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An undated artist rendering of the coronavirus.
KPBS Staff
A COVID-19 testing site at San Diego State University on Jan. 15, 2021.

March 2022: Coronavirus Blog Archive

COVID-19 asylum limits at US-Mexico border to end May 23
10:14 a.m., Friday, April 1, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control announced Friday that it is ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The use of public health powers had been widely criticized by Democrats and immigration advocates as an excuse for the United States to shirk its obligations to provide haven to people fleeing persecution. The policy went into effect under President Donald Trump in March 2020. Since then, migrants trying to enter the U.S. have been turned away more than 1.7 million times.

The policy, known as the Title 42 authority, named for a 1944 public health law to prevent communicable disease, will end on paper April 1, but it will not take effect until May 23, to allow border officials time to prepare. — Associated Press

San Diego County reports 162 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more virus deaths
10:15 a.m., Thursday, March 31, 2022

San Diego County reported 162 new COVID-19 infections and nine additional virus-related deaths in its latest data, while hospitalizations continued to decline locally and nationally, where they fell to the lowest point since the pandemic started.

According to a Twitter post by Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, hospitalizations related to the coronavirus have declined across the country to their lowest point since late March 2020.

"A reason to celebrate, even if it's brief," he wrote.

In addition to the 162 new cases reported Wednesday, the county also reported that there was a backlog of 457 cases from last December.

Early surveillance indicates San Diego wave is coming as BA.2 becomes dominant COVID-19 variant in US
4:45 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Just as U.S. regulators approved another booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, BA.2 — an omicron variant — has become the most common in the U.S.

Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, said even though the BA.2 variant is more contagious than the original omicron variant, vaccine protection is similar.

"There is a doubling of viral load ... that is the amount of viral copies we carry in our upper airway. And that explains, I think, the high transmission," Topol said. "It's hard to know how bad this wave is going to be because we've recently gotten through such a big one with the omicron BA.1. And in fact, it's estimated that about 40% of Americans got BA.1 and there was a huge number of breakthrough infections because it just spread so easily. This one can be worse but we have some immunity built." — Emilyn Mohebbi, KPBS Midday Edition Producer, Megan Burke, KPBS Senior Producer and Cristina Kim, KPBS Racial Justice and Social Equity Reporter

A new federal website aims to solve a key COVID problem: where to get antiviral pills
12:14 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The search for COVID vaccines, tests and treatments could get easier Wednesday with the White House launch of COVID.gov, a website meant to be a one-stop shop for everything from free high quality masks to antiviral pills.

"We could not have done this six or eight months ago because we didn't have all the tools we have now," said White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients in an interview with NPR.

With the website launch, the White House is following through on a promise President Biden made in his State of the Union address. In that speech he announced a test-to-treat program "so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they're positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost." — Tamara Keith, NPR

Do I really need another booster? The answer depends on age, risk and timing
12:12 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Biden administration has given the go-ahead for another COVID vaccine booster for people aged 50 and older and certain people who are immunocompromised. They can now get another Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech booster at least four months after their last dose.

But just because you can get an additional booster, does that mean you need to?

Health officials argue that the protection provided by the COVID vaccine booster shots wanes over time. And they are concerned about people considered to be at highest risk of getting severe COVID. — Maria Godoy, Allison Aubrey, Jane Greenhalgh, NPR

Free COVID tests and treatments no longer free for uninsured, as funding runs out
11:53 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The first real-world consequences of dwindling federal COVID-19 funds have started to be felt in recent days.

Coronavirus tests for uninsured patients are no longer free in some places. That's because the program that reimbursed clinics and hospitals for the testing, as well as for treating uninsured patients with COVID-19, stopped accepting claims last week "due to lack of sufficient funds." Some clinics have already started to turn away people without insurance who come to get tested and can't afford to pay for it.

Free vaccines for uninsured people are next — that funding will run out next week. After that, the vaccines themselves will still be covered by the government — for now — but the costs of administering them will no longer be billed to the federal program. — Selena Simmons-Duffin, NPR

County reports 414 new COVID-19 cases, 10 more deaths
4:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, 2022

San Diego County reported 414 new COVID-19 infections and 10 additional virus-related deaths today, while hospitalizations continued to decline locally and nationally, where they fell to the lowest point since the pandemic started.

According to a graph tweeted by Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, hospitalizations related to the coronavirus have declined across the country to the lowest point since late March 2020.

"A reason to celebrate, even if it's brief," he wrote. — City News Service

San Diego immunocompromised patient desperately searching for life changing therapeutic
3:31 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, 2022

There is a recently available pre-exposure treatment for COVID-19 that could help San Diegans whose immune systems are not able fight the virus, but for some, access is an issue.

KPBS spoke with a San Diego woman who lives with a compromised immune system. She did not want to use her name, but said her condition has been with her since childhood.

“I had two surgeries before I was 18 for sinus infections that had gotten so bad they couldn't treat them with antibiotics," the woman said. "I think most of high school I was on preventative antibiotics cause I was sick so often.” — Matt Hoffman, KPBS

FDA OKs another Pfizer, Moderna COVID booster for 50 and up
3:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, 2022

U.S. regulators on Tuesday authorized another COVID-19 booster for people age 50 and older, a step to offer extra protection for the most vulnerable in case the coronavirus rebounds.

The Food and Drug Administration's decision opens a fourth dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to those people at least four months after their previous booster.

Until now, the FDA had cleared fourth doses only for people 12 and older who have severely weakened immune systems. The agency said this especially fragile group also can get an additional booster, a fifth shot. — Associated Press

San Diego County reports 97 new COVID-19 cases, four more virus deaths
3:29 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 97 new COVID-19 infections and four additional virus-related deaths in its latest data.

Monday's data increased the county's cumulative totals to 749,477 cases and 5,159 deaths. The data follows a weekend with 239 new infections counted Saturday and 161 Sunday. The HHSA does not report COVID data on weekends. — City News Services

San Diegans share stories about how the pandemic changed their lives
4:35 p.m., Monday, March 28, 2022

In March of 2020, San Diego was in the early days of an unprecedented shutdown. Governor Gavin Newsom told everyone in California to shelter in place with few exceptions as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Since then, many peoples' lives have changed dramatically. Families lost loved ones. Millions lost jobs. Some lost their place to live. Essential workers, from hospitals to grocery stores became the lifeblood of the community. Businesses shuttered, classrooms became computer screens, and bedrooms and kitchens became offices.

Now as some San Diegans take off their masks and return to a life that looks more like it did before the pandemic, we each have our own pandemic story. KPBS Midday Edition spoke to four San Diegans about how their lives have changed during the pandemic. Here are their stories. — Emilyn Mohebbi, KPBS

San Diego County reports 252 COVID-19 cases, five deaths
4:34 p.m., Monday, March 28, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 252 new COVID-19 infections and five additional deaths related to the virus in its latest data.

Friday's data increased the county's cumulative totals to 748,896 infections and 5,155 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the HHSA. — City News Service

Vaccines, free food and more to be offered Saturday at monthly City Heights clinic
4:33 p.m., Monday, March 28, 2022

Data from San Diego County says nearly 94 percent of eligible county residents have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine. But that hasn't been the case in City Heights, so organizations there are teaming up to increase vaccination rates in the community.

Mid-City CAN and the Employee Rights Center are set to host a vaccine clinic Saturday March 26, from noon to 4 p.m.

They’ve been doing this since June. Saturday’s clinic will offer free flu and COVID-19 vaccines, including first and second doses of Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and boosters — for anyone ages 5 and up. — Jacob Aere , KPBS

COVID-19 in San Diego wastewater starting to increase
4:22 p.m., Monday, March 28, 2022

Early COVID-19 indicators hint that the virus’ transmission is growing in San Diego.

Viral load in local wastewater typically goes up before the number of cases start to rise. Recent data from water treatment plants shows the amount of COVID is beginning to rise again.

"I don't think people should be overly alarmed about this early uptick," said UC San Diego Health's chief medical officer Christopher Longhurst. "We’re keeping an eye on it and as a health system we’re taking precautions." — Matt Hoffman, KPBS

San Diego County reports 252 COVID-19 cases, five deaths
5:27 p.m., Friday, March 25, 2022
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 252 new COVID-19 infections and five additional deaths related to the virus in its latest data.

Friday's data increased the county's cumulative totals to 748,896 infections and 5,155 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the HHSA. — City News Service

High court gives Biden win for now in Navy vaccine case
5:27 p.m., Friday, March 25, 2022

The Supreme Court is giving the Navy a freer hand in determining which job assignments it gives to 35 sailors who sued after refusing on religious grounds to comply with an order to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The high court in a brief order Friday sided with the Biden administration and said that, while the lawsuit plays out, the Navy may consider the sailors' vaccination status in making deployment, assignment and other operational decisions. The group that sued includes mostly Navy SEALs.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that there was a “simple overarching reason” that he agreed with the court's decision. The Constitution makes the president, “not any federal judge,” the commander in chief of the armed forces, he wrote, noting that courts have been traditionally "reluctant to intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs.” — Associated Press

COVID and schizophrenia: Why this deadly mix can deepen understanding of the brain
7:18 a.m., Friday, March 25, 2022

Most of the time, the voices in Keris Myrick's head don't bother her. They stay in the background or say nice things. But sometimes they get loud and mean – like when a deadly pandemic descended on the world and shut down society as we know it.

"It's when things go really, really fast and they seem overwhelmingly disastrous. That's when it happens," says Myrick, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 25 years ago. "The attacking voices were calling me stupid ... I literally had a meltdown right here in my house. Just lost it."

She was able to calm herself down and quiet the voices, and as the pandemic wore on, she kept them at bay by keeping busy: She works for a foundation, hosts a podcast and wrote a children's book. She was able to manage, but she worried about others like her. — April Dembosky, NPR

San Diego County reports 321 COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths
6:10 p.m., Thursday, March 24, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 321 new COVID-19 infections and four additional deaths in its latest data.

Thursday's data increase the county's cumulative totals to 748,722 infections and 5,150 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the HHSA.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals decreased to 160, down 11 from Tuesday, according to the latest state data. — City News Service

San Diego County reports 304 COVID-19 cases, three virus deaths
— 9:54 a.m., Thursday, March 24, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 304 new COVID-19 infections and three additional deaths related to the virus in its latest data.

Wednesday's data increased the county's cumulative totals to 748,407 infections and 5,146 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the HHSA.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals decreased to 171, down 14 from Tuesday, according to the latest state data. — City News Service

Moderna wants the FDA to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 6
— 3:02 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Moderna is hoping to get the green light to administer a pediatric, low-dose COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to under 6 years of age, it said in a statement.

The pharmaceutical company will submit a request to the Food and Drug Administration "in the coming weeks" for authorization for a two-dose, 25 microgram-each shot. That's 25% of the first two doses adults received, the company said.

"Given the need for a vaccine against COVID-19 in infants and young children, we are working with the U.S. FDA and regulators globally to submit these data as soon as possible," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the statement. — Ayana Archie, NPR

Hundreds of San Diego City workers get vaccine exemptions, some still face termination
— 3:01 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The city of San Diego announced a vaccine mandate for employees last year, and this week hundreds of city workers are having medical or religious exemptions granted.

"It’s great news," said Jesse Conner, San Diego City Firefighters Association president.

Conner said the city told union workers exemptions would be allowed during negotiations about the vaccine mandate, but details were not clear. The discussion put some employees in tough spots and it is why news about the exemptions is welcomed. — Matt Hoffman, KPBS

San Diego County reports 169 COVID-19 cases, 3 virus deaths
— 12:22 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 169 new COVID-19 infections and three additional deaths related to the virus in its latest data.

Monday's data follows case counts of 223 Sunday and 335 Saturday. The county does not release data on the weekends. The county's cumulative totals increased to 747,884 infections and 5,141 deaths, according to the HHSA.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals decreased to 192, down 11 from Sunday, according to the Monday's state data. — City News Service

Average San Diego County gas price rises for 28th consecutive day
— 12:19 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County rose Tuesday for the 28th consecutive day, increasing 2.4 cents to a record $5.946, one day after rising 1.1 cents.

The average price has risen $1.202 during the streak, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 17.4 cents more than one week ago, $1.202 higher than one month ago and $2.025 greater than one year ago.

The average price increased 28.9 cents the previous week. — City News Service

Hong Kong to lift flight bans and cut quarantine for arrivals
11:43 a.m., Monday, March 21, 2022

HONG KONG — Hong Kong's leader Monday said that the city would lift flight bans on countries including Britain and the U.S., as well as reduce quarantine time for travelers arriving in the city as coronavirus infections in its latest outbreak plateaus.

The city's chief executive Carrie Lam announced during a press conference Monday that a ban on flights from nine countries — Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the U.S. — would be lifted from April 1. A flight ban on most these countries has been in place since January, as authorities sought to stem the outbreak of the highly transmissible omicron variant in Hong Kong.

Travelers entering the city can also quarantine for as little as seven days in quarantine hotels — down from 14 days — if they test negative for the virus on the sixth and seventh days of their quarantine. Such travelers must also be fully vaccinated and test negative for the coronavirus before entering the city. — Associated Press

Millions of children will miss healthy school meals when pandemic relief expires
11:38 a.m., Monday, March 21, 2022

When schools pivoted to virtual learning early in the pandemic, the National School Lunch Program was thrown into chaos. Millions of children rely on school meals to keep hunger at bay, so school nutrition directors scrambled to adopt new, creative ways to distribute food to families. Some of these changes were improvements on the status quo, they say.

And as part of pandemic relief legislation, the federal Food and Nutrition services agency waived the requirement that schools serve meals in a group setting, increased school-year reimbursement rates to summer levels for school food programs and granted more flexibility in how food is prepared and packaged.

"It was a game changer," says Donna Martin, who heads the school nutrition program, in Burke County, Ga., a rural district that has a high rate of food insecurity. — Allison Aubrey, NPR

San Diego County reports 659 COVID-19 cases, positive test rate ticks upward
4:26 p.m., Friday, March 18, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 659 new COVID-19 infections Friday as the percentage of COVID-19 tests returning positive posted a slight increase.

Friday's data increased the county's cumulative number of cases to 747,174. No new deaths were reported Friday and that number remains 5,138. — CNS

Lifesaving COVID drugs are sitting unused on pharmacy shelves, HHS data show
— 2 a.m., Friday, March 18, 2022

Even as this winter's omicron surge recedes, more than 2,000 people in the U.S. still get hospitalized with COVID-19 each day. This population is largely unvaccinated, with medical conditions that increase their risks. Some of these hospitalizations could have been prevented with early COVID treatments, such as pills and monoclonal antibodies, purchased and distributed for free by the government.

But data on COVID treatment utilization, shared with NPR by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, indicates that millions of COVID treatments are sitting on shelves unused.

"We are still in a public health emergency," said Dr. Derek Eisnor, who leads the government's distribution of COVID drugs, on a call with national health organizations on March 16. He urged health leaders to try to get the drugs to communities that have a demand for them, rather than let them go to waste. — NPR

Moderna seeks approval for a 2nd COVID-19 booster shot for adults
10:56 p.m., Thursday, March 17, 2022

Moderna is seeking approval for a fourth COVID-19 vaccination shot, pending a grant for emergency authorization use from the Food and Drug Administration, the company announced Thursday.

If approved, this would be the second booster shot Moderna has issued for people ages 18 and up.

"The request to include adults over 18 years of age was made to provide flexibility for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and healthcare providers to determine the appropriate use of an additional booster dose of mRNA-1273, including for those at higher risk of COVID-19," the company said in a statement. — NPR

San Diego County reports 375 COVID-19 cases, 7 deaths
11:09 a.m., Thursday, March 17, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 375 new COVID-19 infections and seven deaths in its latest data.

Wednesday's data increases the county's cumulative totals to 745,684 cases and 5,133 deaths.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals decreased to 219, down two from Tuesday, according to the latest state data. — CNS

Rise in European COVID-19 cases signals troubling trend for US
1:45 p.m., Wednesday, March 16, 2022

As nations around the globe continue to drop restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, all-too-familiar warning signs are emerging that point to the same uncomfortable reminder: The pandemic isn’t over yet.

Rising COVID-19 infections in the United Kingdom and Western Europe are coming just weeks after efforts to mitigate the virus, including masking, were dropped.

Nations formerly deemed “model countries” for their swift COVID-19 response tactics now see some of their highest daily case totals since the pandemic. And a highly transmissible sub-omicron variant is fueling outbreaks overseas.
Harrison Patiño, KPBS Midday Edition producer, and Jade Hindmon, KPBS Midday Edition co-host

San Diego County reports 433 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths
9:23 a.m., Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 433 new COVID-19 infections and 10 deaths in its latest data, as the rate of those testing positive for the virus continued to decline.

Tuesday's data increases the county's cumulative totals to 745,310 cases and 5,126 deaths since the pandemic began.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests that returned positive in the past week decreased to 2.7%, down from 3% Friday. The county reports that data on Tuesdays and Fridays. An average of 12,333 tests were reported daily in the past week. — City News Service

Pfizer-BioNTech will seek authorization for second COVID booster for older adults
12:58 p.m., Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a second COVID-19 booster shot for people 65 and older.

The companies plan to seek emergency authorization for this additional booster for older adults to strengthen protections against the omicron variant, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Pfizer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. If authorized, the second booster would bring the vaccination schedule for the Pfizer vaccine to four shots in this age group. — Scott Hensley, NPR

San Diego County reports 270 COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths
12:56 p.m., Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 270 new COVID-19 infections and eight deaths in its latest data, as the number of hospitalized COVID-positive patients continued to decline.

Monday's data follows 288 new cases reported Sunday and 490 on Saturday. The county does not report new cases or deaths on weekends. The new data increases the county's cumulative totals to 744,888 infections and 5,116 deaths since the pandemic began.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals has decreased to 218, down seven from Sunday, according to the latest state data. — City News Service

Better air in classrooms matters beyond COVID. Here's why schools aren't there yet
– 2:46 p.m., Monday, March 14, 2022

Not many people can say the pandemic has made their jobs easier. But in some ways, Tracy Enger can.

"You know, it is such a hallelujah moment, absolutely," says Enger, who works at the Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Environments Division. For more than 25 years, she's been fighting to improve the air quality inside of America's schools.

But there are lots of competing demands for limited school budgets. And in the past, getting school districts to prioritize indoor air quality hasn't been easy. Often, she says, it took some kind of crisis to get schools to focus on the issue – "when they found the mold problem, when their asthma rates were kind of going through the roof." — Maria Godoy, NPR

China battles multiple COVID-19 outbreaks, driven by stealth omicron
– 2:44 p.m., Monday, March 14, 2022

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese authorities reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 across dozens of mainland cities Monday as the fast-spreading variant commonly known as "stealth omicron" fuels China's biggest outbreak in two years.

The vast majority of the new cases were in far northeastern Jilin province with 895. Shenzhen reported 75 new cases as residents began the first of three rounds of mass testing. Officials on Sunday locked down the city, which has 17.5 million people and is a major tech and finance hub that neighbors Hong Kong.

The surge on the Chinese mainland is infecting people in cities ranging from Shenzhen to Qingdao on the coast, to Xingtai in the north and the numbers have crept steadily higher since early March. While the numbers are small relative to numbers reported in Europe or in the U.S., or even the city of Hong Kong, which had reported 32,000 cases Sunday, they are the highest since the first big outbreak of COVID-19 in the central city of Wuhan in early 2020. — Associated Press

Obama has tested positive for COVID
– 2:44 p.m., Monday, March 14, 2022

Former President Barack Obama says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

"I just tested positive for COVID," he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. "I've had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise. Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted, and she has tested negative. It's a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven't already, even as cases go down."

A 2010 White House doctor's report found Obama was in "excellent health" but was encouraged to give up smoking. The report also noted that Obama's total cholesterol was borderline, at 209 milligrams per deciliter at the time. Rina Torchinsky, NPR

Doctor weighs in on where San Diego stands now two years into pandemic
– 5:54 p.m., Friday, March 11, 2022

It has officially been two years since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic, and things have changed in that time in San Diego.

"I have a lot of mixed emotions about what has transpired," said Dr. William Tseng, Kaiser Permanente's assistant medical director for San Diego.

Tseng coordinated Kaiser's local response to the pandemic. He remembers trying to help infected patients before there were vaccines and treatments available. – Matt Hoffman

County to limit COVID-19 contact-tracing investigations to at-risk groups
1:31 p.m., Thursday, March 10, 2022

San Diego County officially announced Thursday that it will follow the national recommendation to focus COVID-19 case investigations on people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the disease, such as those 65 and older and those living in congregate care facilities.

The county will no longer be contact tracing all individuals, but will continue to support high-risk settings and outbreak responses, a statement from the Health and Human Services Agency said.

"COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, and the majority of the local population is now more protected because they have received all the recommended doses," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. "Therefore, our efforts are now directed at high-risk people or individuals who reside in congregate settings, such as nursing homes, jails and homeless shelters, and in guiding them to care and treatment." – City News Service

TSA extends the travel mask mandate through April 18
9:11 a.m., Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Transportation Security Administration is extending the current mandate for mask use on public transportation and in transportation hubs through April 18.

The mandate had been set to expire on March 18.

The extension is based on a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a statement Thursday, TSA said the CDC will work on a "revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor."

Like recent guidance regarding masks in other settings, the CDC says any revision will be based on the levels of COVID-19 at the community level, as well as on the risk of new variants, national data and the latest science.

The agency left the door open to an earlier termination of the policy, should the science support that. – Alana Wise, NPR

San Diego County reports 436 COVID-19 infections, seven deaths
8:05 a.m., Thursday, March 10, 2022

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 436 new COVID-19 infections and seven additional deaths tied to the virus in its latest data, while the number of patients hospitalized with the virus rose slightly.

According to Wednesday's state data, the number of San Diego County patients rose to 313, from 294 on Tuesday. The number of those patients in intensive care increased by three to 60 as of Wednesday.

Wednesday's numbers increased San Diego County's cumulative totals to 742,724 cases and 5,090 deaths. – City News Service

Returning to the office, a moment of joy for some. Others, would rather stay home
2:31 p.m., Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Steve Tordone has been waiting for this moment for two years. Sure, he's got a great set up for working at home, and it was nice to be around the family and the dogs. But he prefers working at his office in a downtown Boston high-rise where he works as a financial advisor.

"I'm an outdoor cat and I just want I want to see people," he says, "I can't wait for it to get crowded."

Tordone is starting to get his wish. In Boston, as across the nation, a "back-to-work March" has begun. With the omicron variant now on the wane, companies from American Express to Meta and Citigroup – are officially calling on employees to return to the office this month, while also trying to stay flexible enough so as not to lose those who prefer to work from home. Many firms are starting with "soft openings," but already, offices, streets and garages are filling back up. — Tovia Smith, NPR

As U.S. COVID deaths near 1 million, advocates press for a memorial day
2:20 p.m, Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Janeth Nuñez del Prado had the date marked on her calendar. Last May, her dad Hugo, who lived in Bolivia, was supposed to visit her family in New Mexico.

"And we would look at the date all the time, and be so excited," Nuñez del Prado said.

Tragically, her dad came down with COVID-19 before he could make the trip.

"He died just two weeks before he was supposed to come and get the vaccine and meet his grandkids for the first time," she said, wiping away tears. "You know, we always thought we would have more time." — Tamara Keith, NPR

San Diego Unified School Board approves COVID-19 vaccine resolution
2:10 p.m, Wednesday, March 9, 2022

San Diego Unified School District board members Tuesday evening voted unanimously in favor of a resolution carrying out the district's student COVID-19 vaccination requirements for the 2022-23 school year.

Meeting both in person and virtually, the board passed the resolution on consent, after hearing from nearly 20 parents opposed to a vaccine mandate.

The board members meeting in chambers, along with Superintendent Lamont Jackson, were wearing masks. — City News Service

Death toll surpasses 6 million for the pandemic now in its 3rd year
9:39 a.m, Monday, March 7, 2022

The official global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 6 million on Monday — underscoring that the pandemic, now entering its third year, is far from over.

The milestone, recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is the latest tragic reminder of the unrelenting nature of the pandemic even as people are shedding masks, travel is resuming and businesses are reopening around the globe.

Remote Pacific islands, whose isolation had protected them for more than two years, are just now grappling with their first outbreaks and deaths, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant. – Associated Press

San Diego County Reports 781 New COVID-19 Cases, 12 Deaths
5:54 p.m, Friday, March 4, 2022
San Diego County reported 781 new COVID-19 cases and 12 additional deaths associated with the virus today.

Friday's data increased San Diego County's cumulative totals to 740,716 cases and 5,068 deaths since the pandemic began.

The number of county patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continued to fall, decreasing to 377 from 391, according to Friday's state data. – CNS

San Diego County reports 772 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths
5:52 p.m. Thursday, March 3, 2022

San Diego County reported 772 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths associated with the virus Thursday.

Thursday's data increased San Diego County's cumulative totals to 739,939 cases and 5,056 deaths since the pandemic began.

The number of county patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continued to fall, decreasing to 391 from 417, according to Thursday's state data. – City News Service

San Diego County reports 952 COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths
– 8:34 a.m., Thursday, March 3, 2022

San Diego County reported 952 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths associated with the virus in its latest data, as the county announced it is no longer requiring — but is strongly recommending — masks in most indoor settings.

The California Department of Public Health discontinued the mask mandate Tuesday, and the county followed suit. Specific high-risk settings will continue to require that everyone wear face coverings, including health care, long-term care and detention facilities, as well as transit hubs and public transit, cooling centers and emergency shelters. – City News Service

Q&A: Expert reacts to President's 'test to treat' plan to combat COVID-19
– 5:06 p.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2022

In Tuesday's State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden announced a new "test to treat" plan for COVID-19 using Pfizer antiviral pills.

"And now we're launching the test to treat initiative so people can get tested at a pharmacy and if they prove positive, receive the antiviral pills on the spot at no cost," Biden said.

Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute Dr. Eric Topol joined Midday Edition Wednesday to talk about what the Biden administration announced in the fight against COVID-19, as well as recent updates in masking guidance in California. The interview below has been lightly edited for clarity. – Jade Hindmon, KPBS Midday Edition Co-Host; Megan Burke, Senior Producer; Andrew Bracken, KPBS Midday Edition Producer

The White House has a new plan for COVID-19 aimed at getting things back to normal
– 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The White House on Wednesday unveiled a new roadmap for the COVID-19 pandemic, one that envisions life going back to normal after two years of crisis, providing for people to get tested and treat the disease, while staying vigilant for new variants and outbreaks.

"We are clearly going in the right direction and with all the interventions we have, I believe that we are prepared for the possibility that we will get another variant, with regard to vaccines, boosters, testing, good masks and antivirals," Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, told reporters. — Tamara Keith, NPR

Los Angeles County likely to drop indoor mask order Friday
– 11:25 a.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Los Angeles County is set to lift its indoor mask mandate this week as coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations plummet, the county's top health official said Tuesday.

Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said California's most populous county would likely issue a revised health order that would take effect Friday and align with state guidelines unveiled Monday.

Ferrer told the county's Board of Supervisors that based on new state rules it would still be recommended — but not required — for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents to wear face coverings in public indoor settings. — Associated Press

San Diego County reports 533 COVID-19 cases, five deaths
– 11:22 a.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2022

San Diego County reported 533 new COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths associated with the virus in its latest data, while the average test-positivity rate continued to drop.

Tuesday's data increased San Diego County's cumulative totals to 738,232 cases and 5,034 deaths since the pandemic began.

The average percentage of COVID-19 tests that returned positive in the last week decreased to 5.2%, from 5.7% Friday. The county reports new COVID- 19 data on Tuesdays and Fridays. An average of 12,602 tests were reported daily in the past week. — City News Services

California, Oregon, Washington to end school mask mandates
– 1:31 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

Schoolchildren in California, Oregon and Washington will no longer be required to wear masks as part of new indoor mask policies the Democratic governors of all three states announced jointly on Monday.

“With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance,” the governors said in a statement.

The new guidance will make face coverings a recommendation rather than a requirement at most indoor places in California starting Tuesday and at schools on March 12, regardless of vaccination status. In Washington and Oregon, all the requirements will lift on March 12. — Associated Press