COVID-19 News Briefs for Saturday, July 11, 2020

July 11, 2020

 There is evidence that blood type could be a risk factor — having Type A blood was associated with a 45% increased risk of having severe Covid-19. On the other hand, having Type O blood was associated with a 35% reduced risk of the disease. The most recent evidence was published last month from analyzed genetic data from more than 1,600 patients hospitalized with severe cases of Covid-19 in Italy and Spain. No other blood groups were associated with a greater or lesser risk of the disease and blood type did not seem to be linked to the risk of needing to be put on a mechanical ventilator

 The Covid-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed” according to the continent’s CDC. Coronavirus cases climbed past 522,000 with more than 12,000 deaths and with testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown according to officials. Several models forecast between 40,000 and 80,000 deaths in South Africa, which has the most confirmed African cases, by the end of the year

 A Japanese governor has demanded an explanation after dozens of US Marines at 2 bases on the southern island of Okinawa were infected with Covid-19. The governor said that the US military has not disclosed the exact figures and he called for an immediate phone conference with military officials to discuss the number of infections and what anti-prevention measures were being taken. He said that he had received reports that people linked to the US military may have ventured out into the downtown area or participated in beach parties before and after the July 4th celebrations. Okinawa is home to more than half of about 50,000 American troops based in Japan and the coronavirus outbreaks occurred at Marine Corps. Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen

 A record 63,000 new US coronavirus cases were reported Thursday, pushing the total above 3.1 million. Researchers recently increased the projections of the likely US death toll from 160,000 to more than 200,000 by election day, the worst by far of any country in the world

 The US Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. An AP analysis of Covid19 federal aid found that the church may have received or exceeded $3.5 billion, making it among the biggest recipients of the US government’s pandemic relief fund. Houses of worship and faith-based organizations are not usually eligible for SBA loans, but Congress allowed them to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program’s $659 billion fund created to keep small businesses open and Americans employed. The White House administration also allowed the church to be freed from the 500-worker maximum requirement of the PPP

 The pandemic has greatly increased demand for private jet companies that report booking about 80% of preCovid business with wealthy fliers, many of who are new to the private jet business. Meanwhile, demand for flights on traditional airlines has sunk to 10% of the pre-pandemic levels. Most flights taken on private jets have been for leisure and the trend demonstrates that Covid-19 is having vastly different effects on Americans depending on their wealth

 Covid-19 testing, which cost about $100 each, is not part of most back-to-work plans. In addition to the cost, other deterrents include access, logistics, and employee privacy, but the major issue is that the Covid-19 test measures only that point in time, and if a worker is infected shortly after being tested it wouldn’t be detected and everyone would be falsely reassured by the negative result. Most employers are favoring temperature checks, symptom screening, and also stocking up on masks, hand sanitizers, and cleaning wipes which help, but people without symptoms can still transmit the virus. At nursing homes and assisted living facilities testing employees is mandatory for many, but the cost quickly adds up and insurance usually does not cover repeat testing. The US CDC said last week that employers may use testing as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing the virus’ spread at work

 Half of California’s 58 counties are now on the state’s coronavirus watch list as the number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to approach unprecedented levels. The state reported 7,798 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday with 304,000 total infections and nearly 6,900 deaths  7 international graduate students from China and Germany who are enrolled at USC, UC Irvine, and UCLA filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to prevent the White House from enforcing guidelines that would bar them from remaining in the country if they enroll only in online courses this fall. This follows another suit filed by MIT and Harvard this week, to which 180 colleges and universities signed an amicus brief in support

 The California Senate on Wednesday joined the Assembly in deciding not to return from its summer recess next week, citing the confirmed spread of coronavirus infections which has now been reported by several staffers and members in the Legislature. The delay tightens the window for the state to act on hundreds of pieces of legislation before an August 31 deadline

 Some communities are now saying they will fine people who do not wear face coverings while in public settings: West Hollywood announced that deputies will issue $300 citations to those not following the statewide coronavirus health order to wear face coverings; Santa Monica first-time offenders will be charged $100 and the third offense will cost $500. In California’s most populous counties, those requiring the wearing of masks in public are: LA, San Diego, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo. Those that do not require masks in public are: Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Fresno, Kern, Ventura, and San Joaquin

 Downtown Disney reopened this weekend to huge crowds in Orange County which has been hit particularly hard recently by Covid-19. Hospitalizations have increased nearly 100% in 3 weeks. Guests had to pass through 4 checkpoints — a temperature-reading station, a K-9 dog, a security guard, and a metal detector — before being allowed to enter. Workers stood around to see if anyone took off a mask or got too close to a stranger

 A coronavirus outbreak has struck the operations of Los Angeles Apparel, with more than 300 infections and 4 virus-related deaths among the manufacturer’s workers, county public health officials announced Friday. The health department had first shut down operations at the South LA garment manufacturer on June 27 after inspectors found “flagrant violations” and the company’s failure to cooperate with an investigation. On Thursday, the department ordered the continued suspension of Los Angeles Apparel’s operations

 LA County reported an additional 2,916 coronavirus confirmed cases and 57 deaths. Totals are now 130,242 cases / 3,793 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 54,494/1,816; Long Beach 5,246/145; Carson 840/34; El Segundo 72/0; Gardena 624/33; Hawthorne 920/26; Hermosa Beach 113/2; Inglewood 1,269/67;
Lawndale 279/8; Lomita 109/7; Manhattan Beach 197/4; Palos Verdes Estates 60/2; Rancho PV 171/12; Redondo Beach 287/9; Rolling Hills 3/0; Rolling Hills Estates 30/2; Torrance 726/51

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