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King County has released new key indicators of our progress on slowing the spread of COVID-19, and the results are … well, if not good, exactly, at least not as bad as they could be.

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First, the bad news: People are still dying; the virus is continuing to spread; and testing is still not where it needs to be. But there’s also some less-bad news, which is that the trend in reported cases is staying steady instead of going up; the risk of death is decreasing; and health care capacity is the best it’s been since the pandemic began.

So obviously, that means we can all go back to normal and pretend like everything’s fine. Just kidding, normal will never exist again and we’re still in just the first wave of what could be a years-long outbreak!

King County’s done a pretty nice job of organizing some extremely complicated data into a convenient dashboard, complete with nerdy graphs. When it comes to most of the criteria for handling the pandemic, we’re doing an okay job — meeting targets, though not wiping out infections, like more developed nations have managed to do.

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We’re holding steady with new infections, at about 24 people per 100,000. The risk of hospitalization and death has gone way down (though it’s not zero). And our testing capacity continues to climb, but people aren’t getting tested rapidly enough — which means more education and testing sites are needed. (If you’re experiencing symptoms, go get a test! Geez!!!)

And when it comes to metrics in Seattle, there’s some news that is … dare we say … actually good? The rates of infection, hospitalizations, and deaths in Seattle are lower than for King County overall. So good job, us. Keep exercising care: Wash your hands, stay away from crowds, wear your mask, and for heaven’s sake don’t be an idiot about going to parties right now.

Meanwhile, the county is in the midst of preparing to transition to Phase 2, which would see lots more businesses open. As part of that, King County is planning to obtain enough face masks that everyone — every single resident — can get two washable reusable cloth masks. “Normal” definitely doesn’t describe what our lives are going to be like for the foreseeable future. But “not as bad as it has been” might.

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