A "Glimmer of Hope" in Washington, But Stay-at-Home Order Could Be Extended squib
"If we do not continue to increase this, a lot of people are going to die across the state of Washington."
by Nathalie Graham
Things are improving. Minimally. Lester Black
It's not all bad. But it's not all good here, either. That was essentially what Gov. Jay Inslee was getting at in his press conference on Thursday.
Inslee, fresh off a call with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, referenced a graph showing Washington's infection rate. While infections are still increasing and fatalities are piling up, Inslee drew attention to where the line had started to dip, to flatten.
Governor Inslee is showing this graph, saying that this represents a small decrease in the growth rate. Upon closer inspection: it's logarithmic scale, so it represents a pretty dramatic decrease in growth. pic.twitter.com/bmJ6Co7os8
"This graph shows a very slight lessening of the rate of increase," Inslee said. "By looking at its curve, it's a small reduction of the rate of increase but it is a glimmer of hope."
The graph suggests that the actions Washingtonians took up to two weeks ago are having an impact today. But, as testing expands in the state—something Inslee said is still desperately needed in Washington (there have been around 31,000 tests administered in the state)—those numbers may change.
Additionally, if the stay-at-home order, which was put into full effect on Wednesday, is ended too soon, things could take a turn for the direr.
"It looks like we've had a very modest reduction in the rate of change," Inslee said, "but it is not sufficient. If we do not continue to be in that curve down—I just want to make that the strongest statement for people to understand we shouldn't be within 10,000 miles of champagne corks on this—because if we do not continue to increase this, a lot of people are going to die across the state of Washington."
His comments suggested that Washington's stay-at-home order could be extended beyond its initial two-week time period.
In the coming days or weeks or these days-that-feel-like-weeks (yes, it's somehow still March), Washington will be getting more field hospitals organized by the army corps. They are intended to assist hospital surge capacity. Currently, "our system is not overwhelmed," Inslee said. "However, it is absolutely necessary that we dramatically increase our hospital capacity or we will be overwhelmed if we don't get this curve down to negative very, very quickly."
During his Thursday press conference, Inslee also asked that all retired medical professionals who can enter back into the field do so. The state has "cleared the decks to get those licenses restored on a very quick basis," Inslee said. He referred to his ask to form a "minute man, minute woman medical militia" as an Uncle Sam "We Want You" message. Go here for more information.
Inslee commended Washingtonians for staying apart but still staying emotionally connecting during the stay-at-home order. Though grandparents like Inslee "can't wrestle with the grandkids" right now, they can still FaceTime with them. Inslee shared this picture, below, of his extended family keeping in touch. Up in the right-hand corner are some of his grandkids, his "rascals in Kitsap County."