Seattle Times Opinion

Violent protests: Seattle is on life support
Author: Letters editor

What has happened to our incredible city? I watched Wednesday night as bands of “protesters” again went through downtown smashing windows, spraying graffiti, targeting businesses. Protesting is fine, rampant destruction is not. The bands of protesters led, and the police followed. What kind of tactic is that? I suggest the Seattle City Council take a […]

Seattle Times Politics

King County judge to decide whether to strike down Seattle renter protections
Author: Heidi Groover

Landlords are asking a King County Superior Court judge to block three city of Seattle laws, including a ban on winter evictions. Judge Johanna Bender will issue a ruling sometime within the next month.
Washington state lawmakers propose a $2.2 billion COVID-19 package supporting renters, vaccinations, businesses
Author: Joseph O’Sullivan

Washington state lawmakers Friday afternoon released the outline of a new COVID-19 relief bill aimed at boosting vaccine distribution and contact tracing, and aiding schools, renters and small businesses amid the pandemic.

Columbian Newspaper

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee receives COVID-19 vaccine
Author: RACHEL LA CORTE, Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, have both received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The couple, both 69, received the Moderna shots at the Sea-Mar Clinic in Olympia.

“It’s a scientific miracle that we have this safe, comfortable, efficacious vaccine so quickly,” Inslee said after receiving the shot in his left arm. “I think it is important to give people confidence and I hope they’ll get vaccinated as soon as they possible can.”

Inslee expressed hope that with a new president, the number of doses states receive from the federal government will increase. But with the state currently receiving about 100,000 doses a week, he said patience from the public will be required.

“We’re going to go as fast as we can,” he said.

Earlier this week, the state moved into Phase 1B on the vaccination schedule, which was modified to lower the age of eligibility from 70 to 65. Phase 1B also includes those age 50 and older who live in multigenerational homes.

In December, the state started vaccinating health care workers, high-risk first responders and people living or working in nursing homes. Later phases will include people 50 and older who work in congregate settings like agriculture or grocery stores, and those 16 or older with underlying medical conditions.

The U.S. has recorded more than 24.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 412,000 deaths. There have been more than 283,000 cases in Washington state, and 4,065 deaths.

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, although long-term effects are unknown. But for some, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

According to latest metrics released by the Department of Health on Friday, all of the state will remain in the first phase of an economic reopening plan, with prohibitions on indoor dining at restaurants and indoor gyms staying in place through at least Feb. 1.

Each week, the state looks at the regional case rates, hospital admission rates, ICU occupancy rates and test positivity rates for eight regions. In order for a region to advance, they have to show: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates over a two-week period; a 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates in that same timeframe; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%. None of the regions met all four markers this week in order to advance to the second phase, at which point restaurants and indoor fitness center can open indoor dining at 25% capacity, sports competitions can resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their number of guests.

Tom Brokaw retiring from NBC News
Author: Associated Press

NEW YORK — NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw said Friday that he is retiring from the network after 55 years.

Brokaw, author of “The Greatest Generation,” was NBC’s lead anchor at “Nightly News” and for big events for more than 20 years before giving way to Brian Williams in 2004.

The 80-year-old newsman did documentaries and made other appearances for the networks after that, but he has fought cancer and his television appearances have been more sporadic.

He said he will continue to be active in print journalism, writing books and articles.

Brokaw began at NBC in its Los Angeles bureau in the 1960s, where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

He was a White House correspondent during Richard Nixon’s presidency, and began co-hosting the “Today” show in 1976. He started hosting “Nightly News” in 1983.

For two decades, the triumvirate of Brokaw, ABC’s Peter Jennings and CBS’ Dan Rather were the nation’s most visible broadcasters, anchoring major stories like the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Prep seasons for higher-risk sports won’t start Feb. 1 as region fails to advance to Phase 2
Author: Tim Martinez

For athletes in several high school sports, the wait continues.

The Southwest Region will not be moving Monday to Phase 2 of the “Healthy Washington” reopening plan after data released Friday by the state department of health showed no region in the state hitting all four metrics required to advance out of Phase 1.

Return-to-play guidelines released last week by the athletic directors of the 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens League stipulated that the region must be in Phase 2 by Jan. 25 in order for seasons to begin Feb. 1 for high- and moderate-risk sports of football, girls soccer, volleyball and slowpitch softball.

Now, the earliest those sports could start their seasons is Feb. 8, provided the region reaches Phase 2 by Feb. 1.

The Southwest Region, which encompasses Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania, Klickitat and Wahkiakum counties, saw a 44% rise in new COVID-19 cases and a 36% rise in new COVID-19 hospitalizations.  Both those metrics need to decrease by at least 10% to reach the threshold to move to Phase 2.

Also, the region saw its percentage of positive COVID-19 tests jump from 18% last week to 24%. The metric needs to be below 10% to reach the threshold.

The one metric the region was successful in reaching was the percentage of ICU bed capacity, which fell to 54% — well below the threshold of 90%.

No region in the state hit all four thresholds to move to Phase 2 next week. In fact, no region in the state reached more than two of four of the metrics.

Low-risk sports of cross country, boys tennis and boys golf, which can begin full practices and competitions in Phase 1, will still commence their seasons on Feb. 1.

NYT Politics

C.D.C. Eases Coronavirus Vaccine Rules for ‘Exceptional Circumstances’
Author: Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The agency now says patients may switch authorized vaccines between the first and second doses, and also extend the interval between doses to six weeks.
Pfizer Will Ship Fewer Vaccine Vials to Account for ‘Extra’ Doses
Author: Noah Weiland, Katie Thomas and Sharon LaFraniere
After the surprise discovery of an extra dose in every vial, Pfizer executives successfully lobbied the F.D.A. to change the vaccine’s formal authorization language. The company charges by the dose.

Portland Business News

Meet the 'TikTok Doc,' who burst to fame in Portland
Author: Elizabeth Hayes
Dr. Jason Campbell busted a move on the social media platform to show young Black men that you can dance and be a physician. It went viral.
Guest Column: Bringing urgent services to Portland-area kids and their families
Author: Beach Pace
Inside Portland's Big Brothers Big Sisters