Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, May 14: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

More than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US during the second year of the pandemic, setting a new tragic record, according to an estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, North Korea has reported 27 COVID-19 deaths in its first reported outbreaks as officials scramble to contain the spread of the estimated 26 million people in the country who are largely unvaccinated.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the US and the world. Click here to see the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

4 Air Force cadets may not graduate due to vaccine refusal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four cadets at the Air Force Academy may not graduate or be commissioned as military officers this month because they have refused the COVID-19 vaccine, and they may be required to pay back thousands of dollars in tuition costs, according to Air Force officials.

It’s the only military academy, so far, where cadets may face such penalties. The Army and Navy said that as of now, one of their seniors is not being prevented from graduating at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, or the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, due to vaccine refusals. The graduations are in about two weeks.

Read the full story here.

—Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press

Judge coughs COVID vaccine objections of Hanford workers

A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought by several hundred Hanford nuclear reservation and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory workers in Richland over COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

The lawsuit was filed in November to halt enforcement of President Joe Biden’s executive orders requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for Department of Energy employees and the employees of contractors and subcontractors on federal projects, The Tri-City Herald reported.

But US Judge Thomas Rice found that lawyers for the Hanford and national lab workers had not provided clear arguments nor specific information about most workers to make their case.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

South Africa in new surge of COVID from versions of omicron

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa is experiencing a surge of new COVID-19 cases driven by two omicron sub-variants, according to health experts.

For about three weeks the country has seen increasing numbers of new cases and somewhat higher hospitalizations, but not increases in severe cases and deaths, said Professor Marta Nunes, a researcher at Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Analytics at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

“We’re still very early in this increase period, so I don’t want to really call it a wave,” Nunes said. “We are seeing a slight, a small increase in hospitalizations and really very few deaths.”

South Africa’s new cases have gone from an average of 300 per day in early April to about 8,000 per day this week. Nunes says the current number of new cases is probably much higher because the symptoms are mild and many who get sick are not getting tested.

Read the full story here.

—Andrew Meldrum, The Associated Press

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