COVID-19 by the numbers
As of today, 135 people are hospitalized, 41 on ventilators. The health department has designated 5,047 COVID-19 cases as recovered.
The state also reported five new deaths; New Mexico has now had 485 total fatalities. If you'd like to see the difference wearing masks makes could make when it comes to deaths in New Mexico, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has that very projection. If you don't want to look at that right now, the short answer is: A BIG DIFFERENCE.
Gov: Next phase of re-opening on pause
New Mexicans need to remain vigilant because the rising COVID-19 cases statewide indicate people are growing lax. That was the general message delivered yesterday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials, who say plans to move to the next phase of reopening July 1 have been paused, and plans to open schools in August will be thwarted if residents don't continue adhering to social distancing and mask requirements intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"Our goal should be to reduce cases," Lujan Grisham said as she introduced today's new case numbers. "What happens when we reduce cases? Fewer deaths, fewer hospitalizations and we are managing the virus. So, we are clearly not there and, while that's not enough data to tell you what's going to happen over the next several days or what the trends are looking like, this is not what I think is the best news. We think a lot of that are the personal mitigating behaviors are not being met."
India Palace aims to start repairs this weekend
Fundraising efforts for India Palace following a racist attack raised more than $120,000, which will allow the restaurant to complete repairs in about a week and then begin offering take-out and delivery afterward. While owner Baljit Singh and his family did not set up the GoFundMe initiatives for the restaurant, they expressed appreciation for the support here and across the country. Lawmakers gathered yesterday in a show of solidarity at the restaurant, which sustained massive damage in a vandalization attack police have categorized as a hate crime. Attorney General Hector Balderas is asking again for the Legislature to revise anti-domestic terrorism and hate crime statutes; he also wants a special unit in his office to prosecute them. Santa Fe Police says the attack was caught in part on video, which will be released publicly to try to help catch the culprit(s).
Meanwhile, at the Plaza obelisk…
Santa Fe Police suspect the same culprits who attacked India Palace also defaced the controversial Plaza obelisk with graffiti last Sunday. They are seeking information and Crime Stoppers has offered $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involved in the vandalism of each location. Tips can be submitted at santafecrimestoppers.org or by calling 505-955-5050. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers or Detective Ryan Romero at 505-955-5344. In the meantime, the city has covered the obelisk's base with a white plywood cube designed to protect the monument from vandalism and to serve as the backdrop for a public art installation aimed at fostering "healing and dialog." Community members and artists will paint city-sanctioned images and messages on the box on Wednesday, Santa Fe Parks and Recreation Director John Muñoz tells SFR.
"We want people to contact [the city] to share their ideas about hope, reconciliation and healing that will go up on the canvass around the obelisk," says Muñoz, who was at the Plaza pasting poems written by locals about the city onto the face of the box Thursday afternoon. "We've spent so many years hurting each other, now is the time to come together and respect each other and this is one way," he adds. People who are interested in participating in this public expression of hope and healing can reach out to the Arts and Culture Department at: ArtsCommission@santafenm.
Up, up and away
Life on earth getting you down? Take heart: Virgin Galactic completed its second SpaceShipTwo test flight from Spaceport America yesterday. According to a news release from the company, the glide flight, flown at higher speeds, "allowed the team to continue to evaluate systems and vehicle performance in advance of future rocket-powered space flights" from the company's new operating base in New Mexico. After reviewing the data from yesterday's trip, the team will start preparing for the next stage of its flight test program: powered spaceflights from Spaceport America. "Our focus for this year remains unchanged on ensuring the vehicles and our operations are prepared for long-term, regular commercial spaceflight service," Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in a statement.
Episode 81 of "Your New Mexico Government" revisits some of the show's impactful stories for updates. Guests include: Dave Mayberry from Marpac Medical, discussing his company's efforts to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to UNM Hospital and others that suffered a shortage earlier this year; and KUNM reporter Yasmin Khan updates the story on UNM hospital staff and the cleaning crew who lacked PPE earlier in the crisis. Other guests include: former APD Deputy Chief and SWAT Team commander Deborah Kuidis, who criticized the police department in an op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal; and New Mexico Restaurant Association CEO Carol Wight, who explains how restaurants are fighting to survive. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, KUNM and New Mexico PBS.
Cherry on top
Yes, it's cherry season and, yes, the Word's cousin newsletter The Fork is all about cherries this week. Where to get them. What to do with them. Where they came from. How many there are. How maraschino cherries came to be. And oh so much more cherry information. But lest we face accusations of cherry picking (sorry), this week's food roundup includes more than just fruit. It's also got the deets on the Farmers Market Del Sur, which kicks off on June 30; shout-outs for Posa's and Bumblebee's Baja Grill; and some clutch additions to the running list of Black-owned local restaurants you should go eat at/order from immediately (the Word recently picked up take-out from Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, a long-time fave). The Fork also will treat you to a strange 90s commercial because…we don't know why, plus a whole slew of other (mostly food-related) info.
Eat your feelings
Speaking of food, seeing as how most of us aren't leaving New Mexico anytime soon, we might as well eat like we're somewhere else every now and then. Make no mistake: We love New Mexican food to the point of chile-induced hysteria. But Santa Fe has something to offer from most of the continents and this week's food column dishes them up. Africa, you say? Covered. Europe? Obviously. Asia? Indeed (although we could always use more). Central and South America, check. Now, if we missed any Antartica-style eateries, let us know.
It’s a draw
As Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reminded everyone yesterday, New Mexicans are still under stay-at-home orders. Which means, by our reckoning, some of you might need a project. Here you go: Get to drawing for SFR's annual Illustrator's Cup competition. Categories include portrait/caricature; political cartoon; or wild art. The fast-approaching deadline is 11:59 pm this Tuesday, June 30. We prefer digital submissions: Entry format can be JPG or PDF at 300 DPI. No sculptures, please. The winning work will be published in both a print edition and online on July 8. A grand prize winner in each category receives a $50 American Express Gift Card. Second and third place winners get gift cards worth $25 and $10 from Second Street Brewery. Enter here.
The heat is on
Forecasts call for a partly sunny day today with a high near 89 degrees and east wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the morning. You know: like yesterday. As for tomorrow, and the day after that: The weekend will be about the same: sunny, highs in the high 80s and a little windy.
Thanks for reading! The Word sends out birthday greetings to a certain lead singer who, in lieu of being able to perform to a crowd, has become his own band.