California Coronavirus Updates: Growing Evidence That Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated Need A Booster


Find an updated count of COVID-19 cases in California and by county on our tracker here.

Latest Updates

Growing evidence that those who are fully vaccinated need a booster 

Supreme Court OKs resumption of evictions

This is what happens when your hospital’s ICU reaches capacity

WHO says search for COVID origins has stalled

 

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Saturday, August 28

1:04 p.m.: Growing evidence that those who are fully vaccinated need a booster 

Several recent studies from health systems have collected data on breakthrough infections. 

“The data consistently demonstrate a reduction of vaccine effectiveness against infection over time,” says the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Importantly, the studies do not show any major increases in severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization or death among fully vaccinated people. Health officials emphasize that anyone who is fully vaccinated is still very well protected from getting seriously ill from COVID-19. 

Read more here. 

Friday, August 27

11:14 a.m.: Supreme Court OKs resumption of evictions

The Supreme Court is allowing evictions to resume across the U.S., blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As reported by the Associated Press, the Census Bureau’s latest data shows that roughly 3.5 million people in the country said they faced eviction in the next two months.

In an unsigned opinion late Thursday, the court says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed the moratorium Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law.

The justices are rejecting the administration’s arguments in support of the CDC’s authority.

10:58 a.m.: This is what happens when your hospital’s ICU reaches capacity

The latest surge in coronavirus cases is overwhelming many of the nation’s intensive care units, according to the Associated Press.

Nearly 80% of the country’s ICU beds — about 68,000 of them — were in use this Thursday, as reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About 30% of those beds, or nearly 25,000, were filled by someone with COVID-19. Sacramento County health officials said Thursday that county hospitals are at capacity.

As states get hammered by the super-transmissible delta variant, the surge has raised questions about what it means for individual patients in places where there are no available beds.

A maxed-out ICU can become a staffing and logistical nightmare. Typically nurses might take care of one patient, but with a maxed ICU, they now must keep three or four people alive.

Patients can back up emergency rooms waiting for an ICU bed to open up, and hospitals are often forced to creatively convert space into makeshift ICU units. Hospitals in Sacramento County and other parts of Northern California have had to resort to propping up tents outside for more space.

Patents who arrive at hospital emergency rooms could find themselves waiting several hours, or even days, to get into an already overwhelmed ICU.

10:14 a.m.: WHO says search for COVID origins has stalled

The international scientists dispatched to China by the World Health Organization to look for the origins of the coronavirus say the search has “stalled,” according to the Associated Press.

Scientists warn that the window for getting to the bottom of the mystery is closing fast. In a commentary published on Wednesday, the experts say the origins investigation is at a “critical junction” requiring urgent collaboration.

Increasing numbers of American scientists have called for two Chinese labs to be investigated, a request China has dismissed as “scapegoating.”

Thursday, August 26

10:49 a.m.: Half of American workers agree with vaccine requirements at workplaces, according to new poll

Half of American workers are in favor of vaccine requirements at their workplaces at a time when such mandates are gaining traction now that the government has given full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

That new finding comes from a recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Overall, 47% of in-person workers are in favor, while 26% are opposed, compared with the 59% of remote workers in support of vaccine mandates for in-person work.

The sentiment is similar for masking mandates.

9:42 a.m.: Model forecasts 100,000 more U.S. COVID-19 deaths if behaviors don’t change

The U.S. is projected to see nearly 100,000 more COVID-19 deaths between now and Dec. 1, as predicted by the nation’s most closely watched forecasting model.

According to the Associated Press, there is some hope, though — health experts say that the devastating predicted toll could be cut in half if nearly everyone wore a mask in public spaces.

Experts agree — what the coronavirus has in store for the country this fall largely depends on human behavior.

“We can save 50,000 lives simply by wearing masks. That’s how important behaviors are,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington. They are involved in the making of COVID-19 projections.

Early signs suggest that some behavior changes may already be flattening the curve in a few places where the virus raged this summer. The number of vaccinations dispensed per day has climbed around 80% over the past month, to an average of about 900,000.

However, troubling trends persist in Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming, where new infections continue to rise steadily.

“If we behave, we can contain this virus. If we don’t behave, this virus is waiting for us,” Mokdad said. “It’s going to find the weak among us.”

Wednesday, August 25

6:51 p.m.: Northern California hospitals are erecting tents to deal with COVID-19 surge 

Hospitals across Northern California—from as far north as Crescent City to the Sierra foothills and Sacramento County—have erected tents to deal with the current surge of COVID-19 patients.

Sutter, Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente hospitals say they’ve mostly used outside emergency departments to separate people with the virus and prevent transmission to other patients. 

Doctor Brian Evans, CEO of Dignity Health hospitals in Folsom and Grass Valley, says the majority of their hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“The vaccines are the way forward for our community, and it will certainly help unburden the hospitals from taking care of these very large numbers of COVID patients,” he said.

Evans says regional hospitals are having a hard time keeping adequate medical staff because of the number of COVID-19 patients and because nurses and other health professionals are exhausted.

Statewide, the number of people in intensive care units  is currently as high as last February, and has been sharply increasing. Some hospitals say the vast majority of people admitted with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. 

11:42 a.m.: California epidemiologist is hopeful California COVID-19 spike is abating

A summer coronavirus surge driven by the delta variant is again straining some California hospitals, particularly in rural areas.

However, the trend shows signs of moderating, and experts predict improvement in the coming weeks, according to the Associated Press. The pattern is similar to the infection spikes California experienced last summer and much more severely over the winter when intensive care units were overflowing.

The state’s epidemiological models show the rate of hospitalizations leveling off, with a peak around Labor Day before numbers start declining. ICU admissions are projected to follow the same pattern, peaking just below 2,200.

Also to note, the statewide infection rate has dropped 25% in the past three weeks, from a high of 7% of those tested to 5.2%.

“We’re hopeful that things are kind of leveling out and that we’re going to be on the other side of this particular surge relatively soon,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan.

11:31 a.m.: Pentagon says military service members must receive COVID-19 shots immediately

Military service members must immediately start their COVID-19 vaccine regimen, according to the Associated Press.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a memo on Wednesday, ordering service leaders to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation” now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The Pentagon is officially adding it to the list of required shots troops must get as a part of their military service. According to the latest Pentagon data, more than 800,000 service members have yet to get their shots.

11:27 a.m.: Delta Air Lines to charge unvaccinated employees $200 per month

Delta Air Lines won’t force employees to get vaccinated, but it’s going to make unvaccinated workers pay a $200 monthly charge, according to the Associated Press.

Delta said on Wednesday that it will also require weekly testing for unvaccinated employees starting next month, although the airline says it’ll pick up the cost of that testing.

Delta is choosing not to go the route of United Airlines, which will require employees to get vaccinated by late September or face termination.

However, both Delta and United do now require that new hires be fully vaccinated. Other airliners are encouraging workers to get their shots, but the companies aren’t requiring it.

Tuesday, August 24

10:17 a.m.: UC Davis study sheds light on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

A recent UC Davis Health study shows how quickly COVID-19 infections were reduced among health care workers when vaccines were first distributed late last year.

Researchers examined the incidence of COVID-19 in UC Davis Medical Center employees before and after vaccines were first made available. The data showed a single dose of their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines decreased the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 48%, while a second dose decreased the risk by 83%.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sarah Waldman led the study and said that the results came at a crucial time.

“I think it’s particularly important right now, where the particular strain of the virus is more aggressive, it’s more easily transmittable, and it can make people sicker, that we have to know that vaccines work,” Waldman said.

The study included more than 16,000 faculty, staff, and medical nursing students at UC Davis Medical Center.

Waldman said the highest vaccine compliance was among doctors, while the lowest was from non-clinical health care personnel. She said the reasons for uncertainty about the vaccine are complex — ranging from concerns about unknown long-term risks and side effects to distrust of the regulatory process.

10:04 a.m.: Paralympics open in empty Tokyo stadium, just like this year’s Summer Olympics

The Paralympics have begun in the same empty National Stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, according to the Associated Press.

Japanese Emperor Naruhito once again had the official honor of getting it all started. The Paralympics open with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Tokyo and Japan.

Daily new cases in Tokyo have increased four to five times since the Olympics opened on July 23. Tokyo is under a state of emergency until Sept. 12, while the Paralympics end Sept. 5.

Organizers say they are confident that the Paralympics can be held safely.

9:49 a.m.: Delta variant pushes some in-person schooling back home

A few weeks into the new school year, and a growing number of U.S. districts have halted in-person learning or switched to hybrid models because of the rapidly mounting coronavirus infections.

According to the Associated Press, the setbacks in mostly small, rural districts that were among the first to go back are dampening hopes for a sustained widespread return to classrooms after two years of schooling disrupted but the pandemic.

More than 80 school districts or charter school networks have closed or delayed in-person schooling in at least one entire school in more than a dozen states.

Others have sent home whole grade levels or asked half of their students to stay home on hybrid schedules.

Monday, August 23

4:05 p.m.: Motel program sheltering hundreds of homeless Sacramento County residents could be extended through November

Sacramento County supervisors on Tuesday are expected to vote on whether to extend Project Roomkey, a motel program that’s sheltered older and medically-vulnerable homeless residents throughout the pandemic.  

The county’s three Roomkey motels currently house about 390 residents, including rooms used as isolation units for homeless residents who have contracted COVID-19. Officials said the program is at capacity. 

All three motels were set to close this month, but that was before the state offered $5.3 million to keep them open through November. 

“With the pandemic’s course still impacting lots of folks, especially those who are medically fragile and vulnerable, we feel like it’s critical to keep [Project Roomkey] open,” said Emily Halcon, the county’s director of homeless initiatives.

Project Roomkey, which relies on state and federal funds, has helped more than 1,200 people in the county since the start of the pandemic, according to a county staff report.

Officials say they’ve seen an increase in recent months of homeless residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, though they did not immediately have specific numbers. 

Earlier this month, officials said about 1,900 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Sacramento’s homeless population as of July 29, according to data from the Sacramento County Department of Public Health. The county’s point-in-time count in January 2019 was 5,570 people, and their estimate on the total number of people experiencing homelessness annually is 10,000.

11:19 a.m.: Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine receives full FDA authorization

The U.S. has given full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer, according to the Associated Press.

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision may help lift public confidence in vaccinations as the nation battles the most contagious coronavirus mutant yet. With more than 200 million doses already administered in the U.S. since emergency use vegan in December, the FDA has never before so much evidence to judge a shot’s safety.

The decision could push some vaccine holdouts towards getting the shots and could spur more vaccine mandates from companies, universities, and local governments.

“While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product, said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement, as reported by NPR.

A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 31% of unvaccinated people said they’re more likely to get the shot once it receives full FDA approval.

The full approval applies only to people 16 and older. However, those between ages 12 and 15 can still receive the vaccine under the existing emergency use authorization.

11:08 a.m.: Majority of Americans support school masking, vaccine mandates in US

A new poll finds that a majority of Americans support mask and vaccine mandates for students and teachers in K-12 schools.

The poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that about 6 in 10 Americans say masks and vaccines should be required in schools — however, attitudes were sharply divided along political lines.

Among Republicans, about 3 in 10 said they favor mask requirements for students and teachers, compared with about 8 in 10 Democrats who said the same. It’s a similar split over vaccine requirements for teachers and eligible students.

Masks have become a hotly contested topic as U.S. schools reopen amid surging numbers of coronavirus cases. Some states are mandating masks, while some have barred mask requirements.

10:24 a.m.: Ghost kitchens, pop-up restaurants plan on staying open as COVID-19 surges again

Many pop-up restaurants and ghost kitchens were started during the pandemic as a stopgap measure by struggling chefs and owners as the pandemic shut down indoor dining.

However, now due to the pandemic resurging, these “dining-room-less” restaurants may have staying power as consumers continue to embrace takeout and delivery for safety. According to the Associated Press, some owners have said these newer models are cheaper to operate than regular restaurants because they have less overhead and staffing costs.

Pop-ups allow chefs and owners to keep working during the pandemic, regardless if indoor dining is open and a teetering economy. Now, as the country continues to reopen, indoor dining may once again be threatened because of the delta variant, leaving pop-up creators and hosts to continue working.

Pop-ups can also be a way to attract attention for upcoming projects. California entrepreneur William Eick bought a building to start his own restaurant earlier in 2021 but had trouble finding investors due to the pandemic’s uncertainty.

So, in May, he started Naegi, a pop-up serving fried chicken sandwiches from a window in the building he bought in Oceanside. The idea is to help bring awareness to a more permanent establishment, Matsu, which will open in a few weeks.

“It helped bring a lot of awareness,” he said. “It helped start spreading word of mouth more than we ever thought it could do.”

Sunday, August 22

11:45 a.m.: COVID-19 vaccines required for Sacramento city employees

Correction: A previous version of this blog post contained a typo that incorrectly described the city’s policy. It has been corrected.

All Sacramento city employees who work under the purview of the city council will now be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The announcement came this week as cases continue to surge due to the delta variant. Mayor Darrell Steinberg and fellow council members Mai Vang and Katie Valenzuela announced the mandate.

Employees will have to show proof of their first vaccine dose by September 1. Steinberg said they’re quickly working on getting all of the more than 5,000 city workers vaccinated and that talks continue with labor unions.

Steinberg called the low vaccination rate among city workers shocking, and singled out public safety employees. Vang said that more than half of those workers are unvaccinated.

Thursday, August 19

10:25 a.m.: California to tighten masking guidelines for indoor events

California will soon require new masking rules for indoor events, according to the Associated Press.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced Wednesday the state will require either proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours to attend an indoor gathering of 1,000 people or more.

California already requires these things for indoor gatherings of 5,000 people or more, however, the old rule did not require people to show proof. The new rule now will.

Residents can expect it to take effect Sept. 20 and will be in place through at least Nov. 1. State officials say they will evaluate the rule by Oct. 15 to decide if it should be extended.

10:19 a.m.: How COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed around the world

Several groups are working on getting COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries, but the efforts are falling short of what’s needed to curb outbreaks globally, according to the Associated Press.

Among the efforts is COVAX, which is led by public health agencies, including the World Health Organization. It’s relying on donated shots from rich countries, but most of the pledged doses won’t be delivered this year.

Logistics are another problem. Some countries in desperate need of vaccines haven’t been able to show they can carry out vaccination campaigns.

Still, the WHO is urging high-income countries to immediately donate more doses and to stop plans for booster doses.

10:05 a.m.: Biden to require nursing home staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

The Biden administration will require that nursing home staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.

According to the Associated Press, President Joe Biden announced the move on Wednesday in a White House address. The administration continues to look for ways to use mandates to encourage vaccination holdouts.

In the form of a regulation to be issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the new mandate could take effect as soon as next month.

Hundreds of thousands of nursing home workers are not vaccinated, according to federal data.

Wednesday, August 18

11:26 a.m.: LA county will now require masks at all large-scale outdoor events

Los Angeles County is ordering people to wear masks at all outdoor mass events such as concerts and sporting events, according to the Associated Press.

The rule applies regardless of vaccination status as the COVID-19 delta variant surges. Authorities announced that as of Thursday night, masks are required for any events with a crowd greater than 10,000 people except when people are actively eating and drinking.

LA has already implemented masks in most indoor public places, such as restaurants and gyms. The new mandate follows the spread of the delta variant, mainly among the unvaccinated.

California is averaging about 10,000 new infections a day. LA County on Tuesday announced nearly 3,000 new cases.

11:01 a.m.: WHO stresses for rich countries to wait before administering booster shots

The World Health Organization’s chief scientists are warning of “even more dire situations” worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic if high-income countries start administering vaccine boosters ahead of poorer countries without vaccines.

The U.S. is one of those richer countries planning to give booster shots to all vaccinated residents, regardless of age.

According to the Associated Press, WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan expressed concern that doling out booster shots will leave billions of people in the developing world unvaccinated. This could foster an emergence of new variants, like delta, that will drive new cases in the U.S. and beyond.

“We believe clearly that the data does not indicate that boosters are needed,” Swaminathan said at a Geneva news conference.

WHO officials have repeatedly expressed concerns that variants will continue to crop up in areas where the virus goes unchecked. Many have called for solidarity among countries.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said only 10 countries have administered 75% of the total vaccine supply. Lower-income countries have “barely 2% of their people” vaccinated. He said that “vaccine injustice is a shame on all humanity.”

10:23 a.m.: US health officials call for booster COVID-19 shots

U.S. health officials have announced plans to dispense COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant, and evidence of the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling.

According to the Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outline calls for the booster doses eight months after people get their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna.

Booster doses could start going out the week of Sept. 20.

“Our plan is to protect the American people, to stay ahead of the virus,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, as the agency released a raft of studies suggesting that the vaccines are losing ground as the highly contagious delta variant spreads.

Health officials said that people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will most likely need extra shots, but they’re still waiting for more data.

Tuesday, August 17

10:42 a.m.: Law enforcement union pushing back on vaccine requirements

A growing number of employers in California are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers — including local governments, but many law enforcement officers remain hesitant.

The city of Sacramento is moving to impose a vaccination requirement for its employees, and refusal could result in possible termination. Despite this, a local police union is pushing back, and it’s a scenario that’s similarly playing out across the state.

Peace Officers Research Association of California President Brian Marvel said some officers aren’t ready to be vaccinated.

“Yeah, about 50% of the people that I’ve spoken to are just — they’re not ready to get the shot,” Marvel said.

The police organization, which represents law enforcement across the state, plans to reveal its position on the vaccine mandates in the coming months.

“It’s an important issue, considering the volume of calls that our members go to,” Marvel said. “And we do run across people that are very immunocompromised because of being either homeless or [experiencing a] drug addiction.”

Early in the pandemic, the organization advocated for public safety officers to be among the first to get access to the vaccine.

10:23 a.m.: US most likely to recommend booster shots regardless of age

After struggling for months to persuade Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. health officials could soon face a fresh challenge — convincing vaccinated people to get their booster shots.

As early as this week, U.S. health authorities are expected to recommend an extra dose of the vaccine for all Americans eight months after they got their second shot.

The Associated Press reports this information is according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

All of this means that the biggest vaccination drive in the U.S. is about to get even more extensive.

10:06 a.m.: High-income countries dipping into COVAX supply

Low-income countries were supposed to get COVID-19 vaccines through a shared international system instead of waiting at the back of the line for unreliable donations from rich countries — except it hasn’t really worked that way.

According to the Associated Press, some rich countries bought up doses through the initiative known as COVAX despite already having sufficient vaccines. Britain, for example, received more than twice as many COVAX doses in June as the entire continent of Africa.

A tally by the Associated Press shows that many poorer countries have landed in precisely the predicament the initiative was supposed to avoid. They are once again at the mercy of donations, which are falling far short of what was promised.

Monday, August 16

6:57 p.m.: Rocklin pastor gives anyone who asks written notes for religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine

A Rocklin pastor started giving people written notes for religious exemptions as a way to skirt around state vaccine mandates, highlighting a gray area of COVID-19 requirements.  

In an interview with KCRA, Pastor Greg Fairrington says he’s giving out religious exemptions to healthcare workers, people who are government employees, teachers, and any person who asks. 

California in recent weeks began requiring many workers to be vaccinated, tested weekly or else risk losing their jobs.

Lawyers say workplaces can enforce these mandates. But Dorit Reiss, law professor at UC Hastings who specializes in vaccine policy, says current employment law makes religious exemptions easy to take advantage of. 

“I have a lot of issues with religious exemptions and they’re exactly because they’re so tempting to game,” Reiss says.  

She says employers can question workers if they feel their excuse isn’t genuine. But she adds the flaw in the process is forcing people to use religion as a guise for why they don’t want the vaccine. 

“I think if we’re willing to give people exemptions from vaccine law, we shouldn’t force them to lie and say their reasons are religion, ” she said. “I think it makes more sense to say we’ll give people a general exemption but we’ll make it hard to get.” 

Reiss anticipates there will be many employers and workers fighting this mandate in court.

11:40 a.m.: The battle over masking roils governor recall debate

The fight over mask and vaccine mandates moved to the center of California’s looming recall election, with candidate Larry Elder promising to swiftly roll back the government’s sweeping orders.

According to the Associated Press, Democrats have labeled the leading Republican candidate as a science skeptic who would endanger public health.

Elder told reporters during an online gathering that if he replaces Gov. Gavin Newsom in the Sept. 14 recall election, he will suspend any mask or vaccine mandates in place for state workers “right away.”

Elder said he believes vaccines work and has been vaccinated himself but believes it should be a personal choice and not a “government mandate.”

11:36 a.m.: US to decide if older adults should get booster shot as early as this fall

The director of the National Institutes of Health is warning of tough days ahead amid surging COVID-19 infections, according to the Associated Press.

Dr. Francis Collins says the U.S. could decide whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to more Americans this fall in the next few weeks.

Among the first to receive them could be health care workers, nursing home residents and some other older Americans. No U.S. decision has been made because cases so far still indicate that people remain highly protected.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Collins also pleaded anew for unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.

11:18 a.m.: Younger people dying more frequently from COVID-19

As coronavirus infections rise among young Americans, so too have deaths in a population once thought to be largely shielded from the worst of the pandemic.

According to the Associated Press, it marks a sharp contrast to the frailer older people previously dying, many that lived in nursing homes, who succumbed to the virus a year ago before states made older adults a priority to get inoculated first.

It’s still unclear whether the delta variant leads to more severe illness in younger people, but health experts say one thing is certain — the more contagious strain is causing more cases among people age 50 and under.

Most of those who have died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

Sunday, August 15

12:52 p.m.: Americans feeling renewed anxiety about COVID-19 as cases surge across country 

While many were looking forward to a “hot vax summer,” the reality has been a stark contrast. The delta variant is driving a new surge of COVID-19 cases across the country, mask mandates are back, and many are dealing with anxiety, fear and more. 

With the pandemic far from over, Dr. Lucy McBride spoke with All Things Considered’s Ari Shapiro about coping strategies. 

“The first step is acknowledging the trauma that we’ve experienced, the stacked stressors we’ve all been through over the last 17 months,” she said. “That is real: It takes a toll on our bodies and minds. And once we allow ourselves to feel those complicated feelings, then we can unlock some coping strategies like making sure we exercise, prioritize sleep, connect with our loved ones and follow the facts.”

Read more here. 

Saturday, August 14

12:32 p.m.: Surge of children diagnosed with combination of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus

Hospitals across the country are reporting unseasonably early outbreaks of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

RSV is a respiratory virus that “mostly manifests as a mild illness with cold-like symptoms in adults but that can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis in very young children.” It can be life-threatening in infants and young adults, reports the CDC.

There is currently little data available on the impact of contracting both COVID-19 and RSV and whether the two together can make a person sicker. But health officials worry it could put young patients — who are not eligible for the vaccine — at greater risk.

Read more here. 

Friday, August 13

10:52 a.m.: Sacramento struggling to get some unhoused residents vaccinated

Sacramento has largely struggled to vaccinate homeless residents, despite shots being available at shelters, clinics, and camps.

Loaves and Fishes homeless resource center runs a vaccine clinic twice a week and deploys outreach teams to go into camps to offer COVID-19 shots.

However, some unhoused people still have hold-ups. Deago Williams had COVID-19 last summer and said he isn’t interested in getting vaccinated.

“Why would [the] FDA approve medicine for an outbreak real quick like that?” Williams said. “And it’s supposed to stop you from getting this COVID. Come on, no way.”

Major health organizations stand by the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Loaves and Fishes Advocacy Director Joe Smith says many people just don’t seem to be worried about the virus because of other external factors going on in their lives.

“It’s really just one more thing for them,” Smith said. “It’s just one more thing that’s out to get’em, and ‘so what?”

He said the city’s new plan to create sanctioned camping areas could help with vaccine efforts.

“Maybe more people’ll be willing to get the vaccine if they know they have a place to stay for a while to get over any side effects they may have,” Smith said.

Sacramento County Public Health Planner Liz Gomez said they’ll continue holding vaccine outreach events, even if just a handful of people show up.

“We just need to continue to build trust, build those relationships, and have those conversations,” she said. “It’s just taken time.”

Kristie Cox said she got immunized a few weeks ago and has a message for others experiencing homelessness, “I would say, ‘don’t be scared. Just get it.’”

The county says there currently aren’t any major outbreaks among the homeless population.

10:42 a.m.: Federal judge leaves CDC’s eviction moratorium in place

A federal judge is refusing landlords’ request to put the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium on hold, though she ruled that the freeze is illegal, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said her “hands are tied” by an appellate ruling from the last time courts considered the evictions moratorium in spring.

Alabama landlords who are challenging the moratorium are likely to appeal her Friday ruling. Friedrich wrote that the new temporary ban on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed last week is substantially similar to the version she ruled was illegal in May.

10:05 a.m.: Deadline for marketplace health care is approaching

Midnight on Sunday is the deadline for consumers to take advantage of a special “Obamacare” sign-up period, courtesy of President Joe Biden.

According to the Associated Press, not only did Biden reopen the HealthCare.gov marketplace because of the pandemic, but his COVID-19 relief law is providing bigger subsidies that can significantly reduce the cost of coverage.

The government said more than 2.5 million people have signed up so far, and officials are hoping for a strong finish this weekend.

It could very well help validate Biden’s strategy of moving the U.S. toward coverage for all by building on existing programs and would help his pitch to Congress to permanently extend the increased financial help.

Thursday, August 12

10:48 a.m.: Aftershock Festival will require COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test to enter

At the upcoming Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, organizers announced that to protect the health of fans, artists, staff and crew, all attendees will be required to show proof of either full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Attendees who want to attend the four-day rock festival but are not fully vaccinated, will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72-hours of the first day of the festival. The festival is planned to start Oct. 7.

Aftershock will require masks in any indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, and strongly requests that all fans wear a mask while in the camp or festival grounds.

In addition, Aftershock will have increased hand sanitizer stations on-site, additional cleaning crews in high touch areas, and will offer a cashless option for convenient check-out and a dedicated food, beverage, and merch lines.

Full details regarding Aftershock’s COVID-19 Health and Safety policy can be found online.

10:10 a.m.: People with developmental disabilities at highest risk of death from COVID-19

Californians with developmental disabilities are at high risk of death from COVID-19. Advocates say caregivers who work with this population should be required to get vaccinated.

People with disabilities and their families are worried about catching the highly contagious delta variant.

“We are starting to hear stories now, every sing day, of people who are vaccinated, who have developmental disabilities, who are getting breakthrough cases that they’ve gotten from their staff, from people who work in their homes,” said Judy Mark, president of Disabilities Voices United

Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that health care workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and other settings will be required to get a vaccine. However, home caregivers were not included in the new mandate.

Mammoth Lakes resident Rick Wood relies on several caregivers to help his developmentally disabled son.

After a recent COVID-19 scare related to one of those workers, Wood asked all of them to get vaccinated. He also offered them a financial bonus to comply.

“What happens with people like my son is care providers who come into the home, provide intimate care, such as feeding, dressing, bathing, and the like,” Wood said. “Frankly, from our perspective, they are no different from health care workers who are performing similar duties and providing similar services in hospitals and medical facilities.”

The state is also requiring teachers and school staff to be fully vaccinated or get regularly tested. Officials have not announced whether similar requirements will be extended to in-home caregivers.

9:50 a.m.: US jobless claims near pandemic low

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell for a third straight time last week, the latest sign that employers are laying off fewer people as they struggle to fill a record number of open jobs and meet a surge in consumer demand.

According to the Associated Press, a report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell for a third straight week to 375,000 from 387,000 the previous week.

The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January as the economy has increasingly reopened in the aftermath of the pandemic recession.

Wednesday, August 11

10:30 a.m.: Will I need a vaccine passport to do fun things? You might in some parts of the US.

Ready to go out on the town before summer ends? In parts of the U.S., you might have to carry around your COVID-19 vaccine card or a digital copy to get into restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and music festivals.

According to the Associated Press, after resisting the divisive concept of vaccine passports through most of the pandemic, some city and state officials and a fast-growing number of private venues are now requiring proof of immunization in certain public settings.

Other countries such as the 27 European Union member nations have already adopted a vaccine certificate as of July 1.

The aim is to assuage customers worried about the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. Privacy advocates have mixed feelings about the mandates, especially those that require forms of digital verification that could become permanent.

10:17 a.m.: Poll shows Americans have high trust in doctors, nurses

A new poll finds that most Americans have high trust in doctors, nurses and pharmacists, according to the Associated Press.

Researchers say that trust could become important in the push to increase COVID-19 vaccinations as long as unvaccinated people have care providers they know and are open to hearing new information about vaccines.

A poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows at least 7 in 10 Americans trust doctors, nurses and pharmacists to do what’s suitable for them and their families either most or all of the time.

10:06 a.m.: CDC urges pregnant people to get vaccinated due to delta variant surge

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging all pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

The advice comes as hospitals in hot spots around the U.S. see disturbing numbers of unvaccinated mothers-to-be seriously ill with the virus. The CDC recommendation echoes recent guidance from top obstetricians groups.

Expectant women run a higher risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications from the coronavirus, including miscarriages and stillbirths. According to CDC data, vaccination rates are low, with only about 23% having received at least one dose.

National figures show the latest surge in cases among pregnant people is lower than it was during the outbreak’s winter peak. However, at some hospitals in states with low vaccination rates, the numbers of sick mothers-to-be outpace those during earlier surges, even before vaccines were available.

“This is by far the worst we’ve seen in the pandemic,” said Dr. Jane Martin, an obstetrician with Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans. “It’s disheartening, and it’s exhausting. It feels like it doesn’t have to be like this.”

Tuesday, August 10

5:28 p.m.: Stockton high school students return to class in big numbers 

Stockton high school students are returning to class in big numbers. San Joaquin Regional Transit yesterday began increasing their routes as the number of passengers swells.

At Chavez High School 2,400 students returned to in-person classes—only 80 opted for online instruction.

And at Stagg High, 2,200 came back to campus while 60 chose distance learning.

Stockton Unified is giving high school students free bus passes on San Joaquin Regional Transit.

Merab Talamantes with RTD says the pandemic drove ridership down by 70% and routes were downsized. 

“We are reinstating an additional 11 routes because overall ridership has increased as students return to in-person learning and other businesses also open up,” she said.

Talamantes adds that Delta College students will also ride free starting August 23rd.

She says that all passengers will be required to wear masks onboard and all city buses are equipped with disinfectant wipes.

5:22 p.m.: In reversal, San Francisco to require teachers be vaccinated

The San Francisco Unified School District has reversed course, saying it will require its 10,000 teachers and other staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly. 

The announcement makes the district the latest in California to issue a vaccine or testing mandate for staff, as schools across the state return to in-person classes amid a troubling surge in infections because of the highly contagious delta variant. 

San Jose and Long Beach Unified school districts have issued similar requirements in recent days. Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest district, is requiring all students and employees to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status.

5:19 p.m.: Facebook bans firm behind misinformation campaign against Pfizer, AstraZeneca

Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts linked to a disinformation network operating out of Russia that sought to smear COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca. 

According to the Associated Press, the company said Tuesday that it has banned the advertising firm behind the campaign, which had offered to pay social media influencers in Europe if they posted their misleading content. The plan backfired when two of those influencers exposed the network. 

Facebook said it traced the content to a firm called Fazze which operates from Russia. Messages left seeking comment from Fazze’s parent company were not returned Tuesday.

Monday, August 9

5:30 p.m.: Kids are being treated for “Electronic Screen Syndrome” during the pandemic 

As we approach the beginning of a new school year, some parents are concerned their kids have spent too much time with screens during the pandemic and that they may not have the attention span or self-discipline needed to do well academically.

Dr. Victoria Dunkley has been studying and treating kids for what she calls “Electronic Screen Syndrome” or ESS. She says the nervous system becomes overstimulated from too much gaming and social media.

Her recommendation is a complete cutoff of screen time for three to four weeks. “Seeing kids start to read, you can see their handwriting become more…you know, the printing is more clear and neat,” she said.  “And that really is a manifestation of the frontal lobe becoming more organized.”

Dr. Dunkley says even non-recreational screen time can have the over-stimulating effect and recommends reading from paper books and taking notes by hand wherever possible. 

11:54 a.m.: Pentagon to require all US troops to be vaccinated by Sept. 15

The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, according to a memo obtained by the Associated Press.

That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine received final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.

In his memo, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that he will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September or immediately upon FDA licensure, whichever comes first.

Austin’s decision comes a bit more than a week after President Joe Biden told defense officials to develop a plan requiring troops to get shots as a part of a broader campaign to increase vaccinations in the federal workforce.

11:50 a.m.: Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards worry college officials

With more than 600 colleges and universities now requiring proof of COVID-19 inoculations, an online industry has sprung up offering fake vaccine cards.

Dozens of students interviewed by the Associated Press said they were aware of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, though none admitted to actually using one.

On the dark web, sellers on websites such as Counterfeit Center, Jimmy Black Market and Buy Express Documents list COVID-19 vaccine cards, certificates, and passports for sale, some costing €400 or about $473 in U.S. dollars.

The easy access to fake documents has set off alarms at some schools where officials worry that unvaccinated students with forged credentials might cause a future outbreak.

11:20 a.m.: Businesses across US are either weary or welcoming of mask mandates

Businesses large and small are reinstituting mask mandates, and some are even requiring that their customers be vaccinated as U.S. coronavirus cases rise, according to the Associated Press.

After a largely mask-free summer, it’s a reversal few wanted to see, brought on by the fast-spreading delta variant and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Business owners say they will do what they can to keep their doors open and not slow the economic gains of the last few months. After lifting mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people in May, the CDC changed course in late July, recommending masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated people in higher transmission areas.

The shifting guidance has caused some confusion over which rules to enforce and how. Meanwhile, a handful of places like Louisiana, Los Angeles County, San Francisco Bay, and Las Vegas are mandating masks indoors. Sacramento and Yolo counties are requiring masks be worn in all public indoor spaces.

Even some larger national chains like McDonald’s and Home Depot require masks for both employees and customers.

Not every business supports the mandates. Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, a restaurant in Huntington Beach, has railed against masks on social media. A sign on its door requires patrons to prove that they’re not vaccinated.

However, in other counties, like Los Angeles, Jose Backer works in customer service at a food packaging manufacturer. Said his company began letting vaccinated workers remove their masks earlier this year, but soon everyone — vaccinated or not — stopped wearing them. That angered Backer, who doesn’t want a repeat of a COVID-19 outbreak that sickened him and others at his workplace last year. He’s relieved that his county is requiring masks for everyone again.

Sunday, August 8

12:38 p.m.: More than three quarters of counties in the U.S. are experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 transmissions 

More than three quarters of U.S. counties are experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 transmissions as of early August.  

The CDC classifies a community as having “substantial transmission” if there are 50 to 99 weekly cases per 100,000 residents—or if the positivity rate is between 8.0 and 9.9% in the last seven days.

People in a community that falls under that classification should wear masks indoors, whether or not they are vaccinated. 

Read more here. 

Saturday, August 7

12:05 p.m.: The U.S. is now averaging 100,000 COVID-19 new cases per day

The U.S. has returned to a milestone seen last winter—averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections per day. 

In late June, the U.S. was averaging about 11,000 cases a day. The number is now 107,143.

The seven-day average for daily new deaths also increased, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, rising over the past two weeks from about 270 deaths per day to nearly 500 a day as of Friday.

Read more here.

Friday, August 6

10:25 a.m.: California first in nation to require health care workers to be vaccinated

California is mandating that all health workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September. State health officials say they’re the first in the nation to require vaccination in these settings without an alternative.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that health care workers could either get their COVID-19 shots or face being tested weekly.

Health officials say they’re taking more robust measures to protect the state’s most vulnerable from the highly contagious delta variant.

“Because Californians should be confident that their health care providers are taking all steps to protect patient and overall community health,” said California Secretary of Health and Human Services Director Mark Ghaly. “And in the face of surging COVID cases, steps like these are how California preserves one of our most precious gifts: health care workers who take care of us when we’re sick.”

Industry leaders are concerned the mandate will push people out of the health field.

Debora Pacyna is part of the California Association of Health Facilities trade group. They represent nursing homes and centers for people with disabilities and mental illness.

“Our workforce shortage is critical,” Pacyna said. “A lot of people may decide they’re just going to quit their jobs, and that will then trigger into a problem of access to services in skilled nursing.”

The order applies to anyone in a health care setting, not just those who interact with patients — that includes people in food service, facilities management, or billing. There are exceptions for people requesting to skip vaccination for medical or religious reasons.

9:34 a.m.: What Japan’s COVID-19 ‘emergency’ means

Japan is host to the Tokyo Olympics, but the capital and other highly populated areas are in the middle of a government-declared “state of emergency” to curb surging COVID-19 infections.

According to the Associated Press, Tokyo has been in that state much of this year. People are getting resigned to it, no longer alarmed by a situation that’s “critically urgent,” which is what the Japanese term translates into. Many are resigned and accepting it as the “new normal.”

The streets are bustling with people, commuter trains are jampacked, and restaurants and bars are open. However, they’ve been asked to close early and can’t serve alcohol. Restaurant owners say that’s unfairly targeting eateries.

9:02 a.m.: Pacific Islanders in Sacramento have highest vaccination rate, but high COVID-19 cases

While Pacific Islanders make up about 2% of Sacramento’s population, they also have some of the highest COVID-19 rates.

Despite being disproportionately impacted by the virus, Pacific Islanders have had one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country. The county classifies the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander category as people having origins in Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

So far, 66% of the people in those communities are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. However, Jimina Afuloa with EPIC, a Pacific-Islander advocacy organization, says the county’s numbers don’t reflect what they’ve been seeing.

“We’re still facing a lot of folks who are still vaccine-hesitant, anti-vaxxers,” Afuola said. “We’ve still been dealing with a lot of the disparities within our own community and trying to work through that kind of barrier.”

Afuola’s organization continues to do outreach, but she worries the county’s numbers could give people a false sense of safety.

Thursday, August 5

9:31 a.m.: Sacramento Kings to require COVID-19 vaccine for employees

The Sacramento Kings recently released a statement from Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé stating that full-time and part-time employees will be required to be vaccinated by Nov. 1 to continue their employment.

But according to the Sacramento Bee, that won’t include players, who are part of the National Basketball Players Association union.

“Tragically, this pandemic is not over, and with the rising number of cases, we have made the decision to require all Sacramento Kings team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment,” Ranadivé said. “Health and safety are our utmost priority, and vaccines are the best tool available to protect one another and eradicate this virus.”

9:24 a.m.: Can I get ‘long covid’ if I get infected after being vaccinated? Maybe, but more research is needed.

Researchers are studying the chances of “long COVID” developing in anyone who might get infected after vaccination, according to the Associated Press.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness from the virus, but it’s still possible to get infected after the shots. Such “breakthrough” cases are more likely to come with mild or no symptoms.

However, researchers are looking at whether the cases could lead to long COVID-19, which is when people have symptoms a month or more after infection. Some long-term symptoms reflect damage to organs from severe infections. But, experts noted that long COVID-19 could also develop after infections with mild or no symptoms.

9:13 a.m.: Tokyo records over 5,000 COVID-19 cases during Olympic Games

Tokyo has reported 5,042 new coronavirus cases, its most since the pandemic began as infections surge in the Japanese capital hosting the Olympics.

According to the Associated Press, Tokyo has been under a state of emergency since mid-July, and four other areas of the country have since been added.

But the measures, basically shorter opening hours and a ban on alcohol for restaurants and bars, are increasingly ignored by the public, which has become tired of restrictions. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has been criticized for insisting on hosting the Olympics despite the coronavirus surge, says there’s no evidence linking the increase to the games.

Wednesday, August 4

10:31 a.m.: CDC extends eviction moratorium to Oct. 3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new moratorium on evictions that would last until Oct. 3, according to the Associated Press.

The Biden administration is trying to quell intensifying criticism that it was allowing vulnerable renters to lose their homes during a pandemic. The new moratorium could help keep millions in their homes as the coronavirus’ delta variant has spread.

States have been slow to release federal rental aid previously. The new move would temporarily halt evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmission and would cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives. See a map of those areas here.

10:18 a.m.: SF to administer extra COVID-19 shots to some vaccinated residents

San Francisco is providing an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people who got the single-shot Johnson & Johnson variety, but public health officials aren’t calling it a booster.

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Public Health on Tuesday said people who request it can receive a supplemental dose at city-run clinics. The second shot will be a vaccine produced by either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Authorities say they’ve been getting a lot of requests for a second shot. The health agency says it’s offering a supplement, not a booster shot, that may be geared to a specific COVID-19 variant, such as the delta mutation that’s blamed for a large uptick in infections.

10:08 a.m.: WHO leader wants booster shot moratorium

The head of the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have even gotten any of their coronavirus shots.

According to the Associated Press, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appealed on Wednesday most to wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in numbers of vaccinations. WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

WHO has repeatedly called for rich countries to do more to help improve access to vaccines in the developing world.

Tuesday, August 3

5:50 p.m.: Run to Feed the Hungry returns after being held virtually last year

A Sacramento Thanksgiving tradition is set to return this year. Organizers say Run to Feed the Hungry is coming back after being held virtually last year because of COVID restrictions. 

The race’s return wasn’t officially declared until today, but somehow word leaked out to eager runners.

“We actually launched registration at midnight and people are already registering before we even announced it this morning,” said Melanie Flood with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services.

The nonprofit puts the race on as a fundraiser generating nearly a million dollars. Thousands of people participate, running and walking in either a 5K or 10K through the streets of East Sacramento.

Flood says the decision to bring the run back aligns with CDC guidelines.

“In the worst case scenario, if we had to cancel the race and we weren’t allowed to have an event such as this, we would still hold it virtually like we did last year,” she said. 

Registration will stay open through race day – November 25th.

10:15 a.m.: Fauci says not enough Americans vaccinated to ‘crush the outbreak’

The nation’s top infectious disease expert is warning that more “pain and suffering” is ahead as COVID-19 cases climb again and officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get inoculated, according to the Associated Press.

Dr. Anthony Fauci also said on ABC’s “This Week” that he doesn’t foresee additional U.S. lockdowns because he believes enough people are vaccinated to avoid a recurrence of last winter.

However, he said there’s not nearly enough people who are inoculated to “crush the outbreak.” Currently, 58% of Americans 12 years and older are fully vaccinated.

The silver lining is that U.S. vaccinations are up 56% in the last two weeks, according to the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins said recently on CNN.

10:05 a.m.: What to know about the delta variant

The delta variant is more contagious than its predecessors, but research has shown that COVID-19 vaccines still provide strong protection against it.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited the variant’s surge in advising that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in areas with high transmission.

The change is based on new research suggesting vaccinated people who get infected can spread it to others, even if the vaccinated don’t get seriously ill. The more vaccinated people there are, the more it helps protect the unvaccinated, including children not yet eligible for the shots.

Some breakthrough cases were always expected, and a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found such cases remain rare.

9:35 a.m.: More than 110 million COVID-19 vaccines sent abroad to over 60 countries

The White House says the U.S. has donated and shipped more than 110 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 60 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zambia.

According to the Associated Press, Biden has promised the U.S. will be the “arsenal of vaccines” for the world. The 110 million doses given largely through a vaccine program known as COVAX represents a fraction of what’s really needed globally.

The White House says the U.S. will begin shipping at the half a billion Pfizer doses it’s pledged to 100 low-income countries in August. President Joe Biden was expected later Tuesday to discuss the U.S. strategy for slowing the spread of coronavirus abroad.

Monday, August 2

5:11 p.m.: Bay Area health officials reinstate indoor mask mandate 

Health officials in San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties have announced that they are reinstating a mask mandate for all indoor settings as COVID-19 infections surge. Monday’s order applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, and starts on Tuesday.

California last week recommended that people wear masks indoors, but stopped short of issuing a mandate, following guidance from the U.S Centers for Disease Control.

Three other California counties have already adopted mandates as COVID rates rise because of the highly contagious delta variant.

11:04 a.m.: While vaccinated people can contract delta COVID-19 variant, vaccines still best defense

The delta variant has changed California’s COVID-19 landscape in a big way. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that even fully immunized people can contract the virus and even pass it to others.

Still, vaccines are seen as the best chance at reducing viral transmission. Getting immunized does protect you from getting very ill or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine also mostly prevents symptomatic cases from the original alpha variant, though, it’s slightly different with the delta variant.

“There definitely can be transmission from symptomatic breakthroughs,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi. She explains that the delta variant can do this because it’s much more contagious and can transmit higher quantities of the virus, even to fully vaccinated people.

“The trick is we need to get transmission down,” Gandhi said. “We need to get more people vaccinated so that there’s not even a virus around for all of us to see to get mild breakthroughs. And that’s really what we’re doing right now with resuming masking inside, and also importantly, getting our vaccination rates as high as we can.”

Several California counties are requiring everyone to wear a mask in indoor public settings, though state and federal officials say it’s only recommended, not required, for fully immunized people.

However, Gandhi says strong mask policies are needed to combat this variant. She also stresses that people should refrain from gathering indoors and unmasked with friends who aren’t vaccinated.

“We are acting like vaccines aren’t working, and that’s what people seem to be hearing. These vaccines are working,” Gandhi said. “They are profoundly effective at preventing severe disease and death.”

While many counties are seeing increases in hospitalizations, it’s far from the surge that California saw during the winter. Gandhi said public health departments will have to work hard to explain that more vaccinated people means there’s less virus in circulation, leading to fewer deaths among those who can’t get their shots.

10:06 a.m.: Evictions expected to spike due to national eviction moratorium ending

Housing courts around the country are ramping up work following the end of the federal eviction moratorium, according to the Associated Press.

Housing advocates fear that the recent end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium will result in millions of people being evicted. Most expect the wave of evictions to build slowly over the coming weeks and months as the bureaucracy of removing people from their homes restarts Monday.

The Biden administration announced Thursday it would allow a nationwide ban to expire. It argued that its hands were tied after the Supreme Court signaled the measure needed to come to an end.

California has its own eviction moratorium that is in place through the end of September.

9:43 a.m.: US employers ramp up vaccination pressure on white-collar employees

Employers across the U.S. are increasingly losing patience with unvaccinated workers.

According to the Associated Press, a growing number of businesses are requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, alarmed by the rise of the more contagious delta variant.

Some employers getting tougher with vaccination requirements:

  • Federal government
  • The state governments of California and New York
  • Tech giants Google and Facebook
  • Media giant, Walt Disney Co.
  • National Football League

Some hospitals, universities, restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues have also started requiring vaccines.

In contrast, major companies that rely on lower-income blue-collar workers — food manufacturers, warehouses, supermarkets, and other store chains — are shying away from vaccine mandates for fear of driving away employees and worsening the labor shortages such businesses are facing.

Sunday, August 1

10:51 a.m.: Tokyo’s COVID-19 infections top 4,000 for the first time

Tokyo is seeing new records every day in new cases of COVID-19. For the first time, Japan’s capital has exceeded 4,000 coronavirus cases—a record high and nearly four times as many cases were reported just a week ago.

In the past day, 21 Olympic games-related personnel have tested positive, none of which were athletes. 

On Friday, extended a state of emergency to areas around Tokyo and Osaka to tackle the COVID-19 surge. 

Read more here. 

Find older coronavirus updates on our previous blog page here.



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