COVID cases are up. Most mandates ended months ago. So where does WA stand?
A new phase of the pandemic. A lull between waves. A time of reflection.
Scientists, politicians and public health leaders have spent the past few months using these phrases to describe where Washington stands in the battle against COVID-19. Now case rates are increasing once again, despite many people in recent weeks inching — or lunging — back toward pre-pandemic norms.
Public transit is often crowded, restaurants and bars packed again. Last week, a record crowd of more than 68,000 (mostly unmasked) Sounders fans packed into Lumen Field for a championship game.
But shifting public health guidance, the emergence of new variants and continued strain on hospitals has made it difficult for many to gauge their personal and community risk, leaving Washingtonians to wonder: Is this a new phase of the pandemic?