Covid-19 News Briefs for Monday, September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

 Political pressure grew Monday for European governments to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases without resorting to a spring-style lockdown that would hit the continent’s struggling economies. Data released by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed 5 countries in the region with more than
120 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. Spain ranked top, and southern France, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Romania also reported alarming numbers

 Countries representing about 64% of the world population have signed up to expand global access to Covid-19 vaccines by funding a purchasing pool organized by the World Health Organization and other nonprofit groups, leaders of the effort announced Monday. Not among the countries: the US, or Russia nor China, both of which have already issued emergency use licenses for Covid-19 vaccines. Still, a total of 156 countries have committed to joining the effort, which hopes to purchase 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021. Of participating countries, 64 are higher-income nations, whose participation is critical to ensuring the financial feasibility of the effort

 There are currently no US vaccine trials for children, therefore, a pediatric vaccine may not arrive before fall of 2021

 The head of the White House Operation Warp Speed Initiative’s Dr. Slaoui said that the US could immunize Americans most susceptible to Covid-19 by December and most of the elderly and health-care workers could get a vaccine in January, followed by the rest of Americans in February, March, and April  A group of Black physicians has created their own expert task force to independently vet regulators’ decisions

about Covid-19 drugs and vaccines as well as government recommendations for curbing the pandemic. The National Medical Association, an organization founded in 1895 in response to racist professional societies excluding Black doctors, said they will also evaluate how well the clinical trial participants represent the
demographics of the American population, as well as the fairness of vaccine distribution plans

 As millions of Americans faced unemployment or closed their businesses during the first 6 months of the Covid19 pandemic, the wealth of US billionaires grew by $845 billion, according to new research by the Rand Corp. which expects the income disparities to continue to grow as the US struggles to manage the coronavirus and restore normalcy to the economy

 The danger of the virus isn’t just that you might get it. Economies brought to a standstill have also disrupted the supply chain of food, with experts estimating that the number of people in developing countries at risk of dying from hunger could almost double this year, putting 265 million at risk. Even in the US, the number of foodinsecure people is expected to increase by 17 million, a rise of 45%

 The US has reported more than 6.8 million cases and 199,500 deaths and an analysis shows 7-day, new case records were set in Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Record numbers of deaths were also reported in Virginia and West Virginia. Globally, there have been more than 31 million cases and more than 961,000
fatalities from Covid-19

 Thousands are facing new care-giving responsibilities for loved ones this year, owing to the closures of child care and senior care facilities. A recent survey from Archangels found that Covid-19 has increased demand for unpaid caregivers, with 61% of Americans reporting that they are providing care for relatives, friends or neighbors. 55% of them say they weren’t caregivers before the pandemic. And the Center for American Progress estimates that half of American day care providers could soon be out of business, eliminating places for 4.5 million children

 The CDC changed course Monday on a guidance update the organization made last week — the guidance said the coronavirus spreads through airborne particles that can remain suspended and travel beyond 6 feet. It also recommended that people use air purifiers to reduce airborne germs indoors to avoid the disease from
spreading. The World Health Organization questioned the change in airborne transmission, saying it had not seen any new evidence on airborne particles

 The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, said in a report that millions of Americans may miss their coronavirus relief payments of up to $1,200 per person because government records are incomplete. The government watchdog said that possibly 8.7 million or more individuals who are eligible for the stimulus money haven’t received those payments because of IRS and Treasury Department records which are not updated

 The pandemic has led to a dramatic shakeout between the haves and have-nots, particularly in the retail industry and apparel business. Apparel revenue is expected to drop by 20% to 30% industry-wide this year, and about 10% to 25% in 2021 compared with last year, according to McKinsey & Company. On the other hand, it’s expected to grow by 10% to 20% in 2020 for mass retailers like Walmart and Target

 A new treatment program originally intended for geriatric patients has showed promising results for so-called “long haul” Covid-19 patients. The founder of the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation in New York City said about 750 patients have enrolled in his Covid-19 Bootcamp program and many are reported progress. The program
incorporates walking, breathing exercises, and weight training

 The cruise industry announced on Monday mandatory health and safety changes designed to make it safe to sail during the Covid-19 pandemic — ideally with a phased-in US start commencing before the end of the year. Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading trade organization announced a mandatory
protocols list that includes crew and passenger testing, mask wearing, enhanced cruise ship ventilation, stringent response procedures, and shore excursion protocols. The new protocols will apply to all CLIA member ships impacted by the CDC’s current no-sail order, which bans cruising in US waters until at least October 1 for vessels than can carry 250 or more passengers

 Some students in the nation’s largest school district in New York City returned to the classroom Monday after a twice delayed reopening plan. Special education and pre-kindergarten students were the first to return today, while elementary, middle and high school students are set to return next week. The city intends to have students spend part of their time in in-person classes and part of their time learning virtually this academic year

 Coronavirus deaths in California topped 15,000 on Sunday, which puts the state just behind Texas in lives lost to Covid-19. The mounting death toll still remains below that of New York, which has recorded more than 33,000 deaths, and New Jersey, with 16,000. Texas this weekend hit 15,088. The number of Covid-19 cases have notably increased in the last week in 31 states compared with the previous week

 State officials said they will not accept unemployment applications for the next 2 weeks to reduce a backlog. Nearly 600,000 Californians are part of a backlog where their unemployment claims have not been processed for more than 21 days, the state said in a news release. There are also 1 million cases where residents received payments but are awaiting a resolution to their modified claims

 A 45-day review found that California’s antiquated unemployment benefits system requires a complete overhaul to overcome significant problems that have delayed getting money to many left jobless during the Covid-19 pandemic. The review by technology and government experts found that the backlog of unresolved claims at
the state’s Employment Development Dept. is growing rapidly, by 10,000 a day, and will take several more months to be cleared. The EDD has also come under fire from state legislators over its performance in response to criticism and following reports of widespread fraud in the system. The 109-page report lists more than 100 recommendations, including a streamlined identity verification process

 LA County reported an additional 652 cases and 16 deaths. Totals are now 261,446 cases and 6,366 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 06,208/2,718; Long Beach 11,503/238; Carson 1,814/60; El Segundo 130/1; Gardena 1,225/48; Hawthorne 1,918/43; Hermosa Beach 206/4; Inglewood 2,808/89; Lawndale 624/10;
Lomita 239/9; Manhattan Beach 354/5; PV Estates 95/2; Rancho PV 293/13; Redondo Beach 546/11; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 41/2; Torrance 1,402/68

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, STAT, 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