COVID-19 News Briefs for Monday, July , 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

 London scientists studying immunity to Covid-19 found that antibody levels lasted longest in patients who had the most severe cases, however, they found that antibody levels peaked 3 weeks after symptoms and then declined. This undermines ideas that herd immunity could be a way of defeating the virus and also that any
protection from a vaccine may not be very long lasting and that a vaccine may have to be reformulated every year. Another study from the British Heart Foundation also found that more than half of hospitalized coronavirus patients given heart scans worldwide were found to have abnormalities — some 55% of 1,261
patients from 69 countries had abnormal changes to the way their heart was pumping with around 1 in 7 showing evidence of severe dysfunction. The majority of patients had never been diagnosed with heart problems before, leading scientists to conclude that Covid-19 may seriously affect the heart

 The president of South Africa has re-imposed an alcohol ban which he credited with reducing Covid-19 hospitalizations. He complained that 3 weeks after lifting the ban, many are acting “without any responsibility and throwing parties and having drinking sprees” and cases as well as hospitalizations are surging

 Voter registration is another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic because political parties can no longer execute plans for mass mobilization through door-to-door drives signing people up. While groups are trying to shift their efforts online, the tactics used to lure potential voters are not entirely compatible with the digital age. And even after efforts are made to sign new voters online, the voter registration decline triggered by states’ stay-at-home orders persist. Not even 200,000 people were registered in May, compared with nearly 1.5 million in May 2016. And states’ and counties’ constantly shifting registration rules are a persistent challenge. Only 2 states, Pennsylvania and Virginia, accept voter registration applications submitted through a third party online site, like People’s Power Grab. Everywhere else, the information needs to be routed onto a state-sanctioned form

 US lipstick sales dropped 15% this spring primarily due to coronavirus mask-wearing, however, eye makeup is selling well online, and while nail and hair salons are suffering, sales of home manicure and coiffure supplies have pretty much doubled

 The coronavirus is disproportionately impacting Marshall Island and Pacific Island communities. Since early May, Pacific Islanders, including Hawaiians, were 17 times more likely than white people to contract Covid-19, a per capita propensity higher than for Latinos. Experts say this group is uniquely vulnerable to the virus: Immigrants from the Marshall Islands are often employed in front-line jobs in meat processing plants, canneries, hotels, restaurants, and other facilities; They are predisposed to diabetes and high blood pressure; They embrace traditions that encourage closeness and gatherings; And many don’t have access to prevention and routine medical care. Thousands of Marshallese left the Marshall Islands — a string of 1,156 islands spread across 750,000 square miles of ocean, to seek better jobs and a healthier life in the US where they can work without visas. Ironically, their homeland so far remains free of Covid-19

 Effectively immediately, Governor Newsom required 30 counties, including all of Southern California, to close indoor activities at fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, and malls. In addition, he ordered all counties to close indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertaining centers, museums, zoos, and card rooms, and ordered all bars shuttered
across the state. The announcement comes as coronavirus cases continued to surge statewide and as positive rates are also on the rise

 California hospitals report that their beds are filling up fast, staffers are tiring, and medications used to treat coronavirus are running low. The surge has hit California unevenly, with some facilities reporting their numbers staying flat in recent weeks while others have risen sharply. Providence Southern California’s 13 hospitals have experienced a 40% increase in Covid-19 patients over the last 10 days but recent projections suggest that the California hospitals system will be able to handle the demand, in part because of patient transfers to less busy hospitals. However, the strain on some hospitals is unprecedented and staffing remains an issue which could become worse if medical professionals become sick because of inadequate protective gear. On Saturday, 6,322 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in California

 The Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on international travel and the White House administration’s freeze on J-1 visas have disrupted a significant portion of the harvest intern workforce for Napa Valley’s wineries. Harvest begins as early as mid-August for sparkling wine producers and stretches into November for red varieties and globally, harvest interns play a crucial role in supporting wineries. Alongside employees, they commonly work 12-hour days, 6 days a week and for many, it is a project of passion with some making it their lifestyle by working harvests year-round between hemispheres

 The LA Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation, will continue with online learning until further notice because of the worsening coronavirus surge, Supt. Beutner announced. The decision affects the education of half a million children who have been out of their classrooms since mid-March. The fall school semester starts on August 18. As the Covid-19 cases continue to skyrocket in LA County, he added that the school district could not protect the health and safety of students and some 75,000 employees

 LA tenants trying to apply for $2,000 in rent relief by phone and online were running into issues within 2 hours of registration opening this morning as a flood of would-be applicants was apparently too much for the site to handle. However, applications will be accepted through 11:59 pm on Friday, and officials emphasized that selection for the subsidies will be random and not based on when the resident applied. The $103 million rental assistance program, the largest of its kind in any US city, will help about 50,000 LA households impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. More info about the program can be found at

 LA County reported an additional 2,593 cases and 13 deaths. Totals are now 136,129 cases / 3,822 deaths. Of total deaths in LA County, 93% were reported to have underlying health conditions. Of the 1,338,816 people tested, 9% have been found to be positive for Covid-19. Dr. Ferrer reported that while there have been
significant decreases of cases and deaths in long-term care facilities, the steepest increases in coronavirus cases are now in workplaces and office settings and she urged business owners to take safety procedures very seriously. She added that the protocols for re-opening K-12 schools were posted on their site today — go to LA County City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 56,599/1,829; Long Beach 5,388/147; Carson 874/34; El Segundo 76/0; Gardena 645/33; Hawthorne 961/26; Hermosa Beach 120/2; Inglewood 1,358/67; Lawndale 294/8; Lomita 112/7; Manhattan Beach 207/4; PV Estates 61/2; Rancho PV 177/12; Redondo Beach 299/9; Rolling Hills 4/0; Rolling Hills Estates 30/2; Torrance 750/51

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases