As George Floyd protests continue in Seattle and throughout the state, experts and public health officials worry that the first large gatherings since the pandemic was declared could set back the region’s recovery from the novel coronavirus.
In King County, which plans to apply to enter a modified Phase 1 of coronavirus recovery soon, health officials recommend that anyone who attends a group gathering should monitor their health for 14 days afterward. While they encouraged the public to continue staying home whenever possible, several top health officials said they understood the outrage communities of color are feeling and did not ask the public to refrain from attending protests.
Throughout Tuesday, on this page, we’ll post updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Monday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
The following graphic includes the most recent numbers from the Washington State Department of Health, released Monday.
Indonesia cancels pilgrimage to Mecca due to coronavirus
Indonesia’s government has decided not to participate in this year’s hajj pilgrimage to Mecca because of the coronavirus outbreak, an official said Tuesday.
Indonesian Religious Affair Minister Fachrul Razi said Saudi Arabia has not announced it will open the July hajj pilgrimage to other countries, and it is too late to prepare if it does so now. “The government will not send the 2020 hajj pilgrimage,” Razi said.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, normally sends the largest contingent to the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest cities, Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It was expected to send 221,000 pilgrims this year.
Razi said pilgrimages held during past disease outbreaks resulted in tragedies in which tens of thousands of people became victims. “In 1814 for example, when the Thaun outbreak occurred, also in 1837 and 1858 there was an epidemic outbreak, cholera outbreak in 1892 and during the meningitis outbreak in 1987,” he said.
As of Tuesday, the Indonesian government has confirmed 27,549 COVID-19 cases, including 1,663 deaths.
—The Associated Press
Parisians return to cafes; Latin America sees virus surge
Parisians returned to the City of Light’s beloved sidewalk cafes as lockdown restrictions eased Tuesday, but health experts expressed deep concerns as several Latin American countries opted to reopen their economies despite a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
The post-lockdown freedom along Paris’ cobbled streets will be tempered by social distancing rules for the city’s once-densely packed cafe tables. Paris City Hall has authorized outside seating areas only, with indoor seating off-limits until June 22. But the tiny tables will have to be spaced at least 1 meter apart, sharply cutting their numbers.
“It’s amazing that we’re finally opening up, but the outside area is just a fraction of the inside space,” said Xavier Denamur, the owner of five popular cafes and bistros. “It’s a start.”
But as Parisians reclaimed the rhythm of city life, health experts warned that virus cases are still rising in Latin America, the world’s latest COVID-19 epicenter.
—Menelaos Hadjicostis and Thibault Camus, The Associated Press
How you should read coronavirus studies, or any science paper
The National Library of Medicine’s database at the start of June contains over 17,000 published papers about the new coronavirus. A website called bioRxiv, which hosts studies that have yet to go through peer review, contains over 4,000 papers.
In earlier times, few people aside from scientists would have laid eyes on these papers. Months or years after they were written, they’d wind up in printed journals tucked away on a library shelf. But now the world can surf the rising tide of research on the new coronavirus. The vast majority of papers about it can be read for free online.
But just because scientific papers are easier to get hold of doesn’t mean that they are easy to make sense of. Reading them can be a challenge for the layperson, even one with some science education.
—Carl Zimmer, The New York Times