Coronavirus daily news updates, November 5: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

Two conservative groups filed lawsuits against President Joe Biden’s workplace safety mandate requiring private employers to make sure workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements expect companies with 100 employees or more to get vaccinated or be tested weekly and failure to comply can result in a $14,000 violation.

In Arizona, the governor is refusing to stop using federal coronavirus relief money for an education grant program explicitly meant for schools that don’t enforce mask mandates.

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.

Russia’s virus wave strong; some regions plan to resume work

Russia on Friday reported nearly 1,200 deaths from COVID-19 over the past day, just short of its record in a persistent wave of coronavirus infections that closed most businesses in the country this week.

The national coronavirus task force said 1,192 people died in the past 24 hours and 40,735 new infection cases were tallied. The daily records of 1,195 deaths and 40,993 infections came earlier in the week.

Russia is six days into a nationwide nonworking period that the government introduced to curb the spread of the virus.

Several regions including Novgorod in the northwest, Tomsk in Siberia, the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains and Kursk and Bryansk regions southwest of Moscow have extended the non-working period through the end of next week. But Moscow and the Russia-annexed Crimea region will resume working next week.

Read the story here.

—Jim Heintz, The Associated Press


Traveler with Biden tested positive for virus in Scotland

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One on Tuesday after attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A person traveling with President Joe Biden to Europe this past week received a positive test result for the coronavirus, the administration confirmed Thursday, saying the individual did not have close contact with the president.

The fully-vaccinated person is asymptomatic and is remaining in Scotland to quarantine while undergoing additional tests after testing positive on a lateral flow rapid test issued by the UK government required for all attendees at the UN climate summit underway in Scotland. Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, the White House said.

Breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated people are rare, but have occurred somewhat more frequently as the more transmissible delta variant of the virus has become the dominant strain in most of the world. The vaccines still dramatically reduce instances of serious illness and death.

The White House says out of an abundance of caution — and in a move above and beyond Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance — a few staff members who were in close contact with the individual did not return to the U.S. aboard Air Force One, and instead flew home on a different government plane.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Thousands of intel officers refusing vaccine risk dismissal

Thousands of intelligence officers could soon face dismissal for failing to comply with the U.S. government’s vaccine mandate, leading some Republican lawmakers to raise concerns about removing employees from agencies critical to national security.

Several intelligence agencies had at least 20% of their workforce unvaccinated as of late October, said U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Some agencies in the 18-member intelligence community had as much as 40% of their workforce unvaccinated, Stewart said, citing information the administration has provided to the committee but not released publicly. He declined to identify the agencies because full information on vaccination rates was classified.

While many people will likely still get vaccinated before the administration’s Nov. 22 deadline for civilian workers, resistance to the mandate could leave major agencies responsible for national security without some personnel.

Read the story here.

—Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press

Catch up on the past 24 hours

As COVID-19 vaccines arrive for kids ages 5-11, Washington school districts are planning shot clinics, amping up testing — and, at least in Seattle, wrestling over the idea of a vaccine mandate. With those new pediatric vaccines come all kinds of questions … like what to do if your child is turning 12 soon, and how to find an appointment in Washington state. Our Q&A has helpful answers.

The good news: Infection rates are dropping among Washington’s kids. The bad: They’re still triple the level of last summer’s delta surge. See how kids in your part of the state are faring.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill steeply cuts the rates of hospitalization and death by 90% in high-risk adults, the company reported today. It joins Merck in the race to bring a game-changing pill to market (here’s what you should know about Merck’s molnupiravir). But COVID-19 pills shouldn’t be seen as vaccine replacements, health experts explain.

U.S. borders officially reopen Monday, just in time for millions of holiday travelers to hit the skies and roads. Here’s what you need to know about new testing and vaccine requirements and more.

Fired WSU football coach Nick Rolovich is appealing his dismissal. His lawyer has submitted a 34-page letter to the university, laying out Rolovich’s reasoning for his vaccine objections and threatening “a federal court civil rights action” if WSU doesn’t change its tune.

The effectiveness of all three COVID-19 vaccines fell dramatically over time as the delta variant surged, according to researchers who scoured the records of nearly 800,000 U.S. veterans. Booster shots can help; see if you qualify.

—Kris Higginson

Article Source: The Seattle Times