COVID 2021

COVID PM: Stimulus impact, teacher vaccination update, high school sports returns

Hey, everyone, it’s almost Friday and there is no shortage of good COVID-related coverage for you tonight, so let’s get right to the highlights:

➤ We got the question numerous times over the past 24 hours: Am I eligible for the $600 stimulus money? We, along with our LA Times partners, hope to provide answers to that.
➤ UC Santa Cruz’s Marm Kilpatrick should give us all hope for the future of Twitter because the guy uses it correctly: to inform others about things they probably would want to know. His latest below.
➤ Seemingly good news on the teacher vaccination front, and we can all surmise what that might ultimately mean for some form of in-person return. But undoubtedly it’s a key box getting checked.
➤ High school sports made its return Thursday. Will there be big news out of the governor’s office Friday that will elate or anger the football enthusiasts among us?

Tell folks to sign up for this newsletter and my text alerts here. They can also just text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524.

And now on to this evening’s headlines...

Am I eligible for California’s $600 COVID-19 stimulus check and other aid?

File image of money and phone calculator
(via Pixabay)

COVID ECONOMY: The “Golden State stimulus,” an ambitious COVID-19 relief program, will be expedited for legislative approval next week after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a deal on the plan Wednesday. It’s part of a $9.6-billion economic recovery package. Aside from federal funds for child-care assistance, the rest of the relief package comes from state taxpayer money and is made possible by tax revenue collections that were much better than expected. For what to expect and whether you’re eligible, go here.

Marm & Twitter ... an excellent pairing for the latest developments

UCSC ecology and evolutionary biology professor Marm Kilpatrick.
(Marm Kilpatrick / Contributed)

VACCINE WATCH: UC Santa Cruz epidemiologist Marm Kilpatrick, who has gained fame within his field for analyzing the latest COVID-19 research on Twitter, has completed a preliminary calculation which he believes shows significantly reduced risk in virus transmission from people who have been vaccinated. It’s one of the first scientific efforts to quantify this, and the public health implications at stake are enormous. Mallory Pickett caught up with Marm to get the latest.

VACCINE WATCH II: Vaccination of all teachers and support staff in Santa Cruz County appears within reach as a partnership with a private network continues to pan out for local educators. About 2,600 K-12 teachers and support staff — roughly half the total — will have received their first of two jabs of COVID-19 vaccine by Sunday, according to Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Faris Sabbah. Nick Ibarra has more on this developing news here.

Will football, volleyball get their golden tickets from governor?

Runner
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

PANDEMIC LIFE: The prep sports games finally have begun again — but for now, only one sport: cross country. Whether contact sports like football, wrestling, water polo and basketball happen will depend on just how quickly the virus decrease continues or whether there is a revision from the state. Could a revision of guidelines from Gov. Gavin Newsom change that outlook on Friday. I explore that possibility here.

COVID TODAY: The stream of COVID-19 vaccine is swelling slightly in California but remains a trickle for those trying to get their first dose, according to officials. Forecasts discussed this week showed California should receive 1.28 million vaccine doses next week and 1.31 million the week after. Both those figures are up from the state’s last shipment, which was about 1.08 million. The expected uptick, though welcome, won’t come close to the supplies necessary to clear California’s existing vaccination hurdle. Read more on the day’s events statewide and locally here.

More from here & elsewhere

U.S. will have to work double time to make up for COVID-19 vaccine weather delays, Fauci says (CNN)
East Bay school board’s hot mic moment: ‘They want their babysitters back’ (SF Gate)
Here’s where the Bay Area’s wealthy are temporarily relocating amid COVID-19 (SF Gate)
How Herd Immunity Works — And What Stands In Its Way (NPR)
Two tourists arrested after trying to bribe their way out of Hawaii quarantine (SF Gate)
NBA announces All-Star Game plans; Adam Silver says playing ‘right thing to do’ (ESPN)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: Will wearing two masks protect me better than just one?

A: There’s growing evidence that the answer is yes. The latest data come from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that wearing a cloth mask over a tighter-fitting medical one decreased the wearer’s coronavirus exposure by about 95%. The report has some caveats: Its takeaways are limited because the experiments “were conducted with one type of medical procedure mask and one type of cloth mask” and “did not include any other combinations of masks, such as cloth over cloth, medical procedure mask over medical procedure mask, or medical procedure mask over cloth.”

But other experts have already been stepping in to provide detailed (and practical) guidance. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco, co-wrote a commentary in the journal Med that drew upon principles from both infectious disease research and physical sciences to offer recommendations for masks. She suggests double-masking for medically vulnerable people who are in high-transmission areas (including areas where new variants are circulating) when they have to go indoors (such as a grocery store). She also recommends it for others who may not be medically vulnerable but who do have to work in crowded, indoor conditions. But she doesn’t advise double-masking for all people all the time.

Have a question for us? Submit it here or just reply to this email. Want to see all of the previous questions and answers? Go here.

See you all tomorrow!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor