Connect with us

Coronavirus

Coronavirus is like an STD

Biggest concern is asymptomatic folks, says Celina Alvarez

Published

on

“He hit me up,” my friend said on FaceTime to create some semblance of intimacy while social distancing.

“Hit you up? As in hook up? Meaning have sex?” I ask.

“Does he know that the coronavirus is a sexually transmitted disease?” I ask, flummoxed. “He doesn’t even have to take his hoodie off. He can catch it before walking into the apartment.”

Because the virus is silent for a period of time, the young and the old alike may not be aware they have it or are spreading it – and they apparently don’t know they could die from it.

Peter Cashman, a co-founder of ACT UP/LA, sits in his car at Trader Joe’s while a friend does his shopping. He is fuming at how the the National LGBTQ Task Force made the “suicidal decision” to green-light its recent “White Party” fundraiser on Miami’s South Beach.

“The event allegedly took extra precautions for attendees, handing out 10,000 hand sanitizer bottles and hygiene information guides for festival goers,” The Hill reported. “Reports from organizers say that none of the attendees experienced symptoms during the festival.”

Executive Director Rea Carey told The Hill that “the real story” was not how many attendees might have been infected but rather “that millions of people across the country would like to get tested, and the government has not done its job to make testing available.”

No, the “real story” is that Task Force did not cancel the event, says Cashman. “What people with HIV/AIDS need right now is specific medical/scientific information related to their positive status and COVID-19,” which, Cashman says, he has not received from his HIV specialist.

Richard Ayoub, executive director of Project Angel Food, has been delivering facts with food.

“Because people with HIV/AIDS are immune compromised, it makes them more susceptible to the virus that is highly contagious,” he tells the Los Angeles Blade. “Project Angel Food continues to serve the 1,600 people living with critical illness who rely on us every day, and we have added three weeks of shelf stable meals for every client, just in case we can’t reach them in an emergency. We can’t close down—we are a vital service.”

The general public doesn’t realize how much income from fundraisers sustain the budgets of organizations like Project Angel Food or those who fund others. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, for instance, is the single largest financial supporter of The Actors Fund. In February, Project Angel Food received $40,000 from the Actors Fund to “reach out to L.A.’s LGBTQ homeless,” says Tom Viola, BCEFA’s Executive Director.

But Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is taking “a huge hit” because of COVID-19. “Last year’s campaign raised over $6 million. We’ll take a $5 million hit on this one, likely forcing us to suspend the last two grant rounds of our annual National Grants Program,” Viola says.

“As you can imagine,” says Darrel Cummings, chief of staff at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, “providing the amount of services we do and to such a large number of people has presented lots of challenges that we have been working to resolve.  It has been my goal to maintain the vital services — medical, mental health, pharmacy, housing, etc.— that are most needed while at the same time reducing the numbers of people — clients, staff, and volunteers — in our physical space as much as possible.

The Center deals with a variety of situations from medical and mental health issues to age and homelessness that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Each day brings a new challenge that we have to learn how to properly manage but we are staying nimble enough to respond as best we can,” says Cummings.

Housing Works Executive Director Celina Alvarez is working to maintain their satellite program, Young Burlington Apartments, a 20-unit permanent supportive housing building for 18-24-year-olds who generally distrust adults.

“We are doing what we can to stay in consistent communication with these young people who are scared and unsure about what the future holds,” she says. “The onsite support services staff, including myself, have been in contact with the tenants at YB to check on them and assess their needs and any health symptoms they are experiencing at this time.  Our job is to educate, educate, educate them about COVID-19 so that they can make informed decisions as we all learn to walk through this new era.”

But testing is scarce. “Unless you come from a certain income/social status bracket, the rest of us don’t have a chance at really finding out who amongst us is a carrier,” she says. “My biggest concerns are the asymptomatic folks.”

Cashman notes that summoning the strength to fight yet another herculean battle like the coronavirus and its spawn will not be easy for LGBTQ community. And this on top of all the other many ancillary battles. Now there will be even more complex emotions to disentangle on a daily basis.

“But overwhelmingly there is a special place in hell for our utterly failed White House leadership whose negligence, greed and criminality is now killing us,” Cashman says, adding not so metaphorically: “Bring back the guillotine!”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coronavirus

Battle lines drawn over proof of vax as Delta variant explodes

“A community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members”

Published

on

Graphic created by Max Huskins as adapted from Facebook Cover art by Akbar LA

SILVER LAKE- For the owners of the Akbar on the edge of Hollywood self-described as a neighborhood oasis cocktail bar and nightclub, the reality of the affect of the highly contagious and rapidly transmitted Delta variant of coronavirus forced them to require proof of vaccination against COVID.

Last week the bar notified its customers on social media and at the door that proof of vaccination and a mask are now required to gain entry into Akbar. The notification helpfully added the message that “CA.gov has launched a way of downloading your vaccination record so you have a digital copy of it on your phone – https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/ -“

The bar also noted; “We will also accept your vaccination card (photo of it is acceptable) and valid ID together. We value our community health and feel we all must accept the responsibility to keep each other safe while socializing. Thank you for understanding.”

Thirty-nine miles and 43 odd minutes away in Huntington Beach in Orange County, the owner of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino posted flyers outside his business and on social media requiring proof that customers are not vaccinated.

The flyers read: “Notice: Proof of being unvaccinated required. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.”

KABC 7 reported, “Many people are bothered, according to reviews on Yelp. Dozens left low ratings for Basilico’s with comments like one that read: “What a slap in the face to all those who died from COVID-19.” The increased public attention led to Yelp temporarily disabling posting on the page.”

After the Los Angeles Times ran a piece on the restaurant, the owners responded on their Facebook page:

‘LOS ANGELES TIMES’ PRINTS AN ARTICLE ABOUT US, AND AGAIN HERE COME THE HATERS, AND WITH IT, THE HARASSING NON-STOP PHONE CALLS, THREATS AND HUNDREDS OF ONE STAR REVIEWS. AND GUESS WHAT? WE AT ‘BASILICO’S PASTA E VINO’ WEAR IT ALL AS A BADGE OF HONOR!ATTENTION: TINY TYRANTS, WANNABE LITTLE DICTATORS, PRO-LOCKDOWN / PRO-MASK / PRO-MANDATORY VACCINE MINI GESTAPO AMERICAN TRAITORS AND SNITCHES, AND YES ESPECIALLY ‘GAVIN PELOSI’ AND ‘STRONZO FAUCI’ … WE FEEL BLESSED TO GO INTO BATTLE AGAINST ALL OF YOU IN DEFENSE OF AMERICAN LIBERTY AND FREEDOM, SO BRING IT ON! SEE THE ARTICLE HERE:https://www.latimes.com/…/huntington-beach-restaurant…

In the past two weeks as the number of cases exploded, Los Angeles County issued a first in the nation indoor mask order for residents in an attempt to contain what one health official described as drinking from a fire house as the numbers of cases rose by nearly 2,000 per day at one point crossing over to nearly 3,000.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing increasing concern around the fast-spreading and highly contagious delta variant on Tuesday, reversed its earlier mask guidance to specifically target areas of the country with the highest levels of the coronavirus and recommended that everyone in those areas, vaccinated or not, wear a mask as the delta variant continues to spread rapidly across the U.S.

However, city and state officials realized that the co-mingling of vaccinated and non-vaccinated Californians was the primary driving factor especially the 20% of the state’s residents who have yet to take the vaccination or have refused.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California is implementing a first-in-the-nation standard to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.

“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” said Newsom. “As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same.”

The new policy for state workers will take effect August 2 and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9, and health care facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance.

Appearing on MSNBC and CNN, Newsom claimed that individuals who refused to take the vaccine posed a risk to the public similar to drunk driving.

“It’s like drunk drivers, you don’t have the right to go out and drink and drive and put everybody else at risk including your own life,” the governor said.

Newsom also denounced high-profile conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson. In a harsh exchange on Twitter, Newsom aggressively put down an attack by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) a noted QAnon and conspiracy afficando:

One day after state officials announced that state and healthcare employees will soon be required to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated or must undergo regular testing for COVID-19, the City of Los Angeles will require city employees to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing for the virus.

As more bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are poised to require proof of vaccination for entry, the question has been posed as to whether that is in fact legal. According to Michele Goodwin, a professor of law at UC Irvine and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, in a May 25 2021 interview with CapRadio’s Sasha Hupka, also a contributor to PolitiFact California, a business has the right to refuse entry.

“If a person refuses to disclose their vaccination status, a business cannot search their pockets or vehicle for proof they are vaccinated. However, it can ask for the information to be voluntarily disclosed. If it isn’t, a business has the right to refuse entry,” Goodwin said adding; “Businesses can establish standards for entry that do not violate statutory or constitutional provisions in a state or federal law.”

“In fact, even government entities like schools and the Army have historically been able to require vaccinations based on legal precedent set by Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905. The case upheld the power of states and other government entities to enforce compulsory vaccinations in the interest of public health,” Hupka reported noting;

“A community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote in the majority opinion in the case.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

CDC backtracks and releases new guidance on facial masks

CDC’s mask guidance recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” & “high” transmission of Covid-19

Published

on

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Headquarters Building and Campus in Atlanta, GA (Blade file photo)

ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing increasing concern around the fast-spreading and highly contagious delta variant on Tuesday, reversed its earlier mask guidance to specifically target areas of the country with the highest levels of the coronavirus and recommended that everyone in those areas, vaccinated or not, wear a mask as the delta variant continues to spread rapidly across the U.S.

“CDC recommends localities encourage universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC announced. “Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies are in place.”

The White House issued a statement from President Joe Biden which read in part:

“Today’s announcement by the CDC—that new research and concerns about the Delta variant leads CDC to recommend a return to masking in parts of the country—is another step on our journey to defeating this virus. I hope all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidance will follow it; I certainly will when I travel to these areas.

Today, the CDC also reaffirmed that we can safely reopen schools this fall—full time. Masking students is inconvenient, I know, but will allow them to learn and be with their classmates with the best available protection.

Most importantly, today’s announcement also makes clear that the most important protection we have against the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. Although most U.S. adults are vaccinated, too many are not. While we have seen an increase in vaccinations in recent days, we still need to do better.”

The CDC’s mask guidance that recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of Covid-19 includes nearly two-thirds of U.S. counties.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

State employees & health care workers must show proof of vaccination

Newsom blasts ‘right-wing echo chamber’ for vaccine misinformation & claimed individuals refusing the vaccine are similar to drunk drivers.

Published

on

California Governor Gavin Newsom (Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO – As the Delta variant continues to surge driving coronavirus case numbers higher, Governor Gavin Newsom in a press conference Monday announced California is implementing a first-in-the-nation standard to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.

“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” said Newsom. “As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same. Vaccines are safe – they protect our family, those who truly can’t get vaccinated, our children and our economy. Vaccines are the way we end this pandemic.” 

The new policy for state workers will take effect August 2 and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9, and health care facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance.

 

Despite California leading the nation in vaccinations, with more than 44 million doses administered and 75 percent of the eligible population having received at least one dose, . This increase is heavily due to the Delta variant, which is more contagious and kills people faster:

  • As of last week, California’s statewide case rate more than quadrupled from a low in May of 1.9 cases/100,000/day to at least 9.5 cases/100,000. 
  • The testing positivity was at a low of 0.7 percent in June, now it has risen to 5.2 percent. 
  • Hospitalizations were at a low in June of under 900, and the state numbers are now approaching 3,000. 
  • The vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated, with 600 percent higher case rates among the unvaccinated than for those who are vaccinated.

“California has administered more vaccines than any other state, with 75 percent of those eligible having gotten at least one dose, and we were weeks ahead of meeting President Biden’s 70 percent goal. But we must do more to fight disinformation and encourage vaccine-hesitant communities and individuals,” said California’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “The Delta variant is up to 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha strain but many times more infectious than the original COVID-19 strain. If you have been waiting to get vaccinated, now is the time.”  

Appearing on MSNBC, Newsom aggressively lashed out at some conservatives after being asked what the governor attributed to those 25% of Californians who remain unvaccinated. Newsom responded by saying he credited “[an] overwhelming majority of misinformation by right-wing pundits.

California to require vaccinations or frequent testing of state workers:

Appearing on MSNBC and CNN, Newsom claimed that individuals who refused to take the vaccine posed a risk to the public similar to drunk driving.

“It’s like drunk drivers, you don’t have the right to go out and drink and drive and put everybody else at risk including your own life,” the governor said.

Newsom also denounced high-profile conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson. In a harsh exchange on Twitter, Newsom aggressively put down an attack by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) a noted QAnon and conspiracy afficando:

In addition to these new measures, the state continues its efforts to vaccinate Californians. Last week, California surpassed 2 million newly vaccinated individuals since launching its incentive program, Vax for the Win. The program increased HPI Q1 vaccinations, and increased doses administered to the Latinx population by 10 percent. It also successfully slowed the rate of decline that California was experiencing in vaccination rates.

The program’s peak showed a 33 percent increase in vaccinations, “outpacing the inoculation trends in much of the country,” including more recently a 4.4 percent increase for the week ending July 14 – a promising sign in California, as vaccination rates declined nationwide. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular