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It's not just about you: Today So Far

If you're riding in a car, wear a seatbelt. If you're rewiring a house, turn the power off. If you're going to travel through time, you need 1.21 gigawatts at 88 mph. It's basic common sense. So if you're going to be hanging indoors among large crowds these days, wear a mask.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for August 5, 2022.

I attended a large pop culture convention a couple months back. Omicron was driving cases higher at the time. The event was pretty wide open, but I kept my mask on most of the time, including when I was interviewing someone in close quarters (for a non-KUOW related thing). After the event, that person informed me that they came down with Covid. So I lay low and I tested. I never came up positive. The only thing that I can say about that weekend was I stuck around open areas as much as possible and I wore an N-95 mask.

Now, that tale is entirely anecdotal, but I stand by the main point. If you're riding in a car, you wear a seatbelt. If you're rewiring your house, you turn the power off. If you're going to travel through time, you need 1.21 gigawatts at 88 mph. It's basic common sense. So if you're going to be hanging indoors among large crowds these days, as that pandemic-worthy virus continues to spread, you wear a mask.

Why do I bring all that up? A few reasons. We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Crowds will be showing up for Seattle's Seafair. Britcon is bringing "Doctor Who" celebrities and fans to Bellevue. And Renton City Retro is slated to fill downtown Renton with gamers and families. It's all going to be a good time.

Covid cases in King County continue to trend downward from spikes in May. In fact, we're just hovering over that 200-cases-per-100,000-residents metric that officials have always aimed for. Our region continues to phase down. Seattle is now nixing its hazard pay requirement for grocery store workers. That pay was aimed to make up for the risks posed to workers, though the Council itself continues to have meetings remotely. It also voted to make one pandemic measure permanent — a cap on food delivery fees.

This all doesn't mean drop your guard, however. Emerald City Comic Con just announced that it will be requiring 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 folks snicker too much about such comical, nerdy events — these conventions draw in more people than Seafair or a Seahawks game.

Much of what I referenced above comes with a premise of protecting yourself. But here is the thing — not everything is about you. I know that reality is tough to hear for some folks.

There are those around you who need you to be careful — at the grocery store, on the bus, on the street. People like a friend of mine who has a compromised immune system after having a heart transplant and still remains largely at home while I attend pop culture conventions and watch "Thor" in a theater. Another friend of mine, who also attends pop culture conventions as an artist, fought off cancer over the past couple years. I watched him shrug off sneers as attendees refused to look at his art because he requested customers 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 it meant his immune system took a hit. His family felt they were in the clear when 2022 arrived. But then Keith caught Covid.

“If Keith had not have caught Covid he probably would still be here today,” Keith's mother Charlotte Baker told KUOW. “I just want people to really think about that for a moment, to take themselves out of the equation, and to think about others.”

You don't know every person's story, or what they are dealing with. You don't know if someone is battling with health complications and still needs to pick up milk at the store. You don't know if a vendor is recovering from cancer and needs to take extra precautions. You just don't know.

Here are a few other stories KUOW is reporting:

AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: Larry Mizell Jr, KEXP’s director of editorial and DJ for the afternoon show with Larry Mizell Jr.
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Larry Mizell Jr, KEXP’s director of editorial and DJ for the afternoon show with Larry Mizell Jr.
Credit: Courtesy of KEXP

Larry Mizell Jr, KEXP’s director of editorial and DJ for the afternoon show with Larry Mizell Jr. This year marks KEXP's 50th anniversary, and they’re now one of the most influential listener-supported music stations in the world. (Courtesy of KEXP)

DID YOU KNOW?

Seafair is this weekend, complete with the Blue Angels in the air, boaters at the log boom in the water, and beach parties and classic cars on land. Seattle's summer festival, as we know it, began in the 1950s. But the roots of the festival go back further to something called "Golden Potlatch."

The first Golden Potlach was in 1911 and derived its theme from the late 1800s Klondike gold rush, as well as the concept of a potlatch, meaning a feast, gift-giving event, or ceremony in Chinook jargon. They were held infrequently over the years through 1941 when WWII disrupted the tradition. Seafair took over after that. The first Golden Potlatch would look somewhat familiar to modern audiences. There were car races up Queen Anne Hill; a Navy fleet on the shore; an airplane show, which would have been pretty impressive since the Wright brothers first flew just eight years earlier; and even hydroplane races.

ALSO ON OUR MINDS

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For months now, the governors of Texas and Arizona have been sending charter buses full of migrants and refugees to Washington, D.C.'s Union Station, just a few blocks from the Capitol building. When they disembark, they find neither the local nor federal government there to meet them.

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