Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, January 12: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

The Biden administration issued new guidelines on Tuesday requiring federal agencies to test unvaccinated employees on a weekly basis starting February 15. Non-compliant employees will first be counseled, then suspended without pay and potentially terminated unless they are vaccinated, according to the new guidelines.

The guidance comes as U.S. officials predict COVID-19-related hospitalizations will surpass the previous record of 141,385 and reach numbers between 275,000 and 300,000 this month.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 cases in Europe have doubled in just two weeks. The agency reported more than 7 million new cases of the latest variant in the region during the first week of January.

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

Catching up in the last 24 hours

How often can you reuse KN95 or N95 masks? Now that the United States is set to recommend more widespread use, it’s worth figuring out how to reuse it as safely as possible. Plus, know the difference between N95 and KN95 masks and how to spot a fake.

Omicron cases may soon start to decline rapidly in the United States, according to experts from UW and elsewhere who have predicted when and how the peak will occur. One reason: the variant may run out of people to infect. “Most people are going to catch COVID,” the FDA chief warned in an acknowledgment that could influence the way forward.

Omicron can make you contagious before you test positive, creating fertile conditions for its rapid spread, warn some health experts. Here’s what you need to know about timing.

The wait for vaccines for young children is excruciating for many families as omicron cases soar. Here is the latest information on their availability, dosages, rare risks and more. Meanwhile, doctors are sharing tips on how families with unvaccinated children can navigate the omicron.

“What a jerk,” Dr. Anthony Fauci muttered. after a fiery Senate hearing yesterday in which feuds overshadowed the strategy against omicron. Fauci accused one lawmaker of spreading lies that led to dangerous threats against him and hit back at another who focused on his paycheck.

—Kris Higginson

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