CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With the surge in new coronavirus cases beginning to ease and demand for vaccination growing, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the 24 hours.

READ MORE: Bay Area Health Expert Hails Potential of Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine in Pandemic Battle

COVID Study: Food, Agriculture, Construction Workers Top List Of Most At Risk Of COVID Death
SAN FRANCISCO — A University of California, San Francisco study of the jobs at most risk for death from COVID-19 shows line cooks, machine operators, agricultural workers, bakers, and construction laborers at the top of the list. The study looked at occupational sectors associated with high excess mortality during the pandemic, with a focus on racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. According to the study, in-person essential work is a likely venue of infection and needs to be addressed with strict enforcement of health orders for workplace settings and worker protections. Researchers estimated the excess mortality among Californians 18-65 years old by occupational sector and occupation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these working age adults saw a 22% increase in mortality compared to historical periods. However, food and agricultural workers saw a 39% increase in excess mortality during the pandemic, the highest among all sectors. Read More

Newsom Signs Extension On Eviction Moratorium, Bill Providing Assistance to Tenants, Small Property Owners
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills Friday, one extending a statewide moratorium on evictions for six more months; the other providing assistance to renters and some landlords. Last year, Newsom signed a law that banned evictions for unpaid rent for tenants who paid at least 25% of their rent owed after Sept. 1. That law was set to expire on Monday. But the law Newsom signed on Thursday extends those protections through June 30. During a live streamed event promoting the bills Friday, Newsom thanked all the legislators who worked on the bill and added perspective to the work facing state officials. “I’m just here with gratitude. I’m humbled by the enormity of the task ahead of us and I’m not naive that ‘good enough’ ever is,” Newsom said. “We recognize we have to do more and we have to continue to support those most vulnerable.” Read More

Johnson & Johnson Says It’s One-Shot COVID Vaccine Is 85% Effective
SAN FRANCISCO — Johnson & Johnson says its vaccine will either prevent you from getting COVID, or if you have it, it would be a much milder case. The company plans to get emergency authorization in the U.S. within a week, and supply 100 million doses by June. It’s first one-shot COVID vaccine and is offering the world a potentially new weapon against the mutating virus. Data shows that the vaccine is 72% effective against moderate and severe COVID-19 in the U.S. It’s 85% efficient in preventing serious symptoms in global trials.
“In this moment what are we trying to get to, we are trying to get to herd immunity, we are not trying to get to perfection,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. Dr. Gandhi says if she had a choice, she would be okay with getting one-dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot. Read More

Some Health Officials Recommend ‘Double Masking’ For Additional Protection
PLEASANTON — As many Bay Area residents tried to return to a sense of normalcy by having dinner outdoors at a restaurant Friday, a new health recommendation is suggesting that wearing two masks can provide better protection when indoors. Health experts are saying it’s time to double down when it comes to wearing masks, especially when indoors where transmission of the virus is more likely to occur. White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview earlier this week that using two masks “likely would be more effective,” a theory many experts agree with. “I mean, we all want to get back to normal. So I agree. I’ll do whatever it takes to get back to normal,” one Pleasanton resident told KPIX 5. “It’s kind of a dramatic recommendation for a dramatic moment in our state until we get this under control,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF. Read More

Santa Clara County Reaches 100,000 Cases; Vaccine Efforts Ramp Up
SAN JOSE — Nearly a year after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County, health officials marked a somber milestone, announcing the county had topped the 100,000 mark in coronavirus cases. As of Thursday, there have been 100,468 postive cases, in the county, according to the county’s COVID dashboard. The 7-day rolling average of new cases is 829, down from a high of 1,463 two weeks ago. 1,134 people have died in the county because of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including 57-year-old Patricia Dowd, the first confirmed death in the U.S. On January 31, 2020, Dr. Sara Cody announced the county’s first known case of COVID-19. At the time, Cody said the patient was a man who had recently returned to the county after traveling to Wuhan, China, what was then the global epicenter of the outbreak. Since then, 435,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Read More

San Mateo City Leaders Mull Making Outdoor Downtown Dining Spaces Permanent
SAN MATEO — You probably won’t mistake it for a quaint Italian piazza but, on Friday evening in San Mateo, with heaters blasting, lights shining and diners chatting, the so-called pandemic “new normal” felt a little more like just plain normal. Mayor Eric Rodrigues told KPIX he wants outdoor dining in his city to be “where kids can run around, we don’t have to worry about cars and we’re really kind of making the public streets more accessible to pedestrians. During the pandemic, 50 restaurants in downtown San Mateo have added 45 thousand square feet of outdoor dining space. The question for city council is what a permanent setup might look like. “We have things like where are the different parklets gonna go? Is it going to be for the entire year? We have drainage issues to consider,” Mayor Rodriguez said. Read More

Upcoming Sharks Games Vs. Golden Knights Postponed Over Virus Issues In Vegas Organization
SAN JOSE — Two upcoming San Jose Sharks games against the Golden Knights have been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns in the Vegas organization. The National Hockey League said in a statement that the games, set to take place at the Sharks temporary home in Glendale, Arizona on February 1 and 3 will be played in San Jose at a later date. On Friday, the league said four members of the Golden Knights are isolating, including three coaches. The Knights’ training facilities have also been closed until further notice. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Knights’ game against the St. Louis Blues, which was scheduled for Thursday, was postponed after a player and a member of the coaching staff entered COVID protocols. Read More

READ MORE: High School Girl Sues San Mateo County, State of California to Allow Indoor Youth Sports

Yosemite National Park Day-Use Reservations Required Starting February 8
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Day-use reservations will again be required to visit Yosemite National Park starting next month amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Park officials said that all visitors who drive in, including annual and senior pass holders, will need to obtain a reservation for visits starting on February 8. People entering the park via Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System buses, on bicycle, foot or horseback are exempt, but park entrance fees still apply. “The temporary day-use reservation system will allow the park to manage visitation levels to reduce risks associated with exposure to COVID-19,” park officials said in a statement on Friday. Yosemite initially required day-use reservations when it opened for the first time during the pandemic in June of last year, but had lifted the requirement in November. Read More

Superior Court Extends Emergency Bail Schedule As Virus Surges In Jails
SAN JOSE — To help alleviate the issues of COVID-19 cases hitting an all-time high in county jails, Santa Clara County’s Superior Court extended the emergency bail schedule, county officials announced Friday. The Superior Court bench voted Tuesday to issue the order, which expires June 30. The order requires that bail be set at $0 for all misdemeanor and felony offenses, with exceptions for specific offenses listed in the order. The purpose of the emergency bail schedule is to limit COVID-19 transmissions. Without the order, individuals arrested and held in pretrial custody may be subject to close confinement in county jails. Instead, the order allows eligible individuals to wait for their trial outside of jail. Read More

Pandemic Is Forcing Girl Scouts To Get Creative During Cookie Season
SAN FRNACISCO — Whether you’re team Thin Mint or team Shortbread, cookie lovers alike will be happy to hear Girl Scout cookie season is almost here. But how will the scouts pull it off while staying safe from COVID-19? Six-year-old Eva Frank is a newly-minted Girl Scout, and she can’t wait to sell cookies. While scouts normally go door-to-door every year selling their irresistible cookies, this year more sales will be done online — and you can even order on Grubhub. “So either I do a Zoom call or I FaceTime them with my family and friends and I show them all of the kinds and tell them,” Eva Frank said. Mom Sara Frank says her daughter’s introduction to the scouts is nothing like what girls have experienced before. “Everybody’s having to be so much more creative,” Sara Frank said. Read More

Arts Festival Organizers Sue San Francisco to Allow Spring Outdoor Event
SAN FRANCISCO — A judge declined to dismiss a lawsuit this week filed by the San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) against the city of San Francisco. SFIAF wanted to hold a performing arts event in May and the performers said they should be allowed to work outdoors with safety guidelines in place. The non-profit organization and the performers believe they are protected by the First Amendment. “The arts has a First Amendment right — should be afforded parity with other First Amendment rights — so freedom of religious worship and freedom to protest, the right to protest,” said SFIAF executive director Andrew Wood. Wood said the city of San Francisco has refused to work with his organization, refusing to let them know if the festival will be allowed to take place in May.”They have allowed lots of other types of businesses to reopen,” Wood said. “They have guidelines for nearly every other type of business but they won’t even talk to us about guidelines.” Read More

Other Trending Bay Area COVID-19 Stories

South Bay COVID Cases Fall as Fears of New Virus Strains Rise
SAN JOSE — Despite a steady decline in COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara county as well as the rollout of the vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Thursday the pandemic could get worse as new mutant variants threaten any progress that has been made. “We’re much more concerned about the South African strain,” Fauci said. Two adults in South Carolina came down with the nation’s first known cases of the South African strain and the CDC has projected the UK variant will become dominant in the United States by March. “We think it’s somewhere between 30% and 70% more transmissible or at least it spreads faster,” said the UK government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance. “We don’t yet know why.” On Thursday, Santa Clara county reported 828 new coronavirus cases. For reference, the county reported 1,736 cases on Jan. 9 and 1,551 on Jan. 10. Read More

Couples Getting Engaged During the Pandemic Design and Buy Rings Remotely
SAN FRANCISCO — Shopping for the perfect engagement ring doesn’t necessarily involve going from store to store these days. More people, particularly millennials, are buying remotely, direct through Instagram. The Clear Cut, a direct-to-consumer engagement ring and fine jewelry company, says more couples are spending time together in quarantine, and, as a result, many are taking the next step. Kristen Cepriano’s fiancé purchased a custom engagement ring without ever seeing it in person. “With a big purchase like that obviously it’s always nerve-wracking to have to do it remotely but they did a good job in answering all my questions,” said Christian Lapinig, a Clear Cut customer. “And then, when I finally received it, it looked way better in person.” Lapinig first found the company through Instagram. The San Mateo County couple got engaged this past August on Treasure Island. Read More

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Riders Give BART Thumbs-Up for Service During 2020 Pandemic
OAKLAND — Roughly three-quarters of BART riders were satisfied with the transit agency’s service in 2020, an increase of almost 30 percent over 2018, according to the results of a survey the agency released on Thursday. BART received responses from some 3,000 riders for its biennial customer satisfaction survey, which found that 72 percent of riders were very or somewhat satisfied with BART compared to 56 percent during the 2018 survey. Nine percent of riders were dissatisfied with BART in 2020, compared to 21 percent in 2018. The 2020 version of the survey, fielded over a span of three weeks in October, reached 2,325 fewer riders than the 2018 version, due in part to an 88 percent decrease in ridership and a result, in large part, to the coronavirus pandemic. Read More