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COVID-19 Update, February 12, 2021: Vaccines vs. Variants

It's one of those weeks. News about variants of the coronavirus -- from the UK, South Africa, and elsewhere are a justifiable source of worry. Still, even if all vaccines aren't created equal when it comes to dealing with variants, there are plenty more on the way, and the numbers of the ill and dying are beginning to drop. For the first time, we're beginning to see discussions about how and why cities (and entertainment venues) can reopen.

The latest:

In a sentence that we began to fear we would never write, things are looking up: tinyurl.com/1621lxb0. The Biden Administration secures another 200 million doses of vaccines: tinyurl.com/yah2hd8d. Dr. Anthony Fauci says by April it will be "open season" for vaccinations: tinyurl.com/11dgv9vj. But logistical issues are likely to continue: tinyurl.com/3u7n54k3.

Nancy Pelosi aims to pass President Biden's stimulus bill within two weeks: tinyurl.com/18cdimm1. Democrats in Congress are determined to press ahead with the president's relief bill with or without GOP support: tinyurl.com/2wpjrvan.

According to a study not yet peer-reviewed, the UK variant of the coronavirus is moving quickly through the US: tinyurl.com/43bogvlf. Another study, also not yet peer-reviewed, indicates that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine provides only minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infections of the South African COVID-19 variant: tinyurl.com/yg5zq3ed. Evidence suggests that having a previous COVID-19 infection may not protect you from being infected by one of the variants: tinyurl.com/ln0moi4j. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine looks like the one to beat against the South African variant: tinyurl.com/35h5keww.

President Biden invokes to the Defense Production Act to speed up the manufacture of protective gear and streamline vaccination distribution: tinyurl.com/2flq5zlm. The tricky part is getting more first doses into arms while having enough vaccine for all the second doses: tinyurl.com/qhvlybc7.

If you get both vaccine doses and are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you can skip quarantine as long as you remain asymptomatic, the CDC says: tinyurl.com/1gd6mveg.

A rheumatoid arthritis drug manufactured by Roche is shown to be effective in preventing death in severely ill COVID-19 patients: tinyurl.com/4osr8eou.

The World Health Organization debunks the idea that the coronavirus originated in a lab: tinyurl.com/5gcpg7e7 .

A new survey finds that one-third of Americans are still cool to the vaccine: tinyurl.com/1wn9d4w8.

New unemployment claims reach 793,000, worse than expected and a terrible number by any yardstick: tinyurl.com/1quz4cub.

Colleges and universities find their reopening plans upended by coronavirus variants: tinyurl.com/1evaph4h.

The latest trend is carbon dioxide monitoring devices, to see if you're breathing other people's breath in restaurants and other locations: tinyurl.com/mu7ke3af.

Food for thought:

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus variants: tinyurl.com/53f2anxp.

Even if variants are here to stay, they may be milder and easier to manage: tinyurl.com/1tralcpi .

Here's some advice on handling those often-difficult vaccination appointment websites: tinyurl.com/v835mbby.

Around the country:

In California:

The Supreme Court rules that the state must allow in-person religious services even in a pandemic. The state may limit attendance to 25% of capacity: tinyurl.com/yhdlv5xp.

This year's Oscar ceremony will be broadcast from multiple locations: tinyurl.com/164rop7m.

As part of its summer season, California Shakespeare Theater will open its amphitheatre to other Bay Area arts groups: tinyurl.com/uxd4o4cq.

In Florida:

On Super Bowl Sunday, the state reports 200 variant cases of COVID-19: tinyurl.com/yq46fkvg.

Jury trials will resume in Miami-Dade County in March: tinyurl.com/yrn9aw9k.

Seeking to jump-start business, Visit Orlando is launching a new ad campaign to attract visitors from the Southern states: tinyurl.com/37gyke7y.

Disney World will mandate mask wearing through 2021: tinyurl.com/2bpsqs2u Orlando's Broadway touring season is set to resume in late September: tinyurl.com/15l6qady.

Even as N95 masks are shown to be the safest, this company can't give them away: tinyurl.com/1v993qj4.

The Seminole County School districts drops plans for proms this year, and also plans staggered graduation ceremonies: tinyurl.com/3qcbpfbq.

The Miami outdoor events Calle Ocho and Carnaval have been canceled this year: tinyurl.com/1cirlpj1.

In Illinois:

Chicago reaches an agreement with the teacher's union about reopening schools: tinyurl.com/2m6cpxjy.

Inside the state's struggle to roll out the vaccine: tinyurl.com/y2ktcepl.

In Massachusetts:

The state opens a call center for senior citizens to book their vaccine appointments: tinyurl.com/st6k89hs.

Vaccinations will be extended to younger companions bringing the elderly for their shots: tinyurl.com/19brf8s5.

In Michigan:

Ford plans to roll out N95 masks with clear faces: tinyurl.com/f9lgmqqw.

In Nevada:

Triethylene glycerol, the COVID-19 killing substance that Andrew Lloyd Webber has been promoting in the UK, is floated as a possibility is Vegas: tinyurl.com/cz8emjyc.

In New York:

Governor Cuomo announces a framework for reopening live events: tinyurl.com/8qs6st6t. The state's sports arenas and concert venues will reopen this month with COVID safety protocols in place. tinyurl.com/yorvky9r. "It's probably six to nine months before we reopen," says Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League: tinyurl.com/1mnb9k92.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a shortfall of $150 thanks to the pandemic, is looking at selling some of its artworks: tinyurl.com/lrco4ae3.

New York City's middle schools will reopen on February 25: tinyurl.com/2a598wyp .

A citizen-built vaccine-finder website is more efficient than the one built by the state: tinyurl.com/4wg88vbq.

Henry Street Playhouse, a NYC dance venue, converts for the duration into a pandemic food pantry: tinyurl.com/77aocd7n.

In Oregon:

How the new season of Top Chef was filmed, despite COVID, wildfires, and social protests: tinyurl.com/1ikk7g99.

Around the world:

In Argentina:

The first cases of the Brazilian coronavirus variant are discovered: tinyurl.com/qy9agthg.

In Australia:

Melbourne is put under its third lockdown: tinyurl.com/4musv8z9.

In Canada:

The country's ban on cruise ships will continue into 2022, also curtailing Alaskan sea voyages: tinyurl.com/4byz5c4s.

In Germany:

The government will provide another one million euros to bail out its struggling arts sector: tinyurl.com/yt4bxy3p .

The country extends its lockdown until March 7: tinyurl.com/2x24zb9z.

In Israel:

The country's falling number of infections points to the power of a robust vaccination program: tinyurl.com/2suoxnbe.

The pandemic is driving many out of ultra-Orthodox communities: tinyurl.com/ckpx5qq9.

Meanwhile, the ultra-Orthodox community remains embattled, refusing to follow social-distancing rules and feeling misunderstood by the larger population: tinyurl.com/2cj2h3oc.

In Japan:

Lacking the right syringes, millions of vaccine doses may go unused; the country may not be alone in facing this problem: tinyurl.com/15ejemow.

In Mexico:

The country's vaccine rollout is bogged down by numerous problems: tinyurl.com/4mq4yywl.

A shortage of oxygen tanks is killing many Mexicans afflicted with coronavirus: tinyurl.com/1mxn7aow.

In South Africa:

The country suspends its rollout of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which, data suggests, is not well-equipped to handle the local coronavirus variant: tinyurl.com/yg5zq3ed. Hoping to make up for lost time, the government pivots toward the Johnson and Johnson vaccine: tinyurl.com/14mu9yq3.

In the UK:

Thanks to the pandemic, and perhaps Brexit, the country's economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020, the worst since 1709. That's not a typo: tinyurl.com/574mpjhh.

The country's undertakers are facing unprecedented stress: tinyurl.com/3gp8v8mz.


Texas Congressman Ron Wright: tinyurl.com/ydtc6jpf.

Trade Show Update:

InfoComm will now be held October 23 - 29 in Orlando, with the trade show portion running October 27 - 29: tinyurl.com/1lu49pml.


New seminars from JBL: More than Just Monitor Mixing! Part 2 with Eddie Caipo, February 16, 11am CST: tinyurl.com/y7ocrqd8. Advanced Audio Mixing Techniques with Ken "Pooch" Van Druten and Chris Rabold, February 18, at 12pm CST: tinyurl.com/2xygunrq. Acoustic Challenges When Designing Performance, Worship and Production Spaces with Sam Berkow, February 18 at 12pm CST: tinyurl.com/4671vdau.


February 18, at noon, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, and Iman Habibi's Jeder Baum spricht; chamber music performance of Debussy's Sonata for flute, viola, and harp, featuring BSO musicians Cynthia Meyers, flute; Danny Kim, viola; and Jessica Zhou, harp: www.bso.org/now.

Keen Company continues presents a benefit broadcast of Sorry, Wrong Number by Lucille Fletcher, with Marsha Mason, Heidi Armbruster, Chuck Cooper, Jasminn Johnson, and Matt Saldivar. Live Foley effects will be created by Nick Abeel. The director is Jonathan Silverstein: www.KeenCompany.org.

Metropolitan Playhouse presents its next free screened readings, live-streamed at no charge, with talkback to follow: Enemies, by Neith Boyce and Hutchins Hapgood. It happens February 13 at 8pm ET through February 17 ay 10pm. Running time is 60 minutes: www.metropolitanplayhouse.org.

The Night Watcher, written and performed by Charlayne Woodard, February 17 - 28. Woodard weaves together stories of the ordinary and extraordinary ways she has mentored the children in her life. Tickets are free but advance registration is required: tinyurl.com/1n58zfc9.

This weekend, starting Saturday at 10am PST and ending on Sunday 11:59pm, San Francisco opera streams is 2013 presentation of Mozart's Così fan tutte, which reimagines the comedic opera in a Mediterranean beach town on the eve of World War I. The opera also highlights the contributions of production designer Robert Perdziola and lighting designer Christopher Maravich. It is performed in Italian with English subtitles and has an approximate running time of 2 hours and 55 minutes. Register in advance at sfopera.com/streaming.

Weekend Playlist:

Energize yourself with Gloria Estefan's "Conga:" tinyurl.com/1w8ydyj9.

Carole King, a birthday girl this offers "So Far Away:" tinyurl.com/1xvktt5r.

And farewell to the great Mary Wilson, here leading "Someday We'll Be Together:" tinyurl.com/2ldozgon.

Kate Baldwin, Anika Noni Rose, and George Salazar join others in the dynamic opening from Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World: https://tinyurl.com/4p94u2gl.

Andrew Lloyd Webber drops "I Know I Have a Heart," from his upcoming musical Cinderella. Carrie Hope Fletcher is the lady in question: tinyurl.com/1mv01zk4.

That's all for the week. Have a great weekend. Stay safe. Vaccinate. -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.

(12 February 2021)

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