COVID 2021

COVID PM: Santa Cruz optimism, big masking move by the CDC & more

Hello everybody,

It was another busy day on the pandemic beat. Here are your COVID PM storylines for Thursday, May 13 ...

On the local front

Santa Cruz County health officials give an update on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Santa Cruz County
(Santa Cruz County)

Santa Cruz COVID updates: Amid ‘hopeful’ signs, county officials hammer vaccination message: Santa Cruz County health officials gave a positive pandemic update Thursday -- “I’m feeling very hopeful,” Dr. Gail Newel said — but warned that risks remain serious for the unvaccinated. More from our Mallory Pickett on that here.

On the masking front

Masked

What the CDC mask changes mean for travel, shopping, gatherings, outdoor life and more: In a momentous turn in the fight against COVID-19, federal officials are significantly easing mask guidelines as the threat of the pandemic rapidly fades. But some officials are asking people to refrain from pulling off their face coverings until the county and state have had a chance to to review the recommendations. More from the LA Times here.

L.A. won’t immediately follow CDC’s relaxed mask rules: People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing masks in most places, the CDC announced. But L.A. County officials said it will be a week or more before changes would be considered locally. More from the Times here.

On the vaccine front

Covid 19 vaccine vocab_LA_thmb

Latinos are the most eager to get vaccinated, survey shows — but face obstacles: A new survey shows that unvaccinated Hispanics are almost twice as likely as unvaccinated Blacks or whites to want a COVID-19 vaccination. But many still face a variety of access problems, ranging from fear to time squeeze. More from Kaiser Health News on that here.

On the science front

Variant
(Carolyn Lagattuta / UC Santa Cruz
)

Did the coronavirus escape from a lab? The idea deserves a second look, scientists say: In a letter published Thursday in the journal Science, 18 scientists argue that there is not yet enough evidence to rule out the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus escaped from a lab in China, and they call for a “proper investigation” into the matter. More on that from the Times here.

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More from here & elsewhere

How stores are responding to CDC’s new mask guidance (CNN)
Wait, does this mean the pandemic is over for vaccinated people? (CNN)
CDC officials made a breakthrough decision on masks. This is what convinced them. (NBC News)
Covid isn’t the flu: How pediatricians are educating vaccine hesitant families (NBC News)
Vaccinated? CDC says it’s OK to ditch masks. But it’s not OK to harass people wearing them. (USA Today)
Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows (NPR)
Newsom says more about changes to California’s mask mandate (SF Gate)

See you tomorrow — it will be Friday!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor