Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, September 13: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 could be available by the end of October, two experts said Sunday, even as Biden administration officials have cautioned that approval was unlikely for children that young before the end of the year.

Hospitals in northern Idaho are so full with COVID-19 patients that officials are warning they will have to ration health care, as the region’s longstanding anti-government sentiment continues to undermine public-health efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A group of gorillas recently tested positive for the coronavirus at a zoo in Atlanta. Nationally, more animals are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, as zoos try to prevent outbreaks within their walls.

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.

Vietnam speeds up Hanoi vaccine drive; 1M jabs over weekend

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam is speeding up its vaccination program in an effort to loosen coronavirus lockdown restrictions in major cities by the end of the month, the government said Monday.

Health workers administered vaccines throughout the night in the capital, Hanoi, which has been under lockdown since July.

More than a million vaccine shots were given over the weekend in Hanoi, out of around 5.5 million administered there since vaccinations started in March, the Health Ministry said.

“We have to speed up the vaccination program so we can make a plan to reopen the city,” Hanoi mayor Chu Ngoc Anh said Sunday. More than half of the country’s 98 million population is also under lockdown.

Read the full story here.

—Hau Dinh, The Associated Press

UK OKs vaccines for 12 year olds, aims to avoid lockdowns

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s chief medical officers said Monday that children aged 12 to 15 should be vaccinated against coronavirus, despite a ruling by the government’s vaccine advisors that the step would have only marginal health benefits.

England Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said Monday that the age group should be given a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They have yet to decide on whether to give the students a second dose.

The government has said it’s highly likely to follow the recommendation. Expanded vaccinations are expected to be part of a “tool kit” to control COVID-19 infections this fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce Tuesday at a news conference.

Johnson’s Conservative government is hoping that widespread vaccinations, rather than restrictions, will keep COVID-19 infections in check.

Read the full story here.

—Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

School starts for 1 million NYC kids amid new vaccine rules

NEW YORK (AP) — About a million New York City public school students went back to school Monday in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the school year coincides with several milestones in the city’s pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates.

Nearly all of the city’s 300,000 employees will be required to be back in their workplaces, in person, Monday as the city ends remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing to remain in their jobs.

The city was also set to start enforcing rules requiring workers and patrons to be vaccinated to go indoors at restaurants, museums, gyms and entertainment venues. The vaccination requirement has been in place for weeks, but had not previously been enforced.

There will also be a vaccine mandate — with no test-out option — for teachers, though they have been given until Sept. 27 to get their first shot.

Unlike some school districts across the country that are still offering online instruction to families that prefer it, New York City officials say there will be no remote option despite the persistence of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

—Karen Matthews, The Associated Press

A quarter of a million long commutes disappeared during the pandemic in the Seattle area

We all know about the rise of remote work during the pandemic. With more people working from home or some other distant location, a lot of commutes simply no longer exist — at least for the time being.

But which commutes converted to work-from-home, and which ones didn’t?

Some new data shows that not all commuters were affected equally in the Seattle metro area. The number of workers with longer commute times — those that took 20 minutes or more each way — plummeted. But the number of people with short commutes actually increased a little.

Read the full column here.

—Gene Balk

Idaho’s COVID crisis is straining hospitals across the border in Washington

SPOKANE — Surgeries to remove brain tumors have been postponed. Patients are backed up in the emergency room. Nurses are working brutal shifts. But at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, the calls keep coming: Can Idaho send another patient across the border?

Washington state is reeling under its own surge of coronavirus cases. But in neighboring Idaho, 20 miles down Interstate 90 from Spokane, unchecked virus transmission has already pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point.

Read the full story here.

—Mike Baker, The New York Times

Catch up on the past 24 hours

COVID-19 testing at home is both possible and reliable, though some tests are far more accurate than others. As the tests evolve, here’s what to know about each kind.

Children ages 5-11 may be getting vaccines by Halloween as pediatric hospitalizations rise, two experts say, although senior White House officials have painted a different picture.

How vaccine exemptions will be handled in Washington: Our guide walks through who has the ultimate say under mandates for educators, state workers, employees of large companies and others. If you’re an educator or state worker, tomorrow is the last day you can get your first Pfizer dose to meet the deadline. (If you’re getting the J&J shot, you have more time.) Find more details on that vaccine mandate.

“Sophie’s choice, over and over”: Death panels are the new phase of the pandemic in the Northwest, columnist Danny Westneat writes as he looks at what’s happening in Idaho.

An Alabama heart patient died after being turned away from 43 hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients, Ray DeMonia’s family wrote in his obituary. Meanwhile, a New York hospital will no longer deliver babies after staffers resigned over a vaccine mandate there.

—Kris Higginson

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