Masks, French elections, picnics | Daily Skimming Weekend

Masking for a friend

So… what about the masks? This is the question of the week. Here’s what you need to know so you can decide what to do.

The story

Two years after the start of the pandemic, we are still confused. From the beginning, the states and the federal government gave different directions on what to do. Now, it is the masked speech that is on everyone’s lips.

Keep on going.

This week, a federal judge rejected Biden’s mask mandate for airplanes and mass transit systems. Some people celebrated. Others have expressed concern. And the DOJ appealed. Now that the courts are clashing, it’s a game for everyone. Many major airlines, Amtrak and ride-sharing apps have lifted their mask requirements. Other transit systems (think: in Los Angeles County and New York City) have done the opposite and kept them. Companies can always set their own rules. This means, don’t throw away your masks just yet.

So what should I do?

With few exceptions, a lot is left to you. And while the science on masks is clear, many Americans want the pandemic to be over. Watch this week’s reactions to planes. But this is not the case. In fact, there has been an almost 50% increase in cases over the past 14 days. Thanks to the continued release of Omicron BA.2 and two new sub-variants. What’s more, experts say the cases are underreported. Dramatically.

Where is the government in all of this?

The CDC tries to provide better and faster information to help you make your own choices. The White House now seems more focused on living with variants rather than defeating them. Moreover, the market has caught up with demand: home tests, antiviral pills and vaccines are now largely in stock. But questions remain about the second boosters – mainly, when people under 50 will be able to access them. And to determine if (or when) children under 5 will get their vaccine.

theSkimm

“You do you” seems to be 2022’s go-to response to COVID-19. But remember, the reasoning behind people masking up is often invisible to outsiders. So don’t be a hidehole.

bookmarked

The weekend means more time to do the things you love. For many of us, it’s reading. But we can’t browse everything for you. So instead, we’re giving you an overview of the readings we’ve recorded, texted, and emailed to our friends…

Meet the woman behind TikTok’s Libs…a deep dive into a viral Twitter account that has shaped anti-LGBTQ+ talking points in right-wing media.

A murder solved in DM…when an investigation slowed, one victim’s friends got involved – taking to social media.

In search of the famous notorious book stylist…the story of how books became fashion’s go-to accessory.

Break time

Downtime doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. Here is an idea to make the most of your weekend.

The sun is brighter, the birds are louder. Spring possesses on springs. Here is our recipe for the perfect picnic.

The right equipment. A picnic blanket big enough to sit on (and stretch out on). And an insulated tote to keep your cheeses and raw vegetables cool.

A good mood. Set the tone with a small, portable speaker. (Of course, watch out for other treats.) Then, continue your gathering comfortably all day — and night — with an herbal candle and bug bite relief tool.

good entertainment. The outdoors can be even better with activities, so we recommend bringing a few games. Think: spikeball, croquet, even Jenga.

Fun in the sun. Fact.

eyes on

Tomorrow, French voters will go (again) to the polls for the second round of the country’s presidential election. As in 2017, they will choose between centrist leader Emmanuel Macron (the current president) and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. But this time the race should be much tighter – and the stakes much higher for France and the rest of the world. Things are about to get very interesting.

Skimmed by Rasheeda Campbell, Xian Chiang-Waren, Melissa Goldberg and Clem Robineau