There’s bad news, good news, and news to keep in mind. (For reference, check back against Whidbey Coronavirus April 3 2020.) Deciding what to mention is a judgment call. Every day, new news is released. Another announcement is due after this is posted. Yet another is expected within a few days. The situation is not static, despite the main directive being to StayHome. Washington State is trying to balance the various types of news mentioned above. Don’t be surprised to hear as many voices calling for action as there are calling for continuing inaction. But, got to post sometime, so here’s the end of April’s circumstances reported at the start of May.
The bad news
- More islanders died from the virus in the last month. The number of cases grew from 114 to 168. The number of deaths grew from 3 to 9. WA Dept. of Health
- The Governor is expected to extend the StayHome order from May 4th to possibly the end of the month. That probably means another announcement any time.
The good news
- It looks like Washington State and Island County (which includes Whidbey Island) are past the peak by a few weeks.
- The curve so many talk about is flattening (basically the same data in a different format); especially, when compared to other states.
- One popular animation that ranked the places with the most cases started with WA at the top, WA down to about tenth at the start of April, and doesn’t even include the state, now.
- Many Islanders did an impressive job of staying home, and at least through the middle of the month, continued to do so. Not an easy task for many.
- Some restrictions are being lifted. The full list may be hard to track down because so many agencies can be involved, but here’s a link to the list from Island County Health. “…construction projects previously underway are allowed to resume, subject to certain requirements. On Tuesday, May 5th, some outdoor recreation will be allowed…”.
News to keep in mind
- The “cautious” part of cautious optimism is based on history and science. Humans have a tendency to forget the past, whether it is a caution from last week or last century. There are many reasons for the worry about relaxing restrictions too quickly; but the easiest one to reflect on is the Spanish Flu (which didn’t start in Spain) from 1917. After the initial wave of infections receded, most people celebrated a bit too early and maybe too actively. There were two more waves, each worse than the first. We’re not through the first wave, yet; and it has already been more deadly than most of our recent wars.
In our modern world, pandemics can spread faster because of transportation improvements, and have more places to reside because there are now about four times as many people on the planet. Economics are important, too. That is a balancing act of lives versus livelihoods. A tough choice with no answer that pleases everyone.
- The optimism exists, too. People like those on the island have demonstrated the ability to responsibly respond. Technology and science have both advanced incredibly in the last hundred years, suggesting treatments and maybe, maybe, vaccines will be available, eventually. Done right, the island may be open enough (though maybe not totally) in time for folks to enjoy living and working on the island as our better weather arrives.
Stay tuned. Stay home, and enjoy being able to get out a bit more, and then a bit more.