Indy Digest: June 14, 2021
On the eve of California’s “full” reopening, The Los Angeles Times is being a MAJOR buzzkill.
As I type this, the lead story on that newspaper’s website is headlined: “Here’s what could go wrong as California reopens.”
Beyond that dreary headline, the article itself is actually quite optimistic. “There’s plenty of reason for confidence in the months to come. California has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the nation, with 56% of residents of all ages—and 72% of adults—having had at least one dose of vaccine,” the piece says. “… Barring a new, completely unforeseen development, experts do not anticipate California will backslide to any degree similar to the state’s previous three pandemic surges. There’s increasing evidence the vaccines are effective against known variants.”
The article then goes on to explain “some possible scenarios health experts will be watching for in the coming months”—like concerns about a new variant that could make unvaccinated people quite sick; parts of the state that have a lower vaccination percentage; and so on.
The headline aside, the article is clear-headed about where California stands regarding the pandemic. The gist: We’re in pretty good shape, but COVID-19 is still a threat to people who are not fully vaccinated.
I, personally, am choosing to be cautiously optimistic. I will be wearing a mask to go grocery shopping for the foreseeable future—but I’ll probably join the reopening celebration in downtown Palm Springs.
I am also choosing to be thankful. This time last year, we were all watching as the first reopening effort was beginning to fall to pieces—while vaccines remained months away, even in the best-case scenario.
“My friends, I beg of you: Please take precautions against COVID-19,” I wrote in the June 12, 2020 Daily Digest. “As more and more of the Coachella Valley reopens, the numbers are getting worse and worse. The number of COVID-19 patients at Eisenhower Medical Center as of Wednesday is nearly twice as high as it had ever been before an uptick in cases began there around the start of the month.”
Well … that best-case scenario with the vaccines actually played out—and as a result, most health experts are on board with the state’s reopening. For that, we should ALL be thankful.
From the Independent
Welcome to Lithium Valley: One of the World’s Largest Lithium Deposits Is Located at the Salton Sea—and the Potential Economic Ramifications Have Drawn Comparisons to Silicon Valley
By Kevin Fitzgerald
June 14, 2021
Up to 40% of the world’s potential future lithium supply is located under and near the Salton Sea. The potential that creates has drawn comparisons to Silicon Valley. Yes, really.
Caesar Cervisia: These Two Independently Owned Stores Are Havens for Coachella Valley Craft-Beer Lovers
By Brett Newton
June 13, 2021
University Village Food Mart, in Palm Desert, and Ranch Market and Liquor, in Thousand Palms, are two stores that Coachella Valley craft-beer lovers need to get to know.
True-ly Tired: ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’ Lacks the Style and Freshness of Its Franchise Predecessors
By Bob Grimm
June 14, 2021
The Conjuring franchise has become hackneyed, with a tiresome recycling of horror tropes, in The Devil Made Me Do It.
By Matt King
June 14, 2021
Get to know Erin “Red” Marie, the powerful vocalist and frontwoman for Empty Seat.
• Our partners at CalMatters offer up “6 things you need to know about COVID-19” as California reopens. It covers similar ground to the aforementioned Los Angeles Times piece, but it’s definitely worth a read. Key quote: “Restrictions like physical distancing and mask-wearing offered some protection to people who have not yet been vaccinated, and now that most of those are going away, infections are expected to start rising, said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiologist at University of California, San Francisco.”
• While California is reopening. the United Kingdom is delaying its reopening process. CNBC explains: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a delay of four weeks to the next phase of England’s lockdown reopening, amid a surge in the delta variant of COVID-19 first discovered in India. Rules on the use of face masks, limiting the number of people who can meet indoors and out, and shutting nightclubs and similar venues were due to be lifted June 21, but that has now been pushed back to July 19. At the moment, gatherings are limited to six people indoors and 30 outdoors.”
• The state is working on an electronic vaccine-verification system that businesses can use if they so choose. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the plans Friday, and offered a few more details during an event in San Francisco today. According to SFGate: “Newsom clarified that the ‘system’ will essentially just be electronic vaccine cards that individuals can keep on their phones as opposed to carrying around the paper card. ‘It’s not a passport, it’s not a requirement, it’s just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version, so you’ll hear more about that in the next couple of days,’ he said.”
• As the U.S. gets set to hit 600,000 deaths from COVID-19, The Washington Post took a look at some utterly heartbreaking stories of people who have died from the disease at this (hopefully) late stage of the pandemic. Key quote: “’The finish line is in sight, and if you don’t make it now, it’s like the astronauts who make it all the way home and then their capsule splashes down and sinks,’ said Peter Paganussi, an emergency room physician in Ranson, W.Va., who still sees new cases of COVID, the illness caused by the coronavirus, every day.”
• A fight is brewing over the future of restaurant parklets in downtown Palm Springs. The Palm Springs Post reports: “Among recommendations presented to the Palm Springs City Council to help improve and regulate ‘parklets’—public seating platforms and other designs that convert sidewalk areas and curbside parking spaces into usable spaces — city staff recommended: Implementing minimum design standards for all existing and future parklets and removing nonconforming parklets after a period of time still to be determined; charging business owners a fee for creating parklets on public property; limiting parklets to areas directly in front of restaurants that build them, without blocking neighboring businesses; only allowing parklets on streets with a speed limit under 35 mph; and re-opening Arenas Road and allowing lane reductions on Palm Canyon Drive to remain.” The City Council has not yet made any decisions—and a whole lot of people are going to be upset about whatever decisions do get made.
• OK, who had “fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates” on their results-of-the-pandemic bingo card? If so, mark that space off! NPR explains: “The U.S. is banning the importation of dogs from more than 100 countries for at least a year because of a sharp increase in the number of puppies imported into the country with fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates. … The pandemic prompted a surge of pet adoptions, including puppies, as Americans sought companionship while they hunkered down in their homes to protect themselves from COVID-19. That was accompanied by an increase in dog importations, along with a jump in dogs entering the country with falsified or fraudulent rabies certificates.”
• The California bullet train project got some good news last week. The Los Angeles Times says: “A $929-million federal grant for the California bullet train project was restored Thursday, reversing a decision by the Trump administration to terminate the funding. The grant was restored under a settlement of a suit brought by California, asserting the U.S. Department of Transportation acted improperly in taking away the money in May 2019.” Great! Now, who out there thinks the bullet train will actually happen in our lifetimes? Anyone? Anyone??
• And finally … something tells me that this plan is not going to work, given the reputation for what typically happens at the Olympic Village. We’ll let CBS Sports explain: “When the Tokyo Olympics begin next month, Olympic organizers are planning to hand out 150,000 condoms. However, organizers are telling athletes that they need to take the condoms home rather than using them in the Olympic Village, where there will be COVID-19 protocols in place.” Yeah, sure!
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