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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Los Angeles Times

Power has been restored to nearly all of the approximately 70,000 customers in Napa County whose lights went out after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck early Sunday, utility officials said Monday.

The approximately 150 customers who remained without power were expected to have their service restored later Monday morning, according to Pacific Gas & Electric officials.

The quake — centered about nine miles south of the city of Napa — struck at 3:20 a.m. and damaged buildings, cut off power to tens of thousands, sparked fires, broke water mains, caused gas leaks, sent more than 120 people to a hospital, and led Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.

As of early Monday, there were 20 earthquake-related gas-distribution outages, PG&E said. The utility said crews were also in the process of responding to “several hundred” gas-odor calls.

Meanwhile, officials said 90 to 100 homes in the area have been red-tagged — that is, labeled unfit to enter — as a result of the quake, and a severed gas line was being blamed for a fire that destroyed six mobile homes.

Thirty-three buildings in the city of Napa proper were red-tagged as of 5 p.m. Sunday, and numerous others were yellow-tagged, which means people were being granted only limited access.

Of Napa’s 60 water-main breaks, 20 had been isolated as of midday Sunday, but it “may take a full week to get everything restored,” Jack LaRochelle, the city’s director of public works, told reporters.

The earthquake was the largest to strike the Bay Area since the 6.9 Loma Prieta temblor of 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and it lasted 10 to 20 seconds, depending on location.

Napa bore the brunt of the quake’s destruction, as did the downtown area of nearby Vallejo.

Jennifer Patefield, 47, who runs the Mariposa Ice Creamery store in Napa, said she was “jolted” awake and counted to 40 before the motion from the quake stopped. Her refrigerator emptied its contents and the china cabinet was “gone,” Patefield said.

“I surf, and it was like riding a big wave,” Patefield said as she assessed the damage to her home.

Tourists were out in force, some of them startled.

“We just have snowstorms where we come from,” said Cheryllyn Tallman, 56, of New Hartford, N.Y. She and her husband were in the area for the scheduled GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race. She said her husband was sound asleep when the quake hit.

“For a man who never uses inappropriate language, I heard some colorful words come out,” said Tallman, who added that she took a tip from what she’d seen on TV and headed for a doorway when the shaking began.
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Staff writers Lee Romney and Christine Mai-Duc reported from Napa, and Ryan Parker and Lauren Raab from Los Angeles. Staff writers Evan Wagstaff, Maura Dolan, Paige St. John, and Marisa Gerber in Napa and Rong-Gong Lin II, Hector Becerra, Laura J. Nelson, Cindy Chang, and Amina Kahn in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

AFP Photo/Josh Edelson

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Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.