Latest From California Healthline:
Disease experts say a new coronavirus case in California underscores the need for more widespread community testing for the illness, as well as problems caused by the delays in getting functional coronavirus test kits to state and local public health agencies. (Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Rachel Bluth, 2/27)
In advance of the Super Tuesday primary, Los Angeles County is rotating new touch-screen voting machines among 41 locations, including adult day care centers and jails, to increase voting among populations with historically low turnout. (Anna Almendrala, 2/28)
California Coronavirus Case With No Travel Link Shines Light On Deep Flaws In CDC's Early Testing Strategy: A woman in Solano County, California, who hadn’t traveled abroad or had contact with another known patient with the illness was diagnosed with the virus Wednesday, raising concerns that cases are going undetected because of the federal government’s narrow testing protocols. Eventually, more than 10 days after she went into hospital, the CDC agreed she could be tested. Dozens of health workers who may have come into contact with her at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, in Vacaville, Calif., are now being monitored. Even before the announcement on Wednesday, frustration had been mounting among health providers and medical experts that the agency was testing too few Americans, which may slow preparations for an outbreak and may obscure the scope of infections.
California has launched a far-reaching effort to find anyone who might have come in contact with a new coronavirus patient infected despite having no known link to others with the illness.
Read more from Roni Caryn Rabin, Sheri Fink and Knvul Sheikh of The New York Times; Helen Branswell of Stat; Geoffrey A. Fowler, Lenny Bernstein and Laurie McGinley of The Washington Post; Erin Allday and Alexei Koseff of the San Francisco Chronicle; Lisa M. Krieger and Annie Sciacca of the Bay Area News Group; and Jaclyn Cosgrove, Soumya Karlamangla and Taryn Luna of the Los Angeles Times.
Newsom Says 8,400 Californians Are Being Monitored For Signs Of Coronavirus: Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the state is monitoring 8,400 people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus and has only 200 kits for diagnosing it, even as California is addressing the problem with urgency. "We’re meeting this moment with the kind of urgency that is necessary," Newsom said at a press conference in Sacramento Thursday. "People should go about their day to day lives with some common sense. I don't want to instill any sense of new anxiety." California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell said the news of a person in Solano County acquiring the virus from an unknown source marked a turning point. "This particular case could be the first possible instance of community transmission of COVID-19 in the United States, and it's here in California," said Dr. Angell. Read more from Ana B. Ibarra of CalMatters; Sammy Caiola of Capital Public Radio; and Danielle Venton of KQED.
In more California and coronavirus news:
San Francisco Chronicle: UC Davis Dormitory Student Being Tested For Coronavirus
Bay Area News Group: How Bay Area Schools, Transit And Arenas Are Preparing As Worries Mount
The New York Times: ‘It’s Scary’: Residents Near Mystery Coronavirus Case Worry And Wonder
The New York Times: Coronavirus In California: What You Need To Know
Capital Public Radio: Interview: Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Dean Blumberg On What To Know About Coronavirus
Below, check out the full round-up of California Healthline original stories, state coverage and the best of the rest of the national news for the day.
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More News From Across The State
The New York Times:
DeVos Orders U.S.C. To Address ‘Systemic Failures’ Over Arrested Gynecologist
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Thursday an agreement with the University of Southern California that requires the school to overhaul its processes for responding to sexual assaults after the department found “systemic failures” in its response to abuse allegations against a former gynecologist, George Tyndall. The agreement requires the university to review the actions of current and former employees involved in the Tyndall matter to determine whether they should be disciplined, and to make reasonable efforts to contact and offer remedies to nine patients who may have been harmed over Mr. Tyndall’s 31-year medical career, and possibly to others. (Green, 2/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Regulators Slam USC Handling Of Sex Abuse Cases As 'Reprehensible'
“What we have found at USC is shocking and reprehensible,” Kenneth L. Marcus, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement. “No student should ever have to face the disgusting behavior that USC students had to deal with.” In finding that USC violated the civil rights of students, the department levied a long list of sanctions stemming from USC’s handling of complaints about Dr. George Tyndall, the sole full-time gynecologist at the student health clinic for 27 years. Tyndall, as The Times revealed nearly two years ago, was the subject of multiple complaints from patients and colleagues over the decades, including reports that he photographed women’s genitals, performed improper pelvic and breast exams and made suggestive comments during medical exams. (Hamilton and Ryan, 2/27)
USC Mishandled Gynecologist's Sexual Abuse Reports For Decades, Feds Say
The findings further detail that the university’s top brass knew about serious allegations against Tyndall while it was already under investigation by the department over student allegations that USC mishandled sexual assault cases in late 2017 but failed to disclose them to federal agents. “We are certainly very disappointed by the responsiveness of the University of Southern California in this case,” said Kenneth Marcus, assistant secretary of civil rights for the department. (Kingkade, 2/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Proposed Changes To California's AB 5 Await State Lawmakers
Critics of California’s new law limiting the use of independent contractors don’t just want legislators to take a second look at a handful of fiercely debated provisions. They want a series of potential do-overs — some to make small revisions to the law and others that would go as far as repeal it. Those efforts, many of which began long before Assembly Bill 5 was signed last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom, signal a second consecutive year of sharp focus on labor law in Sacramento. Public interest is especially high this time, as some app-based technology companies prepare to ask voters to rewrite AB 5 to give special treatment to their industry. (Myers, 2/28)
Checking In On Impact, Implementation And Response To California’s Two Newest Vaccine Exemption Laws
On Monday, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom addressed anti-vaccine protesters who had gathered outside her house in Sacramento, saying her husband’s administration is taking their concerns into consideration and that she thought there should be further discussion over the necessity of certain immunizations.It’s the latest example of how the statewide discussion over vaccine requirements and the state’s oversight of exemptions for those requirements is continuing this year in the wake of two new laws that Governor Gavin Newsom signed that went into effect on the first of this year. (Mantle, 2/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Stop Playing Politics And Protect Us From Coronavirus
For the good of the country, Congress and the White House need to rise above their usual partisan sniping and name-calling and show a little unified leadership as the United States readies itself for the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. We know it will be hard, given the level of bitter polarization in Washington, but Democrats and Republicans owe it to the American people to swallow their differences. That’s what rational, responsible governments do in cases of war, natural disaster and, yes, a mass outbreak of infectious disease. (2/28)
The Mercury News:
Coronavirus Threat Reveals Impact Of Trump Budget Cuts
Americans are just beginning to understand the price to be paid for failing to adequately invest in science. No one knows how many lives will be lost or what the total economic impact of the coronavirus will be. On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that the coronavirus had infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its worst one-day drop, falling more than 1,193 points. The decline for the week has wiped out an estimated $2 trillion in value for the S&P 500 and, if it holds, would rank in the top 20 for the Dow’s steepest weekly selloff. (2/28)
Los Angeles Times:
U.S. Hospitals Are Unprepared For The Spread Of Coronavirus
Hospitals in the United States are already so overburdened, and their staffs so overworked, that one bad flu season is enough to push them over capacity. Just two years ago, during a particularly bad season in California, patients seeking treatment for the flu instead found themselves in “war zones.” Hospitals turned away ambulances, imported nurses from elsewhere and erected parking lot tents when they ran out of beds. Surgeries had to be canceled and hospitals ran out of supplies. If the new coronavirus gains momentum here, infecting thousands, the outlook would be even grimmer. (Wiliiam Haseltine, 2/24)
The California Health Report:
CalRx Is Not A Magic Bullet—And Must Include Communities Of Color
Too often in California and around the U.S., people must choose between paying for medication that costs too much and rent that costs too much.This is illustrated by stories like that of Virginian Alec Raeshawn Smith, who tragically died at 26, a month after aging out of his mother’s insurance coverage. He was forced to ration the insulin he needed to survive, and that desperate choice killed him. Most of us here in California do not need headlines to tell us that prescription drug prices are too high. We have cared for a loved elder, gotten sick or managed a disability—and felt it ourselves. (Christian Beauvoir, 2/27)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Another Dubious Rubber Stamp For A Dangerous East Bay Jail
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office recently presented the results of the American Correctional Association’s latest audit of Santa Rita Jail to a Board of Supervisors committee. Its glowing conclusions are absurd and indefensible. The Dublin jail has come under fire for having the most deaths of incarcerated people in the Bay Area over the past five years — at least 45. A prisoner-led hunger strike and work stoppage at the jail last fall called attention to its unsanitary conditions, vermin-laden food and inhumane treatment. (Christine Mitchell, 2/25)
San Jose Mercury News:
Is California Getting Tough On Homeless?
Gov. Gavin Newsom devoted most of his State of the State address this month to California’s ever-growing crisis of homelessness, outlining a broad new approach and pledging that he will make it work. “I don’t think homelessness can be solved,” he concluded, “I know homelessness can be solved. This is our cause. This is our calling.” Buried in the speech was a hint as to why he’s taking ownership of what many would consider to be an intractable problem. (Dan Walters, 2/26)
The Washington Post:
Housing Regulations Are Getting In The Way Of Fighting Homelessness
America's dreamland, California, has more recently acquired an association in the public mind with the social nightmare known as homelessness. In 2019, California’s homeless population grew by 21,306 people — more than the combined increase in all 49 other states — according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The California total of roughly 150,000 represents just over a quarter of the national figure, in a state that has one-eighth of the U.S. population. (2/23)
Los Angeles Times:
Development Fees Are Raising California Housing Prices
The cost of building new housing in California is too damn high. And one reason is all the pricey development fees layered on new apartments, single-family homes and even affordable housing projects. Cities throughout the state collect an assortment of fees from builders to raise money for such things as parks, schools, public art, affordable housing, transportation, environmental protection, fire and police service and city facilities such as libraries and sewer systems. (2/28)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Sleep: The Third Pillar Of Health
Sleep — it’s not the most exciting topic. But a report from Tufts University says sleep is the third pillar of health along with diet and activity. Besides, we spend a third of our lives sleeping, and if you sleep poorly, it can trigger a cascade of health problems. (Dr. Gifford-Jones, 2/24)