Unvaccinated have infection rates 541% higher: The overwhelming majority of new COVID infections in California continue to be in the unvaccinated population, state health department data shows. They have 571% higher case rates than those who are vaccinated. About 11 people per 100,000 residents age 16 and older are infected per day in the population of those who have received their shots. Among those still not vaccinated it’s close to 62 people per 100,000, state officials say.
Marin County updates schools reopening dashboard: Marin County has an updated schools dashboard that indicates which schools have fully reopened to in-person instruction, schools that are closed for operation reasons (power outage, etc.), and schools which are closed due to an outbreak. The map uses clickable icons to represent public and private elementary, middle and high schools.
Hong Kong eases some of world’s toughest restrictions: Hong Kong said Tuesday it would allow fully vaccinated residents to return to the city from five additional countries and relaxed restrictions on travelers from mainland China, in a loosening expected to remove a significant hurdle for travelers, the New York Times reported. It is also a step toward focusing more on preventing severe illness and death, rather than completely stopping virus spread. Singapore and South Korea have also eased rules in the past few weeks, with leaders acknowledging the virus may be a permanent part of life.
Biden administration provides $700 to help ag-grocery workers with COVID costs: The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday announced $700 million in grants to help farm and food workers with costs related to COVID-19. Grants provide “relief to farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and frontline grocery workers for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the announcement said. “This relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” like PPE cost, dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing.” Funds will be distributed through grants to state governments, tribes and nonprofit organizations.
Cases among kids steeply up, says American Academy of Pediatrics: Over the two weeks in the last half of August, the cumulative number of COVID-19 infections in children and teens since the start of the pandemic went up 10%, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics — from 4,593,721 as of Aug. 19 to 5,049,465 as of Sept. 2. In the week that ended Thursday, children represented just under 29% of nearly 1 million weekly new coronavirus cases reported overall.
Delta at near-total dominance in California: The delta variant made up nearly 99% of all coronavirus cases that underwent genomic sequencing in California in August, demonstrating a shockingly rapid rise over the summer, according to the state Department of Public Health. As recently as May, delta made up only 6% of cases, while the alpha variant made up about 55% of cases. No other variant has so completely dominated in California.
COVID deaths rising to March levels: Twenty people in Contra Costa County died from COVID-19 during the week ending Tuesday — a level not seen since March, county public health director Dr. Ori Tzvieli said Tuesday. “In the interim we’d gone down,” Tzvieli said. He noted that in May, there was one week where only one person died from COVID. “We are seeing the death numbers coming up. That’s why we’re asking people to vaccinate, asking people to mask.”
Testing demand soars, setting local records: “We are setting records for testing in our community,” Contra Costa County Public Health Director Dr. Ori Tzvieli told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. “Last week we set a record and we’ll probably set a record again this week.” The surge in testing comes as many school districts are doing frequent testing for students and staff. To accommodate growing demand, the county is expanding hours at county-run testing sites and working with private providers to boost testing capacity.
Health officials preparing for COVID to be around ‘the next 5 to 10 years’: Contra Costa County health officials are “now prepared for COVID-19 response for the next 5 to 10 years, so we expect it to be around that period of time,” Randy Sawyer, deputy director of Contra Costa Health Services, said Tuesday in a COVID update to the Board of Supervisors. “This pandemic will last for years. We expect additional surges and variants,” Sawyer said.
Hospitalized COVID patients nationwide double numbers of 1 year ago: COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the United States number twice what they were last Labor Day, illustrating how the delta variant has hampered progress in curbing the pandemic even as vaccines became widely available. There were 38,192 COVID patients in hospitals last Labor Day, on Sept. 7, 2020, months before vaccines were available, according to a Washington Post tracker. This figure rose 160%, to more than 99,000 patients by Labor Day this year.
Nurses leaving hospital staffs: A nurse staffing crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need for the crush of patients this summer, the Associated Press reports. The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week.
U.S. surpasses 40 million known coronavirus cases: The United States has recorded more than 40 million coronavirus cases during the course of the pandemic, according to The Chronicle’s virus tracker. Amid the latest surge fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, the country is averaging more than 1,500 deaths a day — a level not seen since March, according to the New York Times. However, while daily death totals have increased more than fourfold since the beginning of August, they are still far below the peaks reached last winter. Health officials say vaccines remain effective in preventing severe disease and death, and most of the patients currently being hospitalized and dying are not vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Tuesday, 53% of Americans were fully vaccinated.
New Zealand eases restrictions as delta cases stabilize: Officials in New Zealand announced Monday that snap lockdowns that began in August are ending outside its largest city, with slowing daily case numbers indicating an outbreak fueled by the delta variant may have peaked, the Guardian reported. The nationwide alert level will drop to Level 2, and residents outside Auckland may return to work and school, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The 1.7 million residents of Auckland will remain under Level 4 lockdown, except for essential workers, according to the New York Times.
His year of remote work spanned the U.S.: While some companies are intent on getting employees back into the office, San Francisco startup Fast, like other companies in the Bay Area tech scene, has instead made remote working a permanent feature during the pandemic. For one Fast worker, the commute during the pandemic shifted from one city to more than a dozen states. Read the full story.