Coronavirus rates in King County have risen, pushing the county into a “medium” COVID-19 status, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 200 cases per 100,000 residents were reported within seven days, elevating the county’s status. The change comes as a federal judge ended the mask mandate and the state has rescinded certain requirements around masking, including in schools with children who are not yet old enough to receive a vaccine.
“While the CDC ‘medium’ risk category is not a magic threshold, meaning something has suddenly or fundamentally changed about the outbreak, it does tell us that COVID-19 risk is increasing for individuals and for our community,” wrote Public Health – Seattle & King County in an advisory.
Hate breeds hate
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is pushing for legislation that would establish a new hate crime reporting system in the county.
According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, there have been 92 cases of reported hate crimes in King County since 2020. However, many hate crimes go unreported, Dunn said in a press release.
The legislation would create a workgroup to look at creating telephone and web-based portals for reporting hate crimes and incidents.
“While crimes motivated by hate and bias have surged to record-setting levels across King County, they are still known to be underreported,” Dunn said. “A dedicated reporting system would increase access to justice for all communities by providing a direct avenue for reporting incidents of hate crimes.”
The King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias has collected information on 542 incidents since mid-2020.
University coronavirus protections rescinded
Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state would no longer waive residency requirements for public university graduate students to get their tuition waived in exchange for teaching classes and research.
The requirement had been off the books as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic since February 2020.
“Although we remain in a state of emergency, this order is no longer necessary to respond to this crisis,” the governor said in a release.
The change goes into effect May 15.
Free market, sort of
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis revoked the Walt Disney Company’s special tax status in Orlando after the company came out against a Republican-backed bill that restricts teachers’ ability to discuss gender identity in the classroom.
According to reporting in various outlets, including The Verge, the move means that Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties will have to absorb nearly $1 billion in outstanding bond debt incurred by the corporation.
Read more of the Apr. 27-May 3, 2022 issue.