California coronavirus updates: Nevada’s Clark County School District loosens remaining masking requirements

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Find an updated count of COVID-19 cases in California and by county on our tracker here.

Latest Updates

Nevada’s Clark County School District loosens remaining masking requirements

Minor league baseball and hockey teams turn to COVID-19 relief funds to stay afloat

WHO says globally COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen

Black-owned businesses dropped 41% during the start of the pandemic, study shows

WHO says booster shots are now needed, in reverse from last year’s stance

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Wednesday, March 9

10 a.m.: Nevada’s Clark County School District loosens remaining masking requirements

Nevada’s largest school district is loosening some of its COVID-19 restrictions, effective Wednesday.

As reported by the Associated Press, the Clark County School District no longer requires wearing masks on school buses and employees don’t have to participate in mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing.

The district took these steps as the numbers of COVID-19 cases dropped in the previous week. Last month, the district lifted its requirements for masking indoors at schools and other facilities immediately after Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the state’s mask mandate.

Sisolak said school districts could set their own policies. CCSD measures remaining in place include a mandate that parents or guardians ensure children are free of symptoms when going to school.

9:32 a.m.: Minor league baseball and hockey teams turn to COVID-19 relief funds to stay afloat

Over 100 minor league baseball and more than a dozen minor league hockey teams are hoping to get COVID-19 relief from the U.S. government to offset millions of dollars of losses from the pandemic.

According to the Associated Press, minor league sports teams and their facilities were left out of the first round of small business subsidies. Most had to rely on Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep their staff together.

Unlike major league teams, minor league teams are very reliant on in-person attendance to stay afloat due to a lack of TV and streaming ad revenue. A Minor League Baseball survey found that the average team lost over 91% of revenue from pre-pandemic levels — a result of the entire 2020 season being canceled — while the American Hockey League reported revenues are down 85-95% from its last full seasons in 2018-2019.

An influx of funds from a bill that could go through Congress as soon as next week would allow teams to hire more people, payback debts and dig out of the hole they’ve been in for the past two years.

9:23 a.m.: WHO says globally COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen

The World Health Organization said the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths globally have continued to fall in the past week, as reported by the Associated Press.

Only the Western Pacific is reporting an increase in COVID-19.

According to the latest report from the health agency, the WHO said new COVID-19 infections dropped by 5% in the last week, continuing a declining trend that first started more than a month ago.

Deaths were also down by 8% and have been falling globally for the last two weeks.

Tuesday, March 8

10:02 a.m.: Black-owned businesses dropped 41% during the start of the pandemic, study shows

Recent research from UC Santa Cruz shows a dramatic drop in small businesses early in the pandemic, especially those owned by people of color.

In particular,  there was a loss of about 450,000 Black-owned businesses, a 41% drop.

The Inclusivity Project aims to raise $100 million to help 1,000 Black entrepreneurs in California.

Jay King, president and CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce,, is involved in this effort.

“My hope is that what it does is, it starts to build those micro and mini-micro businesses into a small business that can house two to four employees and then scale it up,” King said on CapRadio’s Insight.

He said the goal of the Inclusivity Project is to provide mentorship and business development expertise.

9:56 a.m.: WHO says booster shots are now needed, in reverse from last year’s stance

An expert group convened by the World Health Organization said it “strongly supports urgent and broad access” to coronavirus vaccines, including booster doses, according to the Associated Press.

The call caps a reversal from the U.N. health agency’s previous insistence that booster doses weren’t necessary and contributing to vaccine inequity.

In a statement on Tuesday, WHO said its expert group concluded that immunization with authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death amid the global circulation of the hugely contagious omicron variant.

Last year, WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a moratorium on booster doses, pleading with rich countries to donate their vaccines instead.

9:32 a.m.: Hong Kong experiences COVID-19 surge, could lead to lockdowns again

Hong Kong has reported more than 34,000 new coronavirus infections on Monday — a record — as authorities assess the possibilities of locking down the city.

According to the Associated Press, Hong Kong is grappling with a coronavirus surge driven primarily by the omicron variant. Daily cases have more than quadrupled from a week ago.

Health authorities say the government could implement measures that may involve “asking people to stay at home.”

Several supermarkets’ shelves were wiped bare as residents stockpiled daily necessities after rumors of a lockdown circulated on social media. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has called for calm, saying that food supplies were normal.

Monday, March 7

9:47 a.m.: Global COVID-19 death toll surpasses 6 million

The death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 6 million, according to the Associated Press.

The tragic number confirmed on Monday is believed to be a vast undercount and shows that the pandemic in its third year is far from done. It’s also a reminder of the unrelenting nature of the pandemic, even as people are shedding masks, traveling and moving around the globe.

The last million deaths of the tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University were recorded over the previous four months.

That’s slightly slower than the previous million but highlights that many countries are still struggling with the coronavirus. Overall, some 450 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded.

9:39 a.m.: NFL and NFL Players Association drop face masking rules

The NFL and NFL Players Association recently announced that they have agreed to suspend all COVID-19 protocols going into the 2022 football season, effective immediately.

NPR reports that both the NFL and the player’s association announced the suspension, which means the NFL will no longer conduct mandatory testing for any of its players or staff.

With the change in protocols, players and staff will no longer have to wear face coverings at team facilities, regardless of vaccination status. However, each club can require face coverings “if they elect to do so.”

While no NFL games were canceled during the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to COVID-19, many teams ended up moving games during the 2020 schedule, according to the Associated Press. Nearly 95% of NFL players and about 100% of NFL staff were fully vaccinated.

9:23 a.m.: China sees new COVID-19 cases despite ‘zero-tolerance policy’

China is seeing a new surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, despite its “zero tolerance” approach to dealing with outbreaks.

According to the Associated Press, the mainland reported 214 new cases in 24 hours on Monday. The southern province of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, reported the most cases at 69.

Hong Kong has been recording tens of thousands of cases per day. No new cases were reported in Beijing, which was essentially back to normal.

In his annual report to the national legislature on Saturday, Premier Li Keqiang said China needs to “constantly refine epidemic containment” but gave no indication that Beijing may switch up its current “zero tolerance” strategy.

Friday, March 4

10:59 a.m.: UC Davis will no longer require masks in most indoor settings

On March 19, UC Davis will drop their current masking policies and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to no longer require masking in most indoor settings.

This change will apply to both the Davis and Sacramento campuses. However, masks will still be required in clinical settings and on public transit, following federal, state and local guidelines.

Despite this change, masks are still strongly recommended by public health officials and by the school for vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. The school said it will support those who continue to wear masks indoors for any reason.

Employees and students who are not fully vaccinated must continue testing every four days. Davis campus employees and fully vaccinated students must continue testing every 14 days.

As a reminder, people who are up to date on their vaccinations have a much lower risk to their health.

Further updates will be provided in Chancellor Gary S. May’s next letter to the community on March 11.

10:50 a.m.: Senators introduce bill to fund research into long COVID

Nearly two years after getting COVID-19, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said he still has mild symptoms, according to the Associated Press.

The Washington Post reports that’s why Kaine joined fellow Democratic senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois in introducing a bill to fund research aimed at better understanding long COVID.

The little-understood phenomenon in which symptoms linger for weeks or months after a coronavirus infection could affect thousands.

The Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act would centralize data about patient experiences and fund research into the effectiveness of treatments.

It would also expand resources to help those with lingering symptoms.

10:44 a.m.: Here’s why vaccine rates are still low in some countries.

Experts say there are several reasons why COVID-19 vaccination rates are still low in some countries, in addition to limited supplies.

Other challenges now include unpredictable deliveries, weak health care systems and vaccine hesitancy. According to the Associated Press, many countries with low vaccination rates in Africa. Other places include Yemen, Syria and Haiti.

For most of last year, developing nations were struggling with a lack of supplies, but other setbacks have emerged, such as poor infrastructure to distribute the shots and a lack of materials like syringes.

At the same time, rich countries were hoarding doses, while many countries didn’t have the facilities to make their own vaccines. COVAX, the initiative to distribute vaccines equally around the world, faltered in delivering shots to countries that needed them.

Vaccine hesitancy has also contributed to low uptake.

Thursday, March 3

9:43 a.m.: Some of Nevada’s school districts have lowered the bar for substitute teacher hiring during states of emergency

In a move prompted by the pandemic, the state has cleared the way for Nevada’s largest school districts to hire substitute teachers with only a high school diploma during states of emergency.

According to the Associated Press, the Legislative Commission on Monday unanimously approved a permanent rule change covering school districts with over 9,000 students attending district schools or public charter schools within a district’s geographic boundaries.

The covered districts include Las Vegas, Clark and Washoe counties.

The new permanent regulation replaces a temporary measure that expired Nov. 1. It was put in place during the pandemic because of Clark County’s severe staffing shortage.

9:39 a.m.: As demand for COVID-19 vaccines drop, states scramble to figure out what to do with soon-to-expire doses

As demand to get COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. collapses in many areas, states are scrambling to use stockpiles of doses before they expire.

Millions of doses have already gone to waste across the nation, as reported by the Associated Press.

From the least vaccinated states like Indiana and North Dakota to some of the most vaccinated states like New Jersey and Vermont, public health departments are shuffling doses around their states in hopes of finding providers that can use them.

In California, the percentage of wasted doses is only about 1.8%, but in a state that’s received 84 million doses and administered more than 71 million of them, that’s about 1.4 million wasted doses.

All this comes only about a year after the vaccines were released, and people such as hospital board members, their trustees and donors jumped the line to get early access before those deemed a higher priority.

9:34 a.m.: Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill treatment takes months to produce

Pfizer’s new COVID-19 treatment came with a catch when it debuted late last year — it can take months to make tablets.

According to the Associated Press, company leaders said they have since expanded production and expect big gains in the next several months. That could help if another wave of cases develops later this year.

The drugmaker uses more than 20 different sites in over 10 countries to produce Paxlovid, however making the complex drug involves chemical reactions that need time to develop. Pfizer said it has reduced production time from nearly nine months to about seven.

Wednesday, March 2

9:56 a.m.: California man allegedly stole $1 million in COVID-19 tests

Authorities say they are seeking a Southern California warehouse manager who is accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of COVID-19 tests from his employer’s clinic.

Santa Ana police say 33-year-old Carlitos Peralta had access to his employer’s shipping and delivery system, according to the Associated Press.

His employer has seven warehouses nationwide that are used to store and ship COVDI-19 tests to customers, including clinics, pop-up testing sites, schools, and hotels.

Police say Peralta diverted nearly 100 separate shipments from multiple warehouses to his home.

The police department asked the public on Thursday to contact the agency with information about his whereabouts.

9:51 a.m.: Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines protect young kids against omicron, report shows

A new government report shows Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine gave children 5 and older strong protection against hospitalization and death even during the omicron surge.

As reported by the Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the new data on Tuesday.

A day earlier, a study from New York raised the question of whether the vaccine is less effective in children ages 5 to 11, especially against milder infections, particularly since younger kids get an even smaller dose than teens.

However, CDC data from additional states doesn’t suggest any age-related issues with the vaccine. While vaccines are generally less effective against omicron, they still protect against severe outcomes.

9:40 a.m.: Los Angeles County set to drop indoor mask mandate this week

Los Angeles County is set to lift its indoor mask mandate this week as coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations plummet, according to the Associated Press.

Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday that California’s most populous county would likely issue a revised health order that would take effect Friday and along with new state guidelines.

Ferrer told the county’s Board of Supervisors that it would still be recommended but not required for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents to wear face coverings in public indoor settings.

Tuesday, March 1

9:41 a.m.: Sacramento County public health officer to virtually attend State of the Union

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye will be a virtual guest, due to safety protocols, at tonight’s State of the Union address.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) made the announcement Monday night. The address will cover some of the achievements of the Biden presidency, from the economy to the government’s COVID-19 response. 

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Olivia Kasirye join as my virtual guest … and thank her for her guidance, vigilance and service for the Sacramento community,” Matsui said in a press release.

Kasirye said that she’s worked together with Matusi to “provide the people of the Sacramento region with timely and accurate information and the resources they need to stay safe during the battle with COVID-19.”

CapRadio will broadcast the speech live at 6 p.m. You can also watch it live on our website.

9:06 a.m.: US Treasury Department says overwhelming amount of federal rental assistance during pandemic went to low-income tenants

The U.S. Treasury Department has concluded that more than 80% of the billions of dollars in federal rental assistance went to low-income tenants during the pandemic.

According to the Associated Press, the Treasury also found that the largest percentage of tenants receiving pandemic aid were Black households, in which many were led by women.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the Treasury also found that more than 40% of tenants getting help were Black and 20% were Latino, while two-thirds were woman-headed households.

Lawmakers approved $6.5 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance last year, and through 2021, the government body said more than $25 billion has been spent or allocated, representing 3.8 million payments to households.

Find older coronavirus updates on our previous blog page here



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