COVID 2021

COVID PM: ‘Herd’ling toward immunity (and into the weekend)

Hey, everyone, we move into the weekend with some followup on the good news we received on both the economic and health fronts a day earlier ...

1) The stimulus money: So far, $90 million is expected to trickle into Santa Cruz County via President Joe Biden’s federal stimulus plan. What does that mean for the budget’s of the county itself and each of the four cities within it? Local officials have been reacting all day.

2) ‘Herd’ling toward immunity: When county health officials announced Thursday that the county was on a much faster recovery course than previously thought, it brought with it heaping amounts of cautious joy. We dug a bit deeper into what that means.

More on those topics and others...

‘Fantastic news’ that ‘buys us time’

President Joe Biden addresses the nation Thursday.
(Whitehouse.gov via YouTube)

COVID ECONOMY: Santa Cruz County government expects $53 million from the new federal stimulus, while Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s office says the county’s four municipalities will get $37.9 million more. “While not a panacea, the stimulus buys us time to plan for the future,” says Santa Cruz City Manager Martin Bernal. Patrick Riley and Isa Cueto with a roundup of what it means around the county.

Understanding ‘herd immunity’ & the 831

Masked shoppers wait in line at Trader Joe's in Capitola on Monday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID TODAY: “Herd immunity,” also known as “population immunity,” is “the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection,” according to the World Health Organization. Health officials can’t say for certain when it will happen in Santa Cruz County. But vaccination percentages can offer some clues. Mallory Pickett tries to decipher them here.

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More from here & elsewhere

California releases details on how millions can get COVID-19 vaccinations beginning Monday (LA Times)
California officials battle public skepticism in Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (LA Times)
Here’s why experts say the US may be fooled by improving Covid-19 numbers and what that means for the summer (CNN)
In The Pandemic’s First Year, Three Huge Losses in One Family (Kaiser Health News)
The debate over reopening schools is fierce and divisive. Here’s where people on different sides of the issue are coming from (CNN)
‘It felt like the world was falling apart’: An oral history of the day that changed America (NBC News)
Biden vaccine victories build on Trump team’s work (Washington Post)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: My husband is battling cancer. Does that now qualify him to be vaccinated? — Amy R

A: I’m so sorry to hear that, Amy. According to the new pre-existing conditions set down by the California health officials, it will depend on a physician’s diagnosis of his current condition. Here is the list they have provided:

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney disease, Stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (body mass index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%
  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; OR
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; OR
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

Have a question for us to try and get answered? Submit it here or just reply to this email.

Have a great weekend and we’ll herd’le together into Monday!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor