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Will the Super Bowl cause a coronavirus outbreak?

Just as the United States appears to have emerged from the worst of a coronavirus outbreak that ravaged the country for months and peaked after Americans crammed inside for the winter break, the Public health officials are concerned about another potential super-spread date: Super Bowl Sunday.

January was the country’s deadliest month to date in the pandemic, accounting for 20%, or 95,246, of the more than 460,000 coronavirus deaths the United States has recorded in the past 12 months. That’s more people than even the largest stadium in the NFL could contain.

Experts fear football fans gathered in Tampa, Fla. On Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs-Tampa Bay Buccaneers championship game, or on watch nights across the country, could delay fledgling progress of recent weeks. Daily reports of new cases and deaths remain high but have declined somewhat. The seven-day average of new cases reported in the United States fell to 125,804 on Friday, the lowest level since November 10. Reports of deaths, a delayed indicator as patients who die from Covid-19 typically do so weeks after being infected, averaging 2,913 per day, the lowest rate since January 7.

The United States administers an average of 1.3 million doses of vaccine per day, as the Biden administration strives to speed up distribution before more contagious variants that might elude vaccines become dominant. The NFL has proposed to President Biden the 30 stages of its use as sites for mass vaccination.

Officials such as Dr Anthony S. Fauci, Mr Biden’s chief medical adviser on Covid-19, have warned Americans against gathering for Super Bowl parties with people from other households, especially in places without ideal ventilation.

“You are really putting yourself and your family at risk,” Dr. Fauci said on MSNBC Friday.

“It’s the perfect setup for hosting a mini super-spreader event in your home,” he added. “Don’t do that yet.”

While health experts worry about an increase in the number of post-game cases, some have said they anticipate nothing as deadly as the post-holiday wave that peaked in January. That’s because Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to stimulate more domestic travel than the Super Bowl, said Dr. Catherine Oldenburg, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Yet even the holidays pose a threat, said Carl Bergstrom, professor of biology at the University of Washington.

“I have a feeling it’s a really good year to watch it at home with your family and not go to Super Bowl parties like you usually would because we’re just starting to get a handle on that in this country.” , Dr Bergstrom told me.

Dr Bergstrom also expressed concern about the more than 20,000 people expected to attend the game in person at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa – about a third of the stadium’s usual capacity.

“Every time you get 25,000 people together screaming and screaming during a pandemic, you’re going to have transmission,” said Dr Bergstrom.

Public health experts fear that new, more contagious variants, like the one first identified in Britain and known as B.1.1.7, will soon become dominant and lead to a deadly outbreak this spring. At least 187 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in Florida, more than in any other state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bars will be open in Florida during the game, with some announcing Super Bowl parties. Before the game, the Tampa mask order was extended to apply to outdoor areas where people could congregate.

Super Bowl ticket holders have not been deterred by the pandemic. Jeremiah Coleman, a Wichita Chiefs fan, Kan., Said, “On my deathbed this will probably be one of the best five days I can remember in my life, you know?

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Mapping the uneven outbreak of Covid-19 in Los Angeles

“What we are seeing is that a lot of families have no choice but to continue their activities as usual,” said Laura Hidalgo, leader of a Covid-19 outreach team for Meet Each Need With Dignity, a nonprofit group based in Pacoima.

In Pacoima – a predominantly Latino neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley where much of our history unfolds – one in five residents has been infected with Covid-19, compared to one in 24 Santa Monica residents, much whiter. The median household income in Pacoima is around $ 56,000, compared to $ 97,000 in Santa Monica.

If you explore the map, other similar contrasts emerge: In El Sereno, a rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood with a median household income of around $ 57,000, one in seven residents has been infected. In neighboring South Pasadena, a small town with tree-lined streets that often appears in movies as an idyllic American suburb, one in 22 residents has been infected. The median household income is around $ 106,000.

Daniel Flaming, chairman of the nonprofit economic roundtable, told me that the “polarization of income” in Los Angeles County, coupled with the fact that many of the region’s lower paid workers are working in the area. service industries where they must interact with customers, made the rise of the county, the most populous in the country, particularly intense.

[See the Covid risk in your county. Hint: It’s probably high, if you live in California.]

But if you zoom in or out, patterns, unevenness, repeat.

As a single reader highlighted on TwitterThe city of Long Beach also has lower rates in its richer, whiter east coast zip codes, according to the city’s Department of Health and Human Services website. (Overall, as our map shows, one in 10 Long Beach residents have contracted Covid-19.)

And on a larger scale, researchers at the Community and Labor Center at the University of California, Merced, wrote in a July policy brief that the summer surge in California is hammering counties with high concentrations of low-wage workers, including in the central valley relatively high case rates persisted throughout the pandemic.

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Video: Washington grapples with coronavirus outbreak

new video loaded: Washington grapples with coronavirus outbreak

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Washington grapples with coronavirus outbreak

Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser urged residents to be vigilant on Monday against the coronavirus and announced that any resident 65 years of age or older could make an appointment to receive the vaccine.

Even in these tumultuous days, our experience with Covid, we remain concerned, as the rest of the country remains concerned, about the increase in cases. I ask the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to revoke all permits for public assembly in the District of Columbia and deny all requests for public assembly during the period January 11 through January 24. In addition to answering our call to only participate in grand opening events virtually, I also ask DC residents to sign up for special grand opening day alerts. Our Department of Health has been working on our phasing criteria for the vaccine, and today we are moving to another phase of vaccine eligibility. Starting today, DC residents aged 65 and over can make an appointment to get the Covid vaccine through the vaccinate.dc.gov portal.

Recent episodes of Coronavirus pandemic: latest updates

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Inflatable costume may be the cause of an outbreak at California hospital

An air-inflatable costume, worn by a staff member over Christmas to spread holiday cheer, may be to blame for a coronavirus outbreak that has infected dozens of workers at a hospital in San Jose, Calif., Said a spokesperson for the hospital.

An employee wore the costume “briefly” in the emergency department at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Jose, spokeswoman Irene Chavez said in a statement. The hospital opened an investigation after 44 staff members tested positive for the coronavirus between December 27 and Friday, she said.

Inflatable costumes are usually powered by a battery-operated fan that sucks air into the suit, helping it keep its shape. Among the most popular are the T. rex and sumo wrestler models. Some costumes cover the wearer’s face while others leave it exposed.

Ms Chavez declined to say what kind of pneumatic suit the hospital worker was wearing, but described it as “vacation-themed.” As part of its response to the outbreak, she said, the hospital was investigating “whether the costume, which had a ventilator, was a contributing factor.” Air-powered suits have been banned, she said.

It was not known how long the employee had worn the costume in the ER. The hospital declined to say if any patients had been infected.

It was also not known if any of the infected staff received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, but experts said it takes at least two weeks for the vaccine’s protective effects to show. . According to the hospital, 40,000 Kaiser employees in Northern California received the first dose of the vaccine.

“Any exposure, if it had occurred, would have been completely innocent, and quite accidental, as the individual had no symptoms of Covid and was only seeking to boost the morale of those around him during a very stressful time Ms. Chavez said of the costumed worker.

The emergency department will be thoroughly cleaned, Ms. Chavez said, and in addition to protocols already in place, employees will be offered free weekly tests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is spread primarily by respiratory droplets and can “sometimes be spread by airborne transmission” of larger droplets and smaller aerosols when people “cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe ”.

Dr Jose-Luis Jimenez, aerosol expert and professor of chemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder, helped investigate the choir epidemic in Skagit County, in which at least 53 infections and two deaths have been attributed to a singing practice in Washington State. In an interview on Sunday, he said the outbreak among staff at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center was most likely the result of airborne transmission.

“It’s kind of like the choir,” Dr. Jiminez said. “There is no way to infect 43 people when you wear a costume other than by airborne transmission, by aerosols, because you are inside a costume and you cannot touch objects or infect. of people by surfaces.

The hospital is in Santa Clara County, California, where there have been 73,493 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database. There have been 2,397,923 confirmed cases in California.

More than 21,000 people were hospitalized in California on Jan. 1, according to the Times database, a 26% increase from two weeks earlier.

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The Los Angeles area is hit by a coronavirus outbreak over Christmas.

Los Angeles County, already in the throes of a devastating outbreak of coronavirus cases after Thanksgiving trips and gatherings, is hit by a peak in Christmas festivities.

The weekly average of new cases per day in the county, the largest in the United States, is at an all-time high, 16,193.

That’s about 12 times the weekly average for November 1, which was 1,347.

Even as the deluge of coronavirus cases overwhelmed hospitals in Los Angeles state and county in particular, some Angelenos have sought to celebrate the New Year with underground parties. Police dispersed more than a thousand people who attended a warehouse party, the Los Angeles Times reported.

More than 21,000 people were in hospital on New Years Day in California, according to a New York Times database, a 26% increase from two weeks earlier.

For weeks now, many intensive care units in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley areas have been at or near capacity. At the end of last month, at a Los Angeles hospital, incoming patients were waiting in a tent outside – the lobby was used to treat patients, and gurneys were placed in the gift shop.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the state of the virus in California had made it “obvious” that stay-at-home orders for the southern and central areas of the state, which were due to expire, would remain in place.

“Things, unfortunately, will get worse before they get better,” he said, adding that care for non-Covid patients in emergency rooms was being slowed down as intensive care units struggled to manage the disease. assault triggered by the wave of coronavirus cases.

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Home orders expected to continue amid ‘outbreak after outbreak’

Hello.

Stay-at-home orders in place for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley were theoretically eligible to expire on Monday, but in a grim post-Christmas reality test, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was ” obvious ”that the restrictions must be extended.

“Things, unfortunately, will get worse before they get better,” the governor said at a press conference on Monday.

[Track coronavirus cases, as well as hospitalizations and deaths, by county in California.]

Hospitals – already overwhelmed in much of the state – must prepare for what experts have projected to be a “surge in more than one wave, arguably on top of another wave,” resulting from the holidays Mr Newsom said.

And the state sent a team to Los Angeles County to help cope with an influx of patients, which led to people being discharged from emergency rooms at alarming rates over the weekend.

“Routine emergency care is slowed down,” Newsom said. “The impact of this pandemic is being felt throughout the hospital system and could impact any of us – God forbid.”

California has become the epicenter of the pandemic in recent weeks, with more than two million confirmed cases of the virus and 24,331 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

Intensive care units have been at or near full capacity for weeks in Southern California and the Central Valley. Doctors and nurses were forced to treat patients in the halls and corridors. Tents were erected to serve as waiting rooms and, in some cases, field hospitals.

And even if most healthcare providers haven’t officially started rationing care, experts said full hospitals would likely result in fewer people seeking the care they need, which is likely already. causing more deaths.

[See how full intensive care units are at hospitals near you.]

The current tidal wave of infections in the state, the most populous in the country, began to increase before Thanksgiving. As the number of cases continued to skyrocket earlier this month, state leaders announced a plan for regional stay-at-home orders tied to the capacity of intensive care units.

The restrictions, officials said at the time, could expire in three weeks, provided intensive care units have 15% of their available capacity. The idea that trends would reverse – or at least stabilize – within this time frame seemed optimistic, but theoretically possible.

But capacity in the Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, dropped below the 15% threshold to trigger the restrictions almost immediately. The same was true for capacity in the San Joaquin Valley, which has been particularly affected throughout the pandemic.

Today, about 98% of Californians live under the restrictions, which ban gatherings of people from different households and force restaurants to only serve take-out.

Mr Newsom said the state would most likely make the extension of orders official today.

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)

Here are a few other things to know:

  • The governor said California hopes to have received just over two million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. But at the end of the week state expects to have received only 1.76 million doses. Yet Mr Newsom said the effort had been monumental.

  • From Monday, nursing home residents were to start receiving doses of Pfizer vaccine administered by CVS and Walgreens under a federal partnership, Newsom said. However, Los Angeles County has pulled out, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported.

  • Mr Newsom said the plan for the the next phase of vaccine distribution should be finalized in the coming days. After healthcare workers and nursing home residents, the expected guidelines would prioritize people aged 75 and over, as well as education and child care workers, service workers emergency workers, grocery store workers and other workers in the food supply chain.

  • As cases in Los Angeles reach crisis levels, public health officials demand anyone who has traveled outside of Los Angeles County and recently returned to quarantine for 10 days.


On Sunday night, Southern California experienced its first real storm in months. Lightning. Thunder applauded. Angelenos (like me) were torn from a deep sleep by the sound of the pouring rain. Many people felt obligated tweet about it.

Monday he greeted. According to the National Weather Service of Los Angeles, some mountain areas have received about a foot of snow.

Although weather conditions prompted warnings of debris flows, light flooding and misconduct, the news was generally met with joy. Rain, of course, mitigates the risk of fire and helps stimulate plant growth in areas that have burned down.

Tuesday must have been sunny.


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley, and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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Los Angeles bans almost all public gatherings to stop virus outbreak

SACRAMENTO – The Los Angeles County Public Health Department on Friday called on residents to stay at home as the virus continues to rise rapidly, banning gatherings both in public and at home if people are from different households.

The restrictions announced on Friday were not unexpected. Los Angeles County officials have gradually tightened health restrictions, but not yet to the stop levels imposed at the start of the pandemic.

The county had set a threshold for restrictions of an average of 4,500 daily cases over five days. That threshold was crossed earlier than expected: the five-day average of new cases reported on Friday was 4,751.

The directive allows religious services and demonstrations, noting that both are constitutionally protected rights. It sets maximum occupancy rates for various businesses, including non-essential retail, libraries and leisure activities, and leaves in place a county-wide ban on in-person eating at restaurants and bars, as customers cannot wear face masks when eating or drinking.

However, take-out and delivery services for catering establishments will still be permitted.

The directive is less harsh than Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order in March, which closed schools and most businesses and restricted public movement with exceptions for essential workers or essential activities like purchasing products from groceries and drugs.

“We know we ask a lot from so many people who have been sacrificing themselves for months,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. “Acting with collective urgency now is essential if we are to stop this wave.”

The temporary order goes into effect Monday and will run until December 20.

In order for businesses to be allowed to stay open, customers must wear face masks and stay at least six feet away.

Schools and day camps can remain open, according to the directive. However, day camps as well as high and lower-level schools are required to close for two weeks if they report an outbreak, which the county has defined as three or more cases in 14 days.

California officials last week announced a curfew prohibiting nearly all residents of the state from leaving their homes to do non-essential work or from assembling from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The new stay-at-home order has been described as more limited than the governor’s spring order; in addition to only applying overnight, it has a built-in expiration date at the moment and only applies to so-called purple-level counties, which are subject to the most stringent state restrictions in its reopening plan. It is in place until the morning of December 21.

“We are sounding the alarm,” Governor Gavin Newsom said when the order was released. “It is essential that we take action to reduce transmission and slow hospitalizations before the number of deaths increases. We have done it before and we must do it again.

On Sunday, the county ordered most restaurants to end al fresco and indoor dining from Wednesday, limiting those businesses to take-out, drive-thru and delivery services and causing backlash among restaurateurs, whose businesses have been criticized.

Shawn Hubler reported from Sacramento and John Ismay from Arlington, Va.

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Virus outbreak, once in the middle of the nation, is gaining steam all around

Any gradual improvement in the Midwest has been more than offset by increasing outbreaks elsewhere in the country. In Los Angeles County, California, where cases have surpassed levels seen this summer, to an average of more than 4,000 a day, restaurants can no longer offer indoor or outdoor dining from Wednesday night. Around Miami, reports of new cases have more than quadrupled since the start of October, although they remain below peak levels seen in July.

“We expect it to increase, but we just want to do everything we can to not get back to the same position we were in over the summer,” said Dr Peter Paige, who was recently appointed physician- head of Miami-Dade. County. “It’s a real threat.”

Epidemiologists and public health officials across the country have said the reason for the resurgence of epidemics could be explained by a simple variable: what people choose to do.

Dr Debra Bogen, director of health in Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, told reporters last week that the rapid rise in local cases was fueled by people letting their guard down.

“The virus itself has not changed – which has been our behavior,” said Dr Bogen, telling the story of an informal homecoming dance, hosted by parents in a local school district, which s turned out to be an event that led to several confirmed cases.

In Kansas, Anil Gharmalkar, 41, who owns a trucking business and lives in the town of Oswego, believed the virus to be a “big city problem” unlikely to affect him.

Then he got infected.

“Covid didn’t care what I believed,” Gharmalkar said in a video released by the University of Kansas Health System, where he was treated and received a breathing apparatus that was implanted in his throat. “I was half-heartedly careful, and I could have been more careful, and I wish I had been.

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Small social gatherings not the source of the virus outbreak (so far)

An analysis of nearly 800 nursing homes in six states with the largest increases, including North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, found that these homes are still hot spots for viral transmission and that little have been made since the spring to reduce this risk.

It is almost impossible to compare the relative contribution of social gatherings to the number of cases in different states, or even to find a consistent definition of what constitutes a gathering.

Rhode Island, which limited private gatherings to 10 people, helpfully defined the term, including family reunions, birthdays, baby showers, and sleepovers. But some states also add larger events, such as weddings and funerals, to the category.

These gatherings, especially if held indoors, can certainly cause infections. In rural Maine, a wedding with 55 guests ultimately resulted in 177 cases, while a wedding in Washington state led to at least 17. through major social events.

But the same can’t be said for small private gatherings with friends and family. In Colorado, only 81 active cases are attributed to social gatherings, compared to more than 4,000 in correctional centers and prisons, 3,300 in colleges and universities, nearly 2,400 in assisted living facilities, and 450 in restaurants, bars, casinos and bowling lanes.

In Louisiana, social events represent only 1.7% of the 3,300 cases for which the state has clear information about the exposure.

“It’s important to give good public health advice on what’s to come over the holidays, without a doubt,” said Dr Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health . “But it is not good to suggest that they are now the preponderance of the source of the spread.”

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Jeannette Williams-Parker, nurse in a virus outbreak, dies at 48

This obituary is one in a series on people who died in the coronavirus pandemic. Learn about the others here.

Jeannette Williams-Parker loved 80s and 90s rock music. She played AC / DC and Prince while driving or cleaning the house. The big, loud beat spoke of its mischievous side, from childhood: the 2-year-old girl running naked in the street at bath time; the young daredevil who hurtled down the hill on her Big Wheel bike, half-scaring her mother.

Ms Williams-Parker, known to her friends as Netty, also had a caring side. She was a registered nurse for 26 years, the last 23 of them at JW Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.

“She went above and beyond her job description,” her daughter, Haley Parker, said in a telephone interview. Ms Williams-Parker once noticed that the parents of a sick child had spent long hours in the hospital, so she gave them a change of clothes and a meal.

She died on September 30 at the hospital where she worked. She was 48 years old. The cause was complications from Covid-19, her daughter said.

Ms Williams-Parker was the first nurse in West Virginia to die of the novel coronavirus, said Julie Huron, executive director of the West Virginia Nurses Association; two other nurses have since died.

West Virginia was the last state in the country to report a confirmed case of the virus on March 17, and numbers have remained low throughout the spring. But like many largely rural areas, the state has recently seen a spike in cases.

It is not known how or where Ms Williams-Parker contracted the virus. Her fiancé, Bryan Ingram, fell ill with what he initially thought was a sinus infection. Soon he and then Ms Williams-Parker tested positive for Covid-19. The Saturday before her death, she called her mother, Ruth Bagwell, to tell her that she was short of breath and had a fever. On Monday, she was taken by ambulance to hospital. Wednesday she was gone.

“She never thought that would happen to her,” Ms. Bagwell said.

Jeannette Delphia Williams was born July 17, 1972 in Fairmont, West Virginia. Her mother worked as a cook for the Marion County Board of Education. His father, Roy Williams, was a coal miner.

Ms Williams-Parker received her nursing degree from Fairmont State University and spent three years at CAMC Memorial Hospital in Charleston before going to work for JW Ruby, which serves as the primary clinical teaching and research site for West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Ms Williams-Parker was an MRI nurse supervisor and clinical nurse preceptor, teaching new RNs. When she died, she was responsible for nursing for all coordination of the pediatric anesthesia and the ultrasound MRI program. She was working on her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In addition to her mother, daughter and fiance, Mrs. Williams-Parker is survived by her stepfather, Ron Bagwell; one brother, Bill Williams; a half-brother, Christopher Bagwell; and a half-sister, Natalie Swiger. Her marriage to Brian Parker ended in divorce.

Ms Williams-Parker wanted her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Haley, who is 18, instead enrolled in a pre-med program at WVU to become a doctor.

Haley had received tuition assistance through a program for dependents of WVU Medicine employees. After her mother died, the hospital informed her in a letter that because Ms Williams-Parker was no longer an employee, Haley would no longer receive help. However, the hospital reversed its decision last week and now says it will honor its pledge.