Two Washingtons. Two Very Different Coronavirus Responses.

Share:

April 17, 2020

In the initial episode of our “Covering Coronavirus” podcast series a month ago, we brought you an interview with veteran science journalist Miles O’Brien from Washington State, where the first known case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was identified.

Miles has been there ever since, speaking with some of the very first doctors, public health experts, and politicians in America who confronted the virus, for a FRONTLINE documentary airing Tuesday. 

In today’s episode of “Covering Coronavirus,” Miles walks us through what he’s learned about their response, how it has played out, and what it means for the rest of the country as the battle against COVID-19 and efforts to “flatten the curve” unfold.

“The most dangerous element in my state today is the virus of complacency,”Washington Governor Jay Inslee tells Miles. “We have to be just as diligent for the next several weeks as we were in the last several.”

In this episode, Miles talks with me about why the Trump administration’s coronavirus response has left some state and local officials feeling as if they’re in the “Hunger Games” as they compete for scarce, life-saving equipment, and what the feud between Inslee and President Donald Trump reveals about broader state-federal tensions in the coronavirus fight.

“It does reflect this feeling in the states that they are not just on their own, but… almost what should be a partnership with the federal government is like this hostile relationship,” Miles says.
When you listen, you’ll hear more from Miles’ conversation with the governor. You’ll also hear from the doctor who confirmed that COVID-19 was spreading in the Seattle community, Francis Riedo — who takes Miles inside his discovery, and what happened next.

“Covering Coronavirus: A Tale of Two Washingtons” is available now from the FRONTLINE Dispatch, on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

For more on how the coronavirus first emerged in the U.S., how the response in Washington State and Washington, D.C., has unfolded, and the challenges that lie ahead, we hope you’ll tune in to Miles’ new FRONTLINE documentary, Coronavirus Pandemic, this Tuesday, April 21.

 


Raney Aronson-Rath

Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@raneyaronson

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

A Look at Colin Powell’s Legacy, Following His Death at 84
Colin Powell, who was America’s first Black secretary of state, died Oct. 18 at age 84. FRONTLINE traced his roles in shaping the Gulf War and then the Iraq War.
October 18, 2021
Shooting Not to Kill. This Utah Case Fuels a Debate That Frustrates Police.
If there’s nothing barring officers from shooting someone in the leg or arm, it raises a question many civilians wonder about: Why don’t officers, if possible, shoot a suspect there, instead of in the chest or head? It’s a question that frustrates and annoys many in law enforcement.
October 18, 2021
PANDORA PAPERS: Video & Major Stories From Our Partners
Watch the trailer for an upcoming FRONTLINE investigation into the Pandora Papers, exposing how U.S. trusts are sheltering millions in controversial assets, and read major stories from our ICIJ partners.
October 17, 2021
Former Boeing 737 Max Pilot Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Grand Jury Indictment
Mark Forkner’s role at Boeing leading up to the crashes that killed 346 people was detailed by The New York Times and FRONTLINE in ‘Boeing’s Fatal Flaw.’
October 15, 2021