King County starts to curb coronavirus spread, but progress is ‘precarious’

Mar 30, 2020, 11:20 AM | Updated: Apr 2, 2020, 12:55 pm
Jeff Duchin, coronavirus, social distancing, King County, COVID variant...
Dr. Jeff Duchin, a health officer with Seattle and King County Public Health, speaks during a press conference. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A new report from Seattle-King County Public Health shows that the region is gradually making progress in slowing the spread of coronavirus as social distancing measures have taken hold.

Study: Travel bans good for delaying coronavirus, but not stopping it

“We are seeing a positive effect from the social distancing and other measures we’ve put in place, although significant numbers of cases and deaths continue to occur,” Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said in a news release.

Citing recent data, Public Health has found that “effective reproductive number” — a figure that measures transmission of the virus — has dropped “by about half” in King County, from 2.7 in late February down to 1.4 on March 18.

That being so, Duchin also pointed out that the threat of a rebound means that “no one should take these findings as an indication to relax our social distancing strategy.”

“The main takeaway here is though we’ve made some great headway, our progress is precarious and insufficient,” he pointed out.

He also tempered enthusiasm at least for now, with these new conclusions clouded by “a great deal of uncertainty.”

“It’s important to note that these findings are based on relatively few cases and persons tested,” said Duchin. “Continued monitoring with the measures in place will lead to more reliable data.”

WA Department of Health: ‘No reason’ to disinfect groceries

The slowdown of the virus in the Seattle area was also detailed in a recent New York Times report, going over how early social distancing measures “are beginning to pay off — at least for now.” In that report, Gov. Jay Inslee made a point to say that despite progress being made, Washington still isn’t “within 1,000 miles of declaring victory.”

“It would be grossly irresponsible to stop these measures now,” said Inslee.

This all comes in the wake of President Donald Trump extending the voluntary national shutdown for a month, bowing to public-health experts who told him the coronavirus pandemic could claim over 100,000 lives in the U.S. if not enough is done to fight it.

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King County starts to curb coronavirus spread, but progress is ‘precarious’