Welcome to May 2020—which should be one of the most fascinating months in American history.
April was horrible, in terms of deaths and economic calamity—but for the most part, the country hunkered down and sheltered in place. But now that May is here, the figurative wheels may be starting to come off.
Many are states starting to reopen—despite an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Some local governments in California are taking steps to reopen, in defiance of the state order. Protests seem to be getting angrier—including those close to home in Orange County, over Gov. Newsom’s surprising decision to close the beaches there, and only there, this weekend.
Here in the Coachella Valley, some are getting restless, too. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce yesterday asked county supervisor V. Manuel Perez to do what he can to “start opening back up the Coachella Valley economy.” Meanwhile, Gov. Newsom said the first steps toward reopening California are days, not weeks, away … but has not been specific on what that means, exactly.
How is this all going to play out? I have no idea. All I know is that the next 30 days are going to be a wild ride—and that the Independent will be here to help make sense of it.
Wash your hands. Be kind. Be safe. And hold on tight, folks.
• The big local news of the day: College of the Desert announced today that all summer AND fall classes will move online. More or less, this means the campus will be closed for the remainder of 2020.
• As expected, the government has announced that remdesivir may be used as an emergency treatment for COVID-19.
• Related: This opinion piece from The Washington Post does a good job of putting Dr. Anthony Fauci’s remarks on Wednesday regarding remdesivir in the proper context: They gave us real hope.
• From our partners at CalMatters, via the Independent: Gov. Newsom’s program that would pay restaurants to make meals for seniors in need has a lot of problems—and as a result, not a single meal has been delivered yet.
• Here’s a holy-cow-that’s-awful stat: More than 4,000 workers at 115 meatpacking plants in the country have tested positive for the virus. More than 900 of those are at a single Tyson plant in Indiana.
• Related: It turns out the much-touted executive order by the president for meat plants to reopen isn’t going to do much of anything.
• Not only is the race on to develop a new vaccine; some scientists are studying whether old vaccines, for polio and tuberculosis, can help fight the coronavirus. How’s that possible? It involves something called “innate immunity.”
• The Palm Springs Cultural Center this week has added two films to its watch-at-home lineup. Get the details on Crescendo and Saint Frances here.
• The Atlantic takes a mostly depressing look at how the pandemic is going to change retail business in the country.
• The U.S. Bartenders’ Guild fund has only dispersed $1.5 million of the $7 million it has in its emergency aid fund—with up to 90 percent of applicants being rejected. The San Francisco Chronicle gets some answers on why that is.
• Omar Tate, the proprietor of a popup restaurant experience called Honeysuckle, wrote a powerful essay for Esquire; this one line sums things up masterfully: “When America gets a cold, Black America gets pneumonia.”
• The headline on this piece from a HuffPost political reporter gets straight to the point: “Tribes Were Supposed to Get $8 Billion In COVID-19 Aid. They’ve Gotten $0.”
• Former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has a message for the people protesting stay-at-home orders: You’re being selfish, and you’re disrespecting America’s veterans.
• Related: Elon Musk is getting some Silicon Valley execs on the “reopen now!” bandwagon—while others are decidedly in disagreement.
• The consistently excellent Texas Tribune breaks down the battle in that state over unemployment benefits—and as that state reopens (prematurely, perhaps), many fearful people are being forced to go back to work.
• If you’re one of the people who somehow believes COVID-19 is no worse than the flu, either you’re ignorant, or you don’t know how numbers work.
• When it’s time for Las Vegas to reopen … it’s not going to reopen all at once, as the MGM Resorts acting CEO pointed out during a call yesterday.
• Some people are starting to get an email from the Census Bureau asking questions about how they’re faring during the pandemic. Here’s a story from NPR, from a week or two back, on why that’s happening.
That’s enough for today. Be safe. Wash your hands. Check in on a loved one and see how they’re doing. Get details on our fantastic coloring book here, and becoming a Supporter of the Independent here. Barring anything major, we’ll be off tomorrow, but back on Sunday, in honor of World Press Freedom Day.