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Total coronavirus cases:
10,028 in California, including 2,739 in the Bay Area.
216,768 cases in the U.S., with 5,138 deaths, including 216 in California. The five states with the highest death tolls are: New York with 2,220, New Jersey with 355, Michigan with 335, Louisiana with 273, and Washington state with 254. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
More than 963,000 in the world with more than 49,000 deaths. More than 202,000 people have recovered.
For detailed maps, check out The Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker.
To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Breaking news developments from today:
9:44 a.m. Italy’s crisis easing: Italy added 760 dead to its coronavirus toll, bringing the count in the country with the most deaths to 13,915. But new infections continued to level off three weeks into the West’s first nationwide shutdown, with 4,668 new infections for a total official caseload of 115,242, the Associated Press reports. Pressure on hospitals in hard-hit Lombardy continued to ease, with more than 800 people recovered and 165 fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to a day earlier. Intensive care units are still saturated, but overall, Lombardy added just under 1,300 new positive cases, with about half of those infected being treated at home.
9:38 a.m. Amazon hires more than 80,000 warehouse workers: The retail giant said in a blog post that it expects to spend more than $350 million in additional pay as it continues to hire. It is also expanding temperature checks, with over 100,000 workers checked daily, and giving masks to workers. Some workers have protested what they call inadequate safety measures, and at least 15 warehouses have had coronavirus cases.
9:35 a.m. California coronavirus cases top 10,000: The 16 new cases reported Thursday by the San Francisco County health department plus the 65 reported overnight from San Mateo County pushed the number of confirmed cases in California to 10,028. There have been a total of 2,739 cases reported in the Bay Area. The 16 cases in San Francisco, which has averaged 36.6 new cases per day over the past seven days, are the fewest since March 21.
9:33 a.m. New York City’s poor hit hardest: The Associated Press reports that residents in the immigrant-rich Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona sections of Queens have tested positive for the virus in far greater numbers and at higher rates per capita than in wealthy, mostly white parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. People living in one Queens zip code just south of LaGuardia Airport were roughly four times as likely to have tested positive as people in the gentrified section of Brooklyn that Mayor Bill de Blasio calls home.
9:24 a.m. New loans and grants for San Francisco businesses: Another $10 million in loans and grants will be available to small businesses in the city grappling with day-to-day survival. This includes a new $9 million Small Business Emergency Loan Fund announced today by Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors, and the addition of another $1 million to the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund established last month to provide grants of up to $10,000. Applications for the emergency loan fund should be available next week.
9:20 a.m. Sheriff’s deputy in Riverside County dies of coronavirus: A deputy at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department died of COVID-19, authorities said. Terrell Young, who was a deputy for 15 years, marked the department’s first coronavirus fatality.
9:18 a.m. Richmond facility to become medical station for COVID-19 patients: The Craneway Pavilion, which as a Ford auto plant during World War II made military vehicles, will be converted into a 250-bed medical station for COVID-19 patients, county health officials said. The National Guard is delivering beds and medical supplies this week to start the transformation, officials said, with the goal of completing it by the third week of April. Federal officials are providing the equipment and supplies and local officials will coordinate medical staffing. “The Craneway played an essential part in winning World War II. Today it is being repurposed to fight another global war. This facility will help not only our local communities but contribute to the overall effort to contain COVID-19,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in a statement.
9:16 a.m. 16 new cases in San Francisco: The total of known COVID-19 cases in San Francisco increased to 450 after 16 more cases were confirmed, health officials said.
9:14 a.m. San Mateo County has 65 new cases: San Mateo County confirmed 65 new COVID-19 cases that brought the total tally of known infections in the county to 453.
9:13 a.m. Democratic convention pushed back: The Democratic National Committee has postponed its presidential nominating convention from July to August due to the coronavirus, the party announced. “In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds,” said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee. “During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders.” The convention is now scheduled for the week of Aug. 17 in the same arena in Milwaukee.
9:08 a.m. As deaths mount, New York system stressed: New York City has already set up 45 new mobile morgues. Local crematories are now allowed to work around the clock. At one Brooklyn hospital, the in-house morgue was filled to capacity Tuesday. The next day, the nursing staff ran out of body bags. As the coronavirus epidemic enters its second month, the casualties in New York are starting to severely tax the city’s ability to accommodate its dead. With more than 1,000 deaths so far and thousands more projected, city officials are working hard to stave off an emergency, the New York Times reports. Funeral homes are becoming backed up. And, running on smaller staffs, cemeteries and crematories are scrambling to keep up with demand.
9:01 a.m. Could environmental benefits last? The Bay Area is basking in its cleanest air in months, if not years. And we’re not alone. Earth is getting a rare gulp of fresh air as society shuts down in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s an environmental boon that decades of green activism could not achieve. The improvement isn’t likely to last. Or will it? Kurtis Alexander reports the story here.
8:52 a.m. Fiscal nightmare for state’s schools: School district officials around California are looking toward an ominous future, one filled with fiscal calamity and academic losses from the fallout of the coronavirus crisis. It could take years to recover. Without a significant increase in state or federal funding, schools across the state could face emergency layoffs and severe budget cuts, a Contra Costa administrator said. Jill Tucker reports more here.
8:43 a.m. Milan mayor says city could reopen, then close again: The mayor of Europe’s first major metropolis to close for the coronavirus is expecting a ”stop-and-go” relaunch once the lockdown on movements begins to lift. Mayor Giuseppe Sala says until there is a vaccine against the virus, any reopening of the city of 1.3 million residents is likely to be tentative, the Associated Press reports. “It is possible that we reopen, and then we have to close again. Until we have a vaccine, it will be an anomalous situation,” he said.
8:28 a.m. Out of work because of the coronavirus? These businesses are hiring.
8:25 a.m. Europe running out of medicines: Nine leading European university hospitals are warning they will run out of essential medicines needed for COVID-19 patients in intensive care in less than two weeks as they are increasingly crushed by the pandemic, the Associated Press reports. The European University Hospital Alliance said that without countries cooperating to ensure a steady supply of these drugs, doctors and nurses might no longer be able to provide adequate intensive care for people critically ill with the new coronavirus. The group said that aside from the need for protective gear and ventilators, “the most urgent need now is for the drugs that are necessary for intensive care patients.” They wrote that existing stocks of muscle relaxants, sedatives and painkillers were likely to run out in two days at the hardest-hit hospitals, and in two weeks at others.
8:12 a.m. Stay-at-home order extended in Russia: President Vladimir Putin has ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of the month as part of a partial industrial shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Putin said he was extending the non-working policy he ordered earlier for this week to remain throughout April. He emphasized that all employees should continue earning their regular salaries during the period. The Associated Press reports that the Russian leader said that, along with protecting the public’s health, it’s important to protect people’s incomes and prevent a spike in unemployment. “An efficient and stable economy is key to solving our tasks, including in the health care system,” he added.
7:51 a.m. Dairy farmers forced to throw away milk: Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that’s forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain. The Associated Press reports that Golden E Dairy, which has more than 2,400 cows near West Bend, Wis., is dumping about 30,000 gallons a day. The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and food service businesses have been closed.
7:47 a.m. Oprah to donate $10 million: Oprah Winfrey said she plans to donate $10 million to help Americans in several cities and in areas where she grew up. “I was struck by the work these organizations are doing and while everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help,” Winfrey said in a tweet about a food fund initiative launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs and Apple. Winfrey said she will also give $1 million to the food fund.
7:35 a.m. Germany accepts patients from other countries: Germany’s foreign minister says his country has taken in more than 100 coronavirus patients from Italy and France as part of bilateral aid efforts among allies, the Associated Press reports. German news agency dpa reported that Germany has taken in 85 coronavirus patients from France, 32 from Italy and two from the Netherlands. It said more than 60 further hospital beds in Germany are earmarked for patients from Italy and France, while teams of doctors and nurses have been deployed to Naples and Madrid.
7:28 a.m. Global infections approach 1 million: The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients around the world reached 962,977 morning with most of them — 216,722 — reported in the Unites States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of people who have died of the infection from the virus reached 49,180 while 202,935 people have recovered in the world.
7:27 a.m. Students infected after spring break trip: Forty-four University of Texas students have the coronavirus, CNN reports, after joining dozens of spring breakers on a chartered flight from Texas to Mexico. They violated the advice of U.S. authorities to avoid gathering in groups and nonessential air travel. One official had a message for the spring breakers. “Quit being an ass,” Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said.
7:15 a.m. Africa faces an ‘existential threat’ as virus spreads: Some African countries will have more than 10,000 coronavirus cases by the end of April, health officials projected Thursday, as the continent least equipped to treat serious infections has an “enormous gap” in the number of ventilators and other critical items. The virus “is an existential threat to our continent,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. John Nkengasong, told reporters. Some countries have only a few ventilators. Central African Republic has just three, the Associated Press reports.
7:09 a.m. Battered Caltrain pushes ahead with tax measure: As it stumbles through the coronavirus outbreak, Caltrain still has ambitious plans to electrify and nearly double the size of its fleet by 2022. All the agency needs is money. So officials are taking steps to put a one-eighth cent sales tax on the November ballot in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Read more from Rachel Shaw here.
7:06 a.m. Trump says ‘massive amounts of medical supplies’ being sent: President Trump said the federal government is sending “massive amounts of medical supplies” to states and hospitals. Trump said 51 “large” cargo planes with supplies were expected to arrive, but he did not specify where they originated or where they would land. He also said ventilators would be shipped today and that “thousands” are being built. “Some [states] have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?). Remember, we are a backup for them,” Trump said on Twitter. “The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit. Other states are thrilled with the job we have done.”
7:02 a.m. Biden expects convention to be postponed: Former Vice President Joe Biden called for moving the Democratic National Convention to August from mid-July. “I think it’s going to have to move into August,” he said Wednesday night on “The Tonight Show.” Katie Peters, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, told the New York Times that the committee could make a decision by the end of this week.
6:58 a.m. PG&E customers get credit: PG&E will give its residential customers up to $63 toward their April bills. Natural gas-only customers will receive $27.18 in credit while electric-only customers will receive $35.73. PG&E officials said the credit comes from a state-mandated program that makes large industries that emit greenhouse gases purchase carbon pollution permits from auctions run by state officials. The credit is the customers’ share of the payments from the state’s program.
6:46 a.m. Pelosi’s election opponent takes different path: It’s difficult enough to try to unseat the House speaker from her congressional seat, but Shahid Buttar faces a special challenge of campaigning during a pandemic when everyone has to stay at home. So Buttar is taking a different tack — his voter outreach efforts are all about the pandemic instead of politics. Joe Garofoli has the story.
6:44 a.m. Stocks calm at start of trading: The Dow Jones industrial average hovered around yesterday’s close, following a sharp drop yesterday.
6:41 a.m. DMV grants extension for driver’s license renewals by seniors, people with good records: California drivers who are older than 70 and had their driver’s license expire between March and May won’t have to renew their license for 120 days, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. State law requires drivers to renew their licenses at DMV offices, but officials said the extension is meant to ensure those vulnerable to the new coronavirus don’t have to visit state offices. DMV officials also announced a similar 60-day effort for drivers with safe driving records and people seeking to renew their identification cards.
6:35 a.m. Testing shortfall hurts nursing homes: Nursing homes across the country have been in lockdown for weeks under federal orders to protect their frail, elderly residents from coronavirus, but a wave of deadly outbreaks nearly every day since suggests that the measures including a ban on visits and daily health screenings of staffers either came too late or were not rigorous enough. The Associated Press reports that recent outbreaks have pushed the death toll at the nation’s nursing homes to at least 450 and highlight the biggest gap: Screenings of doctors, nurses, aides and other workers do not involve actual testing but the taking of temperatures or asking health questions that still allow infected, asymptomatic people to slip through. “It’s still been like Swiss cheese with people coming in and out of there, and thus you’ve got these explosions in senior facilities,” said John BaRoss, who recently pulled his 85-year-old mother out of an assisted-living center in New Jersey out of fear of infection.
6:30 a.m. We’re staying at home, watching game shows: TV programs across the dial recorded superlatives last week with a captive audience of millions of Americans told to stay home because of the coronavirus. Few were as interesting as the newfound fervor for CBS’ “Let’s Make a Deal,” which recorded its most-watched week since the show was brought back 11 years ago with Wayne Brady as host, the Nielsen company said. Viewers also gave “The Price is Right,” now hosted by Drew Carey, its biggest audience in four years, Nielsen said.
6:18 a.m. Bay Area nurse spends $2,000 per month on hotel room: Chad Baker, a registered nurse who works at Kaiser Permanente in the East Bay, is living in a hotel rather than risk bringing the coronavirus home to his husband. There’s little help right now for health care workers who choose to isolate themselves before they show COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the coronavirus, Carolyn Said reports.
6:08 a.m. Patriots’ plane used to fly in supplies: The governor of Massachusetts arranged to buy 1.2 million N95 masks from China and had them transported on the New England Patriots’ team plane, the Wall Street Journal reports.
6:04 a.m. U.S. paid for half of medical supplies sent from Russia, Russia says: The United States paid for half of the medical supplies sent from Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry reportedly said. The claim comes after American officials said on Wednesday they had purchased medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protection equipment, from Russia following a call between President Trump and President Putin. Russian officials said on social media the medical supplies arrived in Wednesday in New York City.
5:44 a.m. Unemployment claims double record: Initial claims hit 6.6 million for the week ending March 28, the U.S. Labor Department said. The record was set a week ago when there were 3.3 million new filings. California had 878,727 new claims, the most of any state, more than double the No. 2 state, Pennsylvania, which had 405,880. The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April. The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15% this month, above the previous record of 10.8% set during a deep recession in 1982.
5:34 a.m. WHO says almost all Europeans who have died have been over 60: The World Health Organization reported that more than 95% of people who have died of coronavirus in Europe have been over age 60.
Breaking news developments April 1:
11:53 p.m. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announces new guidelines: Thurmond announced guidelines for high school seniors who now have to finish the school year at home, while anxiously checking their mailboxes for college acceptance letters. Many of them can now breathe easier. Colleges have agreed to accept pass/fail or credit/no credit grading for courses that would normally require a letter grade. The state has also made testing requirements, financial aid applications and transcript submission more flexible, on the understanding that shelter-in-place orders have slowed down all educational bureaucracies. Read the full story here.
10:59 p.m. President of Philippines orders military, police to shoot civilians: President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech Wednesday night ordered the military and police to kill civilians who cause “trouble” during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a video posted on Rappler, an online news site based in the Philippines. The news site said the president made the remarks after protests erupted amid a shortage of resources. Duterte called out a leftist group he believes is behind the protests.
“Remember, you leftists: You are not the government. Do not go around causing trouble and riots because I will order you detained… My orders are to the police and military, also the barangay, that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead. Do you understand? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I’ll send you to the grave.”
10:40 p.m. U.S. death toll exceeds 5,000: Latest data from Johns Hopkins University shows the death toll in the U.S. jumped to 5,138, with New York topping the list at 2,220 deaths.
9:30 p.m. Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. dies from coronavirus complications, reports say: Ellis Marsalis Jr., a jazz pianist and the father of four musicians including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, has died at the age of 85. Marsalis died from complications related to the coronavirus, his son, Branford, told the New York Times. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell acknowledged Marsalis’ death in a Twitter post late Wednesday: “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched.”
8:57 p.m. San Jose OKs emergency paid sick leave ordinance: The San Jose City Council voted unanimously to advance an emergency ordinance providing paid sick leave to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The ordinance provides workers of essential businesses during the stay-at-home order with an immediate grant of 40 hours of sick leave and an additional hour of sick leave for every two hours worked up to a cap of 80 hours until the city state of emergency is lifted. Workers advised to self-isolate by a health care provider or who are having coronavirus symptoms are among those included, according to a council memorandum. The council is expected to enact the ordinance on April 7.
8:18 p.m. Marin County reports sixth death: A sixth person has died from the coronavirus in Marin County, officials announced Wednesday. Marin County has 108 confirmed coronavirus cases. The county has tested 774 people and 15 people are hospitalized. County officials reported one new case of the virus Wednesday, but deputy health officer Lisa Santora said in a video update, “I do not believe this is because we are flattening the curve, but rather we have not optimized testing.”
8:07 p.m. State health officials do not require face coverings, but say they may be helpful in tandem with physical distancing, hand washing: The California Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that people are not required to wear face coverings, but said coverings may be helpful in preventing spread when used alongside proven prevention measures like frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Officials do not recommend people wear N95 masks or surgical masks because it could further strain the limited supplies needed by medical professionals. People can instead use cloth face coverings like scarves, shirts or other handmade items that cover the nose and mouth when out in public if they choose to do so.
There is “limited evidence” that these coverings reduce coronavirus transmission, health department officials said. Officials stressed that these coverings do not replace other guidance like: frequently washing hands, not touching your face, staying six feet away from people in public and staying home except for essential activity. “Face coverings could provide some additional protection against COVID-19, but Californians should not have a false sense of security if they choose to wear them,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of Health and Human Services.
7:51 p.m. NRA, firearm advocates sue Bay Area counties: The National Rifle Association and other firearms advocates are suing four Bay Area counties for refusing to include gun stores or firing ranges in the “essential” businesses that can stay open during the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders. Officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties violated gun owners’ constitutional “right to keep and bear arms,” the NRA and its allies said in a suit filed Monday in federal court in San Jose seeking to reopen the stores and ranges. Americans’ ability to purchase firearms is vital for “self-defense of themselves and their families, especially in times of crisis,” the suit said. San Francisco’s last gun shop closed in October 2015 after the city passed an ordinance requiring video-recording of commercial firearms sales.
7:30 p.m. Santa Rosa Police Chief remembers fallen 43-year-old officer: Flags were at half-staff at the Santa Rosa Police Department on Wednesday to honor Marylou Armer, an officer who died Tuesday from coronavirus complications. Armer, a 43-year-old Napa County resident, started at the department in 1999 as a field evidence technician before she became a sworn officer in 2008, said Chief Rainer Navarro. Her latest assignment was as a domestic violence detective. She became very ill after testing positive for the virus in early March. “Marylou was always proactive and there with a smile,” Navarro said. “She was a thoughtful and committed public servant who loved helping people and loved the people she worked with. She will be deeply missed and our hearts and prayers are with her family.”
7:06 p.m. IRS reverses course on tax returns for stimulus payments: The Treasury Department and the IRS abruptly changed their minds Wednesday, saying people who wouldn’t normally file tax returns don’t have to do so to receive payments under the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. The tax agency had said Monday that “simple” returns would be required to get the payments. Read the story here.
7:05 p.m. Los Angeles mayor urges residents to wear face coverings: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday recommended city residents wear homemade face coverings when in public. Garcetti noted that residents should not try to acquire surgical or N95 masks needed by medical personnel and first responders, and that people should still adhere to shelter-in-place guidelines. “Research shows even a bandana tucked in can have an effect of slowing down droplet spread,” Garcetti said in a press conference. “These face coverings are only effective together, of course, with safe physical distancing. So this is not an excuse to get closer.” Earlier Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office will soon issue guidelines on use of masks for the general public.
6:36 p.m. Oakland Unified to continue meal program, mayor says: The school district will continue distributing twice-a-week meals while schools remain closed through the rest of the academic year, said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. The district provides “grab and go” breakfast and lunch meals on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon at 12 locations, to OUSD students or families and any Oakland child 18 and under, according to its website. In a video update, Schaaf also said she will hold a virtual town hall on the city’s coronavirus response on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., which can be accessed by livestream or phone call-in.
5:46 p.m. San Mateo County restricts outdoor recreation to five miles within residents’ homes: The new shelter-in-place health order issued by San Mateo County mandates that outdoor recreation activity must take place within five miles of a person’s residence. Not all county orders were as explicit, but many parks and beaches across the region have closed parking lots to prevent vehicle access. San Francisco officials noted in an FAQ about the order that if people need to drive to go for a walk or run, they are going too far. “Our preference is that you really try to get your exercise closer to where you live if at all possible,” Mayor London Breed said on Wednesday during a town hall.
5:45 p.m. Napa County in process of extending shelter-at-home order: Napa County’s website says officials are in the process of extending the county’s shelter-in-place order “to be consistent with orders that have been extended throughout the Bay Area and with guidance provided by the State of California.” Napa County said it will likely release its updated order no later than noon Friday. Seven other Bay Area counties have extended their stay-at-home orders through May 3 while Solano County extended its order until April 30.
5:31 p.m. Avoid reusable grocery bags, doctor recommends: A Sutter Health physician said during a town hall with Rep. Jackie Speier Wednesday afternoon that shoppers should use disposable paper bags provided by stores instead of bringing their own reusable bags to carry their food and supplies in order to avoid coronavirus contamination. Separately, people receiving packages at home should wipe them down outside or consider opening the package outdoors in order to avoid bringing a possibly contaminated box into their home, the physician said.
5:26 p.m. U.S. government increasing security for Dr. Fauci, report says: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a leading figure in its coronavirus response, is receiving added government security due to threats to his personal safety, the Washington Post reported. Fauci has frequently appeared at White House media briefings and been direct about the potential impact of the pandemic on the U.S. and need for social distancing guidelines. On Tuesday, Fauci said the U.S. “should be prepared” to record at least 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. Fauci declined comment at Wednesday’s briefing when asked if his security detail had been enhanced. The Washington Post reported Fauci has received threats as well as “unwelcome” admiration.
5:20 p.m. Rep. Speier calls lack of gear ‘black eye’ of nation’s response: Rep. Jackie Speier said during a telephone town hall on Wednesday that officials are looking to work with 3-D printing companies to produce personal protective equipment for medical professionals. A nurse who spoke during the phone conference said her hospital is reusing gowns and masks, and she is worried they will run out during the expected surge in patients. “We are going to do everything humanly possible to make sure you have the proper PPE to do your job,” Speier said in response, adding that she thinks the shortfall is the fault of the federal government’s reluctance to act earlier. “That’s going to be the black eye as we look back at this, that we were so ill-prepared for what was coming.”
5:20 p.m. California health officials announce new case numbers: The California Department of Public Health said as of March 31, local health departments have reported 127 confirmed positive coronavirus cases in health care workers.
5:00 p.m. Oakland Unified officially announces closure through end of the school year: Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel said district schools will not reopen as planned on May 4 and instead, remain closed through the remaining term. The decision followed acknowledgments by the governor and state education chief Wednesday that classrooms would not reopen. Other districts are expected to make similar announcements in the coming days. Students are expected continue to participate in schooling via distance learning.
5:08 p.m. State lockdown is 2 weeks old. Here’s how it’s working: Early signs are good. But the governor — with Bay Area health officers who have expanded regional stay-home directives — says California is not yet safe. Gov. Gavin Newsom reported an alarming increase in demand for hospital beds and, in particular, intensive-care beds on Wednesday. And the number of people infected with the virus who were in ICUs jumped five-fold in less than a week, and hospitalizations more than doubled. Read the story here.
5:04 p.m. Apple donates masks to New York state: Tech giant Apple has donated 1.9 million masks to New York state “with more on the way,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter. Cuomo wrote: “We are so grateful to Apple for this much-needed gift of critical PPE supplies.”
4:54 p.m. Fremont rises to meet medical supply shortage: The East Bay city fast-tracked its zoning permit process to make it easier for more than 115 biotech companies to make COVID-19 supplies. BioGenex is providing raw material to Roche labs to make tests. 3D printer PrinterPrezz is producing medical supplies and hospital instruments. Medical equipment maker Evolve Manufacturing Technologies pivoted to pushing out 3,000 test kits a day and is planning to make ventilators. There is a nationwide critical shortage of supplies needed to fight the pandemic. Read the story here.
4:50 p.m. Grand Princess passengers complete quarantine at Travis Air Force Base: All 850 passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship who were quarantined at the base have completed their quarantine and left the base, Travis officials said. Passengers from the ship first arrived at the base on March 9. They were screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms by Department of Health and Human Services staff and were also offered daily COVID-19 testing, Travis officials said in a release. Those who accepted testing and tested positive were transferred to non-military facilities for medical care. Those who developed acute symptoms were transferred to area hospitals, according to the release. The Chronicle reported last month that many passengers at Travis Air Force Base had been turning down testing due to the possibility of extending the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
4:45 pm Navy begins evacuation of U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt; 93 positive:The U.S. Navy removed more sailors Wednesday from the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam amid a coronavirus outbreak, and officials said about a quarter of of the crew had been tested for COVID-19. Of nearly 1,300 who have been screened for the disease, 93 tested positive, Navy officials said Wednesday, but about half the tests have not been returned. About 1,000 sailors, or 20%, had been removed from the ship, Navy officials said. In the next 48 hours, they said, they hope to pull a total of 2,700 crew members off the infected ship. Read the story here.
4:38 p.m. Rep. Devin Nunes blasts stay-at-home moves: Even as President Trump has backpedaled from optimistic messages about when the country will be able to reopen, some Republicans are doubling down on the message that life has to go back to normal sooner rather than later. They include San Joaquin Valley Rep. Devin Nunes, who blasted California’s advice to close school campuses for the rest of the academic year as “way overkill.” Read the story here.
4:33 p.m. Patients infected with coronavirus may be moved to California nursing homes: State nursing homes could soon be forced to accept infected patients from overflowing hospitals, according to a controversial state order that nursing home experts have derided as a “death sentence” for vulnerable residents. The move is part of the state’s plan to handle an expected surge of patients sickened by COVID-19, the dangerous respiratory disease caused by the virus. Advocates for nursing home residents and the doctors who treat them say the new policy could make a dangerous situation even worse, bringing the virus into close contact with elderly residents and allowing it to spread. Read the story here.
4:23 p.m. ‘Severity’ changed view on coronavirus, Trump says: During a White House briefing, President Trump was asked about shifts in his public messages about the coronavirus. In early March, Trump issued a tweet comparing death totals from the flu with then-data for COVID-19. He was asked Wednesday about ceasing comparisons between the flu and the coronavirus, which he termed “vicious” this week. “I think the severity,” Trump said. “I think also in looking at the way, the contagion, it is so contagious. Nobody’s ever seen anything like this where large groups of people all of a sudden, just by being in the presence of somebody, have it. Flu has never been like that. Flu is contagious, but nothing like we’ve ever seen here. Also the violence of it. If it hits the right person — and you know what those stats are — if it hits the right person, that person’s in deep trouble.”
4:15 p.m. How one Palo Alto family maintained its April Fool’s Day tradition: The Chronicle’s daily roundup of relative good news amidst the coronavirus coverage focuses on one family in Palo Alto that maintained a years-long tradition of playing pranks on one another. Read this story to find out how, along with other news from the brighter side of things.
4:05 p.m. Judge tells Uber to find short-term benefits for drivers during coronavirus crisis: A federal judge put off a decision Wednesday on whether to reclassify thousands of Uber drivers in California as employees to qualify them for state sick-leave pay during the coronavirus pandemic. But the judge told the ride-hailing company to try to reach a quick agreement with drivers for short-term benefits. Read the story here.
3:54 p.m. Trump answers why U.S. has not issued nationwide stay-at-home order: President Trump was asked at a briefing Wednesday why the U.S. has not issued a nationwide order. Trump said it is “because states are different … There are some states that are different. There are some states that don’t have much of a problem. They don’t have a problem. They don’t have thousands of people that are positive or thousands of people that even think they might have it, or hundreds of people in some cases. You have to give a little bit of flexibility. If a state in the Midwest or if Alaska, as an example, doesn’t have a problem, it’s awfully tough to say, ‘close it down.’ So, we have to have a little bit of flexibility.” Alaska issued a state-wide stay-at-home order starting March 28.
3:46 p.m. Trump says U.S. considering limiting some domestic flights: President Trump said officials are looking “very strongly” at limiting flights to and from areas of the U.S. hard-hit by the coronavirus. “We’re certainly looking at it,” Trump said. “But once you do that, you really are clamping down an industry that is desperately needed.” Asked about the extent of domestic flights being looked at, Trump said officials are “looking at the whole thing.” He said, “We’re getting into a position now where we want to do that, we have to do that.”
3:41 p.m. San Francisco Whole Foods staff member tests positive: A member of the staff at Whole Foods on Stanyan Street in San Francisco has tested positive for the coronavirus, a company spokesperson confirmed. The person is in quarantine. After learning of the infected employee, the store performed additional cleaning, and has implemented enhanced daily cleaning and social distancing guidelines. Whole Foods did not provide any other details about the case, citing the employee’s privacy. KQED, which first reported the story, reported that the infected person last worked on March 15 and other store employees were informed on March 28.
3:28 p.m. Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne dies at 52: The musician, who wrote songs and played bass with the Grammy-nominated band Fountains of Wayne, in addition to producing music for TV’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and the Tom Hanks-directed film, “That Thing You Do!,” has died as a result of coronavirus complications. He was 52.
3:27 p.m. To mask or not to mask? Shifting guidelines add to mask anxiety: Whether it’s wise to wear a face mask against COVID-19 — and what kind — has been the subject of debate among experts, politicians, and just about everyone who breathes, it seems, as guidelines shift daily. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they are reviewing their guidelines and may relax that stance. On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office will soon issue guidelines on the use of masks for the general public — but expressed concern that using masks could give people a false sense of security. Read the story here.
3:17 p.m. U.S. Navy removing people from aircraft carrier amid outbreak: The Navy has removed more than 1,000 people from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, where more than 100 sailors had been infected with the coronavirus, said Admiral Michael Gilday, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations. Gilday said more than 2,700 sailors will be moved off the ship by Friday and that “great progress” has been made on testing. Gilday said the carrier is still “fully operational” and “will remain so.” Across the U.S. Navy fleet, sailors are spending 14 days in quarantine before leaving on ships for training exercises or deployments, and the Navy has increased amounts of testing equipment and physicians on ships at sea, Gilday said. Read the story here.
3:17 p.m. IRS issues more details on $1,200 relief payments: Even though the IRS has issued more guidance this week, there are still big questions about those $1,200 “economic impact payments” to taxpayers. Read the story here.
3:15 p.m. Vail Resorts furloughs, reduces salary for U.S. workers: After closings its resorts —including those in Northern California — in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz announced Wednesday that the company will furlough nearly all of its year-round hourly staff in the U.S. and reduce salaries for salaried U.S. employees. The company projects up to $200 million in lost profitability in its third quarter. It will also defer mountain improvement projects like new chair lifts and terrain expansions.
3:11 p.m. Google to provide computers, internet to California students studying from home: California is expecting schools to remain closed for the rest of the year. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that Google will provide thousands of computers and free internet access to help students finish the year online. Read Alexei Koseff’s story.
2:58 p.m. Connecticut reports infant death related to COVID-19: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said the death of an infant in the state has been linked to COVID-19. Lamont said on Twitter that a 6-week-old from the Hartford area was brought to a hospital unresponsive late last week and could not be revived. Lamont wrote that the infant tested positive for the coronavirus. “This is absolutely heartbreaking,” Lamont wrote. “We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19.”
2:55 p.m. Bay Area construction industry begins shutting down most work: Housing construction, initially exempt from shelter in place rules, is being shut down under new, stricter health orders. It means housing being put on hold — and more workers joining the unemployment rolls. Read the story here.
2:43 p.m. Trump: U.S. ramping up counter-narcotics operations amid pandemic: President Trump said in a news conference that the U.S. began enhanced counter-narcotics operations on Wednesday. Operations are being ramped up in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, said U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Trump said the U.S. will deploy additional Navy destroyers, combat ships and aircraft, Coast Guard and Air Force personnel, “doubling our capabilities” in those areas. “We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives,” Trump said.
2:18 p.m. Santa Clara County reports more cases, two more deaths: County health officials reported 66 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total for Santa Clara County to 956 cases. Two more people died, bringing a total of 32 deaths in the county.
2:15 p.m. Newsom to states without stay-at-home orders: ‘What are you waiting for?’: In an appearance on CNN’s “The Lead” on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom was asked by host Jake Tapper if he had a message for governors of states that have not issued statewide stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic. Newsom said: “My message is this: What are you waiting for? What more evidence do you need? If you think it’s not going to happen to you there are many proof points all across this country — for that matter all around the rest of the world. Don’t dream of regretting. Lean into the moment, take responsibility to meet it head-on. You’ll never regret overcompensating at the moment so that you’re preparing people for meeting this moment in the responsible way. And there’s no greater intervention — period, full stop, none — than physical distancing. We talk about social distancing, but it’s really physical distancing. You can stay socially connected but you need to be physically apart. And that foundationally and fundamentally we know can bend the curve, can save lives and ultimately can get people back to work and get society back to some semblance of normalcy faster than anything else we can do.” California issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19.
2:07 p.m. San Francisco expected to have 2,555 hotel rooms available by end of week: San Francisco has contracted with six hotels with a total of 479 rooms to house unsheltered and vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and so far has moved 123 people into hotel rooms, said Trent Rhorer, director of San Francisco’s Human Services Agency. City officials are negotiating with two more hotels that will offer an additional 576 rooms and are expected to be available Thursday — in addition to a third hotel with 1,500 rooms expected to be available by the end of the week. The city is also opening new shelters so it can allow 6 feet between shelter residents. San Francisco is negotiating with two shelter spaces that could house up to 500 people, Rhorer said. Vulnerable residents within the city’s existing shelter system will not be moved to a new shelter, but instead moved to a hotel room. They must be able to care for themselves with little support services, Rhorer said.
2:00 p.m. CDC officials trace contacts, do more tests at Laguna Honda: Dr. Grant Colfax says Laguna Honda Hospital now has a dozen COVID-19 cases, including two residents and 10 staff members. Seven of the staff were involved in patient care and three were not. Eighty-nine patients and 218 staff members have been tested so far, Colfax said. Five CDC physicians and scientists were at Laguna Honda Wednesday, Colfax said, to conduct contact tracing and identify and test people who were most likely exposed. The city is also working with state health officials and other federal agencies to investigate the outbreak, Colfax said, adding, “We remain very concerned about a growing outbreak there.”
1:52 p.m. California deaths top 200: The number of virus-related deaths in California has surpassed 200 and the total number of cases is quickly approaching 10,000, based on the most county reports. To date, there have been 9,587 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California and 204 deaths according to county records. There have been 2,645 cases reported in the Bay Area, topped by the 956 from Santa Clara County, which reported 66 new cases and two deaths on Wednesday.
1:41 p.m. ‘Too early to tell’ if shelter-at-home order is working, health director says: Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco’s health department, said it is too early to tell if the Bay Area’s shelter-at-home order is working to flatten the coronavirus curve. “We know we are doing the right things, and the data tells us that staying home is the very best defense,” Colfax said. “But at this stage of the game, there are still plausible scenarios that our health care system could be brought to the brink and even overwhelmed.” The city’s new health order announced Tuesday includes stricter rules for the public.
1:36 p.m. Federal inmate from San Jose dies of coronavirus in Louisiana: A 43-year-old San Jose man serving time at a federal prison in Louisiana died Wednesday of coronavirus after being placed on a ventilator days ago, authories said. He was the second inmate at the facility to die of the infection. Nicholas Rodriguez was taken to a hospital last week with a high temperature, rapid heartbeat and inability to breathe at the federal prison in Oakdale, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions. He had been sentenced in 2017 to 188 months in prison in Northern California for drug trafficking, according to prison officials and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. To date, 57 inmates in federal facilities and 37 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, according to federal authorities.
1:34 p.m. Moscone Center to shelter 400 people; S.F. secures 400 hotel rooms: The Moscone West Center will be converted into a shelter with capacity for 400 homeless people, San Francisco Mayor Breed said during a Wednesday news conference. People will begin moving into the center as early as Thursday. It will provide 24-hour supportive services, food and resources. The goal is to “thin out” the city’s shelter system to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Breed said. In addition, the city has secured 400 hotel rooms to house people infected with the virus who require isolation but do not have a living situation that allows for it. Breed said moving people to hotels is difficult because people who suffer from addiction or mental illness require services that would not be available in a hotel room.
1:21 p.m. Breed says shelter-at-home could get extended again: A day after county health officials in the Bay Area extended the shelter-in-place directive until May 3, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Wednesday that it could be extended again. “The likelihood that this May 3 date will be extended is possible,” Breed told a news conference. She added that the situation in San Francisco “could be a lot worse” if people were not following social distancing guidelines. She encouraged people to remain physically distanced by using technology to connect with friends, family and neighbors.
1:08 p.m. Stocks continue to plummet: U.S. stocks joined a worldwide downdraft Wednesday as more signs piled up of the economic and physical pain being caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 970 points to close at 20,943.51, a loss of 4.4%.
12:55 p.m. About one-third of COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County tied to churches: Approximately one-third of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County, which has recorded 314 cases and nine deaths, are tied to church gatherings, county officials said Wednesday. “While the case increase was expected, what was not is Sacramento County Public Health’s discovery that approximately one-third of the confirmed cases are linked to gatherings related to churches. Sacramento County is urging — and, not just because the Public Health Order calls for it — all residents, from all faiths and all backgrounds to stay home — lives in our communities depend on it,” officials wrote in an update.
12:50 p.m. Eleven in Santa Clara County sheriff’s office positive for COVID-19: Eleven Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office employees tested postive for the coronavirus, the department announced Wednesday. One was a patrol division deputy and eight were deputies working in the custody bureau. One deputy recovered and is back to work, and the others are quarantining at home, the department said. The 11 included a custody support assistant at the main jail and a record’s technician. The sheriff’s office also reported that a 31-year-old inmate who tested positive after his March 20 arrest by San Jose police has recovered and was moved back to his normal housing.
12:42 p.m. New City Hall effort to pair volunteers with elders in need: San Franciscans eager to help fellow residents during the pandemic have a new option — a pair of volunteer networks designed to match would-be volunteers with seniors and people with disabilities. Mayor London Breed announced the effort on Wednesday: one teams up with Palo Alto-based Mon Ami to connect volunteers with people in need of errands or conversational phone calls, while the Shanti Project has helped establish an online service along similar lines. The city’s volunteer website is here.
12:34 p.m. More than 34,000 individuals offer health care service since state asked: Gov. Gavin Newsom reported a hefty response Wednesday to his initiative to enlist more health workers to fight COVID-19: More than 34,000 people have applied in two days since the state announced an all-hands-on-deck initiative asking recent grads and retired health professionals to help boost the medical workforce. “Not every single individual will be ready to go,” Newsom said, adding state officials are reviewing applications and considering geography and licensing among other specificities.
12:25 p.m. CA superintendent of schools says no one knows when it will be safe to return: Tony Thurmond, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, spoke by phone during the governor’s press conference, and he stressed that students must continue to learn despite the shutdown. “None of us knows when it’s safe enough for our students to return to campus,” Thurmond said. “We know that this is difficult, we know that this is a challenge.” He added, “School is not out for the year.”
12:16 p.m. Google will plant 100,000 WiFi access points to boost internet across state: Gov. Gavin Newsom said Google officials will set up 100,000 WiFi access point to increase broadband internet across the state as California schools will remain closed through the school year. Many classrooms are expected to transition online. “We need more Googles,” Newsom said during a news conference. “This was a substantial enhancement.” The tech giant will also offer Chromebooks to students across the state, Newsom said.
12:09 p.m. California has 774 patients in ICU beds, Newsom says: Gov. Gavin Newsom said there were 774 patients in intensive care unit beds across the state, roughly a 17% increase from Tuesday. Read the story here.
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