Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: May 8, 2023

On Thursday, the United States’ public health emergency regarding COVID-19—which has been in effect since Feb. 2, 2020—will come to an end.

The end of the emergency brings with it some real, significant consequences. NPR explains:

The federal government will no longer buy up tests or vaccine doses or treatments to give out to the American public for free. The health insurance system will take over – patients will have to go to the doctor, get a prescription, perhaps pay a copay when it comes to COVID tests and treatments, just like they do for all other illnesses.

It’s important to note vaccines will still be free for practically everyone. People who are insured are required to get vaccines with no cost sharing because of the Affordable Care Act. The White House says people without insurance will still be able to get free COVID-19 vaccines—and treatments like Paxlovid—through 2024.

Other consequences include the end of a federal prohibition on states disenrolling people from Medicaid (which actually went into effect on April 1), and a decrease in SARS-CoV-2 tracking.

That last consequence could be quite significant, because most disease experts agree that SARS-CoV-2 could still come back, in a big way. The Washington Post reports:

The White House recently received a sobering warning about the potential for the coronavirus to come roaring back, with experts reaching a consensus that there’s a roughly 20 percent chance during the next two years of an outbreak rivaling the onslaught of illness inflicted by the omicron variant.

A forecast from one widely regarded scientist pegged the risk at a more alarming level, suggesting a 40 percent chance of an omicron-like wave. …

Some experts based their conclusions on existing research, and at least one, computational biologist Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, conducted new statistical analysis about the potential for a coronavirus wave.

“No one’s saying it’s zero. No one’s saying it’s 80 percent,” said Dan Barouch, an immunologist and virologist at Harvard Medical School, who spoke with the White House. “It’s more than an infinitesimal chance—and it is by no means a certainty.”

To paraphrase a statement we’ve made in this space many times before: We all want to be done with COVID-19. But COVID-19 certainly is not done with us.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Reciprocal Rescue: The Coachella Valley Horse Rescue Helps Horses—and Those Horses Help People in Need

By Cat Makino

May 5th, 2023

The Coachella Valley Horse Rescue, as its name says, rescues horses—but it helps people, too, offering rehabilitation programs for veterans and children, and working with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H and many others.

Live Energy: The Band Frankie and the Witch Fingers Brings Intense Music and Performance to Pappy and Harriet’s

By Matt King

May 6th, 2023

Riffs attack with phasers and wah; vocals scream out about mythical creatures; and the backing instrumentation offers a dance-filled, mosh-worthy vibe. We’re talking about Frankie and the Witch Fingers, coming to Pappy’s on May 13.

The Lucky 13; Shana Cleveland, Lead Guitarist/Vocalist of La Luz, Performing Solo at Pappy and Harriet’s on May 13

By Matt King

May 5th, 2023

Get to better know La Luz frontwoman Shana Cleveland, performing solo at Pappy and Harriet’s on May 13.

Good Enough: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Is Fun Despite a Thin Plot

By Bob Grimm

May 8th, 2023

As James Gunn leaves Marvel to head up DC Studios, he turns in one last bizarro blast of Guardians of the Galaxy fun that gives the story a satisfying conclusion.

Himself, Again: Pete Davidson’s Peacock Series ‘Bupkis’ Picks Up After a Slow Start

By Bob Grimm

May 8th, 2023

Pete Davidson successfully mines his own life story once again to create some decent entertainment.

Community Voices: Cathedral City and Palm Springs Need to Consider the Consequences of Corporate Homeownership

By Rich Gordon

May 5th, 2023

With pending decisions, the city councils in Palm Springs and Cathedral City have an opportunity to engage their constituents in a discussion of the impacts of corporate homeownership on our neighborhoods and communities.

More News

A state panel assembled to consider reparations has come to its final conclusions. Our partners at Calmatters report: “The California Reparations Task Force approved economic models for calculating reparations which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars owed to eligible Black residents to address past racial inequities. The models tell the state what is owed. The Legislature would have to adopt the recommendations and decide how much to pay, task force members said. The state-appointed task force also unanimously voted to recommend California formally apologize ‘for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity and African slaves and their descendants.’ After 15 public hearings, two years of deliberations and input from more than 100 expert witnesses and the public, the task force on Saturday voted to finalize its proposals in an  Oakland meeting. The nine-member panel has a deadline to submit it all to the Legislature by July 1.”

• After several more mass shootings in Texas—I can’t believe how ho-hum it has seemingly become to write a phrase like that—Gov. Greg Abbott yet again placed the blame on mental health, not access to guns. So … what has Abbott done, and not done, to improve mental health care in Texas? ABC News takes a look. (This is a longer than normal excerpt, so we’ll use the pull-quote formatting here.)

Texas ranks last in the U.S. when it comes to access to mental health care, including a lack of mental health services, a high number of those uninsured, and being unable to see a mental health professional due to costs, according to a recent report from nonprofit Mental Health America.

It’s not just adults suffering, but adolescents as well. The report found 60% of youth with major depression did not receive mental health treatment.

Additionally, last year, Abbott announced nearly $500 million would be moved from state agencies to support the deployment of the National Guard to the southern border as well as to support border operations.

Of that amount, $210.7 million was from Texas Health & Human Services, which oversees public mental health programs. It’s unclear if funding was cut from mental health programs.

That’s not to say nothing has been done in Texas to address mental health. In June 2022, in response to the Uvalde shooting, Abbott ordered that $5.8 million be allocated to expand the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine statewide and that $4.7 million be allocated to the Health and Human Services Commission to increase multisystemic therapy, a program for juveniles with serious criminal offenses, across the state.

However, the National Mental Health Alliance of Texas is working to get Republican offices to support HB 4713, providing insurance coverage for coordinated specialty care for people under age 26 experiencing a first episode of psychosis, meaning delusions and hallucinations.

Recently an amendment was introduced by state Rep. Jeff Leach, whose district includes Allen—where the shooting took place—that makes it optional for insurance companies to cover this care.

• Related: The Washington Post breaks down the number of mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S. in 2023. A heartbreaking key quote: “Mass shootings—where four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed—have averaged more than one per day in 2023, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. Not a single week has passed without at least four mass shootings.”

• Well, this is disgusting. ProPublica—which has been doing an amazing job of exposing behind-the-scenes corruption and conflicts of interest as of late—just exposed some shenanigans by Rep. Jim Clyburn, South Carolina’s most powerful Democrat. Here’s the sub-headline/summary: “Facing the possibility of an unsafe district, South Carolina’s most powerful Democrat sent his aide to consult with the GOP on a redistricting plan that diluted Black voting strength and harmed his party’s chances of gaining seats in Congress.” It’s a complicated and exhaustingly reported story that’s worth a read. Go journalism!

A bunch of COVID-19 tests of a certain brand are being recalled. CBS News reports: “More than a half million home COVID-19 tests from Roche and SD Biosensor should be thrown out immediately, the Food and Drug Administration is warning, citing ‘significant concerns’ over bacteria that could infect users of the tests. The FDA says the recalled ‘Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Tests’ can be identified by lot numbers listed on this page. 500,000 were distributed to CVS and 16,000 to Amazon. None of the potentially contaminated kits were distributed through the federal government’s testing programs like, the FDA says.”

• One of the funniest people in the country, for my money, will be in Palm Springs tomorrow as part of the Palm Springs Speaks! series: Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Dave Barry. From a news release: “The talk, sponsored by his publisher Simon and Schuster, will take place at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs, on Tuesday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. A VIP Reception, which begins at 6 p.m., will enable a limited number of attendees to have an exclusive photo opportunity with Barry on the stage and receive a copy of his “Swamp Stories” book that he will autograph. … (Dave Barry’s) talk is expected to run for an hour and will be followed by a short Q&A session. … Tickets are $35 rear reserved (ADA spaces available), $50 general admission, $75 premium reserved and $125 VIP. … ‘Swamp Stories’ is a humorous account of a broke and desperate Florida housewife who stumbles across a long-lost treasure but must elude a gang of evil men to keep it. It is a rollicking caper full of oddballs and more twists and turns than a snake slithering away from a gator.” Get tickets and learn more at

And finally … weird stuff involving Italian food is happening in New Jersey. The Associated Press reports, rather punnily: “Authorities in a central New Jersey town say they are no longer noodling over the mystery of how hundreds of pounds of pasta were dumped near a stream. Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry said Friday that the pasta, including spaghetti and macaroni, was cleaned up last week by public works crews, shortly after officials learned about the oodles of noodles that quickly drew national attention when photos of the pasta were posted on social media. The estimated 500 pounds (225 kilograms) of pasta were apparently raw when it was dumped, but subsequent heavy rains softened the food and made the mounds look like they had been cooked, officials have said. It’s unclear who dumped the pasta there or why, but it’s not believed the pasta had been at the site for long before it was discovered.”

Support the Independent!

Thanks, as always, for reading the Independent! We do what we do because of you, our readers. If you value what we do, and you have the means, please consider clicking the button below and becoming a Supporter of the Independent. Your supports helps us to continue producing quality local journalism—and making it available for free to all!

Read this Indy Digest at!

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...