To keep our community informed of the most urgent coronavirus news, The San Francisco Chronicle’s critical updates are free to read. Ongoing coverage is available to subscribers. Subscribe now for full access and to support our work.
Total coronavirus cases:
• 19,111 in California, including 503 deaths.
• 4,295 in the Bay Area, including 115 deaths.
• 432,596 in the U.S., including 14,831 deaths. Besides California, five other states with the highest death tolls are New York with 6,268; New Jersey with 1,504; Michigan with 959; Louisiana with 652; and Illinois with 462. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
• More than 1.5 million in the world, with more than 90,000 deaths. More than 340,000 people have recovered.
The latest developments from today:
10:33 a.m. Germany flies in farmhands after travel ban causes shortage: Two planes carrying Eastern European farmhands arrived Thursday in Germany as an ambitious government program to import thousands of seasonal agricultural workers got under way amid strict precautions to protect both the laborers and the country from the coronavirus. The flights to Berlin and Duesseldorf were arranged to address a massive labor shortage created when Germany banned most foreign travelers from entering the country last month in response to the virus outbreak.
10:27 a.m. San Mateo announces 22 new cases: Twenty-two additional coronavirus cases were confirmed in San Mateo County as the total of known infections grew to 633, health officials said. Should you be tested? Check out The Chronicle’s answers to frequently asked questions about testing here.
10:23 a.m. Sonic internet disruption cuts off customers: The internet zapped out in households throughout Northern California on Wednesday night, ruining at least one virtual Passover Seder and prompting scores of people to yell into the void on social media — via cellular connections. Read more here.
10:15 a.m. Investors close to retirement getting the shivers: Investors planning to retire within 15 years are showing signs of stress but younger investors are staying the course, according to a Morningstar analysis of money moving into and out of target-date retirement funds last month. Investors withdrew $9.5 billion more than they put into funds with a target retirement date between 2020 and 2035 in March, as the coronavirus sent the stock market reeling. On the other hand, younger investors put $3.6 billion more into funds with a target date between 2040 and 2065 than they took out in March.
10:09 a.m. Fast food workers protest: Hundreds of fast food workers throughout California protested Thursday to demand masks, gloves, soap and two weeks of paid sick leave for employees exposed to the coronavirus. Fight For $15 officials said Thursday’s demonstrations followed news that a McDonald’s employee, who had been protesting in Los Angeles since Sunday, tested positive for the coronavirus.
9:54 a.m. New York flattening curve? The number of people hospitalized in New York state has almost leveled off, which suggests the curve is flattening even as deaths rise, the New York Times reports.
9:50 a.m. Health order extends to Easter gatherings, Solano officials say: The stay-at-home order extends to religious activities that usually occur in April, Solano County health officials said, urging religious leaders to cancel in-person services. “We genuinely empathize with those who are unable to practice their religious traditions and celebrations during this challenging time,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, the county’s health officer. “However, to protect the health of our community members, the health order does not allow for gatherings outside of one’s immediate household.”
9:40 a.m. Trump quietly shuts down asylum at border: The U.S. government used an obscure public health law to justify one of its most aggressive border crackdowns ever, the Associated Press reports. People fleeing violence and poverty to seek refuge in the U.S. are whisked to the nearest border crossing and returned to Mexico without a chance to apply for asylum. It eclipses President Trump’s other policies to curtail immigration by setting aside decades-old national and international laws. The Trump administration has offered little detail on the rules. The secrecy means the rules got little attention as they took effect March 20.
9:21 a.m. Veritas donates S.F. housing for domestic violence survivors: San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Mayor London Breed said in a statement the temporary homes will be provided by the real estate management company and city officials are trying to secure more. “As we shelter in place to limit COVID transmission, survivors of domestic violence are at an increased risk of danger and victimization by their abusers,” Boudin said in a statement. The units will be available in secure buildings for up to 90 days. The arrangement comes as domestic violence agencies are reporting an increase in calls from women trapped in dangerous situations because of statewide stay-at-home orders: “As we shelter in place to limit COVID transmission, survivors of domestic violence are at an increased risk of victimization by their abusers,” Boudin said in the statement. Information on how to connect to agencies that might provide referrals is here.
9:13 a.m. Toilet paper hoarding slows: Millions of people have been panicking about their household supply of the tissue. Store shelves have been emptied. But things are calming down, at least in the U.S., after a buying spree in mid-March. It’s not clear when — if ever — buying habits will get back to normal, the Associated Press reports.
9:06 a.m. Coronavirus outbreak on U.S. aircraft carrier worsens: A sailor who tested positive for the coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt was found unresponsive Thursday and admitted to an intensive care unit in Guam, the first hospitalization from the ship’s outbreak, the Navy said. Meanwhile, positive test results among sailors on the ship soared. Read the full story.
9:04 a.m. Can you assist others? Here’s a list of ways to help during the pandemic.
9:01 a.m. Here come the coronavirus work lawsuits: Fired for getting sick? Employer asking invasive health questions? The coronavirus pandemic has brought a host of tricky legal issues, and lawyers and labor experts see many of them ending up in court.
9 a.m. San Jose regional parks closed Easter weekend: San Jose regional parks and parking lots will be closed Easter weekend to prevent overcrowding, city officials said. Neighborhood parks will remain open with a few exceptions of parking lots, city officials said, but gatherings — including for Easter egg hunts — are prohibited. A full list of parks that will be closed can be found here.
8:59 a.m. Antibodies in recovered victims may hold key to coronavirus cure: In the race to develop treatments for the coronavirus, two California biotech companies are teaming up to collect blood samples from people who have recovered from COVID-19 — with the hope that antibodies produced by their immune system after being infected can provide the key to developing a drug or vaccine. Catherine Ho reports the story here.
8:56 a.m. New York sees another record number of deaths in a day: New York recorded 799 coronavirus deaths Wednesday as the number of fatalities surpassed 7,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said while announcing the state was dispatching more funeral directors and increasing testing of minorities. “I understand the scientific concept,” Cuomo said of the number of daily deaths increasing as people who remain hospitalized for prolonged periods of time died. “But you are talking about 799 lives.” Cuomo said the number of people admitted to hospitals and into intensive care unit beds has decreased, but urged New Yorkers to continue practicing social distancing. “So far our efforts are working,” he said.
8:53 a.m. President points fingers during pandemic: First, it was the media that was at fault. Then, Democratic governors came under fire. China, former President Barack Obama and federal watchdogs have all had a turn in the crosshairs. And now it’s the World Health Organization that’s to blame.The list of those President Trump has blamed is lengthy and shifting, the Associated Press reports.
8:25 a.m. Vandals hitting Bay Area restaurants: Burglaries are down by single digits in San Francisco compared to this time last year. But the combination of less guarded businesses and unusually empty streets has created conditions for desperate people or opportunists to burglarize restaurants, owners say.
8:21 a.m. 48 new coronavirus cases in San Francisco: Forty-eight additional COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in San Francisco, growing the total of positive cases to 724, officials said. To date, health officials have recorded 5,994 tests in the city and county.
8:19 a.m. Coronavirus spreads at famed monastery: The mayor of Ukraine’s capital says the coronavirus has hit the Pechersk Monastery, infecting more than half the monks at the renowned religious and tourist site. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko says 26 of the 44 monks at the monastery have been diagnosed with infections. No deaths have been reported. The monastery is known for its extensive system of caves and tunnels, containing centuries-old cells for monks and burial places.
8:12 a.m. Half a billion people on brink of poverty, report warns: Half a billion people, or between 6 and 8% of the world’s population, could be pushed into poverty due to economic repercussions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released Thursday by international aid agency Oxfam. Researchers at King’s College London and the Australian National University analyzed three World Bank poverty lines — $1.90, $3.20 and $5.50 — and contractions in per capita household income or consumption, estimating poverty could increase for the first time since 1990. “We can only beat this virus through coming together as one. Developing countries must act to protect their people, and demand action from rich nations to support them.,” Oxfam officials said in a statement.
8:01 a.m. How much has the pandemic slowed U.S. air travel? The Transportation Security Administration screened 94,931 people Wednesday, a drop of 96% from a year ago and the second straight day under 100,000, the Associated Press reports. The official tally of people who passed through TSA checkpoints exaggerates the number of travelers because it includes some airline crew members and people working at airport shops.
7:51 a.m. ESPN hit hard: Nearly 900 nationally televised sporting events have been canceled or suspended, Axios.com reports. Almost 40% were scheduled to air on ESPN networks, according to a graph published by Axios.
7:46 a.m. Democrats stall Republicans’ plan to help businesses: Senate Democrats on Thursday stalled President Trump’s request for $250 billion to supplement a “paycheck protection” program for businesses crippled by the coronavirus outbreak, demanding protections for minority-owned businesses and money for health care providers and state and local governments. They blocked a request by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to give the unanimous consent necessary to fast-track Trump’s request, the Associated Press reports.
7:34 a.m. Yelp to lay off 1,000 employees, furlough 1,100: Yelp will lay off 1,000 employees while placing another 1,100 on furlough as interest in the restaurants, nightlife and recreation that drove people to its platform has dwindled due to the coronavirus outbreak. “The physical distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders, while critical to flatten the curve, have dealt a devastating blow to the local businesses that are core to our mission,” the company’s co-founder and chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman said in a statement.
7:26 a.m. VTA light rail to resume service: The South Bay light rail network run by the Valley Transportation Authority was expected to resume early Thursday, two weeks after a person being trained as an operator tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said. The service will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Transit officials said they are not collecting fares.
7:18 a.m. Georgia primaries postponed: The state pushed back elections for the second time in response to the coronavirus, postponing May primaries until June, the Associated Press reports.
7:15 a.m. Should those at higher risk of contracting coronavirus go shopping? Here’s what older people and their loved ones need to know.
7:12 a.m. British leader’s condition improves: Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained stable in a London hospital after three nights in intensive care for treatment of his coronavirus infection. Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, said the prime minister “had a good night and continues to improve.” On Wednesday evening the government said Johnson, 55, was making “steady progress” and sitting up in bed. He has been receiving oxygen without being placed on a ventilator since his COVID-19 symptoms worsened and he was admitted to an ICU.
6:58 a.m. Governor sees threat in neckties: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the only doctor serving as a governor in the country, said he read a study in a medical journal showing that ties worn by doctors at hospitals can host harmful germs and help spread disease. So, the Associated Press reports, Northam issued an informal edict to his staff: Keep the ties in the closet until further notice. “It was symbolic that we were going to pay attention to every detail as we try to prevent the spread of this pandemic,” said Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey.
6:51 a.m. CarMax to furlough 15,500 employees: About 15,500 CarMax associates who work at stores shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak will be placed on furlough on April 18. The used-car retailer said it plans to provide transition pay to each affected employee and pay employees’ portions of medical plan dues. CarMax president and chief executive Bill Nash will also forgo 50% of his salary, officials said.
6:37 a.m. Dow rises again: Shrugging off the grim joblessness report, traders sent the Dow Jones industrial average up 1.4% Thursday morning. Aggressive action by the Federal Reserve, including stepping in to back small-business stimulus loans, appeared to buoy the markets.
6:36 a.m. Coronavirus cases worldwide to surpass 1.5 million: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the world reached 1,498,833 early Thursday as the number of deaths escalated to 89,733, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 336,780 people who recovered from the infection. In the United States, 432,438 cases have been confirmed and 14,808 have died.
6:35 a.m. Police raid cruise ship in Australia: Police wearing protective gear boarded a cruise ship to seize evidence and question crew members of the vessel linked to hundreds of coronavirus infections and 15 deaths across Australia. About 2,700 passengers disembarked from the ship on March 19 in Sydney and it has since become the largest source of coronavirus infections in the country. More than 600 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths are linked to the ship, the Ruby Princess, the Associated Press reports.
6:21 a.m. Concerns over an Easter regression: World leaders and health officials are fervently warning that hard-won gains in the fight against the scourge must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing during the Easter holiday. A spike in deaths in Britain and New York and surges of reported new infections in Japan and in India’s congested cities make it clear the battle is far from over.
6:17 a.m. Levi’s Stadium to shine blue for essential workers: Levi’s Stadium will shine blue Thursday night to celebrate workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak. The stadium is among 150 venues and city buildings across the nation — from New York’s Madison Square Garden to Seattle’s Space Needle — that will participate in the commemoration and campaign for solidarity. The venues are expected to glow at 8 p.m. local times.
6 a.m. More federal loans available: The Federal Reserve is taking additional steps to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. The money will target American households and businesses, as well as local governments besieged by the coronavirus outbreak, the Associated Press reports.
5:49 a.m. Santa Clara County official says sports might return by Thanksgiving: Dr. Jeffrey Smith, the Santa Clara County executive officer, said he doesn’t expect “any sports games” to be played in the county until at least Thanksgiving, “and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving,” Smith said. “This is not something that’s going to be easy to do.” The 49ers and Sharks both play in Santa Clara County. Read more here.
5:38 a.m. 6.6 million U.S. workers file for unemployment: Another 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Roughly 10% of workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks. More than 20 million Americans may lose jobs this month, the Associated Press reports. Carolyn Said reports more here.
The latest developments from April 8:
11:31 p.m. CDC report shows how one person with mild symptoms triggered 16 coronavirus infections, including three deaths: A report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents how one person who tested positive for the coronavirus, but displayed only mild symptoms, may have triggered 16 infections in Chicago — three of which ended in death. Epidemiologists at the Chicago Department of Public Health investigated the 16-person “cluster” in February and March, and concluded that the 16 confirmed or probable cases likely resulted from two family gatherings, a funeral and a birthday party. The “index” patient had recently traveled out of state and was experiencing respiratory symptoms when he attended the funeral in February, ate a potluck-style meal and embraced people. Three days later he attended a birthday party and again embraced people and shared food. A detailed mapping of contacts shows he likely infected 10 people at those two events alone. Another person began showing symptoms after visiting one of the infected people in the hospital. Two more exhibited symptoms after caring for infected people in the cluster, and one of them infected a housemate. Three people who had moderate symptoms after the birthday party attended church 6 days later, resulting in another church attendee developing COVID-19 after sitting within one row of them for 90 minutes, and passing the offering plate. “These data illustrate the importance of social distancing for preventing (COVID-19) transmission, even within families,” the report’s authors write. A team of several doctors and academics contributed to the report, led by Isaac Ghinai, Susan Woods, and Kathleen A. Ritger. In the Bay Area, where six counties joined forces to enact the nation’s first social distancing order, the number of coronavirus cases is rising at a slower rate than in new epicenters like New York City.
11:18 p.m. Nine former Grand Princess passengers file suit: The former passengers filed suit in San Francisco federal court alleging Princess Cruise Lines was negligent in exposing them to the coronavirus, according to a KTVU report. One of the plaintiffs, Pamela Guisti of San Mateo County, was treated in an ICU for COVID-19, the station said.
10:19 p.m. USNS Mercy crew member reportedly tests positive for the coronavirus: A crew member of the hospital ship USNS Mercy that docked at the Port of Los Angeles has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to CNN reports. A U.S. Navy spokesperson told CNN the crew member is isolated on the ship and will soon be transferred to an off-ship isolation site, and that the ship’s ability to receive patients is not affected. The hospital ship responded to the Port of Los Angeles last month to treat non-COVID-19 patients to ease the burden on local hospitals seeing a surge of virus patients.
9:58 p.m. Community groups denounce the Grand Princess: More than 600 crew members on the viral-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship “are being held captive,” according to a joint statement released Wednesday on behalf of multiple community organizations, including San Francisco’s Filipino Community Center, Migrante USA, National Union of Seafarers India, Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. The statement denounced the ship for keeping the crew on board when it docked in the Bay Area for the second time Tuesday. The statement linked to a Facebook video of Indian crew members in surgical masks, with their palms pressed together. “We are feeling very alone,” one worker says in the video. “We are waiting to reunite with our families as soon as possible.” A Filipino crew member who contracted the coronavirus on the ship died in a San Francisco hospital last week, prompting calls for the ship to be decommissioned.
The Grand Princess said in a statement Tuesday that the crew had been quarantined for 14 days and monitored for coronavirus symptoms. Anyone who showed signs of the virus was taken off the ship or isolated. Since the quarantine ended Saturday, one worker remains in isolation for COVID-19, the statement said. It noted that Princess Cruises is working on plans to repatriate workers across its entire fleet, which requires negotiations with many different countries. Four hundred thirty eight workers and six passengers were able to return to the Philippines, but some Filipino crew members remained because exhibited coronavirus symptoms “and were not fit to travel,” the statement said.
9:50 p.m. New Jersey governor posts photo of ventilator received from California: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted a photo of packaging from a ventilator received from California that included a handwritten message: “Prayers from the West Coast.” Murphy wrote: “Received this message on a shipment of ventilators from Governor @GavinNewsom and the people of California. Have faith — we will beat this if we all work together.” As of Wednesday night, New Jersey had confirmed 47,437 cases of the coronavirus and 1,504 deaths, both the second-most among U.S. states after New York. On Monday, California loaned 500 ventilators to the federal stockpile; Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that 100 would be directed to New Jersey.
9:15 p.m. Cats can contract the coronavirus, study finds: A study published on the website of the journal, Science, found that cats and ferrets are prone to infection by the coronavirus while dogs are among animals that appear less susceptible. The study, based on research conducted at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China, found indications that cats can be infected through transmission of respiratory droplets. Dogs were found to have low susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, while pigs, chickens and ducks were found not to be susceptible to the virus, the study said. The study was conducted in part to determine which animals might be used for testing potential vaccines to replicate the effect on humans.
8:13 p.m. Los Angeles to close all parks for Easter Sunday: Mayor Eric Garcetti said parks in Los Angeles will be closed from Saturday evening until Monday morning to prevent gatherings for Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic. The closures include lakes and botanical gardens and will be monitored by park rangers and police, Garcetti said. Gatherings such as picnics and egg hunts present a risk to mitigation measures against the virus, Garcetti said at a news conference. “This is such a great tradition that many families have,” Garcetti said. “But we can’t afford to have one cluster of just even a few people together spread this disease to more people and kill them.”
8:05 p.m. National stockpile of medical supplies nearly depleted, report says: The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of critical medical supplies needed to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the Associated Press reports. The Associated Press reported the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the stockpile has distributed about 90 percent of personal protective equipment — such as N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields and gowns — from its stockpile to state and local governments. Human and health services officials told the AP that 10% of protective equipment in the stockpile will be kept as a reserve to support federal response efforts.
7:53 p.m. Oakland receives trailers to house unsheltered residents: Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city of Oakland has received 91 trailers that will be used as shelter for homeless residents amid the coronavirus pandemic. “We will be standing up those trailers by May 1 to house our unsheltered residents who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” Schaaf said in a video update on Twitter. The trailers are funded by FEMA and some will go to the cities of Alameda, Berkeley and Hayward, Schaff said. Alameda County, which has reported 674 cases of the virus, released data by city Wednesday showing its most cases in Oakland (127) and Hayward (103).
7:43 p.m. Marin County issues warning about price gouging during pandemic: Marin County District Attorney Lori Frugoli issued a warning to county residents and businesses about price gouging on consumer items and emergency and medical supplies. “Our office has received reports of exorbitant prices being charged in Marin County by some retailers for certain consumer goods and staples and in at least one case, N95 masks,” Frugoli said in a statement. “I advise all persons who do business in Marin County to follow not only the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law by not taking unfair economic advantage of consumers during a declared state of emergency, especially one as devastating as the current COVID-19 pandemic.” Anyone with evidence of price gouging in Marin County is asked to contact the county district attorney’s consumer protection unit or local law enforcement.
7:30 p.m. Solano, Sonoma, Marin counties update case counts: Solano County reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 112 confirmed cases. Officials reported 39 cases are active. Sonoma County reported three new cases of the virus to increase its total to 120 with 79 cases active, according to its online tracker. Marin County reported one new case of the virus Wednesday.
7:25 p.m. State prison in Chino reports 17 cases among inmates: The California Institution for Men in Chino (San Bernardino County) has reported 17 cases of the coronavirus among its inmate population, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website. That accounts for more than half of the 29 confirmed cases in the state prison system, according to corrections officials. There are also 18 cases of the coronavirus among employees at California Institution for Men, according to the website, which specifies that staff information is self-reported. There have been 62 total cases reported among staff at 19 different facilities in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation system as of Wednesday afternoon.
7 p.m. Santa Clara County official says sports unlikely before Thanksgiving: Santa Clara County executive officer Dr. Jeffrey Smith told county supervisors Tuesday it is unlikely the county will host sporting events before Thanksgiving due to coronavirus concerns. “I’m sorry to say, I don’t expect to have any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving,” Smith said in a virtual board of supervisors meeting. “This is not something that’s going to be easy to do.” Santa Clara County is home to pro sports teams including the 49ers, Sharks and Earthquakes. A timeline of Thanksgiving would appear to counter optimism expressed by some officials, including President Trump, for starting the NFL season on time.
6:50 p.m. Trump criticizes WHO response to coronavirus: In Wednesday’s White House briefing, President Trump repeated criticisms of the World Health Organization by saying it had “minimized” the threat of the coronavirus and been “China-centric” in its response. Earlier in the day, WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded to Trump’s earlier criticisms by asking Trump not to “politicize” the pandemic. “Please don’t politicize this virus,” Ghebreyesus said. “If you want to be exploited and you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.” Asked about those words, Trump said WHO officials were politicizing the virus: “I can’t believe he’s talking about politics when you look at the relationship they have to China.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Trump in saying Wednesday the U.S. is “re-evaluating” funding for the WHO but rebuffed a question about calls to change WHO leadership. “This is not the time to be doing that kind of change,” Pompeo said. “There’ll be a lot of time to look back and see how the World Health Organization performed.”
6:25 p.m. West Contra Costa Unified School District expands its free meal program to include dinner: Children 18 years old or younger can now pick up breakfast lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 17 locations in the district, without having to show proof of income or school attendance. Since schools closed in March, West Contra Costa Unified has served more than 270,000 meals, with help from district staff and volunteers. On Friday, April 3, the district had one of its largest meal service days, with 22,000 meals distributed. “These are unprecedented times we are living in right now and any support we can provide the families we serve is a huge benefit,” Superintendent Matthew Duffy said in a statement Wednesday.
6:12 p.m. TSA screenings dip below 100,000 in a day: As the coronavirus pandemic decimates air travel, the Transportation Security Administration screened 97,130 people at U.S. airport checkpoints on Tuesday. “Yes, it’s a record low,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter. For comparison, the TSA screened 2,091,056 people on the same weekday one year ago. Bloomberg reports that air travel has dropped to levels not seen since the early 1960s amid the pandemic.
6:03 p.m. Santa Clara approves small-business grant program: Santa Clara’s city council has approved creating a grant program for small businesses that will offer grants up to $5,000 or $10,000 for qualified local businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said in a statement. The city committed up to $500,000 in one-time funds to the program at a Wednesday special meeting. Qualified businesses must be independently owned and operated with no more than 25 full-time employees, per the release. Applications for grants will open starting next week.
6 p.m. California deaths top 500: Just one day after recording its 400th coronavirus-related death, California’s tally reached 502 on Wednesday with 56 reported fatalities. That’s a one-day high, topping Tuesday’s 51. There were also 1,472 new cases reported in the state on Wednesday, the most on any one day. There have been 19,022 confirmed cases reported by county health departments, including 4,218 in the Bay Area.
5:57 p.m. Berkeley urges residents to plan ahead for pet care: Berkeley city officials released a list of tips to residents on planning ahead for pet care in case they (the owners) become ill or hospitalized with the coronavirus. Officials suggest gathering pet supplies including food to last at least two weeks, 30 days’ supply of medications, a travel kennel, treats and toys. Officials also suggest identifying a temporary caregiver and writing down emergency information such as owner’s name and contact, veterinarian’s contact and pet’s feeding schedule and medical conditions. Officials also suggest owners avoid contact with their pets if they become sick.
5:45 p.m. Judge decides to release Ghost Ship defendant Derick Almena: The Alameda County judge presiding over the Ghost Ship fire case has decided to release defendant Derick Almena while he awaits a new trial, requesting he instead be placed in a community monitoring program. Judge Trina Thompson action comes after California judicial leaders on Monday eliminated bail for defendants charged with misdemeanors and most nonviolent felonies, in their latest round of emergency orders intended to stem the threat of coronavirus outbreaks behind bars. Almena, who turns 50 next week, is scheduled for a court teleconference on Friday and could be released as early as this weekend, said Vincent Barrientos, one of Almena’s defense attorneys. Read the story here.
5:46 p.m. SF teachers union organizing pledge of stimulus money to undocumented families: A group of San Francisco teachers is pledging funds received through the federal stimulus bill to undocumented families amid the coronavirus pandemic. United Educators of San Francisco has asked its members to pledge all or part of their stimulus checks, which amount to as much as $1,200 per person, to the effort, according to a news release. According to the group’s Twitter account, more than 300 teachers had pledged a total of more than $100,000 as of Wednesday. United Educators of San Francisco has about 6,000 educators as members, per the release.
5:31 p.m. Alameda County posts coronavirus data by city: Officials in Alameda County released their first breakdown of coronavirus cases by city. Cities with the most cases are Oakland (127) and Hayward (103). There have been 70 cases in unincorporated areas, 40 in Fremont, 33 in Pleasanton, 27 in San Leandro and 18 in Alameda. There are 41 cases in people with no address or who are homeless or still under investigation. A case breakdown by age groups shows that people ages 45-to-54 account for 232 of 631 reported cases, according to the county’s tracker.
5:24 p.m. State releases expanded data on health-care workers with COVID-19: California public health officials reported that as of Tuesday, 299 health care workers in the state had tested positive for the coronavirus after contracting it in a health-care setting. Overall, 1,651 health-care workers in California had tested positive, the California Department of Public Health said, citing local health department reports. “Since COVID-19 is moving rapidly within the community, health care workers now appear just as likely, if not more so, to become infected by COVID-19 outside the workplace,” state public health officails said in a release. The department of public health said 462 health-care workers tested positive after being exposed to the virus via travel, close contacts or community transmission and the source of exposure had not been determined in 890 positive cases.
5:10 p.m. State public health officials release partial demographic data on COVID-19: California public health officials have released a partial breakdown of coronavirus cases in the state by racial demographic. The initial data represents 37% of cases and 39% of deaths, the California Department of Public Health reported. The partial data is as follows:
• White residents make up 37% of those cases and 43% of deaths;
• Latino residents make up 30% of cases and 29% of deaths;
• Black residents make up 6% of cases and 3% of deaths;
• Asian American residents make up 14% of cases and 16% of deaths;
• Multiracial residents make up 2.5% of cases and 2% of deaths;
• Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander residents make up 1.6% of cases and 1% of deaths;
• Native American or Alaska native residents make up 0.2% of cases and 2% of deaths.
4:56 p.m. Fauci says theories about death counts are ‘distractions’: Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed suggestions that death counts from COVID-19 are being inflated to make the pandemic appear worse and described the theories as being, “nothing but distractions.” Fauci added: “You will always have conspiracy theories when you have very challenging public health crises.” Dr. Deborah Birx said officials have been clear about the potential effect of the coronavirus on those with underlying health conditions: “Those individuals will have an underlying condition, but that underlying condition did not cause their acute death when it’s related to a COVID infection. In fact, it’s the opposite.”
4:40 p.m. Bay Area independent bookstores show what online shopping can’t replace: Some member bookshops are ramping up their social media presence, reminding their followers that they have websites and the capability to process online orders as all stores are shuttered during the shelter in place order. But taking orders online isn’t the same for booksellers, in terms of either the experience or the finances, and selling books was never a very profitable profession. Read the story here.
4:35 p.m. Fauci reiterates importance of physical distancing, particularly to black Americans: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, urged citizens Wednesday to continue social distancing efforts and directed a plea specifically to the African American community that has been hard-hit by the coronavirus. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that of victims whose demographic data was made public by officials, about 42 percent of 13,000 deaths in the U.S. are among African Americans. Fauci and President Trump acknowledged Tuesday the virus has affected African Americans “disproportionately.”
Officials have said specific demographic groups are not more susceptible to contracting the virus but disparities in underlying health conditions in communities of color, including African Americans, can exacerbate effects of the coronavirus after it is contracted.
“The double-whammy that you suffer now is when you have this terrible virus which essentially preys in its ultimate deleterious effects on people with those underlying conditions,” Fauci said Wednesday. “And since that is more predominant in the African-American population, we want to double down and say to the young people, to the elderly people in that community, to please try as best as you can to protect yourself, if you’re a younger person, and to please protect the people who are susceptible — your grandmother, your grandfather, your elder uncle, the people who have these underlying conditions. Because we are not going to solve the issues of health disparities this month or next month — this is something we should commit ourselves for years to do. But what we can do now again today is to prevent people who are put at higher risk because of the demographic group from getting into a situation which is much, much more deleterious than the general population.”
4:30 p.m. Eight new cases at Santa Rita Jail: Eight new coronavirus cases at Santa Rita Jail were announced on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases for the facility to 11, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. The jail has 26 inmates housed in out-patient hosing or isolated cells due to displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the sheriff’s department reported on its website. There have been 52 tests for the virus conducted at the jail with 34 returning negative and seven pending results, the department said.
4:20 p.m. CDC unveils new guidelines for essential workers: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is introducing new guidelines aimed at allowing essential workers to return to work after exposure to a confirmed case of the coronavirus, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said at a White House news conference. The guidance applies to essential workers like health care workers or employees at stores who have been within six feet of a confirmed or suspected case, Redfield said. The new guidelines state essential workers, if asymptomatic, can return to work if they take their temperature before going in, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing at all times while at work, Redfield said. Workers are instructed to stay at home if they are sick and, when at work, to not share objects that have touched their faces or congregate in crowded rooms or common spaces. Employers are instructed to take the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms before they return to work, send an employee home if they become sick, increase air flow in buildings and increase the frequency of cleaning shared surfaces, Redfield said. The new guidelines will be posted on the CDC website.
4:10 p.m. Cybersecurity breaches leave Oakland and Berkeley students exposed: At least two Bay Area school districts have suffered recent cybersecurity breaches in the wake of the sudden switch to digital learning during coronavirus-related school closures. In Oakland and Berkeley, student privacy has been compromised, and in one case, an unknown adult male exposed himself to teenagers during a class video conference. In Berkeley, a man somehow gained access to an online Zoom video conference Tuesday, exposed himself to the high school students and shouted obscenities before the teacher ejected him from the session. Read the story here.
3:45 p.m. SFFILM at Home brings the festival to your screen: After having to cancel its 63rd edition of its signature festival, SFFILM decided to still provide an experience for its loyal fans sheltering in place. The SFFILM at Home series, which begins tonight, will include archived videos from past festival and live virtual events through at least May 3. Read the story here.
3:42 p.m. Trump says U.S. could reopen ‘in phases’: Asked when he would feel comfortable reopening the U.S. to normal operations, President Trump said the country will “have to be on the downside of that slope,” referring to the virus’ spread. Trump said the country could reopen “in phases” but that “it would be nice to be able to open with a big bang.” The U.S. has extended its distancing guidelines through April 30. Trump offered an optimistic view of the impact of mitigation efforts against the virus. “I would say we’re ahead of schedule,” Trump said. “Now, you hate to say it too loudly because all of a sudden things don’t happen. But I think it will happen sooner than later.”
3:38 p.m. More small-business loans may be coming: Congress is pushing to pass another $251 billion in Payroll Protection Program loans, extending a key part of the CARES Act stimulus package. More money may be crucial for the self-employed, who can’t even apply for the loans until Friday. Read the story here.
3:34 p.m. Birx: Officials ‘impressed’ by Americans’ adherence to distancing guidelines: Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the U.S. coronavirus response, said officials are “impressed” by U.S. residents following social distancing guidelines to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Birx was asked at a White House briefing about some models projecting the country’s death toll from the virus decreasing projected numbers in the past week. “I think this will change how people look at respiratory diseases because it will change what is possible when the globe, and particularly the American people, do this level of mitigation,” Birx said. “As I talked about yesterday, we are still in awe really of the American people’s strength in this in following through.”
3:15 p.m. San Francisco’s Eventbrite lays off 45% of staff: The ticketing company cut around 450 employees after the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down the live events business, Protocol reported. The company’s share price has plummeted about 66% since February to $7.36 per share on Wednesday.
3:04 p.m. Big struggles for small businesses: Small businesses are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, and many aren’t getting help from their insurance companies. Read the story here.
2:53 p.m. Pompeo: U.S. has brought back more than 50,000 citizens amid pandemic: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a White House briefing that the U.S. State Department has repatriated more than 50,000 U.S. citizens since Jan. 29 during the coronavirus pandemic. Those citizens have returned from more than 90 countries, Pompeo said. “This worldwide scale of our repatriation efforts is without parallel in our lifetime,” Pompeo said.
Of the 50,000 people repatriated, a “vast majority” are civilians, not State Department employees, Pompeo said. U.S. embassies in other countries remain open except for the one in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the growing coronavirus outbreak. Pompeo said a “handful” of State Department employees have tested positive for the virus, but did not specify a number. “But we feel like we have a good handle on it,” he said.
2:40 p.m. PG&E closes recreational sites due to pandemic: Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it will close camping and day-use recreational sites in its service area until at least May amid the coronavirus pandemic. The closures impact 38 campgrounds and day-use sites and PG&E will reduce maintenance for restroom cleaning and trash collection, the utility company said in a statement. Sites including Lake Almanor, Lake Spaulding and Lake Britton, which feature hydroelectric systems, also have campgrounds and picnic areas. The window for making reservations at PG&E camping sites will be delayed until at least May, per the statement, with campgrounds tentatively set to open on June 15.
2:34 p.m. More jobs offered: Ace Hardware and G4S, a security firm, are among the businesses hiring despite the tough economic times. See our complete list of companies that have announced hiring plans.
2:33 p.m. Six people who had COVID-19 at Hayward nursing facility have died: Six residents at the Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center in Hayward who had tested positive for COVID-19 have died, health officials said. Twenty-four staffers at the facility and 35 residents have tested positive, said Alameda County public health spokeswoman Neetu Balram. The six who died were among the 35 who had tested positive.
2:32 p.m. Los Angeles County announces 29 additional deaths: Officials in Los Angeles County reported 29 additional deaths and 620 new cases of the coronavirus. Los Angeles County has confirmed 7,530 cases of the virus with 198 total deaths. Of the 29 deaths reported Wednesday, 22 occurred in patients with underlying health conditions and 17 people were over the age of 65, officials said. Seven people were between the ages of 41 and 65, and one person was between the ages of 18 and 40 years old and had underlying health conditions, the county reported. Los Angeles County has recorded 1,170 new cases in 48 hours.
2:28 p.m. Bay Area counties provide updated case counts: Alameda County officials reported 40 additional cases of the coronavirus to bring the county’s total to 674 confirmed cases. That includes 34 confirmed cases in City of Berkeley, which has its own health department. Alameda County also reported one additional death and has recorded 16 total deaths from COVID-19. Contra Costa County reported 20 new cases to increase its total to 462 confirmed cases. The county has 30 patients hospitalized, according to its online tracker. Napa County reported two additional cases to increase its total to 25 cases. San Mateo County reported 27 new cases to bring its total to 617 confirmed cases as of Tuesday. San Mateo had 76 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, per its online tracker.
2:23 p.m. State DOJ agents seize N95, surgical masks in Alameda, San Mateo County raids: State agents confiscated an undisclosed number of N95 masks and surgical masks among other items Tuesday while executing two search warrants in Alameda County and one in San Mateo. Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office declined to say how many items were confiscated or if any individuals or companies were cited for price gouging, which authorities have warned will be prosecuted. In a statement, the office said the warrants were in connection to an ongoing investigation. Reached by phone Wednesday, spokeswoman Bethany Lesser said she could not comment beyond saying the warrants were served in Alameda and San Mateo counties because the investigation remained active. “You don’t want to jeopardize the investigation,” she said. Several local markets in Alameda County have been selling N95 masks for $10 each and bottles of hand sanitizer for $8, according to the Sheriff’s Office. “Taking advantage of people is wrong. You will pay a lot more in fines and fees than it’s worth,” deputies said in a tweet.
2:10 p.m. Three more deaths in Santa Clara County as nearly 100 new cases are confirmed: Three additional people in Santa Clara County have died of COVID-19 while 95 new cases were confirmed, increasing the number of known cases to 1,380, officials said. The county has recorded 46 COVID-19 deaths.
2:05 p.m. Forty-nine confirmed with COVID-19 at Hayward nursing home: Forty-nine people, including 15 staffers, at the Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center in Hayward have tested positive for COVID-19, health officials say. Alameda County public health spokeswoman Neetu Balram confirmed the outbreak Wednesday afternoon. Officials are also monitoring an outbreak at East Bay Post-Acute Rehab in Castro Valley where seven people, including four staffers, have tested positive. Balram cautioned the number of infected persons at each facility could be updated and should be considered a “point-in-time” count. Health officials are tracing suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities throughout the county, Balram said.
1:49 p.m. Crime rates fall further in S.F.: Both violent crimes and property crimes continue to fall during the shelter-in-place period, Police Chief Bill Scott said at Wednesday’s mayoral briefing on COVID-19 response efforts. Violent crimes fell to 58 last week from 71 the prior week, while property crimes fell by 146 to 455.
1:40 p.m. WHO pushes back against Trump: The World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hit back at President Trump’s criticism of the organization on Wednesday, saying countries should avoid politicizing the virus issue “if you don’t want to have many more body bags.” the Washington Post reports. Trump on Tuesday had tweeted, “the W.H.O. really blew it,” accusing the organization of being “very China centric.” He said he would consider cutting funding to the WHO. The WHO has resisted following Trump’s line of accusing China of worsening the pandemic by withholding information, instead taking a conciliatory approach of praising all countries for their cooperation.
1:39 p.m. Travelers is latest company promising auto-premium discounts. The Travelers Companies is the latest insurance company joining a procession of those announcing rebates on automobile policies because driving is at a near-standstill during the coronavirus pandemic. Travelers will give personal auto insurance customers a 15% credit on their April and May premiums, pending regulatory approvals. Other companies that have announced refunds include GEICO, Allstate, Liberty Mutual/Safeco, American Family Insurance and Next Insurance.
1:30 p.m. Poll shows California school closures hit minorities, poor the hardest: School closures across California have been hard on most parents, but the learning loss and lack of resources are worse for poor, Latino and African American families, according to a poll released Wednesday. The survey of 1,200 parents across the state found that nearly 40% of low-income families lacked internet access at home, compared to about 16% of households overall. Read The Chronicle’s full coverage here.
1:19 p.m. Dow closes up 3.4%: The Dow Jones industrial average ended at 23,433.57, the highest closing level it’s seen in a month. Investors cheered reports that the U.S. government was making plans for restarting the economy after states and local authorities eventually begin lifting stay-home orders.
1:12 p.m. State disaggregating data by race, Newsom says: State officials have disaggregated about 37% of coronavirus case data — or 6,306 cases — by race and ethnicity to identify any disparities in the outbreak. Results so far find about 30% of cases are Latino individuals, 14% are Asians and 6% are black, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “Not every city, not every county is providing that data in real time but we are trying to work with those that have,” Newsom said. “I caution it’s less than 40% of all of that data,” he said, noting the results more or less track with California’s overall demographics.
1:03 p.m. 1,154 people with the coronavirus in California are in ICU beds: Gov. Gavin Newsom, updating the state’s c
- Judge blocks Trump from denying asylum to migrants entering US illegally
- +++ New Year's 2020 around the world — live updates +++
- Ann Coulter Blasts Trump Over Immigration And Border Speech; Claims He Didn’t Use The Word ‘Wall’
- US to send more troops to Middle East as Iran vows 'retaliation' after killing of top general — live updates
- Trump impeachment hearing live updates: Ukrainians asked about U.S. aid hours after July 25 Trump call
- +++ Angela Merkel will not run for CDU party chair again - live updates +++
- Iran vows 'retaliation' after US kills top general in Iraq — live updates
- Buttigieg Unveils Immigration Agenda, Calls For Ending Some Of Trump’s Most Notable Border Policies
- America's Shifting Asylum Policies Explained
- Honduras asylum agreement unlawful and unsafe for migrants
Coronavirus live updates: Trump quietly ends asylum at border have 8423 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at April 9, 2020. This is cached page on U.S News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.