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BY PEYTON GARCIA • WEDNESDAY, NOV. 10, 2021

“I think, for now, you should set aside the notion of herd immunity,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, an epidemiologist and the dean of the Colorado School of Public Health.

When Colorado researchers released a report in September, they estimated that 70% of the state’s population was immune to COVID-19, either by way of vaccination or antibodies from having been previously infected. Good news since the threshold for herd immunity — a level of mass immunity that reduces transmission — was projected to be 85% to 90%.

But when researchers released a new report last week, the percentage of immune Coloradans had dropped to 62%. Why? Immunity is waning as the efficacy of the vaccine and antibodies from previous infections diminishes over time, and transmission rates, especially from variants of the virus, hold steady. Colorado’s case rate currently ranks the fifth-highest in the country and state hospitals face an unprecedented strain on capacity.

But some experts are saying that herd immunity in Colorado was always a bit of a pipe dream because high vaccination rates can’t prevent spikes in COVID that come from things like tourism. In that line of thinking, herd immunity in our state is dependent on herd immunity across the country.

But that is not to say vaccination isn’t doing anything — in fact, new info from the CDC shows that people who are vaccinated are five times less likely to be hospitalized if they get COVID than unvaccinated people who were previously infected. Researchers believe vaccines will very likely make future COVID waves less dangerous.

But what this does mean is a completely COVID-free future is probably not in the cards for us — at least not anytime soon.
[CO Sun]

⛅ Good news, it’s still not winter! Today will be sunny, if a little breezy, with a high around 58.

📰 IN OTHER NEWS

🛍️ Denver sees bag fee success!
In just the first three months of Denver’s 10-cent bag fee ordinance being implemented, the program has brought in more than $575,000 in revenue for grocers and the city. (Grocers keep 4 cents from every bag sale, and the city gets 6.) So far, the numbers represent an 83% reduction in plastic and paper bag use throughout the city, which is significantly more than the 50% reduction city officials originally estimated. Yay, Denver! [Axios Denver]

💰 Mayor Hancock’s 2022 city budget approved
This week City Council approved Mayor Michael Hancock’s $1.49 billion budget proposal for 2022 with no discussion and only minor tweaks to the original plan. It passed in an 11-1 vote, with councilmember Candi CdeBaca — whose 14 proposed changes to the budget were rejected last week — being the lone no vote. Some of the tweaks that were OK’d include additional spending for the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund; an attorney specializing in affordable housing; and the “Safe Routes to School” program. [Denverite]

🚸 Traffic fatalities rise, despite reduction efforts
In 2017, Denver launched Vision Zero, an initiative to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030. How’s that endeavor going? Not great. In 2021, the city saw 73 traffic fatalities, the most since the program began. Jill Locantore with Denver Streets Partnership says while many components of Vision Zero are strong, the city is taking too long to implement them. [9News]

New safe camping site planned on city property
As the Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused residents located at the Park Hill United Methodist Church reaches its contract’s expiration date, a new one is set to pop up in the Clayton neighborhood — the first on city-owned property.
Previous attempts to set up on city property failed when neighboring residents objected. This time around, organizers say they are expecting City Council approval. [Westword]
👉 What you can do: Tune into a community meeting about the new site, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.
👉 Related: Denver posts permanent encampment sweep notices in Five Points... 

🤔 CONVERSATION STARTER

 What is the best all-night diner in the Denver Metro area? 

City Cast Denver reader Sarah Newell says, “Of course Pete's Kitchen on Colfax & Race, undisputable.” I have to say, it’s my go-to Denver diner as well. 

What do you think? Write me at peyton.garcia@citycast.fm, or by replying to this email, and I might just share your answer in the newsletter this week.

🎙 TODAY'S PODCAST

Author Jenny Shank Seeks Human Connection in ‘Mixed Company’
16 mins
Today on the show, Denver author Jenny Shank and Host Bree Davies discuss growing up in Denver in the era of busing, plus Shank’s new collection of short stories, “Mixed Company,” which explores all the awkward, comical, and challenging ways in which very different kinds of Coloradans can still connect.

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🗓️ MARK YOUR CAL

+ THURSDAY: Stanley Holiday Fashion Show
The Factory Fashion Academy invites you to a free holiday fashion show, followed by post-show shopping and promotions.

+ FRIDAY: Rue de Nöel
Shop for hidden treasures at this Parisian-style antique artisan market celebrating its 21st anniversary this year.

+ FRIDAY: Let’s Taco ’Bout It: Tacos & Positive Self Talk
What better way to kick off your weekend than with a little self-love and delicious tacos. Because tacos make everything better

🏙️ MOMENT OF OLD DENVER

Credit: Karl Christian Krumpholz

Take a trip down memory lane with local cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz in his most recent Westword comic strip: a nostalgia-heavy reminiscence of the 16th Street Mall of old.

Want more? Check out this City Cast Denver episode from earlier this year, when we talked to Karl about his new book, “Queen City,” which explores the stark contrast between “Old Denver” and “New Denver.”

Jason Gordon is encouraging other people to sign up for the City Cast Denver newsletter, and it shows. Thanks, Jason! 👏

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Got an idea for us? Email us at denver@citycast.fm.
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