Gov. Jay Inslee warned Thursday of “strong evidence” of a possible fourth COVID-19 wave in Washington, noting daily case counts have grown to over 1,000, up from 700 per day in February. As coronavirus cases again trend up, Inslee last week ordered three counties — Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman — to tighten restrictions by moving back to the second phase of his “Healthy Washington” plan. If cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, more counties now in Phase 3 could roll back to the second phase in May.
The United States opened more distance between itself and much of the rest of the world on Thursday, nearing the 200 millionth vaccine administered in a months-long race to protect the population against COVID-19, even as other countries, rich and poor, struggle with stubbornly high infection rates and deaths. The Associated Press reports that nearly half of American adults have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 30% of adults in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the picture is still relentlessly grim in parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia as variants of the virus fuel an increase in new cases and the worldwide death toll closes in on 3 million.
France has become the third country in Europe after the U.K. and Italy to reach the unwanted milestone of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths as new infections and deaths surged due to virus variants. But experts told The Associated Press the 100,000 mark is an underestimate by thousands: An analysis of death certificates shows that some COVID-19 cases were not reported or patients were not tested when people died at home, or in psychiatric units or chronic care facilities. France has reported the most confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe, more than 5.2 million.