COVID in California: Latest news and updates


After more than two years of diligently following COVID-19 safety measures, the pandemic hit close to home over the weekend for Dr. Bob Wachter, UCSF’s chair of medicine. Despite millions of people suffering from long COVID, treatments for the debilitating syndrome are still in relatively short supply.

San Jose brings back mask mandate for city workers

San Jose city employees must wear masks again temporarily as coronavirus cases swell in the region, a spokesperson confirmed Monday. “The mask mandate was reinstated out of an abundance of caution due to the recent data from the County of Santa Clara showing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases,” Demetria Machado, the city’s deputy public information officer said. The guidance is in place until May 20 but could be extended depending on case rates within the county and organization, he said. Santa Clara County is averaging about 32 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, compared to 18 per 100,000 for California as a whole.

BA.2 accounts for nearly 62% of U.S. cases with BA.2.12.1 gaining fast

The BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus is now dominant in the U.S., making up 62% of new cases reported last week. Its sublineage BA.2.12.1 accounted for 36.5% of cases sequenced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The original BA.1.1 omicron strain that drove the winter surge accounted for just 1.1% of the new COVID-19 infections.

State controller’s role in bid for state mask contract leads lawmakers to call for hearing

Some California lawmakers are calling for a new hearing into state Controller Betty Yee’s behind-the-scenes advice to a politically-connected company seeking a $600-million no-bid government contract to provide COVID-19 masks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The contract with Blue Flame Medical was scuttled, but Yee’s role went undisclosed for two years despite investigations into the deal. Documents from a civil lawsuit reviewed by the Times detail how Yee sought inroads for Blue Flame with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s adminstration and then worked to expedite the agreement.

Children’s COVID cases top 60,000 again

Reported COVID-19 cases among children numbered 62,467 in the U.S. last week, continuing a climb that started over a month ago. Children represented nearly 18% of cases being reported nationally, according to data published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Pediatric COVID cases dropped to their lowest point this year in the first week of April, with 25,915 cases reported, but have more than doubled since then with the rapid spread of the BA.2 omicron subvariant.

UCSF’s Wachter’s tale of wife’s infection shows complexity of living with COVID

Dr. Bob Wachter, the UCSF chief of medicine and a prolific dispenser of information and advice throughout the pandemic, now is even more up close and personal with COVID-19. His wife, Katie Hafner, tested positive after the couple took a trip to Palm Springs following her participation in a conference. They are double boosted, Wachter tweeted, and followed safety precautions like masking most of the time. She tested before and after the outbound flight, and Wachter tweeted a photo of her “hermetically sealed” in the plane. Among the carefully thought-out decisions they made after her positive test: they ditched their planned flight home and instead drove the nine-hour trip.

Millions of people suffer from long COVID but steps toward treatment are embryonic

The terrifying, conflicting paths that long COVID takes in the bodies of its millions of sufferers reveal the still-murky nature of the syndrome. It’s mystified doctors and left drug companies unsure about where to direct their treatment investments. Read how long COVID has bewitched and confounded patients, health experts and drugmakers alike.

Biden to speak at global COVID summit

President Biden will address the pandemic at a global COVID-19 summit organized by the White House on Thursday, two senior administration officials told CNN. The president will restate his request for wealthy countries to share their resources with poorer countries, according to the report, as he struggles to secure additional funding from Congress to bolster the supply of vaccines, tests and treatments in the U.S.

U.S. could see 100 million coronavirus infections starting in the fall, Biden administration warns

Another COVID-19 wave could crash over the U.S. starting this fall driven by new coronavirus sub-variants, potentially bringing another 100 million new infections with it, the Washington Post reported, citing an unnamed Biden administration official. The grim projection was part of a broader push by the White House to secure billions in new funding for vaccines, tests and other tools to combat the virus.




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