After nearly two years beating the delta variant and outperforming the omicron – thousands of attendees and 6,500 participants in the 133rd Rose Parade have their noses and mouths covered against the coronavirus.
All along the 5.5-mile parade route – which saw the lightest crowds in 25 years, according to Larry Sharfstein, the committee member that built the Tournament of Roses float – attendees also repeated a similar chorus. They were happy to see each other again at a well-respected event. Some admitted to being nervous about having to go out while the latest spike in the virus was raging. However, most attendees said they knew how to stay safe and that it was all worth the risk.
“You just have to be super aware of where you are,” says Frank Valenzuela from his curbside seat early in the morning on Colorado on Lake Avenue.
Valenzuela, her sister Veronica and her daughter know firsthand about this virus. All three, who all live together in Huntington Park, contracted COVID-19 in December 2020. The matriarch of the family, Cristina Valenzuela, suffered from it. She was hospitalized for five months. During that time, Frank said, she was sedated and intubated.
But despite the long-term effects on the family – Cristina is still unable to walk on her own and suffers from short-term memory loss – Frank said being outdoors, with a sick body and vaccinations and boosters , made him feel comfortable going out. Right where year.
“The scary thing is I know I’m safe with my family,” says Frank. “But if you’re sitting next to a stranger, it’s a different story.”
And for that reason, the Valenzuela family chose not to sit in the stands. But thousands of people did. And in the stands, masks are required (but many people pull their face coverings down to smile for selfies) and so is proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
Some parade attendees broke out of quarantine after missing family Christmas festivities due to breakout coronavirus cases; some simply renew an annual tradition; others have realized a lifelong dream of sitting along the parade route.
Amidst the high spirits, the shadow of COVID remains unmistakable.
Kaiser Permanente officials have chosen to remove 20 front-line medical heroes as floaters and “walkers” from the carrier’s pontoon scheduled for a march down Colorado Avenue on Wednesday Seven. However, no other such changes to the lineup have been announced, since the parade kicked off on Saturday morning.
According to county public health officials, one in five people in Los Angeles County tests positive for the highly contagious omicron variant.
The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals rose to 1,628 today – up from 1,424 on Friday, according to the latest state figures. Among them, 246 patients are in intensive care, a sharp increase from 218 the day before.
These numbers come a day after local health officials ended 2021 by reporting a record daily number of coronavirus infections, with a whopping 27,091 new infections along with 12 deaths. related to this virus.
The daily positivity rate on Friday increased by nearly a point overnight to 22.4%, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Last month, the rate was less than 1%.
The rapid spread of the virus is being blamed on the omicron variant, which experts say is highly contagious from person to person, although there is evidence it is less severe than other viruses. predecessor version. Health officials say omicrons are thought to be responsible for 59 percent of all COVID-19 infections in the United States, far outstripping the previous delta variant, which now accounts for 41 percent.
Rose Parade organizers, who regularly meet with Pasadena Public Health officials in the days leading up to the event, said they are abiding by health orders and have done extensive research. They also vowed to monitor public health developments until the time of the parade.
Leading the day’s operations, David Eads, Tournament of Roses chief executive and chief executive officer, said every conceivable health safety measure had been taken, including vaccination rates. 92% for 6,500 employees and parade participants.
Organizers admit they pose a risk of contracting the virus even to those who have been vaccinated. But, Eads says, it’s important for everyone to act on an individual basis.
“We understand that we are in a period of increased COVID and there may be a spread of COVID,” Eads said before the parade. “But, we are asking people to take personal responsibility.”
Eads says if you’re a person at high risk for anxiety about contracting COVID-19 – echoing the message of Ying-Ying Goh of Pasadena Public Health and LA County’s Directory of Public Health Barbara Ferrer – you should stay home.
For Eads, the return of the parade was long overdue. And, with that comes an unheard of measure when it comes to public health crisis management:
“You need to do what you can to be part of the solution that gets us back to these great events,” Eads said, expressing hope that attendees will do their part. and cooperate with mask wearing rules in the stands.
As the stands along the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove turned red with Ohio State and University of Utah football fans, there were also visitors who were skipping a bucket list entry.
Donna Goodale, from the Denver area, and her family sat, masked, in the stands. They were just there for the parade. And Goodale said, she wasn’t worried at all.
Goodale said of COVID-19: “I am not afraid of it. “Hey, if it’s time for me to die, it’s my time. Only God knows.”
And, for Eads and company, who have been planning the Rose Parade for nearly a year, its return is a major milestone.
When the Tournament of Roses began planning for the 2022 parade in February or March 2021, Eads said, it did so in partnership with USC Keck School of Medicine. The feasibility study considered several scenarios, he said, including holding the parade with the coronavirus still active, but with the application of mitigation measures.
The claims for vaccines, negative tests and cover-ups are all based on those science scenarios, Eads said.
“This is a very big event for these students,” Eads said. “It’s a once in a lifetime for these students and I think they’re doing everything they can to stay safe.”
Since it takes time to report on caravans catching up to an event, it’s too early to say how much of an impact the Rose Parade will have on the positive numbers.
“We’re in a different place than we were a year ago when we had a vaccine,” Eads said, adding that you can’t compare this winter’s outbreak of new cases with the spike. variable last year.
But will the 2022 Rose Parade go down in history as a super-spreading event?
“We knew it wasn’t going to be 100 percent,” Eads said of whether the virus would spread during the parade. “Everybody has to make a decision whether to go to a big event or not.”
However, it is clear that the virus has affected participation.
Michael Hayes, a security guard who has been standing near the same four stores near DeLacey and Colorado since 2002, said a church group that normally puts 60 chairs has gone missing this year. “The impact of COVID has been astounding,” says Hayes.
Angel Diaz has his own solution. He brought his own tent balloons, known as “Under the Weather” shells, to the parade. As he sits around in plastic – intended to keep him warm – he says he and husband Guillermo Diaz are only a little nervous about being at a big event. But, he said, he was happy to be out.
Angel Diaz said: “We have to bring the new year with a positive vibe.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/01/rose-parade-2022-sun-shone-floats-rolled-but-covid-19s-shadow-was-unmistakable/ The sun shines, it rolls, but the shadow of COVID-19 is unmistakable – San Bernardino Sun