Monday marked the start of what is likely another troubled week as state officials tried to speed up vaccinations in an ongoing tsunami of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations – even if there were faint signs that the numbers might flatten.
The state has eased what leaders have been calling carefully crafted, strict vaccine prioritization for weeks, and is moving on to what Governor Gavin Newsom calls an “all hands-on-deck approach.”
That includes converting Dodger Stadium from one of the largest and most visible coronavirus testing sites in the country to a mass vaccination center. The San Diego Padres Stadium and the State Fairgrounds in Sacramento have also been set up as vaccination sites, the governor said.
[Track coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across California with The Times’s map.]
Mr Newsom said the state had received nearly 2.5 million doses of the vaccines by Sunday and that 783,476 had been administered.
The state’s vaccination schedule included stages and stages to ensure that millions of healthcare workers and people living in nursing homes – the highest priority groups – are vaccinated first, followed by vulnerable groups, including those over 75. and teachers.
But, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, a surprising number of health care workers in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties declined to be vaccinated. And relatively few people in the state have received doses of the vaccine compared to other states and territories, according to a New York Times tracker.
[If you missed it, read about Helen Cordova, the first person to get a vaccine in California.]
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary for health and human services, said in the news conference Monday that the state is working with counties and other local health officials to distribute vaccines to those who both need and want them – without allowing wealthy people to cut The line.
“We don’t want people to be able to sell or benefit from cans,” he said, “but we need to make sure we use what we have in our freezers.”
Mr Newsom said the state has allowed a wider range of workers to give vaccines, including pharmacists and dentists, and has launched a public awareness campaign in 18 languages.
“People said, ‘Well what about sending the National Guard?'” He said. “Well, we have the National Guard out there,” administering the vaccines. Mr Newsom also said there was an urgent effort to “get the vaccines”.
While California public health officials said Monday there were signs the spike might plateau, they also warned the state was far from the forests.
[Read about why it’s been so difficult to staff California’s hospitals.]
In the past seven days, an average of 476 people in California have died of Covid-19, according to the governor. ICUs in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley are still full, Newsom said, and in the Bay Area, a home stay order is likely to be extended due to the low capacity of ICUs in the area. As of Monday, the available capacity had dropped to just 0.7 percent.
Mr Newsom said 1,000 more contract health workers were hired over the next week to help California’s exhausted doctors, nurses and more.
Jan. 12, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET
Funeral directors are facing a rush in the Bay AreaMuch like the Los Angeles area before them: “We haven’t seen a quiet day in the last few weeks.” It could get worse. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
The University of California announced plans to reopen the campus for the mostly personal lessons in autumn. [The Sacramento Bee]
The governor also announced the positive tests of two San Diego Zoo gorillas on Mondayand said the state was concerned about the “beloved” primates. “As I often tell you, I also want to make public what’s going on in my house,” Newsom said, probably referring to his four young children.
According to the zoo, the gorillas may have been infected by an asymptomatic worker and are currently under quarantine. Aside from “some traffic jams and coughs,” both are fine, Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in a statement. [The New York Times]
(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up to have it delivered to your inbox.)
Fallout from the storm on the Capitol
Although Washington, DC is thousands of miles from the west coast, the aftermath of the Capitol storm left by a lot of Trump loyalists continued to affect the Golden State.
There is the impeachment lawsuit against the president for “inciting violence against the United States government” launched Monday by the House Democrats, led by Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
California lawmakers at the Capitol have shared appalling reports of the siege in the past few days.
And local officials from across the state are about to resign after either going to Washington themselves or providing support for the uprising.
[Times reporters are tracking and debunking viral misinformation every day.]
But there have also been violent incidents and threats of violence here in California.
As the Los Angeles Times reported the day before the Capitol uprising, a newly elected Shasta County boss let a crowd of Trump supporters into the boardrooms during a meeting that was supposed to be virtual. They threatened to watch the supervisors.
“When Joe Biden’s long winter goes down and the dark night comes in this land, do you think you’ll see dawn?” she was asked. “No you will not.”
Last week, a black woman was attacked by Trump supporters who gathered in downtown Los Angeles as she was walking home. The attack is currently being investigated as a hate crime by police.
“I think I’m dead here,” she later told the Los Angeles Times. “These people are trying to kill me.”
And on Monday, the governor said California was one of the states that is preparing for violence in the coming days.
The National Guard is deployed as needed, and the California Highway Patrol, which is responsible for protecting the Capitol, is also on the lookout for emerging violence.
“I can assure you that we have an increased level of security,” said Newsom.
On his first day in session, legislature voted for a non-binding resolution calling on the president to resign. It was written by Rep. Chad Mayes, who was previously a Republican leader. [CalMatters]
If you missed it, read more about why he left the party in 2019. [The New York Times]
Read about Ashli Babbitt, The San Diego area QAnon supporter and veteran who was killed by a police officer trying to enter the Capitol. [The New York Times]
Last week after the Capitol attack The Republican Party lost eight times as many voters as in Orange County. [The Orange County Register]
California Today goes live at 6:30 am Pacific time on weekdays. Tell us what you’d like to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every issue online here.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, studied at UC Berkeley, and reported across the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow here or on Twitter.
California Today is published by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and studied at UC Berkeley.