24 hours a day, the coronavirus has been causing chaos not only in the United States but across the entire world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed the virus to be a global pandemic. Countries such as Italy have been shut down entirely. In the United States, schools, restaurants, bars, and other places of public gathering have been shut down by government officials. In Seattle, the situation is no different.
What is Coronavirus?
Although the current virus is typically referred to as the coronavirus, it is merely one of a multitude of viruses that are classified as coronaviruses. Previous coronaviruses that made major headlines in the news included the SARs outbreak of 2003 and the MERS outbreak of 2012. This coronavirus, initially named 2019-Cov or the novel coronavirus is essentially a new form of SARs. The present technical name for it is SARs-CoV-2. This is the virus that causes the disease that is of concern, COVID-19.
The first instance of this coronavirus in the United States was announced on January 20, 2020, when a person returned from Wuhan, China to Seattle, Washington. Since then, the virus has spread rapidly throughout the United States.
Closure of Seattle Public Schools
On March 11, 2020, it was announced that the Seattle Public School system would close for an indefinite period of time due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. On this same day, gatherings of more than 250 people were also prohibited by the Governor. Although the schools closed, students are still able to receive lunch at various designated places. The University of Washington suspended in-person classes until March 20, 2020, after a professor at the institution had a presumptive positive coronavirus test result.
Restaurants, Attractions and Sports Organizations Shutting Down
As more and more people remain home out of fears of catching the coronavirus or due to the increased restrictions on large gatherings, businesses across Seattle have begun to suffer as well. In the restaurant industry, famous Seattle chef Tom Douglas is temporarily closing close to a dozen of his restaurants. This is following a decline in business of around 90% since the outbreak of coronavirus began. The decline in sales at restaurants has also been hard on waiters and waitresses. Many have had their hours cut back and in a largely tip driven industry, the absence of customers does not bode well for their financial state.
With gatherings of 250 or more being suspended, the sports industry has essentially been shut down. NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, are considering whether to shut down training facilities. In the XFL, the Seattle Dragons football season has been brought to a stop as the league suspended the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus. The decision by Major League Soccer to suspend the 2020 season for 30 days has temporarily halted the season for the Seattle Sounders. Like the Sounders, the Major League Baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, have also had their play suspended as the MLB has announced that it will be temporarily suspending the season.
In attractions, the Seattle Aquarium will be closed until the end of March. The same is the case for Woodland Park Zoo. The Museum of Pop Culture has been canceled indefinitely. Music fans will have to miss out on the Pearl Jam tour as the first portion of the tour has been postponed. Seattle’s Comic-Con, which was scheduled for March 12-16, 2020 has also been postponed. This was following a number of cancellations by guests and vendors. In gaming news, the popular event E3 was postponed until June of 2020.
More Closures from around Seattle and the Nation
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 Crisis, the $26.5 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint is still in the works and could close as early as April 1st.
Microsoft's work collaboration and chat app "Teams" reported a 37% increase in usage, to 44 million daily active users. Teams compete with Slack, Facebook, Google, and Zoom.
Amazon’s first COVID-19 case at a US warehouse in Queen New York. The facility was closed for cleaning. Meanwhile, at least 5 workers tested positive in Spain and Italy.
King County is building a temporary field hospital on a Shoreline soccer field.
The University of Washington goes remote for the spring quarter which is scheduled to start on March 30th. In-person classes have been suspended since March 6th. Also, at UW, the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom. The spectacular site attracts visitors every spring to the Quad. This year UW is asking people to check out the blossom online via UW's webcam on YouTube, album on Facebook or tweet stream on Twitter.
The 46th Seattle International Film Festival, scheduled to run May 14 to June 7, has been canceled. The largest film festival in North America is a showcase of more than 400 films from more than 85 countries to 140,000+ attendees over 25 days.
USNS Mercy & USNS Comfort: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee asked the White House to dispatch the USNS Mercy, one of the Navy's hospital ships, to support the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak. President Trump said the Navy's East Coast hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, will be heading to New York Harbor.