Dark days

Apr 6, 2020

'Hardest, saddest days ahead' in virus outbreak, surgeon general warns


LA Times's LAURA KING: "As the U.S. coronavirus death toll neared 10,000 on Sunday, Surgeon Gen. Jerome Adams said the coming week would be “the hardest and saddest of most Americans’ lives,” likening the projected loss of life to “our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.”


Joining in that somber assessment was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, who predicted that the dimensions of the outbreak would be “shocking to some” over the next eight or nine days.


“Things are going to get bad, and we need to be prepared for that,” Fauci, perhaps the best-known member of the White House coronavirus task force, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation."


READ MORE related to Pandemic: US wasted months before prepping for pandemic -- AP; The pandemic will change America in big ways. History says so -- LA Times's MARK Z BARABAK; How SF's battle with HIV/AIDS shaped today's pandemic response -- The Chronicle's RYAN KOST; Tiger at NYC's Bronx Zoo tests positive for COVID-19 -- AP's JENNIFER PELTZ; A Captain's Choice -- The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI/JOE GAROFOLI; Capt. Crozier, ousted from virus-stricken warship, tests positive -- The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI/JOE GAROFOLI/RUSTY SIMMONSMissing in Bay Area's battle against COVID-19? Detailed, reliable data -- The Chronicle's JOAQUIN PALOMINO/CYNTHIA DIZIKES; Sailors on infected ship give fired captain emotional send-off -- The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI/TAL KOPAN; Religion in the age of COVID-19: How centuries-old traditions are being upended -- Sac Bee's SAM STANTON/TONY BIZJAK/SAWSAN MORRAR; A deadly week looms for US, Birx warns -- Sac Bee's DON SWEENEY; Newsom says Stanford test for virus immunity in California 'hours' from approval -- Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG; How McClatchy journalists across the US are covering the pandemic -- Sac Bee; Are you wearing your face mask properly? Many people aren't, experts say -- Sac Bee's DON SWEENEY


Following California's water as another dry spell looms


RYAN KAIKA in Capitol Weekly: "What does a Central Valley almond farmer have in common with a San Diego homeowner? The answer is simple: Water. More specifically, the amount of water they need to sustain their respective lifestyles — which is a lot.


California, a state with a long, roller-coaster history of droughtsand battles over water, faces yet another dry spell as the 2020s begin. At the end of last year, the looming drought had been largely washed away, more than 90 percent of the state was declared drought free. Then another dry spell, then some March rains.


But there was no dramatic “March miracle.” Three-fourths of California remained abnormally dry, and a small piece of California along the Oregon line was in a “severe drought,” according to a March 24 government report. This week, the depth of the Sierra snow pack, a crucial indicator of California’s water supply, was below normal."


Newsom expedites child care for parents on front lines of pandemic response


The Chronicle's SAM WHITING: "People on the front lines in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic — from grocery clerks to health care professionals to firefighters — will get priority in arranging child care based on an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday.


The order allows parents in essential jobs to bypass administrative and eligibility requirements in order to enroll their children in programs when they are working. The order will be administered by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education. Newsom gave the state agencies until Tuesday to work out the details such as how the child care will be facilitated while maintaining the required social distancing of the shelter-in-place order.


“This can be a real game-changer,” Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, said in a statement. “We’ve seen too many health care workers, including nurses and respiratory therapists, who are critical in caring for infected patients cut back hours because they have no one to care for their children."


Dems spend $1M on healthcare attack ad in California House race


LA Times's ARIT JOHN: "The coronavirus outbreak has forced political candidates to rethink the way they campaign, but Democrats are returning to a familiar strategy: focus on healthcare.


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending nearly $1 million to air an ad highlighting Republican defense contractor Mike Garcia’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act ahead of a May 12 runoff to fill the remainder of former Rep. Katie Hill’s first term.


The buy — which includes cable, Spanish-language TV and digital spending — is the largest ad investment the DCCC has made in California’s 25th Congressional District this cycle. The spot began airing Saturday and will run until May 12."


SF virus crisis on its way to becoming a financial crisis, too


The Chronicle's PHIL MATIER: "Numbers tell the story of the coronavirus crisis in San Francisco — most sobering are the more than 500 people who have been infected and the billion-dollar-plus budget deficit facing the city.


But there are some numbers below the radar that have drawn a dour conclusion from San Francisco’s controller, the city’s top money man.


“This is not simply a health emergency — this is now almost certainly a recession,” San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield said in summing up the impact of the coronavirus shutdown on the city’s economy."


Landlords finding ways to demand rent, despite eviction bans


LA Times's LIAM DILLON: "Simona Boneva knew she wasn’t going to be able to pay her rent this month. Her shift as an office manager at a media company was cut in half, and her bartending job went away entirely because of the citywide shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak.


When she went to talk to her landlord, the company responded with a letter outlining terms for it to agree to temporary relief and a repayment plan — among them that she turn over any money from a federal stimulus check or from a charity within five days.


“I can’t believe that they would legally be able to do that,” said Boneva, 27, who rents a two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood with a roommate. “They’re not entitled to the money for your rent above all else."


READ MORE related to Housing/Homelessness: How the virus is speeding efforts to shelter homeless -- Sac Bee's HANNAH WILEY


Judges reject bid to free California prisoners to slow virus behind bars


The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "The federal three-judge panel that previously set a population cap for the California prison system has rejected an effort by activists to require further inmate releases to slow the spread of the coronavirus behind bars.


In an order filed Saturday evening, the judges ruled that they did not have authority to consider the request because the panel had originally been convened to address a different issue: prisoners’ lack of access to adequate medical and mental health care. Advocates said they would pursue their motion in other courts.


“We take no satisfaction in turning away Plaintiffs’ motion without reaching the important question of whether Defendants have implemented constitutionally adequate measures to protect the inmates of California’s prisons from the serious threat posed by this unparalleled pandemic,” the judges wrote."


You may never see Yosemite like this again. Beautiful video peeks into valley, without humans


Yosemite National Park: "While so much has changed for humans in recent weeks, it's reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has," Yosemite National Park wrote. Spring arrives, the sun emerges after rain and snow, waterfalls pick up, wildlife abounds."


Trump tempers officials' grave assessments with optimism


AP: "The U.S. surgeon general says that Americans should brace for levels of tragedy reminiscent of the Sept. 11 attacks and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, while the nation’s infectious disease chief warned that the new coronavirus may never be completely eradicated from the globe.


Those were some of the most grim assessments yet for the immediate future and beyond. But hours later, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence tried to strike more optimistic tones, suggesting that hard weeks ahead could mean beginning to turn a corner.


“We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said at a Sunday evening White House briefing. Pence added, “We are beginning to see glimmers of progress."

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