COVID-19 News Briefs for Saturday, June 20, 2020

June 20, 2020

 According to Johns Hopkins University, the worldwide coronavirus tally is: 8,750,272 positive cases recorded and 462,088 deaths. In the US, there have been 2,250,240 confirmed cases and 119,645 deaths, with 617,460 people recovering from the virus

 The White House administration has abruptly dropped its insistence on secrecy for a $600 billion coronavirus aid program for small businesses and said it will publicly disclose names, amounts received, and demographic data on the businesses which received the taxpayer-funded loans. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), this program has to date lent more than $512 billion to 4.8 million small businesses, including $67 billion in California

 27,000 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients work in healthcare, and many spent the last few months attending to patients with Covid-19. A majority of these medical workers live in Arizona, California, or Texas where the rates of new infections are accelerating. They are among 700,000 so-called “Dreamers” who came to the US as children, grew up without legal status, and were allowed to stay under the DACA policy. The US Supreme Court rejected the White House plan to repeal the protections, saying it did not provide adequate justification. Separately, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the US Department of Education could not place eligibility restrictions on California community college students to receive emergency coronavirus financial aid. Those restrictions prevented undocumented students and those in the DACA program from receiving the aid in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act

 The US Navy has upheld the firing of the aircraft carrier Captain Crozier, who had urged faster action to protect his crew from a coronavirus outbreak on the Theodore Roosevelt deployment in the Pacific in March. More than 1,000 crew were infected and 1 sailor died. A Navy investigation said that poor decisions were made to stem the outbreak and properly communicate the escalating crisis to senior commanders

 California’s jobless rate rose to 16.3% in May, as employers continued to shed jobs despite the gradual reopening of businesses across the state. The latest tally is up from 15.5%. In contrast, the US jobless rate fell slightly last month to 13.3%, from 14.7%. California’s unemployment and jobs statistics were expected to trail the nation’s rebound, largely because of the mix of its industries. In LA County, May unemployment rose to
20.9% from a revised 20.8% in April

 State and local officials are trying to carefully balance the needs of the economy with public health to be able to resume normal life, but the recent announcements have left many confused about what is and isn’t dangerous — and whom they can trust. Medical experts emphasize that nothing about the virus has changed and it is still deadly and circulating in the community. Public health policies driven by economics and politics, though sometimes necessary, can muddle that message and also erode trust in the government, both major problems during a pandemic, experts say

 California launched the “Great Plates Delivered” program in May to bring meals from local restaurants to help elderly people at severe risk from the coronavirus. However, some seniors were told they were too needy to qualify — income had to fall between $25,000 and $75,000 for a household of 1. State officials said that it is because the program is meant for seniors who are not accessing other nutrition programs including CalFresh, the California program for food stamps. But some local officials and advocates have argued that the poorest seniors aren’t necessarily enrolled in other nutrition programs, and the Great Plates program is also meant to serve as an economic stimulus for local restaurants struggling to survive. The program has been extended through July 10, and LA is extending Great Plates and other Covid-related senior programs through August

 LA County reported 2,056 additional cases and 48 deaths. Totals are now 81,636 cases and 3,110 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 36,919/1,513; Long Beach 2,934/118; Carson 571/27; El Segundo 42/0; Gardena 399/29; Hawthorne 596/22; Hermosa Beach 53/2; Inglewood 820/59; Lawndale 172/6; Lomita 63/6;
Manhattan Beach 95/3; PV Estates 48/1; Rancho PV 120/12; Redondo Beach 169/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 18/1; Torrance 487/50

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 Hill.com; 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