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Health & Fitness

Safe, Queer Space to Aid in Personal Fitness Goals

Classes are offered 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and there is one class at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit the website at: www.thequeergym.com/home

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Coach Nat and Person(s) from Queer Gym provided by Visit Oakland

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of public spaces that are deemed safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, especially gyms. Nathalie Huerta, A.K.A Coach Nat, had experienced this firsthand and decided to take matters into her own hands.

She opened the first LGBTQ+ gym in the nation in 2010, the Queer Gym. 

With a mission statement in mind, “to create happy, healthy homos” the gym is owned and managed by members of the LGBTQ+ community and run completely online. While there is a physical gym, once the pandemic hit it made the transition to completely online to extend the reach into the community. This unique environment also offers personalized workouts for those who are transitioning.

The Queer Gym is located at 1243 E 12th St, Oakland in. The gym can be reached at  (510) 866-4250 and also on  Twitter and Facebook. Classes are offered 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and there is one class at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit the website at: www.thequeergym.com/home

Activism

State Employees, Health Care Workers Required To Be Vaccinated Or Tested Regularly For COVID-19

State officials announced July 26 that health care workers and state employees will now be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly if they cannot verify their vaccination status.

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Cars line up to receive a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at the drive-through vaccination site at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Waterworld) in Concord on March 31, 2021. The vaccine is available to everyone 12 years or older. Photo by Ray Saint Germain/Bay City News.

State officials announced July 26 that health care workers and state employees will now be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly if they cannot verify their vaccination status.

The requirement, which officials underscored is not a pure vaccination mandate, will take effect August 2 for state employees and August 9 for a broad range of health care settings and facilities, including outpatient and long-term care facilities.
Those who choose to remain unvaccinated or cannot verify their vaccination status will be encouraged to wear a medical-grade face covering and required to test negative for the virus twice a week if they work in a hospital, or once a week if they work in an outpatient care facility like a dentist’s office.
“Too many people have chosen to live with this virus,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a briefing in Oakland to announce the new requirements. “We’re at a point in this pandemic where individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way.”
The new requirements are part of the state’s push to get more and more people vaccinated as a wave of new cases, spurred by the ultra-contagious delta variant and cases among unvaccinated people, threatens to halt the state’s progress in mitigating the virus’ spread.
The vast majority of the state’s current cases, hospitalizations and deaths are also among unvaccinated residents, with the number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents around 14 for unvaccinated residents and just two per 100,000 for fully vaccinated people.
The delta variant also accounts for roughly 80% of the current cases that have been analyzed across the state, according to data from the California Health and Human Services Agency.
The California Medical Association endorsed the requirements for health care workers shortly after Newsom’s announcement.
“We’ve come too far to ease up now in our fight against COVID-19,” CMA President Dr. Peter Bretan Jr. Said in a statement. “It makes sense for the health care community to lead the way in requiring vaccines for our employees. We will continue to do all we can to help convince all Californians that vaccines are safe, effective and critical as we come together to bring this pandemic to an end.”
While state and local officials have shied away from outright mandating vaccinations, cracks in that wall have begun to show even as more than 70% of eligible state residents have gotten vaccinated.
Last week, health officials in San Francisco, Contra Costa and Santa Cara counties urged employers of all sizes to consider mandating that their employees get vaccinated, both to protect their co-workers as well as their customers.
On July 26,  the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require that its health care workers get vaccinated in the coming weeks, lest they face penalties like increased testing and potential removal.
University of California, San Francisco, Department of Medicine chair Dr. Bob Wachter noted in a Twitter post that the country appears at a tipping point for vaccination requirements.
“As each organization and industry finds the courage to mandate or strongly incentivize vaccination, it makes it that much easier for the next one to do so,” Wachter said. “Until the pressure is on leaders who have not done it.”
Newsom and California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly noted that first-dose vaccinations increased 16% last week over the previous week, but argued that that pace must be maintained to keep the virus at bay.
Public health officials have also cautioned that while current data has found that fully vaccinated people are well protected against serious illness and death if they contract the delta variant, a future variant may find it much easier to circumvent the available vaccines.
“The fewer people that are vaccinated, the more likely we could have more variants like this delta variant,” State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland, said at the July 26 briefing. “Right now we’re seeing that it is not very harmful to a vaccinated person, but how do we know what the next variant is going to be like?”
In recent weeks, Newsom has hinted at the relationship between online misinformation and the remaining vaccination holdouts, but offered his strongest rebuke Monday, equating not getting vaccinated to drunken driving.
“You’re putting other peoples’, innocent peoples’ lives at risk, you’re putting businesses at risk, you’re putting at risk the ability to educate our kids by getting them back in person full-time,” he said, adding that public officials need to be clearer about the societal costs of the pandemic continuing to flourish among the unvaccinated.
State officials said they expect health care settings to be fully in compliance with the new requirements by August 23, giving unvaccinated employees time to get fully vaccinated with either the one- or two-dose vaccine regimen.
Newsom, when asked whether the state will issue additional mask and vaccination mandates, said he hopes the private sector will take those steps before the virus forces the state’s hand.
Even so, the governor reiterated his frequent argument that such mandates will likely be unnecessary – as long as those who are eligible get vaccinated.

“We can extinguish this disease,” Newsom said. “You won’t be asking about mask mandates, that’s the wrong question. The question is, why haven’t we followed the science and why aren’t we finishing the job?”

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Community

State Attorney General Bonta a Leading Force in Fight That Saved Obamacare

“No one should live in fear of being denied the lifesaving care they are entitled to, especially as our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bonta.

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MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 15: An Obamacare sign is seen on the UniVista Insurance company office on December 15, 2015 in Miami, Florida. Today, is the deadline to sign up for a plan under the Affordable Care Act for people that want to be insured on January 1, 2016. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of keeping the core of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, intact.

That June 17 decision resolved the Democrat vs. Republican legal tug-of-war about the federal government’s role in health care coverage that has lasted more than 10 years.

At the end of that grueling battle, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a former Assemblymember from Oakland, emerged a quiet victor.

In March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Bonta California’s 34th Attorney General, he stepped into a respected and carefully built legacy of successful legal advocacy and litigation against conservative foes that his predecessor Xavier Becerra left behind. Pres. Biden appointed Becerra Health and Human Services Secretary.

Bonta said the Supreme Court’s decision, “affirms, once again and hopefully for the last time, that the ACA is the law of the land.”

“Americans know health coverage can mean the difference between life and death, so families across the country should rest easy tonight knowing their healthcare is safe,” said Bonta.

Bonta led a coalition of more than 20 states challenging Republican efforts to undo the Obama-era health care act. He was joined by the governor of Kentucky as well as the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The coalition successfully pushed back a lawsuit spearheaded by more than a dozen Republican states led by Texas and upheld benefits of the ACA including patient protections, affordability measures, and coverage expansions.

In the court case California versus Texas, Republican attorney generals tried to overturn a monetary penalty for individuals who fail to obtain minimum health insurance. The ACA, enacted in 2010, required individuals to get minimum health essential health insurance coverage and individuals who failed to do so would have to pay a penalty.

However, the requirement was amended in 2017 to cost $0 which voided the penalty fee.

Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that the amendments were unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court’s decision upheld the ACA provisions after Republicans were unsuccessful in making their case.

“No one should live in fear of being denied the lifesaving care they are entitled to, especially as our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bonta.

According to the California Health Care Foundation, 3.7 million out of the 12.5 million people covered by Medi-Cal have health insurance through the ACA.

Health Advocates from community-based organizations across California say they are relieved by the Supreme Court’s ruling to keep the ACA but say that there is still room to make the law better.

Leaders from the California Black Health Network (CBHN), urged the state to focus on equity in healthcare.

Rhonda Smith, the executive director of CBHN highlighted that the court’s ruling helps reduce the lack of access to health care now that people get to keep their health care.

“One of the reasons why we have health disparities is because of the lack of access to healthcare services,” said Smith.

“It definitely plays a key role in trying to minimize health disparities, especially the impact of COVID on black and brown communities,” she said.

California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.

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Commentary

Sha’Carri Richardson Bolts into History and into Tokyo Olympics

Many are comparing the Olympic-bound track and field star to greats like Florence Griffith-Joyner and Gail Devers.

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Richardson’s victory came in just 10.86 seconds – amazingly, it was an eye-lash slower than her head-spinning performance in the semifinal heat, where she crossed the finish line in just 10.64 seconds. Screenshot NCAA YouTube

With lightning-like quickness and a will to dominate, Sha’Carri Richardson is on her way to the Olympics in Tokyo.

The 21-year-old native of Dallas, Texas, won the women’s 100-meter final during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Richardson’s victory came in just 10.86 seconds – amazingly, it was an eye-lash slower than her head-spinning performance in the semifinal heat, where she crossed the finish line in just 10.64 seconds.

Many are comparing the Olympic-bound track and field star to greats like Florence Griffith-Joyner and Gail Devers.
Richardson has remained humble, and she credits her grandmother, Betty Harp, for much of her success.

“My grandmother is my heart, my superwoman,” Richardson told Runners World. “To have her here at the biggest meet of my life, it’s just amazing. That probably felt better than winning the races, just being able to hold her after becoming an Olympian.”

Already turning heads in and around the sport, Richardson further raised eyebrows when she dominated the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Jumping out to a fast start, Richardson appeared to purposely slow down toward the end of the race and point toward the clock, which registered her dramatic timing.

“Nobody knows what I go through,” Richardson said in a post-race interview with ABC.

“Everybody has struggles, and I understand that. But y’all see me on this track, and y’all see the poker face I put on. But nobody but [my family] and my coach know what I go through…and I’m highly grateful to them. Without them, there would be no me.”

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