COVID 2021

COVID PM: We gorged on food talk, but only after another yellow setback, new mask guidance

Happy Tuesday, everyone — we just wrapped up the big ‘Santa Cruz Eats!’ event with renowned local chefs Gema Cruz, Brad Briske and Damani Thomas.

Those guys are fantastic people as well as chefs. Hope you were able to attend — and thanks to them for taking a night off from the kitchen to talk pandemic struggles and silver linings with us.

I already wanted to try Gema’s extra-secret mole recipe, and tonight’s festivities only made that more so. We’ve got more cool events percolating, so stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, there were several big developments on the local COVID-19 front. Let’s get straight to those headlines ...

When will we get to the elusive yellow tier?

Preparation for a football season has begun at Santa Cruz High. Will it possibly be able to happen?
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID TODAY: As L.A. and San Francisco transition to the least restrictive yellow tier, we’re still stuck in orange. That’s because of an increase in infections in Santa Cruz County that is small and “expected.” It is largely due to transmission of COVID-19 among youth sports teams, and some cases in schools, according to deputy health officer Dr. David Ghilarducci. Our Mallory Pickett has the details on that here.

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Masks no longer required in most outdoor situations

Children pay games at the Santa Beach Boardwalk in pre-pandemic times.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

PANDEMIC LIFE: As of Tuesday, masks are no longer required outdoors in Santa Cruz County for vaccinated people, with the exception of “live performances, parades and other close-proximity outdoor gatherings of large crowds,” according to a press release from the county’s health services agency. Mallory has those details here.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked in cities around the U.S., study finds

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PANDEMIC LIFE: The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino examined police data from 16 jurisdictions across the country, finding a 164% increase in reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year. More from our LA Times content partners on that here.

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More from here & elsewhere

Why some vaccinated people won’t go maskless — even outdoors (CNN)
Here’s what is really happening in India’s COVID outbreak (CNN)
If the US doesn’t reach 80% immunity, the nation could see another winter surge of coronavirus, says vaccine expert (CNN)
One Of The World’s Poorest Countries Has One Of The World’s Lowest COVID Death Rates (NPR)
India halts cricket tournament after COVID cases pass 20 million (NBC News)
Can California reach herd immunity before the rest of the country? (SF Gate)
Why Washington state is seeing a 4th COVID-19 wave (ABC News)
Florida officials denounce Gov. Ron DeSantis’ lifting of COVID-19 restrictions (ABC News)

Hope you were able to make the event. If not, we’ll save you a virtual seat at the next one!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor