Latest From California Healthline:
The chaos and evacuations prompted by wind-fueled wildfire in Sonoma County pose special challenges for people in need of ongoing medical treatment. Volunteer medical personnel have stepped up to provide care and a sense of stability. (Anna Maria Barry-Jester, 10/29)
Good morning! Here are your top California health stories of the day.
'Don’t Let Your Guard Down': Forecasters Fear Extreme Wind Will Bring New Level Of Fire Danger To Californians: Even after several years of devastating wind-driven fires in Southern California, forecasters fear that the next two days could bring new levels of danger. “Extreme” fire weather began in the Los Angeles area at 11 p.m. Tuesday and was expected to persist for 30 hours, bringing isolated gusts of up to 80 mph. It’s an unusually long Santa Ana wind condition, and fire weather of this kind hasn’t been seen in Southern California since October 2007, when similar conditions helped unleash the sixth most destructive fire in California history. Meanwhile, Thousands of firefighters battling the Kincade Fire made good progress Tuesday in strengthening fire lines and protecting homes and businesses, but were bracing for a new onslaught of overnight winds that threatened to spawn new spot fires throughout Sonoma County’s famed wine country.
And investigators are looking into whether fires ravaging Northern California may have been sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment, deepening skepticism around the utility’s controversial plan to prevent fires in the region by shutting off power to millions of residents — and raising panic among the bankrupt company’s investors. “This is not the new normal,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday.
Read more from Joseph Serna and Rong-Gong Lin II of the Los Angeles Times, Benji Egel and Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee; Douglas MacMillan and Faiz Siddiqui of The Washington Post; and Hannah Wiley and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee.
In other fire related news:
The New York Times: Despair For Many And Silver Linings For Some In California Wildfires
Los Angeles Times: How Parents And Teachers Can Calm Kids’ Getty Fire Anxiety
The San Francisco Chronicle: Jerry Brown Implores Washington To Act On Climate: ‘California’s Burning’
Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Plan To Propose Ballot Measure To Weaken California’s Recently Passed Gig Economy Legislation: The proposal from Uber, Lyft and DoorDash states that an “app-based driver is an independent contractor” as long as a series of conditions are met by a company. If approved by voters, the initiative would also enshrine in state law a number of perks for those workers, including a minimum amount of pay as well as insurance to cover work-related injuries and auto accidents. And it lays out details for healthcare subsidies, protections against on-the-job harassment or discrimination and a system to enforce some workplace rights. Many of the initiative’s promised benefits reflect criticisms leveled against the companies by supporters of Assembly Bill 5, the new law taking effect in January that will apply a series of rigorous new tests a company must meet before excluding workers from being designated as an employee. Read more from John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Bryan Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.
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
Ventura County Star:
Flu Risk Rising In Ventura County; Officials Call For Vaccinations
Emergency room doctors in Oxnard, Camarillo and Thousand Oaks have already seen it. Los Angeles County Public Health officials announced the region's first death a week ago. California Department of Public Health officials said in mid-October that Ventura County is part of a five-county region, reaching from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles, that is the only area in the state with elevated levels. Flu season has hit. (Kisken, 10/29)
STD Rates In Sacramento County CA Increase, Doctors Say
The number of sexually transmitted diseases reported in Sacramento County jumped significantly in 2018, and Sacramento remains among the California counties with the highest STD rates, the latest state figures show. Doctors diagnosed about 11,650 Sacramento County residents with chlamydia last year, up nearly 20 percent from 2017 and up more than 50 percent from 2014. (Reese, 10/30)
Sacramento Millennials Want City To Declare Climate Emergency
Myriad factors underlie California’s susceptibility to fires, not just climate change. Still the weather patterns influencing this week’s inferno are “almost certainly tied to global warming,” said climate scientists interviewed by The San Francisco Chronicle. How much you care about the role of climate change in these disasters partly depends on age. (Townsend, 10/30)
Los Angeles Times:
Glendale Officials Rush To Regulate Street Vending By The Holidays
Glendale officials are hurrying to establish rules regarding how street vendors can operate within the city by the upcoming holiday season when local business leaders anticipate a hike in activity. Last Tuesday, Glendale City Council members voted to draft an ordinance defining where and when sellers of hot dogs, hats and other goods can peddle their wares. It could go into effect in just over two weeks. (Seidman, 10/29)
Culturally Competent Services For Suicide Prevention Among The AAPI Communities
At the ARI Community Services Center on El Paraiso Avenue in Sacramento, the Vietnamese, Chinese and Hmong seniors gather every Wednesday to attend the classes. The sessions are for improving fitness and are free of charge.And their underlying goal: suicide prevention. (Yu,10/30)
Homeless Deaths In LA County Have Nearly Doubled In The Past 6 Years
More than 1,000 people died while experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County in 2018. That's nearly double the number of homeless people who died in 2013, according to a report released Tuesday by county health officials which looked at deaths within that six-year time period. Heart disease, drug and alcohol overdoses, and transportation-related injuries were the most common causes of death. Even when adjusting for the increase in the number of homeless people in Los Angeles, the mortality rate has increased each year. (Tinoco, 10/29)
Capital Public Radio:
Sacramento Mayor Calls For Rapid Expansion Of Tiny Homes Across California
To ease California’s homeless crisis and boost affordable housing, cities across the state are slowly embracing so-called tiny homes. ...Sacramento’s homeless population jumped 19 percent over the past two years, to nearly 5,600, according to a recent count. Last month, Californians listed homelessness as the top concern in the state, tied with jobs and the economy, according to a Public Policy Institute of California survey. (Nichols, 10/29)
Capital Public Radio:
Challenges Implementing Sanctuary State Law Keep Immigrant Fears At A High
In 2016 and 2017, California passed two different laws regulating the way local law enforcement agencies interact with federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. For pro-immigrant groups, it was a step toward making California a “sanctuary state” where undocumented residents could cooperate with police without the fear of deportation. But law enforcement agencies are implementing the law inconsistently and it may be jeopardizing the safety of detainees, according to a new report from the California Immigrant Policy Center, an immigrant rights organization. (Caiola, 10/29)
The New York Times:
U.S. Detains Record Number Of Child Migrants, Surpassing Crisis Under Obama
The United States has detained more children trying to cross the nation’s southwest border on their own over the last year than during any other period on record, surpassing the surge of unaccompanied minors that set off a crisis during the Obama administration, according to new figures released Tuesday. American immigration authorities apprehended 76,020 minors, most of them from Central America, traveling without their parents in the fiscal year that ended in September — 52 percent more than during the last fiscal year, according to United States Customs and Border Protection. (Villegas, 10/29)
Medicare For All: Bernie Sanders Won't Explain Details Of How To Pay For It Yet
Bernie Sanders doesn't plan on releasing a detailed plan of how to finance his single-payer Medicare for All plan, he told CNBC's John Harwood on Tuesday. "You're asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American — how much you're going to pay more in taxes, how much I'm going to pay," he said. "I don't think I have to do that right now." The Vermont senator explained that before getting to his detailed financing plan, he wants Americans to understand that they currently pay more for health care than people in other countries. (Kurtzleben, 10/29)
Bernie Sanders Says He Doesn't Need To Come Up With 'Exact Detailed Plan' Right Now On How To Pay For 'Medicare For All'
His comments come after Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would put out a plan in the coming weeks on how to pay for Medicare for All, which she has endorsed. Warren's announcement came after being repeatedly pressed on how she would pay for the sweeping national health insurance plan without raising taxes on the middle class. A recent study by the Urban Institute said federal spending on health care would increase by roughly $34 trillion under a single-payer plan similar to Medicare for All. That number is in line with earlier studies that pegged the cost at around $32 trillion. (Sullivan, Grayer and Luhby, 10/29)
Sanders: 'I Don't Think I Have To' Release Details On Paying For 'Medicare For All'
Sanders has been upfront that Medicare for All would involve raising taxes on the middle class as well as on the wealthy but has not fully explained where the revenue for his plan would come from. Sanders last spring released a list of financing suggestions for his updated Medicare for All legislation, but the list would only cover about half the cost. A conservative group estimated Medicare for All would cost about $33 trillion over a decade, but Sanders has said that amount is inflated. (Weixel, 10/29)
The New York Times:
How Americans Split On Health Care: It’s A 3-Way Tie
When Americans are asked whether they support a “Medicare for all” system that would replace all current insurance with a generous government program, a majority often say yes. But when they’re asked follow-up questions, they often reveal that they’re not familiar with the details of that plan — or that they would also be happy with other Democratic policy proposals. ... We asked a panel of 2,005 adults to pick their favorite plan from three choices. One resembled the Medicare for all proposal; one was like more incremental Democratic proposals; and one was like a plan proposed by congressional Republicans, which would reduce federal involvement in the health system and give more money and autonomy to states. The share of the public supporting each option wound up being almost identical — around 30 percent each. (Sanger-Katz, 10/30)
Number Of Uninsured Children Rises For Second Year, Tops 4 Million
The number of uninsured children in the U.S. increased for the second year in a row and now tops four million, the highest numbers since ObamaCare became law, according to a new report released Wednesday. According to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, the number of uninsured children increased by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018. (Weixel, 10/30)
The New York Times:
U.S. Blames Drug Shortages On Low Prices And A ‘Broken Marketplace’
Chronic drug shortages that threaten patient care are caused by rock-bottom prices for older generic medicines and a health care marketplace that doesn’t run on the rules of supply and demand, among other factors, according to a federal report published on Tuesday. The report, the work of a task force led by the Food and Drug Administration and comprising representatives from various federal agencies, recommended that buyers like hospitals consider paying higher prices for older generic drugs. (Rabin, 10/29)
The New York Times:
Johnson & Johnson Says Recalled Baby Powder Doesn’t Have Asbestos
Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday that it did not find asbestos in multiple tests of a bottle of baby powder that the Food and Drug Administration said contained trace amounts of the carcinogen. The company had recalled 33,000 bottles of the product earlier this month after the regulator said it discovered evidence of chrysotile asbestos in a bottle bought from an online retailer. Johnson & Johnson said 15 new tests of that very bottle came up clean. (Hsu, 10/29)
The Associated Press:
White House Launches Website Aimed At Addiction Treatment
The Trump administration has unveiled a website aimed at helping millions of Americans with substance abuse issues learn about and locate treatment options. FindTreatment.gov is the latest development in the administration's effort to address the nation's opioid crisis. The White House said it believes the site, which went up Wednesday, will enable the tens of millions of Americans with a variety of substance abuse and mental health issues to better access the care they need. (10/30)
The New York Times:
Alabama Abortion Ban Is Temporarily Blocked By A Federal Judge
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a near-total ban on abortions from taking effect next month in Alabama, ensuring the procedure remains legal and available in the state while the case winds its way through the courts. In ruling against the Alabama law — the most far-reaching anti-abortion measure passed by state lawmakers this year — Judge Myron H. Thompson of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama wrote that it violates Supreme Court precedent and “defies” the Constitution. (Rojas and Blinder, 10/29)
The Associated Press:
Missouri Agency Tracked Planned Parenthood Patients' Periods
Missouri's health department director on Tuesday said he tracked the menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood patients as part of an effort to identify what the agency says were "failed abortions" at a St. Louis clinic. Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams made the revelation during the second day of an administrative hearing to determine whether Missouri's only abortion clinic will lose its license to perform the procedure. (10/29)