Connect with us

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Daily; Western Pact requests Congress for $1 trillion emergency assistance

Published

on

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s top elected leadership along with those of Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Colorado’s, sent a letter to Congress requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter, addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,(D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy,(R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,(R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,(D-NY), says the states will be forced to make “deep cuts” to government programs if they don’t get the relief.

It is now clear that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, and the worst of its economic impact is yet to come,” the letter stated. “Our states are on the front line against the virus while at the same time leading our states’ recovery.”

Speaking to reporters during his daily COVID-19 briefing at the state’s emergency operations center Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom said that the request was made in order to preserve core government services like public health, public safety and public education, and help people get back to work.

The state of California is experiencing record unemployment, with 4.5 million people filing claims just since March 12. The governor told reporters that California has paid out $13.1 billion in unemployment insurance claims since then and he noted that the state’s unemployment rate currently stands at about 20%.

In their letter, the state’s wrote, “[…] Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions – like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders. And, without additional assistance, the very programs that will help people get back to work – like job training and help for small business owners – will be forced up on the chopping block.

That’s why we are respectfully, and urgently, requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments. Though even this amount will not replace the decline in revenue that we forecast, it will make a meaningful difference in our ability to make-up for COVID-19 revenue losses. […]”

The letter closed stating, “Red and blue states alike all are faced with the same COVID-19 math, as are Democratic and Republican mayors across our states. The moment requires unprecedented partnership from all of us – across every level of government and across party. We urge you to take swift action to help states and local governments provide core government services for American families.”

The White House and the Senate’s Republican leadership have balked at providing further federal economic spending in the light of the staggering $3 trillion already spent in recovery programs. Republicans remain divided over approving another round of federal aid after the March stimulus package sent $150 billion earmarked for states and cities.

Newsom reflected that although the state was moving into Phase Two reopening of the state’s economy and applauded efforts by Californians to continue to flatten the curve in the past twenty-four hours, there had been 25 additional deaths. The governor did note though that the uptick in new hospitalizations at 0.9% reflected a positive note especially as the ICU case rate dipped by 0.4%.

As of Monday, California reported 69,276 cases of COVID-19 and 2,778 deaths. The total number of cases for the United States stood at 1,347,881 while 80,682 Americans have died so far.

In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) has confirmed 39 new deaths and 591 new cases of COVID-19. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach. To date, LACDPH has identified 32,258 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 1,569 deaths.

Currently, LA County is in phase two of the five-stage roadmap to recovery which allows florists and some retailers to offer curbside pickup only, car dealership showrooms to reopen with appropriate physical distancing and infection control measures, and trails and golf courses to reopen with pro shops remaining closed to public entry.

LACDPH surveyed businesses this past weekend to determine if physical distancing and infection control measures were being followed. Of the 410 businesses surveyed, 162 were in violation of the Health Officer Order because they were allowing customers into stores, not following physical distancing measures, and not requiring customers to wear cloth face coverings.

In an emailed statement, LACDHP wrote: “As a reminder, retail establishments are closed to public entry and must ensure compliance with all protocols before reopening. Inspectors will continue to monitor for compliance and ensure that all adhere to the Health Officer Order.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters on Monday the city is considering closing some streets to give residents more space to exercise during the Stay-At-Home pandemic order.

So as the beaches open, we can also have places for inland folks to walk safely — not events, not gathering places — but places where we can make sure we get outside and enjoy L.A.,” Garcetti said.

This would mean restricting traffic on certain streets, especially in densely-populated areas, to create more space for pedestrians,” he added.

We’re working with council members from around the San Fernando Valley, central parts, south parts of our cities to find those neighborhoods that are ready,” the mayor said.

The City of West Hollywood announced Monday via a media release that it is continuing its COVID-19 free webinar series with three upcoming informational presentations.

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. the City will present Employer and Employee Resources. The new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020, to help protect people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses.

The CARES Act has raised a lot of questions, oftentimes without clear answers. The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to quickly shift protocols and tackle workplace culture with a new perspective.

Employers may have uncertainty about available options and may want information about what steps to take. The webinar will include information about the CARES Act and how it may benefit employers and employees, including an overview of the Paycheck Protection Loan Program; safely bringing back the workforce; managing remote employees; cost-effective and creative ideas on how to leverage remote resources; improving the workplace culture utilizing technology; and, employee support programs. Register online here.

On Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 3 p.m. the City and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will present Accessing Mediation Services for Commercial Tenants and Landlords to provide information on mediation services available to commercial tenants and landlords who are unable to agree upon the terms of rent repayment, rent owed during the state of emergency, and additional details that may need to be negotiated as a result of the City’s temporary moratorium on commercial evictions. This webinar will provide interested parties information on how to access mediation services, what to expect through the process, and how it benefits both the landlord and the tenant to willingly participate in the process. Register online here.

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 2 p.m. the City will present How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats. Many businesses have transitioned to working virtually as a result of COVID-19. Now more than ever, cybersecurity is vital to help keep your business secure. In this presentation, you will learn about the current threat landscape, where the threats are coming from, and how to prevent being a victim of such threats. It’s not all doom and gloom however; participants will also learn multiple techniques to protect themselves and customers’ information from harm. Register online here.

The City of West Hollywood has issued an Emergency Executive Order aimed at assisting businesses and workers and has produced a toolkit for businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis. Information is available on the City’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus where there are links to Small Business Resources.

Prior City of West Hollywood webinars topic include: Combatting Loneliness, Isolation, Depression, and Anxieties during COVID-19; Rethinking Your Business Model; Information on the City’s Residential Eviction Moratorium; Information on the City’s Commercial Eviction Moratorium; and, Information on the City’s Job Assistance Programs.

These webinars are archived on the City’s coronavirus information page located at www.weho.org/coronavirus for future viewing.

The City of West Hollywood’s COVID-19 Free Webinar Series is for informational purposes only and webinars not intended to constitute legal or medical advice; rather, all information, content, and materials available in these webinars is for general informational purposes only.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Coronavirus

CDC eases indoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated people

L.A. won’t immediately follow CDC’s relaxed mask rules

Published

on

CDC Headquarters in Atlanta, GA (Blade file photo)

WASHINGTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) issued new guidance Thursday that eases mask wearing indoors for fully vaccinated people in most instances except for extremely crowded circumstances.

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.

“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC.

President Joe Biden reflecting on the new CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people can go without masks said; “I think it’s a great milestone, a great day.” The President credited the full-court press by officials to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible in a short period of time as a contributing factor. Biden noted that as of Thursday, the U.S. has administered 250 million shots in 114 days.

He added, “The American people have never ever ever let their country down.”
Biden also stressed: “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.” and then he also said if you see someone wearing a mask, “please treat them with kindness and respect.”

Walensky announced the new guidance on Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing, crediting the change to millions of Americans who are getting vaccinated. She added that the CDC changes reflected on the latest science about how well the vaccines are working preventing further spread of the cornavirus.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities -– large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

There are some caveats the Associated Press noted pointing out the CDC Director encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones.

Los Angeles County officials said Thursday the latest guidance from federal officials allowing fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most places will not be effective in California immediately. The state and county will review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations in order to “make sensible adjustments to the orders that are currently in place,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s mask-wearing requirements at businesses – including restaurants and supermarkets – remain in effect, and it could be a week or more before substantive changes to mask-wearing orders are implemented locally.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

LA County to offer vaccinations for 12-15 year old kids Thursday

The American Academy of Pediatrics urged that kids 12 and older get the Pfizer vaccine

Published

on

LOS ANGELES – Starting on Thursday the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will begin offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a two-shot regimen at the vaccine sites run by L.A. County that offer the Pfizer vaccine, for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Pfizer’s vaccine has been used for months in people 16 and older, and earlier this week the Food and Drug Administration cleared its use for those as young as age 12.  The CDC advisory panel on Wednesday noted that it affirmed the recommendation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week.

The Associated Press reported that the CDC until now has recommended not getting other vaccinations within two weeks of a COVID-19 shot, mostly as a precaution so that safety monitors could spot if any unexpected side effects cropped up.

But the CDC said Wednesday it is changing that advice because the COVID-19 vaccines have proved very safe — and that health workers can decide to give another needed vaccine at the same time for people of any age.

“The need for catch-up vaccination in coordination with COVID-19 vaccination is urgent as we plan for safe return to school,” CDC’s Dr. Kate Woodworth told the panel, citing millions of missed doses of vaccines against tetanus, whooping cough and other health threats.

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Wednesday also urged that kids 12 and older get the Pfizer vaccine — and agreed that it’s fine to give more than one vaccine at the same time, especially for kids who are behind on their regular vaccinations.

“With the CDC approval today, affirming the FDA recommendation, L.A. County will begin vaccinating youth 12 to 15 with the Pfizer vaccine tomorrow. We are grateful to the scientists, clinicians, and the young people who participated in clinical trials that helped the FDA and the CDC determine that these vaccines are safe and effective for this age group,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the most powerful tool available to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and prevent hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.  Increasing the number of people vaccinated speeds up our recovery journey and allows us to safely participate in the summer activities we all love and miss,” she added.

Anyone younger than 18 should be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult, and present photo identification and verification of age, county public health officials said. Parents or teens with questions about the vaccine should contact their healthcare provider or visit the Public Health website for more information on vaccine safety and efficacy.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA’s acting commissioner offered answers to questions regarding the vaccine shots for 12-15 year olds during a call with reporters:

ARE THE SHOTS THE SAME AS THOSE FOR ADULTS?

Yes. The dose and the schedule are the same; the two shots are given three weeks apart.

WHERE CAN KIDS GET THE SHOTS?

Pharmacies, state sites and other places that are already vaccinating people 16 and older with the Pfizer vaccine should be able to give the shots to all authorized ages in most cases.

WILL KIDS NEED A GUARDIAN?

Parental consent will be needed, but exactly how it’s obtained could vary.

HOW WAS THE VACCINE VETTED FOR KIDS?

Pfizer’s late-stage vaccine study tested the safety and efficacy of the shots in about 44,000 people 16 and older. The study then enlisted about 2,200 children ages 12 to 15 to check for any differences in how the shots performed in that age group.

“This is just extending it down from 16 and 17 year olds, and getting further information,” Woodcock said.

WHY ONLY THE PFIZER VACCINE?

Because only Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech, has completed studies in younger teens. Moderna recently said preliminary results from its study in 12- to 17-year-olds show strong protection and no serious side effects, but regulators still need to review the results before it can be offered to younger people.

WHAT SIDE EFFECTS ARE EXPECTED?

Common side effects were similar to those experienced by adults, and included fatigue, headache, muscle pain and fever. Except for pain in the arm where the needle is injected, the effects were likelier after the second shot.

CAN KIDS GET OTHER ROUTINE VACCINATIONS AT THE SAME TIME?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s updating its guidance to say other routine vaccinations can be given at the same time as the COVID-19 shots. It previously advised against other vaccinations within a two-week window so it could monitor people for potential side effects.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said it agrees with the position.

WHEN WILL YOUNGER KIDS BE ELIGIBLE?

It’s unclear how long the ongoing trials or regulatory reviews will take. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, recently suggested it could happen this year.

“We think by the time we get to the end of this year we will have enough information to vaccinate children of any age,” he said.

WHY SHOULD KIDS GET VACCINATED?

Even though children are far less likely to get severely ill if infected, health officials note the risk isn’t zero.

Vaccinating children is also key to ending the pandemic, since children can get infected and spread the virus to others, even if they don’t get sick themselves.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

LA County expected to hit herd immunity by mid summer

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County could reach COVID-19 herd immunity among adults and the older teenagers by mid- to late July, public health officials announced Monday. Over the weekend LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that appointments are no longer needed for Angelenos to get COVID-19 vaccinations at any site run by the city.

Garcetti’s move is intended to give people who don’t have the time or technological resources to navigate online booking platforms a chance to get the shot.

The percentage of the population the County needs to vaccinate to achieve community immunity is unknown, however Public Health officials estimate it’s probably around 80%. Currently, 400,000 shots each week are getting into the arms of L.A. County residents, and there are over 2 million more first doses to go before 80% of all L.A. County residents 16 and older have received at least one shot.

At this rate, Public Health expects the County will reach this level of community immunity in mid- to late July and that assumes the County continues to at least have 400,000 people vaccinated each week. That would include both first doses that people need as well as their second doses.

This news came as Los Angeles Unified School District officials announced that attendance numbers at all grade levels in the District have been considerably lower than expected as extensive safety measures have failed to lure back the vast majority of families in the final weeks of school.

Only 7% of high school students, about 30% of elementary school children and 12% of middle school students have returned to campuses.

As of May 7, more than 8,492,810 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people across Los Angeles County. Of these, 5,146,142 were first doses and 3,346,668 were second doses.

On Monday the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. The Pfizer vaccine is already authorized for people 16 years old and older.

Pfizer’s testing in adolescents “met our rigorous standards,” FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said. “Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In a statement released Monday by the White House, President Joe Biden the FDA’s decision marked another important step in the nation’s march back to regular life.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is growing, and today it got a little brighter,” Biden said.

Los Angeles County will offer the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) affirms the FDA recommendation, which can happen as early as Wednesday. All adolescents 12-17 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get vaccinated.

To find a vaccination site near you, to make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

In the meantime, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that unvaccinated people — including children — should continue taking precautions such as wearing masks indoors and keeping their distance from other unvaccinated people outside of their households.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Trending