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For This Region Of California, Covid-19 ‘Just Isn’t Slowing Down’

David Crabtree

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The lowest incident of fresh Covid-19 infections in the country is currently being reported from California.

However, the agrarian Central Valley and rural north of the state remain overburdened.

Opposition to vaccinations and community health regulations, along with the spread of the Delta variant, has resulted in a steep rise in fresh infections, straining already overburdened public health systems. In some counties in the state, the case rate per 100,000 inhabitants is currently three or more times the state average rate of infections.

Critically sick patients at certain hospitals have had to wait for days to be moved from the emergency room to the intensive care unit. Since the outset of the pandemic, health facilities within the valley have been complaining of being left with less than 10% of their ICU capacity.

Patients remain queued up outside on ambulance gurneys on a normal day at the Community Regional Medical Center, a hospital in Fresno, according to Dr. Kenny Banh, since there are no hospital beds available. When he enters, the corridor is lined with even more people on gurneys.

Banh, an associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno, said, “I’m fatigued and simply sad that we’re here.” Banh has been working extra shifts in the emergency department and intensive care unit, as well as overseeing local immunization clinics and testing facilities, which had mile-long queues earlier this month.

The onslaught of mortality had been especially hard to comprehend since it was “preventable,” according to Banh.

The immunization rate in the region is considerably lower compared to the Bay Area or Los Angeles, and Banh encounters on a regular basis people on ventilators who still refuse to believe that they have Covid-19 .

According to Banh, the great majority of Covid-19 hospitalized patients were unvaccinated, and virtually all of the others were immunocompromised persons – including those with leukemia and other illnesses – for whom vaccinations are less effective.

Across the area, emergency dispatchers have been instructed not to deploy ambulances to patients unless specific conditions are met.

Credit – kcra.com

“We’ve never had anything like that before,” said Dr. Danielle Campagne, the medical director for American Ambulance, the organization responsible for manage ambulances throughout Fresno county.

the instances of ambulance crews having to treat patients in order to keep them stable for hours, as the patients wait for hospital beds to become available in recent weeks.

According to Campagne, the demand for health care facilities and emergency services has also grown with the relaxation of stay-at-home orders and inhabitants have increasingly returned to their pre-pandemic way of life.

“During the previous Covid surges, there were a lot of infections, but there weren’t as many car accidents or shootings,” said Campagne, who is also an associate professor at UCSF Fresno and an ER doctor. “Now that people are going back to their everyday business, they’re getting in car accidents, they’re getting shot, they’re getting heart attacks – so we’re treating all of those people as well as Covid patients.”

Since early September, less than 10% of IC U beds are available in the hospitals throughout the valley. An acute dearth of paramedics along with a surge in Covid-19 cases has put immense pressure on the agency.

“As we approach a year and half of this pandemic, our paramedics – who have been on the front lines, working through this summer in 110-degree heat, seeing so much trauma – are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained,” she said. “And many are leaving the career to do other things.”

The number of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and administrative coordinators has also been reduced in the region.

Credit – who.int

Nurses have been forced to work additional shifts or adding four to eight hours to their usual shifts to make up for absent coworkers who had either contacted  Covid-19 or had quit the field completely.

“We’re experiencing burnout and also moral distress – because when we don’t have the resources and staff we need, patients aren’t getting the care they need,” said Rachel Spray, a nurse at the Kaiser hospital in Fresno.

“Your heart gets pounded by death after death after death,” said Mary Lynn Briggs, an ICU nurse at Mercy hospital in the valley town of Bakersfield.

Witnessing so much mortality – especially preventable fatalities among young and reasonably healthy unvaccinated patients – has left her bruised and wondering if she can make it through the year and a half before she can retire.

“At the end of my shift, I just want to be able to go into an office and burst into tears,” she said.

She hoped the blissfully oblivious population outside the hospitals to see inside and know, she continued, “this is what happens when you decide not to receive the vaccination and don’t wear a mask.”

There have been volatile anti-mask protests and outrage against pandemic related business restrictions in the valley and rural northern California and this area is among the areas in the state having one of the highest help for a gubernatorial recall campaign aimed at unseating the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, largely over his public health policies.

At the same time, agricultural laborers have hit the hardest, with many lacking legal standing and access to treatment. According to research published earlier this month in Jama Network Open, the prevalence of Covid-19 test positivity among farmworkers in California was four-folds more than the rest of the country. Throughout the state, Latino and Black citizens continue to be disproportionately affected by the epidemic — in Los Angeles County, Black persons have the highest rate of hospitalization.

However, whereas coastal metropolises have the means and personnel to deal with surges, rural California’s healthcare system is in disarray.

The health officer in northern California’s Placer County, Rob Oldham, informed local officials that the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in early September had surpassed the winter high. Although the incidence of new illnesses appears to be decreasing, Casey Bell, an emergency room nurse, says hospitals are still overburdened.

The queue of patients seeking emergency care at the Roseville medical facility, where Bell works, had snaked “from the check-in desk to outside the ER and practically around the bend” in recent days, she added. “It appears to be a line for a Disneyland ride.”

The hospital, which is understaffed, has frequently required nurses to work overtime and double hours, according to Bell, and the stress has begun to damage her wellbeing. Bell collapsed during her duty earlier this month following completion of an eight-day working stretch at the outdoor coronavirus treatment tent of the hospital.

“We’ve been dealing with what’s basically been a sprint for the past year and a half,” she said. “And at least over here, it just isn’t slowing down.”

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The US Job Market Does Not Match Democrats’ Worries Of Omicron

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The Biden administration entered the first week of February in what has become its default mode of operation: expecting bad news.

Loss Of Over 300,000 Private Jobs In January

The White House cautioned that the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on January’s job numbers would be shocking. Reporters were taught to put an unsatisfactory report in context by mentioning the omicron wave’s transient effects, which the company believed had slowed hiring. President Joe Biden’s team, on the other hand, had reason to believe that no amount of nuance would be enough to mask what they expected to be the second straight poor employment report. On Wednesday, ADP, a payroll processing company, predicted a loss of over 300,000 private jobs in January, far fewer than the Dow Jones estimate of weak but positive employment growth.

However, when the numbers came in on Friday, these concerns were unfounded. According to the BLS, private nonfarm payrolls did not only fail to decrease in January; they actually increased by 467,000 jobs. Almost every industry expected to be hit worst by the pandemic grew, from bars and restaurants to professional services, transportation, and even retail sales, which typically suffer after the holiday shopping frenzy. According to the BLS, the number of workers increased by 1.4 million. More good news: December’s job growth was raised up from 199,000 to a staggering 510,000 jobs, according to the report.

To summarise, Covid was not the economic drag the White House projected from its discovery in the final week of November to its current fall. This is due in part to the fact that the information ecology in which mainstream news consumers marinade has maintained a consistent drumbeat of negativity for the past eight weeks.

By late December, there was strong consensus that the omicron infection outbreak, although milder, was contagious enough to impair social and economic activities in a way that was indistinguishable from the deadliest days of 2020. According to a CNN report from America’s dark blue metropolitan enclaves on December 21, city dwellers were withdrawing to the shelter of their residences once again, and businesses were closing as staff phoned in sick. No one wanted a return to lockdowns, but a “voluntary suspension of activity—a soft lockdown, essentially,” as The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang put it, would sweep the country whether we liked it or not.

 

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US Businesses Shed 301,000 Employees In January Amidst The Record Breaking Omicron Wave

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As a consequence of a record omicron wave that kept individuals out of work and disrupted recruiting plans, private U.S. businesses cut employment by 301,000 employees in January, the worst decline since the epidemic began, reports marketwatch.com.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed economists who predicted a 200,000 rise.

The fall was the first in 13 months and the greatest since April 2020, when the United States lost about 20 million jobs amid a pandemic-era economic lockdown.

ADP is often used as a forecasting tool for the US Labor Department’s wider employment survey, which is released a few days later. During the pandemic, however, the two reports were frequently at odds, and ADP was less accurate as a predictor.

Nonetheless, due to the omicron issues, economists estimate the government’s official figure to be similarly low on Friday. Some even expect a complete fall.

Businesses are scrambling to fill a record number of available positions and meet the high demand for their products and services. According to a federal poll, there are about 11 million job openings in the United States.

The issue is that there aren’t enough people to fill all of the open positions. Several million employees who left the workforce earlier in the pandemic haven’t yet returned, and many are unlikely to do so in the future. Coronavirus epidemics have also made it more difficult for some people to return to work, such as women and caregivers.

Good News!

The good news is that the Omicron is quickly fading, and industry leaders predict that recruiting and employment will soon restore.

Almost Every Organization Suffered A Major Setback In January

In January, almost every major sector of the economy suffered a setback.

Small businesses that primarily provide services, such as hotels, cafeterias, restaurants, entertainment facilities, public transportation, and so on, saw the greatest drop in employment. 144,000 jobs were lost by small businesses.

Due to business constraints or fear of contracting the coronavirus, customers stayed away.

During the omicron surge, major organizations lost 98,000 jobs and midsized enterprises lost 59,000. According to second government data, roughly 9 million individuals missed work in January, a recent record.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal predicted that the US Labor Department’s tally would show a gain of 150,000 new jobs in January before the ADP data. These data include the number of people employed by the government.

“There is no telling how close ADP’s initial January estimate will prove to be to the figures that will be reported by the Labor Department on Friday,” said chief economist Joshua Shapiro of MFR Inc.

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Social Security Beneficiaries Will See A 5.9% Benefit Hike In 2022

parashuram shalgar

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Golden State stimulus (2)

Due to its annual cost-of-living adjustment, existing Social Security recipients will see their gross benefits increase by 5.9% in 2022.

More than 50 million people in the U.S. are, as of late, relying on Social Security for a part of their retirement income. When you also consider that about 180 million have paid into the system, it’s evident that the program is serving some foundation to the majority of the people’s retirement plans.  

What Americans Should Be Anticipating From Social Security in 2022

Albeit such a fact, its future is pretty much at risk. An example of it is Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen indicating its payments were at risk if the debt ceiling didn’t get an increase early this year. To that end, folks should expect these from the program next year.  

COLA’s 5.9   

It’s already a known fact that the highest cost of living adjustment (5.9 percent) in 40 years is scheduled to go live next year. Despite being deemed such, it may well seem that it won’t be sufficient to keep up the overall inflation that we endured this year. Additionally, according to Motley Fool, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the overall Consumer Price Index was upped by 6.8 percent in the 12 months through November this year.   

Social Security funds going gone  

Another thing to point out is that, albeit the increased tax burden in funding Social Security, simply under the calendar advancing a year, the date that the program’s trust funds are expected to run dry will be earlier than anticipated (projected to be emptied by 2034).  

High income=Higher taxes  

Next year, the wage base on which taxes from the program are levied will also be upped to $147,000 from $142,800. This is a $4,200 increase in income to Social Security’s 12.4 percent tax rate in which half of it will be paid by the employer, and employees will pay the other half.  

Likely to do nothing  

Social Security has been known to be the “third rail of American politics.” It borrows the moniker from electrified train tracks where touching the electricity-carrying third rail may likely result in a person’s demise.  

Sadly, such infamy simply translates that neither sides have the eagerness to push forward reforms to Social Security until the trust funds are that close to drying out that they have no other choice. For the uninitiated, the last massive reform to the program happened in 1983 – before the trust funds were expected to empty the last time. 

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