If you travel about the country, as I just did to visit my dad in Ohio, the coronavirus pandemic feels a lot like it does now here in Seattle: Like old news. But you don’t have to look any farther than Walla Walla to see that COVID-19 is anything but past tense.
“In June, Walla Walla County had more positive COVID cases than April and May combined,” the health district in that southeast Washington county warned the other day.
Now July is already running worse than June. Walla Walla is “one of three counties in the state that the CDC has classified as a high level of transmission,” health officials said, before adding, plaintively: “Wear a mask and watch out for those around you!”
Few are doing the mask-wearing and social-distancing thing anymore. We’re done with a pandemic that is not done with us. Those three counties referred to above — Walla Walla, Benton and Franklin — had, as of last week, the highest current COVID rates of any counties on the West Coast, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Walla Walla was reporting its recent 14-day rate as 334 cases per 100,000 population — a disease spread that not long ago could have landed the county into a Phase 2 restriction of businesses and events (not anymore though, as the whole state is now 100 percent open).