Coronavirus Coverage | KNKX

Coronavirus Coverage

KNKX Public Radio is working to keep you updated on the latest developments of the outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In addition to bringing you daily stories and updates on air during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, you can find stories about the outbreak below. Find the latest numbers from officials tracking confirmed cases below, as well as all the stories from KNKX. 

A person wears a mask as she waits to enter the Ram Restaurant and Brewery, Tuesday, June 23, in Tacoma.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Health officials in Pierce County are taking steps to learn just how many people are wearing masks in public, and if they’re wearing them correctly. They say their findings show it’s not enough, and habits vary widely depending on the type of location.

Staff and volunteers with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recently conducted a 48-hour survey, during which they observed people in more than 20 locations countywide.

The Crocodile in Seattle
Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

The statewide stay-at-home order shuttered live music venues in March. Now, those businesses are questioning if they will be able to survive, with no source of revenue for the foreseeable future.

That could be the fate for The Crocodile in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, despite the venue receiving a Paycheck Protection Program loan. 

Quincy Henry roasting coffee for his business, Campfire Coffee Co.
Courtesy of Quincy Henry

Unknown numbers of businesses will die as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown.

But, here and there, businesses are still being born.

Jay Chohan's 13-year-old daughter, who is deaf, made a list of pros and cons of remote learning.
Courtesy of Jay Chohan

Parents of children with disabilities in the Puget Sound region say they’re very concerned about the school year to come, as many school districts announce that they’ll begin with remote instruction.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he is tightening restrictions throughout the state in restaurants and bars, for weddings and funerals, and at gyms in a further effort to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The vaccine candidate's lead investigator is Jesse Erasmus, a post-doctoral fellow of microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Randy Carnell / UW Medicine

Researchers at the University of Washington are excited about a potential new vaccine against COVID-19. It’s an RNA vaccine that produces antibodies against COVID-19 in mice and primates.

The carefully followed death toll from COVID-19 may not fully capture the loss of life during the pandemic. Analysis of state and federal statistics for deaths from all causes shows hundreds of additional deaths above normal levels this spring in the Pacific Northwest. Some or many of those may actually be missed COVID deaths.

Adrian Florez / KNKX


Tammy Edwards survived COVID-19. It was miserable, but she made it. She had hoped that once the virus ran its course, she could then get back to her life and her work as a nurse in Tacoma. 

Federal guidelines suggest a typical person sick with COVID should get better after a week or two. Tammy Edwards is three months past that point, and she is still recovering. 

Lexi Walls / Veesler Lab, UW

One of the nation’s first human clinical trials testing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is producing encouraging results, according to the Seattle-based scientists leading the study. 

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Washington started the phase-one trial on March 16. In this early phase of developing a vaccine, researchers want to ensure mainly that it does not pose serious health risks, and that it does boost immunity. 

courtesy of Andy Mitby, commercial fisher and captain of The Ragnarok.

Washington state is receiving $50 million in CARES Act assistance to bail out its commercial seafood industry. This is the highest allocation among all state fisheries in the country -- only Alaska received as much. Yet officials are concerned it may not be enough.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

King County health officials say they're monitoring rising COVID-19 infections in younger people, as new cases in the Seattle area reach levels last seen during a peak this spring. 

Nearly three quarters of new cases are in people under 40 years old, King County's top public health official, Dr. Jeff Duchin, told reporters in a briefing Friday. 

Wearing a mask for protection against the coronavirus, Henry Powell, puts his groceries in his car after shopping at a Safeway store in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 19, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli / The Associated Press (file)

No mask, no service. That’s the new mantra as of Tuesday, when Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest order meant to thwart the spread of COVID-19 takes effect. It requires businesses statewide to enforce the mask mandate or risk big fines. 

The order comes in response to the resurgence in cases in numerous counties. The statewide mandate is based on one that took effect about a week ago in Yakima County.

But many front-line workers still aren’t sure how it will pan out.

Robert F. Bukaty / The Associated Press


As we move into the heart of our Pacific Northwest summer, families with children are facing a dilemma: what to do with kids, cooped up for months, and itching to see friends. 

COVID-19 cases are rising in Washington, but experts say it doesn’t mean kids need to stay on lockdown. 

Pierce County is losing ground against COVID-19. That’s the word from Dr. Anthony Chen, director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

In a blog post, Chen said the county will pause its plans to advance in the state’s four-phase reopening plan. He said the move to Phase 2 also brought an increase in cases.

A man in a face mask walks through the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Wash, Friday April 9, 2020.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington is among the states where COVID-19 cases are on the rise again. Over the past couple of weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee has been visiting hot spots in central and eastern parts of the state to talk about the local response.

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins has been covering the state's pandemic response. He talked about the latest with KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick. Listen to their conversation above or read the transcript below, which has been edited for clarity.

No crowds this year for Canada Day in Victoria, B.C., because of the pandemic. But virtual celebrations will be held.
Jordan Rockerbie / Flickr Creative Commons

July 1 is Canada Day, when the country celebrates its formation in 1867. In any given year you can find celebrations across Canada, including in Victoria, B.C., where tens of thosuands of people come to the Inner Harbour District for festivals, fireworks, and the living flag — a huge crowd in white and red T-shirts directed into the pattern of Canada’s red-and-white maple leaf flag.

Not this year, though.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed interest across the country in mail-in voting — which is how Washington state voters have cast ballots universally for nearly a decade.

Washington's Secretary of State Kim Wyman often is called upon by those elsewhere to explain how the process works. She's also a Republican, and leaders of her party — including President Donald Trump — have expressed skepticism about the idea of voting by mail. (She says she'd like to convince him otherwise.)

Adrian Florez / KNKX


Toxic exposures to cleaning products are up sharply since the pandemic began, according to the Washington Poison Center.

In the first half of the 2020, poisonings due to misuse of cleaners such as bleach or rubbing alcohol are up 54 percent over the same period last year. There are similar jumps in cases involving children who’ve ingested hand sanitizer, as well as cannabis.

A map of King County shows the rates of positive cases of COVID-19 by location. A statewide survey aims to add data and influence policy on food and economic security.
Public Health — Seattle & King County

How hard you’re hit by the coronavirus pandemic could be determined by your ZIP code. That’s according to researchers looking into how the outbreak has impacted the economic and food security of people in  Washington state.  

Steve Weaver, an unemployed bartender, is touring the state to raise awareness of the unemployed who are going weeks, and sometimes months, without unemployment.
Jennifer Wing

Since the COVID-19 pandemic landed in Washington, the economic fallout has driven more than a million people here to apply for unemployment insurance. These payments have become the safety net for workers during the worst recession in generations. 

But tens of thousands of people are still waiting for their benefits to appear in their bank accounts.  

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Imagine getting out of prison after almost two decades, and being released into … this.

That’s what was on Jennifer Tilford’s mind as she stood in the parking lot at Cedar Creek Corrections Center, waiting for the man she’s been married to for three years, but has never been alone with.

Life for both of them is about to change radically.

“There is no normal and there's not going to be the same normal ever again,” Jennifer said. “Not only because Jason's coming home, but because of the whole virus.”

Jeff Chiu / The Associated Press (file)

COVID-19 emergency funds distributed by the state of Washington in April included $3 million for the state’s Civil Legal Aid program. Now, an additional $2.3 million has been tentatively approved for the program.

In the initial round of funding, the civil legal aid was targeted at helping workers get the unemployment money they’re due and preventing renters from being unlawfully evicted.

A very unusual school year is coming to a close and now the focus is shifting to what school will look like in the fall, given the pandemic. The Seattle school district is planning to let families know by the end of this week what the model will likely be.

Protesters rest on the sidewalk in Seattle after getting hit with tear gas during a protest.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Health officials and care providers are urging people who have attended large protests to get tested for the coronavirus.

It’s still unclear whether the large-scale demonstrations in recent weeks will cause a new wave of COVID-19.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington state health officials say they’re watching carefully to see whether crowded protests will contribute to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Heath Secretary John Wiesman says, in general, outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones. But he says anything that brings people close together for long periods is concerning.

Nativity House, operated by the nonprofit Catholic Community Services, recorded the first known COVID-19 cases in Washington's homeless population in March.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Two Tacoma shelters that disclosed the first known cases of COVID-19 in Washington's homeless population have avoided widespread outbreaks and now appear virus-free, the shelters' operators said.

Nativity House, operated by the nonprofit Catholic Community Services, had four guests test positive for the coronavirus in March, raising fears that the virus could spread quickly through a population that shares sleeping and living spaces. 

The Point Ruston development in Pierce County, home to many local businesses, is among the places that have been quieter after businesses shuttered due to the novel coronavirus. Those businesses may be cleared to open up soon.
Tom Collins / KNKX

Pierce County is preparing to reopen its economy, after Gov. Jay Inslee announced a more flexible strategy  for easing social-distancing restrictions in counties across Washington.

Friday’s announcement came just as the governor’s original stay-home order was set to expire Monday.

In an exclusive interview with KNKX Public Radio, County Executive Bruce Dammeier said officials plan to move swiftly on an application to begin reopening the economy under the new criteria of Inslee’s so-called Safe Start plan.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington has faced and met unprecedented demand for food assistance. The economic crisis brought on by the new coronavirus caused the number of people in Washington seeking food assistance to double overnight, starting in early March.

It’s now almost 2 million, according to a new report from the state’s largest independent hunger relief agency, Northwest Harvest.

Rick Bowmer, File / The Associated Press

Good news for OL Reign fans. It looks like the National Women's Soccer League will be the first professional sports organization in the country to return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the plan to have all teams play in Utah starting at the end of June.

The nation’s first reported coronavirus case — a Snohomish County resident — returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from China in mid-January. New research suggests the patient, known as WA-1, may not the source of the outbreak in Washington.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press


Audio Pending...

New research suggests the nation’s first reported coronavirus case — a Snohomish County resident — was not the source of the outbreak in Washington, as previously thought.