Cheers: To COVID-19 vaccines. As of Monday, more than 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Washington. Officials also announced they had reached their goal of providing 45,000 vaccines per day, and the state ranks right at the national average with 19 percent of residents having received at least one shot. Nationally, the effort appears on pace to easily surpass President Joe Biden’s goal of 100 million doses by his 100th day in office.
While there is a long way to go, the effort in getting to this point has been Herculean. In Clark County, a mass vaccination center at the Clark County Events Center at the Fairgrounds has been joined in recent weeks by a center at the former Tower Mall site in central Vancouver. Caution is still required in the forms of mask-wearing and social distancing, but the state and the country are moving in the right direction.
Jeers: To super spreaders. While progress is being made in getting people vaccinated and in tamping down coronavirus, an incident in Camas demonstrates that we still are not in the clear. In-person classes at Camas High School were canceled Thursday and Friday after at least 13 students tested positive for the disease and others were identified as close contacts.
The students, all student-athletes, reportedly attended a party where COVID-19 was unexpectedly on the menu. The news came the same week the district opened the school for in-person instruction for the first time in a year, providing a reminder that coronavirus is still a threat despite growing inoculation rates.
Cheers: To efficient government. The Clark County Charter Review Commission has started its work after members were chosen during November’s election. The commission is tasked with improving the county charter that was enacted following voter approval in 2014.
The charter created a system in which a county manager oversees day-to-day operations and the governing board defines policy. It increased the board from three members to five and provided for four of them to be elected by district rather than countywide. The system has been an improvement. Vast changes are not required this time around, but some tweaks could help government better serve the people of the county.
Jeers: To moving our history. Federal officials still are considering the sale of a National Archives facility in Seattle that houses centuries worth of documents related to the history of the Northwest. The Trump administration had identified the site as a “high value asset” and formed plans to scatter the documents among other sites.
A federal judge recently put a hold on the process, but that could be temporary. Now, lawmakers from throughout the Northwest are appealing to federal officials to scuttle the plan. Records regarding the history of our state and local tribes should stay close to home.
Cheers: To Washington. We all know that we live in the best state in the country; that’s why we live here. But it’s nice to have that confirmed by objective observers. U.S. News & World Report for the second time in a row has ranked Washington as the very best.
The rankings are based on more than 70 metrics and weighted for what people consider most important: Health care, education, the economy and natural environment, to name a few. Washington was followed on the list by Minnesota, Utah, New Hampshire and Idaho, while Oregon was 22nd. The rankings are quite a compliment to Washington’s residents and leaders. As any competitor will say, it’s easier to get to the top than to stay there.