If you travel by car, wear your seat belt. If you are rewiring a house, turn off the power. If you’re going to time travel, you need 1.21 gigawatts at 88 mph. It’s basic common sense. So if you’re going to be hanging out indoors among large crowds these days, wear a mask.
This post originally appeared in KUOW’s Today So Far newsletter on August 5, 2022.
I attended a big pop culture convention a couple of months ago. Omicron was driving cases up at the time. The event was pretty open, but I kept my mask on most of the time, even when I was interviewing someone up close (for something unrelated to KUOW). After the event, that person informed me that he got sick with Covid. So I lay down and tried. I never came out positive. The only thing I can say about that weekend was that I stayed in open areas as much as I could and wore an N-95 mask.
Now, that story is completely anecdotal, but I’m keeping the main point. If you go by car, you wear your seat belt. If you are rewiring your house, turn off the power. If you’re going to time travel, you need 1.21 gigawatts at 88 mph. It’s basic common sense. So if you’re going to be indoors in large crowds these days, as that pandemic-worthy virus continues to spread, wear a mask.
Why do I mention all that? Some reasons. We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Crowds will show up at the Seattle Seafair. Britcon is bringing celebrities and “Doctor Who” fans to Bellevue. And Renton City Retro is set to fill downtown Renton with players and families. Everything is going to be a good time.
Covid cases in King County continue to trend down from the peaks in May. In fact, we are hovering above that metric of 200 cases per 100,000 residents that officials have always sought. Our region continues to shrink gradually. Seattle is now waiving its hazard pay requirement for grocery store workers. That payment was intended to offset the risks they posed to workers, although the Council itself continues to meet remotely. He also voted to make a pandemic measure permanent: a cap on food delivery fees.
However, all this does not mean that you let your guard down. Emerald City Comic Con just announced that it will require face masks at its event later this month. Rose City Comic Con in Portland is also requiring masks for its event in September. And before people laugh too much at such comical and nerdy events, these conventions draw more people than Seafair or a Seahawks game.
Much of what I mentioned above comes with the premise of protecting yourself. But here’s the thing: It’s not all about you. I know reality is hard for some people to hear.
There are people around you who need you to be careful: in the supermarket, on the bus, on the street. People like a friend of mine who has a compromised immune system after a heart transplant and still mostly stays home while attending pop culture conventions and seeing “Thor” in a theater. Another friend of mine, who also attends pop culture conventions as an artist, has battled cancer for the past two years. I saw him ignore the taunts when attendees refused to look at his art because he asked customers to use hand sanitizer at his booth.
And there are people like Keith Porter-Davis II who passed away in March, shortly before his 35th birthday. Keith needed a heart transplant in 2020. He got one. But that meant his immune system took a hit. His family felt they were safe when 2022 rolled around. But then Keith caught Covid.
“If Keith hadn’t gotten COVID, he would probably still be here today,” Keith’s mother, Charlotte Baker, told KUOW. “I just want people to really think about that for a moment, to get out of the equation and think about others.”
You don’t know each person’s story, or what they’re dealing with. You don’t know if someone is battling health complications and still needs to pick up milk at the store. You don’t know if a provider is recovering from cancer and needs to take extra precautions. You just don’t know.
Here are some other stories that KUOW is reporting:
AS SEEN ON KUOW
Larry Mizell Jr, Editorial Director of KEXP and DJ for the afternoon show with Larry Mizell Jr. This year marks the 50th anniversary of KEXP, and they are now one of the most influential listener-backed music stations in the world. (Courtesy of KEXP)
DID YOU KNOW?
Seafair is on this weekend, complete with the Blue Angels in the air, booming log boaters on the water, and beach parties and classic cars on land. The Seattle Summerfest as we know it began in the 1950s. But the festival’s roots go back to something called the “Golden Potlatch.”
The first Golden Potlach was in 1911 and derived its theme from the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s, as well as the concept of a potlatch, which means party, gift-giving event, or ceremony in Chinook parlance. They were held infrequently over the years until 1941, when World War II interrupted the tradition. Seafair took over after that. The first Golden Potlatch would seem somewhat familiar to modern audiences. There was car racing on Queen Anne Hill; a Navy fleet off the coast; an airplane show, which would have been quite impressive since the Wright brothers first flew just eight years earlier; and even seaplane races.
ALSO IN OUR MINDS
Republican governors sent buses of immigrants to DC, with no plan for what would come next
For months now, the governors of Texas and Arizona have been sending charter buses full of immigrants and refugees to Union Station in Washington, DC, just blocks from the Capitol building. When they disembark, they find neither the local nor the federal government there to receive them.