S. is worsening even as booster shots are made more available to people in a growing number of locations. Massachusetts and Utah recently approved booster shots for anyone aged 18 and over.

Meanwhile, The European Union’s drug agency is evaluating a new drug to treat COVID-19 patients who don’t need extra oxygen but have an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

As COVID-19 case rates continue to rise in several European countries, Russia hit another record high for COVID-19 deaths for a second consecutive day. The country reported that 1,251 people had died from COVID-19 on Thursday, breaking the record high set the day before, when officials reported 1,247 COVID-19 deaths.

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.

Navigating the pandemic

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

US expands COVID boosters to all adults, final hurdle ahead

U.S. regulators on Friday moved to open up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, expanding the government’s campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that may worsen with the holidays.

Pfizer and Moderna announced the Food and Drug Administration’s decision after at least 10 states already had started offering boosters to all adults. The latest action stands to simplify what until now has been a confusing list of who’s eligible by allowing anyone 18 or older to choose either company’s booster six months after their last dose — regardless of which vaccine they had first.

But there’s one more step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must agree to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. Its scientific advisers were set to debate later Friday.

Read the full story here.

—Lauran Neergaard and Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press


Catch up on the past 24 hours

Don’t expect Washington state to pile more vaccine mandates on top of President Joe Biden’s federal one. Gov. Jay Inslee says he’s decided not to make the rules stricter here, so this is what Biden’s mandate will mean for workers in our state and the rest of the nation if courts allow it to go into effect.

The U.S. plans to pay Pfizer $5 billion for “another critical tool” against COVID-19: a new pill shown to cut hospitalizations and deaths sharply in high-risk adults. But first, the pill would need federal approval.

Austria is slamming to a full stop in a 10-day lockdown and making vaccinations mandatory to combat skyrocketing infections. Meanwhile, “all of Germany is one big outbreak.”

—Kris Higginson

Article Source: The Seattle Times