The Perfect Enemy | Coronavirus daily news updates, April 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world - The Seattle Times
May 27, 2022

Coronavirus daily news updates, April 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world – The Seattle Times

Coronavirus daily news updates, April 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world  The Seattle Times

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The White House’s new COVID-19 coordinator said that even as the U.S. remains watchful for new coronavirus variants and faces an increase in reported cases, the administration is not looking to prevent every infection.

Dr. Ashish Jha added that though the 300 average of daily COVID-19 deaths is “still too high,” the rate of COVID-19 deaths against reported infections is a promising change.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Health Security Agency analyzed eight studies and reported that six of the studies found that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine could reduce the risk of long COVID. However, the other two studies found that the vaccine did not conclusively reduce the risk of long COVID.

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 the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

Navigating the pandemic

12:25 pm

New White House COVID czar: Avoiding all virus infections isn’t goal of U.S. pandemic policy

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s new COVID-19 coordinator, said Tuesday that as the United States sees an increase in known coronavirus cases and keeps a watchful eye for new variants, the administration was not seeking to stop every infection.

Making his first appearance at a White House news briefing since he assumed the role earlier this month, Jha cited the relatively low number of new deaths — though around 300 a day were “still too high,” he added — and hospitalizations at their lowest point in the pandemic. Those tallies, set against the rising number of cases around the country, amounted to a promising “inflection,” he said.

Asked what Americans should make of high-profile people such as Vice President Kamala Harris testing positive for the virus, Jha said that with such a contagious virus spreading, it would be “hard to ensure that no one gets COVID in America.”

“That’s not even a policy goal,” he said. “The goal of our policy should be: obviously minimize infections whenever possible but to make sure people don’t get seriously ill.”

The average number of confirmed new cases a day in the United States — more than 49,000 daily as of Monday, according to a New York Times database — is comparable to levels last seen in late July, even as cases have risen by more than 50% over the past two weeks, a trend infectious disease experts have attributed to new omicron subvariants.

Read the story here.

—Noah Weiland, The New York Times

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11:20 am

Do vaccines protect against long COVID?

As the pandemic enters its third year, long COVID has emerged as an increasingly important concern. And many people are wondering whether getting a COVID shot can reduce their chances of developing long-term symptoms.

The jury is still out, but a growing number of studies suggest that getting a COVID vaccine can reduce — though not eliminate — the risk of longer-term symptoms.

Britain’s Health Security Agency conducted an analysis of eight studies that had been published on the topic before mid-January. It reported that six of the studies found that vaccinated people who became infected with the coronavirus were less likely than unvaccinated patients to develop symptoms of long COVID. The remaining two studies found that vaccination did not appear to conclusively reduce the chances of developing long COVID.

Read the full story here.

— Pam Belluck, The New York Times

10:15 am

Court says UK’s nursing home COVID-19 policy was illegal

A British court ruled Wednesday that the government’s decision to discharge hospital patients into nursing homes without testing them for COVID-19, which led to thousands of deaths early in the pandemic, was illegal.

Two High Court judges said the policy from March and April 2020 was unlawful because it failed to take into account the infection risk that non-symptomatic carriers of the virus posed to older or vulnerable people.

The judges said officials did not consider other options, including keeping such patients separate from other nursing home residents for a time as much as practically possible.

“This was not a binary question – a choice between on the one hand doing nothing at all, and on the other hand requiring all newly admitted residents to be quarantined,” the judges said.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by two women whose fathers died when the virus swept through the homes where they lived. Their lawyers said the decisions that allowed COVID-19 to spread among the elderly and vulnerable was “one of the most egregious and devastating policy failures in the modern era.”

Read the story here.

—Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

9:10 am

Seattle police ignored orders to mask up, exposing ‘serious cultural issue,’ report says

Some Seattle police officers routinely — and illegally — ignored state and city mask mandates during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and refused to obey direct orders from the chief to comply, exposing what accountability officials called a “serious cultural issue” within the department, according to a recently released review by the Office of Inspector General.

The report states that the department was fined $17,500 last year after receiving two notices of “serious violations” of the Washington Administrative Code over officers’ refusal to comply with the mandates after inspections by the state Department of Labor and Industries. The report noted that it was difficult for command staff to demand officers comply with the regulations because some captains and assistant chiefs didn’t mask up, either.

L&I concluded the police department “did not provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or likely to cause, serious injury or death.”

The department’s OIG, one of three civilian-run police oversight agencies, said the police chief gave officers “clear direction” and “explicit orders” about mask-wearing as early as March 2020 — followed by a string of increasingly stern reminders.

Interim Chief Adrian Diaz then issued a direct order in January 2021 that all officers comply with the city’s mask policy, saying any violation would be referred to internal affairs. But even then, officers continued to refuse.

“The emails demonstrate that command staff and supervisors struggled to gain widespread compliance with orders pertaining to masking,” the OIG report found.

Read the story here.

—Mike Carter

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8:05 am

Another rare virus puzzle: They got sick, got treated, got COVID again

Shortly after he served on a jury in March, Gregg Crumley developed a sore throat and congestion. The retired molecular biologist took a rapid test on a Saturday and saw a dark, thick line materialize — “wildly positive” for the coronavirus.

Crumley, 71, contacted his doctor two days later. By the afternoon, friends had dropped off a course of Paxlovid, a five-day regimen of antiviral pills that aims to keep people from becoming seriously ill.

The day he took his last dose, his symptoms were abating. He tested each of the next three days: all negative.

Then, in the middle of a community Zoom meeting, he started feeling sick again. Crumley, who is vaccinated and boosted, thought it might be residual effects of his immune response to the virus. But the chills were more prolonged and unpleasant. He tested. Positive. Again.

Crumley, like other patients who have experienced relapses after taking Paxlovid, is puzzled — and concerned. On Twitter, physicians and patients alike are engaged in a real-time group brainstorm about what might be happening, with scant evidence to work with.

It is the latest twist — and newest riddle — in the pandemic, a reminder that two years in, the world is still on a learning curve with the coronavirus.

Read the story here.

—Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Washington Post

7:11 am

United States is ‘out of the pandemic phase,’ Fauci says

The United States is finally “out of the pandemic phase,” the country’s top infectious-disease expert said in a television interview Tuesday, as cases and hospitalizations are notably down, and mask mandates are all but gone.

“We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Tuesday on PBS’s “NewsHour,” when asked by anchor Judy Woodruff if the country was near the end of the pandemic.

Fauci expanded on, and clarified, his views in an interview Wednesday morning with The Washington Post, saying the global pandemic is ongoing but the United States is transitioning to a period in which the virus is no longer causing the level of hospitalization and death seen during the omicron wave of infection this past winter.

“The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that. We are still experiencing a pandemic,” Fauci said.

He said the United States was in the “full-blown pandemic phase” in the winter, then entered a period he refers to as the “deceleration” phase. The country is transitioning, he said, to the control phase.

Read the story here.

—Joel Achenbach and Bryan Pietsch, The Washington Post