* Beginning May 1, Delta Airlines will unblock its middle seats—marking the end of social distancing on all U.S. carriers.
* Among all groups, Republicans and white evangelical Christians were the most likely to say they will not get vaccinated—approximately 30 percent of each group saying they will “definitely not” get a shot.
* In March, the country added 916,000 jobs. In February, it had added 468,000. Overall, the economy—now with a 6 percent unemployment rate—remains more than 8 million jobs short of the number it had before the pandemic erupted last year.
* Public safety/politicized ideology update: Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that prohibits businesses from requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination to gain access or service. “People have certain freedoms and individual liberties to make decisions for themselves,” explained DeSantis—likely reading from his right-wing, bumper-sticker notes.
* Fort Lauderdale-based Nova Southeastern University has announced that it would require students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated before returning to campus.
* By the end of March, only 36 percent of Florida’s nursing home staff members—and 40 percent of assisted-living staff members had received at least one vaccine dose.
* In public schools throughout Tampa Bay, there have been more than 13,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases among students and staff since classes began in August.
* The dispensation from attending Catholic Mass will be lifted by May 22, according to Bishop Gregory Parkes, who heads the diocese of St. Petersburg.
* Pinellas County officials have received complaints from some vaccine recipients who had their vaccination cards laminated—and discovered some of the information became illegible (due to heat lamination).
* Who was that unmasked man? It’s a form of escape and therapeutic COVID humor. There are pandemic moments that can still prompt a smile and even a chuckle—especially after you’ve had both vaccination shots. One such: the optics and dynamics of mask-wearing—and then mask doffing. The other day at a dog park I ran into a familiar dog-owner who recognized my pet rescue Zimmie—but wasn’t so sure about me. She said she didn’t know I had a mustache. All part of the new normal. I later enjoyed a “quarantini” and a few laughs, pondering what it must be like for flirting millennials not wanting to give away their looks before establishing a winning personality. Indeed, pandemic humor can be an invaluable tool for processing trying times—as well as material for an open-mic night routine.