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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“Amazon Tax” bill is off the table — for now.

According to a memo issued today, Council President Lorena Gonzalez has decided that the payroll tax bill put forward by Council members Sawant and Morales does not meet the criteria for allowed Council actions under Governor Inslee’s proclamation modifying the terms of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA). As such, the Council may not continue deliberations on it while the Governor’s proclamation remains in effect, and next Wednesday’s Budget Committee meeting to discuss the bill has been cancelled.

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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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