September 30, 2022
🥳 Friday is a fine day.
🌤 Today's weather: Clouds then sun later, with a high near 69.
Today's newsletter is 937 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Boosters, anyone?
Demand for Omicron boosters is off to a slow start in the Seattle area.
Driving the news: As of Monday, 6.8% of eligible King County residents had received a bivalent booster aimed at fighting the latest strains of COVID-19.
- That's a smaller percentage than local officials hoped for, said Kate Cole, a spokesperson for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
What's happening: More than two weeks after doses became available in King County, "major gaps'' exist in booster coverage — but the numbers are lowest among those who are Black, Latino or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Cole said.
- As of Monday, 2.6% of Black and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents of King County had received a bivalent booster, compared to 8.9% of white residents.
- Meanwhile, among Latino and Hispanic residents, 3.3% had received the updated shot.
- To help address those disparities, the county is partnering with community organizations to host pop-up vaccination clinics and working to share information in multiple languages, Cole said.
Of note: County residents ages 65 and older got boosted at a higher rate than any other group — but even then, only 12% had received the updated shot as of this week.
What they're saying: "COVID-19 is not disappearing; it's changing and remains unpredictable,” Cole wrote in an email to Axios.
- "...The updated boosters will provide the best protection we have from COVID-related hospitalization and death..."
Zoom out: As of Monday, 281,201 people had received the updated shot statewide, according to the state Department of Health.
- About 109,000 of those were in King County.
Be smart: You're eligible for the new booster if you’re 12 or older, have finished your primary vaccine series, and haven’t received a dose or booster in the past two months.
- Boosters are free even if you don’t have insurance or legal residency status.
- You can find places to get a shot and make an appointment at kingcounty.gov/vaccine.
2. "Bossware" may be watching you
Critics call it bossware.
- Technology used to surveil workers, already widely adopted in lower-wage industries, is growing popular in the white-collar world — managers track keystrokes, mouse clicks and even take screenshots of monitors.
Why it matters: The uptick in monitoring happened as more employees went remote, and managers increasingly worried they weren't working, Axios' Emily Peck reports.
- "Productivity paranoia," is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the practice in an interview last week.
What's happening: The number of employers who use some kind of worker surveillance has doubled since the pandemic, the vice president of HR research at Gartner tells the Wall Street Journal. Two-thirds of medium-to-large companies now do this, up from one-third, he says.
- In some cases, workers say monitoring cheats them out of pay. A finance executive told the New York Times that if she stepped away to use the bathroom, her computer would go idle and the time wouldn't count toward her hourly rate.
Yes, but: There isn't clear data showing that this kind of monitoring actually increases productivity, as Christopher Mims reports in the WSJ.
- Studies show that monitoring increases worker stress — perhaps not the desired impact during a labor shortage and at a time of increased worker unrest.
- Workers also game these systems — some buying "mouse jigglers," to make it seem like they're working while away from the desk, doing something crazy, like making coffee.
3. First electric commuter plane flies in Moses Lake
"Alice," the world's first all-electric commuter plane, landed Tuesday after its maiden flight in Moses Lake, Washington, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick writes.
- Made by Arlington, Washington-based electric aircraft startup Eviation, Alice is designed for a range of about 250 nautical miles, depending on conditions, and cruise at a maximum of 260 knots true airspeed. (The Pilatus PC-12, a similarly sized gas-powered turboprop, has a max cruise speed of about 290 knots, with a range of around 1,800 nautical miles.)
- Eviation is promoting a range of configurations, from commuter options with room for nine passengers to a cargo offering with 450 cubic feet of space.
What's next: Alice still has years of flight testing ahead, though Massachusetts-based regional airline Cape Air has already ordered 75 planes.
4. Morning Buzz: Drop that "Dangerwich"
💀 A TikTok video in which Russell Wilson promotes his signature Subway sandwich "The Dangerwich" was widely mocked Thursday on social media.
- "You ever done anything dangerous?" the former Seahawk asks at one point, while eating the sandwich. (Seattle Times)
🛑 Highway 520 will be closed for road work this weekend. (Seattle Times)
🐺 Hunters who work for the state killed the top two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week to stop the pack from praying on cattle in Stevens County. (AP)
💵 The fee for enhanced driver's licenses and IDs goes up this Saturday as part of a plan to help fund the state's $17 billion transportation package. (KING 5)
⏱ Emergency wait times at Seattle Children's Hospital are at multi-year highs amid a doctor shortage (KIRO 7)
Check out our Job Board
5. Weekend events for you
🇵🇭 Kick off Filipino American History Month with a two-day celebration featuring performances, food, shopping and more. Admission is donation-based for Friday and Saturday's events at the Filipino Community Center.
🎧 Melissa highly recommends the KNKX/Seattle Times podcast "The Walk Home," which delves into the police killing of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma.
This newsletter was edited by Gigi Sukin and copy edited by Elizabeth Black.
Want free Axios swag? Refer your friends to Axios Seattle and get cool merch like stickers, totes, hats, T-shirts and more!