Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, July 20: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world


The number of reported COVID-19 cases tripled across Europe while hospitalizations doubled in the span of six weeks, according to the World Health Organization. Europe’s case count accounts for nearly half of global infections.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped reporting coronavirus levels on cruise ships traveling in U.S. waters.

The health agency on Tuesday recommended that U.S. adults who remain unvaccinated consider getting Novavax’s protein-based vaccine, which received authorization last week.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, Washington state 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.


Scientists try to keep up with faster coronavirus evolution

The rapid evolution of the coronavirus into an alphabet soup of subvariants presents a vexing challenge to health officials: They must make far-reaching policy decisions based on little biological certainty of which viral variants will be dominant this fall or winter.

In just eight weeks, the subvariant known as BA.5 has gone from a blip in U.S. case counts to the dominant version of the virus, now making up more than three-quarters of new cases. Perhaps the most transmissible subvariant yet, it is pushing up positive tests, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions across the country,

There is no evidence that BA.5 causes more severe disease, but the latest metrics certainly bust the myth that the virus will become milder as it evolves.

“None of us has a crystal ball, and we are trying to use every last ounce of what we can from predictive modeling and from the data that we have to try to get ahead of a virus that has been very crafty,” Dr. Peter Marks, a top vaccine regulator at the FDA, said after an advisory committee recommended that the agency prioritize vaccines specific to the omicron subvariants. “For something that’s only nanometers in size, it’s pretty darn crafty. We’re trying to make our best judgment here.”

Read the story here.

—Adeel Hassan, The New York Times


Micronesia last of bigger nations to have COVID-19 outbreak

Micronesia has likely become the final nation in the world with a population of more than 100,000 to experience an outbreak of COVID-19.

For more than two-and-a-half years, the Pacific archipelago managed to avoid any outbreaks thanks to its geographic isolation and border controls. Those people who flew into the country with the disease didn’t spread it because all new arrivals were required to quarantine.

But as has been the case in several other Pacific nations this year, those defenses couldn’t keep out the more transmissible omicron variant forever.

On Tuesday, the government announced it had become aware of multiple cases across two of the nation’s four states.

Authorities said that in Kosrae State, 25 people tested positive after showing up at a local hospital. An additional 10 people from a family of 11 tested positive after a medical team visited them.

Authorities said they had also found seven community cases in the state of Pohnpei. State leaders there have asked all residents to avoid public gatherings and to wear masks at all times.

Read the story here.

—Nick Perry, The Associated Press



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