The Chronicle began covering the coronavirus crisis before the first cases were reported in the Bay Area and a pandemic was declared in 2020. 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 updates from Oct. 16-22
Read the full timeline:
Updates from Thursday, Oct. 29:
3:30 p.m. Remdesivir’s value questioned: The FDA’s decision to grant full approval to Gilead’s remdesivir — meaning the Foster City company can market it broadly to doctors and patients — has puzzled several outside experts, the New York Times reports. They question that stamp of approval, saying the drug is, at best, a mediocre treatment for COVID-19. One large, government-run trial found it shortens patients’ recovery times, but the two other studies by Gilead did not compare the treatments with a placebo. It has not been shown to significantly lower death rates. And a large World Health Organization study found the drug provided no benefit to hospitalized patients.
3:13 p.m. Santa Clara, Contra Costa counties record more deaths: Santa Clara County officials reported Thursday that two more lives have been lost to the coronavirus. Another three COVID-19 deaths were recorded in Contra Costa County, which also reported 104 new infections. Santa Clara County reported 107 new infections as numbers ticked upward in the Bay Area and California, though not at the surge rates seen in much of the nation..
3:10 p.m. U.S. death toll climbs: Lives lost to COVID-19 across the United States as of Thursday numbered more than 228,000, according to tracking Thursday by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
3:06 p.m. S.F. mayor pleads with Halloween celebrants not to gather in numbers: Mayor London Breed on Thursday tweeted: “Keep our community safe this Halloween weekend by staying home & avoiding gatherings. If you do go out, wear a mask & keep your distance from others. For family-friendly ideas on how to get creative & have fun at home, check out http://SF.gov/HalloweenAtHome.”
3:02 p.m. Contra Costa County hosts free flu shot-virus test day: Contra Costa County health officials are inviting the public to a Nov. 7 event offering free coronavirus tests and flu shots. “Food giveaway, cloth face coverings and hand sanitizer from 9-3:30 at West County Health Center,” in San Pablo, the county tweeted.
2:56 p.m. ‘Where’s the money?’ state health officials complain: State health officials are expressing frustration about a lack of federal financial support as they are ordered to prepare to receive and distribute the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 15, even though one is not likely to be approved until later this year, the Washington Post reports. The officials say they don’t have enough money to pay for the enormous, complicated undertaking. State officials have been planning in recent weeks to deliver shots even though no one knows which vaccine will be authorized, what special storage and handling may be required and how many doses each state will receive.
2:44 p.m. Trump rally venues draw fines: President Trump’s rallies are among the biggest events defying crowd restrictions designed to stop the coronavirus from spreading, even as Disneyland still can’t open and people are told to think twice about Thanksgiving gatherings. Some states have fined venues that host Trump rallies for violating caps on crowd size, the Associated Press reports. But the rallies continue, even where cases are spiking and the nation posts record high new infections.The Trump campaign distributes masks and hand sanitizer at rallies, but largely maskless crowds are the norm.
2:20 p.m. With 9 million coronavirus cases, U.S. hits another sad milestone: With many states around the country reporting surges, tracking by the New York Times shows the United States surpassed 9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday. More than 20 states reported their highest number of new cases over the past week since the start of the pandemic. Tracking by Johns Hopkins University, however, still showed the U.S. at 8,922,632 as of Thursday afternoon.
2:20 p.m. Utah eyes crisis priorities at overburdened hospitals: Gov. Gary Herbert and health officials said Thursday that Utah may soon need to implement crisis care protocols as hospitals reach a breaking point amid a record coronavirus surge. Understaffing and a shortage of ICU beds could soon force hospitals to move to protocols that dictate how patients will be treated when the system is overloaded. Utah residents must take public health guidelines and mask-wearing seriously to avoid the drastic measures, health officials said.
2:17 p.m. Familiar barbs in relief-package standoff: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday, faulting Republicans for the failed coronavirus stimulus negotiations. She scolded him for failing to produce answers to her demands for Democratic priorities as part of the approximately $2 trillion aid package. President Trump promised “a very big package as soon as the election is over,” telling a Las Vegas interviewer, “I would rather do it now, but Nancy Pelosi does not want to do it.” Pelosi says remaining obstacles are big-ticket items including a testing plan, aid to state and local governments, funding for schools, jobless benefits and a GOP-sought shield against coronavirus-related lawsuits.
2:09 p.m. Staff, crew on Harris campaign quarantine: The Biden-Harris campaign announced that several people travelling with Doug Emhoff, vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris’ husband, were forced into quarantine after a flight crew member tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday, the Washington Post reports. “A non-staff flight crew member that travelled on a support plane for Doug Emhoff tested positive for COVID-19,” a campaign statement said. Other flight crew members and two of Emhoff’s support staff who “had been in close contact with this individual” were asked to quarantine for 14 days.
1:59 p.m. WHO says Europe hitting records on cases: The World Health Organization’s Europe director said Thursday that the 53-country region has again reached a new weekly record for coronavirus cases: more than 1.5 million confirmed last week and more than 10 million since the start of the pandemic. At a meeting with European health ministers, Dr. Hans Kluge said, “hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring” and deaths rose by more than 30% in the last week.
1:54 p.m. Two Trump rallygoers infected: Two people who attended President Trump’s rally last week in Gastonia, N.C., have tested positive for the coronavirus, Gaston County health officils announced Thursday. “These cases are not thought to be an indication of spread from the rally at this time, but rather two independent cases among individuals who were in attendance,” the health department statement said.
1:51 p.m. More transit subsidies coming: Low-income riders could get reduced fares on more Bay Area transit systems as the recession cripples both workers who rely on public transit and the agencies serving them. The Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to use $5 million in federal coronavirus emergency funds to expand subsidies to as many as 17 more agencies as soon as November. Each transit agency’s board must approve the program.
1:38 p.m. Lawmakers seek renewed funding for science training: Nineteen California legislators on Thursday called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to restore funding that was cut this year for the statewide Exploratorium K-12 Science Leader Network, which trains science teachers from across the state through the Exploratorium museum. Nine in 10 participants are from Title I schools and low-income population districts. The state’s $3.5 million for the program has been matched by philanthropic contributions. The lawmakers wrote to Newsom that “The coronavirus pandemic has made evident the critical need for Californians to be informed and understand science.”
1:32 p.m. Stocks recover: Wall Street reacted to better-than-expected jobless numbers and the largest-ever jump in gross domestic product. The S&P 500 climbed 1.2% to 3,310.11, the Nasdaq composite index advanced 1.6% to 11,185.59, and the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 139.16 points, or 0.5%, at 26,659.11. Thursday marked the first daily gain for the Dow in five days. The S&P 500 snapped a three-day slide.
1:20 p.m. Pandemic wallops newspaper companies : Six newspaper chains, with more than 300 daily newspapers, saw advertising revenues fall by a median of 42% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to Quarter 2 of 2019, according to a study published Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Circulation revenue dropped by a median of 8%. Ad revenue for five local TV news companies, representing at least 600 individual stations, was down 24%. At the three major cable news networks, ad revenue for MSNBC and CNN declined by double digits, but Fox News Channel’s revenue rose by 41%,” the report said.
1:08 p.m. The poop may hold the poop: Researchers at UC Berkeley are collecting and testing sewage from a big swath of Bay Area residents in hopes of being able to spot any coronavirus infection cluster before the virus spreads. After more limited wastewater sampling from places like San Quentin State Prison and a UC Berkeley dorm, a temporary lab is enabling testing of sewage from 10 wastewater agencies representing more than 2 million people. Read more here.
12:34 p.m. Fauci, NIH director reassure on vaccine: As part of federal vaccine approvals, outside review and the transparency to the public and scientists like Dr. Anthony Fauci and National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins should assuage fears about the safety of FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines that come down the pike, the two said in a Facebook presentation Thursday. “The process itself is sound,” Fauci said. “It’s totally transparent.” Collins added, “It’s not like it’s done in some smoky room.” Fauci also cautioned, “I can foresee, even with a really good vaccine, mask wearing will continue well into the third or fourth quarter of 2021.”
12:20 p.m. Answer is squishy on whether it’s safe to fly: Healthcare experts say the air filtration systems in most commercial planes helps reduce the risk of being infected with the coronavirus, but they tell the Los Angeles Times that studies to date have limitations and results are not all definitive. The experts say the most prominent study correctly concludes that the infection risk is lower with air filters used on planes than in places such as stores and restaurants, but does not account for people moving around the cabin, or even turning their heads.
12:13 p.m. Flu and coronavirus collide in Solano County patient: Solano County health officials on Thursday announced that a county resident younger than 65 is the first to have a flu and coronavirus co-infection.“With the likelihood of both COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity this winter, contracting either disease may weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to the other disease,” which underscores the importance of getting a flu shot, said Bela Matyas, the county health officer. It’s not yet clear if co-infections cause more serious illness, or how common they are.
12:03 p.m. Dodgers’ Turner under investigation: Major League baseball is investigating third baseman Justin Turner after he violated league protocols by celebrating on the field with the Dodgers when they won the World Series, even though he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.
11:35 a.m. Mask backdrop for Trump changed in Florida: TV images of President Trump’s rally in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday showed most of the people closely packed onto on risers behind him not wearing masks. The visual contrasted with what’s happened at other Trump rallies, where hundreds crowd the audience without wearing face coverings, but the people behind the president in the TV picture do wear masks. Trump has never encouraged mask-wearing even though he has said he thinks they work.
11:23 a.m. Contra Costa County eases social gathering rules: Contra Costa County, newly advanced into the orange tier of California’s reopening blueprint, is easing restrictions on social gatherings to allow gatherings of up to 25 people and three households, as allowed by state guidelines. However health officials urge caution because any surge in coming weeks could move the county back to a more restrictive tier. They urge people to conduct get-togethers outside and with masks on to reduce possible coronavirus spread.
11:12 a.m. There will be no ‘small bill’ for recovery after election, says Pelosi: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that after the Nov. 3 election she will continue to push for her version of a coronavirus recovery package, which has met resistance from the GOP and White House. “We are not going to take a small bill, with the bulk pouring onto the rich people of America while questioning the integrity of unemployment insurance,” she told reporters on Capitol Hill. “The American people need help.”
11 a.m. Eli Lilly antibody study halted, forcing Bay Area researchers to seek a new path: A nationwide trial of synthetic antibodies similar to those President Trump touted as “a cure” for the coronavirus was halted this week after it was found to be ineffective, forcing Bay Area researchers to focus on other potential treatments. Read the whole story here.
10:39 a.m. A dozen infected among Healdsburg hospital staff: Twelve Healdsburg District Hospital employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting testing of nearly all of the hospital’s 320 workers, according to reports this week. Contact tracers were investigating whether the infections were contracted outside of the hospital. No patients were infected, the hospital said.
10:16 a.m. Trump closing message doubles down on corner-rounding: President Trump is not changing his coronavirus-downplaying message as he closes out his reelection campaign, despite an immense new surge sweeping the country, The president says at rally after maskless rally that the nation is “rounding the turn,” or “rounding the corner” as he urges voters to ignore the data and the evidence around them, insisting that COVID-19 is on the way out. He blames “the fake news” for reporting “everything is Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid.” Continuing to ignore federal guidelines and the pleas of health officials, Trump convenes packed rallies as he barnstorms battleground states. He was back in Florida on Thursday.
9:45 a.m. Second in command at Space Force infected: Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Air Force announced Wednesday. He was exposed by a close contact, the Air Force statement said, and he was self-quarantining and working from home. Top officials who tested negative in the past day include Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr., and Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, according to Air Force Magazine.
9:35 a.m. Death rates improve: As the coronavirus infected nearly 8.5 million Americans over summer and fall, survival rates, even for seriously ill patients, appeared to be improving, the New York Times reports. A New York hospital system where 30% of COVID-19 patients died in March saw that drop to 3% by the end of June. Researchers cited a combination of factors: Clinicians were better able to manage the disease, and use steroid drugs and non-drug interventions. Community awareness improved, with patients seeking care earlier. The load on hospitals lightened.
9:20 a.m. Older Californians can renew driver’s licenses by mail: Gov. Gavin Newsom is waiving the requirement that pepole 70 or older renew their driver’s licenses in person. His executive order Wednesday will last until the end of the coronavirus emergency or until a new order is signed. The change is intended to allow vulnerable people to stay home to avoid infection. Those 70 or older were already eligible for a one-year extension if their licenses expired between March 1 and Dec. 31.
8:59 a.m. India moves toward U.S. levels: India’s confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. India’s trajectory is moving toward the worst-hit country, the United States, which has over 8.8 million cases.
8:52 a.m. Pope goes back online: The Vatican is ending Pope Francis’ general audiences with the public amid a surge in Italy’s coronavirus cases and a confirmed infection at last week’s encounter. Francis is to resume livestreaming his weekly catechism lessons, as he did during the Vatican’s lockdown during the spring and summer. He resumed his Wednesday general audiences Sept. 2 in a Vatican courtyard with limited numbers of faithful. His failure to wear a mask during his audiences has drawn criticism, especially when he greeted prelates afterward.
8:48 a.m. S.F. expert says following S.F. would have saved 50,000 U.S. lives: UCSF Medicine chairman Dr. Bob Wachter recently told the Los Angeles Times that if the entire country had followed San Francisco’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak, the nation would have 50,000 dead from the pandemic instead of more than 225,000. Last week, San Francisco became the first Bay Area county to move to the least-restrictive yellow reopening tier, the first major metro area in California to do so.
8 a.m. S.F.’s positive test rate is lowest among big cities: San Francisco currently has the lowest coronavirus positive test rate among the biggest U.S. cities, a Chronicle review of data reveals. The city’s 7-day average shows just 0.8% of tests coming back positive, though recent daily data show the rate going up to around 1%. Bay Area cases are ticking up though, causing concrens as holidays approach. Read more and see the list of positive test rates for the 20 most populous U.S. cities here.
7:44 a.m. Californians again on East Coast quarantine list: Travelers from California to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut will be required to quarantine for two weeks, after the state experienced a recent uptick in coronavirus infection rates. Although California is not surging like many other states, the eastern state trio is casting a wide net, and California joins 45 other states and territories on the Tri-State Travel Advisory’s quarantine list, an agreement hatched by the governors of the three states in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
7:24 a.m. California outpaces states where pandemic is surging on job recovery: Jobs in San Francisco and California are slowly coming back, compared to states where the pandemic is less controlled, like Arizona, Illinois and Michigan where new unemployment claims are climbing, federal data shows. California ’s jobless claims dropped from 159,876 a week ago to 152,057 last week. Weekly claims increased by 1,649 in Arizona; 7,871 in Illinois; and 8,763 in Michigan. Continung pandemic economic effects nationwide are likely to hinder recovery of California’s state’s tourism sector. Read more here.
7:15 a.m. Stocks stabilize on GDP, jobless numbers: The economy grew at a 33% annual rate in July, August and September. While a bounce-back from the depths of the pandemic-induced recession was expected, the recovery was better than forecast. Jobless claims also decreased nationwide, despite some increases in states where coronavirus infections surged. The economic indicators kept the stock market flat as shares began trading, a relief after big drops this week.
Updates from Wednesday, Oct. 28:
3:27 p.m. S.F. records 5 more deaths: San Francisco reported another five COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing its total lives lost to the coronavirus so far to 145. San Francisco added another 52 new infections, for a total case count of 12,241 since the start of the pandemic.
3:09 p.m. Boeing to cut 7,000 more jobs due to pandemic losses, media reports say: Boeing said Wednesday that it will slash 7,000 additional jobs because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, news accounts reported. In its third-quarter report, the aircraft maker said, “As the company resizes its operations to align with market realities, Boeing expects to continue lowering overall staffing levels through natural attrition as well as voluntary and involuntary workforce reductions.” The company said overall its workforce will shrink to about 130,000 by the end of next year, or 30,000 fewer people than it had at the start of 2020.
2:58 p.m. Clinic will address lingering symptoms plaguing some COVID-19 patients: UC Davis Health announced Wednesday that it has launched a Post-COVID-19 Clinic to provide specialty care for so-called long-haul patients who experience weeks or months of lingering, difficult-to-understand symptoms after bouts with COVID-19. “Rather than going from doctor to doctor and not getting all of their issues examined at once, our goal is to evaluate them comprehensively, find the causes and add other UC Davis specialists to their care teams as needed,” said Mark Avdalovic, a pulmonary and critical care specialist and associate professor of clinical medicine.
2:49 p.m. Biden says ending pandemic will be hard work: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday slammed President Trump for what he characterized as reckless handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and said, “Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” the Washington Post reports. “I’m not running on the false promise of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch,” he said. “We will deal honestly with the American people, and we’ll never, ever, ever quit.” He also blasted Trump for his Tuesday night Omaha rally, where hundreds stood in freezing cold for hours waiting to leave on buses.
2:21 p.m. Mask mandates help limit virus hospitalizations: Research at Vanderbilt University that studied coronavirus hospitalizations across Tennessee concluded that: “Areas with virus mitigation strategies—including but not limited to masking requirements—have seen lower growth in hospitalizations since the summer months; hospitals in these areas are in a much better position to serve the entire spectrum of community health needs, not just COVID-19 patients. The new analysis, which is not peer reviewed, found that hospitals in areas without mandates for people to wear masks are experiencing the highest hospitalization rates.
2:11 p.m. Trump mocks California mask mandate during Arizona rally: Speaking at a campaign event in Bullhead City, President Trump erroneously characterized California’s mask mandate as eating “through a mask. He said, “In California, you have a special mask. You cannot under any circumstances take it off. You have to eat through the mask… It’s a very complex mechanism. And they don’t realize those germs, they go through it like nothing.” While masks are to remain on in restaurants, people can pull them down during bites, and there’s no special mechanism required, just a normal face covering.
2:01 p.m. Longtime Russian diplomat infected: Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, 70, has gone into isolation after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. This news comes one day after Lavrov met with Greek officials in Athens, the Associated Press reports.
1:48 p.m. Alameda County lets middle and high schools open: Alameda County health officials announced Wednesday that beginning Nov. 9, middle and high schools can reopen if they submit a coronavirus health and safety plan to county education and health officials for approval. Schools are not required to open, a county statement said. The greenlight “does not mean all schools have the resources to be ready as soon as opening is permitted. Some schools will need more time and should open classrooms only when they and their school communities are prepared to do so,” said Nicholas Moss, interim county health officer. At the elementary level, which was approved for earlier reopening, officials said 58 schools have opened or submitted a plan to do so.
1:41 p.m. SFO sets up coronavirus hotline: San Francisco International Airport officials say that with ongoing changes in travel, “bringing some uncertainty,” the airport has set up a 24-hour hotline to answer questions about COVID-19. “Call us at (650) 821-8205. We are always available for assistance,” the airport tweeted Wednesday.
1:27 p.m. Steep slide on Wall Street: Stocks plummeted Wednesday as rising coronavirus cases threaten more shutdowns. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 943 points to close at 26,520, a loss of 3.4%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite also fell sharply, joining the Dow in wiping out their gains for the month. The S&P was down 3.5% and the Nasdaq fell 3.7%.
1:18 p.m. White House says claim of ending pandemic was ‘poorly worded’: After the White House science office listed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as President Trump’s the top accomplishment, White House communications chief Alyssa Farah told reporters that was a ‘poorly worded’ claim. As the U.S. sets records for new daily infections and numerous hospitals across the country struggle to keep up, she said the release was meant to say that ending the pandemic was “our goal.”
12:48 p.m. France, Germany reinstate lockdowns as cases soar: France and Germany are reinstating lockdown restrictions as new cases strain health care systems, according to news accounts. German bars, restaurants and theaters will close for a month, though schools will remain open. French President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday that starting Friday, schools and work can stay open, but restaurants and bars must close, with more details to come.
12:24 p.m. Giroir says, no, it’s not testing that’s driving the increase: Adm. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing czar, on Wednesday contradicted President Trump’s repeated assertion that expanded testing is what is causing the nation’s coronavirus infection numbers to surge.“We do believe and the data show that cases are going up. It’s not just a function of testing,” Giroir said in an interview on NBC’s “Today,” echoing the conclusion of other top health experts. “Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up.”
12:16 p.m. Scooter rentals benefit as people shy away from transit: San Francisco scooter rental company Spin is hiring as it has expanded its citywide fleet by 500 vehicles while the pandemic reduced the need to commute downtown and scared some away from riding public transit. Spin was the only scooter company that has continued operating in the city throughout the pandemic. Scoot and Lime have now resumed service as well. Read more here.
12:12 p.m. U.S. death toll rises above 227,000: The United States now has lost more than 227,000 to COVID-19 as of Wednesday, tracking from Johns Hopkins University shows.
12:02 p.m. Texas surpasses California death toll: Texas, with a population count of about 10 million fewer people than California’s, now tops California’s death toll from COVID-19. As of Wednesday, California had lost 17,486 lives to the virus, while tracking from Johns Hopkins University showed the Lone Star State with 18,069 fatalities to date.
11:47 a.m. Infections up by 8 million since Kushner said Trump had sidelined doctors: On April 18, when President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner told journalist Bob Woodward that the president had taken the country “back from the doctors,” U.S. coronavirus cases numbered 736,166, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. As of Wednesday, 8.8 million Americans have been infected.
11:31 a.m. Hawaiian Airlines opens drive-through testing near SFO: Hawaiian Airlines announced Wednesday that its passengers will have exclusive access to its drive-through, pre-travel coronavirus testing service near San Francisco International Airport. Travelers who take the shallow nasal-swab test from their vehicle within 72 hours before departure, with a negative result, will be exempted from the state of Hawaii quarantine.
11:19 a.m. Infections follow Trump campaign stops in at least 5 places: President Trump has participated in nearly three dozen rallies since mid-August, all but two at airport hangars. A USA TODAY analysis shows COVID-19 cases grew faster after at least five of those rallies, including in battleground states Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Although there’s no way to determine definitively if cases originated at Trump’s rallies, public health experts say the crowded gatherings defy all recommendations to curb coronavirus spread.
11:10 a.m. Hospitals stagger as COVID-19 patient load rises 46%: Hospitals around the United States are reeling from the coronavirus, many in regions that initially were spared the worst, the New York Times reports. As President Trump downplays the steep rise in cases, attributing much of it to increased testing, the number of COVID-19 hospital patients has climbed an estimated 46 percent from a month ago, 26 states are at or near record numbers for new infections, and more than 500,000 cases were confirmed in the past week.
11 a.m. Dodgers postpone World Series celebrations over pandemic concerns: The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Wednesday that it would hold off on celebrating its seventh World Series championship. In a statement to fans, the team said the festivities would “have to wait until it is safe to do so. We can’t wait to celebrate together!” The team is currently in Texas with no announced plans to return to California, according to CNN. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was removed in the 8th inning from Game 6 on Tuesday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
10:42 a.m. Napa, Solano counties could slip back: As the Bay Area sees an uptick in cases, two counties, Napa and Solano, are at risk of moving to a more restrictive tier after reporting worsening local case rates. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, lifting of local restrictions continued Tuesday, with more businesses and activities opening in San Francisco and a handful of other counties. Read more here.
10:15 a.m. Fauci sees normalcy returning in late 2021-early 2022: Dr. Anthony Fauci, told a Melbourne, Australia webinar on Wednesday that normal life won’t return soon in the U.S. “I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 and perhaps into the next year before we start having some semblance of normality,” Fauci said, meaning that “you can get people in a theater without worrying about what we call congregate-setting super infections, if we can get restaurants to open almost at full capacity.”
10 a.m. Young people weaker on health protocols: A new CDC survey released Tuesday finds that U.S. adults ages 18—29 are the least likely to engage in mitigation behaviors such as mask-wearing, handwashing, physical distancing and crowd, restaurant and social activity avoidance. “Although younger people are less likely to suffer the most serious complications of COVID-19, the infection can still be serious in some cases,” the report said. “Even those with mild cases or who are asymptomatic” can infect vulnerable older people.
9:40 a.m. Jared Kushner bragged in April that Trump took country ‘back’ from doctors: In a recording obtained by CNN, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in mid-April that the president had stopped seeking the advice of doctors and scientists on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors,” he said in the taped interview with journalist Bob Woodward. “It was almost like Trump getting the country back from the doctors.” Kushner added that he expected the president would benefit politically from the move even as cases surged around the country. Hear the audio here.
9:15 a.m. Germany and France prepare for lockdowns as deaths spike: Germany and France are preparing to announce new restrictions on Wednesday, as COVID-19 deaths across Europe rose nearly 40% in a week, Reuters is reporting. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to close restaurants and bars, and restrict people to going out in public only with household members. France, with more than 50,000 new cases a day, is expected to impose additional curbs on movement across the country.
9:20 a.m. California prison system hit for weak health protocols: State prison officials did a poor job requiring inmates and staff to wear masks to slow coronavirus spread, and even “perplexingly loosened” their policy as cases were spiking, the state inspector general said this week. More than 15,500 inmates have been infected, and 76 died in outbreaks at San Quentin and other state prisons. Yet there was “frequent noncompliance” by both inmates and staff with department mask and distancing mandates, the report said.
9:14 a.m. Outbreak at UCSF medical center: Two patients and three health care workers at UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights tested positive for the coronavirus last week, and it appears the transmission occurred at the hospital, UCSF said Tuesday. The cases prompted 28 additional employees to be quarantined, and 15 additional patients to be placed in “precautionary isolation,” UCSF spokeswoman Kristen Bole said in a written statement. So far, all of those employees and patients have tested negative.
7:02 a.m. Stocks slammed by virus cases: Broad-based selling roiled the stock markets as rising coronavirus infections rattled investors. The major indexes were all down 2% or more. UPS was an outlier as the shipper reported strong earnings; e-commerce seemed like a safe bet heading into the holidays.
Updates from Tuesday, Oct. 27:
5:45 p.m. Cinemark is reopening most of its Bay Area movie theaters this week: The nation’s third-largest cinema chain plans to open its movie theaters in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties on Friday, Oct. 30, but will not be able to serve concessions due to local restrictions. Cinemark announced it plans to bring back more of its Bay Area locations on Tuesday, the same day it reopened five of its venues in Alameda County (where concession sales are allowed). “I know people want to get out of the house and come back to the cinema,” Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi told The Chronicle. Read the full article here.
5:25 p.m. Santa Clara County Fairgrounds “maxed out” tests with 2,500 COVID-19 in a day: The testing site at Santa Clara County Fairgrounds “maxed out on appointments” with 2,500 COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, county health officials said. “Thank you to the community for its commitment to getting tested,” county officials said. Click here to learn how to get tested in Santa Clara County.
5:05 p.m. Danville cancels weekend street closure due to overcrowding concerns: City officials in Danville will no longer close a stretch of Hartz Avenue for outdoor dining on weekends after receiving repeated complaints of COVID-19 health order violations and a “Mardi Gras type of atmosphere,” according to a report by Pleasanton Weekly. At a special meeting of the Danville Town Council, Police Chief Allan Shields cited concerns over social distancing and mask-wearing, as well as bars that serve alcohol and host live amplified music on the stretch between Diablo Road and Prospect Avenue.
4:15 p.m. State unveils vaccine advisory group: The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced the formation of a new advisory group that will determine which Californians are prioritized for getting the first coronavirus vaccines. The panel is part of California’s vaccine distribution planning efforts, and follows the creation of a group to analyze the safety and effectiveness of vaccines approved by the FDA. The new 16-member panel includes Bay Area experts from UCSF, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health.
4:03 p.m. Bay Area counties reopening more services even as case counts inch upward: Despite hints that cases are starting to climb in parts of California , the Bay Area continues to lift pandemic restrictions, including the resumption of more businesses in San Francisco on Tuesday. Here’s how all of the region’s counties fared in the state’s weekly coronavirus report. Read the story here.
3:31 p.m. Brain damage from COVID-19?: People recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain aging by 10 years, according to research cited Tuesday by Reuters. The non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people, led by a doctor at Imperial College London, linked some severe COVID-19 cases to substantial cognitive deficits for months. Other scientists said the findings should be viewed with some caution, particularly because subjects’ cognitive function was not known pre-COVID, and the results don’t tell whether brain effects would remain long term.
3:14 p.m. High schools get green light in S.F.: For the first time since March, some San Francisco high school kids will get to go back to school in person, with a go-ahead from county health officials. Archbishop Riordan High and the Sterne School both passed city inspections and on Monday received permission to let students return, though it was not immediately clear how quickly they would do so. A handful of other private high schools are close to winning approval. Read the full story here.
2:49 p.m. Counties in state advance: In addition to Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo counties, Santa Cruz County advanced to the orange tier of California’s reopening blueprint Tuesday. Glen and Mendocino counties moved from the most restrictive purple level into the next tier, orange. Calaveras County advanced into yellow, joining nine other counties, including San Francisco, in the least restrictive tier.
2:28 p.m. U.S. death toll surpasses 226,000: Without a “rounding the turn” trend, the coronavirus continues surging in most U.S. states, and the nation’s COVID-19 fatalities have topped 226,000, standing at 226,436 lives lost as of Tuesday afternoon, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. The nation saw nearly 67,000 new infections on Monday.
2:19 p.m. Where you can go, at last: The Bay Area is slowly coming back to life as California eases coronavirus restrictions, and counties advance on state benchmarks that let them reopen museums, zoos, movie theaters and more. Check out The Chronicle’s running list of the major venues, institutions and attractions that are open. .
2:13 p.m. Autoimmune tendencies seen in virus: A new study has found some survivors of Covid-19 carry worrying signs that their immune system has turned on the body, reminiscent of potentially debilitating diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the New York Times reports. These patients’ defense systems shifted into attacking theselves, rather than the virus. The patients produced molecules called “autoantibodies” that target genetic material from human cells, instead of from the virus.
1:58 p.m. Kansas nursing home with outbreak kicked off Medicare: A Kansas nursing home where all 63 residents became infected with the coronavirus and 10 died is being terminated as a Medicare skilled nursing facility, the Washington Post reports. Administrators at Andbe Home failed to isolate the first two infected residents to prevent spread, inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found. Multiple employees did not wear masks, according to a report released Tuesday.
1:42 p.m. Live theater hurting even more than most: The long term outlook for live theater looks grim in the Bay Area, with no sign audiences being allowed back inside even as other industries start to reopen, albeit with restrictions. Some theaters adapted with events like socially distanced outdoor shows, online events and audio pieces. But they barely break even, and many in the Bay Area industry are looking to a very different future. Read more here.
1:28 p.m. Mixed day on Wall Street: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 222 points to close at 27,463.19, a loss of 0.80%, after the index’s Monday loss wiped out its gains for the month. The benchmark S&P 500 declined 0.3%. But tech stocks gained, sending the Nasdaq composite index up 0.6%.
1:26 p.m. California’s blanket mail-in strategy pays off: With one week to go before the Nov. 3 election, California’s pandemic-driven push for mail-in and early balloting, with mail-in ballots sent to every registered voter, appears to be a success. Ballots cast in California as of Monday have already surpassed 50% of the total cast in 2016, data from California officials and the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida shows. About one-third of ballots sent out this year have been submitted. Read the details here.
1:14 p.m. S.F. grows support for jobs: San Francisco is expanding its jobs program to support 3,600 job placements by providing employment assistance, training services, and wage subsidies as part of its coronavirus pandemic recovery efforts. Funding for the JobsNow! program, is increasing by $7.4 million compared to the previous year, for a total of nearly $28 million in annual funding. Read more.
12:52 p.m. Newsom holds the line on Disneyland reopening: Gov. Gavin Newsom stood by his decision to keep large theme parks, particularly Disneyland, closed at this time, citing the surge of COVID-19 cases around the country. “That should be self-evident,” he said during his Tuesday press briefing. “We should be concerned about opening up a large theme park where people mix from every walk of life and put themselves and others at risk.”
12:47 p.m. California infection rate rises along with new cases: California has seen a worrisome increase in its daily average of new case numbers over the past 14 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, noting that 14-day average was 3,699 daily new cases, and the 7-day average rose to 4,330 cases. The rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive also has risen, to 3.2% for the 7-day average. In another troubling sign, statewide hospital admissions rose 5.9 % over 14 days. The state and Bay Area numbers remain more stable, however, than the nationwide surges.
12:22 p.m. State panel will draft ethics guidelines for vaccine: California is creating a 16-member panel to draft guidelines for distrubtion of coronavirus vaccines, once approved, that incorporate ethics considerations, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. The focus will be on how to allocate the vaccine by prioritizing the most vulnerable and those who should receive vaccines early, based on ethics, epidemiology, health equity and pharmacy practice, he told a briefing.
12:17 p.m. Three Bay Area counties move to new reopening tiers: Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo counties advanced into the orange tier in the state’s reopening strategy on Tuesday. Those counties can now resume more activities and increase capacity for some indoor operations including churches and restaurants. It was not immediately clear whether those counties would lift restrictions right away.
12:14 p.m. Three Western states join California in reviewing any vaccine: Washington, Oregon and Nevada are joining California to independently review any coronavirus vaccine before distributing it to the public, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. Newsom said the three states would identify their own public health experts to participate in the scientific review committee he announced last week, which has been charged with ensuring that any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is safe and effective. The Chronicle’s Alexei Koseff has the story.
11:30 a.m. EU warns that vaccines for all will not be available until 2022: The European Union will not be able to innoculate its population of 450 million before 2022, officials said in an internal meeting. “There will not be sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end of 2021,” a European Commission official told diplomats in a closed-door meeting on Monday, according to a Reuters report. The 27-nation bloc has ordered more than 1 billion doses of potential vaccines from three drugmakers and is negotiating the advance purchase of another billion vials with other companies, the news agency said.
10:45 a.m. Cal men’s basketball workouts paused after infection: A member of the Cal men’s basketball program has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a halt in workouts, Cal Athletics said in a Tuesday statement. The positive result came from regularly scheduled testing and is Cal Athletics’ the first infection since daily testing began earlier this month, the statement said.
10:29 a.m. Trump says stimulus package will come after election: President Trump on Tuesday appeared to close the door on the on-off hopes for a coronavirus relief deal between the White House and Democrats before election day Nov. 3. “After the election we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” he told reporters as he left the White House to campaign in Michigan. He again lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, mentioning Pelosi’s insistence on aid for pandemic-battered local and state governments. Pelosi “is only interested in bailing out Demcrat-run, crime-ridden cities and states,” he said, although the virus is surging through Republican-led states and aid would benefit them, too.
10:14 a.m. Nearly 800,000 children in U.S. infected , 14% rise in cases in 2 weeks: Children represent 11% of all reported COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics. There are 792,188 infections in children reported, according to the academy’s latest data, marking a 14% jump over the past two weeks. Children now account for 1%-3.6% of COVID-19 related hospitalizations.
10:13 a.m. Obama eviscerates Trump on virus: Former President Barack Obama, campaigning Tuesday for his former vice president Joe Biden, again laid into President Trump’s “incompetence and indifference” in handling the pandemic. “He’s turned the White House into a hot zone,” a fiery Obama told a car rally in Orlando, Fla., in reference to the numerous infections tied to the White House. “They’re waiting the white flag of surrender,” he added in reference to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ comment that the administration was “not going to control the pandemic.”
10:03 a.m. Maybe waiting for shot is a good thing: People desperate for a coronavirus cure might not want to take the first vaccine that comes along if a better one is likely to come around later. Dr. Jay Levy, a UCSF professor of medicine, said the so-called Hoskins doctrine suggests that a person inoculated with a vaccine might develop an immunological memory to that specific vaccine, which would prevent benefit from stronger vaccines produced later. Read the story here.
9:26 a.m. Bold repeat of White House superspreader event, but with a twist: The White House made some concessions to the coronavirus when President Trump held a large swearing in ceremony for the new Supreme Court justice Monday even as five of the vice president’s staff were positive for the coronavirus. Unlike the Rose Garden Sept. 26 event that turned out to be a superspreader, the White House ceremony Monday had chairs spaced several feet apart and guests were required to wear masks.
8:37 a.m. Eli Lilly drug test ended: U.S. officials are putting an early end to a study testing an Eli Lilly antibody drug for hospitalized COVID-19 patients because it doesn’t seem to help them. Independent monitors had paused enrollment in the study two weeks ago because of a possible safety issue. But on Monday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said a closer look did not verify a safety problem but found a low chance that the drug would prove helpful. It is a setback for one of the most promising treatment approaches for COVID-19.
8:27 a.m. Virus batters battleground states at bad time for Trump: The coronavirus is getting worse in states that President Trump needs most in his reelection fight. A week before election day, new infections are raging in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the upper Midwest. In Iowa, where Trump won in 2016, polls suggest a toss-up race. Trump’s pandemic response appears to threaten his hold on Wisconsin, where he won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.
7:58 a.m. Virus antibodies diminish with time: Tests on more than 365,000 people in England show that the antibody response to the coronavirus wanes over time, a new study by Imperial College London found. Finger-prick tests between June 20 and Sept. 28 found that the number of people testing positive dropped by 26.5% across the study period. The findings suggest there may be a decline in population immunity levels in the months after the first wave of the epidemic.
7:39 a.m. Vaccine wariness spurs Bay Area efforts: Amid signs that a growing number of people will not take a coronavirus vaccine, Bay Area health officials and community groups are starting to strategize about how to reach people who are the hardest hit by the coronavirus — immigrants, Indigenous populations and day laborers — to assure them vaccines, once available, will be beneficial. Read the story here.
6:45 a.m. Shares mixed at open: The Dow was down slightly and the Nasdaq was up as trading began on Wall Street. A rotation out of travel-related stocks and into work-from-home software companies continued. Salesforce rose while Uber and Lyft fell.
Updates from Monday, Oct. 26:
4:29 p.m. Bay Area sees notable uptick in coronavirus cases: The Bay Area experienced its first notable uptick in positive coronavirus cases since early September over the weekend. But the region continues to hold steady overall even as the United States registers record-breaking surges. Read the whole story here.
3:39 p.m. Running for school board beset by pandemic: San Francisco public schools face a tumultuous future: classrooms likely closed until at least January and a budget shortfall combined with declining enrollment that could force big cuts to programs and staffing. Amid this uncertainty, 10 candidates are scrapping for four school board seats, including two incumbents and eight challengers. Read the full story here.
3:28 p.m. San Jose State football game moved due to virus: Because of high coronavirus prevalence in New Mexico’s Bernalillo County, the Mountain West Conference announced Monday that Saturday’s football game between San Jose State and New Mexico will be switched from Albuquerque to San Jose’s CEFCU Stadium. Kickoff remains at 4 p.m. Read more here.
3:09 p.m. Napa County records another death: Napa County reported another life lost to the coronavirus Monday, bringing its death toll from the pandemic to 15 to date. The county confirmed another 24 infections, for a total of 1,961cases since the pandemic began.
3:02 p.m. What you need to know about voting in a pandemic: Voting by mail is nothing new to a lot of Californians, but as a pandemic precaution, the Nov. 3 election will mark the first time every registered voter in the state is getting a ballot in the mail. Check out The Chronicle’s story with everything you need to know, from early voting and drop-boxes to mail-in and voting centers.
2:45 p.m. Trump administration seeks to block pandemic food help: President Trump’s Agriculture Department is fighting in federal court to block states from giving billions of dollars in emergency food stamps to the lowest-income Americans during the coronavirus crisis. California and Pennsylvania residents are suing the department over a policy that has kept roughly 40% of households who rely on the the food aid from receiving any emergency benefits during the pandemic, Politico reports. A federal judge last week ordered the payments to proceed in the Pennsylvania case. The administration is continuing to appeal.
2:28 p.m. Officials flee Trump health agencies ahead of election: At least 27 political appointees have exited the embattled Health and Human Services Department since the pandemic began in February, according to a Politico review, and leaders are bracing for dozens more quick departures if President Trump loses re-election. That would leave only a shell staff shepherding the department in a challenging winter of coronavirus outbreaks and drug and vaccine authorizations until Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. Many current and former officials told Politico of morale suffering during the coronavirus crisis, with round-the-clock response at agencies like CDC and FDA, and unrelenting headlines about administration fumbles and policy battles.
2:16 p.m. UC Berkeley among schools slashing big: UC Berkeley has paused admissions to its Ph.D. programs in anthropology, sociology and art history, while other universities across the nation are dropping majors, cutting programs, laying off staff and otherwise penny-pinching, forced by the coronavirus to upend education as usual. By one estimate, the New York Times reports, the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion, with even Harvard University reporting a $10 million deficit that has prompted belt tightening.
2:06 p.m. Large COVID-19 outbreak linked to air travel, study says: A seven-hour flight with 17% occupancy led to infection in 13 passengers and 59 additional cases through community spread in Ireland, according to a new study published by the European CDC. The commercial flight had 49 out of 283 seats occupied, and at least four cases traced back to passengers who “were not seated next to any other positive case, had no contact in transit lounge, wore face masks in-flight and would not be deemed close contacts”
1:50 p.m. Pelosi says testing is a snag in stimulus talks: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco blasted the Trump administration Monday for declining to sign on to Democrats’ plan for a COVID-19 testing strategy, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s earlier public indication of accord. “Ten days after Secretary Mnuchin went on CNBC to declare that he was accepting our testing plan, the Administration still refuses to do so,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. She and Mnuchin have yet to reach a deal on a COVID-19 relief package, in which the testing plan was put forward.
1:38 p.m. Montana calls National Guard for virus help in prison: The Montana Army National Guard has been activated to help officers at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge contain a coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Steve Bullock said Monday. The 67 volunteer soldiers are to assist with duties such as distributing mail and meals, laundry and inmate counts. An outbreak since early October has affected 166 inmates and 61 staff.
1:22 p.m. Texas city imposes curfew: Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals, prompting the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift care center for the ill. An El Paso judge on Sunday night issued a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. stay-home order except for those going to or from work or out for essential services. On Monday, the county reported a new record high in daily coronavirus cases, 1,443 infections.
1:15 p.m. WHO warns countries not to give up on pandemic fight: A day after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the administration “is not going to control the pandemic,” the World Health Organization on Monday urged countries not to give up on coronavirus containment efforts, Stat reports. “Giving up on control is dangerous,” said Tedros Adhamon Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. “Control should … be part of the strategy.”
1:03 p.m. Stocks close down as stimulus hopes fade: A combination of stalled stimulus talks and discouraging health news walloped stocks Monday. The Dow, which at one point fell as much as 800 points, closed down 2.3% at 27,685.71. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes also fell, with travel-related stocks hit hard.
12:41 p.m. Virus is pounding Europe: The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan noted Monday that 46% of all global COVID-19 cases last week were reported in Europe. “There’s no question that the European region is an epicenter of disease right now,” he told a briefing. Ryan said that the normally open European Union borders might need to be shut down to “take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic.”
12:28 p.m. The coronavirus isn’t bad enough?: CDC officials are reporting a resurgence of a superbug called Candida auris, a pathogen that can evade drugs made to kill it; early signs suggest the COVID-19 pandemic may be propelling infections of the highly dangerous yeast because it is particularly prominent in hospital settings, where it’s been seen in COVID-19 units, National Geographic reports. The superbug sticks stubbornly to surfaces such as sheets and medical devices, making it easier to colonize skin and pass from one person to another.
12:13 a.m. ‘Encouraging’ interim results for vaccine candidate in older adults: The drug company AstraZeneca on Monday called immune system response of its coronavirus vaccine candidate “encouraging” It said the vaccine produced an immune response and low levels of adverse reactions, and an interim analysis shows positive outcomes for adults over 56, including those over 70 who are considered especially high risk, according to the Wall Street Journal. .
11:54 a.m. New park at Bay Bridge is latest outdoor respite: A new park featuring a 600-foot pier, a few feet south of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, is the latest outdoor attraction for pandemic-weary Bay Area residents. Accessible by foot and bike path, the pier runs alongside and is supported by six pilings from the old incline section of the eastern span, the bridge section that was replaced after a deck collapse in the 1989 earthquake. Read the details here.
11:35 a.m. Vaccine said to produce immune response: AstraZeneca said Monday that a coronavirus vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford produces an immune response in both the elderly and the young, Reuters reports. The UK drugmaker also said that adverse reactions were lower among the elderly. Britain’s Financial Times reported the vaccine triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups.
10:59 a.m. Daily deaths rising again in nation: COVID-19 deaths per day are on the rise again in the United States and daily infections are climbing in 47 states, despite a drumbeat of assurances from President Trump that “we’re rounding the turn.” Just over a week before election day, deaths per day are rising in 34 states, with average daily fatalities up 10% nationwide over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according Johns Hopkins University data.
10:35 a.m. San Francisco, Alameda County sever ties with Verily over privacy: S.F. and Alameda County will no longer work with Google’s health-focused sister company, Verily, which was to expand testing in the state’s low-income communities. Alameda County’s COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force raised concerns about Verily’s protocols, including the handling of patients’ data privacy, and complaints that funding intended to boost testing in low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods instead was benefiting higher-income residents in other communities, according to a report by Kaiser Health News.
10:29 a.m. S.F. waives fees for nightclubs, bars and music venues: The nightlife industry has been hit hard by the shutdown triggered by the pandemic. San Francisco officials hope a new $2.5 million program will help. Click here for details from The Chronicle’s Shwanika Narayan.
9:57 a.m. Kentucky, with record cases, anticipates new measures: Last week Kentucky set a record for its highest number of #COVID19 cases since the pandemic began, Gov. Any Beshear tweeted Monday. “We must take action.” Beshear was to announce new recommendations Monday, on top of the state’s mask mandate, to combat the surge, as the nation’s escalating outbreak centered increasingly on rural-oriented states.
9:45 a.m. Mike Pence to skip Supreme Court confirmation vote: The vice president was not planning to attend Monday’s Senate confirmation vote on Amy Coney Barrett after five of his aides tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, according to CNN. Pence would go only if needed to cast a tie-breaking vote for the Supreme Court nominee. Pence was campaigning in Minnesota and “is not planning to be at the Senate tonight unless his vote is needed,” a spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. Pence reportedly tested negative on Monday.
9:19 a.m. S.F. held up as model in handling virus: If the entire country had followed San Francisco’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak, the nation would have 50,000 dead from the pandemic instead of more than 225,000, UCSF Medicine chairman Dr. Bob Wachter told the Los Angeles Times. The Times profiled S.F., the nation’s second-densest city after New York but with the lowest COVID-19 death rate among the 20 most populous, as a model of how to beat back the virus.
8:48 a.m. Isolation sparks worries about older adults’ mental, physical health: Measures meant to protect older adults from the coronavirus, particularly those isolated in senior housing, could be killing some of them or profoundly disrupting their quality of life by removing the social engagement that is vital to their well-being. Even as Bay Area economies start to reopen, many older adults still feel trapped, advocates say, making it crucial to help them connect with the world outside their homes. Read the full story here.
8:32 .m. Fox News president, anchors test positive: Eight days out from a presidential election, the president of Fox News and key members of the network’s election team have been told to quarantine after they were exposed to an infected person on a Fox News charter flight from Thursday’s presidential debate, the Washington Post reports. Until they test negative for the virus three times in a row, the anchors will be broadcasting from home, the Post said, citing two people with knowledge of the situation.
8:25 a.m. U.S. death toll now above 225,000: As cases and deaths continue to mount, including the highest daily increases in new infections to date — more than 83,000 cases on Friday and Saturday — lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic now have surpassed 225,000, according to tracking by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
8:16 a.m. Trump aide signals surrender in control of virus: After officials acknowledged another coronavirus outbreak had struck the White House, infecting five aides to Vice President Mike, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows indicated Sunday that the administration is not trying to control further spread: “We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he told CNN. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations, because it is a contagious virus — just like the flu.” The coronavirus has been shown to be far more deadly than the flu.
8:08 a.m. Trump hopscotches country, virus or no: President Trump plans to intensify an already breakneck travel schedule in the final full week of the presidential campaign, overlooking a surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak in his own White House. Trump is expected to hit nearly a dozen states in his last-ditch effort to recover ground from Democrat Joe Biden, including Sunday’s trip to Maine and Tuesday’s to Nebraska.
7:55 a.m. Newsom faces San Quentin order on virus: After state judges’ ruling last week that California acted with “deliberate indifference” in creating a COVID-19 “disaster” at San Quentin State Prison, Gov. Gavin Newsom has a big decision to make: Does he fight the ruling to empty much of the prison, or own up to his administration’s mistakes? Read about the dramatic order and what’s going on.
6:43 a.m. Stocks fall as coronavirus cases surge: A rise in infections across the U.S. hit the market, with a broad-based pull-back that sent the Dow down 1.2%, crashing through the 28,000 mark. The exception was work-from-home stocks: Shares of Zoom rose nearly 5% and Slack was up 1%.
Updates from Sunday Oct. 25:
6:46 p.m. San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Contra Costa County report new case figures: San Francisco reported 34 new cases on Sunday, and Contra Costa County reported 73. Santa Clara County reported 130 new cases.
3:40 p.m. Five Pence aides test positive for the coronavirus: At least five top aides to Vice President Mike Pence, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to multiple news outlets. Among the cases were a Pence adviser and three other staff members, which heightened concern over safety measures in the White House, the New York Times reported. COVID-19 has killed more than 224,000 Americans and stricken millions, among them President Trump, who was hospitalized earlier this month. Pence tested negative on Saturday and Sunday, the Times reported.
2:50 p.m. A’s cut business staff by about 30%, citing pandemic uncertainty: The A’s have notified about 30% of their business operations employees that they will not return next year after their furloughs end Dec. 31. Read the full story from The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
2:30 p.m. If there’s a four-letter word to describe the pandemic, it’s fear: Here are six stories of Bay Area men and woman facing fear in 2020 — a terror-filled year not only because of COVID-19 but because of the extraordinary threat by wildfires. Read these all-too-true tales of fright, by Chronicle reporters Sarah Feldberg, Peter Hartlaub, Ryan Kost and Sam Whiting, here.
2:10 p.m. BART’s proposed cuts worry essential workers: The pandemic has nearly emptied BART — just 13% of riders remain — and now, as the transit service considers cuts beyond those already implemented, people who ride the trains to work say they would suffer greatly. Read the story by Mallory Moench here.
10:28 a.m. Airline banning anti-maskers: Some 460 people who have attempted to fly without a mask in the pandemic have been banned by Delta Air Lines, CNN reports. Banned by one airline, they can still fly on others — the airlines are not sharing lists of those banned.
10:24 a.m. Storage issues could leave 3 billion without vaccine: The most promising vaccine candidates need nonstop sterile refrigeration to be safe and potent, but nearly 3 billion of the world’s 7.8 billion people live where temperature-controlled storage is insufficient, the Associated Press reports. The result: Poor people who were among the hardest hit by the pandemic are also likely to be the last to recover from it.
8:37 a.m. Pelosi wants stimulus bill based on science, not money for Trump ‘to spend any way he wants’: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday morning that she’s not giving up on passing another coronavirus relief package by Nov. 3. A new bill could send another $1,200 to most Americans, restart bonus unemployment benefits, fund additional testing and vaccine work, provide aid to schools and allocate money to state and local governments, a Democratic priority. Speaking on CNN, Pelosi said she wants a bill predicated on steps that science dictates should be taken to deal with the virus, and “if we don’t, we’re just giving money to the president to spend any way he wants and that has not been in furtherance of crushing the virus.”
Updates from Saturday, Oct. 24:
7:54 p.m. Pence chief of staff tests positive: Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the New York Times and other media outlets reported Saturday.
6:17 p.m. Pence adviser Marty Obst said to test positive: A top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the coronavirus this week, according to several media reports. News of Obst’s positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News. “While he’s not a government employee, Obst is frequently in contact with Pence and his staff and visits the White House grounds,” Bloomberg reported. “He was last around Pence about a week ago but wasn’t in close proximity to the vice president, two (sources) said.”
5:58 p.m. Huge Gilroy high school party prompts coronavirus worries after positive test: About 200 students attended the party and one attendee later tested positive, according to local school officials, who are urging everyone involved to get tested. The Chronicle’s Michael Williams has the story.
5:23 p.m. Polish president tests positive: Andrzej Duda, 48, the president of Poland, has become the latest world leader to test positive, NPR reported. He is self-isolating and has no symptoms.
4:58 p.m. Playgrounds reopen in Los Altos: The city became the latest in the Bay Area to reopen playgrounds — with numerous rules.
3:33 p.m. A guide to navigating the holidays during a pandemic: Is it safe to fly to visit family? What about driving? Should you invite friends over for dinner? What about shopping? What happens to our traditions? Here is what Bay Area health experts say.
1:52 p.m. How to plan a safe and spooky Bay Area Halloween during the pandemic: Stay outside, avoid crowds, stick with family — and Halloween, while different, can still be safe and fun, experts say. Here’s more from The Chronicle’s Aidin Vaziri.
11:17 a.m. Utah governor pleads for people to wear masks: As Utah set a record for the highest number of daily coronavirus cases, Gov. Gary Herbert called for residents to do “the right thing” and wear masks to fight the virus, which has killed 567 people in the state. “Not everybody is responding in a very positive way as far as doing their part when it comes to slowing the spread of the pandemic,” he said.
.9:18 a.m. First vaccine might not be best, doctors say: People who rush to get the first coronavirus vaccine available might not be able to benefit from stronger, more effective vaccines that become available later. Read the entire story here.
Updates from Friday, Oct. 23
3:54 p.m. Alameda County allows indoor dining, family entertainment: Friday was the first day Alameda County restaurants could offer indoor dining since shelter-in-place took effect in March. Some took advantage of the newly loosened rules, while others stuck to outdoor or takeout service.
2:30 p.m. Fauci heading to Bay Area: Dr. Anthony Fauci will visit Santa Clara on Friday to speak to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Annual Forum about challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the group announced. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also will meet with local health officials including Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara Health officer.
2:17 p.m. S.F. to purchase hotel for homeless: Mayor London Breed announced Friday that San Francisco has received $29 million from California’s Project Homekey, and will use it to purchase a 130-room hotel for permanent supportive housing. The step is part of the city’s Homelessness Recovery Plan, she tweeted. Gov. Gavin Newsom in an online video announced another $200 million as the latest traunch for the Homekey program, on top of $709 million already allocated to 78 homeless housing projects statewide.
2:08 p.m. College infections rampant: More than 200,000 coronavirus cases have been identified at U.S. colleges this year, according to a New York Times survey that showed universities continuing to struggle to control major outbreaks. More than 35,000 cases of those cases have been identified since early October. At least 75 virus-related deaths have also been reported from the time the pandemic began.
2:02 p.m. U.S. hospitalizations up 40% in a month: The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the United States has risen 40% in the past month as confirmed new cases approach record levels. Some 41,000 people are hospitalized across the country, the Covid Tracking Project shows, including many in the Midwest and the Mountain West. The New York Times database shows six states — Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Alaska, Ohio and Utah — set single-day state records for new cases on Friday.
1:51 p.m. World surpasses 42 million infections: The coronavirus has infected more than 42 million people around the globe as of Friday, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
1:20 p.m. Vaccine that was on hold set to resume trials: The AstraZeneca vaccine trial, on hold in the United States since early September, got a greenlight to restart from the Food and Drug Administration, according to a company statement. Bay Area researchers had been poised to start enrolling patients in the trial but suspended a after the vaccine developers and federal regulators halted the trial over safety concerns.
1:09 p.m. Stocks rise slightly: The Dow Jones industrial average was off 0.1% Friday but the other major indexes rose a bit. The Russell 2000 was up 0.6%, the Nasdaq 0.4% and the S&P 500 0.3%.
1:04 p.m. Unemployment benefits cards frozen to thwart fraud: Faced with a deluge of fraudulent unemployment claims in California, officials have frozen 350,000 of the debit cards they issued containing benefits because of suspicious activity, including a high number of claims at a single address. The debit cards frozen by the state and Bank of America could represent billions of dollars in benefits paid out since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.
12:54 p.m. Outbreak at L.A. megachurch: An evangelical megachurch in Los Angeles that has defied county public health orders and held indoor worship services for the last several weeks has been struck with an outbreak of the coronavirus, public health officials confirmed, according to the Los Angeles Times. Grace Community Church in Sun Valley has seen three confirmed cases, county officials said Thursday.
12:49 p.m. U.S. approaches record, hospitals buckle under load: The nation is approaching a record for the number of new daily coronavirus cases, as states from Connecticut to Idaho reel under the surge. The impact is in every region — a lockdown starting Friday at the Ogala Sioux Tribe’s reservation in South Dakota, to an desperate situation at a northern Idaho hospital, which is running out of space for patients. The seven-day rolling average for new daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 61,140 Thursday, compared with 44,647 two weeks ago. The record was July 22 with a rolling average of 67,293.
12:32 p.m. Napa kids going back to class: Students in Napa Valley Unified School District are resuming in-class learning on Monday with a hybrid model of 2.5 days of in-person instruction per week. Authorities are giving families the option of having kids continue all-remote learning. About half of Napa Valley Unified students have chosen to continue online instruction in lieu of the hybrid option, Superintendent Rosanna Mucetti told the Napa Valley Register.
12:17 p.m. Pandemic-era voting is gangbusters in California: Californians so far have returned 6,092,193 vote-by-mail ballots for the Nov. 3 election, the Secretary of State’s office said Friday. Due to concerns about coronavirus transmission, the state sent mail-in ballots to every registered voter. But in-person voting on election day and during the early voting period are available also, with some polling places open starting Saturday.
12:05 p.m. Sidewalk business and dining isn’t going away: San Francisco is extending its Shared Spaces program for outdoor retail and restaurants on sidewalks, parking areas and streets through June 30. Mayor London Breed tweeted that the program which earlier was to sunset at the end of the year, “has helped businesses survive, kept people working, & given our residents a safe place to be outside. … COVID isn’t over, and this program shouldn’t be either.”
11:44 a.m. Peninsula historic sites reopen: The San Mateo County Historical Association announced Friday that it reopened its historic sites shutttered during the pandemic, including the Sanchez Adobe and the old Woodside Store.
11:27 a.m. Mail is on time in San Francisco: U.S. Postal Service records show delivery delays across the country as the pandemic era sees millions of Americans voting by mail, but California postal districts are performing above the national average, analysis by the Associated Press shows.The San Francisco area is ranked 2nd in the nation in performance, delivering 92.2% of first class mail on-time for the week of Oct. 3, the most recent available, compared to the national average of 86.1%. Parts of presidential battleground states Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio fell short of delivery goals by wide margins.
10:58 a.m. WHO chief warns of ‘critical juncture’: The head of the World Health Organization warns that countries in the Northern Hemisphere are at a “critical juncture” with rising cases and deaths. “The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track,” Director Gen. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Friday. “Many countries are seeing an exponential increase in cases,” and he called for immediate action.
10:52 a.m. YMCA reopens in Bay Area for indoor, outdoor exercise: With several Bay Area counties moving to a less restrictive tier of California’s reopening blueprint, some YMCA facilities are offering outdoor group exercise classes, wellness circuits, personal training, tennis court reservations and pool access, as well as indoor strength and cardio “wellness windows.” Y’s in Chinatown, Marin, Peninsula, Presidio and Stonestown have reopened for indoor wellness and will begin offering pool access on Nov. 3.
10:15 a.m. Universal mask use can save 130,000 U.S. lives, researchers find: Approximately a half-million Americans will die from COVID-19 by the end of February, according to projections of a new study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The study says universal mask-wearing —95% masking in public— could save around 130,000 of those lives. With 85% mask use, the projected deaths drop by about 96,000. With a winter surge coming, said Christopher Murray, a lead study author, “Expanding mask use is one of the easy wins for the United States.”
9:51 a.m. Path to stimulus deal unclear: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Friday that “big differences” remain in his talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco over a new coronavirus aid package, but, “If she wants to compromise, there will be a deal.” He spoke in reply to reporters at an Oval Office foreign policy event with President Trump. Trump again cited a sticking point over money to help what he calls “Democratic-run” states and cities, though GOP-led states now are suffering big coronavirus surges.
9:36 a.m. Costco offers at-home test kits online: Costco’s website now offers members two options for at-home, saliva PCR, coronavirus tests manufactured by AZOVA. The company claims the self-administered tests, priced at $129, and $139 for an added video observation function, are accurate with a sensitivity of 98% (positive tests are correct) and a specificity of 99% (negative tests are correct). Results are promised within three days.
9:20 a.m. San Jose reopening playgrounds and park features: San Jose parks and recreation officials on Friday began a phased reopening of the city’s 290 playgrounds and more than 1,000 public amenities. Included are basketball and volleyball courts, park benches, barbecue pits and picnic areas. COVID-19 protocols are required, including face masks and social distancing. “Parents and caretakers are responsible for ensuring that their children are playing safe and following all of the rules,” the guidelines say. “Do your part to protect your family and others against COVID-19 by following these guidelines.”
9:03 a.m. U.S. deaths top 223,000: American lives lost to the coronavirus totaled 223,226 as of Friday morning, with surges continuing in most of the nation.
8:55 a.m. Gilead working on aerosol version of its tratment: Foster City’s Gilead is working on an aerosol version of its newly FDA-aproved drug remdesivir, currently in injection form to treat COVID-19, the company said. Scientists at UCSF are studying its use in combination with interferon, an anti-inflammatory multiple sclerosis drug, and infectious disease specialists believe remdesivir might work best in a medicinal cocktail, similar to treatments HIV-AIDS patients use to control infection. Read more details here.
8:42 a.m. English-learner students face extra hurdles in remote education: Educators in San Francisco say that students who are English learners are at a disadvantage with the pandemic-driven shift to remote schooling. In addition to socioeconomic struggles facing many immigrant families, many English learners need kinesthetic learning — the physical side of schooling that requires a student to “do” rather than just perceive — to successfully develop English language skills. Read more here.
8:15 a.m. Memorable lines emerged from calmer debate: With strict rules and microphone muting to reign in a repeat of the chaotic first presidential debate, viewers saw a more “normal” exchange Thursday night, much of it focused on the two candidates’ widely divergent views of the pandemic. “We’re learning to live with it. We have no choice,” said President Trump. “Learning to live with it, c’mon. We’re dying with it,” Biden shot back, citing the 222,000 U.S. deaths so far.
8:01 a.m. India outbreak slowing: As the United States and Europe grapple with fresh surges in coronavirus cases, the outbreak in India is slowing for the first time. Epidemiologists and doctors say the virus is in retreat — at least for now — in the home of one of the world’s largest outbreaks. After a devastating September surge, the number of new infections per day in India dropped sharply in October, the Washington Post reports.
7:49 a.m. Gun sales soar in Bay Area: A growing number of Californians appear to be assuaging insecurity by buying guns amid pandemic misery, social unrest and a frantic presidential election. Bay Area gun stores told The Chronicle said sales are booming, up as much as 500% in a Hayward store. “Like it’s Christmas all year,” said a Castro Valley shop employee. Read the story here.
7:21 a.m. Gilead stock jumps: Stocks were flat Friday for the major indexes, as investors continued to eye upbeat commentary around Washington’s coronavirus stimulus talks. Foster City’s Gilead stock jumped after the company’s COVID-19 treatment became the first to win federal FDA approval. The S&P500 was up 0.15%, while the Dow 30 was flat and the Nasdaq was down 0.1%
7:10 a.m. Stark divide on virus in Trump-Biden debate: In the final presidential campaign debate, President Trump stuck to his guns that the coronavirus “is going away.” “We’re rounding the corner, we’re rounding the turn, it’s going away,” he insisted, although top health experts are warning daily of worrisome spikes and worse times to come. His Democratic challenger noted those warnings, saying “we’re about to go into a dark winter,” with deaths potentially doubling from today’s 222,000 in the U.S. without more adoption of mask wearing and other precautions. Trump dismissed the surges currently barelling through many states, stating without evidence, “They will soon be gone.”
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