Washington state will retain rules in President Joe Biden’s embattled COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large employers, Gov. Jay Inslee said during a Thursday press conference. The mandate calls for businesses with more than 100 workers to require employees to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or test weekly for COVID-19. President Joe Biden detailed the policy on Nov. 4 but it has since been paused by challenges in federal courts from Republican officials in 27 states, employers and several organizations. Inslee said his office is monitoring the situation.
Gov. Jay Inslee promised to “aggressively” seek federal aid for Whatcom County and other areas devastated by flooding from a Pineapple Express storm that inundated communities across Western Washington. Speaking at a flooded Whatcom Transportation Authority commuter parking lot in Ferndale on Wednesday evening, Nov. 17 — with a half-dozen cars in water to their rocker panels behind him — Inslee said he spoke with the mayors of Everson and Sumas and was astonished at the devastation he saw.
In Sumas, up near the Canadian border where this week’s river of rain caused trains to derail and City Hall to flood, the damage to homes is worse than expected with an estimated 85% of residences damaged.
That’s up from the 75% estimated Tuesday, said Mayor Kyle Christensen, who, along with crews and volunteers, spent Wednesday assessing the situation and organizing clean-up efforts.
“We’re just starting to get a better idea of how bad it is,” he said, adding it appeared more than 300 homes were damaged in the town of 1,300 people.
Vancouver, Canada’s third-largest city, is cut off from the rest of the country by land after days of storms caused flooding and mudslides that have blocked major highways and rail lines.
In response to what local officials are calling the storm of the century, British Columbia declared a state of emergency on Wednesday that will allow it, if necessary, to prohibit nonessential travel, hoarding of goods, and price gouging.
“These are extraordinary events not measured before, not contemplated before,” Premier John Horgan told reporters, saying that the volume of rain that fell on Merritt, a town of 7,000 people northeast of Vancouver, was three times the historical high.
Over the past year, there's been a flurry of research published about long COVID. Dozens of these studies try to estimate the risk of having lingering symptoms months after a COVID infection.
But when you look closely at the data, a huge inconsistency emerges: The estimates of the prevalence of long COVID range wildly, from less than 5% to nearly 60% of total COVID cases. So what's going on?
"It can be really confusing, even to scientists," says Christina Pagel, who directs the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College of London.
One Canadian border restriction that will continue to dampen cross-border shopping is the rule for unvaccinated children, said Laurie Trautman, director at Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute. The restrictions currently in place have unvaccinated children required to self-isolation for 14 days upon returning to Canada from the U.S., which would mean missing a significant amount of school or daycare.
Another potential factor behind the differences between state and national trends may reflect Washington’s relatively conservative approach to COVID-19 restrictions, said Hart Hodges, an economist and director of the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University.
“I wonder if some parts of the country are a little more cavalier about COVID and getting back to ‘normal’ while other parts — like us — are still being cautious,” Hodges said. “If so, we might expect slower job growth in the cautious areas.”
Family members held a funeral Wednesday for Axel Acosta Avila, a Western Washington University student from Tieton who died Nov. 5 at the Astroworld Festival in Houston.
The service was held at Highland Community Church in Cowiche, Yakima County. Dozens of family members and friends gathered to remember the young man, who had just turned 21 when he died. While most dressed in black, several wore bright colors to celebrate his life, as one of his family members requested on social media ahead of the service.
Poet, author and teacher Lee Maracle has died in Surrey, B.C., at the age of 71.
The award-winning writer and esteemed mentor garnered worldwide attention for her powerful writing and life-long efforts to fight Indigenous oppression in Canada.
Tributes are pouring into Maracle's social media page, honouring her life's work and her untiring energy to mentor other Indigenous writers.
Family members confirmed that Maracle died in Surrey Memorial Hospital early Nov. 11.
It was meant to be a summer vacation to celebrate. Thousands of revelers flocked to Provincetown, Massachusetts, for the July Fourth holiday, fully immunized against COVID-19 and ready to enjoy new freedoms, including socializing without face masks.
Instead, the weather turned cool and rainy, and the festivities shifted indoors to pubs, clubs and private homes, creating a crucible for the effectiveness of vaccines used to contain the uber-transmissible delta variant. More than 1,000 COVID cases ensued over the following two weeks, rocking confidence in the inoculations and prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reinstate an indoor masking mandate.
Four months later, researchers studying those who contracted the virus are gaining important insights into the immunity-bolstering effects of natural infection after vaccination. Importantly, their findings offer clues about the immune protection needed for the coronavirus to cease being a public-health menace and, ultimately, to end the pandemic.