Digging into pandemic emotions, this week
Bill Radke reviews the week's news with Crosscut science reporter Hannah Weinberger, Publicola publisher and editor Erica Barnett and Seattle Met deputy editor Allison Williams.
On Thursday Governor Inslee announced that every county in Washington is moving to phase 3 starting on March 22nd. That means indoor spaces like restaurants and gyms will be allowed to reopen at up to 50% occupancy, with a maximum of 400 people for indoor and outdoor activities if physical distancing and masking are enforced. This announcement came the same day that President Biden signed the $1.9 covid relief package. Are things looking up? Should we all be running back to indoor dining, or holiday barbecues with friends?
This isn't the only Covid related news happening this week - the CDC came out with guidance for what you can and can’t do once you get the Covid vaccine. Which is great for the people who have actually gotten vaccinated, not so much for those who haven’t yet. Plus, President Biden has called for states to make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1st. Do these new guidelines help? Are they clear enough? Or do they just lead to vaccine envy?
Also, we are one year into this pandemic. One year of working from home, of shut down restaurants and libraries, and of mask wearing and social distancing. How has that left people feeling? What changes have the past year wrought?
But this pandemic will end eventually, and it might be under a different Mayor. We've got city council elections and a mayor's election this year, and Mayor Durkan is not running. Plenty of people have already announced their candidacy, including this week former mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver. What can we expect from this year's group of potential city leaders?
Whoever does end up taking the job of Mayor will have a lot to deal with, including a large homeless population. What's happening now with the Regional Homelessness Authority, and the push for hotel shelters?
Finally, there's a threat to the Pacific Northwest that might not be on your radar yet. Zebra mussels. An invasive species, the mussels are have infested every watershed in the lower 58, except the Columbia river basin. And now they’re popping up here in the PNW. How did they get here? Why are they so bad? What can we do to prevent their spread, and what’s the cost if we can’t prevent it?