California this week became the latest state to step up its response to monkeypox, with Gov. Gavin Newsom declaring a state of emergency on Monday because of the growing outbreak.
There have been roughly 800 cases so far in California, with the most per capita in San Francisco, which declared its own state of emergency last week. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County, which has had more than half of California’s monkeypox cases, also issued an emergency proclamation, and officials announced that a child in Long Beach had contracted the virus.
If you’re feeling worried about another pandemic, it’s important to remember that monkeypox is unlikely to become the next Covid-19, as my colleague Knvul Sheikh explains. Monkeypox is rarely fatal and not as contagious as Covid, and we’ve had tests and vaccines for the virus for years.
But vaccine supply is limited, and the shots aren’t widely available to the public. For the most part, they’re being given to people who know they’ve been exposed to the virus, as the vaccine can help prevent an infection from developing even after exposure.
California has received 61,000 vaccine doses from the federal government so far and has distributed 25,000, according to Newsom’s office. But state officials estimate that they need at least 600,000 additional doses.
That’s a conservative estimate that would cover men who have sex with men — who account for about 99 percent of cases — and people who engage in other behaviors that put them at high risk of contracting the virus, according to a letter that California officials sent last month to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director.
“It is critical for us to work together and across government — federal, state and local — to mitigate the spread and protect those disproportionally impacted by the virus,” wrote Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California Health and Human Services Agency secretary, and Dr. Tomás Aragón, the state public health officer. “Unlike the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic when we did not have a vaccine to mitigate the spread, in the case of monkeypox we do have an approved vaccine.”
Newsom’s announcement on Monday will help streamline and coordinate the monkeypox response among different levels of government, according to his office. It also gives emergency medical services workers permission to administer monkeypox vaccines.
“We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the L.G.B.T.Q. community fighting stigmatization,” Newsom said in a statement.
If you think you’ve been exposed to monkeypox, you should contact your health care provider or local health department for testing and possible vaccination. The C.D.C. recommends that people get vaccinated within four days of the date of exposure for the best chance of preventing monkeypox.
For everyone else, the C.D.C. recommends some common sense steps to avoid catching the virus: Wash your hands often and avoid close contact with people with monkeypox, and with people with a rash that looks like monkeypox.
The rest of the news
Vin Scully: A gifted storyteller and master of the graceful phrase, Scully, the voice of the Dodgers for 67 years, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 94.
Mayor Eric Garcetti called his passing “the end of a chapter of our city’s history.” Gov. Gavin Newsom, who played baseball in college, called his voice “the soundtrack for generations of baseball fans.”
At the end of his final play-by-play for the Dodgers in 2016, the broadcaster was grateful. “That was awfully nice. The umpire just stood up and said goodbye, as I am saying goodbye,” he said. “I have said enough for a lifetime, and for the last time, I wish you all a very pleasant good afternoon.”
Los Angeles mayor’s race: President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris endorsed Representative Karen Bass in her bid for mayor, The Los Angeles Times reports.
San Diego State University: The university began its own investigation into the suspected rape of a 17-year-old girl by football players during a Halloween party last fall, KPBS reports.
Covid regulations: Los Angeles schools have dropped required Covid testing for schools and masking will stay optional, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Homelessness: Los Angeles is cracking down on homeless encampments outside public schools, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Farmworkers march: The United Farm Workers union is starting a 24-day march through California’s Central Valley this week, The Fresno Bee reports.
McKinney fire: The death toll from the fire near the Oregon border is now at four people after the authorities found two more bodies.
Conviction overturned: An appellate court has reversed the murder convictions of the three Northern California deputies convicted in the 2015 jail beating death of a mentally ill inmate, The Associated Press reports.
Injection sites: A bill that would establish city-run supervised drug consumption sites in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles is on Newsom’s desk, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Vin Scully wasn’t just a Dodgers icon but also a California legend. Tell us: What is your favorite Vin Scully memory?
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from David Hayashida, who lives in Greenbrae:
“One of my favorite places in Northern California is Strawberry Canyon, just behind the University of California, Berkeley campus. There is a large maze of fire roads along the canyon hillsides which are perfect for hiking. It’s mostly shaded, quiet, peaceful and uncrowded. Plus there are spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, including the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.
After hiking, it’s fun to stop by the Campanile on the U.C. Berkeley campus to catch a glimpse of the current adult resident Peregrine ‘Cal Falcons,’ Annie and Alden. During the early summer, you may also see falcon fledglings playing in the air and honing their flying skills. Bring binoculars!”
And before you go, some good news
In 1929, a 19-year-old named Maxine Dunlap climbed into a small plane and performed a series of stunts, including multiple barrel rolls, entirely by herself. It earned her a pilot’s license — the first ever given to a woman in San Francisco.
Dunlap went on to become the first woman in America to get a glider plane license. She then took over as president of the California Glider Club in San Francisco. She later set the women’s world record for light airplane speed.
And she isn’t the only female daredevil in Bay Area history. Read more from KQED.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Hawaiian island where much of “Jurassic Park” was filmed (5 letters).
Isabella Grullón Paz and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].