The Chaos in Washington State

March 14, 2020 12:56 a.m.
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I say ‘chaos’ in the title. But I remind myself and you that everybody here is working in a frightening, unprecedented situation. Here from TPM Reader XX in Washington State …

I see your email about de Blasio being lost …

I’ve written in a couple of times recently about this. I work with schools in Washington. In the heart of the problem. District leadership had been looking to health departments for guidance. They simply didn’t get it in an actionable way. I hope someone with good investigative skills does a deep dive into the Snohomish county health department’s response. Woefully lacking or criminally negligent. Or worse.

My bet is the same might be happening here. The health department needs to shut it down. Or tell District / city leadership in no uncertain terms why they should. District leaders know public education. Not public health.

Both entities are running I to each other. It causes delays. De Blasio needs the political cover of the health dept doing this. It’s what I saw here. Absent that, there is gemming and hawing and hand wringing. And it spreads.

Thankfully Inslee said enough and shit it down. He did it in not the clearest/ cleanest way. But he did. Finally. And some districts are requiring staff to still attend without kids and in meetings in small rooms. Again, no leadership here. Educators minds are so wrapped up in education, even out here, they’re having trouble seeing the forest for what it is.

This has been my sinking feeling about the situation in New York. The Mayor and his administration seem clearly to be being led on this issue by the city’s Department of Education, thinking about all the negative impacts of closing the schools. Normally, that’s exactly who you want to listen to and those impacts are critical. But it’s not a public health analysis.

I’m sure they would not agree with this. But having listened to them discuss this extensively for two weeks my strong impression is that they’ve decided that the educational and social service impacts are so bad they’ve simply foreclosed the question. They’ve basically ruled it out before getting to the public health question. And given the gravity of the public health threat you simply can’t do that.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.

COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).

IHME Projections Site (COVID-19 epidemic model which has become the canonical model for many states and hospitals.)

Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).

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