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Mary's Place Family Center in The Regrade. Photo: Mary's Place

Amazon has announced a partnership with Mary's Place to create a permanent family shelter in Seattle that would house up to 200 family members, including those who may be experiencing economic hardship fueled by the pandemic.

The big picture: Nearly half of U.S. households have lost income since March, according to preliminary Census data. In Washington state, nearly 45% of households lost income and about 16% surveyed said they're experiencing housing insecurity.

Why it matters: Those who are experiencing homelessness have been especially susceptible to health issues during the pandemic in part because they're unable to wash their hands frequently or practice proper social distancing in shared or crowded shelters.

Details: The shelter, called Mary's Place Family Center in The Regrade, is now the largest in Washington state, increasing King County's shelter capacity by 40%.

  • The building began housing some families at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March. It offers private rooms and ramped up its medical and safety supplies for families to social distance while seeking care.
  • Nearly one-third of families staying have family members who are at high-risk for contracting the virus, according to a joint statement.
  • The facility also houses children with muscular dystrophy, babies waiting on cleft palate and ear reconstruction surgeries, and adults 60 years and older.

What they're saying:

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: “The opening of this facility helps to fill a critical gap — a place for families where they can find safety, access to services, and begin the process of finding stable permanent housing."
  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan: “Now more than ever we need strong partnerships and support for our service providers to help sustain our most vulnerable through this public health emergency. The opening of the new Mary's Place shelter came at a crucial moment, helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives."

The bottom line: Housing security is needed now more than ever, especially since overcrowded facilities are hot beds for transmissible diseases.

Go deeper: Coronavirus crisis drives housing advocates' push for rent and mortgage relief

Go deeper

2 TikTok stars charged for L.A. "mega-parties"

Bryce Hall and Blake Gray in Los Angeles, California. Photo: fupp/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

TikTok influencers Blake Gray and Bryce Hall face criminal charges for hosting "mega-parties" in the Hollywood Hills despite a city ban on large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, authorities announced on Friday.

Why it matters: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer described the charges as a part of a "crackdown" on house parties that pose a risk to public health.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated Aug 29, 2020 - Health

University of Alabama reports 1,052 COVID-19 cases since in-person classes began

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Alabama on Friday reported an additional 485 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since in-person classes resumed on Aug. 19, bringing the total number cases up to 1,052, according to the university's coronavirus dashboard.

Why it matters: The outbreak underscores concerns from public health experts that in-person classes could cause community spread within school populations. The total reported on Friday does not include the 381 positive tests caught when students, faculty and staff first re-entered campus.

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