Welcome to the 86th issue of the California Coronavirus Weekly Recap newsletter.  

​​​​​​In This Issue:

The Economy & Your Finances: U.S. jobless claims drop again; California unemployment finally falls slightlyInitial jobless claims across the U.S. fell again last week, to 281,000, down 10,000 from the week prior. This was the third week in a row with claims below 300,000. Continuing claims also dropped to a new pandemic low, to 2.24 million. More employers are adding workers than letting them go, based on a survey by the National Association of Business Economists

Last week, California workers finally filed fewer initial unemployment claims than the week before: 65,042 claims, down from 72,885. As an 82-week low, this is undoubtedly good news. Continuing claims dipped to 461,609, the first time continuing claims have fallen below 500,000 since March 2020. The number of claims is still 45 percent higher than they were before the pandemic began, and last week, California accounted for 26.5 percent of initial unemployment claims in the U.S., even though it has just 11.7 percent of the national workforce. The state has so far recovered 63.6 percent of the 2.71 million jobs it lost during March and April of 2020.

​Sources: YahooNews!, Mercury News, National Association of Business Economists
The Market & Industry: Mortgage applications fall again; mortgage rates lower slightly

The number of prospective homebuyers applying for new purchase applications declined again last week, but by less than 10 percent compared to last year. Purchase prices remain well ahead of 2019 levels. Last week, 49 percent of respondents to C.A.R.’s REALTOR® member survey reported that their last transaction had at least 4 offers, down from nearly 72 percent in May. However, roughly half of members still had more than three offers on their last closed sale. In addition, more members reported upticks in business than the week prior, including going on listing appointments (35 percent), listing a property (22 percent), entering escrow (29 percent) and closing a sale (28 percent), all of which were improvements. 

Mortgage rates dropped slightly yesterday but remained near their recent high.  The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.14 percent, a decline of 5 basis points from the week prior. The 15-year fixed rate mortgage decreased 2 basis points to 2.44 percent. The 5/1 ARM decreased 5 basis points from last week, to 3.13 percent.
Sources: C.A.R. Market Minute, CNET

Around the State: Children’s doses of COVID-19 vaccine available today; LA Mayor tests positive; cases remain low

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5-11 will be given out today, Wednesday, as part of a massive effort to vaccinate 3.5 million eligible children. Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the Pfizer/BioNTech pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11. If you live in Los Angles County and want to find a clinic to get your child vaccinated, go to this website to find information.  

California’s vaccination website, myturn.ca.gov, will begin offering appointments for children aged 5-11 on Thursday, November 4. Vaccinations will also be available at walk-in clinics, pediatricians’ offices and pharmacies. It may take a few days for clinics to ramp up to full capacity, but there is no shortage of doses. If you wish to get your child vaccinated this week, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer recommended calling ahead of time to be sure that the location is stocked with pediatric doses. The vaccines for this age group come in vials with an orange cap and contain one-third of an adult dose. Adult dose vials have a purple cap. Like the adult vaccine, the children’s vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart. The vaccine is free. You can now start booking appointments for your children to get their COVID-19. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tested positive for COVID-19 while in Glasgow, Scotland for a United Nations conference on climate change. The mayor is fully vaccinated, isolating in his hotel room, and reports on Twitter that he is “feeling good.”

As of 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, there were 4,915,947 reported cases of COVID-19 in the state, for a daily average of 5,722. This is an increase of 4.2 percent from two weeks prior. Hospitalizations remain low, at 3,865, a slight increase of 2 percent. Statewide, 23.7 percent of ICU beds are available. California has administered 52,379,986 doses of the vaccine, and 68.8 percent of residents have received at least one dose. Among all Californians, 62.4 percent are fully vaccinated.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Twitter, MyTurn.ca.gov
Health Check-Up: CDC approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11; California begins children’s vaccinations

On Tuesday night, the CDC gave final approval for Pfizer/BioNTech’s pediatric version of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. This followed a unanimous (14-0) vote by a panel of 14 advisors to the CDC in favor of recommending that the CDC approve it. The panel members spoke for an unusually long time about the benefits of the vaccine before they voted. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the approval. This new approval will allow 28 million children to become eligible to receive the vaccine. Pfizer has already begun packing and shipping millions of doses to states and pharmacies so that some children could begin getting their doses as early as this week. The pediatric doses of the vaccine have just one-third the amount of vaccine that the adult dosage has, and it uses a smaller needle. 

In California, the vaccine still needs an additional review by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, a coalition of public health experts from California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, which might take one more day to complete. Last year, Washington, Oregon and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which has independently reviewed CDC data for vaccines. The Western States also collaborated in the Western States Pact that shared a plan for fighting COVID-19 and reopening their economies. 

California has an ambitious plan to offer more than 1.2 million doses of the children’s vaccine by the end of the week, in order to vaccinate the 3.5 million children who will become eligible. Some schools will be offering vaccinations on campus for children and families. The urgency comes because even though the number of new cases are currently declining, experts predict another rise in infections once people travel and gather for the holidays beginning the end of this month.

Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, CNN, the CDC, Governor Newsom’s Office