Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: March 9, 2023

Three years ago at this time, things were getting scary—rather quickly.

The headline of the March 9, 2020, edition of The Desert Sun was: “BNP Paribas Open canceled.” The Los Angeles Times: “Containment Hopes Fade as Virus Spreads.” The Sacramento Bee: “Sacramento mayor, health office call for calm on virus.” The New York Times: “Coronavirus casts a pall on New York.”

The flood of news—and misinformation—spurred the Independent to start this newsletter: The Indy Digest (at first called the Daily Digest) will turn 3 on Monday.

It’s important to look at what’s happened in the 1,100 or so days since the realization that SARS-CoV-2 was going to be a big, big problem. We’ve gotten desensitized by stats and numbers—so try to imagine how you’d have felt on March 9, 2020, if you’d have learned then that this is what the next three years would bring.

The pandemic would claim 1.13 million American lives—and counting. Included in those dead would be more than 1,450 of your neighbors in the Coachella Valley.

The closures and limitations on gatherings and businesses that were just starting to happen would last, to varying degrees, for 15 months, until California “fully reopened” on June 15, 2021.

Despite that “full reopening,” the worst days of the pandemic in terms of cases—but, thankfully, not hospitalizations and deaths—had yet to come. Omicron would cause that in the winter of 2021-2022.

Thanks to one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in human history, effective vaccines would arrive within a year, saving millions of lives. However, due to misinformation and politicization, 32 percent of Americans would refuse to be fully vaccinated.

The public emergency declared by President Trump on March 13 would remain in effect for more than three years.

Not only would COVID-19 make many people seriously ill after being exposed to SARS-CoV-2; a series of maladies due to what would come to be known as “long COVID” would diminish numerous lives for months or years.

If you’d have known on March 9, 2020, this is what the next three years would bring, you probably would have been freaked out. Yet you have survived.

This is a time to mourn what we’ve lost—and celebrate what we’ve managed to accomplish despite it all.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

One-Hundred Singing Men: The Masters of Harmony Bring Championship A Cappella to the McCallum

By Matt King

March 8th, 2023

The Masters of Harmony have won the International Chorus Championship nine times, and their award-winning show is headed for the McCallum Theatre for a matinee on Sunday, March 19.

Vine Social: When I Started Putting Together a Wine Club, I Had No Idea What the Best Aspect of It Would Become

By Katie Finn

March 9th, 2023

Three years ago, I decided to start up my own club at my little wine shop. I got to work thinking about what our membership would look like, what we would offer, and how we would set ourselves apart from the countless other wine clubs.

Community Voices: The City of Palm Springs Needs to Better Support the Swim Center

By Christian Draz

March 9th, 2023

All winter, the Palm Springs Swim Center has been subject to unpredictable and sudden closings, leaving the many diverse swimmers who depend on it—not just for physical exercise, but for their larger well-being—high and dry.

On Cocktails: Our Intrepid Imbiber Is No Longer Imbibing; He’s Giving Sobriety a Shot

By Kevin Carlow

March 7th, 2023

As our cocktail scribe moved on from one job and got ready for another, he decided to use the break to try sobriety again.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for March 9, 2023!

By Staff

March 9th, 2023

Topics found herein this week include LEGO people, orangey-brown mud stains, white supremacy, Pinocchio—and more!

More News

• Just a friendly reminder that your upcoming weekend is only 47 hours long—because we “spring forward” to daylight saving time on Sunday. A professor of neurology, writing for The Conversation, explains why this sucks—even worse than the fall time change does: “Researchers are discovering that ‘springing ahead’ each March is connected with serious negative health effects, including an uptick in heart attacks and teen sleep deprivation. In contrast, the fall transition back to standard time is not associated with these health effects. … I’ve studied the pros and cons of these twice-annual rituals for more than five years as a professor of neurology and pediatrics and the director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s sleep division. It’s become clear to me and many of my colleagues that the transition to daylight saving time each spring affects health immediately after the clock change and also for the nearly eight months that Americans remain on daylight saving time.”

After three straight weeks of increases, the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in Palm Springs wastewater ticked down last week: “The average number of copies (per liter) recorded at the city’s wastewater treatment plant decreased. The average of 674,250 copies/L from the previous week went down to an average of 536,718, copies/L for February 27 and 28.” (As for Indio’s results: The Valley Sanitary District had not posted new info this week as of this writing.)

• The ProPublica story headline: “Inside the ‘Private and Confidential’ Conservative group That Promises to ‘Crush Liberal Dominance’.” The lede: “A few months ago, Leonard Leo laid out his next audacious project. Ever since the longtime Federalist Society leader helped create a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, and then received more than a billion dollars from a wealthy Chicago business owner to disburse to conservative causes, Leo’s next moves had been the subject of speculation. Now, Leo declared in a slick but private video to potential donors, he planned to ‘crush liberal dominance’ across American life. The country was plagued by ‘woke-ism’ in corporations and education, ‘one-sided journalism’ and ‘entertainment that’s really corrupting our youth,’ said Leo amid snippets of cheery music and shots of sunsets and American flags.

Last week in this space, I sniveled about my sniffles—aka my out-of-control allergies. CNN explains why I—and so many of you—are dealing with congestion, coughing and more: “‘Because of climate change, we’re now seeing an earlier and longer growing season for plants, which of course make pollen, which is the enemy of many Americans that suffer from pollen allergies—and mold allergies as well,’ Lauren Casey, a meteorologist with Climate Central, told CNN. ‘Pollen can also trigger an asthma attack, which of course is much more serious for people that suffer from asthma.’ … More than 24 million people in the US have pollen-induced respiratory allergies like hay fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A longer and earlier start to pollen season could trigger a public health emergency, researchers say.”

Our partners at Calmatters examine Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that the state would no longer do business with Walgreens—and how far that could go: “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s surprise announcement via Twitter this week that California would not do business with pharmacy giant Walgreens caused widespread confusion in a state where more than one-third of the population pays for prescriptions with government-funded health insurance. Walgreens confirmed last week it would not distribute abortion pills, which are also commonly used for miscarriages, in 20 states where it faces legal pushback. In some of these states, the abortion pill—mifepristone—remains legal. However, Republican governors in these states threatened Walgreens and a cadre of retail pharmacies with legal consequences if they sell the pills. The first specifics surfaced by midweek: Newsom’s office announced that the state will not renew a $54 million contract with Walgreens for ‘specialty pharmacy prescription drugs,’ primarily for state prisoners. But his overall retaliatory declaration took health plans across the state by surprise and raised myriad questions about the ripple effects of his decision. ‘I’ll be honest, you are the first person telling me about this,’ said Penny Griego, spokesperson for the L.A. Care Health Plan, the state’s largest Medi-Cal plan, on Monday. Medi-Cal is the public insurance option for low-income Californians and people with disabilities.”

The Los Angeles Times takes a deeper look at California migration—including the fact that people are often leaving Los Angeles and San Francisco for other parts of the state … like the Coachella Valley. (We’re not mentioned in the story, but take a look at the map of zip codes: All but one Coachella Valley zip code saw growth from 2019 to 2022:) Key quote: “From 2019 through 2022, 1.02 million more people moved out of homes and businesses in California than into them, a Times analysis of U.S. Postal Service data shows. The data show the five ZIP Codes with the most net move-ins were all suburbs or exurbs around Sacramento and Southern California, including cities like Irvine, Menifee and Walnut. These fast-growing spots are generally suburbs with new housing coming on line. Some, like Irvine, are high-priced and close to job centers. Others, like Menifee, are farther out from urban cores but offer bigger homes and more outdoor space for the money. As the practice of remote work rose during the pandemic, far-flung communities made more sense for some.”

• And finally … this Rolling Stone headline about the social-media, uh, habits of Tennessee’s lieutenant governor literally made me LOL: “Republican Lt. Gov. Vows to Keep Thirsting Over Queer Instagram Nudes.” Since Rolling Stone requires registration, however, I’ll also refer you to NBC’s story about the same thing. Some details from NBC: “Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally … has left supportive—and arguably flirtatious—comments and emojis under risque social media photos posted by Franklin McClure, a 20-year-old performer from Knoxville. … In (a) close-up photo of McClure’s backside, where he’s only wearing what appear to be briefs, McNally wrote two comments: ‘Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine!’ and another with hearts and fire emojis, to which McClure responded ‘You are literally always so nice King,’ with a heart emoji. In another image, where McClure’s shorts are pulled down a little, McNally commented, ‘Super look Finn.’ … ‘As anyone in Tennessee politics knows, Lt. Governor McNally is a prolific social media commenter,’ (McNally communication director Adam) Kleinheider said in an email to NBC News. ‘He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers. Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping.’” OK then!

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Jimmy Boegle

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...