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Total coronavirus cases:
8,569 in California, including 2,381 in the Bay Area.
189,500 cases in the U.S., with 4,076 deaths, including 183 in California and 63 in the Bay Area. The five states with the highest death tolls are: New York with 1,714, Washington state with 225, New Jersey with 267, Michigan with 259 and Louisiana with 239. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
More than 885,600 in the world with more than 44,200 deaths. More than 185,400 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 today:
8:50 a.m. San Francisco announces another coronavirus death, 37 new cases: A seventh person in San Francisco died of coronavirus while 37 new cases were confirmed, increasing the total in the city and county to 434, according to the Department of Public Health.
8:23 a.m. COVID-19 cases jump by 79 in San Mateo County: Seventy-nine new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in San Mateo County, increasing the total number of known cases to 388, county officials said. The numbers released Wednesday morning, were recorded Tuesday evening, officials said.
8:20 a.m. Wimbledon championship canceled: The latest beloved sporting casualty of the coronavirus is the Wimbledon tennis championship. It has been canceled and rescheduled for June 28 to July 11, 2021, organizers said Wednesday. “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” officials said, noting that the only other Wimbledon interruptions have been in times of world wars.
8:15 a.m. UN says pandemic will result in loss of 5-25 million jobs: The United Nations issued a dire report on the coronavirus, saying it will cost 5 to 25 million jobs. The global body characterized the pandemic as the greatest world test since World War II, calling the crisis “unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending people’s lives. But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is attacking societies at their core.”
7:38 a.m. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices to remain closed through April: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices will remain closed to people seeking in-person services until May 4, federal officials said Wednesday. Immigration officials said they plan to reopen in early May “unless the public closures are extended further.”
7:03 a.m. Costco cracks down: Only two people per membership card will be allowed inside of Costco stores starting Friday, store officials said Wednesday. The temporary change is meant to help the store’s social distancing efforts, officials said, as shoppers flock to the big-box retailer for food and supplies to sustain their households during the coronavirus pandemic.
7:15 a.m. East Oaklanders band together in perilous time: The coronavirus crisis has only exacerbated the long-standing problems of East Oakland, be it access to food or health services in the low-income community of largely black and brown residents. But it also has underscored this area’s solidarity. Read the story by Sarah Ravani and Justin Phillips about how East Oakland is coping.
6:59 a.m. A new look for Union Square — boarded-up ghost town: San Francisco’s chic Union Square might consider renaming itself Plywood Square, as high-end stores now sport boarded-up fronts — Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. Read Phil Matier’s account of what it’s like in this time of coronavirus pandemic in a tourist hub where two weeks ago, a handbag could be had for $65,000 but now 284 of 340 businesses are closed.
6:45 a.m. Mission neighborhood with a special dance party: Noon on Tiffany Avenue is time for Stacy Horne to switch on her stereo at full blast. One by one, the neighbors come out to dance in the middle of their modest, block-long thoroughfare and, for 15 minutes, the virus is a long way away. Read Steve Rubenstein’s touching story of a San Francisco neighborhood finding some joy by dancing through the pandemic.
6:40 a.m. Stocks resume swings: The markets began April with a return to the volatility that has marked the coronavirus period. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 3.5% in early trading.
6:35 a.m. “You’re scared” — A nurse’s story, one of dozens in California diagnosed with COVID-19: Nurse Brenna Frigulti’s first feeling when she found out she tested positive for COVID-19 was heartbreak that she couldn’t help anymore. Her second was dread of dying alone — like she’d seen happen to coronavirus-positive patients in the intensive-care unit of Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. Read the story by Mallory Moench here.
6:19 a.m. Edinburgh International Festival canceled: The annual Edinburgh International Festival, which had been scheduled for August, has been canceled, its organizer announced Wednesday. “There are more important challenges to be faced over the coming months but I know that the Festival plays a central role in the cultural, social and economic lives of many in our city and country. I am very sorry that on this occasion, the show can’t go on,” Festival director Fergus Linehan said in a statement, adding, “When it is safe, we will be back.” The music festival usually occurs over a multi-week span in August. Organizers said they hope to host an installation in 2021.
6:00 a.m. SFO international terminal changes go into effect: San Francisco International Airport officials will start consolidating all flights at the international terminal Wednesday to one concourse, due to the drop in passengers and flights. Officials will close boarding area A and have all international flights leave from the terminal’s boarding area G. Airport officials predicted last week that the number of international flights would be down more than half by Wednesday.
5:45 a.m. Japan bans entry of travelers from 73 countries including U.S.: Japan has banned entry from an additional 49 countries that included the U.S., Canada and China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday. The country had already banned entry from 24 countries. Japanese authorities have tightened visa restrictions and plan to require a two-week quarantine to visitors and travelers returning from places the country deemed OK for non-essential trips, Abe said. according to the Associated Press.
5:55 a.m. Closure of rural hospitals stresses communities: While U.S. coronavirus hot spots so far have been big cities like New York and New Orleans, officials fear it will catch up to smaller population centers plagued by inadequate testing and lack of medical resources linked to hospital failures, the Associated Press reports. Many hospitals already have closed and others are stretched thin. Reasons for closures include declining rural populations, rising medical costs, insufficient Medicare reimbursements, too many uninsured patients, state decisions against Medicaid expansion and mismanagement. About 60% of the counties and towns that have lost hospitals are in the South, an analysis by the Sheps Center showed.
5:37 a.m. Global infections total climbs toward 900,000: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the world reached 874,081 Wednesday morning, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Approximately 43,291 people have died of the virus while 185,194 have recovered. In the United States, the total number of confirmed cases continued to increase, reaching 189,633 known infections. 4,081 patients have died in the U.S.
Updates from March 31:
10:50 p.m. U.S. death toll surpasses 4,000: U.S. states have reported more than 4,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The U.S. death toll had reached 4,076 as of Tuesday night, per Johns Hopkins. New York (1,714), New Jersey (267) and Michigan (259) have reported the most deaths among states. The U.S. also recorded its largest daily increase in cases with an additional 26,400. Only one state, Wyoming, has not reported a death related to COVID-19.
10:30 p.m. UN calls for coordinated global response to COVID-19 pandemic: The UN issued a “call to action” to nations Tuesday to coordinate in combating the health and socioeconomic impacts of the coronavirus. A UN report termed the pandemic “the greatest test that we have faced since the formation of the United Nations.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told press in a briefing the UN is urging a worldwide health response that “scales up health capacity for testing, tracing, quarantine and treatment” and will deliver “universal access to treatment and vaccines, when they are ready.” Economically, the report includes estimates from its International Labour Organization that the pandemic will result in loss of 5-to-25 million jobs and $860 billion to $3.4 trillion in labor income. It calls for a large-scale financial response that provides direct aid to workers and business “amounting to at least 10 percent of global GDP.” The report stated: “We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending people’s lives. But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is attacking societies at their core.”
9:39 p.m. Cuba reportedly suspends arrival of international flights: Cuba is suspending arrival of international flights and asking foreign boats to withdraw from its waters to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported. Cuba banned the arrival of foreign tourists and departure of Cuban citizens last week, but people with residency in the county were continuing to arrive, per Reuters. As of Tuesday evening, Cuba had confirmed 186 cases of the virus and six deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
9:33 p.m. Number of confirmed cases in U.S. jumps by 26,400 in a day: Monday’s jump in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. was the biggest by far in a day, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. There are now 189,510 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S.
8:30 p.m. Monterey County reports second death: A second Monterey County resident has died from the coronavirus, county officials announced Tuesday. “This is a reminder that we must protect the most vulnerable among us by staying home and avoiding contact,” county officials said.
8:23 p.m. Federal prisons to confine inmates to cells for 14 days: Federal prison inmates will be kept in their assigned cells or quarters for 14 days beginning Wednesday with some exceptions, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said. Inmates will still have access to programs such as mental health treatment and education “to the extent practicable,” the BOP said in a statement. The policy will be re-evaluated after 14 days. The policy is being enacted “in response to a growing number of quarantine and isolation cases in our facilities,” the BOP said.
8:14 p.m. Fairfield assemblyman calls for suspension of Bay Area bridge tolls: When the coronavirus pandemic picked up, officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission removed toll booth operators from all seven state-owned bridges in the Bay Area. For now, the bridges still collect tolls electronically, a practice that Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Fairfield, wants to end for the duration of shelter-in-place. Frazier, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Transportation, argued that the commission has reserves to help cover its construction debt costs during the two-months period, and that it could still collect $659 million this year. “…The only people crossing the Bay Area toll bridges are the ones we are relying upon to see us all through this crisis — nurses, doctors, emergency responders, and drivers delivering the crucial goods that keep us going during our quarantine,” Frazier wrote in a letter to the commission. These arguments did not appear to persuade Randy Rentschler, the commission’s legislative director, who stressed the importance of toll revenue, which supports public transit, ferry boats, BART and buses that saw fares plummet when coronavirus forced people to stay home. It’s also funding payments for “$9 billion of outstanding debt that built seismic safety for the entire Bay Area,” Rentschler said.
7:57 p.m. Sonoma County reports 12 new cases, including first two children infected: County officials reported 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including two children under 17, bringing the total to 85 cases, said Dr. Sundari Mase, the county health officer. Of those, 71 are active, 13 are recovered and one person has died. While the origin of many cases remains under investigation, Mase said 17 of the cases are travel-related, 18 are close contacts of confirmed cases and 13 are community transmission. Roughly 25% of all people who have tested positive have been hospitalized at some point throughout the course of their illness, Mase said. The majority of cases are adults under 65, with 43 infected people between 18-49, 24 between 50-64 and 15 older than 65, plus two children under 17. “The shelter in place order seems to have been very effective in flattening the curve,” Mase said.
7:47 p.m. Sonoma County health officer extends shelter-in-place order through May 3: Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County health officer, said during a Tuesday night town hall that she will extend the county’s shelter-in-place order through May 3, joining six other Bay Area counties to do so earlier Tuesday. The order is similar to the previous one, but clarifies certain guidelines and includes minor additions. It expands essential businesses to include moving services, notaries, mortuaries and services to assist the unemployed, among others. The order, which take effect at midnight tonight, also requires all open businesses to display social distancing protocols and provide evidence to authorities that the protocols are being followed.
7:42 p.m. Marin County announces new cases, fifth fatality: Health officials in Marin County reported nine new cases and one additional death from COVID-19 in a daily update. Marin County has confirmed 107 cases of the coronavirus, with 755 people tested and 14 patients hospitalized. The county also announced it is recruiting volunteers to support local response efforts to the virus with a priority on licensed healthcare professionals.
7:28 p.m. Hawaii reports first death from COVID-19: The case was an older Oahu man who was recently hospitalized with multiple medical issues, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, only one U.S. state, Wyoming, has not reported a death from COVID-19. The U.S. has more than 188,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, per Johns Hopkins.
7:11 p.m. Sonoma County expected to extend shelter-in-place order: Sonoma County is expected to extend the county’s shelter-in-place order sometime this week, Susan Gorin, chair of the county’s Board of Supervisors, said during a town hall Tuesday night. “We will be coming forward this week for an extension of the sheltering in place order,” she said, adding that the county will also be more specific about which businesses are essential and which are not. Six Bay Area counties extended their shelter-in-place orders until May 3, and Solano County extended its order through April 30. Napa County has not extended its order.
7 p.m. Up to 25 percent of coronavirus carriers may have no symptoms, CDC director says: Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed details of the coronavirus in an interview with NPR’s affiliate in Atlanta on Tuesday. Redfield said the CDC has learned the virus is “probably now about three times as infectious” as the flu and as many as 25 percent of people who contract the virus show no symptoms. That means asymptomatic people are contributing to the virus’ spread, Redfield said. Infected people who do show symptoms can also transmit 48 hours before becoming symptomatic, he said. One result is the CDC is reviewing “aggressively” whether to recommend wearing masks for all people. Redfield also reiterated the importance of social distancing measures in combating the virus: “This is not just a little recommendation on a piece of paper. This is a very powerful weapon.”
6:57 p.m. Employee at Cardenas Market in San Jose has confirmed case: Cardenas Market on White Road in San Jose temporarily closed for cleaning after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a statement. The infected employee last worked on March 28. The store was re-opened after it was cleaned and restocked, but the statement did provide exact dates. People who visited the store within the two weeks prior to the employee’s last day at work who have health concerns should contact the Santa Clara County health department, the company said.
6:42 p.m. Oakland mayor urges social distancing over “next critical weeks”: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf urged residents to adhere to shelter-in-place guidelines now in place through May 3 in a video update Tuesday. Schaff reiterated that areas like playgrounds, picnic areas and public tennis courts are off-limits and most construction projects will halt. “Basically, we have got to take social distancing seriously over these next critical weeks,” Schaaf said. Schaaf also noted that Oakland enacted a moratorium on evictions last week due to the coronavirus pandemic: “If you can pay the rent, we encourage you to do so, but know that if you cannot, you cannot be evicted for that or other reasons during this state of emergency.” Schaaf also gives information on emergency grants for small businesses and applying for employment in the video. (Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Mayor Libby Schaaf’s name.)
5:42 p.m. What you need to know about Bay Area school closures: With in-person instruction canceled for the rest of the school year, Bay Area schools are preparing for a long haul of online learning. Here’s what you need to know about school districts’ plans, and here are resources for parents who are home with their kids all day.
5:47 p.m. Alameda County reports 30 new cases: Officials in Alameda County reported 30 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the county’s total to 313 confirmed cases. That includes 19 confirmed cases in City of Berkeley, which has its own health department. Alameda County has reported seven deaths from the virus.
5:11 p.m. Trump addresses possibility of all Americans wearing masks: President Trump was asked Tuesday about the idea that everyone in the U.S. should wear a masks to help protect themselves and others against the coronavirus. Trump had said Monday it was something that officials “could discuss.” He suggested Tuesday that people without a mask “can use a scarf. A scarf would be very good. My feeling is if people want to do it, there’s certainly no harm to it. I would say do it. But use a scarf if you want rather than going out and getting a mask.” Trump said officials do not want people “competing” with hospitals over masks. “So you can use scarfs, you can use something else over your face. It doesn’t have to be a mask. But it’s not a bad idea, at least for a period of time. I mean, eventually you’re not going to want to do that. You’re not going to have to do that. This is going to be gone.”
4:47 p.m. Officials respond to whether U.S. could have acted earlier to slow coronavirus: At a White House news conference, medical officials and President Trump were asked whether the U.S. outbreak could have reduced had the country introduced mitigation measures like social distancing earlier. Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the U.S. coronavirus task force, said officials would not be able to answer without testing to determine the state of the virus in the U.S. in previous months. “We need to … see was there virus significantly circulating in early March and late February and what did it look like and where was it?” Birx said there will be an effort to test to determine when the virus arrived. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, echoed Birx’s answer. “If there was covert infections here that we didn’t know about and we didn’t mitigate then, that would have made a difference. If there was virtually nothing there, there was nothing to mitigate. And I don’t know the answer to your question.” Fauci was asked about reports of the virus emerging from China and South Korea at that time. “In a perfect world, it would have been nice to know what was going on. We didn’t. But I believe that we acted very, very early.” Trump said the U.S. acted by placing travel restrictions on China and areas of Europe. Pressed on early statements that appeared to downplay the severity of the virus, Trump said: “I want to give people hope. I want to give people a feeling that we all have a chance.” Asked if he recognized the virus could be this severe, Trump said: “I thought it could be. I knew everything. I knew it could be horrible and I knew it could be maybe good.”
4:45 p.m. “Hamilton” ends its San Francisco run: The remainder of the current San Francisco run of the Broadway hit musical has been canceled, in response to a revised coronavirus shelter-in-place order that has shutdown live events in the city through at least May 3. The cancellation ends the musical’s 473-performance run in the city. Read the full story here.
4:38 p.m. Local foundation gives $2 million grant to support COVID-19 response at SF General Hospital: The Heising-Simons Foundation, a family foundation in Los Altos and San Francisco, announced it has made a $2 million grant to the UCSF Foundation to support COVID-19 response efforts at San Francisco General Hospital. Grant money will help purchase more personal protective equipment for front line health workers and assist triage and treatment of patients, according to the organization.
4:15 p.m. Bay Area doctor among American health professionals stranded overseas: The Chronicle has interviewed multiple medical professionals who say their employers are begging them to come home, but travel restrictions have made it nearly impossible and fears are mounting that they could become stranded indefinitely. Dr. Steve Whiteley, 64, a retired emergency room physician from the Bay Area, has been in Iraq since February. He and his colleague, Katie Biniki, were volunteering in a refugee camp in the Middle East when Iraqi officials suspended flights last month in the Kurdistan region. “Both of us work in (emergency rooms) — I’ve been asked to come back to my ER,” said Whiteley, who retired from Kaiser Medical Center in Vallejo last year. “We’re not really able to help the situation much from here.” Read the full story here.
4:19 p.m. SF budget shortfall could reach as high as $1.7 billion: The staggering economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is now expected to create a budget deficit in San Francisco of between $1.1 billion and $1.7 billion over the next two fiscal years, city officials said Thursday. “The coronavirus pandemic is an immediate threat to our public health, and we’re doing everything we can to slow its spread and save lives, but we know that it is also having a major impact on our economy and our city’s revenue,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. Read the full story here.
3:50 p.m. Yolo County cases climbs to 25: An adult over the age of 65 who got the new coronavirus “through travel” marks Yolo County’s 25th coronavirus case, county officials announced Tuesday. The resident is isolating at home, county officials said.
3:52 p.m. Santa Rosa police officer dies from COVID-19: California Rep. Mike Thompson tweeted that a female police officer in the Santa Rosa Police Department died Tuesday from COVID-19. The department has confirmed the news, saying that Detective Marylou Armer, who had worked for the department for 20 years, most recently as Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Team, had died. Information on a fund for the family is here. The department reported on Monday that eight employees have tested positive. Read the full story here. (Correction: A previous version of this post gave an incorrect location for the police officer who died. She was with the Santa Rosa Police Department. In addition, the post was updated to say that the department has confirmed the news. In addition, an earlier correction has been fixed to say that it is the Santa Rosa Police Department.)
3:33 p.m. Violent crime drops 31% in SF during first week of shelter in place: Crime in the Bay Area’s largest cities fell sharply during the first week of the region’s shelter-in-place orders as streets emptied streets, shops shuttered and tens of thousands of people were forced to work from home. The trend is a rare piece of good news amid the global coronavirus pandemic, and criminologists think it could hold as long as social restrictions remain in place. Read the full story.
3:34 p.m. Napa County reports first COVID-19 death: County health officials reported that one person died Tuesday from COVID-19, marking the first death in the county related to the new virus. The person was an adult who was being treated at a hospital, officials said. The county also reported an additional confirmed case, bringing the county’s total to 15 cases. The new case is a person who lives in the unincorporated area near the City of Napa and is now isolated and quarantined.
3:32 p.m. California schools to stay closed through end of school year, superintendent says: California schools will be unable to reopen this year given current safety concerns and ongoing social distancing, the state superintendent told county officials Tuesday. Read the full story here.
3:31 p.m. California patients in hospital, ICU continues steady rise: After tripling over the weekend, the number of people in intensive care for COVID-19 across the state rose 10% on Tuesday, from 597 to 657 people, according to the California Department of Public Health. There are now 1,617 people hospitalized, a 13% increase from yesterday’s 1,432 people. Significantly, the department also reports there are an additional 3,439 people in the hospital who are suspected but not confirmed to be infected, and 602 of those are in the ICU.
3:18 p.m. Fauci: U.S. should be prepared for 100,000 deaths from COVID-19: U.S. government disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked at a White House news conference if the country should be prepared for 100,000 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The answer is yes,” Fauci said. “As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I hope not. And I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it would be that number. But being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves that that is a possibility.” Dr. Deborah Birx said a model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at University of Washington used to project that number is based on data that includes high case and death tolls in the New York area. “If all the other states and all the other metro areas are able to hold that case number down, then it’s a very different picture,” Birx said. “But you have to predict on the data you have, which is heavily skewed.”
3:31 p.m. California’s move to stop releasing data on health care worker infections cases angers nurses: Saying it wants to “better focus public health resources on the changing needs of California communities,” the California Department of Public Health stopped has releasing data on the number of health care workers in the state who have tested positive for COVID-19. The last figure provided before the cutoff was 73 workers infected on Saturday, up from 48 on Friday. “That is bulls—-,” Christa Duran, a nurse at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, told The Chronicle. “It’s so they don’t have to see the alarming results from not protecting us properly.”
3:07 p.m. Fauci: Mitigation is having an effect: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said at a White House news conference that mitigation efforts like social distancing appear to be having an effect on slowing the spread of the coronavirus. “In the next several days to a week or so, we’re going to continue to see (cases) go up,” Fauci said. “We cannot be discouraged by that, because the mitigation is actually working and will work.” On Sunday, President Trump extended a nationwide stay-at-home order through April 30. Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force adviser, presented studies Tuesday that influenced that decision. One showed the U.S. could record 1.5 million to 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19 with no mitigation in place. In a scenario of citizens practicing social distancing, Birx said, that number reduced to 100,000-to-200,000 deaths, “which is still way too much.” Fauci said quantifying results of mitigation so far is difficult but officials are confident that it is “clearly” having an effect. “The reason why we feel so strongly about the necessity of the additional 30 days is that now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator and on the brake, but to just press it down on the accelerator,” Fauci said. “That’s what I hope and I know we can do over the next 30 days.”
3:04 p.m. Santa Clara County reports 42 new cases, two more deaths: County health officials reported 42 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 890 cases on Tuesday. Two new deaths were also reported, for a total of 30 deaths in the county.
2:54 p.m. BART ridership down 93%: Continuing a trend of plummeting ridership, BART reported that fewer than 30,000 people rode BART on Monday, representing a 93% decrease from an average Monday in February this year. The transit agency has reduced service as revenue dropped.
2:49 p.m.: Pelosi suggests lifting deduction cap on state and local taxes in next coronavirus bill: The next congressional legislation to respond to the coronavirus pandemic could include a restoration of the full state and local tax deduction that many Californians lost two years ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says. Read reporter Tal Kopan’s story.
2:45 p.m. Small businesses can apply for federal aid this week: Small businesses will be able to apply for federal loans through the $2 trillion stimulus measure beginning this Friday, President Trump said at a news conference Tuesday. Nearly $350 billion in loans will be available for small businesses to help meet expenses including paying workers for up to two months while the country is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. The loans will be forgiven if businesses continue to employ workers, Trump said.
2:43 p.m. California plans to expedite the release of up to 3,500 inmates: The move in the coming weeks is aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus through the prison system. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the move Tuesday in a court filing asking federal judges not to intervene and order further inmate releases from California’s overcrowded prisons. Read the full story here.
2:41 p.m. Trump: U.S. has ventilators prepared for surge: President Trump said at a White House news conference that the U.S. has “almost 10,000 ventilators that we have ready to go” but that are not being distributed yet. “We have to hold them back because the surge is coming and it’s coming pretty strong, and we want to be able to immediately move it into place,” Trump said. The U.S. has sent “a large number” of ventilators to Michigan and is sending additional ventilators to Louisiana, New York and New Jersey, the president said.
2:35 p.m. Los Angeles County adds more than 500 new cases, total tops 3,000: Officials reported 537 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a single-day increase of 21.7%, bringing the county’s total to 3,011. Los Angeles County also recorded ten new deaths, bringing the total to 54 deaths.
2:20 p.m. Sen. Dianne Feinstein urges feds to help SF’s Laguna Honda Hospital fight outbreak: As local officials brace for an onslaught of more cases in the coming days at the Laguna Honda nursing home, Feinstein said resources from Washington DC are “critical” to help the nursing home avoid a “catastrophic loss of life.” “We’ve already seen the devastation across the country that followed an outbreak in nursing facilities and senior homes,” she wrote in a letter to Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Read the full story here.
2:17 p.m. Bay Area alcohol consumption reportedly up by 42% during shelter in place: San Francisco company BACtrack, which produces breathalyzer devices for at-home use, reports that the average blood alcohol concentration in six Bay Area counties rose dramatically during the first week of sheltering in place, as compared with the previous two weeks. The data incorporated about 500 breathalyzer tests, only from users who had opted to share their results. Read the story here.
2:05 p.m. Relief bill expands federal courts’ authority to hold remote hearings: The $2.2 trillion relief bill signed by President Trump on March 27 expressly allows sentencing hearings by telephone or video. The new law also expands federal courts’ authority to hold additional hearings remotely in criminal cases. The U.S. Judicial Conference, which oversees federal courts, said March 31 that it has authorized federal trial judges nationwide to accept guilty pleas and conduct sentencing hearings by audio and video, with public access, if the defendants consent. The order will remain in effect until 30 days after the end of the national declaration of emergency, unless the Judicial Conference decides an earlier termination would not disrupt the courts. The announcement did not mention, or approve, Attorney General William Barr’s proposal to allow some federal defendants to be held indefinitely without trial during the emergency. Read The Chronicle’s FAQ on how courts are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic here.
2 p.m. Walmart to start temperature tests for employees: Walmart, the largest retail employer in the nation, said on Tuesday it will begin taking temperatures of employees and providing them with masks. Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, said the company will ship infrared thermometers and masks to all its warehouses within the next two weeks and turn away workers who record a temperature of 100 degrees or more. As further supply becomes available, Bartlett said, those supplies will be shipped to stores.
1:54 p.m. Marin County sheriff threatens penalty for public-space and open-business violations: Deputies in Marin County will soon start fining or arresting people who refuse to stop congregating or traveling to county parks, and will cite non-essential businesses that don’t close, authorities said. The county sheriff’s office said its educational, communication approach thus far has not worked on everyone. Authorities have received dozens of calls a day reporting violators, but no citations have been issued — yet. “While we do not take this enforcement stance lightly, the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious health threat, and the Public Health Order and Park Closure Order are enforceable,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
1:47 p.m. Elon Musk offers hospitals free ventilators: Tech titan and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is offering free ventilators to hospitals that need them immediately, extending the offer on Twitter, stating, “We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions. Device & shipping cost are free. Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients, not stored in a warehouse. Please me or @Tesla know.
1:34 Solano County extends shelter-at-home order through April: Solano County is extending its shelter-at-home order until April 30. The order announced Monday night on social media replaces the one issued on March 18, restricting travel, business activity and gatherings. It is enforceable by the county sheriff’s deputies and local police departments. Solano County’s extension comes as Bay Area counties jointly announce extention of their shelter-in-place orders through May 3.
1:30 p.m. Exploratorium announces layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts: In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, museum officials said the Exploratorium is making significant staff changes and reductions that would affect about 85% of its staff starting April 8. Annie Vainshtein reports.
1:13 p.m. 26 new cases announced in Contra Costa County: Health officials in Contra Costa County announced 26 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, increasing the total in the county to 212.
1:09 p.m. Outschool hiring 5,000: Demand for video tutoring has risen, and San Francisco home-schooling startup Outschool says it needs 5,000 teachers. See our list of businesses that are hiring as the coronavirus pandemic reshapes the economy.
1:08 p.m. U.S. postal worker in Santa Rosa tests positive: An employee at the U.S. Postal Service annex on McBride Lane in Santa Rosa tested positive for COVID-19, according to Augustine Ruiz, an agency spokesman. The employee is quarantined at home and will return to work when medically cleared, Ruiz said. Risk of exposure to other employees at the facility is low, Ruiz said, but the facility has increased cleaning protocols and provided sanitizers, gloves and masks for employees. The CDC and WHO have said there is no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.
1:00 p.m. Stocks stumble as brutal quarter draws to an end: Trading was subdued Tuesday as Wall Street wrapped up its worst performing quarter since the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 2%, closing down 410 points at 21,917.
12:59 p.m. Essential business list expanded: As the Bay Area extends its shelter-in-place directives to May 3, officials noted in their new order that essential services — those allowed to remain open during the pandemic restrictions — are expanded to include “service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.” The order added, “Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only.” See our detailed FAQ on what’s still open and what must close in the Bay Area.
12:52 p.m. Santa Clara County might be seeing positive turn: Santa Clara’s health director says officials may be spotting some positive effects of social distancing. Dr. Sara Cody, at a news briefing Tuesday, urged people continue to practice social distancing — with six feet as a minimum separation — and limit interactions with others as health officials track “early” positive changes of the initiative aimed at stopping the coronavirus spread. “It’s really, really early,” Cody said after noting indications that the precautionary measure may be working. “We just need to keep at it. … It’s giving our hospitals more time.”
12:45 p.m. Cruise ship coronavirus outbreaks prompt reform plan: Bay Area Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier wants to crack down on the cruise ship industry to prevent operators from receiving any federal assistance without new regulatory strings attached, including stricter environmental rules and refund guarantees for customers. Read Dustin Gardiner’s story.
12:40 p.m. Santa Clara County’s top prosecutor pleads with non-essential businesses to close: Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen says too many non-essential businesses in the county remain open. They need to close, he said Tuesday at a news briefing. “Please close your doors,” Rosen said. “Please join the rest of our community.” Rosen said a “small” number of businesses are refusing to shutter despite earlier directives.
12:38 p.m. Newsom announces eldercare initiative: Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that California is launching a new initiative with AARP to promote and ensure that people maintain social distance. “Check in on your neighbors, make those phone calls,” Newsom said. The state has launched a hotline and website to provide eldercare assistance: 833-544-2374. Newsom said people can also call 211 for assistance.
12:32 p.m.: Record number of Californians seek unemployment insurance: More than 150,000 Californians filed for unemployment on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference Tuesday, a single-day record for the state. More than 1.6 million people have applied during the coronavirus outbreak.
12:27 p.m. Stricter measures in Bay Area shelter-in-place extension to May 3: Bay Area officials confirmed Tuesday that the shelter-in-place order has been extended to May 3 and with stricter guidelines to curb the coronavirus pandemic. “Please remember every unnecessary contact with another person increases the chances that the virus may spread from one person to another,” said Dr. Sara Cody, public health officer in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s hardest hit county. Going forward, use is prohibited at playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and “similar recreational areas;” and public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools and rock walls must be closed. “Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household,” the new guidelines state. Among other restrictions, funerals must be limited to no more than 10 people. Most commercial and residential construction is banned. Essential businesses must implement a distancing protocol. Read the full story here.
12:10 p.m. California considering mask advisory: Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a virtual news conference Tuesday that the state might end up telling residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but there are risks in such a mandate because people could end up adjusting the masks and touching their face more often, which health experts have advised against.
12:08 p.m. AC Transit modifies schedule as ridership declines: AC Transit officials said as of Tuesday most bus lines will operate on modified schedules similar to the agency’s Sunday service because of “dramatic declines in ridership and fare revenue.” Officials said they temporarily suspended the following bus routes: 39, 46L, 47, 83, 94, 215, 239, 314, 356, 448, 475 and Broadway shuttle. Updated bus schedules can be found here.
11:56 a.m. Trump took Putin up on offer of medical equipment, Russia says: The state news agency Tass reported Tuesday that Russia will send medical equipment and protective gear to the United States to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Russian President Vladimir Putin offered the assistance and Trump accepted in their phone call on Monday, the news agency said, quoting a Putin press secretary. A plane carrying the equipment could be sent to the U.S. as early as Tuesday evening, according to the report. The White House disclosed Trump spoke with Putin on Monday and the two agreed to work together against the pandemic.
11:49 p.m. Frameline postponed due to coronavirus concerns: Frameline, the longest-running and largest LGBTQ film festival in the country, which usually takes over San Francisco movie houses for nearly two weeks in June, will be hosted in the fall this year. New dates have not yet been announced.
11:44p.m. San Francisco startup Thumbtack lays off 250: The online services marketplace Thumbtack is conducting layoffs after seeing demand plunge 61% in San Francisco and a drop in overall revenue by more than 40% due to th ecoronavirus. Layoffs occurred in both San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
11:33 a.m. Navy working in “methodical way” to move sailors off coronavirus-plagued aircraft carrier: The U.S. Navy’s top official responded Tuesday to an aircraft carrier captain’s letter pleading for resources to remove more than 4,000 sailors from the ship docked in Guam, where more than 100 aboard have tested positive for the coronavirus. The response came after The Chronicle reported Tuesday on the letter from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native helming the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt who said swift action is needed to prevent potential deaths. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told CNN Tuesday that the Navy’s “command organization has been aware of this for about 24 hours and we have been working actually the last seven days to move those sailors off the ship and get them into accommodations in Guam. The problem is that Guam doesn’t have enough beds right now.” Modly added, “We’re very engaged in this, we’re very concerned about it and we’re taking all the appropriate steps.” Read The Chronicle’s exclusive by Matthis Gafni and Joe Garofoli here.
11:19 a.m. J.C. Penney latest to furlough workers in pandemic-related move: J.C. Penney said Tuesday it will furlough a “majority” of hourly and salaried sales associates in its stores, starting Thursday; and beginning Sunday, “a significant portion of associates in the company’s Home Office, Salt Lake City, and Soho design offices will be furloughed, along with its store salaried associates.” The company’s statement added, “Many of the Company’s associates in supply chain and logistics centers were previously furloughed on March 20, and those furloughs will continue.” Furloughed employees enrolled in the retailer’s benefits programs will continue to receive the benefits.
11:04 a.m. IRS issues some details on $1,200 payments: The Internal Revenue Service has clarified that to get an “economic impact” payment this year, income-eligible taxpayers must file a tax return, even if they don’t owe tax. For people who have already filed 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment. Otherwise, it will use their 2018 returns. The payment will be deposited directly into the same bank account on the return filed. Otherwise, the IRS will mail a check. “In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail,” the IRS said in guidance issued Monday. “People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax. The payments from the virus-related stimulus package will be available throughout 2020. For more details and income limits, see IRS.gov/coronavirus.
10:55 a.m. Now 12 confirmed cases at S.F.’s Laguna Honda: Coronavirus cases continue to climb at San Francisco’s 780-bed hospital for the sick and elderly. Ten staff members and two residents have tested positive, and it is unclear how many tests are still pending. City officials acknowledged Monday that San Francisco is not equipped to handle the outbreak on its own, and said they have requested extra resources and staff from the state and federal government. Experts are growing increasingly worried that Laguna Honda could follow the pattern of Life Care in Kirkland, Wash., where the coronavirus raced through the facility in a matter of weeks, ultimately killing more than 30 people.
10:30 a.m. L.A. County to refrain from closing gun stores, as Trump administration dubs them essential: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he will no longer order gun shops to close as other businesses are shuttered during the corona virus pandemic, following the Department of Homeland Security’s March 28 updated guidelines deeming the gun stores “essential critical infrastructure.” DHS said essential workers during the pandemic include those “supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.” In a statement, Villanueva called the federal guidelines “explicitly advisory in nature” but “persuasive.”
In the Bay Area, the Alameda County sheriff has ordered a Castro Valley gun shop to close. The gun shop, Solar Tactical, said in Facebook posts it had contacted county officials for an update, without reply. “Please reach out to Alameda county for an update,” store officials wrote in an oline etreaty to customers. Alameda County sheriff’s officials did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday. The federal guidelines on firearms establishements followed a National Rifle Association announcement that several gun organizations were suing Gov. Gavin Newsom and Villanueva for alleged constitutional violations.
9:45 a.m. More things you should know about the $2 trillion CARES Act: You may have heard about the stimulus checks, but there are many other aspects of the coronavirus economic relief package Congress passed last week. Kathleen Pender digs into the details, from student loan help to tampon tax breaks.
9:22 a.m. Four new deaths in San Mateo County; child cases disclosed: Health officials in San Mateo County said Tuesday four more people had died of COVID-19, increasing the total number of people who have died of the virus to 10. Additionally, health officials released an infographic that indicates some of the county’s 309 cases include teens and children younger than 10.
9:12 a.m. Confirmed cases tally in San Francisco nears 400: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Francisco increased to 397 Tuesday from 374 the day before. No new deaths were announced Tuesday. Health officials earlier have recorded six coronavirus-related deaths.
9:05 a.m. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo diagnosed with coronavirus: CNN anchor Chris Cuomo tested positive for the coronavirus but plans to continue to doing his nightly show. “Sooooo in these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus,” Cuomo said in a message he posted on Twitter. “I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath.” He says he is quarantining in his basement. His brother New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a news conference Thursday morning: “He is gonna be fine. He is young in good shape, strong.”
9 a.m. Restaurants feed hospital workers during coronavirus: Multiple Bay Area organizations have sprung up to orchestrate massive meal deliveries to hospitals funded by donations. The efforts are much appreciated by nurses and doctors on the front lines, but they also help struggling restaurants keep staff on payroll when they can’t open their dining rooms. Read the story from Janelle Bitker here.
8:50 a.m. California halts public transparency on infected health care workers: As of Saturday, the California Department of Public Health is no longer releasing the number of health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 in its daily press releases The last figure was 73 on Saturday, an increase from 48 on Friday, but now the number of health care workers sickened by the disease is unknown. The department said in an email Monday the numbers are now included in the overall case totals. “In order to better focus public health resources on the changing needs of California communities, the state is no longer collecting information about how individuals contracted COVID-19,” an emailed statement said.
8:22 a.m. Obama likens fuel efficiency rollback to virus denial: Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday compared President Trump’s sweeping rollboack of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles to early coronavirus response. In a tweet, Obama did not mention his successor by name, but wrote: “We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial.” Trump initially dowplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus, blamed the media for inflating it, emphasized the early-on few reported cases in the U.S. despite health officials’ warnings of a coming wave, and repeatedly pointed out that the seasonal flu kills thousands.
7:55 a.m. COVID-19 claims more in U.S. than a very different horror — the 9/11 attack: The United States recorded 3,173 coronavirus-related deaths as of early Tuesday, surpassing the fatality count of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 people died in the jet-borne attack that felled the World Trade Center while numerous others — including first responders who excavated rubbish and debris searching for survivors — suffered medical complications for years after. Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are expected to climb as high as 200,000, federal officials have said.
7:40 a.m. Teleconference hackers spreading porn, hate, feds warn: Federal authori
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