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COVID-19 cases soar again in Wash. state; Inslee accuses Trump and Pence of ignoring U.S. crisis

Email sent: Jun 29, 2020 2:01pm

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Seattle’s Integris Software acquired | Amazon paying $500M in pandemic bonuses | Starbucks pauses social media advertising
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“The situation is critical in many places across the United States, and all the happy talk and wishful thinking the world is not going to wash that away.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee didn’t mince words on Face the Nation this weekend, addressing the new surge on COVID-19 cases and accusing President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of ignoring the crisis and undermining efforts to get people to wear masks. Inslee’s comments came as cases surged in Washington state, approaching the weekly totals seen at the previous height of the outbreak nearly three months ago. Here’s our breakdown of the latest numbers, including testing and hospitalization trends.

In a tweet this morning, Elon Musk responded to GeekWire’s coverage: “There are a ridiculous number of false positive C19 tests, in some cases ~50%. False positives scale linearly with # of tests. This is a big part of why C19 positive tests are going up while hospitalizations & mortality are declining. Anyone who tests positive should retest.” We're following up on this -- stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman is offering a glimmer of hope, agreeing with those who believe a vaccine could be available by the end of the year. “We can say, with some confidence, this is going to be the fastest vaccine ever developed in human history,” Suzman said in a panel discussion. 

Amazon will pay $500 million in bonuses to frontline workers and delivery partners confronting risks and high demand during the pandemic.  The payout comes amid intense pressure on Amazon to mitigate the risks warehouse employees and other workers are facing due to the coronavirus. Read more.

Starbucks is the latest big company to rethink advertising on Facebook, announcing that it will stop paying for content across all social media platforms while consulting with civil rights groups and media partners. The Seattle-based coffee giant is one of more than 100 companies that are halting their advertising spending on Facebook, though Starbucks isn’t joining the Stop Hate for Profit campaign behind the boycott, according to CNBC.

Seattle startup Integris Software has been acquired by OneTrust, an Atlanta based privacy software company. Integris helps companies comply with security and privacy regulations and manage personal information, and OneTrust says its artificial intelligence technology was a big draw. Integris CEO Kristina Bergman, previously a principal at Ignition Partners and a manager at Microsoft, co-founded Integris with Raghu Gollamudi, now CTO. Read more.

TikTok for the workplace? That’s the strategy being pursued by Seattle startup Voodle, a new venture for the team previously behind the VR startup Pixvana.

Thoughtexchange has raised another $10 million, just six months after a $20 million round. The British Columbia-based startup helps leaders better communicate with employees. It’s one of many companies that have seen a surge in growth during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Read more.

Thanks for reading, have a great week, and see a full list of our latest headlines below. — GeekWire editor Todd Bishop, todd@geekwire.com.
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