Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, January 8: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

Last month, President Joe Biden announced that the government would purchase about 500 million rapid COVID-19 test kits for people to use at home for free. But as public demand for COVID-19 tests continues to rise, it will likely take several weeks for the test kits to ship, White House officials said.

Elsewhere in Washington, health officials reported Friday that more than 10,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the state since the start of the pandemic. The tragic milestone comes as the region continues to report record daily case counts.

Meanwhile, federal regulators announced Friday that people who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine must wait five months for a booster, not six.

We are updating this page with the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects in the Seattle area, USA and the world. Click here to see the live updates from the previous days and all of our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread in Washington.

UK government advisers recommend against fourth dose of vaccine

LONDON (AP) – UK government advisers have recommended against giving a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents and people over 80 because data shows that a third injection offers protection. lasting against admission to hospital.

For people over 65, protection against hospitalization remains at about 90% three months after the third dose, according to data compiled by the UK Health Safety Agency.

As a result, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization informed the government on Friday that it was not necessary to offer a fourth dose, or a second booster, to vulnerable people at this time. Instead, the government should focus on giving as many people a third dose as possible to increase protection against the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Read the full story here.

—Danica Kirka, The Associated Press

Lessons Forgotten: Election Rallies Fuel India’s Rising Virus

NEW DELHI (AP) – Coronavirus cases fueled by the highly communicable omicron variant are skyrocketing across India, prompting the federal government and states to swiftly reintroduce a series of restrictions.

Nighttime curfews are back. Restaurants and bars are operating at half capacity. Some states have closed schools and cinemas. Large meetings will be reduced in size.

But India’s political leaders are busy campaigning ahead of crucial state elections, addressing packed rallies of tens of thousands of people, many of them without masks.

Read the full story here.

—Sheikh Saaliq, The Associated Press

COVID prevented these Seattle seniors from exercising. Now they dance together in Zoom

Before the pandemic, the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, or ACRS, hosted an on-site “Club Bamboo” program that provided seniors with a lively place to chat, dance, and eat lunches featuring Asian and Pacific Islander dishes every day. of the week, while directing them to other ACRS offerings, such as housing assistance, mental health counseling, and citizenship courses.

But many in-person programs in the Seattle area, including Club Bamboo, have been suspended since COVID-19 emerged nearly two years ago, leaving seniors at risk of becoming physically inactive and socially isolated.

About eight months ago, something exciting happened: Club Bamboo moved online.

Headquartered in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, ACRS is one of 13 nonprofit organizations that benefit from readers’ donations to the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy.

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman

Court documents show Djokovic had COVID-19 last month

Novak Djokovic’s lawyers presented court documents Saturday in his challenge against deportation from Australia showing the tennis star tested positive for COVID-19 last month and recovered, grounds he used when requesting a medical exemption from the strict rules. of vaccination of the country.

Djokovic, the number one in the ranking, was denied entry to Melbourne airport on Wednesday night after border officials canceled his visa for failing to meet the entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated. against COVID-19.

Djokovic received a medical exemption endorsed by the Victorian state government and Australian Open organizers on January 1, based on information he provided to two independent medical panels, and was approved for a visa electronically.

But it has since emerged that the Victoria state medical exemption, allowed for people who tested positive for the coronavirus in the past six months, was deemed invalid by federal border authorities.

Read the full story here.

—John Pye, The Associated Press

Omicron might boost immunity, some experts say. But don’t bet on that

As omicron sickens millions of Americans, some disease experts look to the future, speculating that the massive winter wave of infections from this new variant of the coronavirus could produce something beneficial in the long run.

They note that omicron, while surprisingly contagious, seems less likely to send someone to the hospital. The extraordinary transmissibility of the variant could boost immunity as the population traverses and, once this tide of cases has subsided, make the pandemic a less dangerous health emergency.

The idea that omicron has a silver lining is not a fully formed scientific theory. It’s conjecture, in some cases not shared on Twitter threads and floating around in television interviews. At worst, it’s “arm wave,” to use the term serious scientists use as a pejorative.

And even the experts promoting the idea admit that it is an educated guess and depends on the virus itself, which has repeatedly surprised experts and may spawn new variants that are more dangerous than omicron.

Read the full story here.

—Joel Achenbach and Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Washington Post

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