The Chronicle’s Live Updates page documents the latest events in the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area, the state of California and across the U.S. with a focus on health and economic impacts.
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Total coronavirus cases:
• 60,634 in California, including 2,460 deaths.
• 9,159 in the Bay Area, including 334 deaths.
• More than 1.2 million in the U.S., including more than 73,000 deaths. The five states with the highest death tolls are New York with 25,623; New Jersey with 8,549; Michigan with 4,256; Massachusetts with 4,200 and Pennsylvania with 3,345. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
• More than 3.7 million in the world, with more than 264,000 deaths. More than 1.2 million people have recovered.
Coronavirus cases by city: For detailed maps and new city-by-city Bay Area data, check out The Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Latest news from today:
8:02 a.m. California coronavirus budget is grim — deficit tops $54 billion: California is facing a deficit of more than $54 billion in its upcoming state budget as tax revenue plummets and the demand for social services soars amid the coronavirus pandemic. Chronicle Sacramento reporter Alexei Koseff has the story.
7:48 a.m. Rogue tourists arrested as Hawaii tries to curb coronavirus spread: Hawaii authorities are cracking down on rogue tourists who are visiting beaches, riding personal watercraft, shopping and generally flouting strict requirements that they quarantine for 14 days after arriving. A newlywed California couple left their Waikiki hotel room repeatedly, despite being warned by hotel staff, and were arrested. Others have been arrested at a hotel pool, loading groceries into a vehicle outside a Costco and bringing take-out food back to a hotel room, the Associated Press reports.
7:42 a.m. Senators urge Trump to temporarily halt worker visas: Bloomberg News reports that four GOP senators closely allied with President Trump are urging him to suspend all new guest worker visas for 60 days, and to suspend other types of worker visas including those for advanced skills sought by the technology industry, until unemployment in the U.S. “has returned to normal levels.”
7:31 a.m. Nieman Marcus files for bankruptcy: The Neiman Marcus department store chain filed for bankruptcy Thursday morning, according to several news reports. “Everything was going well in our transformation, but we had massive interest payments. Covid threw everything off track. This is an opportunity to reset our financial structure,” the company’s chief executive Geoffroy van Raemdonck told the Wall Street Journal. The news sounded an ominous note for department stores during the coronavirus pandemic.
6:36 a.m. Stocks rebound: The downward trend in new jobless claims buoyed markets. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.1% to 23,931.20 in the first minutes of trading.
6:33 a.m. Vaccine opponents organize Reopen California protests: Protesters who have swarmed the state Capitol to oppose Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic represent a wide swath of political factions, including struggling business owners, flag-waving supporters of President Trump and religious conservatives. Still, for all the movement’s array of supporters, its organizing muscle has been activists against mandatory childhood vaccinations. Read the story here.
6:20 a.m. SF baker delivers bread by lowering a basket: Staying 6 feet apart in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights got a lot easier after a pop-up bakery started delivering its fresh bread to customers using a basket and a rope. It’s the most exciting thing to hit quiet Wright Street in some time, Steve Rubenstein reports the story here.
5:52 a.m. German soccer league to resume play without fans: The Bundesliga, Germany’s top pro league, will resume play May 16 and hold contests in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.
5:35 a.m. 3.2 million more unemployed: Another 3.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the week of May 2. Claims in California totaled 318,064, the Department of Labor said.
News from Wednesday:
11:58 p.m. New cases in Bay Area counties: Sonoma County officials reported 14 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the county’s total to 286 confirmed cases, with 109 of those active as of Wednesday, according to its online tracker. Napa County reported three new cases for an updated total of 78. Marin County confirmed four additional cases, increasing its total to 247.
11:40 p.m. Sonoma County expects to add capacity at new testing sites: Two new coronavirus testing sites in Sonoma County will aim to increase capacity by next week due to high demand, said county health officer Dr. Sundari Mase. The sites in Petaluma and Santa Rosa, opened in collaboration with the state and health company OptumServe, started with capacity to test 130 people per day, but OptumServe plans to increase that number, Mase said in a video update. “We are going to be adding more lanes of capacity to the sites by next week,” Mase said.
11:20 p.m. Most people recently hospitalized in New York were staying home: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a survey of New York hospitals showed that of new patients admitted with the coronavirus over the past three days, 66% reported being at home before becoming ill, “which is shocking to us.” The survey counted 1,269 new cases at 113 hospitals in the state, with only 17% of respondents identifying as employed and 84% saying they were not using daily modes of transportation, Cuomo said at a press briefing. “These people were literally at home,” said Cuomo, who added: “It reinforces what we’ve been saying, which is much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself.”
10:15 p.m. Report says Trump administration rejects CDC guidelines for reopening US: White House officials opted not to release a report prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that laid out guidance for state and local officials, businesses owners, educators, faith leaders and others on how to reopen public spaces from the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported. A CDC official told the Associated Press that the agency was told the 17-page report, which was to be made public last Friday, “would never see the light of day.” Some guidelines included in the CDC report have appeared on federal websites, but more detailed recommendations for reopening specific places have not been shared, the Associated Press reported.
9:25 p.m. California restaurants to submit reopening plan, report says: Dining at California restaurants could involve sitting only with people from your household, servers wearing face masks and no salt and pepper shakers under a reopening plan the California Restaurant Association will submit to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. The plan aims to allow restaurants to reopen for sit-down dining but avoid broad restrictions such as limits on capacity by urging the state to let local governments set guidelines like requiring temperature checks for employees or whether to require barriers between tables, according to the Associated Press. Newsom has not said when dine-in service will be allowed to resume at restaurants shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.
8:38 p.m. Santa Clara County to open two testing sites this week: Officials will open testing sites this week at James Lick High School in East San Jose and Christopher High School in Gilroy, county health officials said. Each site can test up to 132 people per day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and testing is by appointment only, officials said. The sites will adhere to the state’s screening criteria for who can receive a test, officials said.
8:19 p.m. Medical masks delayed in California’s $1 billion contract with Chinese company: Delivery of millions of N95 masks intended to protect medical workers on the pandemic’s front lines has been held up because the federal government has not yet certified then as safe. The Chronicle’s Dustin Gardiner has the story.
8:06 p.m. U.K. considers easing lockdown next week: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hopes to relax some of the country’s lockdown measures starting next week and will share detailed plans Sunday, Bloomberg reported. Officials are expected to provide guidance on how businesses can safely resume operations in one of the countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported. The U.K. has reported 30,150 deaths from the virus, second-most only to the U.S., and more than 200,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
6:49 p.m. Fremont shifts from drive-thru to mobile testing: The city of Fremont has closed its drive-thru coronavirus testing site at the Fremont Fire Department training center to begin a mobile testing program focused on high-risk populations, long-term care facilities and essential workers, according to a fire department news release. The drive-thru site, which opened April 3, tested 3,195 people including 1,449 essential workers, identifying 171 positive cases of the virus. The free mobile testing, performed by Fremont firefighters and funded by the city, will operate through May 31, per the release.
6:25 p.m. Oakland opens free walk-up testing site: Mayor Libby Schaaf said a testing site at Roots Community Health Center in East Oakland is now open. People can walk up for a free test on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. with no appointment, no insurance and no symptoms. It’s available to anyone worried they have the coronavirus, including people in high-risk categories or who work outside the home, Schaaf said. “Don’t take a chance — get tested,” she said.
6:20 p.m. Marin County official outlines response to reopening: Marin County health officer Dr. Matt Willis explained the county’s decision to wait until May 18 to allow curbside retail in a daily video update. Willis said the county believes it will take time for businesses to implement new guidelines (expected from the state on Thursday), wants to ensure child care is available for people returning to work and wants to give cities time to plan for traffic issues that could arise from curbside retail. Willis also said that due to incubation period for the coronavirus, any rise in cases resulting from an updated health order that began Monday has not been observed yet. Willis said health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have “agreed to take this step together” in waiting to reopen.
6:01 p.m. South Bay law enforcement honors nurses at El Camino Hospital: In recognition of National Nurses Day, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department, and police departments in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara and Los Altos clapped and cheered for nurses outside of El Camino Hospital on Wednesday. Sunnyvale police Tweeted a message of support for nurses: “In light of #COVID19, nurses everywhere have gone above and beyond, saving lives and caring for patients. We salute you!”
5:43 p.m. LAX to require face coverings for all travelers: Anyone traveling through Los Angeles International Airport will be required to wear a face covering starting Monday to help guard against spread of the coronavirus, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday. Garcetti said in a news conference the policy “aligns with what many airlines are doing as well.” Los Angeles will also require all riders on city buses to wear face coverings starting Monday, Garcetti said.
5:32 p.m. Virtual marriage in Alameda County: The Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office performed its first virtual marriage ceremony Wednesday under an April 30 executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom that permits marriages in California by video conference during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a county news release. Derek Cox and Giselle Martin were married in a virtual ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, county officials said. The executive order also allows marriage licenses to be acquired by video conference provided applicants are both physically in the state of California and have live video and audio for the video conference.
4:49 p.m. Solano County reports one additional death: Officials in Solano County reported the county’s seventh death related to the coronavirus Wednesday. Solano County also reported 12 new cases of the virus, bringing its total to 337. Of those, 73 cases are active with 13 people in the hospital, according to the county’s website.
4:45 p.m. Los Angeles County issues recovery road map: Officials in Los Angeles County released details of plans to gradually reopen the county starting with lifting restrictions on some businesses and spaces that were closed due to the coronavirus. As early as Friday, florists and some retailers will be able to offer curbside pickup while car dealerships, golf courses and trails will be able to reopen with guidelines in place. Other retailers, manufacturers and recreational facilities could see restrictions lifted later next week, county officials said in a release.
4:42 pm Santa Clara County needs to hire 1,000 people for contact tracing: That’s roughly double the size of its current public health department, to properly investigate and contain every new coronavirus case once the Bay Area finally emerges from sheltering in place. Read the story here.
4:30 p.m. More California tax relief: Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered forms of property-tax relief, delaying some deadlines and working with counties to waive penalties. Read the story here.
4:19 p.m. Masks are now a partisan battleground: Nancy Pelosi walks the halls of Congress while wearing one, but President Trump wouldn’t mask up in public when he toured a mask factory in Phoenix. How did masks become a political thing? Chronicle politics writer John Wildermuth has the story.
4:11 p.m. SF gives methadone, alcohol, cannabis to people struggling with addiction and isolated in hotel rooms: San Francisco’s health department confirmed Wednesday that the city was administering alcohol, tobacco, medical cannabis and other substances in an effort to prevent a handful of homeless people quarantined or isolating in city-leased hotels from going outside to get the substances themselves. Read the story here.
4:05 p.m. Five more deaths, 17 new cases in Santa Clara County: Five more people died and 17 more tested positive for COVID-19, Santa Clara County health officials reported on Wednesday. In total, there are 126 deaths and 2,268 cases in the county.
4:01 p.m. Three more deaths among California health care workers: Local health departments had reported 36 deaths among state health care workers related to the coronavirus as of Tuesday, an increase of three over the previous day, according to the California Department of Public Health. There were 201 new cases reported, bringing the total of confirmed cases among health care workers to 6,368, according to state public health officials. These cases refer to on-the-job exposures and other exposures, such as close family contact.
3:55 p.m. Cases rise in Alameda County: Officials in Alameda County reported 48 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the county’s total to 1,863 confirmed cases. According to the county’s online tracker, areas with the highest rate of cases per 100,000 people are Hayward (236.6), the Eden Area MAC that includes Ashland, Cherryland, Hayward Acres and San Lorenzo (218.4) and Oakland (130.4).
3:48 p.m. State’s top court upholds Newsom’s plan to give undocumented residents coronavirus relief funds: California Supreme Court rejected a conservative challenge of Gov. Newsom’s $75 million plan to offer grants to undocumented immigrants impacted by the coronavirus. Read the whole story here.
3:42 p.m. Berkeley opens testing site to all symptomatic residents: Anyone who lives or works in the city of Berkeley and is displaying symptoms of the coronavirus can now receive a test for the virus at a city site, according to a news release. City public health workers will screen calls on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to set up appointments for people with or without a health care provider at the West Berkeley site, per the release. The site was previously limited to tests for essential workers and city residents in vulnerable populations.
3:40 p.m. Bay Area most willing to remain sheltered during coronavirus pandemic: Even as the Bay Area flattens its curve of coronavirus infections, most residents remain more willing than other Californians to cooperate with lingering shelter-in-place orders, a new study shows. Read the full story here.
3:33 p.m. Hospitalizations continue decline in Bay Area, drop sharply in Santa Clara County: The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the nine Bay Area counties was reported at 316 on Tuesday, down 32.9% from four weeks earlier when the area recorded its highest one-day total with 471 on April 7, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle. Santa Clara County, the region’s hardest-hit, reported 187 confirmed hospital cases on April 7; its number had fallen by 57.8% to 79 reported Tuesday. The number of confirmed ICU cases in the Bay Area fell to 117 on Tuesday, the region’s lowest one-day total since at least April 1.
3:05 p.m. Pelosi, Becerra slam GOP effort to repeal Obamacare during pandemic: As the Supreme Court prepares to consider a Republican challenge to former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, leading Democrats said Wednesday a deadly pandemic is the wrong time to repeal health insurance coverage for 20 million Americans. Read the whole story here.
2:50 p.m. The IRS wants stimulus payments sent to deceased people returned: The Internal Revenue Service is now asking people who received stimulus payments for dead people to return the money. And non-U.S. citizens who are no longer residents and thus weren’t eligible for payments may have gotten them, too—the tax agency wants those returned as well. Read the story here.
2:48 p.m. Horse racing will resume at Golden Gate Fields on May 14: Golden Gate Fields received approval Wednesday from the Alameda County Public Health Department to resume racing and has scheduled the reopening for May 14. Health officials ordered the Albany track to stop racing April 2 over coronavirus concerns, but allowed morning training of horses to continue with limited personnel and multiple safety protocols. There have been no known coronavirus cases at Golden Gate Fields. Read the story here.
2:33 p.m. SF’s new plan on Tenderloin homeless crisis confronts staggering 285% jump in tents: San Francisco Mayor London Breed unveiled a plan Wednesday afternoon for stemming the appalling increase in homelessness in the troubled Tenderloin neighborhood that has had residents there — and the homeless themselves — on edge for weeks as everyone crams in too closely on the sidewalks. Read the story here.
2:31 p.m. Don’t go visit your mother for Mother’s Day, official says: As Mother’s Day approaches, Dr. Grant Colfax, director of health in San Francisco, said he strongly recommends that people do not visit their mother this Sunday. “Don’t go visit your mom if she’s not a part of your immediate household on a daily basis,” Colfax said. “I think the greatest gift we can give to our mothers this Mother’s Day is to stay away and to be at a distance. Please keep them safe.”
2:26 p.m. Lyft grew in first quarter, even as pandemic struck: The coronavirus hit demand for Lyft rides in the second half of March, but even with that, the company grew revenue and riders in the first three months of the year. The San Francisco company laid off nearly 1,000 employees. Ride demand has plummeted, credit card data shows. Read the story here.
2:17 p.m. Property, violent crimes down in San Francisco, non-auto burglaries up: San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said auto burglaries are down 22%, property crime is down 12% and violent crime is down 6% compared to this time last year. Meanwhile, non-auto burglaries are up 11% compared to this time last year, although police have made many arrests. Police have issued 22 public health order citations since shelter-in-place began, Scott said.
1:55 p.m. Speeders, drunk drivers out in force: California Highway Patrol officers throughout the Bay Area arrested 84 motorists on suspicion of driving under the influence Friday through Saturday, and issued 1,572 citations for speeding — 85 for exceeding 100 mph, the CHP said in a tweet.
1:47 p.m. Largest day of testing for CityTestSF: CityTestSF locations tested 700 people for the coronavirus on Tuesday, the biggest day since the service began, city health director Dr. Grant Colfax said Wednesday, adding, “I am glad that people are starting to take advantage of this option, but we … must still do more.” Officials began routine testing of Laguna Honda nursing home staff and residents.
1:39 p.m. State’s high court denies bid to stop payments to immigrants: The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition to stop the state’s first-in-the-nation plan to give money to undocumented immigrants who are struggling during the pandemic but were left out of the federal stimulus package due to their immigration status.
1:33 p.m. Brazil data belies president’s statement: Hours after President Jair Bolsonaro declared that “the worst is over,” the health ministry reported Brazil’s worst daily rise in coronavirus deaths: 633 fatalities within 24 hours. By Wednesday, three states had declared lockdowns for the first time as Latin America’s worst virus-hit country struggles to get a grip on its outbreak.
1:24 p.m. Bad news sinks stocks: The Dow Jones industrial average fell Wednesday as depressing data on the economy continues to roll in. Payroll firm ADP reported that the private sector lost more than 20 million jobs in April. The Dow closed down 218 points to 23,664.64, a loss of nearly 1%. The broader S&P 500 index was also down, but tech firms in the Nasdaq pulled it up slightly.
1:19 p.m. TB battle takes a hit from the coronavirus: The fight against tuberculosis could be set back by more than five years due to the coronavirus pandemic, risking an additional 1.4 million TB deaths and 6.3 million infections by 2025, a new report says. The study says lockdowns affecting poor people who cannot practice social distancing at home mean higher risk of TB transmission, and restricted movements disrupt treatment.
1:10 p.m. Boom times for video game publishers: The two largest public video game publishers in the U.S., are reaping results of stay-home orders driving millions of Americans inside: booming profit from online activity. Electronic Arts of Redwood City reported record revenue from live services and doubled its profit, while Activision Blizzard it reached “new heights” in sales for its best ever first-quarter profits.
12:59 p.m. Newsom pledges to disclose contracts for masks: Gov. Gavin Newsom said contracts for medical masks the state has purchased will soon be public. “It’s been that give and take,” Newsom said about state efforts to balance transparency with potentially jeopardizing deals. A deal that went awry has reportedly led to a Justice Department criminal probe into a vendor who failed to provide masks despite a near $500 million state payment.
12:46 p.m. Supeme Court upholds lockdown in Pennsylvania: The U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift Pennsylvania’s shutdown order, rejecting a request from a golf course, laundromat and other businesses and a political campaign that said their constitutional rights were being violated. It was the first time the court was asked to lift a coronavirus shutdown. Pennsylvania has begun easing some restrictions.
12:33 p.m. California sees 95 deaths over last 24 hours: Ninety-five more people in California died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, as the number of patients in hospital and intensive care unit beds slightly decreased.
12:29 p.m. Financial impact pounds people of color: People of color have not only been hit harder by the deadly coronavirus than have Americans overall, but they’re also bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s financial impact, according to a recent survey from the The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The financial picture is especially grim for Hispanic Americans.
12:22 p.m. SF ‘harm reduction’ effort provides alcohol, medical cannabis to isolated residents: San Francisco’s health department confirmed Wednesday that the city is administering alcohol, tobacco, medical cannabis and other substances to prevent a handful of people quarantined or isolating in city-leased hotels from going outside to get the substances themselves. Read more.
12:13 p.m. Newsom extends workers’ compensation benefits: Everyone working during the pandemic is now eligible for workers’ compensation under an executive order Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Wednesday. “If you’ve tested positive or been diagnosed … you are eligible for this workers’ comp benefit,” Newsom said, adding employees shoudl realize relief with the change.
12:10 p.m. State launches online tool showing testing locales by ZIP code: California has a new online tool where people can schedule an appointment to get a coronavirus test by finding a testing site near their zip code, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced. As of midday Wednesday, state officials had tested more than 800,000 people and are conducting about 30,000 daily tests, Newsom said. The site was added to the state’s COVID-19 website www.covid19.ca.gov.
11:59 a.m. Trump says task force will shift to reopening economy: Even as health experts predict an all-but-certain second wave of deaths and infections that could force new shut-downs, President Trump says he will be shifting focus of his coronavirus task force to “opening our country,” with the addition of two or three additional members. He told reporters Wednesday that after White House talk of phasing it out, “I learned that the task force is something that’s very respected. We’re going to keep it going.”
11:50 a.m. SF rapper Watsky tries for record to raise money: George Watsky is trying to set a record for longest continuous rap performance, watchable here. He’s aiming for 33 hours while raising money for his band, crew and other musicians and music industry workers suffering financially in the pandemic.
11:40 a.m. New cases in Contra Costa County number 16: Sixteen more people in Contra Costa County have tested positive for the coronavirus, increasing the number of confirmed cases to 969, health officials said.
11:34 a.m. Nearly 1 in 5 children are not getting enough food: Research released Wednesday shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent. Nearly a fifth of young children are not getting enough to eat, according to surveys by the Brookings Institution, a rate three times higher than in 2008 at the worst of the Great Recession, the New York Times reports.
11:16 a.m. SF homeless plan to be revealed: San Francisco Mayor London Breed was expected to announce a plan Wednesday for stemming the increase in homelessness in the Tenderloin neighborhood that has had people on edge during the coronavirus pandemic as everyone crams in too closely on the sidewalks. The unveiling comes two days after residents and business owners sued the city to force a clean up of abysmal conditions that have radically worsened during the pandemic.
10:46 a.m. Hundreds of Gap stores coming back by end of May: Gap Inc. plans to reopen 800 Old Navy, Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, Janie and Jack and Intermix stores, although none in California, by the end of the month, starting this weekend with stores in Texas, the San Francisco-based company said Wednesday. The company said in April it was running out of money and had stopped paying rent on its closed stores.
10:31 a.m. Auto giant to reopen factories May 18: General Motors said Wednesday it plans to resume most North American manufacturing on May 18, two months after it and other automakers halted production due to the coronavirus pandemic. Plans “to restart the majority of manufacturing operations” in the U.S. and Canada would be accompanied by “extensive safety measures,” the automaker said.
10:22 a.m. MGM may lay off 60,000: MGM Resorts International has announced that the furloughs of more than 60,000 employees caused by the coronavirus pandemic could turn into layoffs. The company told employees that a tourism forecast predicts some may not return to work for more than six months, and some not at all.
9:55 a.m. Latest, familiar story of how marginalized communities suffer: While attention focused on the world’s largest cities, per capita death rates in the poor southwest corner of Georgia climbed to among the worst the U.S., the Associated Press reports. “It’s just gone haywire,” a funeral home attendant said in a tale of what happens in communities long on the losing end of the most intractable U.S. inequalities, rural, mostly African American and poor.
9:33 a.m. Bay Area surpasses 9,000 coronavirus cases on record: The number of people in the Bay Area who have tested positive for the coronavirus reached 9,032 Wednesday morning, according to The Chronicle’s coronavirus tracker. Bay Area counties have recorded 328 deaths.
9:31 a.m. Contra Costa County inmate tests positive: An inmate at the Martinez Detention Facility tested positive for the coronavirus during Tuesday tests of inmates without symptoms, health officials said. The inmate was placed in clinical isolation under care of county health workers, county officials said.
9:25 a.m. Feds said to probe firm that never delivered masks to California, Maryland: The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into a company started by two GOP operatives that failed to deliver multi-million-dollar shipments of face masks that California and Maryland had paid for, the Washington Post reports. The two states ultimately canceled their contracts with Blue Flame Medical. California paid it $456.9 million for masks, Cal Matters reported.
9:19 a.m. China says enough of the blame game: A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry assailed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday over his recent assertion that the deadly coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, the New York Times reports. Hua Chunying pointed to a leaked memo by Republicans in the Senate urging attacking China and its labs as a campaign issue. “The huge drama of blame shifting in the United States has already been heavily spoiled, and continuing the drama is meaningless,” she said.
9:05 a.m. Former Google CEO Schmidt to help New York: Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt will help COVID-19-battered New York envision better use of technology like telehealth by serving as chair of a 15-member blue-ribbon committee, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. In a video comments to Cuomo’s daily news briefing, Schmidt said his first priority would be remote health via broadband.
8:59 a.m. San Francisco confirms 26 new cases: Twenty-six more people in San Francisco have tested positive for the coronavirus, increasing the number of known cases to 1,754, according to the Department of Public Health.
8:53 a.m. Back to the ballpark in Taiwan: Baseball fans can attend Taiwan games in person starting Friday, after a month of games in empty stadiums. They must wear masks, and have their temperature taken before entering stadiums, and sit in assigned seats to facilitate contact tracing if anyone turns out to be infected. Taiwan has recorded 439 coronavirus cases and six deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University tracking.
8:42 a.m. New York records 232 more coronavirus deaths: Another 232 people in New York died of COVID-19 Tuesday as the number of new people who tested positive for the coronavirus decreased to around 600 but remained “problematic,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Cuomo cautioned that the number of fatalities is likely off and will change as health officials continue studying the pandemic.
8:29 a.m. A drive-by show for the neighborhood: A resident of Noe Valley has become a popular attraction for a couple of evenings each week, distracting neighbors stressed out from the coronavirus pandemic for an hour or so. Read Heather Knight’s account of the Church Street entertainer, comedian, cheerleader and soother all in one.
8:18 a.m. Jared Kushner’s unusual supply team: President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, placed a team of volunteers with no procurement experience on the front line of the administration’s supply-chain task force as federal warehouses were running bare and medical workers improvised their own protective gear against the coronavirus, documents obtained by the New York Times indicate. The volunteers were told to prioritize tips from Trump political allies and associates.
8:11 a.m. San Mateo County records another 26 cases: Twenty-six more people in San Mateo County have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 1,341, health officials said.
8:06 a.m. ‘We don’t go to work to die’: On the Fifth & Mission podcast, nurses from around the Bay Area talk about doing their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic: their frustration at insufficient protective equipment; flights to New York to work in overwhelmed emergency rooms; fears of bringing the disease home to their families; and their pride in their profession. Click here to listen.
7:58 a.m. Massive drop in car sales spurs push for help on Capitol Hill: A precipitous decline in car sales amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak has lawmakers from states with large auto economies urging Congress to authorize new aid for the industry, the Washington Post reports. Car sales were down about 40 percent just last week, according to J.D. Power, which monitors the industry.
7:39 a.m. White House coronavirus task force will remain active, Trump says: The White House coronavirus task force “will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN,” President Trump tweeted Wednesday, a day after Vice President Mike Pence disclosed discussions to potentially phase pit the group by June. Trump praised the task force’s work and said officials may “may add or subtract people” to it.
7:22 a.m. EU says recession to reach ‘historic proportions’: The European Union predicted Wednesday “a recession of historic proportions this year” due to the coronavirus rampage. In its first official estimates of the pandemic’s economic damage to the 27-nation bloc, the EU predicted a contraction of 7.5% this year, and about 6% growth in 2021, assuming steady ease-up of lockdowns.
7:10 a.m. Deal goes south after California delivers half a billion dollars for medical gear: California paid $456.9 million to company that had been in business for three days for 100 million face masks, but the deal fell apart hours later, Cal Matters reports. After a similar bad deal, Maryland directed its state attorney general to investigate the company, Blue Flame Medical, which is run by two Republican operatives.
6:59 a.m. Worst job losses in nearly a century: U.S. companies shed an unprecedented 20.2 million jobs from their payrolls in April as the coronavirus pandemic brought the economy to a standstill, a one-month toll more than double the total jobs lost during all of the Great Recession, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc.
6:36 a.m. Stocks continue gains: The Dow Jones industrial average hovered around 24,000, marking a third day of gains as the markets opened. Optimism over reopening the economy continued to mark traders’ sentiments.
6:30 a.m. Uber to lay off nearly 4,000 workers: Uber plans to lay off 3,700 full-time customer support and recruiting employees, the company said Wednesday. Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will also waive his base salary for the rest of the year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
6:17 a.m. The health care warriors: On National Nurses Day, The Chronicle is spotlighting a handful of the thousands of Bay Area nurses who heroically battle the coronavirus crisis each day, often at great personal peril. The treat ICU patients, swab anxious people for the virus, hold the phone for nursing home patients speaking to relatives outside. The nurses talk about how their jobs have changed, their fears and hopes for the future and what drives them to go to work every day.
6:02 a.m. A slow-go on easing up while still in the thick of it: With Bay Area coronavirus cases and deaths lingering at a stubborn plateau, officials are eyeing a slow re-emergence from seven weeks of shut-down, even as the state prepares to relax some restrictions. The Bay Area remains in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, and public health experts say reopening too quickly risks a far more dramatic outbreak. Read more.
5:46 a.m. Putting $1 million behind donor challenge: A couple who amassed sizeable wealth at Microsoft and Amazon are urging fellow rich folk to put their own tax-break-earning charitable funds to work during the global health crisis. Jennifer and David Risher are putting up $1 million in matching grants for donors who pledge to give away half their donor-advised funds by the end of September.
5:30 a.m. Back to business for defiant Napa companies: A handful of Napa business owners opened their doors in recent days, with some owners declaring they are “prepared to risk fines, arrest or jail” for violating shelter-in-place orders. A restaurant, a gun and outdoor gear store, a dog groomer and an art gallery are among the defiant businesses. Read The Chronicle’s story.
See previous updates in The Chronicle’s comprehensive timeline of the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area.
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