Hello, California. It’s Tuesday August 3.
Masks required for many
Less than three months after Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his “California Roars Back” campaign budget slogan, it already looks outdated.
Seven Bay Area counties made indoor masks mandatory on Monday, regardless of vaccination status, following in the footsteps of Los Angeles, Sacramento and Yolo counties. About 50% of California’s population now live under the same mask rules the state lifted just over a month ago – a significant indication that California is backing down in its fight against COVID-19 as the variant Highly contagious Delta sets in. On Monday, the statewide seven-day test positivity rate reached 6.7% – a figure not seen since February.
The bleak outlook reinforces comments from other public health officials who have warned heads of state will need to chart a long-term response to a virus that “will be with us chronically.” Yet another challenge: to cut through the highly politicized discourse around masks and vaccines.
Schools in the city of Modesto on Sunday sent a letter to state health officials asking them to allow local districts to set their own mask rules – a move supported on Monday by the supervisory board of the Stanislaus County. In West Oakland, angry customers in a market with an indoor mask warrant took matters into their own hands: one threw a watermelon at an employee, another threw a full soda can at the CEO and another threw a bag of groceries at a cashier.
Equally polarizing: the vaccine mandates. Unlike UC and CSU, California’s massive community college system says it lacks the power to impose vaccination on students, faculty, and staff who spend time on campus, Emma Hall and Matthew Reagan report for the CalMatters’ College Journalism Network. Instead, most of the 73 community college districts offer cash, free textbooks, and other prizes to students who get the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente announced Monday that it will require all employees and doctors to be vaccinated. Federal data shows nearly 25% of hospital workers in California are unvaccinated – a gap Governor Gavin Newsom is trying to close by forcing healthcare and state workers to choose between getting vaccinated or undergo a strict testing regime.
The net result of the coronavirus: Sunday California had 3,873,771 confirmed cases (+ 0.9% compared to the day before) and 64,085 deaths (+ 0.2% compared to the day before), according to state data.
California administered 44 102 921 vaccine doses, and 62.9% of eligible Californians are fully immunized.
More: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline by tracking the state’s daily actions. We are also tracking state-by-county coronavirus hospitalizations and lawsuits against COVID-19 restrictions.
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Other stories you should know
1. Roundup recall
With just six weeks before Californians decide to recall Newsom, this week is an important one in Recall Land. Here is an overview of some key steps:
- On Monday, recall that candidates have filed campaign finance reports revealing – among other things – that former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is the frontrunner of major GOP donors, Caitlyn Jenner has built her campaign (which is in debt) on l infrastructure left behind by former President Donald Trump, and businessman John Cox paid more than $ 343,000 this year to a media consulting firm that allegedly helped him come up with the idea of lugging a bear 1,000 pounds and a scoop of garbage all over the state. For more takeaways, check out this report from Ben Christopher and Jeremia Kimelman of CalMatters.
- Wednesday, hearing scheduled for lawsuit by supporters of the recall against the Newsom campaign for calling the recall in the state’s official voter information guide “an attempt by National Republicans and Trump supporters to force an election and take power in California “. They also oppose Newsom calling himself a Democratic governor; last month, Newsom lost a lawsuit against his own secretary of state for including his party affiliation on the recall ballot.
- Friday, the text of the voter’s guide will be finalized.
- On Saturday, the California Republican Party’s executive committee will vote on whether to approve a recall candidate – a process that will certainly be controversial. Only four candidates – Faulconer, talk show host Larry Elder, Assembly member Rocklin Kevin Kiley, and former U.S. Sacramento area representative Doug Ose – received enough delegate signatures to compete for approval.
Meanwhile, the pastor of a mega-church in Rocklin urged attendees in a Sunday sermon to vote to recall Newsom – a potential violation of federal law, the Sacramento Bee reports.
2. Chinatown hit by disability lawsuits
First, San Francisco’s Chinatown has been hit by a deluge of anti-Asian violence. Today, the community faces a series of lawsuits alleging that some of its businesses failed to comply with federal law guaranteeing people with disabilities equal access to public transport and facilities. San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who plans to investigate the lawsuits and the companies that run them, told the San Francisco Chronicle that many “focus much more on enriching the plaintiffs’ attorneys than on the defending the rights of people with disabilities “. But many disability advocates point out that the federal government has not created an agency to enforce disability rights law – effectively leaving the task to law firms like Potter Handy in San Diego, which filed more than 1,500 lawsuits in California this year.
3. California chipmunks catch the plague
It’s a… strange time in California. Not only are birds dropping dead from West Nile virus, but a group of chipmunks also recently tested positive for plague – forcing authorities to shut down parts of the southern shore of Lake Tahoe until Friday. Meanwhile, as California contemplates a possible pork shortage, a nationwide chlorine shortage has closed many San Diego County swimming pools, preventing families from escaping the summer heat. The reasons for the shortfall? Hurricane Laura, which destroyed a major chlorine maker in Louisiana last year; higher temperatures, which cause the chlorine to burn more quickly; and, oh yes, a global pandemic.
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CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Here’s why Newsom is sometimes its worst enemy.
Smaller classes serve students better: Critics of teacher unions oppose plans to use stimulus funds to hire more educators – but that’s the only way to get smaller classes, says Glenn Sacks, a United representative Teachers Los Angeles.
California needs to change the way it takes care of its land: The Lake Tahoe Basin is seeing the effects of climate change – less snow, more rain, and more intense wildfires – much sooner than expected, writes Jane Freeman of the California Tahoe Conservancy.
Other things are worth your time
COVID hits 23 in California schools, days after reopening. // Associated Press
University of California criticizes Caitlin Flanagan’s Atlantic story on admissions. // Washington Post Notice
How Los Angeles finally cleaned up most of the beaches in Venice Beach homeless camps. // Los Angeles Times
LAPD takes fewer people in custody. // Crosstown
Traffic jams are making a comeback in the Bay Area, but in a strange and new way. // Chronicle of San Francisco
Power cuts should be the last resort, state regulators warn. // Associated Press
Can Beach Dune Revitalization Help California with the rise in sea level? // Los Angeles Times
Sierra Nevada red fox be listed as endangered at the federal level. // Associated Press
See you tomorrow.
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