A year ago, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic: At the risk of stating the obvious, it's felt much longer than one year. NPR has a great recount of events that happened on March 11, 2020: Joe Biden was on his way to winning the Democratic nomination, Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that everything was "going to get worse," Trump banned travel from Europe, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID, the Jazz-Thunder NBA game was halted before tip-off. Those moments feel like a lifetime ago.
During an interview with NBC's Today show this morning: Fauci said he would have been "shocked" to hear the U.S. COVID death toll reached over 500,000. Axios notes that on March 31, 2020, the White House projected that the virus could kill 100,000-240,000 with strict social distancing guidelines, a number that didn't figure in the politicization of the virus. That said, Fauci reiterated that there's a "light at the end of the tunnel."
President Biden is set to deliver his first prime time address tonight to mark the pandemiversary, commemorating American sacrifices and looking ahead to a post-COVID future. He's also poised to sign that big ole stimulus bill tomorrow, and he will embark on a nationwide tour to "tout the first major legislative accomplishment of his administration." His 20-minute speech will start at 5 p.m PST.
First-time unemployment claims fall to 712,000: The report reflects a country where businesses are slowly beginning to reopen (and fucking Texas, Mississippi, and Iowa lifting their mask and limited capacity mandates), with claims expected to continue to fall. NBC News notes that 70% of jobs added in February were in the leisure and hospitality sector.
King County judge approves release of records that would identify the six SPD officers present at the Trump rally just before the Capitol siege: “They traveled to Washington, D.C., and participated in a very public and publicized event,” Superior Court Judge Sandra Widlan said in an oral ruling yesterday. “The officers’ actions in this case were public, they are part of a public event.” According to the Seattle Times, Widlan did, however, agree to extend a temporary restraining order preventing the disclosure for seven more days while the officers seek an appeal. Widlan also broaden the temporary restraining order against the records, applying it to "any other request for records containing information that would disclose their identities."
A bit of Washington phase-changing gossip: Governor Inslee made a trip to the Tri-Cities on Tuesday and dropped some vague hints that we might move to a different phase sooner than we think. More from KEPR:
Action News learned in a conference call last night that a Yakima Health District Officer expects an announcement to be made later this week.
Ryan Ibach with YHD says "There are talks now of a phase three hopefully by weeks end, or next week. There's a lot of talk about a lot of different metrics, but most likely one of them will be vaccinations."
Inslee confirmed to us that Washington residents can expect changes to metrics being used to reopen businesses.
OK, this is kind of fucked up: Netflix just dropped a trailer for their new documentary called The Last Blockbuster, profiling the last ever Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon. Talk about dancing on your enemy's grave! The documentary drops on the streaming behemoth's website on March 15. There may be only one Blockbuster left in the country, but Seattle is blessed enough to have not one, but two video stores remaining in the city. Go support them to make sure they can stay here.
Mexico leaps toward legalizing cannabis: After being approved in the country's lower house, a bill legalizing recreational weed is now heading to the Senate where the ruling party is confident it'll pass, reports the BBC. If approved, Mexico would become the one of the largest regulated markets for the little green plant, allowing its residents to carry up to 28g of weed and grow up to eight plants for personal use. Fingers crossed!
Biden is planning to order 100 million more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: Though the order won't come in time for spring, it will bring the U.S.'s dose total to 800 million. This most recent purchase is "aimed at preparing for a range of longer-term scenarios, including the need to give people second 'booster' shots to guard against emerging Covid variants."
Everything you love is now online: Even the cherry blossoms. For the second year in a row, thanks to COVID, you can now witness spring doing what it does to UW's cherry trees virtually, with viewers given the option of watching the blooms via live cam, virtual tour, or by following along on Twitter.
One thing buried in that KING 5 cherry blossom article: The Seattle Department of Transportation keeps an interactive map of all the city's trees. Under the "Explore Street Trees" tab, you can sort trees by type (cherry/plum, maple, apple, oak, ash, dogwood, and more) and chart out a little tree walk for yourself. I love spring!
And now for the weather:
Mostly sunny and dry through Saturday, although morning lows will be a little chilly. Rain returns Sunday with showers on Monday, and temperatures closer to normal. #wawx pic.twitter.com/SpLudsLt6C
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 11, 2021
Third degree murder charge reinstated for former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd: Derek Chauvin will face an additional charge of third-degree murder after an appeals court ordered the judge on the case to reconsider his earlier dismissal of the charge, reports NPR. Chauvin also faces charges of manslaughter and second-degree murder.
Isamu Noguchi's Black Sun sculpture is getting spruced up: The installation was blocked off this week so the city could regrout the stone surfaces of the surrounding plaza, reports Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. Additionally, crews are set to begin construction on Volunteer Park's $3 million amphitheater replacement project next Monday. The new structure will have a new roof, storage and green room space, and a floor that will accomodate dance performances. Officials hope to finish construction by this summer.
This is your random reminder: That clocks spring forward on Sunday. So if you feel extra shitty next week, you have daylight saving time to thank.
For your listening pleasure: This weekend I watched Shakedown, Leilah Weinraub's excellent documentary about a Black lesbian strip club in Los Angeles. You can watch the movie for free here, but a moment in the film that surprised me was the inclusion of Kelela and Inc.'s cover of Xscape's "Softest Place on Earth." It's one of my favorite covers of all time and pairs well with coffee. Listen below: