Posts tagged with "Gavin Newsom"

COVID 19 by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine, Covid Travel restriction

Coronavirus Mutations × U.S. Travel Restrictions

By Emily Bunn

A breaking news article featured in The New York Times announced that the United States will be imposing a mandatory requirement for negative COVID-19 test results from all incoming, international travelers. The requirement for proof of a negative test in order to fly will begin Tuesday, January 25th.

The CDC has ordered for all travelers to provide proof of a negative test taken no more than 3 days before their travels. Without documentation of a negative test or documentation of recovery supplemented with a letter from a health care provider or public health official, passengers will be prohibited to fly.

The United States is not the only country to be putting in place tighter travel regulations. Due to new mutations of the virus, many countries are adopting stricter border protocol. The New York Times reports:

“Even as the United States moved to impose travel restrictions, citing the danger of the fast-moving variants, a case of the variant spreading in Brazil was identified in Minnesota.”

Variations of the virus in Brazil and South Africa, due to international travel, both pose the threat of COVID-19 mutating. If the virus does mutate, it is potential that the new strain of such will be unreactive to current vaccination efforts.

The New York Times reports that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an adviser to President Biden, has commented: “With the world travel that you have, and the degree of transmissibility efficiency, it’s not surprising.” Further, President Biden has broadcasted a ban on travel by all non-citizens into the United States from South Africa, the U.K., Ireland, and 26 other European countries.

An article published today on AP News reported that in attempts to increase vaccination efforts, President Biden announced that his administration is planning to purchase 100 million doses of each of the approved coronavirus vaccines–Pfizer and Moderna. Vaccination deliveries to states will be surged for the next three weeks. The Biden administration has announced that they plan to vaccinate 300 million citizens by the end of summer, as reported by The New York Times.

The President, in a White House briefing on January 26th, commented on importance of increasing vaccination supplies to help Americans:

“And to a nation waiting for action, let me be clearest on this point: Help is on the way.  We can do this if we come together, if we listen to the scientists.”

These efforts come at an especially critical time, as the global number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100 million, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, that has been recent speculation regarding the accuracy of that number. In New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration has been accused of undercounting the amount of coronavirus deaths that occurred at nursing homes. A report released by Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York, shows that the coronavirus death count appears to have been cut by approximately 50 percent. The report compares the number of facility deaths publicized by the Department of Health–1,229 deaths, versus the number of facility deaths reported the Office of Attorney General–1,914 deaths. This staggering discrepancy between reported deaths has spurred suspicion against Cuomo, and the Office of Attorney General (OAG) is conducting an on-going investigation concerning the cause of these variances.

However, there is still hope. In Los Angeles, Governor Gavin Newsom rescinded the county’s stay-at-home order this past Monday, reports The Los Angeles Times. This new jurisdiction will allow for all counties in California to return to the four-tier, colored-coded system of assessing coronavirus risk. Lifting the imposed stay-at-home order could allow for the reopening of personal care services and outdoor dining. While LA has been particularly hard hit by coronavirus, the city actually has a higher vaccination rate than most other comparable cities in the U.S. The New York Times reports that “83 percent of the doses the city has received have been administered, compared with 74 percent in New York City; 52 percent in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio; and 58 percent of the doses ordered in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.”

While the coronavirus situation is still being closely tracked and monitored, hospitalizations and the number of patients in ICUs have been steadily declining. With hospitalizations at their national lowest since December 13th and an increase in vaccination efforts, there is progress to be recognized, despite current setbacks and uncertainties.

Presidents Illustration for 360 Magazine by Maria Soloman

Safe and Secure Use of Ballot Drop Boxes in CA

California will make ballot drop boxes more widely available in the November 2020 election than in any previous election.California Common Cause supports this unprecedented expansion in voting access because voters in the the November 2020 election must contend with dual threats:

1. The pandemic, which will make many uneasy with voting at a polling place or vote center.
2. Decaying trust in the United States Postal Service and the vote-by-mail process, because of sustained but unsubstantiated attacks from loud voices in our national politics.

Ballot drop boxes solve both problems. They give voters a safe, secure method to return a vote-by-mail ballot that is controlled and operated by the county elections office, without requiring voters to visit an in-person site or use the mail.

California voters should use official ballot drop boxes with confidence. County-run ballot drop boxes are tamper-proof, are governed by a strict set of safety protocols, and are required to meet language and disability access requirements. Ballots picked up from ballot drop boxes are managed with tight chain-of-custody controls.

Voters should look up official, county-operated ballot drop boxes located near them

Unfortunately, the California Repubulican Party has created informal or unofficial ballot drop boxes that may confuse or mislead voters and create distrust in official ballot drop boxes.

Background and context are important. In 2016, California passed a law expanding voters’ ability to transmit their ballot to a third party for return. Previously, only a family or household member could return a voter’s vote-by-mail ballot. Under revised law, any third party trusted by the voter can return the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot, provided that the third party is not paid to do so on a per-ballot basis. A relevant example would be a resident of a care home, who can authorize a trusted staff member of the home to return the resident’s ballot on their behalf. The California GOP has argued that its informal drop boxes are legal under this expanded ballot return law.

More importantly for California voters, informal ballot collection sites that are disguised as official ballot drop boxes may trick community members who wish to return their ballot at an official ballot drop box. These unofficial “official” ballot drop boxes create confusion about and erode trust in voting procedures. Interfering with voters’ ability to cast their ballots is unlawful under California law.

California Common Cause encourages every California voter to:

  • Look up where official, county-operated ballot drop boxes are located near them
  • Sign up for Ballot Trax, to get email and text alerts about the status of their ballot, and to confirm that their ballot is counted

Voters in California have several options for returning their ballots. In addition to using an official ballot drop box, voters can return their vote-by-mail ballots by mail or at any voting site on Election Day or in the early voting period. Voters can also vote in person, on Election Day or in the early voting period. County voter information guides and county elections websites should list in-person voting locations.

Kaelen Felix illustrates wildfire article for 360 MAGAZINE.

Wildfires Rage Across California

By Elle Grant

What should have been a pleasant Labor Day weekend, a last stretch of summer, has quite literally gone up in flames. Multiple wildfires now burn with increasing force across the state and show no signs of stopping. Three fires have consumed California’s attention this holiday weekend, the Creek Fire, the Valley Fire, and the El Dorado Fire.

The El Dorado fire started during a gender-reveal party, reports say. A “smoke generating pyrotechnic device” used at the party caused the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, Cal Fire said in a press release. The fire started Saturday at 10:23 a.m. at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa and spread from the park north on to the park’s ridge. It has since grown to past 7,000 acres as of Monday morning. No charges have yet been made in this particular case and the fire is reportedly only 5% contained.

Evacuations have been ordered for the communities across the area. More than 500 personnel have been deployed to the fire, along with 60 engines and four helicopters. Weather in California is expected to remain hot and dry with a relative humidity of 20%, San Bernardino National Forest said in its evening update on the fire. Winds will also continue at three to five miles per hour with gust up to 10 miles per hour, resulting in “active fire behavior throughout the night.” Such weather will continue to fan the wildfire flames and continue its spread. Temperatures during the day were well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, hampering the efforts of firefighters to stop the flames. While communities have been evacuated, currently no known homes or lives have been taken by the fires.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California has declared a state of emergency in response to the situation, specifically in regard to fires in the High Sierras, trapping campers visiting for the long weekend. It took an incredibly arduous rescue operation by military helicopters to evacuate them from the Mammoth Pool Reservoir area, authorities said. The lack of cellphone reception in the area made rescue efforts even more difficult. While lives were saved, twenty were injured, with two in serious condition from burns including a fourteen-year-old girl.

Residents across the state are preparing to make evacuations from their homes due to the various fires. “It looks like it’s 8:30 at night,” said Carrie Lightfoot said of the darkness from the fire. Ms. Lightfoot is a resident of Bass Lake, an area significantly threatened by the potential spread of the Creek Fire. “You can taste the smoke,” she said. “You can see red coming up the mountain. It just looks like the end of the world.” Other witnesses relayed similar harrowing visuals, including driving through flames to escape and describing their experiences in evacuation helicopters.

As aforementioned, a state of emergency has been declared in California and the California National Guard have been mobilized. The story on current wildfires raging through California continues to develop.