M.C. NOW - Sara Rubin

With Covid-19 cases and hospitalization rising, Monterey County remains stuck in purple.

Good morning, 

Sara Rubin here, looking at California’s Covid-19 map and seeing more purple than this time last week. Just a week-and-a-half ago, Monterey County officials asked for the state’s blessing to move from the most restrictive Purple Tier into the Red Tier, as we watched counties around us all move into red or even orange territory. 

By the time that request was denied on Tuesday, Nov. 10, Monterey County’s Covid-19 case count was spiking. 

It’s a frightening and frustrating reminder that every time over the past eight months I’ve started to think we’ve got this virus somewhat under control, I am again reminded that it’s not under control. And the damage it’s doing is not just economic, but taking a toll on real people and families, as detailed by Mary Duan this week in an obituary for a well-respected Monterey County attorney, Eugene Martinez, who died of Covid-19. 

Across the United States, the data is staggering and disheartening. According to the Covid Tracking Project, cases are up by 41 percent, hospitalizations are up by 20 percent and deaths are up by 23 percent over the week prior. One out of every 378 Americans tested positive for the virus this week. (Before you try to make the case that that’s because testing is up—it is, and that’s a good thing!—the increase in testing cannot account for that surge in cases.)

The road ahead is difficult, even with improved therapies for treating Covid-19 and better science (remember the old days before we wore masks?) The good news, if you can call it that, is that the rate of hospitalizations per number of new cases has decreased over the eight months we’ve been contending with the virus. 

If there’s any upside to this crisis and its duration, it is that it’s forcing our leaders to take it seriously. A new coalition including representatives from community-based organizations, agriculture, hospitality, local government and others will convene for the first time on Friday, Nov. 20 as they take up the work that community organizers have been doing on a smaller scale for months. This group has no name yet, but they have a tall order: to tackle some of the root causes behind why the Latino population has suffered disproportionately from the virus, and seek solutions as the pandemic gets worse. Their leadership is crucial, both to saving people’s lives and to enabling our economy to safely reopen. 

So is all of us doing our part—avoiding gatherings, wearing face coverings in public, staying home if we feel sick. 

Stay healthy out there. 

-Sara Rubin, editor, sara@mcweekly.com

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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