Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has publicly stated that anyone who is vaccinated against the novel coronavirus can resume all activities — such as going to the grocery store and gathering with friends — mask-free, the Washington State Department of Health is still urging caution.
In a May 19 press briefing, Department of Health (DOH) officials said that it is important to continue to exercise caution and care. The state’s transmission and disease levels are still not where they need to be, though more than half the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We are seeing with complete data and even the projection moving forward is that we believe that we are seeing that flattening and that decline,” DOH Health Sec. Dr. Umai Shah said of the state’s disease and transmission levels. “That does not mean that every place is having the same kind of decline.”
Earlier this week Carolyn Bick wrote an excellent article on the CDC’s decision to “pause” use of the COVID vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson after reports of a handful of cases of blood clots in the several days following vaccination. This week’s Long Reads dives into the science of why the CDC made that controversial move, and what happens next.
The number of new coronavirus infections has held fairly steady over the past two weeks but continue to be considerably higher than at the end of the winter surge, even as more King County residents get access to limited supplies of the vaccine, King County officials said at a press conference Thursday.
King County averaged 294 new coronavirus cases each day for the past week, double what was reported at the beginning of March, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. Infections have been increasing for all age groups except children below age 5 and adults above age 65, with the fastest jumps reported in people aged 18 to 24.
“We are at standoff with this virus currently,” Duchin said. “This is not the time to blink.”
Because of Washington State’s decision to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to indefinitely pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the novel coronavirus, following incidents of serious blood clots in a handful people in the United States who have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, thousands of King County residents now do not know when they will be able to get vaccinated.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
The Latest on COVID Vaccines
Masses Become Eligible April 15, Supply May Not Immediately Meet Demand —According to Public Health — Seattle & King County, providers have delivered one million vaccines in the county (this number does not reflect the total number of people fully vaccinated). Furthermore, over half a million people — or 29.5% of the population 16 years and older — are fully vaccinated (as of April 12), meaning if the vaccine they received required more than one dose, they have received both doses.
There appear to be a small, but growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks among youth sports teams in King County, most of which have occurred in the South End. As of this writing, there have been 10 outbreaks this year, sickening 34 youths and eight adults.