Relying on Big Tech in pandemic undermines public health system

An illustration of several Big Tech companies on a cell phone display. (Photo: Koshiro K, via Shutterstock)

Gov. Gavin Newsom has embraced Silicon Valley tech companies and health care industry titans in response to the covid-19 pandemic like no other governor in America — routinely outsourcing life-or-death public health duties to his allies in the private sector. At least 30 tech and health care companies have received lucrative, no-bid government contracts, or helped fund and carry out critical public health activities during the state’s battle against the coronavirus, a KHN analysis has found.

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News

Survey: Eight in 10 say children falling behind academically

A student in class during the pandemic. (Photo: Siday Productions, via Shutterstock)

PPIC: One year after the state’s schools halted in-person learning due to COVID-19, more than eight in ten Californians think children are falling behind academically during the pandemic. Most Californians approve of how Gov. Newsom is handling the state’s K–12 public education system, though six in ten are concerned that California’s K–12 schools will not be open for full-time in-person instruction this fall.

Opinion

Heroes: Organ donors giving the gift of life

Surgeons at work performing an organ transplant procedure. (Photo: David Tadevosian, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: With over 100,000 Americans waiting for a lifesaving transplant, and about 20% of them living in the Golden State, it’s critical for us to remember the importance of Donate Life Month, which takes place nationally every April. It’s a symbolic time to recognize the miracle of life that organ donors give to recipients and encourage all Americans to consider registering to be possible donors.

Podcast

Capitol Weekly Podcast: a chat with Asm. Alex Lee

When we invited freshman Assemblymember Alex Lee (D – San Jose) to come on the podcast we planned to discuss his ambitious policy proposals, like Universal Health Care, a Wealth Tax, and a ban on corporate donations to political candidates. What we didn’t expect was that those discussions would all be in the past tense.

Opinion

Deadly opioid overdose epidemic overshadowed by COVID-19

Illustration: Hydrocodone pills and prescription bottles. (Image: Andy Dean Photography, via Shutterstock.)

OPINION: A record 3,200 Californians lost their lives to opioids in 2019 — well before the stress and disruption caused by COVID-19 caused overdose deaths to spike to new highs nationwide. By May 2020, powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl caused California’s 12-month all-drug overdose death rate to spike nearly 27%, significantly faster than the national average.

News

A congressional seat disappears, setting the stage for fights

An image illustrating political infighting. (Image: Lightspring)

California’s impending loss of a congressional seat may set off vicious intraparty fights not seen in California for nearly a decade. The conflict may happen because the state’s congressional districts will be redrawn on the basis of population figures from the 2020 census.

Opinion

Historic spike in gun violence demands response from Newsom

Gunsmith working on an 300 Blackout AR rifle upper receiver in a vise at a gun shop in California

OPINION: As gun sales and gun deaths have continued to surge since the onset of the pandemic, California’s underinvestment in violence intervention programs has become a glaring policy failure. Even after January 2021 proved to be California’s single deadliest month for gun homicides since 2007, the governor and state legislators have still not agreed to make funding the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) grant program a priority.

News

PPIC: California’s stalled population growth

The crowded Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles. (Photo: PPIC)

The Census Bureau released total population numbers for California, suggesting a significant slowdown in the state’s population growth. But these numbers do not include the last half of 2020, and they do not tell us why population growth has slowed. We won’t have official census counts of this information for many months. But we do have population estimates from the California Department of Finance through the first few months of the pandemic.

News

Newsom facing Republican-led recall election

Gov. Gavin Newsom at a Capitol event in January. (AP Photo, Rich Pedroncelli)

A Republican-led effort to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has gathered enough signatures to place the recall before voters on the statewide ballot. The announcement Monday by the secretary of state means that Newsom is likely to confront voters later this year.

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