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

Table of Contents 8:25 pm, Jun. 27, 2021 The Boss is back on BroadwayThe last

Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Sunday, June 27, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.

Saturday’s 102-degree scorcher was the second-hottest temperature for the Seattle area on record. Gov. Jay Inslee has lifted COVID-19 capacity restrictions — which limited indoor spaces to 50% — for cooling centers run by governments and nonprofits.

King County has repurposed a site with eight air-conditioned trailers in White Center, originally planned as an isolation and quarantine site, to help overheated residents cool off as the region braced for even hotter weather.

The Washington state Department of Health reported 426 new coronavirus cases while providers are giving about 21,888 vaccine shots a day, amid the continuing effort to add to the 60% of Washingtonians who have been fully vaccinated.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.


The last – and only – foreign scientist in the Wuhan lab speaks out

Danielle Anderson was working in what has become the world’s most notorious laboratory just weeks before the first known cases of COVID-19 emerged in central China. Yet, the Australian virologist still wonders what she missed.

An expert in bat-borne viruses, Anderson is the only foreign scientist to have undertaken research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab, the first in mainland China equipped to handle the planet’s deadliest pathogens. Her most recent stint ended in November 2019, giving Anderson an insider’s perspective on a place that’s become a flashpoint in the search for what caused the worst pandemic in a century.

Read more from Bloomberg News.

—Bloomberg News

Younger kids: To vax or not to vax? That is the question

Come fall, parents of elementary schoolchildren will make a decision that’s weightier than which backpack to buy for the new school year:

Deputize Junior as a foot soldier in the war against COVID-19’s spread in the U.S. and get the child vaccinated? Or sit this one out with the knowledge that younger kids are far less likely to get severe illness than their grandparents?

As school bells ring in September, data from clinical trials of the Pifzer vaccine on children ages 5 to 11 are expected to go to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. Moderna’s trials in younger kids are not far behind.

But there are complexities to the vax-or-not equation for this age group that give even adults who eagerly rushed for the jabs some pause.

Read more here.

—Teri Sforza, The Orange County Register

End to COVID-19 hotel housing for homeless raises worries

Tens of thousands of homeless Americans have been living in motels paid for with federal money aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 by taking homeless residents off the streets. But as hotels reopen to tourists and funding wanes, homeless residents are being forced from the motels.

Several cities like New Orleans ended their programs months ago amid financing shortages. Experts warn there aren’t enough shelter beds, which means sending many back on the streets. In one Vermont community, social workers are offering camping equipment to some homeless people no longer eligible to stay at motels come month’s end.

The crunch comes as millions across the country face uncertainty over the end of a federal freeze on most evictions on July 31. The ban kept many people from being turned onto the streets during the pandemic, yet it also artificially kept many units off the market meaning less long-term housing for those already homeless.

Read more here.

—Kelli Kennedy and Lisa Rathke, The Associated Press

Bangkok, 9 provinces restrict movements to curb rising cases

Faced with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Thai capital on Sunday announced a ban on indoor dining and gatherings of more than 20 people, in addition to the closure of construction sites and the sealing off of workers’ quarters in Bangkok and nine other provinces.

The measures will remain for 30 days.

Thailand reported 3,995 confirmed cases and 42 dead in the last 24 hours. The numbers have doubled recently, and health officials blame a lack of cooperation from migrant workers employed in construction and in factories.

Read more here.

—The Associated Press

Do chance meetings at the office boost innovation? There’s no evidence of it

People who study the issue say there is no evidence that working in person is essential for creativity and collaboration. It may even hurt innovation, they say, because the demand for doing office work at a prescribed time and place is a big reason the American workplace has been inhospitable for many people.

“The idea you can only be collaborative face-to-face is a bias,” said Dan Spaulding, chief people officer at Seattle-based Zillow, the real estate marketplace. “And I’d ask, how much creativity and innovation have been driven out of the office because you weren’t in the insider group, you weren’t listened to, you didn’t go to the same places as the people in positions of power were gathering?”

He and others suggested reimagining the office entirely — as somewhere people go to every so often, to meet or socialize, while daily work is done remotely. At Zillow, nearly all employees will be remote or come in only once in a while. Several times a year, teams will go to small offices set up for gathering.

Read more here.

—Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

UK virus cases hit highest since Feb 5 amid ‘grab a jab’

The U.K. on Saturday recorded its most new coronavirus infections since early February as the National Health Service ran a “grab a jab” initiative to further drive up vaccination rates.

Government figures showed that another 18,270 people tested positive for the virus across the U.K, the highest daily number since Feb. 5. Over the past week, nearly 100,000 have tested positive, around 50% increase up on the week before. That has raised questions over whether lockdown restrictions will end as planned.

Daily cases have risen fairly sharply over the past few weeks as a result of the delta variant, which was first identified in India and is considered by government scientists to be between 40% to 80% more transmissible than the previous dominant strain. It accounts for nearly all the new cases in the U.K.

Read more here.

—Pan Pylas, The Associated Press

For many King County families, food aid ‘not nearly enough’ as need spikes in pandemic

While life has returned to normal for many people as 70% of King County’s population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, food insecurity — defined as limited or uncertain access to adequate food — was exacerbated by the pandemic and remains a reality for low-income residents. 

Food bank staff and public health officials predict it will take households several years to recover from food insecurity made worse by the economic instability of the pandemic. As federally funded programs for economic recovery draw to a close, experts say more support is needed for families to gain access to fresh and healthy food. 

Read more here.

—Melissa Hellmann

As variant rises, vaccine plan targets ‘movable middle’

 Thrown off-stride to reach its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot.

The strategy has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over.

But the message is about public health, not ideology. The focus is a group health officials term the “movable middle” — some 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable, many of them under 30.

Read more here.

—Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press