October 21, 2020
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
The entire state [California] has a racialized spike in Covid cases.”
Alegría De La Cruz, Director of Sonoma County Office of Equity, 10/21/20

“It is a really dangerous time. The majority of states are on the rise; there are very few places where things are stable and going down.”
Dr. Tom Inglesby, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 10/21/20
WWII veteran surprised with drive-by celebration for 95th birthday
Several generations of neighbors saluted a local World War II veteran who celebrated his 95th birthday on Saturday.

Boy Scouts unfolded an American flag in John Atwell's honor and the Honor Guard and police and fire department drove by his Sunnyvale home. Members of local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts also joined the celebration.

Saturday's celebration surprised Atwell. "Overwhelmed. Had no idea. I blame my daughter for this and my son. It's been wonderful."

Atwell was drafted into the Army and at 19, and he fought in the Battle of the Bulge to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. Earlier in the week, Atwell's daughter, Julie, reached out to ABC 7 News' J.R. Stone asking for help to send her father birthday cards because the novel coronavirus pandemic prevented his family from throwing him a traditional party.
Julie described her dad, "Dad served in Germany when he was 19. He entered at Normandy Beach a few months after the DDay soldiers arrived. Was an Elementary School Principal in the Redwood City school district for 40 years! A Sunday School teacher at his church for many years! Still drives a red Ford pickup and has a cabin in the Sierras! Best Father, Grandpa and Great Grandpa ever! Show him some love on his big birthday!"

Source: ABC 7 News
By the Numbers
Alameda County: 22,807

Contra Costa County: 18,342

Bay Area: 112,556

California: 884,620

U.S.: 8,300,451
Alameda County: 432

Contra Costa County: 240

Bay Area: 1,694

California: 17,071

U.S.: 221,550
Bay Area News
Mercury News, October 20, 2020
San Francisco on Tuesday became the first major jurisdiction in California to advance into the state’s least-restrictive yellow reopening tier, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a series of announcements.

There was movement elsewhere in the Bay Area, as Napa became the fourth county in the region to advance past the red tier. Last week, Alameda and Santa Clara counties made the same move as Napa and entered the orange tier.

SF Chronicle, October 20, 2020
Restaurants can soon raise their indoor capacity to 50% capacity. After the city of San Francisco reached the state’s least-restrictive tier for reopening businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday that restaurants could start letting in more diners starting Nov. 3.

That’s double the amount they’re currently allowed. On Sept. 30, San Francisco restaurants were allowed to begin offering indoor dining at 25 percent as long as they also followed strict protocols including requiring patrons wear masks and answer questions about their health. A 2-hour time limit and 100-person maximum was part of the guidelines. Now, restaurants — including those inside hotels, shopping centers and museums — can have up to 200 people and allow diners to stay up to 3 hours. The city also has a goal of allowing bars that don’t currently offer food to open outdoors by mid-November.

SF Chronicle, October 20, 2020
Finding that state officials have acted with “deliberate indifference” to the health of prisoners at San Quentin — where 75% of them have tested positive for the coronavirus and 28 have died — a state appeals court took the unprecedented step Tuesday of ordering at least half of the prison’s 2,900 inmates transferred or released.

The failure to take proper safety measures at the 148-year-old prison is “morally indefensible and constitutionally untenable,” said the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. The court said San Quentin inmates, many of them elderly or medically vulnerable, could be relocated to other prisons or correctional facilities with safer conditions or granted early parole.

SF Chronicle, October 21, 2020
Why is Sonoma, in the heart of Wine Country, struggling so much harder than its Bay Area neighbors to tamp down the coronavirus? The reasons, officials, experts and community members say, are a combination of socioeconomic factors and a response that did not ramp up fast enough to put a lid on the virus while the county was moving quickly to reopen in the summer.

Sonoma’s agricultural industry sets it apart from the Bay Area and brings it more in line with the coastal and valley counties that power California’s farming sector. And many of those counties, too, have struggled during the pandemic. The Latino community in Sonoma, as in many other counties, has been disproportionately affected throughout most of the pandemic. Across California, Latinos make up 39% of the population but account for 61% of coronavirus cases and 49% of deaths. In Sonoma County, many perform essential jobs in the service, tourism and agricultural industries, and often live in crowded housing conditions.

“The primary drivers are socioeconomic disparities, the pressure essential workers and those living on limited income have to go to work, despite safety concerns,” said county health officer Dr. Sundari Mase in a recent public briefing. In Sonoma County, the Latino population has been hit particularly hard, accounting for 54% of reported Covid-19 cases where ethnicity is known, despite constituting only 26% of the population.

County data shows that Santa Rosa is the driver of virus cases in the county, particularly the Latino-dominated 95407 ZIP code. At its peak in mid-summer, that area recorded 40.8 cases per population of 100,000, and only a moderate decrease has occurred since then.

Among Monterey’s population of just over 434,000, 59.4% identify as Latino, with that group accounting for 78.5% of the county’s coronavirus cases. County spokesperson Karen Smith said the cases are primarily in Salinas and the south county. “Part of what is driving (the spread) is the crowded housing,” she said. “We have people who are working really hard … but have to double, triple, quadruple up to afford housing. We typically see it among those that work in the agricultural industry.”
Health News
NPR, October 20, 2020
Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized Covid-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness. "We find that the death rate has gone down substantially," says Leora Horwitz, a doctor who studies population health at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine and an author on one of the studies.

The study, which was of a single health system, finds that mortality has dropped among hospitalized patients by 18 percentage points since the pandemic began. Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance. That's a big improvement, but 7.6% is still a high risk compared with other diseases, and Horwitz and other researchers caution that Covid-19 remains dangerous.

Washington Post, October 20, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has left about 299,000 more people dead in the United States than would be expected in a typical year, two-thirds of them from covid-19 and the rest from other causes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

The CDC said the novel coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, has taken a disproportionate toll on Latinos and Blacks, as previous analyses have noted. But the CDC also found, surprisingly, that it has struck 25- to 44-year-olds very hard: Their “excess death” rate is up 26.5 percent over previous years, the largest change for any age group.

STAT, October 21, 2020
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 will thrive this winter for three reasons: dropping temperatures, diving relative humidity, and drier respiratory tracts. When the weather turns cold, air gets drier. And turning on the heat dries both the air and the tissues lining the airways, impairing how well mucus removes debris and invaders like SARS-CoV-2. 

Studies show significantly more infections happen and spread when the relative humidity falls from between 40% and 60% — a range typical in warmer weather — to 20%. That research draws from past outbreaks of flu and MERS, which is caused by another coronavirus. More recent case reports from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic’s early days in China and Seattle conclude the same thing: The virus stays stable longer and finds purchase on receptors in our airways better when the relative humidity sits at a wintry 20%. That’s one reason why we catch more colds and flu in cold weather.

Limiting the number of people in a confined space, wearing a mask, and ensuring good ventilation can help reduce the risk of infection indoors. But still, the viral particles from an infected person are unlikely to just blow away, as they might outside on a windy day. Consequently, the admonition for people to stay six feet apart may not be adequate in offices, schools, restaurants, and other indoor spaces, some scientists said.

NPR, October 20, 2020
The new evidence comes largely from Hong Kong, where health officials have been meticulously testing and tracking all passengers who land in the city. "They test everybody by PCR on arrival, quarantine them in single rooms for 14 days and then test the passengers again," says infectious disease doctor David O. Freedman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Freedman and his colleague have been analyzing these data, with a specific focus on one airline: Emirates.
"Since April, Emirates has had a very rigid masking policy," Freedman says. Not only does the airline require passengers and crew members to wear masks, but flight attendants also make sure everyone keeps on their masks, as much as possible, throughout the entire flight.

Freedman looked at all Emirates flights from Dubai to Hong Kong between June 16 and July 5. What he found is quite telling. During those three weeks, Emirates had five flights with seven or more infected passengers on each flight, for a total of 58 coronavirus-positive passengers flying on eight-hour trips. And yet, nobody else on the planes — none of the other 1,500 to 2,000 passengers — picked up the virus, Freedman and his colleague report in the Journal of Travel Medicine. "Those were flights with higher risk, and yet there was no transmission," Freedman says.
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 10/20/20 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
Mercury News, October 21, 2020
For the second consecutive day, there were more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday in California, but the state’s daily average remained about flat, according to county health department data compiled by this news organization.

The increased case totals the past two days come following a weekend with so few cases, the state’s daily average fell below 3,000 for the first time since mid-June; on Tuesday, it had risen back to about 3,220 per day over the past week.

Since Sept. 10, California’s average daily cases have not risen past 3,600 or fallen beneath 3,000, with the exception of this past Sunday.

Compared to two weeks ago, California is averaging 1.3% more cases and 13.2% fewer deaths each day, while the number of patients currently hospitalized around the state had fallen 2.2%. Recently, that has begun to increase. The state has added a net of nearly 100 hospital patients in the past eight days, or an increase of about 4.3%.

SF Gate, October 20, 2020
Rising coronavirus cases forced Riverside and Shasta counties to fall back from the red tier to the more-restrictive purple tier in California's reopening framework, state officials said Tuesday.

Each county is assigned its tier every Tuesday, and a county must remain in a tier for 21 consecutive days before moving to the next one. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier's criteria for 14 consecutive days. A county can move backward by failing to meet the criteria for two consecutive weeks, or if state officials see a rapid rise in hospitalizations.

CapRadio, October 20, 2020
African Americans and Latinx people continue to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, the two groups have been more likely than others to test positive for the virus, die from the virus, and become unemployed due to the economic shutdowns.

Now, 7 months into the pandemic, the Black and Latinx communities in the Sacramento region are feeling more financially squeezed than before, particularly when it comes to food and housing, according to a new survey by Sacramento nonprofit Valley Vision and CapRadio.

Thirty-six percent of African American respondents and 30% of Latinx respondents reported they can’t afford food, an increase from just 23% of African Americans and 27% of Latinx respondents who answered similarly back in May.

And it’s not just food. The survey showed that 45% of African American respondents and 38% of Latinx respondents are unable to pay rent, as compared to just 19% of white respondents. The impact of the pandemic on the finances of Black and Latinx people could have far-reaching effects. Evictions or losing housing can take a toll on generational wealth-building.

CalMatters, October 20, 2020
Riverside Mutual Aid Network is part of a national movement that sprung up this spring offering food and other forms of relief as the coronavirus pandemic sent the economy into a nosedive. Mutual aid works by asking members to organize and pool resources to meet a community’s most basic needs. For organizers and volunteers, this type of selfless work offers an antidote to government’s inadequate response as the recession accelerates income inequality and casts countless working households over the brink.

But while the pandemic pushes more Californians into poverty, it’s not clear how many people can be helped through mutual aid or how long the groups will stick around. By design, each branch resists hierarchy and lacks the traditional organizational structure of a nonprofit or charity. So while mutual aid chapters continue to practice vigilante volunteerism, it’s too soon to tell if the movement will achieve sustainability or if people will simply lose interest. 

Politico, October 20, 2020
California officials on Tuesday dangled the possibility of allowing visitors to professional sporting events and theme parks, but the realities of infection rates and county policies quickly dashed hopes that major venues would open anytime soon.

The new guidelines for professional sports allow outdoor stadiums and racetracks to reopen in counties that have lowered infections enough to reach the orange tier, the second-least restrictive. Teams there can play with up to 20% capacity, with additional restrictions such as ticket purchasers having to live within a 120-mile radius and a face-covering mandate.

The state also released rules for reopening theme parks that allows smaller venues to reopen in counties with lower rates of infection — but brings no immediate relief to Disneyland or other major Southern California attractions. The large attractions won't be allowed to open until their counties are in the yellow tier — which no Southern California county has reached — and those parks will have to limit capacity with 25% capacity with reservations.

LA Times, October 20, 2020
Voters who show up in Los Angeles County without a face mask will be escorted to an outdoor area, where a poll worker will hand them a ballot. In Orange County, they will be put in a booth away from other voters. San Bernardino and Riverside counties will offer face shields to the voters around an unmasked person. Nowhere in California will a voter who refuses to wear a mask be turned away, election officials said.
US News
NY Times, October 21, 2020
After weeks of warnings that cases were again on the rise, a third surge of coronavirus infection has firmly taken hold in the United States. The nation is averaging 59,000 new cases a day, the most since the beginning of August, and the country is on pace to record the most new daily cases of the entire pandemic in the coming days.

But if earlier surges were defined by acute and concentrated outbreaks — in the Northeast this spring, and in the South during the summer — the virus is now simmering at a worrisome level across nearly the entire country. 

Associated Press, October 21, 2020
Hospitals across the United States are starting to buckle from a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, with several states setting records for the number of people hospitalized and leaders scrambling to find extra beds and staff. New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days.

In Kentucky, the governor called the number of daily confirmed cases “grim,” forcing another round of preparations to expand hospital capacity.

At the other end of the country, Idaho reported its largest coronavirus spike, with new cases increasing by some 47% over the past two weeks. Idaho is currently sixth in the nation for new cases per capita, with a positivity rate of just over 15% — one of the country’s highest.

NY Times, October 21, 2020
As temperatures begin dipping back below freezing and sunset arrives with dinner, Alaskan social gatherings, recreational activities and restaurant seating have started moving back indoors — and the virus has seized new opportunities. With new case clusters emerging throughout the state, its acclaimed contact tracing system has grown strained.

At a time when cases across the United States are rising and people are growing fatigued by months of restrictions, Alaska’s struggles provide an early warning that winter could bring the most devastating phase of the pandemic. Along with cold-season gatherings moving into more confined spaces, there is evidence that the coronavirus is more virulent in colder weather and lower relative humidities. It is possible that the virus will spread rapidly in the coming months and create the need for new lockdown restrictions.

Bloomberg, October 21, 2020
ZIP code 48217 is one of the most polluted in Michigan. And researchers have begun to confirm that pollution can worsen the effects of the illness.

A study out of Harvard, for example, has shown that Covid death rates are higher in populations with more exposure to pollutants, and international research has demonstrated that some of the hardest-hit parts of Europe are in especially polluted areas. People in 48217 live on average 7 fewer years than in the country as a whole, and asthma hospitalization rates in the area are more than twice as high as those of Michigan and about five times higher than those of the U.S.

“We think the immune response to the virus is weakened by air pollution exposure,” says John Balmes, a pulmonologist and professor of medicine and environmental health sciences in the University of California system. Cells in the lungs release cytokines, which normally help a person fight off infection. But when a person’s lungs are loaded with particles, the body’s defenses become dysfunctional. “The virus cannot be contained,” Balmes says.

Associated Press, October 21, 2020
From midtown Manhattan to San Francisco, just about any city built around clusters of office buildings that used to bring in thousands of workers every day is feeling some degree of angst.

But experts say cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland that were shedding years of decay and starting to turn a corner will have a harder time recovering because they don’t have an established base of large office tenants. And even though downtown populations in Cleveland and Detroit are growing, their overall populations are still declining, making their comebacks all the more challenging.
If the virus persists, some businesses will ultimately close, and the damage could ripple through downtowns and hurt the businesses that remain.

USA Today, October 20, 2020
Few places in the world have been as scarred by the coronavirus pandemic as McKinley County, New Mexico. By September, the county ranked first in the state and sixth nationally for Covid-19 deaths per capita. Roughly 74% of McKinley County’s 71,367 residents are non-Hispanic Native American, mostly Navajo and Zuni. The majority of land within the county’s borders is part of the Navajo Nation reservation.

As the Covid-19 crisis began to overwhelm the community, medical experts and others say federal authorities were slow to respond, a judgment call that cost lives and fueled the spread.

This failure was no accident, experts said. It was the direct result of centuries of systemic racism that has left McKinley County’s health care system chronically underfunded, understaffed, ill-equipped and outdated. And all in a community grappling with multigenerational housing, preexisting medical conditions, substance abuse and poverty, where many live without running water, electricity or enough food for their daily nutritional needs.
CA Education News
Mercury News, October 20, 2020
California’s K-12 school children have been returning to the classroom this month, and so far state public health officials report “no significant increases in Covid-19 cases.” That’s noteworthy, officials say, considering the number of schools resuming in-person instruction and relevant levels of community transmission.

School reopening has been controversial nationwide. Many parents want their kids back in classrooms because they aren’t learning as much even with the improvements in online distance learning, and need to socialize while allowing their parents to work.

Associated Press, October 21, 2020
A California private school has been ordered to pay $15,000 for defying a judge’s order to close classrooms and stop in-person teaching, in what may be the first judgment of its kind against a California school for violating health orders aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Tuesday’s decision in the Fresno County Superior Court ends a nearly 3-month legal battle between Immanuel Schools, a private K-12 Christian school in California’s Central Valley, and county and state officials. Judge D. Tyler Tharpe said in his 11-page decision there was “overwhelming” evidence that Immanuel schools had violated his Sept. 15 order. He fined the school $50,000 but suspended $35,000 of the fine because of the school’s commitment to hold in-person instruction under stricter rules that adhere to state and local health requirements. Tharpe said he will lift the suspension and require the school to pay the full fine if it fails to comply with the stricter measures.

SF Chronicle, October 20, 2020
The three schools in Marin’s Reed Union School District, which serves 1,515 students, are among the first public districts in the region to return to classrooms. Other districts are looking to these small districts that have returned for lessons in how to reopen.
While the district hasn’t had any cases of coronavirus so far, according to Superintendent Nancy Lynch, it’s still been a complex and exhausting undertaking as everyone adjusts to the new routines. And that’s in a district with many more financial resources than poorer ones in the Bay Area.
For teachers, the hours of preparation can extend late into the night. The struggle to keep up with ever-evolving protocols has taken its toll. “There is a sense of overwhelm that I’ve never seen before,” she said.

Dan Walters, CalMatters, October 21, 2020
District-by-district and school-by-school, some of California’s 6.1 million K-12 students are re-entering classrooms that have been shuttered for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most, however, remain locked out and trying, as best they can, to keep up with schoolwork via computer. It’s no secret that children in relatively affluent homes are faring better. Their parents are more likely to work from home, thus more able to help their kids, and/or are hiring private tutors.
US Education News
NPR, October 21, 2020
Despite widespread concerns, two new international studies show no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of coronavirus. And a third study from the United States shows no elevated risk to childcare workers who stayed on the job.

Combined with anecdotal reports from a number of U.S. states where schools are open, as well as a crowdsourced dashboard of around 2000 U.S. schools, some medical experts are saying it's time to shift the discussion from the risks of opening K-12 schools to the risks of keeping them closed.

"As a pediatrician, I am really seeing the negative impacts of these school closures on children," Dr. Danielle Dooley, a medical director at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told NPR. She ticked off mental health problems, hunger, obesity due to inactivity, missing routine medical care and the risk of child abuse — on top of the loss of education. 

While agreeing that emerging data is encouraging, other experts said the United States as a whole has made little progress toward practices that would allow schools to make reopening safer — from rapid and regular testing, to contact tracing to identify the source of outbreaks, to reporting school-associated cases publicly, regularly and consistently.

"We are driving with the headlights off, and we've got kids in the car," said Melinda Buntin, chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, who has argued for reopening schools with precautions.

NY Times, October 20, 2020
To reduce the number of students sent home to quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus, the Billings Public Schools, the largest school district in Montana, came up with an idea that has public health experts shaking their heads: Reshuffling students in the classroom four times an hour.

Detroit Free Press, October 20, 2020
Washtenaw County has issued a two-week stay-at-home order as it tries to curb a sharp uptick in cases at the University of Michigan. The order is for undergraduates effective immediately and continuing through Nov. 3. Under the order, undergraduate students must remain in their residence unless attending class, accessing dining services or carrying out approved work that cannot be done remotely. Students who wish to return to a primary residence may do so only if they have completed U-M’s procedures for leaving campus safely. U-M said it would switch more classes over to online as well.

LA Times, October 19, 2020
Class-action lawsuits calling for partial reimbursement of tuition and fees are continuing to amass nationwide — from Ivy League institutions to goliath state university systems to small private colleges — with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
Covid-19 survivor shares experience with the virus
One Alabama woman not only battled Covid-19, but she did so while pregnant.

Sasha Jackson was six months pregnant back in June when she started taking medicine to relieve what she thought were sinus symptoms. It seemed to be working, at first.

“But then I noticed I started coughing and it was like this persistent cough and I was like, ‘man, this done turned into a cold,’” Jackson explained. She said she was feeling a bit fatigued, but since she didn’t have a fever or shortness of breath, she chalked it up to the pregnancy.

It wasn’t until she went into premature labor that she found out otherwise.

“But I could just see it all over his face and he was like, ‘Ms. Jackson your Covid test was positive,’ and I was like, ‘What?’ And he was like, ‘Actually… you know I have to go home and the other nurses and doctors, they have to go home too because they were all exposed,’" Jackson explained.
Jackson spent the next few days in the hospital before being discharged without her daughter. A month and half later, she was finally able to bring her home.

Jackson said she’s made a full recovery and thankfully didn’t pass the virus on to her daughter. She was able to pump and give her baby breast milk while she was in the hospital and thus was also able to pass on some antibodies.

Jackson admits she didn’t take Covid seriously in the first few months of the pandemic, but now she’s a believer. “Wear our mask when we go out in public, don’t be around large groups of people, wash your hands, and just be mindful and just be cautious and take it serious,” Jackson advised.

Source: WBRC News
International News
Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2020
Europe’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is reviving the pressure on hospitals in the worst-hit cities, and forcing health-care systems around the continent to devise contingency plans that draw on the lessons of this spring’s deadly first wave.

Hospitals in Paris are stockpiling drugs and protective equipment to avoid a repeat of shortfalls that plagued them earlier this year. Hospitals across Spain have drawn up “elasticity plans” to increase the number of beds for Covid-19 patients as cases multiply. In Lombardy, the northern Italian region where Europe’s pandemic began in early 2020, the health-care system is preparing to move patients to where there is space for them, to prevent intensive-care units from being overwhelmed as happened in coronavirus hot spots this spring.

Reuters, October 20, 2020
Mexican authorities are calling on cemeteries to close to public visitors ahead of the Day of the Dead, a celebration that usually draws hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, as officials strive to avert another wave of coronavirus infections. Ahead of the holiday, cemeteries will largely remain closed, as they could “become areas of high risk for contagion,” Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told reporters on Tuesday. “The recommendation is to avoid crowds.”

Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2020
Fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is widening the gap between haves and have-nots in China, a trend that could bring social tensions and undermine the country’s stronger-than-expected economic recovery. Higher-income earners have for the most part held on to their jobs in China this year, while their stock and property assets kept growing in value.

Yet many of the country’s hundreds of millions of lower-income earners continue to suffer from lost work or diminished wages, and often lack welfare benefits or assets to fall back on. A wider income gap matters for several reasons. While there are no signs of serious unrest in China, Communist Party leaders have long worried that the spectacle of some people doing very well while others don’t could threaten social stability.
Also, despite their lower incomes, poorer residents make up a big part of China’s $6 trillion consumer market.

Bloomberg, October 21, 2020
Boris Johnson’s reluctance to impose restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid stems from his belief that Britons can and should police themselves. Infamous for his own messy private life, Johnson doesn’t want to tell them what to do with theirs.

But it’s not just Johnson. There are different sets of advice for different parts of England, creating a patchwork of guidance that even lawmakers have struggled to keep up with. The guidelines have sown confusion and frustration. It’s not just the U.K. that’s struggling. Leaders around the world are grappling with an unprecedented health-care and economic crisis and having to make policy decisions on the fly. Public resistance to lockdowns is growing, even where virus cases are spiking.

The Guardian, October 21, 2020
New Zealand has recorded 25 new cases of coronavirus, the biggest daily toll the country has reported since the height of its initial outbreak in March and April. Two were local cases and the rest were discovered at the border, including 18 infections among Russian and Ukraine fishing crews who had arrived on a charter flight from Moscow days earlier.

The two new community cases reported on Wednesday were contacts of a ports worker whose case was reported on Sunday. It had been the first instance of community transmission in New Zealand since 25 September. Wednesday’s figures underscored the pressure placed on border management systems to contain the virus in a country where daily life has largely returned to normal.

Aljazeera, October 20, 2020
Argentina has passed one million coronavirus cases and it is now smaller cities like Ushuaia – known as “The End of the World” at the edge of the country – that are seeing some of the most notable upticks. Doctors have had to quadruple the number of beds for Covid-19 patients over the last month. At least 60 percent of those tested recently are coming back positive for the virus.

Across Latin America, Colombia, Mexico and Peru are expected to reach a million-case milestone in the coming weeks. The grim mark comes as Latin America continues to register some of the world’s highest daily case counts. And though some nations have seen notable declines, overall there has been little relief, with cases dropping in one municipality only to escalate in another.

BBC, October 19, 2020
Belgium could soon be overwhelmed by new coronavirus infections, the health minister has warned, amid soaring case numbers across the country. Belgium was one of the worst-hit countries during Europe's first wave of coronavirus earlier this year. Overall it has the third-highest number of Covid-related deaths per 100,000 people globally, behind only Peru and San Marino, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

From Monday, under new government restrictions designed to tackle the fresh outbreak, residents will only be allowed to see one other person from outside their household and should work from home if possible. All bars and restaurants are closed for four weeks.
STAT, October 21, 2020
Amid mounting desperation about his reelection odds, President Trump has increasingly come to rely on an unorthodox campaign tool: the Department of Health and Human Services.

As the Nov. 3 election draws closer, HHS and the agencies within it have rolled out several initiatives clearly motivated as much by the election as by policy considerations. Most notably, the administration has announced plans to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on seemingly political projects like a mass marketing campaign to “inspire hope” about Covid-19 and a pending plan to mail $200 pharmacy gift certificates to millions of seniors. While it’s common for incumbent presidents to use the office as a campaign advantage, governance experts and Trump administration critics say the White House’s current approach far exceeds established norms.

Scientific American, October 20, 2020
A persistent falsehood has been circulating on social media: the number of Covid deaths is much lower than the official statistic of more than 218,000, and therefore the danger of the disease has been overblown.

Researchers know beyond a doubt that the number of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. have surpassed 200,000. These numbers are supported by three lines of evidence, including death certificates. The inaccurate idea that only 6 percent of the deaths were really caused by the coronavirus is “a gross misinterpretation” of how death certificates work, says Robert Anderson, lead mortality statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Rachel Swan, SF Chronicle, October 19, 2020
Stress was already mounting for Paulina Barajas, a Concord mother of 5, before she fell ill on Sept. 18, after spending the spring and summer mostly cloistered in her family’s 3-bedroom townhouse. Living off her husband’s part-time restaurant salary of $1,200 a month — along with a patchwork of government subsidies and donations from the local diocese — Barajas spent her days cooking and overseeing her sons’ distance learning.

But once she began feeling symptoms, her children soon followed. Days later, Barajas, her husband, and her three sick children confirmed they were positive. Her other two children, 16-year-old Sergio and 9-year-old Jacob, were spared.

The family came to represent many of the reasons that Covid-19 is spreading faster among the Latino community, both in Contra Costa County, where Barajas lives, and statewide. Data released from Contra Costa Public Health Department shows that Latino residents comprise 43% of all Covid-19 cases in the county, even though they account for only 26% of the population. Across California, Latinos account for 61% of cases and nearly 49% of deaths, even though they represent less than 39% of residents.

Andrea Hsu, NPR, October 20, 2020
While working fathers have not been spared in the pandemic, data collected by the Labor Department indicate that it's largely mothers who are dealing with children who are not in school full-time this fall. In September, 865,000 women dropped out of the workforce — four times the number of men who did. Countless others are struggling to get anything done.

For highly educated, high-income women, the "mom penalty" can be severe. Stepping down the career ladder puts promotions, future earning power and also their roles as leaders at risk. The unequal division of household labor in families gives rise to not just the mom penalty but the "dad premium."

Driven by the biological clock, women take time off or cut back on their hours just as their careers are taking off, giving men the opportunity to carry on with their work and move up. Harvard University labor economist Claudia Goldin has found that in higher-paid professions such as law or business, workers are disproportionately rewarded for putting in long hours and making themselves available around the clock, conditions that working mothers are less likely to accept.

Dr. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, October 21, 2020
When weighing the risks of getting a flu shot, you have to consider the much more relevant risks of not getting vaccinated. We get used to health risks—such as deaths from car accidents, heart disease, gun violence, and influenza—as they lose their novelty and start to take them for granted, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 Americans die of the flu each year. Combine that with the effects of so much illness and missed work, and the virus’s annual impact on the U.S. economy is about $90 billion.

This brings us to the upside: If everyone got a flu shot, we could bring those numbers down to about zero. Vaccination is a measure that we undertake to remove ourselves from the pool of susceptible people who can become vectors of disease.

Beth Skwarecki, health reporter, Lifehacker, October 19, 2020
It makes sense to think of the different layers of safety, and use a mask as one of them. If you’re outdoors, exposures are short, and people are nearly always more than six feet away, the mask doesn’t add much protection. If you’ll be encountering many people—for example, on a busy city street—a mask is a helpful safety layer to include.

Editor's Note: Alameda County requires the wearing of face coverings when outside the home and within 30 feet of anyone else other than members of their Social Bubble.
East Bay Focus
Alameda County
Moderate (Orange)
  • 2.9 Adjusted case rate of new Covid-19 positive cases per day per 100,000 residents
  • 1.6% Positivity rate
  • 2.7% Health equity metric
Contra Costa County
Substantial (Red)
  • 3.8 Adjusted case rate of new Covid-19 positive cases per day per 100,000 residents
  • 1.9% Positivity rate
  • 3.0% Healthy equity metric
All California counties are assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. The state updates the tier data every Tuesday.
by day as of 10/20/20
by day as of 10/20/20
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have confirmed 528 new cases, which amounts to 32 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have confirmed 439 new cases, which amounts to 39 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 10/20/20. Alameda County does not publish cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days by city.
Oakland: 8,888

Hayward: 3,364

Fremont: 1,562

Eden MAC: 1,457

San Leandro: 1,242

Livermore: 983

Union City: 856

Berkeley: 738

Newark: 606

Castro Valley: 591
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County plus (in parentheses) cases per 100,000 in last 14 days, as of 10/21/20
Richmond: 3,497 (110)

Concord: 2,448 (94)

Antioch: 2,419 (80)

Pittsburgh: 2,057 (180)

San Pablo: 1,564 (178)

Bay Point: 952 (132)

Brentwood: 710 (78)

Walnut Creek: 649 (49)

Oakley: 561 (106)

San Ramon: 398 (36)
East Bay Resources

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.
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.