COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus; CDC graphic)

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mitigate.

United States

On Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 9th, Pres­i­dent Joe Biden took sig­nif­i­cant steps toward address­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic after a deflat­ing sum­mer that many had hoped would be a return to almost nor­mal, instead inter­wo­ven with fear and dead­ly con­se­quences (most­ly for the unvac­ci­nat­ed), of the virus’ delta variant.

First, Biden announced that all fed­er­al employ­ees will be required to become vac­ci­nat­ed per an imple­men­ta­tion strat­e­gy to be cre­at­ed by each fed­er­al agency, with excep­tions only as required by law. Each fed­er­al agency will be giv­en spe­cif­ic guid­ance by or before Sep­tem­ber 16th by the Safer Fed­er­al Work­force Task Force to ensure as rapid and effec­tive a process as possible.

Sec­ond, all con­trac­tors and sub­con­trac­tors work­ing on projects for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will be required to have all employ­ees vac­ci­nat­ed in order to con­tin­ue such work, with spe­cif­ic guid­ance for such firms in place by the Safe Fed­er­al Work­force Task Force in place by Sep­tem­ber 24th.

Any new con­tracts with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will imple­ment such guid­ance and all such com­bined effort is to be ful­ly imple­ment­ed by Octo­ber 15th. This includes all employ­ees at health facil­i­ties that receive fed­er­al Medicare or Med­ic­aid, plus any employ­ee of Head Start or oth­er relat­ed Fed­er­al edu­ca­tion programs.

Third, the Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA) will be cre­at­ing an Emer­gency Tem­po­rary Stan­dard (ETS) that requires all employ­ers with one hun­dred or more employ­ees to ensure their work­force is ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed or require any work­ers who remain unvac­ci­nat­ed to pro­duce a neg­a­tive test result on at least a week­ly basis before com­ing to work.

All such employ­ees that need to be vac­ci­nat­ed will be required to be pro­vid­ed paid time off to accom­plish the task.

The net result is that around one hun­dred mil­lion employ­ees, almost two thirds of the work force in the Unit­ed States, will like­ly be required to be vac­ci­nat­ed by Octo­ber 15th.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wear­ing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” said Pres­i­dent Biden, speak­ing to the unvaccinated.

“We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increas­ing the share of the work­force that is vac­ci­nat­ed in busi­ness­es all across America.”

And that’s not all.

Gov­er­nors will be urged by the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to require vac­ci­na­tion for school dis­trict employ­ees, but the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will con­tin­ue to pro­vide fund­ing for COVID test­ing for the time being.

Sta­di­ums, con­cert halls and oth­er venues for large events will also be urged by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to require proof of vac­ci­na­tion or neg­a­tive COVID test. (This mat­ters because if nei­ther item is sig­nif­i­cant­ly met in the near future, the next log­i­cal step will be avail­able — to fed­er­al­ly man­date such actions.)

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion also announced that it would offer finan­cial help to school dis­tricts that face penal­ties for cre­at­ing mask man­dates in states that have barred them, in an effort to pro­tect them from finan­cial loss­es that could come from penal­ties or fund­ing cuts. (Last month, the U.S. Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment announced that it was launch­ing civ­il rights inves­ti­ga­tions of five states that had barred schools from cre­at­ing mask man­dates, say­ing they may be in vio­la­tion of laws that pro­tect spe­­cial-edu­­ca­­tion students.)

Start­ing Sep­tem­ber 20th, if the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion autho­rizes or approves boost­er vac­ci­na­tions for COVID-19, a cam­paign to deliv­er such boost­ers to the gen­er­al pub­lic will begin.

Mask require­ments will con­tin­ue for inter­state trav­el and with­in fed­er­al build­ings. The Trans­porta­tion Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion will dou­ble fines on air­line, train and oth­er trav­el­ers who refuse to mask up.

The num­ber of phar­ma­cies offer­ing free test­ing will be expand­ed to 10,000. Wal­mart, Ama­zon and Kroger will offer at-home COVID tests at cost, about a 35% sav­ings for consumers.

Over 1,400 fed­er­al­ly qual­i­fied health cen­ters and hun­dreds of food banks will offer 25 mil­lion free tests — Med­ic­aid will be required to cov­er the cost.

The Pen­ta­gon will dou­ble mil­i­tary med­ical teams help­ing local hos­pi­tals over­whelmed with virus patients.

Fed­er­al agen­cies will boost ship­ments of a COVID-19 treat­ment known as mon­o­clon­al anti­bod­ies by 50%.

Med­ical teams will be dis­patched to help admin­is­ter the treatments.

Top loan amounts for small busi­ness­es affect­ed by the pan­dem­ic will be increased to $2 mil­lion from the cur­rent $500,000.

The response from the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty and unions has been large­ly pos­i­tive, if also some­what cau­tious. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, on the oth­er hand, announced that it would be suing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion for plac­ing an undue bur­den on small busi­ness­es, con­ve­nient­ly ignor­ing the fact that the con­tin­ued spread of the coro­n­avirus is the real burden.


Yes­ter­day (Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 9th), at a press con­fer­ence, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee expand­ed a statewide mask require­ment to include out­door events of more than five hun­dred peo­ple, regard­less of whether or not such par­tic­i­pants have been vac­ci­nat­ed, which becomes effec­tive on Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 13th.

He also request­ed that the peo­ple of the state of Ida­ho adopt mea­sures sim­i­lar to that adopt­ed by the state of Wash­ing­ton, as their actions can affect those imme­di­ate­ly across the bor­der in Wash­ing­ton State, and that the sit­u­a­tion is increas­ing­ly about work­ing togeth­er as part of a larg­er community.

Inslee also offered some of his strongest com­ments to date about those who remain unvac­ci­nat­ed, declar­ing it a pub­lic respon­si­bil­i­ty to be vac­ci­nat­ed and that those who have not yet done so are behav­ing irresponsibly.

“This is about patri­o­tism right now,” said the Governor.


On Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 7th, Gov­er­nor Kate Brown held a press con­fer­ence to dis­cuss COVID-19’s spread with­in the state and chil­dren return­ing to school.

“Because Ore­go­ni­ans are mask­ing up and con­tin­u­ing to get vac­ci­nat­ed, we have been able to cut the pro­ject­ed length of this surge.”

“How­ev­er, there are still chal­leng­ing times ahead. And we must remain vig­i­lant. Every action you take impacts how this plays out. Every time you mask up you’re help­ing our doc­tors and nurs­es do their jobs. Every time you mask up, you’re help­ing our kids return to school more safe­ly. And every time you mask up you’re help­ing keep our busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ties open.”

“It is with mixed emo­tions that we are wel­com­ing our kids back to school this year. I know many par­ents are excit­ed for kids to return to the class­room full time, and at the same time anx­ious about the Delta vari­ant. We all play a part in reduc­ing com­mu­ni­ty spread of this virus. Togeth­er we can stop the Delta vari­ant from spread­ing and keep our kids safe and learn­ing in the classroom.”


Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle respond­ed imme­di­ate­ly to Pres­i­dent Biden’s announce­ment on Sep­tem­ber 9th, say­ing “Today’s actions from Pres­i­dent Biden amount to gov­ern­ment over­reach.” He con­tin­ued, “Gov­ern­ment should stay out of deci­sions involv­ing employ­ers and their employ­ees as much as possible.”

This was said less than two days after the Pan­han­dle and North Cen­tral Health Dis­tricts in north­ern Ida­ho declared “cri­sis stan­dards of care” allow­ing health care rationing for the area’s hos­pi­tals because there are more coro­n­avirus patients than the insti­tu­tions can han­dle. It is expect­ed that the sit­u­a­tion will get worse, with the same prob­lems spread­ing through­out the state in a mat­ter of days.

British Colum­bia

The provin­cial Min­istry of Health declared that as of Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 8th,  77.8% of new cas­es record­ed between August 31st and Sep­tem­ber 6th were among peo­ple not ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed. Between August 24th and Sep­tem­ber 6th, they account­ed for 85.9% of hospitalizations.

Also as of Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 8th, 85.2% of eli­gi­ble peo­ple twelve and old­er in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vac­cine and 77.7% have received a sec­ond dose.

On this same day, Dr. Shane Bar­clay, who has a prac­tice with­in the Inte­ri­or of the province, Sun Peaks, sent a let­ter to his patients, which since has been made pub­lic, stat­ing that no exemp­tion let­ters will be writ­ten for them unless they meet the cri­te­ria set out by health authorities.

“I am not pre­pared to com­mit fraud, so some­one can avoid a vac­cine,” wrote Bar­clay, who treats patients at the Sun Peaks Com­mu­ni­ty Health Centre.

The hard, cold numbers (plus vaccinations)

Wash­ing­ton has had 596,618 cas­es and 6,935 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the forty-sev­enth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

The state has the forty-fifth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

9,725,550 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 10,752,185
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 9,648,024 (89.73%)

Ore­gon has had 294,392 cas­es and 3,394 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the forty-eighth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

The state has the forty-sev­enth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

6,508,079 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 6,346,975
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 5,042,792 (79.45%)

Ida­ho has had 231,056 cas­es and 2,447 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the twen­­ty-third worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

The state has the forty-first worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

1,653,676 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 2,059,860
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 1,485,093 (72.1%)

British Colum­bia has had 172,338 cas­es and 1,847 attrib­ut­able deaths.

3,652,264 tests have been recorded.

British Colum­bia has the sixth worst infec­tion rate and the sixth worst death rate among the thir­teen Cana­di­an provinces and ter­ri­to­ries per hun­dred thou­sand pop­u­la­tion. (If it were an Amer­i­can state, it would be fifty-third and fifty-third, respec­tive­ly, out of fifty-three.)

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the province: 7,853,200
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 7,570,924 (96.41%)

That does it for this install­ment of COVID-19 Update. Stay safe and well!

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