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COVID Update, February 5, 2021: Blue Skies?

We're not ones to paint the clouds with sunshine, but indications are beginning to appear suggesting an end to the pandemic is in sight. To be sure, the infection and death rates are still grotesquely, unacceptably high. Still, as of today 28.2 million Americans have been vaccinated and the pace is increasing. New vaccines are on the way and the existing ones are proving to be better than expected in many regards. A real relief bill is making its way through the legislative process. The UK is making remarkable progress with its vaccination program and a chastened Europe sees it needs to catch up. There are some rough weeks ahead, but also many new reasons to hope.

The latest:

The US passes 450,000 COVID-19 deaths, but experts expect the numbers to begin dropping: tinyurl.com/4hfurwnj.

January was the deadliest month of the pandemic so far: tinyurl.com/y6rbyssv. Indigenous Americans are dying at twice the rate of whites: tinyurl.com/lnqtt7re. The number of new COVID-19 cases is down, but still far beyond the spring and summer peaks: tinyurl.com/1phfpd60 .

A Senate vote paves the way for the passage of President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief plan: tinyurl.com/4js3ve5o. A group of ten GOP senators make a counteroffer to President Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan: tinyurl.com/yx8jadg2. Senator Mitt Romney makes a counterproposal for pandemic relief: tinyurl.com/3f5m4hvf .

The CDC issues a sweeping new rule, demanding that US travelers wear masks: tinyurl.com/y27ojrh4.

To get more vaccines into arms, Moderna asks the government for permission to get an additional five doses into vial: tinyurl.com/y2at7kxw. Johnson & Johnson asks the FDA for emergency authorization of its vaccine: tinyurl.com/1if904ax. The AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against the UK coronavirus variant, tests show: tinyurl.com/1g15rjm1 .

The Biden Administration will ship a smallish amount of vaccine to pharmacies: tinyurl.com/l6nlp277.

Health experts urge more and faster vaccinations to counter the effects of coronavirus variants: tinyurl.com/y2rxjzbn.

The US needs to get up to speed on genetic sequencing; otherwise, we're flying blind in dealing with the new COVID-19 variants: tinyurl.com/y6pz2og9.

The hunt continues for 20 million vaccine doses that the previously administration failed to track: tinyurl.com/yxzhttv8.

Fourteen percent of those with severe COVID-19 also develop Type 1 or Type 1 diabetes: tinyurl.com/yxb32gjh.

The Congressional Budget Office says unemployment won't return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of the decade: tinyurl.com/yy9s2t8n.

New unemployment claims come in this week at 779,000, a little better than expected: tinyurl.com/16jzc5hr. Job growth in the US was a miniscule 49,000 in January: tinyurl.com/plzq6y4w . Private firms in the US added 174,000 jobs in January, well above the expected 50,000: tinyurl.com/2jmsdnjc.

AstraZeneca has agreed to provide the European Union with an additional nine million doses of vaccine: tinyurl.com/yyspvwmp. This is good news, because the slow pace of vaccination in the EU opens the door to a double-dip recession: tinyurl.com/yb8vdps2.

Buttressed by data showing that one can hold classes safely, the pressure is on for schools to reopen: tinyurl.com/324gvuhl.

A new survey reveals that most North American arts organizations are holding until the fall before reopening: tinyurl.com/y373ecdg.

Food for thought:

Why did the Seattle Seahawks have no cases of COVID-19? tinyurl.com/3trqpsgs .

Around the country:

In California:

Anti-vaxxers stage a demonstration, temporarily halting vaccinations at Dodger Stadium: tinyurl.com/yyzoshok.

The number of Latinos dying from COVID-19 has grown 1,000% since November: tinyurl.com/y473lrjj.

At the current rate, the senior citizen population won't get fully vaccinated until June, throwing the overall vaccine timetable out of whack: tinyurl.com/1qnmdqkx.

The April dates for Coachella have been canceled, although the announcement leaves the door open for a possible September gig: tinyurl.com/y2mk2yto.

The shoot for the third film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise has been postponed after a crew member tests positive for COVID-19: tinyurl.com/34hoszp8 .

In Florida:

January was the deadliest month in the state, with 119 more deaths for a total of 26,479: tinyurl.com/y6bae39f. The UK variant now accounts for 5% of the state's cases: tinyurl.com/4a4kkbz7.

A new website allows eligible persons to pre-register for vaccine appointments: tinyurl.com/y73e3ma9. Trouble is, it's proving to be more of a hindrance than a help: tinyurl.com/yrjzo43v .

Publix and Winn-Dixie stores will distribute vaccines, courtesy of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program tinyurl.com/flcd60a1. Overall, the state's supply of vaccine is increasing: tinyurl.com/1a7iuhb3.

Even if you've been vaccinated, you'll have to wear a mask at Disney World: tinyurl.com/ybyesyqj.

Blue Man Group will not be returning to Universal Orlando: tinyurl.com/y5h4vszt.

In Illinois:

Chicago's convention industry banks on a return in the second half of 2021: tinyurl.com/yxrg3j5u.

Chicago struggles with vaccination delivery issues: tinyurl.com/ola7e0xq.

The battle to reopen Chicago schools rages on, with the teacher's union pitted against the city's government: tinyurl.com/12y2z9xg.

In Maryland:

The state reports a case of the South African variant of the coronavirus: tinyurl.com/y3zwe4hc.

In Massachusetts:

The state's new infection rate is dropping, for reasons that are not immediately clear: tinyurl.com/18xhmf47 .

Starting February 14, restrictions on businesses including gyms and restaurants, will go to 40% of capacity: tinyurl.com/57ksgflq.

Local organizations are taking matters into their own hands, developing COVID-19 testing programs: tinyurl.com/y3kdvt9r.

Boston's Fenway Park and Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center are now vaccination centers: tinyurl.com/y3582ev5.

In Nevada:

Garth Brooks' ever-receding Allegiant Stadium concert has been postponed until July: tinyurl.com/y6thrko9.

In New York:

Indoor dining returns to New York City on February 14: tinyurl.com/y7gbxtfm.

Around the world

In the Czech Republic:

The country passes one million confirmed cases of COVID-19: tinyurl.com/d21qn61l.

In India:

The number of infections has dropped precipitously: tinyurl.com/5hqnsruq.

In Italy:

The country begins to emerge from its Christmas lockdown: tinyurl.com/4fdytxug.

In Malawi:

Field hospitals go up as the country struggles with a resurgence of COVID-19: tinyurl.com/3cr5mc7l .

In Mexico:

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has been cleared for use in the country: tinyurl.com/ysdkyb8q.

In the Palestinian Territories:

The process of vaccination begins: tinyurl.com/2hvzzcnk .

In Portugal:

The country remains at the top of the list of infection hotspots, straining the government: tinyurl.com/j1n9mnu0.

In Russia:

The Sputnik vaccine turns out to be 91% effective and even stronger against severe cases: tinyurl.com/4qega36e.

In Tanzania:

The country goes it alone on the pandemic, apparently because the president doesn't believe in vaccines: tinyurl.com/h0h4xwjf.

In the UK:

The country's vaccination program moves apace: tinyurl.com/16fsbszp .

Andrew Lloyd Webber presses the government to conduct trials of TEG, a chemical spray that allegedly eliminates the coronavirus. The government says the evidence isn't strong enough: tinyurl.com/pfifdm3f .


Sonny Fox, host of beloved children's TV program Wonderama: tinyurl.com/y2dba3ja.

Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old vet who captivated a nation and raised $40 million for the National Health Service: tinyurl.com/ra1dnkrl .

Marc Wilmore, writer for In Living Color and The Simpsons: tinyurl.com/y66dl6b5.


If you want to bone up on the topic, John Huntington's new book Introduction to Show Networking is on sale to those in the know. Check it out at controlgeek.net/secret-book-sale.

New webinars from JBL and Soundcraft: STYX Mix: Crafting a Modern Live Mix with a Classic Band's Sound w/ Chris "Cookie" Hoff, February 9 at 12pm CST; register at tinyurl.com/2ajnvq8p.


MCC Theater's LiveLab series will continue February 11 at 6:30pm ET with a reading of Mfoniso Udofia's On Love, followed by a 15-minute talkback. Directed by Awoye Timpo On Love will stream on MCC's YouTube Channel before becoming available on MCC on Demand through February 25. The cast features Temídayo Amay, Keith David, Antwayn Hopper, Chiké Johnson, Patrice Johnson, Zonya Love, and Anastacia McCleskey: ondemand.mcctheater.org/.

Metropolitan Playhouse presents its next free readings, live-streamed at no charge, with talkback to follow: The Outside, by Susan Glaspell. It runs through February 6 at 8pm through February 10 at 10pm. Running time is 60 minutes: www.metropolitanplayhouse.org.

Mint Theater Company presents the on-demand streaming of the three-camera archival recording (filmed in HD) of Katie Roche by Teresa Deevy, directed by Jonathan Bank, beginning February 1 and continuing through March 28. It is free. Deevy, a forgotten Irish playwright, has been rediscovered through a series of well-received productions at the Mint. To receive a password, visit MintTheater.org.

Streaming at San Francisco Opera this weekend: Wagner's Lohengrin, a co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Grand Théâtre de Genève. David Slater directs, with production design by Robert Innes Hopkins and lighting by Simon Mills. Lohengrin is performed in German with English subtitles and has an approximate running time of 3 hours and 40 minutes. It is free on demand with registration at sfopera.com.

The Town Hall presents a special streaming concert event with music icon Judy Collins as she recreates her legendary 1964 New York City concert hall debut. Collins filmed the show onstage at The Town Hall and will be streamed on February 12 at 8pm EST. Tickets are $40 and are available at TheTownHall.org.

Weekend Playlist:

Brandon Victor Dixon and MJ Rodriguez team up for "I'll Cover You," by Jonathan Larson, from Rent: tinyurl.com/33s79cvw.

Andrew Barth Feldman, of Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen, offers "Me and Mr. Popularity," by Joey Contreras, from the forthcoming musical In Pieces: tinyurl.com/gjgsvobh.

The great Edith Piaf offers one of her signature tunes, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien:" tinyurl.com/134n6hdx .

Kristin Chenoweth pays tribute to "Taylor the Latte Boy," by March Heisler and Zina Goldrich: tinyurl.com/lwr6rha.

A new video testifies to the timelessness of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On;" tinyurl.com/ng2fp76z.

That's all for the week. Have a great weekend. Stay safe. Get vaccinated. -DB

To receive your LSA copies at home (no charge), please email LSA@plasa.org or go to www.ezsubscription.com/lsa/mysubscription .

Previous LSA COVID-19 Updates: plasa.me/lsacovid19resources.

(5 February 2021)

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