Big news: We’ve selected our Crow of the Year.
Bigger news: Here’s a sentence we hate to see: “Washington state could see its highest level of coronavirus cases by the end of 2021.” Trevor Bedford with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center expects to see over 2,000 Omicron COVID-19 cases a day in King County by next week.
I expect case loads to climb suddenly and rapidly in a large number of well connected cities over the next week. This will take many by surprise but was baked in as soon as we knew Omicron Rt. 12/12
— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) December 17, 2021
The grim predictions are bearing out: Today, New York state recorded its highest single-day total for new cases, just over 21,000 people.
“The Omicron outbreak we’re talking about is no longer theoretical,” said King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin at a press conference this afternoon. Duchin recommended people get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible and consider limiting their holiday travel plans.
More from Public Health – Seattle & King County:
The severity of Omicron cases is still not clear. Most vaccinated people should be protected from severe infection, but we expect to see many more serious cases in unvaccinated people, as well as many milder breakthrough infections among the vaccinated.
This rapid rise in cases has the potential to be more disruptive than previous waves. It could endanger the health care system’s ability to care for people. It could also be a major disruption for businesses, schools, and key infrastructure, as employees become ill.
Avoid crowded indoor spaces during the holiday season Limit the number of gatherings and, if possible, do a rapid test the day of the gathering Gatherings will be safer in well-ventilated spaces. Open windows for fresh air. Postpone travel where possible Now is the time to refresh your mask. Make sure it is well-fitting and high-quality. Everyone ages 5 and older, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear masks in indoor public settings like grocery, retail, theaters, and entertainment establishments, and at outdoor events with 500 or more people. Masks are also recommended for everyone in crowded outdoor settings. Visit Washington state’s Vaccine Locator to find a booster appointment. Take extra precautions for higher risk people in your life.
Here’s another great Shaina Shepherd remix: Jas mentioned a local-on-local collab between Chong the Nomad and Shepherd last Friday. This Friday, we get another one between Shepherd and Manatee Commune:
Open Books found a new home! It just needs a little help from the community to make the move a reality. “Open Books is a holy poetry shoebox,” former books editor (and current associate editor) Rich Smith said early last month, “and it is one of the few poetry-only bookstores in the country.”
We’ve found the perfect new home for Open Books: A Poem Emporium, but to make our exciting next step a reality, we need your help! Please share our donation page & consider making a contribution, so that we can secure a long-term, sustainable future 💜📚 https://t.co/ww31JU9lJh pic.twitter.com/L881h7KL4G
— Open Books (@openpoetrybooks) December 16, 2021
And that’s a wrap! King County Elections certified the results in the District 3 special election to recall Councilmember Kshama Sawant. The totals: 41,517 ballots. A 53.5% turnout. 49.6% voted to recall. 50.4% voted not to recall.
Campaigns may request a recount until 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 21: Whoever requests the recount has to pay for it. I have a feeling there won’t be a recount.
It’s probably just a coincidence that the same week it’s clear Kshama Sawant will remain on the Seattle City Council, the council approved a procedural rule to prevent legislators from talking for more than 10 minutes in support of or against a motion. Councilmember Strauss sponsored the rule change and says it’s not directed at anyone in particular…… That said, Sawant has a reputation among her colleagues for giving long speeches.
Mayor-elect Bruce is no fan of Sticker Patrol: You know what drives him “nuts”? “This graffiti everywhere,” Harrell said at last night’s KUOW Year in Review at Town Hall, reiterating a point he’s been saying all year: “That is not art. That’s graffiti.” He’s gonna clean up this town, and that includes all you taggers!
America’s schools were on an “upward trajectory” with threats and violent incidents before the pandemic, “and then we heaped on top of it: the trauma of the pandemic, the isolation, the mental health concerns.” A director of the Educator’s School Safety Network spoke to Hannah Krieg this afternoon about the increased threats against Seattle Public Schools. In the last month, the Seattle Police Department has investigated over five threats of violence to Seattle schools. Hannah has more here.
While we’re talking about schools… Pivoting back…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the “test to stay” program for unvaccinated students: The program allows unvaccinated students to stay in school after being exposed to COVID as long as they repeatedly test negative for the virus.
Jabs for juniors: Pfizer is expanding clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 6 months old. The vaccine-maker said Friday that a two-dose vaccine series did not create a “robust immune response” in children ages 2 to 5, so it will now test a three-dose series.
Florida man who participated in the January 6 Capitol attack was sentenced to more than five years in prison Friday, the longest sentence for anyone involved in the insurrection so far. The man was filmed attacking a police officer with a pole during the insurrection.
I wish I didn’t have to be celibate to give blood: Boasting about giving blood is so straight.
There’s no better way to celebrate the season of giving than providing others with something as vital as blood! ⁰⁰On this second annual State #BloodDonorDay for Washington and Oregon, would you consider donating blood in your own community? Visit https://t.co/klvJBYJi3M pic.twitter.com/gL0QQrnvoy
— Denny Heck (@LtGovDennyHeck) December 17, 2021
While you’re staying inside this weekend… maybe pop on Saturday Night Live and watch “pop’s reigning futurist” Charli XCX perform in promotion of her new music and documentary. XCX’s quarantine album How I’m Feeling Now was one of the best things to drop in 2020. (We love a “futuristic, unpredictable sound” with a “penchant for an irresistible pop hook!”) A documentary about creating the album will release in January:
This was my most played song of quarantine. The lyric “I only threw this party for you” has new meaning when it’s a lockdown and you’re singing it to yourself.
Seeing how things are going, it might be my most played song of 2022, too.
HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND!!!! STAY SAFE!!!!!
The Portland Mercury‘s Isabella Garcia contributed to this round-up.