COVID 2021

COVID PM: Lookout Exclusive shows vaccination for our most vulnerable population is lagging

Hey, Santa Cruz — here’s your nightly pandemic rundown.

Our Mallory Pickett and Tulsi Kamath dug into the nursing home vaccination data, and it backs up what most of us had been hearing anecdotally for awhile: Very few of our most vulnerable seniors have gotten their first dose of the vaccine.

And while the positivity rate remains high in Santa Cruz County, there are signs of a potential downward trend based on the latest data.

Meanwhile, our focus on the story behind the COVID-19 death notices that have quietly rocked our county brings us to a man who survived multiple threats as a child, among them growing up in Nazi Germany, but succumbed to COVID-19 earlier this month.

Be sure to tell everyone you know to sign up for this newsletter and my text alerts here. They can also just text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524.

To the headlines . . .

‘We were hoping that they would all be done by now’

Kelly Duncan is desperate for her mother Diane to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

VACCINE WATCH | LOOKOUT EXCLUSIVE: Fewer than 500 of 1,849 long-term care residents in Santa Cruz County had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of the start of this week, and most assisted-living facilities here don’t have dates set for vaccine clinics, Mallory and Tulsi revealed this afternoon. The disclosure comes as elderly adults in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities have been one of the most vulnerable populations dying from COVID-19, accounting for about 38% of all COVID-19 deaths nationwide.

READ OUR STORY HERE

New cases dip significantly — for one day

Charts

COVID TODAY: The virus continues to spread in Santa Cruz County as officials report an average of approximately 200 new cases per day, and the 14-day average positivity rate remains stuck around 20%. There was some good news, though, in that the most recent datapoint in that 14-day period is unusually low — just 22 cases were reported Thursday, a possible sign of a downward trend. Mallory puts it into context.

READ MALLORY’S STORY HERE

He escaped the Holocaust but not COVID-19

Josh and David Orzech

FACES OF COVID: In his youth, Germany native David Orzech escaped the specter of death multiple times, including the grip of Nazism. But at age 91, mourning the recent loss of his wife, Judy, he met his match with COVID-19. Wallace Baine talks to his son Josh (above) about the struggle and the sadness for a man who had “things he still wanted to do.”

READ WALLACE’S STORY HERE

More from here & elsewhere

Biden proposes $1.9-trillion plan for pandemic and economic crisis (LA Times)
In COVID sign of the times, Disneyland scraps annual pass program, will return in ‘reservation-only’ fashion (LA Times)
California counties ‘Flying the plane as we build it’ in a plodding vaccine rollout (Kaiser Health News)
USC study: COVID-19 reduced U.S. life expectancy, especially among Black and Latino populations (usc.edu)

Ask Lookout

Send us your COVID-19 questions by replaying to this email or going to our Q&A here

COVID 2021, the ‘event’

What: A free community conversation about COVID-19, hosted by Lookout, where local experts answer your questions.
When: Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.
Where: Lookout will offer simultaneous Spanish interpretation, through a separate Zoom audio channel. Register here.

Tomorrow is Friday! See you all then.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor