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Smooth sailing? 

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I was down by Avila Beach the other day, and the sky was so clear I could easily see 30 miles south to Point Sal. I've been told the air on the Nipomo Mesa and along the Oceano dunes has also become markedly clearer thanks to the dunes being closed to off-road vehicles. Apparently, the quarantine is doing wonders for the environment. I mean, "not dolphins in the Venice canals" wonderful, because that turned out to be false, but did you see that photo of LA on social media? Empty freeways, blue skies, and a skyline unencumbered by smog! Wowza!

Meanwhile, it's now forbidden to bring beach chairs and blankets to Avila Beach and lounge around all day because people are dumbasses and aren't practicing social distancing. You're still allowed to walk on the beach for up to an hour before you have to shove off, busters.

Lots of people are marveling at Earth's regenerative powers. I, on the other hand, am smacking myself upside the head at how lame some humans are, like the jerks who wear latex gloves at the ATM and then peel them off and leave them on the ground. Dick move! Those familiar with Gaia Theory—that the Earth functions as a single living superorganism—might be right to assess that humanity, not COVID-19, is the real virus.

Maybe Agent Smith from The Matrix had it right: "I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed, and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague."

Circling back toward Point Sal, which is closer to Lompoc than SLO, the Lompoc U.S. Penitentiary sounds like a rotten place to be right now. The last I heard, 69 inmates and 17 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. In response, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-California), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) sent a letter to "Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal urging further action to prevent the spread of coronavirus within Lompoc U.S. Penitentiary," according to a Carbajal press release.

They're requesting federal assistance in the form of a "50-bed mobile hospital with the appropriate resources, like ventilators and trained staff, in an expedient manner." (69 cases and 50 beds? Hmm.) Maybe FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) can give the prison some of the PPE, ventilators, and other medical equipment they've been accused of seizing from states, who've had to make their own arrangements for materials since Trump's Senior Advisor and son-in-law Joseph Goebbels, er, I mean Jared Kushner, said the federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) isn't set aside to help states: "It's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use."

After Goebbels' ... damn, I mean Kushner's, statement, the government website for the SNS was changed to align with Kushner's claim. It had said exactly the opposite before Kushner's assertion. Every state for itself! Last state standing wins! States that kiss Trump's carbuncular ass might get some help though: "It's a two-way street," tRump told Faux News. "They have to treat us well, also. They can't say, 'Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'"

Sigh. This is what happens when someone with the moral development of a toddler is at the helm.

Perhaps the California Men's Colony (CMC) is next up for an outbreak. On April 10, CMC Public Information Officer Lt. John Hill emailed local media sources to admonish them for claiming COVID-19 had arrived in the prison: "That is not true. As of this moment, the California Men's Colony has not had any inmates test positive for COVID-19."

Then on April 11, Lt. Hill emailed to say, "Today, one inmate housed at the California Men's Colony prison located near San Luis Obispo tested positive for the COVID-19 virus."

(Insert spit take!)

Things are moving fast during this pandemic, but with proper testing and thorough tracing of contact with those infected—neither of which we seem to have—it can be controlled, but it sure as heck isn't controlled yet. According to the World Health Organization, quarantines should continue until 1) transmission is controlled (not yet); 2) health system capacities can detect, test, isolate, and treat every case (Ha ha ha! Not even close!); 3) well, who cares about three, four, five, or six? It will be a miracle if we can get through the first two.

Luckily our local governments are keeping us safe, at least, I hope. Apparently SLO-Span, the TV station that records SLO County government meetings, isn't functioning. Due to the quarantine, reporters aren't allowed to physically attend meetings, and now there's no recording of the meetings. Hey, I'm sure everything's fine. Absolutely fine. Sigh. Δ

The Shredder is very disappointed in litterbugs. Send comments and suggestions to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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