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Morning Lookout: COVID deaths among vaccinated Santa Cruzans, vax misinformation rampant

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, October 5 and it will be partly sunny with a high of 72.

“A moment of reckoning” — A day after an hours-long worldwide outage of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp and two days after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed her identity on air, Haugen is testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee. You can tune in here.

Yesterday, Santa Cruz County announced the first two COVID-19 deaths among fully vaccinated people — coming just days after the indoor mask mandate was lifted. Meanwhile, 10 months since California officials began pro-vaccine campaigns, persistent misinformation has dogged efforts, officials say.

Let’s dive in:

In a first for Santa Cruz County, two vaccinated people die of COVID-19

Doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the Vernon City Van
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Just days after Santa Cruz County saw the indoor mask mandate sunset amid decreased cases, the county’s public health office Monday announced the first two COVID-19 deaths of fully vaccinated residents. The fatalities mark the 214th and 215th deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Chancellor Cynthia Larive has been meeting regularly with local leaders to find ways to maximize the university’s...

COVID vaccine disinformation a big reason behind low inoculation rates, officials say

Alan Antolin, left, administers J&J COVID-19 vaccine to Steven Katz at mobile clinic set-up

Even with the COVID-19 vaccine campaign now nearly 10 months old, officials and immunization advocates throughout the state say persistent misconceptions and disinformation are hobbling efforts to promote the shots in certain parts of California, including among some Latino communities. “Every single week, it’s a new myth.” Read more here.

California will impose new vaping tax to curb teen use, fund public health programs

TSA agent Pierre Tuble enjoys a quick vape on a break at LAX on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020

Amid concern over widespread teen vaping, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a new 12.5% excise tax on electronic cigarettes yesterday to be paid by California consumers to boost public health and education programs. The new tax comes a year after the governor signed legislation to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including those used in electronic cigarettes, but that measure is on hold. Read more here.

This month, Arts Council Santa Cruz County invited you to explore over 300 artist studios during the Open Studios Art...

Tesla is ordered to pay former worker $137 million for racism at NorCal plant

File image of a Tesla car being charged
(via Pixabay)

Tesla Inc. lost a case brought by a Black former elevator operator and must pay him $137 million for having turned a blind eye to racial taunts and offensive graffiti he endured at the electric-car maker’s Northern California plant, according to the man’s lawyer. Read more here.

Review: Is Jonathan Franzen too big to fail?

Jonathan Franzen and his new novel, "Crossroads"

HAPPENING TODAY: Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel “Crossroads” is being released today and he will kick it off with an event at Bookshop Santa Cruz. The new novel is extraordinary, immersive, even fun but it makes you wonder what Franzen might accomplish if more were at stake. Read a review here from author and critic Lynn Steger Strong.

Around the county...

Semi-truck rear-ends a car and collides into incoming traffic in fatal crash in Watsonville (KION-TV)

Charter boat owners push back on CARB regulations (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Watsonville Brillante project installs third and largest mosaic (Pajaronian)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Lookout Santa Cruz

A number of Santa Cruz County nonprofits are teaching kids how to grow and cook food, and develop stronger connections...