Mayor Nelson: Now is not the time to rush to reopen

Mayor Mike Nelson

Like many of you, I was disappointed following the April 21 Governor’s Economic Recovery presentation because he did not say what we all really were hoping to hear: “The virus is dead. Washingtonians, go back to work and live your lives!” But, of course, he could not say that.

Why are we disappointed? Because we feel we are ready for this to be over. We have done our part, made sacrifices, given up work, closed our businesses, closed our schools, and we stayed home. So what’s the hold up? Where is “the plan” to get the economy going again? And why is there no date for when this will end?

Those are real and valid concerns. The problem, though, is they are all based on an assumption. The assumption is that this virus is contained. And the fundamental problem with that assumption is that it is incorrect.  

The virus is still deadly

The virus has not been contained. It is just as lethal as ever.

There is no known cure, no vaccine. Yes, many, scientists all over the world are working on one, but until then, you need to hear these sobering facts. In the second week in April more people in our country died from this virus than from heart disease and from cancer. At least 22 people a day are still dying from this virus in Washington state alone. Approximately 200 people every day are catching this virus in our state, which is still too high according to the medical community. And the latest projections from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is to hold off on relaxing stay-at-home restrictions until after May 28. If we reopen too soon, the virus will come roaring back. For example, we are seeing a second wave of infections in other countries that opened up too soon.

The spread of the virus is not going as planned because it does not follow a plan. It lives to merely find a host. It hides in places we don’t expect and does not care where the hosts are or what they do for a living. The more hosts, the more it spreads; the more it spreads, the more it overwhelms our health care system and our way of life.

Opening our economy too early

Meanwhile, we have economists, not elected officials, not sheriffs, not doctors, but people whose day job is to study the economy telling us that we will cause more harm to our economy to open earlier rather than later.

Economist Michael R. Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute wrote that if we reopen too soon and this causes more spread of the virus, overloading our hospitals, and more loss of life, it will have a far worse impact on the economy. He states, “many people would be afraid to resume normal economic life regardless of what the government tells them. People would avoid dining out, shopping, taking public transportation, traveling and working from their offices…Getting back on track with an uninterrupted economic restoration is contingent on having won the battle against the virus.”

Reckless actions

At this critical time when our community is looking for a steady hand and when we are at our most vulnerable state, grasping for any sign of hope, the last thing we need is local elected officials openly defying state and county emergency orders designed to protect our health.

The chief law enforcement officer of our county, the sheriff, recently stated he knows what is best to restart our economy and is refusing to follow lawful emergency orders designed to save lives. Another local official, whose job it is to pass laws, publicly stated they recently attended a party seemingly unaware they violated the stay-at-home law when the law actually requires them to…stay home.

These publicly defiant actions are sending a very harmful message during this critical time: They are suggesting you don’t have to follow laws created to protect you and those around you from this virus.

Protecting our health will save our economy

Now is not the time to give in to this virus, to give up on our neighbors or our community. We need to keep on practicing social distancing, not moral distancing. We need to look out for one another now more than ever in Edmonds and beyond. We need to keep supporting our local businesses, keep supporting our first responders, and we will get through this difficult time in our lives.

We need to continue to trust our medical professionals that have helped us make it this far. They have guided our Governor’s emergency decisions and they have saved countless lives.

Our state is working on a careful, phased-in approach to reopen when it is medically safe to do so, but until then we need to follow the stay-at-home order. Asking the governor to set an arbitrary timetable, unsupported by medical data, which is not likely to be met, is misleading and gives false hope to our community.

I trust our governor and support his leadership in getting us through these unprecedented times together.

Because the sooner we can protect everyone’s health, the sooner our economy will truly recover.

— Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson

    1. Thank you for the voice of reason during this pandemic. I hope that others will put aside their wants and put others health needs first.

  1. Well Said. Truly amazing what public officials will say to generate media coverage even if it is unfavorable. It’s unfortunate that the media does not also present the fact that the Snohomish County Sheriff, while free to express his views like any other citizen has no relevant expertise to make these judgements nor has he demonstrated any improvement in public safety in doing so. It seems we as voters may have made a mistake in hiring this gentleman. We as voters need to expect and demand that elected officials put their job functions first and stop trying to engage in amateur circus performances.

    1. I agree we need to hold our elected officials accountable. Can we start with Verdant? Look at there last Board minutes on the website. One of the commissioners (and it doesn’t say who) said they weren’t interested in supporting Swedish Edmonds to create space for people with the virus. What kind of commissioner doesn’t even support there own hospital? And they took a grant application in February from an agency IN EVERETT even though they said on the website that they weren’t taking any new grant applications and told agencies in there own district that they couldn’t submit grants. Look at the money section of the board minutes and they have $57 million dollars in reserve.

        1. And … so am I. The sheriff swore to uphold the law and has much broader authority than the mayor.

      1. Expertise from a leader like a Mayor or Sheriff (or even president) is the ABILTITY to seek out the best available advice and follow it. Especially when you are NOT an expert yourself. Experts who understand Pandemics are not oblivious to the economic ruin they cause, if they were, groceries and gas stations and drive through takeouts would be closed too. It’s a carefully measured step to reduce the virus ENOUGH to be able to “test and trace” and contain it I definitely. A capacity we DO NOT HAVE yet. In large part because we have poor leadership (liars and criminal idiots) on a Federal Level to achieve the tens of millions of tests and tens of thousands? of contact tracers who (I hope) will save us and get us out of this. A vaccine is badly needed but wishful thinking, even if it comes in a record year to 18 months we need to fight back with a PLAN. Reopening is not a plan. Stalking and stopping the virus is a plan and the focus needs to be on that. In the meantime my sister just tested + for covid19 in Manor Care Nursing home in Lynnwood and my 82yr old mom is all alone at home. Is the Sheriff going to protect them? Is the President doing everything in his power to stop the virus? NO
        I say vote vote vote and remember what good leadership looks like!

        1. Jeff, I feel bad for your mom and sister but no elected official will or can look after your family like you can, or other members of your family. This is a pandemic. Meaning many people have your same problems. THe government is not your caretaker. Democrat or Republican. That’s why it’s most important to have friends and family and God. Those are the most important, not fear and loathing. Churches help people. PRayer is your biggest hope. Call some.

  2. Mayor Mike,
    While I can understand the heart in your message I think if the governor looked at his stay at home policy he might realize that it doesn’t address equality of work. My wife drove by the Edmonds School being built towards Maltby and said there are 30 work vehicles there with workers talking to each other face to face and side by side.

    We walk down main Street and see empty construction projects of buildings or houses that can’t be worked on. Now I am not the smartest person in the world but I don’t see how that is equal.

    If the governor wants to shutdown the economy it needs to go both ways. He can’t shutdown and ruin the lives of the general construction industry and then let the government run construction projects go right on ahead.

    But don’t worry Edmonds the city council and staff are still getting paid. So, were all good… Until the money runs out.

    1. Jim, points well made. I remember some weeks ago that I made a comment that the City of Edmonds should reduce all costs by 50% since sales tax collections will be down. Someone stated that sales tax is only 20% of the cities revenue. As much as I would like to see city workers being paid, if they are not working full time, our tax dollars should not be wasted. It will be interesting to see as time goes by how the government is going to squeeze out more money from us. Oh Jim, be careful of all the street construction going on in town.

    2. You make a good point. Nobody sane wants to run right back into the flames of high infection rates, but decisions of which workers can work is being made by politics, not science. I call bs. Government construction, or Boeing for that matter, is not specially immune from virus spread. This is classic, do as I say not as I do, government here, no satisfices are too great when using someone else’s livelihood or salary.

    3. Correction North Shore School.

      This has been hard on all of us. I for one would like to see some movement. Even if that means cancelling government projects to flatten the curve further. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

    4. Mr. O’Brien, I agree with you that I’ve seen some people not physical distancing the way I thought they should, but it’s not an argument against the governors plan. It only points out how many people are still not following it correctly. For example why were you not at home when you were driving by the school? Why was I out driving when I saw what I saw? Was that really needed or some sort of joy ride. Why are construction workers (who obviously don’t live in the same house) working at all let alone not wearing masks and a good 6feet apart? I have no doubt the Gov would want us all to fix this behavior, it’s not a conspiracy to finish building schools and get re-elected. He GAVE US AN ORDER and it’s our job to DO it, the better we follow it the faster the virus drops down to the level needed to “test and trace”. Remember when the beach filled up and the Mayor closed the parking lot? I was parked there the day before with my “take out” food watching the hoards of people getting fresh air. Did I need to be there? No not really. So instead of closing the beach the mayor closed the parking lot. And now sunset is closed to car traffic so more people can walk safely. It’s called leadership. Doing the best they can think of to keep us safer and still allow us freedom to walk, run, bycicle. We each get to do our part. I know that this is not fair to those who don’t live close enough to walk to the beach but that’s an argument for better local parks in other areas and being better prepared for a Pandemic.
      I would support a temporary reduction in pay for all workers, is that what you are suggesting? Adding to the growing list of completely unemployed is not going to help anything though.

  3. Mayor Nelson, I appreciate your reasoned analysis of where we are at this point in the pandemic. The point that reopening too soon will backfire because it will cause an uptick in cases and decrease consumer confidence is a sobering one. As much as we WANT this to be over now and life to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, what we NEED is to be sure that the social and economic activity we so crave will be sustainable.

  4. Thank you for your thoughtful and true leadership during this time. I am a fan of our Sheriff for his tough stance on crime, but not a fan related to is actions on this topic…very reckless. It’s always easy to tell people what they want to hear. True leadership is clearly understanding and articulating the reality.

    1. By that definition, the Sheriff is the true leader. Nelson is well written, but comes across as a classic politician talking out of both sides of his mouth, to try to appease multiple sides while merely regurgitating talking points. That’s a motivational speaker, not a leader. A leader provides direction.

      His closing is the dog that turns and bites him: “Because the sooner we can protect everyone’s health, the sooner our economy will truly recover.”

      By staying at home, the innate immune system in each of us is not being challenged. Therefore, the protection of our health is declining the longer we remain home. Accordingly, the sooner we reopen the economy, the sooner everyone’s health will recover.

      See the press conference where a couple of physicians discuss this very issue:

      1. Hello Brian, this dr who doesn’t provide credentials can’t tell you how many people would die if the flu vaccine didn’t exist. Herd Immunity is an important factor with many diseases, its true that not everyone gets vaccinated but when enough people do it significantly reduces the risk for vulnerable people. We have no natural immunity and no vaccine for covid19 so exposing the community without any restriction would simply be disastrous. Some people might fear going to ER now but they wouldn’t even be able to be treated at all if millions of people were infected all at once. I don’t understand the level of ignorance and irresponsible behavior. If you have a better arguement then make it. If you simply question officials for the sake of questioning remember the consequences of weakening the systems designed to make us safer. Death

        Frankly if people are stupid enough to congregate just to protest not being able to congregate…. that’s natural selection, maybe we should just let them do it?

    2. I think people are smarter than you think. Many of these businesses will not get stimulus. And they do have to pay it back. Many won’t even apply. they need to open and test the waters. I didn’t hear a huge spreading of the disease while the restaurants have take out. Or pharmacies, grocery stores, Walmart etc. so why close others out? Selective stores?? Even if they open, I don’t think a herd of people will run into it. Let them open, go slow and see what happens. AT some point we need to do this. It won’t be anyone’s fault it the disease flares back up. But we need to see what will happen. Open in stages but open. If others don’t want to go out stay at home.

      1. There is a big difference between a drive through or take out, and sitting in a dining room with dozens of other people and waiters for an hour breathing the same air and using the bathrooms. And groceries have had people get sick and die and they have changed the checkout process and isles to decrease spread. Meat packing plants DID stay open and HUNDREDS of workers got sick and people died. Boeing stayed open until workers got sick and died, now CLOSED. It was not a sustainable workplace. They don’t need to open up to “see what will happen”. They KNOW what will happen, huge numbers of people will get sick, the hospitals will overflow and people will be dead.
        We need a massive testing and tracing system, physical distancing and eventually a vaccine. Idiot people in government like Trump and Mike Pence are not doing there job to make this happen.

  5. Some things to think about…

    Right now in our state we have 1,000 people unemployed for each death credited to Covid. How long is the damage we are doing to society as a whole sustainable?

    After the latest studies it looks like the death rate of Covid has plunged to 0.5% the original decisions were made thinking the number would be much higher.

    The actual reason for the stay at home order was not to stop the infection, it was done to keep the medical system from being over run. We never came close to that point as the models turned out to be wrong, even adjusting for social distancing. The temp hospital in Seattle never even saw a patient, NYC never needed anything close to 40,000 ventilators, etc.

    Unless we are going to stay shut down for a year it is highly unlikely we can wait out a vaccine, whenever we open back up cases ARE going to go back up. Whether that is today, a month from now, 3 months from now or the end of the year.

    Short of a cure the best way to protect the vulnerable is for as many healthy people as possible to get the virus and recover. We are delaying that from happening, thus the talk of experts to expect another wave in the fall.

    If stay at home itself is the only measure to look at for results why does South Dakota, which stayed open, show far less cases than us, about 2,000, more than 1,600 of which are in one location with only 9 deaths? For that matter why do the numbers in Oregon 2,127 cases and 83 deaths look so different than the numbers in Washington 12,753 cases and 711 deaths. Fairly similar population bases, in the same region of the country, fairly similar actions taken, not very similar results.

  6. Well said Mayor Nelson. As other comments here suggest, there is no perfect political response to this situation and no perfect implementation of the stay at home orders that can be fair to all or make sense to all. You and the council will soon be in the unenviable position of having to decide who’s jobs with the city remain and those that will lose their jobs with the city. I suspect you (Mayor and Council) will soon have to address the issue of cutting your own salaries and expense accounts.

    None of us will get out of this unscathed, including our current Sheriff who seems to think he has a right to decide which laws he will or will not enforce. I suspect the Superior Court Judges will set him straight on that sooner or later, as will the voters in upcoming elections. I suspect the Sheriff will soon be trying to do lots more work with lots less personnel and financial resources. The differences between the ideal and real in this situation are vast and ever widening daily.

    1. “including our current Sheriff who seems to think he has a right to decide which laws he will or will not enforce”

      Inslee/Durkan set the precedent here by declaring this is a sanctuary area and that people that have broken the law (illegal aliens) are free from any repercussions. I’m sure you also support Superior Court judges setting them straight?

  7. From a friend, and worth taking under consideration. Rob – my friend – is always well-informed and thoiughtful:

    “Our epidemiologists keep pressing the need for physical distancing. One researcher says its viral aerosol may travel up to 27 feet, not just the 6 feet we’ve been advised. It would not surprise me if our government increases that 6-foot distance in the not-too-distant future. If more distant transmissibility is possible it would likely mean that indoor social activities would be ill-advised and even outdoor gatherings could be sketchy. The scariest news would be that this virus can have airborne consequences. Given that the U.S. is rapidly closing in on a million confirmed cases with over 50,000 deaths, folks should realize this pandemic is the real deal.”

    For my part, and with great sympathy to those denied work, I plan to continue to emulate Prickles, the sheep (feel free to google) now ending 7 years of isolation.

  8. Some more things to think about . . .

    Is it possible that one of the main reasons WA. has more cases than Oregon is that we have Seattle International Airport which is one of the main, if not the main, entry ports to the US from China? Is it possible that the virus showed up in Snohomish County first because we have Paine Field regional airport that feeds people entering from Sea Tac to places like Spokane, Portland, Phoenix etc.?

    Is it possible that one of the main reasons we have had to shut down is because we were totally unprepared in the area of testing both for the virus and those that have had the virus? (Knowing who has had the virus already would speed up the reopening exponentially according to many of the experts).

    Is it possible that the reason we didn’t need all those ventilators and hospital beds is because we did have the good sense to shut down, even though shutting down is causing great financial stress and pain?

    Is it possible that the reason South Dakota has far fewer cases than us is that they have a far lower total population and what population they have is much less dense than ours? (Lots of small cities and huge farms and ranches). Is it possible that the statistic of cases per capita is much more relevant than the number of cases as a whole?

    Is it possible that opening up business,’ when vast numbers of people are afraid to use those business,’ is really going to help the financial situation all that much? (I’m not about to go have beers with the boys at the tavern, eat dinner in a restaurant, or have a pedicure; until I know positively that I’ve had Corona already. I suspect anyone with a heart condition, diabetes, asthma, cancer survivor or really overweight is going to feel about the same way and that population is huge throughout the whole US population).

  9. I think it will be a lot better when we do genetic testing. Many fearful people will find out they already had it and can go out. I think I had it last November. No doctor knew what it was then. IM going to wait in line to get that one. NW HOspital will have it pretty soon. Some lab downtown has it now. More will be available in a couple weeks. That will tell a different story about how many really got the disease. I would like to know how so many from one particular nursing home in Kirkland got it so fast and so many died. Then I want the numbers in Our counties on nursing homes, veteran homes, senior retirement centers on how many of our numbers came from there. That’s where we need to see changes.

  10. Well it took a month but the governors office has finally figured out a way to create equality between the private construction industry and the public works construction projects.

    [“We have found a way to safely allow low risk construction to resume,” Inslee said in a press conference. “We have been working toward this measure for some time.” The governor detailed a 30-point coronavirus construction safety plan, with benchmarks contractors will need to clear in order to return to work.]

    Too bad the public works construction projects aren’t following the same plans. I keep hearing that safety and science will dictate the decisions being made but this sadly will be all about money.

    We can ask the scientist over and over again when it is time to go back to work but once the money runs out the policies will change instantly. Almost all politicians have their beliefs and ideals but once they can’t follow them any more… they throw them out the window. This has been the case and always will be the case throughout the history of our country.

    Once the money runs out the policies will change. Ask your self why the governor is allowing private construction now? We have no vaccine, we have no cure, we still have people getting infected, and people are still dying. If Mayor Mike had no money to pay his staff next week would his defense of the governors lack of action be the same?

    I am an extremely concerned citizen and I do not want to be forced to close my business as a result of this virus. When the money runs out what choice will I have?

  11. Thank you Mayor Mike for your wise decision making process. The governor is following the direction and advice of the scientific community as he goes about getting our states economy re-opened. He will be meeting with the building industry to determine if and when to re-open the building trades. They have a well thought out plan for keeping the workers and public safe when they are able to resume work.
    Let’s keep Edmonds safe.

  12. Real leadership will be the City dealing with the expected revenue losses between now and the end of the year.
    To close that gap, what is on the table, including job layoffs, program cutbacks, and construction and maintenance freezes.

    All the rest is just political cheerleading. Good Luck.

  13. On the Sheriff story Tina posted a link that is a must see. Two Drs. talk about immune systems and data from around the word and help sort out the medical data. They do not talk about political data only medical. If you have not seen this it truly is a must see. They discuss not only this event but the normal flu events and put things into prospective using data. I would urge others to view the presentation and see if it helps us lay people to sort out the current issues. While it is 66 minutes long one can get a pretty good idea of the types of analysis they have done in the first 15 minutes. What is a bit alarming is what they have to say about the current reporting methods.

    1. I watched this entire presentation – and checked with three of my ER doctor friends to get their perspective – similar input and feedback. Again, those in elected positions will make decisions based on who they listen to and consider experts. What I took from this was “predictable negatives vs unpredictable negatives” and what now will mandate a shutdown.

      I encourage people to watch this with an open mind.

    2. Darron – I received this today from a friend who has two MD degrees and; given the volatility of the issue and discussion, I will not post his name, but it does show another view of the opinions expressed in the video to which you posted the link.

      “I don’t agree with much of what these urgent care doctors are saying. First of all, I suspect that they have a skewed view because they are working in Urgent Care, not an emergency room. They may be emergency medicine trained, but the acuity of patients they see in “urgent care” is, by design, less than in a true emergency room.

      “Furthermore, the comparison of mortality rates between flu and covid is misleading. There is evidence that covid has been spreading far more quickly and widely than the seasonal flu typically does and that means that the burden on the healthcare system is more acute. The whole point of the sheltering in place and social distancing orders are to slow down the spread of the virus and “bend the curve” such that the numbers of seriously ill people presenting to the hospital for care is not overwhelming.

      “In fact, we have seen that these public health measures have been effective, particularly here in WA. We have bent the curve (slowed down the rate of increase in documented infections) from an exponential curve to more of a linear curve. And we have seen that ICU bed utilization has therefore plateaued and is now starting to decrease.

      “These clowns should go back to watching Fox News and leave the public health policy to the professionals. And they would do well to remember that health is a prerequisite to wealth not the other way around. “

      1. Hmmm, this from an anonymous Dr with 2 degrees, who calls these two other ER doctors “clowns”? Doctors take an oath, “do no harm”. That is to everyone, including each other. If there is a difference of opinion within the medical community it is usually stated with “respect” and a name is attached to the opinion. Credibility for your “anonymous” doctor friend is a big fat ZERO! Why would you post something like this? Are you a health care professional? No I didn’t think so. Shame on you.

        1. Shame in sharing an informed view? I don’t think so. Perhaps I ought to have omitted the “clowns” part, I’ll give you that, and I’ll apologize for that. But it does not alter the fact that consideration of an opposing view is a valuable asset in any discussion, and an opposing view to that expressed in Darrol’s link is as legitimate as the link itself. The problem here seems to be with one word, not the medical view.

          He is anonymous because I was sharing an informed and valuable view expressed to me personally, but which I thought – and think – valuable in the present confused situation. I make no apologies for that.

          I note that none of the responses to this post deal with the actual content.

      2. Oh Mr Brown, I suppose the more MD degrees one has the more expert one is. Let the medical people do their healing. Government officials can do their policy making. And if one as an individual does not feel like working, just stay home and let someone else support you. Various professionals are good at what they do, but please let them stay in their field. Typically the more genius one is, the less rounded one is, and certainly do not see the big picture. I have always admired Abert Einstein. He had so many honorary degrees in medicine, science and philosophy from universities throughout the world. With all his wisdom he certainly is the prime reason that we now live under nuclear weapons. You certainly lost credibility when you started calling people clowns and stereotyping those that should watch Fox News.

        1. Indeed, I almost thought I was reading NEN (National Enquirer News). Carl and Laura said it best.

        2. ‘You certainly lost credibility when you started calling people clowns and stereotyping those that should watch Fox News.’

          I didn’t. It was part of the letter I was quoting. That is why there are the quotation marks.

          My friend’s degrees are not honorary.

          Where on earth does “if one as an individual does not feel like working, just stay home and let someone else support you.” come from? My friend works heavy hours at a hosital, and no one supports me but myself.

      3. Thank you Nathanial for sharing another perspective. It’s in line with the research I’ve done, as well as what I’ve heard from other medical professionals.

        I watched two video interviews on youtube featuring Dr Erickson and Dr. Massihi. While it’s unfortunate that your doctor friend called the doctors clowns, I imagine he was, in part, reacting to the comment made by Dr. Massihi about Dr. Anthony Fauci being out of touch with reality since he just “sits in his ivory tower”. Dr. Erickson shared that he’d attempted to purchase ammunition at three different gun shops a few days ago only to find that they were sold out. He said that’s because people are mad and if you stomp on our freedoms it only has one outcome: violence. He said that people were posting pictures of themselves on his facebook page holding AK47s with captions of “Let’s Roll”.

  14. I think it is fair to say that most in elected positions are doing the best they can (which varies) based on the “science” they are listening to. Unfortunately, this “science” is ever evolving which is creating believers, doubters and likely frustration for most.

    I’m curious to know where I can find how decisions were made on essential vs non-essential.

  15. Thank you Mayor Nelson. As a retired RN, I really appreciate your science-based evaluation of this pandemic and the challenges we face.

  16. Tina found it and it would on the sheriff thread. She gets the credit for finding and recommending it. I just get credit for the repeat, repeat.

  17. Elected folks have some tough decisions to make when things come out of now where. Before the have data they have some facts and often feel the need to react quickly. Not wrong just happens. In this case , US CV19 patient #1 what right up the road, had just come from China, (opps and county far from here that had a bunch of CV cases). Turned out he was not #1 but at the time the collective “we” were a bit concerned.

    The elected have two basic options for action without “data”
    1. We must act, lock things up, and try as best we can to “save everyone possible”
    2. This is like other viruses, even without cures or vaccines, we should just let it take its course, we will have some sick people for a while, and probably a death count far exceeding a bad season of the flu.

    You be the elected, blow up your soap box, jump up and chose 1 or 2. The choice is easy at the beginning! We all win Sundays’ game over coffee or a beer on Monday.

    Now it is up to all of us to figure out how to move ahead. Let’s not point fingers and trot out all the usual discussion points. Let’s roll up our sleeves and offer ideas that will help Edmonds recover from not only CV but the economic impacts that we are already seeing. The “data” should guide us but I am not hopeful we will take the time to work things out, most will have some political agenda, or a ax to grind, or see this as an opportunity to attack points of views.

    Most hope it is like a “pause” button, hit it, go grab a snack and come back an pick up right where we left off. “Data” would suggest that will not be possible. This is not a pause button, it is a total reboot process. Our elected folks should gather ideas from all in every way possible. We have the polling tools, we have an engaged and smart population. It is time for the elected to ask and it is time for the people to offer thoughtful creative ideas. I am always hopeful but the “data points” so far are not encouraging.

    1. Darrol – I agree. If we follow the science – and the Surgeon General – then it is time to re-open and remove some of the discrepancies between essential and non-essential. Those who can afford to re-open, do so. Limit your sit-downs to 50 and under if a restaurant (they’ll need to do that anyway until they can hire enough individuals to help), remove the restrictions on parks and beaches. If you don’t feel healthy or safe, wear a mask when you venture out or stay home.

      The city will need to stay solvent – and that comes through taxes. Hopefully we can avoid cuts and furloughs. Those who think bailouts will solve the problem need to understand that bailouts are paid by taxpayers – and we will see this bill at some point. So…we need to start producing.

    2. With all due respect, Option 1 cannot be an option. This event has reminded us that humans are fallible, and proven that our government does not have a crystal ball and is not all-knowing. Therefore, the freedom of our citizenry must not be trampled upon. This can’t be the new normal, that next time something new comes we all melt like snowflakes.

      Every Veterans Day, we remember those who volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way to keep us free. Every Memorial Day we remember those who dies fighting for our freedom. Our National Anthem closes with, “the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Who are the free? Who are the brave? Look in the mirror!

      The government can close the borders to secure us, and issue warnings and recommend precautions, but shall not take our freedom. Inslee said, we are each voting in support of governmental tyranny with our submission to his initiative.

      Let your vote be counted. Across the state on Friday May 1, (MayDay) Washingtonians will gather and cast their vote at their county courthouse at 3pm with the message, “Freedom is the Cure,” now and evermore.

      1. Thanks Brian, any comments on option 2? Any estimates you would give if we “Let Freedom Ring” on the number of infections and deaths? The 1918 Spanish Flu infected 1/3 and had a kill rate of 10%. For the US that could have been 100,000,000 infected and 10,000,000 dead. With todays communications we likely could avoid those numbers. Informed people would have the Freedom to do what they want. Given what I think the “data” shows, I would do my best to stay away from infected people. Stated another way I would use my Freedom to be in close contact with only those I assumed not be be infected. Do you see any option other then 1 or 2?

        Don’t be surprised if I do not join you on May 1.

        1. Exactly. In this information age, each of us can make an informed choice that we believe is best for us. We must begin with the premise that we are a free people. From there, we should each respect the other’s choice and not dictate their choice. That doesn’t mean we are free to choose to run a red light, that would be chaos. We submit to law and order with checks and balances.

          As for your question of forecasting a statistical outcome, that relies upon data. In anticipation of the next time, we must identify a solution that can be implemented without data, and recognize that we live in 2020 with modern sanitation and nutrition, not 1918. A couple years ago Dr. Suzanne Humphries presented a lecture on the history of small pox (and preparations in fear of it being used as a biological weapon against the US in 2003/2003), and also touches on polio and the Spanish flu. That talk is preserved at

          To specifically answer your question, I would point to Dr. Erickson’s comparison of Norway and Sweden in his press conference for which you shared the link previously.

          Those who choose to remain home because it is the best choice for them, but don’t believe that choice should be mandated upon the public at-large, should express their support for freedom. Contact information for Inslee’s office is available at

        2. Dr Erickson’s comparison of Sweden and Norway is incorrect. As of today, Sweden (no shut down) has 217 deaths per million of population vs Norway’s 37 deaths per million of population. This difference is statistically significant.

  18. Mike, in looking at the budget projects provided by the city the plan before all this was to spend more than they were taking in over the next few years. This was going to reduce our reserves. Also in the budget was a 20% tax increase on our EMS tax. That is not even scheduled on the Council’s agenda. If they do not go forward with that tax increase there will be an even larger gap between revenues and spending.

    The city has the ability to further engage the citizens in how we prioritize the work ahead. It is my hope that they craft a plan to increase public involvement in what will be some major financial decisions we must face.

  19. If negative comments and personal attacks were like the CV then many of the above would be infected and some would die. Sad that when our fingers do the talking and we cannot see the other person we feel like throwing spears. When MEN sponsored the 3 Practices sessions and had the 10 yr gala did not see or hear the kinds of comments flowing like they do on this wonderful forum. I would be “curious to know” why that is true?

  20. Given that, I would like to share what happened to me the other day while staying home. I have seen a lot more walkers and runners than before CV and it is always fun to say hello or wave. A nice lady was walking by while I was weeding my garden and I said, “If I get you some tools and promise to do social distancing would you help me weed the garden.” She laughed and introduced herself. I did the same and she said, “Oh, I read your posts on MEN all the time. I do not always agree with you but I always read what you have to say.”

    Wow, that made my whole day. What if I were out enjoying my personal freedom in some bar hoping the person next to me was not infected? I would have miss this fine lady and not had this memory. Hope she comes back soon, still some weeding to do and maybe this time she will help.

  21. Mr. Haug, with your knowledge and delightful personality I’m betting you will see her again. You are one of the few people that has interest in others and their opinions and I do not find you closed minded nor sarcastic; you usually see both sides of an issue, and are very likable, something that is a magnet to most women. You certainly see what others do not. This is what ladies call a “good catch”, and I’m not quite 21, but I “see” and appreciate you!

  22. Wow, a magnet! I have been know to set off the metal alarms at airports. Silver in my hair, gold in my teeth and led in my a__!! Thanks for making my day.

  23. Thank you, Mayor Nelson, for this well-thought out and clearly stated message. We need more updates such as this from you as you navigate these unprecedented events.
    I no longer have the link to a message I saw from an epidemiologist explaining why this COVID-19 “is not an ordinary flu virus.” Our elected governing representatives who rely on scientific facts as they are discovered about this new virus and its unpredictable behavior are the ones we must trust at times like this. For myself, I choose the freedom to have the life and liberty to continue my pursuit of happiness in a nation with justice for all, rather than the reckless endangerment of all for the personal pleasure of the few who are unwilling to err on the side of caution and containment. We need to proceed with care and caution and I appreciate a mayor and governor who are doing both.

  24. On Monday morning, thousands of Construction workers will be going back to job sites.

    In my neighborhood, residential construction started early last Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday the construction workers were assembling foundation forms and early Friday morning the cement trucks showed up to pour the home foundation.

    Just as the Governor making his announcement to lift the stay at home order restrictions on residential construction, I made a request to a City Councilmember to investigate and enforce the Governor’s Stay at Home Order.

    The lifting of restrictions on construction comes in an election year. The Master Builders are a great source of campaign funds. I ponder if this political motivation had anything to do with the Governor’s decision.

    I haven’t heard back the Councilmember, nor have I heard from the Director of Development Services. Is the Mayor going to enforce the Stay at Home Order? What are the consequences for violations prior to the lifting of the residential construction restrictions in my neighborhood? So far, none! All that I have received is a link to the KOMO TV news coverage of the Governor’s Friday news conference.

  25. Maybe it’s needed to remind people that no one is saying “do nothing”. You cam walk, run, ride bikes, mow the lawn, repair your house, get groceries, shop online, sew masks, email your political leaders, make phone calls, have skype and zoom meetings and many people even still go to work every day.

    Im sure this list can be expanding a thousand times before even worrying about physical distancing.

    With so many people complaining about reopening and getting itchy are you suggesting a total ban on any construction should be in place? Or are you suggesting corruption? Call and report it and document it if you think it matters. But I believe the analysis between meat packing plants, boeing and office workers getting sick in large numbers with deaths compared to construction projects being able to function normally with small numbers of workers has a lot more to do with allowing them to start work. Surely Inslee voters are as likely among the well educated tech industry that must remain closed if not much more so as in a the blue color construction and if you think he is trying to bring gop voters over to his side from this blue color work force is that really going to make or break the election when nobody even knows what is going to happen by Nov? I would say he has a much better likelyhood of being re-elected because he did what made sense in the first place and us still leading the nation in a better direction than the white house it. Im pretty sure most voters are still going to be in a very bad mood come election day and ignorance will play a much larger role in who gets elected than what business is on the exempt list.
    People not even bothering to vote for example as the nation slides into a new era of voter suppression and low voter turnout. In some places you could elect a Ham Sandwich with voter turnout near 5%.

    Be thankful for once. Life can be a lot worse than having a democrat in office during a Pandemic, you could have a republican like Drumpf (drink bleach or take random drugs I get kickbacks from) or Mike Pense who created the largest outbreak of HIV in his states history when he was Governor.

  26. A despairity is to be expected in total cases, because the number of the exposed persons is different and the population of the countries is different. The point I understood Dr. Erickson to make is that a comparison of the percent of individuals exposed is statistically equivalent.

    Right now is far too early to be comparing total death rates per capita. Countries that limited exposure this time around will have higher death rates next time than the country that allowed is populous to develop immunity. Further, when a vaccine is rolled-out, deaths from the vaccine and deaths following exposure thereafter will have to be added to learn the actual total.

    And that would still exclude deaths associated with the lockdown (e.g. suicide, homicide, child abuse, DUI, alcoholism, heart disease, mental health, and other issues/complications which were exacerbated by the stay home order). In the 2008 economic downturn alone, 45,000 additional suicides were observed. A study in the 70’s identified a death rate of 64,000 per 1% rise in unemployment (over a 6-year period). Such deaths should be near zero in Sweden.

  27. I was reading some posts for and against reopening the country.

    There are those wanting to reopen yet they’re being classified as selfish. There are those that rely on all kinds of people to supply them while they cower in fear at home. Isn’t that being selfish too?

    You expect your garbage to be picked up, you expect the grocery store to be open so you can get milk, you expect truck drivers to supply the stores, you expect farmers, meatpackers, fruit and vegetable pickers all to keep food in that grocery store.

    You expect Amazon to still ship all the things you’re ordering while you sit at home shopping. You expect the delivery driver to leave it on your doorstep. You expect your phone to work, your power to stay on, and your mail to show up rain, sleet, or shine. And most important, you expect the doctors and nurses to be there if you need them although many of them across the country have been furloughed because their units and services have been shut down while the entire system focuses only on COVID19.

    The whole premise of shelter in place is based on the arrogant idea that others must risk their health so you can protect yours. There is nothing virtuous about ignoring the largely invisible army required to allow people to shelter in place.

    I know there are some of you that are screaming mad about what I just said but stop and really think about what is allowing you to stay safe in your home.
    I truly believe that with some common sense on my part, I could easily go back to life as it was. I want to go to restaurants, I want to shop at the little store just up the road.

    And yes, I could catch COVID-19. I could also catch the flu or a cold. I could get run over by a bus. I could get struck by lightning. We take risks everyday. If you choose to stay home, that is absolutely your choice. And please don’t start screaming at me about how I’ll just spread it. Why are you worried? You won’t get it because you’re staying in your home. Are you going to shelter in place every time a new strand of the flu happens?

    Our economy can’t withstand much more of this. If our economy collapses, so will the rest of the world’s. If that happens, you will see the rise of tyrants.
    I absolutely don’t want people to die…from COVID or anything else. I want people to live.

    But sheltering in place is not living. (A friend wrote this to me and I thought I would share.)

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