December 3, 2022

California Healthline Original Stories
Listen: Teaching Teens to Reverse Overdoses, Taxes on Uninsured Californians, and More
California Healthline journalists report on efforts to train teens to use the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, the state’s decision not to spend the tax penalty money from uninsured residents, Centene’s political contributions, and efforts to keep young kids on Medicaid for several years after birth. (Heidi de Marco and Stephanie O'Neill, )
SDUSD Loses Vaccine Mandate Appeal: An appeals court ruled Tuesday against the San Diego Unified School District’s covid-19 student vaccine mandate, which has been on pause for the past half year. The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with a lower court’s ruling from last December that school districts cannot impose their own vaccine requirements on students and that only the state can require a vaccine for school attendance. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune and Times of San Diego.
Orange County Food Banks Cope With High Demand: With Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season, local food banks are wrestling with funding shortfalls and continued high demand from residents. Some have shifted to buying food for residents since the start of the pandemic to meet demand. Read more from Voice of OC.
Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing. Note to readers: California Healthline’s Daily Edition is off for the rest of the week. Check for it next in your inbox on Nov. 28. Happy Thanksgiving!
Covid, RSV, and Flu
Bay Area News Group: Virus 'Trifecta' Fears Spur Vaccine Push Ahead Of Holidays
Health officials pleaded with people to get vaccinated against COVID and influenza Tuesday ahead of a holiday season they fear could see hospitals overwhelmed with a trio of respiratory viruses hitting all at once. (Woolfolk, 11/22)
KQED: COVID-19, Flu And RSV: Why Families Need A Plan For Thanksgiving And Beyond
As Thanksgiving fast approaches and the holiday season gets underway, California public health leaders are urging folks to bolster protections against a triple threat of respiratory viruses: RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), flu and COVID-19. "In every category that we track — whether it's test positivity, case rate numbers, wastewater surveillance, hospitalizations — we're seeing increases for RSV, flu and COVID," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services, during a news conference last week. (Gonzalez and Watt, 11/22)
The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat: Local Experts Expect Post-Thanksgiving Jump In COVID-19, Flu And RSV Infections
As Sonoma County residents prepare for Thanksgiving travel and gatherings, local infectious disease experts warn of a bump — if not an explosion — in respiratory viral illnesses, including influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus. (Espinoza, 11/22)
Times of San Diego: San Diego County Sees Rise In COVID-19 Hospitalizations 
The number of people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County has risen to 224, an increase of 24 over the previous day, according to the latest state data released Tuesday. Of those patients, 26 were being treated in intensive care, up from 24 the previous day. (Sklar, 11/22)
Los Angeles Times: How COVID-19 Struck The Heart Of The Latino Family Network
COVID-19’s relentless death toll is robbing the Latino community of what has long been viewed as a secret weapon behind its impressive growth and rising prosperity: grandparents. Multigenerational households have played an especially important role in helping Latinos as they’ve grown into California’s largest ethnic group and the second-largest in the nation. (Lee, 11/23)
San Francisco Chronicle: Stanford Seeks 200 Volunteers With Long COVID To Test Paxlovid, In Nation’s First Such Study
Stanford Medicine is seeking volunteers for the nation’s first clinical trial looking at whether the antiviral drug Paxlovid can fight one of COVID-19’s thorniest problems affecting millions of people: the long-term, debilitating suite of symptoms known as long COVID. There are currently no treatments, and many people turn to risky, unproven methods to try to cure themselves. (Asimov, 11/22)
Covid Vaccines
The Hill: White House Launches Year-End Push To Improve Lagging COVID Vaccinations
The White House on Tuesday launched a six week sprint aimed at convincing Americans to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year. The administration said the focus of the campaign will be on seniors and vulnerable communities hardest hit by the virus. (Weixel, 11/22)
The Washington Post: White House Touts Omicron-Specific Boosters Ahead Of Feared Winter Covid Wave 
Anthony S. Fauci, who serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, emphasized that vaccine effectiveness wanes over time and that the coronavirus is an unusual foe because of the emergence of new variants every few months. He pointed to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that the recently authorized omicron-specific boosters protect against new variants. “It is clear now, despite an initial bit of confusion,” he said. (Sellers and Cha, 11/22)
Modern Healthcare: HHS Offers Clinics $350M To Jumpstart COVID-19 Vaccinations
“These funds will ensure that people who live in underserved communities have access to updated COVID-19 vaccines this winter through community-based vaccination events hosted by healthcare providers and organizations they trust,” HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said in the news release. (Berryman, 11/22)
McKnight's Senior Living: Aging Services Leaders Call For ‘All Hands On Deck’ Approach Toward National COVID-19 Vaccination Effort 
Senior living and care organizations have done a “remarkable” job vaccinating residents against COVID-19, but they agree they have “work to do” with the most recent booster. In response to the White House announcement Tuesday regarding a six-week campaign to urge Americans — particularly older adults — to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine, LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living issued an “all hands on deck” rallying cry to boost booster shot rates in long-term care settings. (Bonvissuto, 11/23)
Politico: WHO To Rename Monkeypox As ‘MPOX’
The World Health Organization is planning to rename monkeypox, designating it as “MPOX” in an effort to destigmatize the virus that gained a foothold in the U.S. earlier this year, three people with knowledge of the matter told POLITICO. The decision, which could be announced as early as Wednesday, follows an initial agreement the WHO made over the summer to consider suggestions for monkeypox’s new name. (Cancryn, 11/22)
Stat: Analysis: One Dose Of Monkeypox Vaccine Yields Strong Protection
An analysis released Tuesday by U.K. health officials indicates that even one dose of the monkeypox vaccine provides strong protection against the virus. Researchers at the U.K. Health Security Agency estimated that one dose of the vaccine was 78% effective at protecting against infection 14 or more days after vaccination. (Joseph, 11/22)
CIDRAP: Dutch Study Finds No Evidence Of Monkeypox Transmission Before May 2022 
In a preprint study, Dutch researchers report finding no evidence of widespread human monkeypox virus (hMPXV) transmission in Dutch sexual networks of men who have sex with men (MSM) before May 2022. The study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, is published on medRxiv. (11/22)
Silicon Valley
Reuters: White House's Jha: Social Media Platform Owners Should Consider Role In COVID Misinformation
Owners of social media platforms should consider their personal responsibility regarding health disinformation, and the public should choose reputable sources to trust, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said on Tuesday. "You can decide to trust America's physicians, or you can trust some random dude on Twitter. Those are your choices," Jha said at a White House press briefing. (11/22)
The New York Times: How Covid Myths Spread On Far-Right Social Media Platforms 
Not long after Randy Watt died of Covid-19, his daughter Danielle sat down at her computer, searching for clues as to why the smart and thoughtful man she knew had refused to get vaccinated. She pulled up Google, typed in a screen name he had used in the past and discovered a secret that stunned her. Her father, she learned, had a hidden, virtual life on Gab, a far-right social media platform that traffics in Covid misinformation. And there was another surprise as well: As he fought the coronavirus, he told his followers that he was taking ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasitic infections that experts say has no benefit — and in fact can be dangerous — for patients with Covid-19. (Stolberg, 11/22)
Yahoo News: Reactivated Marjorie Taylor Greene Vows To Test 'Every Limit Of Free Speech' On Twitter
Less than one year after Twitter "permanently suspended" Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal account from its platform for violating its company policy on COVID-19 misinformation, the Georgia Republican returned on Monday to the site she'd once blasted as "an enemy to America." Greene's account is a beneficiary of new owner Elon Musk's rolling effort to reactivate predominantly far right-wing figures previously barred under Twitter's earlier leadership, including former President Donald Trump. (Schwartz, 11/22)
Yahoo Finance: Judge Proposes Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Serve Her 11-Year Sentence In A 'Minimum-Security' Texas Prison Camp
A district judge proposed Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes be sent to a federal prison camp, court filings show. District Judge Edward Davila recommended for Holmes to be designated to the Federal Prison Camp at Bryan, Texas, according to a November 21 filing. The Federal Prison Camp in Bryan is a minimum-security prison that houses female inmates. … While Davila has recommended these provisions for Holmes' incarceration, the final decision is slated to be made by the US Bureau of Prisons. Holmes has been ordered to surrender herself into custody by April 27, 2022. (Descalsota, 11/23)
Bloomberg: Elizabeth Holmes Judge Proposes Texas Prison Camp, Family Visits
Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes will wake up at 6 am, will have her choice of three subdued colors of clothing, and will be well above the average age of her fellow inmates if she ends up serving her 11 1/4-year prison sentence at a minimum-security women’s facility outside Houston as recommended by her judge. US District Judge Edward Davila proposed the federal prison camp in Bryan, Texas, according to a court filing, even though Holmes has been living in northern California, where she ran her blood-testing startup for almost 15 years before it collapsed and she was indicted in 2018. (Rosenblatt, 11/22)
Around California
San Francisco Chronicle: Tracking San Francisco’s Drug Overdose Epidemic
In recent years, that epidemic has been driven largely by the proliferation of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. On Dec. 17, 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared an official state of emergency in the Tenderloin district to address the escalating epidemic. The Chronicle is tracking accidental drug overdose deaths in the city and related trends to shed light on the crisis. We gathered data from local, state and federal agencies, including monthly reports from the San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, that reveal how the epidemic has evolved over the years, who is most impacted by it and how the situation in San Francisco compares with other areas. (Jung, 11/21)
San Diego Union-Tribune: North County Native Health Clinic Receives $400,000 Grant To Address Alzheimer's Disease
A Native American health clinic in North County has received a $400,000 grant to implement new programs addressing the needs of patients living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (Mapp, 11/22)
Sacramento Bee: California Launches First State-Funded Basic Income Program 
Nearly 2,000 Californians could receive monthly cash payments of $600 to $1,200 as part of the nation’s first state-funded guaranteed basic income program, the state’s social services department announced Monday. (Miller, 11/22)
AP: In California, 10% Of Legislature Now Identifies As LGBTQ 
While LGBTQ candidates and their supporters celebrated several milestone victories around the nation in this year’s midterm elections, California quietly reached its own: At least 10% of its state lawmakers identify publicly as LGBTQ, believed to be a first for any U.S. legislature. (Thompson, 11/22)
Housing Crisis
Los Angeles Times: L.A. Voters Approved More Money To Fight Homelessness. Now They Want To See Results 
A generous but demanding electorate put Karen Bass in the mayor’s office with the tools they believe she needs to reduce homelessness. Now they want results. In a survey released Tuesday, nearly 89% of L.A. city voters said they expect the new mayor to reduce homelessness by at least half during her four-year term. (Smith, 11/22)
ACA and Open Enrollment
Axios: ACA Sign-Ups Expected To Reach Record High, Becerra Says
Enrollment in Affordable Care Act marketplaces is on pace to set a new record, Health Secretary Xavier Becerra told Axios on Tuesday, with subsidies that Congress renewed through 2025 softening the blow of premium increases. (Gonzalez, 11/22)
AP: Boost In People Seeking HealthCare.Gov Coverage, HHS Says 
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it’s seeing a big uptick in the number of new customers buying private health insurance for 2023 from the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. Nearly 3.4 million people have signed up for coverage — an increase of 17% compared to the same time last year. The boost in enrollment comes as the number of uninsured Americans this year reached a historic low of 8%. (Seitz, 11/22)
The Biden Administration
Politico: Fauci Bids Farewell With A Final Plea: Get Vaccinated 
Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief Covid-19 adviser, offered Americans one final warning as he prepares to leave government, ending a tumultuous turn in the national spotlight that earned him enduring affection from some and unrelenting hostility from others. “Please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community,” Fauci said. (Mahr and Cancryn, 11/22)
The Hill: Fauci Makes Final Appearance In White House Briefing Room 
Chief medical adviser to the president Anthony Fauci made his final appearance in the White House briefing room Tuesday as he retires from government. “I’ll let other people judge the value or not of my accomplishments, but what I would like people to remember about what I’ve done, is that every day, for all of those years, I’ve given it everything that I have and I’ve never left anything on the field,” Fauci said of his legacy. (Mueller, 11/22)
Reuters: Fauci Pleads With Americans To Get COVID Shot In Final White House Briefing 
After 13 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines given worldwide, Fauci said, there is "clearly an extensive body of information" that indicates that they are safe. "When I see people in this country because of the divisiveness in our country … not getting vaccinated for reasons that have nothing to do with public health, but have to do because of divisiveness and ideological differences, as a physician, it pains me," Fauci said. (Holland and Hunnicutt, 11/22)
The Washington Post: Fauci Urges Updated Coronavirus Shots In ‘Final Message’ From White House 
Fauci, 81, has announced he will leave government service next month, stepping down as President Biden’s top medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he has led for 38 years. “My message and my final message — maybe the final message I give you from this podium — is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated covid-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community,” he said. (Scott, 11/22)
CNBC: Fauci Says He Never Imagined Covid Would Kill A Million Americans
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday reflected on the U.S. response to the Covid-19 pandemic in what was likely his last public briefing as the nation’s top infectious disease expert. Nearly three years after Covid-19 first arrived on America’s shores, Fauci said he never imagined the pandemic would last so long and take so many lives. “I did not imagine and I don’t think any of my colleagues imagined that we would see a three-year saga of suffering and death and a million Americans losing their lives,” Fauci, 81, told reporters during a Covid update at the White House. (Kimball, 11/22)
Health Care Survey The 2022 CHCF California Health Policy Survey
This recent statewide survey found that one in four Californians had trouble paying a medical bill in the last 12 months. The survey also captures Californians' health care priorities for the governor and legislature to address.
Listening to Black Californians How the Health Care System Undermines Black Californians’ Pursuit of Good Health
CHCF commissioned a study that listens deeply to Black Californians talking about their experiences with racism and health care. This report summarizes in-depth interviews with 100 Black Californians and 18 focus groups, as well as a statewide survey of 3,325 adult Black Californians.
Mental Health Mental Health in California
Using the most recent data available, CHCF’s 2022 Almanac provides an overview of mental health statewide: disease prevalence, suicide rates, supply and use of treatment providers, and mental health in the criminal justice system.
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California Healthline is a service of the California Health Care Foundation produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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