• For the second year in a row, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC published a report Friday that found COVID-19 was the "underlying or contributing" cause of 460,513 deaths in the United States last year — an almost 20% jump when compared to the same figure from 2020. [Reuters]
  • Plans to transform St. James Park in downtown San Jose into an outdoor music venue are moving forward, despite a bitter battle between the City and some residents. [Hoodline]
  • Lake Merrit's weekend Quartz Party — a new collective that began offering an "inviting space for LGBTQ+ vendors" in January of this year — continues to grow in popularity. [Oaklandside]
  • Because of recent spikes in COVID-19 positive test rates, Oakland is now considering a mask mandate for events that have 1,000 people or more. [Chronicle]
  • A San Jose woman, who became a quadriplegic after being involved in a hit-and-run crash 11 years ago, has died from injuries related to the incident; the suspect driving the vehicle was never identified or found by police. [ABC7]
  • Here's your reminder that Smuggler's Cove is, without question, one of the nation's best tiki bars. [Eater SF]
  • FYI: The Valencia Street art corridor will be held between 16th and 17th Streets this weekend; people can find a collection of purchasable artworks, live music acts, and food offerings from participating vendors from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday. [Mission Local]
  • Today's opinion essay featured by the New York Times's Editorial Board looks to answer a question we've all been asking ourselves amid ongoing violence from the Kremlin in Ukraine: can sanctions really stop Putin? [NYT]

Photo: Courtesy of  Getty Images/emirthalinok