Covid-19 hospitalizations increased 50% in California

California hospitals saw a surge in coronavirus admissions over the 4th of July weekend, reports Reuters. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients increased by 50% compared to two weeks ago. The number now stands at 5,800. Younger people make up 25% of the hospital patients. The coronavirus death count in California is about 6,300.

At San Quentin State Prison in California, 1,400 inmates have tested positive for the virus, which has put a strain on hospitals in Marin County, said Newsom.

Newsom is facing criticism for reopening businesses and other public spaces too quickly. From Yahoo News:

"Newsom’s leadership has fallen woefully short," the Mercury News said in an editorial. "In the weeks ahead, we will see how short as the rising number of cases in California are followed by commensurate increases in hospitalizations and then deaths."

State Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) said Newsom reopened the state too quickly, squandering the gains made in slowing the virus with Newsom's first-in-the-nation stay-at-home order issued in mid-March.

"The heart of this problem was Newsom’s decision on May 8 to allow counties to accelerate the reopening by meeting certain benchmarks," Glazer said in an opinion article in the Sacramento Bee. "That decision came when the state’s infection rate was not declining and we had little information about how people were getting infected, despite being sheltered in place for 60 days."

Image: Jumpstory / CC0 Read the rest

Oakland's past-curfew protest turns into a massive dance party

On Wednesday during a "Justice for George Floyd" protest, a late-night dance party broke out in downtown Oakland. Thousands of masked people took to the streets in this peaceful past-curfew street fête.

Robb Benson:

After several nights of violent confrontations with the police & the announcement by Minn Attorney General Keith Ellis of the elevation to 2nd degree murder for Derek Chauvin and aiding & abetting 2nd degree murder for the officers who were silent, Oakland responds to the City's curfew with a dance party. #Justice4GeorgeFloyd

screengrab via Robb Benson Read the rest

Call for Oakland muralists to paint boarded-up windows downtown

East Bay artists: got mural-painting skills? I've been informed by a friend-in-the-know that a loosely organized group has formed to cover up pre-primed window boards with art in downtown Oakland, California. They're looking for help and supply donations. Read on.

Redditor mtweiner shares some details:

We have 2-3 dozen spots boarded and primed, ready for any artists who want to come through. Most folks are out 10a-3pmish every day, starting at 13th & broadway.

Meet us at the Tribune Tower if you'd like to volunteer! Supplies can be provided for any artists who would like to join in. Spaces are ready to be painted!

...for those of you asking about donations, we currently don't have a specific fund set up. If you're local, any spray cans, ladders, poles, brushes, or paint you have around that you would like to donate please swing by 13th & Broadway - theres a building open collecting supply donations. Same goes for Tribune Tavern on Franklin & 13th.

Calling all Oakland Artists! We need help painting murals downtown from oakland

art/image by @dimebagdarla, used with permission Read the rest

Drone filmmaker captures Children's Fairyland from the view of a flying fairy — and it's downright magical

There's still magic in the world, as evidenced by this fairy's-eye view of Children's Fairyland, that charming 70-year-old storybook theme park in Oakland, California.

You might remember that when I'm not blogging, I work with Fairyland. WELL... months before we were mandated to shelter in place, a local photographer, Stephen Loewinsohn, contacted our team at Fairyland. He wanted to know if he could come in and capture the park by drone. He showed us some of his work samples (um, wow) and told us he was a lifelong fan of the park. He also told us the finished product would be a gift to us, no strings attached. OF COURSE we said yes! Naturally, none of us realized at the time that it would be the first comprehensive look our community would get from inside the park for months. But that's part of what makes it extra special. We premiered the video on Thursday evening, with great success, as the "cherry on top" to our reopening fundraising announcement.

At my request, Stephen shared his inspiration and thoughts on creating this video:

I grew up in Oakland and went to Fairyland as a kid. Now I have two young kids of my own, so Fairyland is a really special place for me and my family.

I've been working as a professional photographer and filmmaker in the Bay Area for many years, and lately I've been experimenting with building and flying custom camera drones with amazing acrobatic capabilities for specialized filming applications.

Read the rest

COVID-19 grows in Los Angeles's poorer communities

The LA Times has observed that COVID-19 infection rates are falling in wealthier enclaves while gaining traction in poorer communities.

Denser living conditions, higher populations of 'essential' workers, and historic difficulty accessing health care force folks in a position to be infected.

LA Times:

The Times compared neighborhoods in which more than 25% of the population was living below the poverty line — defined by the Census Bureau as a family of four making less than $26,000 a year — to those in which the poverty rate was lower than 5%.

The shift shows the surge feared by public health officials did come to pass, but was largely concentrated in the poorest, most crowded neighborhoods — areas with a lot of essential workers, more crowded housing and higher rates of underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

Early in the outbreak, health officials and experts warned that numbers showing higher infection rates on the Westside in predominately white, affluent neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, Beverly Crest and Brentwood were skewed by uneven testing that masked the true spread of COVID-19. Those areas have seen their fortunes improve after months of social distancing and economic disruption.

Read the rest

Two far-out books about California counterculture reviewed by Erik Davis

I'm honored that in the latest issue of The Burning Shore, Erik Davis, scholar of West Coast counterculture, reviewed The Family Acid: California, Roger Steffens's far-out photo album I published with my Ozma Records partner Tim Daly! Erik's excellent essay is a double review, also focusing on the Anthology Editions reprint of Dennis Stock's striking California Trip book from 1968.

From Erik Davis's The Burning Shore:

Steffens’s use of multiple exposures is perhaps the key gesture here. The decision to re-expose film is a dice throw, an act of faith in the playfulness of multiple perspectives and the value of subjecting an already captured image to the serendipity of leaps through time. Such images are also, of course, hallucinatory, and some of Steffens’ are trippy as shit. They not only recall the formal and symbolic palimpsests of psychedelic vision, but loop the question of the photographic object back into the eye of the beholder: seeing these impossible scenes, we glimpse our own seeing, our own congealing of reality from the virtual.

Other Family Acid images feature artifacts like diffraction spikes, iridescent orbs, and weird lensing effects. (Check out the cover shot up top, which juxtaposes the classic clerestory light of redwood groves with a mandalic UFO flare.) These are special effects, my friends, evidence of that hippie will to hack media tech in the quest for unusual experiences. They also recall the more sacred lights you can only chance upon, in the strangest of places if you look at em right, those wink-wink psychedelic glimmers that occasionally illuminate parking lots, or crumpled beer cans, or goofball commercial signage—Phil Dick’s “trash stratum,” temporarily kindled into something high and holy and wholly profane.[...]

Read the rest

Folks are getting creative with flyers in this quarantine

My pal Jake has been taking regular "cigar walks" (as he calls them) here in our lovely island city of Alameda, California. On those walks, he started spotting some creative flyers...

(I saved the best two for last...)

photos by Jake Schaffer, used with permission

Thanks, Susie! Read the rest

Tesla to reopen Fremont factory Friday, despite ongoing coronavirus lockdown

Elon Musk's electric car company plans to reopen its one and only factory in the United States as soon as Friday, for 'limited operations,' in a county where coronavirus lockdown is ongoing. Read the rest

Children are becoming snail mail pen pals with Fairyland "elves" in this time of social distancing

You might remember that when I'm not blogging for Boing Boing, I can usually be found at my other gig — Children's Fairyland. Of course, the Oakland, California kiddie theme park is closed now and will be until it's safe to reopen. But, we do have a skeleton crew of essential "elves" who are on site to care for the donkeys, miniature horses, and other animals. While there, they also water our plants and check our mail. That's when we got the idea to offer the children in our community a chance to became pen pals with these "elves." We already have stacks of super-fun, kid-sized stationery, so launching it was just a matter of announcing it on social media.

The offer:

Play with us! Have your child draw us a picture or write us a note, and then snail mail it to us. Our "elves" promise to write back (on special Fairyland stationery designed by Oakland artist Michael Wertz, no less).

Send to: 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

Well, in just a week, the response has already been incredible. Local children, plus some as as far away as Texas and Utah, have been sending us snail mail like crazy. Read the rest

Tesla faces order to stop making cars at California factory, under coronavirus lockdown

Tesla has agreed to cut down on the number of active workers inside Elon Musk's electric vehicle factory in Fremont, CA, but authorities say they have yet to comply with other coronavirus lockdown measures, like not making more cars right now.

“Tesla needs to comply with the health order,” said a county spokesman Wednesday. Read the rest

California governor issues order allowing state to commandeer hotels for coronavirus patients

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will allow the state to take over hotels to house coronavirus patients in case hospitals are overloaded.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Under the order, the California Health and Human Services Agency and the Office of Emergency Services will be able to execute agreements to commandeer hotels, or medical facilities that are not in use, to quarantine, isolate and treat COVID-19 patients or those with a high risk of exposure, the order states.

The order also allows trained laboratory personnel to perform COVID-19 tests, which are ordinarily completed only by microbiologists.

I hope the Beverly Hills Hotel, owned by a gentleman who has expressed his desire to kill gay people, is the first place the state takes over. Read the rest

Disneyland closing due to coronavirus

Disneyland Park and California Adventures in Anaheim, California today said it will close on March 14 through at least the end of the month due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest

California reports first coronavirus death, and Los Angeles county declares emergency

None of the LA cases are connected to “community spread”

Coronavirus: First possible person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in California

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday confirmed a possible first person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in California in a patient who is identified as a member of the general public. Read the rest

Meet Jackie Fielder, the recently homeless indigenous woman who's primarying a San Francisco Democrat in a state senate race

Until recently, Jackie Fielder was living in her van. At 25, the Stanford sociology grad couldn't afford rent in San Francisco. Read the rest

Woman whose vulva was probed by Burbank TSA "officers" who ignored her refusal sues

Last September, Jessica Lundquist passed through a body-scanner at Burbank airport and was told by a TSA screener that they wanted to conduct a "groin search" on her. Read the rest

Crowdfunding for Los Anarchists, a junior roller derby team in Sun Valley, CA

Anthony Gulino writes, "Los Anarchists Junior Derby is a nonprofit that takes a DIY approach to teaching roller derby to kids. It runs programs for all levels from the youngest, newest skaters to the highest level of competitive junior derby at its dedicated facility, Anarchy Hall, in Sun Valley, CA. Los Anarchists' travel team is the current Junior Roller Derby Association World Champions in the Female division and have been invited to The Big O in Oregon, as well as tournaments in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tampa this season." Read the rest

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