California’s COVID Comeback Intensifies, But Officials Say There’s No Cause for Alarm

Outbreak investigations. Disrupted work schedules. Canceled vacations. Wearing masks.

Sound familiar?

COVID-19 is making a comeback in California. Coronavirus levels in wastewater are on the rise in the state’s most populated areas, and hospitalizations continue to tick upward as residents return from trips and head back to school.

The latest rebound, seen both in public health data and at-home tests, has led some to question what — if any — new measures they should consider taking to protect themselves. With Labor Day weekend right around the corner, some may wonder whether they should scale back or alter their plans.

While residents should be aware of current trends, and the steps they can take to reduce their risk of infection, the higher transmission rates aren’t “a cause for alarm,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

“We want everyone to enjoy this last weekend of the summer, and we think this can be easily done with some simple basic safety measures,” she said.

Such steps are taking on increasing importance given the first sustained COVID flare-up in months.

Coronavirus levels have more than doubled in Los Angeles’ wastewater since the start of summer, state data show, although they remain less than half of last winter’s peak. The rate at which reported test results are coming back positive is also up, now at 13.2% across California; at the start of summer, it was around 4%.

“These higher rates of transmission, while they’re not a cause for alarm, they do translate to more outbreaks in L.A. County, across schools, work sites and healthcare facilities,” Ferrer said. “Unfortunately, this often means missed days of work, missed learning and increased risk for those who are most susceptible to severe illness.”

In L.A. County, as of Thursday, there were 128 outbreak investigations in which new cases have appeared in the last four weeks. Eighty-six were in healthcare or community care settings, 20 in workplace settings, 12 in educational settings — including the L.A. Unified School District headquarters — five at sites serving people experiencing homelessness and five at correctional/detention facilities.

A number of work sites in the entertainment industry have experienced outbreaks recently, including the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, “The Masked Singer” studio at Red Studios Hollywood, Lionsgate Entertainment in Santa Monica and Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, according to the county’s public health department.

People with COVID-19 are asked to stay home for at least five days after their first symptoms or their first positive test, whichever comes first.

The California Department of Public Health calculates that for every 100 people with the coronavirus in the state, 118 others are being infected by them, the highest transmission rate all summer.

During a news conference, the first held in months after what she acknowledged has been a “relatively calm summer,” Ferrer struck a largely calming tone. Coronavirus spread, though increasing, is nowhere near as far-reaching or disruptive as during the pandemic’s earlier phases.

Over the last week, Ferrer said, L.A. County has reported an average of about 571 new coronavirus cases a day — essentially double the figure from a month ago.

“Case numbers are relatively low compared to many other points this past year,” she said. “I also want to note that it’s a bit unfair to make those comparisons because there’s less reportable testing.”

Official case tallies have long been an undercount because of the prevalence of at-home testing, and that gap has only widened as public health departments wind down their screening efforts.

Though the rise in infections is also accompanied by an increase in hospitalizations, the latter does not appear to be climbing at a rate comparable to past surges.

New weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations in California have doubled since the beginning of summer but remain less than half of last summer’s peak — possibly because of enduring immunity from past vaccinations or infections.

Nationally, new weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations are more than double since the start of the summer, but only one-third of last summer’s peak.

The dramatic decrease in severe illness and hospitalization explains why there is little appetite for tactics such as universal mask-wearing orders, the last of which ended in Los Angeles County 18 months ago. Even mask-wearing requirements for healthcare workers have ended in recent months; most California counties dropped the requirement in April, and L.A. County ended its order on Aug. 11.

Masking orders at certain sites, such as workplaces, have been ordered specifically to quell an outbreak. Some hospitals have returned to mask mandates; Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa recently imposed one for hospital employees in response to the latest increase in coronavirus infections.

“The immunity is stronger today than at any other point in the outbreak,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a recent video briefing. “That means we’re moving toward COVID-19 being a more manageable illness with less severe illness.”

Compared to last summer, “we’re in a much different and better place in August of 2023,” Cohen said. “We have stronger immunity and tools to protect ourselves: We have vaccines, at-home tests, effective treatments and common-sense strategies like washing your hands and staying away from people when you’re sick.”

She added: “However, COVID-19 remains riskier if you’re unvaccinated, and riskier still if you are unvaccinated and [have] not had COVID as a prior infection. Your age and your underlying health conditions also matter.”

The rise in infections illustrates the importance of getting the newly updated COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available, possibly by mid-September if authorized as expected by federal authorities. The vaccine will be especially important for older people.

About 70% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are among those 65 and older, Cohen said. Those most at risk continue to be older people who are not current on their vaccinations. At least 45,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded nationally this year.

Immune protection from COVID-19 “does decrease over time. And we have to remember that the COVID virus continues to change,” Cohen said. And with mutations constantly keeping scientists watchful, “people need to make sure that they’re staying up to date on their COVID vaccines.”

For people who have never been vaccinated, and for some older residents and those at higher risk, it might be better to get the existing vaccine now and not wait for the newer version, Cohen said.

Still, getting the older shot now could delay a person’s ability to get the new shot. Patients should talk to their healthcare providers for individual advice.

People can get a COVID-19 vaccination and a flu shot at the same time. Generally, everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu shot, officials say; the best time is in September and October.

This year’s COVID-19 vaccine, which will be reviewed at a CDC advisory committee meeting on Sept. 12, is designed against the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, unofficially known as Kraken.

Officials have been closely watching another upstart Omicron subvariant, BA.2.86, nicknamed Pirola. Not many cases have been identified in the U.S., but there is concern it could be more capable of causing infection in people who previously have had COVID-19. More study is needed.

Studies are still underway to evaluate the effectiveness of the forthcoming vaccine, according to a risk assessment by the CDC, although it is expected to remain “effective at reducing severe disease and hospitalization.”

Health experts continue to advise taking reasonable precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection. Though most people no longer wear masks routinely, some officials say that masking up in the highest-risk settings, such as on public transit and while boarding and exiting an airplane, can make a difference.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

The Great Grift: How Billions in U.S. COVID-19 Relief Aid Was Stolen or Wasted

WASHINGTON  — Much of the theft was brazen, even simple.

Fraudsters used the Social Security numbers of dead people and federal prisoners to get unemployment checks. Cheaters collected those benefits in multiple states. And federal loan applicants weren’t cross-checked against a Treasury Department database that would have raised red flags about sketchy borrowers.

Criminals and gangs grabbed the money. But so did a U.S. soldier in Georgia, the pastors of a defunct church in Texas, a former state lawmaker in Missouri and a roofing contractor in Montana.

All of it led to the greatest grift in U.S. history, with thieves plundering billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief aid intended to combat the worst pandemic in a century and to stabilize an economy in free fall.

An Associated Press analysis found that fraudsters potentially stole more than $280 billion in COVID-19 relief funding; another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. Combined, the loss represents 10% of the $4.2 trillion the U.S. government has so far disbursed in COVID relief aid.

That number is certain to grow as investigators dig deeper into thousands of potential schemes.

How could so much be stolen? Investigators and outside experts say the government, in seeking to quickly spend trillions in relief aid, conducted too little oversight during the pandemic’s early stages and instituted too few restrictions on applicants. In short, they say, the grift was just way too easy.

“Here was this sort of endless pot of money that anyone could access,” said Dan Fruchter, chief of the fraud and white-collar crime unit at the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Washington. “Folks kind of fooled themselves into thinking that it was a socially acceptable thing to do, even though it wasn’t legal.”

The U.S. government has charged more than 2,230 defendants with pandemic-related fraud crimes and is conducting thousands of investigations.

Most of the looted money was swiped from three large pandemic-relief initiatives launched during the Trump administration and inherited by President Joe Biden. Those programs were designed to help small businesses and unemployed workers survive the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic.

The pilfering was wide but not always as deep as the eye-catching headlines about cases involving many millions of dollars. But all of the theft, big and small, illustrates an epidemic of scams and swindles at a time America was grappling with overrun hospitals, school closures and shuttered businesses. Since the pandemic began in early 2020, more than 1.13 million people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michael Horowitz, the U.S. Justice Department inspector general who chairs the federal Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, told Congress the fraud is “clearly in the tens of billions of dollars” and may eventually exceed $100 billion.

Horowitz told the AP he was sticking with that estimate, but won’t be certain about the number until he gets more solid data.

“I’m hesitant to get too far out on how much it is,” he said. “But clearly it’s substantial and the final accounting is still at least a couple of years away.”

Mike Galdo, the U.S. Justice Department’s acting director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement, said, “It is an unprecedented amount of fraud.”

Before leaving office, former President Donald Trump approved emergency aid measures totaling $3.2 trillion, according to figures from the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. Biden’s 2021 American Rescue Plan authorized the spending of another $1.9 trillion. About a fifth of the $5.2 trillion has yet to be paid out, according to the committee’s most recent accounting.

Never has so much federal emergency aid been injected into the U.S. economy so quickly. “The largest rescue package in American history,” U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told Congress.

The enormous scale of that package has obscured multi-billion dollar mistakes.

An $837 billion IRS program, for example, succeeded 99% of the time in getting economic stimulus checks to the proper taxpayers, according to the tax agency. Nevertheless, that 1% failure rate translated into nearly $8 billion going to “ineligible individuals,” a Treasury Department inspector general told AP.

An IRS spokesman said the agency does not agree with all the figures cited by the watchdog and noted that, even if correct, the loss represented a tiny fraction of the program’s budget.

The health crisis thrust the Small Business Administration, an agency that typically gets little attention, into an unprecedented role. In the seven decades before the pandemic struck, for example, the SBA had doled out $67 billion in disaster loans.

When the pandemic struck, the agency was assigned to manage two massive relief efforts — the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection programs, which would swell to more than a trillion dollars. SBA’s workforce had to get money out the door, fast, to help struggling businesses and their employees. COVID-19 pushed SBA’s pace from a walk to an Olympic sprint. Between March 2020 and the end of July 2020, the agency granted 3.2 million COVID-19 economic injury disaster loans totaling $169 billion, according to an SBA inspector general’s report, while at the same time implementing the huge new Paycheck Protection Program.

In the haste, guardrails to protect federal money were dropped. Prospective borrowers were allowed to “self-certify” that their loan applications were true. The CARES Act also barred SBA from looking at tax return transcripts that could have weeded out shady or undeserving applicants, a decision eventually reversed at the end of 2020.

“If you open up the bank window and say, give me your application and just promise me you really are who you say you are, you attract a lot of fraudsters and that’s what happened here,” Horowitz said.

The SBA inspector general’s office has estimated fraud in the COVID-19 economic injury disaster loan program at $86 billion and the Paycheck Protection program at $20 billion. The watchdog is expected in coming weeks to release revised loss figures that are likely to be much higher.

In an interview, SBA Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware declined to say what the new fraud estimate for both programs will be.

“It will be a figure that is fair, that is 1,000% defensible by my office, fully backed by our significant criminal investigative activity that is taking place in this space,” Ware said.

Ware and his staff are overwhelmed with pandemic-related audits and investigations. The office has a backlog of more than 80,000 actionable leads, close to a 100 years’ worth of work.

“Death by a thousand cuts might be death by 80,000 cuts for them,” Horowitz said of Ware’s workload. “It’s just the magnitude of it, the enormity of it.”

A 2022 study from the University of Texas at Austin found almost five times as many suspicious Paycheck Protection loans as the $20 billion SBA’s inspector general has reported so far. The research, led by finance professor John Griffin, found as much as $117 billion in questionable and possibly fraudulent loans, citing indicators such as non-registered businesses and multiple loans to the same address.

Horowitz, the pandemic watchdog chairman, criticized the government’s failure early on to use the “Do Not Pay” Treasury Department database, designed to keep government money from going to debarred contractors, fugitives, felons or people convicted of tax fraud. Those reviews, he said, could have been done quickly.

“It’s a false narrative that has been set out, that there are only two choices,” Horowitz said. “One choice is, get the money out right away. And that the only other choice was to spend weeks and months trying to figure out who was entitled to it.”

In less than a few days, a week at most, Horowitz said, SBA might have discovered thousands of ineligible applicants.

“24 hours? 48 hours? Would that really have upended the program?” Horowitz said. “I don’t think it would have. And it was data sitting there. It didn’t get checked.”

The Biden administration put in place stricter rules to stem pandemic fraud, including use of the “Do Not Pay” database. Biden also recently proposed a $1.6 billion plan to boost law enforcement efforts to go after pandemic relief fraudsters.

“I think the bottom line is regardless of what the number is, it emanates overwhelmingly from three programs that were designed and originated in 2020 with too many large holes that opened the door to criminal fraud,” Gene Sperling, the White House American Rescue Plan coordinator, said in an interview.

“We came into office when the largest amounts of fraud were already out of the barn,” Sperling added.

In a statement, an SBA spokesperson declined to say whether the agency agrees with the figures issued by Ware’s office, saying the federal government has not developed an accepted system for assessing fraud in government programs. Previous analyses have pointed to “potential fraud” or “fraud indicators” in a manner that conveys those numbers as a true fraud estimate when they are not, according to the statement.

The coronavirus pandemic plunged the U.S. economy into a short but devastating recession. Jobless rates soared into double digits and Washington sent hundreds of billions of dollars to states to help the suddenly unemployed.

For crooks, it was like tossing chum into the sea to lure fish. Many of these state unemployment agencies used antiquated computer systems or had too few staff to stop bogus claims from being paid.

“Yes, the states were overwhelmed in terms of demand,” said Brent Parton, acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration. “We had not seen a spike like this ever in a global event like a pandemic. The systems were underfunded. They were not resilient. And I would say, more importantly, were vulnerable to sophisticated attacks by fraudsters.”

Fraud in pandemic unemployment assistance programs stands at $76 billion, according to congressional testimony from Labor Department Inspector General Larry Turner. That’s a conservative estimate. Another $115 billion mistakenly went to people who should not have received the benefits, according to his testimony.

Turner declined AP’s request for an interview.

Turner’s task in identifying all of the pandemic unemployment insurance fraud has been complicated by a lack of cooperation from the federal Bureau of Prisons, according to a September “alert memo” issued by his office. Scam artists used Social Security numbers of federal prisoners to steal millions of dollars in benefits.

His office still doesn’t know exactly how much was swiped that way. The prison bureau has declined to provide current data about federal prisoners. The agency did not respond to a request for comment.

Ohio’s State Auditor Keith Faber saw trouble coming when safeguards to ensure the unemployment aid only went to people who legitimately qualified were lowered, making conditions ripe for fraud and waste. The state’s unemployment agency took controls down because on the one hand, they literally were drinking from a firehose,” Faber said. “They had a year’s worth of claims in a couple of weeks. The second part of the problem was the (federal government) directed them to get the money out the door as quickly as possible and worry less about security. They took that to heart. I think that was a mistake.”

Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services reported in February $1 billion in fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims and another $4.8 billion in overpayments.

The ubiquitous masks that became a symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic are seen on fewer and fewer faces. Hospitalizations for the virus have steadily declined, according to CDC data, and Biden in April ended the national emergency to respond to the pandemic.

But on politically divided Capitol Hill, lawmakers have not put the pandemic behind them and are engaged in a fierce debate over the success of the relief spending and who’s to blame for the theft.

Too much government money, Republicans argue, breeds fraud, waste and inflation. Democrats have countered that all the financial muscle from Washington saved lives, businesses and jobs.

Republicans and Democrats did, however, find common ground last year on bills to give the federal government more time to catch fraudsters. Biden in August signed legislation to increase the statute of limitations from five to 10 years on crimes involving the two major programs managed by the SBA.

The extra time will help federal prosecutors untangle pandemic fraud cases, which often involve identity theft and crooks overseas. But there’s no guarantee they’ll catch everyone who jumped at the chance for an easy payday. They’re busy, too, with crimes unrelated to pandemic relief funds.

Click here to read the full article in OC Register

The COVID-19 Pandemic Permanently Damaged Property Rights

Officials used the crisis to impose policies they already supported but couldn’t get through the normal legislative process, like bans on evictions.

I don’t pay particular attention to health scares, so when talk of a spreading pandemic started dominating the news cycle I largely shrugged and went about my business. I was staying at a cheap motel in Calexico, taking photos of the New River and the Salton Sea for my book about California water policy, when my wife called from Sacramento and said, “You better get home. And I mean now.”

That was the weekend when the shutdowns began. I recall stopping at a grocery store near Modesto, when I noticed meandering lines and a run on toilet paper. The rest, as they say, is history. Like most people, I never could have predicted the coming shutdown of the economy, government orders to stay at home, an end to restaurant dining and public gatherings, and profligate “relief” payments.

As that (probably fake) George Washington quotation put it, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force.” Government officials aren’t wiser than the rest of us, so when they tried to deal with a serious public health problem, they did so in a forceful, ineloquent, and unreasonable manner. Unfortunately, many of its worst approaches leave permanent scars.

In my column last year summarizing lessons from COVID-19, I concluded that it left us as a “nation of rulers, not laws.” American governors—and California Gov. Gavin Newsom in particular—quickly and eagerly used their broad emergency powers to begin issuing edicts. Given the extent of the public-health threat, some of the more modest and temporary ones were understandable, but they bypassed the normal legislative process in cynical and expansive ways.

One Republican lawmaker published a 138-page document detailing the 400 laws that Newsom unilaterally imposed or changed—many of them that only tangentially had anything to do with protecting public health. In particular, officials used the crisis to impose policies they already supported but couldn’t get through the normal legislative process.

The worst example involved anti-eviction orders that have literally destroyed our property rights. Virtually all mom-and-pop landlords depend on the rental income. With one fell swoop, governors (and the federal Centers for Disease Control) declared that tenants no longer had to pay their full rent if they faced a pandemic-related hardship. Sure, landlords could potentially collect rent in the future in civil court, but good luck with that.

In making it virtually impossible to evict non-paying tenants, policymakers imposed the full cost of their public-health plans on individual property owners, who could no longer count on getting a return on their investment. Often, property owners have mortgages—and they always have tax and insurance bills. When a heating system or roof leaks, they’re still required (ethically and legally) to make repairs. But they no longer could count on receiving rent.

Someone posted my column detailing the plight of landlords on a liberal housing-related news group, and you can probably guess the ensuing negative responses. No landlord I know expects any sympathy given that it’s the type of investment they freely chose.

However, I thought that most people—even renters who have had less-than-stellar rental experiences—might understand that if the government deprives owners of their supposed state constitutional right to a fair return on their investment, fewer people will go into the business and even fewer will upgrade their properties. That helps no one.

The result is obvious: fewer available rentals and fewer rentals in tip-top condition. Investing in rental property has always been a prime means for middle-class people to build wealth. My grandfather was an immigrant paperhanger (remember wallpaper?) who invested in Philadelphia row houses decades ago. Now, I talk to many people who won’t dare buy a rental house out of the legitimate fear that the government can suspend rent payments at will.

Tenants often outnumber owners, especially in larger cities such as Los Angeles. We see groups of activists lobbying for rent controls in Costa Mesa (and previously in Santa Ana). By eliminating property rights and shifting decisions to city councils (and tenant-dominated rental boards), the government has made owners’ livelihoods dependent on the political system. As the saying goes, democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

Certainly, many cities (San Francisco, Santa Monica, New York) embraced strict rent control long before the pandemic was a thing. They largely destroyed their housing markets of course, as renters stayed put in under-market units while investors high-tailed it elsewhere. But COVID added a new level of uncertainty. Look at how Los Angeles continually extended its anti-eviction provisions.

Click here to read the full article at Reason

Harsh Responses and Harsh Outcomes of COVID

We’re still struggling with the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic — and what was done to get through it. To cite just one effect, one of my favorite restaurants, the Katella Grill in Anaheim, had a rough time through the total lockdown: tented dining, then trying to reopen indoors, finally closing a year ago after 30 years serving the county’s best liver and onions. I recently drove by there and in the entrance slept a homeless man.

On the global picture, we’re now getting some good national studies. They compare the states, which not only are federalist “crucibles of democracy,” but the crucibles of COVID response.

Let’s look at two areas, mortality and education.

On March 6 arrived “Associations between mortality from COVID-19 and other causes: A state-level analysis,” by Annaliese N. Luck, et al. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the high death toll from COVID-19 was accompanied by a rise in mortality from other causes of death,” it found. The study compared “spatial variation in these relationships across US states.”

The “other causes” is important because lockdowns increased other pathologies, such as an drug use and overdoses.

In the March 2019 to February 2020 year, immediately pre-COVID, California’s All-Cause mortality was 521.4 per 100,000. In the first COVID year, March 2020-February 2021, that rose to 659.3, an increase of 137.9. Which was a mortality increase of 26%. COVID deaths alone were 110.9, or 80% of the total increase.

As the pandemic dug in, on March 18, 2020, U.S. News ran a story, “10 States With the Most Aggressive Response to COVID-19.” Aggressive meaning heavier lockdowns, mask mandates and school closures. “Washington and northeastern states, which have implemented lockdowns and bans, score best in a new report evaluating states’ efforts to control the virus.” The top 10, in order: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, Vermont and District of Columbia.

The story also listed “the 10 states with the least aggressive responses to the virus.” In order: Wyoming, Mississippi, Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Missouri, Hawaii, Kansas, Tennessee and Indiana.

I combined the two data sets and found: For the 10 “most aggressive” COVID responses, all cause mortality increased 20%. For the 10 “least aggressive,” it was 19%. Lower, but not by much. Moreover, the “least aggressive” group was heavily influenced by Hawaii’s increase of just 2%.

The “most aggressive” states all were Democratic, while the “least aggressive” were Republican, except for Nevada (21%) and the exemplary Hawaii. “Most aggressive” also was made worse by the District of Columbia, an almost entirely Democratic demographic, with a 26% increase in deaths. This is the nation’s capital that tells the rest of us what to do.

On education, last October’s release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed sharp declines from 2019 to 2020 in all categories. For 4th-grade math, California students dropped 4 points from 2019 to 2020. That led Gov. Gavin Newsom to boast in a press release, “California Outperforms Most States in Minimizing Learning Loss in National Student Assessment, with Record Investments to Improve Education.” How’s that for spin?

The worst state was President Biden’s home of Delaware, dropping 14 points to 226.

Sticking with math for 4th graders, let’s look at how the states we used above have fared. The average of the 10 “most aggressive” states was -7.6 points. For the “least aggressive” states, it was -4.8. Definitely a correlation there. Keeping the kids out of school, especially as they were the least likely to die from the plague, was a big mistake.

There are caveats. The “most aggressive” category again was weighed down by D.C., with -12 points, second worst, and Biden’s current residence. And Hawaii, again exemplary, was one of the states with “no significant score change in 2022.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Twitter Files: The ‘Great Covid-19 Lie Machine’ Worked to Censor ‘True Stories’

In the latest Twitter Files report published on Friday, journalist and author Matt Taibbi revealed that Twitter partnered with the Virality Project, which warned the social media platform that “true stories that could fuel hesitancy,” complained that “anti-vaccine” accounts were retweeting the CDC, and ironically ran searches for the term “surveillance state” while looking for more information to censor.

“The release of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s spring 2020 emails via the Freedom of Information Act has been used to exacerbate distrust in Dr. Fauci,” the Virality Project lamented in June 2021.

The Virality Project is “a sweeping, cross-platform effort to monitor billons of social media posts by Stanford University, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs,” Taibbi noted.

Taibbi went on to say that Friday’s Twitter Files revealed “Reports of vaccinated individuals contracting Covid-19 anyway,” “natural immunity,” suggesting Covid-19 “leaked from a lab,” and even “worrisome jokes” were all characterized as “potential violations” or disinformation “events” by the Virality Project.

“We’ve since learned the Virality Project in 2021 worked with government to launch a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content,” Taibbi said. “At least six major Internet platforms were ‘onboarded’ to the same JIRA ticketing system, daily sending millions of items for review.”

The journalist added that the Virality Project had “knowingly targeted true material and legitimate political opinion, while often being factually wrong itself.”

“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success,” he said. “Government, academia, and an oligopoly of would-be corporate competitors organized quickly behind a secret, unified effort to control political messaging.”

The Virality Project had also “accelerated the evolution of digital censorship, moving it from judging truth/untruth to a new, scarier model, openly focused on political narrative at the expense of fact,” Taibbi said.

The Twitter Files also revealed that on February 5, 2021, right after President Joe Biden took office, Stanford wrote to Twitter to discuss the Virality Project. Shortly after that, Twitter agreed to receive weekly reports on “anti-vax disinformation.”

The Virality Project also warned Twitter that “true stories that could fuel hesitancy,” including stories such as “celebrity deaths after vaccine,” as well as the closure of a central New York school due to reports of post-vaccine illness.

The organization suggested that stories like these be considered “Standard Vaccine Misinformation on Your Platform.”

In one email to Twitter, the Virality Project mentioned what it called the “vaccine passport narrative,” saying “concerns” over such programs “have driven a larger anti-vaccination narrative about the loss of rights and freedoms.”

The organization also framed this as a misinformation “event.”

The Virality Project routinely framed real testimonials about vaccine side effects as misinformation — from “true stories” of blood clots from AstraZeneca vaccines, to a New York Times story about vaccine recipients who contracted the blood disorder thrombocytopenia, Taibbi said.

The Virality Project also warned against people “just asking questions,” suggesting it was a tactic “commonly used by spreaders of misinformation.”

Twitter employees eventually mimicked Virality Project language, describing “campaigns against vaccine passports,” “fear of mandatory immunizations,” and “misuse of official reporting tools” as “potential violations.”

“While this account posts legitimate and accurate COVID-19 updates — it posts content that attacks Italian politicians, the EU, and the United States,” the Global Engagement Center complained to Twitter in an email.

The Twitter Files also reveal an email in which the Virality Project implored Twitter to “hone in” on an “increasingly popular narrative about natural immunity.”

But the organization was “repeatedly, extravagantly wrong,” Taibbi said, noting one example in April 2021, when the Virality Project mistakenly described “breakthrough” infections as “extremely rare events” that should not be inferred to mean “vaccines are ineffective.”

Later, after the CDC changed its methodology for counting cases of the Chinese coronavirus among vaccinated people to only include those resulting in hospitalization or death, the Virality Project complained that “anti-vaccine” accounts were retweeting the information.

Click here to read the full article in BreitbartCA

California Won’t Require COVID Vaccine to Attend Schools

Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all of California’s 6.7 million public and private schoolchildren.

But since then, the crisis first caused by a mysterious virus in late 2019 has mostly receded from public consciousness. COVID-19 is still widespread, but the availability of multiple vaccines has lessened the viruses’ effects for many — offering relief to what had been an overwhelmed public health system.

Nearly all of the pandemic restrictions put in place by Newsom have been lifted, and he won’t be able to issue any new ones after Feb. 28 when the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration officially ends.

One of the last remaining questions was what would happen to the state’s vaccine mandate for schoolchildren, a policy that came from the California Department of Public Health and was not impacted by the lifting of the emergency declaration.

Friday, the Department of Public Health confirmed it was backing off its original plan.

“CDPH is not currently exploring emergency rulemaking to add COVID-19 to the list of required school vaccinations, but we continue to strongly recommend COVID-19 immunization for students and staff to keep everyone safer in the classroom,” the department said in a statement. “Any changes to required K-12 immunizations are properly addressed through the legislative process.”

The announcement was welcome news for Jonathan Zachreson, a father of three who lives in Roseville. Zachreson founded the group Reopen California Schools to oppose many of the state’s coronavirus policies. His activism led to him being elected to the Roseville City School District board in November.

“This is long overdue. … A lot of families have been stressed from this decision and worried about it for quite some time,” he said. “I wish CDPH would make a bigger statement publicly or Newsom would make a public statement … to let families know and school districts know that this is no longer going to be an issue for them.”

Representatives for Newsom did not respond to an email requesting comment.

California has had lots of influence over the country’s pandemic policies. It was the first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order — and other states were swift to follow.

But most states did not follow California’s lead when it came to the vaccine mandate for public schools. Officials in Louisiana announced a similar mandate, but later backed off. Schools in the District of Columbia plan to require the COVID-19 vaccine starting in the fall.

Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Kiley, a former member of the state Assembly who challenged Newsom in a failed recall attempt in 2021 over his pandemic policies, published a blog post declaring: “We won. To Gavin Newsom: You lost.”

Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist representing most of the state’s school districts, said he did not think the policy change was the result of political pressure by Republicans, but instead a reflection of the virus’s slowing transmission rates.

Click here to read the full article in the AP News

Ceaseless CA Dept. of Public Health Commercials Push Covid Boosters, Testing, Masking Up

The federal government has spent more than $30 billion on COVID-19 vaccines

UPDATED BELOW: The California Department of Public Health is running ceaseless commercials on radio repeatedly telling listeners, “Boost your immune system with the Covid booster and flu shot… wash your hands… and cover your mouth when you cough… take a Covid test… call your doctor if you feel sick… mask up indoors…”

It’s as if that family busybody Great Aunt Agatha is directing the public health agency. “Wash your hands. Cover your mouth. Say ‘thank you.’”

This is particularly rich given that public health officials keep pushing Covid vaccines, even after the CDC acknowledged that healthy children have a 99.998% recovery rate from COVID-19 with no treatment. Honest physicians across the country asked what the rationale was/is for vaccinating this demographic? Many of these doctors were cancelled on social media, and some were even fired from their jobs for stating the obvious and questioning the aggressive protocols.

The Covid-hysterical Oakland City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to bring back mandatory masking at all indoor public facilities in order to fight rising cases of COVID, flu, and RSV, the Globe reported. The mandate will require masks for all those ages 6 and up going into indoor government buildings, which include libraries and courthouses.

Lockdowns, masks, business and school closures had no significant effect on the spread of Covid, study after study found. Instead the damage done by lockdowns and masking, particularly to children, many medical experts say is worse than the virus.

How and why do public health officials and public health doctors continue to push masks, isolation and pharmaceuticals instead of vitamins and minerals to “boost your immune system?”

And why would doctors recommend vaccinations against a disease that there is treatment for?

It is well known that our immune systems can be weakened by hundreds of different
immunodeficiency disorders, poor diet, lack of sleep, and adverse reactions to various vaccines.

Less than 30% of the U.S. population even take an annual flu shot. So why would these same people rush out to take a Covid mRNA shot or booster?

The common sense advice that has been suppressed is the immune system booster combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Zinc and Quercitin, which helps fight off Covid.

If you research these supplements you’ll find that vitamin C is anti-viral and anti-bacterial and if taken in multiple dosages daily when ill can really help the body out. During Covid, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, Dr. Harvey Risch, and Dr. George Fareed reported that Zinc is vital for immune system function. They discovered and implemented early treatment with zinc, low dose hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin, the treatment for Covid-19 responsible for saving millions of lives worldwide.

Dr. Zelenko discovered that the natural supplement Quercetin could serve the same function as did Hydroxychloroquine in assisting zinc to attack the still developing virus inside the cell.

“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are impaired smell and taste, fever, cough, sore throat, general weakness, pain as aching limbs, runny nose, and in some cases diarrhea,” Dr. Zelenko said. “In the subsequent chapters, we will associate most of those symptoms with altered zinc homeostasis and explain how zinc might prevent or attenuate those symptoms, as summarized in Figure 1, and thus should be regarded as promising cost-effective, globally available therapeutic approach for COVID-19 patients, for which minimal to no side effects are known.”

The study found Zinc protects the human body from entering of the virus.

View the full study here at the National Center for Biotechnology Information and National Institute of Health.

All of that healthy talk aside, why is the government pushing the mRNA boosters so hard? Why all of the advertising and spending for the pharmaceuticals, rather than affordable and readily available vitamins and minerals?

Kaiser Family Foundation news explains:

The federal government (taxpayers) has spent more than $30 billion1 on COVID-19 vaccines, including the new bivalent boosters, incentivizing their development, guaranteeing a market, and ensuring that these vaccines would be provided free of charge to the U.S. population. However, the Biden Administration has announced that it no longer has funding, absent further Congressional action, to make further purchases and has begun to prepare for the transition of COVID-19 vaccines to the commercial market. This means that manufacturers will be negotiating prices directly with insurers and purchasers, not just the federal government, and prices are expected to rise.

The federal government has so far purchased 1.2 billion doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines combined, at a cost of $25.3 billion, or a weighted average purchase price of $20.69 per dose. (emphasis kkf.org)

Even under much lower vaccine uptake scenarios (e.g., 50% of adults getting a booster), the total cost to purchase COVID vaccines at the commercial price would still exceed the cost of purchasing enough vaccines for everyone at the federal bivalent booster price.

The government is concerned about the glut of Covid vaccines.

A scientist friend sent the Globe a link to a medical group website with information from several physicians about the COVID vaccines – physicians who had the temerity to question the government protocols.

Notably, the doctors say, “We don’t typically vaccinate against a disease that we have treatment for.”

What these doctors say about the COVID vaccines and boosters has been suppressed and is what has gotten doctors fired, cancelled and under the threat of losing their medical licenses:

The current “vaccine” for COVID is new technology never used on humans before and it is called “Antibody Dependent Enhancement” or ADE. It is a piece of genetic material, messenger RNA (mRNA) being injected. How do mRNA technologies work?

The doctors said the “vaccine” is not a vaccine. “A vaccine uses a weakened or attenuated version of a virus that is administered to drive an immune response in the host. The mRNA injection offers no viral components, it in fact is a genetic signal that triggers your cells to make what is called a “spike” protein.”

“This genetic material, the mRNA enters every cell of your body and does not leave. It is driving your cells to make proteins, the full range of which we are not sure. There are too many unknowns because we have never used this type of immunologic technology on human beings before.”

“This mRNA technology does nothing to reduce transmission of the virus.”

The doctors also recommend Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, Colchicine, Zithromax, and others.

As for the safety, the doctors said “this technology has been tried on animals but in all animal studies done the animals all died, not immediately from the vaccine (mRNA injection) but from other immune challenges that followed, months later.”

“There has never been a successful long term animal study using this technology. The animals all died from either sepsis or cardiac failure.”

Who determines what is “misinformation” and what isn’t? Politicians? Government doctors invested in experimental vaccines? A Facebook or Twitter employee?

Never before has federal or state government pushed the population so hard to take a medication as we are experiencing right now, while at the same time suppressing alternative therapies and remedies. It’s frightening and disheartening. But the information is available for anyone who takes the time to search.

Health reporter Alex Berenson just reported:

“People who have received mRNA Covid vaccines are at least twice as likely to be infected with the coronavirus as unvaccinated people, according to two new papers from researchers in Indiana and Ohio.

Worse, the newer of the two studies, which covered Omicron this fall, found risk actually rises with the number of shots.

“The public has already largely rejected the bivalents. The Biden Administration spent $5 billion on 171 million bivalent doses this summer. But despite aggressive government marketing and media pressure, about 80 percent of eligible American adults have not taken the new mRNA shots.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Why Is The State Giving Your Health Data to Political Consultants?

In May 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a “Vax for the Win” sweepstakes that would give away $116.5 million, with big cash prizes awarded in random drawings to dozens of lucky winners. Everyone who received a COVID vaccine was automatically entered.

“We have your information in our system,” Newsom said. The Mercury News reported that he was “referring to the millions of vaccination records in the California Public Department of Health’s confidential, digital Immunization Information System.”

The state “maintains a confidential registry of all vaccine recipients,” CalMatters reported, noting the governor’s assurance that the names of the winners would be kept confidential unless the individuals volunteered to have their information released.

But the confidentiality of the information in the state’s vaccine registry has a big loophole in it through which the confidential data is flowing to a political consulting firm called Street Level Strategy, LLC.

“I’m being stalked by the state of California,” one Los Angeles resident told me recently. “I just got a call from a guy who told me he has my file and he sees I got the Pfizer vaccine, but not a booster.” The caller identified himself as being with “Street Level Campaigns” and said they had a contract with “public health” to help people make appointments to get boosters.

Here’s how Street Level Campaigns describes itself on its website: “Street Level Campaigns, LLC (SLC) is a grassroots consulting firm specializing in community organizing, voter contact, and coalition building. Our clients include candidates, ballot measures, issue campaigns, non-profit organizations, and trade associations. SLC is an affiliate of our sister organization Street Level Strategy, LLC a national public affairs consulting firm.”

That description appears on a page listing a job opening for “Directors to lead teams of Community Organizers for political and public affairs campaigns.”

Responding to questions about the contract, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said this in an email: “MyTurn, the state’s vaccine appointment program launched by CDPH, shares a list of booster eligible California residents with Street Level Strategy, LLC that includes names, age, gender, ethnicity, contact information and vaccination history in order to prioritize equity, with a focus on reaching communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, the person who contacted me about the phone call from Street Level Campaigns did not make an appointment through MyTurn, choosing instead to go to a walk-up vaccination site. The next day, the person received a text from the California Department of Public Health. “Hi, congratulations on getting your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” it began, and then listed the type of vaccine, the lot number and the date and time it was received.

MyTurn, in other words, collected data from people who did not visit the MyTurn site and voluntarily provide it. Instead, the staff operating the walk-up vaccination site reported the data to the state. And now the state “shares” that data with Street Level Strategy, LLC.

In its emailed responses to questions, CDPH said the contract “includes terms and conditions that outline information privacy and security requirements,” and “provisions which limit the use and retention of individual’s confidential information,” and “specific information security controls Street Level Strategy must have in place to maintain and protect the security of the data.”

Let’s hope that’s enough, because the state of California has given this political consulting shop $12.7 million in contracts and access to a confidential digital registry of every California resident who has received a COVID vaccine. The contract was awarded without competitive bidding under the authority of the governor’s emergency declaration of March 4, 2020, even though work under this contract did not begin until July 16, 2021.

Who is Street Level Strategy, LLC?

The president and founder of Street Level Strategy is Pat Dennis. His profile on the company website says that before he founded the firm, he “directed grassroots operations for labor and independent expenditure committees in over 50 congressional races throughout the country and worked as an organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).”

Others on the team have resumés that include organizing and advocacy work for progressive groups and labor unions. The company markets the service of “building authentic, engaged, and active grassroots coalitions of everyday people” to “shape policy outcomes at the local, state and national levels.”

CDPH said the contract’s “Exhibit F,” titled the “HIPAA Business Associate Addendum,” contains “multiple provisions that limit and restrict retention or use of data provided to Street Level Strategy.” But shouldn’t this contract have gone to a company in the health care industry, one with experience handling confidential medical data?

In a June 2021 story headlined, “California Vaccination Records Raise Data Privacy Concerns,” the Mercury News reported that some experts had “fresh privacy concerns about Californians’ health data” as the state surpassed 50 million vaccine doses delivered.

Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, noted that the California Information Practices Act and HIPAA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, impose confidentiality obligations on health care providers and on state agencies, such as the California Department of Public Health, but he worried about the data security of local health agencies, where he said those laws don’t apply.

ecca Cramer-Mowder agreed with Dixon that the federal waivers might make it easier for patient information to seep into the hands of data brokers.

“Other legal experts, however, are less concerned,” the Mercury News reported, citing Stanford Law School professor Michelle Mello, who said California “will have no direct involvement in furnishing companies with medical data.”

Click here to read the full article at OC Register

L.A. Urges Return to Mask-Wearing Amid Winter Covid Spike

Los Angeles is urging that residents wear masks again in all indoor public settings amid a Covid-19 spike that’s expected to intensify in the winter months.

The county announced Thursday that it is once again “strongly recommending” people resume masking, although it is not requiring it in most indoor venues. However, masks are still mandated at health care and congregate-care facilities, for those infected in the last ten days, and in establishments that have imposed their own restrictions, county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said according to ABC7 News.

Los Angeles and many other progressive cities finally lifted their masks mandates a few months ago amid a decrease in Covid-19 contraction nationwide. Children enrolled in public pre-school and daycare in New York City, who were not vulnerable to the disease and not likely to spread it, were among the last groups to be freed of masks.

Last January, Los Angeles forced students to wear high-grade, non-cloth masks indoors and outdoors in K-12 public schools and be tested as a condition of returning to class.

On Thursday, the local seven-day average of daily new Covid-19 infections in Los Angeles increased to 100 per 100,000 citizens, up from 86 per 100,000 a week ago. The rate the previous week was 65 per 100,000 citizens, the outlet noted.

“Now it is strongly recommended that all individuals wear a high-quality mask that fits well in the following settings: in public indoor spaces; when using public transit, including buses, ride-shares, taxis and medical transport; correctional and detention facilities; and homeless and emergency shelters,” Davis said.

Davis warned that the number of reported cases is probably an undercount as many people test for the virus at home and don’t report a positive diagnosis to health officials. The number of Covid-positive patients being hospitalized is also growing in the county but reportedly only about 40 percent of them have been admitted because of Covid-related complications.

The county health officer told residents to be careful ahead of the holidays and when attending large gatherings.

While there is some evidence to suggest that wearing a well-fitting N95 mask might help curb transmission around the margins, research showsthat cheap cotton surgical masks, the kind the most commonly worn throughout the pandemic, are ineffective at preventing transmission.

Click here to read the full article at the National Review

CDC’s Move Paves Way for California to Require School COVID Vaccines — But Lawmakers Have Given Up for Now

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination advisors voted last week to recommend all children get the COVID-19 vaccine, a move that does not change California’s list of vaccines required for children to attend school. 

The addition of the COVID-19 vaccine to the CDC’s recommended vaccines for kids is not a mandate for states’ school attendance requirements. Any additions to California’s list must be made by the state Legislature or the state Department of Public Health. In the last 12 months, the Newsom administration and the Legislature separately tried to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for kids to attend school, and both failed.

People involved in those efforts said they do not expect the Legislature to consider a mandate for children again next year, barring a big spike in hospitalizations or deaths.

“Our goal should be getting the immunization rate up,” said Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician Sacramento Democrat, whose bill last session would have mandated the vaccine for children to attend school, with only a medical exemption. “We have work to do on outreach, making sure people have access and educating people about the vaccine.” 

Since the federal government approved vaccines for children on an emergency use basis, children have received the COVID-19 vaccine at much lower rates than adults. So far, 67% of 12-to-17-year-olds have received the first series of the vaccine, 38% of children 5 to 11 have received the first series and of those under 5 years of age, 5% have received the shots, according to state data.

The state Department of Public Health refused to say whether it plans to add the vaccine to the required list. Instead the agency referred to its previous statement from April in an email: “…upon full approval by the FDA, CDPH will consider the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians prior to considering a school vaccine requirement.”

The role of the Centers for Disease Control

It suggests that children ages 6 months and older receive a vaccination for COVID-19 with shots approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or approved for emergency use.

“It’s a step in the right direction for protecting the public’s health but I understand there is a lot of anxiety about vaccines in general and the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Alice Kuo, professor and chief of the Pediatrics/Preventative Medicine Division at UCLA. “It’s one step at a time.”

Dr. Naomi Bardach, a professor of pediatrics at the UCSF School of Medicine, said the CDC recommendation is a sign that COVID-19 is here to stay. She said the addition of the vaccine to the childhood schedule also normalizes the vaccine because pediatricians’ offices that already use the CDC’s list as guidance will fold the COVID-19 vaccine into patient care.

Under state law, children must receive a series of shots for 10 diseases to attend child care centers, family child care homes, preschool and kindergarten through 12th grade. If children are not vaccinated or are behind based on the state’s schedule, they can be barred from school until they receive their shots. 

Infants are given their first vaccine before they are an hour old and the shots continue through adolescence. Most of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control are required by California to attend school. They are: diphtheria, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenza type b, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, rubella, tetanus and varicella (chicken pox).

Prior to 2016 parents were able to opt out of vaccines for their children through a personal belief exemption. Sen. Pan authored the controversial law that eliminated the personal belief exemption for vaccines on the state’s list and left only medical exemptions that must be signed off by a physician. At that time, about 3% of new kindergartners entered school with a personal belief exemption for some or all vaccines. 

The law applied only to the vaccines already on the list for children. Any new vaccines added to the list in the future by the state Department of Public Health would offer personal belief and medical exemption options. If the Legislature votes to add a vaccine to the list legislators would choose which exemptions to offer. 

Vaccine rates for these childhood diseases have slipped during the pandemic. In August, the Department of Public Health said 1 in 8 children were not up to date on their vaccinations, due to skipping routine doctor visits during the last couple of years.

Failed efforts

In October 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom said his administration would require the COVID-19 vaccine for school attendance for students 12 and older as soon as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved the vaccines for children. At the time, the mandate was to go into effect in July of 2022. Since the Department of Public Health would have implemented the plan, the requirement would have allowed parents to opt out of the vaccine for their children through personal belief or medical exemptions. 

In January 2022, Pan authored a COVID-19 vaccine bill to go further, eliminating the option for a personal belief exemption.

In April, lacking the votes needed to pass the bill, Pan pulled it and said the vaccine needed to be more accessible to families and vaccination rates needed to be higher before a mandate could be successful. The same day, the Department of Public Health postponed to July 2023 its plan to require students get the COVID-19 vaccine.  

On Monday, Pan said he does not expect the Legislature to respond any differently than it did last year to the idea of a mandate. Pan won’t be leading the effort if there is one, as he is termed out in November.

Pan said if the state considers adding the vaccine to the list it has to take into account all the recent developments about the vaccine and boosters, like how many times it’s going to be needed. If it is required multiple times like the flu vaccine, which is not required for school attendance, it could be a burden for schools to track. Pan said the Legislature has focused on vaccines that children receive as a series and then don’t have to take again, like measles and chickenpox. 

“It will depend on how it develops and what the overall burden is,” Pan said. 

Last year, Pan founded a legislative Vaccine Working Group that proposed numerous bills regarding COVID-19 and vaccines. Most of them failed, including proposed mandates for all employees and children to be vaccinated to work or attend school as well as a bill to allow teenagers to get the vaccine without parental consent.

Learn more about legislators mentioned in this story

“It was a rough year for vaccine legislation in the Legislature,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, who authored the teen vaccination bill and is a member of the working group. “I don’t know if that dynamic will change before next year but it is something to consider because it should be part of the regular schedule for schoolchildren.” 

Another member of the Vaccine Working Group, San Diego Democratic Assemblymember Akilah Weber, said she is not considering legislation that would mandate the vaccine.

“At this time, I’m not involved in any legislation that would mandate vaccinations, but I’m actively involved in education and outreach to encourage and provide community access for more parents to have their children vaccinated,” Weber said in an email.

In the past, proposed vaccine-related legislation has attracted protesters to the capitol en masse. They have disrupted hearings, yelled at legislators and even assaulted them. During one memorable protest, what looked like a menstrual cup full of blood was tossed over the gallery railing onto the Senate floor below.

If the administration, or the Legislature, pursues a vaccine requirement again critics are already planning to push back. They argue that this should be a family decision and that it raises questions about the number of breakthrough cases — when a vaccinated person tests positive for the coronavirus — efficacy and safety for children.    

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters   

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