December 2, 2020
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
“Hopefully, by the middle of the year, I hope most Americans will have been immunized. If enough people are immunized, we should have this pandemic under control in the second half of 2021.”
Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui, 12/1/20
‘Chopped’ winner creates food collective to help black chefs survive the pandemic
Oakland Chef Rashad Armstead, known for Crave BBQ and Grammies Down Home Chicken and Seafood, founded in Oakland the Black Food Collective two years ago. The collective is helping black-owned businesses survive especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When Covid hit, I had a light bulb click off in my head to where I said after this is over, with black businesses, especially food businesses, are going to suffer more than any other business in any other industry because we were already suffering already,” Armstead explained. 

He said many are suffering because they lack capital and business training so he’s helping chefs succeed in the industry that he says kept him out of jail and off drugs. He not only lets black chefs use his kitchen space for cooking and pop-up takeout, he also crowdfunds for financing.

“We got to invest in these businesses because there are a lot of them closing left and right,” he said.
In return, business owners like Yaphet Santana give the Black Food Collective 10% of their profits. Santana says the collective was a godsend.

When Covid-19 broke out, Santana lost his job as a substance abuse counselor at San Quentin prison, so he turned to his culinary skills. “This place has helped my business grow,” said Santana.

Last year Armstead was the winner on the Food Network cooking show "Chopped." The prize from winning helped Armstead pay some bills but he still ended up closing two restaurants. “I believe that I didn’t go through that for no reason,” Armstead said. “I believe that it was preparing me to give back to people so that they don’t have to go through what I went through. That’s my hope.”

Source: KPIX 5 News
By the Numbers
Alameda County: 29,865*

Contra Costa County: 25,264

Bay Area: 155,168

California: 1,250,770

U.S.: 13,805,573
Alameda County: 514*

Contra Costa County: 261

Bay Area: 1,974

California: 19,343

U.S.: 272,009
*As of 11/29/20, the most recent date for Alameda County data.
Bay Area News
East Bay Times, December 2, 2020
Hospitalizations are rising more sharply than ever in the Bay Area and California, climbing to the highest point of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to this news organization’s analysis of state data. That same day, the greater Bay Area recorded its 2,000th death from Covid-19. On Monday, California admitted more than 450 new patients suffering from Covid-19 — its most of any single day of the pandemic — and the active total swelled to 8,240, the most Covid-positive patients hospitalized at one time and 15% higher than the previous peak this summer, which the state surpassed just two days prior.

In the Bay Area, there are 900 Covid-positive patients being treated in hospitals around the region for the first time of the pandemic, nearly double the total from two weeks ago and about 8% above its summertime peak. That’s just over 11 for every 100,000 residents of the region.

There are 291 patients hospitalized in Santa Clara County — nearly 15 for every 100,000 residents — more than anywhere else in the region and 90% higher than two weeks ago. In Alameda County, hospitalizations have soared by 111% in the past two weeks to 188, still about 12% shy of its summertime peak. San Francisco is also short of the height of its summer surge, but the active count has risen by 140% in the past two weeks.

Editor's Note: The number, 188, of hospitalizations for Alameda County stated in the article are of patients with confirmed Covid-19 test results. Alameda County data shows an additional 35 patients hospitalized that are suspected of having Covid-19.
As of November 30, 2020, 223 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 are hospitalized in Alameda County, including 51 patients in ICU. The low point of hospitalizations in Alameda County in the Fall occurred on October 16, 2020. On that date, 95 patients were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the county, and 17 patients were in ICU. The peak number of hospitalizations in Alameda County occurred on July 23, 2020, when 283 patients with confirmed and suspected Covid-19 were hospitalized, including 47 patients were in ICU.

SF Chronicle, December 1, 2020
San Francisco is on the cusp of ordering further shutdowns after local coronavirus cases quadrupled over the past month and hospitalizations doubled in just 10 days, city leaders and public health officials said Tuesday. The economic rollbacks likely would include stricter limits on retail and other indoor business capacity and further reductions in the size of outdoor gatherings. It may also include a mandatory quarantine for people coming to San Francisco from out of town. New guidance is expected as soon as Wednesday.

SF Chronicle, December 2, 2020
California’s current coronavirus county tier map shows a sea of purple — with a half-dozen exceptions from that riskiest level, including only one county in the Bay Area. Marin County is still in the second-most-severe red tier, having so far avoided the steep increase in new daily cases experienced by most of the state’s 58 counties.

But Marin health officer Matt Willis is not at all relieved or comforted by this.
“It’s faint praise to be in the red tier,” Willis said. “We were in the orange tier a couple of weeks ago, and would not have defined success as being in the red tier at this point. But we’re graded on a curve in a state where cases are skyrocketing, and our slope is less steep than it is elsewhere.” He said if the case rate continues on its current trajectory, Marin could be in the purple tier as soon as next week or the following week.

Mission Local, November 30, 2020
Preliminary results of the Latino Task Force/UCSF testing campaign at the 24th Street BART station — which tested residents three days before Thanksgiving and is currently performing a post-Thanksgiving testing blitz through Tuesday — showed that infection rates among Latinx residents easily outstripped the city’s overall rate of 2 percent.

Of the 1,651 people tested before Thanksgiving at the BART Plaza, 6 percent received positive PCR results, which are more sensitive to asymptomatic cases — and 4.9 percent received positive Binax rapid tests, which generally show positive results for people who are shedding the virus more heavily. The positivity rate was 8 percent among the Latinx residents tested. And 80 percent of those who tested positive were Latinx.
Health News
LA Times, December 1, 2020
Healthcare workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line when the first coronavirus vaccine shots become available, an influential government advisory panel said Tuesday.

The panel voted 13-1 to recommend that those groups get priority in the first days of any coming vaccination program, when doses are expected to be very limited. The two groups account for about 24 million people out of a U.S. population of about 330 million.

Later this month, the Food and Drug Administration will consider authorizing emergency use of two vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. Current estimates project that no more than 20 million doses of each vaccine will be available by the end of 2020. And each product requires two doses. As a result, the shots will be rationed in the early stages.

Helen Branswell, December 2, 2020
Two vaccines developed with stunning speed — and showing remarkable initial efficacy — are poised to be approved for emergency use in the United States in December. A number of other vaccines are expected to follow. STAT spoke with more than two dozen public health experts, epidemiologists, state officials, bioethicists, and others about how to make the most of this opportunity — the biggest vaccination effort in the country’s history — and also about the challenges we face in the days, weeks, and months ahead

Boston Herald, December 1, 2020
Moderna and Pfizer are the only two companies that have submitted data for their mRNA vaccine candidates to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. Below are the side effects reported by trial participants, according to the companies. Dr. Megan Murray, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said experiencing side effects indicates evidence of an immune response to the vaccine, which is normal. “Like other vaccines for common infections, people can expect to get a low-grade fever or have a headache, which usually only lasts 24 to 48 hours and then that passes,” Murray said.

CNBC, December 1, 2020
President Donald Trumps coronavirus vaccine czar said Tuesday that Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines are safe, with only 10% to 15% of volunteers reporting side effects that were “significantly noticeable.” The side effects, which come from the vaccine shots, can last up to a day and a half, said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine program Operation Warp Speed. The people who’ve suffered from side effects have reported redness and pain at the injection site as well as fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches, he said, adding most people have no noticeable side effects.

NY Times, December 2, 2020
The CDC warned Americans not to travel over the holidays, and outlined two ways to shorten the recommended quarantine times for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. The CDC previously had recommended a 14-day quarantine period following potential exposure, and officials said they still supported the longer period as the safest option. But officials also recommended two alternatives. Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days, followed by a negative test for the virus, or after 10 days without a negative test, agency officials said at a news briefing. P.C.R. or rapid tests are acceptable, the agency said, and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.

Nature, December 2, 2020
A survey of more than 15,000 people has singled out the people most likely to receive false negatives on the test. Nearly 2,700 individuals tested negative and had a second PCR test done within 2 weeks. Among those who received a second test, 60 — or 2.2% — tested positive. Of these, 60% had their initial test either one day or less before symptom onset or more than 7 days after it, suggesting that the PCR test is most likely to yield a false negative in people tested early or late in the course of infection. People with Covid-19 symptoms who test negative should be retested, especially in areas where the virus is widespread, the researchers say.

Nature, December 1, 2020
A far-reaching study of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in China’s Hunan Province found that the encounters that were most likely to spread the coronavirus were those between members of the same household. The analysis suggests that Hunan’s lockdown actually increased the risk of viral spread within households, whose members spent more time than normal at home together during lockdown. But social and community transmission fell during the same period.
David Leonhardt, NY Times, December 2, 2020
A panel of scientific advisers yesterday released its initial guidelines for who should receive the first coronavirus vaccines — recommendations that will influence states’ policies across the country.

The obvious question on many people’s minds is: When can I expect to be vaccinated?

While there is still a lot of uncertainty, it’s possible to lay out a rough expected timeline.

December: Health care workers and nursing home residents will likely be the first people to receive the vaccine, as the panel recommended.

Up to 40 million doses could be available to Americans before the end of this year, from a combination of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines. That would be enough to vaccinate the three million people who live in long-term-care facilities, as well as most of the country’s 21 million health care workers.

January: Keep in mind that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second dose a few weeks later to be effective. So an initial batch of 40 million doses would be enough to vaccinate only 20 million people.

By early next year, Pfizer and Moderna are likely to be able to ship about 70 million doses per month, Moncef Slaoui, a top federal vaccine official, told The Washington Post yesterday.

People will likely receive the shots at doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies, as well as at specially created clinics in some places, my colleague Katie Thomas says.

February and March: The next priority groups are likely to be people over the age of 65 (and especially those over 75); people with medical conditions that put them at risk of death if infected; and essential workers, like those in education, food, transportation and law enforcement.

One exception to this second wave of vaccine recipients may be people who have already had the virus, making them immune from it for at least some period of time.

If other companies in addition to Pfizer and Moderna receive approval for their vaccines, the total number shipped each month could reach 150 million by March, Slaoui said.

April, May and June: The most likely scenario is that even people who don’t qualify as a priority — like healthy, nonessential workers younger than 65 — will begin receiving the vaccine by the spring.

The vast majority of Americans could be vaccinated by early summer. Once that happens, life will still not immediately return to normal, partly because the vaccines are not 100 percent effective. “There will still be risks to people,” as Caitlin Rivers, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, told me.

But those risks will be small compared with today’s risks. Treatments continue to improve, reducing the death rate for people who get the virus. And widespread vaccination will sharply reduce the spread, helping protect even people for whom a vaccine is ineffective. Rivers predicted that social gatherings will again be common and largely safe by the summer.
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 12/1/20 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
Mercury News, December 2, 2020
Gov. Newsom’s warning that California will soon face “more dramatic” coronavirus restrictions in an effort to blunt an alarming surge of Covid-19 infections threatening to overwhelm hospitals is reviving memories of last spring’s frantic lockdowns. But even as we enter what epidemiologists warn could be some of the darkest and deadliest days of the pandemic, there are few indications at this point that California is going to return to such a widespread, near-total halt of daily life.

Instead, book stores and barbers that shuttered in March could stay open this time around, albeit with much smaller capacities. Closures of parks and beaches seem unlikely to return, though travel limits may make those destinations less accessible. Outdoor restaurant dining stands some chance of making it through the winter. Those are some of the potential changes highlighted by epidemiologists, who cited new restrictions enacted by Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties as examples of what could be next for the state as a whole.

Associated Press, December 2, 2020
A staggering rise in coronavirus cases could overwhelm California’s health system within weeks and “drastic” action such as a widespread stay-at-home order may be needed to combat the threat, Gov. Newsom warned. Hospitalizations from Covid-19 have increased nearly 90% and could triple by Christmas, officials said Monday.

The number of Covid-19 cases reported each day in California has been setting records, with the average daily case rate over the last week topping 14,000. Although he supplied few details, Newsom said that unless the current trends slow, the surge in Covid-19 cases creates the potential for an order that could place further restrictions on businesses and keep the majority of people indoors in the most seriously-affected counties.

Sacramento Bee, December 1, 2020
The coronavirus has found a weak spot in the California healthcare system. It’s the intensive care unit. With the Covid-19 surge causing record hospitalizations, and with fears that Thanksgiving get-togethers are about to result in even more extremely ill patients, Gov. Newsom warned this week he may order another stay-at-home rule at any moment to stop a Christmas crisis in hospitals, particularly in acute care units where capacity is extremely limited.

Already this week, one Sacramento-area hospital in Marysville reported just two ICU beds left. In Placer County, health officials say Covid-19 patients are taking up more than 15% of beds, a worry heading into winter when hospitals are typically most busy. In Sacramento County, health officials on Tuesday said they already are seeing the first reports of Thanksgiving week infections leading to early hospitalizations.

NY Times, December 1, 2020
For all its size and economic might, California has long had few hospital beds relative to its population, a shortfall that state officials now say may prove catastrophic. California is experiencing its largest surge in coronavirus cases with an average of nearly 15,000 new cases a day, an increase of 50 percent from the previous record over the summer.
So even though the state has some of the country’s most restrictive measures to prevent the spread of the virus, an influx of people with severe cases of Covid-19 may force overwhelmed hospitals to turn patients away by Christmas, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned this week.

A dearth of hospital beds has been a worldwide problem throughout the pandemic, but California, with a population of 40 million, has a particularly acute shortage. The wealthiest state in the wealthiest country has 1.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people, a level that exceeds only two states, Washington and Oregon, according to 2018 data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. California has one-third the number of beds per capita as Poland.

Sacramento Bee, December 1, 2020
Labor groups and spouses of medical personnel lauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health for new recommendations for routine weekly Covid-19 tests of health care personnel at the state’s general acute care hospitals.

Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, said: “These new regulations will save lives, dramatically reduce the risk of further outbreaks inside hospitals and help ensure that there are enough healthcare workers to care for patients during the worsening surge.”

LA Times, December 1, 2020
As Covid-19 once again surges across California, skilled nursing facilities with more Black and Latino residents are being hit harder than those with fewer residents of color, according to a new study. Facilities with the highest number of Latino residents had coronavirus case rates 57% greater than those with few Latino residents.
In facilities where more than 2% of the residents were Black, case rates were as much as 40% higher than those without a significant number of Black patients, according to the research released Tuesday, which was commissioned by the nonprofit California Health Care Foundation and examined data from May and August.

The reasons for the disparities are unclear. One factor could be that more Black and Latino people live in lower-quality facilities, which are less equipped to deal with an infectious disease like Covid-19.

LA Times, December 1, 2020
LA County recorded a dramatic one-day rise in coronavirus cases Tuesday, shattering the single-day record and confirming some of the most dire forecasts about infections spreading ferociously as the holiday season gets underway.

LA County is now forecasting up to 8,000 new coronavirus cases a day by the end of this week and potentially 9,000 a day by the middle or end of next week, according to a source who listened to a briefing given by county health officials.

Sacramento Bee, December 2, 2020
More than 8 months into the pandemic, California officially has rules in place aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19 at workplaces. Employers must provide face coverings and ensure workers wear them over the nose and mouth when indoors, or outdoors and less than 6 feet away from another person.

Workers should be separated from others by at least six feet if possible, by taking measures such as letting people work remotely or staggering work schedules. If such measures can’t be in place, workers must be separated as far apart as possible.

Employers must regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and prevent or minimize sharing of items such as phones, desks and tools. Employees must be given time to wash their hands.
Employers are required to provide training on the company’s Covid-19 policies and procedures, as well as Covid-19-related benefits such as workers’ compensation.
US News
CNN, December 2, 2020
The White House coronavirus task force issued extremely dire warnings to states in weekly reports this week, urging public health officials to circumvent state and local policies amid record high cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as fears of a surge upon a surge following Thanksgiving.

In a dramatic escalation, the task force, which has frequently pleaded in weekly reports with state officials to enact tighter mitigation measures, including mask mandates and indoor dining restrictions, urged public health officials to take matters into their own hands.
"If state and local policies do not reflect the seriousness of the current situation, all public health officials must alert the state population directly," the reports say.

The reports offered this advice to public health officials: "It must be made clear that if you are over 65 or have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health; you should have groceries and medications delivered."

Bloomberg, December 1, 2020
The Northeast is leading the alarming increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations across the U.S., with large jumps in New York and Pennsylvania, as holiday gatherings threaten to exacerbate the situation. Hospitalizations in the most densely populated region of the U.S. are up 63% in the past 14 days to 14,071, the most alarming momentum in the nation, according to Covid Tracking Project data.

The Guardian, December 2, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic largely hit urban areas first, but the autumn surge is devastating rural America, too.
The US is now averaging more than 170,000 new cases each day, with hospitalizations breaking records all too frequently, and it’s taking a toll from the biggest hospitals down to the little ones.

The tragedy at Scotland county hospital, tiny, 25-bed hospital in rural Missouri, is smaller here, more intimate. Everyone knows everyone. People come to the hospital from six surrounding counties, typically for treatment of things like farm and sports injuries, chest pains and the flu. Usually, there’s plenty of room. Not now. The small hospital with roughly six doctors and 75 nurses among 142 full-time staff, is in crisis. The region is seeing a big increase in Covid-19 cases, and all available beds are usually taken.

Politico, December 2, 2020
A president who preached "America First" is demanding to know why the United States could end up third, or worse, in the global vaccine race.
President Donald Trump and his deputies are privately admonishing Food and Drug Administration officials for not moving faster to authorize promising coronavirus vaccines — a push partially motivated by Trump’s desire to claim credit for record-fast vaccine development, four officials said.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows grilled Commissioner Stephen Hahn and other top FDA officials in meetings this week on their decisions to require more rigorous review of initial data from the first vaccine candidates. "While we are certainly working around the clock, we do feel that responsibility to move quickly, but we know we need to do our job…to make sure that any vaccine meets our high standard of safety and efficacy," Hahn told state governors on a call convened by the White House on Monday, according to notes from the call obtained by POLITICO.

Associated Press, December 2, 2020
Addressing racial disparities in the U.S. coronavirus crisis cannot be an afterthought, a top adviser to President-elect Joe Biden on the Covid-19 pandemic response said Tuesday.

That means when testing and vaccination programs are designed and implemented, for example, they must consider fairness and equity along with efficiency in order to be truly effective, said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, an expert on health care inequality at Yale University, in an interview with The Associated Press. “We cannot get this pandemic under control if we do not address head-on the issues of inequity in our country,” she said. “There is no other way.”

CNN, December 2, 2020
It's clear that the crisis is taking a heavy toll on both health care workers and their coworkers. Allison Boerner, a charge nurse in a hospital emergency room in Parker, in the Denver metro area, tears up when talking about the toll the pandemic is taking on the people she works with.

"You know, we lean on each other," Boerner said. "The holidays have been rough for a lot of us. We're not seeing our families; we're doing everything we can to keep the public safe. And so, it was extremely frustrating for us when people are not doing that." Dr. Shannon Tapia, a geriatrician in Denver, said she absolutely sees depression on the rise among her colleagues. "Depression, anxiety, you know, hopelessness, fatigue, burnout," she said.

NPR, December 2, 2020
Congress has not passed an economic relief package since late April — and a set of vital relief measures helping millions of Americans avoid financial ruin and eviction are all set to expire this month. A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a proposal for a compromise bill to break the logjam and provide nearly $1 trillion in relief funding. Here's what's at stake: Some 12 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. Also expiring — a federal order stopping many renters from being evicted.

Washington Post, December 2, 2020
Governors and state lawmakers across the country are racing to authorize millions of dollars in new coronavirus stimulus aid, aiming to plug gaping holes in their local economies before the end of the year.

The burst of activity has intensified in recent weeks after months of false starts in Washington, where congressional lawmakers repeatedly have failed to deliver additional support for a growing number of Americans who are still out of work, struggling to pay their bills or facing severe financial straits. The states’ redoubled stimulus efforts may offer a critical economic lifeline for millions of Americans at a time when many governors are instituting a new round of shutdown orders nationwide. But local leaders say their aid is likely to be short-lived, illustrating their financial constraints — and the urgent need for Congress to adopt a more robust relief package after considerable delay.

NY Times, December 2, 2020
When the New Hampshire legislature — the largest in the country — assembles on Wednesday to launch its new session, it will do so outdoors, for the sake of coronavirus safety. The 400 members of the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, will congregate with plenty of social distance on a field hockey pitch at the University of New Hampshire.
CA Education News
East Bay Times, December 2, 2020
Three high schools in Pleasanton have shut down all of their on-campus activities after at least three students within the respective schools tested positive for Covid-19, an official for the Pleasanton Unified School District said Tuesday.

Amador Valley, Foothill and Village high schools all shut down music and sports camps, as well as a student supervision cohort program that was serving students with special needs, spokesman Patrick Gannon said. The programs all were taking place on those campuses, Gannon said. The closures will remain in effect at least through Dec. 18, the end of the semester.

According to Gannon, the schools received reports that students at each of the three campuses attended numerous social gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “We haven’t been able to determine the extent of the exposure, because it happened outside of the school,” Gannon said. “So we’re still reaching out to the families that were participating in our in-person programs.”

SF Chronicle, December 1, 2020
San Francisco officials are pushing to prioritize teachers just behind health care workers in getting a free Covid-19 vaccine. A proposed San Francisco Board of Supervisors resolution, which is non-binding, urges Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials to prioritize teachers in the distribution of the first rounds of vaccines available so that schools can reopen as soon as possible.

“The nine-month school closure has thrown families across the city into chaos,” said Hillary Ronen, who authored the resolution. “The achievement gap is now a canyon. Families with money are able to afford childcare and tutors, while middle- and lower-income families are relying on relatives, friends and older children to watch their kids while they put their health at risk at work.” But reopening also means teachers need to be safe and the only way to do that is to provide them a vaccine, Ronen added.

LA Times, December 1, 2020
More than a million students who apply to the 23-campus California State University system annually will now have 11 extra days to submit their applications after the deadline was extended to Dec. 15 to ease the burden on those facing challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the chancellor’s office said Tuesday.
The original deadline for incoming freshmen and transfer applicants for fall 2021 was Dec. 4.

“By extending the deadline, we are acknowledging that prospective students, their families and really everyone is dealing with many, many challenges and we don’t want the deadline to be the reason that someone doesn’t apply to college,” Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the Cal State chancellor’s office, said. “We felt this would be helpful to prospective students who are weighing their options and ultimately want to make it as easy as possible to apply to a CSU campus.”

LA Times, December 1, 2020
Nearly nine months and counting — that’s how long more than 1 million L.A. County students have been out of school. It’s only a guess when campuses will reopen amid the alarming surge in coronavirus cases. But talk to educators, parents and students and they invariably know someone who has made a difference. Someone who identified a pain point with distance learning, attempted to fix it and moved schooling forward during this unprecedented disruption to education. They are brothers, worried mothers, creative teachers and college professors inventing new ways to teach familiar lessons. These are some of their stories.
US Education News
Politico, December 2, 2020
Districts across the U.S. seem to agree that the most at-risk students should have access to in-person learning first and foremost, and that a hybrid attempt, allowing at least some in-person teaching, is better than a rush back to the real thing or nothing at all.
Education equity concerns are starting to edge out virus concerns, and states are weighing the risks and rewards of reopening schools.

Coming off of little national guidance other than President Donald Trump’s imperative to open schools, the pressure is on President-elect Joe Biden to deliver his campaign promise of more emergency funding for schools and “clear, consistent, effective” national guidelines.
Until then, here’s what schools can learn from districts that have forged ahead on their own.

NBC News, December 1, 2020
NPR, December 2, 2020
The U.S. has historically been a top destination for international students. 
But this year, in a survey of more than 700 colleges and universities, the Institute of International Education found total international enrollment plummeted 16% between fall of 2019 and fall of 2020. Statistics on new international students was even grimmer — a 43% drop. Tens of thousands have deferred enrollment.

NY Times, December 2, 2020
Those bands and orchestras that have moved their programs online often found that ordinary video chat platforms are inadequate because of audio lag. And students have said there is simply no substitute for in-person practices, performances and instruction. Instead of ensemble music, some programs have been teaching music history or theory, or having students submit videos of themselves playing their instruments that are incorporated into collages that make it seem as if they are performing together.

CNN, December 1, 2020
A recent study shows that On the whole, students fared better in reading and math than researchers had predicted they would in April, providing some reason for hope. Still, there's cause for worry, too. For Black and Hispanic students, as well as those in schools that serve low-income populations, the situation is more concerning -- with marginalized students falling further behind in reading and math.

The report comes from NWEA, a nonprofit organization that measures the growth and performance of students from grades pre-K to 12. Researchers examined how students this year performed relative to their peers last year, whether they saw academic growth since the pandemic began and how their test scores compared to earlier projections. Most students performed similarly in reading compared to those in the same grades this time last year, the researchers found. But Black and Hispanic students in upper elementary grades saw small drops. Students who didn't take the MAP Growth assessment, the test NWEA used to track progress and performance, are disproportionately from marginalized backgrounds. That includes Black and Hispanic students, lower-performing students and those from schools in high-poverty areas.
73-year-old Covid-19 survivor still facing long road to recovery
At 73 years old, Betty Sinclair of Chesapeake, Virginia beat the odds. She spent 49 days in the hospital, sick with Covid, fighting for her life on a ventilator.

After spending several weeks in the hospital, Sinclair finally got to go home in May. Hospital staff gave her a triumphant send off to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Sinclair’s family patiently waited outside the hospital with signs that read, “Welcome Home Betty.”

“I was on a walker when I came home,” said Sinclair. She endured four grueling weeks of rehab to regain her strength. By June, she no longer needed the walker, but she said it was no easy feat. “It was difficult,” she said. “The people I had were very good, very conscientious. They pushed me on some of the exercises.”

Sinclair’s journey to recovery, however, isn’t over. She’s still dealing with the impacts of the virus several months later, including possible damage to her vocal cords. “It’s better than it was, but it strains to talk,” said Sinclair. “Now, I’m just fighting the breathing. Sometimes I have to gasp for air, and sometimes I choke on liquids.”
Sinclair said she’ll most likely spend Christmas the same way she spent Thanksgiving – without her family. “I have two new great grandbabies, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize them,” she said. “So, we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to gather.”

Sinclair’s daughter, Angela Barnes, said she’s grateful to have her mother here for the holidays, even if gatherings are virtual. “We could have been on the unfortunate end and not having her here this holiday, so we’re thankful for that,” said Barnes.

Sinclair has a message for those ignoring CDC recommendations. “It breaks my heart to see anyone out at any time now without a mask, because this is serious,” Sinclair said. “Some people don’t think it could happen to them, but Covid is airborne, so you don’t know where it’s going to happen.”

Source: WTKR
International News
Politico, December 2, 2020
Wei Shen Lim, chair of the U.K.’s joint committee on vaccination and immunization, said that the vaccine rollout would prioritize those most likely to die from Covid-19 as well as protecting health and social care services.

The first phase of the U.K.’s vaccination program will work through nine groups, beginning with residents in care homes for older adults and their carers. Next, all those over 80 years of age and other front-line health and care workers will be offered the jab. It will be up to local NHS and council authorities to manage the implementation of the program, which is set to begin next week. Vaccinations will take place in hospitals, at mass vaccination centers and in the community, supported by family doctors and pharmacists. Speaking at a Downing Street briefing, Lim said that “operational constraints” might mean that “some flexibility” would be required in implementing the prioritization list.

Axios, December 2, 2020
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he has directed officials to begin large-scale vaccination against Covid-19 as early as next week, according to state media.

Russia, which has the fourth-largest coronavirus caseload in the world with more than 2.3 million infections, would be the first country to begin mass vaccination. Experts have criticized the lack of scientific transparency around the vaccine and the haste with which the Kremlin approved it. Putin said doctors and teachers will be first in line for the inoculation, and that Russia has produced about 2 million doses of its vaccine.

The Hill, December 2, 2020
The CDC has set the risk of Covid-19 in Mexico to its highest level and is urging travelers to avoid going to the country, warning that going to the country “may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19."

The organization urges those going to Mexico to get a viral test up to three days before the trip, and between three to five days after the trip. It also urges all travelers to stay home for seven days after travel. While in the country, the CDC recommends staying at least 6 feet or 2 meters apart from those not traveling with you, and to wear a mask. 

60 Minutes Australia, November 30, 2020
Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2020
African consumers have long been paying each other for goods and services on cellphones, making them among the earliest adopters of mobile money services in the world. The pandemic has turbocharged the usage of digital cash. It has also hastened the use of cellphones not just to transfer money, but also to take out loans and deliver government assistance.

During the pandemic, African governments bolstered the use of digital payments, known locally as mobile money. The goal was to reduce the usage of hard currency—which requires people to meet face to face and handle physical paper or coins—as well as to keep citizens at home.
Mobile money differs from popular payment apps like PayPal in the West, or Alipay in China, in that it isn’t connected to an underlying bank account. The telecom service processes the transactions.

The Central Bank of Kenya eliminated transaction fees for low-value transactions, among other measures, which it said spurred “a significant increase in the use of mobile money channels by individuals in both value and number of transactions.” The bank added that the move “helped cushion the most vulnerable households” and saw 1.6 million more households start using mobile money.
Donald G. McNeil Jr., NY Times, December 1, 2020
Our failure to protect ourselves has caught up to us. The nation now must endure a critical period of transition, one that threatens to last far too long, as we set aside justifiable optimism about next spring and confront the dark winter ahead. Some epidemiologists predict that the death toll by March could be close to twice the 250,000 figure that the nation surpassed only last week.

“The next 3 months are going to be just horrible,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health and one of two dozen experts interviewed by The New York Times about the near future.

This juncture, perhaps more than any to date, exposes the deep political divisions that have allowed the pandemic to take root and bloom, and that will determine the depth of the winter ahead. Even as the CDC urged Americans to avoid holiday travel and many health officials asked families to cancel big gatherings, more than 6 million Americans took flights during Thanksgiving week, which is about 40% of last year’s air traffic. And President Trump, the one person most capable of altering the trajectory between now and spring, seems unwilling to help his successor do what must be done to save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.

Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, December 1, 2020
The first two coronavirus-vaccine trials ran as smoothly as anyone could hope. And when the results from both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna came back with more than 90 percent efficacy, easily surpassing the FDA’s bar of 50 percent, even people like me—who kept telling you to temper your vaccine expectations—reacted with uncharacteristic and unrestrained optimism. These results really were about as good as it gets.

Then came the results for a third vaccine, from AstraZeneca, developed in collaboration with Oxford University. At a glance, these looked good, if not spectacular: an average of 70 percent efficacy. But that top-line result obscured a strange divide between a full, two-shot regimen, which showed 62 percent efficacy, and a half-dose shot followed by a full-dose second shot, which showed 90 percent efficacy. Those split results were immediately confusing—was less vaccine more effective?—but became even more so as more information came to light.

Colleen Shalby, LA Times, December 2, 2020
Before data underscored how marginalized communities were disproportionately hit by the virus, which has killed at least 7,700 in Los Angeles County, Levonn Gardner knew. A contact tracer with the county Department of Public Health, he didn’t need to see the numbers or be told by officials to understand the reality he was hearing on the phone. “I’m a Black dude from Watts, so my view is: Anything bad that happens hits the poor communities harder.”

Empathy is crucial in gaining a person’s trust, Gardner said, and some people are naturally skeptical about speaking with tracers. To encourage Angelenos to participate in contact tracing, the county began offering $20 gift cards to those who complete the process.

Gardner has made hundreds of calls to infected or potentially infected individuals since he became a contact tracer last spring. When the county began its tracing program in April, there were 500 workers. There are now 2,600.

Tom Vanderbilt, Wired, December 2, 2020
The tide has been slowly shifting back away from car-centric modal bifurcation in cities worldwide. And the pandemic has only accelerated it; as people’s usual work and life habits got disrupted, their travel habits were disrupted too. Cities rushed to change laws, change lanes; the “15-minute city,” as theorized by urbanist Carlos Moreno —what Paris calls the la Ville des proximités—the idea that city dwellers should be able to walk or bike to everything they do in a quarter hour, became toute la rage. New people, on newish conveyances, were occupying urban space in new ways.

The pandemic gave the world a pause, the sort capable of disrupting entrenched habits—Zoom changed our notions of social connectivity almost overnight. Had a similar glitch in the matrix allowed us the temporary means to envision better—safer, cleaner, quieter, more efficient—ways to move around?
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
Alameda County
Widespread (Purple)
  • 9.1 Adjusted case rate of new Covid-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents
  • 3.6% Positivity rate
Contra Costa County
Widespread (Purple)
  • 10.7 Adjusted case rate of new Covid-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents
  • 4.1% Positivity rate
by day as of 12/1/20
by day as of 12/1/20
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 2,009 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 122 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 1,768 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 156 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 11/29/20. Alameda County does not publish cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days by city.
Oakland: 10,777

Hayward: 4,519

Fremont: 2,247

Eden MAC: 1,943

San Leandro: 1,712

Livermore: 1,365

Union City: 1,215

Berkeley: 1,158

Castro Valley: 835

Newark: 821
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County plus (in parentheses) cases per 100,000 in last 14 days, as of 12/1/20
Richmond: 4,508 (403)

Antioch: 3,247 (302)

Concord: 3,165 (252)

Pittsburgh: 2,636 (357)

San Pablo: 2,111 (649)

Bay Point: 1,151 (318)

Brentwood: 1,103 (246)

Walnut Creek: 966 (210)

Oakley: 842 (332)

San Ramon: 711 (210)
East Bay Resources

Purple (Widespread) Tier Restrictions Summarized
All Bay Area counties are in the state's Purple (Widespread) Tier for activity and business reopening, with the exceptions of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties that are in the Red (Substantial) Tier.

Below is a list of the restrictions for counties in the Purple Tier. Please view on a desktop or laptop computer. Source: California Dept. of Public Health

For East Bay specific reopening guidance, see

Outdoor playgrounds

Hair salons & Barbarshops

All Retail

Shopping Centers

Museums, Zoos & Aquariums

Places of Worship

Movie Theaters

Hotels & Lodging

Gyms & Fitness Centers



Bars & Breweries (where no meal provided)


Professional Sports

Amusement Parks
Outdoor only with modifications, maximum 3 households

Open with modifications

Open indoors with modifications

Open indoors with modifications, maximum 25% capacity

Open indoors with modifications, maximum 25% capacity, common areas and food courts closed

Outdoor only with modifications

Outdoor only with modifications

Outdoor only with modifications

Open with modifications

Outdoor only with modifications

Outdoor only with modifications

Outdoor only with modifications



Open without live audiences

California Mask Order Summarized
All Californians are now required to wear face coverings whenever they’re outside their homes, with a few exceptions. Source: California Dept. of Public Health
Residents must cover their faces unless they are:

  • in a car alone or solely with members of their own household.

  • working in an office or in a room alone.

  • actively eating or drinking provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.

  • outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing from others not in their household. Such persons must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household.

  • obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.

  • workers who are required to wear respiratory protection.

  • specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other state guidance.
Californians are only exempt from the order if they:

• are younger than age 2.

• have a disability or medical/mental health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering.

• are hearing-impaired or are communicating with someone who is.


The new state mandate doesn’t specify any particular kind of face covering — all that’s required is that the nose and mouth are covered. “A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels,” the state says.

Monday’s mandate replaces the one issued in June, which had required Californians to wear face coverings only in specified settings that were considered high risk, such as when shopping, taking public transportation or seeking medical care.
Focus on Long Covid
Science Direct, November 25, 2020
Nearly 10-35% patients continue to complain of persistent symptoms most of which are neurological in nature. This compilation of symptoms has been termed, Long-Haul Covid or Long Covid. Often these symptoms can first manifest after the acute phase of the illness. The severity of the acute phase does not predict the development of this syndrome either.

Eleanor Morgan, Guardian, November 29, 2020
Long Covid is not medically definitive, but a term that describes a portion of the population struggling with symptoms for weeks or months after being infected with Covid-19, and not just those who were seriously ill. In fact, there is no evidence that links severity of infection and ongoing symptoms like fatigue.

Fatigue is the most common symptom. but breathlessness, chest tightness, brain fog, gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, headaches and vertigo are among other reported manifestations, ranging from mild to debilitating. For many, the psychological effects are profound.

CDC, Updated November 13, 2020
While most persons with COVID-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms.

Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate. CDC continues to work to identify how common these symptoms are, who is most likely to get them, and whether these symptoms eventually resolve.
60 Minutes, November 22, 2020
Covid-19 was initially thought to be a disease that was serious for the eldery and people with preexisting conditions. A potentially tough, but temporary respiratory illness for everyone else. But now, eight months into the pandemic, younger patients who have had relatively mild cases of Covid, are showing up in doctors offices and emergency rooms with mysterious and debilitating symptoms
KSL News, November 20, 2020
Nearly a year into this pandemic, the long-term side effects of Covid-19 are slowly becoming known. A Salt Lake City television interviewed 24 Covid “long-haulers,” who hope what they have to say will change minds and behaviors.
In their November 25, 2020, podcast, Dr. Michael Osterholm and host Chris Dall discuss the latest activity in the US, Europe's experience with recent surges, more promising preliminary results regarding vaccines, how vaccine distribution might be prioritized, and the safety of caroling as Christmas approaches.
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.
Public Education Covid-19 Flyers
Contra Costa County Health Services has recently published highly informative flyers addressing the risks of becoming infected in certain settings and activities.
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.