100 days

A grim milestone


Yesterday marked 100 days since the first COVID-19 case in the United States was diagnosed in Washington, and the Washington State Department of Health, with our many partners, began our response to this global pandemic. This milestone got us thinking about other milestones related to this pandemic:

  • One hundred days ago, there was one case of COVID-19 in the US. Today there are more than a million people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US.
  • About a third of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the world live in the United States. The US has more COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world, including countries that have much higher populations than we do.
  • There have been just over 60,000 people in the US who have died of COVID-19. This is a grim milestone we weren’t expected to hit until late this summer, according to some of the models.
  • Nearly $1.5 billion of unemployment benefits has been paid to Washingtonians since the start of the crisis.
  • The kids have been out of school for just over six weeks now. Our children are learning to be flexible and creative. Six weeks is such a short time for how much they have had to learn how to adjust to: so many changes in how we live and learn and socialize and use technology!
On a positive note, the lilacs are in bloom!

The next milestone?

We are all looking forward to day when this disease is contained enough that the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order can be lifted. We have not quite hit this milestone yet. Yesterday the governor announced that he is extending the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order beyond May 4. Over time, he’ll dial the restrictions up and down depending on how many people are getting sick and how well people are following the physical distancing rules. Some of the information the governor will consider as he moves that dial includes:

  • Information about COVID-19: How many people are getting sick? How many need to be hospitalized and how many die of COVID-19? We need to make sure to avoid another increase in the number of people impacted by the disease as we modify the restrictions.
  • Our ability to test a lot of people: We need to increase the number of people who are tested for COVID-19. We have the lab capacity to do it, but we still have a nationwide shortage of testing materials, including swabs and viral transmission media to get the samples to the labs.
  • Contact tracing: We need to be able to reach everyone who comes in contact with someone with COVID-19 to make sure they are tested and isolated. This is a huge amount of work. We are now building a workforce of about 1,500 people to help with this, primarily from the Washington State National Guard, local health departments, and the state Department of Health.
  • Status of the health care system: We need to make sure the health care system is able to handle another surge of patients in case the virus again spreads rapidly through the population.

Practice compassion. Milestones aren’t always celebratory — some are grim. Pause and take a breath and recognize how resilient and creative and compassionate we have been. And, yes, how far we have yet to go. Keep on being resilient and innovative — we were born for such a time as this, and we will come out the other end wiser and healthier.

More Information

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Information in this blog changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact our call center at
1–800–525–0127. Hours: 6 am-10 pm, seven days a week.