Shutdown drives unemployment to Great Recession levels in barely a month
Sac Bee's DALE KASLER/PHILLIP REESE: "It took the coronavirus pandemic less than a month to triple California’s unemployment rolls and plunge the state’s economy into a tailspin comparable to the Great Recession.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, in his daily update on the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday, said “well over 1.6 million Californians” have filed for unemployment. A record 150,000 Californians filed claims Monday alone, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Employment Development Department, Loree Levy, said Newsom’s statement reflected an estimate of new unemployment claims. More exact numbers will be released Thursday."
Pandemic recession now expected to be deeper and longer
LA Times's DON LEE: "As projections of the coronavirus death toll soar, forecasts for the ensuing economic carnage have also quickly turned much darker — both for the depth and duration of the damage.
Where only days ago, economists were following President Trump’s lead in saying the U.S. economy would be back on track relatively quickly, a growing number now say the downturn will probably exceed the Great Recession of 2008-09.
U.S. economic output, which has grown without interruption for a record 10½ years, could fall as much as 9% in 2020 — more than three times the sharpest drop during the Great Recession, according to some predictions. At the height of the Great Depression in 1932, the economy shrank a record 12.9%."
California orders skilled nursing facilities to accept virus patients
LA Times's JACK DOLAN: "As fears escalate about the toll the coronavirus will take on the sick and elderly in nursing homes — who are among the most vulnerable to the deadly virus — California regulators have told skilled nursing facility operators that they must accept patients even if they have the disease.
The order comes amid a fierce debate between healthcare providers. Hospitals are desperate to clear space for an expected wave of COVID-19 patients, so they are discharging as many patients as possible, including nursing home residents.
Many nursing home administrators are equally desperate to keep those residents out until they are proven virus-free, fearing a catastrophic result if the deadly pathogen gains a foothold in their institutions."
READ MORE related to Health: The bizarre reality of being new parents in age of pandemic -- LA Times's GUSTAVO ARELLANO; Nurses are wearing trash bags at one hospital facing a protective equipment shortage -- Chronicle's TATIANA SANCHEZ
State's top court: All cities have to follow state's sanctuary law
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The state Supreme Court denied review Wednesday of a lower-court ruling requiring all California cities to follow the state's sanctuary law, which prohibits most types of law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.
SB54, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017, bars state and local police from asking arrestees about their immigration status, from notifying federal agents about an immigrant's upcoming jail release, or from holding an immigrant beyond the scheduled release date for transfer to immigration officers. It does not apply to immigrants charged with serious crimes.
Some local governments, including the Orange County and San Diego County boards of supervisors, supported the Trump administration's unsuccessful suit in 2018 that claimed the state law conflicted with federal law."
California is already planning for escalating infections in June 'Phase 2'
Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "Gov. Gavin Newsom and his top health official have talked for more than a week about California’s need for 50,000 more hospital beds, 10,000 more ventilators and tens of millions more masks to battle coronavirus."
"On Wednesday, they revealed those numbers are just “Phase One.”
“If you extrapolate that out… we’ll exceed that Phase One surge capacity of 50,000 (beds) somewhere in the middle part of May,” Newsom said at a Wednesday news conference."
READ MORE related to Pandemic: US death toll exceeds 5,000 -- The Chronicle's STAFF; State death toll passes 200 as LA threatens to cut utilities for nonessential businesses -- LA Times's HANNAH FRY/RUBEN VIVES/TARYN LUNA/RONG-GONG LIN II; Masks might help, but no substitute for staying home -- Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG; One-third of Sacramento county infection cases connected to churches -- Sac Bee's TONY BIZJAK/DALE KASLER; Shelter-in-place may be working, but virus still a threat, Gov. Newsom says -- The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY
Devin Nunes continues blasting stay-at-home orders
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "Although President Trump has called for extending strict anti-coronavirus measures until at least the end of the month, some California Republicans have different ideas.
In a Fox News interview Tuesday, Tulare Rep. Devin Nunes, long one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, called California’s school closures “way overkill,” and said people need to quickly start going back to work to save the national economy.
“We have to focus on keeping people employed,” he told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “If we don’t start to get people back to work in this country over the next week to two weeks, I don’t believe we can wait until the end of April."
PG&E thought it had a deal with wildfire victims. Then came the pandemic
Sac Bee's DALE KASLER: "Like a lot of Paradise residents who lost their homes in the Camp Fire, Michael Zuccolillo is furious at PG&E Corp. and isn’t thrilled about the utility’s plan for paying wildfire victims to get out of bankruptcy.
But in a world suddenly consumed with economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he isn’t sure he and his fellow wildfire victims can afford to walk away from PG&E’s most recent offer.
“If we say no to this, what’s coming down the pike?” said Zuccolillo, the vice mayor of Paradise. “It’s possible … a no vote puts us in a riskier position."
READ MORE related to Environment: There was no March Miracle: California's dry winter continues, Sierra snow survey shows -- Sac Bee's DALE KASLER; California's winter goes down as one of the driest, thin snowpack shows -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER
Evacuation of virus-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt under way
The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI/TAL KOPAN: "The U.S. Navy removed more sailors Wednesday from the nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt docked in Guam amid a coronavirus outbreak, and officials said about a quarter of the crew had been tested for COVID-19.
Of nearly 1,300 who have been screened for the disease, 93 tested positive, Navy officials said Wednesday, but about half the tests have not been returned. About 1,000 sailors, or 20%, had been removed from the ship, Navy officials said. In the next 48 hours, they said, they hope to pull a total of 2,700 crew members off the ship.
In Washington, lawmakers pressed the Navy for answers on the situation — and warned that more outbreaks could quickly spiral out of control without proper preparedness."
UC cuts SAT/ACT reqs for 2021 applications
Sac Bee's ASHLEIGH PANOO: "The University of California eased admission requirements for incoming freshman and transfer students affected by the coronavirus pandemic by removing SAT requirements and accepting pass/no pass grading.
The 10-campus institution announced Wednesday that it was suspending the standardized testing required for students applying for fall 2021 admission and that it would not rescind admission offers for students who cannot meet the deadlines to turn in documents such as transcripts.
“We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the Board of Regents, the governing board for UC."
READ MORE related to Education: With schools closed, state superintendent announces guidelines for graduating seniors -- The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN
Should the census count minority inmates in rural prisons as area residents?
LA Times's KURTIS LEE/SANDHYA KAMBHAMPATI: "Jhil Marquantte lived behind the sandstone walls of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in a 6-by-9-foot cell.
Marquantte, 46, spent years here in this mountain town, but always behind bars — locked inside Territorial, and most of the half-dozen other state prisons that dot this rural stretch of Colorado. If you asked him about home, he’d tell you it was two hours north in Denver where he grew up and his family still resides — and where he long dreamed of returning after serving his sentence.
“My prison cell was not a home,” said Marquantte, who was paroled in 2018 after serving 26 years for murder and returned to the Denver area. “A prison should not be a home for any other person."