Tag Archives: COVID-19 Questions

COVID-19 Plays Halloween Trick — Again

by Sally James


The past few days have seen a confusing swirl of decisions by health experts at the federal level, but here’s how the COVID-19 vaccine dust is settling. Anyone over 65 who received the Pfizer vaccine can now get a third “booster” shot. Medical experts say the booster can improve protection against COVID-19, which gradually wanes about six months after people get the first two shots.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky announced on Thursday, Sept. 24, that the booster is available to everyone over 65 and also to health care workers, teachers, and others in high-risk jobs. She overruled the recommendation of her own advisory committee, which had excluded high-risk occupations.

Within days, vaccine providers at drive-in, pharmacy, and other outlets will likely begin taking appointments for those who qualify for the Pfizer booster. Those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines will need to wait until those boosters are approved later in the year.

For children ages 5–11, there was also good news this week. Pfizer officials announced they will seek approval from the CDC to offer those shots later this fall, maybe by Halloween. But other experts warned that approval for the child-safe doses will require further review, and approval is not guaranteed.

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COVID-19 Forces Pro Sports Teams to Mandate Vaccine Proof for Fans

by Sally James


A late summer surge of the COVID-19 delta variant has schools scrambling to adjust to in-person learning, parents worried about the safety of unvaccinated kids, and sports fans on edge.

Local professional sports teams, including Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, and Seattle Kraken all announced that they would require proof of vaccination from fans who want to attend games. Following those announcements Tuesday, Sept. 7, the Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, and Seattle Mariners also announced similar rules to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The rules don’t apply to fans under 12 years old, who cannot yet be vaccinated. In a story this week, the Emerald outlined the updated guidelines for student athletes.

For participants in outdoor sports and fans of all ages, the delta variant continues to spread throughout the community, requiring changes to fall plans and public health guidance.

Off the field, the Washington Hospital Association (WSHA) reported an almost 7% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide over the previous week. Some of that press conference is in this video from television station KIRO-7. WSHA leader Cassie Sauer explained that overcrowded hospitals anywhere are a problem for all hospitals, because patients are sometimes shifted to other facilities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the County is trying to create some vaccine verification standards that could become effective in October. These would help businesses and others quickly verify a person’s vaccine status.

In this week’s Q&A, we hope to help you make sense out of the latest COVID-19 health and safety headlines with links to credible sources.

Send your questions to us at editor@seattleemerald.org.

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Mask Mandates, School Openings, Sports, and Other Questions About COVID-19

by Sally James


The COVID-19 delta variant is behind the latest surge of coronavirus cases, prompting new mask mandates, and raising a lot of new questions, including about the safety of unvaccinated school children and playing sports. 

This week we look at some new questions and rely on County and State health officials for the latest guidance.

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Delta Variant Poses New Questions About COVID Risk

by Sally James


From time to time the Emerald hopes to help people navigate the complicated landscape of the pandemic. Below we have compiled some answers to some pressing questions about the new COVID-19 Delta variant. 

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told NPR last week, “We are dealing with a different virus now.” It has different capabilities and can be transmitted from person to person more easily. An internal report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called the new variant as contagious as chickenpox.

Here in Washington State, test positivity rates are increasing and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are on the rise. According to the state Department of Health, the Delta variant now comprises 76% of COVID-19 cases.

Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., says, “If there was ever a time to get vaccinated, it is now in the race against this variant.”

Here are some questions and answers to help you make decisions for your family: 

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