Walking rain, or what the weather wonks call virga, brushed the Sandias last night but left only a few drops of water. I headed out on my evening stroll after watching Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announce the first easing of coronavirus rules.

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I felt as wary about the coronavirus developments as I am ordinarily about the promise of New Mexico rain, even though we are now over a month into the state’s pandemic response.

Dan McKay and Dan Boyd of the Albuquerque Journal were careful in their reporting on the governor’s announcements.

“The relaxed business restrictions were announced even as the coronavirus outbreak continues to move through New Mexico,” Boyd and McKay wrote.

“While infection rates have decreased in recent weeks in much of New Mexico, the state’s northwestern corner has had skyrocketing case numbers and deaths.

“In particular, outbreaks have ignited on the Navajo Nation and on several tribal pueblos that have prompted curfews, restricted access and other measures.

“Native Americans make up 52.8% of the state’s total confirmed coronavirus cases … ” the Journal report noted.

Lujan Grisham, who among the nation’s governors acted early and aggressively on coronavirus crisis, was cautious, too. She gave warnings Thursday at the same time she started easing restrictions. I was glad that she continued to be attentive to the Navajo Nation and other parts of Indian Country.

“Lujan Grisham said New Mexico could move to the next reopening phase in mid-May, but only if residents continue to succeed in slowing the transmission of the virus,” Boyd and McKay said. And she said, “The relaxed health orders …  won’t apply to parts of northwestern New Mexico, where the outbreak has been particularly difficult to contain.”

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“If we’re not practicing social distancing, there will be more spread,” added state Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during Thursday’s briefing.

Former Albuquerque Journal Washington correspondent Richard Parker weighed in Friday with a New York Times opinion piece on Lujan Grisham’s “stellar performance” in the coronavirus crisis. He cited as well strong responses from New Mexico’s medical and scientific institutions).

Later Friday, New Mexico In Depth posted a report by Jeff Proctor on coronavirus in New Mexico prisons: “Failure of prison coronavirus testing in NM begs scrutiny”).

Soon after, Dan Boyd reported on Lujan Grisham issuing a lockdown order for Gallup, where the virus clearly remains out of control.

I was interested on my walk by a paintbrush popping up through a small piñon.  Meanwhile, the trail up the hill still looked steep and I knew better than to expect anything from those clouds.

I might hope for a gullywasher but know we still have to get through May and June. dreamranch.wordpress.com/…/june-wildfires-swampcoolers-and-beans

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