Covid-19 News Briefs for Saturday, September 26, 2020

September 26, 2020

 The global death toll from the coronavirus sits just below 1 million, but without further action to slow the spread, it will likely double before a vaccine is widely available, a WHO official said Friday. Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program said that 2 million deaths was not only imaginable but sadly, very likely, in the absence of increased testing tracing, social distancing, mask wearing, and other measures to slow the spread of the virus

 More than 60 public health experts have called on the pharma company Pfizer not to seek approval for its coronavirus vaccine until it has followed trial participants for at least 2 months after their second dose. Pfizer, along with other pharmaceutical companies, signed a pledge earlier this month not to cut corners on a coronavirus vaccine. The letter noted that since many trial participants have not yet received their second dose, monitoring should occur through at least late November before an application for an Emergency Use Authorization should be considered by the FDA. It said the submission of an application before that standard would severely erode public trust and prolong the pandemic

 South Africans of all walks of life are dancing to “Jerusalema,” a rousing anthem to lift their spirits amid the battle against Covid-19. In the upbeat song in the Zulu language, the singer implores to be taken away from the troubles of the world to go to Jerusalem, effectively heaven. The song, by popular DJ Master KG, was a hit in South Africa this year as people saw its message as a way to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers dance to the song as they suit up in protective gear; lawyers in Zimbabwe put aside their cases to dance; and South African supermarket workers, students, and teachers have posted videos, most showing dancers in face masks and distanced from one another. South Africa has weathered its first peak of coronavirus, registering 665,000 cases, included 16,206 deaths, nearly half of the total of all of Africa’s 54 countries. The continent of 1.3 billion has recorded 1.4 million cases and 34,800 deaths and will reopen to international tourism October 1

 By the end of July, about 9% of American adults had been exposed to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, according to a new study of dialysis patients, the largest yet looking for evidence of the disease in people’s blood. The data shows the American public is a long way from achieving herd immunity — having enough
infections to prevent further spread of the virus. The infection rates varied from essentially zero in some states that avoided infection by mid-summer, to more than one-third of residents in parts of New York hard-hit in the spring. The new study, published in The Lancet, is in line with previous, smaller studies, and also showed areas with high numbers of Black and Latino residents had higher infection rates than most white communities

 Nationwide, businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, and in LA, Latino small businesses such as bakeries, restaurants, and mercaditos have suffered disproportionately, according to the LA Latino Chamber of Commerce. About 1 out of 3 Latinos have seen their businesses shut down or have experienced a significant drop in revenue. Latino small-business owners play a vast role in the economic landscape of LA and the chamber represents more than 1,700 of them, but many mom-and-pops were already at a disadvantage before the virus grabbed hold. They lacked access to financial resources and struggle to seek out support due to language barriers. During the pandemic, most were passed up by federal financial assistance programs because they did not have the professional connections. And although studies have shown that Latinos spend a lot of time online, many Latino small-business owners have yet to learn how to market and sell their goods online. However, there are resources including the chamber, the Food Policy Council, and other organizations that are focused on helping these businesses access expertise, volunteers, services, and funding

 LA County reported an additional 1,236 cases and 18 deaths. Totals are now 266,988 cases and 6,504 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 108,449/6,504; Long Beach 11.761/245; Carson 1,836/62; El Segundo 131/1; Gardena 1,239/50; Hawthorne 1,936/46; Hermosa Beach 210/4; Inglewood 2,864/89; Lawndale 634/10; Lomita 240/9; Manhattan Beach 362/5; PV Estates 99/2; Rancho PV 302/13; Redondo Beach 553/11; Rolling Hills 12/0; Rolling Hills Estates 43/2; Torrance 1,429/70

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