Hello, my 831 friends — thanks again for reading this evening snapshot of the pandemic day that was.

Reasons for COVID-19 concern locally have not abated, from the data (still a 20+% positivity rate and five new deaths, including a women in her 50s) to the people stories. Wallace Baine’s telling of what one longtime Santa Cruz family has had to endure because of the virus should give us all fresh perspective. We’ve all had legitimate things to gripe about the past 10 months, but I know reading about people like Gus Ceballos and his family help me to gripe a little bit less. If you have similar thoughts, I’d love to hear them. Email me at mark@lookoutlocal.com.

Also be sure to tell your friends and family to sign up for this newsletter and my text alerts here, or text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524. Now, for the stories of note…

COVID TODAY: Woman in her 50s one of five new Santa Cruz County deaths

Credit: cases

Tuesday brought news that a Latinx woman in her 50s with no pre-existing conditions was among the five new deaths countywide. We also learned that the 14-day positivity rate remained extremely high here at 20.6%. What does this mean for the days and weeks ahead? Our Mallory Pickett breaks down the latest developments — and the latest on the stay-at-home order — in COVID TODAY. For more easy-to-digest data like the chart above, go to Tulsi Kamath’s page here.


PANDEMIC LIFE: Gus Ceballos has more reasons than most to curse at, and feel cursed by, COVID-19

Gus Ceballos still has not been able to hug his mother and console her since the death of his father in early December.
Gus Ceballos still has not been able to hug his mother and console her since the death of his father in early December. Credit: Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz

As Gus Ceballos sees it, COVID-19 had already stolen his dad’s dignity, even before it took his life. Now it’s taking his own dignity as he waits for his family to quarantine so he can grieve with them. “I still haven’t hugged my mom to console her. I haven’t touched my brother. I haven’t touched my sister,” he told our Wallace Baine.


More from here & elsewhere

➤ The Boardwalk gets back into the drive-in theater business this weekend, starting with a couple family friendly classics in Spaceballs and Remember The Titans
CDC will require travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before flying into U.S. from abroad (Forbes)
Children apologize to their dying elders for spreading COVID-19 as L.A. County reels (LA Times)
Some California teachers and staff to receive Covid-19 vaccines beginning this week (EdSource)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: Has the new variant been detected in SC County? — Lisa Jensen

A: It has not. B.1.1.7., as the more contagious variant of COVID-19 that originated in the UK is known, has now been found in 49 countries though. And our content partner the LA Times reported Monday that the variant has now been detected in nine states and “that scientists expect that number to rise in short order.” California currently has more confirmed cases (32) than any other state, according to the CDC. Florida is next, with 22. It was first discovered in San Diego on Dec. 30, the second known case in the U.S. No cases have yet been reported north of Big Bear.

Read our Q&A and drop us a question of your own here.

Covid 2021: The Experts Answer Your Questions

What: A free community conversation about COVID-19
When: Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.
Where: Lookout will offer simultaneous Spanish interpretation, through a separate Zoom audio channel. Register here.

See you tomorrow and do not forget to sign up for this awesome event above.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor

Follow Mark Conley on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Mark joins Lookout after 14 years at the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group, where he served as Deputy Sports Editor on a staff that covered three...