The Wider World

Off with the masks … for some

A STATEWIDE mandate requiring the wearing of face coverings will no longer be in place for those vaccinated against the coronavirus (Pexels/Cottonbor).

Californians will get a Valentine’s gift from Sacramento two days late.

As of Feb. 16, vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear a face covering in most indoor public settings. The California Department of Public Health made that announcement today (Monday).

Those who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will still be required to “mask up.”

Masks will still be required for all on public transit (airplanes, buses, etc,), indoors in schools and childcare facilities, jails and prisons, health care settings, homeless shelters and “long-term care” settings such as adult and senior care facilities.

“The current hospital census is still over capacity,” reads a statement from the CDPH, “but the dramatic surge in cases and hospitalizations due to the highly infectious Omicron variant over the last two months has declined significantly.”

All persons – even those who have been vaccinated – are urged to wear masks in areas “where the risk may be high.”

Invasion could cut gas pipeline

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would be met by a closure of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, President Joe Biden announced on Monday.

TENSIONS between the U.S. and Russia remain over the Ukraine crisis (Shutterstock).

The pipeline has been completed but is not yet in operation. According to the Associated Press, blocking the  pipeline’s use would impact Germany, but also be an economic blow to Russia, which is counting on the sales of natural gas to Western Europe to support its economy.

“If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream,” said Biden. “We will bring an end to it.”

Russia has over 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his nation does not intend to invade its neighbor.

Sports: A cool winter for U.S. Olympians

So far in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, American athletes are not exactly burning up the slopes, or the ice. In the medal count, Team USA has three silver medals, placing 14th. The leader is Sweden with three golds, followed in second by “ROC” (Russian Olympic Committee”) with seven medals including two golds, three bronzes and two silvers. The Netherland is in third, with host China in fourth and Germany in fifth.

Because of a doping scandal, Russia is not allowed to compete as a national team under its flag. However, athletes from Russia not banned for the use of performance-enhancing drugs may still participate.

Weather: It’s an early spring

It might be time to pull your shorts and T-shirts out of your closet. The forecast for the West Orange County area this week and into the weekend calls for sunny skies (generally) and daytime highs in the 80s.

Tuesday is expected to be 82 (56 overnight) with mostly sunny conditions. Wednesday will climb to 87 with lots of sun; Thursday should be 86 and Friday 85.

Business/Finance: Amazon raising salary cap

In an effort to attract and retain key employees in a tight lair market, Amazon will be more than doubling its salary cap from $160,000 to $350,000, according to USA Today.

According to an internal memo, the increase – which applies to corporate employees in the U.S. – is order to “remain competitive” due to “increasing overall compensation ranges for most jobs globally.”


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