The Perfect Enemy | COVID in California: No plateau yet for state’s current coronavirus wave
July 5, 2022

COVID in California: No plateau yet for state’s current coronavirus wave

COVID in California: No plateau yet for state’s current coronavirus wave  San Francisco ChronicleView Full Coverage on Google News

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Leaders of the organizations that served San Francisco’s Latino community during the pandemic urged city officials Monday to halt plans to eliminate COVID assistance funding from the budget, saying the “disinvestment” will only lead to further health inequities. Dr. Bob Wachter, UCSF’s chair of medicine, says his wife, Katie Hafner, is doing “not great” weeks after getting COVID-19 and is suffering brain fog and other symptoms.

BA.4 and BA.5 variants account for more than 1 in 5 new cases in U.S.

The hyper-transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron make up 21% of COVID-19 variants sequenced in the U.S., according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.4 made up about 8.3% of new cases as of June 11, while BA.5 was responsible for about 13.3%. Both sublineages have been designated as variants of concern in Europe. In the United States, BA.2.12.1 remains the dominant variant, accounting for 64.2% of cases. In Northern California, BA.4 and BA.5 each make up about 10% of sequenced cases.

Rep. Clyburn: Trump officials’ laxity let billions in small-business aid go to fraudsters

The U.S. government failed to take basic steps early in the pandemic to prevent fraud in a federal aid program intended to help small businesses, depleting the funds and making Americans more vulnerable to identity theft, the head of a congressional panel examining the payouts said Tuesday. Democratic Rep. James Clyburn blamed the Trump administration for the problems in the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, amid revelations that as much as 20% of the money — tens of billions of dollars — may have been awarded to fraudsters. Clyburn said the Biden administration has implemented measures to identify potential fraud and address indications of fraud before approving loans, while Congress has invested in fraud prevention and accountability.

Virus “circulating at high levels” in San Mateo County; boosters urged

Highly infectious omicron subvariants and their ability to partly skirt immunity continue driving high case rates rates in San Mateo County, local health officials told supervisors Tuesday. “Fortunately, there’s still good protection against hospitalization and more severe outcomes like ICU admissions and deaths,” said Dr. Anand Chabra, medical director for family health services.” As of Monday, 50 hospital patients in the county had COVID-19. The test positivity rate is 10.7%. Case rates are at 64 per 100,000 people. “These (numbers) continue to paint a picture of the virus circulating at high levels,” said Marc Meulman, director of public health, policy and planning. “This warrants continued urging for residents to make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations, wear high quality masks, improve ventilation, isolate if sick, seek a test if any symptoms and consult with a physician about a treatment if positive.” Eligible residents should get booster shots, officials said. Countywide, 61% of residents have received a first booster, and 13% have received a second booster. For those 65 and older, 72% have received a first booster, and 36% a second. 

California’s positive test rate tops 9% as virus spread, hospitalizations grow

The coronavirus positive test rate in California on Tuesday reached 9.1%, up from 7.8% a week ago, according to state data reflecting the COVID test results reported by health officials. Despite indications last week that cases might level off, the spread of the virus is increasing. The test positive rate, which tracks the percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19, reached a low of 1.2% in March following the winter omicron surge. Cases and hospitalizations are also up across the state, with the seven-day average of new daily infections hitting 41 cases per 100,000 residents, marking a 9.6% increase from last week’s average. There are now 2,762 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to 2,581 a week ago

Actor Hugh Jackman tests positive for COVID a day after attending Tony Awards

Hugh Jackman said he tested positive for COVID-19 a second time on Monday, just a day after he appeared at the 75th annual Tony Awards. He shared his diagnosis with fans via an Instagram video. “I wanted you guys to hear it from me first that unfortunately this morning I have frustratingly tested positive for COVID again,” he said. The 53-year-old Australian is starring in “The Music Man” on Broadway. He added, that his diagnosis is “another reminder” that “the real heroes of Broadway are our standbys, our understudies, and swings. … And never has that been more obvious than in the past year. They give meaning to the phrase ‘the show must go on,’ and it will go on. And it will be amazing.” 

FDA advisers look at Moderna vaccine and heart risk for young men

Young men who take Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine may have a slightly higher risk of heart inflammation than those who receive the Pfizer shot, according to data presented on Tuesday to U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers. But an FDA official told the expert panel that the findings were not consistent across databases and were not statistically significant.The expert panel is meeting to weigh the vaccine’s use for children between ages 6 to 17. The overall incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis remains rare. There were about 4.41 excess heart inflammation cases per 100,000 among adults 18-39 who received the Pfizer shot, compared to 6.27 excess cases per 100,000 among those who got Moderna, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WHO weighs declaring monkeypox a global health emergency

The World Health Organization will convene an emergency experts committee this month to determine if the monkeypox outbreak should be considered a global health emergency. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that he’s convening the committee on June 23 because the virus has shown “unusual” recent behavior by spreading in countries well beyond parts of Africa, where it is endemic. “We believe that it needs also some coordinated response because of the geographic spread,” he told reporters. Declaring monkeypox to be an international health emergency would give it the same designation as the COVID-19 pandemic and mean that WHO considers monkeypox a continuing threat globally. 

FDA advisory panel looks at 2nd brand of shots for kids 6 to 17

A government advisory panel is meeting Tuesday to decide whether to recommend a second brand of COVID-19 vaccine — from Moderna —  for school-age children and teens. The Food and Drug Administration’s outside experts were to vote on whether Moderna’s vaccine is safe and effective enough to give kids ages 6 to 17. The FDA already has endorsed Pfizer’s vaccine for this age group. The same expert panel will meet Wednesday to consider tot-sized shots from Moderna and Pfizer for the littlest kids, those under 5.

California has been open for a year. But COVID still hinders a return to normalcy

California officially “reopened” on June 15, 2021, dropping almost all public health restrictions that had been keeping people mostly at home and preventing the economy from humming back to life. But a year later, COVID has proved an especially stubborn opponent. But it’s also become a more familiar foe, and one that most Californians are reluctantly learning how to live with. Read more here about how California continues living with COVID. 

Ivermectin doesn’t cut COVID recovery time, new study shows

A new trial of ivermectin shows that the antiparasite drug does not meaningfully reduce recovery time from COVID, the New York Times reported. The study, posted online Sunday, is the largest of several clinical trials to show that the drug, which gained popularity early in the pandemic as an alternative treatment, is ineffective against the coronavirus. More than 1,500 COVID patients participated in the new trial by researchers at Duke and Vanderbilt universities, with about half getting the drug and half getting a placebo. “Given these results, there does not appear to be a role for ivermectin outside of a clinical trial setting, especially considering other available options with proven reduction in hospitalizations and death,” Dr. Adrian Hernandez, the executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute who led the trial, said in a statement. The study has not yet been published in a scientific journal.

Why do some people never test positive, even after exposure and symptoms?

As the latest COVID surge continues to keep cases high across California, some people — especially if they’ve been repeatedly exposed to the coronavirus or even had symptoms — may be wondering: Why have I still not tested positive While experts continue to try to understand what, if any, genetic factors protect people from ever getting COVID, the question of why some people never seem to test positive, even if they are fairly sure they were infected, is a bit less of a mystery, though still not entirely clear. Read the full story.

California surpasses 91,000 COVID deaths

More than 91,000 Californians have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to state data released Friday. The latest milestone comes nearly a month to the day after the state topped 90,000 deaths. There have been about 8,500 confirmed COVID deaths in the Bay Area. As the nation’s most populous state, California’s virus death rate per 100,000 residents remains among the lowest in the country. The state is averaging about 14 new deaths a day.

Rolling Stones to reschedule tour date after Mick Jagger tests positive

The Rolling Stones postponed their concert in Amsterdam on Monday just hours before it was to begin after frontman Mick Jagger, 78, tested positive for the coronavirus. “I have unfortunately just tested positive for COVID,” Jagger tweeted. “We aim to reschedule the date ASAP and get back as soon as we can. Thank you for all your patience and understanding.” The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame band is touring Europe to mark its 60th anniversary. Read the full story about Jagger’s COVID infection.