After an elderly guy in Placer County died in March 2020, the first COVID-19 death in California, the state with the rest of the country went into near-shock mode with lockdowns/shutdowns/stay-at-home orders, etc. that would put a wedge into the normalacy of living.
We here in California shut-her-down first in the country and after attempting to reopen several times, closed tight again this past December after a virus surge statewide, and then today — reopen!
Seemingly hope, and the old Bill Shakespeare extract, ‘All’s Well That Ends Well,’ will keep the course:
Good morning California.
It’s reopening day.
We’ve administered over 40 million vaccines.
No more social distancing.
No more capacity limits.
No more colors or county tiers.
And if you’re vaccinated—no more masks.
It’s a good day.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 15, 2021
However, with 63,149 California COVID deaths (tops in the nation), none of this shit ends ‘well.’
Background/updates via KPIX CBSBayArea just a while ago:
While California was the first state to impose a lockdown and initially appeared to avoid the missteps of other states, by summer’s end a deadly winter surge overwhelmed hospitals and compelled Newsom to renew restrictions that had been eased.
More people tested positive for the virus in California (3.8 million and counting) and more people died (63,000 plus) than anywhere else in the country, although the nation’s most populous state had a lower per capita death rate than most others.
Today, California has one of the lowest rates of infection in the country, below 1-percent. That dramatic drop in infections combined with an increasing number of vaccinated residents — over 70-percent of adults have had at least one dose — led Newsom to announce in April that most COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted June 15.
Beginning Tuesday, California eliminated mandatory masks, social distancing and capacity restrictions in most settings, finally moving beyond the color-tiered Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
However, masks will still be required in places like public transit, airports, health care and indoor school classes.
To mark the reopening, Newsom picked 10 lucky residents who have received at least one vaccine dose to receive a cash prize of $1.5 million each.
The ten winners were from the counties of Los Angeles (4), Marin, Riverside, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus and Ventura.
The drawing was the grand finale to the nation’s largest vaccine incentive, which included $116 million in COVID-19 lottery jackpots and cash card giveaways. The state’s Vax for the Win vaccine incentive program also included six luxury vacation packages to landmark locations in the state.
Tuesday’s reopening doesn’t mean the pandemic is over, Newsom has repeatedly stressed as an explanation for retaining his statewide emergency declaration.
“We’re not spiking the ball, but today is a day to celebrate. Today is a day to reconnect with strangers, loved ones, family members. Give people hugs, remind them that we’re not out of the woods,” said Newsom.
“And also, we’re all in this together. And we’ve got a lot of work to do because I said this and I’ll close, we’re not just coming back. We’re going to come back more focused on inclusion, more focused on equity, and we’re going to come back, roaring back. California is open again, California has turned the page, and let us all celebrate this remarkable milestone.”
Some public health measures will stay for “mega events.” People attending indoor concerts, sporting events or other large gatherings for more than 5,000 people will have to show proof that they are vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test.
Attendees at outdoor events with more than 10,000 people are “strongly encouraged” to do the same.
Fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks, including indoors, in most places. Those who are unvaccinated are expected to wear masks, but that won’t be enforced.
Businesses have three choices: operate on an honor system; require customers to show proof of vaccination, or they can still require everyone to wear a mask.
However, the hoopla doesn’t make the whole COVID-19 pandemic less scary — Rita Torres, a retired university administrator in Oakland: ‘“Deep down I want to rejoice,” she said, but she’s going to take it slow. “Because it’s kind of like, is it too soon? Will we be sorry?”‘
I feel the same. Despite the mask mandate being removed, and being fully-vaccinated, I’m going to continue to wear one in public, grocery stores, shops, and what-not — just basic, frightened sense. Although it’s good on the outside, the inside game is what’s really happening, and with all these variants continually surfacing it’s just hard to let go completely. And that shit about a ‘honor system’ for non-vaccinated people makes the virus tingle in the air.
And I didn’t win the freakin’ lottery, either.
Optimistically he said, not like this:
If so, where do we go?
(Illustration out front: Salvador Dali’s ‘Hell Canto 2: Giants,’ found here).