January 11, 2021
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
"Now that a new strain of Covid is spreading in the US, it's even more urgent that we get vaccines out quickly and practice the 4 W's—wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands [and open your windows for ventilation]."
Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director, 1/11/21
Hungry Livermore families now have 2 free food bank drive-thrus
The Alameda County Community Food Bank is now operating two free grocery distribution sites for Livermore residents, as food insecurity continues to strike Americans struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in Pleasanton, Tri-Valley residents in need can visit the Muslim Community Center East Bay at 5724 W. Las Positas Blvd., #300 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in addition to the Alameda County Fairgrounds at 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Gate 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those who are picking up groceries are asked to keep their car windows rolled up, follow the cones and answer intake questions. The food bank is conducting contact-free pick-off. Groceries will be placed in your trunk.
In Alameda County, about 9% of residents were considered food insecure before the pandemic, according to Feeding America's "Map the Meal Gap" study. Job loss and other economic crises associated with the coronavirus was projected to push the rate of food insecurity here to 14% by the end of the year.

Feeding America, whose 200 member food banks include Alameda County Community Food Bank, reports both higher demand for services and more need for volunteer and donor support. Tri-Valley Haven and Open Heart Kitchen also offer food services and others to local residents.

Source: Livermore Patch
By the Numbers
Bay Area: 307,317

California: 2,698,011

U.S.: 22,529,399
Alameda County

Cases: 61,111

Deaths: 732

Adjusted Cases per Day: 35.5

Test Positivity: 10.7%

Hospitalized Patients: 461

ICU Beds Available: 68
Bay Area: 3,032

California: 30,019

U.S.: 375,350
Contra Costa County

Cases: 47,940

Deaths: 392

Adjusted Cases per Day: 46.6

Test Positivity: 12.9%

Hospitalized Patients: 274

ICU Beds Available: 36
Bay Area ICU Capacity: 0.7%

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.
Bay Area News
KTUV News, January 10, 2021
As was expected, health officials on have extended the Bay Area stay-at-home order. The order would have been lifted on Friday, however ICU capacity in the region remains below 15%, dictating the continuation of the existing stay-at-home order. The Bay Area's stay-at-home order was already extended indefinitely as public health officials are waiting two or three weeks after Christmas and New Year's, when so many people traveled and gathered with family, to see if there is yet another surge in coronavirus cases leaving a scarcity of ICU beds.

SF Chronicle, January 10, 2021
The rampaging coronavirus is revealing new unpredictability as the promised post-holiday surge continues, with some hospitals now seeing a rise in patients sick with Covid-19 who had no underlying medical conditions, officials say. Hospitals in the Bay Area and beyond are seeing an increase in such patients, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert with UCSF, said Sunday. “It’s not just people in nursing homes or people who are ill with immuno-compromising conditions who are the ones getting sick,” Chin-Hong said. “With Covid, it’s an equal opportunity disease, in some sense.”

Contra Costa Health Services Press Release, January 11, 2021
Contra Costa County’s healthcare system is gearing up to provide as many as 7,000 vaccines per day in an effort to vaccinate all eligible residents over the next six months. The county expects to triple the number of vaccines offered this week as capacity grows.

Vaccination efforts in Contra Costa County have been in startup mode over the past month, building scheduling systems and putting the staff in place to meet demand. This is all being done during the biggest surge of the pandemic. As of now, all but 1,400 of the 43,675 doses allocated in Contra Costa have been assigned to people in Phases 1A and 1B priority groups. All the doses are expected to be given within the next 14 days, Roth said.

Mercury News, January 11, 2021
Continuing a decades-old tradition, hundreds of Bay Area volunteers were expected to wake in the wee hours of the morning this month to meticulously count every person they spotted sleeping on park benches or in doorways, tents and cars.

But the biennial point-in-time count, a crucial census that influences everything from federal funding to the management of local homelessness programs, won’t happen on schedule this year — if at all. The majority of Bay Area counties are postponing the count — at least one potentially until 2022 — over worries that the census could put volunteers and unhoused people at risk of catching Covid-19.

SF Chronicle, January 11, 2021
As fatalities mount from the pandemic’s latest escalation, Bay Area funeral homes are struggling to handle the onslaught. The situation could get much worse with an expected increase of infections from Christmas and New Year’s gatherings which could result in a new wave of deaths later this month and next.

Like much else, the rituals of grief have been upended by the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders. Funerals were initially allowed indoors with limited capacity but now must be conducted outdoors with physical distancing. Counties may limit the number of attendees. Alameda County caps attendees at 25, while Santa Clara County allows up to 100, for instance. Services are much more stark. Extras like pallbearers, flowers, limousines, guest registers are generally eschewed, which also means a loss in revenue for the funeral homes, despite the increase in demand.
Vaccine & Health News
The Guardian, January 10, 2021
The new coronavirus variant that is sweeping the UK is extremely unlikely to evade immune responses generated by vaccines or a previous Covid infection, scientists say. Researchers in the US found that antibodies collected from former patients very rarely targeted parts of the virus that were mutated in the new variant. Their work suggests only 0.5% of individuals are at risk of having reduced protection against the variant, named B.1.1.7.

The findings will come as a relief to scientists and public health officials who have been concerned that vaccines being rolled out worldwide might be less effective against the new variant, and that cases could soar on the back of reinfections. The encouraging results come as cases of the new variant surge in the UK. The Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that it now accounts for more than 60% of positive tests in England and more than 80% in London. The sharp rise in infections has intensified calls for the vaccination programm to be rolled out as fast as possible.

Washington Post, January 11, 2021
Research suggests most people who recovered from covid-19 are immune for at least eight months. Yet epidemiologists are largely still urging this population to get the vaccine if it’s their turn in line. Official guidance says vaccines should be offered regardless of whether people were previously infected. That’s per the CDC, which also says the vaccine is safe for people who have had a prior infection.

Bloomberg, January 11, 2021
Reluctance to get the shot that could end the pandemic goes well beyond anti-vax activists who spout unproven theories on social media. Nurses and firefighters are among those questioning its safety after approval in record time.

More than two-thirds of Americans say they intend to be vaccinated against a virus that has killed 365,000 coast to coast. But in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 27% -- most notably Republicans, Black people and rural residents -- say they want nothing to do with it.

Some medical workers opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine cite documented short-term side effects, or unknown long-term hazards. Others say they’re in less peril than infectious-disease experts suggest, or they’ve built immunity or have confidence in readily available treatments. Disinformation and conspiratorial suspicions also have found purchase, even among those who put science to work every day.

Kaiser Health News, January 11, 2021
As the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines picks up across the U.S., moving from hospital distribution to pharmacies, pop-up sites and drive-thru clinics, health experts say it’s vital that these expanded venues be prepared to handle rare but potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

Of the more than 6 million people in the U.S. who have received shots of the two new covid vaccines, at least 29 have suffered anaphylaxis, a severe and dangerous reaction that can constrict airways and send the body into shock, according to the CDC. Such incidents have been rare — about 5.5 cases for every million doses of vaccine administered in the U.S. between mid-December and early January — and the patients recovered.

USA Today, January 11, 2021
As Covid-19 raged last year, the seasonal flu all but vanished, according to data from the CDC. During the 2019 flu season from Sept. 29 to Dec. 28, the CDC reported more than 65,000 cases of influenza nationwide. During the same period last year, the agency reported 1,016 cases. Health experts said that high vaccination rates against the flu – combined with social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing employed to stop the spread of the coronavirus – played a huge role in preventing influenza transmission.
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 1/10/21 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
Summary of California Vaccine Distribution Plan Updated 1/11/21
California Department of Public Health has expanded its definition of health care workers. It now includes community health care workers, public health field staff members, and people who work at primary care clinics, specialty clinics and dental clinics, as well as lab workers and pharmacy staff.

The state aims to immunize 1 million people within the next 10 days, state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said. If extra vaccines remain or doses are on the verge of expiring, people who work in education, child care, emergency services and food agriculture will also be eligible, the state said.

At his press briefing today, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state hopes to have 1 million additional people vaccinated against the coronavirus this week. Thus far, of nearly 2.5 million doses distributed in the state, 783,476 shots have been administered as of Sunday.

California remains in Phase 1A of its vaccine distribution plan. As shown in the image below from a January 7, 2021 update by Contra Costa Health Services, vaccination of persons age 75 and older - the first tier of Phase 1B - has not commenced.
Tier 1 of Phase 1B also includes workers in education and child care; emergency services workers (fire, police and corrections officials); and workers in food and agriculture, including grocery store workers.

Tier 2 of Phase 1B includes anyone 65 and older; workers in transportation/logistics; industrial, residential, & commercial sheltering facilities /services; critical manufacturing; incarcerated individuals; and persons that are homeless.

It is unclear when Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout will start, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "Some Bay Area counties estimate it will begin in late January or early February. Others do not have a projected timeline. Counties and hospitals are largely still vaccinating people in Phase 1a, who are health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities."

Phase 1C comes next. As explained by the East Bay Times, there is "no estimated start date yet to vaccinate this group but officials aim to offer everyone in this phase at least one dose of vaccine by late April or early May."

The Phase 1C group includes anyone age 50 or older and anyone age 16 to 49 at high risk due to disability or underlying medical conditions and/or disability (cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, organ transplant, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking and type 2 diabetes mellitus).
California News
LA Times, January 10, 2021
California continued to see a dramatic surge Sunday in its number of Covid-19 deaths as the state surpassed another milestone: 30,000 fatalities.
The pace of daily Covid-19 deaths has climbed since the most recent surge began in November.

On Nov. 3, California was recording about 40 deaths a day; by Thanksgiving, about 70 deaths a day; and by Christmas, about 220 deaths a day. By Sunday night, California was recording an average of 481 deaths a day for the previous week, a record.

It took roughly 6 months for California to record its 10,000th death, which came Aug. 6, and four more months to record its 20,000th death, which was logged Dec. 8. California recorded its 30,003rd death Sunday night, just about one month later. Five of the highest single-day death tallies for California have been recorded in the last week.

NY Times, January 11, 2021
California is having two distinct pandemics, north and south. By nearly every metric — hospitalizations, cases per capita and deaths — the pandemic is much worse in Southern California.
“It’s the same state government, the same basic weather,” Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the department of medicine at UCSF, said. “But you see wildly divergent outcomes.”

There are only theories about what lies behind the divergence. San Francisco has higher average household incomes than Los Angeles, giving people more resources to protect themselves. The tech industry allows more people to work from home. But Dr. Wachter said those differences alone did not provide a full explanation. “I think it’s more in the overarching cultures of the places, the willingness of people to buy the science and to do what they are being told is the right thing to do,” Dr. Wachter said.

LA Times, January 11, 2021
These are dark days for LA County doctors, nurses and EMTs, marked by levels of death once unimaginable in the United States, despite tireless efforts to treat patients.
“It’s a war zone,” said one doctor at an L.A. County public hospital. “The way most people leave is by dying.”
But amid the exhaustion and anguish of the last several weeks is something worse: fear that the next few weeks will be even more dire. Another Covid-19 surge, fueled by the recent holidays, is beginning to swell, and the looming question is how big an uptick hospitals will face. Officials say even small increases in demand could trigger grim measures that would further compromise care.

SF Chronicle, January 10, 2021
California legislators who return to work Monday will quickly be asked to vote on a flurry of high-profile spending measures to confront the worsening toll of the coronavirus pandemic. At the top of their agenda: find a way to reopen schools for millions of students who have been out of the classroom since March, provide cash payments to low-income families, distribute Covid-19 vaccines more quickly, and extend an eviction moratorium.

Ostensibly, legislators and Gov. Newsom agree on the broad strokes of the budget proposal he released Friday, which includes a $5 billion “immediate action” plan he wants approved within weeks.

Sacramento Bee, January 11, 2021
Gov. Newsom in July warned local officials they could lose out on $2.5 billion worth of state assistance if they didn’t enforce the state’s coronavirus orders. The threat was supposed to be part of the state’s effort to fight the virus, which at that time had killed 5,500 Californians.

Nearly 6 months later, almost every Californian is under a stay-at-home order. Coronavirus patients suffer in hospital gift shops. Healthcare workers in Los Angeles ration oxygen. An additional 20,000 Californians have lost their lives. Yet the state has yet to withhold any county money. Two cities saw money redirected to support Covid-19 testing in their communities. “Unless there’s clear consequences for our health orders, people will continue to ignore them,” said state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda. “Both businesses and individuals.” While no counties have been penalized, two cities have lost state funds for not adhering to the rules.

The Guardian, January 11, 2021
Although Latinos account for 38.9% of the state’s population, they represent a whopping 55.1% of positive cases and almost half of all deaths. In Los Angeles county, where more than 850,000 infections have been recorded, Latinos are succumbing to the virus at 2.5 times the rate of their white counterparts. But “it’s really not about race and ethnicity”, cautioned Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of global health and infectious diseases at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “It’s about race and ethnicity as a surrogate for poverty and inequity.”

Sacramento Bee, January 10, 2021
Millions of Californians are due to get $300 a week added to their weekly unemployment payments — but some will get the extra benefit sooner than others.

There’s good news for almost everyone out of work. The extra payments, part of Covid economic relief legislation signed into law by President Trump last month, will continue for most people through the week ending March 13.
Even when those benefits end, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, created last year to help people who usually cannot qualify for jobless aid, will keep going through early April for those who are still receiving payment as of the week ending March 13 and who continue to be eligible for PUA benefits.

LA Times, January 10, 2021
Los Angeles plans to turn its massive coronavirus testing site at Dodger Stadium into a vaccination distribution center this week, with officials hoping to vaccinate up to 12,000 people a day when the site is fully operational, city and county officials announced Sunday night.

Dodger Stadium is the largest testing site in the country, processing thousands of residents a day. The site has administered more than 1 million tests since May. Testing operations at Dodger Stadium will end Monday, according to a release from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.

LA Times, January 10, 2021
As dire as the crisis has become, most hospitals have yet to enter a sustained, widespread period of rationed care. But that would probably come if the Christmas surge is dramatically worse.
But the effect of holiday gatherings over Christmas will soon begin to show up in hospitals. Soon, a certain percentage of people who got infected over Christmas and have tested positive will begin getting so sick they’ll need hospital care. If the number of new daily hospital admissions for Covid-19 patients worsens, that’s a big sign of trouble.
US News
CNN, January 11, 2021
Experts have long said the best defenses against surging cases are preventative measures like masks and social distancing, as well as widespread vaccination. So far, at least 22.1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been distributed and nearly 6.7 million have made their way into patients' arms. Health officials had hoped to get 20 million people vaccinated at the start of the new year, but the administration of vaccines has undergone delays and roadblocks.

"We need to acknowledge that it's not working," Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday of the vaccination plan. "We need to hit the reset and adopt a new strategy in trying to get that out to patients."

Politico, January 11, 2021
President-elect Joe Biden has grown frustrated with the team in charge of plotting his coronavirus response, amid rising concerns that his administration will fall short of its promise of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days, according to people familiar with the conversations.

Biden has expressed criticism on multiple occasions to groups of transition officials — including one confrontation where Biden conveyed to Covid coordinator Jeff Zients and his deputy, Natalie Quillian, that their team was underperforming. The tensions have surfaced as Biden's advisers plan a dramatic scale-up of vaccinations starting Jan. 20, when the incoming team inherits a troubled Trump administration vaccine rollout that has fallen well short of its initial targets.

The U.S. has conducted around 7 million vaccinations over 3 weeks, well below the million-a-day rate Biden will need to hit. While some Biden advisers insist it's possible to make good on the 100-million vow, others are privately worried that the federal response is already so chaotic that it will take a herculean effort to pull it off.

NPR, January 11, 2021
Research shows that health facilities with unions have better patient outcomes and are more likely to have inspections that can find and correct workplace hazards. One study found New York nursing homes with unionized workers had lower Covid-19 mortality rates, as well as better access to PPE and stronger infection control measures, than nonunion facilities.

Recognizing that, some health care workers are forming new unions or thinking about organizing for the first time. Others, who already belong to a union, are taking more active leadership roles, voting to strike, launching public information campaigns and filing lawsuits against employers.

Reuters, January 11, 2021
The U.S. government on Monday was set to re-open its signature small business pandemic aid program with $284 billion in new funds and revamped rules that aim to get cash to the most needy businesses while stamping out fraud and abuse.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on Friday that it would launch a third round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) this week, starting with small community financial institutions on Monday, and larger lenders in coming days.

By prioritizing smaller lenders, the SBA hopes to address criticism from lawmakers that minority and women-owned businesses did not get enough money during the first two PPP rounds last year compared with bigger businesses. Administration officials told reporters on Friday they expected the funds would be sufficient to meet demand.

USA Today, January 11, 2021
By law, employers must report a death within eight hours to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. An inspector from OSHA typically arrives within a day to interview workers, review the site of the incident, and determine whether the death resulted from unsafe conditions.

For workers in the meatpacking industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the system of swift reporting and next-day inspections that should protect them has broken down. At least 239 meatpacking workers have died and 45,000 have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to tracking by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. But companies reported less than half that number of deaths to OSHA, a joint investigation by USA TODAY and the Midwest Center found. Experts say that's in large part because the agency weakened reporting requirements during the pandemic. 
OSHA has not inspected 26 out of the 65 meatpacking plants where reporters found at least one worker died of Covid-19.

Washington Post, January 10, 2021
Lawmakers who hunkered down together for safety while a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday may have been exposed to someone in the same room who was infected with the coronavirus, according to the Office of Attending Physician.

“On Wednesday January 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in room located in a large committee hearing space,” Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, wrote in an email that was sent to members of Congress on Sunday morning. “The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”

NY Times, January 10, 2021
A handful of the nation’s most prestigious academic hospitals have taken the notion of vaccine priority further than suggested by the CDC. Workers who have nothing to do with patient care, and who are not 75 or older, have been offered the shots. Some of the institutions were among the first recipients of the limited supplies in the United States.

The CDC never intended to include workers who don’t interact with patients, like administrators and graduate students, in the first tier of priority vaccinations, said Dr. Stanley Perlman, an immunologist at the University of Iowa and a member of the committee that issued the recommendations.

Bloomberg, January 11, 2021
New York City residents looking to get vaccines are confronting a “bewildering sign-up process” that is hindering plans to speed up inoculations, Comptroller Scott Stringer said on Twitter. The city opened mass vaccination sites Sunday in Brooklyn and the Bronx, extended shots on Monday to people 75 and over, and encouraged everyone eligible to schedule an appointment. One of the sign-up websites has a multi-step process to set up an account, another to make an appointment, and numerous questions or fields to be answered or filled in, Stringer said on Twitter.
CA Education News
Mercury News, January 11, 2021
California’s schools have been among the slowest in the country to reopen, frustrated parents observe. But is it realistic to expect wide-scale reopening this spring — particularly if educators haven’t started getting vaccinated?
Gov. Newsom’s “Safe Schools For All Plan,” announced Dec. 30, says yes. It’s a package of incentives for districts to throw open classroom doors as early as February, and will be submitted to the Legislature as an adjustment to the state budget. It aims first to bring back students from transitional kindergarten to second grade; those with special needs, such as English learners; and those who are homeless, in foster care or low-income. Other elementary school students would follow shortly thereafter, with a goal to be “back on track across the spectrum by spring 2021.”

The plan addresses many concerns teachers unions have voiced, providing some $450 per student for cleaning, masks and ventilation, as well as regular Covid testing for students and staff.
But while some parents rejoice, Newsom’s plan has received a chilly reception from school districts and teachers unions, who say it leaves far too many questions unanswered.

Mercury News, January 11, 2021
Stanford University’s freshmen and sophomores will not be allowed on campus for the winter quarter, school officials announced a day after they said 43 students on campus had tested positive for Covid-19. In a message to the Stanford community, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell announced the changes for the quarter that runs Monday to March 19.

EdSource, January 11, 2021
Teachers and school employees in Mariposa County are expected to be among the first of California’s 1.4 million teachers and other school staff to be vaccinated for Covid-19 when they roll up their sleeves for the shot on Monday. 
Half of the rural county’s school staff, 146 people so far, have signed up for the vaccination, said Mariposa County Health Officer Eric Sergienko. A team of nurses will travel from school to school to vaccinate those who have registered to receive the immunization.

US Education News
San Diego Union-Tribune, January 10, 2021
Local and national experts are coming to a consensus that schools do not contribute to community Covid-19 spread — as long as the levels of the virus in the community are not high. Schools do appear to contribute to spreading the virus where it already is spreading at high rates in a community, one of two new studies shows.

Two U.S. studies released in recent weeks show some of the first evidence that schools in areas of low-to-moderate Covid-19 exposure have not contributed to community spread.

Researchers believe that Covid-19 may spread in schools at the same rate that it spreads in the larger community, not at a greater rate, said Katharine Strunk, a Michigan State University education policy professor who co-authored one of the studies, which analyzed data from Michigan and Washington state. “If there is Covid in the community, there is probably some Covid in schools. The better job schools do of making sure Covid doesn’t come in (testing, masks, hygiene, social distancing), the less likely it is that Covid will spread,” said Strunk.

Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2021
School districts across the country are changing their plans with the new year, with some deciding to prolong remote instruction and others moving to reopen classrooms.

Tenuous schedules are expected to remain fluid as districts weigh rising coronavirus cases in much of the country against concerns about student learning loss and when teachers can be vaccinated. Millions of children returned to school—virtually and in person—this month after a winter break in which coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths reached records. Strategies for in-person or remote learning have varied widely throughout the past year, with different metrics guiding districts and standards set by governors and other leaders. Some recently have shifted their models, shortening quarantine periods and changing positivity rate thresholds that determine when to shut down schools. Rising cases prompted some districts to shutter in-person learning before the winter holidays, extending virtual learning for weeks to avoid further spread resulting from holiday gatherings or travel.
ICU nurse throws baby shower for mother who survived Covid-19
For ICU nurse Caitlyn Obrock, the last year has been a blur. She's treated hundreds of Covid-19 patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. But, she says, one patient stands above.
"From the very beginning Monique was special to me," Obrock said. 

Monique Jones, 28, came to the hospital deathly ill from Covid-19 and six months pregnant. "The baby was priority over her," Obrock said of Jones. "She would do anything for her baby."

Jones was eventually intubated, but Obrock talked to her and prayed over her for countless hours. When doctors decided the only hope for mother and child was an emergency C-section, Obrock made a promise.

"I was like, if Monique makes it, we're going to throw her the biggest baby shower there is to have," Obrock said. 
It was a promise she joyfully kept when Zamyrah arrived — all 2 pounds, 5 ounces of her. "I just started crying as soon as I saw everything, like this couldn't be for me," Jones said of the baby shower. Obrock raised thousands from friends, family and coworkers.  And even though her favorite patients are now out of the hospital, Obrock still visits regularly. She has to — she's the godmother and Jones' new best friend. 

"I never really felt that special to somebody. I really needed somebody like her," Jones said. 

Source: CBS News
International News
Bloomberg, January 11, 2021
Ireland’s hospital system faces mounting pressure, with ambulances lined up outside one facility over the weekend as the coronavirus sweeps across the country. Doctors were forced to treat patients in ambulances outside Letterkenny Hospital in the northwest of the country on Jan. 10, and national intensive care bed availability is down to 38. The government relaxed restrictions last month, a tactic that may have contributed to one of the world’s highest contagion rates amid increasing evidence of the U.K. variant in Ireland in recent days.

CNN, January 11, 2021
The United Kingdom is entering its most challenging weeks since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a top official said Monday, as hospitals face being overrun and morgues fill up.
"We're now at the worst point of this epidemic for the UK. In the future we will have the vaccine, but the numbers at the moment are higher than they were in the previous peak — by some distance," England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty told the BBC, adding that he expects the next few weeks to be the "most dangerous time."

The country, which has already suffered more deaths as a result of the disease than any European nation and recently became the fifth nation on earth to reach the grim milestone of three million cases, is on the verge of seeing its hospitals overwhelmed.

Reuters, January 10, 2021
Israel’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, the world’s fastest per capita, shifted to booster shots on Sunday in a bid to protect the most vulnerable citizens by next month and ease curbs on the economy.
Israelis over the age of 60, those with health problems and medical personnel have been receiving first injections of Pfizer Inc. vaccines since Dec 19. As three weeks have passed, they are beginning to be due for follow-up, final doses. By mid-March roughly 5 million of the country’s 9 million citizens are expected to receive the vaccine.

Times of Israel, January 11, 2021
Palestinian health officials announced over the weekend that they had signed a deal with the AstraZeneca pharmaceutical firm and were anticipating the arrival of its first major vaccine shipment by the end of February. On Saturday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Israel was shirking what it claimed was an Israeli obligation to provide immunizations for the Palestinians.

Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2021
China has agreed to allow a team of World Health Organization experts to enter the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, days after the UN agency’s top official criticized Beijing for holding up the mission.

The WHO experts are scheduled to start their mission on Thursday and will be working with Chinese scientists in studying the contagion’s origins, China’s National Health Commission said in a brief statement on Monday.
A health commission official earlier said the WHO team would be traveling to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected and which became the first Covid-19 hot spot.

Associated Press, January 11, 2021
Chinese health authorities say scores of people have tested positive for coronavirus in Hebei province bordering on the capital Beijing. The outbreak focused on the Hebei cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai is one of China’s most serious in recent months and comes amid measures to curb the further spread during next month’s Lunar New Year holiday. Authorities have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools closed a week early and conducted testing on a massive scale.
Vox, January 11, 2021
Despite Covid-19 surges in Europe, the US extraordinary death toll remains among the worst in the developed world. As of January 9, 2021, nearly 373,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the US, with a death rate of more than 1.1 per 1,000 people, according to Our World in Data. While there are nations with higher death rates, this still puts the US in the top 20% for deaths among the world’s developed countries, with more than twice the death rate of the median developed country.

Washington Post, January 11, 2021
Two promising coronavirus vaccine candidates were speeding through trials in September when the country’s top public health agency invited states to submit plans describing how they would get the shots to millions of people. It was an opportunity, eight months after the United States confirmed its first coronavirus case, to redeem the nation’s devastating failures in organizing a regimen of testing, contact tracing and equipping medical workers with protective gear.

“We have the time to take the lessons learned from the last six months and apply them forward and get it right,” Soumi Saha, a pharmacist and advocate for cost-effective health care, said on that optimistic mid-September day. “The one thing we know for sure is a fragmented approach does not work.”

But that is precisely what the nation got. Health departments and hospital executives are struggling to compensate for decentralized planning, complaining that they were not given enough money to prepare for missions that are becoming increasingly urgent as the coronavirus pandemic reaches new peaks. The United States recorded more than 4,000 covid-19 deaths on a single day last week.

Richard E. Leiter and Samantha Gelfand, STAT, January 9, 2021
Much has been said about preventable deaths related to Covid-19. Little has been said about preventable suffering. We may today be better prepared to diagnose and treat the disease than we were in the spring, but we are no better prepared to address the collective trauma of Covid-19 patients being separated from their families.

Family presence at the bedside, along with regular communication between health care providers and their patients and families, are not indulgences — they need to be part of the standard of care. If we fail to act now, the pain of losing loved ones as they die in isolation will be a grim legacy of this pandemic.

Willie Brown, SF Chronicle, January 9, 2021
It appears that the distribution plans, with their various “phases” of who get the virus and when, are too complicated. In the 1950s, when a vaccine was developed to fight the scourge of polio, authorities made inoculations simple and swift. You didn’t have to be a genius to find out where the vaccine was being given, or what “phase” of the plan you were in, to get the pink sugar cube that included the vaccine. Let’s do that again. Keep it simple, precise and convenient.

Vanessa Rancaño, Julia McEvoy, & Laura Klivans, KQED, January 9, 2021
Between the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, the past year has brought plenty of trauma into the lives of students. This week, California educators once again find themselves looking for ways to support kids while managing their own emotions.

In Hayward, 7th grade teacher Donovan Hall woke up anxious about facing his students on Zoom. “I just didn't trust that I could kind of keep that contained,” he said. He knew one way to support his students was to be honest about his own emotions, “and let them know ‘This is important to me, but right now I'm not ready to process it. That's OK.’”

Mallory Moench, SF Chronicle, January 11, 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed transportation. It’s changed where Bay Area residents live, work and travel. Here’s a look back at an unprecedented year for transportation — and what the future might hold.
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 1/10/21
by day as of 1/10/21
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 6,029 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 367 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 4,687 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 414 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 1/10/21
Oakland: 18,615

Hayward: 9,369

Fremont: 5,257

Eden MAC: 4,195

San Leandro: 3,669

Livermore: 3,068

Union City: 2,748

Berkeley: 2,177

Newark: 1,865

Castro Valley: 1,751
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County, as of 1/11/21
Richmond: 7,669

Antioch: 6,327

Concord: 5,817

Pittsburgh: 4,731

San Pablo: 3,801

Brentwood: 2,482

Oakley: 1,999

Bay Point: 1,974

Walnut Creek: 1,955

San Ramon: 1,450
East Bay Resources

Where to get a Covid-19 Test

Vaccine Distribution Process

Reopening: List of Businesses and Activities

Food Pantries
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.