Whatcom County has reached the state’s goal of having 70% of residents 16 and older who have received at least their first dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, the Health Department said Monday, July 12.
With that milestone, Whatcom County becomes the fourth county in Washington to reach that mark, and the second county with a population above 50,000 to do so.
With another stretch of extreme heat, one of the worst droughts in recent history, 300 fires burning in British Columbia, 24 in California, 14 in Idaho, 13 in Oregon, and four in Washington, it’s safe to say wildfire season is here.
Bob Mitchell, a professor of hydrogeology at Western Washington University, said that if the planet’s warming trend continues, Mount Baker’s glaciers will keep retreating and the Nooksack could become fed by rainfall, rather than by glacial melt.
“We’re predicting that the snowline will increase,” Mitchell told The Herald. “We’ll essentially get more rain in winter than snow” in the mountains.
Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, a seismologist at Western Washington University, explained it this way in a series of Twitter posts:
“Location algorithms can sometimes yield an incorrect location, though. This is because they are somewhat tuned to what they expect to record. For example, a seismic network in California is focused on recording CA quakes, so the algorithm starts with that assumption.
“...Luckily, humans are smarter than computers, and we always have humans review the algorithm’s output. Sometimes...and this is actually pretty rare...we find a phantom quake and delete it from the record.”
Whatcom County saw its first case of the delta coronavirus variant reported Wednesday, July 7, on the latest SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing and Variants report by the Washington State Department of Health.
Whatcom’s one case is one of 656 confirmed delta variant cases spread across 13 Washington state counties, according to the state report.
“The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. If you’ve already gotten one dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, be sure to get your second dose,” the Whatcom County Health Department stated in a release earlier this week, adding that vaccine providers can be found at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.
For only the second time since late July when the Whatcom County Health Department began reporting COVID-19 location data, one of the county’s seven school district regions has an infection rate of zero.
The region covered by the Meridian School District has seen no new COVID-19 cases the past two weeks, giving it a zero infection rate, according to the latest location data released by the health department this week.
The deadly heat wave that roasted the Pacific Northwest and western Canada was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change that added a few extra degrees to the record-smashing temperatures, a new quick scientific analysis found.
An international team of 27 scientists calculated that climate change increased chances of the extreme heat occurring by at least 150 times, but likely much more.
The study, not yet peer reviewed, said that before the industrial era, the region’s late June triple-digit heat was the type that would not have happened in human civilization. And even in today’s warming world, it said, the heat was a once-in-a-millennium event.
But that once-in-a-millennium event would likely occur every five to 10 years once the world warms another 1.4 degrees (0.8 degrees Celsius), said Wednesday’s study from World Weather Attribution. That much warming could be 40 or 50 years away if carbon pollution continues at its current pace, one study author said.
The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has now been found in Whatcom County, according to the latest SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing and Variants report by the Washington State Department of Health released Wednesday.
One case of the delta variant, which was first found in India and has some experts concerned about how quickly it spreads, has been found in Whatcom County, according to the latest weekly report by the Department of Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the delta variant as one of four variants of concern, while the World Health Organization has labeled it “the most able and fastest and fittest of those viruses,” according to a CNBC story.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday declared a state of emergency throughout Washington relating to the growing risk of wildfires, including a statewide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning through Sept. 30.
“We don’t want a repeat of recent years with dangerous wildfires across the state that have destroyed towns, killed livestock and resulted in weeks of unhealthy air quality,” Inslee said in a new release, adding that the state is facing a historic drought and has already seen a deadly record-breaking heat wave. “We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent wildfires and the loss of life and destruction of land and property that comes with them.”
Prohibited outdoor burning includes campfires, bonfires, residential yard debris clean-up, trash disposal, land clearing, weed abatement, and agricultural burning activity, according to the proclamation.
The highly contagious delta variant now accounts for more than 51% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to new estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first detected in India and is spreading quickly across the globe.
And in parts of the U.S., the delta strain accounts for more than 80% of new infections, including some Midwestern states such as Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.
The delta variant is already causing 74.3% of infections in Western states, including Utah and Colorado, and 58.8% of infections in Southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to CDC estimates.
The good news is the vaccines being used in the U.S. all appear to be highly effective at protecting against serious disease, hospitalization and death. And public health officials are urging the roughly 140 million to 150 million people who remain unvaccinated to get vaccinated.