December 7, 2020
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
“Rising hospitalization rates across the region threaten not only our community members with severe Covid-19, but anyone who may need care because of a heart attack, stroke, accident, or other critical health need. By acting together now we will have the greatest impact on the surge and save more lives.”
Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss, 12/4/20
Amid coronavirus, San Leandro Pearl Harbor survivor remembers day at home
Navy sailor Mickey Ganitch was getting ready to play in a Pearl Harbor football game as the sun came up on Dec. 7, 1941. Instead, he spent the morning — still wearing his football padding and brown team shirt — scanning the sky as Japanese planes rained bombs on the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Seventy-nine years later, the coronavirus pandemic is preventing Ganitch and other survivors from attending an annual ceremony remembering those killed in the attack that launched the United States into World War II. The 101-year-old has attended most years since the mid-2000s but will have to observe the moment from California this year because of the health risks.

“That’s the way it goes. You got to ride with the tide,” Ganitch said in a telephone interview from his home in San Leandro, California.

Nearly eight decades ago, Ganitch’s USS Pennsylvania football team was scheduled to face off against the USS Arizona team. As usual, they donned their uniforms aboard their ships because there was nowhere to change near the field. The pigskin showdown never happened.
Ganitch remained in the Navy for more than 20 years. Afterward, he briefly worked in a bowling alley before becoming the shop foreman at a fishnet manufacturing plant.

Along the way, he had four children, 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and nine great-great grandchildren. He and his wife, now 90, have been married for 57 years.

The National Park Service and Navy, which jointly host the memorial event at Pearl Harbor, have closed the ceremony to the public to limit its size.

The gathering, featuring a moment of silence, a flyover in missing man formation and a speech by the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, will be livestreamed instead.

By the Numbers
Bay Area: 167,844

California: 1,352,148

U.S.: 14,846,645
Alameda County

Cases: 32.545

Deaths: 522

Adjusted Cases per Day: 9.1

Test Positivity: 3.6%

Hospitalized Patients: 259

ICU Availability: 29.4%
Bay Area: 2,027

California: 19,938

U.S.: 283,010
Contra Costa County

Cases: 27,455

Deaths: 267

Adjusted Cases per Day: 13.2

Test Positivity: 5.2%

Hospitalized Patients: 138

ICU Availability: 35.7%
Adjusted cases per day is per 100,000 residents.Test positivity is based on a 7-day average. Hospitalized patients refers to patients with confirmed and suspected Covid-19.
Bay Area News
County website, December 7, 2020
From Wednesday, December 2 through Friday, December 4, Alameda County reported 1,657 new coronavirus cases, including 580 cases on December 4, the highest single day of reported cases to date since the pandemic began in March. In the above image, the dotted line represents 500 cases. As of the issuance of today's Bulletin, the County has not published case data for the weekend.

Updated December 7, 2020
A listing of what businesses and activities are open and what are closed for Alameda County. In all cases, physical distancing & face coverings are required.

Erin Allday, health reporter, SF Chronicle, December 6, 2020
Nine months into the pandemic, much of the Bay Area is nearly back where it started: sheltering at home, laid low by a virus that’s proved bitterly hard to contain. The coronavirus by most metrics is more threatening now than at any other point over the past year. For the first time, Bay Area hospitals are on the cusp of being overwhelmed, a scenario that public health authorities have warned about since the spring. And despite weeks of increasingly severe restrictions on people’s work and social lives, this most recent surge has swelled to record peaks, seemingly unabated.

The orders are very close to the Bay Area’s March 16 shelter-in-place directives, which were the first in the nation. The new orders ban outdoor dining, close hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors, and shut down zoos and playgrounds. Stores can stay open but at 20% capacity. Schools can open as long as they already had permission.

Mercury News, December 7, 2020
Residents across the Bay Area spent Sunday preparing for weeks of staying in place with a last-minute rush to get in holiday shopping, a trip to the salon or a final meal at a restaurant, just hours before tougher new restrictions went into effect to help slow the latest Covid-19 surge.

SF Chronicle, December 6, 2020
The restrictions ordered by public health officials are forcing many business owners to make that impossible Faustian decision: close up until the end of the year and risk going out of business, or keep their shops open in violation of the shutdowns in order to stay afloat.

Berkeleyside, December 5, 2020
Alameda County restaurants have been ordered to close outdoor dining for the third time this year. Diners and restaurant workers are frustrated, resigned, but also understanding.

Press Release, December 4, 2020
Rather than waiting until Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed availability reaches critical levels and delaying closures that are inevitable, the Health Officers for the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley are jointly announcing that they will implement the State’s Regional Stay Home Order now. The order will last through January 4, 2021.

Health News
STAT, December 7, 2020
Hospitals across the United States are preparing for a Covid-19 vaccine distribution timeline that’s well behind official government targets as they face ongoing confusion about the process for inoculating frontline employees.
Leaders of Operation Warp Speed have repeatedly said they are on track to vaccinate 20 million people in December, enough for nearly all the health care workers and long-term care residents who are first in line to get a vaccine.

But those involved in vaccine planning at four health care systems, in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kansas, told STAT they expect to still be giving staff their first shots in mid-January. These workers would then receive their second vaccine dose three to four weeks later, depending on the vaccine, and would receive the full immunization effects a week after that, in mid-February.

Kaiser Health News, December 7, 2020
Reports that vaccines produced by drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna appear to be safe and effective, along with the deliberate emphasis on science-based guidance from the incoming Biden administration, are likely to reverse uncertainty in a big way, said Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine.
“I think that’s going to flip the trust issue,” he said.

The shift is already apparent. A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that by the end of November 60% of Americans said they would get a vaccine for the coronavirus. This month, even as a federal advisory group met to hash out guidelines for vaccine distribution, a long list of advocacy groups — from those representing home-based health workers and community health centers to patients with kidney disease — were lobbying state and federal officials in hopes their constituents would be prioritized for the first scarce doses
NY Times, December 5, 2020
Lately, in the ongoing conversation about how to defeat the coronavirus, experts have made reference to the “Swiss cheese model” of pandemic defense.

The metaphor is easy enough to grasp: Multiple layers of protection, imagined as cheese slices, block the spread of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. No one layer is perfect; each has holes, and when the holes align, the risk of infection increases. But several layers combined — social distancing, plus masks, plus hand-washing, plus testing and tracing, plus ventilation, plus government messaging — significantly reduce the overall risk. Vaccination will add one more protective layer.

“Pretty soon you’ve created an impenetrable barrier, and you really can quench the transmission of the virus,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president and chief patient officer at Merck, who recently referenced the Swiss cheese model when speaking at a virtual gala fund-raiser for MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan.

Lisa Krieger, heath reporter, East Bay Times, December 7, 2020
When future historians recount the medical advances of the 21st century, a crowning achievement will surely be the swift development of COVID-19 vaccines to prevent the disease.
So why is it so hard to deliver drugs that can treat it? The U.S. has produced only four new therapies that seem to ease the symptoms – remdesivir, dexamethasone and two types of monoclonal antibody treatments. For the vast majority of patients with mild or moderate disease, there’s not a single drug that is unequivocally effective enough for routine use, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 12/6/20 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
Mercury News, December 7, 2020
With many parts of California facing newly tightened restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, concerning signs of a surge refusing to slow pervaded on Sunday: a staggering number of new cases from a small sample of counties and ICU capacity in some regions reaching record lows.

For the third consecutive day, and the fifth time in the past week, county health departments reported a daily tally of more than 20,000 cases around the state, according to data compiled by this news organization. Only, on Sunday, the state reached that benchmark with data from a fraction of its counties — 15 of 58 — and over half coming in another record-setting day in Los Angeles County, where the tightest restrictions since the spring took effect Sunday night. For the first time of the pandemic, California is averaging more than 20,000 cases per day, and its positivity rate has climbed above 10%.

LA Times, December 7, 2020
For millions of Californians, the COVID-19 pandemic will provide a most unwelcome gift this Christmas: a wide-ranging shutdown imposed as the state grapples with its most massive and dangerous surge in infections and hospitalizations to date.

The restrictions that took hold at 11:59 p.m. Sunday across Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will remain in place for at least three weeks, meaning those regions will not be able to emerge from the state’s latest stay-at-home order until Dec. 28 at the earliest.

Five counties in the San Francisco Bay Area also announced last week that they are proactively implementing the new restrictions and plan to keep them in place until at least Jan. 4. Combined, those regions are home to some 33 million Californians, representing 84% of the state’s population.

Dan Walters, CalMatters, December 7, 2020
A new political free-for-all is just beginning and this time it is all-or-nothing, potentially with life-or-death consequences — who gets the very limited initial supply of vaccine against the potentially deadly coronavirus.

Gov. Newsom said last week that he expects California to receive an initial allocation of 327,000 doses of vaccine in mid-December. His administration wants to prioritize vaccinations of health care workers who are most in danger of being infected with the virus.
Few would argue with that intent, but the initial vaccine supply doesn’t come close to covering everyone who falls into that general category. California has more than two million health care workers, and even within that group, there’s a certain level of competition.

LA Times, December 7, 2020
With the coronavirus running rampant in Los Angeles and hospitals projected to overflow by Christmas, officials have fallen back on a familiar refrain: Stay home. But nine months after the first stay at home orders, the words seem to have lost their meaning.

When it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic, a harm-reduction approach would encourage masking and social distancing instead of demanding that people have no contact at all with friends or family they don’t live with. In other words, even during a pandemic, abstinence-only isn’t effective.

Orange County Register, December 6, 2020
In the midst of a holiday shopping season dramatically reshaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, some Southern California small business operators were making the calculated choice to stay open — or continue offering outdoor dining — at the risk of being shut down by authorities later. Some entrepreneurs said they’d take that gamble against the likelihood they would go out of business, anyway, if they didn’t ignore the shutdown and continue operating as they have been — in pandemic-modified fashion. Health officials, however, are pleading with everyone to comply with the order.

Kaiser Health News, December 7, 2020
A fiercely liberal state senator from Los Angeles and a moderate Assembly member from the Central Valley are joining forces to pressure Gov. Newsom to make California the first state in the nation to cover every income-eligible resident regardless of immigration status. Unauthorized immigrants up to age 26 can already qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income residents.

Emboldened by the win of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and spurred by the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic, state Sen. María Elena Durazo and Assembly member Joaquin Arambula plan to introduce a two-bill package on Monday that would cover unauthorized senior immigrants first, and eventually the remainder of California’s undocumented immigrant population.

CalMatters, December 6, 2020
Two million Californians could be forced from their rental homes early next year, and the bad omens are happening now, all around them. They’re in the credit card bills they stack in a corner, the personal relationships they test by borrowing money, the hours waiting on the phone hoping to get their unemployment claim approved — all of it adding up to debts on paper and holes in their lives.

These renters are on the edge of an eviction cliff. Once they fall, there’s no telling how long it will take them to climb back up, especially in a state like California, where nearly everything costs more.

Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2020
In the week ending Nov. 21, more than 167,000 Californians filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. The state’s unemployment rate stands at 9%, well below the peak seen in the spring but still far above pre-pandemic numbers.

Mass layoffs are still coming. Just this week, Walt Disney Co. said it will lay off 4,000 more workers at its theme parks in California and Florida by the end of March, after the company let go 28,000 employees this fall. Many lifelines for workers are set to expire by the end of the year. An eviction crisis looms as the state’s moratorium ends Feb. 1, with many tenants on the hook for rent they missed.

CalMatters, December 5, 2020
Realtors say their clients are searching for bigger floor plans, lots and access to the outdoors. A larger percentage than normal are buying investment properties that can serve as a vacation home, or even a primary residence, should they decide to make the move.
US News
CNN, December 7, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced the health team that will lead his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic when he takes office in January.

Biden's transition team announced California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Vivek Murthy as his nominee for US surgeon general, Dr. Rochelle Walensky as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith as the chair of his Covid-19 equity task force.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will serve as chief medical adviser to the President on Covid-19 and will also continue in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Biden transition co-chair and former Obama administration official Jeff Zients will serve as coordinator of the Covid-19 response and counselor to the President and Natalie Quillian, another Obama administration veteran, will serve as deputy coordinator of the Covid-19 response.

The team will lead the administration's response as the US grapples with a pandemic that has killed more than 282,000 Americans as of Monday morning and shut down businesses and schools across the country.

Reuters, December 7, 2020
The current pandemic hit a trifecta: a politically polarized society, the uneven spread of the virus, and an economic impact that was disparately felt and quick to fade in some parts of the country even as it kept others fast in its grip.

Today’s rampant spread of the virus is bound with those facts: Local and state decisions to let the economy reopen as much as it did, as soon as it did, with public health rules spotty and unevenly enforced, set the stage for it to rotate through the country and eventually to spread unchecked. New data released in early December on state and metro level employment and wages by industry show just how unevenly the economic pain of those first months was spread.

Associated Press, December 7, 2020
As the coronavirus epidemic worsens, U.S. health experts hope Joe Biden’s administration will put in place something Donald Trump’s has not — a comprehensive national testing strategy.

Such a strategy, they say, could systematically check more people for infections and spot surges before they take off. The health experts say it would be an improvement from the current practice, which has professional athletes and students at elite universities getting routine tests while many other Americans stand in line for hours — if they get tested at all.
Some experts say the lack of such a system is one reason for the current national explosion in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Washington Post, December 6, 2020
More than two dozen federal stimulus programs crafted to help cash-strapped workers and businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic are set to expire in a matter of weeks, adding urgency to congressional negotiations over a new $908 billion relief package that might help break months of political deadlock.

Without the new aid, the end of a series of key stimulus programs threatens to push the country closer to the financial cliff. Millions of Americans are set to lose unemployment benefits, access to paid sick leave and protections against evictions. Businesses no longer may be able to count on a handful of key tax credits to help their bottom lines, and state and local governments run the risk of having to return millions of dollars they had hoped to spend on the public-health crisis and the financial carnage it has wrought.

NY Times, December 6, 2020
For months, transit officials around the country have pleaded for help from the federal government, but with no new lifeline forthcoming and many systems facing December deadlines to balance their budgets, agencies have started to outline doomsday service plans that would take effect next year. The profound cuts agencies are contemplating could hobble the recoveries of major cities from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco, where reliable transit is a lifeblood of the local economies.

Trains and buses carry the office workers, shoppers and tourists who will help revive stores, restaurants, cultural attractions, hotels and other key businesses that have been battered by the outbreak. The financial collapse of transportation agencies would especially hurt minority and low-income riders who tend to be among the biggest users of subways and buses.

USA Today, December 7, 2020
It’s a ritual carried out with precision each time a new first family moves into the White House. In just six hours on Inauguration Day, belongings of a departing president's family are moved out, carpets are cleaned, furniture is rearranged, fresh art is hung and the executive mansion is transformed for its new residents before they set foot inside.

But staff tasked with preparing the executive mansion for the arrival Jan. 20 of President-elect Joe Biden and his family will do so under extraordinary circumstances: the Covid-19 contagion that has already infected departing President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and multiple White House staffers.

USA Today, December 7, 2020
The Arizona Legislature will close for a week "out of an abundance of caution" after Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, possibly exposed several Republican lawmakers to Covid-19.

Giuliani had spent more than 10 hours discussing election concerns with Arizona Republicans — including two members of Congress and at least 13 current and future state lawmakers — at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix last Monday. He led the meeting maskless, flouting social distancing guidelines and posing for photos. Giuliani also met privately with Republican lawmakers and legislative leadership the next day, according to lawmakers' social media posts.

LA Times, December 7, 2020
More than a third of Covid-19 deaths in New Mexico are among Native Americans, who make up 11% of the state’s population. To date, 17,700 Navajo, out of nearly 175,000 who live on the reservation, have contracted the virus and nearly 700 on the reservation have died from complications. Navajo Nation government officials have said in recent days that intensive care unit beds are at 100% capacity.
CA Education News
LA Times, December 7, 2020
Los Angeles campuses will shut down completely beginning Wednesday for all in-person tutoring and special services, as prospects for fully reopening the nation’s second-largest school district recede further into 2021 amid a dangerous coronavirus surge, Supt. Austin Beutner announced Monday.

The move immediately affects some 4,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and outdoor conditioning for athletes. Beutner’s emergency order comes on the first day of a sweeping stay-at-home order across much of California and as Los Angeles County’s coronavirus rates reach unprecedented numbers.

CalMatters, December 6, 2020
While images of maskless, partying coeds have gone viral this semester, other students are working to keep themselves and their peers safe from Covid-19 — holding workshops on virus prevention, signing up to clean and monitor campus buildings, and shaming their peers who break the rules. With coronavirus cases spiking nationwide, and campuses serving as hotspots for transmission — 6,531 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed at 78 California colleges as of Nov. 19, according to data from The New York Times — these student-led efforts could become even more important as schools plan for the spring. 

San Diego Union Tribune, December 6, 2020
For many teachers distance learning is a constant fight to find all their students and just have them come to class. They’re trying anything from jokes to poetry to being more forgiving in grading.

Teachers engaged in distance learning say they are struggling to balance a need for “grace” and understanding for what their students are going through with the worry and frustration of not seeing or hearing from several students often, or at all. Students could be missing online classes for any number of reasons. It could be that students don’t have enough bandwidth to sustain videoconferencing, or they could lack Internet entirely, despite widespread efforts from school districts to provide hot spots and devices. It could be that students lack stable housing, food or adult help at home.

CalMatters, December 6, 2020
Teresa Trabucco of Manifee believes Covid-19 is real, but thinks its danger has been blown out of proportion. The coronavirus has forced the 42-year-old single mother to trade in her weekday shifts as a waitress at a local restaurant to stay at home and look after her son’s distance learning. She can only work weekends when her son stays at his dad’s house in nearby Hemet. 

And as much as she wants schools to reopen so she can return to work full time, Trabucco is adamant about not sending Liam back to school if he is required to wear a mask or be vaccinated with the new coronavirus vaccine. Confronted with the growing possibility of eviction, Trabucco is heavily considering moving out of state to Idaho, where her dollar goes much further. Life in California is simply too expensive, she says. 
US Education News
Politico, December 7, 2020
Hundreds of the nation’s colleges and universities plan to bring thousands of students back to campus next semester even though most of the schools are unprepared or unequipped for the volume of testing needed to keep Covid-19 infections in check. The lack of robust campus testing plans comes despite growing scientific consensus that colleges should include frequent Covid-19 scans to help stop and prevent outbreaks. And a vaccine will not eliminate the need to test students, an expert panel said last week.

Early projections say about 60% of U.S. higher education institutions plan to host classes with all or some portion of their students on campus in 2021. Only an estimated 8% of them are prepared to test each of their students at least once a week.

Washington Post, December 6, 2020
A flood of new data — on the national, state and district levels — finds students began this academic year behind. Most of the research concludes students of color and those in high-poverty communities fell further behind their peers, exacerbating long-standing gaps in American education.

A study being released this week by McKinsey & Co. estimates that the shift to remote school in the spring set White students back by one to three months in math, while students of color lost three to five months. As the coronavirus pandemic persists through this academic year, McKinsey said, losses will escalate.

“I think we should be very concerned about the risk of a lost generation of students,” said former education secretary John B. King Jr., who is now president of Education Trust, an advocacy and research group focused on equity issues.

NY Times, December 7, 2020
New York City is reopening some of its public schools Monday in the teeth of a worsening coronavirus outbreak.
The decision to do so reflects changing public health thinking around the importance of keeping schools operating, particularly for young students, and the real-world experience of over two months of in-person classes in the city’s school system, the nation’s largest. Schools around the country have had to make the difficult decision of when to close and what metrics to follow, with some staying open amid local positivity rates in the teens and others using low single-digit thresholds.

NPR, December 7, 2020
Even as college and university enrollment overall has dropped this fall, officials say is a record number of applicants to medical school. The number of applicants is up 18% this year over last year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, or AAMC, driven by the example of medical workers and public health figures such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"It's unprecedented," said Geoffrey Young, the AAMC's senior director for student affairs and programs, who compares it to another response to a traumatic moment in American history: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

World War II vet beats Covid-19, marks 104th birthday
An Alabama man who spent World War II repairing bomb-damaged trains in France recovered from a fight with Covid-19 in time to mark his 104th birthday on Thursday.

Major Wooten was physically drained and a little fuzzy mentally after battling the new coronavirus but appears to be on the mend, said granddaughter Holley Wooten McDonald.

“I’m just thankful that they were able to treat him so quickly and we were able to get him tested,” said McDonald, adding: “It’s amazing that a 104 year old survived Covid.”

Madison Hospital shared video of Wooten wearing a face mask and waving while workers sang “Happy birthday dear Pop Pop” as he was discharged in a wheelchair decorated with balloons on Tuesday, two days before his actual birthday.

McDonald said her grandfather, who served as a private first class in the Army before going on to a postwar career with U.S. Steel in Birmingham, tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov. 23 after her mother — his daughter — got the illness.
Wooten received an infusion of the newly approved monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab but was physically drained the next day and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance the day before Thanksgiving, she said.

“I don’t know if that medicine just started working … but within 24 hours he was better,” she said. Wooten’s blood oxygen levels are good now and his lungs are ”clear as a bell,” McDonald said. She said her mother recovered from Covid-19, and so did a sister who developed the illness and had to spend a week on a ventilator.

For Wooten’s birthday, a company erected a yard display that included the University of Alabama athletics logo (he is a big Crimson Tide football fan), a cake, candles and a patriotic hat.

Source: Washington Post

International News
The Guardian, December 7, 2020
Batches of the Covid vaccine have begun to arrive in hospitals around the UK, ready for the first jabs on Tuesday in what NHS England’s medical director warned would be the largest and most complex vaccination campaign in the country’s history.

The UK’s record-breaking approval of the vaccine and the rapid start of immunization against Covid-19 did not mean the end of the pandemic was in sight, said Prof Stephen Powis. It would be a marathon and not a sprint, he said.

The logistical hurdles are great. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has to be stored in deep-frozen packs containing 975 doses at minus 70C that cannot easily be split down into small batches to be taken to individual care homes, whose residents have been designated the first priority. It can be moved only four times and lasts for just five days at fridge temperature.

NY Post, December 5, 2020
Mexico’s president is urging his citizens to cancel Christmas this year, as the number of daily new coronavirus cases hit a record-high in the country. “Let’s leave Christmas presents for another time,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, as he tried to discourage people from traditional celebrations, and even avoid exchanging gifts.

An additional 12,127 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Mexico Friday, a record aside from one day in October when the government said the rise was due to a statistical blip.

Washington Post, December 5, 2020
Brazil is grappling with the sudden realization that there is nothing secure about this moment. The coronavirus has suddenly roared back. And there’s now the chance that even in pandemic-battered Brazil — where more people have died of the virus than any other nation save the United States — things could soon become as bad, if not worse, than ever before.

In Rio de Janeiro, where the virus has already killed tens of thousands, upturned the economy and sent rates of homelessness soaring, moments that recall the darkest days of the pandemic are once more appearing in the news. Sick people, unable to get help in the medical system, are again being found dead at home. Lines stretching into the hundreds are forming for intensive care beds.

Hospital officials are warning of supply shortages and an imminent collapse in medical services. Even the vaunted private health-care system reached 98% capacity in its intensive care units this past week, officials said. In states across the country, the situation wasn’t much better.

NPR, December 7, 2020
South Korea is awaiting new social distancing measures, due to take effect Tuesday evening, as earlier measures have failed to bring new Covid-19 case numbers down. The government warns of an impending crisis, brought on by a third wave of infections.

New cases reported Monday exceeded 600 for the second day in a row, bringing the total to more than 38,000, with about 550 deaths.
While such numbers look almost enviable by international standards, mathematical modeling suggests that if new measures fail to do the trick, new cases could reach 900 next week, roughly on a par with the country's first peak in February.

"The capital area is now a Covid-19 war zone," Health Minister Park Neung-hoo warned. Seoul and its environs are home to about half the country's population, and most of the recent infections.

Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2020
Sweden’s Covid-19 experiment is over. After a late autumn surge in infections led to rising hospitalizations and deaths, the government has abandoned its attempt—unique among Western nations—to combat the pandemic through voluntary measures. Like other Europeans, Swedes are now heading into the winter facing restrictions ranging from a ban on large gatherings to curbs on alcohol sales and school closures—all aimed at preventing the country’s health system from being swamped by patients and capping what is already among the highest per capita death tolls in the world.

The clampdown, which started last month, put an end to a hands-off approach that had made the Scandinavian nation a prime example in the often heated global debate between opponents and champions of pandemic lockdowns.

CNN, December 6, 2020
Weddings are important the world over, but in India they're a cultural phenomenon. Couples often host lavish, days-long events for hundreds of guests, featuring elaborate venues, intricate garments, ornate decorations and plenty of gold, which is considered lucky. Bigger-budget productions can see ceremonies held in rented palaces, with grooms arriving on horseback and stages set up for dance performances.

But as Covid-19 sweeps India, which has recorded more than 9.6 million infections, couples have been forced to make tough decisions about whether to go ahead with compromised versions of their weddings or cancel entirely. This has resulted in questions over whether the days of India's so-called "big fat weddings" are numbered.
Whet Moser, The Atlantic, December 7, 2020
Yesterday, the seven-day average for all four of the primary metrics that the Covid Tracking Project follows—tests, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—were at record highs. But deaths offer the clearest comparison with the spring surge, because in those early weeks many more cases were going uncounted while testing was slow to ramp up. If the seven-day average of deaths remains above the spring record in the weeks to come, it will soon be inarguable that the pandemic winter is worse than the novel coronavirus’s first surge.

And every indication is that this surge will continue to worsen for some time, because of the other milestones the U.S. has passed in recent days: 100,000 hospitalizations for the first time, the first consecutive days of more than 2,500 deaths (three, in fact), the first day of more than 200,000 new cases (which was followed by two more days above this threshold).
Another foreboding sign is how bad conditions are across the country. From the beginning of November through yesterday, there were more than 100 Covid-19 deaths per 1 million people in the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest (which, at 267 deaths per million, had the highest rate in that period), according to Covid Tracking Project data. In the West, the rate was 94 deaths per million.

Tony Bizjak and Renée C. Byer, Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2020
This moment has placed intense pressure on both rural hospitals with small staffs and bigger urban hospitals such as Sutter and Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento. One key hospital, Adventist-Rideout in Marysville, hit capacity in its ICU briefly last week. Not only must those facilities treat a growing number of Covid-19 patients, they must do it efficiently while navigating a host of new safety steps. Because the virus is new, highly-contagious and sometimes lethal, hospitals must take extraordinary measures to assure a skittish public as well as concerned employees that health care facilities can be counted on to stop the virus, not spread it.

Marshall Medical Center CEO Siri Nelson said the impact of Covid-19 is unlike any she has seen in the health care world. A few years ago, when she worked in Lake County, they nearly were forced to evacuate a hospital because of wildfire. That was an extraordinary moment, but only a moment. The coronavirus has been, in contrast, a nine-month haul requiring hospitals to undergo a physical transformation and protocol changes, and forcing staffs to deal with the emotions of facing a never-ending task.

Kasey Grewe, The Atlantic, December 6, 2020
During a time when journalists had little access to what was happening inside New York hospitals, I wrote regular email updates to friends and family. These messages showcase the frightening reality of what care looks like in an overwhelmed hospital.

The emails relate the experiences of health-care workers, and young doctors in particular: the anxiety, the fear, the overwhelming responsibility, and the ethical burden of hard decisions. Even after the pandemic is over, the weight of these experiences will remain with us for a lifetime. These messages form a chronicle of what Covid-19 has already done in America and a reminder of what it could do again this winter.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, NY Times, December 7, 2020
Mister Rogers-type nice isn’t working in many parts of the country. It’s time to make people scared and uncomfortable. It’s time for some sharp, focused terrifying realism. Maybe we need a P.S.A. featuring someone actually on a ventilator in the hospital. You might see that person “bucking the vent” — bodies naturally rebel against the machine forcing pressurized oxygen into the lungs, which is why patients are typically sedated.

Maybe some P.S.A.s should feature a so-called Covid long hauler, the 5% to 10% of people for whom recovery takes months.These P.S.A.s might sound harsh, but they might overcome our natural denial.

Washington Post, December 6, 2020
Vaccine development typically takes years, even decades. The progress of the last 11 months shifts the paradigm for what’s possible, creating a new model for vaccine development and a toolset for a world that will have to fight more never-before-seen viruses in years to come. But the pandemic wasn’t a sudden eureka moment — it was a catalyst that helped ignite lines of research that had been moving forward for years, far outside the spotlight of a global crisis.

Matt Simon, Wired, December 7, 2020
The people who may have the toughest recovery are those living through pandemic-related trauma. As psychologists define it, trauma is the concern for your life, bodily harm, or your own welfare—or your concerns for someone close to you. This might include people who have lost a loved one or who have survived a particularly severe case of Covid-19. 

Consider that 43 percent of essential workers are people of color, according to Chandra Farley, director of the Partnership for Southern Equity’s Just Energy program. “We sometimes automatically characterize people as vulnerable, without saying they are made to be more vulnerable to certain things because of systemic racism and historic inequities,” Farley told WIRED in August
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 12/6/20
by day as of 12/6/20
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 3,069 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 187 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 2,428 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 214 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 12/5/20. Alameda County does not publish cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days by city.
Oakland: 11,489

Hayward: 4,998

Fremont: 2,551

Eden MAC: 2,118

San Leandro: 1,862

Livermore: 1,509

Union City: 1,338

Berkeley: 1,217

Castro Valley: 941

Newark: 901
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County plus (in parentheses) cases per 100,000 in last 14 days, as of 12/6/20
Richmond: 4,832 (450)

Antioch: 3,503 (323)

Concord: 3,361 (282)

Pittsburgh: 2,852 (400)

San Pablo: 2,305 (856)

Bay Point: 1,213 (367)

Brentwood: 1,223 (326)

Walnut Creek: 1,057 (250)

Oakley: 951 (367)

San Ramon: 792 (197)
East Bay Resources

California's Regional Stay At Home Order
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay at home order - linked to ICU bed capacity within 5 separate regions - to attempt to prevent the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in California from overwhelming hospitals. Here answers to common questions about the order:

What triggers the new stay-at-home order?
The order goes into effect within 24 hours in regions with less than 15% ICU availability. If and until this occurs, each county within the region is governed by the state four tier, color-code restrictions, called "Blueprint for a Safer Economy."

How long does the order last?
The order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial 3 week period. Counties, however, can impose restrictions earlier than required by the state, as occurred in the Bay Area.

What counties fall within each region?

  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

What does the order prohibit?
The order prohibits gatherings of any size, non essential travel, closes operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing. Specifically, the following activities and businesses must close:

  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • Indoor recreational facilities and live audience sports
  • Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and other personal care services
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums
  • Movie theaters, family entertainment centers, amusement parks
  • Wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries

What is allowed under the order?
The order allows access to critical services and outdoor activities to preserve physical and mental health. For example, you may leave your home to obtain healthcare at medical and dental offices, work at any business or other entity that is allowed to open, to engage in worship and protest activities consistent with public health directives, to patronize local businesses, or to care for friends or family members who require assistance.

You may also leave your home with or without a specific destination in mind (for example, to walk your dog, to engage in physical recreation, or simply to get some fresh air) as long as you wear a mask, maintain physical distancing and comply with any other applicable public health directives.

The following activities and business may operate with additional restrictions and 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Outdoor areas like beaches, parks and hiking trails: overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.

  • Recreational facilities: outdoor operation allowed only without any food, drink or alcohol sales.

  • Retail: indoor operation permitted at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems. 

  • Shopping centers: indoor operation allowed at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.

  • Hotels and lodging: Open only for critical infrastructure support only.

  • Restaurants: Open only for take-out, pick-up, or delivery.

  • Offices: remote only permitted except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible. Medical and dental offices remain open.

  • Places of worship and political expression: Outdoor services only.

  • Entertainment production including professional sports: Allowed without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.

Counties have the option of imposing stricter rules than the state's.

What are critical infrastructure sectors?
These are sectors of the economy determined to be critical to protect the health and well-being of Californians. The list is lengthy, including workers in healthcare, food, agriculture, energy, utilities, transportation, communications, government operations, manufacturing, financial services and the entertainment industry.

How does the order impact schools?
The order does not modify existing state guidance for K-12 schools. Child care, pre-kindergarten and K-12 schools already open for in-person learning may remain open with masking and social distancing protocols.

What are the restrictions on travel?
In November, California issued a travel advisory that urged against nonessential out-of state trips and asked people to quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country.

Under the new regional stay at home order, when triggered, the state is asking people to stay at home and not mix and move around. The order prohibits hotel use for tourism, leisure and other nonessential reasons, like nonessential travel, whether it be a vacation or a road trip to see family or friends.

Travel to access (or work at) critical services is permitted.

How does the new order relate to the state's March lockdown?
As reported by the Mercury News, the March stay-home order applied to all California residents, rather than regionally. It was of indefinite duration, and was modified in May with a multi-stage reopening plan, which was replaced in August with the color-coded “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” The March order did not exempt schools or churches or allow non-essential retail to remain open at limited capacity.
In their December 3, 2020, podcast, Dr. Michael Osterholm and host Chris Dall discuss the status of Covid-19 in the US post-Thanksgiving, recommendations for how vaccine distribution should be prioritized, potential timelines for vaccine distribution, shortening quarantine, and how to talk to children about the pandemic.
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 Gordon Galvan, Chair, Mariellen Faria, Vice Chair, Roxann Lewis, Pam Russo and Thomas Lorentzen. 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.

Each bulletin includes a summary of the top health, Bay Area, California, national, education and international news on the pandemic plus links to a diverse range of commentary and analysis. We publish the Bulletin on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, unless the day fall on a public holiday.

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