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COVID-19 DAILY: WeHo closes all parks, 425 new cases in LA County, unemployment benefit update

Newsom mourns 95-year old pioneering lesbian Phyllis Lyon

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Californians receiving unemployment benefits will see an additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits from the federal stimulus CARES Act package starting this upcoming Sunday, April 12, Governor Gavin Newsom said during his daily COVID-19 press conference Thursday.

This infusion of extra benefits comes as the state is experiencing record numbers of unemployment claims filed weekly, which included a record of 2.3 million claims filed in March.

Many Californians are feeling the effects of this pandemic, and this added benefit is very important to our workers so they have needed resources during this difficult time,” Newsom said.

On another front, Newsom announced a new program designed to assist the state’s health care workers by providing doctors, nurses and other critical front-line health care workers access to no-cost or low-cost hotel rooms.

California is fighting to protect those who are protecting us,” he said. “Health care workers are the heroes of this moment. As we ramp up the workforce to meet the demand we are also stepping up to help keep our workers’ families safe by providing hotels as temporary housing options.”

The Governor stated that commencing Friday, April 10, the state’s Department of General Services will open CalTravelStore.com for California Health Corps workers to make reservations. According to Newsom, 150 hotels have already opted in to provide discounted rates and other hotels are encouraged to sign up and participate. He also praised four major airlines for providing vouchers to accommodate air travel to the state by volunteer healthcare and medical workers.

Newsom singled out a newly developed state partnership with United Airlines, which will provide free, round-trip flights for volunteer medical professionals from across California and the country who join the state’s health care workforce. The airline will connect essential workers and supplies to the areas where they are needed most during the COVID-19 pandemic with daily flights. The state is working on similar agreements with air carriers SouthWest, Delta, and Alaska Air he added.

In his daily status report, Newsom noted that as of Thursday, 18,309 residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and that there had been a slight decrease in the number of patients requiring Intensive Care Units (ICU), 1,032 which in a twenty-four hour period represented a 1.9% decrease. However, he noted that there was a 4.1% uptick in cases, 2,825 requiring hospitalization. Overall the numbers for California totaled 20,164 with 546 deaths.

During the question and answer period with reporters in response to a question posed by the Los Angeles Blade regarding the state’s efforts for strategic solutions for LGBTQI+ youth who are experiencing homelessness, and also in regards to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond’s efforts to reach out to LGBTQI+ K-12 students caught up in the crisis as schools are closed, Newsom paused and then said “It’s a deeply personal issue.”

He paused in his answer to reflect on the death of early LGBTQI+ activist and equality rights pioneer Phyllis Lyon who passed away Thursday according to a tweet from Kate Kendall, former Executive Director of the National Center For Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

I just learned a few hours ago that one of my heroes – Phyllis Lyon – 95 years young, passed. Phyllis – as you may know – I had the privilege of being involved in a marriage ceremony between Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. The couple had been together for almost a half a century – the manifestation of faith, love and devotion, and yet they were denied on the basis of their sexual orientation the right to say two extraordinary words: I do. The power and potency of those two words is profoundly significant,” Newsom said.

The Governor then went on to say that his administration was working with school districts, calling out efforts by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in particular, to address the needs of the LGBTQI+ youth in the state and the schools, specifically pointing out the resources for LGBTQI+ young people on the state’s COVID19.CA.GOV website including the 24 hour manned crisis hot lines.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPHconfirmed 25 new deaths and 425 new cases of COVID-19. The Department’s daily press statement and updates showed that over the last 48 hours, there have been 1,045 new cases.

“Today’s heartbreaking announcement of additional deaths related to COVID-19 is a reminder of the seriousness of the situation we are in as a community, and we extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones who have experienced these tragic losses,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

Although our case numbers continue to rise along with the number of people who have died, the effectiveness of our collective effort to slow the spread are apparent. These actions, although immensely disruptive as they are, are very powerful in helping to prevent infections, and we need to keep up this difficult work to slow the spread of COVID-19 for the next few weeks. It’s a good idea to continue to plan for staying home as much as possible, including having food, medicine and other essential supplies delivered, and to check on the most vulnerable among us.”

Thursday evening the LA Blade was notified that The City of West Hollywood’s Manager and Director of Emergency Services Paul Arevalo issued an Emergency Executive Order closing all parks and dog parks in the WeHo to the public.

(Photo by Troy Masters)

Additionally, construction sites in the City of West Hollywood shall follow additional requirements for hygiene, sanitization, signage, face covering, and more.

The Emergency Executive Order was issued in response to numerous public complaints and City staff-witnessed failures to socially distance at parks and construction sites in direct contradiction to Federal, State, County, and City directives to physically distance, not gather in groups, and stay home except for essential needs in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to the city’s media statement.

Failure to abide by public health directives is unsafe and dangerous in this unprecedented time of a worldwide health pandemic,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “Health authorities warn that this week and the following week are expected to be critical weeks in terms of controlling spread of the virus.

While construction is identified as an essential activity, the work must be done in a safe manner that is consistent with public health directives and guidance. Face coverings are deemed an appropriate method to protect others from the spread of the virus, as carriers of the virus may show no symptoms and should be worn at construction sites where people may be in close proximity to one another. We are all in this together and must do our part to protect ourselves and others during this time,” he said.

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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”

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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