In an encouraging coronavirus milestone, Washington state announced on Friday that 1 million COVID-19 vaccines had been administered. While a decline in confirmed infections around the world is a relief, the head of the World Health Organization warns of easing restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that personal schooling is safe to resume using masks, social distancing, and other strategies – and vaccination of teachers, while important, is not a requirement for reopening .
We update this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Seattle area, the US and the world. Click here to see the live updates from the past few days and all other coronavirus reports. Here’s how we are tracking the daily spread in Washington and the world.
The visually impaired face new challenges as they navigate a world reshaped by COVID-19
Will Butler puffed through the entrance of Silver Lake Trader Joe’s, avoiding a small line of buyers waiting to get in. An agent guarding the entrance said nothing as Butler swept a white, red-tipped stick to find his way inside.
Butler had no idea he’d cut the front.
“How would I find the line?” asked the legally blind 31-year-old.
There weren’t any problems this time, but that’s not always the case. On Sundays, “when the line is super long and everyone is really scared and grumpy, no one is going to offer help,” he said. These days, Butler makes his way to the back of the queue and tries to maintain a socially distant space without being able to see it.
Like so many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery stores are just one of the new barriers that are literally being put in the way of the visually impaired.
According to 2019 US census data, more than 188,000 people in Los Angeles County have “vision problems,” including those who are “blind or have serious vision problems even if they wear glasses.” The Braille Institute, an LA-based nonprofit, serves nearly 12,900 adults and children across the county.
Those in the blind and visually impaired community have long faced challenges that are now synonymous with the pandemic: social isolation, restricted mobility, sub-ideal classroom dynamics. But the crisis has exacerbated these problems.
-Los Angeles Times
Biden’s vaccination run is met with suspicion in the Black Community
Former Mayor of Tuskegee, Ala., Johnny Ford rolled up his right sleeve and smiled from behind his mask as the first dose of coronavirus vaccine entered his arm – a televised statement of belief he hoped would make black families would save from suffering.
Ford became mayor soon after the notorious 1972 Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in Negro Males was published, and he spent years seeking justice for the victims of the hideous government program. Now he’s trying to convince blacks that vaccines, accelerated by the same government, are not only safe but also vital.
Ford, whose wife nearly died from the virus this winter, is frustrated that so many African Americans are still against the vaccine. “For those who stand around and want to argue, let them argue,” said Ford. “I feel sorry for you and regret that you want to do this. But if you don’t want to take it, please avoid those who want to take it. “
The vaccination hesitation that Ford is fighting has emerged as a crucial test for the White House in Biden, which has repeatedly stated that racial justice will be central to its presidency. The government is planning a full-scale campaign to publicize the vaccine among minorities, but activists like Ford say the problem is already critical.
-The Washington Post
Washington State will focus on the second dose of vaccine
The state will focus on giving second doses of the vaccine next week, and because of that, the dates for the first dose next week will be extremely limited, Washington state health officials said Friday.
Providers requested approximately 170,000 second doses for the next week, an amount well above the state allocation of 92,325 second doses, the Ministry of Health said in a press release. The difference is likely because some Washington vendors used doses of vaccine to complete the two-dose vaccine line as a starting dose in January.
Unfortunately, according to the authorities, this means that some of the first available doses will have to be used within the next week to fully vaccinate these people. According to official figures, this focus on administering the second dose is expected to be less in the coming weeks.
For the first doses next week, the Department of Health plans to prioritize long-term care facilities, adult family homes, mass vaccination sites in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties, and other justice-related locations.
-The Associated Press
Seattle Times staff and news services