A discussion on “COVID, what’s next?” ; Newsom offers gas tax rebate – Coachella Valley Independent’s Indy Digest: March 10, 2022

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• Riverside County’s District 4 COVID-19 Weekly Report shows improving pandemic status at the local level (District 4 = Coachella Valley + areas east) – but also serves as a reminder that the pandemic is not over, even if it is somehow it feels like it is. The good: Hospitalizations, cases and the weekly positivity rate (4.4%) continued to decline in the week ending March 6. The bad: four more of our neighbors died of COVID-19.

• You must continue to wear masks on planes and other modes of public transport until at least April 18. However, the end of the federal mandate could be near. NBC News explains:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework outlining when mask rules can be lifted during this time, the White House official said.. The requirement was due to expire on March 18 after being extended twice before.

• Governor Gavin Newsom raised the idea of ​​some kind of gas tax rebate during his State of the State address on Tuesday. Our partners at CalMatters report, “The only new policy announcement came during an acknowledgment of spiraling gasoline prices, which recently topped an average of $5 per gallon in California. After previously calling in January for a halt to the state’s annual gas tax increase scheduled for July, Newsom pledged to work with legislative leaders on a tax refund plan for drivers. “Now it’s clear we need to go further,” he said, though he rejected calls from the oil industry and some lawmakers to ramp up oil drilling in the state. The governor provided no further details on who would receive financial aid or how much. At a post-event press conference, Dee Dee Myers, the governor’s top economic adviser, said the plan, which is not yet complete, would likely distribute billions of dollars to California residents who registered their cars. with the state..”

• After extreme public pressure, the CEO of Disney has vowed to speak out against Florida’s ugly ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. CNN says:(Bob) Chapek took a tougher stance against the bill on Wednesday, telling shareholders he called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday morning to express “disappointment and concern ” of the company. Chapek said if the legislation becomes law, it “could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender children and families.” “The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and the LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address them,” Chapek said. The Florida Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, sending it to DeSantis.

• This is your twice-a-year reminder that 1) we have a time change this weekend, and 2) time changes are just terrible. A neurologist, writing for The Conversation, says: “In a 2020 commentary for the journal JAMA Neurology, my co-authors and I reviewed the evidence linking the annual transition to daylight saving time to increases in strokes, heart attacks, and sleep deprivation. in adolescents.. Based on a large body of research, my colleagues and I believe that the science establishing these links is sound and that the evidence supports the adoption of permanent standard time nationwide, as I testified to this at a recent congressional hearing.

• Here are some events coming up next weekend that might be worth your time. First, an event at the Plaza Theater in Palm Springs on Saturday, March 19: “Acclaimed television producers David Lee and Peter Casey and famous actors David Hyde Pierce and Peri Gilpin will participate in a special fundraising event called Team Frasier Reunites to Save the Plaza Theater. The cast and creative team of the beloved TV show “Frasier” will take the stage at the historic theater for a fun throwback to the making of the pilot episode of the highly acclaimed and long-running TV series on Saturday, March 19. at 13h. Tickets are $125. After the event, there will be a “Meet the Creators” VIP catered champagne reception from 3-4 p.m. The reception is a separate event with ticket priced at $50. The event is a fundraiser to support the restoration of the Plaza Theatre, which originally opened in 1936 and is currently in need of refurbishment.

• Second, from a press release from the City of Palm Springs, here’s something you can do before the Frasier event: “After a two-year hiatus, come join a celebration of our 50 Palm Springs Neighborhoods and the many wonderful things that make our city unique, when Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) host their 13th annual Picnic and community exhibit on Saturday, March 19 at Ruth Hardy Park. The picnic, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., includes FREE lunch for residents at three popular Palm Springs restaurants, great music, and a myriad of information booths showcasing local businesses, city services , local neighborhood commissions and organizations. This year’s picnic will honor City of Palm Springs employees for their commitment and dedication to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will also include free hot air balloon rides starting at 10 a.m., weather permitting, face painting and children’s activities offered by Palm Springs Parks and Recreation, and an ever-popular dog costume contest. Categories include “cutest”, “most original” and “funniest”. Find all the details here.

• And finally… one day soon, cancer could be detected in humans using… ants? Yes, ants. CNet reports: “A team of scientists has discovered that ants can use their keen sense of smell to detect cancer cells. The team used Formica fusca ants, also known as silky ants, and trained them through a reward system. “After a few minutes of training, these insects, which use the sense of smell for their daily tasks, were able to differentiate healthy human cells from cancerous human cells,” the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) said in a statement on Wednesday. . Science!

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