Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, has urged anyone travelling abroad to party during the coronavirus pandemic to rethink their actions.
LGBT+ people across the world have watched on in horror in recent weeks as queer people – largely cis, white gay men – flocked to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico for circuit parties, despite an alarming rise in the number of people contracting the virus in many parts of the world.
When asked if he had a message for those travelling abroad at a press conference on Thursday (7 January), Garcetti said there was “no issue towards the LGBT+ community per se”, making the wider plea: “This is not a time to be partying anywhere.”
LA mayor Eric Garcetti says a few days of fun could result in people dying.
The mayor continued: “There’s a mandatory isolation quarantine when you come back of 10 days if you leave this city, and right now the guidance is against that – full stop, period.
“Are you really going to have a few days of fun that results in somebody you know being hospitalised or worse yet, dying? Or even you? Don’t do it. I’ve said from the beginning of this, don’t be stupid.
“I know how tough it is right now, I know how much people need to be together, I know how much they want to be together. But if people die they will never be together.”
Garcetti’s comments come after an anonymous Instagram account, called GaysOverCovid, sparked a “civil war” within the LGBT+ community last week.
The account was set up in the summer of 2020 to call out queer people flouting coronavirus restrictions – but it has taken on a life of its own in recent weeks after a huge number of gay men travelled to Puerto Vallarta to attend New Year’s Eve festivities.
The account has won praise from many queer people for calling out bad behaviour that puts other people’s lives and health at risk – however, others have defended the queer people exposed on the account, criticising the anonymous curator for sharing details of their holidays in the process.
The LGBTQ community lost a pioneer in April, when LGBTQ activist Phyllis Lyon (1924–2020) passed away at her house in San Francisco. Together with her partner and later wife of over 50 years, Del Martin (1921–2008), Lyon cofounded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, the first lesbian-rights organization in the United States. Just a few months after Lyon’s death, the Noe Valley house that Lyon and Martin shared for over five decades was sold and is now threatened with demolition. Community members are organizing to attempt to save this historic structure from erasure, establishing the group Friends of the Lyon-Martin House, for which the GLBT Historical Society, whose archives hold Lyon and Martin’s papers, is serving as fiscal sponsor. On October 19, District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman initiated the process to name the Lyon-Martin House a San Francisco Landmark. With Mayor London Breed’s approval on October 30, the nomination moves to the San Francisco Planning Department and from there to the Historic Preservation Commission. Success in naming the house a landmark will require major support from the LGBTQ community during the series of hearings that accompany the landmarking process. History Happens interviewed architectural historian and preservation planner Shayne Watson, who is spearheading the preservation efforts with Friends of the Lyon-Martin House.
Why is it important to preserve the Lyon-Martin house as a queer historic space in San Francisco?
Connecting our history to the physical places where that history unfolded makes the stories really come to life. Imagine trying to convey the significance of Stonewall without the actual Stonewall Inn, or the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot without that now-iconic building at the corner of Turk and Taylor. A bronze sidewalk plaque just doesn’t cut it. The Lyon-Martin House is a landmark with or without formal designation. Just as Americans claim Independence Hall as a birthplace of American democracy, queer people throughout the world can claim the Lyon-Martin House as a place instrumental in the development and advancement of our fundamental rights — it’s part of our collective experience.
With our Executive Director Terry Beswick, you served as the co-chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee for the LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Strategy, which went to the Board of Supervisors last year. Does it provide guidance on saving sites such as the Lyon-Martin House?
The LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Strategy was published in 2020 after three years of engagement with LGBTQ communities in San Francisco. Feedback from queer San Franciscans was clear: as current stewards of our history, we have a responsibility to ensure that San Francisco’s LGBTQ heritage — in all its colorful diversity — is preserved for future generations to experience and celebrate. Our committee developed actions to realize this goal, including the development of a Historic Preservation Advocacy Group composed of experts in the areas of LGBTQ history, historic preservation and related fields. A primary goal of this group would be to fulfill the recommendations outlined in the Citywide Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ History, adopted by the Historic Preservation Commission in 2015, which serves as a guide for the treatment of historic properties associated with LGBTQ history. One of the first recommendations is to landmark sites of significance.
If the Board of Supervisors designates the Lyon-Martin House as a landmark, what protections does this status offer?
The current reality is that the Lyon-Martin House is private property and the new owners have a right to propose demolition. But if the Lyon-Martin House is designated a San Francisco Landmark, any proposed project that would result in demolition or substantive alterations to the building would need to be reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission at a public hearing. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person at the hearing trying to demolish or muck up the longtime home of one of the most significant lesbian couples in history. Those who are interested in supporting our efforts to preserve this historic building can join the Friends of Lyon-Martin House by signing the letter of support. And participate in the webinar on January 19 (check the Friends website for information) on the future of the house cohosted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the California Preservation Foundation, and the GLBT Historical Society. Finally, you can write a letter or speak in support when the Lyon-Martin House Landmark designation is heard by the Historic Preservation Commission (in late February) and the Board of Supervisors (TBD).
Mark Sawchuk is communications manager at the GLBT Historical Society. Shayne Watson is the owner of Watson Heritage Consulting, a Bay Area-based consultancy for architectural history and historic preservation planning.
California surpassed 25,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic and officials disclosed Thursday that three more cases involving a mutant variant of the virus have been confirmed in San Diego County.
The grim developments came as an ongoing surge swamps hospitals and pushes nurses and doctors to the breaking point as they brace for another likely increase after the holidays.
“We’re exhausted and it’s the calm before the storm,” said Jahmaal Willis, a nurse and emergency room leader at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley. “It’s like we’re fighting a war, a never-ending war, and we’re running out of ammo. We have to get it together before the next fight.”
Public health officials continued to plead with residents just hours before the start of 2021 not to gather for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
In Los Angeles County, where an average of six people die every hour from COVID-19, the Department of Public Health tweeted out snippets every 10 minutes on lives that have been lost.
“The hair stylist who worked for 20 years to finally open her own shop.”
“A grandmother who loved to sing to her grandchildren.”
“The bus driver who put her daughter through college and was beaming with pride.”
The tweets, which included messages to wear a mask, physically distance, stay home and “Slow the spread. Save a life,” came on a day when the county reported a record 290 deaths. That would be a rate of one death every five minutes, though it included a backlog.
Los Angeles County, which has a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, has had 40% of the deaths in California, the third state to reach the 25,000 death count. New York has had nearly 38,000 deaths, and Texas has had more than 27,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Infections are spreading rapidly. San Diego County confirmed Thursday that it had found a total of four cases of the virus variant that appears to be more contagious. A 30-year-old man tested positive for the variant on Wednesday and three more men — two in their 40s and one in his 50s — also have been confirmed to have the strain. Other cases involving the variant have been confirmed in Florida and Colorado.
At least two of the men in San Diego County hadn’t traveled outside of the country and none had “any known interaction with each other,” the county said. Officials believed many more cases will surface.
San Diego County also reported a record high number of new deaths in a single day at 62, well over the previous record of 39 reported only a week earlier.
Hospitals, particularly in Southern California and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley in the middle of the state, have been overrun with virus patients and don’t have any more intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients.
In Los Angeles County, hospitals have been pushed “to the brink of catastrophe,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, health services director. “This is simply not sustainable. Not just for our hospitals, for our entire health system.”
Cathy Chidester, director of the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency, said hospitals are facing problems with oxygen with so many COVID-19 patients needing it because they are struggling to breathe. Older hospitals are having difficulty maintaining oxygen pressure in aging infrastructure and some are scrambling to locate additional oxygen tanks for discharged patients to take home.
Ambulances are being forced to wait in bays as long as eight hours before they can transfer patients inside hospitals — and in some cases, doctors are treating patients inside ambulances, she said.
At Providence St. Mary Medical Center, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, there is a cacophany of alarms that sound when a patient’s heart stops and a constant hiss from the oxygen keeping so many alive, Willis said. The hospital has filled the triage area with beds and is assessing new arrivals in the parking lot. Three dozen patients were waiting to be admitted.
“We’re overflowing,” Willis said. “We’re treating patients in chairs, we’re treating patients in the hallways.”
In Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, only 8% of ICU beds were available, which is better than many places. Hospitals are still “stretched to the limit,” said Dr. Ahmad Kamal, county director of healthcare preparedness.
Two months ago, the county had 4.5 cases per 100,000 people. Now it has 50 cases per 100,000.
“What we are seeing now is not normal,” Kamal said. “It is an order of magnitude more than we saw just two months ago. We are not out of the woods. We are in the thick of the woods. And we all need to redouble our efforts.”
Kamal said the one bit of good news was that hospitals hadn’t felt the additional pressure of new cases after Christmas that they did after Thanksgiving, which has led to the current surge.
But public health officials fear a double-whammy from people who gathered at Christmas and New Year’s will create a surge upon a surge. They made their final pleas to persuade people to stay home on what is typically one of the biggest party nights of the year.
“We recognize the temptation and the frustration,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “You may simply want to stray for one night to celebrate with friends. However, all it takes is one slip to have one exposure and the coronavirus has found another host, another victim, and our dangerous surge continues.”
Most of the state is under a 10 p.m. curfew and newly extended restrictions that have closed or reduced capacity of businesses. People people are being urged to stay home as much as possible to try to slow the spread of infections.
Police in Los Angeles will be patrolling streets and looking to shut down large New Year’s Eve gatherings, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria issued an executive order directing stricter enforcement of state and local public health rules.
Health insurance providers in California have been warned by an insurance commissioner they cannot deny gender-affirming surgery for young trans people based on their age.
Ricardo Lara, California’s insurance commissioner, took the step to ensure that trans youth are not denied gender-affirming surgery after reports that insurance companies were using the age of trans patients to refuse treatment.
On 30 December, Lara directed the Department of Insurance to issue a General Counsel Opinion Letter clarifying that under state law, insurance companies cannot refuse to cover gender-affirming top surgery based on a patient’s age.
“For far too long, individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria have had to battle a host of challenges to get access to gender-affirming care in order to be their true selves,” Lara, who is gay, told the Bay Area Reporter.
“Social stigma, misconceptions about gender dysphoria and its treatment, and outdated medical criteria create barriers to necessary medical care that can lead to tragic results for individuals with gender dysphoria, especially for our transgender youth,” he said.
The clarification issued to insurers states that under-18s who have been referred for gender-affirming surgery by their medical team should not be denied coverage, but instead that the insurance company should consider patients – and their specific clinical situation – on a case-by-case basis.
According to the state agency, health insurance companies should avoid needlessly delaying or interfering with healthcare recommended by a patient’s doctor.
Lara’s move comes after TransFamily Support Services, an organisation that supports young trans people and their families through medical transition, contacted the state department to report that under-18s had been refused cover for gender-affirming healthcare by their insurance companies.
“TransFamily Support Services is proud to partner with the California Department of Insurance to remove the age barrier for gender-affirming care,” said Kathie Moehlig, the agency’s executive director.
“This barrier was discriminatory and detrimental to the lives of trans youth. To have to navigate the overwhelming barriers to health care should not be a part of their experience. Transgender youth already face so many challenges from unsupportive families, bullying at school, social stigmas, and even violence.”
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health states that gender-affirming surgeries can be offered to under-18s “depending on an adolescent’s specific clinical situation and goals for gender identity expression”.
According to the CDC update from Saturday, California has reported an average of 100.5 daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, which places it comfortably ahead of second-place Tennessee, which saw an average of 89.6 daily cases per 100,000 residents over the same time period.
California’s daily case-per capita figure is actually down from the 109.3 mark it was at last week, which is likely due to reporting delays caused by the Christmas holiday. For reference, Oklahoma recorded the worst spread in the country last week with an average of 151.4 daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, and Tennessee was the second-worst with an average of 138.
California’s number has risen dramatically in recent weeks. To put the surge in perspective, when SFGATE last reported on California’s case rate in comparison to other states on Nov. 17, the Golden State was recording 21 new daily cases per 100,000.
The Golden State is in the midst of its worst surge ever, and last week the test positivity rate — another key data point for measuring the pandemic — hit 12%. That’s more than double what it was a month ago. In California’s summer surge, the positivity rate peaked at 7.6%.
To show how the pandemic in California compares with what’s unfolding in other states, we’ve put together a list of the 10 states with the highest case rates, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the number of total cases and deaths from state public health departments. See data on all 50 states at COVID.CDC.gov.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has gone virtual this holiday season and has added an inclusive twist to the Christmas classic “Silent Night.”
During its annual holiday concert, which will be held on Christmas Eve, the 300-member chorus will perform “Silent Night” while using American Sign Language, so the deaf and hearing-impaired community can enjoy the performance.
The chorus released a preview video of what’s to come during its 30th annual holiday celebration.https://www.youtube.com/embed/ycYIksZ5_nU
The chorus’ annual holiday concert began in 1990 in an effort to bring cheer to those who had been impacted by the AIDS epidemic.
As for the “Silent Night” performance, artistic director Timothy Seelig said it was inspired by past inclusivity efforts by other choruses.
“I wish I could take credit for this inspiration, but it actually came from the Seattle Men’s Chorus in the mid 1980s. It was first included as a way to include the deaf community in the concert experience,” Seelig told NBC News in an email. “It quickly swept through choruses everywhere and is a cherished tradition for all.”
The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus has also been incorporating American Sign Language into its performances since the ’80s.
“They are a world-class organization, and I try my best to make sure that my interpretations are up to their level to make sure that the deaf audience is getting the same quality the hearing audience is getting,” Tom McGillis, who has been signing for the New York chorus since 1988, told NBC News in 2016.https://www.youtube.com/embed/6V_wwJZ7-4k
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus gained national recognition for its talents last year in the award-winning documentary “Gay Chorus Deep South,” which followed the group as it traveled through the South in 2017 to promote a message of acceptance and unity. The film, directed by David Charles Rodrigues, won the documentary audience award in the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and is now being shown on on Pop, Logo and Pluto TV.
LGBTQ Southerners have often faced social and political hardships across the Bible Belt. One Arkansas city last year attempted to enforce LGBTQ protections, but it was ultimately ruled it could not enforce its ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Circumstances like this are among the reasons why Seelig found it important for the chorus to embark on the journey after the 2016 election.
“We felt things were going to get much worse for the LGBTQ community, especially in states with the most egregious discriminatory laws already on the books. It was important for us to reach out to bring uplifting and unifying music to our brothers and sisters in the South,” he said.https://www.youtube.com/embed/IGN_NDfo5gw
In the wake of the pandemic and the surge of Covid-19 cases, Seelig said the San Francisco chorus will emerge resilient.
“From its courageous beginning one October night in 1978, the chorus has been at the forefront of the fight for equality for all — whatever direction that took,” Seelig said. “The chorus is now experiencing its second pandemic in its 43 years. We will come out of this one stronger and more committed to the work before us.”
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus annual holiday concert, “Home for the Holidays,” will take place on Thursday, Dec. 24, at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.
Historian and archivist Lenn Keller died of cancer on December 16, according to an announcement posted by the Bay Area Lesbian Archives, an organization that she founded in 2014 to preserve the region’s diverse lesbian history. In a separate post, her friend Sharon Davenport noted that Lenn “was loved and cared for when she passed at home.”
Keller, who described herself as “a proud butch lesbian,” lived a life of what she would later refer to as “prefigurative politics”—creating the world one wishes to see. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, she played a leading role in the Bay Area’s thriving community of Black lesbian activists. In more recent years, she devoted herself to preserving the often-overlooked stories of these women.
Her story of rebellion began when she was growing up in the 1950s.
“Some of my earliest memories have to do with being in kindergarten, and noticing the whole gender setup,” Keller recalled in a 2017 interview. “All the boys’ toys were in one section and the girls’ toys were in another. There was the expectation that you only played with the toys in your section. Even as a five-year-old, I thought that was utterly ridiculous.”
Keller bucked the unspoken rules and played with whatever toys she wanted. Throughout the rest of her life, she challenged and broke down oppressive gender norms and racism. The Bay Area Lesbian Archives, an organization Keller co-founded, will ensure that her legacy of photography, advocacy, and rebellion will live on.
Explaining the motivation to catalogue and share her massive collection of event flyers, meeting notes, newsletters, videotapes, and photographs, Keller said “what happened back then was so important. People were driven by a vision, not just to be accepted as lesbian and gay. We were trying to literally change the world.” Keller and her friends manifested this vision by instituting standards for their own events, like providing sign language interpretation and free childcare, that are now adopted (or should be) at mainstream events far beyond collective meetings in Berkeley basements.
Their approach to social justice was intersectional long before that term was coined. The emergence of Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement, and LGBTQI equality legislation all have roots in gatherings like the 1980 “Becoming Visible: First Black Lesbian Conference,” held at The Women’s Building in San Francisco, which Keller attended with her ever-present camera.
Lenn Keller was born on September 29, 1950 in Evanston, Illinois. Her father, who she described as “functionally illiterate,” came from a family of sharecroppers and worked as a gravedigger. Her family lost their house to foreclosure around the same time her mother died, when Lenn was eight years old. Following this tragedy, her father was able to secure low-income housing for the family in an affluent Chicago suburb, which gave Lenn access to a top-ranking public education. Reminiscing about her nearly all-white high school gave Lenn an opportunity to share her dagger-sharp dark humor. “I was basically exempted from having to date, because it was at a period in time when white boys didn’t date black girls. Racism saved me from compulsory heterosexuality.”
Looking for an escape from suburbia (“I never bought into that value system”), Lenn and her best friend took a bus to New York City shortly after high school graduation in 1968, with little to guide them outside of the street wisdom they’d picked up in Malcolm X’s autobiography and Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land. The girls were initially taken in by a group of “radical squatters,” but after Lenn was sexually assaulted, they found safer accommodations in Harlem with a crew of older Black artists. These poets and filmmakers looked after Lenn like a little sister and one of the men gave Lenn her first camera, which sparked a lifelong love of the lens.
“If I didn’t have my camera, people would often remark,” she told KQED in a 2019 interview.
In 1975, Lenn was drawn to the West Coast by tales of liberated lesbians in Santa Cruz. “The dykes there were into everything,” she said. “They were mechanics, they were doing construction. It was during this time when women were all about doing things we’ve been told our whole lives that we can’t do.”
However, with her daughter approaching kindergarten age, Lenn wanted to live somewhere with more racial diversity, so after a short stay in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, she found a home among a group of like-minded women in Berkeley, where the rent for their “really big” five-bedroom flat was less than $200. This arrangement gave Lenn the courage to come out as a lesbian, which made her feel “ecstatic,” even though the revelation came at the expense of some of her closest relationships back in the Midwest.
“Everybody had a story about being rejected, which is what made our communities very tight,” she said. “By living in collective households, we created surrogate families. We took a lot of care, especially around holidays, to make sure everybody had a place to go.”
As the Bay Area’s concentration of queer women reached a critical mass in the 1970s, this spirit of mutual aid extended well beyond tight-knit circles.
“We were coming out of an era when people were being electroshocked,” Lenn said, referring to pseudoscience “treatments” of LGBTQI people. “So we were very committed to supporting women in as many ways as we could.”
Sometimes the injustice that Lenn challenged came from within this movement itself. One of the many photos in her archive shows Lenn and her housemate at SF Pride, holding a sign that reads: “No more power to white supremacists, straight or gay.” Explaining how lesbians, especially lesbians of color, had to struggle for recognition even within liberal political spaces helps explain their inclusive praxis. She said, “It’s not that lesbians were better people or had more integrity. It’s that we had more fights. We had more layers of oppression to deal with.”
Lenn also managed to have a lot of fun. She was on a softball team, directed an award-winning short film, played tenor sax in a salsa band, and loved to dance at the Bay Area’s many lesbian bars like Ollie’s and The Jubilee, an East Oakland joint that featured a peephole in the door, a throwback to the days when police raids at gay bars were a regular occurance.
As Bay Area rents rose throughout the 1990s, lesbian bars began disappearing from the local landscape, and so did the women who caroused in them. Many of Lenn’s friends fled for more affordable accomodations and Lenn was displaced from her home “several times, when the place where I was living was sold out from underneath us.”
Despite her precarious housing, Lenn managed to hang onto her archives, which she amassed informally. “I just started collecting little things here and there. We lived in a collective household and we were all involved in things and we’d go to events. There were always flyers and posters and postcards and buttons, so I just thought… this stuff feels important. I guess I’ll just hang onto it.”
Teachers, first responders, and grocery and restaurant workers were among those recommended Wednesday to get the next round of scarce vaccines in California, as were florists and sawmill operators who fall into the same broad category of those deemed essential workers.
“We’ve got to figure who we’re going to prioritize,” said Dr. Oliver Brooks, co-chairman of a 16-member panel of medical experts recommending who makes the potential life-and-death cut after the first round of about 3 million vaccines began going this week to health care workers and those in long-term care facilities.
They’re divvying up the next round of about 8 million doses expected early next year, and settled on three broad sectors in no particular order:
— 1.4 million education and child care providers, a category that includes preschools, K-12, and higher education including trade schools.
— 1.1 million emergency services providers, including not only police and firefighters but those who provide child and youth services, shelters, social services for the elderly and those with disabilities, the criminal justice system, and businesses that provide goods used by the safety workers.
— 3.4 million food and agriculture workers, from farm to table including those working in food and drinking establishments as well as farmworkers and grocers, bakers and butchers. Plant nurseries, florists and sawmills all fall into that category, as do community food services and pharmacies.
The nearly 6 million in those sectors make up about half of all those deemed essential workers in California — and that roughly 12 million makes up nearly two-thirds of the state’s entire workforce.
“Two-thirds of us are essential. That’s nice to know,” said Brooks, who is immediate past president of the National Medical Association and heads the Watts Health Care Corporation.
In picking which groups go first, the panel prioritized what they termed the “societal impact” of the job; equity — making sure low-income workers and those working in vulnerable communities are included; the jobs’ impact on the economy; and the risk of each occupations’ exposure to the coronavirus, including workers’ risk of death and risk of spreading the virus in the community.
Yet there won’t be enough vaccine to protect even that narrower group of educators, first responders and food providers until next spring. Officials expect 2 million doses by year’s end, 4 million by the end of January and more than 20 million by the end of April.
So the experts are trying to further decide who goes first within those categories.
“We’ll be grappling with trying to determine criteria that can be used practically and efficiently to sort between worthy recipients of scarce vaccine, whether that’s using age or medical condition or other factors to … let the highest-risk priority go first,” said Dr. Robert Schechter, co-chairman of the expert panel and chief of the California Department of Public Health’s Immunizations Branch.
The panel and a broader committee of 60 community organizations’ representatives were lobbied by dozens of professions that want their members included in the next round of vaccines, including ride-hailing drivers and news reporters.
By contrast, three people, each over age 78, wrote what the committee described as passionate letters urging that essential workers get the vaccines before them.
The discussion comes as the virus surges across California, straining the state’s health care system. State health officials on Wednesday reported 53,711 new coronavirus cases and 293 additional deaths, setting new records. The public meeting took place as other states are holding closed discussions about vaccine allocation and receiving criticism.
The massive surge led committee members to warn against allowing even the perception that some Californians can unfairly push to the front of the line, a process complicated by the difficulty in proving who belongs to which group.
“There’s a social solidarity here that we all say, ‘Yes, the health care workers go first,’” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access. “But once people think that other people are sort of cutting the line, that dissolves the social compact that we’re all in, and I’m really scared about that.”
Many eligible workers will get their vaccines at their work sites or through appointments with providers at which their employment can be verified.
But “there may be many settings that need to rely on the honor system rather than more sophisticated validation,” Schechter acknowledged.
Mitch Steiger, legislative advocate of the California Labor Federation, urged strict uniformity across California instead of allowing counties to make their own potentially conflicting decisions that could set up disparities within broad state and federal distribution guidelines.
“We also need to figure out what we do when angry people who can’t get the vaccine show up and you’ve got a pharmacy tech who … has to deal with someone screaming at them, really angry that this lifesaving care isn’t going to be offered to them,” he said.
Horizons Foundation, the world’s first LGBTQ community foundation, today released preliminary findings from its October 2020 survey, which was distributed to organizations on its mailing list to identify the effects of the pandemic on nonprofits. Thispreliminary analysis focused on a subset of respondents that included only Bay Area LGBTQ organizations, 61 of which took the survey.
· Due to the pandemic, more than half of LGBTQ orgs (52%) have needed to reduce programs already, with an additional 18% reporting it as a possibility in the next year. At the same time, 39% report an increase in demand for services, which rises to 58% among LGBTQ POC organizations.
· 80% of organizations report a decrease in revenue; 29% report a decrease by half or more. A higher number of organizations (88%) with budgets under $250,000 report decreases in revenue of 10% or more, compared to 39% of organizations with budgets over $1 million.
· 58% of organizations report a decrease in revenue from individuals, while 21% have seen an increase. 76% of organizations with budgets under $250,000 report a decrease, compared to 38% of organizations with budgets over $1 million.
· The majority of organizations received some sort of COVID-specific funding from foundations and/or the government: 62% received a grant from Horizons; 42%, another foundation; 29%, the city/county; 14%, the state; and 51%, the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
· While all organizations with budgets over $1 million received a PPP loan, only 19% of organizations with budgets under $250,000 received one.
“These results are not surprising, given what we’ve seen across the community,” said Roger Doughty, Horizons’ President. “But that makes them no less concerning — and we know what we must do to strengthen our vital community organizations,” said Roger Doughty, Horizons’ President. “Individual donors, foundations, and the government must increase resources for Bay Area LGBTQ nonprofits, especially smaller ones and those focused on people of color.”
To strengthen organizations affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout, Horizons has awarded over $1 million in COVID-related emergency grants to Bay Area LGBTQ organizations; helped hundreds of organizations raise over $1.6 million through Give OUT Day, the foundation’s national day of LGBTQ giving; and launched a first-of-its-kind, no-interest loan program for local LGBTQ nonprofits.
About Horizons Foundation
Horizons Foundation (www.horizonsfoundation.org) envisions a world where all LGBTQ people live freely and fully. The world’s first community foundation of, by, and for LGBTQ people, Horizons invests in LGBTQ organizations, strengthens a culture of LGBTQ giving, and builds a permanent endowment to secure our community’s future for generations to come. In 2020, Horizons is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Watch this video to learn more about Horizons’ four-decade history.
The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Los Angeles County, which again broke a record for coronavirus hospitalizations this weekend as San Francisco County reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Statewide, more than 30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases were reported Sunday, making California’s total at 1,551,766. Millions of Californians in the majority of the state are under stay-at-home orders.
In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, more than 4,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, according to figures released Sunday afternoon. More than one-fifth of hospitalized patients are in intensive care units.
The county’s new figures break the previous record set only the day before, with 3,850 patients in a hospital, and follows the trend of hospitalizations increasing nearly every day since Nov. 1.
LA County Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned on Monday — when hospitalizations were 2,988 — that the county could see the statistic to climb to 4,000 within two weeks. It happened in six days.
In San Francisco County, health officials reported 323 new cases on Saturday, the highest number of new coronavirus infections there yet. San Francisco emerged as a leader in the state’s response to the pandemic early on but has since moved to battling its own cases.
The record-breaking figures in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties come as more than 325,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are on the way to California.
The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine left Michigan early Sunday for 145 distribution centers nationwide. States will get vaccines based on their adult population and additional shipments are coming this week.
The vaccine is heading to hospitals and other sites across the country that can store it at extremely low temperatures — about 94 degrees below zero. Pfizer is using containers with dry ice and GPS-enabled sensors to ensure each shipment stays colder than the weather in Antarctica.
In California, counties will have specific allotments that will be distributed to hospitals determined by state health officials to have adequate storage capacity, serve a high-risk health care population and have the ability to vaccinate people quickly. Priority will be to inoculate health care workers on the front lines of a pandemic that has infected more than 16 million people and claimed nearly 298,000 lives in the U.S. alone.
Represented in those U.S. deaths include a disproportionate number of people of color.
In Santa Clara County in Northern California, volunteers have begun a door-to-door coronavirus testing pilot program in a majority Latino community that has become a virus hot spot. Officials started handing out self-testing kits in the East San Jose neighborhood of Silicon Valley’s San Jose last week, where 55% of the population is Latino and officials say many residents cannot easily access testing sites.
But for many, the vaccines are still out of reach. The priority will be for health care workers to be inoculated first.
Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that a group of medical experts convened by Western states met Saturday to discuss the vaccine and confirm that it is safe for public use. Newsom said distribution could begin as early as Sunday.
Medical facilities at military bases in Alameda and San Diego will be among the first sites to receive vaccines, the U.S. Department of Defense announced earlier this month.
The vaccines are coming as the situation grows more dire by the day nationwide and in California, with the holiday season well underway. Public health officials are afraid the already surging infection rates and hospitalizations will continue to climb as people ignore precautions to gather for the holidays.
On Saturday, the number of available ICU beds in San Joaquin Valley plummeted to zero for the first time.