The Chronicle began covering the coronavirus crisis before the first cases were reported in the Bay Area and a pandemic was declared. We reorganized the newsroom to dedicate nearly every resource to stories focusing on the health and economic disasters. Every day we have published live updates to reflect the most critical local, national and global updates on COVID-19, and this news is free of charge in an effort to keep our community safe and informed.
• Read the previous batch of updates from April 23-24.
• Read the next batch of updates for April 27-28.
• See the full timeline.
Updates from Sunday, April 26:
11:45 p.m. Colorado to begin easing restrictions this week: Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday issued a “Safer at Home” order with procedures to begin peeling back Colorado’s coronavirus-related restrictions this week. Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery Monday and phase in a full opening Friday using “best practices.” Elective medical and dental procedures and real estate showings also can resume Monday. “Safer at Home is by no means a free-for-all,” Polis said in a release, noting residents still should remain home as much as possible and wear face masks in public.
11:32 p.m. Fear and mistrust in rural Georgia as governor launches reopening: While Gov. Evan Kemp now is encouraging businesses to reopen, including restaurants starting Monday, rural residents, many of them poor and black, are wary. They fear a spike in new infections, especially in the southwest region, where COVID-19 death rates are among the nation’s highest, the Washington Post reports in a look at the region’s longstanding inequities.
10:40 p.m. Newport Beach weighs closures due to large coast crowds: Newport Beach will consider closing its beaches the next three weekends after crowds flocked to its shores over the past weekend. The City Council is to meet on the issue Tuesday. Some 40,000 people crowded Newport Beach on both Friday and Saturday, the Orange County Register reported.Ventura County also drew crowds despite discouragement by officials concerned about spread of the coronavirus. Between the two counties, Los Angeles County beaches stayed closed.“While the sunshine is tempting, we’re staying home to save lives,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote Sunday on Twitter: “We won’t let one weekend undo a month of progress.”
10:21 p.m. Japan extending entry ban to 14 more countries: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan will add 14 countries, including Russia, Peru and Saudi Arabia, to its entry ban list, starting Wednesday, as the coronavirus spreads in the country. Japan has already banned entry from more than 70 other countries including the U.S. and Canada. Japan has confirmed 13,441 coronavirus cases, with 372 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
9:55 p.m. Asian markets gaining: Asian markets were on the rise Monday as the globe’s governments considered plans and timing to reopen and get their economies back on track. Japanese stocks led a broad rise, with the Nikkei 225 average up more than 2%.
9:45 p.m. New Zealand set to ease lockdown: New Zealand will move out of its strictest lockdown category at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, allowing some businesses, restaurants and schools to reopen under less severe guidelines. New Zealand has a coronavirus transmission rate — the average number of new cases caused by each infected person — of 0.4, compared to a global rate of 2.5, officials said at a news conference. “There is no widespread undetected community transition in New Zealand,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We have won that battle, but we must remain vigilant if we’re to keep it that way.”
8:59 p.m. SamTrans starts its modified schedule, requires masks: SamTrans began running a scaled-back schedule Sunday with reductions on 31 routes and face coverings required for passengers and bus drivers, in compliance with San Mateo County’s health order. The transit agency’s changes have most weekday bus routes now running on Saturday schedules, reflecting a drop in ridership of 65-to-70% since stay-at-home measures took effect in March, the agency said.
8:50 p.m. Healdsburg to give loans to small businesses: Healdsburg hopes to ease some coronavirus-related pain for its small businesses through a new loan program. The city will provide zero-interest loans of up to $15,000 to help them weather the pandemic, according to a city news release. The small Sonoma County city expects to lose more than $3 million in tax revenue with tourism plummeting, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported.
8:40 p.m. Italy set to end Europe’s longest lockdown starting May 4: After enduring one of the world’s most deadly coronavirus outbreaks, Italians on Sunday heard Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s plan to ease restrictions starting on May 4, the New York Times reports. In a TV address, Conte said it’s time to begin a phase of “living with the virus.” He added, “If you love Italy, maintain distance.”
8:22 p.m. Camp anxiety adds to lockdown fatigue: After weeks of being holed up at home, kids — and parents — are looking forward to summer camp even more than usual. But camp organizers are struggling with how to move ahead amid the coronavirus uncertainty. Girl Scouts of Northern California canceled the first four weeks of its summer program and other camps are behind schedule for hiring and planning. Read more.
8:06 p.m. Bay Area counties update case counts: Contra Costa County reported 12 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, bringing its total of confirmed cases to 817. Sonoma County reported two additional cases for a cumulative total of 220. Marin County confirmed one new case to increase its total to 224.
8:00 p.m. Italy sees smallest rise in deaths since March 14: Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 260 on Sunday, the smallest daily tally since March 14, officials said. The number was sharply down from 415 deaths reported Saturday. The country saw its lowest number of new infections since April 20, at 2,324 Sunday, down from 2,357 on Saturday. Italy’s death toll to date stood at 26,644 as of Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins researchers, second highest in the world after the U.S. which had 54,881.
7:49 p.m. A D.C. hospital sees ‘significant’ number of youth coronavirus cases: The Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. saw 105 children ill with the coronavirus between March 15 and April 22, with 28 requiring hospitalization and one-quarter of those needing critical care, the Washington Post reported. A hospital official told the Post that while children typically are not as susceptible to the virus as older adults, “it does happen, and you need to be prepared, because it’s not a rare thing either.” About 2.5% of California’s confirmed cases are age 17 and below, with no reported deaths, state health officials reported Sunday.
7:22 p.m. Australia introduces tracing app as some restrictions ease: Australia has launched an app that uses cell signals to trace people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, as a way to help the county return to normalcy, Reuters reports, though some view the app as an invasion of privacy. The government wants at least 40 percent of the population to sign up for the voluntary app to make it effective. Australia will propose legislation next month that the app’s data can only go to state public health officials.
7:15 p.m. Stuck at home and tuned in to NFL draft: More than 55 million people watched this year’s NFL draft, a record viewing audience and up 16% from last year’s, the NFL said in a release. Held remotely with live camera feeds of prospects, coaches and Commissioner Roger Goodell, the draft drew many sports-starved fans tuning in during coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
7:05 p.m. New federal meatpacking guidelines for worker safety: The Labor Department and the CDC issued new guidance for meatpacking and meat-processing facilities Sunday, in the wake of plants becoming infection coronavirus hot spots, the Washington Post reports. The guidance says employees should wear masks, and be at least 6 feet apart in all directions “if possible,” and employers should “consider” screening employees for coronavirus symptoms before they enter the workplace.
6:39 p.m. UCSF researchers are halfway through a four-day blitz of coronavirus testing in S.F.’s Mission District, with 1,650 residents agreeing this weekend to participate in the name of science, The Chronicle’s Megan Cassidy reports. The first-of-its kind study aims to test up to 5,700 residents to look at the virus’ spread in the city’s hardest hit neighborhood.
6:19 p.m. Some companies with 7-figure-salary execs cleaned up on stimulus aid: Among large companies that got low-interest loans from Washington’s vast economic rescue package — meant to keep small businesses from sinking — are a dozen or so that recently reported raising large sums through private means, and several others that recently showered top executives with seven-figure pay packages, according to a review by the New York Times.
6:07 p.m. India’s prime minister cautions on complacency: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is warning India’s 1.3 billion people against any coronavirus-related complacency, saying on a Sunday radio that they must stick to social distancing, wearing masks and not spitting in public, teh Associated Press reports. Modi put India under a strict lockdown on March 25, with restrictions then eased somewhat for shops, manufacturing and farming activities to resume in rural areas.
5:56 p.m. Nearly 90 inmate cases at state prison in Chino: The California Institution for Men in Chino (San Bernardino County) has confirmed 88 cases of the coronavirus among inmates, the state Corrections website says. That accounts for half of the 176 confirmed cases in the state prison system and more than half of 165 inmates in Chino who have been tested. The Chino prison reported the state system’s lone virus-related death on April 19.
5:49 p.m. IRS upgrades its ‘Get My Payment’ online tool: On Sunday, the IRS announced improvements to its buggy “Get My Payment” online tool that Americans can use to track and speed up their tax-free $1,200 economic stimulus payments. Chronicle personal finance columnist Kathleen Pender explains what has changed.
5:44 p.m. White House briefing to return Monday: After President Trump tweeted that his daily coronavirus news conferences were a waste of time, and after a weekend without one, the White House schedule for Monday shows the now-familiar coronavirus task force briefing back at 5 p.m. It does not indicate if the president will be there, the Washington Post reports. Trump stormed out of Friday’s briefing without taking questions and then tweeted Saturday about reporters’ “hostile questions.”
5:21 p.m. Sonoma County virtual town hall set for Tuesday: Sonoma County officials will hold the next in a series of coronavirus-related virtual town hall meetings Tuesday at 7 p.m. Residents can submit questions at https://norcalpublicmedia.org/coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on TV, radio and live stream and will be simulcast in Spanish.
5:14 p.m. Pelosi says U.S. efforts to freeze out WHO are ‘more than stupid’: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s effort to withhold funding from the World Health Organization and sideline the international body amid the coronavirus pandemic is “dangerous.” She cited a Washington Post report that U.S. officials are removing references to the WHO from coronavirus materials. “It’s more than stupid. It’s dangerous,” Pelosi told NPR.
4:53 p.m. Another warm day lures Bay Area residents to parks: Many residents restless after more than a month of sheltering in place couldn’t resist the temptation to go outside this weekend, complicating the battle to slow the spread of coronavirus. Read the full story here.
4:48 p.m. California cases climb above 43,000: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in California rose to 43,370 as of Sunday afternoon, with 1,715 deaths. The nine Bay Area counties have reported a total of 7,500 cases with 260 deaths. Santa Clara on Sunday became the first Bay Area county report 100 deaths from the virus.
4:43 p.m. Stanford hospital system to cut pay 20%, furlough workers during pandemic: Stanford Health workers including doctors and nurses can accept a 20% pay cut or use paid time off for 10 weeks. They also can choose to take unpaid leave (a furlough) and apply for unemployment. Stanford Health Care disputes the notion that reductions in staff would diminish care. Read more here.
4:37 p.m. LA County’s low-income areas see 3 times more deaths: People living in lower-income communities are three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in wealthier areas, Los Angeles County data shows. County areas with 30-100% of residents in poverty have a coronavirus death rate of 16.5 per 100,000 people, compared to 5.3 per 100,000 where poverty afflicts less than 10%, officials said Sunday. The county reported 18 new COVID-19 deaths Sunday to bring its total to 913.
4:30 p.m. Santa Rita Jail reports new inmate case: Another inmate at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin has tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the jail’s total positives to 34, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office reported. Nine are active cases, 22 inmates have recovered and remain in custody, two recovered and are no longer in custody and one was released from custody. Two jail staff members also are infected, officials reported.
4:18 p.m. Birx says expect social distancing through the summer: “Social distancing will be with us through the summer,” Deborah Birx,White House coronavirus response coordinator, says, “to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases” of coronavirus recovery. Her comments Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” appeared at odds with Vice President Mike Pence’s statement last week that “by Memorial Day weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.”
4:10 p.m. Trump says he’s not firing health Cabinet secretary: President Trump on Sunday dismissed as “fake news” reports that the White House was weighing a plan to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. News outlets reported that White House officials were angry about Azar’s handling of the ouster of vaccine expert and whistleblower Rick Bright, among other things. But Trump tweeted on Sunday he was not firing the secretary, adding, “Alex is doing an excellent job!
3:56 p.m. Puerto Rico prisons to test all inmates: The prison system in Puerto Rico says it will test the nearly 9,000 inmates being held across the U.S. territory to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Officials say 6,000 employees, including prison guards who work at the island’s 32 correctional facilities, also will be tested. A handful of inmates in recent days tested positive for the infection.
3:49 p.m. Pelosi says governors “should be impatient” and aid will come: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says governors are rightfully feeling impatient about getting congressional aid during the coronavirus outbreak. The San Francisco Democrat told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that the financial aid will come and, “Their impatience will help us get an even bigger number” in a new relief package. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced opposition to more local help.
3:35 p.m. Bay Area ICU cases, hospitalizations hit April low: The number of Bay Area confirmed COVID-19 patients in intensive care dropped to its lowest single-day total this month, at 161 on Saturday, The Chronicle’s review of state data shows. The nine Bay Area counties’ overall number of coronavirus patients in hospitals also reached an April low at 369. The previous lows were 163 ICU patients on April 15 and 377 hospitalized patients reported Friday. Statewide, confirmed ICU cases stood at 1,184 Saturday, a one-day 1.2% decrease, and the 3,324 confirmed patients hospitalized was down 0.6% from the day before.
2:44 p.m. WHO clarifies stance on antibodies and immunity: The World Health Organization addressed its prior, widely circulated statement that there is isn’t any evidence that people who have antibodies after recovering from the coronavirus are protected against a second infection. In clarifying tweets, the WHO said “We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection,” though how much protection and how long it will last remains unclear.
2:13 p.m. Electricity use drops during the pandemic: The California grid operator says that electricity use fell 4.5% on weekdays, and 0.5% on weekends, following the first full week of the state’s shelter-in-place order. California’s peak demand — when the strain on the grid is the strongest, because people are using the most electricity — fell further, by up to 7% on weekdays and up to 3% on weekends. The study, by the California Independent System Operator, covered the days up to April 12.
1:55 p.m. More testing capabilities coming to Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia signed a deal Sunday worth more than $264 million with China to provide the kingdom with the ability to conduct 9 million COVID-19 tests. The deal also provides the kingdom with 500 personnel to conduct the tests in six laboratories that will be established across the country.
1:39 p.m. Coronavirus prompts some residents to leave Bay Area: The coronavirus pandemic, it seems, has prompted a minor, but disorienting Bay Area exodus — back to childhood homes after mass layoffs, or to states where living is more viable on the salaries that remain. Chronicle writer Annie Vainshtein talks to some people leaving the Bay Area.
1:24 p.m. White House economic advisor warns of 16% unemployment: While Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the economy could rebound as early as July, another White House economic advisor suggested otherwise. Kevin Hassett said Sunday “the next couple of months are going to be terrible” and that the unemployment rate could reach 16%.
1:19 p.m. State health care worker infections continue to climb: The number health care workers in California testing positive for the coronavirus continues to climb. On Sunday, the California Department of Public Health reported 4,593 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 24 deaths statewide. That’s an increase of 140 over 24 hours. The data refers to on-the-job and other exposures, such as travel-related exposures and close family contact.
1:15 p.m. Santa Clara County reports 100 deaths: Santa Clara County reported 48 new coronavirus cases and 1 new death Sunday, bringing the total to 2,084 cases and 100 deaths. They are the first Bay Area county to report 100 deaths.
1:06 p.m. Chile to issue certificates for recovered COVID-19 patients: Chile said it plans to publish “release certificates” for patients who have recovered from COVID-19, despite warnings from the World Health Organization that there is no evidence showing people are immune to the illness after they recover. “One of the things we know is that a person who has … lived through the disease is less likely to become ill again,” said Paula Daza, sub-secretary of Chile’s Health Ministry.
1:04 p.m. Alameda County reports 31 new cases: Alameda County reported 31 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday. That brings the total number of the county’s confirmed cases to 1,468. The county did not report any additional deaths.
1 p.m. Small Business Administration to limit lending through PPP loan: The U.S. Small Business Administration plans to limit how much institutions can lend as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan designed to incentivize small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. The agency will establish a maximum dollar amount for lending at 10% of PPP funding authority, Reuters reported Sunday.
12:58 p.m. Maryland has received ‘hundreds’ of calls about disinfectants treating coronavirus: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that a state hotline has received “hundreds of calls” from residents asking if they could ingest disinfectants to treat coronavirus symptoms. Speaking on CBS Sunday, Hogan said the calls were in response to President Donald Trump’s suggestion, last week, that household disinfectants should be explored as a possible treatment for the virus.
12:50 p.m. Secretary of Treasury says U.S. economy could bounce back this summer: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that he believes the latest round of stimulus to states will help rebuild the economy sooner rather than later. “I think as we begin to reopen the economy in May and June, you’re going to see the economy really bounce back in July, August, September,” Mnuchin said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “And we are putting in an unprecedented amount of fiscal relief into the economy. You’re seeing trillions of dollars that’s making its way into the economy and I think this is going to have a significant impact.”
12:44 p.m. United Kingdom death totals creep past 20,000: A day after the United Kingdom’s death toll ticked past 20,000, the British recorded 368 more deaths and a reminder that the UK’s social distancing measures will remain in place until they’re not necessary.
12:40 p.m. Canada extending its closure of public schools: Canada’s most populous province says all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until May 31 to keep students and staff safe amid the pandemic.
12:37 p.m. Montana begins reopening by resuming church services: Montana took its first step toward reopening as churchgoers returned to services after a month-long hiatus and a general stay-at-home order expired. While other states have been extending restrictions amid the continuing spread of the coronavirus, Montana is among those that are beginning to loosen rules in hopes of restoring battered economies and regaining some normalcy.
12:33 p.m. Number of French intensive care patients trending downward: While the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care in France is continuing to trend downward, the overall number of ICU patients is increasing, with more people needing emergency care for other ailments. The Health Ministry said hospital ICUs were treating 7,553 people on Sunday, 28 more than on Saturday. But the proportion of COVID-19 patients in ICUs was again down, at 4,682. That was 43 fewer than the day before.
11:31 a.m. More than 5.1 million Americans have been tested for COVID-19: The COVID Tracking Project has released data that says 5,184,635 Americans have been tested for the virus, with more than 300,000 people tested on Saturday. The project lists California as having tested more than 506,000 people, though those numbers haven’t been updated since April 22.
11:25 a.m. New York looking at a phased re-opening: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday New York may carry out a phased reopening based on a regional analysis and data on hospitalizations, number of antibody tests and positive diagnostic tests. Cuomo said Upstate and Central New York would likely re-open sooner, possibly after May 15, while Downstate would take more time because it would require coordinating with neighboring states and regions.
11:11 a.m. Trump sends letters noting $1,200 stimulus to Americans: President Donald Trump sent letters to citizens through the Internal Revenue Service, stating “Your Economic Impact Payment Has Arrived.” “As we wage total war on this invisible enemy, we are also working around the clock to protect hardworking Americans like you from the consequences of the economic shutdown,” he wrote. “America’s drive, determination, innovation and sheer willpower have conquered every previous challenge — and they will conquer this one too.” The back of a letter sent to a Chronicle reporter in Oakland also included a Spanish translation.
11:02 a.m. Coronavirus creates tough times for Oakland’s budget: A just-released report on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Oakland’s already shaky city finances predicts a devastating tax shortfall — so big, in fact, that insiders say it will probably lead to drastic service cuts and layoffs of city workers. The Chronicle’s Phil Matier has the details.
10:54 a.m. Salesforce CEO shares ideas for getting Americans back to work: Marc Benioff, head of San Francisco’s largest private employer, used Twitter to share his thoughts to getting Americans back to work. His nine point plan included “complete safety guidelines” and “masks for all,” called for widescale testing and suggested some employees could return to work in five weeks. Salesforce did not immediately have additional comment. The cloud-based software company has over 9,000 workers in San Francisco and is headquartered in the city’s tallest building, Salesforce Tower.
10:44 a.m. The Bay Area’s coronavirus timeline: In mid-March, the Bay Area became the first region in the nation to order residents to stay at home in order to lessen the impact of the coronavirus, first detected here a few weeks earlier. Here’s how it unfolded.
10:30 a.m. NYC needs $7.4 billion in federal aid, de Blasio says: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city needs $7.4 billion in federal aid to combat the economic devastation from the coronavirus, Reuters reported. De Blasio, a Democrat, urged President Trump to ask Republicans in the U.S. Senate to allot more aid to cities and states, saying on Fox News Sunday, “If New York City is not whole, it will drag down the entire region, and it will hold up the entire national economic restart.”
10:21 a.m. Dutch students cross Atlantic in boat after being stuck in Caribbean: A group of Dutch high school students who were stranded in the Caribbean after the coronavirus halted travel plans, returned home Sunday after five weeks sailing to the Dutch port of Harlingen aboard a 200-foot boat dubbed the Wylde Swan. The 25 students who, according to the Associated Press, didn’t have a vast knowledge of sailing but were to explore the Caribbean in the Swan, stocked up on supplies and clothing before embarking on the 4,350 mile voyage.
10:16 a.m. Traffic is increasing in the Bay Area: After a dramatic plunge in traffic, Bay Area drivers appear to be slowly easing up on staying at home and getting back on the roads. Phil Matier has the report.
10:11 a.m. Germany considering a right to work from home law: Germany’s labor minister wants to enshrine into law the right to work from home if it is feasible to do so, even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, reports the Associated Press. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told Sunday’s edition of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he aims to put forward such legislation this fall. He said initial estimates suggest the proportion of the work force working from home has risen from 12% to 25% during the virus crisis, to around 8 million people.
9:52 a.m. More than 850,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus: The number of people around the world who have recovered from the coronavirus has topped 850,000, with the latest number coming in at 853,666, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
9:44 a.m. Life in a hotel, with the coronavirus: What’s it like moving from the Multi-Service South homeless shelter to a hotel after testing positive for the coronavirus? For at least one man, not too bad, except for the idea that he can’t stay in the hotel forever. Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan writes about the experience.
9:30 a.m. SF reports 54 additional cases: San Francisco reported 54 new coronavirus cases Sunday, bringing the total to 1,408 infections. There were no new deaths, which keeps the total at 22 total deaths in the city.
9:25 a.m. If San Francisco slows down coronavirus efforts, ‘it gets worse,’ Breed says: San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Sunday the city launched aggressive efforts to combat the coronavirus early on — and continues those efforts — in order to minimize the outbreak as much as possible. “I know that most cities are seeing the same data I’m seeing, that if we do absolutely nothing, it gets worse,” Breed said during CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “That’s why we have been a lot more aggressive maybe, than other areas. If there was a surge, we wouldn’t have enough hospital beds, enough ICUs, enough ventilators.” Breed said the city still doesn’t have sufficient resources to keep people safe, particularly when it comes to personal protective equipment and testing.
9:20 a.m. Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations vary across California: A Chronicle review of state data has found wide variance in the number of patients with COVID-19. Some counties had few to no people in the hospital due to the disease Thursday, while others reported hundreds of cases. Read the report here.
9:09 a.m. Economy might not rebound until late 2021: It could be late 2021 until the economy rebounds to where it was before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the world. Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, expressed that concern Sunday during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
8:58 a.m. IAC chairman says economy will continue to be a ‘big mess’: Barry Diller said there’s “no chance” the economy will recover this summer. “I think it’s going to be a period where it’s going to be a big mess,” Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia Group, said Sunday during CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “By September you’ll see some things economically return. You’ll see some people go back to work, probably by Labor Day.” He also called the economic damage from the pandemic “catastrophic” and said we should expect widespread bankruptcies. “Hopefully the government will pick up the tab because this is an existential crisis,” Diller said.
8:55 a.m. Dr. Birx says U.S. needs ‘breakthrough’ in testing: The U.S. will likely continue social distancing practices into the summer and needs a significant breakthrough in testing in order to better understand the coronavirus, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator. “We have to realize that we have to have a breakthrough innovation in testing,” for the people who contracted the virus but had mild symptoms, Birx told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday.
8:40 a.m. Pentagon to priotize which service members are tested for virus: Facing a shortage of coronavirus tests, the Pentagon said it will be focusing on testing servicemembers who are involved in duties considered most vital to national security, according to a report by the Associated Press. Those positions that will be tested: those who operate the nation’s nuclear forces, some counterterrorism forces and the crew of a soon-to-deploy aircraft carrier. Defense leaders said they hope to increase testing from the current rate of about 7,000 a day to 60,000 by June.
8:34 a.m. Pope says we must not stop fighting malaria, during coronavirus pandemic: Pope Francis is stressing that efforts to combat malaria must continue even as the world fights COVID-19, saying Sunday that “while we are fighting the coronavirus pandemic, we must also continue our efforts to prevent and treat malaria, which threatens billions of people in many countries.” The U.N. World Health Organization has said severe disruptions to anti-malaria campaigns, using insecticide-treated netting against mosquitoes, coupled with difficulties in accessing medicine could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year compared to 2018.
8:28 a.m. Coronavirus pandemic reshapes Bay Area shopping habits: To delve into spending during the pandemic, The Chronicle looked at data from Second Measure, a San Francisco company that analyzes billions of anonymized credit card purchases to track consumer behavior and sales at individual merchants. We examined weekly spending in six categories heavily impacted by the pandemic and shelter-in-place order. Carolyn Said has the report, which looks areas like ride sharing and food purchases.
8:05 a.m. Purdue University hopes to reopen courses in the fall: Officials at Purdue University in Indiana said they hope to reopen the university for in-person courses in the fall, arguing the virus, “poses close to zero lethal threat” to young people. “We have every intention of being on campus this fall,” President Mitch Daniels told the university Senate.
8:04 a.m. We’re all feeling some form of ‘Zoom fatigue’: There’s a cost to doing our work, our social connections online. It’s called “Zoom fatigue” and it’s a reminder how far away the novelty of video conferencing meetings, family gatherings feels these days. Chronicle writer Ryan Kost examines our relationship with services like Zoom.
8:00 a.m Saudia Arabia eases restrictions, Mecca remains in lockdown: Saudia Arabia eased coronavirus restrictions across the country Sunday but kept lockdowns in Mecca and some neighborhoods to curb the spread of the virus. The country has recorded 17,522 cases of infection and 139 deaths.
7:50 a.m. White House leaders floating ideas to revive economy: White House advisors plan to create “big, thoughtful policies” to help the U.S. economy recover after shelter-in-place policies are lifted, Reuters reported Sunday. “We hope to be talking to the president about it … to start to come up with the top five, six ideas that we want to take up with Congress,” said White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett during a news conference. The nation’s unemployment rate would likely hit 16% or higher this month, Hassett said.
7:38 a.m. When will the Bay Area reopen?: The coronavirus curve is flat, the hospitals have plenty of beds, and in one week, the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place orders are due to expire — so understandably, millions of residents are asking when they can go back to some kind of normal life outside their homes. It’s going to be a while longer. Chronicle reporters Erin Allday and Alexei Koseff share a glimpse of the future.
7:33 a.m. Europe could provide model on how to re-open schools: The schools of Europe could provide the road map for how American education systems will reopen. Bill Gates said Sunday on CNN that some European nations have started exploring how to operate schools with modified restrictions such as masks and social distancing. He said that the summer will provide details on how American schools could do the same in the fall, with elementary schools potentially opening first.
7:28 a.m. Tahoe developed an ‘us vs. them’ mentality during pandemic: The coronavirus pandemic at first seemed impossibly distant to residents of the hamlets ringing Lake Tahoe. The novel virus seemed to be contained to urban places like San Francisco and Los Angeles, or as far removed as Wuhan, China. That wasn’t the case. As the ski resorts closed in mid-March and residents were told to shelter in place, eastern Nevada County became a hot spot for the virus. Chronicle writer Lizzie Johnson explores the tensions that developed between this area and the larger cities.
7:17 a.m. Bill Gates said vaccine likely won’t be here by end of year: Bill Gates said he doesn’t believe a coronavirus vaccine will be available for mass scale production by the end of the year. “It’s very hard to compress these time frames,” Gates said Sunday during an appearance on CNN. “If everything went perfectly we’d be in scale manufacturing within a year. It may not happen. It might be two years.” Gates, whose philanthropic work has included pandemic modeling and pledges to wipe out diseases, said what might hold up vaccine production is the medical studies to ensure a potential vaccine works, and to understand it’s possible side effects on people.
7:05 a.m. Canadian Prime Minister says immunity will not be a factor in re-opening country provinces: Plans to revive the Canadian economy will not hinge on whether people infected with the coronavirus develop immunity to the illness, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday. “(Immunity) is something we need to get clearer answers to and until we have those clear answers, we need to err on the side of more caution,” Trudeau said in a daily news briefing. The World Health Organization said there’s no evidence that people who recover from COVID-19 are immune from contracting the virus again.
7:00 a.m. Michigan has largest percentage of coronavirus cases resulting in death: An estimated 8.5% of Michigan’s coronavirus cases resulted in death as of Saturday, the highest number in the United States, according to the most recent data from John Hopkins University. New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Louisiana also had some of the highest death percentages, the university said. In South Dakota, only 0.47% of that state’s coronavirus cases resulted in death as of Saturday — the lowest in the country. Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas and Nebraska followed, with less than 2% of cases in each state resulting in death.
6:54 a.m. Singapore deports man who lied about his travel history: Singapore has deported a British man and blacklisted him after he lied about his travel history during a visit to a court last month. It was part of precautionary measure to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. Police said the Briton was given a stern warning before he was deported Sunday to Hong Kong and barred from re-entering the city-state, despite being married to a Singaporean permanent resident.
6:50 a.m. Protestors defy social distancing orders in Hong Kong: Hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators took to a mall in Hong Kong for the largest protest gathering there since the city instituted a ban of no more than four people gathered together in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Singing the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” the protestors called for the Hong Kong police force to be disbanded, according to the Associated Press.
6:43 a.m. Minks are latest animals to test positive for COVID-19: Animals at two mink farms in the Netherlands have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture said Sunday that some staff at the two farms had earlier displayed symptoms of the disease “so it is assumed that these are human-to-animal infections.” This follows reports of cats and a tiger testing positive for the virus.
6:38 a.m. Dr. Birx says next step is understanding virus’ asymptomatic spread: As some states consider reopening Dr. Deborah Birx says the next step in combating the coronavirus pandemic is understanding its asymptomatic spread. “We have to diagnose the virus before it becomes evident in communities,” Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said during a Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” She said emphasis shouldn’t just be on diagnosing cases, but being able to recognize when it’s surfacing in communities before symptoms are expressed.
6:33 a.m. UK official says country is still in a “dangerous” stage: Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declined to publicly reveal details Sunday about when officials may lift the UK’s shelter-in-place-policy, arguing that re-opening too soon may cause a resurgence of coronavirus cases. “We are at a delicate and dangerous stage and we need to make sure that the next steps are sure-footed,” Raab told Sky News, according to Reuters.
6:25 a.m. Pelosi says Congress has a “plan to go forward”: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to criticism Sunday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who questioned the lack of funding allotted to individual states in Congress’ most recent stimulus package. “State and local governments have done their jobs magnificently,” Pelosi said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They should be impatient and their impatience will help us get more money.”
6:17 a.m. Spain reports less than 300 daily deaths for first time in weeks: Spain has reported its lowest daily death count for coronavirus infections in five weeks as its strict lockdown restrictions begin to pay dividends. Spanish health authorities said Sunday that 288 people died from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 23,190 since the start of the outbreak. It is the first time the daily death toll has fallen below 300 fatalities since March 20.
6:15 a.m. Africa reports more than 30,000 cases of COVID-19: The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the 54 countries of Africa. The report issued Sunday showed there have been 1,374 deaths in Africa. Only two African countries have not reported any cases of the disease — the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa and Comoros, the small Indian Ocean islands.
6:05 a.m. Children in Spain allowed to go outside for first time in 6 weeks: Spanish children under the age of 14 enjoyed the outdoors for the first time in six weeks Sunday, as Spain registered its lowest daily death toll increase in more than 1 month, Reuters reported. The country, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, declared a state of emergency on March 14 and shut down most public places.
Updates from Saturday, April 25:
11:50 p.m. Cuba sends health professionals to South Africa: Cuba sent 216 health care workers to South Africa on Saturday, the latest of more than 20 medical brigades it has sent worldwide to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports. Havana has sent around 1,200 healthcare workers largely to vulnerable African and Caribbean nations but also to rich European countries such as Italy where the novel coronavirus has been especially rampant.
11:40 p.m. Saudi Arabia eases up on lockdown for Ramadan: Saudi Arabia announced is easing some of its extensive lockdown measures for the holy month of Ramadan, allowing stores to reopen and people to move around from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Saudi Arabia has been one of the Mideast’s hardest hit countries, with 16,299 coronavirus cases, a number growing by over 1,000 a day. The pilgrimage city of Mecca has been particularly hard hit, and will remain under total lockdown.
11:24 p.m. Brad Pitt plays Dr. Fauci on SNL: Dr. Anthony Fauci joked with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota this week that if he ever made it into a Saturday Night Live skit, “of course” he’d like Brad Pitt to play him. The nation’s most prominent infectuous disease expert got his wish: Pitt showed up as Fauci on the “SNLAtHome” cold open Saturday. After a few minutes in character, Pitt pulled off his wig, saying, “And to the real Dr. Fauci, thank you for your calm and clarity in this unnerving time. Thank you to the medical workers, first responders and their families for being on the front line.”
11:10 p.m. Will Trump stop briefing on coronavirus?: A tweet by President Trump on Saturday, his refusal to take reporters’ questions Friday and his failure to hold a briefing on Saturday are fueling speculation that he may curtail his daily coronavirus briefings. Republicans are said to worry that his performance could hurt his election-year image. Trump again blasted the press in his Saturday Twitter outburst: “What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately.”
11:01 p.m. Some small colleges in California face reckoning: The news from two Bay Area colleges, Notre Dame de Namur University and San Francisco Art Institute, they they won’t enroll new students in the fall highlights fears raised by the coronavirus pandemic that some small, private colleges could scale back, merge or even shut down in the face of financial challenges. Unlike public universities they cannot count on state tax dollars to keep them afloat.
10:45 p.m. State coronavirus cases exceed 42,000. The latest count reveals that California has recorded 42,592 cases of the coronavirus infection as of Saturday, including 1,696 deaths.
10:38 p.m. Meat companies said to lack protective measures for workers: Three of the nation’s largest meat processors failed to provide protective gear to all workers, and some employees say they were told to work in crowded plants even while sick as the coronavirus outbreak turned the facilities into infection hot spots, a Washington Post investigation has found. The actions by Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods — continued even after the federal government’s March 9 safety guidelines were published.
10:15 p.m. Sausalito to close downtown parking on weekends: After Saturday saw a surge of visitors enjoying Sausalito’s sunny streets, the city announced it will now close downtown parking lots on weekends and holidays, starting Sunday. Police will cite visitors for non-essential travel and safe-distancing violations, officials announced Saturday night. Metered parking will be restricted to residents and permit holders. “Please remember that complying with public health orders can help keep everyone safe,” the city statement said.
8:49 p.m. Trump’s handling of pandemic has GOP nervous about losing: President Trump’s erratic handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the worsening economy and ominous poll results have Republicans increasingly nervous about the risk of losing the presidency and the Senate if Trump does not radically improve the nation’s course, the New York Times reports. They believe his handling of daily coronavirus briefings are inflicting grave damage on his standing.
8:39 p.m. Washington Post sues for U.S. cables about early knowledge of coronavirus: The Washington Post is suing the State Department after the agency denied speedy processing of the newspaper’s request for cables from 2018 that warned of safety issues at a coronavirus research lab in Wuhan, China. The newspaper sought the diplomatic cables to report on U.S. government activities related to the virus.
8:29 p.m. SF Sheriff’s Office distributes hundreds of face masks: San Francisco Sheriff’s deputies and recruits handed out more than 750 masks to folks enjoying the outdoors Saturday in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood, Lake Merced Park, Ocean Beach, Alamo Square Park and Dolores Park. A sheriff’s office tweet shows them in masks themselves, giving masks to bicyclists an strolling through a populated Dolores Park.
8:23 p.m. India begins opening neighborhood stores: India on Saturday allowed neighborhood stores that many of it 1.3 billion people rely on to reopen. The lockdown relaxation did not apply to hundreds of quarantined towns and other hot spots that have been hit hardest by the outbreak that has killed at least 775 people in the country, the Associated Press reported.
8:14 p.m. Bloomberg puts his money where the coronavirus is: Recent presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is now deploying his massive fortune to bolster social services and feed first responders in the fight against the coronavirus.The billionaire plans to spend $10.5 million on a contact tracing program to help local officials follow the spread of the virus, and $40 million supporting efforts against the virus on low- and middle-income nations.
8:02 p.m. Cases in Marin County increase: Eleven new coronavirus cases in Marin County were announced Saturday, bringing the total for the county to 223, according to the county’s coronavirus website.
7:57 p.m. Americans venturing out again, data shows: Researchers tracking smartphone data report that for the first time since states began implementing coronavirus stay-at-home orders in mid-March, Americans are at home less. The nationwide shift during the week of April 13 was relatively slight, but public health experts caution that increase in travel is premature as the nation continues battling spread of the virus.
7:41 p.m. Back to work at the IRS — and bring your own mask: The Internal Revenue Service is calling certain “mission critical” employees back to the office, and masks are required, according to a memo obtained by the Washington Post. But the memo warned employees they’d likely need to have their own supply: IRS facilities “may not be able to initially procure the PPE for all employees immediately.”
7:25 p.m. Uptick in Illinois poison control calls after Trump comments: Illinois officials report a spike in calls to poison control services after President Trump wondered Thursday whether disinfectants could be used in the body to treat coronavirus, the Washington Post reports. The state public health director said the reports included people using disinfectants as a sinus rinse, and someone combining bleach and mouthwash to kill germs. Sates, chemical companies and health officials have warned against ingesting such chemicals.
7:12 p.m. Fauci says testing should double in US in coming weeks: Dr. Anthony Fauci said Saturday the U.S. should double its coronavirus diagnostic tests over the next few weeks in a “step by step” effort to reopen the country. The U.S. is completing between 1.5 million and 2 million tests per week, and “should probably get up to twice that … and I think we will,” Fauci, a leading expert on President Trump’s coronavirus task force, told a National Academy of Sciences virtual meeting. He said the only way to treatment is through “a randomized, controlled trial” and, “What we really do want is multiple successful vaccines.”
7:01 p.m. Judge rejects plea for protective gear for detained immigrants: A federal judge says immigrants in government custody are not entitled to gloves and other protective equipment when performing mandatory daily cleaning of their living quarters. Detainees have shown that “their health is at stake” from possible exposure to the coronavirus, but haven’t proven the need for a court order to secure protective gear, the judge said. Read The Chronicle story.
6:51 p.m. British reports say Boris Johnson will be back at work on Monday: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be back to work in his office on Monday, “raring to go” after his battle with the coronavirus, he reportedly told cabinet colleagues. Nearly a month after testing positive for the virus, he will be “back to his normal schedule,” according to British news accounts citing Downing Street.
6:25 p.m. Trump promotion of unproven drugs led to skyrocketing prescriptions: On the day President Trump touted an unproven drug combination, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, as potentially “really incredible,” against the coronavirus, first-time prescriptions spiked at more than 46 times the average weekday rate, an analysis by The New York Times finds. Trump continued extolling the drugs as medical experts urged caution. On Friday, the FDA warned the drugs could lead to serious heart rhythm problems in some coronavirus patients.
6:14 p.m. White House said to consider removing Health and Human Services secretary: White House officials are weighing a plan to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Politico and other news organizations are reporting. The reports come amid the pressure of the COVID-19 response and the delicate steps toward reopening the economy. Among other things, White House aides are said to be angry about Azar’s handling this week of the ouster of vaccine expert and whistleblower Rick Bright.
6 p.m. Spring weekend a powerful lure at Southern California beaches: Officials in Orange and Ventura counties loosened restrictions at beaches, prompting a flood of visitors this weekend. About 40,000 people showed up at Newport Beach, according to the Associated Press. Only some beachgoers appeared to observe social distancing rules.
5:49 p.m. Warm, sunny day draws Bay Area to parks: With temperatures rising into the 70s and 80s, many Bay Area residents couldn’t resist the temptation of getting out into their parks, complicating the battle to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Most observed social distancing but some went to closed areas of East Bay parks and gathered in large groups in East Bay parks.
5:33 p.m. Cases exceed 800 in Contra Costa County: Coronavirus cases in Contra Costa County reached 805 on Saturday with 15 new new cases, according to Contra Costa Health Services’ COVID-19 data dashboard. The county also reported two more deaths, bringing the county’s death total to 25.
5:28 p.m. Warriors to follow SF rules as NBA
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