Daily Blog

Del Amo Fashion Center Stores Currently Open for Business

September 23, 2020

Many of the shops in Del Amo Fashion Center are open for business. Below is a current list:

Open and in-store shopping:
• Anthropologie
• Bank of America
• Barnes & Noble
• Bath & Body Works
• Chipotle
• Coffee Bean Tea Leaf
• Crate & Barrel
• Daniel’s Jewelers
• Dick’s Sporting Goods
• Eye Phone City
• Forever 21
• Free People
• Gap
• Gap Kids
• Hanmi Bank
• HSBC Bank
• JcPenney
• J Jill
• Joann’s
• Levi’s
• Lucky Brand
• Macy’s Men’s
• Macy’s Women’s
• Marshalls
• Mercy’s Cakes
• Mitsuwa
• Mommy’s Bundle of Joy 4D (by apt. only)
• New York & Co.
• Nordstrom
• Old Navy
• Sunglass Hut
• Wetzel’s Pretzels
• Windsor
• Urban Outfitter’s

Curbside Service and/or Outdoor Patio Service:
• Adidas
• Aerie
• American Eagle
• Amy Kim
• Ariel
• Ben Bridge
• Black Angus
• BlackMarket
• BJ’s Restaurant
• Buffalo Wild Wings
• Casper
• Chico’s
• Daniel’s Jewelers
• Din Tai Fung
• EMC
• Express
• Frida
• Garage
• Gengis Khan
• Hollister
• Kate Spade
• Kay Jeweler’s
• Kiel’s
• Lazy Dog
• Lemonade
• LensCrafters (curbside delivery only)
• Lucille’s
• Lush
• Lululemon
• Madewell
• Mercy’s Cakes in a Cup
• Michael Kors
• Outback steakhouse
• Pandora
• PF Changs
• Pinks
• Pressed Juicery
• Starbucks (Outdoor village)
• Tesla
• Torrid
• Uncle Tetsu
• White House
• Zale’s
• Zumiez

Outdoor Market:
• Elle Marie Spa
• Game Chest
• Kate Spade
• Mercy’s Cupcakes
• Mijah
• Protect Yourself Masks
• Sanrio
• Shoe Palace
• Skechers

Covid-19 News Briefs for Tuesday, September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

 The US death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, according the Johns Hopkins University. The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, is thought to be much higher, in part because many Covid-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on,
before widespread testing. Deaths are running at close to 770 a day on average, and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the US toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in. Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 31 million people and is closing in fast on 1 million deaths, with over 965,000 lives lost, by Johns Hopkins’ count

 Public health experts have long worried that the end of summer would bring a surge in coronavirus cases — the number of new daily confirmed cases in the US has jumped more than 15% in the past 10 days which is the sharpest increase since the late spring. This spike also coincides with a rising number of cases in other affluent countries, like Canada and much of Europe. The one piece of good news is that people infected today are roughly 30% to 50% less likely to die than those in the early spring, however, the US death toll is still horrific at over 200,000

 To attain herd immunity, a very large number of people, usually 70% to 90%, must be vaccinated, depending on the effectiveness of the vaccine itself. The seasonal flu vaccine is only 60% effective at best. And despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe, physicians routinely confront resistance. The CDC reports that only 62.6% of children under 18 and 45.3% of adults received the flu vaccine during the 2018-19 season. And although it was declared eliminated in 2000, measles, a highly contagious disease that requires more than 90% vaccine coverage to achieve herd immunity, has made a comeback in the last decade. A LA Times survey suggests that fewer than 80% of Americans may get vaccinated for the coronavirus. In this scenario, even if a new vaccine was 80% effective, which is optimistic, only 64% of the public would be protected which doesn’t get to herd immunity. However, a protective rate of 60% would dramatically slow the pandemic in the US  Colleges and universities that reopened for face-to-face instruction might have caused tens of thousands of additional cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Indiana University, University of Washington, and Davidson College. The researchers estimated that an extra 3,200 cases a day occurred in the US that likely wouldn’t have happened had schools kept classes online

 On Monday night, the CDC issued new guidelines to help families stay safe during this Halloween. The guidelines include a list ranking the relative risk level of certain traditions, like trick-or-treating and pumpkincarving. Here is the website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-lifecoping/holidays.html#halloween

 Sizzler USA, one of the country’s first casual restaurant chains, has filed for bankruptcy because of Covid-19, which forced it to temporarily close its restaurants’ dining rooms which caused problems paying rent. The filing is only for Sizzler’s 14 company-owned stores — not its international locations or more than 90 franchised US restaurants. The 62-year old company began in Culver City and restaurants are predominantly on the West Coast with a majority in California. Once a pioneer in the industry, the chain has fallen out of favor with newer rivals like Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s and the industry faced a new blow this year because of the pandemic

 Three NFL coaches and their teams face over $1 million in fines for going mask-less during games

 For weeks, millions of Californians were smothered by smoke from a record explosion of wildfires and suffered sore throats, headaches, and chest pains. While most people were not threatened directly by the fires, smoke transported health dangers to nearly every corner of the state and air quality officials are aware of no precedent for so many people breathing such high levels of wildfire smoke for so long. Health experts are fairly certain that such levels of smoke did significant harm in the immediate term by aggravating chronic lung and heart conditions, triggering asthma attacks, strokes, and heart attacks. Scientists also suspect that heavy smoke has lowered people’s defenses against the coronavirus, and put them at greater risk of severe symptoms

 The share of Californians who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week dipped below 3% for the first time. Just 3.1% of state residents who were tested over the last 2 weeks received a positive result, and that ratio dropped to 2.8% in the last 7 days, state officials said. Hospitals in California are treating the fewest patients with the virus since April, and admissions to the state’s ICUs have also been dropping steadily

 Under the latest state health guidelines announced Tuesday, nail salons can reopen indoors across California. Previously, such businesses were allowed to reopen only in counties in Tier 2 or higher on the state’s 4-tier reopening blueprint. Counties in Tier 1 — those deemed most at risk of widespread Covid-19 infection — will now have the option to let nail salons operate although counties still have the authority to keep shops closed. The decision follows months of outcry from business owners and salon workers who felt they had been unfairly targeted after Governor Newsom claimed the first Covid-19 case in the state originated at a nail salon which activists have said is false

 Teachers in 2 Orange County school districts have banded together with public protests and petitions, saying they are unwilling to go back to campus in the days and weeks ahead and signaling an undercurrent of broad concerns among educators over the safety of returning to in-person instruction. In the Newport-Mesa USD,
scheduled to open for students in second grade and younger next week, 75% of teachers surveyed said they weren’t satisfied with safety plans. And teachers at Irvine USD circulated a petition urging the district for classes to remain online because of concerns

 LA families with school-age children in Boyle Heights, South LA, and Watts struggled with access to computers and adequate internet throughout the spring semester while facing job losses and food insecurity — issues that hampered online learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey found. The survey, a collaboration by researchers from USC and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, underscores how poverty has exacerbated the toll wrought by the pandemic and how challenging these problems are to overcome. It also suggests that the digital divide is continuing to harm the education of low-income Latino and Black students. About threequarters of families surveyed had experienced a loss of income and food insecurity during the pandemic and nearly 30% faced health challenges and housing insecurity. Even so, about 1 in 3 families made investments to support online learning, including paying for internet access

 One Fair Wage, a nonprofit that advocates for higher wages for restaurant workers, commissioned a study in New York that found tips had fallen between 75% and 90% since the pandemic began. The organization is now calling for a full minimum wage in a number of states where the tipped minimum wage is ridiculously low.
Others have called for standardized Covid surcharges and the dismantling of the tip system altogether. As critics point out, tipping fortifies racial disparities in income, with customers generally give white servers bigger tips than Black servers. In LA, low tips also seem inextricable from another big problem with reopening and reduced capacity. The city’s al-fresco permit program allowed many restaurants to operate with fewer seats outdoors but phase 2 of the program — which would streamline approval for additional outdoor dining in parking spaces and traffic lanes — seems to be on pause

 LA County’s $100 million-plus program to repurpose hotels and motels emptied by the coronavirus as safe havens for homeless people is ending after months of lackluster performance. After peaking at just over 4,300 guests — about 30% of its ambitious goal — the project will shed several hundred beds monthly until it closes down early next year

 LA County reported an additional 810 cases and 40 deaths. Totals are now 262,133 cases and 6,401 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 106,404/2,730; Long Beach 11,550/238; Carson 1,818/60; El Segundo 130/1; Gardena 1,227/50; Hawthorne 1,921/45; Hermosa Beach 206/4; Inglewood 2,816/89; Lawndale 628/10; Lomita 239/9; Manhattan Beach 354/5; PV Estates 96/2; Rancho PV 297/13; Redondo Beach 550/11; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 41/2; Torrance 1,405/68

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, 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


Everything is Coming Up Roses Fundraiser

September 22, 2020

The Torrance Rose Float Association has launched the Everything is Coming Up Roses Fundraiser just in time to get some early holiday shopping done.

Last month, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announced that, after thoughtful consideration and with state restrictions and guidelines in place as a result of COVID-19, the Rose Parade was officially canceled.

It should be noted that the Tournament is committed to doing some type of New Year’s celebration, with specific details to follow.

The next Rose Parade is scheduled for Saturday, January 1, 2022 and will feature elements that were planned for the 2021 parade, including the theme “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”

Supporting the Torrance Rose Float is a year‐round endeavor, so check out the new merchandise at http://www.torrancerosefloat.org/everythings-coming-up-roses-gift-shop.html.


Covid-19 News Briefs for Monday, September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

 Political pressure grew Monday for European governments to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases without resorting to a spring-style lockdown that would hit the continent’s struggling economies. Data released by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed 5 countries in the region with more than
120 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. Spain ranked top, and southern France, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Romania also reported alarming numbers

 Countries representing about 64% of the world population have signed up to expand global access to Covid-19 vaccines by funding a purchasing pool organized by the World Health Organization and other nonprofit groups, leaders of the effort announced Monday. Not among the countries: the US, or Russia nor China, both of which have already issued emergency use licenses for Covid-19 vaccines. Still, a total of 156 countries have committed to joining the effort, which hopes to purchase 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021. Of participating countries, 64 are higher-income nations, whose participation is critical to ensuring the financial feasibility of the effort

 There are currently no US vaccine trials for children, therefore, a pediatric vaccine may not arrive before fall of 2021

 The head of the White House Operation Warp Speed Initiative’s Dr. Slaoui said that the US could immunize Americans most susceptible to Covid-19 by December and most of the elderly and health-care workers could get a vaccine in January, followed by the rest of Americans in February, March, and April  A group of Black physicians has created their own expert task force to independently vet regulators’ decisions

about Covid-19 drugs and vaccines as well as government recommendations for curbing the pandemic. The National Medical Association, an organization founded in 1895 in response to racist professional societies excluding Black doctors, said they will also evaluate how well the clinical trial participants represent the
demographics of the American population, as well as the fairness of vaccine distribution plans

 As millions of Americans faced unemployment or closed their businesses during the first 6 months of the Covid19 pandemic, the wealth of US billionaires grew by $845 billion, according to new research by the Rand Corp. which expects the income disparities to continue to grow as the US struggles to manage the coronavirus and restore normalcy to the economy

 The danger of the virus isn’t just that you might get it. Economies brought to a standstill have also disrupted the supply chain of food, with experts estimating that the number of people in developing countries at risk of dying from hunger could almost double this year, putting 265 million at risk. Even in the US, the number of foodinsecure people is expected to increase by 17 million, a rise of 45%

 The US has reported more than 6.8 million cases and 199,500 deaths and an analysis shows 7-day, new case records were set in Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Record numbers of deaths were also reported in Virginia and West Virginia. Globally, there have been more than 31 million cases and more than 961,000
fatalities from Covid-19

 Thousands are facing new care-giving responsibilities for loved ones this year, owing to the closures of child care and senior care facilities. A recent survey from Archangels found that Covid-19 has increased demand for unpaid caregivers, with 61% of Americans reporting that they are providing care for relatives, friends or neighbors. 55% of them say they weren’t caregivers before the pandemic. And the Center for American Progress estimates that half of American day care providers could soon be out of business, eliminating places for 4.5 million children

 The CDC changed course Monday on a guidance update the organization made last week — the guidance said the coronavirus spreads through airborne particles that can remain suspended and travel beyond 6 feet. It also recommended that people use air purifiers to reduce airborne germs indoors to avoid the disease from
spreading. The World Health Organization questioned the change in airborne transmission, saying it had not seen any new evidence on airborne particles

 The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, said in a report that millions of Americans may miss their coronavirus relief payments of up to $1,200 per person because government records are incomplete. The government watchdog said that possibly 8.7 million or more individuals who are eligible for the stimulus money haven’t received those payments because of IRS and Treasury Department records which are not updated

 The pandemic has led to a dramatic shakeout between the haves and have-nots, particularly in the retail industry and apparel business. Apparel revenue is expected to drop by 20% to 30% industry-wide this year, and about 10% to 25% in 2021 compared with last year, according to McKinsey & Company. On the other hand, it’s expected to grow by 10% to 20% in 2020 for mass retailers like Walmart and Target

 A new treatment program originally intended for geriatric patients has showed promising results for so-called “long haul” Covid-19 patients. The founder of the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation in New York City said about 750 patients have enrolled in his Covid-19 Bootcamp program and many are reported progress. The program
incorporates walking, breathing exercises, and weight training

 The cruise industry announced on Monday mandatory health and safety changes designed to make it safe to sail during the Covid-19 pandemic — ideally with a phased-in US start commencing before the end of the year. Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading trade organization announced a mandatory
protocols list that includes crew and passenger testing, mask wearing, enhanced cruise ship ventilation, stringent response procedures, and shore excursion protocols. The new protocols will apply to all CLIA member ships impacted by the CDC’s current no-sail order, which bans cruising in US waters until at least October 1 for vessels than can carry 250 or more passengers

 Some students in the nation’s largest school district in New York City returned to the classroom Monday after a twice delayed reopening plan. Special education and pre-kindergarten students were the first to return today, while elementary, middle and high school students are set to return next week. The city intends to have students spend part of their time in in-person classes and part of their time learning virtually this academic year

 Coronavirus deaths in California topped 15,000 on Sunday, which puts the state just behind Texas in lives lost to Covid-19. The mounting death toll still remains below that of New York, which has recorded more than 33,000 deaths, and New Jersey, with 16,000. Texas this weekend hit 15,088. The number of Covid-19 cases have notably increased in the last week in 31 states compared with the previous week

 State officials said they will not accept unemployment applications for the next 2 weeks to reduce a backlog. Nearly 600,000 Californians are part of a backlog where their unemployment claims have not been processed for more than 21 days, the state said in a news release. There are also 1 million cases where residents received payments but are awaiting a resolution to their modified claims

 A 45-day review found that California’s antiquated unemployment benefits system requires a complete overhaul to overcome significant problems that have delayed getting money to many left jobless during the Covid-19 pandemic. The review by technology and government experts found that the backlog of unresolved claims at
the state’s Employment Development Dept. is growing rapidly, by 10,000 a day, and will take several more months to be cleared. The EDD has also come under fire from state legislators over its performance in response to criticism and following reports of widespread fraud in the system. The 109-page report lists more than 100 recommendations, including a streamlined identity verification process

 LA County reported an additional 652 cases and 16 deaths. Totals are now 261,446 cases and 6,366 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 06,208/2,718; Long Beach 11,503/238; Carson 1,814/60; El Segundo 130/1; Gardena 1,225/48; Hawthorne 1,918/43; Hermosa Beach 206/4; Inglewood 2,808/89; Lawndale 624/10;
Lomita 239/9; Manhattan Beach 354/5; PV Estates 95/2; Rancho PV 293/13; Redondo Beach 546/11; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 41/2; Torrance 1,402/68

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, 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

Young Entrepreneurs Academy Now Accepting Applications

September 21, 2020

The Manhattan Beach Chamber is now accepting applications for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy for middle and high school children this fall.

The program will commence in October and run through the end of the school year, meeting once a week at Mira Costa High School.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a year-long program that teaches students in grades 6 through 12 how to start and run their own, REAL businesses. Students brainstorm business ideas, decide if they want to work by themselves or as a team, write a business plan, pitch their plan to investors for funding, and actually launch their own business or social movement. All of the learning is real and experiential. Students have the opportunity to leave the class as business owners, complete with a DBA and bank account.

The Chamber is currently looking for middle or high school students between the ages of 11 and 18 who are interested in starting their own business. Applications are being accepted, and student interviews are conducted, on a rolling basis. YEA! will grant admission to a maximum of twenty four students annually.

Applications for the 2020-21 academic year are now being accepted.

For additional information on the program, visit the website at https://www.manhattanbeachchamber.com/yea/.

YEA 2

Covid-19 News Briefs for Sunday, September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

 Demonstrators took the streets of London, Tel Aviv, and other cities on Saturday to protest coronavirus restrictions, decrying how the measures have affected daily life even with infection rates rising in many places and the global death toll approaching 1 million. In the UK, new infections and hospital admissions have been doubling every 7 to 8 days and the death toll is Europe’s highest since the start of the pandemic. The government recently banned social gatherings of more than 6 people. Saturday’s protest saw hundreds of people which ended in clashes between demonstrators and police. Demonstrators in swimsuits gathered on a
beach in Tel Aviv to protest a full lockdown which began Friday coinciding with the High Holy Days, and 100 protesters in Australia gathered in Melbourne before being scattered by police. And in Romania’s capital city Bucharest, several hundred people protested against virus restrictions including the mandatory use of masks in schools

 At a time when countries around the world are curtailing wedding ceremonies and imposing strict travel restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Gibraltar has welcomed couples of all nationalities, including Americans. Many of the marriages being celebrated in Gibraltar involve an American citizen marrying a partner from another country, because of the numerous hurdles the US has placed on immigration and travel. Other couples who have faced wedding restrictions in their own countries have also seized the opportunity to marry here this summer ahead of a potential second wave of the virus

 South Korea owed much of its relative success in finding those infected with the coronavirus to its aggressive use of surveillance camera footage, smart phone data, and credit card transaction records. But it has also empowered troll and harassers and authorities have since pulled back on some of their more obtrusive tactics, though many South Koreans have raised relatively few outcries over privacy. However, the global fight against the pandemic has raised privacy concerns across other countries. Governments, including Italy, Israel, and Singapore have used cell phone data to track potentially infected people and their contacts. China has employed mobile phone apps with little disclosure about how they track people. Venezuela has urged neighbors to turn each other in. China and South Korea are the only countries whose governments have the power to collect such data at will during an epidemic. In South Korea, the government no longer publicly reveals a patient’s age, sex, nationality, or workplace, or names of the places recently visited. It now also removes from public view any information it does not disclose after 2 weeks

 As the pandemic has laid bare healthcare inequities, more Black women are looking at home birth as a way to not only avoid the coronavirus but also to shun a system that has contributed to Black women being 3 to 4 times more likely to die of childbirth-related causes than white women, regardless of income or education. Researchers argue that the disparity — one of the widest in women’s healthcare — is rooted in long-standing social inequities, from lack of safe housing and healthful food to inferior care at the hospitals where Black women tend to give birth. The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a flurry of new interest among women of all races in home births, which account for just over 1% of deliveries in the US. Birth centers and midwives who attend home births say they’ve been swamped by new clients since the pandemic began

 According to the National Restaurant Assn., the pandemic cost the restaurant industry $120 billion in sales between March and May. That number is expected to climb to $240 billion by the end of the year. Prepandemic sales projections for 2020 were $899 billion. There is no current plan in place nationally or locally to bail out restaurants and landlords. When back rent is due, most businesses will already be in serious debt, with no ability to pay back or current rent. If the landlords abate rather than defer rent, some of them won’t be able to pay their mortgages

 County officials are doubling the number of coronavirus tests they currently offer at San Diego State University, where Covid-19 cases are continuing to climb. Officials said though the university was not struggling to test its students, more testing was needed to bring the situation on and off campus under control. Since the start of the semester, 785 students have tested positive, including 32 cases reported on Friday. That contributed to the county’s case rate of 7.9% last week — a number that puts the region at risk of becoming the first county in California to drop a level in the state’s reopening tier system. The outbreak has called into question UC San Diego’s decision to welcome about 7,500 undergraduates into on-campus dorms beginning this weekend

 LA County reported an additional 991 cases and 23 deaths. Totals are now 260,797 cases and 6,353 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 105,946/2,715; Long Beach 11,503/238; Carson 1,812/60; El Segundo 130/1; Gardena 1,225/48; Hawthorne 1,916/43; Hermosa Beach 207/4; Inglewood 2,805/89; Lawndale 623/10; Lomita 237/9; Manhattan Beach 353/5; PV Estates 94/2; Rancho PV 293/13; Redondo Beach 545/10; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 41/2; Torrance 1,397/67

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, 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

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

September 19, 2020

 The official Covid-19 death toll in Mexico quietly surpassed 70,000 this month, a figure topped only in the US, Brazil, and India. Street life has gradually been returning with mask-wearing the norm, but remote learning continues in schools, and large gatherings are still banned. With so little testing, many deaths in Mexico aresuspected Covid-19 fatalities and experts call the 70,000 deaths an undercount

 India has seen its case count increase by more than 93,000 people a day on average over the last week

 As the US approaches nearly 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, a new report this week found that nearly half of US households in the nation’s 4 largest cities reported serious financial problems amid the pandemic, according to a series of reports called “The Impact of Coronavirus.” NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted the 5-part polling series in July and August of more than 3,400 adults in New York, LA, Chicago, and Houston. The survey found 17% of households reported missing or delaying paying any major bills to ensure everyone had enough to eat, 16% reported serious problems affording food, and 7% reported serious problems not getting food to eat every day. And while 37% of Asian and 36% of white households report facing serious financial problems, 72% of Latino, 60% of Black, and 55% of Native American households were also in dire financial straits

 A report from Georgetown University was published Wednesday claiming that both employment and health outcomes for the US during the pandemic have been worse than in almost any other high-income country in the world. About 13.6 million Americans were unemployed in August and over 190,000 people have died in the US
from Covid-19. The analysis doesn’t delve too deeply into the factors underlying this record, however, the observation is that other countries made much greater use of payroll subsidies that keep workers connected to their jobs — they took steps to ensure that workers were furloughed rather than unemployed. It added that, regarding efforts to combat the virus, the US waited too long, not enough was done in terms of ramping up testing and tracing, and now the virus has added to the economic woes since unemployment has become a much graver concern in the US than it was last April. The US unemployment rate remains 5 times higher than
the non-US average, virus cases per capita in the US are more than 4 times higher than the richest nations, and deaths per capita are twice as high

 The CDC has gone back to recommending coronavirus testing for anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person, reversing its controversial guidance last month that said people who didn’t feel sick didn’t need to get tested

 British Columbia is launching a new gargle Covid-19 test for students 4 to 19. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says the new test is just as accurate as tests using a nasal swab and is much easier to administer for children. The announcement comes at a time when testing is in high demand — Canada has seen a doubling of new daily cases in the last month and while experts are still looking into the role children play in transmission, a recent report suggests they can and do spread the virus, even when they have mild or no symptoms

 A detailed look at Covid-19 deaths in US children and young adults show they mirror patterns seen in older patients. The report, published Tuesday by the CDC, examined 121 coronavirus-related deaths between February 12 and July 31 in people younger than 21. Like older Americans, many of them had at least one medical condition before they were infected, such as lung problems like asthma, obesity, heart problems, or developmental conditions. Also, like older adults, deaths among younger people were more common in certain racial and ethnic groups. Among 121 deaths, 54 were Latino, 35 were Black, and 17 were white. The report also
found that nearly two-thirds of the deaths involved males and that deaths increased with age. Scientists are still trying to understand why severe illnesses seem to become more common as children age. One theory is that young children have fewer of the ACE2 receptors on their airway surfaces that the coronavirus is able to attach to. Another is that children may be less prone to a dangerous overreaction by the immune system to the coronavirus. Thus far this year, the Covid-19 toll in children is lower than the number of flu deaths during a typical flu season which has been about 130. However, it was noted that most schools were not open during the spring because of the pandemic shut-down

 Bed, Bath & Beyond has revealed that 63 stores will be closed amid the coronavirus crisis with California and New York closing 6 stores each initially. Over the next 2 years, the company plans to close a total of 200 store locations

 The pandemic has had devastating consequences for a wide variety of occupations, but housekeepers have been among the hardest hit. 72% of them reported that they had lost all of their clients by the first week of April, according to a survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The fortunate had employers who continued to pay them. The unlucky called or texted their employers and heard nothing back. They weren’t laid off as much as ghosted, en masse. Since July, hours have started picking up, though far short of pre-pandemic levels, and often for lower wages

 Six members of a fire incident management team in Washington State had to go into temporary isolation after a member of the resupply crew tested positive for the coronavirus. To prevent the spread of the virus among firefighters, who often travel in groups or stay in close quarters at command posts, the chief of the US Forest Service in April ordered a new strategy that would rely more on local crews and focus on rapid containment to prevent the need for larger teams. But this year’s historic wildfire season proved too challenging for the revised approach. Thousands of firefighters are now clustered in camps, with many arriving from other regions. Teams have taken their own precautions, increasing sanitation and limiting interactions among firefighters, who return to camp in shifts. There are also temperature checks, additional hand-washing stations, and individually packaged meals. Firefighters may be particularly vulnerable to the virus since they often face respiratory issues caused by smoke, and many find wearing masks to be too restrictive in the line of duty. This is just the latest
virus-related challenge for wildfire crews. The economic downturn has shrunk firefighting budgets and manpower has been limited by less access to prison inmates and others who were stuck in quarantine

 More than one-in-four Clark County residents in recently infected with Covid-19 may have contracted or spread the disease at a Las Vegas hotel, motel, or resort, state health officials revealed Thursday morning. It’s the first time state officials revealed hard numbers about what role Nevada’s tourism industry could be playing in the state’s outbreak. Two major casino operators told the New York Times that nearly 1,000 employees have tested positive for the virus since reopening in June

 California’s job market improved slightly in August, but the state has regained only a third of the jobs it lost since the Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of businesses to close. The state added 101,900 positions last month, mostly due to the temporary hiring of federal census workers. California’s unemployment rate fell to 11.4%, but is far worse than the nation’s 8.4% rate because of the state’s vulnerable workers in services, leisure, and hospitality who are still seeing a rise in unemployment. LA County’s August jobless rate of 16.6% also showed it suffered disproportionately from losses in tourism, business-related travel and the entertainment industry  The Luxe Rodeo Drive, located on one of the most expensive real estate strips of commercial real estate, is the first high-end hotel in the LA area to go out of business because of the pandemic. And industry experts point to an unusually high loan delinquency rate among hotel borrowers as a sign that more closures are likely to follow. In Southern California, nearly 60 hotels in LA and OC counties are more than 30 days delinquent on their loans and hotels that primarily cater to conventions and business travelers are more at risk of closing. Meanwhile, hotels located in popular car-accessible vacation destinations, such as Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, and San Diego, seem more likely to survive the crisis, thanks to a slow increase in leisure travel

 LA County reported an additional 1,343 cases and 13 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 105,574/2,704; Long Beach 11,440/237; Carson 1,800/59; El Segundo 129/1; Gardena 1,224/48; Hawthorne 1,909/42; Hermosa Beach 206/4; Inglewood 2,801/89; Lawndale 620/10; Lomita 237/9; Manhattan Beach 350/5; PV Estates 94/2; Rancho PV 291/13; Redondo Beach 544/10; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 41/2; Torrance 1,394/67

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, 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

Covid-19 News Briefs for Friday, September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

 The number of weekly coronavirus cases in Europe topped 300,000 last week — higher than during the first peak in March — triggering grave warnings from health experts. European’s WHO director warned that Europe was facing a very serious situation and advised against any reduction in the length of the quarantine. He added that more than half of European countries had registered a rise in infections greater than 10% in the past 2 weeks

 Covid-19 vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer released details of their clinical trials Thursday to boost declining public confidence amid pressure from the White House to expedite the process ahead of the November election. Both firms indicated it will take months to fully analyze data from ongoing Phase 3 trials. Moderna, the first pharma firm to conduct human trials in the US, said it should know sometime in November whether its vaccine works

 Now that flu season is here, doctors are urging people to get flu shots. Experts are also recommending people get tested for Covid-19 if flu-like symptoms develop

 A PLOS ONE study found that if you’re Vitamin D deficient, you have a 54% higher risk of acquiring Covid-19, compared to people who were Vitamin D sufficient. This applied to all ages, all ethnicities, and all latitudes in the US — so whether you’re in California, Florida, or Alaska this still remained the same. Exposure to the sun’s UVB rays triggers a reaction in skill cells which makes Vitamin D. But there’s been a lot of controversy about sun exposure so people put sunscreen on that prevents you from making Vitamin D. Many people are deficient because oily fish like wild-caught salmon, mushrooms exposed to sunlight, and cod liver oil are the only natural forms of Vitamin D in a diet

 Israel now has one of the worst Covid-19 infection rates in the world and is about to become one of the few places to enter a second lockdown, set for Friday, the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. To prevent large family gatherings, people will be required to stay within about 600 yards of their homes. But there are lots of exceptions including work, exercise, to protest, to buy essentials or to fulfill a variety of religious obligations

 India has reported 97,894 new virus cases, its highest one-day increase. With 5.1 million confirmed cases, or 378 per 100,000 people, the country has the world’s second-highest caseload, after the US

 US Attorney General Barr drew sharp condemnation Thursday for comparing lockdown orders during the Covid19 pandemic to slavery  Mayor de Blasio on Thursday once again delayed the start of most in-person classes in the New York City public schools, acknowledging that the system had still not fully surmounted the many obstacles that it faced in bringing children back during the pandemic. Instead of a return for all students who wanted in-person learning beginning on Monday, the city will phase students back into classrooms on a rolling basis, starting with the youngest children

 Cal/OSHA’s board voted Thursday to begin creating standards that will require employers to take stricter precautions against Covid-19. This jump-starts a process that could result in emergency statewide workplace requirements in a matter of months, although the board did not specify what rules it intends to create or which workplaces will be affected. Specific requirements will be flushed out in the weeks to come. For months, worker advocates have criticized Cal/OSHA for anemic enforcement and failing to take action against employers flouting safety guidelines. In recent weeks, the agency has taken steps to ramp up enforcement by proposing a large fine against a frozen foods company and hiring retired inspectors to address the understaffing

 California will relax the burden of proof to receive workers’ compensation benefits for some employees who contract Covid-19 on the job, under a bill signed Thursday. The bill makes it easier for police, firefighters, and other essential employees who contract Covid-19 while working to be covered. The new law presumes employees caught the virus on the job if there is an outbreak at their worksite, ensuring those employees are eligible to have their medical bills and lost wages covered

 Citing an epidemic of fraud involving California’s unemployment benefits system, the Beverly Hills Police Department said it arrested 44 people and confiscated 129 debit cards which were illegally obtained and worth more than $2.5 million in benefits issued by the EDD. More arrests related to fraudulent benefits in the state are expected. EDD officials said suspicions were raised when between mid-August and the first week in September, a program for gig workers and independent contractors had claims double to 524,000. The EDD took action to shut down automatic backdating in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to prevent
scammers from capitalizing on earlier months of additional stimulus payments

 The ICE processing facility in Adelanto is in the grips of a Covid-19 outbreak, federal officials say. On Thursday, 39 more people had tested positive and staff are conducting contact tracing to try to find the possible source. More than 5,800 people in ICE custody have test positive for the coronavirus nationwide, according to the agency

 Just as it was getting in the swing of online learning, one LA County school district suffered a ransomware attack this week that forced a shutdown of online learning for 6,000 elementary school students. Newhall School District hired an outside forensics team to investigate, survey the damage, and offer an estimate of when normal online learning could resume. In the meantime, the district is posting lesson plans on its website for students to complete at home

 The operator of a sports apparel store in the Torrance Del Amo Fashion Center has filed a lawsuit against LA County in an effort to ease countywide restrictions on operating businesses in indoor malls during the Covid-19 pandemic. The lawsuit was filed by Rivas Sports on behalf of other retailers together with the owner and manager of Del Amo Fashion Center, an affiliate of Simon Property Group, one of the largest mall operators in the country. Also objecting to the limits is the largest owner of indoor malls in the county, Unibail-RodamcoWestfield, which called the county’s restrictions that are now stricter than state guidelines an undue hardship on the company and its store tenants

 Even though LA County K-12 schools are closed by state and county orders, many students now attend remote classes from their physical classrooms and the district has waived the fees it would usually charges an outside organization for these “enrichment” programs. Many schools have reopened by outsourcing their facilities to established providers like the YMCA or by rebranding as day camps, which are license-exempt and virtually unregulated in California. A county health spokesperson said that there have been site visits to some of these schools to ensure safety protocols, however, Public Health does not have enforcement authority over whether a school chooses to operate as a camp. The majority of children in classrooms in LA right now are there because their parents can afford it and are desperate for care — a UCLA professor of education said “this is a major equity issue”

 LA County reported 1,281 new cases and 22 deaths. Totals are now 258,516 and 6,330 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 105,044/2,709; Long Beach 11,379/237; Carson 1,792/59; El Segundo 129/1; Gardena 1,218/48; Hawthorne 1,903/42; Hermosa Beach 205/4; Inglewood 2,798/87; Lawndale 620/10; Lomita 237/9;
PV Estates 93/2; Rancho PV 288/13; Redondo Beach 540/10; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 41/2; Torrance 1,383/67

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, 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


Covid-19 News Briefs for Thursday, September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

 Last November, just as coronavirus was beginning its deadly trajectory through China, the sickle cell community in the US was celebrating because two potentially transformative drugs for sickle cell had just been approved by the FDA and clinical trials involving cutting-edge gene therapies were well underway. Just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the first sickle cell patient was infused with one of the new drugs and then everything stopped. While the coronavirus is affecting everyone, it has hit those with sickle cell particularly hard. Not only did the pandemic temporarily stop clinical trials and the introduction of new drugs, it made accessing care for sickle cell — which can be challenging even in ordinary time — far more difficult. And because sickle cell damages the
spleen, people with the disease are considered immuno-compromised and at high risk for serious complications from Covid-19

 The Federal Reserve is likely to keep interest rates pinned near zero at least through 2023, according to projections released Wednesday that also show Fed officials are more upbeat about the near-term prospects for the pandemic-battered US economy

 New government data on household income and poverty for the pre-pandemic year 2019 paint a broadly positive picture of the nation’s long economic expansion — gains now in the past. But another key measure of economic well-being, the share of people without health insurance, ticked higher last year, according to the US
Census Bureau, which is a heavy concern as many families struggle with the current health crisis. Last year proved to be a financial boon for most American families which also produced meaningful gains for low-wage and other disadvantaged workers. But the same groups that benefited at the tail end of the expansion — including minorities and those with less education — have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic this year

 The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high number of people that illustrates the broad economic damage still taking place 9 months after the first case of Covid-19 was detected in the US. The Labor Department said Thursday that US jobless claims fell by 33,000 from the previous week and that 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with just 1.7 million a year ago. The pandemic has delivered a colossal shock to the economy. Until the pandemic upended the operations of American companies, from factories to family diners, weekly jobless aid applications had never exceeded 700,000 in the US. They have now topped 700,000 for 26 consecutive weeks. The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, collapsed at an annual rate of 31.7% from April through June, by far the worst 3 months on record, as millions of jobs disappeared

 President Trump contradicted CDC Director Redfield and announced that widespread distribution of a coronavirus vaccine would begin as early as next month. The announcement came hours after the director testified to Congress that large-scale vaccine distribution would not begin until late spring at the earliest

 Pharma company Moderna’s CEO said it should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its coronavirus vaccine works in November. The company could have enough data by October but that is probably unlikely. Moderna is 1 of 3 drug makers backed by the US in late-stage testing for a potential vaccine, along with Pfizer and AstraZeneca

 California is 1 of 6 states that have been removed from the New York tri-state area’s coronavirus quarantine list. The change means people traveling from California to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are no longer required to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the area. The travel restrictions has been in place for most of the summer

 In recent weeks, as much of the state’s attention has turned to devastating wildfires, significant gains have been made against Covid-19. Daily new case numbers have dropped from more than 10,000 a few months ago to fewer than 3,000. The number of people hospitalized has shrunk from a peak of 7,170 in late July to 2,821 on Tuesday. Assuming the numbers stay low, many counties could soon begin allowing more businesses to reopen. State officials said that they expect several counties next week will get the ok to move into a less restrictive tier that would allow more re-openings. Counties are mandated to follow a step-by-step plan, spending at least 3 weeks in each tier

 Governor Newsom signed a bill Thursday to give millions of California workers at smaller businesses job protections that will allow them to take off up to 12 weeks of unpaid time for family leave beginning January 1. Currently, companies with 50 or more employees are required to provide 12 weeks of leave to care for a new child or family member. The threshold for parental leave is now lower, allowing time off for workers at companies with 20 or more employees. The governor said the Covid-19 pandemic only further revealed the need for an expanded family leave policy

 6 months after theme parks closed across California because of the pandemic, Orange County politicians, tradeworker union leaders, and tourism promoters expressed frustration that the state has yet to give Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm a path to reopen. The Disneyland Resort is Orange County’s largest employer, with about 31,000 workers before the pandemic, and the cities around Disneyland have lost $1.3 billion in taxes and other revenues since the closure. Governor Newsom said Wednesday that state officials were working on health protocols for reopening theme parks and that there would be an announcement “soon”

 The Covid-19 pandemic has been rough on the office business. In the second quarter of 2020, office leasing in LA County fell to 60 – 70% below normal, and was especially devastating for co-working spaces, which operate on a principle of high turnover and a changing client base with short-term leases. However, shared space companies such as London-based Second Home, have redesigned their spaces and are continuing to function at a time when other nonessential office buildings remain shuttered. Second Home inhabits a converted community center where the majority of the workspaces are housed in individual studios, all individually
ventilated with windows that open, and no shared elevators or sealed hallways with everything alfresco

 A collaboration between athletic directors appears to have successfully cleared the way for USC and UCLA to soon return to football practice in Los Angeles — perhaps the last major hurdle remaining in Pac-12’s path back to playing this fall. A vote on the conference’s return could happen as soon as Friday, and a source said that neither state of LA County health officials would prevent the schools from returning to full-team, contact practices which were previously not allowed due to coronavirus safeguards

 The college basketball season will open November 25, but it remained unclear whether teams such as the Bruins or Trojans that face stiffer government health restrictions than many of their Pac-12 Conference counterparts would be cleared to play by that time

 LA County reported an additional 1,160 cases and 38 deaths. The LA County Public Health website is not showing the city breakouts today

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, 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

Covid-19 News Briefs for Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

 America’s image as a global superpower has been tarnished since 2016, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and the survey found that much more damage to America’s international reputation among key allies and partners is linked to its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Only 15% of the participating countries gave the US good marks for dealing with the pandemic. Most of the countries said the World Health Organization and the European Union have done an admirable job containing the pandemic. Almost all of the countries, except the US and Britain, gave their countries positive grades for their handling of the outbreak

 The government outlined a sweeping plan to make vaccines for Covid-19 available for free to all Americans, assuming a safe and effective shot is developed, even as top health officials faced questions about political interference with virus information reaching the public. Federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or even late this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot. The Pentagon would be involved with the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers would be the ones giving shots. But the whole enterprise is facing public skepticism — only about half of Americans said they’d get vaccinated in an AP-NORC poll taken in May. The highlights of the plan include: For most vaccines, people will need 2 doses, 21 to 28 days apart from the same drug maker since there could be several vaccines approved and available; there will initially be a limited supply and the focus will be on protecting health workers, other essential employees, and vulnerable groups; the vaccine will be free of charge; states and communities will need to submit precise plans for receiving and locally distributing vaccines; a massive information technology effort will be needed to track who is getting which vaccines and when

 The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced that a single infusion of its monoclonal antibody treatment was shown to drastically lower levels of the coronavirus in newly infected patients and lower the likelihood of requiring hospitalization. It is the first potential treatment for patients with mild or moderate Covid-19 — the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone are only for the seriously ill. Other company are also working on treatments with monoclonal antibodies, but they are difficult and expensive to make with a single dose costing thousands of dollars. They offer only a temporary solution, with the antibodies lasting about a month

 Investigators at the National Institutes of Health want more information from AstraZeneca about a person who received its experimental coronavirus vaccine before US officials let the company resume its clinical trial. British regulators have allowed the vaccine trial to resume in the UK, but the FDA will decide when it’s safe to restart the trial in the US

 More than 2 months after its launch, the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program isn’t living up to expectations, as few banks are willing to provide the loans. Some of the nation’s biggest lenders have demanded crushing terms and other banks have decided not to participate at all. The Fed and Treasury Department started the program July 6 with the aim of providing loans to companies either too small to access capital markets or too big to get aid through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Just $1.4 billion of the $600 billion program has been issued as of September 10. In contrast, blue-chip companies have sold more
than $1.2 trillion of corporate bonds since March to help the pandemic’s economic effects, and smaller outfits have benefitted from hundreds of billions of dollars in potentially forgivable loans. What’s worrisome is that midsize companies employ about 48 million people and account for about a third of the gross domestic product in the private sector and a credit crunch for such companies could undermine a recovery

 For many Americans, the Covid-19 crisis has upended the cost-benefit balance of living in expensive metropolitan areas. With corporate campuses and office buildings still closed or only partially staffed, many companies have given workers more leeway than ever to decide where and how they want to work. That’s led
to scores of white-color workers moving closer to loved ones or to more sparsely populated areas with less punishing living costs. Tech company Stripe, Inc. plans to make a one-time payment of $20,000 to employees who opt to move out of San Francisco, New York, or Seattle by the end of the year, but also cut their base salary by as much as 10%

 Zoom Video Communications is fighting a rash of lawsuits alleging that privacy and security flaws jeopardized the safety of the videoconferencing app as its use exploded worldwide amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has also been accused of illegally sharing users’ personal data with Facebook and misleading the public about its encryption protocols. Zoom said that it is shielded under the same federal law that protects other internet platforms

 The West Coast wildfires are raising the risks of Covid-19 — crowded shelters, less time outdoors, and more coughing imperil progress against the coronavirus in California, Oregon, and Washington. In Oregon, thousands of people of sleeping on cots, without masks, at evacuation shelters, and smoke from the fires has forced Covid19 testing sites to close from Los Angeles all the way to northern Washington state. Infectious disease specialists are warning that smoke from the fires irritates the respiratory systems of people infected with Covid19, making it more likely that they will cough. Healthy people, meanwhile, are likely more susceptible to contracting the virus because the smoke irritates the lining of their throats, making it easier for the virus to “land” and at the same time, poor air quality is forcing many people indoors where the coronavirus spreads more easily. Visits to hospital emergency departments for asthma-like symptoms have almost doubled since the fires began, putting health care workers at greater risk from the virus and forcing them to use PPE more quickly than usual. The tens of thousands of people who have been ordered to evacuate pose problems as well as many are staying with friends or family or turning to aid groups for emergency shelters if hotel rooms are not an option

 Less than 5 weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to spring because of player safety during the pandemic, the Big Ten conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to begin its season the weekend of October 23-24. Each team will play 8 games in 8 weeks and the conference championship game will be held December 19, if all goes well. That will give the Big Ten an opportunity to compete for the national championship

 Major League Baseball has finalized its plan for postseason games with a schedule intended to maximize the odds of getting to, and finishing, a World Series. The pandemic-shortened season will end with 16 teams in the playoffs. The American League’s division series and championship series games will be played in Dodger Stadium and San Diego’s Petco Park. Both the Dodgers and the Padres are heading for the playoffs, but since they’re in the National League, their division series and championship series games would happen in Texas. The World Series will be played in the Texas Rangers’ new ballpark in Arlington. Though spectators still aren’t allowed in Dodger Stadium, Dodger fans would likely be welcome in Texas, albeit in limited numbers

 Despite the pandemic and sky-high unemployment, home sales in California and nationwide have jumped in recent months. The people who tend to buy homes — those with jobs that pay well — have been less likely to be thrown out of work during the economic downturn. For them, several factors seem to be driving an increased
interest in buying, especially single-family homes. Additional space and a backyard can be very attractive at the moment and the cost to borrow is at historical lows

 A report said Project Roomkey, a program meant to help medically vulnerable people living on the streets during the pandemic, ran into a host of concerns. So far, 4,100 people have been housed in hotels across LA County, far short of the program’s 15,000-person goal. According to the report, some of the hotels were already involved in other programs during the pandemic, such as housing medical personnel. Some were deemed to have logistical issues such as elevators which increased the risk of infection, and some gave no reason for the lack of interest. Activists have voiced alarm about dangerous conditions facing the homeless including coronavirus, extreme heat, and now smoke from the wildfires

 California’s fitness centers have filed a lawsuit alleging Governor Newsom’s measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus unfairly targets the industry and are demanding they be allowed to reopen. The California Fitness Alliance, which represents 300 businesses, filed the suit accusing state and LA County officials of requiring gyms to close without providing evidence that they contribute to virus outbreaks and at a time when staying healthy is critical to California’s residents. The closures have devastated the fitness industry, which could see between 30 – 40% of businesses close for good

 6 months after schools closed amid the coronavirus crisis and with online learning in full swing, tens of thousands of students remain without adequate digital access and school districts in LA County report they still need nearly 50,000 computers and Wi-Fi hot spots. The Office of Education, which provides services and
financial oversight for the county’s 80 school districts, released the numbers Tuesday, the same day that the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to approve $14.9 million in spending to close the technology gap

 The LA Community College District, the largest 2-year system in the nation, will remain online only for the rest of the academic year amid the region’s ongoing coronavirus public health crisis. On average, enrollment across the district this fall is down by about 10% — roughly 270,000 students compared to 300,000. Low-income students and students of color make up the majority of community college students in the district who rely on campuses for academic instruction and also for food, healthcare, childcare, libraries, and other support services

 LA Police Chief Moore said Tuesday that the Covid-19 pandemic has help drive gun violence and increase killings in the city this year, in part by spurring economic despair and interpersonal dramas while undercutting efforts to interrupt cycles of retaliation. Earlier this year, police cited the pandemic as a cause of decreasing crime because of the stay-at-home order. However, as of September 5, homicides were up 13.7% compared to the same period last year, while the number of shooting victims was up 8.2%. The increases come despite a 5.6% drop in violent crime overall, and a 9.3% dip in property crime, although vehicle theft rose 35%

 California’s Covid-19 case count and hospitalizations are declining, but LA County’s Dr. Ferrer still isn’t ready to ease up on restrictions. She warned that lifting restrictions before getting an accurate picture on infections rates following the Labor Day holiday weekend. The county has a 7-day average for positive infections of 4.3%. While that number could move it from Tier 1 for widespread risk of transmission to Tier 2 for substantial risk, the daily case count is 8.1 per 100,000 people — still too high to move from the state’s most restrictive tier. Additionally, thousands of testing appointments have gone unfilled in recent weeks, all while the county is pushing for residents to get tested following the holiday

 San Diego County is at risk of dropping from Tier 2 back to Tier 1. The rate of positive coronavirus tests per 100,000 residents has reached 7.9 and must not exceed 7.0 to remain in Tier 2

 LA County reported an additional 1,148 cases and 31 deaths. Totals are now 256,148 cases and 6,303 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 104,168/2,698; Long Beach 11,271/235; Carson 1,781/58; El Segundo 129/1; Gardena 1,210/48; Hawthorne 1,889/42; Hermosa Beach 202/4; Inglewood 2,779/89; Lawndale 616/10; Lomita 237/9; Manhattan Beach 345/5; PV Estates 92/2; Rancho PV 286/13; Redondo Beach 536/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,366/68

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, 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


Business Recovery Survey

September 15, 2020

The El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with Beach Cities Health District, would like your input for the Business Recovery Survey.

Please take this brief survey so they can collectively address the most pressing needs of South Bay businesses and organizations.

A significant number of businesses across sectors and industries have been impacted by COVID-19 and banding together to weather the storm and identify collective solutions can have a more meaningful impact.

To take the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5YBP5HK.

Thank you!

Covid-19 News Briefs for Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

 With infections on the rise, European countries are taking a different approach to the coronavirus as they face a possible second wave this fall. They’re trying to avoid the harsh lockdown measures they enacted when the crisis began. But they’ve also abandoned hope of eradicating the virus or quickly developing a vaccine, and instead are trying to live with the virus. Europeans have largely gone back to work and school and are trying to lead their lives as normally as possible. They’ve mostly recognized the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, contact tracing, and reacting nimbly and locally to outbreaks. This path differs widely from those of many Asian countries, including China and South Korea, where even one case can prompt an aggressive campaign of testing, tracing, and isolation. In those countries, infection rates have been persistently low, allowing huge portions of the population to live pre-pandemic lives, although cases have been ticking up recently in South Korea. This approach also contrasts sharply with that of the US, where virus restrictions have
been politically divisive, and where many regions have reopened without having baseline protocols in place

 A federal judge has struck down some of Pennsylvania’s coronavirus restrictions as unconstitutional, including the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses. The federal judge ruled that forcing businesses to shut down entirely and their governor’s stay-at-home order are both unconstitutional. Some of the state’s business owners are saying they have been waiting for a ruling like this for months. Pennsylvania has lifted most of the coronavirus restrictions but still limits indoor gatherings to 25 people, outdoor gatherings to 250 people, and indoor dining to 25% occupancy

 AstraZeneca, one of the largest drug companies, has been aggressively raising prices even as it received hundreds of millions of dollars in US government aid to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. The company, which is based in Britain but also has a large US operation, hiked prices on some of its biggest-selling medicines by as much as 6% this year at a time when the overall inflation rate is 1%. Although the federal government has committed to more than $10 billion this year to drug companies to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, no commitments from drug makers are required on the price they would charge. AstraZeneca has said it would not profit from vaccine sales during the pandemic but it remains unclear how this would be verified and whether the company might raise prices after the worst of the crisis passes

 The United Arab Emirates approved a Chinese coronavirus vaccine for emergency use for its frontline health workers, state officials have announced. The UAE said that 31,000 volunteers have already participated in clinical trials of the vaccine, including 1,000 volunteers with chronic diseases. The phase 3 trials, which began in the Gulf country of 10 million in July and are ongoing, are for the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopham

 In a new podcast, and in other public statements, the head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration strongly agreed with the White House position that schools and businesses should be reopened, angering current and former agency officials who say she is politicizing the office and reinforcing administration arguments about Covid-19 that aren’t supported by sound scientific evidence. A psychiatrist with a Ph.D. in infectious disease epidemiology from Yale, Elinore McCance-Katz said that the harsh steps taken to contain the pandemic in the spring were excessive

 Covid-19 poses far less risk to children than to adults, particularly older adults. But in rare cases, it has made children and young adults severely sick or even been fatal. In a new CDC report that analyzed fatal Covid-19 cases in Americans under age 20, researchers found that some of the same patterns of deaths in older populations carried over to younger populations: There was a disproportionate burden among children and young adults with underlying health conditions and those who were Latinx, Black, or American Indian or Alaska Native. The report also found that 18 to 20-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the 121 deaths in the group during the time period studied which was mid-February to the end of July. This adds to evidence that younger children generally are less likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19. Still, 10% of fatal cases occurred in children under 1 year old

 According to the American Bankers Assn., banks of all sizes are working with their customers to help them weather the economic downturn from the pandemic. However, many banks have been quietly lowering people’s card limits and even canceling accounts — not because the cardholder did anything wrong but to reduce
the company’s risk exposure during a period of enormous uncertainty. A recent survey by CompareCards found that from mid-May to mid-July, about 70 million cardholders experienced a cut in their available credit limit or an involuntary account closure. Most banks typically won’t proactively offer to help, but cardholders can initiate contact and see what options are available to them including a lower interest rate, forbearance, waiving or refunding late fees, or negotiating a payment plan to accommodate a job loss or other situation

 Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison said the retailer wants to give small businesses a hand by offering a path to get products on its shelves and website — it will search across the country for standout entrepreneurs as part of a new initiative dubbed “Making It… At Lowe’s,” which will be a 1-day virtual pitch competition. During the pandemic, Lowe’s committed $55 million toward grants for minority and women-owned small businesses and rural small businesses where it received more than 800,000 applications, which illuminated the great need and inspired the pitch contest

 A recent report from data firm Morning Consult indicates that only around 18% of US consumers feel comfortable returning to cinemas. While international box offices have thrived, the US has been sluggish sinceHollywood began releasing new, big-budget films in August. Films like “Tenet” haven’t quite garnered the ticketsales that the industry was expecting. For the last 12 weeks, public attitudes about leisure activities, like going to the movies, haven’t moved significantly, a warning that consumer habits are not returning to pre-pandemic normalcy

 As many production companies attempt to resume filming, many are asking crews to give up the right to make any claims against them if they get sick with Covid-19. Such liability waivers are being widely used despite many of Hollywood’s entertainment unions cautioning members not to sign them before first getting advice. The pandemic forced productions nationwide and internationally to shut down as governments imposed stay-athome orders. Since June, California has allowed filming to restart as long as sets follow stringent guidelines around sanitation and testing. Many productions may be having to make do without insurance for losses linked to the coronavirus, so like many other businesses and hospitals, productions increasingly require their crew to fill out healthcare questionnaires, sometimes on a daily basis

 When schools finally open, LA public school students and their parents will face one more admissions requirement — a negative coronavirus test. All 80 school districts in LA County are closed to the general student population until at least November. But when the time comes, a coronavirus test will be a crucial part of the LAUSD reopening process. Families that do not agree to be tested will continue with online instruction. Besides mandatory testing, LA Unified is incorporating an unusual degree of transparency — setting up a website that will provide detailed information about coronavirus outbreaks at an individual campus and even each classroom. This massive undertaking will involve nearly 500,000 K-12 students, 75,000 staff members, and thousands of preschool and adult school students, with a price tag of $300 per student over a year, about $150 million. The district will also provide testing for household members of students or staff who test positive or show symptoms. LA County Public Health’s Dr. Ferrer expressed skepticism about the benefits of widespread schoolbased testing and said it is better to focus on preventive measures and targeted testing and contact tracing

 LA County reported an additional 474 cases and 47 deaths. Totals are now 255,049 cases and 6,273 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 103,672/2,687; Long Beach 11,199/234; Carson 1,775/57; El Segundo 128/1; Gardena 1,206/47; Hawthorne 1,883/42; Hermosa Beach 202/4; Inglewood 2,765/89; Lawndale 613/10; Lomita 236/9; Manhattan Beach 344/5; PV Estates 92/2; Rancho PV 285/13; Redondo Beach 534/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,365/68

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, 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


Covid-19 News Briefs for Monday, September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020

 The WHO reported a record single-day spike in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, tallying more than 307,000 new infections in 24 hours, according to Reuters. That’s more than 1,000 new cases higher than the previous single-day record set on September 6. India, the US, and Brazil contributed the most new cases to that total. Global deaths rose by 5,537 on Sunday, to top 917,000

 The damage to the world’s major economies from coronavirus lockdowns has been 6 times more severe than the 2009 global financial crisis and created an unprecedented blow to growth in the second quarter in almost every country except China, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday.
Growth in the nations represented by the Group of 20 — 19 countries and the EU, representing 80% of the world’s economic production — fell by a record 6.9% between April and June. China, where lockdowns ended earlier than in the rest of the world, was the only economy to bounce back, expanding at an 11.5% rate

 A growing number of independent scientists and public health officials are urging drug companies to be more transparent about how they’re running the clinical trials for their vaccines. Typically, drug companies don’t publish detailed information until after they are finished to protect their intellectual property. Three drug companies have advanced clinical trials for vaccines in the US and none have released their protocols or statistical analysis plans. Critics argue that American taxpayers have a right to know the ins and outs of trials because billions of federal dollars fund the research. More disclosures could help independent scientists understand how the trials were designed and hold the companies accountable if they deviated from those plans. Greater transparency, experts say, would also bolster faltering public confidence in vaccines

 Russia and China have already started vaccinating under emergency use measures, and are making international deals to sell their experimental vaccines. China has already given hundreds of thousands of people an experimental vaccine, even though rigorous studies have not yet been completed  Antarctica is the only continent without Covid-19. Now, as nearly 1,000 scientists and others who wintered over on the ice are seeing the sun for the first time in months, a global effort seeks to make sure incoming colleagues don’t bring the virus with them. In pre-Covid days, long-term isolation, self-reliance, and psychological strain
were the norm and teams must be proficient in all sorts of tasks in a remote, communal environment with little room for error. While Covid-19 has rattled some diplomatic ties, the 30 countries that make up the Council of Manager of National Antarctic Programs teamed up early to keep the virus out with an entire research season re-planned before bases slipped into months of winter isolation. Now the next big test has begun — fewer people are being sent to bases and everyone has been isolated in hotel rooms prior to their departure. Research will be affected, though investment in robotics and instrumentation that can transmit data from the field will help greatly, and some programs are deferring Antarctic operations to next year

 Israel will enter a 3-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second-wave surge of new cases. During the lockdown, which comes during the Jewish high-holiday season, Israelis will have to stay within 500 meters of their houses, but can travel to workplaces that will be allowed to operate on a limited basis. Schools and shopping malls will be closed but supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and no more than 20 people outdoors. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has faced increasing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, said he instructed his finance minister to come up with a new economic package to assist businesses hurt by the ockdown. Israel declared an even tighter lockdown in April when the virus first arrived, after which daily cases dropped to low double digits among a population of 9 million. But as the economy reopened, daily infections jumped, passing 4,000 last week and on Saturday, 2,715 new cases were reported. Since the outbreak began, 1,108 people have died

 OPEC cut its 2020 and 2021 forecasts for oil demand, citing weaker-than-expected recovery in India and throughout Asia, as the pandemic continue to drive down travel — the group now estimates 2020 demand will clock in at an average of 90.2 million barrels per day, 400,000 lower than what OPEC estimated last month. It
also warned that demand will remain low through the first half of 2021

 Americans are turning to their retirement savings as the coronavirus-induced recession continues to stress household finances. Nearly 3 in 10 people reduced their savings or stopped saving for retirement altogether due to the economic fallout, according to a FinanceBuzz survey published last month. Around 30% of people with retirement account withdrew money over the last 60 days, pulling out $6,757 on average, with millions of Americans reporting difficulty with paying household bills

 The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is collaborating with Johns Hopkins University on new Covid-19 studies to assess the effectiveness of convalescent blood plasma as an outpatient therapy for coronavirus treatment and prevention. The is the first US multi-center, double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Both universities will do these studies to find out how this trial differs from other plasma trials and how it affects the body in people all over the world

 While temperature checks may identify people who are seriously ill, those are the people who probably won’t be going to work, socializing much or going out for meals. And a growing body of evidence suggests that many of those who are driving transmission of Covid-19 are so-called silent carriers — people who have been infected but feel fine, and don’t have a fever or other symptoms. Earlier this week, the CDC — which in May told employers to consider checking workers daily for symptoms like fever, but appeared to reverse itself in July — said it would stop requiring airport health screenings beginning September 14 for international passengers from China, Iran, Brazil, and other countries because the checks can’t identify silent carriers

 At an indoor rally in Nevada on Sunday, President Trump claimed the nation is “making the last turn in defeating the coronavirus.” The event directly defied Nevada’s governor and his own administration’s guidelines, with most attendees going mask-less. Last week, Dr. Fauci disputed the comments that the virus is “rounding a corner” and warned that daily life in the US may not get back to normal until late 2021, when potentially a vaccine could be widely distributed

 Amazon said on Monday that it would hire 100,000 new workers in the US and Canada for its warehouses and logistics network, another sign that the pandemic has resulted in a huge growth in demand for the e-commerce giant. The company announced it will be opening 100 buildings this month for sorting products, delivery, and other purposes. The new jobs will pay a starting wage of $15 per hour and will included a $1,000 starting bonus in some cities. This announcement is on top of the 33,000 salaried job openings that Amazon said last week it had available in areas like cloud computing and warehouse management. Amazon previously said that it had hired 175,000 additional people to meet the huge surge in demand related to Covid-19

 Fearing one disaster will feed another, relief groups are putting some people who fled their homes during the West Coast wildfires into hotels to reduce the spread of coronavirus, stringing up shower curtains to separate people in group shelters, and delivering box lunches instead of setting up buffets. Large disaster response organizations like the American Red Cross are still operating some traditional shelters in gyms and churches where they can require masks, clean and disinfect often, and try to keep evacuees at least 6 feet apart. It can be difficult, however, for people already reeling from a disaster to consistently follow rules on the virus and it could be weeks before officials know whether the evacuations contributed to the virus spreading. And even then, it
may be difficult to tell as families scatter and contract tracing becomes more difficult  The recent decline of new coronavirus cases in California has freed many counties to reopen schools in the weeks ahead, including districts in Orange and San Diego counties. In LA County, where Covid-19 remains widespread, such decisions are months away as Public Health Director Dr. Ferrer said last week that no schools will be allowed to open to all students until at least November. Districts serving low-income majority-Latino neighborhoods hard hit by the coronavirus say it’s still unsafe to reopen, adding yet another blow to the
disproportionate hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic on communities of color. Children in many of these communities were more likely to have slower access to computers and high-speed internet at the onset of school closures. As school started this fall online, their families were often unable to afford private tutors and their parents are more likely to hold jobs as essential workers, making it difficult to offer support at home. Now any of these students won’t have the option to return to campus as early as their peers in more affluent communities with lower infection rates

 A sweeping initiative to test and screen all 700,000 students and 75,000 employees in the LA public schools for the virus has started, with 5 cases last week among more than 5,400 children and adults tested, the district’s superintendent said. All were among adults who worked for the district. Up to 20,000 more employees are to be tested this week. Some 700 small children in district-provided child care were also tested but none were infected. With the exception of certain special-needs students, who recently got the go-ahead to return to classrooms for very limited instruction, classes at LAUSD have been remote

 The virus remains widespread across LA County although the percent of positive tests has declined steadily to about 3% last week. Also, daily hospitalizations continue to decline. LA County reported an additional 733 cases and 24 deaths. Totals are now 254,656 cases and 6,231 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 103,501; Long Beach N/A; Carson 1,776/57; El Segundo 128/1; Gardena 1,205/47; Hawthorne 1,881/42; Hermosa Beach 201/4; Inglewood 2,766/87; Lawndale 612/10; Lomita 236/9; Manhattan Beach 343/5; PV Estates 92/2; Rancho PV 285/13; Redondo Beach 534/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,367/67

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, 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


Kinecta Serves Free Meals to Military Service Members

September 14, 2020

To show gratitude for their bravery and sacrifice, Kinecta Federal Credit Union teamed up with Bob Hope USO, a long-standing partner, to distribute free meals to approximately 150 newly enlisted service men & from local branches of the military on September 10, just ahead of the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks.

“Through this partnership with Bob Hope USO, we’ve proudly provided meal deliveries to hundreds of military service members each year,” said Latrice McGlothin, Community Engagement Officer, Kinecta. “During these unprecedented times of social distancing and isolation, the support we provide these service members by keeping them connected to family, home and their country is more critical than ever before.”

The event took place at the military entrance processing center in El Segundo, the busiest in the nation, swearing-in 12,000 Americans. It is the single largest volume MEPS facility in the nation, where nearly 5% of all military members start their service.

Bob Hope USO is a private nonprofit organization that provides services and programming to members of the military and their families throughout Southern California.

TAM Dark Room Online: NewMediaFest 2020

September 14, 2020

TAM’s Dark Room exhibition space is currently online, providing video art to view from home and via smart phone.

NewMediaFest2020 presents over 10 hours of curated video art available in The Seven Memorials for Humanity.

NewMediaFest 2020 is a retrospective of video art from around the world during the past 20 years, curated by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne. It draws on the conceptual structures of “social and networked media” to present a kind of multi-dimensional virtual sculpture, and is remarkable in its scope and diversity.

Watch any portion of it online now through September 20 at http://www.torranceartmuseum.com/darkroomonline.

Covid-19 News Briefs for Sunday, September 13, 2020

September 13, 2020

 Oxford University said trials of a coronavirus vaccine it is developing with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will resume, days after being paused because of a reported side effect in a patient in the UK. Stoppages in drug trials are common and the university said that in large trials it is expected that some participants will become unwell. Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the US for its largest study of the vaccine. It is also testing the vaccine on thousands of people in Britain, and in smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa

 Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services have repeatedly asked the CDC to revise, delay, and even scuttle weekly reports on the coronavirus that they believed were unflattering to White House officials. Current and former senior health officials with direct knowledge of phone calls, emails, and other communications between the agencies said on Saturday that meddling from Washington was turning widely followed and apolitical guidance on infectious disease, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, into a political loyalty test. The reports are written to update scientists and public health experts on trends in infectious diseases, Covid-19 included

 US election experts worry that voters are not hearing enough about deadlines and instead are getting dire warnings from lawmakers about post office management issues. Even if all voters sent ballots by mail in this year’s general election, delivering them would be no problem for the Postal Service, said the president of the Postal Workers Union. The key is that voters have to allow enough time for their ballots to arrive, and states need to provide accurate information about the deadline. That did not happen during the primaries. In 34 states, officials ignored Postal Service guidance to set a deadline for distributing absentee ballots to voters more than 7 days before the election. And in California, more than 100,000 ballots went uncounted during this year’s primary, about 1.5% of the nearly 7 million cast. More than two-thirds of those were discarded because they arrived too late and most of the rest had missing or defective signatures

 Stress and isolation brought on by the pandemic are certainly bad for mental health and dentists say they’re seeing evidence that oral health is suffering too. Stress leads to clenching and grinding which can damage the teeth. And an unprecedented number of Americans are suddenly working from home, often wherever they can cobble together a makeshift workstation which can cause ergonomics issues — dentists say that poor posture during the day can translate into a grinding problem at night. Also, many people aren’t getting the restorative sleep they need because of restlessness and insomnia and all that tension goes straight to the teeth

 Coronavirus infections in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, fueling debates over masks and personal freedom after months in which the 2 states avoided the worst of the pandemic. The governors of both North Dakota and South Dakota have eschewed mask requirements, tapping into a spirit of
independence. Infections have been spurred recently by the reopening of schools and by mass gatherings, such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which drew hundreds of thousands of people from across the country to the small South Dakota town. North Dakota and South Dakota rank first and second, respectively, in the US in new
cases per capita over the past 2 weeks. The states have also posted some of the highest positivity rate for coronavirus tests in the last week — nearly 22%

 With courtrooms largely empty and civil dockets full because of the coronavirus shutdown, mediation and arbitration are in high demand. Employment lawyers, mediators, and arbitrators are busier than ever since coronavirus measures upended workplaces. But having to rely on mediation and arbitration to resolve cases has left many people in a terrible position, consumer and personal injury attorneys say, contending that such alternative dispute resolution favors corporations and employers. Civil trials, particularly in the largest counties, have been postponed, perhaps for months, leaving employment and other disputes in limbo. Among the most common questions from both employers and workers recently have been: Can employees refuse a recall to work and still collect unemployment? Can we keep furloughed or laid-off employees on our group health plan? Are employers able to reduce exempt employees’ salaries because of the business impact of the coronavirus? How can a company conduct a layoff or reduction in force? Can employees demand Covid-19 test results? How can a company help employees navigate unemployment during Covid-19?

 LA County reported an additional 816 cases and 11 deaths. Total are now 253,985 cases and 6,208 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 103,187/2,658; Long Beach 11,170/234; Carson 1,772/56; El Segundo 127/1; Gardena 1,202/47; Hawthorne 1,881/42; Hermosa Beach 201/4; Inglewood 2,762/86; Lawndale 608/10;
Lomita 236/9; PV Estates 92/2; Rancho PV 285/13; Redondo Beach 532/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,364/67

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, 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


Cruise at the Beach Final Car Show @ Ruby’s

September 13, 2020

Say is ain’t so……

I learned last week that Ruby’s on Harbor Drive in Redondo Beach would be closing it’s doors after 30= years. If that’s not sad enough, it would seem the weekly Cruise at the Beach car show is coming to an end as well.

It takes place today from from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

So sad…..


Covid-19 News Briefs for Saturday, September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020

 Drug developers are racing to create a Covid-19 vaccine, but a post-pandemic world won’t suddenly arrive when one is successfully developed. A return to normal living won’t come until “several months after a vaccine arrives,” said Dr. Fauci on CNN. That’s likely to be about a year away, as a successful vaccine still needs to be manufactured and distributed at a massive scale

 India, the country with the second-most confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world behind the US, reported a record surge of 97,570 new cases in 24 hours Saturday, pushing the nation’s total above 4.6 million cases. India also reported another 1,201 deaths Saturday, bringing total deaths to 77,472, the third highest in the world  This week, the US State Department downgraded its travel warning for Mexico — the news comes less than 2 weeks before the current border closure agreement is set to expire. The entire country is no longer under a Level 4 Do Not Travel warning. Instead, Mexico’s new status is Level 3 Reconsider Travel, along with specified advisories for individual regions. There are still Do Not Travel warnings for 5 states due to crime and kidnapping concerns

 Americans are learning more about risks associated with several parts of normal life that remain. Recent CDC studies documented health challenges in dining and daycare. One study found dining out was linked with higher infection rates in adults — adults with confirmed Covid-19 are twice as likely to have dined out at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming sick than those who tested negative, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality report. Another study documented children who were infected in daycare and spread the virus at home

 Across the country, college students’ mounting coronavirus outbreaks have become an urgent public health issue. Of the 25 hottest outbreaks in the US, communities heavy with college students represent 19 of them. They span the map from Georgia South University to the University of North Dakota, from Virginia Tech to Central Texas College. In some of the college towns, like Pullman, Washington, home to Washington State, students aren’t even taking classes in person, yet are still crowding apartments and filling local bars  The New York City teachers union warned it won’t let the nation’s largest school district reopen for in-person classes this month if the city doesn’t issue protective equipment, conduct testing, and clean schools properly. The return of public school student to classrooms was delayed from September 10 to September 21 so coronavirus safety precautions could be worked on further. However, the union is warning that they will not allow the reopening if their demands are not met

 A group of 78 researchers and doctors from Stanford Medical School are calling out former colleague and White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas for spreading what they characterized as “falsehoods and misrepresentation of science.” Atlas, who has a background in radiology was tapped last month as an adviser on the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already killed more than 191,000 people in the US. The radiologist and senior fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution has advocated against the use of masks and pushed the White House to adopt a controversial strategy, allowing young people to contract the coronavirus in hopes of achieving “herd immunity.” He doesn’t have any training or background in infectious diseases but is pushing for reopening schools and questioned the efficacy of masks

 The pandemic has phones ringing at Trans Lifeline, the only crisis hotline for transgender people operated entirely by transgender people. It has answered more than 65,000 calls over 6 years. But the need to social distance during the Covid-19 pandemic has amplified people’s sense of isolation and loneliness, creating new pressures for the 24/7 hotline. Calls in which people describe suicidal thoughts to operators have increased 89% since March

 California’s acting public health officer reassured educators across the state that they will have access to testing for coronavirus whenever their county allows in-person classes to resume. Schools will not be allowed to open for in-person classes until their county has been out of the highest tier on the state’s color-coded reopening framework for a least 14 days. However, some schools in the highest tier will still be able to submit waiver requests to resume in-person classes for “small cohorts” of students with disabilities

 The family of a San Quentin State Prison inmate who contracted coronavirus has filed the first pandemic-related death claim against the California correctional system, citing the botched transfer of infected prisoners as the cause of his death. 27 inmates and employees at San Quentin died of virus-related illnesses after 121 transfers from the California Institute for Men in Chino, which had become a coronavirus hotbed, were taken in. Before the May 30 transfer, none of the San Quentin inmates had tested positive for Covid-19, whereas the Chino prison had reported more than 600 cases and 9 deaths from coronavirus

 Hotels, restaurants, and other LA hospitality businesses are promoting packages for locals who want to get away but are too put off by the pandemic to board an airplane. The strategy may be working, with hotel occupancy rates in the LA region surpassing 50% in late August for the first time since state health officials closed hotels to all but essential workers 6 months ago. Airbnb and Vrbo, 2 popular short-term rental sites, have also seen an increase in local stays, with Airbnb reporting that the rate of travelers booking rentals within 300 miles of their homes jumped from 40% in February to 60% in May

 LA Mayor Garcetti instructed the city’s top managers on Friday to begin preparations for a potential layoff scenario which may be needed to weather the budget crisis sparked by Covid-19. City negotiators were also called to work with public employee unions on cost-cutting proposals, including the postponement or
cancellation of previously approved raises

 LA County reported an additional 1,177 cases and 29 deaths. Totals are now 253,176 cases and 6,197 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 102,835/2,658; Long Beach 11,134/233; Carson 1,765/56; El Segundo 127/1; Gardena 1,201/47; Hawthorne 1,874/42; Hermosa Beach 201/4; Inglewood 2,752/86; Lawndale 606/10; Lomita 236/9; Manhattan Beach 336/5; PV Estates 92/2; Rancho PV 282/13; Redondo Beach 531/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,359/67

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, 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


Covid-19 News Briefs for Friday, September 11, 2020

September 11, 2020

 The coronavirus pandemic has taken a harsh toll on the mental health of young Americans, according to a new poll that finds adults under 35 especially likely to report negative feelings or experience physical or emotional symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. A majority of Americans ages 18 through 34 — 56% — say they have at least sometimes felt isolated in the past month, compared with 4 in 10 older Americans, according to the latest Covid Response Tracking Study conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. 25% of young adults rate their mental health as fair or poor, compared with 13% of older adults, while 56% of older adults say their mental health is excellent or very good, compared with just 39% of young adults. In the midst of the pandemic, young adults are navigating life transitions such as starting college and finding jobs, all without being able to experience normal social activities that might be especially essential for people who are less likely to have already married and started their own families. Some young people are just beginning their adult lives amid a recession, and older members of the group are already experiencing their second recession

 New data out this week shows that more than 500,000 children in the US have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group said children represented 9.8% of all Covid-19 cases in the US, where more than 6.3 million total cases have been reported. The AAP reported there were
70,630 new child cases, a 16% increase over 2 weeks, between August 20 and September 3, which brings the national total to 513,415. The report said the cumulative death toll in the US for children due to the coronavirus is 103. It appears that severe illness due to Covid-19 is rare among children but health experts warned that kids can spread Covid-19

 People with both severe and milder cases of Covid-19 have reported continuing symptoms. Some studies of patients who have been hospitalized found that more than 70% reported continuing problems after the acute episode. In a survey of patients who did not require hospitalization, the CDC reported that 35% had not
returned to their usual state of health 2 to 3 weeks after a positive viral test. In the US and elsewhere, major research centers and medical organizations are now launching studies and registries of patients who have not recovered from Covid-19. To date, much of what is known about what has been called “long-Covid” comes from research led by patients themselves, often called “long-haulers.” In May, a research team from Body Politic, an online patient support community, released the results of a survey of 640 long-haulers, documenting a surprising array of symptoms

 When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Americans vastly scaled back their preventive health care, and there is little sign that this deferred care will be made up. Vaccinations dropped by nearly 60% in April, and no one was getting a colonoscopy, according to new data from the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute. The data, drawn from millions of health insurance claims, shows a consistent pattern, whether it was prostate screenings or contraceptives: Preventive care declined drastically this spring and, as of late July, had not yet recovered to normal levels. Many types of such care were still down by a third at the start of this summer as Americans remained wary of visiting hospitals and medical offices

 California officials on Thursday reported that more than 14,000 residents have died of Covid-19, but that new coronavirus cases continued to ebb statewide. The cumulative death toll rose to 14,021, but overall the state has seen deaths flatten out and new reported cases trend downward. Also, hospitalizations have declined, and the 14-day positivity rate is now at 4%, state officials report

 The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to overturn Governor Newsom’s directive limiting inclassroom instruction to slow the spread of Covid-19. During a private conference, the state’s highest court rejected without comment lawsuits brought by the Orange County Board of Education and others to reopen
schools statewide

 California State Universities, the nation’s largest university system, will continue with primarily online instruction for the remainder of the academic year amid the state’s ongoing coronavirus crisis. There will be some limited exceptions for classes that cannot be delivered remotely and on-campus housing will also be reduced. The announcement comes as universities such as San Diego State and Cal State Chico have had to backtrack on inperson classes and housing offerings because of recent coronavirus outbreaks

 California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued its largest fine for coronavirus health violations to a frozen food manufacturer in Vernon, as well as the company’s temporary employment agency for failing to take adequate steps to protect hundreds of workers from the virus. Cal/OSHA announced proposed penalties of $222,075 for Overhill Farms and $214,080 for Jobsource North America, alleging that both companies failed to install barriers, ensure works practiced physical distancing, and train employers on the dangers of the virus. Cal/OSHA also cited 11 employers in industries the included food processing, retail, agriculture, meatpacking, and healthcare, with proposed penalties ranging from $2,025 to $51,190

 Tens of thousands of low-income California seniors stopped getting home deliveries of free food just as Covid-19 cases and deaths were peaking, because of a century-old federal policy to include surplus cheese in government aid packages. When the pandemic stay-at-home orders began, seniors were able to have boxes of food delivered to them at home every month because federal regulators granted a 3-month reprieve from certain rules including the usual requirement to include cheese, the only perishable item. But since that waiver ended in July and officials wouldn’t extend it, refrigeration was required for the cheese which ended the at-home delivery

 The LA-based production company behind a Ben Affleck heist movie sued its insurer after it refused to extend coverage without excluding losses linked to Covid-19. According to the suit alleging breach of contract and fraud filed in US District Court in LA on Thursday, Chubb National Insurance, which provided Hoosegow Productions Inc. with a multimillion-dollar film producers risk policy, reneged on an agreement by refusing to extend coverage after the shoot was delayed. After the April production start date was derailed by the health crisis, the insurer said it would renew the policy only without covering losses linked to Covid-19, the producers alleged

 LA city leaders gathered Wednesday at City Hall to encourage Angelenos to download an app called SafePass, developed by the tech company behind the popular but controversial safety alert app Citizen. SafePass is a coronavirus contact tracing alert that works when users download the app giving it permission to use their
phone’s short-range Bluetooth signal. Then whenever the app detects another SafePass user nearby for more than 5 minutes, it logs that user as a contact. A user who tests positive for coronavirus can upload their test result into the app, which automatically sends out an alert to everyone logged as a contact — that alert is anonymous and only says that a user has been exposed and not who did the exposing. The users’ data is automatically deleted after 30 days. An Oxford University study found that 60% of a population needs to opt in for a Bluetooth-based app to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, with LA County’s army of manual contact tracers working in the background, LA leaders are betting that any additional contact tracing helps

 No campus in LA County will be allowed to reopen to all K-12 students until at least November, although schools can begin to offer small in-person classes for children with special needs at no more than 10% of capacity at one time, according to the LA County Health Dept. No districts are currently required to offer in-person services to students — and officials with both LAUSD and the district’s teachers union have said they are opposed to any fall campus reopening at this time, citing safety concerns

 A new analysis of medical records from UCLA hospitals and clinics suggest the coronavirus arrived earlier than thought. They documented an unmistakable uptick in patients seeking treatment for coughs and the increase began the week of December 22 and persisted through the end of February. Officials with the US CDC first recognized that the coronavirus had reached American shores in mid-January. By then, UCLA doctors may have treated dozens of Covid-19 patients without realizing it, the authors of the study wrote. The results of the new study show that data gleaned from clinic medical records can provide an early warning to emergency departments and hospital ICUs of what is to come and lead to better preparations, the UCLA team wrote

 A mobile coronavirus testing kiosk opened Thursday at Union Station with the aim of accommodating people who don’t have cars. Roughly 500 tests will be available each day from 9am to 3pm Wednesday through Sunday. Results should be available within 24 hours

 LA County reported an additional 1,115 cases and 43 deaths. Totals are now 252,066 cases and 6,171 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 102,380/2,649; Long Beach 11,088/230; Carson 1,760/56; El Segundo 127/1; Gardena 1,198/46; Hawthorne 1,869/42; Hermosa Beach 200/4; Inglewood 2,742/86; Lawndale 600/10; Lomita 236/9; Manhattan Beach 334/5; PV Estates 91/2; Rancho PV 282/13; Redondo Beach 528/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,354/67

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, 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


Summer Swing Nights Live Broadcast

September 11, 2020

In case you can’t make it to the Automobile Driving Museum Summer Swing Nights: Drive-In Edition at the Roadium on September 19, they will also offer a Live Broadcast option.

You can livestream the virtual broadcast of the show from the comfort of your couch!

Tickets are only $15.

For additional information and ticket purchase, visit the Eventbrite page at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-swing-nights-live-virtual-broadcast-tickets-101741383216.

Covid-19 News Briefs for Thursday, September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020

 The global death toll from the virus has surpassed 900,000 and the virus has sickened at least 27.8 million people as of Thursday morning. Seven months into the pandemic, the coronavirus has been detected in almost every country. The US has the highest number of cases, followed by India, which reported more than 95,000 new cases on Thursday, and Brazil. In deaths, the US is also first, with Brazil second, and India third. The pandemic is ebbing in some countries that were hit hard early on, but the number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide, with more than 200,000 reported each day on average. Cases are worryingly high in India, the US, and Israel. In Brazil, cases are high but appear to be decreasing

 The poll, from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, finds that the public’s trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions and the US’s top doctors, like Anthony Fauci, is rapidly dropping, particularly among Republicans. It also finds that a sizable percentage of Americans still hold a number of incorrect beliefs about the pandemic, and that less than half of Americans surveyed would want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 if a vaccine was available before November. The poll, which was conducted from August 28 to September 3, provides a striking glimpse into how the US government’s chaotic response to the coronavirus pandemic is sowing distrust among both Republicans and Democrats. It also reveals growing partisan divides about reliable sources of health
information

 The congressional stalemate over a new coronavirus relief package grew further entrenched Thursday as Senate Democrats blocked a slimmed-down Republican proposal that did not include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans, assistance for state governments, and other economic aid. Now prospects for any bipartisan agreement on another relief bill before the November election look dim

 The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week at 884,000, a sign that layoffs remain stuck at a historically high level 6 months after the viral pandemic flattened the economy. The latest figures released by the Labor Department Thursday coincide with other recent evidence that the job market’s improvement may be weakening after solid gains through spring and most of summer. The number of people seeking jobless aid each week still far exceeds the number who did so in any week on record before this year. Hiring has slowed since June, and a rising number of laid-off workers now say they regard their job loss as permanent. The number of people who are continuing to receive state unemployment benefits rose last week, after 5 weeks of declines, to 13.4 million, evidence that employers aren’t hiring enough to offset layoffs. Job postings have leveled off in the past month, according to the employment website Indeed

 Almost 41% of US adults avoided getting medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about Covid-19, including 12% who avoided urgent or emergency care, and 31% who avoided routine care, according to a new survey of almost 5,000 US adults conducted online during the last week of June. The consequences of delaying or avoiding routine medical care, while less immediate than missing urgent or emergency care, include early detection of new conditions, missed opportunities to manage chronic conditions, and missed routine vaccinations. The survey found that those most likely to skip urgent or emergency are those who are at increased risk for more severe Covid-19 disease

 There is some evidence that obesity itself can increase the likelihood of serious complications from a coronavirus infection. One study of more than 5,200 infected people, including 35% who were obese, found that the chances of hospitalization rose along with body mass index, even when taking into account other
conditions that could put them at risk. Obesity may be one reason some countries and communities are hit hard by the virus, researchers say. In the US, the obesity rate among adults has climbed for decades and is now at 42%. And the increased risk for serious Covid-19 illness appears more pronounced with extreme obesity. Carrying around extra weight strains the body, and that excess fat could limit the lung’s ability to expand and breathe. Another issue is chronic inflammation which can undermine the body’s defenses

 AstraZeneca’s suspension of final testing of its potential coronavirus vaccine while it investigates a volunteer’s illness shows there will be “no compromise” on safety in developing the shots, the director of the National Institute of Health told Congress on Wednesday. The trial’s suspension came just hours after AstraZeneca and 8 other drug makers issued an unusual pledge, vowing to uphold the highest ethical and scientific standards in development of their vaccines. The US has invested billions of dollars in efforts to quickly develop multiple vaccines against the coronavirus. But public fears that a vaccine is unsafe or ineffective could be disastrous, derailing the effort to vaccinate millions of Americans

 President Trump said he deliberately downplayed the coronavirus danger in public early this year because he didn’t want to create a panic. The disclosures came in 18 recorded interviews the President gave to journalist Bob Woodward between December and July for a book scheduled for publication Tuesday

 LA County reported an additional 1,239 cases and 42 deaths. Totals are now 251,024 cases and 6,128 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 101,939/2,640; Long Beach 11,039/227; Carson 1,749/56; El Segundo 126/1; Gardena 1,202/46; Hawthorne 1,868/42; Hermosa Beach 200/4; Inglewood 2,727/86; Lawndale 598/10; Lomita 236/9; Manhattan Beach 332/5; PV Estates 91/2; Rancho PV 278/13; Redondo Beach 527/9; Rolling Hills 11/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,348/67

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, 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


BCHD Survey Re: Aquatics Facility

September 10, 2020

Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) is looking for the community’s input this weekend on a potential aquatics facility as part of their proposed Healthy Living Campus master plan.

Current plans for the site on N. Prospect Avenue in Redondo Beach call for a 220-unit assisted living facility, medical office buildings, a Community “Wellness Pavilion” and an enhanced Center for Health & Fitness facility, which would include the potential aquatics center.

BCHD has retained Ballard*King & Associates (B*K) as an aquatic consultant. B*K is working to determine what should be included in an aquatic facility and considerations surrounding the costs associated with operating such a facility.

One component of B*K’s scope of service includes a community survey, which is available until Sunday evening at 6 p.m.

The survey, which takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BeachCitiesSurvey.

Covid-19 News Briefs for Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

 The White House administration intends to end coronavirus screenings of passengers arriving to the US from overseas, according to officials. The US began conducting enhanced screenings of passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, at select airports in January and added additional airports from high-risk countries. A TSA official said that of the 675,000 passengers screened at 15 airports, fewer than 15 had been identified as having Covid19

 AstraZeneca yesterday paused the late-stage trials for its coronavirus vaccine because of a suspected adverse reaction in a participant. Now it will investigate whether the vaccine caused the illness, which several people familiar with the situation said was transverse myelitis — an inflammation of the spinal cord that is often prompted by viral infections. This is the second time that AstraZeneca, which is developing its vaccine with the University of Oxford, has put its trials on hold. Another participant developed symptoms of transverse myelitis, researchers reported in July, but it was later attributed to an unrelated neurological illness. AstraZeneca’s vaccine has garnered attention as one of the most promising and advanced candidates

 The coronavirus targets the lungs foremost, but also the kidneys, liver, and blood vessels. Still, about half of patients report neurological symptoms, including headaches, confusion, and delirium, suggesting the virus may also attack the brain. A new study offers the first clear evidence that, in some people, the coronavirus invades brain cells, hijacking them to make copies of itself. The virus also seems to suck up all the oxygen nearby, starving neighboring cells to death. It’s unclear how the virus gets to the brain or how often it sets off this trail of destruction. Infection of the brain is likely to be rare, but some people may be susceptible because of their genetic backgrounds, a high viral load, or other reasons. If the brain does become infected, it could have a lethal
consequence, according to an immunologist at Yale University who led the work

 An estimated 300,000 migrant fishermen and other seafarers are languishing mostly forgotten on stranded vessels scattered across seas or in ports because of the pandemic, according to the International Transport Workers Federation, a London-based trade union. By comparison, there are usually 400,000 merchant sailors at sea year-round during normal times. The Philippines, which has a long maritime history, is at the center of the crisis because it supplies about a quarter of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers because of the limited jobs at home. Last year, those hired hands sent home $6.14 billion in remittances — a cornerstone of the Philippine economy. Unable to reach land because of entry restrictions, the crews toil on boats that are running out of drinking water and other essentials and their survival is now at stake. Many contracts have already ended but crew members are uncertain whether they will get paid while in quarantine at sea and worry about their families who depend on their salaries. As the global economy remains battered by the pandemic, maritime agencies warn of a potential increased risk of ship owners abandoning boats and their crew amid the mounting costs of maintaining their fleets

 As virus cases rise in Spain, some parents are resisting the blanket order from authorities for their children to return to school. More than half a million people have contracted coronavirus in Spain, and 29,500 have died, although the official record leaves out many who died in March and April who were not previously tested. With an average of 229 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 2 weeks, Spain has the highest rate of contagion in Western Europe. More than 8 million students in Spain are beginning the academic year this week and many parents say that funding is insufficient to hire more teachers and some schools just don’t have additional space — each classroom is only supposed to accommodate 25 children. And Spain has neither a legal framework nor systematized standards for home-schooling. Some parents are now demanding that online education be standardized with an official digital learning program that will help students keep up with coursework at least through December. They also say that laptops and other equipment should be distributed to narrow the technological divide among families

 A recent poll revealed that Latinos are more worried than other demographic groups about contracting coronavirus and being economically affected by it. As a result, most Latinos wear masks when they leave homes, sanitize frequently, and avoid large gatherings with strangers. But experts say that familial closeness,
often a strength for working-class Latino families who lean on each other to get by, can present a risk since small gatherings among family and friends can be just as dangerous as large parties. A May study from researchers in the US, China, and Australia published in the journal BMJ Global Health found that transmission of Covid-19 within families and close contacts account for the majority of epidemic growth. But among many, there is still a stubborn perception that contracting the virus is less risky among family

 Senate Republicans plan to vote later this week on another economic relief package for Americans dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic but the slimmed-down plan — which does not include new checks for individuals — is already a deal-breaker for Democrats, ensuring that the stalemate will continue. The 2 political parties have been mired in a standoff since House Democrats approved their own $3.4 trillion package in May

 In recent weeks, as students have returned to college campuses, thousands have become infected. And some colleges have responded by sending students home which may end up spreading the virus to dozens of other communities. These decisions to scatter students, rather than quarantine them on campus, have led to widespread criticism — Dr. Fauci said it was the worst thing you could do since it could seed different places with infection. However, there are no easy answers for colleges, because creating on-campus quarantines brings its own challenges. Still, many experts say that the colleges that chose to reopen their campuses despite the risks, often for financial reasons, have a moral responsibility to do better

 Small businesses stunted by coronavirus closures will be eligible for tax relief in California thanks to new legislation signed into law today. Governor Newsom signed a bill which expands Covid-related assistance programs specifically for California’s small business and establishes a hiring tax credit. Each small business that re-hired an employee once stay-at-home orders are lifted will receive a $1,000 credit toward their tax liability. The new relief is expected to cost California about $100 million

 A majority of LA households face serious financial problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Latino and Black residents bearing the brunt of the economic toll, according to a new poll conducted in the nation’s 4 largest cities. Some 56% of households polled in the city of LA reported having such financial problems, including 64% of households with annual income below $100,000. The survey offers further proof that the heaviest effect of the outbreak has fallen on Black and Latino households, with 52% and 71%, respectively, of these groups polled in LA reporting serious financial problems, compared with 37% of white households. The study found similar results among Black and Latino respondents in New York, Houston, and Chicago

 Nearly 2 weeks after their workouts were abruptly shut down because of positive cases of the virus, the USC football and men’s water polo programs have been cleared to return

 LA County recently released guidelines for Halloween: door-to-door trick-or-treating will not be recommended because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing. Also, trunk-or-treating events, where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats, will also not be recommended. Gatherings or parties with non-household members are not permitted, even if held outdoors, and neither are carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, or haunted house attractions. People can participate in online parties and contests, car parades that comply with public health guidance for vehicle-based parade, Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters, Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants, or Halloween-themed art installations at an outdoor museum, and decorating homes and yards

 LA County’s Public Health Director Dr. Ferrer reported that all key indicators of Covid-19 including case averages, test positivity rates, daily hospitalizations, average daily deaths, and case rates per 100,000 people are all down which is very positive news. However, the case and mortality rates continue to be disproportionately high for minority groups including Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, Latinos, and African Americans

 LA County reported an additional 671 cases and 61 deaths. Totals are now 2489,859 cases and 6,090 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 101,445/2,622; Long Beach 10,957/227; Carson 1,745/54; El Segundo 125/1; Gardena 1,192/44; Hawthorne 1,860/42; Hermosa Beach 199/4; Inglewood 2,719/85; Lawndale 595/10; Lomita 233/9; Manhattan Beach 332/5; PV Estates 90/2; Rancho PV 278/13; Redondo Beach 526/9; Rolling Hills 10/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,340/67

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, 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

Covid-19 News Briefs for Tuesday, September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

 A large-scale trial of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has been put on hold, after a participant in the UK appeared to have had a severe adverse reaction, according to a report tonight from STAT. Separately, 9 drug companies pledged today to “stand with science” and not release a coronavirus vaccine until it met rigorous safety and efficacy standards. Normally in competition with one another, the companies banded together in an effort to reassure the public that they would not bow to pressure and prematurely rush out a vaccine. The companies said they would follow guidance from agencies like the FDA and complete large clinical trials before any potential vaccine was released

 The Covid-19 pandemic has slammed many of the immigrants who bused tables, picked crops, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in factories. But many have kept working in what are considered essential, if risky, jobs. And through the summer, Mexican immigrants living in the US sent home record sums of money to their families, defying predictions that remittances would plummet. Mexico received $3.53 billion in remittances in July — most of it from the US — a 7% increase over the same month in 2019, according to Mexico’s central bank data. In March, remittances hit their highest level since record-keeping began in 1995, surging 36% to $4 billion. The funds are a major help for the Mexican economy and low-income families across the country, supporting approximately 1.5 million families, according to the Mexican government, and advocates say that workers in the US made a great effort because they know their families in Mexico do not have access to good health systems during the pandemic

 State and local governments across the US are facing a severe budget crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic. To compensate, they’re cutting back on health care, education, unemployment benefits, and more, at a time when those programs are in high demand. Economists warn that could prolong the recession. Local
leaders are hoping for aid from the next relief bill in Congress

 More Covid patients are forgoing hospitals and choosing to be treated in their homes where they feel safest. Across the US “hospital at home” programs are taking off, thanks to communications technology, portable medical equipment, and teams of willing doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians, and paramedics. The programs
represent a small slice of the 35 million US hospitalizations each year, but they are growing fast with boosts from Medicare and private health insurers. And they stand to become more popular with consumers hooked on home delivery and other internet-connected conveniences, as well as reducing strains on medical centers and
easing patients’ fears. Eligible patients typically are acutely ill with common conditions such as chronic heart failure, diabetes complications, respiratory ailments, infections, and even Covid-19, but they don’t need roundthe-clock intensive care. Instead, patients are linked 24/7 to command centers via video and monitoring devices that transmit their vital signs. They get several home visits from a dedicated medical team and can press an emergency button any time for instant help. Research on such programs over the last 25 years shows that patients recover faster, have fewer complications, and are more satisfied, while costs can be one-third lower

 Sales of used cars have taken off during the pandemic, as many people try to avoid public transit. That’s driving the price up: In July, the average value of used cars jumped more than 16%

 An unwritten rule for music teachers is to “get them young, or not at all” and educators fear they will lose a generation of music enthusiasts because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In-person schooling is vital to music lessons, especially for beginners. Now, music teachers throughout the county find themselves improvising to try to keep students engaged enough to want to continue. The emphasis now is on the non-performance aspect of music — how to listen to music, how to recognize patterns in the notes, and how to create their own song snippets. Research has shown that an arts education improves school climate and culture, and increases student and parent engagement — ultimately contributing to improved academic achievement

 Boaters in San Diego County are working with officials to amend a public health order they say is unfair because it restricts who can come aboard private vessels during the pandemic, but does not apply to commercial operations. Currently, recreational boating is allowed but only if everybody on board is from the same household. The silver lining has been the “small boat” program and beginner classes for some boat clubs has gained popularity

 Orange County has officially moved into the second stage of California’s 4-tiered reopening system which allows businesses, including movie theaters, restaurants, and place of worship to ease restrictions and open in limited capacity

 LA County officials reported surprising news regarding the homeless population — there have been 1,589 cases of Covid-19 and 41 deaths among an estimated 66,000 homeless individuals. Some public health researchers had predicted up to 10 times as many deaths. The county had moved vulnerable homeless people off the
streets and into 4,000 hotel and motel rooms, and the city of LA turned shuttered recreation centers into homeless shelters for 1,000. Hundreds of hand-washing stations and portable toilets were put up at encampments across the city and county outreach workers have done 20,000 health checks and administered 30,000 coronavirus tests to more than 21,000 homeless people. Also, 72% of the county’s homeless population live outside in tents, vehicles, and sleeping bags, which probably kept them safer from Covid-19 than being inside where social distancing is harder to do. However, in Orange County, advocates for the homeless are
concerned about an increase in deaths since the pandemic — 146 homeless people have died from April through August, compared to 82 homeless deaths a year ago. The additional deaths may be linked to Covid-19 and some are blaming insufficient outreach efforts

 LA County reported an additional 439 cases and 7 deaths. Totals are now 249,241 cases and 6,036 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 101,189/2,598; Long Beach 10,927/227; Carson 1,741/54; El Segundo 125/1; Gardena 1,182/43; Hawthorne 1,858/42; Hermosa Beach 199/4; Inglewood 2,714/85; Lawndale 593/10; Lomita 232/9; Manhattan Beach 331/5; PV Estates 89/2; Rancho PV 277/13; Redondo Beach 525/9; Rolling Hills 9/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,339/68

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, 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


El Segundo Incident Survey

September 8, 2020

The City of El Segundo requests El Segundo residents and people who work in El Segundo complete an Incident Survey to help determine best practices and areas for improvement in incident response.

The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ElSegundoPublic.


COVID-19 News Briefs for Monday, September 7, 2020

September 7, 2020

 India’s recorded coronavirus case total has surpassed that of Brazil, making India the second worst-affected country in the world after the US. India overtook Brazil on Monday after registering 90,802 fresh cases — the highest single-day increase any country has recorded so far during the pandemic. India’s total cases are now more than 4.2 million. The caseload is lower than that of the US by about 2 million, but India is where the virus is spreading at the fastest pace. For about a month, India has been recording the largest number of new cases of any country. About 1,000 people are dying every day after testing positive for the coronavirus and the country’s total Covid-19 death toll is 71,642, the third highest in the world after the US and Brazil. India’s coronavirus mortality rate is 1.7% which is among the lowest of the worst-hit countries. But only about 1 in 5 deaths in India is medically certified so Covid-19 deaths could be substantially under-counted  The number of air travelers climbed going into the Labor Day holiday weekend — enough to set a new pandemicera high. The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 968,673 people on Friday of the weekend. For comparison, the agency saw nearly 2.2 million people on the same weekday a year ago. On Saturday, the amount of travelers were far less: TSA only screened 664,640 people compared to 1.7 million the year before

 Labor Day celebrations were in full swing this weekend — and many included the large crowds of people health experts feared would form. In San Francisco, city officials announced on Sunday morning they would be closing the parking lot at Ocean Beach after a gathering celebrating Burning Man culture attracted more than 1,000 people. California is sweltering under a dangerous heat wave that was spreading triple-digit temperatures over much of the state, raising concerns about power outages and the spread of the coronavirus as throngs of people packed beaches and mountains for relief

 Before Covid-19, suppliers of goods routinely relied on trade credit insurance to get the reassurance they needed to design products, receive orders, and ship to retailers. Now, with the pandemic creating so much economic uncertainty, many retailers are struggling and credit insurers are unwilling to take on the risk. Many insurers will provide protection only on orders to big box stores and others that have been able to withstand the pandemic, leaving in the lurch a huge number of small and medium-size retailers. Without the safety net, suppliers — 60% of which have revenues of $20 million or less, are starting to make hard choices of whether to maintain their current production level or cut back on orders to minimize the risk. If suppliers cannot get enough credit insurance to cover potential losses if the stores can’t pay for the goods they’ve ordered, they would be on the hook for unpaid bills. But not shipping the goods to retailers means losing sales. The problem will only get worse if retailers can’t stock their shelves and shoppers can’t find what they want heading into the crucial holiday season

 State officials will be sending a $900 supplemental unemployment benefit to jobless residents — but many will not get the assistance right away, and nearly 200,000 people are not expected to get it at all. The lump-sum payment covers 3 weeks of benefits retroactive to the week that ended August 1, at the rate of $300 per week and is paid for by the federal government. An earlier federal program provided a $600 weekly supplemental benefit on top of normal state unemployment checks, but that program expired in July. With Congress deadlocked over a proposal to extend that $600 benefit, a presidential executive order authorized $300 in weekly supplements, but with no guarantee of continuing beyond 3 weeks. The state EDD said it is starting to send the $900 out Monday to 3.1 million people who were receiving at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits and had certified they were unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic

 LA County reported an additional 494 cases and 25 deaths. Totals are now 248,821 cases and 6,030 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 101,051/2,593; Long Beach N/A; Carson 1,737/54; El Segundo 124/1; Gardena 1,181/43; Hawthorne 1,856/42; Hermosa Beach 198/4; Inglewood 2,708/85; Lawndale 590/10; Lomita 232/9; Manhattan Beach 330/5; PV Estates 89/2; Rancho PV 274/13; Redondo Beach 525/9; Rolling Hills 9/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,336/68

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


South Coast Botanic Garden New Fall Hours

September 7, 2020

As the end of summer nears, the sun is setting earlier and earlier each day in the Garden. To avoid visitors having to make their way through the Garden’s 87 acres in the dark of night, the South Coast Botanic Garden is adjusting the extended summer hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to close one hour earlier. The new hours for the month of September are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the last entry into the Garden at 6:30 p.m.

These new hours will also affect the September dog-walking hours, which will continue on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month (September 9 and 23) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. While those hours are shortened, they are excited to announce that the fall dog-walking hours will be the second Sunday of the month from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These extended dog-walking hours will take place October 11 and November 8.

Also a reminder that members and non-members alike need to reserve tickets before visiting to ensure there is space available (they do sell out).

Stay tuned for some VERY exciting announcements!

For additional information, visit the website at https://southcoastbotanicgarden.org/.

The South Coast Botanic Garden is locate at 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes Peninsula CA 90274.


COVID-19 News Briefs for Sunday, September 6, 2020

September 6, 2020

 The UN warned that the first famines of the coronavirus era could soon hit 4 chronically food-deprived conflict areas — Yemen, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The risks of famines in these areas have been intensified by natural disasters, economic shocks, and public health crises, all compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. Together, these factors are endangering the lives of millions of women, men, and children, according to a letter to members of the UN Security Council on Friday

 A medical team at a Barcelona hospital is experimenting with short beach visits for Covid-19 patients after long and sometimes traumatic ICU stays. It is part of a program to humanize ICUs that the group had been experimenting with before the coronavirus hit Spain. Since restarting the program in early June, doctors said that even 10 minutes at the beach seems to improve a patient’s well-being. The team wants to take this anecdotal evidence further, and see whether such outdoor trips can help in the mid- or long-term recovery of Covid-19 patients

 Santiago, the capital of Chile and home to 7 million people, had imposed an overnight curfew more than 5 months ago to curtail coronavirus infections and has had an unanticipated side effect — incursions by mountain lions onto suburban and urban streets now devoid of nighttime traffic and noise. Authorities have captured 7 pumas and surveillance videos, cell phone footage, and witness accounts all suggest that additional mountain lions are probably prowling around town. No pandemic-era attacks on humans have been recorded, and there has been only 1 reported case of a dog being eaten. Across the globe, stay-at-home orders have spawned stories of wildlife boldly venturing into deserted urban areas. In California, vehicular collisions have been a major source of mountain lion mortality and a June study found that reduced traffic from stay-at-home orders beginning in March probably contributed to a 58% reduction of road deaths in California

 In a rush to gain a coronavirus vaccine edge, every major spy service around the globe is trying to find out what everyone else is up to. The pandemic has prompted 1 of the fastest peacetime mission shifts in recent times for the world’s intelligence agencies, according to interviews with current and former intelligence officials and others tracking the espionage effects. Nearly all of the US adversaries intensified their attempts to steal American research while Washington, in turn, has moved to protect the universities and corporations doing the most advanced work

 While the federal PPP program was supposed to be a tool for keeping workers employed, experts, academicians, and union leaders say loopholes and flaws in the program allow businesses to accept millions of dollars in forgivable loans without retaining or recalling most of the workers. The program requires loan recipients to use at least 60% of the money on payroll and lets employers wait until as late as December to spend that money on payroll. If the recipient doesn’t follow the guidelines, the loan is no longer forgivable — but it converts to a lowinterest loans that is cheaper than loans offered by traditional lenders. An early analysis of the program by S&P Global concluded that more than 150 businesses that received millions in PPP loans have announced plans to lay off thousands of employees, which is within the rules of the government program. The loophole is that if companies don’t intent to apply for loan forgiveness the money becomes a loan with an interest rate of 1% — much lower than a Small Business Administration loan which can range from 5.5% to 8% — with 2-5 years to repay the PPP loan

 As schools around the country debate how to reopen safely, a growing number of Catholic schools — already facing declining enrollments and donations from before the pandemic — are shutting down for good. About 150 Catholic schools have closed, according to the National Catholic Educational Association, equal to about 2% of the 6,183 schools that were run last year. The number of closures is at least 50% higher this year than in previous years. For many schools, the coronavirus became the mortal strike after years of declining enrollments which peaked in the early 1960s in the US at 5.2 million. Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year was down to 1.7 million

 Psychologists and neuroscientists say that because of the pandemic, we are subtly and inexorably losing our facility and agility in social situations — whether we are aware of it or not. The signs are everywhere: people over-sharing on Zoom, overreacting or misconstruing one another’s behavior, longing for but not really enjoying contact with others. Experts say there are biological reasons for these feelings and it is not a pathology or mental disorder — failing to interact with others when you are lonely leads to negative cognitive, emotional, and physiological effects. As we gradually re-emerge from our confinement and widen our social circles, people will inevitably be changed so “give yourself and everyone else a break and have patience for your own and other people’s weirdness,” according to a British physician who spent a year at a remote post in Antarctica

 The pandemic is the most likely explanation for drivers taking advantage of more open roads and speeding. In California, more than 15,000 tickets were issued from mid-March through August 19 for speed exceeding 100 mph, more than double the same period a year ago. That includes a continuing spike from May on

 San Diego State University announced that students must remain in dorms over the Labor Day weekend, due to the rise in Covid-19 cases. The order was effective 10pm on Saturday through 6am on Tuesday. The edict came 1 day after the number of students who tested positive jumped by 120, to the 184 mark. Officials said that the county is investigating multiple Covid-19 clusters within the university. About 8,000 of the roughly 35,500 students enrolled at San Diego State returned to campus for the start of the fall semester on August 24, with most to attend classes with hands-on labs. No known cases have been reported among university faculty, staff, visitors, or vendors. In the US, at least 51,000 coronavirus cases and at least 60 deaths from the virus can be traced to American colleges and universities. according to a NY Times

 LA County reported an additional 798 cases and 5 deaths. Totals are now 248,334 cases and 6,005 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 100,833/2,583; Long Beach 10,927/227; Carson 1,732/54; El Segundo 123/1; Gardena 1,177/43; Hawthorne 1,852/42; Hermosa Beach 197/4; Inglewood 2,702/84; Lawndale 590/10; Lomita 231/9; Manhattan Beach 329/5; PV Estates 89/2; Rancho PV 273/13; Redondo Beach 524/9; Rolling Hills 9/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,335/68

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

BCHD Healthy Living Campus Accurate Information

September 6, 2020

Beach Cities Health District CEO Tom Bakaly sent an email to elected officials, BCHD Board and committee members and the Community Working Group to address some misinformation that is circulating in parts of the community about BCHD’s Healthy Living Campus. The BCHD team is working hard to have the community participate in the planning process, so it is important that they have accurate information, otherwise the discourse breaks down and the community-focus they’re striving for can get undermined.

The refined draft Healthy Living Campus master plan was presented at the June 17, 2020 board of directors meeting—developed from more than 60 meetings, attended by more than 550 community members and drawing more than 1,000 comments regarding individual elements of the campus since 2017.

The Board endorsed a project description to continue the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process ⁠— originally started in June 2019 ⁠— with the more compact Healthy Living Campus Master plan as the basis of the project description, which will inform the public and project decision-makers about significant environmental effects and identify possible ways to minimize or avoid those effects.

As happens with any public project, some facts about the Draft Master Plan and BCHD, in general, have been misunderstood, and in some cases, intentionally misrepresented. While we hope that you have already been able to identify and counter these claims with accurate information, we are going to begin periodically providing facts to address some of the most misleading statements:

False Claim: BCHD Board Members have approved the project.
Truth: The project has not been approved, and a vote to consider the project won’t be conducted until the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is complete. The BCHD Board has only endorsed a project description to move forward with the EIR.

False Claim: The project description provided in the Notice of Preparation (NOP) cannot be adjusted at the beginning of the EIR process.
Truth: The NOP provides a very broad project description for purposes of determining which types of environmental analysis must be conducted as part of the EIR. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process anticipates that the project description might change in response to scoping comments. When the final EIR is released to the public – and prior to BCHD Board review of the project – is when the project description will be finalized.

False Claim: The new plans feature more square footage.
Truth: The overall square footage of the proposed buildings decreased 18% from the 2019 Draft Master Plan to the 2020 Draft Master Plan. The footprint of the project has also decreased and has shifted closer to the Vons shopping center, to address concerns expressed by nearby residents. https://www.bchdcampus.org/campus

False Claim: The 2020 Draft Master Plan does not include the Center for Health and Fitness.
Truth: The Center for Health & Fitness is included in Phase 2 of the project.

False Claim: BCHD has harmed the surrounding community for 60 years.
Truth: BCHD has served the health of our community for more than 60 years, our preventive health programs and services earned visits from the U.S. Surgeon General and L.A. County Department of Public Health and garnered acclaim. A report by the Little Hoover Commission, California’s Independent State Oversight Agency, cited Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) as a “model for transitioning California healthcare districts to preventive care.” Visit our Community Impact page and our recent LiveWell Kids childhood obesity Community Health Report and Release for more information.

False Claim: BCHD doesn’t answer Public Records Acts requests
Truth: Of course, BCHD answers Public Records Acts requests, but it can be quite time-consuming. We have received nearly 250 Public Records Act requests in 2020, including 195 solely from one Community Working Group member. Since 2017, 319 requests have been received and 256 have been closed.

False Claim: BCHD has mismanaged funds and the budget is murky.
Truth: BCHD’s budgetary practices are available to the public online and the budget is reviewed by its resident advisory Finance Committee and discussed at public Board meetings. An annual report with an overview is also mailed to Beach Cities households each year. Budgets are submitted annually to the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers for review. BCHD continues to be the only California health district to meet these standards of excellence and has received 16 CSMFO Excellence or Meritorious Awards since the 2007-2008 fiscal year. BCHD is also the recipient of a Transparency Certificate of Excellence from the Special District Leadership Foundation.

As part of the master planning process, this week we will release an aquatics survey to help determine programs, what should be included and considerations surrounding the costs associated with operating the proposed aquatic facility. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete the survey here.

We will continue to keep you updated as we get closer to the release of the Draft EIR at the end of 2020/early 2021. Related to that, environmental exploratory work on the Flagler Lane lot was conducted in August and now, the Gas Company is using the lot to store equipment through January 2021.

If you have questions about that topic or any other public statements you have seen or heard, please feel free to reach out to me.

In health,

Tom Bakaly
Chief Executive Officer
Tom.Bakaly@bchd.org
(310) 374-3426, ext. 118

COVID-19 News Briefs for Saturday, September 5, 2020

September 5, 2020

 Globally, there are 26 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 876,000 people have died. The US has 6.2 million cases and over 188,000 deaths, according to date from Johns Hopkins University

 Russian scientists have belatedly published first results from early trials into the experimental Sputnik V vaccine, which received government approval last month but drew considerable criticism from experts, as the shots had only been tested on several dozen people before being widely administered. In a report published in the jornal Lancet on Friday, developers of the vaccine said it appeared to be safe and to prompt an antibody response in all 40 people tested in the second phase of the study within 3 weeks. However, the authors noted that participants were only followed for 42 days, the study sample was small, and there was no placebo or control vaccine used. 1 part of the safety trial included only men and the study involved people in their 20s and 30s, so it is unclear how the vaccine might work in older populations most at risk of the more severe complications of Covid-19

 The federal government has told states to prepare for a coronavirus vaccine to be ready to distribute by November 1, a timeline that has raised concern among public health experts about an “October surprise” — a vaccine approval driven by political considerations ahead of a presidential election, rather than science. In a letter to governors dated August 27, the director of the US CDC said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson Corp. A handful of drug companies competing to be among the first to develop coronavirus vaccines are planning to release a joint pledge meant to reassure the public that they will not seek premature approvals. Their statement, which has not been finalized, is expected to say that the companies will not release any vaccine that does not follow rigorous efficacy and safety standards. The manufacturers that are said to have signed the letter include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi

 Thousands of Black and Hispanic Americans could go uncounted in the nation’s census this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and other disruptions that discouraged households in poor and heavily minority neighborhoods from filling out their forms. In 63% of census tracts, fewer people provided initial responses this year than in 2010, a USA Today analysis found. Response rates fell particularly in tracts with high concentrations of Black or Latino residents, large percentages of families qualifying for government benefits, or low levels of access to broadband internet. People of color and poor families are undercounted every census. But Covid-19 delayed delivery of Census questionnaires for hard-to-reach populations during the spring quarantine and delayed operations since then to reach households that failed to respond

 Mail balloting began in the presidential election Friday as North Carolina started sending out more than 600,000 ballots to voters — responding to a massive spike in requests that has played out across the country as voters look for a safer way to cast ballots during the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts have predicted that coronavirus concerns are likely to push tens of millions of voters to cast ballots by mail for the first time, transforming the way the election is conducted and the vote is counted

 During the coronavirus shutdown, telehealth accounted for more than 40% of primary care visits for patients with traditional Medicare, up from a tiny 0.1% before the public health emergency. Medicare covers more than 60 million people, including those aged 65 and older and younger disabled people. A recent poll found more than 70% of older adults are interested in using telehealth for follow-ups with their doctor, and nearly twothirds feel comfortable with ideoconferencing. But privacy was an issue and of those who tried telehealth, 4 out of 5 were concerned that the doctor couldn’t physically examine them, and 64% worried that the quality wasn’t as good. However, advocates see opportunities for expanded Medicare telehealth including: improving mental health care; increasing access for people living in remote communities, low income urban areas, and nursing homes; and improving coordination of care for people with chronic health conditions

 700 passengers have been banned from flying on the nation’s largest airlines because they ignored the requirement to wear a mask. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, all major carriers in the US require that passengers over the age of 2 wear face coverings during flights except when drinking, eating, or taking medicine. Airlines cannot fine violators because federal regulators have rebuffed requests from airline workers, lawmakers, and others to adopt a federal mask mandate

 Citing coronavirus safety concerns, the leader of the LA teachers union said Friday it opposes reopening campuses for small in-person classes or 1-on-1 services for students who are disabled or learning English, even though county health officials have cleared the way to do so. Some smaller districts in LA County are making efforts to bring back students with special needs. Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified said that teacher participation would be voluntary and their plan is to pilot the small-group option by offering instruction to older disabled students with classes. Long Beach Unified School District is also reviewing the guidelines and collaborating with their labor partners

 Because the holiday coincides with a heat wave, local officials in beach communities are bracing for an influx of visitors. Public health officials have described the weekend as a crucial test of whether Californians can slow the spread of the coronavirus by moderating their individual behaviors. Hermosa Beach had already contracted with a private consulting firm to help its police department enforce an ordinance requiring masks, and on Saturday through Monday, it will boost the number of contract health officers from 4 to 6. Manhattan Beach also uses a contracted firm as well as a private security company to enforce face coverings. They will be working through the weekend, focusing on the Strand and the city’s parks and downtown areas

 LA County reported an additional 1,196 cases and 24 deaths. Totals are now 247,542 cases and 6,000 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 100,538/2,582; Long Beach 10,852/227; Carson 1,726/54; El Segundo 123/1; Gardena 1,169/43; Hawthorne 1,849/42; Hermosa Beach 195/4; Inglewood 2,696/84; Lawndale 590/10; Lomita 231/9; Manhattan Beach 326/5; PV Estates 89/2; Rancho PV 272/13; Redondo Beach 521/9; Rolling Hills 9/0; Rolling Hills Estates 40/2; Torrance 1,329/68

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