SEATTLE — Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday morning that the infection rate from the coronavirus in Washington state is slowing compared to other states.
Using data from other states, with a starting point of when each state had 20 infections, Washington has seen at least a "slight reduction" in the rate of acceleration.
"It's a small reduction in the rate of increase, but a glimmer of hope," Inslee said.
The governor presented a graph that shows that in Washington, based on numbers as of this morning, that social distancing could be starting to flatten the curve.
“[I]f you look at the line you have some slight reduction in the rate of acceleration, the curve,” Inslee said. “And we’ve all heard about turning down the curve.”
Inslee said the numbers are being helped by the slowing down of new cases primarily in Puget Sound, where the virus first hit in Snohomish County. Within weeks, the number of confirmed cases took off, with a cluster of infections at a Kirkland nursing home.
He said that is a sign the restrictions put in place over the past few weeks may be working.
However, he said we have "not turned a corner and we are not close to the end of this battle."
Inslee said he's heard from some residents who don't believe the actions taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including the stay-at-home order, are necessary.
"We are only in the first two weeks and people need to understand that order may need to be extended," he said.
“We cannot allow this virus to be slowed, then spring back upon us. We’ve got to pound it and pound it ‘till it’s done.”
The governor also said that the best chance for the economy to regain its footing— including reopening the bars, restaurants, hair salons, construction sites and other day-to-day business — is to get past this virus.
“There’s no way we can have an economy and have it ravaging us for years.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 132 deaths connected to coronavirus among at least 2,580 overall cases in the state.
Gov. Inslee began placing restrictions first in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties, and then the entire state, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread throughout Washington.
On Monday, March 23, he issued a "stay-at-home" order for the entire state. It will remain in effect until at least April 6.
People may still run imperative errands and go outside, such as walks and gardening, while maintaining a safe social distance from others. Only essential businesses may remain open to the public. The order forces “non-essential” businesses to shut down for two weeks.
Washington state launched an online form so businesses can get clarification on what qualifies as essential.