COVID-19 Cases in Washington State Double to Twice April’s Peak in Less Than a Month

by Carolyn Bick

Between June 9 and July 9, the rate of novel coronavirus cases in Washington State has doubled from the state’s previous peak in April. Despite this, with the exception of limiting gatherings, Gov. Jay Inslee has once again shied away from imposing more stringent regulations and measures or rolling counties back into earlier phases of the state’s Safe Start plan.

During a press conference on July 16, Inslee said that he will be restricting gatherings of people whose counties are in phases two and three of the state’s reopening plans to five people and 10 people respectively. He said that much of the data indicates that the spread of the virus is coming from gatherings of people who do not live together.

Inslee repeatedly told reporters who asked about more stringent measures that he would have to continue to see what the data showed, with regards to infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and other metrics by which the state is tracking the spread of the virus. He also said that there has been “enormous adherence to orders,” with regards to masking.

But the data would appear to belie that claim. During the conference, Inslee also said that the rolling seven-day average since the start of the pandemic is 629 cases per day. The state has also surged past April’s previous peak, doubling to a new all-time high of at least 115 cases per 100,000 people in the span of a month. Just two days ago, this number stood at just below 112 cases.

Inslee also said that he did not want to have to bring in refrigerated trucks to hold the corpses of those who have died from COVID-19, the disease associated with the virus. Other states, such as Arizona and Texas, where the virus is spiraling even further out of control, have had to do this.

The State’s Health Secretary John Wiesman also said that the state is now starting to see the results of the July Fourth weekend, and that the data “should be concerning to us all.”

Inslee and Wiesman once again urged Washingtonians to wear masks at all times outside their households, in order to protect other people and themselves, but a KOMO News reporter told Inslee in the course of asking the governor a question that the young people the station interviewed around Lake Washington told him they just “didn’t care,” when the reporter asked them why they weren’t wearing masks.

As the Emerald reported earlier this week, young people ages 20–29 now make up most of the cases throughout much of the state.

This article has been corrected to reflect the case rate of per 100,000 people. “Per day” was a mistype on the part of the reporter.

Carolyn Bick is a journalist and photographer based in South Seattle. You can reach them here and here.