California’s Highest Covid Infection Rates Shift to Rural Counties
As vaccination rates rise across the state, the overall numbers of covid cases and deaths have plunged. But health officials are still reporting nearly 1,000 new cases and more than two dozen deaths a day. So, where does covid continue to simmer in California? And why? (Phillip Reese,
Covid Cases On The Rise For Black Residents In L.A.: Coronavirus case and hospitalization rates are worsening for Los Angeles County’s Black residents. Between mid-May and mid-June, the covid case rate over a two-week-period rose 18% among Black residents but declined for Latino, white and Asian American residents. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.
Triple-Digit Heat Will Return This Week: The Fourth of July weekend brought pleasant weather for most of the Bay Area and Northern California, but that summer relief won’t last. A heat wave is expected to ramp up temperatures across the region and state, particularly inland areas. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.
‘We’ve Lived Through Some Of Our Darkest Days’: Biden Reflects On 4th Of July, COVID
Emerging from the White House to “Hail to the Chief,” President Joe Biden addressed the largest event of his administration to declare: “All across this nation we can say America is coming back together.” “This year, the Fourth of July is a day of special celebration. For we are emerging from the darkness of years. A year of pandemic and isolation. A year of pain, fear and heartbreaking loss. Just think back to where this nation was a year ago. Think back to where you were a year ago. And think about how far we’ve come,” Biden said to applause from the crowd of 1,000 military families and essential workers. (Nagle, 7/4)
20 States Reach 70% COVID-19 Vaccination Goal
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have met President Joe Biden’s Fourth of July goal of vaccinating 70% or more of adults with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to tracking by the New York Times. Puerto Rico and Guam have also met the goal. California, Illinois, and New York have all met the goal. Vermont remains the national leader in vaccination. (Soucheray, 7/2)
U.S. Ready To Deploy Booster Shots If Needed
The U.S. government is ready to deploy booster shots if scientists and health officials determine they’re needed in the fight against Covid-19, White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients said. With increases in cases in parts of the U.S. linked to low vaccination rates and the more-contagious delta variant that’s spreading throughout the nation, Zients said President Joe Biden’s administration will push ahead with encouraging young people and others to get shots. (Yang, 7/4)
Israel Sees Decline In Pfizer Vaccine Efficacy Rate
Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine was less effective at keeping people from getting the coronavirus in Israel in recent weeks, but it continues to provide a strong shield against severe Covid-19, according to government data. The vaccine protected 64% of people against the illness between June 6 and early July, down from a previous 94%. The drop was observed as the delta variant was spreading in Israel, the Health Ministry said. It also coincided with the lifting of virus restrictions at the start of June. (Odenheimer and Shepherd, 7/5)
Sacramento, California Has Low Teen COVID Vaccine Rate
Sacramento County has consistently lagged behind neighboring counties and California in vaccinations as a whole. Sacramento’s comparatively poor numbers don’t appear to be simply a matter of undercounted reporting, which local health officers across the state had previously cited as a major issue. Sacramento’s rates have trailed the state and neighboring counties such as Placer and Yolo counties since the rollout began. As districts prepare to return to full-time in-person instruction for the 2021-22 academic year, school officials say it is vital that as many students as possible receive the vaccine. The CDPH is encouraging families to begin the vaccination process for students ages 12 and older so they are fully vaccinated when they return to school campuses. (Morrar and McGough, 7/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Do People Who Got The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Need A Booster?
Should people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine consider getting a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna? The idea recently entered public discussion. Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist based in Canada, tweeted that she received a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine “to top off the J&J vaccine I received in April,” citing a number of unanswered questions about how protective the one-dose shot is against the ultra-contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. (Lin II and Money, 7/6)
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Rise Among Unvaccinated In Sonoma County
Cases of COVID-19 are rising in Sonoma County since the state opened up on June 15, and county officials said Friday most of those who have been sickened were not vaccinated against the deadly respiratory illness. “It’s primarily a result of our mitigations relaxing,” said county spokesman Paul Gullixson. “We’ve opened up more and that’s a good thing. But the reality is we are seeing a spread among unvaccinated individuals, and that’s a growing concern.” (Coates, 7/2)
Southern California News:
LA County Reports 436 Coronavirus Cases, 2 Deaths As Holiday Weekend Inches Toward Its Close
Los Angeles County reported 436 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Monday, July 5, though health officials said the number of cases and deaths likely reflect reporting delays over the holiday weekend. Hospitalizations in the county due to COVID-19 dropped from 284 to 273, with the number of COVID patients in ICU units declining from 77 to 65, according to state figures. (7/5)
Los Angeles Times:
What The Delta Variant Means For Unvaccinated Kids
If you are fully vaccinated and sending your kids off to camp or inviting their friends to sleep over, you might almost — almost — feel like the nightmare that was the COVID-19 pandemic is finally in the rearview mirror. But dare to share this sentiment on a work call or with other parents on the playground and chances are some killjoy is going to bring up the dreaded Delta variant. (Netburn, 7/6)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Can ‘Sniff Training’ Restore COVID Survivors’ Sense Of Smell?
Anosmia — a vanished sense of smell — is one of the most common COVID side effects, affecting an estimated 60% of sufferers. In the U.S. alone, that’s roughly 20 million people. The good news is that the ability to recognize odors returns for about 95% of them within six months, said Dr. Patricia Loftus, an otolaryngologist at UCSF who treats patients with post-COVID smell loss. (Asimov, 7/6)
San Francisco Chronicle:
It Took Cal/OSHA Months To Issue Pandemic Safety Rules. Can It Get Ahead Of The Next Pandemic?
On March 11 of last year, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Days later, San Francisco and other Bay Area cities and counties issued an emergency shelter-in-place order, recognizing the threat of the pandemic and instructing people to work from home if they could and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. But it wasn’t until Dec. 1 when California had regulations in place to slow the spread of the virus on the job. That’s when workplace safety rules enforced by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, took effect. (Feliciantonio, 7/5)
Orange County Register:
UCI Professor Wins International Prize For Work That Led To COVID-19 Vaccines
Back when Philip Felgner was a kid — in a Michigan farming town in the 1950s — science was cool. Walt Disney TV specials focused on the wonders of space exploration, “Watch Mr. Wizard” featured fun experiments, Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village celebrated American resourcefulness and ingenuity, and Sputnik spurred a nation to action. The conviction that science can and should make lives better always ran deep in Felgner, and his painstaking work over the past 35 years laid the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines that are so startlingly effective against COVID-19. The UC Irvine professor has seen his work take off in ways he never quite expected, and soon he’ll be rubbing elbows with Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia as they honor him — alongside the German creators of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and four others — for outstanding advances in technical and scientific research. (Sforza, 7/2)
How These Latino-Owned Businesses Survived The Pandemic
Amid the coronavirus crisis, Latino-owned businesses, the fastest-growing U.S. business population, were more likely to report having less cash on hand. They said their Paycheck Protection Program applications were denied at higher rates than those of white-owned businesses, according to a 2020 study by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. (Bojórquez, 7/6)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Is Prime Healthcare Looking At Palomar Health?
In the midst of medical group contracting changes underway at Palomar Health, some doctors and other medical staff are questioning links to Prime Healthcare, the private operator known for scooping up financially-distressed hospitals and making major staffing, billing and operational changes. Dr. Marcelo Rivera, an internal medicine specialist, former Palomar board member and member of physician leadership at Palomar Medical Center Poway, said there has definitely been speculation about Prime’s possible role, one that has been explicitly denied by administration. (Sisson, 7/4)
Whittier Daily News:
Another Sign Of Pandemic Lifting: Hospital Gift Shops Are Now Open
As the pandemic is waning, there’s another sign of loosening restrictions at local hospitals: Their gift shops, most of which have been closed since March 2020, are reopening. So far, gift shops at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, PIH in Whittier and Emanate Health Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina have reopened. (Sprague, 7/5)
Los Angeles Times:
Study Could Lead To Fewer Limits On Gay Men Donating Blood
Men who have sex with men have long faced restrictions on giving blood in the United States, amid concerns about the disproportionate toll of HIV/AIDS on gay and bisexual men. Decades ago, as AIDS began devastating gay communities, the Food and Drug Administration advised blood centers to prohibit any man who had had sex with another man since 1977 — even once — from donating. The FDA, which regulates blood banks, has eased the rules somewhat in recent years. But gay and bisexual men are still ineligible to donate if they have had sex with another man in the last three months. (Alpert Reyes, 7/6)
CBS New York:
14-Year-Old California Boy On The Mend After Having Extremely Rare Heart And Liver Transplant
Multi-organ transplants have always been pretty rare, especially in children and especially with a drop in donations during COVID-19 lockdowns. But now, a California teenager is recovering after receiving both a heart and a liver transplant, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday. It is a remarkable story of survival. Mark Trapp can’t wait to get back to playing sports now that he has a new heart and liver. (Gomez, 7/1)
Bay Area News Group:
San Jose State Alum Makes Olympics 17 Years After Eating Disorder Forced Her To Quit Racing
Robyn Stevens has taken an improbable road to the Summer Olympics in the arcane sport of race walking. It probably should never have happened — not 17 years after she quit competing at San Jose State because of an eating disorder. “When I walked away in 2004 I did not see myself coming back,” Stevens said this week. “I was done.” (Almond, 7/6)
Healthcare Foundation Supports School Leaders’ Mental Health
Superintendent Brenda Smith said she was conscious of how her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic would affect staff and students at Hughson Unified School District. “I knew people were going to react to my stress,” she said. “If I could stay calm and make good decisions and be at my best, I could be a better leader.” Smith was one of 11 school leaders in Stanislaus and Merced counties to participate in free performance coaching funded by Turlock-based Legacy Health Endowment. The participants said focusing on their own wellness over the second half of 2020 was crucial to navigating the high-stakes decisions on their desks and helped them create positive environments at a time when teachers across the country reported feeling high levels of burnout and low morale. (Isaacman, 7/5)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Local Women’s Nonprofit Aims To Provide Helping Hand To Domestic Violence Survivors And More
A few years ago, a small group of volunteers came together with a common goal: empowering women affected by substance abuse, homelessness and domestic violence. The group of seven San Diego County women, most of them Latina and in their 20 or early 30s, are now known as “La Chula Crew.” The organization partners with other organizations in San Diego County and across the U.S.-Mexico border to provide clothing, toiletries, bedding, diapers and other essentials to women in need. (Durham, 7/4)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Hate Crimes Soared Against Black Californians Last Year. Were Trump And Racist Backlash To Blame?
An alarming rise in anti-Asian attacks in California may have obscured another bleak statistic for the state last year: hate crimes against Black people increased to their highest number in more than a decade. According to a report released last week by the California Department of Justice, 457 hate crimes with an anti-Black or anti-African American bias were reported to law enforcement in 2020. That represents a nearly 88% increase from 2019. (Narayan, 7/5)
Senior Program To Assist Demographic With Affordable Housing
HomeShare will link room seekers with home providers, facilitate background checks free of charge and assist with moving and mediation if needed, said Hannah Brady, SAN’s housing program coordinator. “I think housing is obviously one of the biggest issues in Stanislaus County for people of all ages and it’s a growing issue specifically for seniors,” said Brady. Her boss, Joyce Gandelman, who also serves on the county’s Commission on Aging, said that about a year ago, commission members discussed the obstacles seniors were facing when it came to housing. (Briseño and Karisch, 7/6)
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