Tag Archives: COVID-19 Pandemic

Vaccine Inequality and Structural Racist Optics

by Oscar Rosales Castaneda


In early February, The Seattle Times published a report that provides a preliminary glimpse at who has had access to the first set of COVID vaccines that were doled out. As much as I want to tell myself that this is an incomplete picture and that the first set of vaccines is reflective of a strategy to inoculate first responders and medical personnel, I still feel that the preliminary rollout failed to address a key consideration. Namely, the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on people of color and economically marginalized folks.

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Weekend Long Reads: The 2020 Urban Exodus — It’s Complicated

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s Long Read comes to us from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.  The network of Federal Reserve Banks do a large amount of research to inform their work in planning the nation’s monetary policy. This particular research report looks at the reported “urban exodus”: the flight of people from urban neighborhoods of cities.

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Seattle Rejects Biden Administration Offer to Pay Full Cost of Hotel-Based Shelters

by Erica C. Barnett 


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 

As funding runs out for JustCARE, a program that has moved more than 100 very high-needs people from tent encampments in Pioneer Square and the International District into hotels where they receive case management and services, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office has made it clear that it considers one source of funding off the table: money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which recently announced it would pay 100% of the cost for eligible hotel-based shelters.

“While we appreciate the work of President Biden’s administration,” City Budget Office Director Ben Noble and Office of Emergency Management Director Curry Mayer wrote in a letter to Seattle City Councilmembers this week, “there continues to be no option to receive 100% reimbursement of the operation and services of non-congregate shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness in King County or Washington.” In other words, the City is grateful that the new administration is offering to pay for hotels; they just don’t consider it a viable option for Seattle.

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One Year After First COVID-19 Outbreak, County Health Officials Cautiously Optimistic

by Andrew Engelson


Nearly one year after the first outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and the nation, public health officials and King County Executive Dow Constantine say they are cautiously optimistic about the spread of the virus. Effective prevention measures combined with slow but steadily increasing vaccinations have the potential to “put the pandemic in the rear view mirror,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin in an online press briefing on Friday. But concerns remain, including the discovery of two new SARS-CoV-2 strains in the county, and pressure among those tiring of restrictions to let up on prevention strategies such as masking and limits on gatherings.In addition, inequitable access to vaccines remains a concern.

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King County Argued for In-Person Trial in Le Case, Despite Own COVID-19 Precautions

by Carolyn Bick


Tommy Le’s grandmother is in her 90s. Thanks to the fact that civil jury trials are currently being held virtually, to keep people safe in the novel coronavirus pandemic, she will be able to safely watch from home the civil trial against the man who killed her 20-year-old grandson in 2017.

But this would not have been the true if the judge presiding over the case had granted the request made by the lawyers for King County and Deputy Sheriff Cesar Molina for the trial to proceed in person.

Despite King County’s own Emergency Order halting all in-person civil jury trials until at least late March in order to keep people from catching the virus and developing COVID-19, lawyers for King County and Molina tried to argue that an in-person trial could be conducted safely. Though U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly ultimately denied their request later that same day, King County’s and Molina’s lawyers pushed for an in-person trial regarding the shooting death of Vietnamese American student Tommy Le in a hearing held on Feb. 25, just a couple of days after health officials detected yet another novel coronavirus variant in King County and against the backdrop of vaccine predictions that appear to indicate that the vaccine won’t be available for everyone until at least July. The trial is set to begin in less than two months, on April 19.

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Washington DOH Cautiously Optimistic About COVID-19, Urges Vigilance on Variants

by Ashley Archibald


Novel coronavirus vaccination efforts are ramping up in Washington State while hospitalization rates and deaths are declining statewide, but Washingtonians need to continue prevention strategies to keep the curve down and keep stress off the health care systems, Washington health officials said in an online briefing on Thursday.

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OPINION: A Mother’s Call to Action for State Lawmakers

by Scarlett To


As the Washington State Legislature responds to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Washington families continue to struggle with multiple crises, and we need action from our leaders now. As a local mother and advocate, I am urging lawmakers to take bold and swift action to get immediate relief to communities and families.

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State Detects First Case of New Coronavirus Variant With Higher Vaccine Resistance

by Carolyn Bick


The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) today announced that it, along with Public Health – Seattle & King County and the UW Medicine Virology Lab — have detected yet another novel coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2) variant in the state, in addition to the already-present B.1.1.7 variant. The new variant was detected in King County, the DOH said in a press release. At the same time, the DOH also announced on Tuesday that it has confirmed an additional 19 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the state.

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Chris Franco, Veteran and County Office of Equity & Social Justice Leader, Is Running for King County Council

by Chetanya Robinson


While he was in Afghanistan as an executive officer during the Obama-era “surge,” Chris Franco’s life gave him a shove that would eventually inspire him to work in public service for the King County government and, in January this year, to run for a seat on the Metropolitan King County Council in Position 9 as a first-time candidate.

“Unfortunately I had a very toxic and self-serving leader that was responsible for helping us out and getting us what we needed during our deployment,” Franco recalled in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. This leader, Franco said, withheld engineering support for barriers to protect people from attacks. “Unfortunately because of that negligence, one of our interpreters was killed.” 

Franco’s disdain for the poor leadership he experienced in Afghanistan grew over the years. “That was a wakeup call to what happens when you have leaders who don’t give a damn, that are vindictive or complacent or just apathetic,” he said.

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OPINION: More Will Die From Covid Without Meaningful Change to Health Care

by Asqual Getaneh, MD


In February 2020, International Community Health Services (ICHS) was the first of the nation’s nearly 1,400 federally qualified health centers — serving 30 million people, most of them low-income immigrants and refugees — with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Our staff have seen the tragic costs of a pandemic that has infected more than 100 million people worldwide and claimed more than 2 million deaths. So, when the first doses of the Moderna vaccine rolled through our doors on Dec. 23, we felt ready.

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