Good morning.

(Don’t get California Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Responding to an alarming increase in coronavirus hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced a major rollback of California’s reopening, ordering bars and indoor dining closed in the state’s hardest-hit counties and banning indoor operations in wineries, zoos, movie theaters and museums.

The closures, which will remain in place for at least three weeks, cover 19 counties representing nearly three-quarters of the state’s 40 million people.

“The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” Mr. Newsom said in a video news conference, adding that he was establishing “Enforcement Strike Teams” that will work with local authorities to compel compliance of all public health orders.

Hospitalizations in California have increased 51 percent from two weeks ago and the state reported 110 deaths on Wednesday, its second-highest number during the pandemic.

Read more on the virus in California here.

Today we have a dispatch from students at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. The New York Times is collaborating with the school on coverage of the coronavirus in California.

With resilience and a sense of duty, these workers in the San Francisco Bay Area are performing vital services even as the pandemic and protests swirl around them.

The text is by Aashna Malpani and Deena Sabry, and the photographs are by Stephanie Penn and Ms. Malpani.

Andreus Oliver, Budtender at Barbary Coast Dispensary

As customers walk into the Barbary Coast Dispensary in San Francisco, Andreus Oliver greets most of them by name.

The room around him is trimmed in a rich dark brown wood with plush red velvet sofas — a callback to the decadent vices of San Francisco’s red-light district in the 19th century.

Deemed essential services, dispensaries like Mr. Oliver’s have been open through most of the pandemic. Protocols for protecting workers and customers against the virus have become routine.

Mr. Oliver, for one, wears a mask at all times, and hands out fresh masks to any patron who shows up without one. In between conversations with patrons, who include patients who have cancer and epilepsy, Mr. Oliver washes his hands and sanitizes the countertops.

He is an unabashed cannabis advocate who seizes every opportunity to extol its virtues as a pain reliever.

“I love making sure people get the medicine they need.”

Nicholas Mastrelli, son of the owner of Molinari Delicatessen

It is noontime and San Franciscans are already lining up for their fix of Italian delicacies from Molinari Delicatessen. A fourth-generation family-owned deli in the city’s Little Italy, Molinari has been in business for over 100 years.

The use of face masks, coupled with scorching heat, is making everyone a little tense. It doesn’t take long for an argument to break out over what the government-mandated six-foot distance should look like.

“There’s a little more fear in the air,” said Nicholas Mastrelli, whose father owns the deli.

The deli is stocked with many kinds of pastas, olive oils, cured hams and wine. Its walls are adorned with photos of Mr. Mastrelli’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father. Only eight people are allowed in at a time these days, and customers without face masks are turned away.

Fiercely loyal to their deli, some customers are leaving bigger tips. One customer made Mr. Mastrelli a custom mask bearing the name of his deli and an Italian flag.

Paul Binion, bus driver at Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

In ordinary times, riders on this bus would have no reason to know that their driver, Paul Binion, is also a professional paintballer.

But during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Binon’s passion for paintballing was hard to miss. To protect himself on the job, he wore the thick winter gloves and mask he wears when paintballing.

Driving the 79 bus from Rockridge to El Cerrito is a high-risk undertaking, even though he sits in a different compartment from the passengers. It’s the end of the day that he worries about, when he must close the windows.

“Now, somebody could be coughing, sneezing or whatever the case would be,” he said. “He’d get all on the window. I touched the window to close it because that’s what I’m supposed to do. Or I get written up.”

His paintball moniker, “DidItHurt,” is well-known in Northern California, where he’s a Division 5 player for the Sacramento DMG. He loves the sport so much that he sends care packages to kids interested in paintball across the globe.

Ashley Grace Fisher, mental health nurse at Bay Area Community Services

Fear of the coronavirus and racism have seeped into the multigenerational home in Suisun City where Ashley Fisher lives with her two sons, her mother and her 81-year-old grandmother.

She started her job as a nurse coordinator at Bay Area Community Services in March, just as the San Francisco Bay Area began sheltering in place. The nonprofit center provides mental health care and housing services to the homeless in the San Francisco area.

Because she is considered an essential worker, Ms. Fisher has continued to work through the pandemic, even though her mother and grandmother both have health problems that make them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

That, combined with the killing of George Floyd, have made this a particularly stressful time for her.

She worries about what will happen to her sons, aged 3 and 17, in a country where violence against Black men is so pervasive.

  • Updated June 30, 2020

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

Her youngest son doesn’t understand the events of recent weeks, she says, but she’s worrying for him.

“The fact that I can’t protect him from the ugliness of the world is so sad.”

Betty Martinez, caretaker for the elderly at Alameda Social Services

Betty Martinez works for Alameda County Social Services as a caretaker for elderly and disabled adults.

“I think about the older people that don’t have anyone to help them,” Ms. Martinez said. “That’s frightening to be like at a very vulnerable state in your life and not having anyone help you.”

Ms. Martinez goes through a lot of personal protective equipment, especially latex gloves. She has to change the plastic glove skin every time she helps someone bathe or when she cleans and cooks. Running out of equipment has been a constant fear amid a nationwide scarcity. At one point, she had to purchase masks out of her own pocket because the county was unable to provide her with the resources.

“I was able to get two for myself and also one for each of the clients I have,” she said.

Getting access to the P.P.E. has been even harder these days. The shops that Ms. Martinez frequented for medication, groceries and gloves for the elderly drastically reduced their working hours amid protests related to the killing of George Floyd.

“I understand the reasoning behind the frustration or why people are rioting, because it’s really hard when you feel like no one is listening to you, when you feel like nothing’s being done to change,” she said.

Ms. Martinez also had to forgo her time off because of a shortage of caretakers, working as much as 60 hours per week. Senior citizens are less likely to be trusting of new help — being already physically vulnerable, letting someone new into their home and giving them money to run errands on their behalf can be daunting, Ms. Martinez said.

The Rev. John De La Riva, priest at National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

In a small room of one of San Francisco’s oldest churches, the Rev. John De La Riva takes confessionals amid the Covid-19 crisis. His chair, propped right next to a window and facing the wall, is seven feet away from the person sitting on the other side of the room.

“I just listen to them,” he said. “I don’t come in contact with them except their voice from that safe distance.”

Father De La Riva is a Catholic priest at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in the North Beach neighborhood. The church was established on June 12, 1849, making it older than the state of California.

Today, public Masses are held at limited capacity because of Covid-19. Father De La Riva has kept his church doors open for individual prayers and confessions, which he says are essential during this time. As workers nationwide file for unemployment en masse, and sources of recreation dwindle, people are left in a deep state of grief, and Father De La Riva makes himself available to serve. He spends time sitting on the front steps of the church, inviting passers-by to have conversations with him and making sure they know the church’s doors are open.

“People are in here and they’re praying hard. This situation is really shaking the foundation of many,” he said.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here