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Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Daily Digest

26 Jun 2020
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Today was one of the biggest COVID-19-related news days in quite a while, so let’s get right to the links: • Reopening processes around the country—and in some parts of California—are coming to a halt or being reversed, due to increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. In Texas and Florida, bars are being closed, and other business are being restricted. • San Francisco was planning on allowing hair salons, outdoor bars and other businesses to open on Monday. That move has been delayed indefinitely. • And most worrisome locally: For the first time since the reopening process began, the state has told a county that it needs to re-impose a strict stay-at-home order—Imperial County, our neighbors to the southeast. And another neighboring county, San Bernardino, is…
25 Jun 2020
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In response to yesterday’s Daily Digest, I received this email from a reader, verbatim: You read so old lady at times, but the wearing of masks is important but some people cannot and you never say that? Along with chiding the reader for his ageism and sexism with the “old lady” remark, I responded that the number of people who truly can’t wear masks is small, and that many of those people can wear other forms of a face coverings, like a shield. The back and forth went another pointless round which I shan’t recap here. Nonetheless … you know what? This reader is right. There are some people who can’t wear face masks. So, to those of you out there (aside from this cranky…
24 Jun 2020
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Before we get to the links, I’d like to briefly discuss face coverings. The COVID-19 projections by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) have been among the most lauded from the start of this whole mess—and the people behind the projections recently added a new metric: universal mask use. And, boy, are the results stunning. Here in California, as of today’s reports, 5,632 people have died from COVID-19. According to the IMHE models, that number—if we keep on our current track—will double, reach 11,631, by Oct. 1. However, if California could get “95 percent mask usage in public in every location, reaching levels seen in Singapore,” the projections show 8,745 deaths by Oct. 1. That’s a difference of 2,886 people.…
23 Jun 2020
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Happy Tuesday, everyone. Let’s get right to it: • The city of Palm Springs announced today that an employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, and that all employees who had direct contact with the employee are being tested and quarantined at home. My two cents: Don’t be concerned by announcements like this; take them as a good sign: We know the virus is out there, and diligent actions like this will help stop the spread. • The deadline to apply for $33 million in rental assistance—up to $3,500 per household—is just two days away. Get details and the application here. • Meanwhile, some more shady counting is going down in Florida, as the Department of Health has told hospitals to decrease the numbers of…
22 Jun 2020
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Happy Monday, everyone. I’d like to start off the week, to use that old cliché, by tooting our own horn and shining a spotlight on two recent Independent stories. The first one, posted at CVIndependent.com earlier today, looks at the fact that thousands of Coachella Valley families lack reliable internet access—which presents big problems, especially in the middle of a pandemic, when students can’t go to physical schools. “These are the families and the students who can least afford for their children not to be engaged, (which could) ultimately widen the achievement gap,” said local Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “Someone called this a civil rights issue—because without (broadband), you are severely disadvantaged.” In addition to Garcia, staff writer Kevin Fitzgerald talked to all three local school…
19 Jun 2020
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Happy Juneteenth, everyone. Here’s today’s news: • Gov Gavin Newsom said today that he intends for the statewide face-coverings order to be persuasive—but didn’t rule out punishment, via the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “We’re not looking to fine people. We’re looking to educate people, encourage people,” Newsom said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And to the extent that people flaunt and abuse, which may be the exception, then we have many tools in the tool kit.” • It’s a good thing the state is willing to find ways to enforce the ordinance if needed. Later in that article, the Orange County sheriff said he didn’t think it was the job of law enforcement to make…
18 Jun 2020
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It’s now the law: Californians must wear face coverings while they’re in public. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the mandate—something this newspaper called on the governor to do two days ago—earlier today, as confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. More people are hospitalized in Riverside County—which rescinded a mask order on May 9—and the Coachella Valley with COVID-19 than ever before. The number of hospitalizations in Riverside County rose by almost 11 percent in one day, to 285, as of yesterday. In the Coachella Valley, also as of yesterday, the three hospitals reported 108 COVID-19 patients, up from a previous all-time high of 103 the day before. The statewide order replaces a patchwork mess of local orders—some cities and counties required masks, while others…
17 Jun 2020
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In yesterday’s Daily Digest, I mentioned that I’d ask Riverside County officials about the alarmingly high COVID-19 positivity rate, as reported on the county’s latest weekly District 4 report. (District 4 consists of the Coachella Valley and extends over to Blythe.) To repeat what I wrote yesterday: “The positivity rate is up to a disturbing 16 percent. However … if you divide the number of positives (345) by the number of tests (4,840), you get the positivity rate—and while the report explains that there’s a lag because tests results can take 3-5 days to come in, the difference between 345 divided by 4,840, or 7.1 percent, and 16 percent is so massive that it doesn’t seem possible for all these numbers to be correct; it’s…