Toward the start of the stay-at-home order, I remember telling a friend (on a Zoom chat, of course) how much I looked forward to that wonderful day when the lockdown was over, and we could meet for happy-hour and hug again.
Ah, how naïve I was. If only it could be that simple.
We could meet for that happy hour again on Friday, as bars will be reopening that day. However, the scene would not be like it was in my mind’s eye. When I imagined that wonderful day, I didn’t imagine face masks and socially distanced tables—nor did I imagine the agonizing, scary dilemma going out to a bar would present.
And that hug? It’s definitely too soon for that.
Nothing seems simple in this pandemic-tinged, half-assed world in which we now live. On one hand, I keep seeing justifiably optimistic announcements on social media about gyms and cocktail lounges and movie theaters and even Disneyland reopening soon.
On the other … I keep looking at the local COVID-19 stats, and sighing at the across-the-board increases—which, predictably, people are freaking out about on social media. According to the state, our local hospitals have 85 coronavirus patients as of yesterday—the highest number I have seen a while.
But there’s a dilemma within this dilemma: The experts have said all along that when we reopened, cases would begin to rise. As Gov. Newsom said yesterday: “As we phase in, in a responsible way, a reopening of the economy, we’ve made it abundantly clear that we anticipate an increase in the total number of positive cases.”
He’s right. They did say that. The goal is to make COVID-19 a manageable problem as life resumes. But it’s still a problem—a potentially deadly one—and nobody’s sure if we’ll be able to keep it “manageable” or not.
• It’s official: Coachella and Stagecoach are cancelled for 2020. Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer, officially pulled the plug this afternoon. “I am concerned as indications grow that COVID 19 could worsen in the fall,” said Kaiser in a news release. “In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Governor Newsom’s Stage 4, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward.”
• If you’re one of the people who is sniveling about masks, or denying that they work … it’s time for you to stop the sniveling and the denying.
• Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege and the Palm Springs Police Officers’ Association are in the midst of a war of words. Here’s the brief, oversimplified version what happened: On Monday, Holstege wrote an open letter to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in support of Supervisor V. Manuel Perez’s proposed resolutions to condemn the killing of George Floyd (which barely passed), and request the Sheriff’s Department to review its own policies (which failed when Perez couldn’t get a second). In it, Holstege wrote, among other things: “Like most communities throughout Riverside County, in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, we have a long history of racial segregation and exclusion, racial violence, racist city policies and policing, and injustice and disparities in our community that exist today.” This did not sit well with the officers’ union, which today accused Holstege of not bringing up any problems with the department until now, as well as “vilify(ing) our officers and department.” Holstege has since responded with claims that the union is mischaracterizing what she said. All three statements are recommended reading.
• Related-ish: San Francisco’s public-transportation agency recently announced it would no longer transport police officers to protests. The San Francisco Police Officers Association’s response? Hey Muni, lose our number.
• From ProPublica comes this piece: “The Police Have Been Spying on Black Reporters and Activists for Years. I Know Because I’m One of Them.” Wendi Thomas’ story is a must-read.
• The Black Lives Matters protests are resulting in a lot of long-overdue changes. One shockingly meaningful one was announced today: NASCAR will no longer allow confederate flags at its racetracks.
• And Walmart has announced it will stop keeping its “multicultural hair care and beauty products” in locked cases.
• And the Riverside County Sheriff announced today it would no longer use the use the carotid restraint technique.
• The government is understandably rushing the approvals processes to make potentially helpful COVID-10 treatments available. However, as The Conversation points out this is a potentially dangerous thing to do.
• Also being rushed: A whole lot of state contracts for various things needed to battle the pandemic. Our partners at CalMatters break down how this created—and forgive the language, but this is the only word I can think of that sums things up properly—a complete and total clusterfuck.
• Provincetown, Mass., is normally a packed LGBT haven during the summer. However, this year, businesses there are just starting to reopen—and they’re trying to figure out the correct balance between income and safety.
• Your blood type may help determine how you’ll fare if you get COVID-19. If you have Type 0, you may be less at risk—and if you have Type A, you may be more at risk.
• Wired magazine talked to three vaccine researchers for a 15-minute YouTube video. Hear the voices and see the faces of the scientists behind the fight to end SARS-CoV-2.
• A study of seamen on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt—where there was a much-publicized COVID-19 outbreak—offers hope that people who recover from the disease may have immunity.
• If it seems like groceries are more expensive, that’s because they are—about 8.2 percent more expensive.
What fascinating times these are. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Black Lives Matter. Please help the Independent continue what we’re doing, without paywalls, free to all, by becoming a Supporter of the Independent. The Daily Digest will likely be back tomorrow—Friday at the latest.