Verizon Small Business Digital Ready - The Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal was created with and for small businesses, with a specific focus on helping diverse and under-resourced business owners. Starting March 1, until May 12, 2023, small businesses can unlock the application for this round of grant funding by first registering on Verizon Small Business Digital Ready, available at www.verizon.com/smallbusinessdigitalready and completing at least two of the following, in any combination: courses, live coaching or community events. Small businesses that complete the application will be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant.
WomensNet Amber Grants – WomensNet gives away at least $30,000 every month in Amber Grant money. In recognition of the diversity of businesses owned by women, they’ve also expanded grant-giving to include “Marketing Grants,” “Business Category Grants,” as well as two “$25,000 Year End Grants.” These have rolling deadlines and multiple grant application opportunities.
Pasadena Health Officer Eric G. Handler rescinded certain health orders related to COVID-19 isolation, quarantine, and masking in public settings effective as of Monday at 12:01 a.m.
The rescission aligns the City of Pasadena with the following new guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH):
Masking – With current COVID-19 case and hospitalization levels, masking for the general public is based on individual preference. Vulnerable populations, including people who are elderly, immunocompromised, or have underlying health conditions, and those who have contact with them should consider masking in indoor public spaces.
Isolation – Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 should continue to isolate (stay home) for 5 days and may leave isolation after day 5, as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medicines) and they either have no symptoms or their symptoms are mild and improving. A negative COVID-19 test is no longer required to leave isolation between days 6-10. PPHD strongly recommends that infected people test negative prior to leaving isolation between days 6-10.
Infected people should wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days. People may now discontinue wearing a mask around others between days 6-10 if they have two sequential negative tests taken at least one day apart.
Quarantine – It is strongly recommended but not required that a person who is a close contact to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings or when near those who are at high risk for severe illness. It is recommended that close contacts test as soon as possible to determine infection status and then, if negative, test again within 3-5 days after the last known exposure.
The Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) will continue enhanced protective measures in healthcare settings.
PPHD will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19. Worksites, schools, and healthcare facilities are required to report COVID-19 case and cluster to PPHD. The reporting requirements are intended to help public health officials quickly identify sectors where there may be increased COVID-19 transmissions and take action to prevent unmitigated spread.
The City of Pasadena remains in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Low COVID-19 Community Level for the 8th consecutive week. This includes a 7-day case rate of 11.9 new cases per 100,000 people, a decrease from the week prior. The 7-day total for new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people is currently 5.9, a small decrease from last week. And the 7-day average of the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is now 3.7%, down from the week prior.
Even with less stringent guidelines, Pasadena residents are strongly recommended to stay up to date on vaccines and boosters, test before gatherings, and get treatment and stay home when sick. The updated bivalent booster has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths when compared to individuals who had been vaccinated but had not received the updated booster. During the 30-day period ending February 21, people who were vaccinated against COVID-19, yet had not received the bivalent booster, were over 3 times less likely to be hospitalized compared to people who were unvaccinated and 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to those who had the updated booster as well.
COVID-19 pill Paxlovid nearing full FDA approval-Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill Paxlovid won another vote of confidence from U.S. health advisors Thursday, clearing the way for its full regulatory approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
The medication has been used by millions of Americans since the FDA granted it emergency use authorization in late 2021. The agency has the final say on giving Pfizer’s drug full approval and is expected to decide by May. A panel of outside experts voted 16 to 1 that Paxlovid remains a safe and effective treatment for high-risk adults with COVID-19 who are more likely to face hospitalization and death due to the virus.
Another COVID I9 Origin Theory:
An international team of virus experts said on Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade.
The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages and carts often used for transporting animal cages.
In samples that came back positive for the coronavirus, the international research team found genetic material belonging to animals, including large amounts that were a match for the raccoon dog, three scientists involved in the analysis said.
The jumbling together of genetic material from the virus and the animal does not prove that a raccoon dog itself was infected. And even if a raccoon dog had been infected, it would not be clear that the animal had spread the virus to people. Another animal could have passed the virus to people, or someone infected with the virus could have spread the virus to a raccoon dog.
But the analysis did establish that raccoon dogs — fluffy animals that are related to foxes and are known to be able to transmit the coronavirus — deposited genetic signatures in the same place where genetic material from the virus was left, the three scientists said. That evidence, they said, was consistent with a scenario in which the virus had spilled into humans from a wild animal.
From the Financial Times: The largest US banks have banded together to deposit $30bn into First Republic in an attempt to bolster its finances and contain the fallout from the collapse of two major lenders in the past week.
From Pasadena NOW: With financial experts awaiting news of the Federal Reserve’s next steps to combat inflation, California’s economic future remains in a state of uncertainty, but regardless of what decisions are made at the national level, the impact will be “milder” in the state than the nation as a whole, according to a UCLA forecast released Wednesday.
In a “soft-landing” scenario in which the nation avoids a recession, “California grows, and in fact continues to grow faster than the U.S., led by more construction, an ample rainy-day fund for state government, increased demand for defense goods and increased demand for labor-saving equipment and software,” Jerry Nickelsburg, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, wrote in his California economic report.
Nickelsburg predicted that under such a scenario, the state’s unemployment average for 2023 will be 4%, followed by 3.9% next year and 3.6% in 2025.
But if a recession emerges, the state’s economy will decline, “but by less than the U.S.”
“In this scenario the unemployment rates for 2023, 2024 and 2025 are expected to be 4.3%, 4.8% and 3.7%, respectively,” Nickelsburg wrote. “Non- farm payroll jobs are expected to grow at 1.1%, -1.2% and 1.9% rates during the same three years.”
In the non-recession scenario, mortgage interest rates will rise, but “the continued demand for a limited housing stock coupled with the enactment of laws permitting ADUs (accessory dwelling units) to be built in single-family house zoned neighborhoods throughout the state leads to a forecast of increased homebuilding through 2025,” he wrote. He predicted that permit numbers would grow to 150,000 in 2025.
In a recession, however, he predicted 92,000 net new units being permitted this year, growing to 152,000 in 2025.
“In the coming months, the Federal Reserve will reach that fork in the road between continued aggressive tightening and moderation, and it must decide which path to take,” Nickelsburg wrote. “… The good news is that unlike the past four slowdowns in economic growth we expect a milder impact on California’s economy from whichever path the Federal Reserve decides to take.”
On the national front, the Anderson Forecast stresses that the nation is “not currently in a recession, and if any recession does occur, it will only begin toward the end of 2023, with the important caveat that the U.S. economy might avoid a recession altogether throughout our forecast horizon,” which extends through 2025.
“While the economy has so far remained resilient to higher interest rates outside of some moderate softening in construction, that resiliency is what might lead to the recession scenario path,” according to the report. “The more consumers continue to spend despite higher prices and higher interest rates, the more gradually demand-induced inflation will come down, and the more the Federal Reserve might be expected to tighten monetary policy to combat inflation. The ‘might’ here could well be mitigated by falling commodity prices and new rental lease contracts.”