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California COVID-19 Numbers Dip, But Still Highest in Nation

By Manny Otiko, IVN Staff Writer

Californians got some good news on Monday when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s coronavirus numbers had declined.

Newsom reported that the state recorded more than 7,000 COVID-19 infections on Friday. That’s a significant drop from more than 11,000 infections reported last Wednesday.

However, that number should be taken with a grain of salt. California still leads the nation with 670,000 infections and 12,200 deaths. And the United States still leads the world with about one-quarter of recorded coronavirus infections (almost 6 million.) Despite that fact, a YouGov/CBS poll showed 73 percent of Republicans thought the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic “was going well.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) the nation was also beginning to see COVID-19 numbers drop.

“Weekly hospitalization rates and mortality attributed to COVID-19 declined during week 33 but may change as more data for admissions and deaths occurring during recent weeks are received,” according to the CDC website. “Nationally, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 decreased from 6.9 percent during week 32 to 6.3 percent during week 33 and decreased or remained the same in nine of ten HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) regions.”

It seems that more awareness about the disease, and ways to prevent it, are working to slow the numbers. Hand washing, social distancing, people staying home, and wearing masks are slowly bring the numbers down.

The California Department of Health also backed some of these points on its website.

“Every person has a role to play. Protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense,” said the agency.

However, according to the California Department of Health, COVID-19 is still affecting People of Color worse than white people.

“We are seeing the following trends: Latinos, African Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are dying at disproportionately higher levels. More males are dying from COVID-19 than females, in line with national trends,” said the Department of Health.

However, while many Americans are beginning to use preventative factors to slow the disease, there’s a stubborn contingent, who refuse to follow the guidelines. There have been several videos posted on social media showing Californians refusing to wear masks and being violently ejected from stores. One woman was dragged out of a store for refusing to wear a mask. In a video on Twitter, Laguna Niguel resident Lenka Koloma tried to claim she was with the Freedom to Breathe Agency (FTBA) and constitutionally exempt from wearing masks.

“We are with FTBA, the Freedom to Breathe Agency, making sure that people’s constitutional rights, civil and federal laws, are not broken,” said Koloma.

However, Matthew G.T. Martin, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina debunked Koloma’s claim.

“Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” said Martin in a news release. “These cards do not carry the force of law. The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.”

In a Twitter post, Newsom encouraged Californians to continue to follow the statewide mask guidelines.

“We’re seeing too many people with faces uncovered. Wearing a face covering is critical for keeping people safe and healthy, keeping businesses open and getting people back to work,” said Newsom. “Do your part. Wear your mask.”

But “anti-maskers” are also a nationwide problem. A recent biker rally attracted thousands of people to Sturgis, S.D. Many of them were proud, “anti-maskers.” A week after the rally, several attendees have reported infections.

“Health departments in four states, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wyoming, have reported a total of 81 cases among people who attended the rally. South Dakota health officials said Monday they had received reports of infections from residents of two other states: North Dakota and Washington,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem refused to cancel the event, mainly because it brings about $800 million in tourist spending.

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