Pasadena reported 19 new cases oifCOVID-19 on March 23rd. There were no new deaths associated with COVID.
LA County reported 932 new COVID-19 cases on March 24th. The County reported 10 deaths from COVID on march 24th.
Which coronavirus patients are most at risk for developing long Covid? From the New York Times: A new analysis of research conducted during the first two years of the pandemic helps crystallize some answers that have been emerging.
It found that patients over 40, those with previous health issues and those who had a severe coronavirus infection had greater risk of developing long Covid. And it affirmed a growing consensus that vaccination lowers that risk.
The analysis, conducted by a team of researchers in Britain and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at 41 studies published between the beginning of the pandemic and Dec. 5, 2022. The studies, which had all been peer-reviewed, involved a total of 860,783 patients.
The report evaluated the patients’ risk of post-Covid symptoms — including shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, headache, and loss of taste and smell — more than three months after their infection.
People who received two doses of a Covid vaccine before becoming infected were 43 percent less likely to develop long Covid. The analysis did not look at the role of boosters.
A Look back (from the New York Times): It’s been a long three years.
On March 19, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a stay-at-home order for all Californians to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As I’m sure you remember, the move felt drastic — a confirmation that the nightmarish uncertainty of the earliest days wasn’t ending anytime soon.
We’ve come quite a way since then, through mask mandates and mass vaccination campaigns and the reopenings of businesses and schools. Once ubiquitous pandemic language (remember “flatten the curve” and “quarantine pods”?) has already faded from our collective lexicon.
Covid, however, has become a permanent part of our lives.
The virus gets less attention than it once did, but even now its origin remains the subject of intense scientific scrutiny, as my colleagues reported Friday. And Americans are still arguing about masks.
The virus itself remains very much around, unlikely to burn out altogether, experts say. Though California thankfully didn’t have a giant surge this winter, roughly 3,000 people in the state are still testing positive for the coronavirus each day, a level of spread that Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist at U.C.L.A., said was akin to a “very bad flu season.”
The virus still spreads easily from person to person, and a new strain that’s better able to evade our immune system’s defenses could emerge at any time. “Whatever the virus is doing today, it’s still working on finding another winning path,” Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego, recently told The Associated Press.
California’s death toll from Covid shockingly now exceeds 100,000 people, according to state data. Nationwide, Americans’ life expectancy had fallen by the end of 2021 from 79 years to 76 years, mostly as a direct result of Covid, Atul Gawande, a public health researcher, recently wrote in The Times.
“Such astonishing declines have occurred planet-wide — the first global reduction in life expectancy since World War II,” Gawande wrote. “Human development has been pushed into reverse.”
Still, for most Americans, Covid has become something to live with, as scientists back in spring 2020 predicted it eventually would. For me (and I acknowledge I’m lucky to be in good health and to mostly work remotely), I only hear about Covid nowadays when a friend falls ill with the virus, or when attending a wedding or other large event that requires testing. Questions and concerns about Covid are not embedded in my day-to-day life the way they were not long ago.
As of this month, 85 percent of Californians have gotten at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and millions of us have some protection through a combination of vaccines and previous infection. Those layers of immunity have allowed health officials to avoid the behavioral mandates that were common in 2020 and 2021.
Though the World Health Organization is not yet ready to declare an end to the pandemic, and President Biden doesn’t plan to call off the national public health emergency until May, California ended its Covid emergency declaration at the end of last month.
The orders had given Newsom broad power to issue mandates intended to slow the virus, as well as to bypass certain state laws. Newsom released a statewide plan last year that called for treating the virus as a manageable risk, as opposed to a crisis.
One of the last holdouts in California, Los Angeles County, will end its Covid-19 emergency declaration at the end of March, which will strip the county of some of its current power to instate health orders to fight the coronavirus.
When announcing the plan to lift the declaration, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said, “Covid is still with us, but it is no longer an emergency.”
The Federal Reserve extended its year-long fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point despite concerns that higher borrowing rates could worsen the turmoil that has gripped the banking system.
“The U.S. banking system is sound and resilient,” the Fed said in a statement after its latest policy meeting ended.
At the same time, the Fed warned that the financial upheaval stemming from the collapse of two major banks is “likely to result in tighter credit conditions” and “weigh on economic activity, hiring and inflation.”
The central bank also signaled that it’s likely nearing the end of its aggressive streak of rate hikes. In its statement, it removed language that had previously said it would keep raising rates at upcoming meetings. The statement now says “some additional policy firming may be appropriate” — a weaker commitment to future hikes.
And in a series of quarterly projections, the policymakers forecast that they expect to raise their key rate just once more — from its new level Wednesday of about 4.9% to 5.1%, the same peak level they had projected in December.
Still, in its latest statement, the Fed included some language that indicated its inflation fight remains far from complete. It noted that hiring is “running at a robust pace” and “inflation remains elevated.” It removed a phrase, “inflation has eased somewhat,” that it had included in its statement in February.
Fed hike is a blow as consumers carry more debt on credit cards (from the Associated Press)-As the Federal Reserve raises interest rates again, credit card debt is already at a record high, and more people are carrying debt month to month. The Fed’s interest rate increases are meant to fight inflation, but they’ve also led to higher annual percentage rates for people with credit card debt, which means they pay more in interest. The Fed announced Wednesday that it would increase rates another quarter of a percentage point. With inflation still high, people are leaning on their credit cards more for everyday purchases.
46% of people are carrying debt from month to month, up from 39% a year ago, according to Bankrate.com, an online financial information site.
Bankrate says the average credit card interest rate, or annual percentage rate, has reached 20.4% — the highest since its tracking began in the mid-1980s.
In a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 35% of U.S. adults report that their household debt is higher than it was a year ago. Just 17% say it has decreased.
Roughly 4 in 10 adults in households making less than $100,000 a year say their debt is up, compared with about a quarter in households making more than that. About half of Black and Latino adults say their household debt has increased, compared with about 3 in 10 white adults.
Data also show that more people are now falling behind on payments.
Typically, on a national scale, it takes something pretty extraordinary for credit card balances to fall, economists agree. The Great Recession, beginning in 2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in 2020, are two periods when they fell sharply.
During the early part of the pandemic, credit card debt fell 17%, Bankrate said, thanks in part to stimulus programs, emergency relief and a decrease in consumer spending. But in the last three months of 2022, credit card balances in the nation increased $61 billion, to $986 billion, surpassing the pre-pandemic high of $927 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Using a credit card can provide protections for people who can pay off the balance every month. But the cost for those who can’t is high. No-interest offers are generally available for only a limited period, sometimes up to 21 months, and banks sometimes charge a flat fee, such as 3% of the balance transferred. Credit card rates are one of the fastest ways higher interest rates hit consumers.
In the typically tame market for government bonds, investors have been left reeling from some of the most chaotic trading conditions they have ever seen, entrenching concerns about the broader economy since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
It’s the kind of trading that makes the often more turbulent stock market seem calm: While the S&P 500 has edged higher in the two weeks since the federal authorities took control of SVB, parts of the government bond market have been subjected to moves not seen since the 1980s, when the economy fell into recession after the Federal Reserve’s last major fight against inflation.
The wild trading strikes at the heart of the financial system. U.S. government bonds, called Treasuries, are the bedrock of global markets. A rise or fall in Treasury yields, which move in the opposite direction to their price, can ripple through to everything from mortgages to company borrowing — affecting trillions of dollars’ worth of debt.
Usually, yields on these bonds rise and fall in tiny increments measured in hundredths of a percentage point, or “basis points.” But in the past two weeks, the yield on two-year Treasury notes has consistently moved within a range of 0.3 to 0.7 percentage points each day. That may still seem incremental, but it’s as much as 15 times the average over the past decade.
The largest day-to-day move in yields this month, when the two-year yield on March 13 slid to 3.98 percent from 4.59 percent, was the biggest lurch lower since 1982 — worse than anything traders witnessed in the 1987 “Black Monday” stock market crash, the bursting of the tech bubble at the turn of the century or the 2008 financial crisis.
After a lengthy public debate, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 21 voted not to support a resolution that would’ve extended certain residential tenant protections for one year throughout the county.
In a 2-2 vote with one abstention, a measure that prohibits landlords from evicting a tenant without just cause and one that would protect tenants from eviction who have added extra occupants and/or pets during the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic failed to pass.
Also failing was a measure affecting only landlords in unincorporated areas that would have capped rent increases by 3%, or the year-over-year change in the local Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. It also would have prevented the imposition of pass-throughs or other fees.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath voted in favor, while Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger voted against the measures. Supervisor Holly Mitchell abstained.
Hahn said extended protections for renters was fine a year ago, but with unemployment low and the COVID-19 pandemic abated, this was not the right time to impose more emergency regulations on the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, nor to place restrictions on landlords in unincorporated areas.
UK inflation unexpectedly accelerated in February, adding to pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates again at its meeting on Thursday.
Southern California’s spring homebuying season got off to a slow start last month with high mortgage rates and too few homes for sale suppressing transactions and prices.
The median price of a Southern California home — or the price at the midpoint of all sales — was $690,000 in February, real estate data firm CoreLogic reported Wednesday, March 22.
That’s down $2,000 from a year ago and down $70,000 from last April and May when home prices went into an eight-month nose dive.
Sales, meanwhile, fell 37.6% to 11,068 transactions in the 12 months ending in February, CoreLogic reported. That’s the second-lowest tally for a February and the fourth lowest for any month in records dating back 35 years.
February typically marks the start of the spring buying season, the busiest time of year for home sales. Indeed, activity at open houses picked up in mid-January, as if someone threw a switch, several agents said.
But high interest rates and low inventory are holding the market back, housing economists said.
New listings in the region were down at least 38.5% in February, according to Zillow. Redfin numbers show total listings — both new and those taking longer to sell — were 40% below average.