Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to the president of the Washington Education Association (WEA) detailing his support for educators and students to return to in-person learning. Inslee noted the progress being made right now in some Washington districts.
The letter to WEA reads, in part:
"The experience of Washington state educators in this regard should be given the highest consideration in this discussion. Educators have demonstrated rather conclusively that onsite instruction can be done with reasonable safety. Your members have already been working on site with over 200,000 students during the last several months at a variety of public schools across the state that are diverse geographically and demographically. Students are learning on-site at elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, and they have been successful because of the professionalism, dedication, and commitment of educators and school staff to their students."
Relief Plan Passes
Friday, the U.S. Senators approved a budget bill that clears the path for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. The vote was 51-50 after the vice president casted the tie-breaking vote. The House quickly approved the budget early Friday afternoon. The next steps will take weeks to complete. However, the approval of the budget makes the plan viable without Republican support. Most Americans will receive a $1,400 check or deposit.
COVID-19 by Numbers
As of noon Friday (PST), the USA has reported more than 26.7 million COVID-19 cases and 456,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, there have been more than 105.1 million cases and more than 2.2 million deaths. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecasts that "An estimated 631,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by June 1." At least 65 percent of new U.S. infections originate from people in ages 20 to 49, according to researchers at London's Imperial College.
Coronavirus cases climb
Reported Saturday, another 491 coronavirus cases were reported in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 320,146, including 4,449 deaths, according to the state Department of Health, and 18,283 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus. On Friday, Another 1,557 coronavirus cases and 33 deaths were reported.
State Vaccine Doses
As of Thursday, Washington has administered 770,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, as demand for the vaccine continues to far outpace supply. The state has averaged approximately 28,000 vaccinations per day, nearly double the average of two weeks ago but still far short of the state's goal of 45,000 a day, according to state health officials.
Double Up Your Mask
With highly contagious coronavirus variants being discovered in the U.S., now from Brazil and South Africa, experts say you should double up your masks because The existence of more transmissible viruses emphasizes the importance of us upping our game and doing not more of the same, but better of the same.
Federal Aid for State Wildfire Damage
Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement Thursday after the Biden Administration approved the state's Major Disaster Declaration request for nine counties and two tribes in Eastern Washington that were affected by wildfires last year.
Gov. Inslee said, "Our state experienced extensive damage during last year's wildfire season, particularly in Central and Eastern Washington. While it has been a long wait, I'm pleased to say the Biden administration has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request for nine counties and two tribes in Eastern Washington. This financial assistance will help rebuild public infrastructure that suffered damage - things like power lines, roadways, fencing around public areas and water and sewage systems.
"While we are still waiting on approval for our application for individual assistance in Whitman County, which would help private residents who lost homes or suffered property damage in the wildfires, today's approval for FEMA aid by the White House will help get these communities moving more swiftly toward recovery."