Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Saturday, Jan. 2 as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.
The Puget Sound region, like much of the United States, takes up a new challenge as 2021 begins — to vaccinate the population against coronavirus.
The country marked the New Year holiday by exceeding 20 million COVID-19 cases, which took 347,788 lives, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Many non-lethal cases cause neural or sensory damage.
Washington state is embarking on its vaccination plan, to resume deliveries today after a one-day halt on Jan. 1.
As of Dec. 23, the state Department of Health reports 153,925 doses distributed to 220 sites, and 18,825 doses sent to long-term care facilities and Native American health providers, with another 57,525 doses to arrive this week.
Later in January, Washington state intends to rely on an “honor system” where residents answer an online questionnaire called PhaseFinder, to determine eligibility to receive the vaccines. The state’s goal is to inoculate, not interrogate, people as quickly as possible. You can read a Seattle Times story about the strategy here.
So far, the vaccine is reserved for high-risk medical workers, first responders, and the staff and patients in long-term care facilities. It’s likely the next categories, known as Phase 1b, would include people age 75 and older, and essential workers in food, agriculture, the U.S. Postal Service, manufacturing, and grocery stores.
Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Friday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.
The following graphic includes the most recent numbers published by the Washington State Department of Health, reflecting counts as of Wednesday night, Dec. 30.