April 8, 2021

Careful out there

Seattle and Washington state have done a marvelous job with following recommendations and avoiding serious outbreaks of COVID-19. Yakima County and some other counties have had some hot spots, but generally the state overall has done well. But that success may be coming to an end. Warning signs are there. Our case counts are going up, the state may announce rolling back openings in some counties next week. Long lines are at the airport as more and more people are traveling. People are tired of being good and they are breaking out of their exiles. Hopefully the surge will not be too big for the many who have not yet been vaccinated, but the signs are ominous.

Data now shows that the UK variant B.1.1.7 is now the dominant strain in the US. It is more infectious and deadly than the original strain, called the “wild type”. More data shows that the vaccines should still neutralize the B.1.1.7 but not work as well on the South African variant. Sadly, many still feel that COVID-19 is similar to a severe flu that effects older people or people with underlying conditions and not them. But a sobering study published in JAMA shows that 1 out 10 people who had a mild case of COVID-19 still have lingering effects 8 months later. Most common symptoms are loss of smell and taste and fatigue., symptoms none of us want.

Even those of us now immunized need to be careful so that we don’t inadvertently transmit to someone else. The CDC now admits that the risk if infection from touching surfaces is low. Other studies support the effectiveness of masks and ventilation, even more than distancing. Lucky for us that spring is arriving and better weather invites us all outdoors. We can meet up outdoors, wearing masks a bit longer to protect each other. Support others and help get people vaccinated.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, especially if not outdoors with good ventilation.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.