COVID-19 by the numbers
Over the weekend, New Mexico health officials announced 203 new positive results for COVID-19, although cases for Sunday are partial due to a "technical delay." Hard-hit McKinley County had a total of 69 new cases over the weekend, followed by San Juan County with 42 new cases. Santa Fe County also had a small uptick in cases, with three new ones on Saturday and two Sunday. The statewide total thus far is now 7,689.
As of today, 182 people are hospitalized and the health department has designated 2,853 cases as recovered.
The state also reported 12 more deaths, seven on Saturday and five on Sunday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 356. Those deaths were equally split between McKinley and San Juan counties.
Black Lives Matter
Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil at the state capitol building in Santa Fe last night to remember George Floyd, the black man killed by police in in Minneapolis on May 25, the second of two public actions here over the weekend. The death has sparked protests, some turning violent, across the country. Two 20-year-old Santa Feans, Dominc Vinge and Alyssa Romero, spearheaded Sunday's event, which featured speakers responding to the question, "What does justice mean to you?"
For Christin Tolentino, justice looks like bringing her daughter, Lillian, to the vigil to "raise a new generation that's very different from older generations." Tolentino says, "I think it's important to start teaching children as young as possible to stand up for justice. We were raised with very different belief systems which we're having to undo." People also gathered on Santa Fe streets Friday to protest police violence; there was a strong police presence at Friday's protest, but no altercations between police and protestors.
Conflict at Albuquerque protests
Protests in other cities across the country turned violent last night, including in Albuquerque. Fires were set in the middle of Central and 3rd Street, windows of businesses were smashed and the Albuquerque Journal reports shots were fired at police on the scene. Riot police on Third and Central reportedly threw as many as six canisters of teargas at a group of protestors. A BLM vigil held near UNM earlier in the day was peaceful. Protests in Albuquerque starting Thursday involved several confrontations between police and protesters. According to KUNM, the Albuquerque Police Department deployed their riot teams with military-grade equipment near the end of the protest, and took into custody three teenagers of color after gunshots were fired nearby. They were not charged and were later released.
Some businesses open up today
A new state health order goes into effect today, allowing restaurants, gyms, salons and other businesses to resume under limited capacity. In Santa Fe, some business owners were preparing to reopen, while others are still waiting. Massage therapists, although allowed to resume, tell SFR they are concerned about operating safely, and say they haven't received cohesive guidance. "We just have no idea where we fit in," licensed massage therapist Akasha Larson says. "My concern and anxiety, even though I'm self-employed and can make my own decisions, is that all these people are going to have to go to work again, and…they definitely do not take into account the amount of human contact we have, the duration of a treatment and the confined spaces we work in."
Episode 69 of "Your New Mexico Government" examines how the pandemic has impacted people's faith in government. Guests include SFR writers Katherine Lewin on uneven distribution of federal small business PPP loans and Julia Goldberg on shifting attitudes toward government; New Mexico in Focus host Gene Grant examines voter faith in the political system; Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver talks about the links between the digital divide, voting and COVID-19; Las Cruces Sun News reporter Algernon D'Ammassa talks about voting in the southern part of the state; and National expert Tim Wise dives into the importance of general elections for change, and how white supremacist nostalgia fuels authoritarian politics in the US. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, KNME and New Mexico PBS.
Chokeholds and oppression
"Again, police officers have again hurt, killed and humiliated black people and people of color, by use of a chokehold. All of us, even our children saw this live on our TVs. How can this be? Our children must be asking. All we can say in this moment and time is that this; apparently this is what they have been paid to do." So write Santa Fe Public School Board Vice President Lorraine Price and Rev. Dr. Wanda Ross Padilla, holistic life coach and former president of the Santa Fe Branch of the NAACP, in an op-ed published by SFR this weekend that examines police use of the chokehold to oppress African Americans.
Don’t mail your ballot
Don't forget: Tomorrow is New Mexico's primary election. If you requested an absentee ballot but haven't mailed it back yet, do not do so. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver warned voters last week that ballots must be received prior to polls closing at 7 pm tomorrow night. As such, bring your absentee ballot to any of tomorrow's voting convenience center. Voters who requested ballots by mail but never received them can also sign an affidavit and receive a ballot at these centers. Local contests on the ballot mostly concentrate on Democrats vying for the 3rd Congressional District, the district attorney, a County Commission district and a few seats in the state Legislature. Read all SFR's election reporting here.
Some like it hot
Today's forecast calls for partly sunny skies with a high near 83 degrees, along with east wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. We've got a 30% chance of precipitation tonight, with scattered showers and thunderstorms before midnight, and a slight chance of them again tomorrow.
Thanks for reading! Even if it's online this year, the Word never misses Zozobra.