Two Years Gone

I can't say I want to celebrate COVID’s second anniversary here in Pima County, but I am glad to see the number of cases once again in decline. It’s been a long two years and the damn bug has done a lot of damage to our community.

As my cover story in this week’s issue reveals, the Omicron wave is receding. Case numbers and hospitalizations are down, mask mandates are being lifted and—while COVID continues to spread in our community—the risk of catching COVID is lower, especially if you’re vaccinated.

If you aren’t vaccinated, you’re way more likely to end up in the hospital or the morgue after catching COVID, so I’d urge you get a shot or get a booster, but I’m well aware that plea will fall on deaf ears in certain circles. Regardless of whether you think it’s a hoax, I round up the state of COVID in this week’s cover story.

Happily, many of our spring events are back on the agenda, including this weekend’s Tucson Festival of Books. This is a huge labor of love for our rivals over at the Arizona Daily Star and the other planners of the festival, so huge thanks to the many volunteers who make it possible. I’ll be moderating with Col. Alexander Vindman, Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Phil Rucker, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston and Max Cha in, who recently published a biography of tech lord Peter Theil. The panel “Will We Ever Be the Same?” is from 2:30 to 3:30 on Sunday, March 13, at the Gallagher Theater. You can also watch it on C-SPAN if you don’t want to fight for a seat.

So what else in the book this week? Columnist Tom Danehy reflects on two years of COVID; UA School of Journalism Don Bolles Fellow Gloria Gomez looks at a bill that would allow charter schools to take over struggling traditional public schools; calendar editor Emily Dieckman previews a remixed version of Hamlet; arts writer Margaret Regan lets you know how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year; XOXO columnist Xavier Omar Otero keeps track of this week’s live music opportunities; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott fills you in on the latest at the Legislature; and there’s plenty more tor explore, so turn the page and get to it.

Oh, and screw you, COVID.
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