What I want to accomplish
Use our state’s data to safely reopen our schools and economy
Thus far in Washington, about 10 people under age 40 have died from COVID-19. Every one of these deaths is devastating. However, without question, young adults are generally at low risk, and that should be the focus of the economic recovery and getting Washington safely open again. We need our world-class health systems to focus on caring for those who are sick and at the greatest risk.
To be clear, I am not advocating for a wholesale reopening of our economy, and I believe that high-risk populations (such as those over age 65 or with chronic health conditions) should remain socially distanced until a vaccine has been developed. We need to support residents and employees of long-term care facilities, as they continue to be focal points of transmission and mortality.
However, widespread closures will not eradicate COVID-19, and remaining closed until a vaccine is developed is not a sustainable solution, so we need to strategically reopen based on age and health demographics. In my view, the current plan to reopen based on transmission rates of less than 10 cases per 100,000 residents in each county is an ill-considered, one-size-fits-all approach that Washington state COVID-19 data does not support.
Support hospitals and health care systems to care for you
The state has mandated that hospitals and health systems can’t reopen to “non-emergent” procedures unless they are at under 80% capacity. Hospitals are not restaurants, however, and certainly this mandate illustrates the disconnect between government and health systems, as our hospitals typically run at over 90% capacity and must do so to sustain their workforce and provide adequate care. State leaders and agencies should work directly with hospital and health system leaders to craft these guidelines.
Preserve historic investments in K-12 education
There is unquestionably a large hole in our state budget as a result of widespread, sustained closures. The legislature will need to prioritize how our precious tax dollars will be spent, and I’ll continue to advocate maintaining full funding for our teachers and students in K-12 education. However, I do not support raising more taxes from East King County, such as those used to fund the “McCleary fix.” We need leaders who will fight against statewide budget solutions that unduly burden East King County residents.
Below I will start providing information for you to review about school closures and how other countries such as Denmark have safely reopened their schools.
Peer Reviewed Articles on the Impact/Questionable Benefit of School Closures:
School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review
Strong Social Distancing Measures In The United States Reduced The COVID-19 Growth Rate
Impact of school closures for COVID-19 on the US health-care workforce and net mortality: a modelling study
News Articles about Impact of Reopening Schools:
COVID-19 in schools – the experience in NSW [New South Wales, Australia]
Children and COVID-19
Reopening schools in Denmark did not worsen outbreak, data shows
News articles about Spread of COVID-19 in Children:
News articles about academic, social-emotional, and mental health impacts of school closures:
American Academy of Pediatrics Guidance:
K-12 Education Reopening Plans: