The Roundup

Mar 25, 2020

Big deal

Deal reached on $2-trillion coronavirus stimulus bill — largest by far in U.S. history


SARAH WIRE, LA Times: "After haggling for days over the final details, Senate Democrats and the White House agreed Wednesday to a nearly $2-trillion stimulus package to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, including direct payments to most Americans and a half-trillion-dollar fund to shore up struggling companies.


The stimulus bill — by far the largest ever proposed — comes with a price tag equivalent to 9% of the nation’s gross domestic product and is meant to provide direct financial aid to help individuals, hospitals and businesses. It includes $300 billion for small businesses, $150 billion for local and state governments and $130 billion for hospitals, according to those involved in the negotiations.


Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) negotiated through Monday night and all day Tuesday to resolve outstanding issues."


Reporter's Notebook: The long journey home from Spain


BRYNDON MADISON in Capitol Weekly: "Getting back to California from Europe during a global pandemic was certainly not the way I thought my trip would end.  In January, I arrived in Cordoba, Spain, for a two-and- a-half-month university study abroad program and that’s where I had been living up until Saturday, March 14.


After finishing my classes in Spain, which is now the country with the fourth highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, my sister and my girlfriend had planned to meet me in Barcelona for a week.  But on March 11, they told me they were canceling their trip because the risk of quarantine seemed too high.


I couldn’t blame them."


As virus threatens general election, California could be example for states expanding vote-by-mail


CASEY TOLAN, Mercury News: "The coronavirus cases spreading across the country have already overturned the 2020 presidential campaign, forcing multiple states to postpone their primaries and raising fears that the November general election could be marred by the pandemic.


Now states are rushing to expand the use of vote-by-mail, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented shift in voting procedures. California, which has massively ramped up its use of mail-in voting over the last few decades, could be a model for others to follow.


In Congress, lawmakers are debating a proposal from House Democrats to require states to allow mail-in voting and send $2 billion to election officials to help expand the process as part of a larger coronavirus relief package. But the idea has faced opposition from Republicans who argue that the bill should focus on economic relief, not voting rights.



READ MORE related to COVID-19 PandemicNewsom's signed 11 executive orders. Here's what they do about COVID-19 -- Sac Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON; Half of California's confirmed cases are younger than 50, Newsom says - BANG's CASEY TOLANTrump's desire to end social-distancing guidelines draws rebukes from Bay Area mayors -- BANG's JASON GREENArchdiocese closes churches to public -- SGV Tribune's STAFFDomestic abuse victims in 'worst-case scenario' during outbreak, providers say -- LA Times's LAURA NEWBERRY/NICOLE SANTA CRUZ


Two San Diego members of Congress report stock and bond sales after COVID-19 briefing


From the U-T's JEFF McDONALD: "Rep. Susan Davis recently disclosed the sale of tens of thousands of dollars worth of airline and cruise ship stocks two weeks after a congressional briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak that has wreaked havoc on financial markets.


Davis, the 10-term San Diego Democrat who last year announced she would not seek re-election, said Monday that those stocks were sold by either her husband or their financial manager. She said she had nothing to do with the sales.


“I actually can’t tell you anything about them,” Davis said of the transactions in a telephone interview. “I don’t participate in them in any way. I really don’t. It’s been my husband and our investment manager.”


Deal reached on $2 trillion emergency stimulus package


The Chronicle's STAFF: "Total coronavirus cases:


2,628 in California (up 17.1% from Monday), including 1023 in the Bay Area (up 15.5% from Monday).

55,148 cases in the U.S., with 796 deaths, including 51 in California. Five other states with the highest death tolls are: New York with 269, Washington state with 125, Louisiana with 46, New Jersey with 44 and Georgia with 32. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts."


Bay Area Rep. DeSaulnier stable, but remains in critical condition


The Chronicle's DUSTIN GARDINER: "Bay Area Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s condition is stable, though he remains in critical condition after he was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this month, his sons said Tuesday.


The congressman’s sons, Tristan and Tucker DeSaulnier, said he still being treated in the intensive care unit.


The 67-year-old DeSaulnier, D-Concord, was admitted to a hospital March 13 with pneumonia, a complication after he fell and fractured a rib on a run. His office said he was tested for the coronavirus and that the results were negative."


UCSD begins testing experimental drug for fighting COVID-19


Union-Tribune's GARY ROBBINS: "UC San Diego said Tuesday that it is beginning to test whether remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug, can be safely and effectively used to fight the novel coronavirus .


The school is joining with University of California medical centers at Irvine, Davis and San Francisco to study the drug, which has already undergone some animal and human testing involving other viruses, including SARS-CoV and Ebola.


UCSD emphasized that the test will be limited to a small number of patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and who are patients of UCSD Health or other UC Health systems involved in the project."


READ MORE related to Health: Do you need to be tested -- and can you be? -- The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO/ERIN ALLDAYCalifornia needs nurses, doctors for surge. Here's what the state's doing to secure them -- Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG; Is it possible to recontract the virus after recovering from it? -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; Kaiser Permanente cancels $900M Oakland HQ -- The Chronicle's ROLAND LI/PHIL MATIER; Top Bay Area health officials mandate more COVID-19 test data from private labs -- The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA


Biden found his footing -- then virus changed everything


LA Times's EVAN HALPER/JANET HOOK: "It was another tough break for Joe Biden in his struggle for relevance while the nation wrestles with the pandemic: The former vice president was poised to appear before the vast audience of ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday, but before his interview started, the show vanished from TV screens as network affiliates cut away to cover New York’s governor and Washington’s mayor addressing the coronavirus threat.


That encapsulated the brutal challenge Biden’s presidential campaign faces as he struggles to connect with voters preoccupied with more pressing matters than politics.


Even as President Trump fumbles his way through the outbreak, there are risks for Biden if he remains in the background of this ever-changing public crisis. Fresh polling this week shows a diminished lead for Democrats in November, and Trump’s approval rating mostly stable despite heavy criticism of his early efforts to downplay the significance of the pandemic."


Courts, DAs weigh in on statewide suspension of jury trials


SCNG's SEAN EMERY/RICHARD K DEATLEY/NATHANIEL PERCY: "The state’s chief justice has announced a 60-day suspension of jury trials, as local officials work to address key court functions in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye in her late-Monday order indicated that the new guidelines are meant to protect those involved in court proceedings from the spread of the coronavirus.


“Courts cannot comply with these health restrictions and continue to operate as they have in the past,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote. “Many court facilities in California are ill-equipped to effectively allow the social distancing and other public health requirements required to protect people involved in court proceedings and prevent the further spread of COVID-19."


READ MORE related to Public Safety/Crime: Oakland mayor appoints new interim police chief -- The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY/SARAH RAVANISoCal DAs warn against scams, price gouging -- SGV Tribune's STAFF; How police will respond to outings, group gatherings amid orders to prevent COVID-19 spread -- Union-Tribune's DAVID HERNANDEZ; Virus leads to some inmates going free; more state prison workers infected -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON


San Diego County could lose up to 350K jobs because of virus, report says


Union-Tribune's PHILLIP MOLNAR: "San Diego County could lose up to 350,000 jobs as a result of closures caused by coronavirus, said a new report released Tuesday.


The analysis from San Diego Workforce Partnership says low-skill jobs that can’t be done from home, such as those at restaurants and hotels, will be most at risk. Other industries that one might not consider could also be hit — transportation, construction, and installation or maintenance repair.


Minorities will be disproportionately hit hard, the report said, with Latino and African-Americans least likely to have the ability to work from home. That is based on demographic data of employees in jobs the workforce sees as most at risk."


READ MORE related to Economy: More than 60% of SD County restaurants have completely closed, industry leaders say -- Union-Tribune's DAVID GARRICK; Here's who qualifies for virus sickleave under new federal law -- LA Times's JAMES F PELTZWhy California wasn't ready for its state workers to telecommute -- Sac Bee's WES VENTEICHERClippers buy Forum for $400M, clearing way for new arena construction -- LA Times's ANDREW GREIF; Asian shares jump after DOW sees biggest gain since 1933 -- AP's STAN CHOE/DAMIAN J TROISE/ALEX VEIGA; Some Bay Area banks are closing branches, reducing hours, paying bonuses to employees -- The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER; SF supervisor wants more pay, protections for 'essential' businesses' workers -- The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANIVirus brings an end to California's good-times budget. How bad will it get? -- The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF; Airlines would get billions in bailout, while noncitizen airport workers could get none -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI/TATIANA SANCHEZ


Detained immigrants sue ICE, say they can't social distance in jail and fear severe COVID-19 illness


The Chronicle's LAUREN HERNANDEZ: "Thirteen immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at two California facilities — including a Northern California jail — filed a lawsuit in federal district court Tuesday demanding to be released because they say their health conditions make them vulnerable to dying if they get infected with the coronavirus.


The detainees are “confined in crowded and unsanitary conditions where social distancing is not possible” at Yuba County Jail in Marysville and Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield (Kern County), the ACLU said Tuesday.


The lawsuit cites guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that identify older adults and people with chronic and underlying health conditions as being at higher risk of severe illness if they are infected by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,628 people in California, including 1,023 in the Bay Area. The CDC said people at high risk have chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, diabetes, serious heart conditions, and those who are immunocompromised."


COVID-19 side effect: Air quality is great now


SCNG's BRADLEY BERMONT: "It won’t last much longer than the stay-at-home orders, but right now, the air quality in Los Angeles County is phenomenal, experts say. And it’s not just because the freeways are nearly empty.


“It’s also due to all the rain and stormy weather we’ve been having over the past week and a half,” South Coast Air Quality Management District Deputy Executive Officer Philip Fine said in an interview on Tuesday. His organization tracks air quality for Los Angeles County, Orange County and the densely populated parts of the Inland Empire.


Although brutal on the economy, business closures only have helped the wet weather improve our air."


Trump supporters, who claimed abuse after a San Jose rally, drop lawsuit against city


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "Supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump, some of whom reportedly suffered abuse at a June 2016 rally in San Jose, have dropped their lawsuit against the city after police added new training programs and the mayor and police chief met with demonstrators to express their regrets.


After the rally at the McEnery Convention Center, police directed participants to a single exit where, according to the lawsuit, hundreds of anti-Trump protesters were waiting. Twenty rallygoers said they were beaten or struck by objects, and one plaintiff said an officer told her the police had been instructed not to intervene.


A federal judge and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss the suit and said the rallygoers could try to prove that police had knowingly exposed them to danger. The settlement announced Monday does not provide for damages or any admission of wrongdoing, but a lawyer for the Trump supporters said the city has taken steps to improve police responses in the future."


Bay Area sees nation's biggest traffic drop in race to contain COVID-19


BANG's NICO SAVIDGE: "The Bay Area’s shelter in place order to contain the spread of COVID-19 has slashed car traffic more dramatically than any other major urban area in the country, new research shows.


The disappearance of the Bay Area’s fearsome congestion has been cutting smog and could also be helping keep supply chains strong: Trucks and the goods they haul are moving much faster than normal through our typically traffic-choked region.


According to the transportation research firm INRIX, there were half as many cars on the road in the Bay Area last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday than there would have been on a normal day."


Trump and governors in heated debate over saving lives versus the economy


LA Times's CHRIS MEGERIAN: "President Trump and some of the nation’s most prominent governors plunged into heated debate Tuesday over how much death they’re willing to risk in order to get the economy running again during the coronavirus pandemic.


Public health experts warn that they don’t yet know whether the United States is succeeding in slowing the spread of the virus by shutting down schools, shops and restaurants and telling millions of Americans to work from home. Trump, nonetheless, has repeatedly said in the last two days that he wants to quickly ease restrictions.


“I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said during an appearance on Fox News, where he fielded questions from network hosts and viewers. The holiday would be a “beautiful time” to have “packed churches,” he later said. Doctors have discouraged gathering in crowds during the pandemic."


2 men in violent fist fight melee pause to pursue robbery suspect in Covina


SGV Tribune's JONAH VALDEZ: "Police are searching for a man who is suspected of interrupting a fist fight, stealing an onlooker’s necklace, shooting at and wounding another man, and then driving off in an SUV, authorities said on Tuesday.


Before the shooting, two drunk neighbors who live in the 1900 block of East Cienega Boulevard had a fist fight, said Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala. A third man, also a resident of the area, stood nearby to watch. Zavala did not disclose the motive of the fight.


During the fight, which took place about 6:30 p.m. on Monday, a silver or tan Chevrolet Tahoe SUV drove up to where the two men were throwing hands, Covina police said in a news release. A man hopped out of the SUV, a total stranger to the fighting men, rushed toward the third man watching the fight, and forcibly grabbed a necklace from the onlooker."


Bay Area OIympians feel disappointment, relief after Tokyo Games postponement


The Chronicle's ANN KILLION: "Word finally came down Tuesday: The Tokyo Olympics are officially postponed.


“It seemed inevitable,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, slated to be an assistant on the men’s USA Basketball team whenever these Olympics actually take place.




Rachmil 'Ralph' Hakman, who survived Auschwitz and kept going back, dies at 95


LA Times's JAWEED KALEEM: "Before he left in January for his fourth return to the Auschwitz-Birkenau prison camp where he labored as a teen, Ralph Hakman explained why he wanted to go back to the site of the worst years of his life.


“I would be guilty not to go.... What if these are my last chances?” he said in an interview with The Times, which published an account of his journey to the death camps on the 75th anniversary of their liberation.


Hakman was right."

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