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:
• 604,609 cases in California, including 11,028 deaths
• 68,613 in the Bay Area, including 956 deaths.
• More than 5.2 million in the U.S., including 167,828 deaths. Other states with the highest death tolls are New York with 32,810; New Jersey with 15,893; Texas with 9,797; Florida with 9,139 and Massachusetts with 8,790. Click on the Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
• More than 21 million in the world, with more than 761,000 deaths. More than 12.6 million people have recovered.
Resources on COVID-19 and California’s reopening: Use our interactive page to track the state and Bay Area’s reopening by county. For detailed maps and new city-by-city Bay Area data, check out The Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker. Information on Bay Area school reopenings can be found here. Find Bay Area COVID-19 testing sites that don’t require doctor referrals in our interactive map. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Latest updates from today:
2:11 p.m. Cal/OSHA seeking retired workers as pandemic complaints mount: The state division of Occupational Safety and Health, struggling under an influx of workplace complaints since the pandemic hit, is seeking to temporarily hire retired inspectors in the face of “crippling” vacancies, the Los Angeles Times reports.
1:50 p.m. Tahoe residents bristle at overload of tourists: Tensions between Lake Tahoe locals and tourists, simmering since the start of shelter-in-place, are boiling over this weekend. Starting Friday and through the weekend, frustrated residents planned to gather in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach and elsewhere around the lake to protest what they call disrespectful behavior by visitors, as stay-home mandates and tourism marketing campaigns urging outsiders not to travel to the area haven’t kept the mobs away.
1:44 p.m. SF tech hangout, The Creamery, is shuttering: The Creamery in San Francisco, a cafe that over the last 12 years entrenched itself as a popular hangout among the city’s tech industry elite, is permanently closing due to the pandemic. It was still open Friday morning as news of its pending shut down started to spread within tech circles on social media. Read the story here.
1:35 p.m. Dems push administration on taking pandemic seriously in parks: House Democrats are pressing Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to explain why the National Park Service is not enforcing indoor social distancing and face mask protocols even where local governments require them. In Thursday letter obtained by National Parks Traveler, Californians Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach and Jared Huffman of San Rafael joined four colleagues in complaining about lapses: “Leaving these important health and safety measures up to individual park units conflicts with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”
1:19 p.m. What about eating or touching those wings — problem or not?: Should you be worried that you might contract COVID-19 from handling or eating food? The short answer, according to experts: not really. The Chronicle’s Esther Mobley lays out what you need to know.
1:15 p.m. Stocks just wobble: U.S. markets had a pretty uneven Friday, with the S&P 500 flat, the Dow Jones industrial average up 0.1%, the Nasdaq down 0.2% and the Russell 2000 off 0.3%.
1:10 p.m. Santa Clara County sets rules for cooling centers: Santa Clara County health officials announced numerous cooling centers open to the public during the weekend heatwave, and cautioned that people should not come if they have fever, cough, diarrhea, headache or other coronavirus symptoms. Face coverings are required and everyone must maintain 6 feet of separation from others. A county website has a list of centers where people can get respite from the heat Friday through Sunday in San Jose, Gilroy, Mountain View, Saratoga and other cities throughout the county.
12:59 p.m. U.S. making lists of who gets vaccine first, Trump says: President Trump said Friday that the government is working on lists prioritizing who should be the first to receive coronavirus vaccine when an effective one emerges. “We’re actively making those lists right now,” Trump told a White House news briefing, adding he’d favor nursing homes and the elderly as priority recipients but he’d leave that to doctors’ expertise.
12:47 p.m. McKesson will distribute vaccine when ready: President Trump on Friday announced the federal government will partner with medical supplier McKesson to rapidly distribute a COVID-19 vaccine once a viable candidate emerges. Trump told a White House news conference the U.S. has three experimental vaccines in later-stage trials, with potential production of more than 100 million doses by year’s end. McKesson will distribute vaccines and related supplies needed to administer them, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
12:34 p.m. Contra Costa County case count goes up: Contra Costa County recorded another 274 cases of the coronavirus and one death, bringing its totals as of Friday to 10,756 cases and 152 deaths. Contra Costa County is the third Bay Area County to surpass 10,000 cases to date, along with Alameda and Santa Clara counties.
12:22 p.m. USPS gives Nevada mail-in ballots clean bill of health, despite Trump suit: Although President Trump accused Nevada of corruption due to its pandemic-era, election-by-mail system, the U.S. Postal Service says the state should be fine. “Under our reading of Nevada’s election laws, it appears that your voters should have sufficient time to receive, complete, and return their ballots by the state’s deadlines,” according to a Postal Service letter to the state obtained by the Washington Post.
11:59 a.m. USPS tells states election mail won’t arrive in time: Anticipating an avalanche of mailed-in ballots as the coronavirus keeps voters home, the U.S. Postal Service sent detailed letters to 46 states, including California, and D.C., warning that it cannot guarantee all mail-in ballots for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, according to the Washington Post which obtained the letters in a public records request. The letters sketch a grim possibility for the tens of millions of voters: Even if they follow election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes. The letters said the risk of disenfranchisement is greatest for voters who wait until close to Election Day to request or cast a ballot. Voters should mail ballots no later than Oct. 27 — a week before Election Day — if they want to guarantee they are counted, the letters advised.
11:50 a.m. Treatment trial deadlines slipping: With COVID-19 treatments needed more than ever, clinical trials for some of the most promising experimental drugs are taking longer than expected. Researchers at a dozen clinical trial sites said that testing delays, staffing shortages, space constraints and reluctant patients were complicating efforts to test monoclonal antibodies, man-made drugs that mimic abilities in the human immune system. As a result, once-ambitious deadlines are slipping, the New York Times reports.
11:35 a.m. Staycation recommendations in Bay Area pandemic times: The Bay Area is home to more than 350 outdoor recreation destinations, making it fertile ground for exploring — even during the coronavirus pandemic. The Chronicle’s Tom Stienstra suggests some of the best bikeable hills, stellar views, hiking trails and more.
11:15 a.m. Obama saysTrump tries to ‘kneecap’ Post Office: Former President Barack Obama is accusing President Trump of trying to “kneecap the Postal Service” to thwart mail-in voting during the pandemic and help his own November election prospects. Obama, in an interview on Cadence13’s Campaign HQ podcast released Friday, said Trump’s conduct was “unheard of.” “What we’ve never seen before is a president say, ‘I’m going to try to actively kneecap the Postal Service to [discourage] voting, and I will be explicit about the reason I’m doing it,” Obama said.
10:35 a.m. California seeks poll workers through sign-up portal: Even though California is sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters by mail, some people will still seek to vote in person on Election Day. California is recruiting paid poll workers through an online portal at PollWorker.sos.ca.gov. “As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, poll workers will play a critical role in our democracy,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “This year, many Californians that would normally volunteer are being asked to stay home for their safety, so we need the next generation of poll workers to step-up and meet this moment.”
10:28 a.m. McDonald’s in Oakland ordered to improve on dog-diaper masks: Face masks fashioned from dog diapers and coffee filters do not cut it under an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s order to a McDonald’s restaurant in Oakland that was hit by a coronavirus outbreak. Among other measures, Judge Richard Seabolt on Thursday ordered the restaurant to provide “adequate and sufficient masks” and gloves instead of forcing workers to use doggie diapers and coffee filters in lieu of masks. Read the story here.
10:07 a.m. Still no travel to Canada allowed: The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another month, Canada’s public safety minister said Friday.The statement came a day after Mexico announced a similar measure for its border with the United States.
9:59 a.m. Arrests in beating of restaurant hostess over distancing rules: Louisiana authorities have arrested three women accused of assaulting a teenage restaurant hostess after she wouldn’t let them all sit together due to coronavirus distancing rules. The hostess said she told a group of 11 that the restaurant rules allowed a maximum of six at a table. They pushed and beat her, she said, and one hit her with a ‘wet floor’ sign.
9:45 a.m. Vietnam bites on Russia vaccine claim: Vietnam’s health ministry announced that it’s registered to buy Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, despite global health experts’ concerns that Russia is using it before the last phase of human trials have even begun. Vietnam said usage depends on progress of clinical trials and compliance with Vietnam’s “strict regulations.” Vietnam says it is developing its own vaccine that it aims to make available by the end of next year.
9:35 a.m. CDC suggests there’s 3-month safety window after you get virus: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance recently to suggest that people who have recovered from the virus can safely mingle with others for three months, the New York Times reports. The guidance, which was tucked into quarantine recommendations, says: “People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms again.”
9:23 a.m. Fresno County orders closure of private school that reopened against state orders: Fresno County health officials ordered a private school to shut down after it reopened Thursday in defiance of state requirements, the Department of Public Health said. Immanuel Schools in Reedley opened its doors to its 600 K-12 students without masks, violating the state mandate that counties on the coronavirus watchlist keep schools closed, the department said.
9:16 a.m. SF and San Mateo County see more deaths: San Francisco reported two additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing its total to 69 lives lost as of Friday. The city also confirmed another 109 coronavirus cases, for a cumulative 8,053 cases since the start of the pandemic. San Mateo County recorded four more deaths, for a total of 126 lives lost in all, and the county added 163 cases of the coronavirus, which brought its cumulative total to 6,803.
9:11 a.m. State tops 11,000 deaths to date: California’s death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 11,000 on Friday, with 11,004 lives lost to the virus as of early in the day. The fatality milestone came a day after the state became the first in the nation to top 600,000 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
8:59 a.m. Waiting for herd immunity would cause ‘unacceptable’ death toll, Fauci says: If the U.S. sought herd immunity by letting the coronavirus infect a majority of the population, even if most cases were asymptomatic, “a lot of people are going to die,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. Citing the U.S. obesity epidemic, and hypertension and diabetes numbers, he said in an Instgram interview with actor Matthew McConaughey: “If everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and completely unacceptable.”
8:50 a.m. California could safely reduce prison populations by half, but political will needed: The need to rethink ideas about violent offenders has grown more urgent during the pandemic, when the virus has turned prisons into outbreak hot zones, proving reformers’ point that jam-packed prisons are threats to public safety. California has the power to empty its prisons by half, but the main obstacle is political, Jason Fagone reports in The Chronicle.
8:14 a.m. CDC predicts 200,000 deaths by Labor Day: The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could reach 200,000 by Sept. 5, the Centers for Disease Control projected in a forecast Thursday. In the week preceding Sept. 5 alone, as many as 10,600 Americans could die, the modeling shows. State trends will vary, the forecast says, with deaths rising in Colorado, but decreasing in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming. The U.S. death toll stood at 167,295 as of Friday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University tracking.
8:11 a.m. Trump requests his own mail-in ballot while trying to deny the option to others: The country’s most outspoken critic of voting by mail has requested his vote-by-mail ballot. The Palm Beach County elections department in Florida has prepared mail ballots for Tuesday’s primary election for President Trump and Melania Trump, the New York Times reports. Trump questions the legitimacy of voting by mail in other states, without voter-fraud evidence, and has suggested that expansion of voting threatens the GOP.
7:50 a.m. State courts can resume evicting tenants: California judicial leaders voted Thursday to allow state courts to resume hearings Sept. 2 on evictions of tenants for nonpayment of rent, saying state lawmakers should deal with the issue as a matter of policy. With millions of tenants facing joblessness in the pandemic, the state Judicial Council ordered judges as of April 13 to stop hearing eviction cases. The vote by council, the courts’policy-making body, lifts the moratorium. Read the story from The Chronicle’s Bob Egelko.
7:45 a.m. Relief in sight at state’s parks, but still a ways off: The epic crush of summer visitors at renowned recreation destinations across California is projected to continue through October — but could possibly abate come November. In Yosemite Valley, reservations are booked with nightly sell-outs through October, but park officials say openings look better starting in November. Read Tom Stienstra’s story here.
7:31 a.m. Beach weather’s here, but so is the coronavirus: The Bay Area is expecting to run a coronavirus-and-heat-wave gantlet this weekend with sun-starved residents heading to parks and beaches in the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases. Triple-digit temperatures are expected, a major worry for health officers who foresee crowds of sunbathing, beer-drinking, Frisbee-throwing beachgoers spreading more sickness around the region. Read the story here.
7:18 a.m. Yemeni girl reunited with family after pandemic separated them: A Yemini girl has been reunited in the Bay Area with her family after being stranded with strangers in Egypt for six weeks.after a frustrating saga that highlighted the complexities of U.S. immigration policy in the age of COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo initially refused her a visa in February, while granting visas to her mother and two siblings who arrived in the United States on July 1 after staying with the child in Egypt for as long as they could. Read the story here.
7:08 a.m. A proposal to stave off the eviction crisis: State Sen. David Chiu of San Francisco has a plan to stem the wave of evictions expected to hit California in September, but he only has about two weeks to get it through the Legislature. On the Fifth & Mission podcast, City Hall columnist Heather Knight talks to Chiu about that and about the state’s severely backed-up unemployment office, which owes more than 1 million people money. Click here to listen.
7:03 a.m. Dow drops, retail sales rise: The sustained ability of the American consumer to spend buoyed a wavering stock market. The Dow index dropped slightly after July retail sales showed a year-over-year increase.
6:39 a.m. NYC Mayor to staff schools with nurses ahead of September reopening: Facing union pushback for his unwavering commitment to reopen schools September 10, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio promised a certified nurse in every public school in a press conference Thursday. The city, which will begin with in-person classes a few times a week, would need about 400 nurses for schools and 2,000 for early childcare programs.
6:30 a.m. U.S. retail jumped 1.2% in July: Data released by the Commerce Department Friday showed consumers were willing to open their wallets in July, with retal and food-service sales jumping 1.2% last month. It’s a far smaller increase than in the two months prior, but sustained consumer spending levels may represent a bright spot in the nation’s shattered economy.
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 13:
9:10 p.m. Santa Clara County to host school reopening forum: Santa Clara County Board President Cindy Chavez and Supervisor Susan Ellenberg are scheduled to host a forum on the reopening of schools in Santa Clara County from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. County public health officer Dr. Sara Cody, assistant public health officer Dr. Monika Roy, and county superintendent of schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan will participate in a question and answer portion of the forum. To register, click here.
9:05 p.m. Personal services shops in Martinez may operate outside: Personal services such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons and massage services can apply for temporary no-cost permits to operate outside, according to Martinez city officials. Officials said in a news release Thursday that these temporary outdoor personal services permits “will help facilitate the physical distancing of patrons to comply with the current County Health Order, while providing an economic boost to Martinez businesses and enabling the community to access these important services.”
9 p.m. Santa Clara County officials to discuss voting during a pandemic: Shannon Bushey with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is scheduled to discuss voting during a global health pandemic at 10 a.m. Friday. The discussion will be live-streamed on the Santa Clara County public health department Facebook page.
6:30 p.m. US Surgeon General advises people to prioritize mental health during pandemic: In a video message posted to social media Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams advised people to prioritze their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. “So make sure you’re building in time for activities you find enjoyable, and that help you relieve stress,” Adams said. “For me, that means going for a run or spending quality time with my family and our dog, Bella.” Those in need of someone to speak to confidentially may call 1-800-273-8255 (the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) for support, Adams said.
6:05 p.m. San Jose officials reminds renters of their rights during eviction moratorium: Officials with the San Jose Housing Department reminded residents that if they are unable to pay rent because of the coronavirus pandemic, their landlords are “not allowed to charge you interest or late fees on the unpaid rent while the eviction moratorium is in place.” The moratorium is in effect through August 31, though City Council may extend that date, officials said.
5:51 p.m. Milpitas opens cooling center: City officials have established the Milpitas Senior Center as a cooling center on Friday in response to the heat wave, Milpitas city officials announced Thursday. Anyone seeking respite from the heat in the center will be required to check in, wear a mask and stay socially distanced from others. The center, located as 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., will be open on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Non-service animals are not allowed in the center, officials said.
It is with deep sadness that I share that my mother, Gaby O’Donnell, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19. My brother and I are heartbroken. Our mother was the kindest and most compassionate person we’ve ever known.
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) July 27, 2020
5:50 p.m. Santa Clara County reports more cases: Public health officials reported 298 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the county’s case total to 13,340 cases. Officials reported one additional death, bringing the county’s death total to 208. The new cases and death reflect “new diagnoses and deaths occurring over the past several days,” public health officials said.
5:08 p.m. California cases exceed 600,000: California became the first state in the nation to reach 600,000 cases, according to data collected by The Chronicle. The total number as of Thursday afternoon was 601,975.
3:31 p.m. Half of DOD schools will have distance learning: Despite President Trump’s push to open all schools, half of the Defense Department’s schools in the U.S. will not open for in-person learning as the country struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic. In stark contrast, only two of the department’s 68 schools in Europe will operate remotely, underscoring the dramatic difference between the widespread outbreak in the U.S. and the success other countries have had in bringing it under control.
3:26 p.m. Napa County cases go up: Napa County reported 28 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total since the start of the pandemic to 1,170. The county’s death toll remained at 11.
3:20 p.m. Marin County adds more cases: Marin County recorded another 86 coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total so far to 5,669 cases overall. The county reported one additional death for a death toll of 82 overall.
3:11 p.m. Britain requires quarantine for entrants from France: Britain will require all people arriving from France to isolate for 14 days — an announcement that throws the plans of tens of thousands of holidaymakers into chaos. The government said late Thursday that France is being removed from the list of nations exempted from quarantine requirements because of a rising number of coronavirus infections, which have surged by 66% in the past week. The Netherlands, Malta, Monaco and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Turks & Caicos also were added to the quarantine list.
3 p.m. California slams parents’ suit over school closures: In a legal brief, California is blasting the “inaccurate and outdated beliefs” of parents who are suing to force schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reports. The state fired back after more than a dozen parents filed a lawsuit last month opposing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order for schools in counties on the state’s watch list to conduct virtual learning. The state brief says the parents are depending on incorrect beliefs that COVID-19 had a “minimal effect on children of any age.”
2:46 p.m. Voters super engaged this year: A Pew Research Center poll on voter engagement released Thursday found that more than 8 in 10 voters, 83%, believe the outcome of this year’s presidential race “really matters,” a six-year high for that metric. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, most Americans weren’t concerned about barriers to voting. But now, as President Trump wages war on mail-in voting, half of U.S. voters believe they will experience difficulties casting their ballots.
2:39 p.m. Alcatraz reopening Monday: After five months with only fog and wind rustling the nation’s most famous penitentiary, Alcatraz Island will reopen to visitors Monday. Alcatraz is one of the last national park sites to welcome back the public since the pandemic began, in a move offering a bit of hope for San Francisco’s badly shaken tourist economy. Read The Chronicle’s story.
2:29 p.m.. Contra Costa County cases continue to climb: Contra Costa County recorded another 379 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its overall total to 10.482 cases since the start of the pandemic. The East Bay county also reported two additional deaths, bringing its death toll to 151 so far.
2:18 p.m. To get cool, be ready with mask: With a heat wave bearing down on the Bay Area, particularly inland areas, some public agencies have announced cooling centers will be available for people in need. The price of admission: wearing a face covering, Contra Costa County officials warn. Also, capacity may be limited to maintain social distancing. San Jose cooling centers will screen anyone coming in, including with a temperature check.
2:11 p.m. Trump-ordered jobless assistance may fall short: New guidance from the Labor Department suggests some Californians may not see the full $400 a week boost to unemployment payments President Trump ordered in an attempt to bypass Congress. In fact, if the program is ruled illegal, they may not see anything, experts said. Read Kathleen Pender’s Net Worth column explaining the problems with the program.
1:59 p.m. Lazy Bear to permanently hibernate?: One of San Francisco’s most influential restaurants and most coveted meals has adapted to the pandemic with modified takeout, but for the first time in its existence, Lazy Bear’s owner fears the restaurant’s popularity won’t be enough to keep it in business. Read The Chronicle’s story.
1:53 p.m. Relief effort dead as lawmakers adjourn: With talks on a new coronavirus relief bill essentially dead, the Senate on Thursday adjourned through Labor Day. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said senators would be called back in the event of a breakthrough. But with the House out of session — and Speaker Nancy Pelosi set to return to California next week — the Senate’s adjournment was the latest sign that negotiations are not likely to come back to life. The two parties were hundreds of billions of dollars apart and disagreed on issues including funding for election systems and the U.S. Postal Service.
1:39 p.m. Counties seek waivers for in-person elementary classes: Three Bay Area counties are seeking waivers from state and county health officials enabling elementary schools to reopen for classroom-based learning as early as Labor Day week. Santa Clara and Sonoma counties put their waiver processes online late last week. Marin County will begin distributing applications to elementary schools on Friday. California recently released guidelines for those waivers under strict safety protocols. Middle schools and high schools are not eligible. Read the details here.
1:21 p.m. California lawmakers seek state wealth tax: A group of state lawmakers on Thursday proposed a first-in-the-nation state wealth tax that would hit about 30,400 California residents and raise an estimated $7.5 billion for the general fund as the coronavirus drives a huge deficit hole in the state budget. The tax rate would be 0.4% of net worth, excluding directly held real estate, that exceeds $30 million for single and joint filers and $15 million for married filing separately. Read the story here.
1:18 p.m. Stocks have mediocre day: Stock market investors were neither thrilled nor terrified Thursday, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.2% and the Russell 2000 was down 0.3%. The Nasdaq was the only main index that rose, going up 0.3%
1:11 p.m. Fauci ‘not pleased’: Dr. Anthony Fauci says failure to broadly adhere to guidelines including mask-wearing and crowd avoidance prevented the U.S. from getting coronavirus case levels “to a baseline that is really workable” like some European countries did “with a more uniform effort of keeping everybody on the same plane.” Some are states are improving while others are seeing more positive test results “which we know now from sad past experience, that that’s a predictor that you’re going to have more surges,” he lamented in a National Geographic interview that aired Thursday. He said people have to “all pull together ” to erase such disparities. “Bottom line is, I’m not pleased with how things are going,” he said.
12:29 p.m. Stanford reverses course on in-person instruction, campus living: Stanford University has canceled plans for in-person classes and campus residence this fall. With “very limited in-person offerings,” courses will be online because “the public health situation due to COVID-19 simply does not make it feasible at this time” for normal campus routines under state guidelines, university President Marc Tessier-Lavigne wrote to the campus community Thursday. He said only undergraduates with previously approved “special circumstance” can still reside on campus. Pending health conditions, Stanford hopes to start bringing students back to campus for winter quarter, he said.
12:09 p.m. San Mateo County cases rise: San Mateo County recorded another 105 cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the Peninsula county’s total to date to 6,640 cases.
11:50 a.m. Biden, Harris call for mask mandate: Amid increasingly dire warnings from health leaders on persistence of the coronavirus, Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Thursday called for a nationwide mandate that people wear masks. “Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Do the right thing,” he urged Americans in a news event where he refused to take questions. Blaming President Trump for the current surge that followed reopening of state economies, with Trump’s encouragement, Biden said, “I hope we’ve learned a lesson.”
11:38 a.m. CDC finds spike in pandemic-related mental health, substance abuse issues: Mental health stress related to the coronavirus pandemic is “considerably elevated” in the U.S., according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a June web-based survey, 4 in 10 adults reported mental health and substance abuse issues, CDC said, with increased death rates and isolation created by shelter-in-place orders playing a significant role. Younger adults, minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported disproportionately worse mental health, and elevated substance use and suicidal thoughts.
10:48 a.m. Supreme Court OKs mail-in voting in Rhode Island: The Supreme Court on Thursday rebuffed the Republican Party and allowed a consent decree to go forward so that Rhode Island voters during the coronavirus pandemic could cast mail-in ballots without in-person witness verification, the Washington Post reports. But justices also explained in a short, unsigned order that state officials had agreed to relax the rules, and the change already had been implemented during the June primary.
10:24 a.m. WHO says Russia vaccine not in advanced testing caegory: The World Health Organization says the vaccine approved by Russia this week is not among the nine that it considers in the advanced stages of testing. WHO and partners have nine experimental COVID-19 vaccines within a mechanism that allows countries to invest in them to obtain early access, while theoretically providing funding for developing countries. WHO officials said they are talking to Russia to understand its vaccine’s testing.
10:14 a.m. Florida sheriff bans deputies, visitors from wearing masks: As more states and cities are requiring face coverings, a Florida sheriff is barring deputies from wearing masks , with some exceptions, as well as visitors to the sheriff’s offices. The reason given for the order, first reported by The Ocala Star-Banner, was not about stopping the spread of the coronavirus but about improving communication with the public.
10 a.m. Summer surge hits daily high for deaths in August: At least 1,470 COVID-19 deaths were reported on Wednesday, the highest single-day total for August, according to a New York Times database. More than half the deaths were in five states: Texas, Florida, Arizona, California and Georgia.
9:28 a.m. San Mateo County funds internet access in four school districts: San Mateo County is providing internet access for distance learning needy students in four local school districts. County supervisors announced Wednesday that they are providing portable hotspots and expanded Wi-Fi access for Ravenswood City, La Honda-Pescadero Unified, Redwood City, and Sequoia Union High school district students, using nearly $3 million in federal stimulus funding for a pilot project. The county anticipates expanding the program by the spring.
9:18 a.m. SF police, fire union leaders agree to defer raises: The leaders of labor unions representing San Francisco police officers and firefighters have reached a tentative agreement with the city to defer previously negotiated pay raises for two years, with a vote set for Friday, in an effort to help close the city’s $1.5 billion budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Read The Chronicle’s story here.
9:03 a.m CDC director pleads for caution to prevent ‘worst fall’ ever: The surging coronavirus, combined with seasonal flu, will make for the “worst fall from a public health perspective that we have ever had,” unless people take health guidelines — including wearing masks — seriously, CDC Director Robert Redfield warns. “I’m not asking some Americans to do it. We all have to do it,” Redfield said in a Wednesday WebMD interview. “It is a war.” Redfield said 95% to 99% of people have to follow the health guidelines for them to be effective.
8:49 a.m. Biden team slams Trump refusal to fund Postal Service: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign accused President Trump of “sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon” after Trump acknowledged that his opposition to increasing Postal Service funding would starve it of money Democrats say it needs to handle the pandemic era’s influx of mail-in ballots. “He wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
8:34 a.m. Oximeter a key tool to keeping Apache death rate down: On a large reservation in eastern Arizona, Apaches have been infected at more than 10 times the rate of the state’s overall population. But their COVID-19 death rate is just 1.3 percent, compared with 2.1 percent statewide. Epidemiologists have a hopeful theory about why, the New York Times reports: Intensive contact tracing allowed treatment before it was too late to save infected people, and use of a simple, inexpensive medical device, an oximeter, detected dangerously low blood oxygen in people who often didn’t even realize they were seriously ill.
8:12 a.m. Trumps skewers vote-by-mail while refusing to fund USPS: President Trump asserted Thursday that the U.S. Postal Service cannot support mail-in voting because it lacks emergency funding — which he is blocking — casting doubt on November election results stemming from mail-in ballots. “Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said in a Fox News interview. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.” He has claimed voting by mail favors Democrats.
8:02 a.m. NY Times analysis sees thousands of additional deaths: Across the U.S., at least 200,000 more people have died than usual since March, according to a New York Times analysis of CDC estimates. This is about 60,000 higher than the death count officially linked to the coronavirus. Unusual patterns in deaths from all causes suggests official counts may be substantially underestimating the virus’ overall effects, as people die from other causes linked to the pandemic.
7:44 a.m. TheatreWorks suspension means no Bay Area in-person shows this year: TheatreWorks is suspending the start of its 51st season until March after previously delaying its opening from July to October of this year. With this postponement, which the Tony Award-winning company announced Wednesday, no major theater in the Bay Area has any in-person programming scheduled until 2021. Read the story here.
7:37 a.m. College admissions process rocked by virus: Between canceled standardized tests, virtual college tours and online classes, the admissions process for the Bay Area’s new high school seniors is swirling with even more uncertainty than usual. One change is most pressing: The use of standardized tests for most colleges has become optional due to the coronavirus pandemic. But that really isn’t making things easier. Read the details here.
7:29 a.m. Chicken wings from Brazil test positive: Frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for the coronavirus in China, according to a CNN report. The tainted wings were detected through food screening protocols in Shenzhen. The Chinese state media has reported several instances of coronavirus on imported food products since July, but none have resulted in an outbreak, the report said. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have said that the chance of food transmission is low.
7:19 a.m. Bay Area residents this week join global race for vaccine: Developers of two of the most promising coronavirus vaccine candidates are seeking hundreds of volunteers in S.F., Oakland and Santa Clara County for coronavirus vaccine trials. Kaiser Permanente enrolled its first Northern California participants in a global clinical trial Monday. UCSF researchers will do the same with a different vaccine by next week. Both vaccines are entering the last step before federal approval. About 1,400 Bay Area participants are expected to enroll in both trials. Read the story here.
6:57 a.m. AMC will reopen with 15-cent tickets: AMC will reopen over 100 of its U.S. movie theaters on Aug. 20 with 15-cent tickets in celebration of its 100-year anniversary, the company announced Thursday. The chain’s previous summer reopening plans were repeatedly delayed due to the coronavirus. Most of its 600 theaters will reopen in September, under new public health guidelines including mandated masks, limited auditorium capacity and upgraded ventilation systems, the company said, although no definitive reopening dates are set for California until “local guidelines allow.”
6:30 a.m. Stocks drop despite jobs news: Though the latest jobless figures came in lower than expected and dropped below 1 million a week, the Dow and S&P 500 indices dropped in early trading, while the Nasdaq rose. Investors continued to watch for signs of progress in Washington on a new coronavirus relief bill and evaluate health data from across the U.S.
6:10 a.m. Weekly jobless claims drop below 1 million: About 963,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, ending a 20-week streak of jobless claims that topped 1 million as the pandemic has ravaged the economy, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than 15 million remain on unemployment benefits, and their financial future is uncertain as Washington wrangles over extending a federal relief program.
See previous updates in The Chronicle’s comprehensive timeline of the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area.
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