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The Nooner for Sunday, April 26, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
SEEN ON TEEVEE: San Francisco mayor London Breed (Face the Nation)
Happy Sunday! I was at farmers market when it opened at 8am and it was quite busy, which was cause for a smile behind my mask. People were in a good mood and the most popular booth was the one selling veggie starts, which probably had thirty people spread among two lines each 6 feet apart, mostly buying the numerous varieties of tomatoes. As I wrote earlier this week, I planted three tomato plants earlier this week, which should suffice except for supplements of more Romas than my plant will provide mid-summer for sauces to freeze.
This evening, we're having a Zoom birthday party for my aunt.
WHO AND HOW? In the SFChron, Erin Allday reports on a new Kaiser study that finds that COVID-19 affects people of all ages and many severely.
A study of 1,300 Northern California Kaiser patients who tested positive for the coronavirus last month found that nearly a third were hospitalized and almost 1 in 10 ended up in intensive care — and nearly as many young and middle-aged adults were admitted as people age 60 and over, according to results published online Friday.
The analysis is among the first large studies of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States, and the first in California. More than 16,200 Kaiser patients across 21 hospitals in Northern California were tested for the coronavirus in March, and about 8% came up positive.
The study results were published in a brief letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Meanwhile, a team at the LAT reports on the impact on the state's younger African-American and Latino residents:
Black and Latino Californians ages 18 to 64 are dying more frequently of COVID-19 than their white and Asian counterparts relative to their share of the population, a Times analysis of state health department data shows.
Newly released figures on the grim toll of the novel coronavirus show once again profound disparities in people’s odds of survival that fall along racial and ethnic lines. In this case, the data also belie the conventional wisdom that old age is the primary risk factor for death.
When accounting for each group’s percentage of the population, blacks and Latinos under the age of 65 had a higher share of fatalities than even older blacks and Latinos. The trend is particularly noticeable among those age 18 to 49, The Times analysis found.
Preliminary racial data released by health officials in California and L.A. County earlier this month suggested Latinos were not facing any higher rate of infection or death from the virus. But experts warned that those findings were likely skewed by the fact that Latinos, California’s largest ethnic group, are typically younger than other demographics. Experts predicted that higher rates would emerge once more complete data came out.
Tomorrow from 6-7pm, the California Black Health Network, Senator Holly Mitchell, and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science are hosting a virtual town hall "Achieving Black Health Equity & COVID-19." Those interested are encouraged to register on the CBHN Facebook page.
THE "FIRST" DEATH: We likely will never know when the first death related to COVID-19 occurred. For now, it's the February 6 death of Patricia Dowd in Santa Clara County. The SFChron has obtained the autopsy report and Matthias Gafni and Jill Tucker write:
The Santa Clara woman whose death from COVID-19 is the earliest so far known in the United States suffered a massive heart attack caused by coronavirus infection, signs of which were found throughout her body, according to an autopsy report obtained exclusively by The Chronicle.
Patricia Dowd, 57, died Feb. 6 and had reported flu-like symptoms in the days before her death, according to the report. The autopsy, performed by medical examiner Susan Parson, found COVID-19 viral infection in her heart, trachea, lungs and intestines.
“There’s something abnormal about the fact that a perfectly normal heart has burst open,” said Bay Area forensic pathologist Judy Melinek, who was not involved in the autopsy but read the report at the request of The Chronicle. “The heart has ruptured. Normal hearts don’t rupture.”
Parson’s report described Dowd as “mildly obese” but otherwise healthy and with no other medical conditions.
THE COST: I missed this LAO post earlier this week that documents where the Governor has allocated nearly $2.1 billion in state funds in response to the pandemic. Much of this will be reimbursed by FEMA at a 75% reimbursement rate.
LAW AND DISORDER: Governor Newsom isn't just facing challenges from the right, but also the left. In the Bee, Vincent Moleski writes:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed two lawsuits against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra late Friday, demanding a reduction in jail populations and a freeze on ICE transfers due to the coronavirus.
The pandemic has posed a continued threat to incarcerated populations, which are often unable to practice recommended precautionary health procedures in close quarters.
“Lacking infrastructure for physical distancing and without vigilant hygiene, California’s jails and juvenile facilities are at grave risk of becoming petri dishes for rampant spread of the virus,” one suit said. “Once the virus enters a jail, the movement of staff in and out means that walls and razor wire will not slow or stop the viral spread. Outbreaks at local jails and juvenile facilities threaten to tax the broader community’s health care system beyond capacity.”
The virus has already entered California prisons, with 167 inmates and 113 staff testing positive as of Saturday, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Here is the ACLU's petition for writ of mandamus for prison population reduction, which was filed directly with the California Supreme Court. This is the lawsuit seeking a halt to transfers from state prisons to ICE custody, which also seeks a writ of mandate from the state's high court.
As opposed to the lawsuits seeking damages for the stay-at-home order or the one with a declaration that the governor can not pass funds through nonprofit organizations that could benefit undocumented Californians, I'm not sure that Governor Newsom is unhappy being sued over the above two cases. He has faced criticism over his death penalty moratorium and has hesitated over broader prison population downsizing to reduce overcrowding. If ordered by the California Supreme Court to reduce population, it provides political cover for what could be an underlying policy goal.
SON OF A BEACH: Yesterday, with hot temperatures, folks headed to Orange County beaches, including those from Los Angeles County where beaches remain closed. Laylan Connelly and Roxana Kopetman report for the Register:
The influx of tens of thousands of people worries coastal residents, who say some beaches have been too packed amid orders for people to stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In Newport Beach, the throngs were estimated at up to 40,000 on Friday with a similar crowd expected Saturday.
By contrast, beaches that authorities have shut down were deserted, with Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore displaying images on social media of empty stretches from Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, to Dockweiler, where even putting a toe in the sand is forbidden.
In San Clemente, which opened back up this weekend, authorities decided to let people recreate, but not hang out at the beach. Moderate crowds showed up for opening day to stroll on the sand and beach path, or surf.
Beaches in Huntington also had big crowds, especially around both sides of the pier, despite the closure of beach parking lots and metered parking restricted along Pacific Coast Highway.
That didn’t stop beachgoers who flooded into neighborhoods searching for spots, parking as far as a mile away to trek to the sand.
In the LAT, Kevin Baxter and Alex Wigglesworth report:
Officials reported few incidents and said people were doing their best to social distance.
In Ventura, the opening of city and state beaches brought out hundreds, an unseasonably large crowd, said Ventura Police Cmdr. Tom Higgins.
Most people, drawn by comfortable temperatures that hovered in the mid 70s under pale-blue skies, stuck to the bike and running paths just above the sand. But hundreds also made their way down to the water’s edge.
Since the President has offered April as the cure because of hotter weather, it is April and it is hot in Orange County. We'll see what happens in the beach petri dish. Newport Beach and Laguna Beach were hot spots before this weekend, the Register's chart shows.
Speaking of Orange County, Alicia Robinson reports for the OCR that supervisors Michelle Steel and Don Wagner held a conference call with business leaders on Tuesday to gather recommendations for when and how the county should reopen.
more after the jump...
OAKTOWN: In the SFChron, Phil Matier looks at the latest report on the City of Oakland's budget and it's not good.
A just-released report on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Oakland’s already shaky city finances predicts a devastating tax shortfall — so big, in fact, that insiders say it will probably lead to drastic service cuts and layoffs of city workers.
“The size and scale of these revenue shortfalls is like nothing Oakland has ever before experienced,” city Finance Director Adam Benson wrote in an April 21 report to the City Council.
He estimated that the pandemic will result in a budget shortfall of $80 million over the next 14 months. In real terms, Benson said, the shortfall was equal to the cost of 320 police officers for one year — that’s about half of the city’s police force — or funding for 27 fire stations 24/7.
“This problem will not be easily resolved and it will not be fixed by tinkering at the margins. It will require significant action by city leaders,” Benson wrote.
As I have repeatedly written, it is going to be ugly in cities around the state. Dan Walters writes for CalMatters today on the tough time ahead:
With the pandemic now in full bloom, erasing millions of jobs, asking Californians to pay higher taxes would be a fool’s errand. Cities will have to weather, as best they can, the perfect storm of rising demands for spending, plummeting revenues and hostility to new taxes.
While cities are plugging their budget holes with funds from the CARES Act, those are generally just covering the current year gap as revenues plummet in the fourth quarter. Deep cuts, like the furloughs of city employees in Los Angeles will be needed in the new fiscal year beginning July 1.
TAHOE: In the SFChron, Lizzie Johnson reports on Lake Tahoe-area residents to keep non-locals out and that includes those who have a second home in the region.
Pristine Lake Tahoe — at 22 miles long and 12 miles wide — laps five counties in California and Nevada, and each has grappled with the pandemic in slightly different ways. Both El Dorado County and Nevada County, which includes Truckee, banned short-term rentals and hotels from serving nonessential workers. Placer County dispatched 15,000 letters this month to second-home owners along the lake, asking them to stay put at their primary residence.
Placer County Public Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sission ordered the letter sent. “Should that person become ill while residing in their second home in North Lake Tahoe, they would potentially be going to receive care at a hospital that was already at capacity, if not operating over capacity,” she explained. “They think they’re somehow going to a safe haven, but they’re not.”
But such bans have not been enough to deter all visitors — and they’ve fanned long-standing tensions between full-time locals and part-time residents. Prepandemic, the issues were housing prices and the cost of living, pushed up, locals would say, by the part-timers from the west. Now, it’s about who has a right to stay at all.
GUNS AND AMMO: In the SDUT, Greg Moran writes that a stay has been granted in this week's ruling by a federal judge in the Southern District finding the state's requirement of background checks for ammunition purchases unconstitutional.
A preliminary injunction blocking the state from requiring background checks before purchasing ammunition won’t take effect after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay Friday night.
The court granted a request from the office of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra seeking to halt implementation of a ruling Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez, which said the state law requiring ammunition purchasers to pass a background check unconstitutionally infringed on the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.
Here is the original decision granting a preliminary injunction that has now been stayed.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Paul Ahrens, Matthew Cunningham, Soyla Fernandez, John Frietas, Nikki Johnson, Assembly member Marc Levine, Barry Russell, and Sam Stevens!