December 11, 2020
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Unless something remarkable is going to happen and people meticulously follow the orders, we’re going to see things continue to get worse through probably the third week of January.”
Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert and professor emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley, 12/11/20
Families will celebrate Hanukkah differently this year
Every Hanukkah the Tolk-Knutsen family of Los Angeles takes a 15-hour flight to Israel to visit their extended family. It's become tradition.

But as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations soar, and stay-at-home orders are issued once again, families all over will celebrate the Jewish holiday differently in 2020.

"Definitely going to miss seeing my family this year and celebrating with them, with all the cousins. I have a very large family in Israel," said Vanessa Knutsen.

Normally, there are public menorah gatherings. And each night of Hanukkah is often celebrated at different family member's houses, with large numbers of family and friends all coming together.
"With Covid this year, we've got to take it out from the streets, back into the homes in a way that everyone is celebrating personally and on a more intimate way with their families at home," said Rabbi Aryeh Pearlstein of the Chabad of Eagle Rock and Echo Park.

Rabbi Pearlstein says many events are happening virtually -- from baking classes, to games and even story time for kids.

And for the Tolk-Knutsen family they are finding even more to celebrate this Hanukkah, their health topping the list. "I think it's more about looking at the bright spot in this tough time," said Prescott Tolk.

"It's been a celebration that's kept a lot of people throughout many years, throughout many difficulties, light and alive and gave them hope," said Rabbi Pearlstein.

Recommendations for Safely Celebrating Hanukkah

Best Practices
  • Celebrating only with people in your household
  • Lighting the candles and play dreidel with your household
  • Preparing and delivering traditional recipes for family, friends and neighbors
  • Sharing recipes and having a virtual celebration with family and friends
  • Shopping online or by phone for delivery or curbside pickup
  • Watching virtual holiday events and movies from home
Moderate Risk
  • Having a small outdoor celebration with family and friends
  • Enjoying public outdoor activities with face coverings and social distancing
  • Gathering with others in an outdoor or well-ventilated space to prepare traditional recipes
Higher Risk
  • Going shopping in crowded stores
  • Attending crowded public events
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household
  • Attending multiple gatherings with different households
  • Singing in groups
  • Traveling far to meet with people from outside your household
By the Numbers
Bay Area: 181,408

California: 1,487,591

U.S.: 15,746,026
Alameda County

Cases: 34,881

Deaths: 533

Adjusted Cases per Day: 15.7

Test Positivity: 4.9%

Hospitalized Patients: 301 (+21 from Wed.)

ICU Beds Available: 87 (-12 from Wed.)
Bay Area: 2,078

California: 20,646

U.S.: 293,785
Contra Costa County

Cases: 29,124

Deaths: 279

Adjusted Cases per Day: 24.9

Test Positivity: 7.1%

Hospitalized Patients: 169 (+10 from Wed.)

ICU Beds Available: 33 (-1 from Wed.)
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 7-day average. Hospitalized patients refers to patients with confirmed and suspected Covid-19.
Bay Area News
SF Chronicle, December 11, 2020
Percentage of ICU beds occupied:

San Leandro: 90%
Fremont: 83%
Castro Valley: 80%
Walnut Creek: 79%
Concord: 78%
Pleasanton: 77%
Hayward: 71%
Oakland: 62%
Berkeley: 40%

Data also obtained from the NY Times.

SF Chronicle, December 10, 2020
Intensive-care availability in the region continued its dramatic decline Thursday, as the number of open ICU beds in Santa Clara County dropped to an alarming 8% — just 38 for nearly 2 million people — and the Bay Area’s capacity to care for critically ill patients slipped below 18%.

“This is absolutely the worst we have seen, by an order of magnitude,” Dr. Ahmad Kamal, Santa Clara County’s director of health care preparedness, said this week, noting that three area hospitals ran out of room in the ICU this week and are sending patients elsewhere in the county or, if necessary, to neighboring San Mateo or Alameda counties.

The changes in availability of critical care beds can be sudden and startling. On Monday, 63 of Santa Clara County’s beds were available, or 14%. But in a single day, that fell to 38, as COVID-19 patients have poured into the county hospitals.

Santa Clara County has a higher-than-average number of ICU beds per 100,000 residents, 24, compared with the Bay Area region’s 19. Even so, the county currently has the lowest ICU availability in the 11-county Bay Area region. On Thursday, ICU availability fell to 17.8% in the Bay Area region, which includes the usual nine counties plus Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Three of those counties, including Santa Clara, had even less availability. The others were Sonoma, with 14%, and San Francisco, with 16%.

What's Open, What's Closed

Oaklandside, December 10, 2020
In the cold and wet winter months, when it’s even more dangerous than usual to sleep outside, Oakland and neighboring cities typically offer additional homeless shelter beds. This year, concerns around COVID-19 have prompted service providers and local governments to scale back those emergency shelter options.

“There are significant changes given the global pandemic,” said Autumn King, a city of Oakland spokesperson, in an email. In 2019, there were 11 winter shelters and warming centers operating in Alameda County in addition to the year-round shelter options. This year, there are only four sites on the county’s emergency shelter list, and no warming centers

East Bay Times, December 11, 2020
In one of the Bay Area’s most dramatic examples of pandemic protest to date, 12 Danville restaurants are defying a county health order to stop outdoor dining and are remaining open. Contra Costa County last week ordered restaurants to shut down outdoor dining. But that decision irked some restaurant owners who say they’re struggling even with outdoor dining; allowing only take-out or delivery orders won’t bring in enough for them to stay afloat, they say.

“We can’t survive on takeout. … It’s about 10% of our business. We can’t come back; we can’t pay our rent, our employees, who in turn can’t pay their rent,” said Amy Sidhom, co-owner of Crumbs restaurant on Railroad Avenue.

San Mateo Daily Journal, December 11, 2020
As the coronavirus exacts a growing economic toll, Bay Area food banks and soup kitchens face the triple challenge of raising funds to meet increased demand, attracting new volunteers and distributing food under safe conditions. Yet, faced with record numbers of people suffering food insecurity, the free food distributors are doing a remarkable job, gearing up successfully to provide more food and prepared meals to needy residents.

Press Democrat, December 10, 2020
Sonoma County residents Saturday will again face strict limits on public life and commerce with a new stay-home order from the county’s health officer to counter the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases in the past 10 days and blunt what local data suggest about the challenging weeks ahead.

SF Chronicle, December 10, 2020
Vacation travel to Lake Tahoe will be banned for at least three weeks starting Friday because of a regional rise in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. But whether those restrictions will actually stop visitors is unclear. Discouraging tourists from visiting Lake Tahoe proved impossible during the statewide shelter-in-place mandate that started in March and remained in effect during summer. 

Free Flu Shots Next Week in San Leandro
Health News
NY Times, December 11, 2020
The Food and Drug Administration is accelerating the timeline for issuing an emergency authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, aiming to issue it by Friday evening after planning as recently as Thursday night to finalize the move on Saturday. On Friday morning, President Trump lashed out at the F.D.A. in a tweet, attacking the agency’s commissioner, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, by name for not approving a Covid-19 vaccine faster.

The timing of the announcement appears highly unlikely to speed up the shipment of the initial doses of the vaccine, the people also said, raising questions about the purpose of expediting the authorization. Federal officials have said 2.9 million doses could be sent around the country within days of an authorization. That is only about half of the doses that Pfizer will provide in the first week. The other half will be reserved so that the initial recipients can have the second, required dose about three weeks later.

STAT, December 11, 2020
The Trump administration declared in May that 300 million vaccine doses would be available by January 2021, with the first distributed in October of this year. By October, that had shifted to 100 million doses by the end of the year, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Currently, the plan is for 40 million doses to be distributed in December, though some in health care are skeptical of even that prediction.

Every feature of the final vaccine, including buffers, glass, pipette tips, dry ice, and packaging, then comes with its own potential production issues. Pfizer recently had to cut its end-of-year supply projections for Covid-19 vaccines in half, because of delays in scaling up the raw material supply chain.

SF Chronicle, December 10, 2020
Bay Area health officers are being kept up at night deciding which community groups, industries and at-risk groups should get priority over the others after shipments of coronavirus vaccines arrive starting next week. Pretty much everyone agrees that nurses, doctors and other frontline health care professionals and at-risk citizens should be first to get the vaccine, but hard decisions will have to be made even in those cases. Hospitals will have to decide who among their high-priority employees should go first and care facilities will have to determine who is most at risk.

That raises the question of whether smokers with emphysema should be on the at-risk list and receive the vaccine earlier than, say, people with severe asthma. As more doses become available, more decisions will have to be made about who is included and excluded. In many ways it will come down to how state health departments define “essential workers,” a term used by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in its vaccine distribution recommendations.

Nature, December 10, 2020
Young children account for only a small percentage of COVID-19 infections — a trend that has puzzled scientists. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests why: kids’ immune systems seem better equipped to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 than are adults’. “Children are very much adapted to respond — and very well equipped to respond — to new viruses,” says Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University in New York City. Even when they are infected with SARS-CoV-2, children are most likely to experience mild or asymptomatic illness.

LA Times, December 11, 2020
The L.A. County director of public health, Barbara Ferrer, was asked to respond to comments critical of the outdoor restaurant dining ban at a news conference. “The data is really crystal clear at every single level that you look at it: That wearing a mask is one of the best protections you have from preventing [coronavirus infections]. I don’t think there’s any debate: That where people are in close proximity with other people, not in their household, not wearing masks and mingling for extended periods of time ... there’s increased risk of transmission.”

And while everyone agrees that the chance of indoor virus transmission is higher than outdoors, Ferrer said, “I don’t think anybody would say that there’s no risk of transmission just because you’re outside.”
Washington Post, December 11, 2020
To visually illustrate the risk of airborne transmission in real time, The Washington Post used a military-grade infrared camera capable of detecting exhaled breath. “The images are very, very telling,” said Rajat Mittal, a professor of mechanical engineering in Johns Hopkins University’s medical and engineering schools and an expert on virus transmission. “Getting two people and actually visualizing what’s happening between them, that’s very invaluable.”
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 12/10/20 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
Mercury News, December 11, 2020
In the week since Gov. Newsom announced his new stay-home order with tighter restrictions on travel and shopping and a ban on outdoor restaurant dining, infections have spiked to record highs, intensive-care wards filled faster than expected in many areas, and some of the state’s rules have met open defiance.

Amid signs that Thanksgiving gatherings fueled new infections, Christmas and New Year holidays now loom with the specter of more cases.
While the new stay-home order comes with a tentative sunset after 3 weeks, depending on results, epidemiologists say the early January lifting Newsom forecast is unrealistic.

Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and population health scientist at UC-Irvine, said that while the vaccines expected to be distributed in coming days are “the best thing to happen in a long time,” they are “coming a little too late to have a major influence over the dynamics of the current wave” of infections.

LA Times, December 11, 2020
The coronavirus is spreading more deeply into an increasingly diverse array of communities across Los Angeles County, hitting not only densely populated lower-income neighborhoods but some affluent suburbs as well.

It’s the latest sign that the unprecedented surge of the virus is increasing the risks to a wide swath of the population. On Thursday, L.A. County recorded an alarming 12,741 new cases of the coronavirus, shattering the single-day record by nearly 3,000 cases, and 74 deaths, the fourth-highest single-day total of the pandemic. The rising infections are going to put more pressure on already overburdened hospitals across Southern California, where capacity of intensive care beds continued to shrink to critical levels.

CalMatters, December 11, 2020
Problems with COVID testing are resurfacing across California as turnaround times for test results climb once again after a summer of frustrating delays. Many labs have been slammed with record numbers of specimens as public health officials expanded test sites and hours and Californians flocked to get tested before Thanksgiving. 

The average turnaround time for test results has risen by 30% from the first week in November to the last week, or from 1.3 days to 1.7 days, according to state public health data. That may not sound like much, but public health experts say it’s critical for COVID-19 test results to be reported within one to two days, because longer delays mean that infected people may unknowingly spread the disease to others before they can isolate at home. 

Mercury News, December 11, 2020
With much of California returning to tight coronavirus-related health restrictions, the state last week saw the largest jump in unemployment claims since late March. The bump effectively erased the previous week’s progress, when the fewest Californians filed for unemployment insurance since the pandemic began. In this past week, more Californians filed initial claims than any time since September.

LA Times, December 10, 2020
Southern California and the Central Valley are by far the state’s biggest contributors of total deaths in the last week. Of nearly 950 deaths reported in California in the last week, a Times analysis shows that more than 300 fatalities were reported in L.A. County, followed by nearly 80 in San Bernardino County, about 70 each in Riverside and San Diego counties and nearly 60 in Orange County. Deaths were also rising in Northern California, although not at the numbers seen in the Southland.

Health officials expect deaths to continue spiking in the coming weeks as it’s becoming clear many people got infected over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The coronavirus is now infecting mostly younger adults. But once the virus spreads to older people — those age 50 or higher — the likelihood of death is much higher.

Sacramento Bee, December 10, 2020
A new study released by the Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health underscores the COVID-19 pandemic’s unequal toll on agricultural workers in California.  Blood samples taken from farmworkers surveyed for the study found that nearly one in five tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, meaning they contracted the virus earlier.

About a quarter of farmworkers surveyed said they had a loved one contract the virus, and 7% said they knew a loved one who died from the disease. A third of farmworkers said they feared losing their job if they came down with the illness, according to the study. Yet, farmworkers were split about getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
US News
NY Times, December 11, 2020
The daily death record this week — 3,055 individuals who blew out birthday candles, made mistakes, laughed and cried before succumbing to the virus — far surpassed the spring peak of 2,752 deaths on April 15 and amounted to a stunning embodiment of the pandemic’s toll.

In a single day, the country, numbed and divided, lost more Americans to the coronavirus than were killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks or the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The United States recorded a new weekly death record for the 7-day period ending Thursday, and is reporting more new cases and hospitalizations than ever before. More than 290,000 people have died nationwide during the pandemic.

With a current average of more than 2,200 deaths per day, Covid-19 is, for at least this moment, surpassing heart disease and cancer as the leading killer in the United States. About 1,800 people on average die from heart disease each day, and 1,640 from cancer, according to data compiled by the CDC for 2018, the latest full data available.

Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2020
The arrival of Covid-19 vaccines is sending big industries jostling to persuade public-health officials and state leaders that their workers are more essential than others. Leaders in the food, restaurant, aviation and utility industries are calling on state and federal authorities to give their workers priority access to the shots, arguing that their employees are needed to keep the economy running and face high risks of contracting the virus.

Though the CDC has issued guidance on which Americans should be first in line for the initial doses, state governors have the final say—meaning the makeup of the priority line could vary widely by state.

Bloomberg, December 11, 2020
New York, once the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, sits on the brink of breaking its case record from last spring. The impact of this latest surge, though, is almost unrecognizable from those nightmarish early days.

For now, the state is staving off the repercussions of the current spike in cases, with ample hospital capacity and one of the nation’s lowest death rates. Dozens of other states are being overridden with hospitalizations, and seeing deaths climb to new highs.
The contrast is a testament to the lessons New York residents and officials have learned in the last several months. The question facing them now is how long can New York keep the virus at bay, and whether all the excitement over an impending vaccine -- and the flouting of Covid-fighting rules -- could lead to a relapse.

USA Today, December 11, 2020
The five commissioners of Dodge City, Kansas, a politically red cattle community of some 27,000 people, resisted mask measures all summer and into fall. Like other parts of rural and small-city America, Dodge City had mostly returned to normal after shaking off the pandemic’s first wave.
But then a second wave hit Dodge City. People started getting sick again. By the time commissioners passed the mask mandate on Nov. 16, more than 1 out of every 10 county residents had contracted the virus. At least a dozen of them had died. 

Since mid-November, the weekly rate of COVID-19 deaths in rural America has been higher than it has ever been in urban counties. “The rural communities were kind of lulled into complacency, feeling they were naturally blessed with open spaces and big sky and that COVID-19’s a metropolitan problem,” said Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “But the chickens have come home to roost.”

The Hill, December 11, 2020
A 2-day international business conference in Boston early in the pandemic was likely a super-spreader event that has been linked to as many as 300,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, according to a new scientific study released on Thursday. The study, published in the journal Science, found that the event is responsible for roughly 1.6 percent of all U.S. cases since the onset of the pandemic. The Biogen conference was held at Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel between Feb. 26-27 with approximately 175 participants. 

Associated Press, December 11, 2020
 A number of retailers, including J.C. Penney, Lowe’s and Kohl’s, are telling shoppers they need to place their online orders soon or else pay expedited shipping fees if they want to get their packages delivered in time for the holidays. The earlier-than-usual deadlines come as more people turn to online shopping during the pandemic, creating a logjam for shipping companies as well as delivery delays.
CA Education News
LA Times, December 11, 2020
Many experts view regular, universal testing at schools as a crucial component to helping campuses reopen and remain open, while also contributing toward curbing the raging pandemic. Yet California does not require school-based testing and no one has offered to pay for it.

So, Lennox School District Supt. Scott Price is going to take a pass — with some misgivings — and try to keep his staff and 5,000 students safe through other means when they are able to return to campus. Price’s dilemma — and his decision — appear to be the default for many school systems across Los Angeles County and beyond. Frustrations over closed schools continue to increase and were expressed in early November in a letter to Gov. Newsom from leaders of seven of the state’s largest school systems. They called for the testing of all students and staff, uniform testing guidelines, and the resources to pay for it — but have not yet received a response.

CalMatters, December 10, 2020
Like a number of colleges across California, USC is swapping its traditional spring break for five single-day breaks scattered throughout the semester, in hopes of cutting down on the spread of COVID-19.

Other California colleges canceling spring break include San Diego State University, Pepperdine University and California Lutheran University — Sacramento State University is considering doing it, too — in what’s becoming a national trend. University administrators who’ve scrapped the breaks say the spread of COVID-19 among students living on and around campus shows that encouraging travel — as a longer break would do — is just too risky. But some students and mental health advocates argue spring break is not just about partying and, unlike single-day breaks, would provide a needed respite in what has been an unusually stressful year. 

SF Chronicle, December 10, 2020
San Francisco school officials took the first official step toward reopening this week, notifying public health officials that the district intends to start bringing students back starting in late January.
In a letter of intent, Superintendent Vincent Matthews notified the Department of Public Health that he plans to reopen six elementary schools as early as Jan. 25, with 18 other sites starting on Feb. 8, and 48 more on or after March 22.

The district also plans to reopen 11 preschool sites during that same period, but doesn’t require county permission to do so. San Francisco students with moderate to severe disabilities would be among the first to return to classrooms, followed by those in transitional kindergarten through second grade. There is no date set for the return of older students.
US Education News
EdSource, December 10, 2020
Community colleges have seen the sharpest drop among colleges in high school graduates enrolling this fall, a likely effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an annual report published Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

This fall, as the pandemic raged and California community colleges switched largely to virtual courses, they saw a 30% drop in enrollments. Last year, the decline was less than 1%. It’s a pattern reflected by early enrollment data released in Sept. by the California Community College system, the nation’s largest with 116 institutions serving more than two million students. That data found that enrollment in California declined between 3.8% to 20%, based on data provided to EdSource from selected colleges. Among all high school graduates, 22% fewer students enrolled in college immediately after graduating from high school this year. The steep drop is close to eight times the pre-pandemic rate.

LA Times, December 10, 2020
The number of students enrolling in college immediately after high school plunged nearly 22% this fall over last year, hitting high-poverty, urban schools hardest — a likely reflection of the coronavirus-related toll on higher education plans, according to a national survey released Thursday.

The survey by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that the drop-off varied substantially by institution, with community colleges showing the largest enrollment decline among low-income students and public four-year universities the lowest. “Based on preliminary data, there is little evidence that COVID-19 impacted high school graduation,” Doug Shapiro, the research center’s executive director, said in a statement. “However, the pandemic impacted high school graduates in their immediate college enrollment, and those from high poverty, low income, and urban high schools have been hit the hardest. The enrollment gaps appear to be widening because of COVID-19.”

CBS, December 10, 2020
The Duke basketball program canceled its remaining slate of nonconference games Thursday, citing an abundance of caution because of the ongoing pandemic and a desire to provide time for players to spend time with family over the holidays. "Making sure that we're doing the right thing for our players, just for safety, we're not going to play any [remaining] nonconference games," Coach Krzyzewski said in a video statement. "We're not going to try to reschedule. We could try to reschedule three games, but we're not going to do that. We're going to play conference and hopefully get to play all of them.
A Covid-19 survivor spent months tracking down the 116 health care workers who saved his life
When he awoke from a month-long coma, one of Jeff Gerson's first thoughts was that he wanted to thank the people who saved his life. Gerson, a 45-year-old from Manhattan, arrived at the hospital on March 18 with shortness of breath, an uncontrollable cough, and a 103-degree fever. A day later, he was diagnosed with Covid-19 and put on a ventilator. He woke up in mid-April.

Gerson spent five months trying to track down every medical professional who helped him recover. The list was 116 people long, he said.

"I just feel tremendously grateful and lucky," Gerson told CNN this week. "The story, if there is one, is not necessarily that I survived, but that these people saved my life. I really felt the need to find them, get their names, and thank them."

He penned a letter in November to thank the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and others. Gerson emailed it to a hospital administrator, who passed it along to the staff.
"If you are receiving this letter, it is because I have become aware that you had a part in saving my life," Gerson wrote. "It is only after much effort on my part to find your names that I would realize just how many of you there were on my care team."

"Except for the nurses that I was directly interacting with, there really wasn't an opportunity to say thank you to anybody. It left a void in my emotional recovery," Gerson said. "Here I am having survived, I'm crying with joy every morning and I feel a huge debt of gratitude to these people who I can't even talk to because they're not coming into my room."

Since Gerson sent the letter to hospital workers, he said he's heard from even more people who helped care from him. The number is up to 151. "Continue doing what you do," Gerson wrote in the letter. "Continue being the heroes you are and know you will forever have my gratitude."

Source: CNN
International News
Science, December 9, 2020
As COVID-19 deaths in Mexico continue to soar—surpassed only by the United States, Brazil, and India—many have questioned the leadership of Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, undersecretary of prevention and health promotion. Critics accuse him of undercounting the true numbers and mishandling the nation’s response.

In early August, the governors of nine Mexican states demanded his resignation. His defenders, though, say he’s making sound decisions based on science and doing the best he can with the resources at his disposal.
López-Gatell Ramírez says the country’s chronically underfunded public health system has complicated efforts to track the disease and coordinate the response. But he insists the government’s approach—which includes forgoing widespread testing in favor of a more targeted approach—has been based on science. Many critics, he says, are politically motivated.

Jerusalem Post, December 10, 2020
Only days after the coronavirus cabinet announced that Israel would be under night curfew during Hanukkah, the government decided Thursday to place no new restrictions on the country during the holiday.

On Thursday, the government decided on the following scenario: Over Hanukkah, Israel will maintain its current level of restrictions. If at any point Israel exceeds 2,500 new coronavirus cases a day or reaches a reproduction rate (R) of 1.32, a period of “tightened restraint” will be applied.
The number of new cases a day is increasing by around 40% a week. It is expected that the country will reach 2,500 daily cases in a week to three weeks.

NY Times, December 10, 2020
The coronavirus is muting Christmas celebrations around the world. But the absence of seasonal merriment and public cheer is particularly palpable, and painful, in Germany’s marketplaces and squares, largely devoid of their beloved Christmas markets because of the pandemic.

Germans have gathered at outdoor markets in the weeks before Christmas since the 14th century, when vendors first built their stands in city centers to sell their wares to people coming from church services. They offer an array of foods, artisanal gifts and other provisions for the coming celebrations and the long winter months.
This year, cities have allowed a few stands to open, to aid vendors and maintain a modicum of Christmas cheer — but at a distance compliant with regulations that require strangers to keep six feet apart.

Bloomberg, December 11, 2020
Nigeria is set to reopen Covid-19 isolation and treatment centers as the number cases jumped to the highest in more than five months, according to the health ministry. Testing centers across the country reported 675 cases on Thursday, the highest number of daily infections since July 1 when 790 were recorded, according to data on the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control.

Infections have risen sharply in the past two weeks, the agency added in a post on Twitter Friday. “We may be at the verge of the second wave of this pandemic,” Health Minister Osagie Ehanire told a briefing on Thursday.

NY Times, December 10, 2020
South Korea’s daily number of new cases was once as low as two per day. That number soared to​ 682 on Thursday, with health officials warning it could reach record highs in coming days. On Wednesday​, 686 new cases were reported, the highest daily count since Feb. 29.
Philip Bump, Washington Post, December 11, 2020
Within days, the United States will probably begin administering vaccines aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus that emerged last year. It will ramp up slowly, with states determining who receives immunization in what order. The goal is that the country eventually have a large enough population of individuals immune to the virus that it can’t spread easily, a goal that will take months to achieve.

In the meantime, how many more Americans will die? Over the next 26 days, the country would see more than 3,500 deaths per day by Jan. 1, 2021.

Victoria Knight, Kaiser Health News, December 11, 2020
Many Americans are planning to travel for the December holidays, despite the nation’s worsening coronavirus numbers. For many, travel comes down to a risk-benefit analysis.

According to David Ropeik, author of the book “How Risky Is It, Really?” and an expert in risk perception psychology, it’s important to remember that what’s at stake in this type of situation cannot be exactly quantified. Our brains perceive risk by looking at the facts of the threat — in this case, contracting or transmitting COVID-19 — and then at the context of our own lives, which often involves emotions, he said. If you personally know someone who died of COVID-19, that’s an added emotional context. If you want to attend a wedding of loved family members, that’s another kind of context.

“Think about it like a seesaw. On one side are all the facts about COVID-19, like the number of deaths,” said Ropeik. “And then on the other side are all the emotional factors. Holidays are a huge weight on the emotional side of that seesaw.”

Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, December 11, 2020
Vaccines are not an off switch. It will take several months to vaccinate enough Americans to resume normal life, and this interim could prove long, confusing, and chaotic. The next 6 months will almost certainly bring delays in vaccine timelines, fights over vaccine priority, and questions about how immune the newly vaccinated are and how they should behave. We’ve spent 2020 adjusting to a pandemic normal, and now a strange, new period is upon us. Call it vaccine purgatory.

The biggest unknown is how long we will be left in purgatory. Operation Warp Speed officials have laid out an aggressive timeline to get nearly all Americans vaccinated by June, but this presumes several pieces going perfectly. The vaccines from Pfizer, which was just recommended for FDA authorization, and Moderna, which is expected to follow next week, cannot hit manufacturing delays, and additional vaccine candidates, from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, must earn speedy authorization from the FDA early next year.

Pfizer earlier revised down the number of doses it will deliver in 2020 and separately has said it cannot supply any additional doses to the U.S., beyond the 100 million already ordered, before June. The timeline for authorizing AstraZeneca’s vaccine is up in the air after a messy clinical trial. And Johnson & Johnson’s has not yet been proved to work.

Associated Press, December 11, 2020
In the Southern California oceanside city of Manhattan Beach, one arm of government is urging residents to stay home except for essential needs while another is encouraging them to get out and shop and even providing places where they can sit down to relax, eat takeout and watch the sun set on the Pacific. It’s one example of confusing messages from governments as most of California is under a broad shutdown order that includes an overnight curfew to try to stem record-breaking coronavirus cases that threaten to overwhelm the hospital system.
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 12/10/20
by day as of 12/10/20
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 3,900 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 237 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 2,899 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 256 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 12/10/20. Alameda County does not publish cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days by city.
Oakland: 12,136

Hayward: 5,340

Fremont: 2,776

Eden MAC: 2,268

San Leandro: 1,987

Livermore: 1,648

Union City: 1,432

Berkeley: 1,412

Castro Valley: 1,033

Newark: 959
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County plus (in parentheses) cases per 100,000 in last 14 days, as of 12/11/20
Richmond: 5,170 (614)

Antioch: 3,683 (404)

Concord: 3,507 (322)

Pittsburgh: 2,989 (540)

San Pablo: 2,438 (1,260)

Brentwood: 1,327 (379)

Bay Point: 1,258 (477)

Walnut Creek: 1,112 (313)

Oakley: 1,022 (473)

San Ramon: 864 (233)
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." Counties, however, can impose their own restrictions earlier then required by the state, as has occurred in the Bay Area.

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.

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 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.

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 10, 2020, podcast, Dr. Michael Osterholm and host Chris Dall discuss discuss COVID-19 trends in the US and globally, the last mile and the critical last inch of the vaccine journey, and what we've learned about schools to this point.
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
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.