To keep our community informed of the most urgent coronavirus news, The San Francisco Chronicle’s critical updates are free to read. Ongoing coverage is available to subscribers. Subscribe now for full access and to support our work.
Total coronavirus cases:
4,265 in California, including 1,527 in the Bay Area.
86,012 cases in the U.S., with 1,301 deaths, including 86 in California. Five other states with the highest death tolls are: New York with 461, Washington state with 150, Louisiana with 83, New Jersey with 81 and Michigan with 61. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
More than 576,800 in the world with more than 26,800 deaths. More than 129,800 people have recovered.
For detailed maps, check out The Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker.
To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
1:09 p.m. Manners in the age of coronavirus: We’re the ones writing the new rules of etiquette, Rachel Levin writes. The new customs are in our (chapped-from-scrubbing) hands. Some lovely new traditions may yet emerge from what otherwise seems a manner-pocalypse.
1:04 p.m. Instacart strike threat: Grocery delivery service Instacart made some minor changes to its policies and pay, even as some of its freelance shoppers planned a strike starting Monday to demand more financial and safety coverage during the coronavirus crisis. Carolyn Said reports the details here.
1:02 p.m.: Scientists question accuracy of ‘breakthrough’ test: Some political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. The tests could reveal the true extent of the outbreak and help separate the healthy from the sick. But some scientists have challenged their accuracy. Many scientists have been cautious, saying it’s unclear if the rapid tests provide accurate results.
12:59 p.m. France extends lockdown to April 15: Following a report of 299 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the country’s total to 1,995, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the country would extend by two weeks the national lockdown that began on March 17. Health agency director Jerome Salomon said during a press conference that the number of cases nationwide had risen to 32,964.
12:56 p.m. Tipping Point sets goal for helping poor: The nonprofit Tipping Point Community launched a drive to raise $30 million to support local nonprofits who face increased demand from low-income individuals and families needing help during the coronavirus pandemic. “In times of emergency, low-income communities are the first to feel the crisis and the last to recover,” said Sam Cobbs, CEO of Tipping Point Community. Since 2005, Tipping Point has invested more than $260 million for housing, early-childhood education and employment solutions in the Bay Area. To learn more, visit Tipping Point’s website.
12:50 p.m. Trump cites need for ventilators, slams GM: President Trump blasted General Motors on Twitter, blaming GM for overpromising on its ability to manufacture ventilators and threatening to compel the company to do so. In a series of Twitter posts, Trump stressed the need for the ventilators, a change of tone from the night before, when he said states were inflating their needs. A short time later, GM and Ventec Life Systems announced they would begin producing ventilators at a Kokomo, Ind., plant.
12:44 p.m. VTA to reduce service: Beginning Monday, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will operate reduced service during the county’s shelter-in-place order by discontinuing all bus trips after 9 p.m. except for Route 22, which will continue to operate 24 hours a day. Express Bus service will also be suspended, except for Express 104 serving Stanford Research Park and Express 181, which will match BART’s reduced service schedule. The VTA’s South Bay light rail network remains shut down indefinitely after a person being trained as an operator tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
12:39 p.m. San Francisco to add 3 drive-through, drop-in testing sites: The sites will open next week as health officials race to expand testing capabilities ahead of a predicted surge of patients. One site will be in the Outer Sunset and one in Chinatown. The third will open near Oracle Park by the end of next week. For more, read Dominic Fracassa’s report here.
12:34 p.m. ‘Unprecedented’ improvement for Bay Area air: With fewer cars motoring around and more industries scaling back to help contain the coronavirus, the Bay Area has seen extraordinarily good levels of air quality across the entire region. “This is really unprecedented,” said Kristine Roselius, a spokesperson for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Annie Vainshtein reports more details here.
12:21 p.m. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters postpones 2020 tour: Waters has postponed his This Is Not a Drill Tour, which was scheduled to reach the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Sept. 23 and Chase Center in San Francisco for Sept. 25-26 shows, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The shows will now take place in 2021, with new dates to be announced at a later date on Waters’ official website.
12:17 p.m. San Francisco aims for 3,000 hotel rooms for homeless, SRO residents: Mayor London Breed said the city is working to house as many as 3,000 homeless people and those living in SRO hotels by next week, 10 times what the city currently has available. The rooms will be reserved for those who, because of their living situations, cannot safely isolate themselves after a COVID-19 diagnosis, but do not need hospitalization.
Noon, Dead & Company will stream weekly concerts: Joining several bands around the country, the band — which includes Grateful Dead alums Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, plus John Mayer — will stream its past live concerts every Saturday during shelter-in-place on the band’s official Facebook page.
11:58 a.m. International AIDS Conference goes virtual: The 23rd annual conference, which was scheduled to take place in San Francisco in July, will now take place online as “AIDS 2020: Virtual,” organizers announced.
11:49 a.m. Bay Area businesses push boundaries of stay-at-home orders: Essential businesses are allowed to stay open in California. But what “essential” means is open to debate — and loopholes. Chase DiFeliciantonio reports on the story here.
11:41 a.m. Energy demand falls amid stay-at-home orders: The initial days of shelter-in-place orders at the city and state levels in California and New York resulted in a 3% to 7% drop in peak electricity demand, according to a new analysis from the Electric Power Research Institute. Daniel Brooks, a vice president at the institute, said the declines “are significant, but preliminary data indicate the electric power systems are resilient and can account for and respond to the reductions while reliably meeting customers’ needs.”
11:20 a.m. Apple launches online COVID-19 screening tool: The tech giant has created an online portal where people can check for symptoms of the coronavirus. “This tool can help you understand what to do next about COVID-19,” Apple’s website says. “Let’s all look out for each other by knowing our status, trying not to infect others, and reserving care for those in need.” Apple’s self-screening tool is here.
11:12 a.m. Social distancing as House OKs $2 trillion bill: Some lawmakers sat in the House gallery — where visitors usually sit to watch action on the House floor below — to create social distance as the chamber gave final congressional passage to a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Members from California and other states under stay-at-home orders had to rush back to Washington for the roll call vote demanded by a Republican opponent to the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history. Read Dustin Gardiner’s story.
10:59 a.m. Free Bay Wheels memberships for health care workers in the Bay: Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Lyft officials announced free 30-day Bay Wheels memberships and waived ebike surcharges for health care workers in the Bay Area. “This program will allow for our medical personnel in the Bay Area to make the essential trip to work — at no cost — during the shelter-in-place, where they can continue their lifesaving work,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who also serves as a MTC commissioner.
10:50 a.m. Governor says federal stimulus provides ‘critical support’ for California: Gov. Gavin Newsom said the stimulus bill passed Friday “will provide critical support” for the state in the effort to curb COVID-19. “It means an additional $600 a week in Unemployment Insurance for the many Californians who have already lost jobs and the many more who will during this crisis, provides emergency loans and grants to help small businesses and nonprofits keep people employed, and it provides direct aid to state and local governments so that we can respond to this emergency and aid communities and families during this time,” Newsom said in a statement. Newsom added that businesses and residents will need more support and he plans to continue working with the federal government. “States and local governments are on the front lines of fighting this pandemic — scaling up the capacity of our health system, supporting first responders, providing food aid, and supporting workers as they seek to make ends meet amid massive job losses,” he said.
10:46 a.m. City’s travel specialists lose jobs, pay: The San Francisco Travel Association will lay off or furlough the majority of its staff and cut pay for remaining workers by 20%. A message from President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro said the lack of hotel bookings had crippled revenue, adding that SF Travel will do away with almost all program costs for the rest of 2020, including suspending all marketing.
10:42 a.m. House passes $2 trillion stimulus package: The House of Representatives voted in favor of a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package for the virus-ravaged economy and health system that passed the Senate earlier this week. The bill will now go to President Trump to sign.
10:36 a.m. Google and Alphabet pitch in $800 million: CEO Sundar Pichai announced the companies will provide $800 million to help small- and medium-size businesses, health organizations and health workers globally during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes $250 million in Google advertising to help health agencies publicize important information, $200 million to help small businesses access capital, and money and expertise to increase production capacity for personal protective equipment and medical devices. “We’re working with our longtime supplier and partner Magid Glove & Safety, with the goal of ramping up production of 2-3 million face masks in the coming weeks,” Pichai said.
10:24 a.m. Mayor says L.A. could be like NYC in 6 days: Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke after Los Angeles saw a 50% jump Thursday in newly confirmed coronavirus cases, which could top 1 million within weeks, a public health official said. “This represents a huge jump, my friends: an increase of more than 50% in a single day of confirmed cases and an increase of more than 70% of our Angelenos who now have fallen,” Garcetti said. “Even more disturbingly, we see that if this rate of increase continues (in the county), in six days we will be where New York is today.”
10:14 a.m. Zuckerberg, Chan donate $25 million to coronavirus research: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, have given $25 million through the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help explore COVID-19 treatments. Zuckerberg and Chan discussed the donation in an interview on “CBS This Morning,” saying the goal was to research existing single-use drugs that may prove to be effective in curbing the effects of the coronavirus. “You can basically take all those drugs that have already been screened as safe and test them to see if they might also have a positive impact for either preventing the coronavirus, or reducing the symptoms and making it less damaging,” Zuckerberg said.
10:07 a.m. Grocery deliveries buckling under intense demand: Bay Area residents sheltering in place are turning to online grocery stores to shop for food and other essentials during the coronavirus pandemic. But customers are quickly finding that grocers can’t keep up with the demand, leaving many frustrated with canceled or delayed deliveries. Shwanika Narayan reports on the story here.
9:57 a.m. Italy passes China’s infections total, sees largest one-day increase in deaths: Italy became the second country to surpass China’s total of coronavirus infections when it recorded 86,498 cases while also registering its single-day record for most deaths with 969 victims, the Associated Press reported. Italian epidemiologists estimate the country’s numbers are likely five times higher than reported.
9:56 a.m. Alameda County jail population down by more than 400: There are 2,171 inmates at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin compared to more than 2,600 two weeks ago, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
9:51 a.m. New cases in North Bay: Health officials in Sonoma County announced they have 43 active cases while one person has died and five others have recovered. In Napa County, health officials announced late Thursday the eighth case in the county. A St. Helena resident tested positive after having close contact with a Southern California person who had tested positive for the infection.
9:50 a.m. UK chief medical officer says he has COVID-19 symptoms: Following revelations that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and British Health Secretary Matt Hancock had tested positive for coronavirus, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty revealed he also has symptoms compatible with COVID-19. “I will be self-isolating at home for the next seven days,” he said on Twitter. “I will be continuing to advise the government on the medical response to coronavirus, supported by my deputies.”
9:47 a.m. SFO to consolidate international flight boardings: The airport is closing Boarding Area A, which includes Gates A1 to A15, on Wednesday in response to reduced flight volume during the coronavirus outbreak. All international flights will depart from Boarding Area G, Gates G1 to G14. International flights will be down 52% on Wednesday. SFO Medical Clinic, Grand Hyatt at SFO and International Parking Garage A remain open.
9:40 a.m. New York state records 500th death: At least 519 people have died from coronavirus across New York state, up from 385, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his daily briefing. “That is going to continue to go up, and that is the worst news that I could possibly tell the people of the state of New York,” he said. Cuomo also announced schools across the state will remain closed until at least April 15.
9:38 a.m. President urged to release elderly and medically vulnerable from federal custody: Over 400 former Department of Justice leaders, attorneys and judges called on President Trump to use his commutation powers to release the elderly, the medically vulnerable and those who have served almost all of their sentences from federal custody to avoid unnecessary deaths. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of hundreds of former Department of Justice servants as well as 35 U.S. attorneys. “… Unless you take immediate action, it will be just a matter of time before there is a COVID-19 outbreak of massive proportions in a federal detention or correctional facility,” they wrote.
9:33 a.m. Nearly 50 new cases and additional death in San Mateo County: Health officials in San Mateo County reported 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases while announcing the county’s sixth death related to the infection. There are 239 cases in the county, health officials said.
9:23 a.m. UC Davis launches clinical studies for COVID-19 treatment: UC Davis officials said they have begun two clinical trials for severe hospitalized patients. The trials will test the safety and effectiveness of remdesivir and sarilumab, which blocks the body’s acute inflammatory response, health officials said. “Although some patients with severe infection have received remdesivir, we do not have solid data to indicate it can improve clinical outcomes for everyone. The nation’s schools of medicine have the expertise and resources to advance knowledge about the infection to help guide the clinical care of patients worldwide,” said Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine.
9:13 a.m. Third COVID-19 patient dies in San Francisco: Health officials in San Francisco announced that a third person has died of COVID-19 while the total tally of those infected in the city and county grew by 56 to 279. Do you think you might have the disease? Here is a look at where testing is available.
9:10 a.m. ‘Too many people are dying alone’: A New York City emergency room doctor tells the Associated Press that patients hit the hardest by the coronavirus are dying alone because of strict protocols to prevent its spread. “So often a patient will be on their deathbed, dying alone, and it’s been incredibly painful to see the suffering of family members who I call from the ICU, hearing the tears, crying with them on the phone,” said Dr. Kamini Doobay, 31. “Too many people are dying alone with absolutely no family around them. This is one of the most horrific things.”
9:03 a.m. Tesla to slash factory staff in Nevada by 75%: Tesla has informed officials in Storey County that it plans to reduce on-site staff at its Gigafactory by roughly 75% in the coming days. The announcement by county officials came after Reuters reported Panasonic Corp. will temporarily suspend production at the plant that manufactures batteries because of the risks of coronavirus infection. Tesla closed its Fremont factory earlier this week except for essential functions.
8:55 a.m. Trudeau vows to pay 75% of wages for coronavirus job losses: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau increased Canada’s payroll subsidy from 10% to up to 75% in an effort to encourage small businesses to hold on to employees. The subsidy is backdated to March 15. “We hope you will consider rehiring them given this payroll support,” Trudeau said.
8:35 a.m. Rhode Island stopping cars with New York plates: The ACLU is questioning the constitutionality of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s directive allowing state police to stop vehicles with New York license plates. The Democratic governor called the measure extreme but pointed out New York City is the epicenter of the disease in the U.S. Having a New York state license plate “simply does not, and cannot, constitute probable cause to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be,” said Steven Brown of the ACLU of Rhode Island. The governor’s spokesman told the Associated Press the directive aims to ensure travelers from New York staying in Rhode Island know they are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
8:22 a.m. Planning, speed and action in San Francisco: Columnist Heather Knight reports on how city leaders went from slow, deliberative and ineffective to fast-acting national leaders in preparing for the coronavirus. Suddenly, nurses are hired immediately, huge shelters open quickly and new hospital beds are demanded.
8:14 a.m. Cal Shakes calls off season: California Shakespeare Theater, which produces four shows each summer at the Bruns Ampitheater in the Orinda hills, is canceling its entire 2020 lineup. With many other theater companies postponing or canceling shows during the coronavirus outbreak, Cal Shakes is the first in the Bay Area to shutter for a season. The cancellation means a loss of more than $1.2 million in ticket sales for the company. Lily Janiak has the full story here.
8:08 a.m. San Rafael company transformed by coronavirus: EO Products has seen a 1,300% increase in demand for hand sanitizer on its website since late January. The spike in demand has befuddled and amazed EO executives, who have added employees and quadrupled production of sanitizer in the form of wipes, spray and gel, and soap — normally their less popular products. Read more here.
7:58 a.m. San Francisco DA concerned about father, other prisoners: In an interview with the New Yorker, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin expressed COVID-19 concerns over his incarcerated father David Gilbert, 75, who is confined at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in New York. “Using the phones or even going to the mess hall is a real risk for him at this point,” Boudin said. Gilbert is serving a sentence of 75 years to life for his role in a 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored truck that resulted in the deaths of one of the company’s guards and two police officers. Boudin has been outspoken in urging criminal justice leaders to reduce jail and prison populations. “Please don’t forget about people who are behind bars,” he said.
7:53 a.m. Doctor ticketed, accused of intentionally coughing on health care workers: A University of Connecticut doctor is accused of intentionally coughing on two other UConn Health workers and disregarding social distancing and other safety precautions aimed at preventing spread of the coronavirus. UConn police in Farmington issued a misdemeanor breach of peace summons to Dr. Cory Edgar, school officials told the Associated Press.
7:48 a.m. California teen who died from coronavirus denied health care over lack of insurance: The 17-year-old who passed away after contracting coronavirus despite not having any previously reported health conditions was denied treatment at an urgent care facility in Lancaster because he lacked insurance, according to that town’s mayor. In a video posted to YouTube, Mayor R. Rex Parris urged his community to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously and said the teen “didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him.” The mayor added: “The Friday before he died, he was healthy. By Wednesday, he was dead.”
7:38 a.m. Nursing students beg to enter workforce now: Thousands of aspiring nurses who are just inches from graduation would like to get to work on the front lines fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of them had expected to finish their degrees this year, only to have those plans derailed when the pandemic forced schools to close and knocked the students out of their required clinical training. Rachel Swan reports their story here.
7:24 a.m. Mill Valley residents howl for health care workers: Other shut-ins around the world have taken to singing from windows, but Mill Valley is known to go its own way. Precisely at 8 p.m. every night, doors and windows all over town open and residents in the Northern California hamlet begin baying at the moon. The practice reportedly started as a way to show support for health care workers. Read more here.
6:59 a.m. Markets down: Stock market volatility continued, with the Dow Jones down more than 880 points, or 3.9%, in early trading, giving back some of the ground it won in a three-day rally. The S&P 500 was down 93 points, or 4%.
6:52 a.m. Hundreds dead in Iran from drinking methanol: Following false reports spread across social media that methanol protects against the novel coronavirus, an Iranian doctor with the country’s Health Ministry told the Associated Press on Friday that around 480 people had died from alcohol poisoning, with 2,850 people sickened. “Other countries have only one problem, which is the new coronavirus pandemic. But we are fighting on two fronts here,” said Dr. Hossein Hassanian. The Islamic Republic has reported over 29,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,200 deaths from the virus.
6:48 a.m. Flour industry strained: Americans are consuming a lot more flour during the coronavirus pandemic, and bakeries and flour mills are working overtime to meet the demand. Retail sales of baked goods jumped more than 60% the week of March 15, UPI reported, citing numbers from analytics firm IRI. The increase in people baking at home has left many stores running low on flour and other baking supplies. Christopher Clark, vice president of the North American Millers Association, said that’s not because of any shortage. “The flour, the grain, it is all there,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting it milled, packaged and on the shelf.”
6:35 a.m. Texas man charged with threatening Pelosi: A Texas man has been charged with making death threats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat leaders, after posting on social media about the congressional response to the coronavirus outbreak. The FBI arrested Gavin Weslee Blake Perry, 27, after he allegedly posted a message on Facebook claiming Pelosi was part of a satanic cult and encouraged people to shoot public officials “on sight” and “use live rounds,” prosecutors announced Thursday, Pelosi’s 80th birthday. He faces five years in federal prison.
6:26 a.m. Federal health officials bungled coronavirus response, USA Today investigation finds: U.S. health officials botched the rollout of coronavirus test kits and misled scientists in state laboratories, according to an investigation published by the newspaper. Through interviews with dozens of scientists and public health experts, the reporters determined the CDC misrepresented the efficacy of early solutions to state health authorities; while the FDA placed restrictions on validating outside tests through its emergency authority.
6:23 a.m. Price gouging at auction of masks? The state of Texas sued a Houston auctioneer Auctions Unlimited after halting its auction of 750,000 medical-grade and N95 face masks, alleging price gouging. Bidding on N95 respirator masks reached as high as $180 for a package of 16 masks at the Tuesday auction. Amazon sold a set of 100 for $4.21 in late January. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the auctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. It was unclear how many bids were taken on the masks, but Auctions Unlimited owner Tim Worstell denied price gouging. “It is literally impossible to price gouge using the auction method when ALL bids start at $1,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press.
6:15 a.m. Cases increase, but official says pandemic stabilizing in Spain: Spain’s Health Ministry reported another 7,800 infections overnight for a total of 64,059. Deaths climbed by 769 (the highest one-day total yet) to 4,858 — the world’s second highest total after Italy’s 8,214 fatalities. “It’s true that we have more deaths than what we saw yesterday, but it’s also true that the percentage increase today is similar to that of he past three days and it appears there is a stabilization,” said Fernando Simon, the head of Spain’s health emergency coordination center.
6:11 a.m. Thieves party at closed restaurant during shelter-in-place: La Costanera, an elegant Peruvian restaurant overlooking the water in Montara, has been closed since the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order March 17. On Saturday night, at least four people broke into the restaurant, stole cash, smashed cameras and drank sparkling wine — then lingered for 11 hours over the course of two days. Read more here.
6 a.m. More than 500,000 coronavirus cases worldwide: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide soared to 549,604 with a death toll of 24,563 as of 6 a.m. PST Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
5:53 a.m. China offers U.S. help: China’s Xinhua News Agency says President Xi Jinping called U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday and told him that China stands ready to provide support to the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the phone call, Xi “suggested that the two sides work together to boost cooperation in epidemic control and other fields, and develop a relationship of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
5:44 a.m. COVID-19 attacks New York with increasing force: On Tuesday, roughly 3,000 people were hospitalized with the virus in New York state. That number rose to 3,800 Wednesday and then leaped to 5,300 by Thursday morning. Mayor Bill de Blasio renewed his call for help from the federal government Friday as COVID-19 cases strained the city’s hospital system. Two people who helped keep New York moving during the crisis, bus operator Oliver Cyrus, 61, and train conductor Peter Petrassi, 49, were killed by the virus Thursday, according to their union.
5:37 a.m. British leader stricken: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus, but remains in charge of the U.K.’s response to the outbreak, the Associated Press reports. Johnson, 55, said that he was tested for COVID-19 on the advice of the chief medical officer after showing “mild symptoms” involving a temperature and a persistent cough. Earlier this week Britain’s Prince Charles said he had tested positive. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock also confirmed on Friday morning he has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Breaking news developments on March 26:
10:27 p.m. California Department of Motor Vehicles closes field offices: Starting Friday, the state Department of Motor Vehicles will close all of its field offices to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The department will shift essential services online next week, and will continue processing transactions such as car registration payments and vehicle title transfers. The DMV will continue operating customer service call centers, but anyone who booked an in-office appointment is out of luck, for now.
9:51 p.m. Chinese Hospital asks for donated supplies: The San Francisco hospital and its six clinics are the latest to request donations of masks and other protective equipment. See our FAQ on where you can donate, and whether items like homemade masks are accepted.
8:59 p.m. Santa Clara homeless assistance program exhausts its $11 million COVID-19 fund in 3 days: Since launching a financial assistance program on Monday, the Santa Clara County Homeless Prevention System has received more than 1,700 requests from residents who need help with rent, groceries and other basic needs. At that rate, program staff expected to consume its entire $11 million in pledged funding within days. The program has stopped taking applications, though it’s still inviting low-income households to put their names on an “interest list” if more funding becomes available. The high demand for assistance illustrates the depth of the coronavirus crisis in Santa Clara County, which could see 2,000 deaths by the end of May, according to San Jose deputy city manager Kip Harkness.
7:46 p.m. Three San Francisco park, beach parking lots to close: San Francisco Recreation and Parks will close the parking lots at Marina Green, Ocean Beach and Beach Chalet tonight at midnight, the department said. “We continue to encourage people to exercise locally,” the agency wrote on Twitter. “Stay close to home.”
7:30 p.m. Alhambra High School to be ‘alternative care site’: Contra Costa County recently requested supplies from the federal government to establish the Martinez high school as an “alternative care site,” which is located near the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center. A shipment of beds, medical equipment and other supplies are expected to arrive “within the next few days,” according to a joint statement issued by Contra Costa Health Services and Martinez Unified School District. The site is being prepared as part of the county’s preparation of facilities to care for people with “less complicated medical needs.” County officials said they expect to identify additional sites in the coming days, and are still determining how these sites will operate.
6:43 p.m. Mount Diablo State Park bars vehicles: Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County joined dozens of other state parks that are temporarily closing to vehicular traffic due to “high visitation” during state and local shelter-in-place orders. Non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails and beaches, remain open, parks officials said. “Everyone has the responsibility to ‘flatten the COVID-19 curve at parks’” by staying six feet away from other people and staying home if sick, park officials said. “If visitors cannot maintain social distancing, they need to leave the park.” Read the story here.
6:37 p.m. BTS postpones tour kickoff at Levi’s Stadium: The South Korean boy-band BTS has postponed its concerts at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, which were scheduled to take place on April 25 and 26, the band announced on Thursday, March 26. The shows are now scheduled to take place in June. Read the story here.
6:18 p.m. As blood supplies run critically low, UCSF students organize emergency drive: Thousands of blood drives have been canceled nationwide as shelter in place mandates keep people home and schools, offices and other buildings where drives typically take place remain closed. In San Francisco, medical students Anya Greenberg and Hope Schwartz jumped into action. With the support of UCSF Health’s senior faculty leaders and Vitalant, the largest blood provider in San Francisco, they have organized three-day blood drives at the school’s Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses, to take place over the first two weeks in April. Read Read Chronicle reporter Aidin Vaziri’s report here.
5:37 p.m.: New York, in crisis, holds lessons for California: The most important lesson from New York may be the most difficult — sheltering in place works. And Californians need to stick with it to avoid the East Coast fate. Read the story here.
5:35 p.m. At Hayward testing site, 26% test positive: More than a quarter of the people tested for coronavirus at a Hayward site that opened this week turned up positive for COVID-19, city officials said Thursday — as confirmed cases climbed in the Bay Area, topping 1,400, with at least 32 deaths. Read the story here.
5:28 p.m. Sixth Santa Clara County deputy tests positive: A sixth deputy in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has tested positive for COVID-19, the department announced Thursday. Five others who worked on the same Custody Bureau team are also infected. The new case is self-isolating at home. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether any additional staff or inmates have been exposed or infected.
5:25 p.m. Advocacy group receives more than 650 reports of discrimination against Asian Americans last week: Asian Americans were spit on, yelled at and shunned across the country as racial and ethnic discrimination grows during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report from Chinese for Affirmative Action, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and San Francisco State University’s Asian American studies program. The groups created an online reporting site that received 673 reports since launching March 19. Roughly a third of the incidents were in California and 12% were in New York. “The data from our reporting center — both the numbers and the self-reported narratives — clearly reveal that Asian Americans are being racially profiled as threatening, disease-carriers. Not only are Chinese Americans blamed and mistreated, but Asian Americans of other ethnic backgrounds are also being targeted,” said Russell Jeung, chair of SFSU Asian American Studies.
4:45 p.m. Patient tests positive at Laguna Honda Hospital: A patient in the 780-bed facility, where the majority are elderly with underlying health conditions, has tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Thursday. This comes after a total six staff members — four nurses and two porters — tested positive for the virus. The entire hospital has been on lockdown since Wednesday evening. About 150 staff members in the two affected patient care units will be tested for the virus. Read the story here.
4 p.m. The Roxie and Smith Rafael Film Center offering new movies to stream: The two Bay Area movie houses joined separate national efforts by distribution companies to allow movie lovers the ability to stream current movies in a way that provides revenue to struggling theaters. Click here for the story.
4:12 p.m. How the stimulus bill affects people who want to tap retirement savings: The stimulus bill could make it easier for people with a coronavirus-related hardship to tap their retirement accounts for short-term needs this year, Chronicle columnist Kathleen Pender says.
3:50 p.m. Emergency room worker at San Francisco General Hospital tests positive: A staff member directly involved in patient care in the emergency department tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal memo sent to San Francisco General Hospital staff by CEO Susan Ehrlich Thursday afternoon. Ehrlich said the hospital is conducting a “thorough contact investigation to determine further steps to ensure safety” in the emergency department.” This comes after six staff members at Laguna Honda Hospital also tested positive for the virus.
3:35 p.m. Major hotel union reports 11,500 layoffs: Unite Here Local 2 reported that 82% of its 14,000 members are out of work. This includes workers in hotels, airports, and food service in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Read the full story on the layoffs here.
3:30 p.m. Nearly 75 percent of coronavirus tests in California still pending: Of about 77,800 tests for COVID-19 conducted in California through Wednesday afternoon, about 57,400 were still pending results, the state’s department of health reported Thursday. At least 20,386 test results had been received. Those numbers included tests from state and county health labs and commercial and private labs. Through 2 p.m. Wednesday, there were 3,006 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California, the CDPH reported. Of confirmed cases, about half (1,505 total) were patients aged 18-49.
3:28 p.m. Health care workers blow whistle at SF General Hospital: Health care workers at San Francisco General Hospital have filed a complaint with state workplace safety regulators alleging the hospital is doing too little to protect them from the coronavirus and violating state law. Read the full story.
3:27 p.m. San Francisco DA calls on Newsom to close ICE detention centers: San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin joined a vast coalition pressuring Gov. Gavin Newsom to use his executive power to close detention centers across the state, calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” bound to explode if action is not taken. But a spokeswoman for Newsom said the decision lies in federal authorities’ hands. Read the full story.
3:23 p.m. U.S. has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country, Johns Hopkins reports: The U.S. now has the most cases of the coronavirus of any country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday afternoon, Johns Hopkins was reporting 82,404 confirmed cases in the U.S., more than in China (81,782 cases) or Italy (80,589). It was reporting 526,044 cases worldwide and 23,709 deaths from COVID-19.
3:15 pm BART could cut Sunday service as it deals with 92% ridership drop: With BART ridership plunging 92% this week as Bay Area residents hunker down at home, the transit agency is considering more drastic service cuts to make up for lost revenue, including no Sunday service. No decisions were made at a special Board of Directors meeting Thursday morning, but officials discussed the agency’s vanishing ridership, financial woes and potential fixes. Losses could reach $440 million this fiscal year, officials said, though BART expects to receive a large chunk of $1.3 billion in federal aid heading to Bay Area transit agencies. Read the full story on BART here.
3:06 p.m. Berkeley firefighter tests positive: A Berkeley firefighter tested positive for the new coronavirus on Wednesday, city officials announced Thursday. Officials said that they were preparing for such an exposure since January, and will continue “extra cleaning of fire apparatus and stations” and providing personal protective equipment to all firefighters.
2:50 p.m. Santa Clara County could see 2,000 deaths in 12 weeks, San Jose official says: Santa Clara County could record 2,000 deaths from COVID-19 by the end of May in a “best-case scenario,” San Jose deputy city manager Kip Harkness said during a city council meeting Tuesday. In a presentation of “preliminary modeling,” Harkness showed that the county could see 2,000 deaths even with citizens mostly following practices to reduce exposure. “You can see even in that best-case scenario, we were looking at the order in the next 12 weeks of 2,000 potential deaths directly from COVID-19,” Harkness said. The projection, first reported by the Mercury News, showed a potential 16,000 deaths in the county by end of May in a scenario with no mitigation practices at all — which is not the situation because the county, like others in the Bay Area, has already ordered non-essential businesses to close and people to shelter in place at home. “This is not a crystal ball predicting the future,” Harkness said. “The actions we take can very much influence this data.” Harkness also said projections indicate there are between 9,000 and 19,000 active cases of the coronavirus currently in Santa Clara County.
But county officials did not endorse the projections — which, if the death toll reached 2,000, would represent 0.1% of the county’s 1.9 million residents. “The model shared by the City of San Jose projecting deaths and future case counts of COVID-19 was not produced, reviewed, or vetted by the County of Santa Clara,” the county Public Health Department said.
Officials in Santa Clara County also reported 83 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 542, and announced two more deaths, bringing the total to 19.
2:49 p.m. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s husband released from hospital: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said her husband John, who has coronavirus and was hospitalized for pneumonia and lack of oxygen, is now recovering at home. “Thanks to those who cared for him & for all front line health care workers,” she said on Twitter.
2:30 p.m. San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to hold drive-through food pantry on Saturday: The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank will host its first ever drive-through food pantry on Saturday at its Marin warehouse. The drive-through approach will allow the food bank to distribute food without person-to-person contact and while maintaining proper social distancing. The food bank has also opened pop-up pantries throughout the two counties in the past two weeks. The drive-through pantry at the warehouse along with the pop-up food pantries are intended to support those who are struggling to buy food due because of losing jobs, hours or wages because of the COVID-19 virus or whose regular food banks have closed. The drive-through food pantry will take place from 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. at 2550 Kerner Blvd, in San Rafael.
2:28 p.m. Kamala Harris tries shaming big employers on coronavirus sick leave: When it comes to large corporations that don’t provide paid sick leave for workers, Sen. Kamala Harris is ready to resort to public shaming. The California Democrat and New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter Thursday to 36 of the nation’s biggest employers demanding they “put public health ahead of profits.” Read the full story here.
2:02 p.m. 42 California health care workers infected: The more than 3,000 coronavirus cases in California include 42 health care workers, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. The figures, announced Thursday, were last updated early afternoon Wednesday.
1:59 p.m. Napa County reports seventh case: Napa County reported one additional case of coronavirus — a resident of Calistoga — for a total of seven cases.
1:56 p.m. G-Eazy funds food truck to feed at-risk youth: Bay Area rapper G-Eazy has partnered with Larkin Street Youth Services to provide free meals to local at-risk youth in San Francisco for a month. With support from his Endless Summer Fund, he will pay to have a Mi Morena food truck serve lunch seven days a week at Larkin’s drop-in sites. “The Bay is my home and I want to help and support my community however I can,” G-Eazy said in a statement. “We are all in this together and I hope others will join me in supporting our communities however they can.”
1:17 p.m. Protest at Mexico border to keep Americans out: Wearing protective masks and waving “Stay Home” signs, a group of about a dozen Mexicans gathered on the Mexico side of the U.S. border in Ambos Nogales on Wednesday, blocking traffic into their country and protesting allowing Americans into their country without being tested for the coronavirus, according to a report from the Arizona Republic and USA Today. They also want a temporary ban on American tourism and visits for minor medical procedures. Mexico has far fewer cases of the coronavirus — about 500 — than the U.S, which has about 76,500. The demonstrators had promised to return on Thursday.
1:13 p.m. Nations seek relief from sanctions: Eight countries under unilateral sanctions, mainly from the United States and European Union, urged U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to request the complete lifting of these measures to enable the nations to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint letter obtained by the Associated Press, the ambassadors from China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria and Venezuela urged the U.N. chief to “reject the politicization of such a pandemic.
1:25 p.m. Sixth COVID-19 case at large hospital-nursing home: The number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to climb at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital, a 780-bed facility where the majority of residents are elderly and have underlying health conditions. The hospital said the sixth infected staff member is a porter in the South 4 unit, which was put under quarantine this week. According to a source familiar with the matter, the porter is a family member of a nurse who tested positive for the virus this week. The porter has been under quarantine since symptoms developed, the source said. Laguna Honda Hospital ordered a complete lockdown Wednesday as the city scrambles to contain the spread.
1:20 p.m. Staffer at SF senior community tests positive: An employee of the AlmaVia San Francisco senior community tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesman said Thursday, but hasn’t been in the complex since March 14 when administrators learned of the test result. Dan Hadfield, spokesman for Elder Care Alliance, which operates AlmaVia, said the employee apparently did not contract the virus at the community. No one at AlmaVia has shown any symptoms of the coronavirus, he said.
1:15 p.m. Stocks jump again: The Dow Jones industrial average soared more than 6% Thursday amid the record-breaking rise in jobless claims nationwide. The S&P 500 index is up 17% since Monday.
1:09 p.m. Pet care industry reeling: The pet care industry has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus closures. Diane Livoti, who developed Metro Dog in Richmond into one of the largest day care and boarding centers in Contra Costa County since opening in 2006, was forced to close the doors March 16. “Everyone in our industry is grasping for ways to survive this,” she said. “I’m scared. I’m really scared here.” Read more from Rusty Simmons’ story here.
1 p.m. First virus case at regional jail: A nurse at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin has had a presumptive positive test for COVID-19, Alameda County health officials said. It is the first case reported at the facility. The nurse worked at a particular section of the jail, making it easier to determine others who came into close contact. Staffers who had close contact will be quarantined at home for 14 days, the agency said. The nurse works for Wellpath Health Services, an Alameda County contractor, and had used protective equipment on the job, officials said.
12:58 p.m. Peabody Awards postponed indefinitely: The Peabody Awards, which honor storytelling through broadcasting and digital media, were postponed indefinitely on Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was scheduled to take place June 18 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. “The safety of guests, staff, and partners involved with our annual event remains a top priority,” Peabody executive director Jeffrey P. Jones said in a statement.
12:39 p.m. Spain extends coronavirus lockdown: Spain’s parliament extended emergency measures on Thursday, including the lockdown that mandates people stay in their homes except to buy food or medicine, until April 12. Spain recorded 655 coronavirus deaths overnight, pushing its toll to 4,089, second only to Italy. “It is not easy to extend the state of emergency,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament. “I am convinced the only efficient option against the virus is social isolation.
12:24 p.m. More Bay Area parks, beaches closing: After thousands mobbed parks and beaches last weekend, the state is pushing back to discourage people from venturing too far from their homes during shelter-in-place, advising them to “walk, run, hike and bike in their local neighborhoods and walk to parks.” Tom Stienstra has the story here.
12:10 p.m. Pelosi’s goals for next coronavirus bill: The House speaker says Congress’ next bill to confront the pandemic must include paid family and medical leave for more workers, an increase in food-stamp benefits and more money for states and cities whose budgets are being drained fighting the virus. You can read Dustin Gardiner’s story here.
12:03 p.m. Health care union lines up 39 million masks: Oakland-based Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West says it has located 39 million N95 masks and plans to arrange to have them sold to hospitals, health care systems and counties in California and New York. The union says a 48-hour effort, spurred by concerns from its members about the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) yielded the masks. SEIU-UHW says it is connecting buyers with the supplier, who will sell the masks for $5 each to union or non-union employers. So far, the union says, the masks are being sold to: the State of California, the Greater New York Hospital Association, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Health Care, Sutter Health and Santa Clara, Los Angeles and Riverside counties. “SEIU-UHW members and health care workers all over California are desperate for more protection, so we are seeking out supplies wherever we can get them,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-UHW. “We are continuing to turn over every rock to see if we can find more personal protective equipment to make sure that health care workers, who are heroically putting their own health on the line to care for patients, can do their jobs as safely as possible.”
11:54 a.m. Fauci to Curry on coronavirus — ‘This is serious business’: During an online Q&A session with Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Dr. Anthony Fauci made one thing clear: The coronavirus crisis should not be taken lightly. Asked whether people were overreacting about the spread of the respiratory disease, Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — didn’t mince words, saying, “This is serious business.” Read the story here, and Ann Killion’s column on Curry’s coronavirus outreach here.
11:43 a.m. Financial clarity for college athletes: Facing a significant loss of revenue with the cancellation of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously on Thursday to distribute $225 million to Division I members in June, with a specific focus on supporting college athletes. The NCAA had originally budgeted $600 million for this purpose, with the first distribution scheduled for April.
11:39 a.m. Calls to expand social net: A coalition of over 120 California labor, family advocacy, legal, civil rights and other groups wrote to Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers on Thursday asking for specific actions to support working people through the coronavirus pandemic. The requests include expanding and streamlining access to programs such as unemployment benefits, disability coverage, paid family leave and sick leave. Carolyn Said brings us the story.
11:29 a.m. Free doughnuts for health care workers: Krispy Kreme is offering health care workers dozens of its original glazed doughnuts for free every Monday starting March 30 (National Doctors Day) through May 6-12 (National Nurses Week). Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru, tell them what you need and show your employee badge.
11:26 a.m. Alameda health workers rally in Oakland: Alameda health workers are holding a rally at Highland Hospital in Oakland, demanding the Alameda County Board of Supervisors take over Alameda Health System hospitals as a shortage of equipment and supplies ramps up with the coronavirus pandemic.
11:09 a.m. Tesla workers sick: After Alameda County ordered Tesla to close its Fremont factory, it stayed open for nearly a week. Now two of its workers are sick, an internal email obtained by The Chronicle’s Chase DiFeliciantonio says.
11:05 a.m. Alameda County numbers climb: Alameda County reported new figures for positive test results for the first time since Tuesday, showing 43 new cases and two deaths. That brings the county totals to 178 cases and four deaths, and pushes the Bay Area death toll to 30.
11:02 a.m. Pandemic keeping young people from polls: California beat the coronavirus clock with its March 3 primary and its youngest voters may have been the biggest winners. Volunteers for Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan group looking to build the political power of young people, described Thursday how the virus and the drastic measures to defend against it have worked against college voters.
Proud to share we’ve been able to source 10M masks for the US and millions more for the hardest hit regions in Europe. Our ops teams are helping to find and purchase masks from our supply chain in coordination with governments around the world. pic.twitter.com/uTsA6eA5ks
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 25, 2020
Coronavirus has erupted throughout New York, but public health officials are wondering why the same rate of the outbreak hasn’t happened in California. https://t.co/5sMdu3yY5q pic.twitter.com/752Uh94OLv
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) March 25, 2020
This is really great news! I am so happy I can barely speak. He may have been a terrible presidential candidate and an even worse U.S. Senator, but he is a RINO, and I like him a lot! https://t.co/42zpWW9vzy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2020