Covid-19 News Briefs for Sunday, September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

 London police clashed with demonstrators in Trafalgar Square on Saturday while breaking up a protest against Covid-19 restrictions amid rising tensions over limits on everyday life as the government tries to stem a sharp rise in infections. Nine officers were hurt with two requiring hospitalizations. The government earlier this week ordered a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants nationwide, along with tougher mask rules and higher fines. It has also banned most social gatherings of over six people. Britain has Europe’s worst death toll from the pandemic, with over 42,000 tied to Covid-19. New infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have all risen sharply in recent weeks

 Chinese officials have inoculated tens of thousands of people with an unproven coronavirus vaccine. Three vaccine candidates are being injected into workers who the government considers essential along with many others, with plans to give shots to even more people, amounting to the hope that the vaccines will eventually prove safe and effective

 The pandemic has fueled the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, and has also caused Americans who have jobs to earn less — 27% of workers are earning less than when the pandemic began, according to a SimplyWise survey. The work-life changes look especially dramatic among working parents where
roughly 40% of them either voluntarily reduced their hours or quit because of dueling responsibilities and discouragement about the job market. Retirement challenges have also soared as an increasing number of Americans tap savings to get by — 58% of older adults are more concerned about retiring with 73% of those who haven’t retired yet expecting to continue to work after they start receiving social security. And for millions, side hustles have become key to paying the rent. The most common side jobs involve using gig apps such as Uber, Swagbucks, and Postmates that don’t demand special skills, but the best paid side gigs involve providing skilled services, such as freelance writing and web designing

 For mothers, the virus is only widening a gap at work. A July report from McKinsey Global found that in the US, where women made up 43% of the work force, they accounted for 56% of Covid-related job losses — though it is unclear how much of that is because of day care and school volatility. As for most social phenomena, this plays out differently for wealthy women than for poor ones. Research shows that when high-earning couples have children, they tend to divide responsibilities with one parent stepping back from a career to take on the increased care duties, and the other making work a priority — and in heterosexual couples, it is usually the mother who steps back. Poorer families tend to have more disparity between the parents earnings but they rely on both incomes to survive and also usually have jobs that must be done in person. When schools and day care close, the family faces financial catastrophe, and women from minority and immigrant backgrounds are even more vulnerable to the pressures of lockdowns

 Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 37 million Americans were considered food insecure and a recent study from Feeding American projects the number will rise significantly this year as the virus wreaks havoc on the most vulnerable populations’ livelihoods. Seniors, many of whom were struggling before because of fixed incomes, rising rents, or being full-time caretakers for their grandchildren, are facing increased hardships. And those who are 60 or older are staying home more in order to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 so food banks are having to adjust their operations — some shifting to home delivery to ensure older people have enough food  Weeks after the last round of coronavirus stimulus talks fell apart, House Speaker Pelosi expressed optimism Sunday that a deal in negotiations with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin could be reached on some kind of stimulus legislation before Congress breaks for the campaign season

 Florida health officials reported at least 1,882 new cases of Covid-19 Sunday, bringing the total number of cases there to 700,564. Florida is the third state to top 700,000 cases since the start of the pandemic — Texas and California reach the grim milestone over the summer

 Thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to emerge on college campuses. A NY Times survey of more than 1,600 American colleges and universities revealed at least 130,000 cases and 70 deaths since the pandemic began. Most of the deaths were reported in the spring and involved college employees, not students. More
than 35 colleges have reported at least 1,000 cases over the course of the pandemic, and more than 230 colleges have reported more than 100 cases

 The union representing New York City’s public schools estimates than 2,000 to 2,500 educators need to be hired for the city’s middle and high schools since they are working to have a qualified teacher for every classroom, whether in-person or remote. The union says social distancing requirements are the main reason why additional hires are needed — not teacher retirements — saying that a class of 28 students now has to be divided into smaller cohorts of 8-10 students. The union said 4,500 teachers have already been redeployed or hired to fill vacancies in the city’s early and special education programs that began their in-person learning last Monday. The rest of NY City’s students began the school year fully remote with expectations of a phased in-person opening this week

 Latinos have borne the brunt of the pandemic in Orange County, which has been in the news for its skepticism of Covid-19. The positive test rates for OC is between 5-6%, while the rates for the Hispanic-majority cities of Santa Ana and Anaheim were roughly between 15-19%. And the results are consistent with statistics across California and the nation showing that Latinos have been infected, hospitalized, and killed by the coronavirus at disproportionate rates compared with their share of the overall population

 LA County reported an additional 815 cases and 10 deaths. Totals are now 267,801 cases and 6,514 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 108,775/2,766; Long Beach 11,798/245; Carson 1,840/62; El Segundo 131/1; Gardena 1,245/50; Hawthorne 1,929/46; Inglewood 2,873/89; Lawndale 634/10; Lomita 240/9;
Manhattan Beach 362/5; PV Estates 99/2; Rancho PV 303/13; Redondo Beach 555/11; Rolling Hills 12/0; Rolling Hills Estates 43/2; Torrance 1,432/70

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