5:04 PM: For the second day in a row, Gov. Inslee is gathering media (virtually) for a COVD-19 response update. Watch above, and read our as-it-happens notes below.
He opens by saying he’s extending the “stay-home order” through May 4th. (Its original expiration was to be April 6th.) He says it’s “morally necessary” because the full force of the virus hasn’t hit yet and modeling suggests at least 1,000 deaths, “and more will die if we stop now.” He says the percentage of positive tests is going up, so “we’re not out of the woods yet” and “we will not accept unnecessary deaths in our state.”
He acknowledges there are economic consequences and that everyone must find ways to support those who fall into financial hardship “through no fault of their own.” He reiterates that health recovery is vital for economic recovery. He quotes FDR about confidence and courage. “I have confidence in the courage of Washingtonians.” He stresses, “This is temporary. … All of us are leaders in this effort.”
While it’s OK to be outdoors, he extols “walks around the block” – but don’t, for example, go to Skagit Valley to see the tulips (which apparently some are doing even though the festival is canceled).
5:13 PM: Q&A starts with whether there might be another extension. “Ye, that is possible … but because Washingtonians are so committed to this, we are hopeful that will be the end.” But no guarantees. He also acknowledges that “rebuild(ing)” the economy “is going to take all of us.”
What will tell him it’s OK to lift the order? He says he is consulting many experts with lots of data, and we “have our destiny in our control” by continuing distancing.
Should people wear masks? The state health officer says that like federal experts, they’re evaluating that. She also says the peak is expected around Aprl 11th but “they are feeding new data into this model every day.”
5:37 PM: Q&A continues. The governor repeatedly stresses that social distancing must continue so we don’t “pull defeat from the jaws of victory.” He says the experts think person-to-person contact has been reduced by about 80 percent. He also reiterates the importance of mobilizing manufacturers to make PPE since we can’t rely on the federal government to mandate it. He says what’s happened to New York could have happened here if not for the measures taken. He also says Washington has “probably the second-highest per-capita testing” of any state.
5:41 PM: He wraps up with a Winston Churchill quote. The video window above should soon show the archived recording, so we’re leaving it up.
7:59 PM: Here’s the full news release from the governor’s office.