Imagine 30 days of Thanksgiving. A month of gathering with loved ones, related to you or not, around a table full of potluck scrumptiousness. The people, and food, around the table might change nightly, but for four weeks, you will not eat alone.
This is what Ramadan is like for many Muslims. Ramadan is the 11th month of the lunar calendar, and all 30 days are spent fasting during daylight hours, from sunrise to sunset.
This weekend’s read is a fascinating research paper from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), our hometown heroes based at the University of Washington who have cranked out some of the most important analysis on the spread of COVID-19 since the earliest days of the pandemic.
While we have learned much over the past two years about how COVID-19 is transmitted — and how to block it or at least slow it down — there are many mysteries regarding the virus that have yet to be unraveled. One of those mysteries is why both infection and fatality rates vary so much from country to country, defying geography, wealth, and other simple explanations. The IHME took on this question, attempting to discover what factors have correlated with infections and fatalities.
And Is COVID Situated to Make That Scenario Even Worse?
by Liz Covey, LMHC
Nearly every day, therapists in private practice steel themselves for the inevitable: an email inbox that overflows with new patient requests from people who have been desperately looking for long weeks or months for an opening to begin to work on psychological issues or problems that are either long-standing or pandemic-related, or more commonly, both. Clients seeking to use their health insurance for therapy are likely to find themselves in a deadlock these days thanks to staffing shortages. If a potential client uses the state Medicaid program, Apple Health/Molina, the chance of finding an opening is even slimmer, since the amount of red tape plus lower pay mean even fewer therapists are available to these patients.
And if no one is available in-network, prospective clients will likely find themselves on the open market for therapy and can be startled by the price tag. Private pay therapy in Seattle in 2022 can cost between $100–$250 per session. Many therapists offer sliding fee scales, meaning that they reserve spots for lower-fee work, but these are limited so they can be even harder to find.
This has many today asking: Why does therapy cost so much? Let’s consider some of the factors that contribute to this high fee:
In 1975, following the end of the Vietnam war, thousands of South Vietnamese refugees were fleeing to the United States to start a new life. Today, the Vietnamese immigrant population in Seattle is large, second only to China as the country of origin for immigrants in our city. This month, Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool will celebrate its sixth anniversary of serving children from 20 months to 5 years old. Located adjacent to the Mount Baker Light Rail Station, we are part of the Sound Child Care Solutions Consortium. At Hoa Mai, two of our core values are providing a joyful workplace and promoting social justice. I have had the honor of working for our organization for almost 11 years and am also the founding director of Hoa Mai.
Before we closed for the pandemic in March of 2020, things were happening quickly. Yet there was a lot of confusion and unknowns. We received very few guidelines about best safety practices from King County Public Health; there were also mixed messages regarding mask- wearing. At first, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) told us to save the masks for the medical field. There were also conversations about the possible negative impacts on young children seeing adults wearing masks. One of our employees from China expressed safety concerns and wanted to wear her mask, which I denied. It seems so trivial now, but it is the one regret I have about handling the pandemic — not immediately permitting masks to be worn.
Following a spike in crime during the coronavirus pandemic that culminated in three deaths near the Mt. Baker light rail station in June, community members at Artspace Mt. Baker Lofts (Artspace) urgently called upon City officials to tour the neighborhood and hear grievances from residents and business operators during an hour-long conference on the afternoon of Sept. 17.
Jamil Suleman, the Mt. Baker-based artist and business leader who organized the event, asked for officials and community members to set aside personal politics in order to relay the neighborhood’s reports of theft, arson, and toxic dumping to City officials. Among those in attendance were Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales, Chief Adrian Diaz and Mark Solomon of the Seattle Police Department, as well as members of the Artspace staff and the adjacent preschool. Suleman expressed that having all these voices together was quite unprecedented, and in order for action to be swift, bureaucracy must be circumvented. Everyone had to understand firsthand. Everyone had to be there.
Seattle Black artists will be funded and supported, and LANGSTON, a nonprofit committed to “cultivating Black brilliance,” is building a framework to do just that. But first, they have a question: “What is it that Black artists need to thrive and make meaningful impacts on the city and the world?” And they’re asking Black artists in the Seattle metro area to provide the answers in an online survey by May 24, 2021. But this survey doesn’t narrowly focus on the needs of the artist’s craft — LANGSTON wants to consider the “whole artist.”
“Artists are humans, they’re workers, they have whole lives,” Tim Lennon, the executive director of LANGSTON, said during our video conference interview. “And their art, whatever their art is, is an integral part of that, but it’s not the totality of their existence.”