Connect with us

Coronavirus

School year to start as young still driving COVID-19 rates- LA accounts for half of deaths in California

Published

on

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Unified School District is in final stages for implementation of a plan signed off on by the Los Angeles Board of Education which restores a structure in the system’s academic schedule while making allowances for online virtual classes on a modified shorter school day.

The plan for shorter teaching hours has been met with criticism from parent groups and advocates over what is perceived as a lack of parental input as the LAUSD is pivoting from classroom-based instruction to distance learning in K-12 schools.

Against this backdrop, while the University of Southern California announced it was holding virtual sessions for at least the commencement of this academic year while the California State University system’s Chancellor Tim White said that in addition to online learning he was prepared to resuming some in-person classes “as circumstances might allow.”

The nine University of California campuses with undergraduate classes will also offer most classes online, but like the Cal State campuses, each UC campus is planning to offer a limited number of courses in person. However, even those plans are subject to change and the campuses may not be able to offer any face to face instruction at the beginning of the academic year EdSource reported.

Against this backdrop, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Wednesday Institutions of Higher Education would need to limit campus activities in the near term, as community transmission rates remain high. These higher rates are driven, in part, by younger people between 18 to 30 years old who currently account for 25% to 30% of new infections.

I know that our decision to delay fully re-opening colleges and universities is disheartening news for our students who were looking forward to life on campus. But this postponement means that we will continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and get to the point where we can return to campus when rates of community transmission are lower,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, The LA County Director of Public Health said.

Colleges and universities are an important driver of innovation, cultural vibrancy, and economic activity in the County. At the same time, the very nature of the way that colleges and universities operate creates a significant risk of outbreaks of COVID-19 among students, faculty, and staff. And these risks extend beyond campus into the broader community. That is why we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to limit the reopening of these important institutions,” Ferrer added.

The Public Health Department issued a statement Wednesday outlining requirements for the upcoming academic year:

Colleges and universities in Los Angeles County may continue their essential operations, but most academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning. Institutions may continue to offer in person training and instruction only for students who are or will become part of the essential workforce and only for required activities that cannot be accomplished through virtual learning.

All other academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning. Faculty and other staff may come to campus for the purpose of providing distance learning, and other activities related to the purposes above, as well as maintaining minimum basic operations.

Colleges and universities should limit their on-campus student residency to only providing housing for students who have no alternative housing options.

Collegiate sports may only proceed in compliance with all the California Department of Public Health Specific Interim Guidance for Collegiate Athletics.

The Health Department also confirmed 58 new deaths and 2,428 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday noting that Public Health has identified 214,197 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 5,109 deaths.

The grim milestone of more than 5,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County means that LA account now accounts for half of the total number of deaths in California which as of Wednesday was 10,810. The state has recorded 594,353 cases of the coronavirus since February.

California’s second surge of the coronavirus has resulted in a near doubling of weekly deaths since the spring- with almost 1,000 fatalities in the last week alone – and radically shifted the geography of the outbreak, a Los Angeles Times data analysis found. Suburban and agricultural areas that had been relatively spared during California’s first wave of the virus are now being hit particularly hard.

The City of Los Angeles has convened a national group of medical experts, bioscience firms, and government leaders in an effort to accelerate research into rapid at-home COVID-19 tests, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday.

Such testing is still in development and has yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but Garcetti said in his evening briefing Wednesday that he hopes the working group will create momentum for the “innovative tool to radically increase virus detection.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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

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

Coronavirus

Fauci says CDC may now back masks as Delta variant explodes

Caused by the Delta variant, 40% of all cases reported in the United States occurred in three states, Texas, Missouri and Florida.

Published

on

WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Sunday morning political talk show “State of the Union” that he’s taken part in conversations about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention altering its masking guidelines, which he described as being “under active consideration.”

Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, also acknowledged that in some jurisdictions where infection rates are surging are already mandating individuals to wear masks in public regardless of their vaccination status. He added those mandates are not incompatible with the CDC’s recommendation that the vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in public.

CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out that in the most recent surge caused by the Delta variant, 40% of all coronavirus cases reported in the United States occurred in three states, Texas, Missouri and Florida. Tapper and Fauci both noted that the sudden explosion in COVID-19 was primarily caused by those Americans, 12-years-old and older who remained unvaccinated.

Politico reported that the Republican governor of Arkansas on Sunday said resistance to the coronavirus vaccine “has hardened” in some areas of the state, blaming the hesitancy on “false information” and “myths.”

“I don’t know if I underestimated it, but, certainly, the resistance has hardened in certain elements, and is simply false information,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“It is myths. As I go into these town hall meetings, someone said: Don’t call it a vaccine. Call it a bioweapon. And they talk about mind control,” Hutchinson said. “Well, those are obviously erroneous. Other members of the community correct that.”

Delta Variant Fuels Surge Of New Cases Across U.S.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular