* Statewide: 6,966 confirmed cases, up nearly 1,000 from the previous total released March 31, and 284 deaths. Local counties through Tuesday: King 2,711 cases/188 deaths, including 23 since yesterday; Pierce 433/7; Snohomish 1,317/38.

* Seattle is temporarily eliminating metered parking on city streets during the state’s stay at home order, now scheduled to last until May 4. Other parking restrictions, including restricted parking zone time limits, disabled spots, and load zones, will continue to be enforced.

* Metro and Sound Transit announced further cuts in service as ridership plummets.

* Celebrity local restaurateur Tom Douglas says he is closing his 13 restaurants because he is broke from the cost of closing his businesses. Douglas estimated that “It’s going to be tough for 50 percent of our restaurants to come back.” The move underscores the thin profit margin most restaurants operate with, and the difficulty many will have surviving the pandemic.

* State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a 60-day grace period for all stand-alone dental plans.


* As expected, the CDC issued new guidelines today recommending that all people wear cloth masks or other face coverings in public. Trump immediately undercut the CDC, saying, ‘I’m choosing not to do it.”

* Trump’s daily press briefing was once again a sh*tshow, with the president insulting reporters and rejecting Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recommendation for a national stay at home order, instead blaming state governors for the pandemic.

* To nobody’s surprise, Trump also came out as opposed to national voting by mail for the November election, claiming without evidence that it would lead to vote fraud. The likely Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, has called for states to prepare to make voting by mail an option in November.

* Stocks dropped again Friday, as March’s monthly employment numbers were unsurprisingly bad and Europe recorded its biggest-ever one-month drop in economic activity.

* More than 10,000 loans worth more than $3.2 billion were processed by the Small Business Administration today, in the first day of small business loans under the $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill passed by Congress last week. Another emergency bill is being worked on by House Democrats.

* A West Virginia bank became the first bank failure in the US attributed to the impact of the pandemic.

* Alabama became the 41st state to issue a stay at home order. The remaining nine states all have Republican governors: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.

* Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis finally issued a stay at home order only yesterday, scheduled to take effect this evening. But he also quietly issued an order overturning more stringent local restrictions – and exempted churches from his stay at home order. The Tampa megachurch whose pastor was arrested last weekend for defying a county restriction on large gatherings appears to be back in business this Sunday. Packed churches for Easter – only nine days away!

* Amidst a nationwide blood shortage, the FDA has eased the ban on blood donations by gay men, a ban that dates to the early days of AIDS almost 40 years ago. There are still steep restrictions. Gay men in a committed relationship with an HIV-negative partner still aren’t eligible. Bigotry dies hard.

* The Trump Administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has quietly toughened rules for workers seeking union representation, amidst a national wave of labor organizing in workplaces with serious public health concerns.

* The WNBA women’s pro basketball league postponed the beginning of its season, which was set to start May 15.

* 134 inmates at Cook County (Chicago) Jail, the nation’s largest single-site jail, have tested positive.

* An outbreak at a San Antonio nursing home has infected 67 of the facility’s 84 residents, with one death. Eight staff members have also tested positive, and authorities are scrambling to conduct tests at seven other area nursing homes where the staff also worked. Texas, finally, issued a stay at home order yesterday; most of its major cities, including San Antonio, have had such orders in place for at least two weeks.

* New York state passed 100,000 confirmed cases today. Only three *countries* – Spain, Italy, and, of course, the US – have more. The situation in New York City, Long Island, and northern New Jersey hospitals became increasingly desperate today. New York City alone has nearly 50,000 cases. One out of every six NYPD officers either has tested positive or is in quarantine. One out of every 4 EMS personnel in the city has also tested positive.

* Four states passed the 10,000 mark in confirmed cases: Michigan, California, Massachusetts, and Louisiana.

New York 102,985 (84,046)
New Jersey 29,895 (22,255)
Michigan 12,744 (9,315)
California 11,898 (9,937)
Massachusetts 10,402 (7,738)
Louisiana 10,297 (6,424)
Florida 9,585 (7,773)
Illinois 8,904 (6,980)
Pennsylvania 8,570 (6,063)
Washington 6,670 (5,984)


* In Thailand, The United States intercepted a shipment of 200,000 masks for health care workers, made by 3M and bound for the city of Berlin, in an incident a German official described as “modern piracy.” The Trump Administration is also trying to use the Defense Protection Act to bar 3M from exporting medical supplies from the US to any other countries, including Canada and Mexico.

* French authorities also accused the US of outbidding, on a Chinese airport runway, a supply of masks about to be shipped from China to Paris. So what’s to stop, say, China, from refusing to export protective gear to the US? So far, 68 countries have put limits on their own export of medical supplies.

* A doctor who leads a Russian doctors’ union has been detained for challenging the country’s official count of COVID-19 cases. Russia currently reports 4,149 confirmed cases, a total that has grown rapidly this week. Critics have cast doubt on the accuracy of the official case and death counts of several authoritarian countries, especially Russia, China, and Iran – and North Korea, which claimed, this week, it still has no cases.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,098,848 and 59,131 deaths – up almost 8,000 deaths from yesterday.

* Amidst encouraging signs that Italy is finally beginning to slow its pandemic, Spain – whose outbreak began in earnest about a week after Italy’s – was poised to pass it for the second-most confirmed cases in the world. Meanwhile, South Korea – which a month ago had the second highest number of cases in the world – passed 10,000 cases. It now ranks 15th globally.

* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Thursday’s total in parentheses):

USA 277,828 (236,339)
Italy 119,827 (115,242)
Spain 119,199 (110,238)
Germany 91,159 (84,600)
China 82,511 (82,432)
France 65,202 (59,929)
Iran 53,183 (50,468)
UK 38,690 (34,765)
Turkey 20,921 (18,135)
Switzerland 19,606 (18,827)
Belgium 16,770 (15,348)
Netherlands 15,821 (14,784)
Canada 12,439 (11,114)
Austria 11,524 (11,108)
South Korea 10,062 (9,976)
Portugal 9,866 (9,034)
Brazil 9,194 (7,031)
Israel 7,428 (6,808)
Sweden 6,731 (5,466)
Norway 5,370 (5,131)
Australia 5,330 (<5000) Your COVID-19 musical accompaniment of the day. GO WASH YOUR HANDS


The new US unemployment numbers for the past week are really, really bad. The world exceeds 50,000 deaths, and is exceeded a million confirmed cases today. The numbers are rising hourly. The Democrats postponed their Milwaukee convention by a month, and now say they’ll hold it in August. They’re still in denial. Joe Biden will likely be the nominee. They’re still in denial about his fitness as a candidate, too…


* Washington state is finally releasing new numbers, which it hadn’t done since March 28. Now we have state totals through March 31: 5,984 confirmed cases, and 247 deaths. Local counties through Tuesday: King 2,468 cases/165 deaths; Pierce 352/7; Snohomish 1,221/38.

* That federal investigation of Life Care Center of Kirkland, the nursing home that became the first epicenter of the US outbreak? It’s resulting in $611,000 in fines for multiple ongoing safety violations during the outbreak – at $123,585 per day over six weeks. The home also faces loss of eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid payments. And that”s before state regulators weigh in. Life Care is one of the country’s largest nursing home chains, and has also had resident deaths at some of its other locations nationally.

* Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) has launched an interactive online map of food resources during the crisis: food banks, senior centers, student meals, and other locations that are open. It’s at…/….

* The Northwest Folklife Festival announced that it is postponed from its annual four-day Memorial Day weekend dates. No new dates for the festival were given.

* Seattle has booked an entire downtown hotel, for three months as a place for first responders to self-isolate or quarantine. The Executive Hotel Pacific, at 4th & Spring, was converted from an SRO in the early ’90s. Downtown hotels, which rely on tourism and conventions, are virtually empty now due to the outbreak.

* So far, six SPD officers and 10 Seattle firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19, and 167 SPD employees and 86 SFD employees had been quarantined or isolated. American Medical response, the private company that provides the city’s ambulance service, has not released data.


* There were 6.6 million unemployment claims filed last week in the US – doubling the record-shattering number of the previous week. 10 million in two weeks. That’s more than the entire length of the 2008-09 recession. In Washington state, another 190,000 filed claims. And it’s likely all an undercount of the number of people losing their incomes, given the large number of people who rely on the gig economy and who aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. We’re heading into uncharted economic territory.

* The Democratic National Convention has been postponed from mid-July to mid-August. Most remaining primaries have been postponed to early June (the previous DNC deadline for awarding delegates – that may change). Democrats will need to wrestle with how the entire arc of the campaign has been upended with only two candidates remaining. Joe Biden had one good week that gave him an overwhelming lead in delegates, but his performance as a frontrunner this month – when his whole campaign has been based on his being an experienced leader who can handle a crisis – has not been very confidence-building. Meanwhile, Trump is on prime time TV Every. Single. Day. The Dems have a big, big problem.

* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of a bipartisan House Committee to oversee the Trump Administration’s pandemic response. The committee will be led by veteran South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, likely a reward for saving Joe Biden’s candidacy. The committee will have subpoena power, but good luck getting Trump to honor any. Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the committee “unnecessary,” because foxes ALWAYS behave themselves in the henhouse. #MostCorruiptAdmiistrationEver.

* In signing last week’s $2.2 trillion relief bill, Trump made clear that he rejected the bill’s provisions that would check the administration for any potential abuses or conflicts of interest: “I am the oversight.”

* The House is already working on another, potentially even larger bill. Today’s unemployment numbers will lend still more urgency to that effort.

* The FDA approved the first antibody test for COVID-19 today. That will help determine whether antibodies from a recovered patient can be used to treat current patients – an unproven but potentially huge development. And it could give epidemiologists a much better idea of how widespread the virus is – IF the test is widely administered, something the US hasn’t exactly had a great track record with this past month.

* Cell phone GPS data is showing that in states which failed to enact stay at home orders promptly, such as Florida, Georgia, and Texas, residents continued to travel widely – including to other states, compromising the entire country’s response. The data underscores the problem with the lack of a federal stay at home order, and the US reliance on a patchwork of often politicized state-level responses.

* New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his state only has a six day supply of life-saving ventilators left – and that he did not think the federal government could help. New York has had 442 deaths in the last day.

* Meanwhile, Trump again blamed New Yorkers for their problems, saying the area’s doctors and hospitals are “never satisfied” with the federal response. Yeah, bodies piling up, and Trump wants them to be, uh, satisfied? Sociopath.

* Hobby Lobby has drawn the ire of Colorado officials for failing to comply with business closure orders. The craft chain re-opened its stores this week, apparently because Trump said they should, or God did, or both, or something. Colorado now has 3,342 cases, 14th among the states.

* Here’s the top ten states in confirmed cases, with last night’s total in parentheses.

New York 84,046 (83,712)
New Jersey 22,255 (22,255)
California 9,937 (8,813)
Michigan 9,315 (7,615)
Florida 7,773 (6,741)
Massachusetts 7,738 (6,620)
Illinois 6,980 (5,998)
Louisiana 6,424 (6,424)
Pennsylvania 6,063 (6,009)
Washington 5,984 (the state has now updated through 3/31)


* The global total (UPDATED 2:45 pm) of confirmed cases is 1,009,159 and 51,485 deaths. 181 countries now have the virus.

* Greece has quarantined a (mostly Syrian) refugee camp of 2,600 people after 20 residents tested positive. Portugal extended residency status to refugees and asylum seekers during the crisis. Ireland has said it will not prosecute illegal migrants seeking health or other state services.

* A day after Spain became the third country to reach 100,000 cases, it recorded its highest death toll yet: 950 dead in one day, pushing the country over 10,000 dead. economist projected that Spanish unemployment could reach 35 percent.

* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Wednesday evening’s total in parentheses):

USA 236,339 (206,049)
Italy 115,242 (110,574)
Spain 110,238 (104,118)
Germany 84,600 (77,981)
China 82,432 (82,361)
France 59,929 (57,756)
Iran 50,468 (47,593)
UK 34,765 (29,865)
Switzerland 18,827 (17,768)
Turkey 18,135 (15,679)
Belgium 15,348 (13,964)
Netherlands 14,784 (13,696)
Austria 11,108 (10,711)
Canada 11,114 (9,560)
South Korea 9,976 (9,887)
Portugal 9,034 (8,251)
Brazil 7,031 (6,836)
Israel 6,808 (6,092)
Sweden 5,466 (<5000) Norway 5,131 (<5000) Go for a walk - at a safe distance from other people, of course. It's a nice spring day! We're in this together for the long haul. Mental self-care will be hugely important. And when you get back home, WASH YOUR HANDS AGAIN



* Gov. Jay Inslee said today that he is likely to extend our state’s stay at home order through the month of April.

* Due to data overload, the Washington Department of Health still has not updated its COVID-19 case counts since last Saturday, when it reported 4,896 confirmed cases.

* DSHS has purchased a closed Judkins Park nursing home, with the intent of converting it into use by non-COVID-19 hospital patients by early May – freeing up area hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.

* A construction worker at Sound Transit’s new University District light rail station tested positive for COVID-19.


* The stock market was down 4.4 percent today, one day after finishing the worst quarter since 2008.

* You mean Trump was lying? Department of Homeland Security officials said today the national reserve of critical PPE supplies is “nearly depleted” – leaving FEMA, states and other countries to bid against each other in the private marketplace, frequently bidding up the price. Only a “tiny slice” of the national stockpile of PPEs remains, equipment that is being saved for federal first responders.

* Trump has consistently bragged about how there was plenty of PPEs in reserve, plenty being manufactured, etc. Governors have been complaining about being outbid by the feds for needed equipment for weeks, even though Trump pledged a week ago to end federal outbidding and up the price against the states.

* One governor complained yesterday that a $25,000 ventilator cost their state $50,000. During World War Two, price gouging of necessary commodities was prosecuted fiercely. Today, not so much. #DisasterCapitalism.

* The federal government is reporting a surge of online and phone scams related to the stimulus checks – along the lines of “In order to receive your stimulus deposit, we need to confirm your banking information…” DON’T DO IT.

* The Navy reversed itself today and announced that some 3,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt would be evacuated from the ship by Friday. About 100 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship is docked in Guam, and the Navy is working with Guam’s government to try to identify enough motel rooms to accommodate crew members.

* The Coast Guard has ordered all cruise ships to remain at sea “indefinitely,” an order impacting “dozens” of ships mostly at or near South Florida. Most of the ships only have crew aboard, but Carnival has three ships with about 6,600 passengers off the Florida coast now. The ships include the troubled Zaandam, which has had two passengers die from COVID-19, nine test positive, and another 190 with symptoms consistent with the virus.

* Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, as well as the governors of Mississippi and Nevada, finally got around today to issuing long-overdue statewide stay at home orders for their hard-hit states. President Trump went out of his way yesterday to praise DeSantis’ “early” response, and criticize New York Gov, Andrew Cuomo, who was far more proactive in addressing the pandemic.

* Trump, today, reiterated that he did not want a national stay at home order, or, apparently, any kind of coordinated federal response. Public health experts continue to warn that the pandemic could last six or more months; so far, at least publicly, the administration appears to have no plan for a prolonged public health crisis. Only a handful of states, including Texas, do not yet have stay at home orders.

* Today West Virginia became the 15th state to postpone its presidential primary, from May 12 to June 9. Likely nominee Joe Biden said it was “hard to envision” the Democratic Party holding their July convention in Milwaukee as scheduled. As of yet, the DNC has not announced any fallback plan if the pandemic is still afoot in three months.

* Twenty-eight University of Texas students who helped charter a plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to party during Spring Break have now tested positive for COVID-19.

* The New York City metro area’s death toll surged again today, to 2,381.

* CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of New York’s governor, has tested positive.

* The US blew past 200,000 cases today, and now has nearly double the number of confirmed cases of any other country. The top ten states:

New York 83,712
New Jersey 22,255
California 8,813
Michigan 7,615
Florida 6,741
Massachusetts 6,620
Louisiana 6,424
Pennsylvania 6,009
Illinois 5,998
Washington 5,498 (the state has not reported updated numbers in four days)


* This year’s United Nations climate change summit, scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, has been postponed due to the pandemic.

* As bad as Donald Trump’s crisis response has been, it looks positively prescient compared to far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. He remains the last major world leader to be denying the severity of the pandemic. As cases have grown the last week in Brazil, Bolsonaro claimed his country’s people were somehow uniquely immune to the virus, saying that they could be dunked in raw sewage and “don’t catch a thing.” He has accused state governors of inflating their case numbers to make him look bad. This week, as the number of cases accelerated, he demanded Brazilians go back to work. Politicians across Brazil’s political spectrum are begging the public to ignore their president. In major cities, the nightly banging of pots and pans from windows is not to support health care workers, but to support Bolsonaro’s impeachment.

* So it can be worse.

* Another hero of the far right, the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte, today threatened to shoot protesters who have been locked down in the sprawling Manila metro area. The protesters are primarily poor people saying they are running out of food and other essentials.

* Russian president Vladimir Putin sent a planeload of masks and medical supplies to the US to assist in dealing with its outbreak.

* The global total of confirmed cases is now 932,605, in 180 countries, with 46,809 deaths. The world almost certainly will exceed a million cases and 50,000 deaths tomorrow. Spain became the third country to reach 100,000 cases.

* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Tuesday evening’s total in parentheses):

USA 206,049 (189,624)
Italy 110,574 (105,792)
Spain 104,118 (95,723)
China 82,361 (82,294)
Germany 77,981 (71,808)
France 57,756 (52,836)
Iran 47,593 (44,481)
UK 29,865 (25,481)
Switzerland 17,768 (16,605)
Turkey 15,679 (13,531)
Belgium 13,964 (12,775)
Netherlands 13,696 (12,667)
Austria 10,711 (10,180)
South Korea 9,887 (9,887)
Canada 9,560 (8,551)
Portugal 8,251 (7,443)
Brazil 6,836 (5,812)
Israel 6,092 (5,258)

April is here in all its glory. Keep 6 ft between you and others and WASH YOUR HANDS!



* Construction of an emergency field hospital under CenturyLink Field was halted last night after outraged Seahawk fans claimed that the holy site had not been properly consecrated for that purpose. After a late-night waiver of the governor’s ban on religious services, this morning faith leaders from across the region gathered for a brief ceremony. Construction has now resumed.

* Seattle City Council voted unanimously yesterday to give every adult Seattleite a 60-day supply of weed to help with the stress of the pandemic. The bill was immediately vetoed by Mayor Jenny Durkan, who remains the only person over age 12 in Seattle who doesn’t partake. Council easily overrode the veto. Councilmember Sawant raised a concern that landlords didn’t deserve the benefit, but after a brief recess she returned to council chambers feeling much better. The weed will be given out using the same distribution network now being used for school lunches.

* Mayor Durkan announced an emergency order that on public health grounds bans all homeless people from Seattle. “I’ve been wanting to do this for years,” Durkan explained, adding, “They’re just icky, icky people.”

* Amazon, enjoying record home delivery sales, announced that they would cancel the Amazon Prime memberships of anyone who lived in a jurisdiction that dared to tax it. A panicked Congress hastily passed a new federal law prohibiting any taxation of the tech giant, and a coughing Donald Trump signed it into law. In a show of corporate responsibility, Amazon donated “dozens and dozens” of face masks to area morgues. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was not available for comment, having launched into space yesterday in an act of social distancing welcomed by all.

* In a little-noticed development, the Seattle Mariners cancelled their season.

* Puget Sound pods of orca whales were spotted Tuesday frolicking and celebrating, happy that the water was cleaner, the noise wasn’t as bad, and the humans finally had something to worry about, too.


* The White House Medical Office announced that both President Trump and Vice President Pence had tested positive for COVID-19. At her weekly press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a wry smile on her face, said she would pray for them.

* Trump, defiant, tweeted that he has “Never felt better!! NOBODY ELSE HAS EVER HAD THIS VIRUS BEFORE ME!!!!! I will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Vladimir and other Great Americans in fighting this virus! Make America Wait Again!!” Trump appeared at his daily press briefing, sneezing onto the podium microphone, which Dr. Anthony Fauci would then fastidiously wipe clean.

* Pence deferred hospitalization, fearing that too many nurses might be single women, and is praying at home instead.

* Two other Cabinet members tested positive: HHS Secretary Ben Carson, who is attempting to heal the virus through the laying on of hands, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is self-kwarrunteening. The remainder of the Cabinet is in self-isolation, reflexively praising Trump via Zoom.

* DeVos’ brother, former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, announced the formation of a new mercenary army to go shoot the virus.

* The city of Las Vegas, out in the middle of the desert with no purpose any longer, simply vanished yesterday.

* Frustrated New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “Now I know how Puerto Rico felt.”

* With tens of millions of Americans stuck at home, major porn sites were crashing all day on Tuesday.


* Fearing a second wave of infections, China took its most stringent measure yet today, banning anyone under the age of five from the People’s Republic. A spokesman explained that “while this may cause some parents to become distraught, we simply cannot afford the public health risk of having those adorable little walking, sniveling, sneezing disease vectors around.”

* North Korea announced that Kim Jong-Un had found a cure for COVID-19 while launching a ballistic missile and shooting hoops.

* Total confirmed cases worldwide jumped today to 7,774,824,639.

It’s a lot easier to compile these updates if I don’t need to check sources! An actual update coming again later today.


Well, March was interesting, wasn’t it? Not exactly going out like a lamb…


* Still no new numbers from the state as it works to resolve its data issues. Local counties: King 2,330 cases/150 deaths; Pierce 377/6; Snohomish 1,286. The Snohomish Health District does not appear to provide death totals on its web site, so I’ll need to wait for the state breakdown on that.

* DSHS purchased Paramount Rehabilitation and Nursing, a skilled nursing facility in Seattle that closed in February, for $13.5 million. It will house up to 165 residents who are currently in area hospitals, test negative for COVID-19 and could receive the level of care they require at a nursing home instead of a hospital.

* The Department of Licensing is closing all locations to the public effective today. No word on whether they’ll waive late fees for people needing to renew or get licenses, etc.

* Seattle City Council passed, unanimously, a resolution Monday urging the state and federal governments to cancel rent and mortgage payments during the pandemic. Councilmember Tammy Morales sponsored the non-binding resolution.

* Snohomish County, like King County, has postponed its deadline for property tax collection for individuals from April 30 to June 1.

* A Whidbey island nursing home is the latest center of the Puget Sound outbreak. Careage of Whidbey in Coupeville has had two residents die, and 44 other residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.


* A study by University of Nebraska researchers suggests that there may be airborne transmission of COVID-19. Researchers found genetic material from the virus from both inside and outside confirmed COVID-19 patients’ rooms. The findings don’t confirm airborne spread, but they offer enough of a possibility of it that more rigorous (and larger) studies are needed.

* ProPublica reports that five years ago, the Obama-led Department of Health and Human Services identified ventilators as in potentially critically short supply during a pandemic. To address that shortage, HHS signed a $13.8 million contract with a Pennsylvania manufacturer to create a low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ventilator to stockpile for emergencies.

* Last summer, the ventilator design finally won FDA approval. But the Trump Administration hasn’t bought any of them. Instead, a higher priced “commercial” version has been sold around the world for nearly a year. And while that 2015 Obama-era HHS-identified shortage is looking prescient, American supply companies are now selling overseas the ventilators that were developed – with taxpayer funds – for as much as five times the price of the original low-cost version.

* Donald Trump’s latest campaign rally today got headlines for the estimate of 100,000 to 240,000 US deaths, but, like just about everything he says, that range is deeply misleading. The UW epidemiological modeling that range is based on assumes
THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS TAKING MITIGATION MEASURES. But, of course, it’s not, and Trump has ruled out taking national measures to mitigate COVID-19’s spread, preferring to leave it to the states (so that he can blame governors when things go pear-shaped, as he did today).

* Six states still have no stay at home measures of any kind, either statewide or locally. Another 11, including two of the three most populous states, Texas and Florida, have such orders in some urban centers but not statewide. Yet Trump went lout of his way today to praise Florida’s Republican governor for his “swift” response. One of the epidemiologists who authored that UW study says he told Florida’s governor yesterday that he needs to implement a statewide stay at home order ASAP. Not holding my breath.

* It should go without saying, but this is not the time to be playing political games.

* Yet that’s exactly what Trump appears to be doing. Connecticut’s Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont complained today that his state – which includes part of the NYC metro area – had asked the feds for 1,500 ventilators, and gotten 50. Fifty. Louisiana wanted 5,000 ventilators. That state’s Democratic governor says he got 150, even though the New Orleans area has one of the fastest growths of cases, per capita, in the country. Other Democratic governors have made similar complaints. Meanwhile, Florida, Oklahoma, and Kentucky – home of, respectively, two Republican governors and Sen. Mitch McConnell – have reportedly gotten everything they asked for.

* Without any evidence, Trump accused “some” governors – by which he clearly meant New York’s Andrew Cuomo – of not only overstating the number of ventilators the states need, but “hoarding” them. He bragged that the national stockpile of reserve ventilators totaled 10,000 leaving out that New York state alone estimates it needs 30,000 – and insisted that the ventilators would be allocated by states’ need, which doesn’t line up at all with what’s happening on the ground.

* Trump also took the opportunity to press (again) for an infrastructure plan (“But not the Green New Deal. I won’t do that,”) and took credit for pressuring the FDA last weekend to approve chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatments. Because science is useless when what you want is to score political points. He also took credit for stopping the entry of Chinese and European travelers (“Nobody’s ever done anything like that!”), conveniently forgetting his Muslim travel ban. He blamed Obama, of course. And he blamed New York’s pandemic on Cuomo’s allegedly late start. Pot, meet kettle…

* The New York City area continued to deteriorate, with Gov. Cuomo estimating that the peak of the outbreak is at least two to three weeks away. The field hospital that began to be erected in Central Park this past weekend is, remarkably, now open. The massive Queens tennis complex, where the US Open is played, is also being converted into a field hospital.

* Yet with all of this, New York has only managed to increase its number of hospital beds from 53,000 to 75,000; the state estimates it will need 140,000 at the peak of the pandemic. Queens alone now has over 10,000 cases. Overnight New York state had over 700 new deaths, with over 1,000 now in the city alone. The state now has over 75,000 cases – only four *countries* have more.

* Boston is emerging as yet another urban hotspot. New Orleans is estimating it will run out of critical medical equipment by the end of the week. Convention centers in New Orleans, Chicago, and Detroit are being converted into field hospitals.

* A true horror show is playing out in Guam, where the massive (but cramped) aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is now docked. Over 100 of its 4,000 sailors have COVID-19, after the first sailor got sick only a week ago. Guam only has 21 ICU beds. The ship’s captain has begged the Navy to evacuate the ship; so far, the Navy has refused.


* A study from China with a very small sample size indicates that COVID-19 patients treated with antibodies from recovered patients showed improvement. The technique has also appeared promising in animal studies. It needs a real clinical trial, of course, but that’s extremely promising.

* The global total of confirmed cases is now 860,181, in 180 countries, with 42,365 deaths – up nearly 5,000 in the last day. The world almost certainly will exceed a million cases Thursday.

* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Monday evening’s total in parentheses):

USA 189,624 (161,807)
Italy 105,792 (101,739)
Spain 95,723 (87,956)
China 82,294 (82,198)
Germany 71,808 (66,885)
France 52,836 (45,170)
Iran 44,481 (41,495)
UK 25,481 (22,453)
Switzerland 16,605 (15,922)
Turkey 13,531 (10,827
Belgium 12,775 (11,899)
Netherlands 12,667 (11,817)
Austria 10,180 (9,618)
South Korea 9,887 (9,661)
Canada 8,551 (7,398)
Portugal 7,443 (6,408)
Brazil 5,812 (4,579)
Israel 5,258 (4,695)
Norway (4,445)
Australia (4,361)
Sweden (4,028)

I didn’t even get to everything tonight. Much more tomorrow, and WASH YOUR HANDS!


Welcome to new readers, and thank you for the reader tips and donations. If you find these updates valuable, please consider making a donation to help support our work. Revel and I are both vulnerable to COVID-19 on multiple counts. We’re relying on limited disability income and your help to deal with the extra expenses of living in our self-imposed lockdown.

These updates have become, obviously, a full time job! I’m happy to do it, and my professional background helps, but your support is what really makes it possible. At the bottom of the right-hand column there’s a PayPal button. Thank you so much!

Paul Cienfuegos passed along this gem:

Before going out, dip both your hands into fresh cow manure. This will:
1) ensure you will not shake hands with anyone
2) automatically help increase social distancing
3) will make sure you do not touch your eyes, mouth and face
4) will make sure you wash your hands when you return


* Today’s statewide numbers: 4,896 confirmed COVID-19 cases – up 567 from yesterday. That’s slightly fewer new cases than the previous day, a hopeful sign that social distancing measures are starting to slow the spread of the virus. The state has also now recorded 195 COVID-19 deaths, six more than yesterday. Local counties: King 2,161 cases/144 deaths; Pierce 288/6; Snohomish 1,068/21.

* Today was the first weekly session of the full Seattle City Council to be conducted by teleconference. The council is still working on a way to incorporate public comment.

* According to King County Health, “King County hospitals are seeing significant pressures as the number of COVID-19 cases increase.” The agency issued a directive yesterday requiring that individuals waiting for COVID-19 test results remain in quarantine, and that individuals who test positive must remain in isolation until they are no longer contagious.

* King County has opened a site for isolation and quarantine of COVID-19 positive homeless individuals at a former motel in Issaquah.

* King County has also extended its property tax deadline for individual property owners from April 30 to June 1.

* With non-essential dental procedures halted until at least the end of May, Delta Dental of Washington is pledging $10 million in grants and advance payments to its network dentists and their staffs.

* Local domestic abuse 911 calls in both Seattle and Bellevue have increased significantly this month, even though overall 911 calls have dropped by 50 percent. Local domestic violence nonprofits worry that a stay at home order in a stressful crisis is leading to an increase in abuse. DV victims can now petition online for protection orders, since area courtrooms are closed. Hearings for abusers who are required to surrender weapons are being done by phone.

* The Washington State Supreme Court has agreed to hear, on an expedited basis, a lawsuit seeking the release of several types of state prisoners to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. The Columbia Legal Services lawsuit seeks the release of prisoners 50 years or older, or who have serious health problems or have a scheduled release date within 18 months. Briefings on the suit are due by mid-April. A Monroe inmate, as well as four Department of Corrections employees and a DoC contractor, have already tested positive.

* A choir practice on March 10 at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church has emerged as ground zero in Skagit County’s COVID-19 outbreak. At the time, Skagit County had no confirmed cases. Among the 60 people who attended the practice, two have now died and 45 are ill.

* Snohomish County has passed 1,000 confirmed cases.

* Residents of Horizon House, a retirement community in Seattle, are in quarantine after a resident and a staffperson both tested positive.

* Amazon has begun screening employees in Seattle and New York City, taking temperatures as people enter the building.


* A hopeful sign: Two COVID-19 patients in New York City are off of their ventilators and out of intensive care after being treated with the drug leronlimab, normally used to treat HIV and breast cancer patients. A total of ten patients are now being treated with the drug under FDA Emergency Investigational New Drug authorization. As with many other promising treatments, this is a tiny sample size and needs to be studied further. But with the entire world’s medical research focused on COVID-19, something is likely to pan out.

* In President Trump’s conference call with governors this morning, he claimed he “hasn’t heard about testing for weeks,” and “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem,” implying that no shortage of availability of test kits exists despite widespread reporting to the contrary. Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana in particular pushed back on Trump’s claim. Several flabbergasted governors leaked recordings of the call to news media.

* At his afternoon campaign event, er, press briefing – scheduled, as usual, to preempt local news on the East Coast – Trump bragged that the US would soon be producing so many ventilators that it would be exporting them to Europe. General Motors, which is being compelled to manufacture ventilators through the Defense Production Act, has estimated that it will take “months” to retool its plant in Kokomo, Indiana to produce the life-saving machines. Almost every state is now facing a shortage of ventilators.

* Trump also suggested that he expected the US pandemic to peak around Easter, retreating from his ludicrous past assertion that the pandemic would be over by then. No public health or epidemiology expert shares his rosy outlook.

* He also spent much of the briefing lashing out at reporters who dared ask pointed questions about his past downplaying of the pandemic and his government’s tardy response. Of course. He again had several large corporation CEOs present – what one commenter here called “The League of Extraordinary Retailers” – to highlight his cozy relationship with the companies.

* Seven FEMA workers have tested positive, with test results pending on four more. The union representing the workers is complaining that FEMA is refusing to disclose where the infected staff are based and what, if any, protective measures are being taken to test and/or isolate co-workers.

* A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) memo decreed that medical providers, in triaging which patients to allocate limited life-saving treatment to, may not factor into those decisions age, disability, or limited English skills. Both Alabama and Washington have already adopted such guidelines.

* The Trump Administration has ruled gun shops an “essential” business. In the states where they have been open, gun sales have been…brisk during the crisis. The DHS ruling comes after heavy lobbying by the gun industry. Of course.

* The Defense Department announced that the first US servicemember, a member of the New Jersey National Guard, has died of COVID-19. National Guard units have now been deployed in all 50 states, primarily to help with the logistics of COVID-19 responses.

* The FDA granted emergency approval the use of chloroquine and hydroxychlorine to treat COVID-19, despite only scattered anecdotal evidence that the anti-malaria drugs are effective in treating the virus. Trump has repeatedly touted the effectiveness of the drugs, and at least twice has mistakenly said that they were already approved by the FDA. A Phoenix man died last Monday after self-medicating with chloroquine. There is a shortage of both drugs now as well. It’s a bad sign when the federal government’s own science is being politicized to cover for the ignorance of the president.

* Michigan is the latest state to be declared a “major disaster” by the White House, enabling the state to receive additional federal emergency funds. Detroit’s police chief tested positive. Thirty-five people have died in Detroit, which got its first confirmed case less than three weeks ago.

* New Jersey is releasing 1,000 inmates to try to mitigate the risk of widespread infections in its prisons. The state’s Supreme Court ordered the release late Sunday of inmates serving probation violations as well as those convicted in municipal courts and others convicted of low-level crimes. Cities, including New York City, Cleveland, and Tulsa, have taken similar steps.

* The nation’s capitol is closed for non-essential business. Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia have all issued stay at home orders today, covering more than 15 million people. Congress immediately appealed its designation as non-essential. (Just kidding. Maybe.)

* Florida’s Trumpian governor, Ron DeSantis, now facing a major outbreak after Spring Break, said he would issue a stay at home order for South Florida, including the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolis.

* About 75 percent of Americans are now covered by stay at home orders.

* Nine of the ten states with the highest per capita increase in cases now have Republican governors.

* Federal authorities are investigating the alleged insider trading of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who sold a large number of stocks after an all-Senate COVID-19 briefing in late January. Five senators – four Republicans and a Democrat – have been named as allegedly dumping millions of dollars of stocks shortly after the closed door briefing.

* Musician John Prine’s condition has been upgraded from “critical” to “stable” as he battles the virus.


* Led by China and India, half of the world’s population is now in mandatory lockdown. India’s closing of businesses and its interstate travel ban have instantly tripled its homeless population, trapping workers who migrate to India’s cities for domestic or seasonal work and leaving them unemployed and with no way to get home.

* Denmark and Norway are the latest European countries to close their borders. Denmark and the Netherlands are covering 90 percent of unemployed workers’ wages for three months; the UK is covering 80 percent. The goal of such policies is not just to help workers, but to take pressure off the businesses that employ them and allow them to reopen quickly, without having to hire and train new staff.

* Austria announced that it is requiring the use of face masks in grocery stores.

* Russia will close its borders tomorrow. Turkey, likely to be the next major virus hotspot, has stopped all international flights, intercity trains, and domestic flights.

* Brazil is also experiencing a rapid increase in cases, and its far-right, narcissistic president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been less than helpful. He is now accusing the governor of Brazil’s most populous state, and the center of Brazil’s outbreak, Sao Paolo, of inflating the number of cases and deaths there solely to make him look bad. Soon, Donald Trump will accuse New York governor Andrew Cuomo of the same thing.

* Hard-hit Italy and Spain have extended their lockdowns. Spain said tighter restrictions were needed to prevent the collapse of Madrid’s hospitals. Spain reported 812 new deaths today.

* Italy passed 100,000 confirmed cases. Spain passed China for third place globally, and Turkey is steadily moving up the list. France inexplicably reduced its total of confirmed cases by 3,553. The US, unfortunately, is steadily widening its lead. At its current rate of growth of infections, the US continues to add at least 20,000 new cases daily, and could have a million confirmed cases by the end of April.

* The global total of confirmed cases is now 782,365, in 178 countries, with 37,582 deaths.

* Countries with over 4,000 cases (Sunday night’s total in parentheses):

USA 161,807 (142,328)
Italy 101,739 (97,689)
Spain 87,956 (80,110)
China 82,198 (82,133)
Germany 66,885 (62,095)
France 45,170 (48,723)
Iran 41,495 (38,309)
UK 22,453 (19,789)
Switzerland 15,922 (14,829)
Belgium 11,899 (10,835)
Netherlands 11,817 (10,930)
Turkey 10,827 (9,217)
South Korea 9,661 (9,583)
Austria 9,618 (8,788)
Canada 7,398 (6,320)
Portugal 6,408 (5,962)
Israel 4,695 (4,247)
Brazil 4,579 (4,256)
Norway 4,445 (4,284)
Australia 4,361 (3,984)
Sweden 4,028 (3,7099)

Don’t stand so, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me. And GO WASH YOUR HANDS!



* Today’s statewide numbers: 4,310 confirmed COVID-19 cases – up 587 from yesterday – and 189 deaths, 14 more than yesterday. Local counties: King: 2,159 cases/141 deaths; Pierce 282/5; Snohomish 912/23. Yesterday marked the first time since early February that King County had less than half of the total confirmed cases in the state.

* Union Gospel Mission has locked down all five of its homeless shelters for 14 days after one of its residents tested positive for COVID-19. Staff members move back and forth among the different shelters. Overall, there are now four confirmed homeless people infected, from four different Seattle shelters.

* An inmate from the Monroe Correctional Complex has tested positive. The inmate has been receiving medical care away from the prison complex since March 3. The Department of Corrections says there was no contact between the inmate and a Monroe staff person who tested positive on March 12.

* The Army Corps of Engineers has begun work on converting the area under CenturyLink Field into a 1,000 bed field hospital. Terminal 46 of the Port of Seattle is being used as as logistical staging area for the project. The state is looking for similar field hospital sites in Snohomish and Pierce Counties. FEMA, which is overseeing the Army Corps of Engineers, says it has allocated $100 million for Washington State pandemic response projects.

* Saturday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweaked the statewide stay at home order he issued last Monday. He lifted the ban on funerals, but limited them to at gravesides or in funeral homes with “immediate family members.” He also permitted in-person showings of homes to prospective homebuyers, limited to no more than two people at any one time. Open houses remain prohibited.

* Dr. Ming Lin worked for 17 years as an emergency room physician at PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Bellingham. Last week he went public with a number of concerns about that hospital’s pandemic response, including its failure to screen potential emergency COVID-19 patients in an area separate from the ER waiting room with other patients; reusing disposable paper gowns; and shortages of other essential personal protective equipment. His concerns were anonymously echoed by a number of other medical personnel there.

* Friday, Dr. Lin was fired by the hospital, specifically for his public criticism. His firing has raised a firestorm of criticism by medical trade groups, including the American Association of Emergency Medicine and the Washington State Nurses Association.

* Two additional residents of Bellingham’s Shuksan Healthcare Facility, a nursing home, have died. Six additional residents have tested positive, making a total of 29 infected residents and six staff members with the virus. Overall, four have died. Whatcom County has 102 confirmed cases, fifth-most among Washington counties. (Spokane County, with 108, is fourth.)

* Skagit County announced that five staff members and a resident at a long-term care facility in Burlington have tested positive for COVID-19

* A Washington State Ferry employee has tested positive. According to the agency, the employee does not interact with the public.

* Boeing announced that 54 of its employees in the Puget Sound region have tested positive. Boeing only this past week finally closed its facilities in the area.


* The United States, which only exceeded 100,000 confirmed cases on Friday, now has 140,886 cases, with 2,467 deaths.

* The 15-day White House guidelines for COVID-19, which ended today, have been extended to the end of April, including social distancing.

* In his press conference today, President Trump continued to pivot from blaming China for our country’s pandemic (“Chinese virus”) to blaming New York, accusing the state’s health care providers – with no evidence, of course – of overstating their need for personal protective equipment: “I don’t think it’s hoarding. I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding.”

* On Saturday, Florida governor and Trump acolyte Ron DeSantis was more explicit, accusing New Yorkers of intentionally coming to Florida to “seed” the outbreak there. DeSantis has been heavily criticized for refusing to close Florida’s beaches and hotels through this month’s lucrative, and crowded, Spring Break.

* Florida reportedly added to its 14-day quarantine of people arriving from the New York City area by air, setting up checkpoints on I-95. Four other states on that same highway – Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina – as well as Texas, are all asking arriving New Yorkers to self-quarantine.

* Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, has publicly clashed with President Trump repeatedly over Trump’s frequently misguided public statements on the pandemic. It’s become Dr. Fauci’s awkward role to contradict The Donald to his face and in media interviews, and to explain instead what the science is saying.

* In a CNN interview this morning, Fauci predicted that “we’re going to have millions of cases” in the US and said that based on current conditions, he expects “between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths” in the US. He also cast doubt on the president’s idea of reopening parts of the country that haven’t been as hard hit by the virus, saying that the idea would only make sense if extensive testing were in place in those areas (it’s not) and that “it’s a little iffy there.” But, you know, it’ll all be fine by Easter, two weeks from today. Packed churches. For funerals.

* Humana and Cigna, two of the nation’s largest health insurers, are waiving co-pays for COVID-19 treatment. Aetna made a similar announcement last week.

* Saturday, Trump first floated the idea of an “enforceable quarantine” for parts of the three states in the New York City metro area, and then – after widespread criticism that he didn’t have the authority to order such a quarantine and that, practically speaking, it would be virtually unenforceable – he backed down, saying a quarantine would not be needed “at this time.” So he freaked a lot of people out, buy, hey, it won the news cycle, right? Meanwhile, the CDC covered for Trump, issuing a “travel advisory” suggesting all people traveling from or through NYC self-quarantine for 14 days afterwards.

* New York state now has 59,513 cases, up 7,200 from Saturday. In New York City alone, about 33,500 people have tested positive, with 776 deaths – up 237 from Saturday. About 8,500 are hospitalized, with 2,037 in intensive care. In New Jersey, 13,316 people have tested positive – up 2,316 from yesterday – with 161 deaths. Connecticut now has 1,993 confirmed cases. The vast majority of the states’ cases are in the New York City metro area.

* This weekend, New York City began to build an emergency field hospital in Central Park. Mayor Bill de Blasio said today he expected the 68-bed facility to open by Tuesday. Forty-five percent of those who’d tested positive in the city were under the age of 45. De Blasio also said today that his city has only about a week’s worth of medical supplies remaining – with the exception of life-saving ventilators: “We’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly.”

* Chicago, Detroit, and New Orleans have emerged as the latest urban hotspots. Keep your eye on Florida, which is likely to get a lot worse in the coming week.

* Illinois officials reported the first known death of an infant from COVID-19, in Chicago. New York City also reported the death of a teen.

* Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who, like Gov. Inslee, has publicly clashed with Trump over his administration’s response to the pandemic, said Saturday that her state has had contracts with medical supply vendors cancelled on orders from the White House. Trump had said that he would be disinclined to help states that were not properly “appreciative” of his efforts. He doubled down today, saying he didn’t want to talk with governors who hadn’t treated him “fairly.” (I’m trying to imagine MacArthur or Eisenhower saying something equivalent during World War Two.) Inslee, for his part, reported no such problems for our state.

* Louisiana prison officials want to transfer COVID-19-infected prisoners to one of two prisons being dedicated for that purpose. One of those prisons is the notorious Angola, one of the worst – and most overcrowded – prisons in the country, with terrible medical care. Meanwhile, the federal Bureau of Prisons reported its first COVID-19 death, at its prison in Oakdale, Louisiana. Ten prisoners have tested positive there, and another 50 are symptomatic and in isolation pending test results.

* California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that 170 ventilators sent by the federal government were defective and needed to be shipped back to the factory.

* It’s not just big urban areas that are getting hit hard. In rural Albany, Georgia, population 77,000 – 200 miles from Atlanta or Jacksonville, the nearest large cities – ten people have died from COVID-19. The deaths trace back to two funerals, both officiated by the same infected minister. On a per capita basis, three rural counties with popular ski areas lead the country in confirmed cases: Blaine County, Idaho; Summit County, Utah; and Gunnison County, Colorado.

* Musician John Prine, 73, is in critical condition after being hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms.

* Dr. Jerry Falwell Jr., who is just as evil as his televangelist father but far stupider, took President Trump’s cue and partially reopened the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Now eleven Liberty students have tested positive, though Falwell hasn’t re-closed the campus yet.

* In February, President Trump sent medical supplies to China as it struggled to contain its outbreak. Now, China is sending them back. The first of 20 planned flights of medical supplies, which the White House is calling “Operation Airbridge,” arrived today on a flight from Shanghai to New York. Chinese-made medical supplies are usually sent in cargo ships and take two to three weeks to arrive; the flights are a tacit admission by the White House of our country’s urgent shortage of medical gear. Today’s flight included 130,000 N95 masks, and 1.8 million surgical masks and gloves. By comparison, the federal Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that the US will need 3.5 billion masks in the next year.

* Remember the Bush-era “signing statements,” in which George W. Bush would refuse to enact portions of congressionally mandated bills that he didn’t like? Turns out Trump did the same thing with the $2.2 trillion emergency bill he signed on Friday. The bill included Democratic provisions to prevent the nearly $4 trillion in federally guaranteed loans to large corporations from being used for executive pay, stock buybacks, and the like – which was frequently done by recipient companies in the much smaller 2009 bailout of the financial sector. Another provision would prevent the administration from giving money to the Trump Organization. Trump signed the bill Friday, but included a signing statement that his administration would refuse to recognize the oversight provisions. Asked about who would then oversee such potential abuses, Trump replied, “I am the oversight.” I feel lots better. #MostCorruptAdministrationEver #DisasterCapitalism.

* Late Saturday, a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered the Trump Administration to “make continuous efforts” to release thousands of migrant children being held in crowded federal detention facilities around the country due to the risk of COVID-19. Four such children in a federally licensed shelter in New York have already tested positive. About 7,000 children being held by the feds are known to be affected by the order.

* At least ICE has announced that it would not enforce actions against people not in the country legally. Such enforcement would be a major impediment to people seeking medical care.


* A medical plane being used for the coronavirus response in the Philippines “caught fire and exploded,” killing eight, including one American.

* The stranded cruise ship Zaandam was granted permission to transit the Panama Canal en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Four passengers have died, and about 180 have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The ship last docked in Buenos Aires but was refused permission to dock along the entire west coast of South America.

* Syria – a country whose medical infrastructure has been badly damaged by nine years of civil war – recorded its first death today, a week after announcing its first confirmed case. Neighboring Turkey and Israel are both contending with major outbreaks. Syria is now under a nightly 6 PM to 6 AM curfew.

* The city of Moscow, population over 12 million, declared a lockdown as their outbreak worsened. Moscow accounts for most of Russia’s 1,534 cases.

* “Hundreds” have reportedly died in Iran after poisoning themselves with an ethanol concoction they believed would cure the virus. The current official death toll in Iran is 2,640; another 3,467 are reported as being in “critical” condition. Most experts believe the actual death toll is much higher. Effective Wednesday, the Iranian government banned intercity travel.

* Far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been going Trump one step further, not only downplaying the pandemic – now the worst in the Southern Hemisphere – and urging his country to go back to work, but threatening to fire his health minister over public criticisms. Bolsonaro has also tried to undermine public health measures taken by the governors of nearly all of Brazil’s 27 states.

* A Brazilian correspondent also notes the widespread blaming of the Chinese:

“[Bolsonaro’s] most dedicated followers are organizing car demonstrations (“carreatas”) proposing to end the quarantine. One of them send me a video showing a Chinese woman sneezing and spitting over a market stall while the narrator says that [the] third world war is already happening and China is trying to take over the world.”

* China is, actually, trying to take over the world: In the absence of US leadership, China has been at the forefront of efforts to organize a coordinated G20 response, and has quietly been shipping medical supplies to Italy and other hard-hit areas (including, now, the US). Experts are warning that the failed US response to the pandemic will have geopolitical consequences for years to come.

* Amidst the pandemic, both South Korea and Japan reported that President Trump’s love interest, North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un, fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan today.

* The global total of confirmed cases has soared tonight to 721,817 – up from 595,800 Friday night. At this rate, the world will have a million cases by Wednesday morning. Italy approached 100,000 cases today – a benchmark the US passed only on Friday morning – and Spain prepared to pass China for the third-most cases in the world. Other countries with rapid caseload growth this weekend included France, Turkey (again), and Brazil.

* Countries with over 3,000 cases (Friday’s total in parentheses):

USA 142,328 (103,942)
Italy 97,689 (86,498)
China 82,133 (81,897)
Spain 80,110 (64,285)
Germany 62,095 (50,871)
France 48,723 (33,402)
Iran 38,309 (32,332)
UK 19,789 (14,743)
Switzerland 14,829 (12,928)
Netherlands 10,930 (8,642)
Belgium 10,835 (7,284)
South Korea 9,583 (9,332)
Turkey 9,217 (5,698)
Austria 8,788 (7,657)
Canada 6,320 (4,682)
Portugal 5,962 (4,268)
Norway 4,284 (3,755)
Brazil 4,256 (3,417)
Israel 4,247 (3,035)
Australia 3,984 (3,143)
Sweden 3,709 (3,069)

That is all. More tomorrow. Stay away from me <3 - and each other - and GO WASH YOUR HANDS


Trump signs that $2 trillion emergency bill; the US powers past the 100,000 mark in confirmed cases; the White House tries to kill a Biden PAC ad highlighting Trump’s public statements downplaying the pandemic; and much more.


* Today’s statewide numbers: 3,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases – up 493 from yesterday – and 175 deaths, 28 more than Thursday. Local counties: King: 1,760 cases/125 deaths; Pierce 231/5 ; Snohomish 913/23. Four of Pierce County’s five deaths have come in the last day.

* Snohomish County, with more cases than many states, finally received its first shipment of protective equipment yesterday from the national stockpile.

* A Community Transit driver has died from COVID-19. Nine CT employees had tested positive as of Wednesday.

* Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said today she would issue an emergency order spending $1 million a month on emergency child care while schools are closed.

* Seattle also announced it will put 14 public toilets and six handwashing stations in parks and community centers. The facilities will be open each day from 7 AM to 8 PM. The lack of sanitation help from the city has been a constant complaint by homeless service providers since the city first declared a “state of emergency” on homelessness six years ago.

* A statement from King County Executive Dow Constantine touts that the county and the City of Seattle have combined to create 1,893 new spaces for homeless individuals to either shelter or self-isolate during the crisis. There’s still no plan from either the county or the city on what to do with homeless people living in their vehicles – an estimated one-third of the homeless population in King County.

* Across the closed border, British Columbia reported a reduction this week in the growth of new cases as the effects of social distancing take hold there. B.C. currently has 725 cases.


* The House passed, and Trump signed, the $2.2 trillion emergency bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday.

* The White House filed cease and desist orders to television stations planning to air a new ad from a pro-Biden SuperPAC. The ad juxtaposes President Nero’s public statements downplaying the pandemic with the steady rise in US cases and Trump’s refusal to take any responsibility for it. The letter to stations threatens the forfeiture of their broadcast license if they air the ad. Under Republican deregulation, it’s almost impossible for stations to lose their licenses – the only remaining offense that serious is if a licensee is convicted of a drug offense.

* The EPA has indefinitely suspended its enforcement of anti-pollution laws, giving companies a green light to contaminate air and water.

* The US Conference of Mayors (USCM) released a survey of 213 large and small cities, showing an overwhelming shortage of face masks, test kits, PPEs, ventilators, and other medical equipment. More than 90 percent said they didn’t have enough face masks for police officers, firefighters, and emergency workers. Two-thirds of the cities said they hadn’t received additional supplies – and of those who did, 85 percent said it wasn’t enough. The USCM, not surprisingly, is asking the federal government to help.

* 519 people have now died from COVID-19 in New York alone – up from 385 yesterday. More than 44,600 people in the state have tested positive, an increase of 7,700 from Thursday.

* Pittsburgh sanitation workers walked off the job Wednesday, claiming the city wasn’t giving them enough protective gear on the job. The wife of one sanitation worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

* Another cruise ship is in trouble, marooned with four deaths from COVID-19. The Holland America ship “Zaandam” is now anchored in the harbor of Panama City, Panama, after leaving Buenos Aires and failing receive permission to land anywhere in South America. Some 85 crew members and 53 passengers are symptomatic. The ship is now waiting for permission to cross the Panama Canal en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

* At least 18 cruise ships are at sea and returning to the US. The CDC has apparently given up on quarantining passengers and in recent days has allowed hundreds of exposed and sick passengers to disembark and travel home on commercial airline flights.


* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for COVID-19. So has his Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. And the government’s chief medical adviser, Chris Whitty, is also self-isolating with symptoms.

* Where is the United Nations during the pandemic? Paralyzed, it turns out, in part by a US insistence that any joint statement should emphasize the Chinese origins of the pandemic, and in part by Russia’s refusal to allow the UN Security Council to meet by video conference rather than at UN headquarters in Manhattan, currently the epicenter of the global outbreak. The US has also ignored UN calls to suspend economic sanctions against vulnerable nations, instead tightening sanctions against Iran and Venezuela this week.

* Italy recorded a staggering 969 deaths today, after the rise in its number of confirmed cases had been declining all week.

* Ireland has issued a 14 day stay at home order. France extended its lockdown for two more weeks.

* A stadium in Wales is being converted into a 2,000-bed field hospital.The UK is already building similar field hospitals in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. The UK’s rate of infection has been doubling every 3-4 days.

* There are now 595,800 cases worldwide. The US broke the 100,000 barrier of confirmed cases today. Italy passed China for the second-most cases. Germany became the fifth country with at least 50,000 confirmed cases. Turkey is threatening to become the next major global hotspot; its cases have tripled since Tuesday. Worldwide, there are now 27,324 COVID-19 deaths.

* Countries with over 3,000 cases (Thursday’s total in parentheses):

USA 103,942 (85,991)
Italy 86,498 (80,589)
China 81,897 (81,782)
Spain 64,285 (57,786)
Germany 50,871 (43,938)
France 33,402 (29,566)
Iran 32,332 (29,406)
UK 14,743 (11,813)
Switzerland 12,928 (11,811)
South Korea 9,332 (9,332)
Netherlands 8,642 (7,469)
Austria 7,657 (6,909)
Belgium 7,284 (6,235)
Turkey 5,698 (3,629)
Canada 4,682 (4,046)
Portugal 4,268 (3,544)
Norway 3,755 (3,372)
Brazil 3,417 (2,985)
Australia 3,143 (3,143)
Sweden 3,069 (2,840)
Israel 3,035 (3,035)

Enjoy your weekend at home. GO WASH YOUR HANDS!


Earlier this week I predicted that the US would soon overtake Italy and China, to have the most confirmed cases in the world. Per capita, Italy is still far worse – but the US has only a quarter of China’s population. And bear in mind that the US *still* does not have widespread testing or any kind of coordinated national response; it’s likely the actual number of cases is far higher.


* Tonight’s statewide numbers from the Department of Health: total cases 3,207 (up 627 cases from Wednesday night); King County 1,577: Pierce County 186; Snohomish County 778. King County passed 100 deaths today, and now has 109; Snohomish County still has 16. The statewide death toll is now 147. The statewide growth of both confirmed cases and deaths is accelerating.

* The DoH also said that while it is having some success locating desperately short medical supplies. it is still struggling with finding hand sanitizer and medical gowns.

* A University of Washington epidemiology model says that social distancing is starting to work – but still projects that 1,400 people statewide, and 81,000 nationally, could die from the virus by the end of June. Hospitals and intensive care units, the model predicts, are likely to be overwhelmed by the second week of April, only two weeks away.

* WSDOT announced the suspension of the SR 520 bridge construction project.

* But construction on the refurbished-for-hockey Key Arena continues…The Seattle Mariners’ Opening Day was to have been today. At least they’re not as likely to lose 90 games this year…

* The Army Corps of Engineers is mobilizing to build hospital capacity in all 50 states, utilizing existing buildings like motels, dorms, and sports arenas. Locally, it is already working to convert the area under CenturyLink Field.

* Gov. Jay “Snake” Inslee confronted President Nero on a conference call this morning between Trump and the country’s governors, calling out Trump for the president’s insistence that the proper role of the federal government was to backstop the states (which, thus far, it hasn’t even done very well). Inslee: “We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady,” referring to the legendary NFL quarterback. Trump, not surprisingly, responded defensively, and, again not surprisingly, mocked Inslee during a Fox News interview this evening.

* The governors of Louisiana and Maryland also reportedly complained during the conference call about the lack of federal support. (In her show this evening, Rachel Maddow pricelessly characterized the lack of coordination as “national crisis government by dumpster diving.”)


* The House of Representatives, hamstrung by rules that require in-person voting, is now set to vote tomorrow on that $2 trillion emergency bill. Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), one of two congresspeople to have contracted the virus, is still in the hospital and is receiving oxygen.

* Ten states have now been declared major disaster areas, including Washington.

* Today’s White House press briefing was actually two briefings: the awful one, by President Nero, and the factual one, by the scientists who followed him. Dr. Deborah Birx, who is heading the White House Task Force on the pandemic, struck a note of cautious optimism by noting that the rate of contagion seen in the field is quite a bit less that epidemiological models have been predicting. Of course, what she left out – as she is wont to do – is that without widespread testing, it’s impossible to tell how meaningful that trend is. We still have no clue how many Americans *actually* have the virus.

* But first, President Trump announced a truly terrible idea: sending Americans back to work after Easter based on numbers in each county, with all 3,044 US counties placed in high, medium, and low-risk counties. Why is that so bad? Because Trump wants to do this in two weeks, when tests aren’t widely available yet in much of the country – and where they are, generally only symptomatic people can get them. Plus, numbers are based on residence, but people move frequently across county lines to work or shop, especially east of the Mississippi, where counties are geographically smaller and where a majority of the country’s counties lie.

* For example, Harris County, Texas, home of Houston, has over four million people – and will be a high-risk county. But neighboring Chambers County – pop. 35,000 – likely would not be. Chambers County, like most US counties, doesn’t have its own hospital, either. From a public health perspective, this plan would be a disaster. But it *does* enable Trump to proclaim a “victory” that wins the news cycle, maybe, but that would be extremely short-lived.

* The 15-day White House “guidelines” for responding to the pandemic are in day 12, and expire over the weekend. Expect new guidelines early next week. Hopefully the ludicrous county-by-county approach to containing COVID-19’s spread won’t be included.

* A new poll suggests that in Trump’s false choice between public health and the economy, a supermajority of Americans want to prioritize public health: 81 percent, versus only eight percent who think the economy should come first.

* Almost two-thirds of Americans now live in states, counties, or cities covered by stay at home orders.

* Trump also insisted today, again, that “nobody could have seen this coming.” Of course every public health expert in the country “saw it coming,” as did Trump’s own intelligence agencies. Now, it turns out, a 2016 National Security Council document laid out a detailed “blueprint” for how to address a pandemic exactly like this one. But, like the White House pandemic response office and a CDC group stationed in China to monitor newly emerging diseases there, that was an Obama initiative. So it was discarded.

* Earlier this week Trump promised that the federal government wouldn’t be outbidding governors of states desperately trying to procure needed medical equipment. Several large states’ governors – including those of Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York – complained publicly today that the feds were still doing exactly that – and were also bidding up the price on equipment, a nice bit of corporate welfare for equipment makers and distributors.

* Equipment shortages remain a huge concern. At one New York City hospital, medical personnel are reportedly using Hefty Bags in lieu of needed protective gowns. First responders and TSA airport screeners are also now complaining about shortages of protective gear. American automakers announced it would take “several months” to retool plants to make ventilators. More hospitals said they were using single ventilator machines to simultaneously treat two or four patients – which means it’s impossible to calibrate the machine to the needs of individual patients.

* The White House today cancelled a plan to produce 85,000 ventilators, saying the $1 billion price tag was “prohibitive” – even though Trump is likely to sign into law tomorrow a bill worth about 1,800 times that, not counting guaranteeing loans to big companies. Once the death toll from lack of ventilators during America’s pandemic is calculated, we’ll be able to work backwards and calculate just how much of a price tag to save a life this administration thinks is too much.

* As New York City’s hospitals fill up, the city reported a one-day record for the number of EMS calls yesterday – breaking a record set on 9/11. The number of hospitalized patients in the city increased 40 percent in one day. Almost a quarter of NYC patients are in intensive care.

* Beyond Detroit and New Orleans, Chicago and Boston emerged as new hotspots today. In particular, the Boston area infections include an alarming percentage of health care workers. Florida also remains a huge danger, with its combination of Spring Break tourism and elderly residents; Florida’s Republican governor has yet to prioritize testing in that state

* Ohio announced that it would hold its presidential primary in late April and would conduct it almost entirely by mail – the first Republican-controlled state to do so. The emergency bill being passed this week contains $400 million to help states transition to mail-in systems by November, far short of the $2 billion Democrats said was needed.


* The US today not only passed both Italy and China, but set a record of over 20,000 for the highest number of new cases in one day anywhere in the world. We’re #1! So much winning…

* Efforts in the US, at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, and in the UK are underway to develop blood tests – with much quicker results – based on COVID-19 antibodies in the blood. Preliminary studies suggest that patients who contract COVID-19 *do* develop immunity to it. Anecdotal reports to the contrary may have been false positives.

* The number of confirmed cases in the world blew past half a million Thursday and now stands at 532,788, with 24,077 deaths.

* Countries with over 2,000 cases (Wednesday’s total in parentheses):

USA 85,991 (65,778)
China 81,782 (81,661)
Italy 80,589 (74,386)
Spain 57,786 (49,515)
Germany 43,938 (37,323)
France 29,566 (25,600)
Iran 29,406 (27,017)
UK 11,813 (9,640)
Switzerland 11,811 (10,897)
South Korea 9,332 (9,137)
Netherlands 7,469 (6,438)
Austria 6,909 (5,588)
Belgium 6,235 (4,937)
Canada 4,046 (3,251)
Turkey 3,629 (2,433)
Portugal 3,544 (2,995)
Norway 3,372 (3,066)
Australia 3,143 (2,364)
Israel 3,035 )2,369)
Brazil 2,985 (2,433)
Sweden 2,840 (2,526)

That’s all for tonight. Sleep well, and at least six feet away from other people. And before you retire, WASH YOUR HANDS


Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit? Heard about Pittsburgh P-A?…


* Yesterday evening’s COVID-19 case totals: Washington state 2,580; King County 1,359; Pierce County 155; Snohomish County 634. Statewide deaths 132; King County 94; Snohomish County 16.

* The Seattle monorail has closed until at least April 6. Ridership had dropped to five percent of its previous normal.

* Some Seattle community centers are being used now as homeless shelters, to help with social distancing among the homeless.

* A total of two patients and five staff members at Lakewood’s Western State Hospital have now tested positive.

* Yesterday, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler followed up on his Monday order expanding health insurance options with another order mandating a grace period and halting cancellations until May 9 on home, auto, life, and other property insurance.

* Amazon workers at ten different distribution warehouses have tested positive. Its delivery drivers are now on the front line of the pandemic.

* Brad Little, the Republican governor of Idaho – one of the last states to take statewide action against the pandemic – issued a stay at home order yesterday. The bulk of the state’s cases are in Boise and the area around Sun Valley. The entire West Coast is in bunker mode now.


* Last night the Senate unanimously passed the $2 trillion stimulus bill. Today the House is expected to pass it and Trump to sign it into law.

* National unemployment numbers are out today. They are historically awful – more than 3.28 million jobless, four times the peak of the 2008 recession. That number is a gross undercount – it doesn’t include the gig economy, nor people unable to file when their states’ filing systems were overwhelmed last week. In Washington state, one of the states where online systems were overloaded, 133,478 people filed for unemployment – up from 14,240 last week.

* The US death toll surged past 1,000 last night; it’s now at 1,046, with 69,246 confirmed cases.

* Remember those 1,000 bed hospital ships Trump promised to New York City and the West Coast last week? Relax, New York! Help is on its way! The USNS Comfort will now arrive in New York Harbor sometime after Easter, when, according to President Nero, this will all be over. The USNS Mercy might get to Los Angeles by May.

* A hospital in New York City has begun “ventilator sharing” – treating multiple patients on one ventilator – to cope with the shortage of the life-saving machines.

* Detroit’s hospitals are at capacity. New Orleans’ infections continued to explode, with 827 confirmed cases and at least six clusters of cases tied to different nursing homes. Eleven cases are from one nursing home alone. Louisiana officials project that New Orleans’ outbreak is on a similar arc as Italy’s and Spains’. Orleans Parish has had 37 deaths – the highest number per capita of any county in the country. Both Detroit and New Orleans have critical shortages of ventilators.

* Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, signed an executive order yesterday banning gatherings of more than 10 people, but making numerous exceptions….including shopping malls. He also forbade Mississippi cities from enacting more stringent measures, voiding a stay at home order issued earlier this week in Tupelo. Hopefully the idea of overriding local measures against the spread of the virus does not spread to other Republican governors watching mayors and county executives shut down their urban areas, and the economic engines for their states.

* Entertainer Andy Cohen and actor Daniel Dae Kim have tested positive.

* The Guardian UK reports that the gun lobby is engaged in an “intense attempt” to lobby federal, state and local governments to list gun shops, dealers, and shooting ranges as an “essential business” during any stay at home orders. Background checks for gun purchasers are up 300 percent this month.


* Pakistan, like neighboring India, has instituted a domestic travel ban. Afghanistan, with almost no public health infrastructure, is bracing for a serious outbreak as people flee neighboring Iran. More than 115,000 people have crossed the border since March 8, in large crowds. Herat, the nearest major Afghan city, has nearly three-fourths of that country’s cases.

* A “continuous tsunami” of new COVID-19 patients is threatening to overload London’s hospitals, which are also dealing with a high infection rate among health care workers – up to 50 percent in some hospitals. As with many other countries, the UK has a critical shortage of ventilators. A large London conference center is being repurposed as a makeshift hospital. Most of the UK’s cases are in Greater London.

* A bit of good news: In Italy the growth in the rate of infections slowed for the fourth consecutive day, suggesting that that country’s lockdown is starting to work.

* Global cases are certain to reach half a million today; as of 9:00 this morning they’re at 492,603, with 22,184 deaths.

As always, be kind – everyone’s under unusual stress. And WASH YOUR HANDS often and thoroughly.