COVID-19: It is Far From Over

For sixteen years, I’ve written about Chicano politics, culture and other cool stuff. Along the lines of culture is my obvious love for Onda Chicana music, or Tejano music. During the last year, I’ve written about how the Tejano music industry has suffered because of the pandemic, and how even some accomplished Grammy-winning musicians who pushed it and exposed themselves at venues during the pandemic almost died from it.

Anyway, it seems with idiotic state governors fully opening up states around the country, music is returning to the stage. Some big-name bands, like The Mavericks, have had intimate gatherings with limited attendance, distancing, and even masking if the beer can isn’t at ones mouth. I guess this is as responsible as it can get at these things during a pandemic. There have been some attempts at Tejano clubs to have reduced capacity, limited musician (solo/accompaniment acts) concerts that seem to have been productive.

But I’ve also seen Tejano music clubs re-opening to full capacity, and, no doubt, Tejano music fans are hungry to return to their partying ways to spend some of that stimulus (or their hard-earned money). Every now and then, a venue has posted livestreams of the concerts/dances at their venues and there is no distancing, no masks, and one has to wonder what the crowd’s vaccination rate is.

In Texas, the current full vaccination rate is at 23%; unfortunately, demand for the vaccine is dropping and really fast. Some smaller counties are closing up vax sites because the demand is so low. In Florida, the vaccination numbers are similar because of their similarly idiotic governor. And for Brown folks, the vaccination rate is dangerously low. Unfortunately, infection rates and positivity are still high all around. And they are still high for Latinos.

According to the CDC, Latinos are 2 times more likely to get the disease than white and non-Latino groups, 3 times more likely to end up in the hospital, and 2.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19. And since vaccination rates are still low among Latinos, these rates of risk among Latinos are not likely to change any time soon.

So, why the hell are Brown folks packing nightclubs and concert venues? Just because our idiot governor said it was OK? Hell, if we were creating super-spreader events early on during the pandemic at family gatherings, imagine what can happen in a venue full of unmasked strangers screaming and breathing on you.

A reminder: The vaccination only guards you from serious infection.

I know the bands and musicians are looking out for their own livelihood, but they hold some of the responsibility for not limiting attendance at these venues. For not enforcing masking and distancing at these privately owned venues as part of their performance contracts. But I guess the money is just too good. So, if the governors are leaving it up to people to decide how to act and whether or not to get a shot of vaccine, then the people asked for it, right?

There’s a happy-medium in all of this (limited attendance, masking, distancing, serious vax encouragement) that bands and venues seem to want to avoid. Why? It cuts into profits, obviously. And believe me, I long for a good concert, like Los Lobos and The Mavericks at the Greek Theater (outdoors) in LA in the early fall, but even with my shots done, I just don’t trust large groups of people when my responsibility is to my family (some with autoimmune conditions) and my work. The YOLO attitude among our people is exactly what is killing our people.

I guess what I want to tell my Tejano music lovin’ people is this: Slow down! Get Vaccinated! Mask-Up! Distance! Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated venues!

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