First I wanted to ask what you think of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s a new focus on the Central Valley.
If you look at the transmission speed readings in the central valley, they are very high.
One of the biggest challenges, especially among our direct employees, is that they need enough personal resources to figure out how to stand out effectively and make sure their pay is protected if they need to resign.
In addition, to ensure that this is possible, investment is needed in those sectors where these low-paid workers work.
And we need additional investment, including the belief that there are opportunities for testing when public health departments suffer significant damage due to higher transmission burdens.
Frankly, it’s a little late, which is unfortunate. But the Central Valley needs attention.
Right – speaking to you and other experts, I know it’s not news that these communities have been vulnerable.
I think the challenge for the pandemic in general and for California in particular is that we, as a state and / or as a county, cannot continue to look only at the average impact. Basically, we need to move our resources.
That’s what’s ruining it. You see, in San Francisco County, we focused on the Latinx community because our averages were low. But in all of our cities, it was too late to even go to testing where things were going.
One of the things that is also impressive about the Central Valley is how much our rhetoric has enslaved our very urban biases – such as ‘Close beaches, close bars’.
We had to say, “Being indoors, even when you’re with family, is bad news.” You can look at the general circumstances in which our farmers live and just know that they were vulnerable.
But something about this pandemic – we find it hard to be proactive.
The last time we talked, you mentioned cautiously optimistic that this pandemic will show people how much community health is involved. Do you still feel that way?
What optimizes me is that people who are trying to solve a pandemic realize that we can’t just post pleasant public health messages. There are big structural factors that make it difficult to control, and when things challenge one part of our community, the whole community can’t really do what it wants to do and open up.
Over time, I am pessimistic that this pandemic is causing fatigue, which can lead people to sink into the story of “These are the communities. I can control it, so what’s the problem? “
The reality is that when we are congested in our counties, we transport patients to other counties. We all care for patients from these counties. The agricultural sector is an important part of our economy. If it passes, it will be something we all pay for.
How would you talk to someone who is trying to navigate risk in their life?
One of the things I hear from fellow epidemiologists is one of the best things public health departments can do is just go deeper. As in the last hundred cases, how did people get it?
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I think we should communicate with people so that they can start making their own decisions, not just close large sectors of life – it’s the mind we have to be in, not “All bars and restaurants are bad” or “I can’t agree with anyone.”
I think of a closed, close contact environment, especially when you’re with many other people, always a risky environment. And if you’re doing an activity that requires you to take off that mask, it’s at risk.
Do you think that some of these important sectors have the potential to adapt this properly – to be examples of how to keep people safe inside?
I think that is right. You will need some execution because there are clearly bad characters.
I also hope that a state that accumulates resources for our low-wage sectors can actually allow business and community leaders to say, “How can we transform this? How can we attract people to humane housing? “
If we have creative and dedicated community leaders with resources, we hope they can think about sustainability.
(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Register here to deliver it to your inbox.)
Here’s what else is going on
Teachers’ unions, including the powerful in California, we are fighting for longer school closures, as well as restrictions on how much teachers can do remotely. [The New York Times]
The governor said the backlog of the state due to nearly a million unemployment benefits could take two months to clean. [The Sacramento Bee]
Vallejo SWAT’s former team commander said he was forced to resign from the troubled city police service after raising concerns. that the officers mentioned fatal shootings beating the points of their badges. [Open Vallejo]
July. A complex fire in distant Northern California became higher than last year’s highest. It is 127 square miles. [The Mercury News]
Tonight, The Lakers and Clippers will finally share the court again. [The New York Times]
If you missed, ahem, not funny at all faces hit by Dodgers fired Joe Kelly suspended for eight games, watch the clip here. [The New York Times]
California Today broadcasts live at 6:30 p.m. Pacific time on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Did you forward this email? A letter? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, attended school at UC Berkeley, and reported on all the states, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles, but she always wants to see more. Follow here or below Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.