December 30, 2020
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
As we head into this New Year’s Eve, let’s remember that the power is in our hands to continue to turn the surge around. Families … will have a chance to spend next New Year’s Eve together in good health because of the choices we make this week.… Please wait till New Years of 2022 for your traditional New Year’s celebration.”
Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco Director of Public Health, 12/29/20
Christmas in the Bay Area felt different this year, but the pandemic couldn’t dampen all cheer and charity
As reported in the SF Chronicle, on Christmas morning Queen Atapka and Alquista Ryans, both 39, bustled through the lobby of Clementina Towers in the South of Market neighborhood, past garlands and other festive decor, clutching heavy cardboard boxes.

The containers were loaded with prepackaged food: sliced ham, steamed carrots and green beans, stuffing, juice and dessert. The two friends were among 400-plus volunteers who had offered their time to help distribute more than 4,800 holiday meals for the Salvation Army throughout the city.

It was a carefully synchronized event — and different from how the distribution was organized in past years. Volunteers were sent a copy of their route ahead of time, mapped by an algorithm that created 170 streamlined routes. They arrived at staggered times to load up at the nonprofit’s drive-through, and then they were off. The new precautions were the best way to prepare for helping others out in a year that has been anything but normal.
The Salvation Army was just one Bay Area organization trying to adapt to Christmas in a pandemic. In the Tenderloin, hundreds of hungry folks queued up in front of St. Anthony Dining Room for Christmas dinner. There were so many people that the line doubled back on itself three times. This year, instead of dining in, the meal was to-go only.

About 3,000 folks picked up their takeout meals at the dining room’s front door, and some of the diners took them no farther than seven tents set up along the south side of the street and bedecked with hanging Christmas ornaments.

Sitting inside a tent at a one-person folding table, diner Steffano Armani said he enjoyed every bite, especially the red velvet cupcake. St. Anthony’s interior had been converted into an elaborate assembly line to churn out the meals.
By the Numbers
Bay Area: 256,906

California: 2,233,877

U.S.: 19,615,360
Alameda County

Cases: 50,946

Deaths: 625

Adjusted Cases per Day: 22.7

Test Positivity: 8.7%

Hospitalized Patients: 481

ICU Beds Available: 72
Bay Area: 2,469

California: 24,998

U.S.: 340,586
Contra Costa County

Cases: 39,736

Deaths: 331

Adjusted Cases per Day: 25.3

Test Positivity: 10.3%

Hospitalized Patients: 262

ICU Beds Available: 26
Sources: Johns Hopkins UniversitySF Chronicle, and dashboards for California and Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Adjusted cases per day is per 100,000 residents. Test positivity is based on a 14-day average. Hospitalized patients refers to patients with confirmed and suspected Covid-19.
Alameda County Vaccine Distribution Plan
Alameda County is at the beginning of its distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid19 vaccines in accordance with California and U.S. recommendations, which are evolving. The vaccines will be administered to the community in four phases.
As explained in an Alameda County Public Health Department slide presentation dated December 28, 2020, the timing through each phase depends on vaccine supply and demand. The county has some discretion within phases, but cannot skip phases or go out of order.
The county is at the currently in Phase 1a, distribution to health care workers and long term care facility residents. Phase 1a, in turn, contains three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospital staff • Staff and residents of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals • Paramedics, EMTs and others providing emergency medical services • Dialysis centers

  • Tier 2: Intermediate Care Facility staff & residents • Home Health Care/In-Home Supportive Services • Community Health Workers/Promotoras • Public Health Field Staff (including Testing Site Staff) • Primary Care Clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, Correctional Facility Clinics & Urgent Care Clinics

  • Tier 3: Specialty Clinics • Laboratory Workers • Dental/Oral Health Clinics • Pharmacy Staff (non-Hospital)

Vaccination of individuals in Tiers 1 and 2 has commenced. Vaccination of Tier 3 individuals has not yet started. As the county completes Phase 1, it plans to broadly distribute the vaccines through all venues and partners, including hospitals, health care clinics, private practice medical providers, pharmacies and community based points of distribution.

The answers to the following questions are provided on page 5 of the county slide presentation:

Whom qualifies as an essential worker to receive a vaccine in Phase 1b?
The state Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing California-specific guidance for the allocation of vaccines to an estimated 6 million essential workers. Workers will be prioritized by occupational exposure, equity, societal impact, and economic impact. Currently discussed, but not finalized priorities, include workers in the fields of education, emergency services and food and agriculture. Note that Phase 1b also includes people age 75 and over.

What are the high-risk conditions that qualify persons to receive a vaccine in Phase 1c?
• Cancer • Chronic kidney disease • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) • Heart conditions • Solid organ transplant • Obesity (BMI>40 kg/m2) • Pregnancy • Sickle cell disease • Smoking • Type 2 diabetes mellitus • Adults >50 yo, congregate/overcrowded settings

For the Contra Costa County vaccine distribution plan (updated December 28, 2020) click here.
Governor Newsom Dec. 30th Press Briefing Highlights
  • Gov. Newsom today announced a $2 billion incentive for schools to reopen with up to $750 per elementary student if classrooms start to resume in-person learning by Feb. 15, pending legislative approval.

  • The incentive program will come with criteria for more testing, depending on each county’s progress against coronavirus spread under the state’s color-coded blueprint. For example, testing will be required every two weeks for counties in purple and red categories. All students will have to wear masks, and staff must wear surgical masks, Newsom said. The state will also prioritize teachers to get coronavirus vaccinations.

  • California may be seeing a plateau trend in new coronavirus cases, outside of the runaway infection coursing through the Southern California region. The daily average of new cases over the last seven days was 36,295, state data show. Newsom said the rate of coronavirus tests that are positive, at 12.2% over the last 14 days, also may be plateauing.

  • Newsom cautioned however that vigilance and safety protocols are still imperative. More than 20,000 Californians are hospitalized with COVID-19, a 34% increase in 14 days, with the rate of increase showing “modest decline” Newsom said.

  • The Bay Area region’s available intensive care capacity was down again, to 7.5% on Wednesday, after inching up to over 10% a day earlier, state data show. The Sacramento region was at 17.4% ICU available capacity. The Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions, which are driving the state’s overall coronavirus escalation numbers, both remained at 0% capacity — but Newsom noted, “0% does not mean we are out of beds. It means we are in the surge phase.”

  • California has administered 300,696 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as of Wednesday, according to Newsom. The state this week expects to receive its second allocation of about 230,000 Moderna doses, and 300,000 doses from Pfizer. The state expects 2.2 million doses in all of both vaccines during the initial round of distribution from the federal government. “It would be nice to have millions more doses to administer, but at this stage it’s wise for us to be a little more humble as to where we are,” with a major distribution challenge nationally, Newsom told a briefing.

Source: SF Chronicle
Bay Area News
East Bay Times, December 29, 2020
Tracy Kleiner compared the latest influx of Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center with a war-zone triage. “It’s insane. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before,” said Kleiner, a 21-year nursing veteran. “I would almost liken it to if you were an army nurse and you’re just trying to do what you can among the chaos,” Kleiner said.

Editor's Note: On December 1, 2020, 134 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 were hospitalized in Alameda County. As of December 28, 2020, 473 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 were hospitalized in the county, including 117 in ICU. As of today, December 30th, the Bay Area region’s available intensive care capacity was down again, to 7.5%, after inching up to over 10% a day earlier.

Mercury News, December 30, 2020
With initial evidence of a diminishing surge in Covid-19, San Francisco leaders urged residents on Tuesday to stay home for New Year’s Eve and keep up the fight to contain the virus.

The reproductive rate in the city has been slashed by almost a quarter since the first week of December, Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s public health director, said Tuesday in a virtual news conference. Average daily infections have fallen by the same amount just in the past week, according to this news organization’s analysis, and, on a per-capita basis, San Francisco is averaging fewer new cases than all but one other county in the Bay Area.

Editor's Note: While it has been reported that the number of new Covid-19 cases in Alameda County have been dropping since their mid-December peak, the number of daily tests in the county has also decreased substantially over the past week.

SF Gate, December 29, 2020
Eventbrite has removed listings for at least two separate New Year's Eve parties that were scheduled to be held in the Bay Area. One party was to be held at 620 Jones near Union Square in San Francisco, while the other was organized by Genevieve’s Wine & Travel and scheduled to be held at Fort McKinley Restaurant and Bar in South San Francisco.

SF Chronicle, December 29, 2020
The Bay Area’s spike in coronavirus cases appears to be keeping many travelers home, with holiday traffic at San Francisco International Airport plunging 81% compared to 2019, more than the national decline. Between Dec. 20 and 28, a total of 132,863 people traveled through SFO, compared with 708,017 travelers in 2019. Traffic was also down around 15% compared to Thanksgiving this year.

Berkeleyside, December 28, 2020
There’s no denying 2020 was a very difficult year, filled with fear and loneliness, anxiety and stress. But amid the gloom there were bright spots Berkeleyside provides 10 good news stories in 2020.
Vaccine & Health News
Washington Post, December 30, 2020
Britain on Wednesday became the first country to authorize a coronavirus vaccine from the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, adding a second shot to the fight against a surging outbreak here driven by a highly infectious variant of the virus.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca doses are cheaper than other Covid-19 vaccines and easier to transport, as they can be stored at normal fridge temperatures.
Health Minister Matt Hancock praised the homegrown vaccine as a "game-changer" and said clinical trials have proved the vaccine is safe and effective — but he did not put to rest questions about how effective.

Public health officials say there is much to recommend the new vaccine, as it costs as little as $3 a dose, is relatively easy to manufacture at huge scale and does not require special handling. The Pfizer vaccine, which uses a different technology, must be kept in special freezers and dry ice at extremely low temperatures.

STAT, December 29, 2020
As frustration over the pace of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues to build, health officials in Colorado on Tuesday reported the first known U.S. case of the variant of Covid-19 discovered in the U.K. The U.K. variant appears to be more transmissible than other variants of the virus seen to date, and has been detected in a number of countries worldwide. The Colorado case, who is currently in isolation, is a man in his 20s who has not left the country. The lack of a travel history means he contracted the virus in the U.S., suggesting undetected transmission of the new variant here.

The Trump administration has shipped more than 11 million doses of the two available Covid-19 vaccines, but just over 2.1 million people nationwide have received a shot since vaccinations began December 14, according to data from the CDC. In interviews earlier this month, Moncef Slaoui, the chief advisor for the vaccine development and distribution effort known as Operation Warp Speed, had pledged 20 million Americans would be inoculated against Covid-19 in December.

Erin Allday, health reporter, SF Chronicle, December 29, 2020
As coronavirus cases surge, California has reported that hospital intensive care units statewide are at 0% availability. Yet several regions — including the Bay Area — are still reporting available beds. Every hospital has a certain number of intensive care beds that are licensed by the state. But each of these hospitals also has beds that can be used for so-called surge capacity, where they put patients if they do run out of room with these licensed ICU beds. What this 0% means is they have essentially used up all of their licensed beds, and they are now into this surge capacity. 
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 12/29/20 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
LA Times, December 30, 2020
California broke the single-day record for Covid-19 deaths yet again Tuesday, logging 442 fatalities in a Times county-by-county tally of local health jurisdictions — a number equivalent to someone dying of the disease every three minutes.

More than half of those deaths — 242 — were of Los Angeles County residents, according to The Times’ survey. That’s a record high in a single day for the nation’s most populous county, a count boosted in part by a backlog of reports from the Christmas weekend.

At that rate, cumulative Covid-19 deaths will likely exceed 25,000 in California on Wednesday and 10,000 in L.A. County by New Year’s Day. As of Tuesday night, California had a cumulative 24,987 deaths and L.A. County, 9,806. Over the past week, the state averaged 240 deaths a day, and L.A. County, 111.

CNBC, December 29, 2020
California will extend its stay-at-home order for two regions of the state — Southern California and San Joaquin Valley — where intensive-care unit capacity is strained from an onslaught of Covid-19 patients, the state’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said on Tuesday. The regional order, which Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced on Dec. 3 and was set to expire Monday.

Mercury News, December 30, 2020
Even as the surge of infections that followed Thanksgiving appears to be leveling off in the Bay Area and much of Northern California, another wave could take shape during this normally quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the worry of “exposure upon exposure,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday: Infections could “become amplified” if people who caught the virus during holiday celebrations last week wind up spreading it during New Year’s Eve parties this week.

Health officials who have pleaded with people not to travel or gather with one another for Thanksgiving and Christmas are now repeating those requests as people ring in 2021.

SF Chronicle, December 29, 2020
California’s coronavirus case rate now far outpaces every other state in the nation, and it is one of just a handful of states where cases per day are still increasing.

While the nation is still suffering the effects of the latest pandemic surge, with at least 1,899 deaths and 189,044 new cases recorded Dec. 28, average cases per day have decreased nationwide by about 13% from two weeks earlier. But California is among the half-dozen states where past-week average cases per day have increased — and its rate of 24% is by far the highest. Texas and Maine grew by 18%, Georgia by 12%, South Carolina by 11% and New York by 10%.

Sacramento Bee, December 29, 2020
As California surpasses 2 million Covid-19 cases, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on Tuesday said some Southern California hospitals have begun making choices that affect patient care. Hospitals are diverting ambulances and making decisions about whether to provide certain treatment for patients who are likely to die. He said more than 95% of Los Angeles hospitals have diverted ambulances in the last 24 hours.

Sacramento Bee, December 29, 2020
Many of the hundreds of thousands of California gig workers and independent contractors won’t have to repay part of their unemployment aid, under a provision in the new Covid-19 stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump. The bill allows California and other states to waive their effort to collect overpaid Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments from their recipients, if a repayment “would be contrary to equity and good conscience.”
US News
The Hill, December 30, 2020
The U.S. on Tuesday broke its record for the most number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day with 3,725 reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Tuesday surpassed the country’s previous single-day death toll high of 3,656 set on Dec. 16. 

As of Wednesday morning, the U.S. has now recorded a total of 338,656 deaths due to Covid-19. This comes as more than 82 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus, with the U.S. continuing to have the highest number of infections with approximately 19.5 million. 

Washington Post, December 30, 2020
Texas, Florida and some other Republican-led states are bucking federal advice to provide early doses of the new coronavirus vaccines to frontline workers, choosing instead to prioritize the elderly — a decision exposing fissures in the nationwide immunization campaign.

Federal recommendations give priority, in the second tier, to grocery store employees, transit staffers and other front-line workers, along with people 75 and older. But officials in Florida and Texas, where a combined 50 million people live, are moving ahead with a different strategy, offering vaccine to a broader segment of their elderly populations and asking front-line workers to wait.

The choices reflect distinct needs in a highly diverse nation where the coronavirus has killed unevenly, but they also highlight an emerging patchwork that could pose obstacles to the national effort to curb the pandemic. The divergence is coming into view as states face delays in the administration of vaccine doses, with each operating on its own timeline based on the capacities of local health departments and hospital systems.

NPR, December 30, 2020
Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who won a runoff earlier this month to represent Louisiana's northeastern 5th District, died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19. Letlow was set to be sworn in as U.S. representative on Jan. 3.
Letlow announced on Dec. 18 that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized a day later. He kept his followers updated of his condition on social media. Days before his death, he was in intensive care at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, La., and was later transferred to Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport on Dec. 22.

Time, December 28, 2020
From the moment the virus began to spread across the U.S., experts and epidemiologists predicted that incarcerated people would be particularly vulnerable. Risk factors they face include the close proximity in which inmates live and congregate, prison transports, where inmates tend to be shackled close together, and a lack of consistent access to cleaning supplies. “They are basically the perfect conditions for superspreading events,” Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Health Security, told NPR.

Many of the worst projections have since come true: there have been outbreaks at more than 850 jails and prisons in the country, putting many of the over 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S. at risk of infection. A December study reveals that the infection rate has been three times higher in the prison population compared to that of the general public, while the mortality rate has been double. At least 275,000 incarcerated people have tested positive for Covid-19, and more than 1,700 have died. The true toll is likely to be higher still, as data sets are inconclusive due to a lack of consistency across states in sharing prison and jail data.

USA Today, December 30, 2020
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted on Tuesday evening the department "has delivered a payment file to the Federal Reserve for Americans' Economic Impact Payments." His tweet continued: "These payments may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as tonight and will continue into next week." Americans who have direct deposit set up through the Internal Revenue Service could be receiving their stimulus payment as early as Tuesday night. Paper checks will begin to be mailed Wednesday, according to a press release from the Treasury Department.
CA Education News
EdSource, December 30, 2020
In response to concerns about the negative effects of prolonged instruction via distance learning, Gov. Newsom is expected to announce a program of financial incentives Wednesday to encourage school districts to bring back elementary school students for in-person instruction, starting in mid-February.

School districts would receive extra funding— from $450 to $750 per student—if they agreed to a timetable for reopening schools, a rigorous regimen of testing both students and staff for the virus, and a strict health and safety plan that teachers and employee unions would have to agree to, according several people who were briefed on the highlights of the program.

The funding in Newsom’s plan would be based on the Local Control Funding Formula as well as the total student attendance in a district. Everyone on the school site, including students, would have to be tested every two weeks in schools if they are in counties in the “red” or “purple” tiers on the state’s ranking lists. If they were in a new “deep purple” category, they would need to be tested weekly.

SF Chronicle, December 29, 2020
San Francisco officials announced a partnership with the city’s school district to ramp up Covid-19 testing for teachers and other staff — a move they hope will help students return to classrooms sooner.

“Surveillance” testing — done regularly rather than in response to symptoms — will begin in early January at the district’s central office and expand to other locations, officials said. “We know that getting our students safely back in the classroom is an absolute top priority for our city and our school district right now,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement.

LA Times, December 30, 2020
Many teachers are grappling with wrenching grading decisions amid the hardships of the raging pandemic that has shuttered campuses for nine months. An F grade in a required class would delay or deny a high school diploma, require a make-up class and could ruin a GPA during the college admissions cycle. How do teachers balance compassion and empathy with the low grade points in their record books? How do they find and engage their lost students before it’s too late?

The report card crisis came to a head on Dec. 14, four days before the end of the fall semester, when L.A. Unified sent a directive to school administrators about grading. Because grades had so dramatically deteriorated amid pandemic hardships, no students would receive a failing grade until Jan. 29, so they would have more time to complete work. The directive said the decision was made with “an equity and empathy lens.”
Family of Covid survivor relieved she’s finally home
Estelle Green of Hawaii was not feeling well in early September and was taken to the hospital. She tested positive for Covid-19 a few days later. “I got a call at 4:30 a.m., saying they put her on a ventilator, and then induced a coma, and then they paralyzed her,” husband Michael.Green recalled. “The only thing I got from that is thank God she’s not in pain anymore, she can’t feel the pain. Because she told me how much pain she was in the last time we saw her,” he said.
Michael said the nights he was not by Estelle’s side were extremely difficult.

“It tears your guts out,” he said.

“This is a disease that has almost every aspect of loneliness and pain, fear and everything,” he continued. Green said prayers started to pour in from across the country. He said, he would alternate nights at the hospital with his daughters and remembers being at home when his daughter called crying.

“She said mommy just stood up, they were holding her forearms, but the weight was on her legs and she sat down and stood up again,” Green said. “The doctors told me it isn’t possible medically for that to happen. And the traveling nurse who’s been helping us, said I’ve been all over the country that’s medically impossible, no one stands up after 90 days,” he said.

Michael said, he is extremely grateful the hospital allowed family visits and believes that they helped save Estelle’s life. “The doctors tell me that the contact with family and loved ones is an ingredient in saving people and people getting healed,” he said.

He admitted to being casual about taking the virus seriously, but has a different opinion on it now. “You just really, really have to be careful and what you do, like I said, I didn’t appreciate this terrible threat,” he said. “It’s not very selective. It goes after everyone, every walk of life. I will tell anybody who thinks that that, you know, this is a disease that that you don’t have to wear a mask or other things that this is a deadly, deadly disease that doesn’t want to let you go, and the loneliness, it’s terrible.”

Michael and Estelle Green renewed their wedding vows as she was wrapping up her battle with Covid-19. Estelle made it home in time for the holidays.

Source: KOHN TV News
International News
CNN, December 30, 2020
AstraZeneca has promised to supply hundreds of millions of doses to low- and middle-income countries, and to deliver the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis to those nations in perpetuity.

AstraZeneca says it's working with partners, including the Serum Institute of India, to build manufacturing capacity of up to 3 billion doses in 2021 on a rolling basis.

For comparison: Pfizer expects to produce as many as 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Moderna said last month that it's on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses next year.

Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2020
The number of Israelis vaccinated against the coronavirus is now higher than the number who have been infected with the virus since the beginning of the outbreak, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced on Tuesday morning.

Some 495,000 Israelis were vaccinated as of Tuesday morning, just nine days into the vaccination campaign, while 407,285 Israelis had been confirmed as infected with the virus since the beginning of the outbreak. More than 115,000 Israelis were vaccinated on Monday alone.A quarter of all 70- to 79-year-olds in Israel were vaccinated against the virus as of Tuesday morning, while 20% of Israelis in their 60's, 18% of citizens in their 80's and 11% of citizens 90-years-old and older were vaccinated as well.

Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2020
In September, India was reporting almost 100,000 Covid-19 cases a day, with many predicting it would soon pass the U.S. in overall cases. Instead, its infections dropped and are now at one-fourth that level.

India has brought down its virus numbers, despite often being too crowded for social distancing, having too many cases for effective contact tracing and an economy that isn’t well equipped to weather long lockdowns. One of the main reasons, Indian health officials say, is that the country has managed to encourage and enforce almost universal acceptance of masks without much debate.

From the moment the pandemic landed in this South Asian nation, politicians and health experts have been united about the importance of masks, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Time, December 30, 2020
When Covid-19 initially blazed through Asia, Europe and then the United States, global public health experts worried that it could be catastrophic for Africa, with its crowded cities, poorly funded health sector and lack of testing facilities.

The U.N. Economic Commission for Africa in April predicted up to 300,000 deaths this year if the virus couldn’t be contained on the continent. Yet it was the U.S, with its superior health system, that hit that grim milestone first, and so far, Africa has been largely spared the worst of the devastation experienced by the rest of the world. As of Dec. 29, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting total 2.6 million cases and 63,300 deaths for a population of 1.2 billion. That’s roughly one case for every 500 people, compared to one in 20 in the U.S.

However, those numbers might not actually reflect the reality on the ground. Overall, testing for Covid-19 cases has been comparatively limited on the continent, which could be contributing to lower case numbers. If official numbers are to be believed, the African continent trails much of the rest of the world when it comes to case fatality rates, and there have been fewer scenes of overwhelmed hospitals and funeral parlors coming from the continent compared to other parts of the globe. Nevertheless, some countries across the continent are currently seeing increases in Covid-19 cases amid concerns of a second wave. 

Washington Post, December 29, 2020
Doctors and nurses across Britain are sounding the alarm as confirmed cases of Covid-19 reach record highs, with experts urging the government to implement a stricter lockdown to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

Some health-care workers are issuing their own public warnings, detailing how hospitals in London and the southeast of England are already setting up tents to increase their capacity. They say ambulances are waiting outside hospitals for hours because there is no space inside.
The Atlantic, December 30, 2020
The pandemic’s geography is fracturing again. Hospitalizations in the Midwest peaked on December 1, and have maintained a precipitous decline ever since. The hardest-hit areas right now, as indicated by hospitalizations per million residents, are in the South and Southwest. The hotspots are primarily in the Sun Belt, including California, Nevada, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. New York is also a cause for concern again. In other words, we’re returning to a patchwork pandemic.

California is one of the five states—along with Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas—that account for 40 percent of new cases from December 17 to December 23. Of the five, California has by far the highest number of hospitalizations, which beyond their general stress on the health-care system augur high death tolls to come. California had 21,240 people in hospitals on December 29, accounting for 17 percent of all hospitalizations nationwide. Twice as many Californians were hospitalized on December 29 as on December 6. 

Ed Yong, The Atlantic, December 29, 2020
Many of the 30 epidemiologists, physicians, immunologists, sociologists, and historians whom I interviewed for this piece are cautiously optimistic that the U.S. is headed for a better summer. But they emphasized that such a world, though plausible, is not inevitable. Its realization hinges on successfully executing the most complicated vaccination program in U.S. history, on persuading a frayed and fractured nation to continue using masks and avoiding indoor crowds, on countering the growing quagmire of misinformation, and on successfully monitoring and countering changes in the virus itself.

LA Times, December 30, 2020
While all hospitals across Los Angeles County are being slammed by waves of Covid-19 patients, those in lower-income, densely populated and nonwhite communities have been hit hardest and face the greatest challenge in providing care, according to a Times data analysis.

Hospitals in South Los Angeles, the cities in Southeast L.A. County along the 710 Freeway and in parts of the southern San Gabriel Valley are experiencing the greatest capacity problems, the data showed. Many of these facilities are relatively small and are less able to add intensive care staff or expand bed capacity than the county’s biggest hospitals. The data underscores how communities of color have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, with Latino and Black residents far more likely to get the virus and die of it compared with whites. Low-income essential workers often get sick while on the job and then spread Covid-19 to family, officials have said.

Erin Boodman, STAT, December 30, 2020
To Tom and Amy McNamara, the pandemic wasn’t something to get too stressed out about. For most people, they imagined, having Covid-19 was like having a bad cold, a sentiment similar to one the president himself had expressed.

Their daughter Caroline didn’t have that luxury. As an ICU nurse at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s hospital in Williamsport, where her father had been taken, the pandemic was anything but abstract. For her, it was pushing someone’s breathing tube to the side of the mouth so she could swab the pink ridges inside with an antimicrobial. It was jostling pads and pillows under a sedated face to prevent the skin from blistering. It was rubbing a patient’s hand with a gloved finger so nobody had to die alone.

NY Times, December 30, 2020
The Wuhan lockdown earlier this year was the first decisive step in saving China. But in a pandemic that has since claimed more than 1.7 million lives, it came too late to prevent the virus from spilling into the rest of the world. The first alarm had actually sounded 25 days earlier, exactly a year ago, on Dec. 30. Even before then, Chinese doctors and scientists had been pushing for answers, yet officials in Wuhan and Beijing concealed the extent of infections or refused to act on warnings.

Sam Ubell, LA Times, December 29, 2020
There is no silver lining to a pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people globally. But as Covid-19 barraged us with new challenges, it also forced adaptation that in the design world translated to faster, lighter, cheaper and more flexible buildings and landscapes. This kind of grass-roots change has been called many things: ad hoc architecture, guerrilla architecture, pop-up architecture, tactical urbanism.
We are proud to partner with the East Bay Community Foundation in publishing this bulletin. Through donations to its Covid-19 Response Fund, the EBCF provides grants to East Bay nonprofit organizations delivering essential services to those most impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
East Bay Focus
by day as of 12/29/20
by day as of 12/29/20
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 5,573 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 339 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 3,603 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 318 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 12/29/20. Alameda County does not publish cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days by city.
Oakland: 16,110

Hayward: 7,748

Fremont: 4,309

Eden MAC: 3,341

San Leandro: 3,100

Livermore: 2,605

Union City: 2,267

Berkeley: 1,822

Newark: 1,527

Castro Valley: 1,460
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County plus (in parentheses) cases per 100,000 in last 14 days, as of 12/30/20
Richmond: 6,627 (1,011)

Antioch: 5,165 (957)

Concord: 4,787 (717)

Pittsburgh: 3,886 (861)

San Pablo: 3,246 (1,687)

Brentwood: 1,944 (701)

Bay Point: 1,628 (1,113)

Walnut Creek: 1,584 (484)

Oakley: 1,567 (958)

San Ramon: 1,219 (305)
East Bay Resources

Mask On Eden Area
Working in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Cities of Hayward and San Leandro, and the Castro Valley and Eden Area Municipal Advisory Councils, the District has printed “Mask On” posters for each city and community in the Eden Health District area. The posters are free and intended for businesses, health clinics, schools, churches, public agencies and nonprofit organizations to display in their entrances.

“Wearing masks in public or any gatherings, including events with friends and extended families, is essential for slowing the spread of the virus,” stated Eden Health District Director Pam Russo. “While we are seeing signs of progress in California, Alameda County remains a Covid-19 'hot spot' in the Bay Area. Please wear a mask to protect yourself while protecting others.”
The public is welcome to download and print or share “Mask On” posters from the District’s website. Posters are available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages.

Posters may also be retrieved during business hours from the lobby of the Eden Health District office building located at 20400 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. Posters for the City of Hayward are also available from the Hayward Chamber of Commerce located at 22561 Main Street, Hayward.
Eden Area Food Pantries
We have posted information on food pantries and food services in the cities of Hayward and San Leandro and unincorporated Alameda County including Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. You can access the information here on our website. Alameda County has also released an interactive map listing food distributions and other social services. 
Your feedback is welcome. Please share the Bulletin.
The Eden Health District Board of Directors are Mariellen Faria, Chair, Pam Russo, Vice Chair, Roxann Lewis, Treasurer, Gordon Galvan and Varsha Chauhan. The Chief Executive Officer is Mark Friedman.

The Eden Health District is committed to ensuring that policy makers and community members receive accurate and timely information to help make the best policy and personal choices to meet and overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We publish the Bulletin on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, unless the day falls on a public holiday.

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We welcome your feedback on our bulletin. Please contact editor Stephen Cassidy.