- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a quarantine order for UCLA and Cal State LA on Thursday.
- The quarantine is for those who have been exposed to confirmed cases of measles and cannot provide proof of their immunizations.
- The quarantine can last up to 21 days until there is no longer a risk of spreading the disease.
Quarantines at Los Angeles County Universities
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a quarantine order on Thursday for anyone at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) or California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA) that has been exposed to measles.
“In this situation, for those exposed to a confirmed case of measles who could not provide evidence of two doses of measles immunizations or lab verified immunity to measles, a Health Office Order for quarantine is being issued,” according to a press release from the Department of Public Health.
The order explains that those who have been exposed to measles should remain in their homes, notify Public Health of their symptoms, and avoid all contact with others. The quarantine can last up to 21 days from the date of exposure. After that time, individuals who have been exposed to measles are no longer at risk of contracting or spreading the disease.
The LA County Department of Public Health also reiterated in its statement how contagious the illness is, noting that a sneeze or cough can remain in the air, spreading the virus for up to two hours. It also stated that approximately 90 percent of people exposed to the disease develop measles within seven to 21 days of the exposure.
The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 900 students and staff members at Cal State LA and UCLA were quarantine this week and told to stay home. However, as of Friday, that number had dropped to about 700 as people proved they had received the vaccine. All of these quarantines stem from the five confirmed cases in L.A. County this year, which include a UCLA student and a Cal State L.A. student, according to the Times.
UCLA and Cal State LA Responses
UCLA said in a statement about the outbreak that eight faculty members and 119 students were quarantined by the Department of Public Health. On Thursday, 45 of those patients were released once UCLA was able to prove their immunity to the disease. On Friday morning, school officials announced that only one student remains in quarantine.
The University said that most people are expected to remain quarantined for only 24 to 48 hours until they can prove they have been immunized, though a few may have to remain in quarantine for seven days.
However, Cal State LA said in a statement that they intend to follow the Department of Public Health protocol, and enforce the 21-day quarantine.
“When Public Health identifies a person who has been exposed to measles and does not have written verification of two vaccination doses,” Cal State LA wrote in their statement. “They will be subjected to quarantine of up to 21 days from the date of exposure. This will be enforced by a Health Officer Order.”
On Friday, Cal State LA reported 550 students and 106 staff members were still under quarantine. A campus spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that out of the 1,000 students living on campus, none were under quarantine.
According to the Center for Disease Control, measles was eliminated from the United States back in 2000. California, with its high tourist rates, was still at risk since the virus is mostly spread through travel. The CDC says measles is a common disease throughout the world and advises against traveling internationally without the vaccine.
The California Department of Public Health and all the University of California schools began to create new policies in an attempt to combat the spread of preventable diseases. These efforts included requiring incoming students to receive vaccinations for certain communicable diseases including measles.
The statement from the Department of Public Health also encouraged unvaccinated individuals to get immunized. The statement noted that the measles vaccine MMR is 97 percent effective and encourages everyone to receive their immunizations.
For more information about the measles vaccine, please visit: https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/measles
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CNN) (Los Angeles Times)
Florida Breaks Its Record for New Daily COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations
The Sunshine State now accounts for 20% of all new COVID-19 cases nationwide.
Florida Becomes COVID Epicenter
Florida reported 10,207 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, marking its largest single-day count to date. The grim record comes just one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing that the state had counted 21,683 new infections Friday, its highest record of daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
Florida has become the new epicenter of the most recent U.S. outbreaks driven by the delta variant. The state now accounts for one out of every five new cases, and the weekend numbers are highly significant because they surpass previous records that were logged before vaccines were readily available.
Notably, Florida’s vaccination rate is actually the exact same as the nationwide average of 49% fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times tracker. In fact, Florida’s rate is the highest among the top 10 states currently reporting the most COVID cases.
While Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has encouraged Florida residents to get vaccinated, he and the state’s legislature have also made it much harder for local officials to enforce protections to mitigate further spread.
DeSantis Bars Masking in Schools
On the same day that the state reported its highest cases ever, DeSantis signed an executive order banning school districts from requiring students to wear a mask when they go back to school later this month.
The move directly contradicts guidance issued by the CDC last week, which recommended that everyone inside K-12 schools wear a face covering.
DeSantis, for his part, has repeatedly claimed the spikes are part of “seasonal” increases driven by more people being indoors and air-conditioning systems circulating the virus. Still, he argued also Friday that he did not think masks were necessary to prevent children from transmitting COVID in the classroom, where they are inside with air conditioning.
At the same time, last week, Florida reported more than 21,000 infections among children younger than 19.
Florida is not the only state that has banned schools from requiring masks. In fact, many of the states suffering the biggest spikes have done the same, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas — which all currently rank among the top 10 states with the highest per capita COVID cases.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NPR) (Axios)
Biden to Mandate COVID Vaccines for Federal Workers as CDC Changes Masking Guidance
News of the efforts came on the same day that the U.S. reported more than 100,000 new daily COVID cases for the first time since February.
Federal Vaccine Mandate
President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that all federal employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or consent to strict testing and other safety precautions, White House officials told reporters Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Biden said he was considering the requirement but did not provide any more information.
While the officials also said the details are still being hashed out, they did note that the policy would be similar to ones recently put in place by California and New York City, which respectively required state and city workers to get the jab or submit to regular testing.
Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines to recommend that Americans who live in areas “of substantial or high transmission,” as well as all students and teachers, wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
Delta Causes Spikes, But Vaccines Still Prove Effective
The renewed COVID mitigation efforts come as the delta variant is driving massive surges all over the country.
Coronavirus cases have quadrupled throughout July, jumping from a weekly average of 11,799 on the first day of the month to 63,248 on Tuesday, according to The New York Times tracker. Tuesday also saw new daily infections topping 100,000 for the first time since February, with more than 108,000 reported, per The Times.
While the vast majority of new infections are among people who have not been vaccinated, there have also been increasing reports of breakthrough cases in people who have received the jab.
Those cases, however, do not mean that the vaccines are not effective.
No vaccine prevents 100% of infections. Health officials have said time and time again that the jabs are intended to prevent severe disease and death, and they are doing just that.
According to the most recent data for July 19, the CDC reported that only 5,914 of the more than 161 million Americans who have gotten the vaccine were hospitalized or died from COVID-19 — a figure that represents 0.0036% of vaccinated people.
While safety precautions may be recommended for some people who have received the vaccine, many media narratives have overstated the role breakthrough cases play in the recent spikes. As New York Magazine explains, it is imperative to understand these new mask recommendations are not happening because the vaccine is not effective, but because not enough people are getting the vaccine.
“Because breakthrough infections have so often made the news due to their novelty, that can create a perception of more cases than are actually happening — particularly without more robust tracking of the actual cases to provide context,” the outlet wrote.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNBC)
Wisconsin Police Deny Planting Evidence in Viral Video, Release Their Own Body Cam Footage
The footage police released shows that during a search, officers found a corner tear from a plastic bag inside a backseat passenger’s pocket. An officer then discarded it into the car after determining that it was empty.
Viral Video Appears To Show Officer Planting Evidence
The Caledonia Police Department in Wisconsin has responded to a viral cell phone video that appears to show an officer planting a small plastic baggie inside of a car during a traffic stop.
The now-viral footage was posted to Facebook by a man who goes by GlockBoy Savoo.
The user, who also filmed the clip, wrote in his post’s caption that the officer did this “just to get a reason to search the car” and said the cop didn’t know he was being recorded by the passenger.
Police Shut Down Accusations With Their Own Footage
After that video spread across social media, many were outraged, calling the Caledonia police dirty for seemingly planting evidence. All the outrage eventually prompted the department to announce an investigation Saturday.
Within hours, the department provided an update, claiming that officers didn’t actually plant any evidence or do anything illegal.
Police shared a lengthy summary of events, along with two body camera clips from the incident. That statement explained that the driver of the vehicle was pulled over for going 63 in a 45mph zone.
Two passengers in the backseat who were then spotted without seatbelts were asked to identify themselves and step out of the car. During a search of one passenger’s pockets, an officer pulled out “an empty corner tear” from a plastic baggie.
Police claim the corner tear did not contain any illegal substances, though they said this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs.
In one body cam clip, an officer can be heard briefly questioning the backseat passenger about the baggie. Then, that piece of plastic gets handed off to different officers who also determined it as empty before the officer in the original viral video discarded it into the back of the car.
The officer can also be seen explaining where the plastic came from to the passenger recording him.
“Aye, bro you just threw that in here!” the front seat passenger says, as heard in his version of the events.
“Yeah, cause it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold onto it. It’s on their body cam that they took it off of him…I’m telling you where it came from, so. It’s an empty baggie at the moment too, so,” the officer replies.
The department went on to explain that while it would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s car, this footage proves that evidence was not planted.
Authorities also noted that no arrests were made in this incident and the driver was the only one issued a citation for speeding. The statement added that since four officers were present at the scene, police have more than six hours of footage to review but they promised to release the footage in full in the near future.