The Chronicle began covering the coronavirus crisis before the first cases were reported in the Bay Area and a pandemic was declared. 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 batch of updates from June 14-15.
• See the full timeline.
Updates from Tuesday, June 16:
9:57 p.m. President of Honduras says he has coronavirus: Juan Orlando Hernández, the president of Honduras, said Tuesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Reuters. Hernández said he is receiving treatment after having mild symptoms and will continue working remotely, Reuters reported.
9:20 p.m. Key indicators rising in Contra Costa County, official says: Anna Roth, Contra Costa health services director, said Tuesday the rate of new coronavirus cases in the county is reflecting an increased rate of positive tests as well as increased overall testing. Roth told county supervisors that Contra Costa County is seeing a positive rate of about 3.5% compared to about 2% when it first began testing. Contra Costa County also reported 27 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals Monday, according to state data —marking its highest one-day total since April 28. Roth told supervisors Tuesday: “Our cases are increasing, our hospitalizations are increasing, our deaths are increasing and our testing positivity rate is increasing.” Roth said the rise in hospitalizations is not attributable to congregate settings, “So we are thinking that this is community spread … but I think we still need to understand more.”
8:52 p.m. Beijing cancels flights amid outbreak, report says: More than 1,000 flights in and out of Beijing have been canceled amid a wave of new coronavirus cases in the city, the AP reported citing Chinese media outlets. Beijing has reported more than 130 new cases in recent days with many tied to one wholesale market, according to reports.
8:32 p.m. San Francisco will apply for local control on its reopening plan: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom for permission to restart certain parts of the city’s economy — like fully opening restaurants, bars and salons — faster than the state’s current timeline. If the state grants the city local control, that does not mean activities that are considered higher risk will immediately resume. Instead, the city would simply be able to decide when they do. San Francisco is currently only one of five counties in the state that does not have such local control.
8:30 p.m. State prison system to begin ‘community supervision’ program: Some state prison inmates will be eligible for a “community supervision” program beginning July 1 that is meant “to protect staff and inmates at the state’s prisons from the spread of COVID-19,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. Inmates with 180 days or less remaining on their sentence and who are not serving time for domestic violence or a violent or serious crime or required to register as a sex offender are eligible for the program, according to a state corrections and rehabilitation release. Eligible inmates will have to have housing plans identified in advance and “will remain under close supervision for the duration of their sentence,” the release states. Inmates in the program may be remanded back to state prison “for any reason to serve the remainder of their sentence.”
7:42 p.m. Marin County to seek variance: Marin County supervisors voted Tuesday to endorse health officer Dr. Matt Willis’ application to the state for variance to advance into the second phase of reopening. Willis told supervisors that Marin County did not previously qualify for the variance due to its coronavirus case and death rates, but the county has built “significant response capacity and will likely qualify for the variance under new criteria.” Willis said that if granted variance, Marin County plans to reopen indoor dining, hair salons and barbershops, gyms and fitness studios, hotels, camping and K-12 schools starting on June 29. The county also plans to release guidance for the allowing of “social bubbles” of up to 12 people this Friday, Willis said.
5:15 p.m. Dublin will waive zoning ordinance to aid businesses: The city of Dublin will allow businesses needing outdoor space to operate amid the coronavirus pandemic to request a waiver of zoning ordinance requirements, according to a city statement released Tuesday. Alameda County has said it will allow outdoor dining, retail stores and fitness centers to reopen June 19. Businesses in Dublin can file for a waiver of restrictions on outdoor seating for restaurants, outdoor merchandise display for retail stores and outdoor classes for gyms and fitness centers, according to the city release. Officials said the move is aimed at assisting businesses “that are experiencing, and will continue to experience, severe negative economic impacts” amid the pandemic.
5:06 p.m. Personal care services can resume Friday in Solano County: Nail salons, massages, facials, tattoo parlors, cosmetology and other personal care services will be allowed to resume in Solano County on Friday under an amended health order, the county announced Tuesday. Those businesses will have to meet safety guidelines such as screening and control measures, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, social distancing and having a workplace-specific plan for guarding against spread of the coronavirus, according to a county release. Solano County also amended its health order to allow professional sports to resume training and competitions without fans in the county under health protocols including regularly disinfecting facilities and having personal protective equipment for athletes, coaches, staff and vendors, the county said.
4:43 p.m. One more death, additional cases among California health care workers: One more state health care worker has died from COVID-19 and 58 more have been infected with the coronavirus, state health officials reported Tuesday. There are now 12,295 cases and 75 deaths among the state’s health care workers.
4:28 p.m. Marin County health officer urges face covering compliance: People must wear face masks to protect themselves and each other from coronavirus transmission, said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s health officer. Research shows that if 90% of people wore face coverings, the spread of the coronavirus could be halted, Willis said. Wearing any cloth covering reduces the amount of virus particles that come from a person’s mouth by 99%, Willis said. Under the county health order, people must wear masks in any indoor shared space and outdoors when around other people, even when walking down the street. “Wearing a face mask is a shared responsibility that benefits us all,” Willis said.
4:25 p.m. More cases reported at San Quentin State Prison: Confirmed coronavirus cases among inmates more than doubled over a week ending Monday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. There were 16 active inmate cases at San Quentin State Prison on June 8 and 33 as of Monday, according to the CDCR website. The prison has tested 814 inmates, state corrections officials said.
4:17 p.m. One additional death, 47 new cases in Marin County: Health officials confirmed one additional COVID-19 death and 47 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday in Marin County. There are now 772 cases and 18 deaths. Four more people were hospitalized in the last day for a total of six hospitalizations, county health officials said. The county’s previous single-day high was 28 new coronavirus cases reported in a day.
4:03 p.m. State grants San Mateo County attestation: The California Department of Public Health approved an attestation report from San Mateo County health officials that allows the county to move ahead in reopening. The county still remains under its current order, but county health officials said they expect to release a new order this week with new reopening plans. San Mateo County is the fifth Bay Area county that has received state attestation.
4 p.m. Bay Area home sales plummet: The number of homes sold in the Bay Area fell by more than half year-over-year in May, thanks to the pandemic and shelter-in-place. Prices only dropped 2.5%, however, and rose in some counties as some observers saw signs of a flight to the suburbs as families working and studying from home sought more space. Read the story here.
3:55 p.m. More cases in Napa County: Napa County officials reported nine new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday for an updated total of 199 cases. Napa County has reported 43.2% of its total cases (86) in the last 14 days. The county reported five confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals on Monday, its highest single-day total since at least April 1, according to state data.
3:50 p.m. Nearly 68% of COVID-19 deaths in San Mateo County linked to long-term care facilities: Sixty-seven people who lived or worked at long-term care facilities in San Mateo County have died from COVID-19 as of Monday, according to daily aggregate coronavirus data from county officials. These deaths account for nearly 68% of the county’s total 99 deaths. Meanwhile, cases at long-term care facilities number 490, making up nearly 19% of total cases. “The congregate care facilities have been a primary focus of the local response,” county officials wrote in an attestation report to the state.
3:49 p.m. Brazil reports nearly 35,000 new cases in one day: Officials in Brazil reported 34,918 new cases of the coronavirus and 1,282 additional deaths Tuesday, according to Reuters. Brazil has confirmed 923,189 total cases of the virus and 45,241 total deaths, both second-most in the world after the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University’s online tracker.
3:45 p.m. Contra Costa County reports five new deaths: Five additional people in Contra Costa County have died due to the coronavirus, officials reported. The county has reported 49 total deaths and 2,026 cases, including 44 new cases confirmed Tuesday, according to its online tracker.
3:33 p.m. State hospitalizations jump: The reported number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals in California spiked to 3,335 on Monday, a one-day 7.5% increase and the state’s highest single-day total since May 4, when it recorded 3,369 hospitalizations, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle. The nine Bay Area counties reported 250 confirmed hospital cases on Monday, a one-day increase of 10 cases and the area’s second-highest total in June.
2:45 p.m. Attorney General calls for contact tracing data protections: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra signed a multi-state letter to tech companies Google and Apple Tuesday, calling for consumer data protections on coronavirus contact tracing apps. The letter, signed by 39 attorneys general, also asked these companies to, “closely monitor and regulate third-party apps on their platforms” and verify, “that every app labeled or marketed as related to contact tracing is affiliated with a municipal, county, state or federal public health authority, or a hospital or university in the U.S. that is working with such public health authorities.”
2:17 p.m. Fauci, Trump don’t talk that much any more: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that the last time he talked with President Trump was two weeks ago, “about vaccine development efforts.” Fauci, who used to be a daily presence at Trump’s briefings on the coronavirus, which are not held anymore, made the comment to NPR’s “1A.”
1:58 p.m. New data tool shows traffic 52% of normal: Traffic on Bay Area highways returned to 52% of normal across the nine-county region as of June 12, a new data visualization tool found. Traffic was about 10% of normal on March 23, according to the tool developed by the Bay Area Council.
1:47 p.m. New York hospitals can now allow visitors: Hospitals can permit visitors at their discretion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, as long as they follow state guidelines, including time-limited visits and protective gear and symptom and temperature checks for visitors. He pointed to signs that the coronavirus is no longer spreading at an overwhelming pace in New York, and said 25 COVID-19 sufferers died Monday in hospitals and nursing homes.
1:36 p.m. Government watchdogs score Trump administration secrecy on $1 trillion in spending: A panel of inspectors general overseeing a sweeping economic rescue law are warning that a Trump administration legal determination could block them from their independent oversight of more than $1 trillion in spending related to the coronavirus pandemic. They cited a May 7 Treasury Department memo concluding that disclosure requirements in that law do not extend to more than $1 trillion in spending.
1:26 p.m. Kids only half as likely to be infected: Children and teenagers are only half as likely to get infected with the coronavirus as adults age 20 and older, and they usually don’t develop clinical symptoms of COVID-19, according to a study published Tuesday. The findings could influence policymakers who are facing tough decisions about when and how to reopen schools and day-care centers.
1:13 p.m. Big gains on Wall Street: Stocks moved higher Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average climbing above 26,000 again. The Dow added 527 points to close at 26,289.98, a gain of 2%. However, major indexes closed off their session highs after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that more fiscal stimulus may be needed before the American economy can make a full recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
12:50 p.m. Bay Area surpasses 500 deaths: The Bay Area’s death toll from COVID-19 reached 504 on Tuesday, and county health departments have recorded 17,590 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
12:25 p.m. Tulsa officials plead with Trump not to hold rally amid virus spike: Officials in Tulsa, Okla., warning that President Trump’s campaign rally Saturday will likely worsen a spike in coronavirus infections and could become a disastrous “super spreader,” are pleading with the Trump campaign to cancel it or at least move it outside, the New York Times reports. The event slated for a 20,000-person indoor arena is “the perfect storm of potential over-the-top disease transmission,” said Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa health department.
12:17 p.m. SF Opera cancels fall season: The San Francisco Opera announced it has called off its 2020 fall season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The social events that traditionally accompany opening night, including the Opera Ball, Opera Supper and Bravo Club Gala, have also been canceled. Read more here.
11:28 a.m. New drug said to reduce COVID-19 deaths by one 3rd: In the worldwide race to test existing drugs as coronavirus treatments, one affordable steroid showed promise in a series of U.K. trials. The steroid dexamethasone reduced deaths in patients on ventilators by one-third, and patients on oxygen by one-fifth, according to a press release from the University of Oxford. Read more.
11:20 a.m. SF shoppers still wary even though stores are open: Shoppers remained sparse in San Francisco as people stayed home even with stores reopening Monday, and broader shelter-in-place orders remaining. Nationwide, retail sales rose a record 17.7% from April to May, following a record plunge, as the battered economy slowly started to reopen, but numbers still trail last year’s consumer spending. Read the story here.
10:59 a.m. SF lagging on key health indicators for reopening: As it pushes to quicken its pace of reopening, San Francisco lags on several key health indicators, while meeting state targets for hospitalizations and testing, according to new city data that grades progress toward pre-reopening targets. S.F.’s hospitalization increases are on target, at below 10%, as are hospital capacity and the number of tests per day. But the data show daily coronavirus case counts of 2.5 per 100,000 residents, above the 1.8 target. Contact tracing also falls short, reaching only 87% of people who test positive, and personal protective equipment is available to only 89% of health care workers.
10:14 a.m. Several counties see case increases that outpaced increased testing: As Gov. Gavin Newsom has defended the quickening steps to reopen the state’s economy, The Chronicle’s county-by-county case counts before and after reopening find several counties have increases that far outpace the recent rise in testing. Six counties saw cases more than triple since allowing activities such as indoor retail and sit-down dining. San Francisco, which opened indoor retail on Monday, was one of four counties that saw a decline in cases.
9:54 a.m. Almost no face masks evident at Rose Garden event: President Trump gathered police officials from around the country, members of Congress and others in a Rose Garden event Tuesday with seats spaced apart, but very few facial coverings in sight. After the president spoke, the attendees mixed and mingled closely without social distancing. The president has made known his dislike for face coverings, which health officials recommend to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
9:43 a.m. US Open to be held without fans: The US Open tennis contest will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in New York without fans, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. “The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation,” Cuomo said in a tweet.
8:44 p.m. Businesses asking customers to waive right to sue: Many businesses reopening across the U.S. after coronavirus shutdowns are requiring customers and workers to sign forms saying they won’t sue if they catch COVID-19. Businesses fear they could be the target of litigation even if they adhere to CDC safety precautions.
8:21 a.m. Pence tells governors to spin jump in cases as a matter of testing: Vice President Mike Pence encouraged governors to adopt the administration’s explanation that a rise in testing was a reason behind new coronavirus outbreaks, although testing data shows such a claim is misleading. Pence urged them “to make sure and continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing,” according to audio of the Monday call obtained by The New York Times. A Times analysis finds numerous states where positive cases have outstripped the 7-day average number of tests administered.
8:09 a.m. Flushing is the new danger: Using a public restroom wasn’t great before the coronavirus pandemic. It may be worse now. The latest bathroom research on spread of COVID-19, published Tuesday by the American Institute of Physics, says flushing a toilet can disperse the coronavirus 3 feet above the commode and suspend it in the air for more than a minute. Read the story.
7:50 a.m. Super-secure tracing app running in Germany: Germany launched a coronavirus tracing app Tuesday that officials say is so secure even government ministers can use it, though developers acknowledge it isn’t perfect yet. Smartphone apps have been touted as a high-tech tool in the effort to track down potential COVID-19 infections, a key to squelching fresh clusters.
6:55 a.m. Americans more unhappy than they’ve been in nearly half a century: In unsurprising poll results amid a pandemic and racial unrest, just 14% of people in the U.S. say they are very happy. The conclusion from the COVID Response Tracking Study by NORC at the University of Chicago, is down from 31% who said they were very happy in 2018. That year, 23% said they’d often or sometimes felt isolated in recent weeks. Now, 50% say that.
6:45 a.m. Stocks soar on retail, treatment news: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 750 points on a combination of good news. Retail sales rose 17.7% in May, a record recovery after April’s crash in consumer spending, while a study showed dexamethasone, a commonly available drug, helped reduce COVID-19 deaths.
6:39 a.m. Airlines to increase face covering enforcement: Seven major airlines including American, Delta and United, announced they’ll “vigorously” enforce face-cover mandates aboard flights by communicating their mask policy before and during flights and promising consequences for passengers who don’t comply, according to trade association Airlines for America. Alaska, Hawaiian, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines were also part of the commitment.
6:26 a.m. Salad robots, smoothie robots —- no tipping expected: With cleanliness paramount during the pandemic, food automation, which removes a significant amount of human contact in food preparation, has jumped from a niche commodity to a pillar of dining culture. And much of the innovation comes from the Bay Area. Read more.
6:21 a.m. Big development in COVID-19 survival hopes reported: Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients. Results of a large study were announced Tuesday and researchers said they would publish them soon.
6:15 a.m. Sick with COVID-19 after testing negative — what’s up?: In one of the most challenging asects of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, people across the world believe they have gotten sick with the coronavirus but tested negative, despite symptoms and progression that point to the contrary. Read the story here.
— to www.sfchronicle.com