Quick Take:

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Hey, everybody — happy Tuesday night.

Our Wednesday event is dead ahead and my awesome colleague Tulsi Kamath has been squeezing in some quality prep time with each of our speakers (including a late final addition that gives us a fifth). In short: Do not miss this timely and important event!

One year later, have we gotten anywhere?

One year later flyer
Credit: Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz

Lookout, in conjunction with UCSC’s Humanities Institute, invited some key community voices to speak about how far they believe we’ve come, both as a community here in Santa Cruz County and as a nation over the past year.

WHEN: Wednesday, 6 p.m., via Zoom
WHO: UC Santa Cruz professor of African history Dr. David H. Anthony III, founding director of the Black Health Matters Initiative Cat Willis, Watsonville native and playwright Spike Wong, local economic equity activist Maria Cardenas and Regeneracion’s Natalie Olivas.

And now to the COVID-19/vaccine news of the day…

On the local COVID, vaccine fronts

A map from the California Department of Public Health showing counties by Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier designation.
Credit: California Department of Public Health

Santa Cruz County remains among state’s best in COVID-19 case numbers: Numbers released Tuesday put Santa Cruz County as among the 10 best counties in California in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. California’s weekly Blueprint for a Safer Economy data measuring each county’s progress showed continuing low figures locally: Over a seven-day average, only 0.5% of COVID-19 tests have had positive results, and only 1.3 cases have been confirmed per 100,000 people (adjusted for the amount of testing). Santa Cruz County is among the state’s top 10 in both of those metrics. More from our Mallory Pickett here.

Santa Cruz among dozen counties reporting problems with OptumServe vaccine clinics, documents show: California authorized paying OptumServe up to $221 million. But the company — which runs a vaccination site in Watsonville — has helped with only 1% of the state’s vaccinations since January. More from CalMatters here.

On the economic recovery front

Brion Sprinsock has led food and architecture tours in downtown Santa Cruz and Capitola Village since 2010.
Brion Sprinsock has led food and architecture tours in downtown Santa Cruz and Capitola Village since 2010 and says a number of his usual tasting spots closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Courtesy Brion Sprinsock

‘A great time for people to take a risk’: Tour guide sees hope for Santa Cruz food scene kneecapped by COVID: The pandemic sank many of the restaurants on Brion Sprinsock’s local food and architecture tours, and he won’t be resuming them until 2022. But like after the Great Recession, he sees opportunities for those willing and able to seize them. More from our Wallace Baine here.

It’s your last chance at a PPP loan. Here’s how to apply: Time is running out for small-business owners looking to get a government Paycheck Protection Program loan. Applications for the final round of PPP loans will be accepted only until Monday or until the remaining funds are drained, whichever is sooner. Most of the money is already gone. More from the LA Times on that here.

More from here & elsewhere

Why scientists are suddenly more interested in the lab-leak theory of Covid’s origin (CNN)
Young Americans are lagging with Covid-19 vaccines. These threats have experts pushing them to get shots (CNN)
Social media heavyweights wooed for Pfizer smear campaign (ABC News)
Schools try pep-rally tactics to get students vaccinated (ABC News)
Half Of All U.S. Adults Are Now Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 (NPR)
CDC looking into possible link between heart problem and Covid vaccines in young people (NBC News)
Disneyland is now a ‘mega event.’ Here’s what that means. (SF Gate)
Puerto Rico lifts curfew, opens up to vaccinated visitors (USA Today)

Sign up for that event and see you tomorrow!

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...