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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.


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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