Latest California Healthline Stories
Newsom Warns California Residents To Brace For Surge Of Cases Following Protests: “If you’re not [concerned], you’re not paying attention to the epidemiology, to the virulence of this disease,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. Newsom added that he’s concerned about the virus’ disproportionate impact on California’s black community, which accounts for nearly 5% of all positive cases but 10% of virus-related deaths. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said the effects of the protest on the spread of the virus will not be known for weeks. He emphasized the “importance of the freedom and liberty to protest,” but said, “it does create infectious disease concern that we weren’t contending with before.”
‘The Bottom Dropped Out Overnight’: Hospitals Reeling From Pandemic’s Financial Blow: California hospital revenue plummeted by more than a third in the first four months of the pandemic as costs to care for coronavirus patients rose, a shocking financial blow that threatens to raise health care prices, according to a recent report. The report, published Wednesday by the California Health Care Foundation, said hospital revenue fell by a cumulative $13 billion from March to June — a 37% reduction from pre-coronavirus levels — as state and local shelter-in-place orders nearly eliminated surgeries and halved emergency room visits. Even with some patients now returning to hospitals as restrictions ease, dire financial losses persist. The report projected that beyond immediate financial losses, the state’s economic recession could reshape health care as jobless Californians lose employer-sponsored coverage and shift to either Medi-Cal or stay uninsured, which means less reimbursement for hospitals. Read more from Mallory Moench of the San Francisco Chronicle.
For Protestors, Health Risk Is Worth It: ‘COVID Or No COVID, You Go And Do What’s Right’: Public health experts are anxious as they watch thousands of Americans pouring out onto the streets after months of painful, yet successful, shutdowns to curb the outbreak. “My heart is just broken because, one, the fact that we still have those [police brutality] issues, but the other thing I’m looking at is young people without masks,” said Sandra Poole, interim director of California Black Health Network. “They’re not social distancing, and those kids are going to go home. They’re going to go home to mothers and grandmothers, and it’s not just the impact it’s going to have on them but their families.” Although the risk of becoming infected is lower in outdoor spaces, epidemiologists say the factors that come along with protesting—such as changing and yelling—heighten the risk once again. “I’m very scared, but I’m willing to take the risk for my people,” said Jamie Lopez, 19. Read more from Cathie Anderson and Kim Bojorquez of the Sacramento Bee.
Health Experts, Leaders Acknowledge Black Trauma Even As They Worry Protests Will Undo Hard-Won Victories From Painful Shutdowns: In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, mass gatherings are about the least advisable activity for controlling spread of a highly infectious disease. But public health experts acknowledge that in a time of national civic unrest and deplorable social injustice, the drive to speak out may supersede the desire to lie low and stay safe. Large crowds are prime sources of so-called super-spreader events, where dozens of people may be exposed to the virus at once then disperse to their home communities, where they may infect many others. Meanwhile, some testing sites are reportedly closing because of the protests.
Protests In California Create Perfect Environment For Second COVID Wave With Black Americans Most Vulnerable, Experts Say: The collision of long-standing anger over police killings of Black Americans and the newer threat of the COVID-19 pandemic have become a joint crisis in Los Angeles and across the country. The coronavirus has been especially devastating to black communities, with black people making up a disproportionate share of COVID-19 deaths. Now people are being faced with a dilemma: How to weigh the risks of protesting during the pandemic.
In Counties That Reopened Earliest, Coronavirus Cases Are Climbing Again: Sonoma County was one of the first regions in California to begin reopening after months of restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Now, the county has reported 203 new cases of the virus in the last 14 days, doubling its case rate in that time from 20 per 100,000 residents to 41 per 100,000, the county’s health officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, said. And rural Lassen County, which had been one of only two California counties untouched by COVID-19, halted its reopening and ordered restaurants, retail shops and other venues to shut down after reporting its first five cases this week.
As Nation Marks 100,000 Deaths, California Hits 100,000 Cases Milestone: Two different totals surpassed that milestone on Wednesday. After roughly 10 weeks of growth — explosive at some points, steadier at others — the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 100,000 on Wednesday, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The tally comes four months after federal officials confirmed the first known case in the country. Almost simultaneously, Johns Hopkins showed California reaching a total of 100,000 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly contagious virus. “The reality is this pandemic has just begun, it hasn’t ended,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during his daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. “And while we are moving forward because of stabilization, because of the good work that’s been done by health officials all across this nation, all across the state of California, specifically to suppress the spread of this virus by no stretch of the imagination, is this virus behind us.” Read more from Michael McGough of the Sacramento Bee.
California Assembly Criticizes Newsom’s ‘Devastating’ Budget Cuts: The California Assembly slammed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal, criticizing his proposed cuts to health care and other programs during a rare meeting that allowed them to question the administration directly. “The cuts to our seniors, our children and our women are devastating,” said Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a Democrat from Orinda. “Is that who we are as a state?” Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, said it was wrong for Newsom to slash health care spending during a pandemic. But Gray was one of the few lawmakers to offer an alternative plan, proposing the Legislature legalize sports betting as a way to generate an extra $2 billion to help eliminate some of the proposed $14 billion in cuts. Newsom’s plan attempts to close a projected $54 billion budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and lawmakers acknowledged they’ll have to make difficult choices. Read more from The Associated Press and Katie Orr of KQED.
Californians Flocked To Beaches, Parks Over Memorial Weekend: Health officials had previously said Memorial Day weekend would be a big test of whether California can ease stay-at-home restrictions while continuing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Overall, officials said there were no major problems are beaches, though some places like the Venice Boardwalk saw dense crowds with some not wearing masks. Officials closed Eaton Canyon Natural Areas & Trails for the rest of the Memorial Day weekend amid concerns that crowded conditions could pose health risks. State officials have now cleared 47 counties to resume in-restaurant dining and in-store shopping. Among the latest were Orange and Riverside, two of California’s largest population centers.
California’s Death Toll Passes 2,000 As State Starts To Reopen: More than 40 of California’s 58 counties have now been approved to expand retail operations as their virus conditions improved, with more expected to reopen their economies in the coming days. But officials expect the progress to be slower in Los Angeles County, which accounts for nearly 60% of the state’s total deaths and almost half of the more than 86,000 confirmed infections. The county’s death toll rose Thursday to 2,016, with more than 42,000 confirmed cases. “This is a very sad milestone for us,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. Read more from Luke Money, Rong-Gong Lin II and Hannah Fry of the Los Angeles Times.