GIG HARBOR, WA — Before November, Washington had never logged more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day. Over the past week, the state averaged over 2,000 cases for every single day.
This week has seen Washington struggle to adapt to this third, record-breaking surge in new coronavirus infections. Sunday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a suite of new coronavirus restrictions, limiting capacity at retailers, banning indoor dining and outright closing museums, gyms, and several other businesses in a bid to cut down on coronavirus transmissions.
Due to the surge in infections and transmissions, health officials continue to urge Washingtonians to stay home for the holidays. The Washington State Department of Health issued a statement Friday evening, pleading with residents to forego Thanksgiving travel, reading in part:
“The Department of Health (DOH) strongly urges everyone to limit their holiday celebrations to only members of their immediate households. We also encourage anyone with symptoms or close contact with someone who is infected (or suspected to be infected) with COVID-19 to get tested now. And for now, we discourage others without symptoms from seeking tests.”
The final portion of that statement speaks to a problem across much of the state: residents flocking to testing sites in droves, hoping to receive negative tests so they can return home for Thanksgiving. Due to the increase in demand, the DOH is asking residents to avoid getting tested unless they are suffering COVID-19 symptoms.
As of the latest update to the state’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Dashboard, Pierce County has reported 237.8 COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. That’s slightly under the statewide average rate of 251.9, and also below King County’s rate of 247.9 — worth noting because before this week Pierce’s infection rate outpaced King’s.
According to the Tacoma – Pierce County Healthy District there have been 431 confirmed coronavirus infections in the Gig Harbor area, and 6 residents have died due to the pandemic.
Catch up on the latest developments:
Virus surges across America
Washington is not the only state suffering an unprecedented number of new coronavirus cases, with a record-breaking 193,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday alone. The country also broke the record for coronavirus testing and hospitalization counts on Friday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Due to the recent spike in cases across the country, the Centers for Disease Control, like the Washington State Department of Health, is urging residents to remain at home for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Thursday, the CDC updated their guidance, telling America that “postponing planned travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”
“What’s at stake is basically the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying,” Henry Walke, CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said.
As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning, all of Washington’s latest batch of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are now in effect statewide.
Those restrictions include:
Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless a 14-day quarantine is completed before the event (or a weeklong quarantine with a negative test result received within 48 hours).
Outdoor social gatherings should be limited to five people from outside your household.
Bars and restaurants can no longer seat patrons inside. Those businesses can still serve patrons outdoors, though table sizes are limited to five people or fewer, and only people from the same household.
Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may still occur, but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above. Drop-off child care closed.
Bowling centers are closed for indoor service.
Miscellaneous venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely is allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Movie theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are still permitted and must follow the current drive-in movie theater guidance.
Museums/zoos/aquariums closed for indoor service.
Real estate open houses are prohibited.
Wedding and funerals receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
In-store retail (including grocery stores) is limited to 25 percent indoor occupancyandmust close any common/congregate non-food-related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is closed.
Religious services are limited to 25 percent indoor occupancy or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band or ensemble shall perform during the service. Soloists are permitted to perform. Facial coverings must be worn at all times by congregation members, with no congregational singing.
Professional services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible, and to close offices to the public. If they remain open, occupancy is restricted to 25 percent.
Personal services are limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy.
Long-term care facilities are limited tooutdoor visits only. Exceptions can be made for essential support person and end-of-life care.
Youth (school and non-school) and adult sporting activities are limited to outdoor only for intrateam practices, masks required for athletes.
Inslee announces plan to support businesses, families during pandemic restrictions
The new pandemic restrictions are likely to cause further economic turmoil in a state that was already barely crawling towards recovery. To compensate Friday Gov. Jay Inslee a new, $135 million package designed to help support businesses and families that are struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the money set aside in the $135 million package will go to support local businesses suffering under those restrictions. The remainder will go to lower income Washingtonians struggling to pay rent and utilities.
Washington approves clinics to administer COVID-19 vaccine
An effective coronavirus vaccine could still be months away, but Washington state already has six providers cleared to distribute that vaccine when it does come.
The Washington State Department of Health issued an update to their vaccine distribution program Thursday, confirming that they had approved six providers to administer any upcoming COVID-19 vaccine. The state did not clarify which six clinics had received approval, but hundreds more will likely join the six before the vaccine is released: 369 applications to administer the vaccine are still being processed. The state says they want as many clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices as possible to apply to become vaccine administration sites, so that the vaccine can be distributed widely across the state when it is released.
As for the vaccine itself, one candidate appears to be drawing close to approval. Pfizer claims that their vaccine is 95 percent effective, appears safe and will protect high-risk patients. As the Associated Press reports, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has been alerted and will be ready to review the vaccine for emergency distribution in early December.
Total coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county:
Editors note: Patch is now updating these totals on a weekly, rather than daily, basis. Readers should keep in mind that the increases below represent infections, hospitalizations and deaths over a seven-day period.
The above numbers are provided by the state Department of Health, and some numbers differ from the totals provided separately by county health agencies.
“During the whole lockdown thing it’s been kind of hard to put an original stamp on a set or a piece of live music; everyone’s been playing from their living rooms, everyone’s playing next to the f—ing fridge, so we had to come up with something new.”
The end result, an hour-long live-streamed performance at Spitbank Fort, was broadcast in October and also heralded the drum ‘n’ bass outfit’s first new material in a decade; the double-A side Driver/Nothing For Free.
Not being able to perform live has other pitfalls; even with their show at Spitbank Fort and a well-received global release, the group’s new material still hasn’t been tested in front of crowds.
“When we’re getting ready to release something always a huge component of it is playing it to small audiences, or sometimes even big audiences, and getting a lot of feedback from that, especially when it comes to Rob doing final mixdowns and stuff,” McGrillen said.
“That’s one thing we’ve definitely missed.”
Pendulum will be able to break free from the bonds of live-streaming soon and give crowds a full dose of new music with a homecoming headline slot at Perth’s Origin Fields New Year festival.
Billed as ‘Pendulum Trinity’ the group’s founding members – Swire, Gareth McGrillen and Paul ‘El Hornet’ Harding – are the first headliners announced alongside Australian house heavyweight Dom Dolla.
Based in the UK, McGrillen and Swire are very much ready to “do the whole quarantine thing” and fly to Perth to join Harding, who lives in the group’s hometown. With coronavirus cases soaring around the world, it seems there’s nowhere else they’d rather be.
“Perth’s the safest place in the world right now,” McGrillen said.
It’s been a long time between drinks on the new music front, with Swire and McGrillen splitting off to form the electro/bass-driven Knife Party after Pendulum’s last album, Immersion, was released in 2010.
Pendulum shows continued, primarily driven by Harding, and when live shows returned in 2016, so did the ideas for new music under the Pendulum banner.
As with anything released in 2020, it’s tempting to read into the new tunes as inspired by the trash-fire year that was, but Swire said the roots of Driver/Nothing For Free came as early as 2016.
“I think current events might have added 20 per cent angst to the sound,” he said.
“Ten years is a nice round number and I sort of feel if you get away longer than that, you may as well not bother … we’d been doing the Knife Party thing for about 10 years, we always feel like switching it up.”
And while 2020 marks the first new Pendulum music in a decade, it is also another milestone; 15 years since the group’s explosive debut album, Hold Your Colour.
The release still holds a special place for fans and the group alike – “the tracks on it still feel kind of magic,” Swire said – but at the time the trio didn’t know whether they had a hit or a flop on their hands.
“It was a weird time for us, we’d only been in England for about two years when we wrote it. In retrospect, it’s kind of the sound of culture shock and sleep deprivation,” Swire said.
“I think the first time we knew this whole thing had some longevity to it was when we made the next album (2008’s In Silico).
“We sort of switched the style and it still works and we thought, ‘Well, we’re onto something’, because we’ve brought all these new fans in who don’t even like drum ‘n’ bass.”
There’s a temptation, listening to Driver/Nothing For Free, to draw parallels between the tracks and the distinct styles between Pendulum’s earlier releases.
Driver, as the name suggests, is a fast-paced drum ‘n’ bass anthem; a heavy, rolling beat setting the pace for buzzsaw basslines interspersed with breakbeat clatters. Nothing For Free, on the other hand, features sing-along hooks rising to a rocking, headbanging crescendo, reminiscent of the outfit’s later albums.
So, is this a conscious effort? Or a by-product of almost two decades producing forward-thinking, genre-blending electronic hits?
The latter, largely.
Swire and McGrillen agreed they never intended to follow their earlier work too closely, but when inspiration strikes, well, sometimes it just pans out that way.
“It somehow just organically falls into either [style]; you get a sense halfway through, you get a sense like, ‘This sounds like kind of a Hold Your Colour tip’, or you can tell it’s a new style,” Swire said.
Pendulum will perform at Langley Park on Perth’s foreshore on New Year’s Eve. Tickets and information at originfields.com.au.
From partying at Dan Bilzerian’s mansion to hanging out with Instagram Influencer Alexis Ren, Chris Birdd is living the celebrity lifestyle – but nothing compares to his latest project.
The Maltese rapper has just joined forces with Mike Tyson’s team (yes, the legendary boxing champion) to mix and produce audio for his upcoming commercials.
“My close friend became his videographer not too long ago and asked me to do all the audio engineering for Mike’s adverts,” Birdd told Lovin Malta.
The project has been in the pipeline for some time with Birdd sworn to secrecy until the first advert was released which, in fact, was just a few days ago for a Thanksgiving special which has since been aired on TMZ and Fox News.
“The video was shot and edited by my close friends Mike Angel and Dray Millz,” Birdd continued. “At the moment I’m working project by project.”
Despite continuing to work with Tyson’s team, the Maltese rapper has yet to meet the boxing champion who is set to make his first appearance in the ring after over two decades this evening against Roy Jones Jr.
But he’s hopeful that one day he will, once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.