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COVID-19 Digest: Updates from Cal Wellness

Produced by Sandra J. Martínez, Director of Public Policy

This ongoing digest summarizes developments in policies and public-health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on California. It began as an internal update to staff to inform our response efforts, and we’re sharing it as a resource to others. We hope it’s useful to you.


Friday, May 29

As coronavirus cases continue to grow in parts of the country that are beginning to reopen, Americans are spending less; this is clouding the outlook for recovery from the pandemic.

Nation

  • As concerns related to community spread increased during the pandemic, many office buildings closed and employees who could, began working remotely. The Centers for Disease Control has announced guidelines for employers related to office buildings. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the recommendations point to sweeping changes to American offices.
  • New York has been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and much of the state has begun to take steps to reopen. New York City is beginning the process and is looking to June 8 for first phase of reopening.
  • Today there are 1,733,000 confirmed cases and there have been 101,000 deaths in the United States.

State

Region

Racial Equity

  • As the pandemic continues to impact black people at alarming rates, protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week have given voice and laid bare systemic inequities that are ever present. Read Of course there are protests. The State is failing black people to understand why in this pivotal moment, left with limited options, people are enraged.

ICYMI:

  • The easing of social distancing guidelines has caused new questions to emerge about what is safe and not safe. One question that I’ve seen posed is about housecleaners; today Roxane Gay is your work friend and she is tackling the question “Is it safe to keep employing a cleaner?”

Thursday, May 28

As pandemic-induced jobless numbers continue to grow, with 2.1 million more added, unemployment claims now exceed 40 million in the United States.

Nation

  • With experts continuing to stress the risks posed by mass events the Boston Marathon has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history. Organizers announced they would be holding a virtual marathon instead, with participants running the 26.2 miles remotely.

State

  • Nursing homes have been the focus of numerous outbreaks of coronavirus. By one estimate, about half of all coronavirus deaths in California have been linked to nursing homes. The California Health Department has issued new instructions, now requiring universal testing at nursing homes.
  • The California Senate has just released its plan for the state budget. To make up for the shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic the California Senate plan would reject most of the Governor’s cuts and instead take more money from reserves and delay payments to school districts.
  • Due to the COVID-19 crisis, California is facing a projected budget shortfall of tens of billions of dollars. Governor Newsom’s proposed Medi-Cal budget cuts will worsen health outcomes. This table from the California Budget and Policy Center highlights how key cuts to Medi-Cal will impact Californians.

Region

Racial Equity

ICYMI:

  • Many have been holding out hope that herd immunity for coronavirus will be achieved and then things can go back to “normal”. Herd immunity is the threshold at which a virus can no longer spread widely. However, a slew of new studies is showing that the world is still far from herd immunity even in places where the coronavirus has hit hard.
  • There are numerous questions we all have when it comes to managing day-to-day risks. Questions continue to arise about the risk of touching surfaces that may have been touched by someone with COVID-19. To learn the latest read What’s the Risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

Wednesday, May 27

Today the United States reaches the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Nation

State

Region

  • Allowing people of faith to worship together has been a point of contention as social distancing orders are lifted. Claiming that the Governor’s rules are too restrictive for megachurches, and counter to state health authority orders, Orange County Supervisors have deemed in-person church ‘essential’.
  • As school districts begin to plans for reopening, to allow for social distancing and sanitizing, many things at schools will have to change. In LA County school re-opening guidelines, published today include things like one-way halls, lunch at desk and playing alone.

Racial Equity

ICYMI:


Monday, May 26

The gradual reopening of the country coincided with a warm, sunny holiday weekend in many parts of the United States. Many enjoyed the time and good weather to get out however concerns have emerged in some places as scenes of crowds in Missouri went viral and caused public health officials to call for participants to self-quarantine; and in California large crowds at one hiking trail caused the location to be shut down until June.

Nation

  • Retail and grocer workers nationwide have been deemed essential workers but protections for these workers have come in stages and many have fallen ill. This story looks at the impact of COVID-19 on these front line workers.
  • Two-months ago Congress set up an emergency program to provide food to children, to compensate for the fact that school lunches were not being provided during shelter-in-place. With hunger rising nationwide, the program’s slow start is leaving millions of children waiting.
  • Today there are 1,671,000 confirmed cases and there have been 97,000 deaths in the United States.

State

  • California was the first states to move aggressively and shut down to confront coronavirus. The numbers have begun to level and are moving downward, however, the unemployment rate has reached 20 percent, and the $54 billion state budget deficit are a testament to the financial costs of the pandemic. To learn more, read The Price of a Virus Lockdown: Economic ‘Free Fall’ in California.
  • Much more is now understood about how coronavirus is transmitted and now concerns are emerging about asymptomatic individuals or ‘silent spreaders’, and whether or not they are becoming a bigger risk as California reopens.
  • As California continues its reopening, there are signs that parts of the state are moving into the third phase of reopening. Today, Governor Newsom announced that hair salons and barber shops can reopen.
  • Today there are 99,090 confirmed cases and there have been 3,806 deaths in California.

Region

Racial Equity

  • Many keep asking why African Americans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, often pointing to “lifestyle” and higher prevalence of certain diseases and conditions. Some are pointing directly at historic conditions as the reason. In It’s Not Obesity. It’s Slavery ,Sabrina Strings examines this more directly.

ICYMI:


Friday, May 22

As deaths from COVID-19 inch closer to 100,000, more lives have been lost than a number of national tragedies including Sept. 11th and the entire Vietnam War. There is a growing critique about the lack of acknowledgment of the lives lost by leaders, and concerns about the little sense of shared grief.

Nation

  • When a disaster or crisis occurs, the US disaster response system has had an army of volunteers ready to help with food, clothing and housing relief. The coronavirus crisis has exposed a weakness in this system, most of the volunteers are older people at higher risk for the virus so not able to participate in person at this time. This is exposing weaknesses in the U.S. disaster response.
  • After weeks of delay the CDC released detailed guidelines for re-opening schools and businesses shut down due to coronavirus. The document provides guidance for reopening child care centers, schools, businesses, restaurants and public transit.
  • Today there are 1,576,000 confirmed cases and there have been 93,000 deaths in the United States.

State

Region

  • Though rates of hospitalizations and deaths are on the decrease, Los Angeles continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in California. On Thursday the death toll surpassed 2,000, representing about 60% of all deaths in the state.

Racial Equity

ICYMI:

  • In New York, particular zip codes, have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19. ‘Lord Have Mercy’: Inside one of New York’s Deadliest Zip Codes, a 12-minute video, provides a snapshot of the experiences and deeply-felt grief of health care workers in one hospital.
  • Check out this column for some thought-provoking insight on how Universal Basic Income could help many impacted by the pandemic.

Thursday, May 21

Today the federal government reported another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits bringing the total number to 38.6 million in a span of nine weeks. There is growing concern that as layoffs continue, many jobs may vanish forever.

Nation

  • Nursing homes nationwide have been the site of numerous outbreaks, making up at least 20 percent of the country’s COVID-19 deaths. New analysis is emerging that suggests, like the virus itself, there is a striking racial divide in how COVID-19 has hit nursing homes.
  • There has been ongoing discussion about why rates of coronavirus infection rates have been significantly higher in some parts of the country. A new study suggests that if the country had implemented social distancing guidelines even two weeks earlier 54,000 deaths could have been prevented.

State

  • In California, there has been a moratorium on most mid to large size gatherings, including religious gatherings, during the pandemic. A group of Pentecostal pastors have signed on to defy state coronavirus orders and hold in-person services for Pentecost on May 31st.

Region

Racial Equity

  • Much has been made about how the pandemic has impacted everything from food and health care systems to cities and how they are planned. Check out Coronavirus is not fuel for urbanist fantasies, an insightful and sharp commentary on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and how it should be used to create more inclusive, relevant and racially equitable cities and communities.

ICYMI

  • There continues to be confusion about antibody testing for coronavirus and testing for COVID-19 and whether receiving a positive antibody test proves immunity. This article can help you make some sense of what antibody testing will and won’t tell you.

 


Wednesday, May 20

As concerns mount about the economic toll of the pandemic, and steps are being taken to slowly reopen in different states, new concerns about the risks of reopening are emerging; governors are learning to balance existing risk with new ones.

Nation

  • With the economy in crisis and no concrete end in sight, ideas that once seemed impossible are now being discussed widely. One of those ideas Universal Basic Income is getting a lot of attention amid the crisis, many are starting to see a monthly paycheck from the feds doesn’t seem crazy anymore.
  • Today there are 1,544,000 confirmed cases and there have been 92,000 deaths in the United States.

State

  • California continues to make progress to address the outbreak of coronavirus in the state. Cases are declining and public health officials are cautiously optimistic and leaders are starting to feel that California is finally winning the battle, even as deaths keep rising.
  • As the state takes further steps towards reopening, with a big push to reopen restaurants, malls and gyms as soon as possible. However, many warn it’s not that simple.
  • Today there ae 85,728 confirmed cases and there have been 3,485 deaths in California.

Region

  • For weeks rural counties have been pushing for shelter-in-place guidelines to be relaxed, and the Governor has moved in that direction. However, some rural counties have not met the health criteria set by the state but would like to reopen. One county Tulare, is vowing to defy the Governor, despite many coronavirus deaths.

Racial Equity

ICYMI:

  • This pandemic is not the first, but past pandemics can provide some insights to what is happening now. In past pandemics, the people at greatest risk were often already marginalized and the pandemics themselves affected social inequality by reinforcing existing power structures. This article looks back at history to help make sense of what’s happening now.

Tuesday, May 19

Today the Treasury Department Secretary and the Chair of the Fed made a joint appearance before the Senate Banking Committee and warned of irreparable damage and offered divergent solutions to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

National

  • As the pandemic has evolved and as the nation begins to open up, experts believe contact tracing will be key to opening up the economy. Many are looking at innovations in technology as one way, however public health professionals say you don’t need invasive technology for successful contact tracing.
  • There has been much criticism aimed at Amazon during the pandemic, for everything from how much it pays workers, to a slow response to risks in the workplace. There has been limited coverage about outbreaks inside Amazon warehouses, this article explores the biggest outbreak of at least 100 people, in one of its facilities.

State

  • In California, one large-scale effort undertaken was to use hotel rooms to shelter homeless individuals to decrease risk and minimize spread of coronavirus. California leased 15,000 hotel rooms for Project Turnkey, now half of those sit empty.
  • In the span of about a week the state is suddenly relaxing previous guidelines to open up the economy. The rapidly changing rules are at times, confusing to understand. Read this article to understand more details and learn about what it means for California.
  • Small businesses with small profit margins have been hit hard by the pandemic. Check out this report The Economic Toll of COVID-19 on Small Business, from the Public Policy Institute of California, which examines this topic, and why policy efforts that support these businesses will be important for California’s economic recovery.

Region

  • The Bay Area recently experienced a two-day break without COVID-19 deaths. However, that break came to an abrupt end today, when health officials added nine more deaths in San Mateo and Alameda counties.
  • On Monday afternoon Los Angeles County leaders warned that social distancing and activities guidelines must be obeyed or the path to fully reopening would be difficult. This warning emerged after complaints and photos surfaced of crowds at Malibu beaches and some local parks over the past weekend.

 Racial Equity

  • Understanding of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community is growing; check out the latest installment of the American Medical Association Prioritizing Health Equity YouTube Series: COVID-19 & Latinx Voices in the Field.

 ICYMI:

  • As social distancing restrictions are loosened there are many questions about how to calculate risk and how and under what circumstances, to engage with friends and family.  COVID Care: A Way Forward lays out a framework for assessing our own risks and our communities’ needs and risks.

Monday, May 18

Today’s the World Health Organization convened its annual meeting in Geneva. A primary focus of the conversation is the WHO’s response to COVID-19.

National

  • There are currently eight coronavirus vaccines worldwide that have begun human testing. Moderna, a Massachusetts biotechnology company announced encouraging early results today from its first human tests. The results have not been published in a scientific journal and are only a preliminary step towards proving the vaccine is safe and effective.
  • While the focus of attention has been in the regions of the country impacted most seriously by COVID-19, new concerns are emerging about parts of the nation where chronic health conditions and coronavirus could collide.
  • As numerous states continued to relax social distancing guidelines, the death toll for deaths due to COVID-19, surpassed 90,000 in the United States.

State

Region

  • By beginning to ease social distancing regulations, more of California is reopening. Specific guidelines for reopening are in effect in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties.
  • Like much of the state, the coronavirus infection rate is falling in Los Angeles, but officials warn the county is still in the danger zone.

Racial Equity

ICYMI:


Saturday/Sunday, May 16-17

This weekend brought the news that coronavirus cases and deaths have slowed nationally. Experts continue to urge caution, noting much of the progress was a result of social distancing; making progress, tenuous and uncertain.

Nation

  • There continues to be a focus on the necessity of a vaccine to be able to adequately manage the spread of coronavirus.  But a leading public health expert is warning that a vaccine this year is far from a ‘sure thing’
  • Nursing homes continue to be a focus of outbreaks and deaths due to COVID-19.  A new report shows that one of the largest chains in the country continued to violate federal standards designed to stop the spread of disease, even after start of the pandemic.
  • Today there are 1,480,000 confirmed cases and there have been 88,000 deaths in the United States.

State

  • Many service workers in different parts of the country have been deemed ‘essential’; and in some place, like California, a good percentage of these workers are Latinos. This article explores the impact coronavirus is having on Latino essential workers.
  • To mitigate against potential outbreaks in jails and prisons, cities counties, and the state have taken steps to decrease the numbers of inmates, with a focus on those with non-violent offenses and/or nearing parole dates. While this has been welcomed by many, it has also emptied thousands into a world changed by coronavirus.
  • Today there are 79,836 confirmed cases and there have been 3,240 deaths in California.

Region

  • Prisons and jails continue to be sites of outbreaks of COVID-19. This weekend the California Institute for Women at Chino was put on quarantine after an outbreak of coronavirus, where 47 inmates tested positive. This occurs just on the heels of an outbreak at the California Institute for Men at Chino where 431 inmates have tested positive and five have died from COVID-19.
  • Even though gatherings of any size are currently prohibited, in Butte County a person who attended an in-person Mother’s Day religious service has tested positive for coronavirus. The service had 180 people in attendance. Butte County is one of 22 counties that has certified to the state that it meets the standards for re-opening of some businesses.
  • California has moved into phase two of California’s four-phase process of reopening, to see what it means and looks like, check out these photos from Southern California.

Racial Equity

  • Studies have found low income communities of color are exposed to higher levels of pollution and also experience higher levels of lung disease and ailments. Scientists are now trying to understand if this long-term exposure is playing a role in the coronavirus crisis. To learn more about this emerging issue, check out In the Shadows of America’s Smokestacks, Virus is One More Deadly Risk.
  • Because of the pandemic, graduates this year are feeling the pain of not being able to celebrate this achievement. This weekend, President Obama delivered a commencement address for graduates of historically black colleges and universities and decried the racial impact of COVID-19 deaths.

ICYMI:


Friday, May 15

Countries worldwide have begun to open up and relax social distancing guidelines. However, outbreaks have emerged in South Korea, China and Germany, raising concerns about moving to open up too soon. Sweden chose a different route and stayed open, and new numbers are showing the toll it has taken on that country.

Nation

  • Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic retail businesses have seen progressive declines in sales, reaching 16.4 percent decline in April.  With these losses and so many unemployed, questions have emerged about whether businesses will survive and what will be left, at the end of the crisis.
  • The COVID-19 crisis is forcing changes in multiple workplaces, including Congress. On Friday evening the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote to allow remote voting and virtual hearings for the first time in its 231-year history.
  • Today there are 1,425,000 confirmed cases and there have been 86,000 deaths in the United States.

 State

  • As stay at home restrictions are beginning to be relaxed in the state, California coronavirus cases exceeded 75,000. Nearly half of all the cases and more than half of the related deaths were among residents in Los Angeles County.
  • Today there are 75,040 confirmed cases and there have been 3,052 deaths in California.

Region

  • In recent days coronavirus cases have been rising in Orange County. On Thursday the county recorded its highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • This week marks the reopening of beaches in LA County.  New rules require beachgoers wear masks and remain active—such as swimming, walking, or running. Sunbathing and picnics will not be allowed and many bike paths, parking lots and piers continue to be closed.

Racial Equity

  • With increased focus on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color there is greater exploration of racial disparities. Check out this article exploring with Black clinicians and experts, the intersection of housing location, employment options, health care access, and historic distrust, as contributing factors to the racial disparities that are becoming evident during the pandemic.

ICYMI:

  • With safer-at-home orders in place, many people during the pandemic have only seen friends and family via videoconference. As restrictions begin to be relaxed, some are wondering if they can see friends again--this article offers some answers.
  • All of us are wondering when the pandemic will end and how we will get back to some semblance of normalcy. Historians say pandemics usually have two types of endings—medical, and social; check out this article to learn a bit about how previous pandemics have ended, and how COVID-19 might end.

 


Thursday, May 14

The economic devastation of COVID-19 continues with job losses mounting while re-openings continue throughout the nation. Nearly three million new unemployment claims were filed last week, bringing the total to 36.5 million in a two-month period.

Nation

  • There is a divide emerging between elected officials and public health authorities about how best to manage the coronavirus pandemic.  In Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers brought a legal challenge against state health officials over social distancing orders, and on Wednesday the Wisconsin’s Supreme Court overturned safer-at-home orders.  The ruling also mandates that future statewide restrictions related to coronavirus be approved by that state’s legislature’s rule-making committee.
  • The rapid development and dissemination of a coronavirus vaccine has been identified as a key strategy ending the pandemic. However, concerns have emerged about the anti-vaccine movement growing networks undermining efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic.
  • As states begin to relax stay-at-home orders and as the economy reopens, experts warn large workplaces vulnerable to coronavirus super-spread.

State

Region

  • Imperial County, a county with less than 200,000 residents, has the highest per capita rate of coronavirus hospitalization in California. As of Wednesday, approximately 31 out of every 100,000 residents are being hospitalized for the virus. The county has experienced 14 deaths, all of them were Latino residents.
  • In an effort to help lift stay-at-home orders, on Wednesday night Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced all Angelenos, except for small children and those with certain disabilities, would be required to wear face coverings when venturing outside. Details on the rules can be found here.

 Racial Equity

  • Restaurant workers and other service workers, have been severely impacted as a result of the pandemic. It is estimated that there are upwards of 20 million “tipped workers” in the United States; 70% are women and are disproportionately women of color. Check out this COVID-19 and Race Commentary from Saru Jayaraman, looking at the inequities in the service industry and the opportunities for reshaping the sector.

ICYMI:

  • Children may be processing the pandemic in different ways that might be unexpected for adults and parents around them; this might include: acting out, regressing, defiance or seeming content.  To learn more about how to help children manage read How to Keep Children’s Stress from Turning into Trauma.

Wednesday, May 13

The economy at many levels is reeling. This week, after the Chair of the Federal Reserve indicated the outlook for the economy was uncertain and more government support might be needed to restore prosperity, stocks fell with the dollar.  California, which began 2020 with a budget surplus, is facing a growing deficit. The coronavirus, joblessness and weak tax receipts are creating the perfect budget storm.

Nation

  • As the coronavirus crisis unfolded, workers in retail jobs deemed “essential” continued to work and many retailers, began paying hazard pay. As the nation begins to “open up” retailers are taking it back, even though workers claim the risky conditions have not changed.
  • Today there are 1,383,000 confirmed cases and there have been 83,000 deaths in the United States.

State

  • Prison overcrowding has long been an issue in California, and with an increasing number of inmates testing positive statewide, there is increased attention on this issue. Check out this new Data Hit from the California Budget and Policy Center, exploring how measures to reduce overcrowding in state facilities, have been insufficient to reduce overcrowding, putting many Californians’ health at risk.
  • A new poll From the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released today is documenting the impact of the pandemic has found most California voters believe coronavirus is increasing inequality, especially among blacks.
  • Restaurants with dine-in options were some of the first businesses that were closed in response to the pandemic. On Tuesday, Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued new guidance for dine-in restaurants. The Governor also announced new rules for malls and offices in counties that meet state standards for testing and success at reducing coronavirus cases.
  • Today there are 72,506 confirmed cases and there have been 2,934 deaths in California.

Regional

Racial Equity

ICYMI:

  • Millions of Americans have lost jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasingly people are looking to innovations such as Universal Basic Income or UBI. Soomi Lee, a professor at the University of La Verne believes an emergency UBI could ease economic pain right now, read more about it here.

 


Tuesday, May 12

Earlier today the House Coronavirus Task Force Members testified at the Senate Health Committee, the first major hearing on the COVID-19 pandemic. The speakers, at times contradicted the Administration and painted a bleak picture of the Pandemic; six takeaways from the hearing can be found here.

Nation

 State

Region

Racial Equity

  • The pandemic may leave communities of color undercounted in the census—and cost them billions about census and redistricting which features grantee – California Call’s Black Census and Redistricting Hub. Might be useful to include in the update.
  • Some believe that changes in attitudes about stay-at-home orders began to change once people began to hear about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color.  Read this thought-provoking opinion piece from Derrick Johnson of the NAACP about the shift in attitudes on COVID-19.
  • The pandemic is bringing to the forefront, and worsening the conditions that many children of color have been living with for years. I’m sick of Asking Children to Be Resilient explores the idea of using this crisis to transform resiliency “from an individual trait to one that describes a community—and society—that cares for everyone”.

 ICYMI

  • The Associated Press is collecting stories of the those that have died due to COVID-19 around the world. Check out Lives Lost: Virtual Scrapbook, a moving tribute to some of the people who have died during the pandemic.

Monday, May 11

Worldwide there are over 4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and there have been 280,000 deaths. The pandemic has hit those living in poverty profoundly and some are predicting the economic devastation could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself.

Nation

  • The economic impact of COVID-19 is increasingly becoming evident as millions of people are out of work and small businesses unable to operate. Some states are coming out of lockdown even as most have not met minimal criteria for safely reopening; and with cases increasing in some states, scientists are now fearing a coronavirus comeback.
  • As businesses begin to re-open, employers are looking to apps that check for symptoms and fever screening cameras for employees. As employers rush to adopt virus screening, concerns have emerged about privacy and accuracy of these tools.

State

 Region

Racial equity

ICYMI:


Friday/Saturday, May 9-10

As states continue to take steps to move towards relaxing stay-at-home orders and open up economies, public health experts say many states are opening too soon to do so safely.

Nation

  • As the nation reels from the economic impact of COVID-19, the treasury secretary indicates the jobs picture will get worse before it gets better. Latinos have been hit particularly hard with a staggering 18.9% unemployed.
  • While children have been largely untouched by coronavirus, last week a number of children presented with COVID-related illnesses in New York and a few other places in the country. On Sunday, health departments across the country were put on alert about this mystery coronavirus illness after three children die.
  • Some 29 million Americans rely on community health centers for primary care services.  The coronavirus pandemic has impacted community clinics as patient visits have come to a near-halt. Unable to bill or seek reimbursement for care, community clinics are suddenly on life support.
  • Today there are 1,322,000 confirmed cases and there have been 79,192 deaths in the United States.

State

 Region

Racial Equity

  • The last six weeks has brought to the forefront that Blacks and Latinos and in some parts of the country, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  Read this insightful piece that explores how the pandemic has exposed the “bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others”.
  • As the data becomes clear about the impact of COVID-19 on Blacks, there is an rush to begin to study why this happening. For Black Angelenos coronavirus triggers fear of another Tuskegee.

ICYMI:

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, because of the risks, older Californians have been told to stay at home to stay safe. Many are finding ways to give back to community and make their mark during COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday, May 8

Today the Labor Department reported that 20.5 million jobs were lost last month as a result of the pandemic and the jobless rate soared to 14.7%, the highest level since the Great Depression; these staggering employment numbers show almost every job is at risk.

National

  • Epidemiologists around the U.S. are noticing a disparity that is unsettling--Latinos are contracting the virus at higher rates than the population overall. This is raising additional concerns about the best ways to control the spread COVID-19.
  • Today there are 1,266,000 confirmed cases and there have been 76,262 deaths in the United States.

 State

Region

Racial Equity

 ICYMI:

  • Masks have become part of daily living in the U.S. and worldwide. In Latin America masks have become a form of self-expression.
  • Health care workers have been hit hard by COVID-19 with many lives lost. Lost on the Frontline a project of Kaiser Health News and The Guardian, tells the stories of some of those lives.

Thursday, May 7

Nearly 3.2 million more Americans filed for jobless claims last week as a result of coronavirus-related shutdowns of businesses, deepening the economic crisis in the country. This brings the total number of people who filed for jobless aid to 33.5 million in the last seven weeks.

Nation

 State

Region

Racial Equity

ICYMI

  • Drive-in movie theatres and drive-throughs were popular businesses for many years, particularly in Southern California. In more recent years these businesses have fallen out of favor and many have closed down. Social distancing and the closing of many public spaces as a result of coronavirus is giving these businesses a lifeline.

Wednesday, May 6

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 3.6 million people and at least 260,000 people have died worldwide.

Nation

  • A new  study released on Tuesday is showing how badly Black Americans have been hit by COVID-19, including disproportionately higher deaths taking place in primarily black communities. The study, the work of a dozen scientists and researches and six organizations and universities, is still under peer review by a medical journal.
  • During the course of the pandemic, Americans perspectives on the crisis, how it is being handled and what should be done are changing regularly. Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape , one of the largest ongoing public opinion surveys ever conducted, recently expanded its survey to better understand how the outbreak is influencing the lives and perspectives of Americans. Check out the survey here.
  • Today there are 1,219,000 confirmed cases and there have been 72,476 deaths in the United States.

State

Region

  • In a state as vast as California there are particular challenges with lifting stay-at-home orders because some parts of the state have been hit harder than others. Nineteen rural counties have no confirmed deaths and some suburban areas the numbers are relatively low. This has some experts wondering if reopening will bring more coronavirus deaths.
  • Los Angeles County has not yet eased stay-at-home orders, but today officials announced some retail stores will be permitted to reopen for pick-up and some recreational sites will also be open. These are the first steps towards easing lock down orders.

Racial Equity

  • In the last month of the pandemic, more focused attention is being paid to how race, class and increasingly place are intersecting with COVID-19. Check out How Race and Class Fuel a Pandemic, a report from Race Counts highlighting the disparate impact, the COVID-19 pandemic is having on people of color, and the poor.
  • Check out this sobering Op-Ed from Teen Vogue that explores how the organized efforts to lift lockdown orders and liberate America, are rooted in white entitlement.

ICMYI:

  • The coronavirus pandemic has made Dr. Anthony Fauci a household name in the United States. As the Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly 40 years, he has been at the forefront of managing numerous outbreaks. Read this interview  with Dr. Fauci to learn what he thinks about the rush to re-open states and offers tips for handling information overload.

Reopening the economy means that movie theatres and retail business will be opening but will have to make changes. How will these businesses look and will they survive? This article examines these question.


Tuesday, May 5

While many states are moving forward and relaxing stay at home orders across the country, some experts are expressing reservations. There has been a drop in cases in New York, however other cities and smaller communities are seeing upticks in numbers, amounting to 25,000 new cases, or a 2 to 4 percent daily increase in the United States.

Nation

  • Scientists have identified a now-dominant strain of coronavirus that appears to more contagious than the original. Details about this study were shared on a website used by researchers to share work before it is peer reviewed, to facilitate collaborations between scientists working on vaccines or treatments.
  • COVID-19 has increased concerns about rising hunger and has turned the food industry upside down.  However, the network of food producers, distributors, retailers, service providers and advocates have been scrambling to find new solutions and perhaps a new way forward. Read more about how, here.
  • Today there are 1,197,000 confirmed cases and there have been 70,558 deaths in the United States.

State

  • In an effort to build an army of 20,000 people to test, trace and isolate people who may have been infected by the coronavirus, the Newsom Administration is teaming up with UCLA and UC San Francisco to train employees to become “coronavirus detectives".
  • Today there are 58,303 confirmed cases and there have been 2,364 deaths in California.

Region

Racial Equity

  • Questions of race and to some degree, class have come to be a focus of attention during the pandemic and is shedding light on historic inequities of the United States. In COVID-19's Race and Class Warfare, the myriad ways people of color are being impacted by the pandemic is explored.

 ICYMI:


Monday, May 4

As California nears its seventh week of state-mandated stay-at-home orders, tallies of coronavirus cases continue to climb. Over the past week, the state averaged 1,603 new cases and 70.7 deaths per day.

Nation

State

Region

  • Homeless individuals unable to abide by stay-at-orders are at increased risk for coronavirus infection. Recently homeless activists have stepped up efforts in Los Angeles calling on leaders to use emergency powers to seize hotel and motel rooms to house at-risk unhoused populations.
  • In some parts of the state businesses have planned to, or already have opened, in defiance of coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

Racial Equity

  • Disasters and crisis tend to exacerbate inequality and COVID-19 is exhibiting this tendency.  What We Know About the COVID-19 Race Gap explores the lack of reliable COVID-19 racial data, how unequal the toll looks and why the work can’t stop focusing or inequity.

ICYMI:

Many are beginning to forecast how work and workplaces will change as a result of the pandemic. Some are forecasting a few hallmarks like the 40-hour work week and open floor plans in offices may become a thing of the past.


Saturday-Sunday, May 2-3

This was the first weekend that approximately a dozen states relaxed stay-at-home orders; however experts believe the coronavirus outbreak is far from quelled.

National

  • In 1994 Laurie Garrett wrote the bestselling book The Coming Plague which is about a pandemic very similar to this one. Read this interview exploring what can be expected in the next few years of the pandemic.
  • The Navajo nation continues to be ravaged by COVID-19. On Saturday 166 new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total cases to 2,307 and total deaths to 73. On Friday all roads into the town of Gallup New Mexico were closed for the weekend; Gallup has over 1,000 confirmed cases.
  • “Because the pandemic pauses the present, it forces us to live in the future”. Check out this article about how pandemic will change the retail sector and the economy.
  • Today there are 1,153,000 confirmed cases and there have been 67,172 deaths in the United States.

State

  • In California about 31 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 have been in nursing homes. The pandemic is shedding light on the problems in the industry: for-profit business models, overworked and underpaid employees and a mixed record of compliance with infection control requirements.
  • Anti-vaccination proponents have become a visible and growing presence at protests against government efforts to manage the coronavirus crisis. There is growing concern that this overlapping and vocal group of people could harm future acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Today there are 54,799 confirmed cases and there have been 2,213 deaths in California.

Region

Racial Equity

  • As many try to find ways to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, some are also looking to interim steps that can be taken before any long-term structural changes can be made. This article examines some grass roots efforts to address testing currently underway, and describes interim technology-based steps that can be made to address equity in care.

ICYMI:


Friday, May 1

Today is International Workers Day, historically a day to honor workers with marches and celebrations. COVID-19 has impacted workers in profound ways and because of the pandemic, many activities related to May Day, are not possible this year.  However, you can still honor workers today by learning a bit more about today’s strike by essential retail workers; read Martin Luther King Jr. Predicted this Moment, an evocative opinion piece; mull over 10 Ways you Can Honor International Workers Day While Remaining Safe at Home, or listen to this impressive cover of Bulls on Parade.

Nation

State

Region

 Racial Equity

  • Many states in the country are beginning to open up citing economic reasons, even though many have increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, and insufficient testing options. Bioethicist Dr. Reuben C. Warren believes this is a false choice between health and economics, and for Black communities increases distrust. Questions of race, health, ethics and coronavirus are explored with him in this interview.

 ICYMI:

  • Stay at home orders have hit restaurants deeply and many restaurants, unable to operate with little to no profit, are opting to close their doors. Others are trying to creatively support frontline workers, seniors, schools and others in need. To understand more what restaurants are experiencing and doing, read this thoughtful reflection from Chef Hugh Acheson.

Thursday, April 30

At midnight tonight, federal social distancing guidelines will expire and tomorrow a number of states will begin to reopen, and lift stay at home orders.

Nation

  • Unemployment numbers continue to climb; last week, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment in the United States. This brings the total number of people seeking unemployment to 30 million in the last 6 weeks.
  • Health care workers worldwide have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and many nurses have died from COVID-19.  Approximately 150,000 nurses in the United States are Filipino, and in some regions, they account for a much larger share of caregivers. This article explores the outsize impact on Filipino American health care workers.
  • Today there are 1,064,000 confirmed cases and there have been 62,545 deaths in the United States.

State

  • The Governor announced a four-stage plan to reopen the state and many are eager for restrictions to be lifted and the economy to begin moving. However, many are predicting it will be an arduous task, require changes and won’t be quick.
  • With 150,000 unhoused individuals, California has the highest number of homeless people in the country. Homeless Californians are at increased risk for contracting coronavirus. Cal Matters set out to learn more about these individuals and how they are trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic and produced a video, which can be found here.
  • Today there are 50,129 confirmed cases and there have been 2,029 deaths in California.

Region

 Racial Equity

ICYMI

  • Should you talk to your child about the pandemic?  A child education specialist explains why it’s important to have an honest conversation with your child here.
  • Travel is something that has been relatively easy for those with the benefit of resources and time. The coronavirus pandemic has shifted attitudes and elevated fears about travel; this article explores how travel might change as a result of the pandemic.

 


Wednesday, April 29

As the impact of the coronavirus on the economy continues to become evident, today it was reported that the U.S. gross domestic product fell at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter. This is the first decline since 2014 and the worse contraction since 2008.

Nation

State

 Region

Racial Equity

ICYMI:

  • As conversations continue evolve about re-opening and what “normal” might look like in the future, schools seem to be a focal point. This article lays out what schools might look like when they re-open; and this one describes what was observed in Denmark when elementary schools re-opened a little over a week ago.
  • Deep investments in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19 have been made with the hopes to address coronavirus infection and transmission quickly. Vaccines are complex and often misunderstood, but if you want to learn more and go a little deeper, check out this graphical guide on the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Tuesday, April 28

Today confirmed cases in the United States exceeded 1 million, more than any other country in the world.

Nation

State

  • Governor Newsom released a new plan for a “phased-in” ending of the state shutdown; with a second phase that includes potentially opening some childcare centers and schools by mid-summer. The plan carries a number of caveats and regional variations for implementation.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the challenges the health care system is experiencing in caring for patients during this surge of cases. A new report released by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative is urging leaders to take steps to address the physician shortage in California before a second wave hits.
  • An estimated 1 million people in California lack access to clean drinking water, primarily in rural regions. COVID-19 has added another layer of struggle for these Californians.
  • Today there are 46,032 confirmed cases and there have been 1,862 deaths in California.

Region

Racial Equity

  • Pre-existing racial disparities has made COVID-19 particularly deadly for African Americans, illustrating that when it comes to this disease, race matters.
  • Yesterday the American Medical Association announced a new online resource hub aimed to shine a light on structural issues contributing to and exacerbating health inequities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICYMI:

  • For many, finding joy in small things has been key for managing time in isolation and for others a small chance to interact has brought about moments of happiness. This moving photo essay brings to life some of those instances from around the world.
  • Are you having trouble sleeping during the pandemic? Are your dreams incredibly vivid? The pandemic is reportedly causing sleep patterns to change and strange dreams to linger. Read about why this might be the case here.

Monday, April 27

Monday afternoon the White House released a blueprint for states on testing for COVID-19. The document lays out where the Administration see the boundaries between state and federal responsibilities. As social distancing guidelines from the federal government are set to expire on Thursday, the White House is reportedly reviewing expanded guidance on how to open up society.

Nation

  • As more is understood about COVID-19, clarity about things like disease progression, symptoms and related risks are being identified all the time. Today, the Centers for Disease Control added six new symptoms for the novel coronavirus.
  • Testing continues to be touted as key to making inroads with COVID-19. Antibody testing has generated excitement, but experts are now saying antibody testing are not reliable enough to guide policy on lockdowns and re-openings, but can help model the spread of the virus.
  • As the federal government readies the Paycheck Protection Program to reopen with new funds, troubling issues have emerged from the first round of relief for small business; including reports that  troubled companies got bail out money and tech starts-ups got money and used it not for day-to-day survival but, to “buy time”.
  • Today there are 983,000 confirmed cases and there have been 55,573 deaths in the United States.

State

  • With millions of Californians rendered jobless, turning to the state for unemployment assistance has proven frustrating for many, as understaffing and technology glitches hampers California’s efforts.
  • Over the weekend, the first heatwave of the year hit Southern California and thousands flocked to beaches, few masks were seen and little social distancing observed, raising concerns from experts.
  • Stay-at-home and public health orders have been a primary strategy to protect oneself and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, however for those that are homeless, this isn’t possible. Check out this newly released report from the California Budget and Policy Center showing that health risk is even more severe for homeless individuals who are older, and African American.
  • Today there are 44,949 confirmed cases and there have been 1,776 deaths in California.

Region

Racial Equity

ICYMI:


Saturday/Sunday, April 25-26

As the weekend warmed, in spite of warnings, beaches and recreational spaces in many places were swarmed. On Sunday Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator said Americans should expect social distancing to continue for months.

Nation

  • This weekend marked the first foray into “opening the economy” in some states and counties in the U.S and many are watching to see how this unfolds. This “memo”, based on conversations with experts worldwide, identifies seven lessons that should not be ignored as leaders begin to reopen economies.
  • The economic cost of coronavirus has been staggering and there is renewed interest in non-traditional financial interventions such Universal Basic Income. This article co-published by Newsweek and Capitol & Main explores whether or not the U.S. is ready for UBI.
  • Today there are 959,056 confirmed cases and there have been 54,363 deaths in the United States.

State

 Region

Racial Equity

  • The Navajo Nation has the third highest coronavirus infection rate in the country and an infection rate 10 times of neighboring Arizona. This compelling opinion piece explores the COVID-19 explosion in the context of the historic exploitation and federal mistreatment of the Navajo Nation.
  • Much has been written about the lack of consistent data about people of color during the COVID-19 crisis. A new issue is emerging-- Native Americans are not being accurately counted and are being mislabeled as “other”.

ICYMI:

  • The coronavirus has dramatically changed work in this country. Many have lost work, many are working in jobs that pose increased risks, and many are at home trying to manage new realities of working from home while caring for loved ones. How will the pandemic change the way work happens?  This article from the Harvard Business Review, explores this issue.
  • There have been many “how-to” articles and guides published during the pandemic—everything from how to unpack groceries to how to make an effective mask. Many questions have emerged about food and whether or not cooking it kills the coronavirus. This interview with an infectious disease specialist explores this topic.

Friday, April 24

Even as states and municipalities begin to open up businesses and services, the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 today in the United States. In California, the vast majority believe the stay at home orders should be kept in place for as long as needed, according to a newly released poll from the California Healthcare Foundation.
National

 State

  • The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt at every level of government. California cities are anticipating a $7 billion collective revenue shortfall over the next two years, and are urging the Governor to establish a stabilization fund for cities.
  • In March, California’s unemployment rate jumped from a historically low 3.9% to 5.3%. Early data suggests industries hit are those that employ women, Latinos and young people. This report from the Public Policy Institute of California provides preliminary analysis on the economic impact of the pandemic in the state.
  • Today there are 39,620 confirmed cases and there have been 1,531 deaths in California.

Regional

Racial Equity

  • Stronger than This is a new podcast of candid conversations focused on COVID-19 from the Heinz Endowments. Two to check out: Redirecting Anger to Action with Monica Ruiz, Executive Director of Casa San Jose; and The Moral Lessons of COVID-19 with author and scholar Dr. Andre Perry from the Brookings Institute.

Finally

  • There is so much information, data and resources flowing on COVID-19 and there is much analysis and data to absorb. This fact sheet from Health Access California provides a relatively simple overview of federal and state responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

Thursday, April 23

The numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 continue to climb. In California over the past week the state has averaged 1,509 new cases and  78.4 new deaths per day.

National

 State

Regional 

 Racial Equity

  • There is increased discussion about data and race and COVID-19 and in particular, the lack of reliable data. Check out this week’s Code Switch podcast The News Beyond the COVID Numbers focused on the importance of tracking the coronavirus’s impact on different racial groups and how to translate data into actual health improvements.
  • Data continues to point that communities of color are being hit hardest by COVID-19 across the country. Check out this analysis of data that are available, from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Finally

 


Wednesday, April 22

Since the virus first emerged and was documented in late December there have been 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 reported to the WHO and there have been 160,000 total deaths.

National

  • After presenting the idea in various forms over the course of a few days, late Wednesday afternoon President Trump issued an executive order limiting immigration. Many questions are emerging about what it means and who it impacts, this article provides some clarity.
  • Today there are 826,936 confirmed cases and there have been 42,103 deaths in the United States.

State

  • Although there have been signs that California is bending the curve, public health officials are now warning that a second wave of infections could be far worse than the current wave.
  • It has become increasingly clear that people who have the virus but don’t have symptoms can unknowingly transmit the coronavirus to others. This is particularly worrisome in settings that are now considered high-risk, such as nursing homes or prisons. In an effort to intervene, California has lifted some restrictions to allow testing for those who are asymptomatic.
  • Small businesses have been devastated by the economic fallout related to coronavirus. There are reports that California’s small businesses received the fewest number of federal relief loans in the nation. A new survey from the Small Business Majority reveals the many challenges small businesses are facing in California. The survey results can be found here.
  • Today there are 37,343 confirmed cases and there have been 1,419 deaths in California.

Regional

Racial Equity

Finally


Tuesday, April 21

Testing for coronavirus is getting a lot of attention in the last few days; in part because availability of testing might help to lead to relaxing stay-at-home orders.  Today the FDA granted emergency approval for an in-home test for the coronavirus that will be available to consumers, under a doctor’s order. Priority will be given to health care workers and first responders who may have been exposed.

National

  • Amazon has become an essential lifeline for many during the pandemic, however this has also brought to light some of the negative impacts of its business model. This has brought   invigorated organizing efforts to push the company to change the way it does business.
  • Nationwide nursing homes have been the of site of countless outbreaks and deaths. Nursing homes care for 1.5 million seniors nationwide, and often run on very thin profit margins. To respond to the crisis, nursing homes have had to spend considerably more for care which some believe may wipe out the industry.
  • Today there are 799,717 confirmed cases and there have been 39,995 deaths in the United States.

State

  • In an effort to engage residents who might have interest in, and be able to offer help, Governor Newsom announced the launch of CaliforniansForAll.ca.gov . A volunteer corps to match Californians with safe volunteer opportunities.
  • The California Employment Development Department began increasing call center hours this week to process and manage requests for assistance in response to more than 2.7 million new jobless claims filed in the last month. Even though EDD has shifted over 1,300 workers to manage increased work, the call center is still struggling to meet the demand.
  • Today there are 35,634 confirmed cases and there have been 1,298 deaths in California.

 Regional

  • Rural regions experience challenges with resources and access to services. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the daily struggles of the poor, mostly Latino and immigrant working class communities of the eastern Coachella Valley.
  • There are approximately 1,300 community clinics and health centers across California serving 7 million patients. In the Bay Area where lock-downs were first implemented, clinics have been hit hard and because they are unable to see patients, are struggling to stay afloat.

 Racial Equity

  • An emerging issue in different parts of the state is the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latinos. In San Francisco newly released data is suggesting Latinos account for 25% of coronavirus cases, despite representing 15% of the total population.
  • Los Angeles County officials recently began releasing data on race and COVID-19. Data are showing that African Americans make up 17% of the deaths in the county despite representing 9% of the population. Today in an act of solidarity more than 50 leaders announced a set of demands to public officials to meet the needs of Blacks in Los Angeles.

Finally

  • With all the talk of testing for coronavirus it’s helpful to understand the different two different types of tests available in the United States. Read this article to understand what the two types are, what they test for and how they might be used by clinicians and public health systems.
  • Masks have become part of everyday life for nearly everyone, but for some populations it creates bigger challenges or fears. For those who are deaf and hard of hearing masks can create confusion and limit access to vital information because it prevents lip reading. For children masks can create fear by making people unrecognizable.

Monday, April 20

Although there are promising signs that cases are beginning to level off, the coronavirus threat continues to grow in some regions and states. Clusters in workplaces are on the rise and nursing homes and prisons continue to be hotspots nationwide. A prison in Ohio has now become the largest source of virus infections in the United States; 73% of the inmates tested positive.

National 

  • The conversation continues about when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, and some states are making plans to open up as soon as the end of this week even though many health experts believe the country is nowhere near ready. This article describes five things to know about the COVID-19 peak and under what conditions people might be able to go back to school and work safely.
  • During the pandemic charitable giving has gone up to respond to the coronavirus crisis. This article provides some insight about the shifts occurring in philanthropy in response to this pandemic.
  • Today there are 772,524 confirmed cases and there have been 37,321 deaths in the United States.

 State

 Regional

  • San Francisco was one of the first cities to implement stay-at-home orders and has kept coronavirus infections relatively low. However, outbreaks among homeless populations have caused concerns and now questions have emerged about how the city and county is addressing homelessness.
  • Many community health centers in California have had to adjust services during this time and make serious shifts in how care is provided. This article tells the story of one clinic in San Diego.
  • Essential workers statewide are bearing greater risks than the general population. This story focuses on those living and working on the front lines in the Bay Area.

Racial Equity

  • Troubling data continues to emerge about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 among African Americans. Missouri, has reported that, all the deaths from COVID-19 in St. Louis have been of African American.
  • To understand the scope and scale of COVID-19 accurate data on testing and mortality are needed. In this insightful post, Dr. Nancy Krieger pushes for addressing COVID-19 with a health justice lens and a commitment to publicly report data on how it is affecting different populations and social groups.
  • One in three jobs held by women has been deemed “essential” and women of color are more likely to be in an essential job than anyone else. These jobs are ordinarily undervalued and underpaid, this article explores this contradiction and what it means moving forward.
  • Check out COVID-19 Comes for Communities of Color in today’s Coronavirus in California: Stories from the Front Lines podcast.

 Finally

  • Disease forecasting models are one method used to predict infection rates and guide strategy and decision around COVID-19. However, these models are dependent on reliable data and which are often not reliable. This article gives you five things to know to make sense of infectious disease models.

Saturday-Sunday, April 18-19

Cases and deaths continue to climb worldwide with over 2 million cases and over 160,000 deaths. In California the number of cases continues to climb with the state averaging 1,200 new cases and about 73 deaths per day. There are now cases in 53 of California’s 58 counties.

National

  • As more and more conversations emerge about when the country will “open up” the question of testing availability inevitably emerges. Researchers at Harvard warn that testing must ramp up to at least 500,000 per day for the economy to open back up and stay that way.
  • The meat and poultry processing industries have been hit by a number of outbreaks nationwide. Last week the Smithfield pork plant in South Dakota became the latest hotspot and was shut down after 644 confirmed cases were connected to the plant.  The outbreak is now considered the biggest in the country.
  • For weeks many have been touting antibody testing as the way forward, however many questions remain about the utility of antibody testing; new questions have emerged, raising alarms.
  • Today there are 749,203 confirmed cases and there have been 35,793 deaths in the United States.

 State

 Regional

  • Many cities and counties are facing significant deficits resulting from the coronavirus pandemic that will likely result in cuts in services, furloughs and staff reductions. This article looks at California’s 10 biggest cities to see how they’re responding to the fallout.  Check out this
  • During this crisis, non-profit organizations are stepping up and responding to the great need. In Los Angeles, gang intervention workers are working daily to meet needs, inform and keep residents safe.

 Racial Equity

 Finally

  • About a month ago a writer from The New Yorker had a conversation with a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health about how epidemiologists understood the novel coronavirus. Earlier this week the writer called the professor back to ask what has evolved and been learned in the last month. Read what was learned this time, here.
  • There are so many questions about transmission of coronavirus—is it on my clothes? My shoes? My hair? The NY Times asked experts about all the places the virus lurks and this is what was learned.

Friday, April 17

The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 2.1 million and killed more than 140,000 people worldwide.

 National 

  • Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic senior citizens have been identified as a population at risk; and the first confirmed outbreak was at a nursing home in Washington. What has emerged in the six weeks since then, are multiple outbreaks in similar facilities nationwide, and little to no support or protective equipment for staff at these facilities. Data now suggests that about one fifth of all the deaths in the U.S. are linked to nursing home facilities.
  • Today there are 694,520 confirmed cases and there have been 32,365 deaths in the United States.

State

  • Even as the spread of coronavirus appears to be slowing in California, the death toll has surpassed 1,000 in California. Los Angeles County now accounts for an outsize number of deaths in the state in the state.
  • The Governor’s revision of the budget is set to be released in May and the Legislative Analyst has issued a warning to the legislature to prepare for a “fairly substantial downward revision”.
  • To begin to address what he termed as the “pandemic-induced” recession, Governor Newsom announced the formation of the Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery to help guide California’s economic recovery.
  • Hundreds of lives, throughout the state, have been lost in California,  with larger metropolitan areas hit hardest. Here are some of the stories of the lives lost in California.
  • Today there are 9,175 confirmed cases and there have been 1,041 deaths in the California.

 Regional

 Racial Equity

  • The last few weeks there have been numerous accounts about Black communities in the U.S. experiencing highest fatality rates from COVID-19. This Brookings Institute article maps racial risk factors to show where risk might be highest in the United States.

 Finally

  • With masks becoming more and more a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future, figuring out which mask is the best for regular use is important. Here’s a handy guide about different kinds of masks, what to consider and what’s needed if you are going to make a mask.

Thursday, April 16

The economic toll of the coronavirus continues to be felt worldwide. Today’s economic news is sobering and many are now realizing that prior to the pandemic, even when the economy was “good,” many Americans were living close to the edge.

National 

  • Unemployment numbers continue to be grim on the national level. In the last week 5.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits. This brings the total who have sought unemployment benefits since March to 22 million, a record loss of jobs.
  • New studies are indicating that obesity appears to make coronavirus more dangerous and perhaps deadly, in the United States. Released this this week, two studies point to obesity as a previously unrecognized risk factor for COVID-19. This new development could help doctors predict which COVID-19 patients who are not senior citizens, might run a higher risk of critical illness and hospitalization.
  • Today there are 663,260 confirmed cases and there have been 30,296 deaths in the United States.

State

  • This afternoon Governor Newsom announced an executive order granting two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to food workers in California who have been infected with COVID-19, exposed to the novel coronavirus or who are ordered to quarantine or isolate. The order includes, farmworkers, grocery and fast food and delivery service workers.
  • Today there are 27,634 confirmed cases and there have been 951 deaths in California.

 Regional

 Racial Equity

 Finally

  • With the pandemic forcing so many small businesses to close and people to lose work, many want to find ways to help ease the pain for those struggling financially. This article provides a useful overview of the various ways to help during this time.

Wednesday, April 15

The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on workers nationwide, and California is no different. Today Governor Newsom announced efforts to provide help to the unemployed, independent contractors and immigrants affected by the pandemic.

 National

  • Health care workers on the front lines are dying in record numbers, in some states accounting for 20% of coronavirus cases. This series, a collaboration between The Guardian and Kaiser Health News, documents the lives of healthcare workers who die from COVID-19 and examines why so many are dying during this crisis.
  • Today there are 632,656 confirmed cases and there have been 28,160 deaths in the United States.

State

  • Immigrant workers, regardless of status contribute immensely to California’s economy. In an unprecedented move today, California became the first state to provide financial assistance for undocumented immigrant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. A portion of these resources are coming from philanthropic entities.
  • The Governor yesterday announced one of the milestones needed to  open up the state was access to testing. Many believe this will be difficult to achieve in California, which was very slow to offer testing; even in parts of the state where the numbers of COVID-19 tests were increasing.
  • One in six Californians rely on community health centers for their care. Read this NY Times article exploring why during this crisis, community clinics are struggling to stay afloat and survive.
  • Today there are 26,868 confirmed cases and there have been 864 deaths in California.

Regional

Racial Equity

  • Many are trying to make sense of how to move forward given the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. In Coronavirus and Human Value Angela Glover Blackwell and Michael McAfee offer a framework to view the pandemic; and argue that an inclusive recovery will require a radical re-imagination of broken systems.
  • Because the data on race and COVID-19 is hard to track and quantify consistently and because what is emerging are differences based on race, the COVID Tracking Project has partnered with American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center to launch the COVID Racial Data Tracker. More information can be found here.

 Finally

  • Figuring out who is immune to viruses is a complex science and COVID-19 is a  “new” coronavirus and is not yet well-understood. Read this illuminating Op-Ed from an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist exploring decisions that have to be made based on “glimmers of data.”

 


Tuesday, April 14

Although tallies continue to climb in California, the numbers are far below the epicenter, New York, where there are nearly 200,000 cases and there have been nearly 10,000 deaths.

National

 State

 Regional

 

Racial Equity

  • Black doctors are speaking up about the disparities and racism present in the health care systems. Read this blog about what the pandemic means for Black Americans, from one doctor currently working at an urgent care center in Brooklyn.

Finally

  • The pandemic has exacerbated already existing challenges health care providers face on a daily basis and has taxed many front-line health care providers.  This essay explores why the needs of this essential workforce should not be ignored.
  • Are you wondering how to say thank you to the essential workers you come in contact with? Check out this useful article that provides guidance on how to show your appreciation.

Monday, April 13

Over half a million people in the United States have confirmed cases of coronavirus and on Saturday the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 20,000, which is now the highest in the world.

National

  • With shortages in needed equipment, doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs are stepping in to confront these shortages, which some are calling “Apollo 13” efforts; a reference to NASA’s rescue of a damaged spacecraft heading to the moon in 1970.
  • Today there are 576,774 confirmed cases and there have been 23.369 deaths in the United States.

State

  • The impact of COVID-19 in prisons and jails continues to grow in California. Though the numbers do not compare other parts of the country, there are 99 adult jails and prisons in the state, housing about 150,000 inmates. Conditions in those facilities are putting tens of thousands are at risk.
  • On Monday, Governor Newsom announced a “regional pact to recovery” for California, Oregon and Washington, the effort will work together to lift restrictions and open up the economy on the West Coast. This comes at the same time as six states on the East Coast have come to a similar agreement.
  • Despite the current risks health care providers are facing, 86,000 people signed up for the California Medical Corps as of last week. While there excitement about this new program, there are also concerns about the potential risks, particularly for retired clinicians who have registered.
  • Today there are 24,139 confirmed cases and there have been 727 deaths in California.

 Regional

Racial Equity

  • As the pandemic continues to impact more and more people the racial disparities are stark and clear. Read How to Save How to Save Black and Hispanic Lives in a Pandemic, from the editorial board of the New York Times.
  • Many recent conversations about the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color seem to focused on risk factors such as pre-existing conditions, lack of appropriate information and being more likely to work in jobs deemed essential. Read this Op-Ed which looks at the inherent risk of being a person of color in this country.

Finally

  • Check out the moving video, The Fight for New Yorkfrom the Associated Press which follows a group of residents over 24 hours as they live, work and survive, in a city under siege by a pandemic.
  • Given the complexity of COVID-19 it is hard to imagine how we exit from the shutdown. One answer is hiring an army of public health workers, check out what it might take, here.

Friday, April 10

As world leaders urge social distancing over the upcoming holidays, confirmed cases worldwide reached 1.5 million and the death toll topped 100,000. Economists warn that the U.S. economy is unlikely to recover as rapidly as it has collapsed.

 National

State

 Regional

Racial Equity

 Finally

  • Check out this fact sheet from the California Budget and Policy Center about how much Cal Fresh is needed in every part of the state, and even more so during this crisis.
  • With over 10 million residents LA County is the largest and has the most confirmed coronavirus cases. Earlier this week California Healthline talked with Barbara Ferrer the head of LA County’s Department of Public Health. Read the interview here.
  • There are a number of cities and counties that now recommend cloth face masks when in public. Beginning today, the City of Los Angeles mask order goes into effect, here are the five things you need to know.

Thursday, April 9

The coronavirus pandemic continues to grow nationwide with outbreaks raging in Detroit and New Orleans and cases rising in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. On Thursday the death toll surpassed 15,000 in the United States.

National

State

  • The coronavirus crisis is having a devastating impact on the California workforce.  According to a report issued on Thursday, more than 2 million California residents have filed for unemployment in recent weeks suggesting one out of every nine workers in the state have recently lost their jobs.
  • Today there are 19,691 confirmed cases and there have been 538 deaths in California.

 Regional

Racial Equity

Finally:

  • Check out Coronavirus in California: Stories from the Frontline a new podcast from the L.A. Times, hosted by reporter Gustavo Arellano.
  • Recently two dozen high school students gathered virtually with an LA Times reporter to talk about coronavirus, their education and their futures. Read the questions that were received and the answers here.

 


Wednesday, April 8

The fight against coronavirus continues. The last few days have been dramatic with the death toll in the U.S. growing by well over a thousand per day. Scientists are now saying the drastic shifts in behavior are having an impact worldwide and ‘glimmers of hope’ can be seen, but caution against drawing sweeping conclusions, at this time.

National

State

  • In light of gathering evidence about the impact of COVID-19 on Black communities, today Governor Newsom announced the California Department of Public Health began gathering data to analyze COVID-19 data on the basis of race.
  • Many are asking when stay at home orders will be lifted in California and many believe the state  will not be lifting stay at home orders anytime soon.
  • Today there are 18,830 confirmed cases and there have been 498 deaths in California.

Regional

Racial Equity

 Finally

  • The COVID-19 Relief package is huge and overwhelming to understand for all of us. UNIDOS US put together a series of videos explaining COVID-19 relief for Spanish speaking Latino families. Check it out here.
  • In response to the toll coronavirus is taking on the country, Spain will be the first country in Europe to implement Universal Basic Income.

Tuesday, April 7

In a move designed to protect the health of workers in Los Angeles, late Tuesday afternoon Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an order requiring all residents wear face masks when visiting essential businesses. The order takes the additional step of requiring businesses to provide face masks (or reimburse the cost) and allow for hand washing breaks every 30 minutes.

National

  • Earlier today New York Gov. Cuomo said that 731 people had died of the virus since Monday, the highest one-day total to date. The death toll in New York today stands at 5,489.
  • Seniors are one of the groups most at-risk for coronavirus and are being urged to stay indoors. Nationwide, Meals on Wheels provides food to hungry and isolated seniors using volunteers, many who are seniors, as well. Read this article to learn about how this organization is struggling and quickly adapting to this new reality.
  • Today there are 395,090 confirmed cases and there have been 12,786 deaths in the United States.

 State

Regional

 Racial equity

Finally


Monday, April 6

There is so much that is unknown about COVID-19 and every day new information emerges about the ways in which the pandemic is affecting communities throughout the country.  Over the last few days numerous articles have emerged about the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on people of color across the country. To help make sense of this emerging issue we have added an additional section focused on racial equity to today’s update.

 National

 State

Regional

 Racial Equity

Finally

  • Questions about the value of social distancing remain for many. During the flu pandemic of 1918 some cities that went “all in” on social distancing and fared better. Read about it here.
  • What will it take for the U.S. to return to some form of “normal”? To find out what a group of economists think, read this article.
  • This news analysis looks back at how previous crises have allowed for change to happen and explores how the coronavirus pandemic will change America.

Saturday-Sunday, April 4-5

With roughly 90 percent of the country implementing stay-at-home orders, on Sunday the U.S. Surgeon General and Dr. Anthony Fauci warned this would be a hard week. Surgeon General Adams stated this could be the “hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives” comparing it to 9/11 and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

National

  • The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is overwhelming funeral homes, particularly in places like New York where the death toll has surpassed 4,000.
  • Much is still unknown about COVID-19 however it has become clear that underlying health conditions, increase risk. Native Americans suffer disproportionately from hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and heart and cardiovascular disease and many are seriously concerned about the impact on this population.
  • Today there are 332,308 confirmed cases and there have been 9,498 deaths in the United States.

 State 

  • California acted quickly to try and reduce the impact of the coronavirus crisis--this timeline is a great resource to see the steps that have been taken to address this pandemic.
  • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the state are continuing to see a surge in coronavirus cases. In Los Angeles County alone, the department of public health is currently investing 321 cases of coronavirus among staff, residents, and guests at 67 institutions.
  • As California enters a third week of stay-at-home orders, school-aged children have entered a new world of distance learning with varying levels of access.  With nearly 13% of California’s 6.2 million students receive special education services, schools are still determining how and whether they will be able to continue services for students with special needs.
  • Today there are 14,812 confirmed cases and there have been 344 deaths in California.

 Regionally 

Finally:

  • The impact on workers of all types has been immense, hear from workers, in their own words, how their lives have changed in the very moving We are the Silent First Responders.
  • More than 64 million Americans live in multi-generational homes. Read herehow some families are managing ‘social distancing’ under one roof.
  • Small businesses have been hit hard by this crisis, particularly those in communities of color. Read hereabout how coronavirus threatens the progress that has been made in South Los Angeles.

 


Friday, April 3

This has been a week where the numbers of the unemployed grew to staggering levels as well as the number of cases worldwide. Today coronavirus claimed 1,000 lives in one single day in the United States.

In the last few days there has been a change in guidance around wearing of masks in public. On Thursday Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recommended wearing masks and Governor Newsom indicated it was a good idea but did not mandate it. At the end of the day today the CDC issued new guidance advising Americans to wear masks made of cloth or fabric. The California Department of Health has offered this guidance, stressing however that it does not substitute for the existing guidance around hand washing and social distancing.

National

State

  • Yesterday, Governor Newsom made a promise to help small business through a reprieve in paying sales taxes, extending the sales tax deadline, and a $50 million investment in the state’s infrastructure bank for micro-lending for those not eligible for the federal SBA program.
  • Governor Newsom also announced the launch of OnwardCA.org a new collaboration between Bitwise Industries, the Kapor Center and the state, to connect displaced workers in California with job opportunities in industries deemed critical.
  • Senate leadership announced today that California legislature will not return to reconvene on April 13, it is unclear when the Legislature would resume. It is believed to be the first time this has happened in 158 years.
  • There continue to be serious concerns about the risks of coronavirus to homeless populations. Advocates complain that movement is ‘too slow’ and relatively few homeless have been moved indoors.
  • Today there are 12,573 confirmed cases and there have been 285 deaths in California.

Regional

Finally:

  • Read this eye-opening Op-Ed about the potentially devastating impact of COVID-19 on African American communities.
  • How does coronavirus travel through air? Read about how scientists are trying to figure this out, here.

Thursday, April 2

Coronavirus cases topped 1 million worldwide today but the numbers of deaths and infection are widely believed to be higher for a number of reasons including differing ways in which numbers are counted, unreported cases, and testing shortages.

National

 State

 Regionally

Finally

  • Check out this essay from Zocalo Public Square, about how epidemics have shaped life as we know it.
  • Now that the guidance is changing, you can look here to find different ways to make a mask to use (including one that requires no sewing!).

Wednesday, April 1

As the coronavirus crisis spreads and projections of fatalities grow, some economists are predicting the economic downturn will likely be deeper and longer than expected, and exceed the Great Recession of 2008-09.

National

State

Regional

 Finally:

  • This week Bay Area counties extended stay-at-home orders and added clarification and restrictions.  Here is a handy Q & A to help you understand the changes.
  • The coronavirus pandemic is challenging non-profits, this article explores what many nonprofits are facing in the wake of COVID-19.
  • The team at Cal Matters asked therapists for tips to managing mental health during this time of uncertainty, read what they recommended, here.

 


Monday, March 30

The numbers of cases and deaths continue to climb nationwide and stay at home precautions and federal guidelines are extended. In California over a three day period, from Friday to Monday the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 doubled.

National

State

  • Today the Governor announced a new initiative the California Health Corps to rapidly grow the health care workforce to respond to COVID-19. The state is calling on health care providers with an active license, public health professionals, medical retirees, medical and nursing students, or members of medical disaster response teams in California are all encouraged to join.
  • The Governor also signed an executive order that will temporarily expand the health care workforce and allow health care facilities to staff at least an additional 50,000 hospital beds the state needs to treat COVID-19 patients. The Governor’s executive order can be found here.
  • Today there are 7,413 confirmed cases and there have been 146 deaths in California.   

Regional

Finally

  • Economics, Health and COVID-19, check out this very useful new resource from the California Budget and Policy Center.
  • Little Free Libraries, those little boxes in neighborhoods where people swap books have quickly been re-purposed and become Little Free Food Pantries; read here about how public library staff and community volunteers in the City of Glendale are working to support those in need during the coronavirus crisis.

Sat.-Sun., March 28-29

Today confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to increase in every state in the country with more than 2,000 deaths. On Sunday, while speaking on CNN Dr. Anthony Fauci the top infectious disease expert in the country said the U.S. could expect millions of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and a possible death toll between 100,000 and 200,000.

Nationally

State

Regionally

Finally


Friday, March 27

This week, the coronavirus crisis continued as more and more cities and counties across the country are facing increasing numbers of cases and taking measures to both try to prevent the spread of the virus and treat those that are falling ill from COVID-19.

Nationally 

  • Following this morning’s vote in the House, President Trump signed into legislation a $2 trillion stimulus bill, the largest emergency aid package in U.S. history.
  • After announcing he was invoking the Defense Protection Act and ordering General Motors to produce ventilators needed to address the crisis, President Trump then announced the federal government would be purchasing thousands of ventilators from a variety of sources.
  • Today there are 101,657 confirmed cases and there have been 1,581 deaths in the United States.

State

Regionally

Finally:

  • Today’s episode of The Daily a NY Times podcast is for the kids. Science writer Carl Zimmer answers questions about coronavirus submitted by children.
  • What’s the difference between an outbreak, an epidemic and a pandemic? Find out here.

Thursday, March 27

Today the United Sates became the country with the most known coronavirus cases in the world surpassing both Italy and China. Worldwide there are 529, 591 confirmed cases and there have been 23,970 deaths.

Nationally

 

State

 

Regional

 

Finally:

  • Nearly 50,000 people tuned in to an Instagram conversation between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry. Topics included the importance of social distancing, the development of tests and a vaccine and how prevent future pandemics. A video of the conversation can be found here.
  • Check out this analysis published by USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity that explores the impact that this crisis is having on certain vulnerable populations in Los Angeles including, the elderly, the undocumented, renters and children on the other side of the digital divide.
  • This very practical article can help as you head to the grocery store during the coronavirus pandemic.

 


Wednesday, March 25

New York continues to grow as the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, however California cases are growing at a rate on par with New York. California’s Secretary for Health and Human Services, Mark Ghaly stated earlier today that if cases continue at this rate hospitals could see a surge in patients in one to two weeks.

Nationally

State

Regionally

Finally

  • Denmark is taking a different approach to address the impact of the coronavirus crisis by “freezing” its economy. This article explores what that means for that country.
  • This article provides an overview of Universal Basic Income and describes how and why it might help during this pandemic.

Tuesday, March 25

Nationally

  • New York is now considered the “hot zone “of the coronavirus with numbers now appearing to double every three days. It is now estimated that 60 percent of all new cases originated in the New York City region.
  • In a complete turnaround from yesterday, stocks jump as a stimulus bill was on the horizon.
  • Today there are 53,740 cases and there have been 706 deaths in the United States.

State 

Regionally

Finally:

  • Check out this short film which explores how inventors and innovators are working to create equipment that medical professionals are in need of during this crisis.
  • This article describes the tough choices workers are making between their health and a paycheck.

 


Monday, March 23

With increased testing capacity in numerous places in the country the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise. In California there ae now cases in 42 of the state’s 58 counties. Currently, the five counties with the highest number of confirmed cases are: Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Diego, San Mateo and San Francisco.

Nationally

  • It is estimated that 1 in 4 residents in the United States are currently living under some type of shelter in place order.
  • Despite efforts from the federal reserve to shore up business and keep financial markets moving the stock market closed the day in the red.  Businesses are struggling --General Electric announced it would cut 10 percent of workers in the aviation unit and Nordstrom announced its cash has diminished and the company had to draw down $800 million in credit.
  • Today there are 43,847 confirmed cases and 557 deaths in the United States.

State

Regionally

Finally:

  • The numbers of positive coronavirus cases among young adults are increasing. This is an eye-opening op-ed from a young woman who was hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • Due to mandatory closures in California the food and beverage industry has taken a huge hit. California’s restaurant industry is the largest of any in the country with over $70 billion in revenue. This article lays out the challenges workers and businesses are facing during this crisis.
  • Even Snoop Dogg has joined the Governor to encourage Californians to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Saturday-Sunday, March 21-22

This weekend we all continued to witness the exponential growth of the coronavirus pandemic.  Nationally, leaders continued to plead with people to stay home and two more states issued stay-at-home orders.

Nationally

  • New York continues to be a focal point for the pandemic in the United States and currently accounts for nearly 5% of the world’s cases.
  • Louisiana and Ohio joined six other states and numerous cities and counties nationwide that have issued some type of stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order.
  • Today there are 26,747 cases and there have been 340 deaths in the United States.

California

  • In California, residents flocked to beaches and hiking trails, the state’s Public Health Officer and the Director of the Department of Public Health updated its Stay Home Except for Essential Needs page to reinforce social distancing guidelines and clarify what is included in the executive order.
  • This weekend, the state put in motion efforts to strengthen the health care system and increase capacity to meet the growing demand for services. This included: directing more than $42 million in emergency funding to expand the health care infrastructure and secure equipment and services to respond to COVID-19; an executive order to expand health care capacity in clinics, mobile care units and adult day health facilities. The order can be found here.
  • Today there are 1,605 cases and there have been 30 deaths in California.

Regionally

  • This weekend, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced two more deaths on Saturday and one on Sunday, as well as 71 more cases, bringing the total number of cases in Los Angeles to 409 cases and deaths to 5.
  • There are growing concerns about the speed with which this pandemic is turning into a job crisis particularly for those in the service sector and the arts. In the Bay Area where the first shelter in place orders were enacted, many are struggling and quickly trying to adapt to this new reality.

Finally:

  • Here is a really good reflection about how historic “social distancing” in the form of segregation, discrimination and devaluation make low-income people of color more vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic.
  • Here are a number of articles, resources and ideas for parents managing at home with children during the pandemic (in English and Spanish).

 

Friday, March 20

The coronavirus pandemic continues to grow throughout the country. Leaders nationwide are instituting policies to help prevent the spread of the disease. As testing becomes more widely available, there is growing concern about health care system's ability to manage the growing number of cases.

Nationally

  • Earlier today both New York and Illinois issued orders for residents to stay at home. The Governor of Connecticut also issued a similar order and the Governor of New Jersey has reported that he will issue a similar order in the coming days. On Friday New York reported it was nearing 8,000 positive tests, approximately half of the total cases in the United States
  • The Treasury Secretary announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic the tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15.
  • Today there are 18,563 cases and there have been 227 deaths in the United States.

California

  • Many on Friday woke up to the news of the Governor’s stay-at-home order.  Questions remain for many Californians as they began to make sense of the new rules.  
  • The Governor announced the launch of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign which will use the National Guard in the short-term, to help distribute food through food banks and protect the most vulnerable and isolated in the state.
  • Today there are 1,241 cases and there have been 24 deaths in California. 

Regionally

  • The numbers of people testing positive for coronavirus are increasing in every region of the state. On Friday Los Angeles reported 61 new cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 294.  In Silicon Valley 8 people have died with Santa Clara County reporting 196 cases. San Mateo County now has 100 confirmed cases and Contra Costa County reported its first death. San Diego announced a third cluster of patients with COVID-19; confirmed cases jumped from 80 to 105.  
  • Today, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced that two state prison employees have tested positive for coronavirus; however, no inmate cases have been confirmed. One of the employees was at San Quentin and the other at California State Prison in Sacramento. There is serious concern about conditions in jails and prisons, and the ability to contain transmission due to overcrowding and the inability to engage in proper forms of social distancing.

Finally:

  • I found this article to be useful in understanding how the current pandemic will have devastating impacts on low-income workers, just as workers have achieved numerous gains in recent years.
  • The Public Policy Institute of California published a report today forecasting how coronavirus will affect California’s economy and what industries and regions are most at risk.
  • All Birds, the San Francisco-based sustainable shoe company announced on Friday they are offering free shoes to anyone working in healthcare on the front lines fighting COVID-19.

 

Thursday, March 19

Another extraordinary day today in the United States.  The number of coronavirus cases continues to climb nationally, in California and in all regions of the state. This evening  Governor Newsom issued a mandatory order that all Californians stay home. The order allows residents to continue to visit gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks and laundromats. People will also be allowed to leave their homes to care for a relative or friend or seek health care services. These are the first mandatory restrictions placed on all 40 million Californians. There is no timeframe for when the order would lifted. The executive order can be found here.

Nationally

California

Regionally

Finally:

  • To share the number of coronavirus cases, I have been using numbers from the California Department of Public Health, local public health departments  and credible media and coronavirus tracking systems. However, because testing is happening all the time, depending on when the numbers are collected and I send this out there will be slight differences in confirmed cases.
  • Here is a good article on which workers are most vulnerable to the economic costs of coronavirus.
  • I found this article to be an easy to understand informative overview on social distancing and why it’s effective and necessary.

Wednesday, March 18

The coronavirus crisis continues to grow in nearly every region in the country. Currently, New York with 2,495 confirmed cases, has the highest number, followed by the state of Washington with 1,076 confirmed cases, and California with 869 cases. In California there are reported cases in 34 of the state’s 58 counties. Numbers have increased largely due to the wider availability of testing; however a growing share are being attributed to community spread.

Nationally

  • On Wednesday evening Trump signed into law the latest coronavirus aid package. This is the second package within the last few weeks. This legislation passed will provide paid sick and family leave for some workers impacted by the disease, expands unemployment assistance and increases resources for testing. It also suspends evictions in federal public housing and foreclosures until the end of April. The Senate also approved another round emergency funding earlier in the day. There will likely be a third larger relief measure that could total $1 trillion.
  • Stock market continued to be extremely volatile. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 1,334 points at the end of the day following President Trump announced emergency steps to be taken to address the coronavirus crisis. The NY Stock Exchange also announced it would temporarily shift to all-electronic trading beginning on Monday March 23, 2020.
  • Today there are 7,769 confirmed cases and there have been 118 deaths in the United States.

California

It has been a busy few days for Governor Newsom with major announcements protecting renters and homeowners, emergency funding to address homeless populations in California, safety net services, and education.

  • Renters and Homeowners. Governor Newsom issued an executive order authorizing local government to halt evictions, slow foreclosures and protect  against utility shut offs responding to concerns many are already experiencing with wage loss and layoffs that will make it hard to pay rent, mortgage and utility bills.
  • Homelessness. Late Wednesday, the Governor also announced $150 million in emergency funding to quickly move homeless people indoors , to protect this vulnerable population and the larger medical system that will need to respond and is at risk of being overwhelmed as crisis grows in California. Of the total, $100 million will go directly to local jurisdictions to boost shelter capacity and increase emergency housing.
  • K-12 education. An executive order was signed to suspend standardized testing for students for the more than 6 million K-12 students in the state.
  • Safety Net Services. The Governor also issued an executive order today to extend the eligibility period for important safety net services. The order waives eligibility re-determinations for 90 days for Californians participating in the following programs:
  • Medi-Cal health coverage
  • CalFresh food assistance
  • CalWORKS
  • Cash Assistance for Immigrants
  • In-Home Supportive Services
  • There are 869 cases, 17 deaths, 11,900 people who are self-monitoring in California.

Regional

Different parts of the state are seeing an increase in numbers of confirmed cases.

  • On Wednesday Orange County reported 42 cases, up from 29 on Tuesday.
  • The numbers in Los Angeles continue to grow, on Wednesday there were 46 new confirmed cases, bringing the total of confirmed cases in Los Angeles to 190.
  • Late Wednesday Mayor Garcetti announced the city would convert 42 recreation centers into temporary shelters for homeless residents to try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Finally:

  • New CDC data on coronavirus is showing that there is a risk of coronavirus to adults of all ages. Nearly 40% of those sick enough to be hospitalized were between the ages of 20-54, however the risk of dying was significantly higher for older people.
  • If you like to geek out on economics and health here is a short and very understandable article about the economic rationale for a strong response to  COVID-19.

Tuesday, March 17

Things continue to evolve in the state and nation. As of today, Tuesday, every state in the nation has reported a case of coronavirus and deaths have surpassed 100. California cities and counties have passed some of the most serious public health measures in the country with an estimated 8 million Californians living under shelter in place orders.

Nationally

  • The White House is pushing an economic stimulus package that will include checks to all Americans. Details on the proposed package can be found here.
  • The federal government also announced that an extra 90 days will be given to pay your taxes.  Filing day remains the same but if taxes are owed, payment will not be required until the new deadline.  Details can be found here.
  • Today there are 6,362 confirmed cases and there have been 108 deaths in the United States.

California

  • Ten counties and one city have shelter in place orders (Counties: Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito; City: Palm Springs). Ventura County has a shelter in place order for those 75 and older.
  • A summary of what is happening throughout the state can be found here.
  • There are 473 cases, 13 deaths, 11,750 people who are self-monitoring in California.

Regional/Local

  • Los Angeles is seeing increasing numbers. According to Dr. Barbara Ferrer today there are 144 cases in Los Angeles, with 75 new cases in 48 hours. This is largely due to increased availability of testing. A week ago 30-35 people a day were being tested now, hundreds a day are being tested.
  • The LA City Council today passed 101 motions, 56 of them were related to COVID-19—some of the motions were:
    • a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for non-payment,
    • motions to support workers and protect workers, boost sick pay and support those most affected economically
    • street vending restrictions (permit money will be refunded),
    • formally request for stores in the city to provide hours  for seniors, pregnant women and people with disabilities to shop for the first hours;
    • meal delivery for seniors due to closure of senior centers,
    • motions to reduce risk among the homeless population; and
    • measures to minimize harsh responses to non-compliance with new rules in place (e.g. arrest is a last resort).
  • The City of Los Angeles is also taking steps to request the federal government to extend the census count by 6 months due to concerns about getting an adequate count due to the current crisis.
  • Orange County has joined the growing number of counties to restrict restaurants and bars. On Tuesday, the health officer issued new restrictions for its more than 3 million residents, directing the bars and other alcohol-serving establishments that don’t serve food closed. The order also prohibits restaurants form providing on-site dining, allowing only curbside and takeout.  Orange County’s order can be found here.

 

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