Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Sept. 2-3
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 Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Read the full timeline:
Updates from Thursday, Sept. 3:
6:05 p.m. Pac-12 Conference partners with diagnostic company: The college athletics Pac-12 Conference said Thursday it is partnering with diagnostic test company Quidel Corporation for daily rapid-results coronavirus testing of student-athletes. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott called the agreement a “major step toward the safe resumption of Pac-12 sport competitions.” In a joint statement, the company and conference said the testing will allow for “crucial research” to track infections and learn more about asymptomatic cases.
3:50 p.m. Eighteen San Mateo County schools given clearance to open this month: Eighteen schools in San Mateo County have been given clearance to reopen in-person instruction this month, according to the county’s Office of Education webpage detailing the recovery plan for schools in the county. All waiver applications are reviewed by officials with the San Mateo County Office of Education, San Mateo County Health, and the California Department of Public Health. A full list of the schools can be found here.
3:35 p.m. Fifteen Marin County schools cleared to open on Sept. 8: Citing improving COVID-19 case data, Marin County’s public health officer Dr. Matt Willis has approved 15 schools’ applications to resume in-person instruction for transitional kindergarten through sixth grade as early as Sept. 8, the county announced Thursday. Noting progress in recent months, Willis said in a statement, “We’re at a critical juncture, and our ability to get kids back into school is up to all of us. It’s not time to relax our protective measures.”
3:22 p.m. Tennessee governor says vaccine acceptance is personal choice: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday would not say whether he would be vaccinated against COVID-19 when a vaccine becomes available. Public health departments are being told to prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as early as Nov. 1. and Lee told a news conference the state is working on a distribution plan. But the Republican called a decision to vaccinate a personal choice.
3:05 p.m. ‘Coronasomnia’ emerges as virus disrupts sleep: Physicians and researchers are seeing signs the coronavirus is damaging people’s sleep. They say “Coronasomnia” could prove to have profound ramifications — creating a massive new population of chronic insomniacs grappling with depression and other health problems as the pandemic heightens stress and upsets routines.
2:56 p.m. Indiana U calls on frats and sororities to close: Officials at Indiana University on Thursday encouraged fraternity and sorority houses at the Bloomington campus to close because of the “increasingly alarming” positivity rate among students that has forced three-quarters of Greek houses to quarantine, the Washington Post reports. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said sending college students home after an outbreak erupts on campus is “the worst thing you could do.”
2:50 p.m. Contra Costa infections rise by more than 100: Contra Costa County reported another 101 coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing its total so far to 14,212 cases.
2:37 p.m. Alameda County sees 21 deaths, biggest daily toll reported: Alameda County on Thursday recorded 21 more lives lost to COVID-19, its biggest one-day death reported toll so far, marking a significant increase when combined with the 17 deaths announced on Wednesday. That brings the cumulative death toll for the county to 295. The county also confirmed 157 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing its total to date to 18,852.
2:35 p.m. Alameda County to allow indoor haircuts starting Friday: Alameda County joined seven other Bay Area counties to allow indoor salons in compliance with the state’s new tiered reopening system. Only San Francisco is limited haircuts to outdoor services.
2:30 p.m. France unveils $118 billion recovery plan: Facing resurgent coronavirus infections, France announced a $118 billion recovery plan Thursday aimed at creating jobs, saving businesses and yanking the country out of its worst economic slump since World War II. It includes money to manufacture medical supplies in French factories, develop hydrogen energy, help museums and cinema and train youth for jobs.
2:18 p.m. Alameda County cracks down on pandemic food pop-up: Alameda County health officials have shut down one of the Bay Area’s pandemic-born food pop-ups, perhaps signalling tolerance is waning for the ranks of unemployed cooks selling homemade wares in legal gray areas. Chef Mona Leena Michael, who sold Palestinian comfort food on an Emeryville sidewalk for 20 minutes each Friday, said she was told by Alameda County health inspectors to shut down after “a neighbor” reported her illegal operation.
2:07 p.m. You can go inside for a haircut, but not mall shopping in LA County: Los Angeles County is keeping its shopping malls shuttered while allowing barbershops and hair salons to operate indoors again with certain restrictions, under the state’s new reopening blueprint, the Los Angeles Times reports. Los Angeles County has confirmed more than 244,000 coronavirus cases, compared to 88,032 across the Bay Area.
1:51 p.m. Hospitals poised to defy US decision for use of blood plasma to treat COVID-19: Dozens of major hospitals across the U.S. are considering ignoring a federal approval of broader emergency use of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat the disease, in favor of dedicating their resources to a gold-standard clinical trial that could help settle the science for good, Kaiser Health News reports. The response comes amid concerns that the Trump administration pressured the FDA into approving broader use of convalescent plasma. A National Institutes of Health panel’s statement countered FDA’s decision, saying that the therapy was not yet proven.
1:15 p.m. US faces WWII-level debt situation: A surge in government borrowing in the face of the pandemic recession has put the United States in a position it has not seen since World War II: In order to pay off its national debt this year, the country would need to spend an amount nearly as large as its entire annual economy. The amount of U.S. government debt has grown to nearly outpace the size of the nation’s economy in the 2020 fiscal year and is set to exceed it next year, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.
1:11 p.m. Stocks get clobbered, especially tech: After lots of gains, the stock market got its comeuppance Thursday, with the Nasdaq plunging 5%, the S&P 500 3.5%, the Russell 2000 3.2% and the Dow Jones industrial average 2.8%.
1:06 p.m. Pfizer chief says vaccine effectiveness should emerge by end of October: Pfizer expects to know whether its vaccine is effective by the end of October, and would apply immediately for approval if it is, CEO Albert Bourla told a trade group Thursday. His remarks come as a handful of companies race to develop a vaccine and as scientists worry that the Trump administration is pushing for premature approval before the Nov. 3 presidential election.
12:58 p.m. A coronavirus vaccine before Election Day — is it hype?: A letter from federal health officials telling states to be ready to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1 — two days before the election — has aroused suspicion among public health experts as to Trump administration political motives and potential vulnerability of science-based agencies, the FDA and CDC, to pressure from President Trump. White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany gave assurances Thursday that Trump “will not in any way sacrifice safety” when it comes to a vaccine.
12:47 p.m. Hospitalizations in state continue slide: The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout California was down to 3,604 as of Wednesday, state health officials reported Thursday. Of those 1,119 were in intensive care. Another 967 hospital patients were suspected to have COVID-19, but their cases had not been confirmed.
12:40 p.m. Alameda schools drop online program seen as sexist, racist: Nearly 1,000 students in the Alameda school district may have to wait two weeks for a complete online education after the district cut ties with a popular online learning program that parents complained used sexist and racist content. Lessons from Acellus Learning Accelerator, used by thousands of schools nationwide, provided economic justifications for slavery, imagery that compared Harriet Tubman to a burglar, and content that depicted dolls as “woman-hating,” according to a petition filed by parents Sunday. Read the full story here.
12:10 a.m. NYC restaurants can’t open yet, Cuomo says: Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t let New York City reopen its restaurants for indoor dining until the city has a plan to monitor and ensure they’re following regulations for coronavirus prevention. The governor says he thinks restaurants should open in New York City, but the state doesn’t have enough personnel to monitor the city’s 27,000-plus eateries.
12:05 p.m. Trump administration’s eviction ban faces legal hurdles: The Trump administration’s new ban on evictions of tenants who can’t pay rent due to pandemic hardships faces a slew of legal and political challenges, The Hill reports, and those could undercut an unorthodox attempt to save tens of millions Americans from homelessness. The eviction ban issued Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a groundbreaking test of the CDC’s power that experts say will undoubtedly prompt several legal challenges.
11:49 a.m. Saga of Pelosi’s hair appointment continues: The owner of a San Francisco salon where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair done indoors in violation of city pandemic rules denied, in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, that she had “set up” the Democrat as Pelosi alleged. The denial by owner Erica Kious followed a Wednesday statement from a lawyer for the stylist who did Pelosi’s hair, saying Kious herself authorized Pelosi’s visit while making “vitriolic and incendiary comments” about the speaker and blaming Pelosi for forcing salon closures during the pandemic. Read the latest here.
11:32 a.m. A’s Mengden tested positive: The A’s announced that right-hander Daniel Mengden was placed on the COVID-19 injury list Thursday after testing positive at Houston last week. Mengden, who is from Houston, is asymptomatic, according to general manager David Forst, and he is self-isolating at his home.
11:15 a.m. CDC reports 80-fold increase in prescriptions of drug that Trump touted: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that new prescriptions from specialists for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine increased 80-fold in March, after President Trump touted the drugs without evidence as a coronavirus treatment. Prescriptions numbered 1,143 in February and then 75,569 in March, which was 80 times more than in March of last year. The drugs are approved for autoimmune diseases and malaria, CDC’s article said, adding, “Earlier this year, they were widely reported to be of potential benefit in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19; however, current data indicate that the potential benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks.”
10:48 a.m. SF, San Mateo County each add 79 new cases: San Francisco reported another 79 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total as of Thursday to 9,696. San Mateo County also confirmed 79 more cases, for a total of 8,390 since the pandemic began.
9:52 a.m. Nearly 1 in 5 Californians say they know someone who lost life to COVID-19: Nineteen percent of California adults say they know a person who has died from COVID-19, according to an Aug. 21-26 tracking poll from the Oakland-based California Health Care Foundation and Ipsos. Sixty-one percent of those polled said they “strongly support” stricter shelter-in-place rules if they would prevent more deaths.
9:30 a.m. COVID-19 kills more cops than any other cause: Joe Biden was right when he claimed more police officers have died this year from COVID-19 than have been killed on patrol, according to data from two nonprofits that monitor law enforcement fatalities, the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. On-the-job coronavirus infections were responsible for a least 100 officer deaths, more than all other causes combined, the Washington Post reports, with non-COVID-19 fatalities down year over year.
8:48 a.m. Macy’s loses $431 million, sales fall 36%: Macy’s got more people to shop on its website and app in the past three months, but not enough to make up for plummeting sales inside its department stores. The company reported a second quarter loss of $431 million. Online sales were up 53%, and Macy’s said it attracted 4 million new online customers as people stayed home during the pandemic. But sales sank 61% inside its stores, which reopened in June after closing due to the pandemic.
8:38 a.m. Trump blasted for odd recommendation to vote twice: President Trump is facing a backlash for urging North Carolinans to vote by mail and then try to vote again in person to test the mail-in ballot system in the Nov. 3 election. With an avalanche of coronavirus-wary Americans expected to vote by mail, Trump has sought to undermine mail-in systems as fraud-prone. North Carolina’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, said was outrageous for Trump to suggest that people “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election.”
8:30 a.m. United scales back layoffs, but numbers still big: United Airlines plans to furlough 16,370 employees in October, a smaller number than it predicted in July because thousands of workers agreed to leave as the travel industry faces a slow recovery from the pandemic, the airline said Wednesday. Airline officials had outlined 36,000 potential furloughs in July. Since then, thousands of workers took early retirement, buyouts, or long-term leaves of absence.
8:18 a.m. Fauci says vaccine unlikely for October: Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday dampened hopes, fueled by an election-minded President Trump, for a coronavirus vaccine as soon as October. In a CNN interview Fauci said it was “unlikely, not impossible” that testing and protocols could produce a vaccine in October; he suggested a somewhat stronger possibility for November or December. He said he had faith that independent boards and public data would ensure the data-driven government agencies approve only science-based, safe vaccines.
8:07 a.m. Summer holiday backslides inform Labor Day warnings: Some Bay Area beaches and parks will be closed over Labor Day weekend as officials discourage the large gatherings that led to spikes in new coronavirus cases following both Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The stakes are high: business and school reopenings over the next few months could be reversed if infection rates and hospitalizations tick up. Read The Chronicle’s story here.
7:50 a.m. Cal State Chico linked to outbreak: A week after California State Chico began its fall semester, 464 coronavirus cases were reported in the Chico area — and 78% are among people between the ages of 18 and 24, Butte County health officials said Wednesday. Chico State started fall classes Aug. 24 with 90% of classes online. On Monday, the university transitioned to 100% online.
7:04 a.m. Transit locales are great option for testing, study says: The key to slowing high infection rates among low-income Latinos could be in access to free, convenient coronavirus testing at transportation hubs in the Bay Area and beyond, a UCSF study shows. Researchers offered free, walk-up testing in August at the 24th and Mission BART and Muni plaza, testing an average 100 people an hour, with demand soaring. Read the story here.
6:36 a.m. Stocks mixed on jobless news: The Dow Jones industrial average was flat in early trading, while the Nasdaq index fell 1.7%, suggesting a retreat from tech stocks which have rallied recently. A decline in new jobless claims may be buoying the broader stock market.
6:00 a.m. 881,000 newly jobless: Unemployment claims fell below 1 million a week for the second time since the onset of the pandemic, but remained stubbornly high. Businesses may now be shedding jobs in anticipation of a tough fall and winter, economicsts said.
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 2
9:54 p.m. Bay Area sees record-breaking number of deaths: The Bay Area reported 30 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, the most recorded deaths in a single day since the start of the pandemic, according to Chronicle data. The previous single-day high was 22, reported on Aug. 25. Deaths overall have been stabilizing in the Bay Area, hovering at around 10 people a day, on average, for the last several weeks.
5:20 p.m. Case rates clarified on California’s reopening website: California health officials have updated the state’s new coronavirus reopening website to clarify one of two key metrics that decide a county’s reopening status. The two critical thresholds governing whether counties move up or down the four color-coded tiers are coronavirus case rate — per 100,000 people — and positive test rate. However, counties that conduct more coronavirus tests than the state average are credited for their higher testing volume with a calculation that lowers their case rate for tier assignment purposes. That’s why San Francisco, with a daily case rate of 9.8 per 100,000 population, has an adjusted case rate of 6.4, which puts it in the red tier rather than the most restrictive purple tier. Both case rates and “adjusted” case rates are now reflected on the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” interactive map, though the adjusted rates were not initially included in the rollout. A more detailed explanation and a table showing how rate adjustments are calculated are available on the state’s website.
4:50 p.m. Some Bay Area counties could progress to ‘red’ reopening tier next week: Several Bay Area counties anticipate more business reopenings as soon as Sept. 8, when they could move to less restrictive catetories on the state’s new color-coded tiers governing coronavirus restrictions. Based on recent data, Marin and Santa Clara counties and nearby Santa Cruz County could be reassigned from the purple “widespread” tier to the red “substantial” tier. Such quick progression, less than two weeks after their initial assignment, would be a one-time occurrence, the state said. In the future, it’ll take longer to progress to less restrictive levels. Read more.
3:30 p.m. Stocks start September strong: A day after Wall Street wrapped up its fifth monthly gain in a row, markets began September with a strong showing. The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 215 points to close at 28,645.66, a gain of nearly 0.8%. The S&P 500, which also added almost 0.8%, set another record, as did the Nasdaq composite with a gain of 1.4%.
3:15 p.m. Trump administration cancels some ventilator orders: The Trump administration is canceling some of its remaining orders for ventilators, after rushing to sign nearly $3 billion in emergency contracts as the COVID-19 pandemic surged in the spring. A government statement Tuesday said the national stockpile has reached maximum capacity, with nearly 120,000 available for state and local health officials. Democrats accuse the White House of vastly overspending to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to make the United States the “King of Ventilators.”
2:54 p.m. California prisons’ virus death rate is twice as high as outside world’s: The death rate nationwide from COVID-19 is higher inside prison walls than outside and more than twice as high in California prisons, according to a study released Wednesday. The study by the nonprofit National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice comes as advocates call for more releases from overcrowded prisons struggling that often have limited cleaning supplies and protective equipment. Read the story here.
2:46 p.m. Fauci says vaccine could come earlier than expected: A COVID-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, says. In a Tuesday interview with Kaiser Health News, he said an independent board could decide to end the trials earlier than their anticipated conclusion at year’s end. The Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, “The data is so good right now that you can say it’s safe and effective,” Fauci said. Researchers then would have “a moral obligation” to accelerate the process to distribute the vaccine.
2:35 p.m. No let up in anxiety during pandemic: Another study is suggesting more mental health issues during the pandemic: Half of U.S. adults surveyed reported at least some signs of depression, such as hopelessness, feeling like a failure or getting little pleasure from doing things. That’s double the rate from a different survey two years ago, Boston University researchers said Wednesday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.
2:25 p.m. Santa Rosa hospital says employee infections started early last month: Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital officials confirmed Tuesday that the first coronavirus cases among employees appeared in early August, weeks before the end of last week when hospital officials announced the outbreak internally to the entire team, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
2:18 p.m. Sen. Harris piles on criticism of Trump on schools: Sen. Kamala D. Harris on Wednesday echoed her running mate Joe Biden’s criticisms of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic as it relates to school reopenings, saying “our children’s safety is the last thing on Donald Trump’s mind.” Trump offers “no real plan to help schools reopen safely, and he’s refusing to do the work of getting the virus under control,” Harris said. “His administration is attempting to bully schools into reopening without the support they need.”
2:12 p.m. Berlusconi of Italy tests positive: Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for COVID-19 after a precautionary check and will quarantine at home, his press office said on Wednesday. Berlusconi, 83, is isolated in his Arcore residence near Milan, his office said.
2 p.m. Breed says Pelosi salon visit distracts from important issues: San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Wednesday said the country should focus on more important issues than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to a hair salon as city rules allowed only outside operations for salons. “We basically have a dictator in charge of running the country. We have our speaker working day and night against the challenges we have at the White House. It’s unfortunate this conversation has blown up in the way it has and distracted us from the real issue, Breed said. “We have bigger issues as it relates to this country. That’s what we should be focused on.”
1:49 p.m. Breed calls for holiday observance of virus protocols: Mayor London Breed is asking San Franciscans to follow COVID-19 safety protocols over the three-day Labor Day weekend: “Let’s honor our workers by taking the measures to protect them,” she told a press briefing on Wednesday. Joined by community leaders, Breed said it’s safest to stay home. She urged residents to avoid large groups and social distance if they go out, adding, “Make sure everyone is wearing a face covering, and avoid sharing food and drinks.”
1:43 p.m. South Korea’s success now in jeopardy: South Korea was held up as a model for its two-pronged strategy of fighting the coronavirus while keeping the economy running. The approach appeared to work, all but halting a large outbreak without locking down towns or drawing an outcry over draconian restrictions on speech and movement. But South Korea now is struggling with a second wave of infections, and its strategy seems as precarious as ever.
1:30 p.m. Pelosi calls salon visit a ‘set up’: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to apologize Wednesday for having her hair done at a San Francisco salon, calling it “a set up” and suggesting that she had been tricked by the business owner. Pelosi said she took responsibility for falling for the offer to receive service inside the salon, when the city only allowed salon operations outside. The San Francisco Democrat said if anyone was owed an apology, it was her by the salon. Read the story here.
12:48 p.m. Newsom urges vigilance over Labor Day: Gov. Gavin Newsom asked California residents to adhere to coronavirus safety protocols as the long holiday weekend approaches. “It’s more important than ever to be vigilant as we work through the next few months,” he said, warning that even though infection rates are stabilizing, flu season and an inevitable second wave of infections could put the state back in the danger zone.
12:44 p.m. State’s positivity rate continues down: California saw an average 4,708 new coronavirus cases per day over the last seven days, and the daily total Tuesday was down to 4,255, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. Coronavirus tests returning positive results averaged 5.1% over the past 14 days, but improved to 4.4% over the last seven days, he said. The number of Californians hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped 23% over the past 14 days.
12:38 p.m. California to purchase $600 million worth of hotel rooms for homeless: Citing the success of the Project RoomKey program, which has provided housing for 22,200 unhoused individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out plans for Project Homekey on Wednesday. “That was an emergency response. Now we need a permanent response,” he said. California has budgeted $600-million to purchase hotels, motels and apartment buildings by year’s end to help reduce homelessness. “This has to be our top priority,” Newsom said.
12:20 p.m. Biden says schools are a ‘national emergency’: Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Wednesday described the nation’s school situation as “a national emergency” and argued President Trump has “no plan” for a safe reopening in the ongoing pandemic. “He’s offering nothing but failure and delusions,” Biden said in remarks from Wilmington, Del. “If President Trump and his administration had done their jobs early on in this crisis, American schools would be open, and they’d be open safely.” Addressing Trump directly and referring to Washington’s stalled efforts on a new coronavirus relief package, Biden said, “Get off Twitter and start talking to the congressional leaders. … You always talk about your ability to negotiate. Negotiate a deal.”
12:14 p.m. Newsom announces website with guidance for landlords: Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the launch of housingiskey.com, a new website to provide guidance and tools to the 5.4 million state residents at risk of losing their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He told a news briefing the site, in several languages, will outline the protections signed into law on Monday, which extend eviction protections to Feb. 1, 2021.
12:06 p.m. Newsom touts renter protection barring evictions through Feb. 1: Gov. Gavin Newsom, elaborating on the renter-relief bill he signed this week, said Wednesday that financial hardship has put 5.4 million California renters at risk during the pandemic, with disproportionate impacts on Black and Latino populations. He cited data finding a 50% to 66% drop in income for the state’s renters as the pandemic has taken its toll.
11:46 a.m. First known COVID-19 death of motorcycle rally attendee: A Minnesota man is the first person known to have died of Covid-19 after attending the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota last month, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered, many without social distancing or mask wearing. Health officials had worried it could become a superspreader event. Minnesota health officials confirmed the death, saying the man was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions.
11:38 a.m. CDC says get ready for vaccine distribution by November: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has notified public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November, the New York Times reports. The new C.D.C. guidance went out last week as President Trump said a vaccine might arrive before the end of the year.
11:35 a.m. Bill would clarify coronavirus transparency rules: California companies and their employees have clashed throughout the pandemic over whether employers should tell workers if they have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus on the job. Now a bill passed by the Legislature and at the governor’s desk seeks to clarify what companies must tell employees and state officials about such risks. Read the story here.
10:24 a.m. UN chief warns of vast reversal of women’s equality gains: The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed decades of limited and fragile progress on gender equality and women’s rights, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a virtual address this week. “Without a concerned response, we risk losing a generation or more of gains,”he cautioned, and he called for a major push to prevent further backsliding.
10:16 a.m. More than 100 local venues participate in #RedAlertRESTART: Entertainment venues and several government buildings were lit up in red throughout the Bay Area to call attention to the live event industry and its employees currently out of work due to the pandemic. Read more here.
9:59 a.m. Adviser from Stanford upsets White House task force balance of power: Scott Atlas, the radiologist from Stanford’s Hoover Institution who is President Trump’s new coronavirus adviser, is upsetting the balance of power within the White House coronavirus task force, with ideas that top government doctors and scientists like Anthony Fauci find misguided — even dangerous, people familiar with the task force’s deliberations told the New York Times. The newspaper said Atlas is pushing to reshape the administration’s response to the pandemic with a libertarian-style approach to disease management.
9:48 a.m. Biden sees virus issue as key to victory: Joe Biden was turning his focus Wednesday to the struggles of students and families as schools are unable to fully reopen amid concerns about the coronavirus. It is Biden’s latest attempt to emphasize President Trump’s response to the pandemic, which Biden’s campaign believes will guide voters’ decisions more than any other, the Washington Post reports.
9:26 a.m. SF, San Mateo County see more infections: San Francisco recorded another 73 coronavirus cases, for a total of 9,617 cases in all as of Wednesday. San Mateo County confirmed another 51 cases, for a county total of 8,260 so far.
8:46 a.m. California marks lethal pandemic milestone: August saw coronavirus deaths in California hit their highest monthly total yet, with 3,788 lives lost, almost double the June total of 1,912. Fatalities also jumped to a new monthly high in the Bay Area, which reported 302 deaths in August and 135 in June. Bay Area officials have reported encouragment, however, with coronavirus case numbers stabilizing in most of the nine counties. Read the story here.
8:35 a.m. Trump goes after Pelosi in ironic attack: President Trump in a Tweet on Wednesday blasted “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” for having her hair done inside though San Francisco does not not yet permit indoor salons, “and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else.” Trump has eschewed wearing a mask himself throughout the pandemic, and has repeatedly participated in large and small events without social distancing, despite guidelines from his own administration.
8:11 a.m. SF public schools likely to lag behind private schools in applying to reopen: San Francisco health officials will require schools to apply for permission to reopen, despite the state’s blessing to reopen classrooms for in-person learning; and public schools are not expected to be first in line. They must reach agreement with the teachers union on resuming in-class instruction, and union officials have balked over concerns about spread of the coronavirus. Read The Chronicle’s story from Jill Tucker.
8 a.m. Steroids proven as virus treatment: New studies confirm that multiple types of steroids improve survival for severely ill COVID-19 patients, cementing the cheap drugs as a standard of care, the Associated Press reports. An analysis of pooled results from seven studies, led by the World Health Organization and published Wednesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that steroids, though not a cure, reduced the risk of death in the first month by about one-third compared to placebo treatment or usual care alone.
7:45 a.m. Salon owners in SF frustrated as other counties allow reopening: San Francisco is holding firm restricting business openings, as most Bay Area counties are taking advantage of California’s new permissions to reopen businesses in a variety of sectors. City officials said this week they are watching the course of the coronavirus pandemic closely before lifting limits on a variety of businesses they view as risky. Salon owners are particularly frustrated. Read the story here.
7:30 a.m. Muni Metro light-rail closes for rest of year: San Francisco’s Muni Metro light-rail system, which shut down abruptly last week after a short reopening, is expected to remain closed through the end of the year as extensive repairs are made, officials said Tuesday. Muni shut down the light-rail system, which had been closed for five months during the coronavirus pandemic, after parts failed last week and an employee tested positive for the coronavirus and other staff members were quarantined. Read the story here.
6:53 a.m. Nasdaq sets record: The tech-heavy Nasdaq index crossed 12,000 as the pandemic accelerated trends like e-commerce and distance learning. Alphabet, Facebook, eBay and Twitter were among the gainers in early trading.