Health/Fitness

SAN DIEGO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY WARNS BUSINESSES, CONSUMERS OF PRICE GOUGING LAW IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS

 

Spiking Prices During a State of an Emergency is a Crime

East County News Service

Photo: Cc by ND via Bing

March 10, 2020 (San Diego) – After California and San Diego County each declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 virus, The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has issued a warning to businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging.

During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased. "The statute would theoretically apply to online retailers as well as brick and mortar—as well as individuals who might be selling on an app like Offer Up,"  says Steve Walker, communications specialist at the District Attorney's office.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on March 4 and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors extended its countywide state of emergency for an additional 30 days on February 19.

“We want county residents to know that we stand ready to protect their consumer rights under the law,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “We will strictly enforce violations related to price gouging.”

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: OPIOID EPIDEMIC – LAKESIDE TOWN HALL MARCH 25

Update: This event has been postponed due to the COVID-19 emergency.  Watch for announcements of rescheduling after the state and county emergency orders banning large gatherings is listed.

 

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

March 9, 2020 (Lakeside) -- Dozens of law enforcement officers, agents and deputies fanned out across Lakeside and the East County in January in the culmination of a 10-month undercover operation aimed at curtailing drug activity in Lindo Lake County Park. More than 20 suspects were arrested during the sweep. Fentanyl was part of the haul.

SHARP HEALTHCARE TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT PATIENTS, VISITORS AND CAREGIVERS FROM COVID-19, OFFERS TIPS FOR PUBLIC

East County News Service
 
March 7, 2020 (La Mesa)--Sharp Healthcare, which operates Sharp Grossmont Hospital and other medical facilities in our region, has set up a webpage on the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) with information on steps Sharp is taking to protect against the virus and what the public should know.
 
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, which is spreading around the world.  Here are tips to help stop spread of the respiratory virus:
 

COUNTY ASKS RESIDENTS, SCHOOLS, BUSINESSES TO PREPARE FOR COVID-19

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo, courtesy County of San Diego: County Microbiologist Jovan Shepherd prepares a specimen for testing of the novel coronavirus.
 
March 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- Be informed. Be prepared.
 
That’s what County and local health officials, business and school leaders want area residents to do should the novel coronavirus be detected in the region.
 
“It’s important for everyone to educate themselves and their family and be prepared in case the new coronavirus makes its way to San Diego County,” said Chairman Greg Cox, County Board of Supervisors. “It’s also important for people not to panic as the risk for this new virus and the disease that it causes continues to be low.”

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY AS MORE COVID-19 CASES DIAGNOSED, INCLUDING IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2020 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency yesterday amid news of 53 COVID-19 cases diagnosed in California and the first COVID-19 death in our state.  New cases include an LAX airport screener, cruise ship passengers, a South Korean flight attendant at LAX, and an AT&T store employee in Otay Mesa here in San Diego County.

California health officials are now monitoring 9,400 cases in 49 counties statewide.

MUMPS CASES AT SDSU

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
March 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- Six San Diego State University students were diagnosed with confirmed or probable mumps in late February, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported last week. The six students live off campus at BLVD63, a large apartment community that is not affiliated with the university and is located at 6345 El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego.
 
“These six mumps cases represent a small outbreak of this highly contagious viral disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The best way to prevent mumps is by getting the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine.”
 
HHSA conducted free vaccination clinics at BLVD63 from 3 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 and 28. The clinics were held for BLVD63 residents and SDSU students who wish to be immunized and vaccines were given on a first come, first served basis.

U.S. DRAWS CRITICISM AS POLITICIANS, NOT SCIENTISTS, LEAD RESPONSE TO COVID-19

California outbreak may be tied to botched federal response

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Photo by Mikael Häggström, M.D. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87223640

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) --  President Donald Trump is facing criticism for disbanding the team of scientific experts in 2018 who would have been tasked with preparing for and handling pandemics in the United States, to cut costs. He left vacant key posts at the Centers for Disease Control in charge pandemics and further sought to slash CDC funding. His administration also allowed some exposed cruise ship passengers back into the U.S.without waiting for test results.

Now Pres. Trump has put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 outbreak, instead of health officials, the New York Times reports.  Pence will also handle all White House messaging on the virus, a move that has critics concerned that health and science experts could be muzzled.  Pence has previously drawn criticism for his handling of an HIV epidemic in Indiana that slowed efforts by public health officials to contain the disease.

Trump has drawn sharp bipartisan criticism as well as Senate Republican committee chairs and global health officials for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.  The disease to date has infected over 85,000 people in 60 nations, killing nearly 3,000. The first U.S. death occurred in Kirkland, Washington, where an outbreak is suspected at a skilled nursing facility at which dozens of residents and healthcare workers have fallen ill.

COVID-19 VIRUS IS MORE DEADLY THAN FIRST BELIEVED; FIRST U.S. DEATH CONFIRMED

141 people are being monitored in San Diego County for possible exposure

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 85,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide on every continent except Antarctica, causing approximately 3,000 deaths, the World Health Organization reports. The first U.S. death has occurred in Washington state and at least 30 cases have been identified in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. These include cases among people who did not travel overseas recently and it is unknown how they were exposed to the virus.

San Diego County has 141 people  being monitored who may have beene exposed .  Mexico also reported its first case this week.

Now, a broad study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveals that the COVID-19 virus has a death rate nearly as high as the 1918 influenza epidemic, which killed 50-100 million people worldwide and infected a third of the world’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The standard flu kills only about 0.1% of those infected. By contrast, the 1918 epidemic had  fatality rate of 2.5%.  As for COVID-19, out of 72,314 cases in China studied, JAMA reports a death rate of 2.3%--but much higher in older people and patients with underlying health conditions. 

APPEALS COURT ALLOWS GAG RULE TO TAKE EFFECT: CLINICS THAT DISCUSS ABORTION OPTIONS WITH PATIENTS WILL LOSE FEDERAL FUNDS

“Leaving women in the dark about their healthcare and restricting doctors from providing candid advice is simply not in the best interest of public health.” – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra  
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
February 25, 2020 (San Francisco) – By a 7-4 vote, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that federal Title X funds for family planning can be blocked to any clinics that provide abortion referrals, even if they don’t perform abortions.  
 
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the ruling troubling” adding, “The gag rule interferes with healthcare decisions that should remain between women and their healthcare providers. This reckless rule is just another attempt by the Trump-Pence administration to roll back women’s access to reproductive healthcare.”
 

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

READER’S EDITORIAL: ABORTION IS A 1ST AMENDMENT ISSUE

Response to Sylvia Sullivan’s “pro-choice dangerous descent” (Feb. 16, 2020) 
 
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
 
February 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Sylvia Sullivan’s Reader’s Editorial makes a number of points that reflect more a rigid ideology rather  than valid arguments on abortion, from claims of violence at clinics to medical, social and economic considerations regarding abortion. As I make clear below her editorial ignores some compelling reasons for pro-choice. However, what I haven’t seen in her editorial is that abortion should be considered a 1st Amendment issue given that almost all pro-lifers base their position on the Bible.
 

COUNTY BOARD RATIFIES COVID-19 EMERGENCY DECLARATION

Illustration of 2019 novel coronavirus
Image Credit: CDC
 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Feb. 20, 2020 (San Diego) - The Board of Supervisors yesterday voted to ratify the County’s declaration of a local health emergency and proclamation a local emergency to deal with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
 
The move is meant to reassure the public that local health authorities are proactively working to stay ahead of any challenges that may arise. The local health emergency will last for 30 days, the local emergency for 60 days. The Board will consider whether each action should be extended at its respective time interval.

STATE EXTENDS DEADLINE TO MARCH 31 FOR HEALTHCARE COVERAGE BEFORE HEFTY FINES KICK IN FOR NOT HAVING INSURANCE

Subsidies are now available for families earning up to $154,500 or individuals earning up to $74,940 a year
 
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: creative commons via Bing
 
February 19, 2020 (Sacramento) – Many people don’t know that although the federal government waived fines for not having healthcare coverage, the state did not.  Fortunately for those without insurance, California has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 31 to get insurance or pay stiff penalties.
 

MEDICARE FOR ALL SAVES $450 BILLION AND PREVENTS 68,000 DEATHS

By Common Dreams staff, cc

Photo: Members of National Nurses United (NNU), along with a broader coalition of pro-Medicare for All organizations rallied outside of the national headquarters of PhRMA in support of Medicare for All on April 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo: NNU/flickr/cc)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday applauded a new study published today by a team of epidemiologists in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, which found that Medicare for All will save Americans $450 billion and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths each and every year.

ROBERT KENNEDY, JR.'S LEGAL TEAM SUES FCC OVER WIRELESS HEALTH GUIDELINES

Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Legal Team Sues FCC – The team includes RFK, Jr., IRREGULATORs’ Attorney Scott W. McCollough & Dafna Tachover, CHD’s Director of Stop 5G & Wireless Harms
 
Reprinted with permission from Children's Health Defense, Inc. 
 
February 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Robert Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of Children’s Health Defense (CHD), is committed to be proactive on the concerns regarding excessive exposure of our children to 5G and wireless radiation. To fulfill this promise, CHD submitted a lawsuit on February 2, 2020 against the FCC for its December 4, 2019 decision to decline to review its 1996 guidelines, and for its determination that the guidelines are protective of human health.

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: THE HUMAN OIL CHANGE

By Jake Zawlacki
 
February 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Last week, I received a call from the local blood bank and was told there was a current patient in need of my blood. I made an appointment, and days later I gave my donation. As the nurse was taking down my information, I heard my name mentioned outside the door with a couple people using the word “special.” My nurse then informed me, as well as two other nurses throughout my short visit, that it was indeed a rare event in which a donor would be donating their blood to a predetermined patient. I happened to be that rare event.
 
I asked what happened to the rest of the blood, imagining huge tanks of boiling human blood lined up in a high-ceilinged warehouse where spigots would fill empty barrels and buckets held by black rubber gloved hands.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DRINKING ALCOHOL CAN INCREASE RISK OF CANCER

By David R. Shorey
East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies
 
February 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Let’s say you stop at a bar on the way home from work on Friday evening to take advantage of happy hour. You have a couple of beers or cocktails and that’s it. The next day you have a couple of glasses of wine with your Saturday night dinner and no more. Then during Sunday morning champagne brunch, you have a mimosa or two. Does that make you a problem drinker? Probably not.
 
But research shows that the more you drink, the more at risk you are of getting cancer. A direct link has been found between drinking alcohol and cancer risk, mostly cancer of the head and neck, the esophagus, and liver. Notably, breast cancer in men and women is also included.

READER’S EDITORIAL: PRO-CHOICE DANGEROUS DESCENT

By Sylvia Sullivan

February 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This year marks the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision 47th anniversary. While mourning the deaths of over 61 million babies, it is also time to reflect on the direction of the pro-choice movement. For years those who defended a woman’s right to abort her baby were thought to be merely confused or misinformed.

Although, some disturbing incidents occurred in front of abortion clinics between pro-lifers and those against. Pro-choice young punks kicking a little old lady as she knelt in prayer. Or spewing the vilest language at pro-life teen girls as well as spitting in their faces. Pro-choice activists cheering a plane banner that proclaimed late term abortionist, George Tiller, a “national treasure!" These incidents were believed to be from extreme fringe elements but not representative of most of the pro-choice supporters.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

GET A BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING AND SCORE A DEAL ON GULLS TICKETS

 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
February 11, 2020 (San Diego) -- When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? If it’s been a while, this month might be a good time to turn your attention to this matter of the heart.
 
On Valentine’s Day, residents can get their blood pressure checked for free at any of about 450 locations across San Diego County, the U.S. and Mexico for Love Your Heart Day.  Many faith-based organizations are getting in on the action by hosting blood pressure checks Feb. 11-16.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY TEST RESULTS COME BACK NEGATIVE FOR 2019-nCoV

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo credit: publicdomainvectors.org
 
January 31, 2020 (San Diego) - A San Diego County resident who visited Wuhan, China and developed a respiratory illness after returning home has tested negative for the novel (new) coronavirus, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Thurday.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday confirmed the results and San Diego County currently has no other patients under investigation.
 
Click "Read more" for the current local danger estimate, common symptoms, and a quick reminder on how to protect yourself and others from illness.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

STATE ISSUES WARNING ON DANGEROUS VAPING PRODUCTS SEIZED FROM UNLICENSED CANNABIS SHOPS

Officials Urge Californians to Avoid Unlicensed Cannabis Retailers, as More Than 10,000 Illegal Vape Pens Seized

Source: Calif. Bureau of Cannabis Control

Image: Creative Commons

January 29, 2020 (Sacramento)-- A random sampling of the cannabis products seized from unlicensed retailers during a major enforcement operation in Los Angeles last month were found to contain undisclosed additives, some of them potentially dangerous, and significantly lower amounts of THC than claimed on the label.  Vaping pens containing ingredients linked to sudden respiratory illnesses and deaths were among those seized. 

POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN SAN DIEGO; CDC URGES TRAVELERS TO CANCEL VISITS TO CHINA

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2020 (San Diego) – A traveler to San Diego who recently visited China may have contracted a new coronavirus tied to a global outbreak of respiratory illness. County health officials have sent a sample to the Centers for Disease Control for testing.

Today the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory urging travelers to cancel all non-essential travel to anywhere In China, where 25 to 50 million people are now quarantined in multiple cities.  The CDC broadened its warning, which formerly only applied to the Wuhan province where the disease was first identified in December.

Screenings of airline passengers from China are also being expanded to 20 airports with quarantine facilities. 

Hong Kong has announced it will stop issueing permits to travelers from mainland China. Inside China, transportation out of impacted cities is shut down, leaving some Americans stranded  Yahoo News reports.

TWO CASES OF WUHAN CORONAVIRUS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA; VIRUS ALSO SPREADS TO AUSTRALIA, EUROPE, AND ACROSS ASIA

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2020 (San Diego) -- Public health officials in Los Angeles and Orange County have confirmed the first cases of the new Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Both cases in Southern California are in air travelers who recently returned from Wuhan, China.  There are now five U.S. cases of the virus, including cases confirmed in Arizona, Illinois and Washington state.

The California Department of Public Health issued a statement which reads, “The state will continue to monitor the situation, work with partners to identify any possible cases, provide information and consultation to ensure that possible cases are managed safely, support laboratory testing, and implement recommendations from the CDC.”

Health authorities are tracking around 100 people nationwide who may have been exposed to the travelers, but risk to the general public is considered low.

The disease has been diagnosed in Australia, France, the U.S. and many Asian countries including Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam and Macao.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends travels avoid CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Hubei Province, China, including Wuhan.

TOXIC PFAS “FOREVER CHEMICALS” FOUND IN WATER SUPPLIES ACROSS U.S., BUT TRUMP THREATENS TO VETO REGULATORY BILL

PFAS chemicals have been used in some fire-fighting foams, cookware, carpets, clothing,  and fast-food wrappers

By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo, left: Poster for 2019 Dark Waters movie

January 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The 2019 movie “Dark Waters” alerted the public to health hazards posed by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS, also know as PFOA and PFOS) that contaminated water and groundwater around manufacturer DuPont’s facility in Parksburg, West Virginia. The chemicals have been linked to deaths, cancer and more--and they are pervasive, found in 97% of Americans tested, PBS reports, citing a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination study in 2015.

Pollution nationwide

Recent tests by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found PFAS in water supplies of major cities across the U.S. – far more than revealed in federal tests.  Yet the federal government has failed to take action to protect public health. A bill seeking to regulate PFAS has passed the House of Representatives and faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Even if it passes,  President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the measure.

California contamination

In California, a 2019 study found drinking water sources for 74 community water systems serving 7.5 million Californians are contaminated with PFAS, according to an EWG review of the latest state data, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

All PFAS found in California water systems’ sources exceeded 1 part per trillion, or ppt, the safe level recommended by the best independent studies.  At the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base, a combined concentration of 820 ppt for seven different PFAS chemicals was measured in a single well in 2017.

CHINA CANCELS LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS, TRIES TO QUARANTINE 25 MILLION PEOPLE: WUHAN CORONAVIRUS SPREADS TO U.S., OTHER NATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2020 (San Diego) – A new coronavirus first identified in December in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million people, is rapidly spreading across the globe, including the first U.S. case diagnosed in a traveler in Washington state this week.

China has shut down travel including planes, trains, buses and ferries among several major cities including Beijing and Wuhan, attempting to quarantine 25 million people, the Washington Post reports.

Guan Yi, a virologist who helped identify the sever acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, says the epidemic of this newly discovered virus could be 10 times bigger than the SARS outbreak. Comparing it to past outbreaks of other viruses, Guan said that “this time, I’m petrified,” the Washington Post reports.

To date, the new coronavirus has been confirmed in China, the U.S., Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Macao, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.  Officially, Chinese officials report 835 people infected and at least 26 deaths, though experts indicate the number of cases is likely far higher.

In the U.S., all flights from Wuhan are being routed through five airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Atlanta, where all passengers are being screened for the disease.

The timing could hardly be worse; the Lunar New Year holiday, a week-long celebration when millions of Chinese travel to their hometowns in what the Washington Post reports is the biggest human migration on the planet, begins this Saturday, January 25.

CACTUS MICE TEST POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS IN SANTEE AND VALLEY CENTER

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications 
Image Credit: shutterstock
 
January 16, 2020 (San Diego) -- Two cactus mice collected separately in routine monitoring in Santee and Valley Center have tested positive for hantavirus, marking the first appearance in San Diego County in 2020 of the potentially deadly virus.
 
County officials said people should never sweep up or vacuum, but use “wet cleaning” methods instead, to clean up rodent droppings or signs of rodent infestation if they find them in their living spaces — homes, garages, sheds, cabins and outbuildings.
 
Infected rodents shed hantavirus in their urine, feces and saliva. If people stir that dry matter into the air by sweeping or vacuuming, they can inhale the virus and get sick.

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