With aid expiring, the White House offered a short-term extension Thursday of a $600 weekly unemployment benefit that has helped keep families and the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Democrats rejected it. (July 31 ) AP Domestic
Complications related to the coronavirus claim the life of a youth, the first in the Golden State. Congress leaves without extending unemployment benefits — your move, state Legislature. And $2.1 billion heads to a vaccine whose makers hope to bring it to regulators early next year.
It’s Arlene Martínez with news to close out your week.
But first, a rare white rhino, conceived through artificial insemination, turned 1 this week. The San Diego Zoo threw him a party (VIDEO).
And a quick note: I hope you enjoy the work of my talented colleagues, who will be taking turns writing this over the next few weeks until a permanent new author is found. Thank you for reading and exploring the state with me! I feel honored we got to spend some time together.
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As $600 jobless benefit expires, will state make up the difference?
Congress leaves without any action on unemployment benefits, letting a $600 weekly extension in benefits expire Friday at midnight.
The parties blamed each other, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats wanting the extension included as part of a bigger stimulus relief package and Republicans wanting to reduce the benefit to $200 to encourage people to go back to work. Meanwhile, President Trump in a Tweet blamed China.
Remind me what members of Congress make: $3,346 per week, and about a million annually to hire as many as 18 aides, the Los Angeles Times reported.
So what happens next: State lawmakers previously said they’d fill the gap if Congress failed to act, but no deal has been finalized in Sacramento. About 15% of Golden Staters are unemployed.
First teen dies of the coronavirus
A Fresno County teen has died from the coronavirus, the first case of someone 17 or younger dying from COVID-19 in the state.
The teen, whose age authorities aren’t releasing, died earlier in the week at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County. The state Department of Public Health reported in a press release the patient was a teenager.
Children have been largely spared from the virus: As of mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 228 children had died of the disease in the U.S., less than 0.2% of the nation’s deaths.
“It’s a heartbreaking case and it just brings home the reality that this is not sparing even the youngest members of our community,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s interim public health officer, during a virtual news conference Friday.
The Central Valley has been hard hit by the coronavirus, which prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to direct $52 million in federal aid to bolster testing and treatment in the region. Some say the money doesn’t go far enough, and the state isn’t doing enough to enforce existing worker safety rules and guidelines, particularly at major workplaces like meatpacking and food processing plants.
A secret wedding, then the virus; NASA cultural site plans nixed; BYOB not welcome here
They attended a secret wedding, which got interrupted by San Francisco officials for violating city rules on gatherings, then attendees flew back to homes across the country, some carrying the virus.
NASA wants to designate the 2,850-acre contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory a cultural district, a move critics say would help it avoid legally mandated cleanup efforts. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors recommends state historical officials reject the proposal when it meets on Aug. 14.
Airlines aren’t serving alcohol on board, so passengers are BYOB’ing. Not so fast, says Southwest Airlines.
Secret police sect celebrates civilian shootings; LAPD investigates shooting; SF gets police cuts
A secretive clique within a San Francisco Bay area police department commemorated fatal shootings with beers, backyard barbecues, and by bending the points of their badges each time they killed in the line of duty. It’s a practice that spanned decades, an investigation by Open Vallejo has found.
A protester had his hands raised when an LAPD officer shot him in the head with a tactical round, body camera footage released by the department and posted by the LA Times shows. LAPD is investigating the shooting as an “unintentional head strike.”
San Francisco officials plan to redirect $120 million over the next two years from law enforcement to pay for investments in the Black community. And they aren’t the only ones: A USA TODAY analysis found Eureka and Los Angeles are among dozens of departments nationwide cutting police funding.
Operation Warp Speed makes biggest vaccine deal yet — $2.1 billion
The U.S.will pay French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and Great Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline up to $2.1 billion to test and produce 100 million doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Most of the money will go toward Sanofi, which made the vaccine candidate. GlaxoSmithKline made a booster to help how the body responds to it. Over $1 billion will go toward further development and early-stage clinical trials to make sure it’s safe and effective.
If all goes as planned, the companies say they could begin seeking regulatory approval in the first half of 2021.
The deal is part of Operation Warp Speed, a White House-led initiative aimed at getting a vaccine to stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The Trump administration initiative has now spent more than $8 billion on experimental vaccines that may or may not make it across the finish line.
What else we’re talking about
Native American activist Dahkota Brown who as a high schooler helped push for legislation that banned “Redskins” from being used at team names in public schools, called the NFL team’s decision to change its name a “victory.”
An aquatic tank carrying 15 Marines and a Navy sailor sank near a military-owned island off the San Diego coast, leaving one of the Marines dead and eight missing, authorities said Friday.
For the first time in over three decades, the state prison population drops to below 100,000. Prisons are easy places for the virus to spread and it has, leading state officials to work to reduce the number of low-level offenders living in them.
Remote work could be a way to direct wealth away from the 15 most expensive U.S. metros and “spread economic opportunity throughout the country,” according to a new report by Upwork, which connects freelancers to businesses.
I’ll leave my authorship of this dear newsletter with this: From Diego to the Bay, “Cali” is fully acceptable in any context.
Don’t forget to support local journalism, and thanks for reading.
In California brings you top news and analysis from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: San Francisco Chronicle, Open Vallejo, Associated Press, Bloomberg CityLab, Los Angeles Times, New York Times.
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