COVID outbreaks in Los Angeles police, firefighters: the numbers

Hello and welcome to Essential California bulletin. It is Tuesday September 28. I am Justin Ray.

A revealing new report reveals reluctance to vaccinate among those charged with ensuring public safety.

Los Angeles County health officials have identified hundreds of coronavirus outbreaks in police and fire departments since the start of the pandemic. They have led to more than 2,500 cases of the coronavirus.

But more than half of those cases have only been linked to two agencies: the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department.

According to recent data, 56% of LAPD employees and 58.5% of sworn LAFD employees were fully vaccinated. These rates lag behind the 68% of LA County residents aged 12 and over who are fully vaccinated. Ten LAPD employees died from the virus.

A spokesperson for the LAPD said that whenever epidemics have occurred at their facilities, the department has “ensured that clean-up or decontamination efforts are made.” A representative from LAFD said the fire department had “taken proactive steps to minimize the likelihood of an outbreak” at its stations.

But the reluctance to get vaccinated is not unique to City of LA employees. About 90% of San Diego police officers who responded to a recent survey said they oppose COVID-19 vaccination mandates; 65% of them said they would consider resigning if the city enforces such a requirement, which is expected to go into effect in November.

Nearly 200 San Francisco employees submitted identical letters to the city against a vaccination warrant which they said violated their “God-given and constitutionally guaranteed” rights. Dozens of people recently protested against the planned vaccine mandate for San Jose employees, is scheduled to start on October 1.

When it comes to law enforcement, the numbers suggest the coronavirus is ravaging their ranks. Based on data collected by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit organization that tracks law enforcement deaths, COVID-19 claimed the lives of more officers in 2020 than gun violence, car crashes and all other causes combined.

Journalist Kevin Rector has uncovered a lot of surprising data about epidemics among the Los Angeles Police and Fire Department. It also highlights missing data, which prevents us from having the full picture. You can read the full report here.

And now, here’s what’s happening in California:

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THE STORIES

A wave of parents seeking distance learning for their children has overwhelmed public school curricula in Los Angeles, causing teacher shortages, administrative pitfalls and delays in enrollment. While thousands of parents have successfully enrolled their children, others seem to have struggled with the process, many of those asking for help were unable to get phone calls and emails answered. . Many children missed days of instruction and, in the most extreme cases, could not go to school for weeks. Los Angeles Times

Savannah Singer, 7, in the foreground, and her twin sister, Madelynn, attend an online school.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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POLICY AND GOVERNMENT

The California bill seeks to reduce the death rates of black mothers during childbirth. California has one of the lowest death rates nationally for pregnant women and new mothers, but before you clap you need to know numbers for black moms. The most recent data available shows that black mothers were six times more likely to die less than a year pregnant than white women from 2014 to 2016 and had a higher death rate than black women nationwide from 2014 to 2017. A bill aims to change that by collecting more details on pregnancy-related deaths, diversifying the experts who deal with them and requiring them to recommend ways to reduce racial differences. It is nicknamed the “Momnibus” bill. Los Angeles Times

CRIME AND COURTS

The country’s largest prosecutor’s office is set to dismiss around 60,000 marijuana convictions. “The rejection of these convictions means the possibility of a brighter future for the thousands of disenfranchised people who receive this much-needed relief,” Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement. About 20,000 of the convictions due to be struck down under Gascón’s order on Monday were for possession or cultivation of marijuana. The rest were misdemeanors filed in jurisdictions that do not have their own city attorney offices. Los Angeles Times

A group of homeless people in San Luis Obispo are taking legal action for the right to sleep in tents and vehicles without facing destruction of their property, harassment, fines and criminal charges. The San Luis Obispo City Council has passed several ordinances prohibiting night access to parks and public spaces. The lawsuit accuses the city of violating the 8th Amendment by punishing homeless people and the 4th Amendment for seizing and destroying property. The lawsuit also accuses the city of violating the California Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Cal Coast News

Southern California Gas Co. has agreed to pay a settlement of up to $ 1.8 billion, nearly six years after the worst methane leak in US history, more than 8,000 Porter Ranch families have had to flee their homes. In an announcement on Monday, the gas company and its parent company, Sempra Energy, denied any wrongdoing. The settlement comes after years of lawsuits involving more than 35,000 victims. The October 2015 leak lasted four months and caused the largest known release of methane in U.S. history. More than 100,000 metric tons of gas, a pollutant more potent than carbon dioxide, were spat into the air. Los Angeles Times

HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

A lawless state park has been overtaken by off-roading, fireworks and raves. A campground in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park – about a four-hour drive north of San Francisco – is popular with weekend warriors who arrive and misbehave. Residents and officials said staff shortages at California state parks created serious problems. The agency is aware of the situation and is working to regain control of this dishonest campsite. SF gate

Thick smoke from the wildfires raging in central California has moved south, triggering an air quality advisory for some mountainous areas in southern California. The South Coast Air Quality Management District on Monday issued a special advisory in anticipation of high levels of the Air Quality Index – a measure of air pollution – in parts from the mountains of San Bernardino and San Gabriel. Smoke from the Windy fires and the KNP complex – a pair of explosive fires in the southern Sierra Nevada region – has turned the Los Angeles skies into eerie shades of gray and orange in recent days and continues to litter all areas. weather conditions over 160 km. Los Angeles Times

THE CULTURE OF CALIFORNIA

A California burger restaurant has banned underage customers without a parent or legal guardian. Red Rooster Burgers & Brew, located in Garden Valley, cited incidents such as “smoked marijuana in the bathroom”, “children sitting on the changing table in the bathroom kissing each other” and “ketchup and mustard injected into opposing bottles and masks and other places, then scattered around the dining room. Facebook

No, California is not doomed. Some recent articles have claimed that the Golden State is losing its appeal due to population decline, the housing crisis and persistent wildfires. However, New York Times opinion writer Peter Coy argues that California is well positioned to remedy its failures: “Californians are increasingly aware of what is wrong. California is also endowed with abundant resources that allow it to solve problems that would be intimidating for less endowed states. ” New York Times

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ALMANAC OF CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles: Cloudy, 73. San Diego: Meet the dog who waves to everyone leave the store. 71. San Francisco: 68. San José: Meet the cat who doesn’t care about your career as a pianist. 74. Fresno: 77. Sacramento: 80.

AND FINALLY

today Californian memory is of Eric Jay Sonnenschein:

Seven years ago, we flew our daughter to Los Angeles so she could start her adult life. We had a week to help him find accommodation, buy a car and get settled. I was overworked. She could barely drive, had never been to LA or had never lived alone. Every morning at 4 a.m., I would wake up distraught and gaze out of the east-facing hotel window at the red line of dawn beyond the purple mountains and office towers. The sun rising over the metropolis reassured me that it would be fine. These sunrises in LA gave me the courage to let go.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

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