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FEMA and National Guard COVID-19 vaccine clinics are coming — Meanwhile, first Washington reopening assessment leaves state stuck in Phase 1

(Image: Washington State Department of Health)

President-elect Joe Biden Friday announced a plan to deploy the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to set up COVID-19 vaccine clinics across the country.

Biden’s plan will also “jumpstart” distribution to pharmacies and retail chains as the number of vaccinations has lagged the goals promised by the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, Washington’s new region-based reopening phase process is continuing its slow start with the state announcing each of the eight regions organized under the “Roadmap to Recovery” plan will remain in Phase 1 this week (PDF). Each region’s status is assessed against a set of metrics on a weekly basis.

 

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Seattle and King County are part of the Puget Sound Region along with Snohomish and Pierce Counties. The region shows improvement across the four key metrics but would have to improve its downtrend in new hospital admissions while maintaining improvements in the other categories to qualify for the next phase.

Phase 2 would allow for modest reopenings including in-person dining at 25% capacity, limited capacity indoor and outdoor entertainment events, and the return of participation in competitive sports.

CHS reported on the new region-based phases here.

The federal government says it has distributed more than 31 million doses of vaccine around the country but so far only about 12 million doses have been administered.

The Biden administration will also invoke the Defense Production Act to “maximize the manufacture of vaccine and vaccine supplies for the country.”

Washington’s vaccinations, meanwhile, have now reached around 201,000 people — around 41% of the prioritized population in the state’s first tiers focused on health system workers and high-risk seniors.

Under the state’s current plans, most people will not receive their first COVID-19 vaccination until May at the earliest, according to guidance from the Washington State Department of Health. It’s not clear, yet, how the new federal push from the Biden administration will change that timeline.

In King County, the pace of new cases has slowed to a recent average of around 460 new positive cases a day. With the death rate of those who become ill pacing around 1.7%, the county continues to pay a terrible price after recent spikes, averaging 5 COVID-19 deaths per day. 1,165 have died here from complications from the virus since March.

 

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Jdec
Jdec
9 months ago

Very informative, thank you!

A.Joy
A.Joy
9 months ago

Dear “outdoors enthusiasts ” please start actively working to do your part! Joggers are the worst! Put on a mask, it’s not that hard. Your supposed right to be out jogging on our public spaces like parks and sidewalks doesn’t outweigh ALL of our rights to not be killed by you. If farm and field workers were told not to take masks off in 90°+ conditions while doing physical labor I see no reason why you shouldn’t be wearing one while you exercise! Stop the spread or run around in your own home if you can’t seem to cover up. This goes for all sports. If you wanna play keep a mask on! And when kiddos go back into school, keep masks on at recess! Don’t let kiddos run around together unmasked and not keeping social distancing. Stores, remeasure the marks you put on floors, it should be 6 feet, NOT the distance of a shopping cart. It’s not just a suggestion. 3 feet is not 6. Corporate stores, start protecting your employees and the rest of community by hiring more security. Stop with the we aren’t the mask police suck it up spend some CEO bonus check money and hire people who are the “mask police ” who have some sort of training to deal with the situation. Unless we as a state stop doing whatever we can to bend these very basic rules of staying away from each other, wearing masks, and keeping things as clean as possible, we will continue down the rabbit hole. Stop thinking about what you personally might be losing by having to do the sometimes hard work to help get through this and start looking at what could be gained if we did the right thing. Public sidewalks should always be mask mandatory, people have proven that they aren’t good at just keeping distance. I’m sorry we were ever told we could not wear masks as long as we could be sure to social distance instead of if you aren’t in your own home put on a mask. I’m so sick of joggers and bike riders huffing and puffing by me with no regard to my right to safety in a pandemic! You, in my opinion are guilty of attempted manslaughter or at least deranged indifference. Shameful, but changeable. We have 3 tools (tough guys love tools I thought! ) use all 3 at all times and save lives!
Good luck to all of us!

MarciaX
MarciaX
9 months ago
Reply to  A.Joy

Jogging and cycling are hard to do with a mask on, as it restricts free breathing. Unmasked joggers and cyclists don’t worry me, as their time in my immediate vicinity is very brief. I don’t do either of those activities, but when walking outdoors I don’t always keep my mask on if I’m not in a congested area, and I don’t expect others to do so either. If I’m about to pass close to someone on the sidewalk I’ll pull it up but will usually lower it again once I’m alone. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable practice. Indoors, of course, is a completely different story.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
9 months ago
Reply to  MarciaX

Mask actually don’t restrict breathing….. I’m a bicycle commuter and I nearly always wear my mask – the only exception being if I have to ride when it is both raining and dark – as my glasses (that I actually need to see clearly and doubly so in the dark) fog up so badly that I am effectively blinded…. I’ve only once had to remove it because it was difficult to breathe and that was because it was absolutely *dumping* down and the mask became completely saturated.
Don’t believe me…. an actual scientific study has been done that shows it….. https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202008-990CME

In short, it may feel harder to breather, but it’s just in your head, so please put/keep your mask on.

RWK
RWK
9 months ago
Reply to  MarciaX

When I go for my daily exercise walk, I do not wear a mask. But I do walk in areas with little foot traffic, and I give oncoming people a wide berth by detouring out on to the street. I feel that this practive is very safe, for me and for others.

Anoninseattle
Anoninseattle
9 months ago
Reply to  A.Joy

If I’m not mistaken, the public mask mandate applies in situations you cannot give six feet of distance, and it does include exceptions for activities like exercise.

So, while it may be your personal preference that everyone wear a mask all of the time, not even the state is asking for that.

Look when I run I have a mask underneath my chin and I pull it up as soon as I get within about ten feet of someone else. I’ve stopped running at some of my favorite parks and stick to quiet residential streets that will have few people. I’ll step into the road first.

But I’m not going to wear a mask 100% of the time I’m running. That’s insane.

SEAbuz
9 months ago
Reply to  Anoninseattle

Hear hear!! Finally the voice of rational, science-based thinking.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
9 months ago
Reply to  Anoninseattle

Why is it insane….. it does nothing to impede you (see above). If you think about it like just another article of clothing, there’s nothing insane about just wearing it.

Seriously… I’m going to bet the only reason you think it’s “insane” is that other people have said similar things… when in actually runners have been wearing masks in cold weather for ages – long before COVID ever hit….

Anoninseattle
Anoninseattle
9 months ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

Because it’s not necessary to wear a mask when I’m outside and there’s no one else close by.

Not even the state is asking for that.

We’ve all been wearing masks consistently since the spring, I honestly cannot recall a time where I’ve turned a corner or someone’s darted out of their driveway without me having time to pull up my mask or veer quickly out of their direction. I’m fast and all, but not that fast. I can pretty much always see people and can pretty quickly get my mask up and put some more distance between us.

And it is *hard* to run with a mask. I’m not worried that wearing a mask while I run is putting me in danger of suffocating, but it does make it more arduous.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
9 months ago
Reply to  Anoninseattle

Boo-hoo…. it’s hard…. Isn’t that the *whole point* of exercise….

For all you folks spouting scientific and 6 feet.. Science often is likely to say – we think, but we don’t know yet and that’s completely true here.

We still don’t know everything about COVID. 6 feet is a recommendation based on the tendency of droplets to fall to the ground within around 6-10 feet… that doesn’t mean that there’s anything magical about the distance or that you cannot possibly be exposed if you are 6’1″ away….

And there’s still not enough information out there to rule out COVID being spread by aerosols – and then there goes the whole 6 foot thing, as an aerosol can hang around in the air without falling to the ground… Not to mention that we are finding out more and more that things like simply breathing do actually generate aerosols.. much less the heavy breathing you do running.

Oh – and don’t forget there’s the more highly contagious variants that are starting to show up – we know almost *nothing* about how those are spreading yet…. if they end up being able to spread more like measles we’ll be in real deep doody – up to 90% of [unvaccinated] people who simply come near a person who is infected with that (indoors or out) will get it…

Yes – out of doors you are much less likely to get a large exposure, but the risk is still not zero, and while we can never expect to make it completely nil, anything that all of us can do to chip away at that risk, especially something as completely easy and harmless as wearing a mask, wether or not we think anyone is around, wether or not we think we are a risk, is something we should do – even if we aren’t perfect at it – just because. It’s like stopping at a stop sign even if you don’t think there’s other traffic there – do it anyway – because you never know when you just didn’t see someone – but I’ll suppose you don’t do that either…

“Having a universal agreement of continued use of mask is really the safest strategy,” – Kristal Pollitt, a professor of epidemiology and environmental engineering at Yale University.

I’m really glad I’m going to be fully vaccinated in a week… But I’ll still be wearing a mask, if for no other reason, to not stress other people..

A.Joy
A.Joy
9 months ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

I’m glad to see you feel this way. I’d add that at least for awhile everybody who gets the jab should still follow masking and safety rules. I could be wrong but the way I understand even when vaccinated a person can be a vector. So you might not get deadly sick but can still make someone else so. For me that’s what is the most frightening part, I could without knowing make another person sick and die. End game. I can make all kinds of choices around myself and my life, but knowing it’s not just me I’m protecting but other people (maybe you) makes any discomfort I feel much less important. Until we all are in the clear of this deadly pandemic we should all be using all the tools we have to save lives. We don’t have that many so shouldn’t be too confusing what tool to use when, just use them all if you aren’t in your own home. Simple.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
9 months ago
Reply to  A.Joy

You are correct- there is not yet enough data to know how much or even if being vaccinated cuts down on asymptotic spread or not, so it will be necessary for all of us to keep wearing masks, distancing etc. until we either know for sure that there is a positive effect or have enough of the public vaccinated.

Not to mention that it’s simply more efficient and less confusing to have a single set of rules…. It’s not like you could just look at me and determine that I’ve had the vaccine, so even if we do find that vaccinated people are ‘safe’, until the vaccine is available to all who want it, I expect to continue to mask in public.