White House considering offering masks to ‘all Americans’ January 13, 2022 by Editorial staff Silicon Valley sewage shows surge conditions improving: UCSF infectious disease expert Dr Monica Gandhi tweeted that she was encouraged by data collected from the Santa Clara County sewage system suggesting COVID-19 levels in the county appeared to lower. The pattern was similar to data reported in Boston this week. “It’s good to see the peak go down – let’s hope it falls quickly” Gandhi tweeted. The White House plans to offer masks to “all Americans”: Jeffrey Zients, who coordinates the White House’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, told a press conference that the Biden administration is seriously considering options to make more high-quality masks available to everyone Americans. While he gave no details on how or when this could be accomplished, the remarks come at a time when federal face covering guidelines are evolving and as the Biden administration grapples with growing pressure to provide more resources to Americans – including masks and coronavirus tests. Biden will deploy medical teams to 6 states struggling to contain the omicron surge: President Biden plans to send federal medical assistance teams to six states where hospitals are working to cope with the influx of new coronavirus cases, the Washington Post reported. The states are: New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island and Michigan. COVID home testing is becoming an essential part of the pandemic response: With the Bay Area coronavirus testing sites facing unprecedented demand and staffing shortages, state and local authorities are rushing to distribute tens of thousands of home antigen tests to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Federal officials promise more are on the way. Read the full story here. Omicron peaked in Boston according to sewage samples: Boston-area epidemiologists are seeing signs of hope in the city’s sewage samples, which show COVID-19 levels in the area are dropping at a rapid rate. Data released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Tracking System, which analyzes genetic material in the Boston-area sewage system, shows virus levels have dropped to 6,000 copies of COVID RNA per milliliter compared to a peak of almost 10,000 a few weeks ago. Harvard Medical School administrator Stanley Y. Shaw warned in a Message on Twitter that data is not necessarily a reliable indicator of pandemic trends but can still offer “a glimmer of better days ahead”. Bill Hanage, associate professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, discussed the numbers in a Twitter feed. The state’s testing mandate for visitors to nursing homes is unfair, according to family groups: A California ordinance that requires visitors inside nursing homes to provide a negative COVID test result in addition to being fully vaccinated unfairly keeps families away from loved ones, according to groups representing caregivers. Given the high demand for testing – and the subsequent challenges in finding PCR or rapid tests at home – the state order effectively bars some families from visiting residents of nursing homes, many of whom have already been. isolated for months during the pandemic, according to the groups. San Francisco is one of a handful of counties that require nursing homes to provide testing to visitors in response to the state’s mandate. California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a consumer-focused nonprofit, is leading the fight against the state ordinance. Judge blocks new California law limiting protests at vaccination sites: A recent state law that prohibits protesters from approaching within 30 feet of vaccination clinics to harass or obstruct those seeking entry was blocked by a federal magistrate, who said it violated the freedom of ‘expression. Read the full story here. Oakland requires proof of vaccination for indoor businesses: Beginning February 1, residents of Oakland will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars and clubs that serve food, as well as gyms, cinemas and entertainment venues. The rule applies to anyone over the age of 12 and matches similar warrants previously issued in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Contra Costa County. Oakland businesses are required to notify their customers of the change with clearly posted signage starting January 15. Oakland City Council voted unanimously in December to issue the warrant amid growing concerns about the highly transmissible variant of omicron. In the battle against omicron, SF is updating mask guidelines and vaccination rules for mega-events: To bring the omicron COVID wave hitting the city under control, San Francisco health officials have revised the rules for attending mega-events, updated the masking guidelines for city residents, and changed the definition of a “close contact”. Read the full story here. Here’s what SF’s omicron push would look like if it followed the trajectories of other major cities: If San Francisco were to follow the same omicron trajectory of several major cities that started their outbreaks earlier, its rate of coronavirus cases would almost double in the next two weeks, an analysis from Chronicle showed, even though current case rates are already breaking records almost daily. Read the full story here. SF expects first budget surplus in over 20 years as fiscal recovery, pension investment boom beats pain COVID: San Francisco expects a budget surplus over the next two years for the first time since 1998, thanks to a real estate tax windfall, federal aid and an economic boom that has boosted investment in the city’s pensions. Read the full story here. The CDC may update the mask guide: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon update their masking guidelines, which have not changed since October, to “better reflect the multiple options available to people and the different levels of protection available to people. ‘they offer’. The agency did not say when the new recommendations would take effect, but said in a statement: “Any mask is better than no mask, and we encourage Americans to wear a properly fitted mask to prevent spread of COVID-19 “. The Biden administration is actively working to increase the supply of N95 and KN95 masks that work better against the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus. “Right now, we’re seriously considering options to make more high-quality masks available to all Americans, and we’ll continue to follow the science here. The CDC is in the lead. But this is an area that we are actively exploring, ”White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said in a briefing Wednesday.