Welcome to the 88th issue of the California Coronavirus Weekly Recap newsletter.  

​​​​​​In This Issue:

The Economy & Your Finances: EDD requiring proof of self-employment; another round of state stimulus checks going outAlthough Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits have ended, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is now requesting PUA recipients to provide documentation to prove that they were self-employed during the calendar year before and up to the start of their PUA claim. Remember, you may have to submit proof of self-employment even through PUA benefits have ended. You can upload the required documentation through the “Upload Employment Document” section on your UI Online homepage. Acceptable documents include state or federal tax identification numbers, business licenses, tax returns, business receipts or invoices, signed affidavits verifying self-employment status, contract agreements and bank statements from a business account showing self-employment. Providing more than one document may help support review of your proof of self-employment. Your deadline to submit the required documents will be on your UI Online homepage. You may be able to request more time if you have good cause, but if you don’t provide the required documentation by your due date, you may be required to repay any benefits determined to be an overpayment. 

On Friday, Nov. 12, California’s Franchise Tax Board began sending another round of $600 stimulus checks, to people making less than $75,000. Most of this round of 784,000 payments will be to people who filed paper tax returns for 2020, though some will be direct deposit for people who filed electronically. For more information about the Golden State Stimulus II, read here.

​Sources: EDD, OC Register, FTB 
The Market & Industry: Mortgage rates remain low; California’s home sales solid in October

Key mortgage rates remain low this week. Thirty-year fixed rate mortgages remained at 3.14 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remained at 2.44 percent. The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage also stayed flat at 3.13 percent. 

California home sales remained solid in October as prices leveled off and low rates continue to support the housing market. Existing, single-family home sales totaled 434,170 last month, and the median price was $798,440. Year-to-date statewide home sales were up 13.4 percent in October. Although sales have slowed compared to last year, sales continue to stabilize and outperform the pre-pandemic levels observed in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Slower sales suggest that the market is returning to its typical seasonal pattern, and further market normalization can be expected in the coming months.
Sources: CNET, C.A.R.

Around the State: More states join California in urging booster shots for all; COVID-19 cases remain low for now

California has now been joined by numerous other states, including Maine, Vermont, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas and West Virginia, in urging all residents to get booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. California officials are urging residents to get their booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine and to immunize newly eligible children aged 5-11 before the holidays at the end of the month. The combination of people gathering indoors due to colder weather and declining vaccine effectiveness has the health department concerned about a rising wave of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the state. 

As of 10:30 p.m. yesterday, there were 4,997,337 reported cases of COVID-19 in the state, for a daily average of 4,783. This is a decrease of 23.7 percent from two weeks prior. Hospitalizations remain low, at 3,480, a decrease of 6.1 percent. Statewide, 23.7 percent of ICU beds are available. California has administered 54,901,764 doses of the vaccine, and 70.4 percent of residents have received at least one dose. Among all Californians, 63.3 percent are fully vaccinated. Experts say that about 85 percent of Americans will need to be vaccinated to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

Sources: AP, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times
Health Check-Up: Pfizer asks approval for COVID-19 pill and agrees to allow other nations to make generic versions; 10% of U.S. kids aged 5-11 have had the first dose of the vaccine; where to make your appointment 

Pfizer asked the U.S. FDA to authorize its new, experimental pill for treating COVID-19. It joins a handful of other pills under consideration that, if approved, would allow people infected with the coronavirus to stay home and receive treatment there. Currently, all approved treatments for COVID-19 require an injection or intravenous (IV) delivery that must be given by a health care professional at a hospital or clinic. Merck also recently asked for approval for an antiviral pill treatment for COVID-19, and the FDA plans to convene a panel of outside experts to review that medication. None of these medications prevent infection – they are not vaccinations. Instead, they are meant to reduce the severity of disease and chances of hospitalization or death. Pfizer reported earlier this month that its pull reduced hospitalizations and deaths by 89 percent among unvaccinated, high-risk adults who had early symptoms of COVID-19. For best results, patients should start taking the pill within three days of the onset of symptoms. Pfizer’s antiviral pill is an protease inhibitor, one of a family of drugs that revolutionized the treatment of HIV and hepatitis C. It works by blocking a key enzyme so that the virus cannot multiply inside the human body. This is different from Merck’s pill that causes mutations in the coronavirus so that it can’t reproduce. 

On Tuesday, Pfizer signed an agreement with a group from the United Nations to allow generic drug makers to create low-cost alternatives of the drug for use in 95 countries, covering approximately 53 percent of the world’s population. The pill, named Paxlovid, is not yet available to consumers. The deal includes countries that are classified as low-income, lower middle-income, or upper middle-income territories by the World Bank. It includes many nations in Latin America, but not Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, or Romania, among others.

Internationally, COVID-19 cases are spiking across Europe, as winter weather sends more people indoors. More than 2 million new cases were reported in Europe last week, which is the most the region has had in one week since the beginning of the pandemic. On Monday, the European nation of Austria recorded 894.3 new cases per 100,000 residents over the prior seven days. Accordingly, Austria implemented a nationwide lockdown for all people age 12 and older who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19. People who are not vaccinated must stay home except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going to school or university, for a walk, or to get vaccinated. Police patrols have been increased, and unvaccinated people can be fined up to 1,450 euros ($1,660) is they violate the lockdown. Out of approximately 8.9 million people in the nation, almost 2 million are affected by the quarantine. The government is urging all citizens to get vaccinated. 

According to the White House, 10 percent of kids aged 5-11, or about 2.6 million children, have received the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 children’s vaccine since it was approved two weeks ago. Kids who receive their first dose of the vaccine by the end of this week will be fully vaccinated by mid-December, before the year-end holidays, if they get their second dose three weeks after the first one. 

California’s vaccination website, myturn.ca.gov, is offering appointments for children aged 5-11 as well as people 12 and up. Vaccinations are also available at walk-in clinics, pediatricians’ offices and pharmacies. Some counties have their own vaccine scheduling or information websites, such as L.A. County’s scheduling site, San Francisco’s scheduling site, San Diego County’s information site, Orange County’s information site, and Sacramento County’s information site.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, NPR, NBC News, Daily News, AP, MyTurn.gov, L.A. County Dept. of Public Health, SF.gov, San Diego County, Orange County, Sacramento County Dept. of Public Health