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COVID-19 Update for March 6, 2023-Cases, the Economy and More
From PasadenaNOW: The Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) will terminate the local COVID-19 health emergency, effective 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 5 according to Interim Health Officer Eic G. Handler.
The end of the public health emergency comes as community spread of COVID-19 has decreased locally and statewide.
Acting Director of Public Health Manuel Carmona will recommend the City Council ratify a resolution terminating both the local public health emergency and local emergency at the City Council Meeting scheduled for Monday, March 6.
The end of the local public health emergency will occur less than a week after Governor Newsom ends the California COVID-19 state of emergency on February 28, and nearly three years after it was first declared by Pasadena Health Officer Dr. Ying-Ying Goh on March 4, 2020.
Over the last three years, PPHD has monitored COVID-19 data and designed interventions to mitigate the spread of the disease. COVID-19 cases have been declining since the start of 2023 and have now stabilized in the Low Community Level as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Between January 1 and February 24, the seven-day daily average of cases declined by almost half, from 30.3 to 16.0, despite the emergence of XBB.1.5 as the dominant variant in Los Angeles County. The emergence of this latest variant has not resulted in an increase in cases or more severe COVID-related illness, demonstrating how significantly the situation has improved compared to the prior two years.
The Pasadena Public Health Dept. recommends everyone consider their personal and environmental factors to assess their risk of contracting COVID-19 and to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and others such as:
• Getting vaccinated and boosted;
• Wearing a well-fitted, high-quality mask (i.e., KN95 or N95) in indoor public spaces and crowded settings;
• Washing hands regularly;
• Testing if you experience symptoms;
• Staying home when sick and avoiding close contact with others; and
• Seeking treatment if you test positive for COVID-19.
PPHD led the public health emergency response effort with support from employees from every City of Pasadena department and partnerships with a number of community agencies and faith-based organizations. Together, these efforts resulted in 42,281 investigations of reported confirmed and probable cases and the administration of 42,628 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, helping the City achieve a 93.3% vaccination rate for first and second doses.
Tragically, the Pasadena community has lost 442 residents to this terrible disease and the City shares condolences with those who have lost friends and family members during this difficult time.
L.A. County sets end date for COVID crisis: March 31-With conditions easing, all supervisors approve the move By Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II for the LA Times.
Los Angeles County will end its COVID-19 emergency declaration at the end of March, becoming the latest region to take that step amid improving pandemic conditions.
The move, approved unanimously Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, came the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom formally rescinded the statewide emergency declaration issued three years ago during the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.
Like their state counterparts, L.A. County officials praised the original March 2020 proclamation for providing necessary authority and flexibility to respond to the outbreak.
But given the current situation — with vaccines and therapeutics plentiful and hospitalization and death rates having tumbled without the sort of aggressive interventions seen earlier in the COVID-19 era, such as mask mandates and stay-at-home orders — officials said the emergency declaration was no longer necessary.
Under the board-approved motion, the county’s local emergency declaration will end March 31.
L.A. County has recorded more than 35,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, and some areas were hit harder than others. Supervisor Hilda Solis said her eastern district reported nearly 9,000 deaths, the highest toll of any of the supervisorial districts.
The city of Los Angeles ended its own local COVID-19 emergency declaration on Feb. 1, and the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena — which have independent public health departments — are winding down theirs as well. President Biden has also informed Congress he will rescind the national-level emergency and public health emergency declarations on May 11.
As of Monday, 648 coronavirus-positive individuals were hospitalized countywide — about half as many as the most recent seasonal peak of 1,308, set on Dec. 8. That total is also far fewer than the prior winter surges of 4,814 on Jan. 19, 2022; and 8,098, set on Jan. 5, 2021.
L.A. County is recording 90 COVID-19 deaths a week for the seven-day period that ended Tuesday. That’s lower than the winter peak of 164 recorded in January.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has said a more stable death rate would be about 35 COVID-19 deaths a week. Such a number might still be difficult to accept — especially since fatalities are now largely preventable with vaccines and antiviral treatments — but would nonetheless represent stability and “indicate that our protections are really working extraordinarily well.”
By comparison, the all-time peak of COVID-19 deaths was 1,690 for the week that ended Jan. 14, 2021. The following winter, the peak was 513 deaths for the week that ended Feb. 9, 2022.
Newsom rescinds state’s COVID-19 emergency-Move comes three years after declaration by governor that gave him broad powers. for the Los Angeles Times By Taryn Luna. California’s COVID-19 state of emergency officially ends Tuesday , bringing a symbolic close to one of the most challenging chapters in state history and of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political career.
The Democratic governor declared the state of emergency three years ago, giving himself broad executive powers to protect Californians from an unpredictable and deadly virus. After previously resisting GOP pressure to end the emergency as conditions improved, Newsom now says California is finally ready to move forward.
The governor proclaimed a state of emergency March 4, 2020 , at a time when there were only 53 known cases of COVID-19 in California.
Anticipating a rapid spread of the virus that could overwhelm hospitals, the proclamation gave the governor the legal authority to make, amend and rescind state regulations, suspend state statutes and redirect state funds. The emergency declaration also allowed Newsom to commandeer private property, including hospitals, medical labs, hotels and motels.
From the New York Times: New intelligence has prompted the Energy Department to conclude that an accidental laboratory leak in China most likely caused the coronavirus pandemic, though U.S. spy agencies remain divided over the origins of the virus, American officials said on Sunday. The conclusion was a change from the department’s earlier position that it was undecided on how the virus emerged.
Some officials briefed on the intelligence said that it was relatively weak and that the Energy Department’s conclusion was made with “low confidence,” suggesting its level of certainty was not high. While the department shared the information with other agencies, none of them changed their conclusions, officials said.
Officials would not disclose what the intelligence was. But many of the Energy Department’s insights come from its network of national laboratories, some of which conduct biological research, rather than more traditional forms of intelligence like spy networks or communications intercepts.
Intelligence officials believe the scrutiny of the pandemic’s beginnings could be important to improving global response to future health crises, though they caution that finding an answer about the source of the virus may be difficult or even impossible given Chinese opposition to further research. Scientists say there is a responsibility to explain how a pandemic that has killed almost seven million people started, and learning more about its origins could help researchers understand what poses the biggest threats of future outbreaks.
From the Associated Press: Recession forecast is pushed to later in ’23-More than half of experts still expect a downturn, but fewer see it coming by end of March, survey says.
A majority of the nation’s business economists expect a U.S. recession to begin later this year than they had previously forecast, after a series of reports have pointed to a surprisingly resilient economy despite steadily higher interest rates.
Fifty-eight percent of 48 economists who responded to a survey by the National Assn. for Business Economics envision a recession this year, the same proportion who said so in the group’s survey in December. But only a quarter think a recession will have begun by the end of March, only half the proportion who had thought so in December.
The findings, reflecting a survey of economists from businesses, trade associations and academia, were released last Monday . A third of the economists who responded to the survey now expect a recession to begin in the April-June quarter. One-fifth think it will start in the July-September quarter.
The delay in the economists’ expectations of when a downturn will begin comes after a series of government reports that have pointed to a still-robust economy even after the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates eight times in a strenuous effort to slow growth and curb high inflation.
In January, employers added more than half a million jobs, and the unemployment rate reached 3.4%, the lowest level since 1969.
And sales at retail stores and restaurants jumped 3% in January , the sharpest monthly gain in nearly two years. That suggested that consumers, who drive most of the economy’s growth, still feel financially healthy and willing to spend.
At the same time, several government reports also showed that inflation rose in January after weakening for several months, fanning fears that the Fed will raise its benchmark rate even higher than was expected. When the Fed lifts its key rate, it typically leads to more expensive mortgages, auto loans and credit card borrowing. Interest rates on business loans also rise.
Pasadena Police Department Community Brief- Statistical Highlights January 2023
Pasadena Police Department Community Brief- Statistical Highlights January 2023
On January 14, 2023, Pasadena Police officers responded to an ATM in the area of 800 E. Colorado Blvd. regarding an armed robbery. Before officers arrived on scene, the suspect fled the area in a dark-colored sedan and was not located. The victim told officers, he returned to his vehicle after withdrawing cash from an ATM. The suspect approached him, pointed a handgun at him, and demanded his wallet. Fearing for his safety, the victim handed the suspect his wallet. The suspect then got into a dark-colored sedan and drove away.
On January 17, 2023, officers from the Pasadena PD responded to a residence in the Sierra Bonita Ave and Colorado Blvd. area regarding an armed robbery. The victim told officers she was in her vehicle parked in her driveway when the suspect approached the driver's side door. The suspect pointed a gun at the victim and demanded money from her. The victim got out of the vehicle and the suspect rummaged through the victim's car. The suspect took the victim’s purse and fled the location in an unknown direction.
On January 12, 2023, officers from the Pasadena Police Department conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle in the area of Raymond Ave. and Orange Grove Blvd. The officers contacted the driver and discovered that the driver did not have a driver’s license in possession, nor did the front passenger(suspect). Both occupants were asked to exit the vehicle. While exiting the vehicle, the suspect admitted to being in possession of a handgun. Officers detained the suspect and recovered a handgun from his waistband without incident. The suspect also possessed methamphetamine. The suspect was arrested for the weapons violation and for possession of a controlled substance.
On January 29, 2023, Pasadena Police officers responded to the area of 800 N. Oakland Ave. regarding an unknown vehicle parked on the front lawn of a church/school. The vehicle was occupied by two sleeping males. The caller indicated that they wanted the vehicle removed from the grass lawn as it was not a parking area and when officers began to investigate, they saw a handgun in the lap of one of the sleeping males. Officers tactically blocked the vehicle in, and safely extracted the occupants without further incident. The gun was discovered to be a loaded 9mm Beretta 92FS. The subjects in the car were determined to be on active supervised release (parole and probation) and were arrested for a weapons violation and for an outstanding warrant.
On January 11, 2023, Pasadena Police officers responded to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon which occurred in the area of 1400 E. Colorado Blvd. The victims told responding officers that they were leaving a business when they became involved in a traffic dispute with another driver (suspect). During this dispute, the suspect exited his vehicle and armed himself with a metal pipe. In fear, the victims drove away from the area. The suspect followed the victims several city blocks and was eventually able to pull alongside the victims' vehicle. The suspect struck the victim's vehicle with the metal pipe, causing damage. At another point during the chase/assault, the suspect again exited his vehicle armed with the pole, which provided the victims an opportunity to drive away from the suspect successfully. The victims were not injured. And the suspect was described as driving a newer, gray Tesla SUV.
Pasadena Police Department
There has been increased reports of wallet thefts from the purses of shoppers and restaurant diners. If you are out shopping or dining, please keep these theft prevention tips in mind:
• At restaurants, don’t hang your purse over the back of your chair and be aware of your belongings if you notice people sitting close to you.
• When shopping, keep your purse closed and be on alert if someone strikes up a conversation. They may be trying to distract you from your purse for another person to commit the theft.
As the Spring season approaches, many community members begin heading to local trails to hike. If you plan on hiking and use the trailhead parking lots, keep in mind that these lots can often be targets for vehicle burglaries. Limit what you take for your hike or leave what you can’t carry on the hike at home.
Catalytic Converter Thefts continue to be on the rise in the region. Many of these thefts occur at night. If you hear grinding noises at night, it is possible that a theft may be in progress. If you suspect a theft is occurring, call the police. Here are a few other tips to help prevent a catalytic converter theft:
• Park your car in a well-lit area, on your driveway, or inside your garage
• Park in areas that are well lit or have higher pedestrian traffic that passes by the vehicle. This will discourage thieves because they will not have the privacy to steal the catalytic converter.
• If possible, purchase and install a catalytic converter anti-theft device
• Participate in a catalytic converter etching program. Etching does not prevent theft, but it helps law enforcement in the recovery of the catalytic converter.
COVID-19 Update for February 27, 2023 - Mostly Economic News This Time
The City of Pasadena Public Health Department reported 29 new cases on Thursday, February 23rd and no new fatalities.
Los Angeles County reported 1,418 new cases and 12 COVID-related deaths on Friday, February 24th.
Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation Economic Forecast: From the Pasadena Star-News/LA Newsgroup: California’s economy will see modest growth this year but a rebound is expected in 2024, according to a newly released forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
The report says the Golden State is moving beyond a pandemic-related recovery and will instead be impacted by global supply chain instability and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, which have created “real concerns that a policy overcorrection may lead the United States into a recession.”
The report says the possibility of “a shallow recession” would create its own problems in terms of business closures, job losses and reductions in household income and tax revenue.
A number of signs indicate California has discovered its “new normal,” the forecast said, with employment indicators near pre-pandemic levels and discussions of consumer spending refocused around cooling demand to temper high inflation.
The state’s economy is expected to see 0.3% growth this year. That falls below 2022’s rate of 0.5%, but the report predicts next year’s GDP — the value of all goods and services produced during the year — will grow by 1.5%.
California’s job growth will slow to 0.8% in 2023, the report said, which lands well below the 5% gain seen last year and a 3.2% uptick in 2021. It should be noted, however, that those two years followed a 7.1% decline in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted temporary business closures and scores of layoffs.
Employment growth in 2024 is expected to dip to 0.2%.
California’s biggest 2022-2024 job gains are expected to come in educational and health services (142,000 jobs), followed by government (28,500) and leisure and hospitality (24,700).
On the downside, the LAEDC predicts manufacturing will shed 27,300 jobs over that two-year period, while trade, transportation and utilities will lose 17,400 jobs and construction and mining payrolls will be off by 13,400 jobs.
California’s unemployment rate will average 4.9% in 2023 and 5.5% next year as the state’s economy continues to cool, the forecast said. That represents a slight increase from 4.4% last year, but a huge decline from 10.2% in 2020.
Personal income growth for California residents is expected to rise 4.1% this year after falling by 0.5% in 2022, and next year is looking better with an expected increase of 4.4%.
The report also shows the state’s housing affordability rate — the percentage of households that can afford to by a median-priced, single-family home — has fallen to 18%.
And renters, which occupy 44.1% of California’s housing units, are spending an “overly large portion of their incomes” on housing. Nearly 55% percent of rental units in California are cost-burdened, the report said, meaning renters are paying 30% or more of their income on rent each month.
Los Angeles County: Deeper challenges are predicted for Los Angeles County, where the economy is expected to contract by 0.2% this year, followed by a 1.3% increase in 2024 as inflation cools and the Fed slows down interest rate hikes.
Job growth is expected to remain static at 0.2% this year and in 2024. That follows the tumultuous swings the county saw over the last couple of years, with an 11.8% plunge in 2021 and a 5.4% gain last year.
L.A. County’s unemployment rate is expected to average 6.4% this year and 6.7% next year — considerably higher than California’s jobless rates of 4.9% and 5.5% for the same period.
County residents will also see slimmer increases in personal income, the study said, with an increase of 0.1% this year and 2.3% in 2024.
L.A. County’s biggest employment growth for 2022-2024, like the state, will be in educational and health services. That industry is expected to add 25,300 jobs over the two-year period, while professional and business services will add 5,700 and construction and mining will add 2,100 jobs.
Manufacturing will weather the biggest decline with a loss of 9,100 jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities (down 5,800 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (down 3,100).
From the Associated Press: Inflation roars back to its fastest pace since June. Consumer prices rise 0.6% from December to January. Year over year, they’re up 5.4%.
The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge rose last month at its fastest pace since June, an alarming sign that price pressures remain entrenched in the U.S. economy and could lead the Fed to keep raising interest rates well into this year.
Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer prices rose 0.6% from December to January, up sharply from a 0.2% increase from November to December.
On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 5.4%, up from a 5.3% annual increase in December.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core prices rose 0.6% from December, up from a 0.4% rise the previous month. And compared with a year earlier, core inflation was 4.7% in January, versus 4.6% in December.
The report also showed that consumer spending rose 1.8% last month from December after falling the previous month.
January’s price data exceeded forecasters’ expectations, confounding hopes that inflation was steadily decelerating and that the Fed could relent on its campaign of rate hikes. It follows other recent data that also suggested that the economy remains gripped by inflation despite the Fed’s strenuous efforts to tame it.
Last week, the government issued a separate inflation measure — the consumer price index — which showed that prices surged 0.5% from December to January , much more than the previous month’s 0.1% rise.
Measured year over year, consumer prices climbed 6.4% in January. That was well below a recent peak of 9.1% in June but still far above the Fed’s 2% inflation target.
Since March of last year, the Fed has attacked inflation by raising its key interest rate eight times.
Yet despite the resulting higher borrowing costs for individuals and businesses, the job market remains surprisingly robust. That is actually a worrisome sign for the Fed because strong demand for workers tends to fuel wage growth and overall inflation.
Employers added a sizzling 517,000 jobs in January , and the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, its lowest point since 1969.
The Fed is thought to monitor the inflation gauge that was issued Friday — the personal consumption expenditures price index — even more closely than it does the government’s better-known consumer price index.
Typically, the personal consumption expenditures index shows a lower inflation level than the consumer price index. In part, that’s because rents, which have soared, carry twice the weight in the consumer price index that they do in the personal consumption expenditures index.
The personal consumption expenditures index also seeks to account for changes in how people shop when inflation jumps. As a result, it can capture emerging trends — when, for example, consumers shift away from pricey national brands in favor of less expensive store brands.
The consumer price index showed a worrisome rise from December to January: It jumped 0.5% — five times the November-to-December increase.
Likewise, the government’s measure of wholesale prices, which shows price increases before they hit consumers, rose 0.7% from December to January after having dropped 0.2% from November to December.
Millions are still missing from the workforce. Where did they go? Numbers are down even as pandemic recedes. It’s ‘a puzzle that has many pieces. By Michael Sasso for Bloomberg. Bloomberg writer Ben Steverman contributed to this report.
Millions of workers are still missing from the U.S. labor force three years after COVID-19 surfaced, and economists are scratching their heads as to how big the gap actually is and where all these people went.
One estimate found at least 2.1 million retired earlier than expected. Another calculated a shortfall of 2 million immigrants at the height of the pandemic. Other research pointed to a million or more out of work because of long COVID.
There’s not even an agreement on the overall size of the hole — how many more Americans would be working in 2023 had it not been for the pandemic.
That’s a problem because officials at the Federal Reserve need to know whether Americans are temporarily or permanently out of the labor force so they can set monetary policy, said Anna Wong, chief U.S. economist at Bloomberg Economics.
With the jobless rate at a 53-year low and more employees on payrolls now than there were before the pandemic, how can workers truly be missing?
The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed people, and some researchers point to an estimate made by Fed economists of how big it should be based on population trends.
Assuming people kept working at pre-pandemic rates, they projected a labor force of 168 million by the end of 2022. In reality, the figure was around 165 million, arriving at a shortfall of roughly 3 million.
Things got even muddier this month, when the Labor Department revised its December tally of nonfarm payrolls by more than 800,000 additional workers. So that 3-million-person hole in the labor force actually may be a third smaller, Wong said.
What gives? Economists acknowledge that data about what motivates workers to drop out are hard to come by, and that trends underpinning their research, such as a drop in immigration, have changed over the pandemic’s course. Finally, some workers may be counted more than once, such as baby boomers who retired because of long COVID.
The labor force participation rate — the share of the population that is working or looking for work — stands at 62.4%, stubbornly below its pre-COVID level of 63.3%.
Had the average rate preceding the pandemic held, the labor force would have had 1.1 million more people in 2022, according to an outlook published by the Congressional Budget Office this month.
Several economists, though, have competing theories about how many missing workers there are and where they went.
Didem Tuzemen, a senior economist at the Kansas City Fed, calculated in a report last October that there would be 2.4 million more people in the labor force had participation rates not slipped during the pandemic. Most of the missing workers are older Americans, she noted.
While many older workers initially left the pandemic workforce out of health concerns, others chose to hang up their hats for good.
Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell has cited research by the central bank’s economists showing that “excess retirements” account for more than 2 million of the missing workers, but that hasn’t been updated per the Labor Department’s revision.
A higher-than-average number of deaths in recent years, mainly from COVID-19, accounts for about 400,000 of the labor-force shortfall, according to the Fed. The pandemic killed many more people — about 1.1 million — but the majority were older and more likely to be out of the workforce.
Harvard University economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues tracked another category of missing workers in a recent paper : low-wage service workers who were displaced from their jobs early in the pandemic and never came back. That’s illustrated best by payrolls in sectors such as leisure and hospitality and restaurants that still lag behind their pre-COVID levels.
The researchers zeroed in on affluent areas in big cities such as New York where office staff stopped getting haircuts and eating out because they were working from home. Those neighborhoods are the most likely to still be missing low-income workers today.
Elsewhere, UC Davis economists found that immigration slowed to a trickle during lockdowns. This led to 2 million fewer working-age immigrants in the U.S. by 2021 than if previous trends had continued.
Although that could have made up a big chunk of missing workers at the height of the pandemic, immigration has since picked up and probably plays a smaller role in America’s worker shortage today, UC Davis professor Giovanni Peri said.
Finally, long COVID is an underappreciated culprit in the missing worker mystery, according to Katie Bach, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Last August, she estimated long COVID reduced the U.S. labor force by the equivalent of 1.6 million people when accounting for those who either worked fewer hours or left entirely. That’s probably now down to somewhere in the range of 500,000 to 1 million, Bach said.
COVID-19 Update for February 20, 2023-Cases, the Economy and More
In Pasadena 39 new cases were reported on Friday, February 17th and no fatalities. In the past two years, Pasadena has experienced 39,493 cases and 442 fatalities due to COVIC-19.
In Los Angeles County reported 1096 new COVID cases on February 17th and 17 fatalities. Los Angeles Country has experienced 35,545 fatalities and 3,694,317 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
From PasadenaNOW: Gov. Gavin Newsom says California’s COVID-19 state of emergency will end on Feb. 28, just four days shy of three years since he issued the first of countless orders he said were necessary to cope with the pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives,” Newsom said in October announcing the February end date. “The state of emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it.”
The efficacy of Newsom’s pandemic orders will be debated for years, particularly the shutdowns of schools and businesses and the billions of dollars in no-bid contracts his administration issued.
What cannot be debated, however, is that their impacts on millions of Californians will linger for years, decades or perhaps even generations.
Nearly 3 million Californians lost their jobs due to the shutdown orders. While the state has, on paper, recovered all of the jobs it lost, countless small businesses that shut their doors have not reopened.
With work-at-home the growing norm, restaurants and other businesses dependent on concentrated employment were clobbered. The downtowns of the state’s larger cities – including the state capital, Sacramento – were hollowed out and have not, in the main, recovered.
California’s stark divide between haves and have-nots grew wider. Upper-income Californians could do their jobs from home but lower-income service workers simply lost their jobs. Some qualified for unemployment insurance, but a managerial meltdown at the state Employment Development Department delayed, sometimes for months, benefits for legitimate claimants while EDD handed out billions of dollars to fraudsters.
School shutdowns, and the fitful efforts to continue instruction via the internet, had a devastating effect on students, especially those from poor families which lacked technology and whose parents could not work from home. The “achievement gap” that has long plagued California’s public school system widened even further, recent research has found.
Several new studies add even more evidence that the steps taken by the state to combat COVID-19 will have long-term negative impacts.
An analysis by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee determined that 234,000 students in 21 states vanished from public school enrollment rolls during the pandemic. More than half of them were in California.
Overall, in those states, enrollment dropped by about 700,000 students, but most of the decline could be explained by enrollments in private schools, movements to other states or shifts to at-home instruction. Of the remaining 234,000 absences for which there was no explanation, researchers said, 152,000 were in California.
The Public Policy Institute of California crunched the numbers and discovered that not only did COVID-19 kill about 100,000 Californians but that the state’s life expectancy, which had been tied for the nation’s highest with Hawaii at 80.9 years, has dropped by two years – the first such decline since World War II.
PPIC found that the higher death rate has disproportionately affected non-white Californians, particularly Latino and Black residents. “Between 2019 and 2021, the death rate (deaths per 1,000 residents) increased 51% among Latinos, 31% among Blacks, 26% among Asian-Americans, and 17% among whites,” the PPIC reported.
Finally, a new study UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that Newsom’s stay-at-home orders, affecting businesses, child care centers and school, created financial hardships that led to psychological distress and a sharp increase in turmoil and conflict, including domestic violence.
Some COVID-19 victims are experiencing long COVID, with lasting debilitative effects. California suffers from lingering effects as well.
From the LA Times: COVID outlook positive despite XBB.1.5 By Luke Money (Times staff writer Sean Greene contributed to this report.) The total number of coronavirus cases reported in California has topped 12 million. That milestone — reached last week, according to data compiled by The Times — comes as California is seeing increased circulation of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which has been described as perhaps the most infectious strain of the coronavirus.
But in many respects, the pandemic picture remains relatively rosy, with newly reported infections declining and stabilizing in recent weeks . Hospitalizations have also ticked down to levels not seen since mid- November, indicating less strain on the healthcare system.
The statewide tally — just under 12.02 million cases as of Friday, according to The Times’ tracker — is undoubtedly an undercount, because of both limited access to testing in the pandemic’s early days and the fact that many people now self-diagnose using at-home tests.
Even so, the figure constitutes a population larger than that of all but six states.
Modeling from the California Department of Public Health estimates that the spread of COVID-19 is probably decreasing statewide and has been for more than a month. Still, the coronavirus has thrown its share of curveballs during the last three years. The latest is XBB.1.5, a member of the sprawling family of Omicron subvariants that have been dominant in the U.S. for months.
That strain accounted for an estimated 74.7% of cases over the last week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Its rise has been slower in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and the Pacific islands. But even in that Western region, XBB.1.5 accounts for an estimated 56.9% of new cases.
Despite its infectiousness, XBB.1.5 has not spawned a major spike in hospitalizations — sparking optimism that it may not be the beastly “kraken” some had feared.
In California, the number of coronavirus-positive patients hospitalized Thursday was 2,485. That’s down markedly from this winter’s high of more than 4,600.
According to the department, unvaccinated Californians were 2.4 times more likely to contract COVID-19 in December than those who had received at least their primary vaccine series. The unvaccinated were also 2.6 times more likely to be hospitalized and three times more likely to die from the disease.
The comparatively mild winter resurrected discussion of the once-hot topic of herd immunity — the point at which so many people are immune to a virus that it has difficulty finding new hosts to infect. While thousands of new cases are being reported each day in California, many individuals enjoy some protection through vaccination, prior infection or a combination of the two, experts say.
The way to think about it is “you’re more protected if you’re vaccinated,” she said. “You’re less protected if you’ve never been vaccinated or it’s been a long time since you’ve been vaccinated, and that’s when you need to add some extra layers.”
Aside from vaccination, Californians should mask up in indoor public settings, particularly among crowds, health officials say. Other familiar recommendations include practicing good hand hygiene, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, staying home when you’re sick, testing if you suspect you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus and promptly seeking treatment if infected.
Those resources have helped forge what officials characterize as a new phase of the pandemic, one marked by careful preparation. Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that the COVID-19 state of emergency in California will end Feb. 28, and the federal national emergency and public health emergency declarations will terminate May 11.
Another toll from COVID: Almost 60% of teen girls report feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness during pandemic, CDC says.
The COVID-19 pandemic took a harsh toll on U.S. teen girls’ mental health, with almost 60% reporting feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness, according to a government survey released Monday that bolsters earlier data. Sexual violence, suicidal thoughts, suicidal behavior and other mental health woes affected many teens regardless of race or ethnicity, but girls and LGBTQ youths fared the worst on most measures, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 17,000 U.S. high school students were surveyed in class in the fall of 2021.
The research found: Among girls, 30% said they seriously considered attempting suicide, double the rate among boys and up almost 60% from a decade ago. Almost 20% of girls reported experiencing rape or other sexual violence in the previous year, also an increase over previous years. Almost half of LGBTQ students said they had seriously considered a suicide attempt. More than a quarter of American Indians and Alaska Natives said they had seriously considered a suicide attempt — higher than other races and ethnicities.
Feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness affected more than one-third of kids of all races and ethnicities and increased over previous years. Recent poor mental health was reported by half of LGBTQ kids and almost one-third of American Indian and Alaska Native youths.
The US consumer price index rose at a rate of 6.4 per cent in January compared to a year earlier, a smaller decline than expected.
From The New York Times: Many economists and investors had a clear narrative coming into 2023: The Federal Reserve had spent months pushing borrowing costs rapidly higher in a bid to tame inflation, and those moves were expected to slow growth and the labor market so much that the economy would be at risk of plunging into a downturn.
But the recession calls are now getting a rethink.
Employers added more than half a million jobs in January, the housing market shows signs of stabilizing or even picking back up, and many Wall Street economists have marked down the odds of a downturn this year. After months of asking whether the Fed could pull off a soft landing in which the economy slows but does not plummet into a bruising recession, analysts are raising the possibility that it will not land at all — that growth will simply hold up.
Not every data point looks sunny: Manufacturing remains glum, consumer spending has been cracking, and some analysts still think a mild recession this year remains likely. But there have been enough surprises pointing to continued momentum that Fed officials themselves seem to see a better chance that the nation will avoid a painful downturn. That resilience could even be a problem.
While a gentle landing would be a welcome development, economists are beginning to ask whether growth and the job market will run too warm for inflation to slow as much as central bankers are hoping — eventually forcing the Fed to respond more aggressively.
The Fed has lifted rates from near zero early last year to above 4.5 percent as of last week — the fastest series of policy adjustments in decades. Those higher borrowing costs have translated into pricier car loans and mortgages, and for a while they seemed to be clearly slowing the economy.
But as the central bank has shifted toward a more moderate pace of rate moves — it slowed the speed of its increases first in December, then again this month — markets have relaxed. Rates on mortgages, for example, have come down slightly.
That’s showing up in the economy. Mortgage applications have been bouncing around, but in general they have ticked back up. New home sales are now hovering around the same level as before the pandemic. Used car prices had been declining, but they have begun to rise at a wholesale level — which some economists see as a response to some returning demand for those vehicles.
And while retail sales and other measures of household spending have been pulling back, according to recent data, several nascent forces could help to shore up consumer demand into 2023 — with potentially big implications for the Fed’s battle against inflation.
The UK economy stagnated in the final quarter of 2022, narrowly avoiding a recession despite output shrinking by more than expected in December. UK inflation falls to six-month low of 10.1%. UK inflation slowed by more than expected to a six-month low in January, adding to growing evidence that price pressures have peaked.
Winter Edition of Pasadena Perspective is Available NOW! Read about some local non-profits and the work they are doing in our community.
Pasadena Perspective, the digital magazine of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce just published the third volume.
The Winter Edition of Pasadena Perspective focuses on our non-profit community with features on the Pasadena Community Foundation, Families Forward Learning Center and Journey House.