Better late than never, I guess: King County Executive Dow Constantine announced yesterday evening that the county bought 300,000 at-home COVID tests for residents to help supplement the demand for testing. According to the press release, the first 100,000 kits are due to arrive in the next two weeks, and the county will send them to "areas" and "communities that are most in need." The county also said they are "working to procure additional kits, but has only been able to confirm purchase of the initial 300,000."
Meanwhile: The World Health Organization says that recorded COVID cases globally have increased by 11% over the last week compared to the week previous, reports AP. For the week of December 20-26, close to 4.99 million new cases of COVID were reported, with European cases accounting for 2.84 million of that total. Cases in the Americas were up 39%, hitting close to 1.48 million.
Wild quote coming out of the Bay Area: “If you walk into a room with 25 or 30 people, you can be about 95% sure that someone in there has COVID,” Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of medicine UCSF told the Chronicle, where parts of the Bay Area are seeing a vertical wall growth of COVID cases. “These rates are crazy high compared to anything we’ve seen before.” Still want to celebrate New Year's Eve in a sweaty club?
Also, breaking from the CDC:
The CDC now recommends that if you are secretly in love with me you have to tell me
— Zach Schiffman (@schlife) December 28, 2021
Harry Reid is dead: The former Nevada lieutenant governor and senator and one of the Senate's longest-serving majority leaders died yesterday at 82 of pancreatic cancer. That guy was an old stalwart of the Obama administration, acting as the majority leader from 2006 to 2014, famously helping the Dems get their shit together to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2009. The Hill has a more thorough look back on his career—and even manages to use the word "pugilist"—here.
Mark your calendars: Sound Transit announced that they will release the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project on Friday, January 28.
Interesting...... DoorDash requires again that all its desk-job employees and engineers perform a couple of deliveries every month. They initially shelved the program during the beginning of the pandemic. And according to the SFist, the company is "facing a mini-revolt among its pampered full-time employees." Read more about their whining here.
Buckle in, lads: More snow is coming our way! About 1 to 3 inches of it. But the same weather system bringing us all the snow is also bringing warmer temperatures, potentially getting us back into the 40s by the weekend.
Chaos at the airport: The snow has been wreaking havoc at Sea-Tac, which has now canceled over 1,000 flights as travelers try to navigate lost luggage, delays, hotel stays, and tons of frustration. The Seattle Times spoke with several people just trying to get from point A to B via Sea-Tac, with one person saying Alaska Airline gave him an estimated phone hold time of 21 hours and 33 minutes. Bonkers.
Hundreds of unclaimed bags at baggage claim and some very long lines at @flySEA, amid the winter weather that’s caused several delays and cancellations the last couple days. Live report on @KING5Seattle coming up. pic.twitter.com/XVAU90pkCP
— Brady Wakayama (@BradyWakayama) December 29, 2021
Don't expect to get your trash picked up today: The city is halting garbage, recycling, and food/waste pickup today, Wednesday, because of "unsafe driving conditions caused by snow and ice." In a release, officials said contractors will still attempt to pick up in commercial and multi-family zones. Those who got skipped will be allowed to put out double the trash on the next collection day. Enjoy the silence.
I'm so ready for the era of the Korn Dog on Capitol Hill: CHS Blog sat down with the good folks behind Korn Dog, an upcoming Korean-style corn dog spot that is taking up Mia's Off Broadway's old digs on the corner of the Seattle Central parking garage. Owner Seonja "Sunny" Lim says they plan to open in January and will serve tteokbokki alongside their corn dogs. I feel blessed.
Dramatic rescue at Multnomah Falls: A woman hiking the trail at Multnomah Falls in Oregon slipped and fell 20 to 30 feet off the trail. She managed to grab and hold on to a tree root, avoiding falling over a 300 foot cliff. Bystanders threw a rope down to her, which she wrapped around her waist so they could pull her back onto the trail. KING 5 has the video here.
Steven Soderbergh's Seattle-shot KIMI finally gets a release date: We can start streaming the film starring Zoë Kravitz as "an agoraphobic Seattle tech worker uncovers evidence of a crime" on February 10 via HBO Max. I somewhat unsuccessfully stalked production of the movie earlier this year and got a glimpse of Kravitz's poorly dyed blue hair, which was very on-brand for the summer of 2020. Based on the plot description (below), we think the movie is set during that summer, but we're not totally sure. I absolutely cannot wait to see the Soderberghian spin on our city politics.
Headline of the morning: "‘Bloodthirsty’ squirrel attacks 18 people in small Welsh village in two-day Christmas rampage: ‘Those teeth could bite right through a child’s tiny finger’, said the woman who put an end to the attacks" via the Evening Standard.
Flags will fly at half-staff across the state today: The reason? Doug Ericksen—the anti-vax state senator who was also a lobbyist for Cambodia—is getting buried today after dying earlier this month. It's still unclear whether Ericksen—who opposed COVID mandates—was vaccinated against the disease after contracting it while in El Salvador just before his death (the cause is still unconfirmed). In any case, he's going into the cold, hard earth today either way.
Andrew Cuomo evades criminal charges: A New York district attorney announced that the much-imperiled former governor would not face criminal charges. He faces allegations from two women who claim he gave them unwanted cheek kisses, reports AP. Though the Westchester County DA Mimi Rocah said there was enough evidence that the women's claims happened, she couldn't bring criminal charges.
ICYMI: John Waters released his annual round-up of his top favorite movies of the year. Spoiler, Leos Carax's Annette comes in at number one, with Questlove's Summer of Soul and Gaspar Noé's Vortex rounding out the top three. Just in case you needed something filthy to watch over the holiday weekend!
For your listening pleasure: Planet 1999's "Devotion."