COVID 2021

COVID PM: ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ ... except on vaccine distribution

Happy weekend time, Santa Cruzans — we did it!

It will be a nice few days to get outside and celebrate both the sunny skies and the cautiously sunny outlook for the local COVID-19 situation. As our Mallory Pickett ran through the county data today, as she does most days, there was little deviation from what she was seeing all week: Improvement.

Unfortunately, the vaccination situation is more troublesome — at the federal, state and local levels. Our content partner Cal Matters dove deep into that situation and it’s not pretty. Kaiser Health News, another partner, took a hard look at one of the most troubling aftershocks being felt nearly one year into this pandemic: the mental health effects on our children.

Be sure to tell those who should be in the 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...

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ ... and no trains

Alameda County health workers.

COVID TODAY: The trend that has lasted all week continues statewide and locally — new cases and positivity rates continue to decrease. As county health officer Dr. Gail Newel said in Thursday’s press conference, “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s close enough that we know it’s not a train.” Only 77 new cases were confirmed in Santa Cruz County yesterday, compared to 160 in one day two weeks ago. For more on those good numbers from Mallory, click here and see below.

Latest numbers

VACCINE WATCH: Here’s our update on everything we know about vaccine distribution countywide, including what we learned from Santa Cruz County health officials this week.

Californians: Where is my vaccine?

Colton, CA -

California’s vaccine rollout per capita has been among the slowest in the country, and state officials can’t say where unused doses are, whether they are reserved for upcoming appointments or whether they are sitting in freezers unnecessarily. The state announced this week that locally controlled distribution of the vaccine isn’t working. Instead, it will contract with Blue Shield to coordinate delivery statewide and speed the process. More from Cal Matters here

Kids already coping with mental disorders spiral

Mae Villanueva, 4, plays at Lake Balboa Park in Van Nuys

Almost 3 million children in the U.S. have a serious emotional or behavioral health condition. When the pandemic forced schools and doctors’ offices to close last spring, it also cut children off from the trained teachers and therapists who understand their needs. As a result, many have spiraled into emergency rooms and even police custody. Federal data shows a nationwide surge of kids in mental health crisis during the pandemic — a surge that’s further taxing an already overstretched safety net. Read Kaiser Health News’ report here

More from here & elsewhere

Johnson & Johnson executive says vaccine works where it counts: Preventing deaths (NPR)
Biden administration readies battle plan as Covid variants reach U.S. (Politico)
COVID side effects? Don’t take pain relievers before vaccine, experts say (USA Today)
Study: 80% of Bay Area residents to get COVID-19 vaccine; may be ‘a good number’ for herd immunity (SF Gate)
Vaccinated congressman tests positive for virus (SF Gate)
Yosemite is about to open, but you’ll need a reservation even for a day visit (LA Times)

Have a safe — and great — weekend!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor