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Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 7/15/20, AM

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Lawmaker Falsely Claims Kids Aren’t At Risk Of COVID-19 / California Restaurant Association Argues For Indoor Dining / Health Officials Prompt New Testing Guidelines / CA Joins Other States In Agreeing To Reduce Diesel Emissions

Lawmaker Falsely Claims Kids Aren’t At Risk Of COVID-19

 

Republican State Senator Melissa Melendez recently tweeted there’s “no science or data to suggest that kids are at risk from COVID-19.” In her tweet, the Riverside County lawmaker also called for schools to fully reopen and all sports to resume. 

 

We asked medical experts about the first part: the idea that there’s no science suggesting a risk to kids from COVID-19. UC Berkeley Infectious Disease Professor Lee Riley said:

 

“I would say that’s completely mistaken. It’s wrong. There’s good evidence, good scientific evidence both from Europe and the U.S. that kids can get complications from COVID-19.”

He says children are less likely to experience severe cases ... but doctors did find a rare and serious condition in young people this spring called Multisystem-Inflammatory Syndrome, tied to COVID-19.

 

“They had about 100 cases in New York City and 3 of those kids died.”

Many children may not ever show symptoms of the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean there’s no risk to them or their families.

 

“Even if they don’t have any symptoms, they can still transmit the infection to people in their household. Their mother and father and their grandparents.”

 

In the end, we found Melendez made an oversimplified claim of what remains a complicated and still risky situation.

California Restaurant Association Argues For Indoor Dining

Governor Gavin Newsom's latest shutdown order includes not just bars ... but indoor-dining at restaurants too. Jot Condie heads the California Restaurant Association:

"We were a little frustrated that we were sort of lumped in — restaurant dining — with bars."

Condie says the dining experience is distinct from what goes on in bars. 

"What we saw on news coverage, particularly in Southern California where there were bars open, people weren't socially distancing, there weren't masks, obviously alcohol lowers inhibitions, there's loud music, people are talking over the noise. The dynamic is much different in a dining room."

Newsom's latest order comes as the state averages 82-hundred new COVID-19 cases a day and sees a 28-percent rise in hospitalizations.

Health Officials Prompt New Testing Guidelines

A surge in coronavirus cases is prompting health officials to re-evaluate who should be able to get a test. California officials put out new guidelines yesterday.

At the beginning of this crisis, precious limited test kits were strictly reserved for people who had symptoms of COVID-19 or who’d had close contact with someone who tested positive.

Even though more than 100-thousand Californians are now getting tested every day, those rules are reappearing because some communities are running out of tests. Some people have complained about waiting too long for results.

Dr. David Lubarsky is CEO of UC Davis Health. He’s been calling for a more targeted testing strategy:

“We’re testing a lot of the 'worried-well' around the state. What we really need to be doing is focusing our testing on those people who really need it.”

Now, the state will prioritize tests for hospitalized patients, people who have COVID-19 symptoms, frontline workers and other at-risk groups.  

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly is also trying to get more health providers to conduct tests in their offices.

"Together, that will support a broader set of people having access to testing when they’re symptomatic, when they’ve been exposed [and] when they’ve been at risk of being part of an outbreak."

Ghaly hopes that will free up space at community testing sites around California for underserved populations, who are being hit disproportionately hard by the virus.

CA Joins Other States In Agreeing To Reduce Diesel Emissions

California is one of 14 states that have agreed to reduce diesel emissions from large pick-ups to buses to semi-trucks.

The states are calling for all trucks to be zero-emission by 2050. The agreement also means they will establish a national market for trucks of this type. They say the agreement is needed because the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions across the nation, and trucks account for about a quarter of that pollution. 

The announcement comes after the Trump administration rolled back fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks in March. Meanwhile, last month California passed the nation’s first zero emission electric truck rule. It would put 300,000 electric trucks on roads by 2035 and has a goal of all trucks to be zero-emission ten years later.