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Morning Brief: Vaccine Passports, Herd Immunity, And Charlie XCX

A view of the downtown L.A. skyline through a Lincoln Heights window. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
A view of the downtown L.A. skyline through a Lincoln Heights window.
(Chava Sanchez
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Good morning, L.A. It’s May 12.

We’re about a month away from the state’s planned economic reopening on June 15. I’m still wrapping my head around it, but I’m also trying to be prepared! On that note, I’m sharing what we know so far about L.A.’s (new) new normal.

What’s the latest with COVID-19 vaccinations?
This week’s big news was the FDA’s emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s vaccine for kids between the ages of 12 and 15. In L.A., that means around 500,000 teens and pre-teens can get their shots, probably as soon as this week. Nationally, it means that about 87% of the U.S. population is now eligible.

Does that mean we’re close to herd immunity?

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Local health officials think L.A. County could reach herd immunity by July, but if you’re not sure what that means … well, neither are officials, because there isn’t a standard benchmark just yet. What they do know is that they’re trying to vaccinate at least 80% of adults by then.

To get to that 80%, officials are keeping a couple local clinics open later at night, and at city-run sites, you won’t need an appointment in advance. The same can’t be said for Orange County, though, where all four of their mass vaccination sites are closing down due to lack of demand.

So what does this mean for me getting out of the house??
In terms of events, L.A. Pride will be held virtually, as it was last year (but there will be a TikTok concert! With Charlie XCX!). The California State Fair, which usually opens in July, will be postponed. Theme parks are reopening, though, and the latest to announce its soon-to-be-open doors is Kontt’s Soak City waterpark. And … the Hollywood Bowl is back!

Keep reading for more on L.A.’s (new) new normal, and stay safe out there.

Your Questions Answered

Every week, we’re bringing on a guest to help explain L.A.’s (new) new normal. This week, we chatted with Dr. Dean Blumberg, the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis. He brought us up to speed on California’s low case rates, vaccine passports, and the likelihood of another resurgence.

California has some of the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases in the country, and is reopening faster as a result. What are you seeing?
We're in a good place in California in general, and L.A. County in particular is doing quite well. In the olden days, in December and early January, there were about 20,000 cases a day in Los Angeles County. For the past couple of weeks, there's been less than 500, sometimes less than 400 cases per day diagnosed.

Do you think we’ll see more places require employees or guests to be fully vaccinated?
There's no way that any institution is going to do that under the [current] emergency use authorization, but once these vaccines obtain full FDA approval, you might see institutions like hospitals require it, similarly to how they require influenza vaccine for their health care providers. And schools could require it.

With the vaccine passports, or companies or venues requiring vaccination, these are businesses. They can do whatever they want. So if they want to require vaccines or masks, they're welcome to do that, and they can turn people away if they're not meeting their requirements.

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Before You Go ... Meet Your New Dodger Dog

A dog holds a sign for "Pups at the Park" before the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on April 14, 2018
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea
Getty Images)

Angelenos (or at least some of them) were shook when they learned in late April that the Los Angeles Dodgers would no longer be sourcing their signature ballpark concession, the Dodger Dog, from Vernon-based vendor Farmer John.

Now, we have an update: Local meat processor Papa Cantella's has struck a multi-year deal to supply Dodger Dogs to the stadium.

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