When the novel coronavirus hit the Seattle space in the beginning of the yr, there was no playbook on what to do. In late February, with a significant outbreak on the Life Care Heart nursing dwelling in Kirkland, we grew to become the nation’s first epicenter. Issues may have simply spiraled uncontrolled, as they did in New York Metropolis, the nation’s second epicenter.
However by the tip of March, it was clear the virus was not spreading as quickly right here because it was within the New York space and another components of the nation. Our hospitals, although harassed and stretched skinny of private protecting gear, weren’t overwhelmed to the identical diploma. And we’ve continued to maintain the unfold in examine.
In complete, by the tip of September, Seattle has recorded simply shy of 5,600 circumstances. With town’s inhabitants of roughly 750,000, that pencils out to a price of seven.4 circumstances per 1,000 Seattle residents.
Examine that with New York, the nation’s second coronavirus epicenter, and the place the virus’s affect was devastating. There, a complete of about 239,000 circumstances have been recorded by September, for a price of 28.7 per 1,000 metropolis residents — practically 4 occasions increased than Seattle.
And information exhibits we haven’t simply contained the virus extra successfully than New York. We could have the bottom price of coronavirus infections of any main U.S. metropolis.
This discovering comes from the workplace of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the place employees compiled coronavirus information from native well being departments for the 30 largest U.S. cities. Once they undertook this activity, they didn’t anticipate that Seattle’s price of circumstances can be the bottom.
“The mayor meets each week with a bunch of nationwide specialists that she’s convened, and one of many conversations that we had was targeted on the tendencies throughout the nation as we’re reopening,” mentioned Stephanie Formas, chief of employees to Durkan, and one of many researchers who compiled the general public well being information. “So the mayor was to see how Seattle compares with all the opposite main cities.”
There’s a caveat with the info, although, and that’s the explanation we will’t undoubtedly say Seattle has the bottom price of coronavirus infections. For 15 of the biggest U.S. cities, the native well being division doesn’t produce information on the metropolis stage. As a substitute, researchers had to make use of the numbers for the county wherein town is positioned. For instance, the info for Portland is definitely for Multnomah County.
So it’s not an ideal comparability. That mentioned, there’s no purpose to imagine the numbers for any giant metropolis can be wildly completely different from the county wherein it’s positioned.
The best price of circumstances isn’t in New York, which solely ranks 11 among the many 30. Las Vegas has the unlucky distinction of the best price, at 76.7 confirmed coronavirus infections per 1,000 residents. Town had about 50,000 coronavirus infections by September, with a inhabitants of roughly 650,000.
It’s no surprise the Mayor’s Workplace needed to share the findings with me. Seattle’s low price of infections is a noteworthy achievement, notably in mild of the truth that we needed to confront the virus earlier than some other space of the nation.
Formas is fast to level out that our success in containing the unfold of the virus displays the vigilance of all Seattle residents.
“It’s the individuals of Seattle who’ve saved the case depend low, by being severe about social distancing, about hygiene and washing your palms, about carrying face covers, and about getting examined,” she mentioned. “Seattle has made the dedication to guard our neighbors and to guard ourselves from the unfold of COVID.”
And naturally, she additionally credit management. From the start of the disaster, she notes, native leaders spoke with a unified voice — from the governor to the King County government to the mayor.
The state and metropolis acted rapidly, instituting a number of the most aggressive containment insurance policies within the nation. As early as the tip of February, officers have been urging social distancing and asking individuals to remain at dwelling. By mid-March, a moratorium on occasions and gatherings was in place, and eating places, bars and gymnasiums have been closed. The governor’s full stay-at-home order was issued March 23.
Seattle went additional, closing or limiting entry to parks, starting in April. Town made different coverage selections to encourage secure behaviors, such because the “Stay Healthy Streets” initiative, to permit residents to stroll and train at a secure distance from one another. Town has additionally instituted free non permanent permits for sidewalk cafes, merchandise shows and meals merchandising.
There was concern that the protests that started in June, within the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, may speed up the unfold of the coronavirus. Town handed out face coverings to those that wanted them at a number of the preliminary protests, Formas says. Town additionally signed an settlement with Public Well being – Seattle & King County to permit anybody who attended a protest to get examined for COVID-19.
The info additionally present that Seattle has one of many lowest demise charges from coronavirus amongst giant cities, at 0.2 deaths per 1,000 residents (the demise complete by September was 174). San Francisco has the bottom price, at 0.1 deaths per 1,000.
The best demise charges are in New York and Detroit, each at 2.7 deaths per 1,000 residents. Greater than 19,000 New Yorkers died from the virus.
There is also a demographic part to Seattle’s low price of circumstances. Knowledge from the Facilities for Illness Management exhibits that white and Asian people have the lowest rate of coronavirus infection. Black, Hispanic and Native American individuals have charges greater than two occasions increased.
Among the many 30 cities, Seattle has the best proportion of white and Asian residents, at 79% of the inhabitants. The proportion is simply barely decrease in Portland (Multnomah County), which ranked second lowest for coronavirus infections, at 8.9 per 1,000 residents.