COVID-19 News Briefs for Wednesday, July 29, 2020

July 29, 2020

 CDC recommendations have changed regarding when people can leave isolation after having Covid-19: 1) 10 days after your symptoms start; 2) You haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of feverreducing medication; 3) Your symptoms have improved. If you have never had symptoms but tested positive for the virus, the CDC says you can end isolation 10 days after you test positive. However, if someone has had a severe form of Covid-19, they may need to be isolated for 20 days. Previously, the CDC had required 2 negative diagnostic tests for the virus taken 24 hours apart and a 14-day isolation

 Scientists have figured out how Covid-19 causes many people to lose their sense of smell and it appears to be temporary. Anosmia is one of the earliest and most common indicators of coronavirus and affects the cells in the nose that detect smell. And the good news is that the infection isn’t likely to permanently damage patients’ olfactory neural circuits, as initially thought

 In May, the CDC updated its guidelines to clarify that while Covid-19 spreads easily among people by speaking or sneezing/coughing in close encounters, touching a surface isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion that surface transmission of Covid-19 is not justified at all by the science and also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission

 A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that closing all of a state’s schools was associated with a drastic decrease in both Covid-19 cases and deaths. And the point at which officials made that call mattered — those states that adopted the policy while few people were testing positive saw a correlated flatter curve of cases. However, the study noted to be careful about drawing overly broad conclusions since the school closings were done in conjunction with other measures. It also still isn’t clear how likely children of different ages are to get and pass on the virus, which makes it hard to carve out the reasons why school closures might have helped to shift the outbreak

 At a time when many of their peers struggle with isolation, uneven online teaching, or lack of access to computers, a fraction of students have discovered that distance learning can offer a unique kind of relief — and they have thrived. They reported feeling more relaxed, eating healthier, sleeping longer, being less rushed, and spending more time on projects while still being connected to friends through texts. Mental health experts say that children who are more introverted or those who gain energy from time and space for introspection, would likely fare well. However, educators and psychologists stress that campus closures have exacted harm on children, especially those who are not fortunate enough to have a quiet, comfortable study space or whose families are coping with deep hardships or illness brought on by the pandemic

 A CDC study found that emergency room visits nationwide fell 42% in April, from a mean of 2.1 million a week in 2019 to 1.2 million. And a Harris poll found that 1 in 4 adults experiencing a heart attack or stroke would rather stay home than risk getting infected with Covid-19 at the hospital. And also worrisome is the drastic falloff of routine medical screenings, especially in regions hit hard by the virus

 A NY Times survey of every public 4-year college in the country as well as others, revealed at least 6,300 coronavirus cases tied to about 270 colleges campuses over the course of the pandemic. California schools included UC Berkeley (123 cases), UCLA (101 cases), and Stanford (99 cases)

 California reported the most coronavirus-related deaths in a single day to date — 167 on Tuesday. Since the first documented Covid-19 death in February, there have been 8,716 Californians who have died which is nearly 3 times the death toll resulting from the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake which killed more than 3,000 people. The daily average of coronavirus-related deaths over the previous 7 days has never been higher, now at 118

 A growing number of officials and health experts say it’s critical now for California to act more aggressively, including pushing for masks and social distancing measures inside workplaces as well as cracking down on employers who won’t follow the rules. The state may also have to provide additional disability pay to those who become ill and a process to aid workers who face retaliation for speaking out. 5 months into the pandemic, it is becoming clear that to control the virus, safety measures for essential workers at the epicenter of the crisis must be improved. It’s a particular challenge because many of these workers were ripe for worker exploitation before the pandemic especially those who lack legal residency and are fearful of working with authorities and crossing their bosses. But experts say California has no hope of fully opening the economy unless it can get worker infections under control

 US consumer confidence declined in July more than forecast as Americans became concerned by the recent increase in Covid-19 cases and its effect on the economy and the job market. The index decreased to 92.6 from a revised 98.3, according to a report issued Tuesday. Confidence deteriorated in California, Texas, Florida, and Michigan, the report showed, as the virus spread. Households may also be growing anxious about whether lawmakers will extend benefits such as the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits

 California office spaces are expected to keep getting emptier and their rent prices will probably keep declining for years as the fallout of the pandemic persists, according to a new survey of commercial real estate developers and financiers. Retail space will take an even more severe hit, while industrial real estate looks like a bright spot, and demand — along with rents — for multi-family homes is expected to stay relatively high, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast survey

 A poll of Californians found sharp racial disparities in concerns about illness and finances. Latinos are much more anxious that they will become sick or affected financially, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. Latino respondents also reported that their lives have already been significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and that their mental health is suffering as a result, more so than other demographic groups. Latinos make up just under 40% of California’s essential workforce

 Los Angeles Opera announced that it is postponing for an entire year all 4 productions that had been scheduled for this fall, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Officials are projecting losses up to $31 million  LA County public health officials ordered the closure this week of 3 food distribution facilities that they said failed to report outbreaks of Covid-19 that sickened more than 140 employees. The companies are S & S Foods in Azusa, Golden State Foods in Industry, and Mission Foods in Commerce

 Medical professionals from the military have arrived in LA County to reinforce the ranks of Los Angeles CountyUSC and Harbor-UCLA medical centers. The Department of Defense sent the Air Force teams last week to provide surge staffing to hospitals in need because of the Covid-19 crisis. In total, the deployment has sent 190 medical professionals to California hospitals

 A dispute between Los Angeles’ teachers and the school district over online instruction has heightened uncertainties for parents and students as the August 18 first day of school approaches. The teachers union says a proposal under which they would instruct students remotely from empty classrooms would result in potential health risks for them and an excessive and unhealthy amount of screen time for young children

 LA County reported an additional 4,829 cases and 91 deaths. Totals are now 183,383 cases and 4,516 deaths. Dr. Ferrer noted that the high case count is partly due to a backlog of about 2,000 cases from the previous week. Currently, there are 2,045 people hospitalized and out of 1.6 million people tested in LA County, 10% have been reported positive. The county is currently conducting about 20,000 each day. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 74,669/2,085; Long Beach 7,895/168; Carson 1,200/39; El Segundo 97/0; Gardena 830/34; Hawthorne 1,328/29; Inglewood 1,916/76; Lawndale 438/9; Lomita 164/7; Manhattan Beach 258/4; PV Estates 71/2; Rancho PV 218/12; Redondo Beach 381/9; Rolling Hills 5/0; Rolling Hills Estates 31/2; Torrance 990/57

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