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California Coronavirus Updates: New COVID-19 Cases Are At Their Lowest Levels In The U.S. Since Last June


Find an updated count of COVID-19 cases in California and by county on our tracker here.

Latest Updates

New COVID-19 cases are at their lowest levels in the U.S. since last June

Early CDC COVID-19 tests came with wrong instructions, costing the U.S. weeks

California regains nearly half of jobs lost during the pandemic

Nevada health officials say they may not reach the state’s vaccination goal

 

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Sunday, May 23

12:38 p.m.: New COVID-19 cases are at their lowest levels in the U.S. since last June

The seven-day average for new cases in the U.S. dropped below 30,000 per day this week. Cases have not been this low since June 18, 2020, says Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to the CDC, more than 60% of people over 18 have received at least one shot, and almost half are fully vaccinated. However, demand for vaccines has dropped across much of the country. 

Read more here. 

Saturday, May 22

11:18 a.m.: Early CDC COVID-19 tests came with wrong instructions, costing the U.S. weeks

Government scientists distributed flawed COVID-19 tests early in the pandemic, says an internal report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In February 2020, some of the tests sent to the country’s labs delivered “inconclusive” readings, which delayed the ability to identify COVID-19 cases. 

The report said that the fundamental problem was “inadequate document control. There were different versions of instructions and protocols circulating around the test-development lab so there was an inconsistency in the way they were performed. 

Read more here. 

Friday, May 21

5:08 p.m.: California regains nearly half of jobs lost during the pandemic

California extended its slow but steady economic recovery in April.

According to the Associated Press, employment numbers released Friday show the state added more than 100,000 jobs for the third consecutive month. The state has now regained nearly half of the 2.7 million jobs lost at the start of the pandemic and accounted for 38% of all new jobs in the U.S. in April.

Jobs in restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues accounted for more than 60% of the state’s total. California has waited longer than other states to lift restrictions on businesses. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he plans to lift most of the rules on June 15.

2:25 p.m.: Nevada health officials say they may not reach the state’s vaccination goal

Nevada health officials amidst the state’s goal of vaccinating 75% of the eligible population may not be realistic, according to the Associated Press.

However, they say progress towards that goal is continuing to pay dividends, with the average number of new cases being reported statewide dropping to its lowest level since June 2020. The state’s positivity rate also fell to 4.8% on Wednesday.

Officials say that’s higher than an all-time low of 4.2% reached March 28, but down from 5.7% on April 21, and far below the peak high of 21.3% in mid-January. Of all Nevadans age 12 and older, 45% have had their first shot, and 37% are now fully vaccinated.

10:10 a.m.: California delays easing virus rules for workers

California regulators are still aiming for a mid-June easing of workplace masking and social distancing requirements to conform with a broader state order, according to the Associated Press.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board postponed a planned decision Thursday in the wake of the CDC’s guidance about-face coverings. Its current rules would have required vaccinated workers to wait until July 31 before they can stop wearing face masks indoors unless everyone in the room is fully vaccinated.

Business groups want the workplace regulator to make its changes start June 15, saying the later date will cause confusion.

But Cal/OSHA board members said they’re inclined to temporarily retain revised workplace safety rules perhaps past July 31, over the objections of some business groups. They set a June 3 hearing to consider revised rules.

However, big business owners say that requiring employers to provide masks and make other provisions like installing partitions and air filters “adds more burdensome obligations to employers …” More than 40 business groups — including organizations representing California cities, counties, retailers and restaurateurs — said in a comment letter.

Employers also told the board that improvement in infection rates makes making rules less necessary, while worker advocates said having half the population unvaccinated means precautions are still needed.

“Every day, we hear from workers about their fear of going to work, getting the virus and bringing it home to their families,” said Eddie Sanchez of the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, which advocates particularly for workers who are immigrants or people of color. “We know from experience now that employers will not do what’s right or what’s safe on their own.”

Maggie Robbins, an occupational health specialist with Worksafe Inc., an Oakland-based worker advocacy group, said Cal/OSHA shouldn’t ease workplace rules just because the state is relaxing requirements in social settings, a development she said could “lead to basically open season in the workplace for all controls to be relaxed.”

9:39 a.m.: You may soon be able swipe right (or left) on dating profiles with vaccinated badges

The White House is pushing a new reason to swipe right: Dating apps are starting to offer vaccination badges and “super swipes” for people who’ve gotten their coronavirus shots.

According to the Associated Press, this idea is a part of the administration’s push to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. The White House says apps like Hinge, Tinder, Match and Bumble are offering special incentives to people who roll up their sleeves for shots.

These include badges showing vaccination status and free access to premium content. The administration is stepping up its efforts to sustain demand for COVID-19 shots to help meet its goal of delivering at least one dose to 70% of adult Americans by July 4.

9:20 a.m.: Pfizer-BioNTech pledges 2 billion doses to lower-income countries over two years

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German company BioNTech have pledged to deliver 2 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to middle- and low-income countries over the next 18 months.

According to the Associated Press, the companies made the announcement Friday at a global health summit in Rome, co-hosted by the European Union’s executive arm and Italy. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said they expect to provide a billion doses this year and another in 2022.

It was unclear whether the delivery would occur through the U.N.-backed COVAX program, which aims to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 shots for low- and middle-income countries, or if countries would get the doses at a reduced price directly from the companies.

Thursday, May 20

6:11 p.m.: As California’s reopening date approaches, Sacramento County adjusts vaccination plans

For the first time since October, Sacramento County saw its COVID-19 case rate drop below 6 new cases per 100,000 residents — the threshold needed to get out of the more restrictive red tier of the state’s reopening plan. 

Despite that milestone, Sacramento is stuck in the tier until at least June. To move to the less-strict orange tier, it must keep its lower case rate for two consecutive weeks. 

Those tiers won’t matter come June 15, which is when Gov. Gavin Newsom said California will officially reopen its economy.

But Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County’s public health officer, said there’s still concern that the county could regress if current trends don’t continue.

“I think at this point, our main message is the vaccination, because that is our way of being able to get past this pandemic and get people back to their normal regular lives,” Kasirye said.

That’s been easier said than done, as Sacramento continues to struggle getting people vaccinated. More than 500,000 people in the county are fully vaccinated, but the number of new people getting the shot decreases every day.

While hesitancy plays a part, public health officials have said the bigger issue is their approach to vaccination clinics. 

The county had been mostly focused on large-scale sites only accessible by car — like the two at Cal Expo and McClellan Park. But in recent weeks, the county has switched to opening more community clinics.

“We know that that’s what it’s going to take,” Kasirye said. “Especially when we’re going into some of the underserved neighborhoods and building that trust and reducing barriers as well.”

The county is now letting businesses and places of worship apply to operate pop-up clinics. To sign your business up, click here. For congregations, click here.

3:45 p.m.: Sacramento County announces new Health Services Director

Sacramento County has tapped a new leader to tackle the latest chapter of the pandemic — Chevon Kothari.

Kothari is sliding into the Health Services Director position, which has been vacant since December due to Dr. Peter Beilenson’s resignation. Previously Kothari was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom as the chief deputy director of the California Department of Social Services in June 2020.

“[…] We have to continue to maintain a lot of vigilance when it comes to COVID,” Kothari said. “Although we are approaching June 15 … we’re going to have to maintain that vigilance and ensure that we’re doing those things necessary to keep the pandemic at bay and keep your most vulnerable populations safe.”

A recent CapRadio and Valley Vision poll about the Sacramento region found that 40% of respondents who had not yet been vaccinated said they would “probably not” or would “definitely not” get the vaccine. Kothari says the California Department of Public Health has been working on vaccine hesitancy, but it’s not a simple issue to fix.

“How do you engage communities that are vaccine-hesitant? There are a spectrum of different issues and reasons why people aren’t choosing [to get vaccinated], and so there’s not a one size fits all approach to how you really address it,” Kothari said. “It’s not all about just increasing knowledge or education or awareness. It also has to do with building trust and engagement.”

With the state’s reopening date less than a month away, Kothari says the state will be making “really significant one-time investments” into public health and infrastructure. She’s hoping that the county can see some ongoing sustainable funding for these health programs.

“What we’ve learned from the pandemic is our ability to strengthen our systems in what I’ll call the ‘in-between times.’ [It] really predicts our ability to pivot and react quickly when we have a major crisis … when we do have another pandemic,” Kothari said. “Hopefully, we won’t see that in our lifetime, but our ability to invest now is really important to ensuring that we can keep people safe going forward.”

To listen to the whole interview, click here.

3:32 p.m.: Children that wear masks do not develop illnesses

On Monday, a Facebook group called “Informed Parents for California” held a public rally in Orange County protesting the use of face masks in California public schools.

The 52,000-member Facebook group created fliers for students to “sit out and Zoom out.” The parents also were encouraged to make fliers for school districts across the state, including in Yuba County.

The flier was riddled with false information about the incorrect health risk of wearing a mask. One of the false statements included a claim that wearing a face mask could cause pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that results in scar tissue in the lungs.

As reported previously by PolitiFact, there is no evidence that wearing face masks causes lung infections or reduces blood oxygen levels. Only people with severe pre-existing respiratory conditions may be at risk from prolonged use of tight-fitting masks like N95 respirators.

11:28 a.m.: Elk Grove Unified School District to host vaccine clinic at Valley High School on Sunday

Elk Grove Unified School District, along with many partners, has worked together to create a campaign to encourage students 12 years old and up to get vaccinated.

The school district says that getting vaccinated is a critical step forward in the school’s plans to fully reopen for the 2021-22 school year this fall.

Local area clinics are teaming up with EGUSD, Sacramento County Public Health and Pucci’s Pharmacy to offer a free Pfizer vaccine clinic at Valley High School on Sunday, May 23 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The clinic is mainly intended for students and their families, but all will be welcome. Families will be asked to register in advance but can also register at the clinic. Non-Kaiser members will need to register at least 24 hours in advance to get a temporary Kaiser number to participate.

Parents or guardians with students under 18 must complete their consent forms online or bring a filled-out printed copy to the appointment. Anyone under 18 will need their parent or guardian present to receive the vaccination.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to be fully vaccinated, so people who get their first dose at the May 23 clinic must return on June 13 for the second dose. The clinic will not be offering the second dose on May 23.

Appointments can be made online. Valley High School’s address is 6300 Ehrhardt Ave., Sacramento, CA.

11:18 a.m.: When do I need to wear a mask? Depends on your vaccination status after June 15.

Whether you still need to wear a mask depends mostly on whether or not you’re vaccinated. In California, masks are required regardless of vaccination status until at least June 15. After the state lifts its restrictions, then California’s mask guidelines will closely match the federal government’s guidance.

According to the Associated Press, the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you no longer need to wear a mask in most cases if you’re fully vaccinated. Meaning when you’re outside or in many indoor spaces like restaurants, hair salons, and grocery stores, if you’re fully vaccinated, you can leave the mask in your pocket.

However, unvaccinated people are still advised to wear masks indoors and in certain outdoor settings. That includes children under 12 who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccines. Everyone still needs to follow local and business rules, regardless of their vaccination status.

U.S. residents will also still need a mask when traveling, including in buses, subways, trains, planes, and airports. For those traveling internationally, the guidance on masks will differ by country.

Some experts say the CDC is relaxing its recommendations too soon. Part of the concern is that there’s no way to tell who’s vaccinated, so unvaccinated people could claim they got their shots and go maskless, says David Holtgrave, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany.

And this could cause cases to rise.

“A central mistake in public health is easing up infectious disease control efforts just before crossing the finish line,” he said.

10:25 a.m.: Vaccination rates starkly different by region in US

A distinct geographic pattern has emerged in the U.S. drive to vanquish the coronavirus: The highest vaccination rates are concentrated in the Northeast while the lowest ones are mainly in the South.

According to the Associated Press, experts say the gap reflects a multitude of factors, including political leanings, religious beliefs, and education and income levels. Close to 160 million Americans — 48% of the population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 125 million are fully vaccinated.

Vermont is No. 1, with nearly 64% of its population having received at least one dose, and Mississippi is dead last at 32%.

“Low vaccination rates will leave room for the virus to circulate, re-emerge and possibly form new variants,” said Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “High vaccination rates are critical to keeping the disease under control, especially when we get back to the fall and winter.”

Wednesday, May 19

3:53 p.m.: California median home prices now over $800,000

California home prices continue to skyrocket and break records. The California Association of Realtors recently released its median sales price data, and the numbers seem to keep rising.

“The month of March set a record of $760,000, but in April, it actually surpassed that number as well,” said Oscar Wei, deputy chief economist with the CAR. “We have a new record high of $813,980.”

That price is a 34% increase from April of last year. He says prices are rising because of a shortage of homes. April home sales were also up 2.5% from March.

Things may change, however, in the coming months as vaccination rates increase and the state reopens.

“I think we are going to see a little bit more supply, but maybe not as much as we would hope for in order to slow down the price growth, but we’ll see how that goes,” Wei said.

3:35 p.m.: Large vaccine disinformation channel removed from YouTube

A major seller of online COVID-19 and vaccine disinformation has had one of its channels removed from YouTube, days after an investigation by The Associated Press detailed how they work with other spreaders of false information to make money.

“The Truth About Vaccines” YouTube channel was taken down this week, according to a post on the messaging app Telegram by site owners Ty and Charlene Bollinger. However, another site that led to vaccine disinformation remained active.

The Bollingers operate “The Truth About Cancer,” another YouTube channel with more than 166,000 subscribers. Anyone who goes on that channel and searches “vaccines” will still find videos that sow distrust and fear about vaccines or push COVID-19 disinformation. At least one video includes debunked falsehoods about the presidential election

Nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate applauded YouTube’s move to take the disinformation channel down but said just removing one channel is insufficient.

10:30 a.m.: Nevada GOP candidate tests positive for COVID-19

Republican candidate for governor John Lee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

The North Las Vegas mayor announced his positive test result in a Facebook post on Monday evening. He had just announced his campaign for Nevada governor earlier in the day.

The 65-year-old Lee said in a statement that he learned Monday afternoon that he came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and then quickly got tested himself.

The mayor says he has no symptoms but will quarantine. Lee said he had not yet gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. His campaign also declined to answer why he didn’t get vaccinated yet.

10:12 p.m.: Biden to expand legal services after pandemic ‘exacerbated inequities’

President Joe Biden plans to take executive action to ensure minorities, low-income Americans, and others have better access to quality legal representation after services dwindled during the Trump administration.

According to the Associated Press, Biden is set to sign a memo on Tuesday to direct the Department of Justice to expand access to justice and reestablish a White House roundtable on improving legal aid.

The plans are laid out in a presidential memo first shared with the Associated Press. Biden’s memo says the coronavirus pandemic “exacerbated inequities” in legal services, and those problems have significantly affected low-income people and people of color.

9:44 a.m.: For many workers, after the pandemic is no return to ‘normal’

Many workers emerging from the pandemic don’t want to return to the jobs they once had, according to the Associated Press.

Layoffs and lockdowns combined with enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus checks gave many Americans the time and the financial cushion to rethink their careers. Some employers and business groups are calling for an end to the $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement, claiming it’s giving recipients less incentive to look for work.

But Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist who researches low- and middle-income workers with the Economic Policy Institute, says the supplement is not the reason why many aren’t going back to work — it’s health concerns and child care responsibilities.

In April, she said, at least 25% of U.S. schools weren’t offering in-person learning, forcing many parents to stay home. Health concerns could also become more urgent for some workers now that the CDC has said fully vaccinated people can stop masking in most settings.

“We want people well-matched to their skills and experience,” she said. “That’s what helps the economy run better.”

Monday, May 17

3:49 p.m.: California to keep mask rules until June 15 

California will keep its existing mask requirements in place for another month, state health officials announced Monday.

While other states move to loosen or discard mask rules after the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear face coverings, the Golden State will stay its course until June 15, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a media call.

“This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change” while it continues to vaccinate as many residents as possible, he said.

The delay in mask lifting is “in no way saying the science of the direction by the CDC is wrong or there’s a challenge to it,” Ghaly said. “It’s really just giving ourselves across the state some additional time to have it implemented.”

More than 15.5 million Californians have been fully vaccinated, which is roughly half of the residents eligible for the shot. That’s about 39% of the state’s total population, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Another 4.7 million people are partially vaccinated.

The state is still on track to drop its color-tier system and many of the pandemic restrictions that come with it on June 15, Ghaly said.

3:45 p.m.: Burning Man cancellation causes fallout in northern Nevada

The cancellation of Burning Man for the second year is drawing mixed reactions in northern Nevada, according to the Associated Press.

Some businesses and tourism officials say they’ll miss the economic boost from festival-goers, but health officials are glad they won’t contribute to increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The counter-culture festival in the desert north of Reno typically attracts nearly 80,000 people who spend an estimated $63 million in Nevada.

Officials at Reno Tahoe International Airport are among those hoping the event would return after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic. Health officials’ concerns were based partly on the fact that the event attracts people worldwide.

3:15 p.m.: School districts vary wildly on testing students, staff

While children are having their noses swabbed or saliva sampled at school to test for the coronavirus in some parts of the county, else where school districts are reluctant to even check students showing signs of illness for COVID-19.

According to the Associated Press, education and health officials around the country have taken very different approaches to testing students and staff members — with many not testing them at all.

Officials in districts that have embraced testing say it’s a tool for making sure infections stay under control, but many school administrators see more hassle than benefit. Some states have even turned down millions in federal funding for school-based virus testing.

University of California, San Francisco Professor of Medicine Dr. Monica Gandhi says the nation’s vaccination program makes the COVID-19 tests less useful because immunized individuals are so much less likely to get infected.

At the same time, she explains that false positives in school settings carry significant consequences when they cause a return to online learning.

Screening tests have played a key role in reopening plans for school in New York City and other more liberal states like California and Massachusetts.

10:50 a.m.: Biden commits to sharing 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide

President Joe Biden says the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with the world in the coming six weeks, raising the U.S.’s total commitment to 80 million doses, according to the Associated Press.

The move comes as domestic demand for shots drops and global disparities in distribution have grown more evident.

On Monday, Biden said that “we know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control.”

The doses will come from existing U.S. production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks. The administration previously committed to sharing about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of June.

The CDC’s new guidance doesn’t have specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids in their households. It says all unvaccinated people age 2 and older “should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.”

Some customers are still trying to get refunds for flights canceled during the pandemic, while others who got credits or vouchers for canceled flights are now facing imminent expiration dates. 

The Department of Transportation has issued two enforcement notices in the past year reminding airlines of their obligation to provide refunds for canceled flights.

Read more here. 

Saturday, May 15

10:43 p.m.: New CDC mask guideline lacks advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids in household 

The CDC’s new guidance doesn’t have specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids in their households. It says all unvaccinated people age 2 and older “should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.”

Infection prevention expert Dr. Emily Landon says data supports the idea that fully vaccinated parents of unvaccinated children can safely take off their own masks—but might want to keep wearing a mask when they’re out with their kids to set a good example.

There aren’t currently any vaccines approved for kids under 12. The Pfizer vaccine is available to those age 12 and up, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently approved only for 18 and older.

Read more here. 

Friday, May 14

4:33 p.m.: California reviewing CDC mask mandate update

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his office is weighing issues of enforcement and workplace safety in considering whether and when to adopt the new CDC guidelines on masking, according to the Associated Press.

While the state is planning to relax outdoor mask mandates by June 15 when the state opens up, Newsom isn’t quite sure how far to go. Yesterday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks and social distancing in most situations if they want.

For now, Newsom said he doesn’t know how that would play out in classrooms and at workplaces. California is on track to reopen its economy broadly next month, signaling an end to most pandemic restrictions.

UC Berkeley Infectious Disease Professor Dr. Lee Riley the new CDC recommendations are a good sign.

“I think this is an indication of further confidence on the part of the CDC that the vaccination program is really working,” said Riley. “Close to, what, half the population in the U.S. has now received at least one dose of the vaccine.”

He adds that people should still consider wearing masks in confined spaces with minimal ventilation.

San Francisco, San Diego, and Riverside are among the counties saying they expect updated guidance from the state.

10:39 a.m.: Farm-to-Fork week will return later this year

One of Sacramento’s signature events is now scheduled to return later this year after getting canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farm-to-Fork President and CEO Mike Testa says the events are a big deal because they celebrate the region and bring in more than 100,000 visitors.

“To be able to kind of put that party back on the calendar, to be able to look at an event that is not only outdoor food and music, and kind of the fun stuff that we all enjoy about a festival, I think offers that hope that there’s joy again around the corner for us,” Testa said.

The group began planning the events in January hoping that the pandemic would be under control by the fall, and he says the current outlook seems to be very encouraging.

10:20 a.m.: Tehama County vaccination demand is dropping

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is diminishing in rural Tehama County, even though only 26% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Michelle Schmidt is a supervising public health nurse of the Tehama County Health Services Agency, and she said there’s a few reasons why demand is dipping. Access is one barrier for people looking to get vaccinated.

Another is the refocusing of efforts on those living in outlying communities away from vaccine locations in the city of Red Bluff.

“It’s difficult for them to try to get down — potentially two different times — just to come get a COVID shot,” Schmidt said. “And so, we’re in the process of really transitioning, kind of moving out of the community center and moving towards having more of a mobile format to trying to get vaccinations out within our community.”

More vaccinations could mean getting closer to herd immunity, or the point at which enough people are immune to disease to stop its spread. However, Schmidt is skeptical that mark can be met through vaccination.

“Reaching herd immunity is not only dependent upon access, it’s also dependent on people’s willingness to receive the vaccination. And because of that, I’m not sure that we will ever get to the 70% rate to get herd immunity,” she said.

For now, educating the public on the benefits of COVID vaccination and providing opportunities closer to home are the priorities, according to Schmidt.

Thursday, May 13

3:55 p.m.: California opens Pfizer vaccinations for those age 12 years and older

California parents and guardians can now schedule appointments for children aged 12 and up to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine by using the statewide MyTurn booking system starting today.

“The more Californians who are able to get vaccinated, the better we can protect our communities and slow the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “Having vaccines expanded to teenagers is the next step in California’s path to safely reopening next month.”

The expanded eligibility comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amended the Emergency Use Authorization to allow vaccination for 12- to 15-year olds after tests revealed non-serious side effects like fatigue and headache.

“Young people have shouldered a significant burden during this pandemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “We look forward to now providing protection for this group to return to activities, especially as we look forward to the state fully reopening on June 15.”

Opening up the inoculation for younger people means there are now about 2.1 million Californians who are eligible for this age group. California’s vaccine provider network can administer about 6.6 million doses a week overall.

“It’s important to remember that young people need protection against the severity and ongoing threat of COVID-19,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan. “California has more than 500 cases of serious health outcomes among young people resulting from the virus, and cases are increasing among younger Americans and Californians who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated.”

3:46 p.m.: Nevada vaccine information website is full of trackers

The Nevada website the public uses to get information on coronavirus vaccines is packed with more ad trackers and third-party cookies than any state vaccination website in the country, according to the Associated Press.

An investigation by technology publication The Markup found Immunize Nevada’s website implants third-party cookies and trackers that can potentially be used to track how visitors navigate the internet, collect data on them and sell it for any number of purposes.

The state says most trackers are used to optimize user experience and evaluate their outreach efforts. Privacy experts say the number of trackers on Nevada’s site compared to other states goes beyond data-gathering applicable to outreach.

3:35 p.m.: Nurses, nonprofits, health workers reach out to homebound people for vaccinations

As interest dwindles in mass coronavirus vaccination sites across the U.S., local health officials and other providers are ramping up efforts to find and reach homebound people who can’t travel for a shot.

According to The Associated Press, while the effort is happening in many states, experts say California has one of the most robust at-home vaccination programs. Last week, state officials announced residents could go online or call a number to request a ride or an at-home vaccination appointment.

So far, there have been more than 5,000 requests for help in the state, according to California public health spokesperson Sami Gallegos.

National advocates for seniors and people with disabilities say there should be more robust plans to inoculate the millions of people in those groups.

11:39 a.m.: California to relax face masks rules by June 15

Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will likely relax face mask requirements in outdoor settings on June 15, when many business restrictions are set to be lifted.

Until then, indoor mask requirements are still active.

“For indoor activities, we will still have likely some mask guidelines and mandates,” Newsom said. “But we hope, sooner than later, that those will be lifted as well.”

The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, says federal mask guidance may ease as more people are vaccinated. Newsom says California will continue to conform its mask rules with federal guidelines.

10:42 a.m.: When will COVID-19 vaccines be widely available around the world? Two years, at the earliest.

Experts say it could be 2023 or later before COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in some countries, according to the Associated Press. 

The U.S. and Israel are among the nations where about half or more of the population have gotten at least one shot, but less than 1% of people have been vaccinated in countries such as Pakistan and Venezuela.

The differences reflect factors including purchasing power and domestic production capacity. COVAX, a coalition working to ensure global vaccine access is behind schedule due partly to export bans and stockpiling by some countries.

One Georgetown University policy expert says the U.S., E.U., and other wealthy nations had already pre-ordered nearly all of the vaccine doses from several companies, causing the stock to dwindle so much that even other countries with money to buy vaccines are at the back of the line waiting their turn.

China and Russia are among those committed to donating vaccines to other nations, while countries like the U.S. and U.K. aren’t yet sharing their stockpiles, though they’re committed to doing so.

In April, Duke University researchers said many countries would not reach 60% coverage until 2023 or later, meaning global scarcity is expected to continue for years to come.

9:07 a.m.: The vaccine disinformation merchants: how some are cashing out on spreading false claims

Ty and Charlene Bollinger are part of an ecosystem of for-profit companies, nonprofit groups, YouTube channels and other social media accounts that stoke fear and distrust of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Medical experts say the Bollingers are resorting to what is often misleading and false information. An investigation by The Associated Press has found that the couple works closely with others prominent in the anti-vaccine movement — including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his Children’s Health Defense — to drive sales through affiliate marketing relationships.

University of California, Hastings College of Law professor Droit Reiss explains that unlike other multi-level marketing businesses, where products are sold through low-level sellers, the anti-vaccination industry is sustained by grassroots activists.

“This is a disinformation industry,” Reiss said.

The Bollingers have said that they have sold tens of millions of dollars worth of products through various ventures and paid out $12 million to affiliates.

“They have many, many passionate believers that serve as sales people of the misinformation on the ground,” Reiss said. “For the top, it’s a product. For the people below, they passionately believe it. They’re very sincere. And it comes across.”

Wednesday, May 12

Infection prevention expert Dr. Emily Landon says data supports the idea that fully vaccinated parents of unvaccinated children can safely take off their own masks—but might want to keep wearing a mask when they’re out with their kids to set a good example.

There aren’t currently any vaccines approved for kids under 12. The Pfizer vaccine is available to those age 12 and up, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently approved only for 18 and older.

Read more here. 

Friday, May 14

4:33 p.m.: California reviewing CDC mask mandate update

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his office is weighing issues of enforcement and workplace safety in considering whether and when to adopt the new CDC guidelines on masking, according to the Associated Press.

While the state is planning to relax outdoor mask mandates by June 15 when the state opens up, Newsom isn’t quite sure how far to go. Yesterday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks and social distancing in most situations if they want.

For now, Newsom said he doesn’t know how that would play out in classrooms and at workplaces. California is on track to reopen its economy broadly next month, signaling an end to most pandemic restrictions.

UC Berkeley Infectious Disease Professor Dr. Lee Riley the new CDC recommendations are a good sign.

“I think this is an indication of further confidence on the part of the CDC that the vaccination program is really working,” said Riley. “Close to, what, half the population in the U.S. has now received at least one dose of the vaccine.”

He adds that people should still consider wearing masks in confined spaces with minimal ventilation.

San Francisco, San Diego, and Riverside are among the counties saying they expect updated guidance from the state.

Infection prevention expert Dr. Emily Landon says data supports the idea that fully vaccinated parents of unvaccinated children can safely take off their own masks—but might want to keep wearing a mask when they’re out with their kids to set a good example.

9:52 a.m.: Online misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines in the US continues to spread

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines continues to spread on social media, often consisting of widely shared misleading posts claiming the shots are ineffective or harmful.

One false statement from Instagram started with a Yale University professor who appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast in April and made a false claim that 60% of new COVID-19 vases came from vaccinated people. This is entirely incorrect.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported what they call “breakthrough cases” where someone is fully vaccinated but still contracts the virus. But out of more than 100 million fully vaccinated people in the U.S., there have been only about 9,000 breakthrough infections — less than 0.01%.

PolitiFact rated this incorrect statement as Pants On Fire.

10:24 a.m.: Most remaining unvaccinated Americans need convincing to get COVID-19 inoculations, according to poll

Fewer Americans are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine than just a few months ago, but questions about side effects and how the shots were tested still hold some people back.

That’s according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The new data highlights the challenges at a pivotal moment in the U.S. vaccination campaign. Just 11% of people who remain unvaccinated say they definitely will get the shot, while 34% say they definitely won’t.

Getting as many people vaccinated as fast as possible is critical to protecting citizens. More than 150 million people — about 58% of all adults — have received at least one dose, according to the centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a poll by CapRadio and Valley Vision, about 40% of people in the Greater Sacramento region say they won’t be getting vaccinated.

There’s a glimmer of hope, though. As that number grows, the reluctance is inching down. Overall, the AP-NORC poll found about 1 in 5 American adults say they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated, compared to about a third in January, when the shots were just rolling out.

This leaves a large swath of Americans in the middle who might still roll up their sleeves, or maybe not.

10:03 a.m.: US job openings soar to highest level on record in over 20 years

U.S. employers posted a record number of available jobs in March, illustrating some industries’ desperation to find new workers as the economy expands and changes, according to the Associated Press.

Job postings rose in many industries, including restaurants, bars and hotels; manufacturing, construction and retail. However, they fell in health care, transportation and warehousing.

While job openings skyrocketed, the total job gains increased only modestly, according to a Labor Department report issued on Tuesday. The figures come after the April jobs report last week that fell far short of economist expectations, largely because companies appear unable to find the workers they need, despite the elevated unemployment rate at 6.1%.

Job openings rose nearly 8%, to 8.1 million in March, the most on records dating back to December 2000.

Monday, May 10

5:42 p.m.: Millions of Californians may see a state stimulus check this year

Millions of California workers and families may get another stimulus check this year — but this one is from the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed an expansion of his “Golden State Stimulus” plan on Monday. The program put $600 checks in the pockets of low-wage workers and undocumented families earlier this year. 

Now, with a record budget surplus, Newsom wants to send stimulus checks to families with children and workers who earn up to $75,000 a year. 

“That tax rebate will impact just shy of 80% of all tax filers — will get a direct stimulus check, will get a direct relief payment because of this announcement,” Newsom said.

The governor also wants to double the state’s rental assistance program and put up $2 billion to help people pay utility bills. 

The spending proposal requires legislative approval.

3:31 p.m.: Medicare to require nursing homes to report COVID-19 vaccinations

Medicare says it will require nursing homes to report COVID-19 vaccination rates for residents and staff, according to the Associated Press.

Officials hope it will be an incentive for facilities to keep giving shots even as the worst ravages of the pandemic ease. The agency expects to start receiving vaccination numbers from nursing homes in the coming weeks and plans to post the information on the internet so residents and families can easily access the details.

People living in long-term care facilities have borne a heavy toll from the pandemic, but cases and deaths plummeted after the government launched a concerted effort to vaccinate residents and staff.

3:14 p.m.: FDA expands emergency use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 to 15 years old

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that children 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive a key COVID-19 vaccine as the agency expands its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Until now, the Pfizer vaccine had been authorized for only people ages 16 and older. Pfizer asked the FDA to broaden its emergency use authorization for the vaccine after announcing in late March that the clinical trials found “100% efficacy and robust antibody responses” in study participants who were 12 to 15.

The pharmaceutical giant got federal approval to include children as young as 12 in its vaccine trial in October of last year.

All three makers of U.S.-authorized vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — are studying the safety and effectiveness of their vaccines in children, including as young as 6 months.

10:50 a.m.: PolitiFact Fact-Check: The death rate for vaccinated people is not higher than unvaccinated people

A screenshot of a tweet by Chuck Callesto, a former candidate for Florida’s 3rd congressional district, was shared more than 42,000 times on Instagram, falsely claiming that the death rate for fully vaccinated people who contact COVID-19 is “significantly higher” compared to unvaccinated people. That’s false, according to a PolitiFact California fact-check.

The tweet reads, “Breaking report: according to the CDC 7,157 fully vaccinated Americans have contracted COVID-19, 88 have died.” It appears the incorrect and misleading tweet has been deleted from Callesto’s Twitter.

Public health experts agree that Callesto most likely miscalculated the death rate among fully vaccinated adults. Furthermore, experts say it’s flawed and misleading to use these figures to calculate a death rate and compare it to the unvaccinated population.  

As of May 4, more than 105 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC. Around that same time, the public health office received 9,245 reports of vaccine breakthrough infections. That’s less than .01% of fully vaccinated Americans.

Also, vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. None of the vaccines were 100% effective in the original clinical trials, nor have they ever claimed to be. No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness, according to public health experts and the CDC.

While there have been more than 7,000 cases where vaccinated people contacted COVID-19, resulting in 132 deaths, it is still widely misleading to use these numbers as evidence that vaccines are dangerous and ineffective, especially as the post leaves out crucial facts about breakthrough infections.

The Department of Transportation has issued two enforcement notices in the past year reminding airlines of their obligation to provide refunds for canceled flights.

Read more here. 

6:32 p.m.: Sacramento County ‘hopeful’ about moving to orange tier in June, officials say

Sacramento is one of just a dozen California counties remaining in the red, or second-most restrictive, COVID-19 reopening tier. Health officials said Thursday that they’re hopeful the county can move up to the orange tier by June 15, the same day California is set to reopen and end the tier system.

Less restrictive tiers allow more businesses to open at greater capacity. But in Sacramento the case rate is still a concern — 7.5 cases per 100,000 people, as compared to 4.2 cases per 100,000 people statewide. To move to the orange tier, Sacramento County must bring its case rate down to somewhere between 2 and 6 cases per 100,000 people.

Dr. Olivia Kasirye, public health officer for Sacramento County, says new, more infectious variants “could be contributing to the stagnation in cases.”

She also says people are not getting tested for COVID-19 as often as they used to, which affects tier status.

Officials also said there are no Sacramento ZIP codes that are close to reaching herd immunity, or having about 70% of residents immunized. In certain north and south Sacramento neighborhoods, less than 20% of people have been fully vaccinated.

Thursday, May 6

6:52 p.m.: California State Fair postponed, Cal Expo to remain vaccination site

Cal Expo officials said Wednesday it’ll remain a mass vaccination site through the summer with the hope of allowing events to open with larger capacity later this year.

“The more people we can get vaccinated the more the event business can come back,” Cal Expo CEO Rick Pickering said. He said this year’s state fair will be delayed and likely slimmed down.

Since March 2020, health officials at the site have vaccinated a quarter-million people.

“That would be the equivalent of half of the population of Sacramento or 16% of the county of Sacramento,” Pickering said.

While demand for the vaccine is dropping across the country, Pickering said there is more work to be done as the county’s focus shifts to inoculating school-age children.

9:29 a.m.: From 3 feet of distance to 6 feet: How the pandemic might have affected our personal space bubbles

Face-to-face meetings are creeping back into our lives after more than a year of social-distancing. A steep decline in coronavirus transmission rates plus an increasing number of vaccinations are just two of the biggest reasons why.

But how comfortable will you or others be with this shift back to in-person social interaction?

Researchers say that the personal-space boundary in the U.S. before the pandemic was about 3 feet with strangers and a little more than 2 feet with an acquaintance. But now, a year of staying 6 feet apart could have you feeling crowded — even if others are maintaining what used to be considered an acceptable distance.

CapRadio’s Randol White spoke with Cal State Northridge Communications Studies Professor Kathryn Sorrells to see how the pandemic may have changed what we consider comfortable.

“I know a number of people I’ve talked to, even as we open up,” Sorrells said. “There’s a little hesitancy, like ‘Do I remember how to engage with people in that way?’ I think that probably if it’s a year or a year and half … we’ll shift back into the old patterns because those are much more deeply ingrained.”

9:14 a.m.: Can COVID-19 affect my period? Scientists are looking into it.

It’s not yet known if COVID-19 vaccines can affect your period, but researchers are starting to study the issue.

According to the Associated Press, vaccines are designed to activate your immune system, and some experts wonder if that could temporarily disrupt menstrual cycles. So far, reports of irregular bleeding have been anecdotal. It’s difficult to draw any links to the vaccines since anything from stress, diet and exercise could affect periods.

There’s also a lack of data tracking changes to menstrual cycles after vaccinations in general.

Dr. Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the San Francisco Bay area, says a link is possible since the uterine lining, which is shed during a period, contains immune cells that help protect the uterus.

Even if scientists do eventually find a link between the COVID-19 vaccines and short-term changes in bleeding, experts say that would be no reason to avoid getting inoculated.

“The benefits of taking the vaccine certainly way outweigh putting up with one heavy period, if indeed they’re related,” said Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a gynecologist and professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.

9:08 a.m.: US unemployment claims call to pandemic low of 498,000

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 498,000, according to the Associated Press.

It’s at the lowest point since the pandemic struck 14 months ago and a sign of the job market’s growing strength as businesses reopen and consumers step up spending.

Applications declined 92,000 from a revised 590,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has declined significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January as employers have ramped up hiring.

However, the pace of applications is still well above the roughly 230,000 level that was common before the COVID-19 outbreak ran through the economy in March of last year.

10:39 a.m.: Farm-to-Fork week will return later this year

One of Sacramento’s signature events is now scheduled to return later this year after getting canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farm-to-Fork President and CEO Mike Testa says the events are a big deal because they celebrate the region and bring in more than 100,000 visitors.

“To be able to kind of put that party back on the calendar, to be able to look at an event that is not only outdoor food and music, and kind of the fun stuff that we all enjoy about a festival, I think offers that hope that there’s joy again around the corner for us,” Testa said.

The group began planning the events in January hoping that the pandemic would be under control by the fall, and he says the current outlook seems to be very encouraging.

10:20 a.m.: Tehama County vaccination demand is dropping

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is diminishing in rural Tehama County, even though only 26% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Michelle Schmidt is a supervising public health nurse of the Tehama County Health Services Agency, and she said there’s a few reasons why demand is dipping. Access is one barrier for people looking to get vaccinated.

Another is the refocusing of efforts on those living in outlying communities away from vaccine locations in the city of Red Bluff.

“It’s difficult for them to try to get down — potentially two different times — just to come get a COVID shot,” Schmidt said. “And so, we’re in the process of really transitioning, kind of moving out of the community center and moving towards having more of a mobile format to trying to get vaccinations out within our community.”

More vaccinations could mean getting closer to herd immunity, or the point at which enough people are immune to disease to stop its spread. However, Schmidt is skeptical that mark can be met through vaccination.

“Reaching herd immunity is not only dependent upon access, it’s also dependent on people’s willingness to receive the vaccination. And because of that, I’m not sure that we will ever get to the 70% rate to get herd immunity,” she said.

For now, educating the public on the benefits of COVID vaccination and providing opportunities closer to home are the priorities, according to Schmidt.

Thursday, May 13

3:55 p.m.: California opens Pfizer vaccinations for those age 12 years and older

California parents and guardians can now schedule appointments for children aged 12 and up to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine by using the statewide MyTurn booking system starting today.

“The more Californians who are able to get vaccinated, the better we can protect our communities and slow the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “Having vaccines expanded to teenagers is the next step in California’s path to safely reopening next month.”

The expanded eligibility comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amended the Emergency Use Authorization to allow vaccination for 12- to 15-year olds after tests revealed non-serious side effects like fatigue and headache.

“Young people have shouldered a significant burden during this pandemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “We look forward to now providing protection for this group to return to activities, especially as we look forward to the state fully reopening on June 15.”

Opening up the inoculation for younger people means there are now about 2.1 million Californians who are eligible for this age group. California’s vaccine provider network can administer about 6.6 million doses a week overall.

“It’s important to remember that young people need protection against the severity and ongoing threat of COVID-19,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan. “California has more than 500 cases of serious health outcomes among young people resulting from the virus, and cases are increasing among younger Americans and Californians who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated.”

5:32 p.m.: US backs waiving COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property protections

The Biden administration is throwing its support behind efforts to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines to speed up to the end of the pandemic.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government’s position in a Wednesday statement amid World Trade Organizations talks over easing global trade rules. This would enable more countries to produce more life-saving vaccines.

Tai says, “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”

She cautions that it will take time to reach the required global “consensus” to waive the protections under WTO rules.

 

6:30 p.m.: All Nevada counties granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions

All of Nevada’s 17 counties have been granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest addition came yesterday when Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state’s mitigation task force.

Masks remain mandatory. Control over all other COVID-19 measures began May 1 in all of Nevada’s other counties under local plans.

Washoe County’s new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there’s a big spike in the new cases. In the meantime it allows full capacity in businesses with enough space to still comply with six-feet social-distancing.


9:25 a.m.: Pandemic led to 30% increase in worker deaths in certain California industries

During the first 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic, California saw a 30% increase in the deaths of essential workers in 10 industries, according to a new study by U.C. Merced’s Community and Labor Center.

The U.C. study found that overall deaths among Californians aged 18-65 increased by 25% in 2020. Workers accounted for 87% — or more than 14,000 — of those additional deaths.

Dr. Edward Flores, who helped direct the study, said that the pandemic just exposed previously existing inequalities in the workplace.

“There’s a need for better awareness for the rights that workers have, of their ability to take sick leave, to file a complaint in regards to health and safety conditions,” said Flores.

The most affected groups of workers came from industries such as warehouses, agriculture, restaurants and food services, and grocery stores. Among the 10 industries with the highest death increases were nursing care, landscaping, and building services like janitorial and security work.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

 

6:30 p.m.: All Nevada counties granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions

All of Nevada’s 17 counties have been granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest addition came yesterday when Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state’s mitigation task force.

Masks remain mandatory. Control over all other COVID-19 measures began May 1 in all of Nevada’s other counties under local plans.

Washoe County’s new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there’s a big spike in the new cases. In the meantime it allows full capacity in businesses with enough space to still comply with six-feet social-distancing.


9:25 a.m.: Pandemic led to 30% increase in worker deaths in certain California industries

During the first 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic, California saw a 30% increase in the deaths of essential workers in 10 industries, according to a new study by U.C. Merced’s Community and Labor Center.

The U.C. study found that overall deaths among Californians aged 18-65 increased by 25% in 2020. Workers accounted for 87% — or more than 14,000 — of those additional deaths.

Dr. Edward Flores, who helped direct the study, said that the pandemic just exposed previously existing inequalities in the workplace.

“There’s a need for better awareness for the rights that workers have, of their ability to take sick leave, to file a complaint in regards to health and safety conditions,” said Flores.

The most affected groups of workers came from industries such as warehouses, agriculture, restaurants and food services, and grocery stores. Among the 10 industries with the highest death increases were nursing care, landscaping, and building services like janitorial and security work.

 

 

6:30 p.m.: All Nevada counties granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions

All of Nevada’s 17 counties have been granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest addition came yesterday when Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state’s mitigation task force.

Masks remain mandatory. Control over all other COVID-19 measures began May 1 in all of Nevada’s other counties under local plans.

Washoe County’s new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there’s a big spike in the new cases. In the meantime it allows full capacity in businesses with enough space to still comply with six-feet social-distancing.


9:25 a.m.: Pandemic led to 30% increase in worker deaths in certain California industries

During the first 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic, California saw a 30% increase in the deaths of essential workers in 10 industries, according to a new study by U.C. Merced’s Community and Labor Center.

The U.C. study found that overall deaths among Californians aged 18-65 increased by 25% in 2020. Workers accounted for 87% — or more than 14,000 — of those additional deaths.

Dr. Edward Flores, who helped direct the study, said that the pandemic just exposed previously existing inequalities in the workplace.

“There’s a need for better awareness for the rights that workers have, of their ability to take sick leave, to file a complaint in regards to health and safety conditions,” said Flores.

The most affected groups of workers came from industries such as warehouses, agriculture, restaurants and food services, and grocery stores. Among the 10 industries with the highest death increases were nursing care, landscaping, and building services like janitorial and security work.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

 

 

6:30 p.m.: All Nevada counties granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions

All of Nevada’s 17 counties have been granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest addition came yesterday when Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state’s mitigation task force.

Masks remain mandatory. Control over all other COVID-19 measures began May 1 in all of Nevada’s other counties under local plans.

Washoe County’s new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there’s a big spike in the new cases. In the meantime it allows full capacity in businesses with enough space to still comply with six-feet social-distancing.


9:25 a.m.: Pandemic led to 30% increase in worker deaths in certain California industries

During the first 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic, California saw a 30% increase in the deaths of essential workers in 10 industries, according to a new study by U.C. Merced’s Community and Labor Center.

The U.C. study found that overall deaths among Californians aged 18-65 increased by 25% in 2020. Workers accounted for 87% — or more than 14,000 — of those additional deaths.

Dr. Edward Flores, who helped direct the study, said that the pandemic just exposed previously existing inequalities in the workplace.

“There’s a need for better awareness for the rights that workers have, of their ability to take sick leave, to file a complaint in regards to health and safety conditions,” said Flores.

The most affected groups of workers came from industries such as warehouses, agriculture, restaurants and food services, and grocery stores. Among the 10 industries with the highest death increases were nursing care, landscaping, and building services like janitorial and security work.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

 

 

6:30 p.m.: All Nevada counties granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions

All of Nevada’s 17 counties have been granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest addition came yesterday when Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state’s mitigation task force.

Masks remain mandatory. Control over all other COVID-19 measures began May 1 in all of Nevada’s other counties under local plans.

Washoe County’s new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there’s a big spike in the new cases. In the meantime it allows full capacity in businesses with enough space to still comply with six-feet social-distancing.


9:25 a.m.: Pandemic led to 30% increase in worker deaths in certain California industries

During the first 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic, California saw a 30% increase in the deaths of essential workers in 10 industries, according to a new study by U.C. Merced’s Community and Labor Center.

The U.C. study found that overall deaths among Californians aged 18-65 increased by 25% in 2020. Workers accounted for 87% — or more than 14,000 — of those additional deaths.

Dr. Edward Flores, who helped direct the study, said that the pandemic just exposed previously existing inequalities in the workplace.

“There’s a need for better awareness for the rights that workers have, of their ability to take sick leave, to file a complaint in regards to health and safety conditions,” said Flores.

The most affected groups of workers came from industries such as warehouses, agriculture, restaurants and food services, and grocery stores. Among the 10 industries with the highest death increases were nursing care, landscaping, and building services like janitorial and security work.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

 

 

6:30 p.m.: All Nevada counties granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions

All of Nevada’s 17 counties have been granted local authority over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest addition came yesterday when Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state’s mitigation task force.

Masks remain mandatory. Control over all other COVID-19 measures began May 1 in all of Nevada’s other counties under local plans.

Washoe County’s new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there’s a big spike in the new cases. In the meantime it allows full capacity in businesses with enough space to still comply with six-feet social-distancing.


9:25 a.m.: Pandemic led to 30% increase in worker deaths in certain California industries

During the first 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic, California saw a 30% increase in the deaths of essential workers in 10 industries, according to a new study by U.C. Merced’s Community and Labor Center.

The U.C. study found that overall deaths among Californians aged 18-65 increased by 25% in 2020. Workers accounted for 87% — or more than 14,000 — of those additional deaths.

Dr. Edward Flores, who helped direct the study, said that the pandemic just exposed previously existing inequalities in the workplace.

“There’s a need for better awareness for the rights that workers have, of their ability to take sick leave, to file a complaint in regards to health and safety conditions,” said Flores.

The most affected groups of workers came from industries such as warehouses, agriculture, restaurants and food services, and grocery stores. Among the 10 industries with the highest death increases were nursing care, landscaping, and building services like janitorial and security work.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

9:07 a.m.: FDA could OK Pfizer vaccine for teens by next week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 by next week, setting up shots for many before the start of the next school year.

According to the Associated Press, the update comes from a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccine approval process.

The FDA action would be followed by a federal vaccine advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year olds. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act on the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.

11:14 a.m.: Sacramento County stays in red tier

As state officials announced COVID-19 tier changes Tuesday, Sacramento County remained in the state’s red coronavirus risk tier.

Sacramento moved out of the state’s most restrictive purple tier into the red tier on March 16, where it has stayed since.

As of Tuesday, the county had 7.7 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, a 2.8% test positivity rate over the past 7 days and a 4% test positivity rate for the state’s health equity quartile. In order to move into the less restrictive orange tier, counties need to have less than 5.9 new cases a day per 100,000 residents, a test positivity rate below 4.9% for the whole county, and a test positivity rate below 5.3% for the health equity quartile.

Yolo and El Dorado counties are currently in the less restrictive orange tier, while Placer County is also in the red tier.

11:02 a.m.: Nearly one-third of Californians fully vaccinated

Nearly a third of Californians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of May 4, according to NPR’s state vaccine tracker.

In California, 32.1% of all residents have either received one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or both shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Additionally, 49.9% of the state’s population has received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Currently, not all Californians are eligible to get the vaccines, as the shots are not approved for people under age 16 yet. But that may change soon, as Pfizer expects the FDA to approve its vaccine for use in children ages 12-15, according to NPR.

According to the California Department of Public Health, 31,027,617 vaccines have been administered in the state.

​Tuesday, May 4

6:40 p.m.: California urges people to vacation in state, boost tourism

California tourism leaders are urging residents to spend their pent-up travel dollars exploring their home state as coronavirus case numbers stay low.

The tourism industry is reeling from a steep decline in revenue, plummeting from $145 billion in 2019 to $65 billion last year.

The state of nearly 40 million people has been among the most conservative in the U.S. with strict restrictions in place to curb the pandemic. It’s gradually reopening but tourism revenue is not expected to top pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

Tourism officials are calling on Californians to do their patriotic duty and vacation within the state to bolster the industry.

6:34 p.m.: Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates launch Sac-Bike-Match 

If you’re in the market for a new bike, you may have to wait a while. There’s a nationwide shortage because of the pandemic and predominantly shipping out of China and Asia. 

The Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, or SABA, has launched a program called Sac-Bike-Match. They’re asking people to donate old bikes. SABA will then match those bikes with essential workers once they’ve been reconditioned at the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen repair site in midtown.   

“We’re in partnership with them and we wrench those bikes, make sure that they’re in great working order and then we match them up with somebody else and get them on the road,” said Debra Banks. 

May is National Bike Month. It’s mostly virtual in Sacramento again this year because of the pandemic, but SABA is hoping to host a few rides in small groups.

Monday, May 3

3:30 p.m.: Children now account for 22% of new COVID-19 infections in US

The number of children contracting COVID-19 in the U.S. is much lower than the record highs set at the start of the new year, but children now account for more than a fifth of new coronavirus cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

This number is based on states that release their data by age, but still, it’s a statistic that’s surprised many — just one year ago, child COVID-19 cases only made up around 3% of the U.S. total.

Now, children represent 22.4% of the new cases reported in the past week as of this Monday. The cases account for 71,659 out of 319,691 cases. The latest report, drawn from data collected through April 29, illustrates how children’s share of coronavirus infections has grown in recent weeks.

There seems to be several factors why — particularly high vaccination rates among older Americans lowers the number of adults getting sick. But other dynamics are also in play, from new COVID-19 variants to the loosening of restrictions on school activities.

It’s also worth noting that for the vast majority of the pandemic, the age group with the highest case rates has been 18 to 24 year-olds in the U.S.

3:22 p.m.: Las Vegas convention center will transform into drive-thru vaccine clinic

Health officials say they hope to administer more than 1,000 doses a day of coronavirus vaccines to Las Vegas-area residents once the first big drive-thru COVID-19 shot clinic opens Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

According to the Associated Press, the Southern Nevada Health District on Monday said the goal is for 60% of the eligible population to receive at least one dose. If they reach that goal, that would meet a goal the Clark County Commission set for fully reopening casinos and businesses without social distancing rules. However, masks would still be required.

To date, the percentage of state residents who have gotten at least one shot is 47%.

3:10 p.m.: UN inks Moderna deal to provide 500 million doses globally

Moderna and vaccine promoter Gavi have announced a deal by which the pharmaceutical company will provide up to 500 million coronavirus vaccines, according to the Associated Press.

The U.N.-backed program will ship the doses to clinics and vaccination centers in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022.

The advance purchase agreement comes just days after the World Health Organization announced the emergency approval for the Moderna vaccine that will pave the way for its rollout in the U.N.-backed COVAX program.

However, deliveries of the vaccines are not set to begin until the fourth quarter of this year, and the vast majority of the doses in the deal — 466 million — are planned for only next year.

9:39 a.m.: Las Vegas hitting jackpot as pandemic-weary visitors return

Las Vegas has been jammed lately with pandemic-weary tourists looking for excitement and entertainment.

According to the Associated Press, on Saturday, casino capacity limits on the Strip increased again to 80%, while person-to-person distancing drops to 3 feet. However, masks are still required.

The boom began as casino occupancy went from 35% to 50% on March 15 under state health guidelines. Analysts point to pent-up demand, available rooms and federal coronavirus relief checks.

Economic markers are now ringing up a revival on the neon resort corridor that was ghostly quite a year ago. Casinos have also reported four slot jackpots worth upward of $1 million in the last week.

9:15 a.m.: Public transit tries to woo back riders

As President Joe Biden urges more federal spending on public transportation, transit agencies decimated by COVID-19 are struggling to figure out how to win back passengers.

According to the Associated Press, commuting patterns are changing as work-from-home arrangements show signs of becoming a longer-term trend, and riders are still hesitant to return to potentially crowded spaces on buses and trains.

Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan would provide $85 billion over eight years to update and replace subway cars and repair aging tracks and stations. Of that amount, $25 billion would go to expanding bus routes and rail lines. Another $25 billion would pay to convert gasoline- and diesel-powered mass transit buses to zero-emission electric vehicles.

Even with the country slowly opening up again, transportation officials say it could take years to get riders back. Transit agencies are trying different approaches to win over riders, from reduced fares to shiny new bus stops and even shifting transit schedules around to accommodate more passengers due to the pandemic shift away from 9-to-5 work.

9:07 a.m.: US to start global COVID-19 vaccine distribution talks

Two White House officials say the U.S. trade representative will begin talks on COVID-19 vaccine distribution around the world, according to The Associated Press.

The trade representative will begin talks in the world Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that are keeping poorer countries from making their own generic version of critically needed COVID-19 vaccines.

White House chief of staff Ron Klan said trade representative Katherine Tai will be starting talks with the trade organization to get the vaccine more widely distributed, licensed and shared.

Klain and national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the Biden administration will have more to say on the matter in the coming days.

Sunday, May 2

10:40 a.m.: Personal income jumped over 21% in March as the government sent out relief payments 

Americans’ personal incomes jumped 21.1% in March, according to the Commerce Department. This is the biggest increase on record as the government sent out $1,400 relief payments as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue effort.

Personal spending also jumped by 4.2%, and wealthier Americans are also increasing spending. 

Read more here.



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