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California malls and theaters reopen as coronavirus cases see surge – The Guardian

June 15th, 2020

The number of coronavirus deaths in California surpassed 5,000 over the weekend, even as malls, museums and movie theaters began to reopen across the state.

The rise in cases has left epidemiologists and healthcare providers uneasy about whether the Golden State – which until now has been considered a national leader in aggressively containing the pandemic – will start to regress.

California has now recorded about 153,500 Covid-19 cases, with cases increasing by more than 2,000 over the weekend. Much of that can be attributed to increased testing, health officials say. But the grim statistics also reflect an explosion of cases in Imperial county, which borders Mexico, as well as a spike in Los Angeles.

“The continued growth of the epidemic in southern California is of huge concern,” said George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California San Francisco. “We can’t turn the corner of this epidemic until we turn a corner there.”

In Los Angeles, coronavirus hospitalizations have slowed, but per a tracker developed by the Mercury News, Los Angeles county saw nearly 1,000 new cases by Sunday night, and 17 deaths – more than half of the daily total of reported deaths in the state.

As cases and deaths continued to rise in Imperial county, more than 1,600 residents signed a letter asking the California governor Gavin Newsom and state officials to intervene, even as local supervisors pushed to reopen more businesses despite the health crisis. The state requires counties to show that 8% or fewer Covid-19 tests have come back positive for at least a week straight in order to ease pandemic restrictions. In Imperial county, 24% of tests are coming back positive.

“The area is medically underserved, but it’s also economically depressed,” said Luis Flores Jr, who drafted an open letter to California officials. With the regional medical center overwhelmed, coronavirus patients were flown to hospitals hundreds of miles away. At the same time, the rural county – where nearly 85% of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, and many work in the service industry, meat packing and agriculture – has largely been left out of some of the government relief packages.

“My parents in that way are lucky that they have kids who speak English, who can help them navigate the process to get small business loans for their shop,” Flores said. “A lot of folks don’t have that access to relief.”

But the answer isn’t necessarily to rush to reopen businesses, Flores said. “The county is making this into a way between the economy and health,” he told the Guardian. “When really there’s a third option: we could slow down and appeal for more resources and support.”

Across the state, the pandemic is continuing to take a disproportionate toll on Black and Latino residents. Advocates are also concerned about the spread of disease in prisons and homeless shelters.

“I wouldn’t say it’s all safe now, I’d say it’s less unsafe,” said Rutherford. There are signs of progress, he said. California has now conducted more than 2.86m diagnostic tests – including about 78,000 completed just on Sunday. The state is also on track to train more than 10,000 contact tracers by July, officials say.

Overall, the positive test rate in the state has continued to decline, averaging at 4.5% over the past fortnight. And the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions have remained stable. The records don’t currently reflect a spike following weeks of protests against police brutality, though officials said there could be an uptick in coming weeks. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, and those who may have contracted the virus at protests may not notice right away. Officials in many counties are encouraging those who’ve attended demonstrations to get tested.

“As long as we have testing and contact tracing there are a lot of things we can do this summer that would have been unthinkable three months ago,” Rutherford said. As of 12 June, the state allowed 51 out of 58 counties to reopen restaurants, hair salons, zoos, gyms, wineries and other businesses. Retailers and places of worship have also been allowed to reopen throughout the state.

Establishments are required to follow certain guidelines, like maintaining social distancing, especially in indoor spaces, and requiring patrons to wear masks. Rutherford said he’s concerned that these guidelines are often flouted. In Orange county, the health director rescinded a mask mandate after pushback from residents and local officials, revising guidelines to recommend, but not require, that people wear face coverings in public. In LA, health officials who visited about 2,000 restaurants over the weekend found that half weren’t complying with safety guidelines.

Still, Rutherford said he was heartened that early and aggressive shelter-in-place policies kept transmission low. Community-wide studies in the San Francisco Bay area have found that only 1% to 1.5% of some regions have been infected. “We took a whole chunk out of the epidemic early on,” Rutherford said. “But now we can be more surgical and effective in tracking and tracing cases even as businesses open up.”

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Throwback video offers hands-on look at the first-gen Apple TV running Mac OS X Tiger – 9to5Mac

June 15th, 2020

Apple’s AirPods Pro are awfully cheap on Amazon, but act quickly – PhoneArena

June 15th, 2020

PS5 interface getting a huge overhaul with ‘no pixel untouched’ – Tom’s Guide

June 15th, 2020

Patients with underlying conditions were 12 times as likely to die of covid-19 as otherwise healthy people, CDC finds – The Washington Post

June 15th, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data on more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases and 103,700 deaths from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, reported to the agency from state and territorial health departments from Jan. 22 through May 30. The data is consistent with earlier reports showing the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on people with underlying medical conditions. The report also highlighted the disease’s stark disparities between whites and minority groups.

Among nearly 600,000 people who were sickened and for whom the CDC has race and ethnicity information, 33 percent of patients were Hispanic, although they make up 18 percent of the U.S. population; 22 percent were black, while they constitute 13 percent of the population; and 1.3 percent were Native American or Alaskan Natives, nearly double their representation in the overall population.

As states reopen, and with reports of surges in infections, the report offers more details about the groups most vulnerable to illness and death based on four months of data.

Race and ethnicity data were missing from more than half of the cases reported to CDC. Because of that missing data, the agency did not provide estimates by race and ethnicity for the incidence of underlying health conditions.

In many metropolitan areas, majority-black areas have high rates of chronic health conditions including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Those conditions compound a lack of access to medical care and the legacy of racism and its effect on health. In the District, neighborhoods that flank the eastern edge of the city are predominantly African American and have rates of these diseases above national levels. Those same neighborhoods have some of the highest incidence of coronavirus cases in the District, according to city health data.

Figures from a separate CDC hospital surveillance system that began collecting information March 1 on laboratory-confirmed hospitalizations show much higher hospitalization rates for minority groups. Native Americans or Alaska Natives are hospitalized at five times the rate of whites; rates for blacks are 4.5 times higher; and rates for Hispanics are four times higher.

In Monday’s report, the CDC said the most common underlying conditions reported in people with covid-19 were heart disease (32 percent), diabetes (30 percent) and chronic lung disease (18 percent). Other preexisting conditions included liver disease, kidney disease, neurodevelopmental or intellectual disability, and immunocompromised conditions.

About 45 percent of patients with underlying conditions were hospitalized, compared with 7.6 percent of those who did not have significant preexisting conditions. Deaths were 12 times as high among patients with these underlying conditions (19.5 percent) compared with those without reported conditions (1.6 percent).

The information released Monday also breaks down the data by age. Even for patients in their 20s and 30s, those already dealing with health challenges were about six times as likely to be hospitalized than healthy individuals.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be severe, particularly in certain population groups,” the report said. “These preliminary findings underscore the need to build on current efforts to collect and analyze case data, especially among those with underlying health conditions.”

The report doesn’t provide a complete picture of the demographic characteristics and underlying health conditions of those who were sickened or died. There are probably more people who fell ill from the coronavirus but who are not included in data about the disease because they were never tested. And the findings on underlying medical conditions probably understate the role they played in contributing to deaths because of missing data.

Perhaps most important, people who are infected with the virus but don’t have symptoms are not likely to be “captured well” in the surveillance data, the report said. Asymptomatic people are unlikely to seek testing because of limitations in testing capacity and because initial guidance prioritized people with symptoms.

Asymptomatic transmission does occur, but researchers don’t know how frequently. Some modeling studies have suggested as much as 41 percent of disease spread may be attributable to asymptomatic people, but it remains an open question whether they are a large force driving transmission.

Meanwhile, the CDC sent a report Sunday to four congressional committees, as required by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, one of the coronavirus relief packages lawmakers adopted this spring. The new report, obtained from an individual on Capitol Hill on the condition of anonymity, follows an earlier one consisting of four pages that congressional Democrats criticized as inadequate.

Like its predecessor, the new 22-page report was required to provide Congress “disaggregated” data on who is getting tested for the virus. The expanded version said CDC had received reports of nearly 20 million diagnostic tests administered as of June 4, with 11 percent of them positive. It does not provide a demographic breakdown of who was tested. The report includes a variety of other demographic information about the cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

As with a congressionally required report in late May on a national testing strategy, federal health officials did not release this new report publicly. Katherine McKeogh, a Health and Human Services spokesman, said Monday evening, “This report aims to provide more fulsome information with the data available. . . . However, we do not typically share beyond Congressional committees.”

Amy Goldstein contributed to this report.

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Judge concerned over time it’s taking to hear Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case – Globalnews.ca

June 15th, 2020

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Supreme Court judge in Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou‘s extradition case says she’s concerned by the length of the proceedings.

During a case management conference on Monday, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said two proposed schedules from both Crown prosecutors and Meng’s counsel would see the case wrap up next spring.

1:08B.C. judge rules against Meng Wanzhou in extradition hearing

B.C. judge rules against Meng Wanzhou in extradition hearing

Defence lawyer Richard Peck said they’ve put together a “blistering work schedule,” but Holmes said the court could move faster.

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The United States is seeking to extradite Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, on fraud charges based on allegations she lied to HSBC about the company’s relationship with a subsidiary in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating American sanctions against that country.

READ MORE: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou lost a key fight in her extradition case. What happens next?

Holmes ruled last month that Meng’s alleged offences would constitute a crime in Canada and the case should proceed to the next round of legal arguments, including whether Meng’s arrest at the Vancouver airport in 2018 was unlawful.

Meng and Huawei deny the fraud charges.

READ MORE: Huawei exec’s lawyers call CSIS knowledge of multi-hour delay in arrest ‘troubling’

Her lawyers allege that Meng’s charter rights were violated when she was detained by border officials who took her electronic devices and passwords, which were shared with the RCMP before Meng was notified that she was under arrest.

That’s one of three separate arguments on abuse of process that Meng’s counsel is making.

The case was adjourned Monday until June 23 to give the Crown and defence time to discuss the scheduling of those arguments.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Patients with underlying conditions were 12 times more likely to die from covid-19 than otherwise healthy people, CDC finds – The Washington Post

June 15th, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data on more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases and 103,700 deaths from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, reported to the agency from state and territorial health departments from Jan. 22 through May 30. The data are consistent with earlier reports showing the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on people with underlying medical conditions. The report also highlighted the disease’s stark disparities between whites and minority groups.

Among nearly 600,000 people who were sickened and for whom the CDC has race and ethnicity information, 33 percent of patients were Hispanic, although they make up 18 percent of the U.S. population; 22 percent were black, while they constitute 13 percent of the population; and 1.3 percent were Native American or Alaskan Natives, nearly double their representation in the overall population.

As states reopen, and with reports of surges in infections, the report offers more details about the groups most vulnerable to illness and death based on four months of data.

Race and ethnicity data were missing from more than half of the cases reported to CDC. Because of that missing data, the agency did not provide estimates by race and ethnicity for the incidence of underlying health conditions.

In many metropolitan areas, majority-black areas have high rates of chronic health conditions including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Those conditions compound a lack of access to medical care and the legacy of racism and its effect on health. In the District, neighborhoods that flank the eastern edge of the city are predominantly African American and have rates of these diseases above national levels. Those same neighborhoods have some of the highest incidence of coronavirus cases in the District, according to city health data.

Figures from a separate CDC hospital surveillance system that began collecting information March 1 on laboratory-confirmed hospitalizations show much higher hospitalization rates for minority groups. Native Americans or Alaska Natives are hospitalized at five times the rate of whites; rates for blacks are 4.5 times higher; and rates for Hispanics are four times higher.

In Monday’s report, the CDC said the most common underlying conditions reported in people with covid-19 were heart disease (32 percent), diabetes (30 percent) and chronic lung disease (18 percent). Other preexisting conditions included liver disease, kidney disease, neurodevelopmental or intellectual disability, and immunocompromised conditions.

About 45 percent of patients with underlying conditions were hospitalized, compared with 7.6 percent of those who did not have significant preexisting conditions. Deaths were 12 times higher among patients with these underlying conditions (19.5 percent) compared with those without reported conditions (1.6 percent).

The information released Monday also breaks down the data by age. Even for patients in their 20s and 30s, those already dealing with health challenges were about six times more likely to be hospitalized than healthy individuals.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be severe, particularly in certain population groups,” the report said. “These preliminary findings underscore the need to build on current efforts to collect and analyze case data, especially among those with underlying health conditions.”

The report doesn’t provide a complete picture of the demographic characteristics and underlying health conditions of those who were sickened or died. There are probably more people who fell ill from the coronavirus but who are not included in data about the disease because they were never tested. And the findings on underlying medical conditions probably understate the role they played in contributing to deaths because of missing data.

Perhaps most important, people who are infected with the virus but don’t have symptoms are not likely to be “captured well” in the surveillance data, the report said. Asymptomatic people are unlikely to seek testing because of limitations in testing capacity and because initial guidance prioritized people with symptoms.

Asymptomatic transmission does occur, but researchers don’t know how frequently. Some modeling studies have suggested as much as 41 percent of disease spread may be attributable to asymptomatic people, but it remains an open question whether they are a large force driving transmission.

Meanwhile, the CDC sent a report Sunday to four congressional committees, as required by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, one of the coronavirus relief packages lawmakers adopted this spring. The new report, obtained from an individual on Capitol Hill on the condition of anonymity, follows an earlier one consisting of four pages that congressional Democrats criticized as inadequate.

Like its predecessor, the new 22-page report was required to provide Congress “disaggregated” data on who is getting tested for the virus. The expanded version said CDC had received reports of nearly 20 million diagnostic tests administered as of June 4, with 11 percent of them positive. It does not provide a demographic breakdown of who was tested. The report includes a variety of other demographic information about the cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

As with a congressionally required report in late May on a national testing strategy, federal health officials did not release this new report publicly. Katherine McKeogh, a Health and Human Services spokesman, said Monday evening, “This report aims to provide more fulsome information with the data available. . . . However, we do not typically share beyond Congressional committees.”

Amy Goldstein contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus death rates 12 times higher for people with chronic illnesses – oregonlive.com

June 15th, 2020

Death rates are 12 times higher for coronavirus patients with chronic illnesses than for others who become infected, a new U.S. government report says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday highlights the dangers posed by heart disease, diabetes and lung ailments. These are the top three health problems found in COVID-19 patients, the report suggests.

Coronavirus in Oregon: Latest news | Live map tracker |Text alerts | Newsletter

The report is based on 1.3 million laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases reported to the agency from Jan. 22 through the end of May.

Information on health conditions was available for just 22% of the patients. It shows that 32% had heart-related disease, 30% had diabetes and 18% had chronic lung disease, which includes asthma and emphysema.

Among patients with a chronic illness, about 20% died compared with almost 2% of those who were otherwise healthy. Virus patients with a chronic condition were also six times more likely to be hospitalized — 46% versus almost 8%.

People with chronic disease “are much more likely to suffer severe effects of COVID-19, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that previously healthy people can also become very ill and even die as well,” Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health specialist at George Washington University, said in a statement.

Race and ethnicity data, available for just under half of patients, show 36% were white, 33% Hispanic, 22% black, 4% Asian and about 1% American Indian. Though the numbers are incomplete, they echo other reports that found minorities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Overall, 14 % of patients were hospitalized and 5% died based on available data. Among patients aged 80 and up who died, half had a chronic illness.

Roughly equal numbers of men and women were infected, but men were more likely to have severe cases, the report found.

— The Associated Press

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Face masks: Effective or not? Recent studies give more details on their usefulness – AZCentral

June 15th, 2020
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One of the biggest debates during the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on something seemingly simple: a face mask.

For months, disagreement has simmered over whether masks are useful to prevent COVID-19, whether and where they should be worn and what types of face coverings the average person should wear.

Arizona state officials have been relatively quiet about mask recommendations, encouraging actions like social distancing but rarely mentioning mask wearing before last week.  

And across the country and in Arizona, mask-wearing has become increasingly politicized.

But recent research studies have concluded masks can be effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19 and should be worn when around others — particularly to protect others from any infection you might have.

What do research studies recommend?  

An increasing number of research studies point to masks as useful in preventing or lessening COVID-19 transmission.  

A June 1 article in the Lancet, a top medical journal, reviewed 172 different observational studies from 16 countries and found face mask use could largely reduce the risk of infection.  

A study published June 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal found that COVID-19 transmission is primarily airborne, and that widespread mask-wearing “significantly reduces the number of infections.” Without masks, social distancing is not enough, according to the article, which studied trends in Wuhan, China, Italy and New York City. 

“We conclude that wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with simultaneous social distancing, quarantine, and contact tracing, represents the most likely fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic,”  the study says.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask-wearing, especially in areas with significant community transmission, like Arizona, whether an individual has symptoms or not.  

“Your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you,” the organization says. 

The CDC says cloth face coverings should be worn in public settings when physical distancing of six feet is hard to maintain — places like grocery stores and pharmacies, for example.  

The organization released new guidance on Friday for “events and gatherings,” which includes recommendations for cloth face masks, especially in crowded settings.  

Even if you feel perfectly healthy, you could be carrying the virus and be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. Even without symptoms, you can still spread the virus, so a cloth face mask is still important to protect those around you. 

The CDC says anyone older than 2 should wear masks. People who have trouble breathing or have physical impairments that make it difficult to remove a mask without assistance should not wear them.  

But face masks are not enough by themselves and should be combined with hand washing and physical distancing.  

What are Arizona officials advising?  

Advice on masks in Arizona has been a mixed bag.  

In early April, Arizona Department of Health Services director Dr. Cara Christ said Arizonans should wear masks when they go out in public. 

“Anybody who can safely wear a cloth-based face covering — nonmedical — should consider doing that when they are out in the public accessing essential services,” Christ told The Arizona Republic. “What they are finding in the data is that people can be spreading the virus up to two days before they start showing symptoms. So there’s that asymptomatic spread. If you wear a mask when you are out in public, you are less likely to expose others.” 

That was just guidance, however. At no point have masks been mandatory besides at businesses that choose to require them.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Christ have rarely been seen wearing masks in public. And until last week, they had not used their press briefing platform to urge individuals to wear them.  

Maricopa County took a firmer stance last week, strongly recommending people wear masks when in public. Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of disease control for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, gave a thorough demonstration of how to use a cloth face mask. The county now requires all employees to wear face coverings when they are within six feet of each other.  

Some states have required residents to wear face coverings in public settings, including Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. Arizona has not mandated any sort of mask requirement in public. 

What are places in Arizona doing?  

Many employees at restaurants and stores, health care and long-term care facilities and other businesses have been mandated by their employer to wear a cloth face covering  at work.  

But for many of those restaurants and retail stores, mask-wearing is not mandated for customers.  

It is at some places, like Costco, which began requiring in early May that all customers wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose.

Whole Foods has been providing customers with free single-use masks at their Arizona locations.  

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport began on June 1 requiring that anyone who enters the airport wear a face covering. 

Arizona State University announced Friday that all employees, students and visitors must wear face masks on campus. 

What type of mask should people wear?  

The CDC recommends the average individual wear a cloth-based face covering rather than a medical-grade mask like a surgical or N95 mask, which should be reserved for health care workers and first responders. 

Cloth masks can be made from household items like scarves and T-shirts, according to the CDC.  

The CDC has information on how to make a face mask at home here.  

Masks should fully cover the nose and mouth and should fit snugly along the sides so there are no gaps. It should not be difficult to breathe while wearing one. Cloth masks can be washed in the washing machine or with soap or bleach to keep it clean.  

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This is how often you should wash your cloth face mask. USA TODAY

Reach the reporter at Alison.Steinbach@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-4282. Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.

Support local journalism.Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

Remembering COVID-19 victims

Paying tribute to Arizonans lost to the pandemic

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How to stop 2nd wave as California deaths from coronavirus rise – Los Angeles Times

June 15th, 2020

California hit another grim milestone in its battle with coronavirus, with the death toll topping 5,000 people over the weekend.

Coronavirus cases also continue to rise, though there is debate whether that is the result of more testing — and identifying mildly ill or asymptomatic people infected with the virus — or due in part to the reopening of the economy.

California has allowed more businesses to reopen their doors at a rapid clip in recent weeks, with malls, museums and even movie theaters getting the green light to resume operations with modifications. Counties ultimately decide which businesses can open.

For the reopening of California to be done as safely as possible in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak, there are three principal players who must do their part.

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It’s not just the dictates of public health officials that will determine whether the relaxing of restrictions will succeed safely. It’s whether the public does its job too.

Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a medical epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, outlined three protagonists who all must play a part in responsibly relaxing stay-at-home orders.

Individuals

Individuals must wear face coverings and stay six feet away from other people, as well as avoid crowded areas.

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People in high-risk groups, including older people and those with medical conditions, should be extra careful.

Businesses

Businesses need to avoid crowding and frequently clean high-touch surfaces.

County governments

County governments and health officials need to analyze data for any worrisome upward trends and pay attention to places like nursing homes, which will need personal protective equipment and frequent testing of staff and residents.

Kim-Farley said the debate about how to fight the coronavirus — which kills about 1% of those infected — has become quite polarized in the U.S.

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Had the coronavirus been 10 times less deadly — with a case-fatality rate more like the seasonal flu — authorities would not have needed to put in place the severe stay-at-home orders enacted in early spring.

But a far more lethal virus, like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which kills 10% of those who are infected, would likely convince more people to agree with stronger measures to smother the virus.

Required tracking of people and forced isolation and quarantine of coronavirus patients has been the policy in some other countries, like China, but those are culturally unacceptable to Americans for this pandemic, Kim-Farley said. As a result, it’s important to make a persuasive argument in which the public willingly supports measures needed to control the pandemic.

“We also need to instill a compassion for others and recognize we all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and others from disease,” Kim-Farley said, “while at the same time, supporting those who are vulnerable to the economic impacts of our mitigation efforts.”

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Face coverings essential, experts say

There has been a revolt against face masks in some parts of California, and that alarms health officials. Masks are one of the only tools we have against the spread of the coronavirus until a vaccine is available.

“It’s the only way we get back to work — it’s to mask,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of UC San Francisco’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. “All of the data tells us … it’s pretty clear that masking is the element that changes the trajectories of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Literally, the only way we open up — which all of us want to do — is put on a mask,” Bibbins-Domingo said.

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Health experts are increasingly saying that U.S. authorities erred in the early weeks of the pandemic in discouraging the use of masks by healthy people.

The message was: “‘They don’t work,’ when, in fact, what we meant to say was, ‘We don’t have enough masks. And we need to give them to people like healthcare workers,’” Bibbins-Domingo said. “That was a mistake.”

Now, some experts say masks are more important than social distancing.

“They’re both important — don’t get me wrong. If I had to choose one over another, … I’d choose masks,” Dr. George Rutherford, a UC San Francisco epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert, said at a campus webinar in May.

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“Remember, what we’re trying to do here is prevent people who are asymptomatically infected from transmitting. So it’s about … keeping your virus to yourself,” Rutherford said.

Though the coronavirus spread rapidly in the first weeks of the pandemic and transmission has since slowed as a result of implementing a stay-at-home order in March, California remains stuck in its first wave of cases.

The progression of disease is unlike that of the 1918 flu pandemic in the United States, where a first wave of cases in the spring passed and the rate of disease fell before a second, and far more deadly, wave of cases was observed in the fall.

Recently published British mathematical models have suggested that more robust adoption of wearing face masks in public would substantially reduce the effects of a second wave.

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If only 25% of the public wear masks, the second wave is far more pronounced than the first. But if 100% of the public wears face masks, disease spread is greatly diminished.

Mandatory mask laws have triggered opposition in other parts of Southern California and the Central Valley. Orange County rescinded its mandatory mask law last week, joining Riverside and San Bernardino counties in abandoning orders to require wearing face masks in public. Fresno County had a face mask rule for less than a day before it was pulled back.

Of California’s 15 most populous counties, those requiring the wearing of masks in public are: Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo. Those that do not require masks in public are Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Fresno, Kern, Ventura and San Joaquin.

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