Headlines May 14, 2021
AS COVID-19 Number Improve in the State, Masks Now Unnecessary for Vaccinated
Colorado’s COVID situation continues to improve with declines in both cases and hospitalizations. Death rates have been steadily falling with the growth in the population of fully vaccinated individuals.
“The rates continue to be highest among middle and high school students but across all age groups we are seeing clear signs of improvement in our case trends right now,” says state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. According to Herlihy Colorado may reach herd immunity sometime over the summer.
“Some work that our modelling team has done has suggested that sometime this summer we could potentially reach one of those lower level thresholds – that 70% range – if we continue to see high vaccination uptake.”
A key to reaching herd immunity is the vaccination of a critical mass of the population. This week both the Food and Drug Administration and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention granted emergency authorization for the use of the Pfizer vaccine in 12 to 15-year-olds.
The CDC has issued new guidance that allows for fully vaccinated individuals to gather in small groups indoors without masks. But state officials seem to want to err on the side of caution for the time being, noting that fully vaccinated means two weeks out from the final dose. An estimated 47 percent of eligible Coloradans are now fully vaccinated.
Lawsuit Filed Over Congressman’s Response to COVID
A federal lawsuit has been filed claiming a Colorado congressman did not implement proper protections again the coronavirus. The lawsuit was filed by Brandon Pope, a former staffer of Congressman Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs. Pope says the congressman took “a reckless and dangerous approach” to COVID-19 and fired him for calling for more protection against the virus. Lamborn’s office denies the charges.
Law Enforcement Takes New Approach to Discourage Street Racing
The Colorado State Patrol has found a unique way to tackle an increase in dangerous street racing during the pandemic after success with traditional methods has been limited. Denver police have tried using the department’s helicopter to deter the racing and have closed lanes in areas often used by racers. The Associated Press reports that the Colorado State Patrol has teamed with Bandimere Speedway to attract street racers off the street and onto the racetrack in the foothills west of Denver. The Colorado State Patrol has been using the “Take it to the Track” event for more than a decade, but its goals have more urgency after two recent high-profile street racing incidents in the area.
New Colorado Arrest in Jan. 6th Capitol Riot
A man who allegedly entered U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office illegally during the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol was arrested Wednesday in Denver by the FBI. Court records show that Hunter Palm was identified to federal investigators by a family member. Palm earlier told investigators he was pushed into the Capitol, but according to the affidavit, surveillance video showed him walking in freely and also showed him shouting, “Stop the Steal!” So far, eight Coloradans have been arrested on charges that they participated in the riot, including Logan Grover of Erie. The riot disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
Unemployment Claims Fall But Drop is Small
Approximately 4,400 new people filed for traditional unemployment benefits in the week ending May 13, a very slight drop of 77 from the week before. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said the figure marks the first time that the state had two straight weeks of fewer than 5,000 new claims for benefits since the start of the pandemic.
2020 Forest Fires Close Trails in RMNP
Officials with Rocky Mountain National Park said Thursday that last year’s forest fires are going to make some foot trails off-limits this year. Memorial Day is just two weeks away and the holiday traditionally marks the start of Colorado’s tourism season. Nonetheless, if you’re a hiker beware that many foot trails inside the burn areas of the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome wildfires may be closed for the entire season. The Cameron Peak Fire last August did not start inside the park but quickly encroached on the park’s northwest corner before it stalled. The East Troublesome Fire started in October some distance from the park’s western side. But by October 21st, both blazes made their way into the park when high winds hit the area. Park officials said they are most concerned about burned trees falling unexpectedly and injuring trail users.
BHS Students Walk Out to Support Sexual Violence Survivors
Boulder High School students chose 9:07 a.m. yesterday to walk out of classes in support of survivors of sexual violence. The time was chosen to honor the 97% of women who say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault. Upon exiting, students left the classroom and gathered outside to listen to speakers. A prevention education specialist from Boulder County’s Moving to End Sexual Assault urged the students to help “shift cultural norms” by having discussions about consent and boundaries. The Boulder High walkout follows a similar one at Fairview High School last month. It resulted in the Boulder Valley School District creating a new, “Title IX Advisory Council” to better address issues surrounding sexual violence.
Post Office To be Renamed for Fallen Police Officer
Second District Congressman Joe Neguse introduced legislation yesterday to rename a Boulder post office after the police officer killed in the King Soopers grocery store shooting. If passed, the bill would designate the post office located at 1905 15th Street as the “Officer Eric H. Talley Post Office Building.” Talley was among the first officers to respond to the shooting on March 22. A spokesperson for Neguse, who represents the district that includes Boulder, said the bill has the support of all seven of Colorado’s U.S. House members.