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Monday, Januar y 25, 2021 | Vo l u m e 1 2 5 | I s s u e 1 9
Vaccine supersite opens at The Pit By Nicholas Romero @nicromerophoto
New Mexicans took to The Pit on Jan. 20 as University of New Mexico Health officials began distributing the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations. The Pit, normally packed at this time of the year for an evening basketball game, saw empty stands as a large crowd of masked residents lined up outside. The Department of Health, the UNM Health system and UNM Athletics coordinated to distribute about 1,700 vaccines on Jan 20. Their goal is to replicate that for the next three weeks. “We plan to be operational Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., depending on vaccine supply received,” Mark Rudi, a spokesperson for the UNM Health Sciences
Center, said. “As a reminder, there are no walk-in vaccinations. All registrations for vaccinations need to go through the Department of Health vaccination website.” Once this initial qualifying group receives their second booster shot — provided supplies are available — officials are hoping to almost double that number, vaccinating just over 3,300 people a day. Vaccination stations were located around the arena concourse. Patients waited for about 10 minutes outside, went through a line inside The Pit, answered some questions and received their vaccination. After 15 minutes of observation (to be sure of no allergic reaction), they were allowed to continue their day. “People are very happy with the process, but (they also feel) a sense of hope that this pandemic can end soon,” Christina O’Connell, registered nurse unit director of the UNM Southeast Heights Clinic and
the acting director of The Pit’s COVID-19 clinic, said. “It has made us very proud being a part of UNMH because we've been involved in taking great care of COVID patients, research and now we’re able to participate in defending the further spread of the pandemic.” UNM Human Resources sent out an email on Thursday afternoon encouraging UNM employees to volunteer to staff the clinic site. Volunteers will be eligible to receive the vaccine if they commit to helping out for at least 20 hours over the next few months. For more information about this effort, the University directed people to the Bring Back the Pack website.
Nicholas Romero/ Daily Lobo / @nicromerophoto
Erik Sterling, a member of the U.S. Air Force, receives his first round of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan 20, 2021 morning.
Nicholas Romero is a staff photographer and freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @nicromerophoto
Nicholas Romero/ Daily Lobo / @nicromerophoto
Karen Ellingboe (left) and Christina O’ Connell spoke to the media about Wednesday’s mass vaccination.
Nicholas Romero/ Daily Lobo / @nicromerophoto Nicholas Romero/ Daily Lobo / @nicromerophoto
A vaccine clinic lead works on getting COVID vaccines ready for use in a room to the side of the arena’s concourse.
Patients wait to be vaccinated inside UNM’s indoor basketball arena, known as The Pit.
Navajo Nation, UNM Rainforest affordable housing agreement set to terminate By Hannah John & Shelby Kleinhans @yesitshannahj @BirdsNotReal99 After July 31, an affordable housing agreement for Navajo students at the University of New Mexico’s Rainforest building will end, leaving 118 residents of the downtown apartment complex
looking for alternative — and undoubtedly more expensive — accommodations. Former Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye signed an agreement on Jan. 3, 2018 that provided housing for Navajo students on the fifth and sixth floors of the Rainforest building at a discounted rate of $945, or $189 a month, per fall and spring semester. Since the Navajo Nation decid-
ed not to renew the agreement, it will end after its originally scheduled end date this summer. “(The Navajo Nation has) indicated that they are not going to renew that occupancy down there … We would love to continue with the agreement and continue to house that population of students,” Thomas M. Neale, director of real estate at UNM, said. “We were really excited about that prospect at the out-
set and continue to be so, but for reasons I’m not 100% clear on, they've decided to terminate that agreement.” A source close to the Navajo Nation administration said that since many Navajo students returned home rather than continue living at the Rainforest building during the pandemic, a contract renewal would be cost-prohibitive. The housing deal, which was struck in 2018 at a cost of
$1,457,300 for a period of three years and seven months, included provisions that Navajo students’ $189 rent would go back to the Navajo Nation rather than UNM. According to residents, the decision not to renew the agreement and thus end the UNM Navajo Nation Living Learning Community (LLC) was
Rainforest page 2
Inside this Lobo
PUKITE: Stokes gives State of the University address on public safety, structural racism, COVID and budget crises (pg. 5)
JAISWAL: Future bill would help hold New Mexico police officers more accountable (pg. 2)
GLEASON: The life of a fully vaccinated UNMH resident (pg. 6)
GLEASON: SciFi Blast Off virtually draws in new fans, geeks alike at UNM (pg. 3)
GUTIERREZ: ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ swings the PS5 into new heights (pg. 7)
PAGE 2 / MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021
NEW MEXICO DAILY LOBO
announced through an email to residents of the LLC on Dec. 17 of last year. On UNM’s housing website, the Navajo Nation LLC has been removed from the list of the “Living Learning Communities” offered on campus. The Daily Lobo reached out to Jared Touchin, the communications director for the Office of the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation, for more information. However, when asked for clarification on why a renewal was not pursued or what other options these students have, he declined to comment. Residents of the Navajo Nation LLC were saddened by the announcement of the housing agreement’s termination because of the benefit it brought to Navajo students. “It was kind of sad at the time,”
Jaida Smith, a UNM senior, Navajo student and resident of the Navajo Nation LLC, said. “I know it’s something that a lot of people depend on, and it's a community where people can gather. But some things end, some people change their minds and it’s just something that kind of just has to happen.” The inability of some Navajo students to pay for and find affordable housing was an issue that the Navajo Nation had in mind when the LLC first opened in 2018. Now that the LLC is closing its doors, some students worry about where they’ll live now and how they’ll juggle the cost of school with the cost of housing. “It sucks because I have friends who live here, and they’re going to have to start getting more money to pay for their housing,” Orion Mar-
@NikitaJswl New Mexican lawmakers are reacting to the galvanizing calls for police reform around the country by introducing legislation to clean up the state’s law enforcement academy regulations. The legislation focuses on transferring and creating deadlines for some of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy’s (NMLEA) responsibilities. The NMLEA currently has two primary responsibilities: training officers and suspending or revoking certification to serve as a
students' housing, but we’ll create a sense of community to ultimately increase retention and decrease the college dropout rate,” Nez said in 2018. Smith said learning about the UNM Navajo community at the Rainforest and their traditions was a central part of her college experience. “We all identify ourselves as Indigenous people, but it’s just interesting to learn about specific traditions that people have,” Smith said. The Daily Lobo also reached out to the Dean of Students office and Residence Life and Student Housing management, who also declined to comment and re-directed reporters back to Neale. According to Neale, there are currently no plans for a new Navajo Nation LLC or another
similar housing provision for Navajo students. However, he said that UNM is more than willing to work with the Navajo Nation on future projects. “Sure, I think we would be open to anything,” Neale said. “We love having the students there, and we think that our housing group provides a great environment for those students and would love to continue to work with the Navajo Nation.” Hannah John is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @yesitshannahj Shelby Kleinhans is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @BirdsNotReal99
PO PO Take a
Future bill would help hold New Mexico police officers more accountable By Nikita Jaiswal
tinez, a junior UNM student and resident of the Navajo Nation LLC, said. “I think it was a really good opportunity for us to be able to not put so much stress on our housing costs. That’s the thing being taken away — so that’s just going to cause a bit of a concern about, if this is all they can afford at the moment, where are they going to go next?” While discounted housing rates were an important selling point to residents, Smith and Martinez also shared the sentiment that the community aspect of the Navajo Nation LLC was significant as well. Current Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, who was vice president when the housing agreement was reached, concurred in a statement at the time. “With the purchase of the Lobo Rainforest facility, not only will we see costs decrease for our college
peace officer. Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, highlighted the clear contradiction of those responsibilities, noting that misconduct often goes unreported or without a hearing. Maestas is sponsoring a bill that would transfer the law enforcement academy’s authority to suspend or revoke an officer’s certification to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD). The NMRLD regulates more than 30 different professions, with a unique board and commission with their own rules and requirements specific to each trade.
The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
According to Maestas, the department is capable of handling officer licensing as well. Additional legislation focuses on implementing a procedure and deadlines for taking police shooting cases before a judge in the form of a preliminary hearing. “The law enforcement academy gets complaints about officers and are supposed to deal with them, but they are so overworked and backed up that they may have complaints sitting there for over a year,” Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said. “Meanwhile, an officer is fired by one department in one county
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and is hired in another county, because nobody knows about the misconduct as it wasn’t dealt with. It is actually dangerous.” Additionally, the bill would address a conflict of interest within the department. “It is an apparent conflict, because the district attorney's office counts on law enforcement,” Chasey said. “If suddenly one of them is accused of excessive use of force or wrongful death, the same district attorneys that have to count on them to make their conviction now have to prosecute a former and potential ally.” Maestas said that the proposed
bill would create deadlines for investigations and transfer the case from local district attorneys to the state attorney general, who would present it in a preliminary hearing. The judge would find probable cause to either indict or absolve the officer. “A lot of cop shooting cases remain open for two to three years. The cop is in limbo, and there is no finality,” Maestas said. “This bill deals with the issue instead of sweeping it under the rug.” Nikita Jaiswal is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo. com or on Twitter @NikitaJswl
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MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021 / PAGE 3
SciFi Blast Off virtually draws in new fans, geeks alike at UNM By Megan Gleason @fabflutist2716 Science fiction lovers at the University of New Mexico are in for a treat as University Libraries start SciFi Blast Off, a series of virtual science fiction-related events throughout the spring semester. Upcoming events for the series include team trivia on Jan. 26, a movie watch party featuring the film “Prospect” on Feb. 10 and a book discussion on Sarah Pinsker’s “Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea” (specifically on the included short stories “Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea,” “Our Lady of the Open Road” and “And Then There Were (N-One)") on Feb. 26. “Basically, the idea is just to kick off the spring semester with some fun activities that will let people connect even though we’re in this socially distanced time,” co-organizer Holly Surbaugh said. The series was inspired by coorganizer Glenn Koelling’s idea for a book discussion and Surbaugh’s
yearning to host a movie watch party. The two then combined their ideas and added a trivia night to top off the series. “Holly is like a walking encyclopedia of (science fiction) and I’m more of a dabbler, you know,” Koelling said. “I know a lot of it, but I don’t have a good memory, so between the two of us we made a good pair.” Koelling said another source of inspiration was the $400,000 endowment from the Linda K. Lewis Endowment for Science Fiction and Women’s Studies, which financially supported the Summer of Sci Fi event series last year. The endowment “honors UNM professor emerita Linda K. Lewis, who served as a collections librarian from 1969-2010,” according to UNM Newsroom, and inspired the Pinsker book selection. Koelling said she hopes that the event brings joy to students even “in these dark days of winter.” The series had a trial run in the summer, but due to the pandemic and most students being off campus, participation was difficult. Koelling said students are more
likely to participate this semester. “Because the library buildings were closed, we really still wanted to put out a little sign post that said that the libraries are still here, and we still care about you and we still want you to engage with this community,” Surbaugh said. Some students have already signed up for the trivia and movie nights, and Koelling encouraged those who have time to read even one of the three short stories that will be the focus of the book discussion in February to sign up. “It‘s all stuff we like to do, so we’re hoping that other people like to do it with us,” Koelling said. Students interested in cosplaying can tag @unmlibraries on Twitter or Instagram with #unmscifi to show off their creative outfits. Surbaugh encouraged students interested in the sci-fi genre to look at the library’s science fiction collections, which include various physical and digital collections. Megan Gleason is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo. com or on Twitter @fabflutist2716
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4 Analysis: Biden’s inauguration marks shift toward consistent U.S. policy
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Monday, January 25, 2021
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By Liam DeBonis @LiamDeBonis Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, marking the official end of former President Donald John Trump’s term and the new administration’s inheritance of a destructive domestic and foreign agenda and its consequences. In the last four years under Trump’s “America First” doctrine, the U.S. flouted warnings from climate scientists, abruptly abandoned allies in foreign conflicts, backed out of international groups — including the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization — and instituted discriminatory and exclusionary immigration policies which were challenged by the ACLU as a violation of U.S. and international law. The erratic isolationism was interspersed with impromptu and often jaunty meetings between the former president and foreign dictators, an abrupt assassination of a top Iranian general taken without consulting Congress and a half-baked plan to purchase Greenland. Biden’s victory in November, as well as his inauguration on Wednesday, prompted public celebration and congratulatory messages from many world leaders and foreign politicians, signaling their excitement at the prospect of no longer having to deal with Trump as a player on the world stage. “Welcome back America!” Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said in a tweet following the announcement of Biden’s win on Nov. 7. For months before his inauguration, Biden promoted an agenda antithetical to his predecessor’s. Indeed, the new president has already signed executive orders reversing many of Trump’s hardline policies, including a new
order that eliminates the previous ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and another order which cancels construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Biden also signed an executive order that extended the existing pause on federal student loan repayment. “Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families,” the White House announced in a press briefing regarding the extended loan pause. “They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the leading experts charged with the management of the coronavirus pandemic, expressed his relief to be working under the new administration. After a year of being frequently placed in a position where he would have to contradict Trump’s false claims regarding the virus, Fauci appeared optimistic about the new administration’s approach. “One of the new things in this administration is if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess,” Fauci said during a press conference on Jan. 21. “The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the science is … It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.” At his inauguration, Biden was greeted by an unorthodox scene: a sea of U.S. flags, planted where crowds would usually gather to welcome a new president or witness their continuation to a second term. The flags, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, were meant to “represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, D.C.” due to the pandemic. An equally noticeable anomaly was the absence of the outgoing Trump, who declined to attend the ceremony and instead departed for
Photo by tom coe on Unsplash.
his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida earlier that morning. While not the first U.S. president to be in absentia from his successor’s inauguration, the decision betrayed his bitterness after his unsuccessful attempts to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Biden’s agenda is far from national embrace, as both conservatives and progressives have identified what they view as fundamental flaws that need to be remedied. But, unlike the previous administration, Biden has
nominated cabinet appointees with experience in their fields — not wedding planners or family members. The country and international community should expect to be able to hold the new president accountable for his actions to a higher degree than his predecessor. Trump, true to his word, ran the country like he would run a business: prioritizing money and the propagation of his brand over courtesy to his rivals and fidelity to those who weren’t useful to him.
By Rhianna Roberts / Daily Lobo / @Rhianna_SR
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By Victor Martinez / Daily Lobo / @sirbluescreen Campus Campus Representative Representative Jo-Dane Bell Jo-Dance Bell
Volume 125 Issue 19
He exposed the fragility of implied democratic norms of decency and magnanimity, and showed the toothlessness of our system’s methods of accountability in the face of someone who shows no sense of responsibility, remorse or regret.
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MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021 / PAGE 5
Stokes gives State of the University address on public safety, structural racism, COVID and budget crises By Madeline Pukite @madelinepukite On Thursday, Jan. 21, University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes released her pre-recorded 2021 State of the University address, reflecting on last year’s major events like the pandemic and community protests. “We have endured one of the most disruptive eras in our nation’s history, from a global (sic) pandemic to a summer of social unrest to a recent shocking assault on the seat of our government,” Stokes said. “The past 12 months have challenged all of us and have further exposed the divisions and inequities in our society.” Stokes covered the University’s response to the summer’s protests and counter-protests, COVID-19 and the resulting financial crises in which the University found itself. She also highlighted the many achievements from this past year, including philanthropy, new hires and titles received by the University, including the “Innovation Impact of U.S. Universities,” which ranked UNM 27th of 195. Public safety and structural racism After the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and the summer months of Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, Stokes addressed the University’s response and what she has heard from the student community. “Our students need assurances that their voices have been heard,” Stokes said.
Stokes also commented on the search for a new chief of police for the UNM Police Department. Former Chief of Police Kevin McCabe retired on June 30, 2020, and 40-year UNMPD veteran officer Joseph Silva has since been serving in an interim capacity as the head of the department. Stokes acknowledged that “law enforcement policies and practices are under scrutiny nationwide, and it is no different here at the University of New Mexico.” She neglected to comment on the officer who took part in a racist video last semester. However, she did make a point to say that the University supports the Black Lives Matter movement, and it “compels us to implement meaningful and fundamental change.” Stokes also mentioned other programs the University has been working on to make the campus safer and described a “rapid response protocol for faculty and staff facing harassment, bullying, racially-based threats and even online attacks” that is currently being drafted on campus. Health care Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and given the UNM Hospital’s top ranking in the state, Stokes listed a number of things the institution has done to combat the coronavirus. “UNM Health services have been pivotal to the pandemic, truly delivering more with compassionate, high-quality health care across the state and around the world,” Stokes said. Stokes said that the UNM Health Sciences Center has identified po-
tentially life-saving therapies to treat COVID-positive patients, sequenced the genetic code of the coronavirus in order to better anticipate where it will mutate and migrate and has been using 3D printing technology to make masks and shields. Stokes also made a point to highlight Project ECHO, which last year received $237 million in federal funding, “to help train local staff to fight outbreaks of COVID in nursing homes.” Budget crisis leads to $44 million cut, more “reductions” incoming Despite an influx of CARES Act money and increased enrollment, Stokes painted the financial outlook for the University as one of impending doom. “Given the current economic outlook, it is likely we should brace for additional reductions,” Stokes said. “To meet the new fiscal realities, the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget was revised to cut spending by $415 million. Those cuts crash landed here at the University of New Mexico, with UNM and our Health Sciences Center starting the year with almost $44 million less in the budget than originally planned,” Stokes said, adding that the University also lost the funding for a 4% increase for employee salaries this year. To deal with these pandemic related losses, Stokes said the Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve a budget readjustment, causing the University to slow hiring and restructure offices and budgets to save costs.
Students respond Suha Musa, the undergraduate student government president pro tempore, felt the speech negated the fact many students have tried to talk to faculty about issues they find important but have been ignored. “She mentioned wanting student input, and I thought that was a little absurd considering that with both BLM issues and grad worker union efforts students have been iced out from communication with admin, myself included,” Musa said. Lilly O’Connor, an English, philosophy and Spanish major at UNM, thought the speech was a well-rounded interpretation of the hectic year. “I think the speech was a perfect blend of expressing the grief we’ve felt over the course of the year while simultaneously demonstrating everything we have achieved and making plans for future achievements,” O’Connor said. Other UNM students thought the
speech was good in nature but worried about the plan presented to fix the budget crisis, fearing it will fall on the backs of students. “I still worry that a higher financial burden will continue to be placed on students due to — among other things — rising administrative costs and low enrollment,” Andrew Schumann, the freshman chair of the Pre Law Society, said. “Let us remember that these budget woes, while certainly exacerbated by the pandemic, have existed for some time now and that it’s up to all of us to hold the administration accountable for how our tuition dollars are spent.“ As of 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 afternoon — six hours after the speech was posted — only 304 people had watched the recording. Madeline Pukite is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @madelinepukite
UNM President Garnett S. Stokes delivers the annual State of the University address via live webcast on Jan. 21, 2021.
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PAGE 6 / MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021
NEW MEXICO DAILY LOBO
The life of a fully vaccinated UNMH resident By Megan Gleason @fabflutist2716 As COVID-19 began to spread around the world just under a year ago, University of New Mexico Hospital employees knew they would be seeing patients flooding the halls of the wards, and quickly. Residents felt a mix of fear and pride as they prepared to face what would likely be the largest and most shocking wave of disease and illness they would see in their careers, creating a daily physical and emotional hurdle for doctors and patients alike. “This is it — this is my cause that I get to fight for,” Dr. Jessica EvansWall, a second year resident, said. Still, there were many unknown variables to COVID-19, as there still are, and employees were there to help as best they could. “There was this big tinge of fear and of nerves. There was this unknown at the beginning where we thought that our PPE hopefully worked, but nobody really knew,” Evans-Wall said. “We weren’t sure what kind of procedures we should be doing in full PPE versus just seeing patients who had a cough — do we need to isolate them? There’s just so many unknown pieces, so there’s a fear of getting COVID yourself … And I was also afraid of bringing home illness to (my partner).” Evans-Wall said there was a sort of emotional barrier between doctors and patients based on what separated the two groups: the sick and the healthy. But when the coronavirus hit, the possibility of the doctor becoming the patient was much more real, and that wall fell. When Evans-Wall knew a colleague that contracted the virus, the shock hit again. “Everything can be very fleeting, and we have these established roles in our head of ‘Well, that’s a patient, so that’s not me,’ and there’s this distance,” Evans-Wall said. “But then when you know a few health care providers that have gotten sick ... it only takes one or two cases for you to (realize) ‘Oh my gosh, that’s one of us ... It could be me.’” The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania re-
Matisse Fields / Daily Lobo / @DailyLobo
Jessica Evans-Wall, an employee at UNMH, was among the first to receive the coronavirus vaccination following its approval.
leased a study last May to determine just how at risk frontline COVID-19 workers are. “Physicians who were more likely to have been on the frontline of COVID-19 care, namely emergency medicine, critical care specialists and anesthesiologists, comprised only 7.4% of the deaths in this cohort,” Penn Medicine reported. Day-to-day life was changed, in some ways for the better and in many ways for the worse. “It’s not the big moments. It’s not the moments where you intubate a patient who is COVIDpositive, right, because in that moment you’re just like ‘Okay, I’m in hopefully a little bit more of a flow state, I’m focusing on the bigger picture,’” Evans-Wall said. “It’s
those moments of like “It’s time for me to go eat food, how do I go about that? How do I make sure that I don’t touch anything? That I hand sanitize and wash my hands enough? Do I have any viral particles on my face somewhere?’ It’s those little in-between moments, I think, that ended up being the most exhausting.” And then the vaccine arrived in New Mexico. Evans-Wall was one of the first to receive it in phase 1A, getting her first shot on Dec. 16 and her second on Jan. 6. “Never have I been so excited to feel crummy,” Evans-Wall said, reflecting on her side effects that included a sore arm, headaches and feeling feverish. Evans-Wall verified that no
safety procedures have changed because she and others have been vaccinated, but the fear of contracting COVID-19 has all but lifted, allowing her to invest more of herself in her work. However, many individuals don’t trust the safety of the vaccine and are not so quick to take it. “It’s difficult knowing who you can trust and what information is accurate,” UNM Student Health and Counseling’s health promotion team wrote in a letter to students, staff and faculty assuring that these feelings are natural but the vaccine is safe to take. Conspiracy theories continue to circle the pandemic and the vaccine, claiming that the coronavirus is a hoax and the vaccine is a way for the
government to control you. Wiley Online Library attributed this to the vast extent of social media. “A key difference between COVID-19 and the 1918 flu pandemic, which is sometimes used as a reference, is that a highly interconnected world, to a great extent on social media, is setting the stage for distributing information and misinformation about COVID-19,” the Wiley editorial board wrote. Evans-Wall dismissed these claims immediately and said too much focus is on the conspiracy theories and not enough focus is on the actual science. “The overwhelming information to date is that the approved vaccines are safe, can help save many lives and can eventually control the pandemic so that our society can return to a more normal level of functioning,” the SHAC promotion team wrote. Many believe that former President Donald Trump contributed to the spread of misinformation. Kaiser Health News concluded that Trump was responsible for 38% of the false information surrounding COVID-19. “I think it’s utterly ridiculous that politics enter into this, and it makes me sad that we can’t just respect the incredible advances that occurred over the last year in order to make this vaccine possible,” Evans-Wall said. According to Evans-Wall, if every person felt the firsthand weight of the emotional and physical damage that the pandemic has wrought, then there would be no hesitation to take the vaccine. “I am tired of calling family members and telling them that they will basically never see their loved one again,” Evans-Wall said. “I’m tired of having those conversations on the phone where I have to say ‘You can’t come in and visit until they’re dying, but they will probably be dying in the next few days to few weeks, and there’s really limited things we can do for them.’” Megan Gleason is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo. com or on Twitter @fabflutist2716
NEW MEXICO DAILY LOBO
MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021 / PAGE 7
Spider-Man swings through New York City in the new game “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.”
Gino Gutierrez / Daily Lobo / @GGutierrez48
‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ swings the PS5 into new heights By Gino Gutierrez @GGutierrez48
This review contains spoilers. A follow-up to the hugely popular “Marvel’s Spider-Man” released on the PS4, “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” not only keeps the same amazing swinging and combat system from the previous title, but adds new and interesting features that give new life to the old formula. This new addition to the franchise puts players in the role of the eponymous character Morales as he embarks on a journey to discover what kind of hero he truly is. He is not only trying to live up to the reputation of Spider-Man but also separate himself and become his
own hero, not just a teenager pretending to be Spider-Man. At the end of the first game, Morales gained the same abilities as Spider-Man and was taken under Peter Parker’s wing to begin his superhero training. Fast forward a few months, and we find Morales hesitant but ready to become New York’s one and only Spider-Man while Parker takes a brief vacation. The game does a great job of setting Morales up as a relatable and endearing character. As a 17-yearold, Morales deals with many of the problems we’ve experienced, like trying to find a balance between school, family and friends, only he has the added challenge of being a superhero. In Morales, we see someone striving to use his newfound powers to
help those in need and protect the new community that his family and himself call home. At the start of the game, Morales discovers a new ability: bio-electricity. Nicknamed “venom,” this ability becomes one of many skills the player is able to upgrade via a skill tree. The introduction of venom adds an extra dimension in an already excellent combat system. There’s a certain awe that you feel when you’ve successfully charged up Morales’ venom bar and are able to perform a dazzling finishing move on an enemy. The camera goes into slow motion while flickers of yellow sparks come off of Morales’ fist as he knocks out an opponent or when Morales unleashes a full venom explosion, making the screen light up as the blast sends enemies flying in all directions.
In addition to venom, Morales is also able to make himself invisible, adding a new way for players to approach the stealth sections of the game. However, the real show-stealer is once again the swinging mechanics. I’ve rarely had more fun in a game than when I swung between the buildings of Manhattan as Spider-Man. Sticking with the theme of individuality, the developers give Morales his own unique style when it comes to the animations that play in between swings. The swinging mechanics bring such life to the game and made me forget that there was even a fast travel option. But trust me, you’ll never want to use it either. It’s mechanics like these where the game is truly able to take ad-
vantage of the PS5’s new hardware. Boasting a smooth 60 frames per second and loading times that last seconds, the flow of the game never feels interrupted. With all this in mind, “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” is one of the best launch titles to come along in a while. It combines all the fun of the first game and adds to the winning formula with welcomed new combat and stealth functions. The game gives us a different take on the journey of a superhero, and it’s an experience I won’t soon forget. I give “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” a 9 out of 10. Gino Gutierrez is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at managingeditor@dailylobo. com or on Twitter @GGutierrez48
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