COVID 2021

COVID PM: Lots of new virus, vaccine information to process

Happy Friday, everyone!

It was a day of drawing back the curtains on our county’s — and nation’s — health crisis. If you weren’t already familiar with the names, faces, voices and opinions of Dr. Gail Newel, Dr. David Ghilarducci and Dr. Mimi Hall, a rare Zoom gathering Friday provided essential one-stop processing. You can watch their one-hour press conference here, as well as read our cheatsheet of the main takeaways.

Be sure to tell your friends and family to sign up for this newsletter and my text alerts here, or text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524.

To the news of the day . . .

Everything we learned from Friday’s press conference...

Santa Cruz County health officials panel
(Screengrab)

From the extended holiday surges and breakouts to an ICU capacity that has hovered around 0% since Thanksgiving to the so-called “four-legged stool” that will dictate who gets the vaccine and where, it was a busy hour spent with the top health officials in Santa Cruz County.

READ OUR RECAP AND WATCH THE WHOLE THING HERE

Explaining the ‘four-legged stool’ and how you can get ‘in line’

Pool Photo by Shmuel Thaler / Santa Cruz Sentinel
(Shmuel Thaler/Pool Photographer)

VACCINE WATCH: Vaccines in California are being distributed through four different channels. The channel your vaccine comes through will mostly depend on your job, insurance status, and living situation. Our Mallory Pickett breaks down what you need to know about each.

READ MALLORY’S BREAKDOWN HERE

Newel laments ‘higher than we’ve ever seen’ virus cases

Santa Cruz County Chief Health Officer Gail Newel as photographed on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID TODAY: Newel, the county’s health officer, didn’t mince words on Friday. She said this week’s COVID-19 data in Santa Cruz, “surprised even me with its severity, it’s higher than we’ve ever seen.” We’re at 3,000-plus active cases, though there is one positive sign . . .

READ MALLORY’S BREAKDOWN HERE

More from here & elsewhere

Biden to deploy FEMA, National Guard as part of national vaccination plan (NBC News)
Daily COVID-19 death count soars to new heights in California (LA Times)
They’re the most likely to die from COVID-19, but hardly any have been vaccinated (LA Times)
Some workers don’t want a COVID-19 vaccine. Can their bosses make them get it anyway? (LA Times)
Newsom opens one-stop Covid information ‘hub’ on reopening schools (EdSource)
We wanted to know how couples are faring under COVID-19. These are their love tales (LA Times)
Could TV writers help curb the pandemic? This group thinks so (LA Times)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: Is it true that even after you have received the 2-shot vaccination for COVID19, you may still infect others if you have been exposed to someone with COVID? — Sandor Nagyszalanczy

A: Because the vaccine trial period was so short, they just don’t have enough data to say for sure. BUT there are reasons to be hopeful. The FDA says “Most vaccines that protect from viral illnesses also reduce transmission of the virus that causes the disease by those who are vaccinated. While it is hoped this will be the case, the scientific community does not yet know if the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will reduce such transmission.” Apparently there are some results from the Moderna and AstraZeneca trials that suggest they might protect against transmission. This article provides a great overview.

Have a question for us to try and get answered? Submit it here. We’re compiling all the Q&A material here.

Next Thursday: Our Covid 2021 event

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

Have a great MLK weekend & play it safe out there, everybody!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor