Indy Digest: May 23, 2022
There was a time not too long ago—say, 2019—when it was considered OK to “tough it out” and go into work sick.
Then came SARS-CoV-2—a pesky virus that could make you a little sick, a lot sick, or dead sick—and today, it’s considered VERY bad form to go into work, or even leave the house, lest you infect someone else.
(Of course, the whole “go into work” thing is happening far less today than it was in 2019. But that’s a topic for another column.)
Similarly … before the whole damned pandemic, I would not have given a second thought to going to my softball league’s year-end awards banquet, which took place last night (Sunday). However … going the banquet meant being in close quarters with 150 or so others in a hotel conference room.
I just so happens I was coming up on what’s likely to be one of the craziest work weeks of my life. And I’ll be spending a fair amount of time around my mom and my in-laws—most of whom are approaching 80—this week as well. So … did I really want to risk getting COVID-19 now?
I decided to split the middle: I went, but I kept a mask on for the vast majority of the event.
Weird times, these. Damned virus.
From the Independent
By Kevin Fitzgerald
May 22, 2022
We asked the three candidates for Riverside County the same set of six questions. Here are their answers in their entirety.
The Summer Movie and TV Preview: Bob Grimm’s Thoughts on What the Season Will Bring to Screens Big and Small
By Bob Grimm
May 23, 2022
After taking a couple of years off, our intrepid reviewer is back with his summer movie preview.
Music, Naturally: Failure Reflects on the Stresses of Creation Ahead of the Band’s Pappy and Harriet’s Show
By Matt King
May 20, 2022
Since reuniting in 2013, the band Failure has toured the world, and has released three new albums—the latest being Wild Type Droid in 2021—adding to their brand of subtle ethereal rock.
By Bob Grimm
May 23, 2022
The finale of Men is one for the books—an absolute nightmare that drives the film’s one real underlying message home.
By Bob Grimm
May 23, 2022
George Carlin’s American Dream, quite studiously, pays nice attention to all the phases of his life, including good times and bad times.
Due to schedule weirdness on my part—specifically, the start of distribution of the first print edition of the Independent’s Reno sister paper in 26 1/2 months—the Thursday Indy Digest may or may not be delayed until Friday morning. But rest assured, it’ll show up! I promise!
• For the second straight week, wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Palm Springs has shown a decrease in the amount of the virus. As the report states: “The number of copies (per liter) recorded at the city’s wastewater treatment plant has decreased. The average of 657,747 copies/L from the previous week’s average has dropped to an average of 544,167 copies/L for May 16 and 17, 2022.” Fingers crossed this trend continues.
• Meanwhile, other parts of the state are tightening things up due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. Our partners at Calmatters say: “Starting today, face masks are once again required for students and staff at Berkeley Unified School District. Los Angeles County on Friday extended its mask mandate for public transit and transportation hubs. State health officials are urging eligible 5- to 11-year-olds to get their COVID-19 booster shot. The trio of actions comes amid a steady uptick in California’s COVID test positivity rate—which breached 6% on Thursday, just a few days after hitting 5% for the first time since February—and signals further uncertainty for an economy already buffeted by troubling financial winds, including skyrocketing inflation rates.”
• COVID-19 reinfections used to be fairly rare. That’s no longer the case. The New York Times says: “A virus that shows no signs of disappearing, variants that are adept at dodging the body’s defenses, and waves of infections two, maybe three times a year—this may be the future of COVID-19, some scientists now fear. The central problem is that the coronavirus has become more adept at reinfecting people. Already, those infected with the first Omicron variant are reporting second infections with the newer versions of the variant—BA.2 or BA2.12.1 in the United States, or BA.4 and BA.5 in South Africa. Those people may go on to have third or fourth infections, even within this year, researchers said in interviews. And some small fraction may have symptoms that persist for months or years, a condition known as long COVID.”
• At last, a vaccine-maker seems to have figured out COVID-19 shots for toddlers. CNBC says: “Three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for the youngest children were 80 percent effective against the omicron variant of the coronavirus, according to early data the company released Monday. The long-awaited findings bring the vaccine one step closer to a reality for parents of children ages 6 months to 4 years—the only group that remains ineligible for vaccination. Results from the company’s Phase 2/3 clinical trial also found that the vaccine—which uses a dosage one-tenth the level used for adults—generated a strong immune response and that it was safe.”
• Another valley city has given the OK to marijuana businesses. News Channel 3 reports: “In a 3 to 1 vote on Wednesday, the (Indio) city decided to move forward with marijuana sales. Cannabis shops will be able to operate daily, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.. (Mayor Waymond) Ferman said cannabis sales would not only boost the city’s economy, ‘it does bring jobs as well. So we want to be able to bring some, you know, some high paying jobs to our residents.’ Background checks will be required for shop owners; however they will not be required for employees. Fermon said they’re looking into a social equity program. ‘I think that’s gonna also help folks who have been affected by cannabis convictions to work in industry in the city of Indio.’”
• “Suspense file” day is a really crappy, secretive thing the state Legislature does to suddenly kill off various bills … and the latest suspense file day was last week. Our partners at Calmatters say: “California lawmakers won’t be creating a state Election Day holiday this year. Nor will they be providing grants to local governments to convert public golf courses into affordable housing, or forcing health insurers to cover fertility treatments. All of these proposals were victims of the seasonal culling of bills known as the suspense file. This stately and secretive process, led by the Senate and Assembly appropriations committees, serves as a final fiscal review before any legislation expected to have a significant cost to the state is sent to the full chamber for a vote. In fast and furious hearings on Thursday that stretched for two hours, the committees ran through the fates of nearly 1,000 bills, offering no explanations for their decisions and, in many cases, no formal announcement at all that a measure was held. The results had already been determined in private deliberations. The suspense file, among the most opaque practices at the Capitol, allows legislative leaders to not only shelve proposals that are too expensive, but to also more quietly dispatch those that are controversial or politically inconvenient, particularly in an election year.”
• And finally … the Best Headline Award of the Day goes to various news sources, including a Denver TV station. That headline: “WHO: Monkeypox likely spread by sex at raves in Europe.” I am standing and applauding here. Bravo!
Support the Independent!
If you value honest, ethical local journalism … or if perhaps you just want to buy me a drink to quell my nerves after sending out this digest using the “time-saving” newfangled technology, click that button below to learn how to become a Supporter of the Independent. As always, thanks for reading.