LAUSD Eliminates Covid Mandates: Los Angeles Unified School District leaders on Tuesday officially withdrew from covid-19 protocols that were among the most extensive in the country. What it means: No vaccine mandate for schoolchildren, no weekly covid testing and voluntary masking. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.
Thousands of Kaiser Permanente therapists plan to strike: Kaiser Permanente mental health workers upset by heavy workloads and long patient waits announced plans Tuesday for an indefinite strike that could force about 2,000 workers in Northern California to cut appointments starting Aug. 15. Read more from Capital & Main , CalMatters , and SFGate .
See the California Healthline coverage summary below. For today’s national health news, read KHN Morning briefing.
Los Angeles Times: Long Beach child contracts monkeypox; Los Angeles County declares a state of emergency
A child in Long Beach has contracted monkeypox, health officials said, hours after Los Angeles County leaders declared a local emergency amid the spreading disease. “While news of a pediatric case may be alarming, please remember that monkeypox is still rare, much more difficult to catch than COVID-19 and other common childhood illnesses, and is rarely dangerous,” Dr. Anissa Davis, the city’s health officer, said in Long Beach’s announcement Tuesday. (Tuhi, 8/2)
Times Of San Diego: San Diego County declares local public health emergency over monkeypox
San Diego County declared a local public health emergency over monkeypox on Tuesday, but advised residents that the situation is “fundamentally different” from the coronavirus. The move follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration of a state of emergency on Monday to aid California’s vaccination efforts to control the outbreak. (Jennewein, 8/2)
Modesto Bee: California monkeypox emergency: What does it mean?
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Monday in response to the spread of smallpox in the state. But what does this mean and how does it affect your daily life? (Taylor, 8/2)
KQED: What’s going on with Monkeypox?
A state of emergency has been declared in San Francisco and the state of California due to monkeypox. More than 5,800 cases have been confirmed across the country so far. Getting this virus can be a very painful experience. So far, the majority of confirmed cases have been among queer men. And here in the Bay Area, people are trying to keep each other safe while pushing back against the stigma. (Guevara, Cabrera-Lomelli and Montecillo, 8/3)
San Francisco Chronicle: Monkeypox in California: Case tracking in the San Francisco Bay Area and statewide
The San Francisco Chronicle tracks monkeypox cases over time in the Bay Area, California and the United States. Our tally includes the number of cases reported since May 2022, using data from the California Department of Public Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and charting where and in which populations cases are occurring. (8/2)
Sacramento Bee: California’s COVID cases and hospital numbers slowly decline
Coronavirus activity is gradually declining in California after rising from early April to mid-July, state health data show. The California Department of Public Health reported Tuesday that the statewide rate of positive tests for COVID-19 was 14.5 percent, down from a July 15 peak of 16.3 percent. (McGough, 8/2)
USA Today: COVID deaths: U.S. stuck in ‘terrible plateau,’ experts say. that’s why
“Covid is over” may be trending in social media circles, but the weekly US death toll tells a different story. Despite a slight spike in July, the rate of COVID-19 deaths has remained steady since May at about 400 a day, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. (Rodriguez, 8/3)
AP: Doctor: Biden’s COVID symptoms are back, in ‘good spirits’
President Joe Biden’s “loose cough” has returned as he faces a resurgent case of COVID-19, his doctor said Tuesday, although he “continues to feel fine.” White House physician Kevin O’Connor provided an update on the president’s condition as he continues to test positive for the virus. He said Biden “remains fever-free” and that his temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation “remain completely normal.” (8/2)
Reuters: Omicron better invades young noses than other options; Loss of smell can predict memory problems
The Omicron variant may be more effective at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus, a small study suggests. … And the severity of olfactory dysfunction after a coronavirus infection may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than the overall severity of COVID-19, according to an Argentinian study. (Lapid, 8/2)
Politico: Senate sends veterans health care bill to Biden
The Senate passed a sweeping expansion of veterans’ health care on Tuesday, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk after GOP opposition held up the bill last week. Lawmakers voted 86-11 in favor of the measure, which limits the long-standing mission to help veterans who were exposed to substances like Agent Orange and burn toxins while on active duty. Republicans quickly joined the bill — after blocking it less than a week ago — after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer allowed three votes on GOP amendments, all of which failed on the floor. (Adragna and Carney, 8/2)
Roll call vote: Veterans toxic exposure bill clears Senate after winding road
President Joe Biden is certain to sign the bill into law in the coming days. The legislation, long sought by veterans groups, means millions of veterans suffering from health problems will no longer have to prove their illnesses were caused by exposure to toxic substances from military deployments. Many of them served in bases that used open burning pits to dispose of trash and hazardous waste. The bill would make service members who contracted any of 23 diseases — from brain cancer to hypertension — after being deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones automatically eligible for VA benefits. (Lerman, 8/2)
USA Today: What are Burn Pits? The dangers of military practice are explained
According to the VA, burning waste in pits can be more toxic than in a commercial incinerator, which operates a controlled, high-temperature burn. The open air allowed soldiers to breathe fumes from the pit fires, which are now linked to some cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. (Kaufman, 8/2)
Modesto Bee: Why drug costs could plummet for California Medicare beneficiaries
Hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries in California could see their prescription drug costs plummet because of a major spending bill that Congress is about to consider. The legislation would cap out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 a year, a provision that the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates would benefit 114,775 Californians. (Lightman and Anderson, 8/3)
Stats: Medicare reverses course of plan to hide hospital safety data next year
Medicare will continue to report hospital safety data as usual next year after the program, apparently swayed by backlash from patient safety advocates, reversed course on its plan to keep some of the information secret. (Bannow, 8/2)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Johnson wants Medicare and Social Security to be discretionary programs
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Tuesday that Medicare and Social Security should be subject to annual budget discussions, a move that could change guaranteed benefits that millions of Americans rely on. (Glauber, 8/2)
CapRadio: Citing youth mental health crisis, California lawmakers turn to social media
Carla Garcia said her son’s addiction to social media began in fourth grade, when he got his own virtual learning computer and logged onto YouTube. Now, two years later, the video-sharing site has replaced both schoolwork and activities he loved — like composing music or serenading his friends on the piano, she said. “He just has to have his YouTube,” said Garcia, 56, of West Los Angeles. (Finn, 8/2)
The Washington Post: Congress passes Jan. 6-inspired bill recognizing PTSD, suicide
Inspired by the mental health toll that the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot took on first responders, the US Senate passed a bill Monday night that creates a path for families of officers who die by suicide to access death benefits. The unanimous passage of the Support for Public Safety Officers Act means it now heads to President Biden’s desk, after prolonged advocacy by the partners of numerous officers who were on duty at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack and died by suicide afterwards. The bill would also amend the Federal Public Safety Employees’ Compensation Program to make it easier to access disability benefits for employees suffering from work-related PTSD. (Flynn, 8/2)