Welcome to the next phase of COVID. The rules just changed, so pay attention.

While we were all (rightly) focused on Geroge Floyd, police violence, and structural racism, something important quietly happened on the COVID front in Washington: we moved out of Phase 1, the shutdown. In our new reality some of the rules are the same, but many of them have changed. For the most part, the government seems ready to do its part; but the rest of us aren’t yet.  It’s time to get our act together.

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Two off-the-beaten-path research papers on the coronavirus, with interesting results

There have been a flood of research papers released in the last few days related to coronavirus as the world’s researchers try to understand where this virus came from and what it does.  Much of the work is either clinical to understand how to properly diagnose and treat patients, or epidemiological to understand (and hopefully control) how it spreads.  But there are many other research teams exploring other aspects of the coronavirus; here are two such examples, with interesting results. One looks at whether there is reason to believe that at least some COVID patients lose their sense of smell; …

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The latest research on coronavirus transmission in King County is a much-needed sign of hope

Earlier this week the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) released a pair of research papers (here and here) looking at the transmission rate of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in King County. It provides hopeful news for the effectiveness of the social-distancing methods being used to try to slow the spread, and it also suggests some new ways to predict how we’re doing.

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Governor rewrites Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act for duration of COVID emergency

Yesterday Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation that temporarily suspends several of the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act until April 23 — though practically speaking, until the end of the COVID-19 crisis. The changes are allowances for the fact that most government employees are telecommuting, and many legislative bodies (including the Seattle City Council) are holding their public meetings by conference call.

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New coronavirus research sheds light on outcomes for patients, effectiveness of efforts to slow spread

Over the weekend, a research group led by a team at Imperial College in the UK published a paper looking at the effectiveness of various efforts taken by governments to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. It has been credited with convincing UK and US government officials to get serious about moving quickly and decisively — but it also points to the rough road ahead of us.

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