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Covid-19 virus
Credit: Associated Press photo: KGMI

Snohomish County not flattening the curve. 'The trend is up, up, up'

The Covid-19 curve is getting flatter in Washington State, overall, but some parts of the state are still seeing a rising tide of new cases. Snohomish County officials said today they've seen the sixth straight week of worsening numbers.

KUOW’s John Ryan joins us now for the latest from Snohomish County.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Kim Malcolm: So, the trend is still going the wrong way there?

John Ryan: County health officials say the numbers fluctuate daily, but the trend is still up. Based on a two-week rolling average, the cases are now about as high as they were in mid-March, shortly before the first peak of this pandemic.

We've been hearing quite a bit about new cases in younger people across the state. Does that track with what Snohomish County officials are saying?

Yes, absolutely. Most of the county's new cases are people between the ages of 15 and 39 years old. The county health officials say a lot of these cases are from people socializing. Sandeep Sachdeva is the Chief Medical Officer at Swedish, Edmonds. He says a lot of people are letting down their guard. They're going to see people they trust, and miss, and haven't seen in a while.

“The transmission is occurring when people are meeting non-family members, non-household members, in small groups. Essentially, trust is a factor here: that kind of behavior where you're meeting up with trusted friends, trusted family members you haven't seen for some time.”

In a nutshell, don't trust that other people, even the people you think the world of, are somehow safe from this virus. If you do socialize outside your own household, do it outdoors, in a mask, at a distance, and with no more than five people in a week. And, if you’re ever not sure whether you should wear a mask or not, just wear it. Bring it and pop it on if a situation arises that you weren't expecting.

caption: A second wave of Covid-19 cases is rolling through Snohomish County.
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A second wave of Covid-19 cases is rolling through Snohomish County.

Are you hearing any good news from Snohomish County on the Covid front?

A couple of things. The number of people dying from Covid is lower. That's basically driven by the fact that we're seeing younger, healthier people get the disease now, not folks in nursing facilities.

Sachdeva says young people still can get quite sick or die, even though the odds are in their favor, but he still says it's kind of a game of Russian Roulette of who will get deathly ill when they contract Covid-19.

One success story from his hospital is that masks work. They've had mandatory masking there since before long before government mandated it, and none of the people working in the intensive care unit have gotten the disease, even though they're working around some very sick people. Sachdeva says if we could get that kind of success out in the community and get 95% of people to wear masks, we would be able to turn the corner on this pandemic very quickly.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.