central valley

Opinion: Methane Leaks in the Central Valley May Be Worsening COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 is now on track to become one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States in 2020. And people with underlying conditions like respiratory diseases are at increased risk for severe illness and death.

This is bad news by any standard, but terrible news if you happen to live in an area such as California’s San Joaquin Valley where the pre-COVID death rate due to chronic lower respiratory disease is 12 times higher than that of the rest of the state.

For Californians Without Water Access, Coronavirus Adds Another Layer of Struggle

As Californians across the state shelter at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an estimated 1 million of them lack access to clean drinking water, one of the most fundamental resources for maintaining health and hygiene.

Many of these residents are concentrated in rural parts of the state, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, where dozens of small public water systems fail to meet safety standards.

Opinion: Central Valley Residents, We Must Act Now to Save Lives

As chief medical officer of the largest public health plan in the Central Valley, serving 335,000 Medi-Cal patients, I am very worried about our vulnerable members.

We have to act now to flatten the infection curve and save lives, including those of our health care professionals. This is particularly crucial in this part of California. In the Central Valley, we have been battling a severe, long-time shortage of doctors and nurses.

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