Washington’s COVID reproduction number drops below 1

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washingtonians are expecting to soon learn more about when the state will drop its mask mandate. 

One of the key factors that could play into Governor Jay Inslee’s decision is COVID’s effective reproduction number. The “R number” is the average number of people who will become infected by another person. 

According to new data from Yale and Harvard, as of now, Washington has an R number of 0.52. 

Health experts have said since the pandemic began that the number needs to be below one to slow transmission enough to end the pandemic. 

During a news conference last week, Inslee said it was no longer a matter of “if, but when” Washington will lift its mask mandate. Throughout the pandemic, Washington has taken similar steps as other western states.

Oregon and California recently announced they would lift their masks mandates in February, which begs the question of whether or not Washington will follow.

Idaho, which has never had a statewide mask mandate, has an R number of 0.82. 

READ: ‘No longer a matter of if, but when’: Inslee says health leaders discussing when to lift indoor mask mandate

RELATED: ‘Time to make the change’: WA Superintendent of Public Instruction supports making masks optional in schools