California Reopens

But explain to school kids what’s different, because they have to wonder. While establishments of all types are open at full capacity, the classroom routine is little changed: Students must continue to wear masks—a requirement that baffles the frak out of me. Is it possible reason that most of them have not been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19? For adults, the mask-mandate is only lifted for those people who have had the shot(s). Children are extremely unlikely to be infected, manifest the disease, become seriously sick, or die. So why muzzle them?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 0-4 account for 2.1 percent of U.S. COVID cases; 10.4 percent for 5-17 year-olds. Deaths: Zero percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Citizens ages 18-49 account for 4.7 percent of total deaths, so teachers are probably pretty safe—especially if vaccinated. So, again, I ask: Why muzzle the kids? This morning, my wife and I passed by Birney Elementary as students arrived; they all wore masks, and parents, too!

I really felt sorry for the youngsters—and angry for their being punished so severely. Already, they suffered enough from forced isolation and remote-learning during most of 2020 and the first few months of this year. Meanwhile, vaccinated adults emerge to freedom. They can uncover their faces, no longer social distance, and even (gasp) touch one another (someone should sell a line of “Free Hugs—I’m vaccinated T-Shirts”).

How does any of this discussion relate to the Featured Image? I’m glad you asked. The Wells Fargo branch in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood closed when Governor Gavin Newsom shut down California in mid-March 2020. Annie and I passed by the arriving school kids on our way to the plaza where is the bank. Today, the financial institution finally reopened—doors flung wide like open arms ready to hug customers. We had no business there, I only stopped for the photo taken with Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 160, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 9:02 a.m. PDT.

Someone explain to me: We were all supposed to stop everything for 15 days to “flatten the curve“. So why were we imprisoned for 15 months? Because based on CDC data, people over 65 were highest risk—accounting for 80.1 percent of U.S. COVID-19 deaths but making up only 16.5 percent of the population. By comparison, 64.5 percent are age 49 and younger and considerably lower risk of dying.

But that’s a pointless topic for now; future forensic analysis of the pandemic will (hopefully) reveal what were and weren’t effective combative tactics and offer meaningful recommendations for responding to the next outbreak. For the moment, California is open and citizens can feel safe(r).