Entries categorized "Health"

Lessons from past plagues

10plaguesBy Alan Hirsch

The news cycle dominated by Trump and the virus plague will be interrupted midweek in some Davis homes by the Jewish holiday of Passover.

This is a recitation of the story of earlier plagues that lead up to the exodus from Egyptian slavery. Wednesday and Thursday nights are the first nights of Passover.

The 3,000-year-old Passover home ritual acts will seem strangely relevant this year. The ritual name “Passover” is to literally ask the plague to pass over our homes as we shelter in place.

We are asked to wash our hands twice. To dip our food in salt water. And to get over the plagues we’re asked to take two tablets — of the 10 Commandments. And go to Mt. Sinai — the real mountain not the hospital.

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Davis Farmers Market remains essential

Davisfarmersmarket(From press release) During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Davis Farmers Market remains open as an essential grocery provider.

A few community members have expressed concern, but Executive Director Randii MacNear reminds patrons that “this is not Picnic in the Park.” County and state health officials are clear that Certified Farmers Markets are vital to community food security. The market ­– open from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in Central Park – is a place to grab fresh food straight from the producer.

“We are grateful for the many customers who have commented by email, phone or social media posts, thanking us for keeping the market open, and for providing a safe marketplace,” MacNear said.

The market has reorganized vendor booth setups and added spacing between sellers. There are lots of signs requesting social distancing, and extra hand-washing stations. MacNear encourages shoppers to come alone to ease crowds.

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Governor issues clarification of stay-at-home rules

Outdoor exercise, care for the children and elderly, and more

Screen Shot 2020-03-21 at 8.33.40 AMBy Roberta Millstein

Last night at around 10:30 PM, the Office of the Governor of California tweeted that there was new information available for the Governor’s Stay-at-home rule.  You can find those online at: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/

For example, many people had wondered whether they could still go outside for exercise.  The webpage clarifies that:

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Davis Pride Festival postponed

(From press release) The sixth annual Davis Pride Festival, originally scheduled for Sunday, May 17, is postponed. For a new date, organizers are considering a Sunday in September or October.

The decision to delay the event is prompted by public health officials’ guidance on preventing spread of the novel coronavirus. The move follows steps recommended to organizers of large public gatherings to ensure the health of the larger community.

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Need to focus on essentials for City's COVID-19 Emergency

Covid19Dear Davis City Council,

Thank you for considering declaring a local emergency.  I am fully in support of that.  I am writing to strongly urge that you add (something like) the following to the “Proclamation of a Local Emergency in Response to COVID-19”: 

“The City will not take action on any major development projects during the emergency, including but not limited to the Aggie Research Campus (ARC).”

My reasons are as follows:

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Davis Farmers Market continues, adds precautions

Davisfarmersmarket(From press release) The Davis Farmers Market continues its regular schedule while taking additional precautions in light of COVID-19 concerns. [Note: this is an updated announcement that contains the current no-samples policy].

The market added a third hand-washing station, and remains vigilant about cleaning all surfaces and vendor tablecloths. Sellers stay home if they are ill.

“Shopping outdoors is a relatively low-risk environment, and our farmers and producers look forward to sharing their weekly harvest and fresh products,” Executive Director Randii MacNear said. Those who have concerns about being in crowds are encouraged to shop the first hour of the market when it’s less crowded, and to maintain an arm’s length distance from others.

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Soroptimists, Girl Scouts collecting diapers

DiaperDriveSIDavis
Soroptimist International of Davis members, from left, Crystal Ross O'Hara, Diana Harvey and Maggie Memmott wrap up diaper packages for Yolo Diaper Bank at a recent club meeting at Three Mile Brewing. The diaper bank, founded in 2017 by the daughter of a Soroptimist member, is keeping Yolo County dry – one bottom at a time. (Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis and The Davis Girl Scouts are joining forces to collect diapers for the Yolo Diaper Bank. 

One in three families in Yolo County does not have enough diapers to keep their babies clean, dry and healthy. The Yolo Diaper Bank collects and distributes diapers to local agencies serving families in need. Diapers and checks made out to Yolo Diaper Bank may be dropped off by March 15 at any of these locations: Avid Reader Active (605 Second St.), Woodstock’s Pizza (219 G St.), Strelitzia Flower Company (4614 Second St. #1), or any Girl Scout Cookie booth (www.girlscoutcookies.org).

Diapers sizes 1 and 2 are most needed. Opened packages are accepted, as well as pull-ups and baby wipes. For more information, email Lmhansengs@gmail.com or info@yolodiaperbank.org.

Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. For more information on the club, visit sidavis.org or like its Facebook or Instagram pages: @SoroptimistDavis.


Protect UC LGBTQ+ and Reproductive Care

Screen shot 2020-02-19 at 4.34.47 PMThe following was forwarded to me in an email, and I was asked to forward it further.  Everyone is welcome to submit a comment, whether affiliated with the University of California or not. --Roberta Millstein

Dear UC Students, Faculty, Staff, and Community Members, 

Three weeks ago, the University of California (UC) released a report with request for public comments (sample text below) that considers whether UC Health should affiliate with religious hospitals, which prohibit basic reproductive health services for women and LGBTQ+ people.

The report describes OPTION 1, supported by UC Health, in which UC would expand affiliations with restrictive religious hospitals. We endorse OPTION 2, which prohibits UC Health from affiliating with entities that discriminate against women and LGBTQ+ people by prohibiting contraception, abortion, assisted reproductive technology (e.g., IVF), and gender-affirming care for non-binary and transgender people. More details are outlined in this LA Times article and this letter to UC President Janet Napolitano. Also consider UCI Law Prof. Goodwin’s assertion that it is illegal for UC Health to restrict care based on religious directives.

The UC Regents will take up this matter in May, but first they need to hear from you! Please post a public comment by February 21 (sample text below) to tell the Regents that you support OPTION 2. UC doctors, nurses, and patients must not be subject to religious restrictions that deny women and LGBTQ+ people essential care. Share your story and why this issue is important to you.

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Big 5G decision at Jan 28 City Council meeting

5GHello Davisites,

After months of discussion, the Davis City Council will decide whether to oppose or at least slow the arrival of 5G in Davis on Tuesday, January 28, at 7:00 pm.

You probably haven’t heard about these deliberations because, as the Davis Enterprise editor told me, worries about 5G are “fake news” and “conspiracy theories” that he won’t publish.

The hazards of wireless, and 5G in particular, are little known— which is no surprise when you consider that media alerts the public about tech risks but media is also the biggest beneficiary of 5G. The conflict of interest is obvious.

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A Case for Bernie Sanders

The times have finally caught up with his vision

IMG_2372
Picture taken by R. Millstein at Bernie's rally at UC Davis in 2016

By Roberta Millstein

With the California primaries upon us in less than two months, it’s time to turn our attention to the presidential primaries, which will be held on March 3, 2020.  Since we have an earlier primary than in past years, California can make a big difference in who will stand for election in November.  Check your voter registration status here and make sure that you are registered for the party whose primary you want to vote in.  (Yes, you can register “No Party Preference”[1] and that will let you vote in some parties’ primaries, but most agree that it is more trouble than it is worth.  You can always change your party to something else later).

As important, of course, is the decision about who to vote for.  Here is how I came to support Bernie Sanders. Perhaps you will find my reasoning persuasive.

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The Home Wood-Burning Season of the 2019–2020 Winter is HERE!

Please take care to reduce wood-smoke emissions from your fireplace or wood stove.

Wood-stove(From press release) As the weather cools, home fireplaces and stoves are starting to heat up. But while a wood-burning fireplace or stove is cozy indoors, smoke from poorly managed home burning can be harmful for those living nearby.

Smoke is dangerous and can affect air quality indoors as well as outside.

Wood smoke contains a variety of harmful gases as well as very small particles that can damage the lungs, blood vessels, and heart. When too many people operate wood-burning fireplaces and stoves at once (or when wood-burning fireplaces and stoves are operated under poor conditions), locally high concentrations of wood smoke can result.

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UC Temporarily Suspends Glyphosate-based Herbicides

IMG-4152

By Nancy Price

On May 14th, 2019 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, sent a remarkable letter to the Chancellors of all UC campuses, the Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the CEOs of all  the UC Medical centers announcing the “temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Napolitano cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”

This may be a response to the mounting scientific research linking glyphosate to cancer, or it could just be that the UC system is worried about being named as a defendant in a glyphosate lawsuit like the three Monsanto/Bayer have lost over the last two years. The most recent lawsuit found Bayer responsible for damages of 2 billion dollars.

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Honoring Dr. Thomas Cahill

Cahill programA man whose outstanding science was matched by his humanity

By Roberta Millstein

On Saturday, a packed St. James Catholic Church paid their respects to one of Davis’s most esteemed and well-loved sons, Dr. Thomas Cahill, better known to his friends and family as “Tom.”

Tom’s achievements were many; they are outlined in the obituary in the Davis Enterprise.  What most impresses me about his record was his dedication to doing science that mattered.  Trained as a nuclear astrophysicist, he quickly turned to the issue of air quality in California and was one of the small team that successfully advocated for the lead- and sulfur-free gasoline in the early 1970s.  His work on air quality continued throughout his career, even after his “retirement,” working on ultra-fine aerosols (including their impact on first-responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack) and aerosol impacts on global climate.

A few years ago, I was visiting at another university and met another faculty member who worked on air quality.  I asked him if he had heard of Tom Cahill.  The answer?  “Of course, yes!  Tom is the person to talk to about air quality issues.”

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The Problem with Designer Face Masks

DesignermaskBy Todd Edelman

The City of Davis and many other local government entities are distributing masks for "free". While there have been some shortages and limited availability of masks for children, a big problem is counties and cities have different recommendations about use, e.g. because of risks of carbon dioxide build up for some, that some will fit poorly, but most often that the priority should be staying indoors - i.e. that masks should only be used if one HAS to go out.

There are these designer masks available. As far as I can tell this type became very popular due to the chronic air pollution in, e.g., Beijing. People there are wearing masks every day, and want to show off and also de-medicalize the issue via its most obvious sartorial component. (3M, after all, makes workplace safety equipment, and I joked earlier that thanks to child labor laws they make no masks for small faces - by the way I recommend their slightly upgraded N95 with the valve for Co2 exhaust....).

Anyway, the problem here is that these fashion masks - just like any masks that look like proletariat undergarments - encourage people to be outside, who should not be... they are a palliative for a much bigger structural problem, of course also here in California during latest and greatest wildfire fallout disaster.


Understanding Purple Air Data

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 4.10.29 PMA lot of people are now turning to PurpleAir.com for real-time air quality measurements.  But everyone should know that, in their default setting, they show higher PM2.5 readings than the government's sensors.  To obtain more realistic readings, use the box in the lower left hand corner of your web page to change the conversion from "none" to "LRAPA."  You can read more about the LRAPA settings here and here

Please pass along this information.  Our situation is serious and people should be appropriately cautious (stay inside if possible, use filters if possible, obtain N95 masks from the Davis Fire Department), but no purpose is served by thinking that things are worse than they actually are.

(Screen shot in this post taken at around 4:10 PM, Thursday, November 15).

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We must be the fire brigade.

MondoviBy Joan Baez
"Together we can create an unstoppable force for good"

Last night, not a seat was empty in the UC Davis Mondavi Center as Joan Baez paused from singing to deliver this powerful exhortation.  Her music and her message were greeted with standing ovations. After the Show Baez gave the Davisite.org permission to share her words. 

There is no such thing as a slow burn now. Only lightning fast destruction, and the residue of floating ash. The haze is real. It is ash filled smoke, blanketing a good portion of the state of California. This is our Armageddon. And, yet now it's we who must be the fire brigade. No one will appear on the clouds of glory to deliver us.

We must be the fire brigade.

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Skewed Air Quality Logic

MaskAir quality management district forecasts an AQI of 168*: UCD cancels classes

Air quality management district forecasts an AQI of 174*: UCD holds classes

Brought to you by the same data-free logic that supported Nishi and dismissed the testimony of an internationally recognized air quality expert.

 

*AQI of 150-200: Unhealthy for all groups

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How will – and should – the recent Monsanto Roundup decision affect Davis?

PesticideapplicationA few weeks ago, a jury awarded $289 million in damages to a California school groundskeeper, finding that his cancer was caused by on-the-job exposure to Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, the main active ingredient of which is glyphosate.  How will this affect Davis?  How should it?

Recall that, in a rather messy and prolonged process, the Davis City Council voted to “phase out” the use of glyphosate.  But where is the City in that process?  Do we even have an IPM specialist to replace Martin Guerena (who stepped down many months ago after being ill-treated by the City), i.e., someone who could oversee this phase out and report on it?  

And does the phase out need to be accelerated?  Or should it occur immediately?

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Davis Tenants Clean & Green Bill of Rights - Message no. 1

DSCN4761By Todd Edelman

On the left in the photo is a new filter for our AC/furnace; on the right,  one about 60-75 days old including two weeks of wildfires. This is, of course, used inside the house, so everything here has come inside though we've had the doors and closed almost all of the time for the past couple of weeks.

These are MERV 13 filters (which our landlord is paying for! Thanks!) Two technicians from Blake's said that a filter of this high value is suitable for our fairly modern HVAC. These are what's planned for use at Lincoln40. When they get this black and clogged up they also start to whistle a bit in the holder as air is trying to go around them, which at least raises energy costs.

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