A watershed moment may be at hand because Washingtonians reacted early and sensibly to coronavirus.
According to projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the state could be past the pandemic’s peak strain on hospitals and beyond the apex for the numbers of COVID-19 deaths per day.
That solid statistical calculation is based on reported data — and consideration of Washington state’s measures to limit contagion. The projection relies on our residents’ social distancing remaining a fixture of life through the end of May. If that holds, Washington could be slowly heading toward the downward slope of this tragic pandemic. More serious illnesses and deaths will occur, but disease spread is abating. Now more than ever, stay the course and stay home.
Federal leadership failures notwithstanding, every state can learn from Washington’s example. Incredibly, a handful of states still don’t have stay-at-home orders in place. Monday, Washington became the 14th state to close all school sites for the remainder of the academic year. Our neighbors in Oregon and Idaho should hasten to join that list, providing families with certainty and adding another solid step in a brutally long path.
Every sector of Washington society has paid an immense cost to reach this potential turning point. Sacrifices must continue for the curve to flatten instead of rise up again. The school closure is only one aspect of changed life that must remain in place through this month and the next. Business closures, careful shopping, industrious hand-washing and self-isolation until at least June are the price of saving lives.
“You can have the same number of fatalities on the backside of that curve as it is going down,” Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday after announcing the end of the on-campus K-12 academic year.
The challenge will be for all to maintain our sacrifices when the ebb is realized but the threat of a resurgence is too dangerous to be disregarded.
These times of self-isolation, heroic efforts by the medical community and bold leadership by state officials show Washingtonians at their finest. Stay resolute. Doors must remain closed for months.
But take a moment to celebrate the significance of our state being able to send 400 extra ventilators to help harder-hit New York. Consider how our richest citizens have stepped up with donations for testing, research and other resources, from Amazon’s donation of 8,200 school laptops to the $50 million philanthropy campaign to grow the UW Medicine Emergency Response Fund. Look at the teddy bears and signs of support on display in residential windows.
As the saying of these perilous times goes, we got this.