Welcome to Climate Point, your weekly guide to climate, energy and environment news from around the Golden State and the country. In Palm Springs, Calif., I’m Mark Olalde.

COVID-19 numbers in the U.S. are once again trending very much in the wrong direction. We first hit a peak number of cases in April. Then we hit a higher peak in July. Now, after making progress, we’re going backwards, with the number of new cases identified each day edging back toward the summer high.

Against that backdrop, USA Today Network reporters teamed up to dig into inequities across the country that are fueling the virus’ spread through low-income communities and neighborhoods predominantly populated by people of color. Too often, we’re seeing that environmental woes and public health are intertwined. In this must-read series, reporters found that factors such as proximity to heavily polluting industries seem to be making the pandemic