COVID 2021

COVID PM: Johnson & Johnson will help provide more vaccine, but Blue Shield warns rollout will be slow

Our weekday evening look at the day’s COVID-19 developments, both here in Santa Cruz County and beyond, compiled by Lookout Deputy Managing Editor Mark Conley.

Happy Friday, everyone — let’s wrap up the week with the day in vaccination news...

J&J INFLUX: Federal officials filled in the vaccine gaps with news that the surge of vaccine expansion will be made possible by Johnson & Johnson.
BLUE SHIELD WARNING: The provider’s CEO warned that despite the eligibility expansion, the immediate rollout of vaccine will not be fast.
LOOKOUT’S NEXT EVENT: Tuesday is the opportunity parents do not want to miss. If you’re not signed up, get on the bus below! And, this just in, we’ll be broadcasting in both Spanish and English.

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

Johnson & Johnson to the rescue?

Vaccine

COVID TODAY: In the wake of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement Thursday that vaccine eligibility is expanding in California, local public health officials in Santa Cruz County and elsewhere were still preaching caution that supply wouldn’t be able to meet demand. That’s still an open question. But, on Friday, federal officials offered a clue as to what might enable the pace of vaccinations to speed. It comes in the form of two words: Johnson & Johnson. More on the data behind that here.

Blue Shield CEO offers up cautionary tone

Nurse Cherry Costales prepares a dose of COVID-19 vacciner.

VACCINE WATCH: The CEO of Blue Shield predicts it will take until the end of April to ease California’s backlog. “When you make millions of people eligible overnight, there’s not millions of appointments immediately available,” he told our content partner CalMatters on Friday. More on that development here.

COVID ECONOMY: PPP window likely to be extended through May; how program has impacted business owners here

From our content partners

dining

COVID ECONOMY: California unemployment is at its lowest rate since the pandemic began (LA Times)
COVID EQUITY: Another racial disparity that may be heightened by the pandemic: access to outpatient care (LA Times)
COVID K-12: Parents still concerned about safety as in-person learning continues, poll shows (EdSource)

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Student Housing West offers the best route to creating more affordable housing for students and reducing housing...

More from here & elsewhere

Worrisome COVID-19 variant from Brazil identified in SF Bay Area (SF Gate)
Vaccine data suggests Biden equity goal remains elusive (NBC News)
Former CDC director Robert Redfield believes the coronavirus escaped a lab in China. Scientists are dubious. (NBC News)
The ionizer in your school may not do much to fight COVID (Wired)
Nearly half of states will make all adults COVID-19 vaccine eligible by April 15 (NPR)
Autopsy of a pandemic: 6 doctors at the center of the US Covid-19 response (CNN)
Why this former anti-vaxx influencer is getting the Covid vaccine (CNN)
Coronavirus FAQ: To travel or not to travel? Plus, tattoos and vaccines can mix (NPR)

Get schooled on reopenings

GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED | School reopenings in Santa Cruz County — in English and Spanish: When it comes to education post-pandemic, parents, educators and students have endless questions. So Lookout, in partnership with Event Santa Cruz, is giving you a chance to run your questions by two top Santa Cruz County Office of Education officials: Superintendent Faris Sabbah and Director of School Safety Jennifer Buesing.

When: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30
Languages available: English and Spanish
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
Register and submit your questions ahead of time here.

Buying locally produced food and goods benefits you and your community in more ways than you think.

#BOLO

Nice weather
Hospitalization records for patients with health problems other than COVID-19 suggest that that Black adults have poorer access to outpatient care than their white counterparts. Above, an outpatient room at a UC San Diego Health clinic last year. (Kyle Dykes / UC San Diego Health)

#BeOnTheLOOKOUT for a fabulous stretch of weather. If four out of six days in the 70s with sunny skies, kicking off with a weekend, doesn’t convince you to get outside and take that hike or bike ride or paddle you’ve been meaning to do, then what will?

Enjoy the weekend, remember to wear that mask and we’ll catch up with you Monday!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor