Theres a lot of this little thing still out there.
There's a lot of this little thing still out there. UNSPLASH/ CDC

At a press conference on Friday afternoon Seattle and King County public health chief Dr. Jeffrey Duchin expressed empathy for the sick and the dying, sorrow for the families mourning the loss of the dead, and offered gratitude for those who stayed home for Thanksgiving despite the deep desire to visit family and friends during the dark months.

"Recent steps by many of you in King County likely blunted the rise we were expecting," Duchin said, as he overviewed the recent coronavirus data.

Though that rise may be a little blunter than public health officials expected, there's still way too much virus out there—in Seattle, in King County, in the state, and in the rest of the country—for people to be traveling around and eating gold coins, glazed ham, or black-eyed peas indoors with family.

As with Thanksgiving, so with Christmas: Only celebrate with the people who already live inside your house, or else celebrate virtually. "If you must gather with others," Duchin said, "this is the time to start quarantine to make sure your gift to someone you love isn’t a COVID-19 infection." Obviously it's a little too late for the Jews to start quarantine, but, whatever, if everybody's good now then maybe we'll get to see the cousins for Pesach.

A little blunting but not enough blunting!!!!
A little blunting but not enough blunting!!!!

Though I know translating our local public health officer's message into a snippy liberal scold may turn off readers who come to The Stranger seeking inclusive, empowering messaging designed to appeal to audiences who may harbor deep skepticism of the scientific process, I'll bet on the thickness of the liberal media bubble and just cut straight to it: cancel your fucking Christmas plans. If you bought a plane ticket thinking it was somehow a good idea to travel while the virus continues to explode across the country, then cancel that fucking ticket. Stay home. Mail presents or drop them off on doorsteps. Do a Zoom. You get the idea by now. You're creative. You're so strong, so smart, etc. Now cancel the plans if you have them.

Duchin said cases and hospitalizations have remained "elevated and stable at high levels" since late November. Over the last seven days an average of 650 people have become infected with the virus, with 19,000 new cases in November—and, again and as always, those numbers only reflect the number of people who have been tested and diagnosed. People aged 20 to 50 still account for 60% of the cases.

Hospitalizations increased all last month, with an average of nearly 30 people hospitalized per day. That's up from 50 per week throughout the summer, Duchin said.

Support The Stranger

We've got 350 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in King County right now.

As of Dec 5, Duchin said public health identified 209 outbreaks across the state, a 30% increase since October and the highest count since the beginning of the pandemic. The biggest increases have occurred in long-term care facilities, child care facilities, and homeless service sites.

Though a vaccine may be on its way as soon as next week, only certain health care workers will get the initial doses. The virus continues to pose "a deadly threat" and it "won't relent in the next few months," Duchin added.