Gov. Inslee considering ‘mandatory measures’ to combat coronavirus

SEATTLE — State officials are considering mandatory measures for social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday in an interview on “Face the Nation.”

He will be meeting with Department of Health officials, local officials and others Sunday to discuss the possibility.

Italy recently put in place social distancing measures, locking down millions of people there, including cultural sites.

When asked if the next step was quarantine, Inslee responded, “Not necessarily quarantine, but reducing social activities that are going on, and we need to make decisions about that looking forward.”

Leading coronavirus researchers, like Samuel Scarpino at Northeastern University, said those measures worked wonders for China.

"Seattle is much earlier on in the outbreak than anywhere in China. However, because these pathogens can spread and grow very rapidly in terms of the number of cases, we need to be taking decisive action now to prevent a scenario where we end up having sizeable number of cases in the thousands in the Seattle area," Scarpino said in a Skype interview.

While the governor’s spokesperson said no final decision has been made about mandatory social distancing measures, Inslee said his team will be looking at models of future infection rate, which will factor into any future decisions on such measures.