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COVID Update, January 8, 2020: Strange Days

It's been one of the strangest weeks in American history, with the eyes of the world riveted on (and appalled by) the spectacle of hooligans invading and defiling the US Capitol. But as we pick up the pieces and debates rage about impeachment proceedings and the 25th Amendment, these are some of the darkest days of the pandemic, as the statistics listed below reveal. So far, the vaccine rollout has been halting at best. Still, there's plenty to be hopeful about, including President-elect Biden's plan to get 100 million Americans inoculated in the first 100 days of his administration; also, $2,000 stimulus checks appear to be back on the table. Better days are definitely coming -- but we need to pull together and hold tight for the next eight weeks or so.

The latest:

The US reported 4,000 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, the nation's worst day in the pandemic so far: tinyurl.com/y2hlfcwy.

As of last weekend, the US passed 350,000 COVID-19 deaths; the good news is that Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks President-elect Biden's plan to immunize 100 million people in 100 days is doable: tinyurl.com/y8wte3a4.

One big reason for the slow rollout: States are already too overwhelmed by the pandemic to handle distribution of vaccines: tinyurl.com/y8dmdxeu. Many governors step up to help speed up distribution: tinyurl.com/y6lpo73e.

To help speed things up, scientists debate new vaccine methodology, including delaying second doses and giving half-doses to adults: tinyurl.com/y7nkdlxg. US health experts say they will stick with the two-dose regimen: tinyurl.com/y455n5qw.

The US is ill-equipped to identify genetic variations of the coronavirus, health experts warn: tinyurl.com/y6smgjre. But Pfizer reports that its vaccine is effective against the variants found in South Africa and the UK: tinyurl.com/y4z6ag3b.

The EU approves the Moderna vaccine: tinyurl.com/yxuubh93.

New unemployment claims come in this week at 787,000, a bit better than expected: tinyurl.com/y5uzcam3. But the US, which expected to add 50,000 jobs in December, lost 140,000 instead: tinyurl.com/yxed2h9d.

Blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, administered early enough, can prevent older people from getting very sick from the illness: tinyurl.com/y3kr6f8l.

Spare a few thoughts for the airline workers who have to put up with rude and defiant flyers who refuse to conform to masking rules: tinyurl.com/y854jbun.

Can Oda, an innovative, audio-only live performance model, provide income for musicians during the pandemic? tinyurl.com/y8b7mkhf.

Broadway comeback: Producers and other industry figures weigh on how the theatres will likely reopen: tinyurl.com/y7jzzbwr.

Actors' Equity releases new COVID-19 safety guidelines: tinyurl.com/y8zjblsr.

The Grammy Awards have been postponed until March 14: tinyurl.com/yy8tetjw.

Food for thought:

How the AstraZeneca vaccine works: tinyurl.com/y9cxqpcg.

Around the country:

In Arizona:

The state becomes the world's COVID-19 hot spot, with the highest rate of new cases: tinyurl.com/y3owv9gh.

In California:

SAG-AFTRA and the Producers Guild of America recommend pausing all production in Southern California until the out-of-control COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control: tinyurl.com/y7cvhtem. Indeed, production grinds to a virtual halt: tinyurl.com/y3e5x2cx.

Hospitals in Los Angeles are at the crisis point: tinyurl.com/y65lhgap. Ambulance crews are told to ration their use of oxygen and to refrain from transporting patients who have little chance of survival: tinyurl.com/y3ukjskc.

The Sundance Festival, which is rolling out its films in a variety of ways this year, has canceled drive-in theatre screenings in Southern California, due to the pandemic: tinyurl.com/yxm3dp7u.

In the District of Columbia:

The attack on the Capitol this week is a textbook COVID-19 super-spreader event, health experts note: tinyurl.com/y4rz6dn9.

In Florida:

The state reports a staggering 93,457 new COVID-19 cases in the previous week: tinyurl.com/y76f9e4d.

Frustrated by the slow vaccine rollout, the governor warns hospitals that if they don't step on it, their supplies of vaccine will be cut: tinyurl.com/y438fob3.

As its COVID-19 caseload grows, AdventHealth Central Florida systems escalates to red status, limiting non-essential elective procedures: tinyurl.com/y26o4n72.

On Thursday, the state again breaks the record for daily cases, hitting 19,816: tinyurl.com/y429tcln.

Experts calculate that nearly half of the COVID variant cases in the US are in the state: tinyurl.com/y42nhc28.

In Illinois:

Teachers in Chicago refuse to return to schools, fearing infection from the coronavirus: tinyurl.com/y8ur4yux. More than half of the teachers expected to show up last Monday don't appear: tinyurl.com/y6lpzajy. The mayor demands that schools reopen: tinyurl.com/y2uzcq84.

In New York:

COVID speakeasies: The after-hours joints where patrons go to break social distancing rules: tinyurl.com/y485h3eh.

Mean Girls is the latest Broadway show to be felled by the pandemic: tinyurl.com/y67ftl6g.

In Wisconsin:

A pharmacist, driven by a conspiracy theory positing genetic damage, destroys several hundred doses of COVID-19 vaccine: tinyurl.com/yxjelzk8.

Around the world:

In Bosnia-Herzegovina:

As a group, the Balkan nations lag behind in getting access to vaccines: tinyurl.com/y3mx3spj.

In Brazil:

Deaths from COVID-19 now top 200,000: tinyurl.com/y3mxa9qu.

In Canada:

Seven members of Alberta's provincial government resign following reports that they took holiday vacations outside the country, despite guidelines urging against non-essential travel: tinyurl.com/y3rvdx2o.

Quebec will go under full lockdown on Saturday: https://tinyurl.com/yy46owyx.

In China:

The country abruptly halts a World Health Organization team, en route to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, from entering the country: tinyurl.com/y2c9e3j9.

In the Czech Republic:

The country's largest crematorium is overwhelmed, thanks to the rising number of COVID-19 deaths: tinyurl.com/y5dfetbd.

In France:

The country's cautious approach to vaccination is a disaster; only 500 people were inoculated in the first week, as opposed to 250,000 in Germany: tinyurl.com/y5wrcnhg.

In Germany:

The country's lockdown is extended until January 31: https://tinyurl.com/y239rk34.

In India:

The hard-hit country approves the AstraZeneca vaccine in addition to another one that is locally manufactured: https://tinyurl.com/y9p5blk9.

In Israel:

The country's speedy vaccine rollout hasn't prevented it from suffering a new surge of COVID-19 infections: tinyurl.com/y534obxl.

In Japan:

The country declares a state of emergency as new COVID-19 cases spike: tinyurl.com/yxa6gtmh.

In the Netherlands:

The country is the last member of the EU to begin vaccinations: tinyurl.com/y53dt8zo.

In Spain:

Interesting results from a rather audacious experiment in COVID-19 transmission at concerts. Clearly, more information is needed: tinyurl.com/y9yfnx3h.

In Switzerland:

The International Olympic Committee seeks enough doses of vaccine for the Tokyo Olympics to go forward: tinyurl.com/y5amub2k.

In Thailand:

The country, previously a COVID-19 success story, faces a worrying new wave of infections: tinyurl.com/y4qnqp3p.

In the UK:

Following Scotland's lead, England undergoes a new national lockdown, this time Tier 5. "The public are advised to stay in and venture out only for reasons like engaging in work that can't be done from home, exercise, medical assistance, essential shopping and caring responsibilities. Schools will remain closed at least until mid-February." Obviously, theatres and cinemas remain closed: tinyurl.com/yysgkl68.

The country is so rattled by the latest surge that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is getting little, if any, pushback from either the Conservative or Labour Parties, even when he suggests that lockdown could last as long as March 31: https://tinyurl.com/y6ermd8a.

The country's hospitals are buckling under the strain of the pandemic: tinyurl.com/y59mzln2.


New webinars from JBL: Enterprise Audio System Design Using the XTEN-AV Platform with Vibhav Singh and Sahil Dhingra, January 14 at 11am CST; register at https://tinyurl.com/y25hswyf.

New webinars from Martin by Harman: Why Does My Console Do That?... A Brief Tour of Lighting Control History with Rob Halliday, January 19 at 11am CST; register at tinyurl.com/y3dd5y7q. Moving Lights: The Art of Perfect Positioning with Brad Schiller, January 28 at 11am CST; register at tinyurl.com/yy4xg86y. Lighting Design for Concert Touring - Efficient Workflows and Approaches with Roland Greil, February 3 at 11am CST; register at https://tinyurl.com/yxhuo33n.


Highlights from Anjou: The Musical Horror Tale, a modern Mexican opera with music by Guillermo Mendez M. and lyrics by Mendez and Guadalupe Sandoval, in a new English translation by Javier Vilalta will stream on www.Playbill.com on January 29 at 8pm EST and will be available to watch through February 2. Free to the public, any donations made will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The cast includes Eden Espinza, Bianca Marroquín, Julia Murney, Shereen Pimentel, and Javier Muñoz.

The bilingual streaming production of The Dybbuk by S. Ansky, which was performed at Theater for the New City by New Yiddish Rep on the play's 100th anniversary (December 9 to 13), has been edited for video-on-demand and will be presented through midnight January 31 by New Yiddish Rep atwww.newyiddishrep.org/.

The David Bowie -- Enda Walsh musical Lazarus, which opened Off Broadway just before Bowie's death, will stream January 8 - 10 on dice.fm/. Michael C. Hall and Sophia Anne Caruso star.

Off Broadway's Mint Theatre Company streams its production of the little-seen Lillian Hellman play Days to Come now through February 21. J.R. Sullivan directs a cast that includes Mary Bacon, Janie Brookshire, Larry Bull, Dan Daily, and Roderick Hill. Streaming is free; go to MintTheater.org to get a password.

MasterVoices presents a four-part virtual rollout of Adam Guettel's theatrical song cycle, Myths and Hymns. This free digital production will be offered starting on Wednesday, January 13 at 6:30 PM ET on the ensemble's YouTube channel, and will also be available for on-demand streaming on mastervoices.org. Inspired by Greek myths and a 19th-Century Presbyterian hymnal, the 1998 cycle is a kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres as it explores the nature of faith and longing in a secular world. New short musical films will illustrate the protagonist's exploration of Flight, Work, Love, and Faith. Cast members for Flight, the first in the series, include Take 6, Annie Golden, Renée Fleming, Joshua Henry, Capathia Jenkins, Mykal Kilgore, Norm Lewis, Jose Llana, Kelli O'Hara, and Elizabeth Stanley. The three subsequent chapters of Myths and Hymns (Work, Love, and Faith) will be released in free digital installments, streaming on February 24, April 14, and May 26.

The extraordinary Pittsburgh Playhouse Conservatory Theatre Company production of the musical Ordinary Days, soon to be featured in Lighting&Sound America, will return, streaming January 14 - 17: tinyurl.com/y3j6wu55.

Pasadena Playhouse presents You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman, a virtual musical revue featuring songs from Hello, Dolly!; Mame; La Cage aux Folles; and many more. The cast includes Broadway's Lesli Margherita and the online opening will be a livestreamed event with special guests Bernadette Peters and David Hyde Pierce. It takes place January 10 at 5pm PST; go to www.PlayhouseLive.org.

Your weekend playlist:

Linda Ronstadt in the official video for "Blue Bayou:" tinyurl.com/jotfwwx.

Angélique Kidjo performs "How Can I Tell You?", a new song by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, from the documentary Nasrim, about the human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh: tinyurl.com/y5lxx9zf.

Liza Minnelli offers the definitive version of "New York, New York:" tinyurl.com/htkhj87.

David Bowie, referenced above, stars in the official video for "Space Oddity:" tinyurl.com/nughbqm.

Leslie Odom Jr. offers "Speak Now," from the upcoming film One Night in Miami: tinyurl.com/yyknb2xb.

That's all for this week. See you next Friday. Stay safe. - DB

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

(8 January 2021)

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