COVID-19 News Briefs for Saturday, July 18, 2020

July 18, 2020

 Hundreds of skilled worker visa-holders — many from India — are stranded abroad and separated from their families because of the coronavirus pandemic and a White House executive order restricting the flow of highly skilled workers into the country. The order applies to software engineers, doctors, lawyers, architects, and academics, and is in effect at least until the end of the year. This has greatly impacted many temporary foreign employees, many of whom work in California in specialized technology jobs  Security officials in Bangladesh have arrested the owner of 2 hospitals that issued thousands of fake coronavirus
test results as he attempted to flee to India. The hospitals had issued more than 10,000 coronavirus test results and about 60% were fake even though patients were charged for them. The owner admitted that his hospitals did not have the proper equipment to conduct Covid-19 tests and had not renewed their medical licenses for years, but the Ministry of Health nevertheless signed a deal for the hospitals to administer tests and provide treatment for coronavirus as the number of cases rose in Bangladesh which is currently reporting 200,000 cases and 2,496 deaths

 Data from the US CDC show that through May 30, the incidence of Covid-19 was 51.1 cases per 100,000 children under 10 and 117.3 for children 10-19. Both figures are well below the nationwide figure of 403.6 cases per 100,000 Americans. Scientists are not sure what accounts for this phenomenon, however one theory is that
children’s cells have fewer of the ACE2 receptors that the coronavirus needs to bind in order to initiate an infection and may help explain why Covid-19 is less prevalent in children. However, a small number of pediatric patients have developed a serious disease called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children. Medical experts say that while the balance of data shows that kids are less susceptible to infection and less likely to transmit it, it does not mean they are not susceptible. And some experts suspect that one reason infection rates have been lower in kids than adults is that they’ve been relatively isolated at home while their parents have left the house to work, shop, or socialize. Once kids are back in school, they might start to catch up but even so, there’s evidence that kids just don’t have the same coronavirus-spreading power as adults and infection rates are lower for elementary school-age kids than for teenagers
 Due to increased testing demands, results from coronavirus tests are often delayed up to 2 weeks officials said. However, doctors say the delays could erase the efforts to trace and contain the virus — with contact tracing, the idea is you want to be tested and if positive, a case investigation is quick to notify contacts to isolate themselves. The added that delays in testing are making outbreaks bigger and leading to more deaths

 The US Senate is in a battle regarding a liability proposal to award businesses, schools, and universities sweeping exemptions from lawsuits arising from inadequate coronavirus safeguards. Supports say the plan protects employers who adhere to public health guidelines in good faith and opponents argue it will permit wrongdoing to go unpunished. The liability shield is just one of the difficult issues confronting lawmakers as they launch into negotiations over another coronavirus bill with competing priorities

 The NFL Players Association wants players tested daily for Covid-19, one of the outstanding points in discussions with the NFL over health and safety protocols as the start of training camp draws near. The league and union already finalized protocols regarding team travel, treatment response, and the facilities protocols

 As construction at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood enters the final stages, the LA County of Public Health reported that 49 people working at the $5 billion project have tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 16 cases in a little more than one week

 5 more major league baseball players tested positive for coronavirus in the last week, raising the total to 80 since testing started in late June
 According to a UC San Francisco infectious disease specialist, these are the 4 most common FALSE MYTHS regarding mask-wearing: 1) You don’t need to wear a mask outdoors because sunlight kills coronavirus in the air; 2) You need to wear a mask only if you have symptoms; 3) Masks reduce blood oxygen and increase carbon
dioxide levels; 4) Anything other than a N95 mask is useless for limiting virus transmission

 California added 558,200 jobs from mid-May to mid-June and state unemployment fell from 16.4% to 14.9%. However, the numbers do not account for the resurgence of Covid-19 throughout the US and in California in the second half of June, or the retreat in plans to reopen the economy. Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs because of the reopening of bars and dine-in restaurants. But the dial-back is bound to reverse a positive trend in rehiring in bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and thousands of other affected businesses forced to scale back already reduced operations or remain closed. In LA County, 200,000 jobs were added and the unemployment declined from 21.1% in May to 19.5% in June

 As coronavirus outbreaks continue to worsen, some communities are beginning to pledge more action against scofflaws. This week, Manhattan Beach became the latest city to say it would fine people not wearing masks in public areas, with fines of $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second, and $350 for each one after that. A few other cities have taken similar action but so far, have issued relatively few citations. West Hollywood sheriffs have issued 12 citations, and Beverly Hills has issued one, saying police officers have had hundreds of contacts and most complied when educated about their face-covering rules

 In San Diego, some businesses including gyms, salons, and churches are pushing back to stay open saying they’re fighting for economic survival. A collection of gyms have banded together to fight what they perceive as anunfair mandate and plan to sue if officials try to shut them down. San Diego PD officials said they have longpreferred to issue warnings and otherwise educate the public about the rules versus issuing citations and making arrests. And a federal lawsuit representing more than 500,000 licensees in California on behalf ofhairstylists and salon owners against Governor Newsom was filed

 Industry experts say that the Covid-19 outbreak at LA Apparel highlights health and safety issues that have long plagued the garment industry in LA, and that violations are much more widespread. LA Apparel had more than 300 of the factory’s 1,800 employees test positive and 4 have died. The public health department has received at least 19 coronavirus complaints related to the industry and is currently investigating a coronavirus outbreak at another garment manufacturing facility

 LA County reported an additional 2,770 cases and 37 deaths. Totals are now 153,041 cases and 4,084 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 62,662/1,921; Long Beach 6,334/158; Carson 995/36; El Segundo 86/0; Gardena 711/34; Hawthorne 1,098/28; Hermosa Beach 133/2; Inglewood 1,559/71; Lawndale 362/8; Lomita 149/7; Manhattan Beach 222/4; PV Estates 64/2; Rancho PV 194/12; Redondo Beach 339/9; Rolling Hills 4/0; Rolling Hills Estates 30/2; Torrance 846/53

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