More than 99.99% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data highlights what leading health experts across the country have highlighted for months: Covid-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and death from Covid-19 and are the country's best shot at slowing the pandemic down and avoiding further suffering.
Following earlier recommendations by the CDC, the Washington State Department of Health and Gov. Jay Inslee this week, the Whatcom County Health Department is advising all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in public indoor areas and at crowded outdoor gatherings.
“This adds another layer of protection from becoming infected or transmitting to others if they are infected, and when everyone is wearing masks, businesses and organizations can ensure that unvaccinated persons are using masks without verifying vaccination records,” a health department news release on the recommendation stated.
Hazy skies will continue for the next several days as smoke from wildfires burning across the West drifts over Western Washington.
That smoke will bring unearthly sunrises and sunsets, but at least for now, it’s staying in the upper atmosphere and not affecting air quality near the ground, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service in Seattle.
The delta variant of the coronavirus got off to a slower start in Washington compared to other states, but it has recently bullied its way to the front of the variant pack here.
The emergence of delta coincides with what some public health officials are calling a “fifth wave” of COVID-19 infections that is tearing through the state’s unvaccinated population.
The state Department of Health’s (DOH) latest sequencing and variants report has delta making up 57.5% of cases that have been genotyped. A big increase from the previous report that had delta at 27.5%. Gov. Jay Inslee and state health officials said Wednesday disease modeling shows delta likely now accounts for more than 90% of new cases.
Another report from DOH released Wednesday makes clear the pandemic is far from finished. Between February and June, Washingtonians 12 and older who are unvaccinated made up 97% of COVID-19 cases, 96% of hospitalizations and 94% of deaths.
As of Wednesday, just 52.4% of Washington residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
A heat advisory is in effect as high pressure draws hot air toward Whatcom County, driving temperatures into the 80s and 90s and allowing some wildfire smoke to sweep through the region.
A high temperature of 87 degrees is forecast for Bellingham on Friday, July 30, but the Mount Baker foothills and areas near the Canadian border will be much warmer, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.
That’s 10 to 15 degrees above normal, according to NOAA data for Bellingham International Airport.
“Very warm temperatures today and Saturday before marine push Sunday brings temperatures back to near normal,” meteorologist Dana Felton said in the online forecast discussion Friday.
After seeing no new cases reported by the Washington State Department of Health the past two weeks, Whatcom County’s number of confirmed COVID-19 delta variant cases jumped by 10 cases last week.
Whatcom County, which had its first confirmed delta variant case reported July 6, now has had 11 confirmed cases of the variant, according to the latest SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing and Variants in Washington State report released by the state Department of Health Wednesday, July 28.
The Whatcom County Health Department said it was anticipating an increase, in an email to The Bellingham Herald earlier this week, citing a lag time of a few weeks in the state’s reports.
The Biden administration announced Thursday it will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire Saturday, arguing that its hands are tied after the Supreme Court signaled the moratorium would only be extended until the end of the month.
The White House said President Joe Biden would have liked to extend the federal eviction moratorium due to spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Instead, Biden called on “Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.”
The moratorium was put in place last September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hoping to set a model for employers nationwide, President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that millions of federal workers must show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine or submit to regular testing and stringent social distancing, masking and travel restrictions.
An individual familiar with the president’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm details that had yet to be announced publicly, emphasized that the new guidance is not a vaccine mandate for federal employees and that those who decide not to get vaccinated aren’t at risk of being fired.
Students and staff in schools in Washington state will continue to be legally required to wear masks due to the rise in COVID-19 cases as schools open in the fall, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a news conference Wednesday.
He will continue to re-evaluate the requirement in the coming weeks and months as students return to class, he said.
More than 94% of Washington’s recent COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations were among people not fully vaccinated, according to a new report from the state Department of Health.
The new data, released Wednesday, shows that between February and June, residents 12 and older who weren’t fully vaccinated made up about 97% of COVID-19 cases, 96% of hospitalizations and 94% of deaths in the state.
In a news release, the DOH said the report “underscores once again the need for people to get vaccinated now, if they haven’t already.”