COVID-19 IN CALIFORNIA
Early data from Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit are showing that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting people of color, especially Black populations. Some California county health officials are looking to collect more data on race to analyze who is being hardest hit by the virus.
CalMatters looks at the challenges faced by another vulnerable population: people with disabilities and the families and caretakers who care for them.
Capitol and Main launched a new podcast, “Pandemic Nation,” that “will share the stories of everyone from nurses to home health care workers to janitors and supermarket clerks, and will also include a roundup of late-breaking news about COVID-19 and its effects on society’s most vulnerable populations.” You can also listen to CDT co-founder Steve Phillip’s latest Democracy in Color podcast, “One Virus, Two Americas,” on how the responses to the virus have differed along partisan lines and what it means for the November election.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on water utility shutoffs for nonpayment via an executive order. It also orders water utilities to be restored to residents whose service has been cut off since May 4, when Newsom declared a state of emergency.
Fifty-three people who work in California prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. A panel of federal judges have denied a bid for a mass release of California prisoners, but left open a process for lawyers to pursue with the state. Alameda cut its jail population in response to COVID-19, but the Judicial Council of California approved emergency measures that temporarily suspend the right to a “speedy and public trial,” which could leave people in jails for much longer. The state Judicial Council voted to eliminate bail for defendants charged with misdemeanors and most nonviolent felonies and allow remote pretrial proceedings, effective for 90 days after the declaration of the state of emergency.
The state has secured 7,000 hotel beds to house homeless vulnerable to COVID-19. Homeless advocates are pushing for greater urgency to protect the over 150,000 Californians who are homeless and are arguably all vulnerable, due to that fact.
Per the LA Times, small business groups are advocating for Governor Newsom to delay the scheduled minimum wage increase (up to $14/hour in January for most businesses) because of the impacts of COVID-19. Labor groups are preparing to fight for the increase since low-income workers are being most impacted by the crisis.
The California legislature pushed the date of in-person reconvening by three weeks from April 13 to May 4.
The Sacramento Bee looks into how candidates are campaigning in the midst of COVID-19, focusing especially on some key congressional races in the Central Valley. “Underdog candidates like [CD22 Democratic candidate Phil] Arballo have been trying to get in front of voters by volunteering in their communities, staying in touch with supporters by phone and hosting online fundraisers to keep their campaigns moving forward.”
Supporters of the Schools and Communities First ballot initiative submitted 1.7 million signatures of support to qualify the measure for the November ballot. That’s nearly twice the number needed to qualify, and the most signatures ever submitted in the state for a ballot initiative. The $12 billion that will be restored to local government and schools annually will be more critical than ever, especially in rebuilding infrastructure to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The most recent poll showed that 58% of likely California voters support the initiative.