CWA Flash E-Newsletter - April 22, 2020
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  CalFresh can add to many WIC families' food budgets and help them put healthy and nutritious food on the table. CalFresh also stimulates our economy & supports communities. Click Here for the CalFresh Toolkit, and check here for special COVID-19 CalFresh considerations! WIC Can help connect families to SNAP. 
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Masking: The Facts  
Surgical masks may help prevent infected people - including asymptomatic people - from making others sick with seasonal viruses, including coronaviruses, according to new research. But CDPH is quick to remind us that while masking may help, it is NOT a replacement for social distancing and handwashing. 
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Federal Stimulus Updates  
Yesterday a fourth stimulus package, $484 billion, focusing on hospitals, COVID testing and small businesses-including a paycheck protection plan, was approved by the Senate and White House, with House approval expected tomorrow. Delays centered on ensuring protections for businesses without access to large banks. Work on the next stimulus package, predicted to be even larger, is underway with expected broader supports that could include food aid, additional payments to individuals, support for health workers, and state and local governments. 
Gov. Lays Out Indicators for Re-Opening CA
Governor Newsom last week outlined six key indicators that will guide California's lifting - which the Governor stressed would be gradual - of the stay-at-home and other orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor said there is not a precise timeline for modifying the stay-at-home order, but that the six indicators will serve as the framework for making that decision. He also noted that things will look different as California makes modifications. For example, restaurants will have fewer tables and classrooms will be reconfigured. 
Assistance for Self-Employed, Undocumented CA Workers
In his daily update on California's response to coronavirus last Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced details on unemployment insurance, along with disaster assistance for undocumented workers who aren't eligible. California will be offering $75 million in direct disaster assistance for undocumented workers, with an additional $50 million in philanthropy bringing the total assistance to $125 million. The Governor and CA Labor Secretary Julie Su also announced that applications for the federal government's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in California will open April 28. The program provides unemployment assistance for the self-employed, independent contractors, employees whose work history doesn't qualify them for unemployment insurance, and those who've exhausted their unemployment insurance. The state will also process unemployment claims within three weeks, which is the same as it was before the pandemic. 
CA Legislature Plans for the Future
The California State Legislature came in on March 16th to vote unanimously to give Governor Gavin Newsom the authority to spend up to $1 Billion in General Fund dollars for the COVID19 crisis. They recessed that same day and now plan to come back into Session on May 4th. Virtual informational hearings in both the Senate and Assembly took place during the last few days to discuss funding for the State Budget for 2020-21 that needs to be adopted by July 1, 2020. During those hearings we learned the COVID19 crisis has actually cost California almost $7 billion but that we should be reimbursed for all but approximately $1.75 billion of that total from the federal government, which is hopeful news. We understand that traditional policy hearings on legislation this Session may be postponed until next year and that due to the COVID19 crisis costs (and future costs) due to the downturn in the economy from the crisis, that California will most likely be facing a "bare bones" State Budget with no traditional May Revise hearings since business and corporations tax returns and personal tax return payments have been extended in CA to July. Most policy bills will get placed on hold until next year unless they relate to the COVID19 crisis and those proposals will most likely become part of the State Budget discussions. There is still no formal consensus if legislators will actually be able to return to Sacramento at the State Capitol on May 4th due to the social distancing requirements or whether those State Budget hearings scheduled for that week will take place virtually. There is also discussion over whether both houses have the authority to vote on the State Budget or related bills without being present in the State Capitol. We should learn more in the coming weeks.
CWA News
Virtually Visiting Policymakers
In a normal Spring, CWA staff along with WIC staff from around the state and a few WIC participants would make the trip to Washington DC for NWA's Leadership Conference, where we would meet with our Congressional representatives and talk to them about WIC and the great work local WIC agencies are doing within their communities. This, unfortunately, is not a normal Spring, and the Leadership Conference was cancelled due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of the trip has not reduced the need for us to share information and education about WIC, though, which is why CWA will begin contacting legislators this week to request virtual visits. We would love for local agency staff to participate as well - please email if you'd like to join, or you'd like to arrange a meeting of your own. 
2020 Census - Deadline Extended!
Have you completed the 2020 census? You can do it now! The self-response deadline has been extended to June 1 so you still have time to complete it online at or by phone (check here for the list of numbers) before follow up begins. Do your part to count everyone in California!
Our Top News Picks
COVID Impact = Health Inequities
The impact of the virus on communities of color underscores the inequities of health outcomes. California Dept. of Public Health's daily COVID data report highlights the higher incidence of death for Latinos 18-64 years of age as a percent of our population, compared to Whites and Asians who are unrepresented. Black Californians, 6% of California's population, represent 12% of the COVID deaths. Dr. Ifeyinwa Asiodu, a public health research nurse at UCSF, and colleagues, call out in an opinion piece in Morning Consult, the longstanding inequities in our health care system and provision of social determinants of health that result in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 for our communities, already struggling with longstanding structural racism and marginalization. 
Home Delivery for SNAP
Pilot testing of home delivery for SNAP foods began a year ago in New York, with recent expedited expansion of home delivery pilot programs in several states, including California. CA Dept. of Social Services, working with third party transaction processors and retailers, will launch the option for CalFresh purchases on April 28 through Amazon and Walmart. Participants in CalWORKS may also be able to use this option. FAQs provide details. With Californians experiencing unexpected unemployment and needing to socially distance, this can be a useful option. When it comes to WIC, this is not an option. A small recent USDA funded study focusing on the perceived shopping advantages and disadvantages, adds to the growing body of literature about online WIC shopping. Check out the participant responses about convenience, impulse shopping and more. 
High Amounts of Sugar in Infant Formula 
A new study from the British Dental Journal finds that infant formula is higher in sugar than breast milk , and some infant formulas contain up to twice as much sugar as soda - as much as 8.7g of sugar per 100ml, which is on par with Sprite. More than half of the products looked at in the study contained more than 5g of sugar per 100ml. The sample of formula milk, collected between May and August last year, was taken from supermarkets and major retailers in 11 countries. Researchers warn that the sugar could lead to a range of health issues for children, including obesity and tooth decay. 
Breastmilk Reduces Harmful Viruses in Gut 
Although babies seem to be born without viruses , their guts become home to billions within the first month of life - and the community of viruses is shaped by whether the baby was breastfed or not. Fecal samples collected within a few days of birth, and again when the infants were 1 month old and 4 months old showed that at birth infants had little to no virus in their stool, but by one month old they had adult levels of virus. Most of the viruses were of the type to infect the bacteria in the gut microbiome, but some were of the type to infect human cells - breastfed babies were less likely to have the latter. Scientists think that proteins and sugars in breast milk might be working to discourage the growth of these viruses.
CWA COVID-19 Resources Page
CWA has been working to maintain current resources on our COVID-19 Resources Page. We have added a tab for local WIC agency resources including office signs in English and Spanish, teleworking tips and sample policies, office hygiene, etc., as well as resources for families about unemployment, food, housing, and resources for education while kids are out of school. We will continue updating this page as the situation changes and more resources become available.  
Breastfeeding and COVID-19 Guidance Updated
The CDC guidelines titled "Interim Considerations for Infection Prevention and Control of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings" have been updated to clarify considerations related to visitors and essential support persons to pregnant women who have known or suspected COVID-19 infection; prioritized testing of pregnant women with suspected COVID-19 at admission or who develop symptoms of COVID-19 during admission; testing of infants with suspected COVID-19 and isolation from other healthy infants; and determination of whether to keep a mother with known or suspected COVID-19 and her infant together or separated after birth on a case-by-case basis, using shared decision-making between the mother and the clinical team. The CDC webpage titled "Pregnancy and Breastfeeding" has been updated and adapted to reflect new information in an easier to understand format, including an affirmative statement on breastfeeding and COVID-19.  
Farmers' Markets Adapt to COVID  
Farmers' markets are adapting new practices to contain COVID-19. The California Alliance of Farmers' Markets provided a recent webinar on safe practices at farmers' markets to ensure this essential service and vital source of nutrition for our communities. Access a PDF of the webinar presentation here. Access the recording of the webinar presentation: here. (The presentation starts 7 minutes and 30 seconds into the recording.)
California WIC Association
3960 Industrial Blvd., Suite 500 West Sacramento, CA 95691

Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760