What to Know About the Coronavirus Spread in California

What to Know About the Coronavirus Spread in California


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News about the coronavirus outbreak continued to spur anxiety around the world on Thursday, dominating conversation in California, even as Senator Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race and the results of California’s elections further crystallized. (Ms. Warren, as of Thursday afternoon, had notched about 12 percent of the vote in the state.)

A day after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as a result of the outbreak, six new cases were announced in Santa Clara County, bringing the total there to 20, while two cases were confirmed in San Francisco.

The first person to die from the virus in California, a 71-year-old man in Placer County, had previously traveled on a Grand Princess cruise ship, now idling off the coast.

And on Thursday evening, according to The Mercury News, Sunnyvale officials said city emergency medical workers may have been exposed to the virus after administering aid to a man they later learned had been on a cruise with two people who were suspected of having the virus, although it wasn’t immediately clear if it was the same cruise. The man died.

Still aboard the Grand Princess, my colleagues reported, two dozen passengers and crew members were showing symptoms.

Passengers described a kind of pressure cooker atmosphere: Things were generally calm, but getting more stressful as they waited to learn whether they would be quarantined aboard.

[Read the full story here.]

In communities around the state, life moved along, but people were on edge.

The Los Angeles Times reported that sheriff’s deputies were called to a Chino Hills Costco when customers got unruly after finding that water, paper towels and toilet paper were out of stock.

A San Francisco High School closed midday after the family member of a student tested positive for the virus, according to The San Francisco Chronicle — even though local public health officials didn’t recommend the closure.

Nurses begged for protective gear and better planning on the part of their employers, my colleagues reported.

And in Silicon Valley, tech giants told employees to work from home.

Officials warned of an unsettling possible new reality, in which “extreme social distancing” might be necessary, resulting in big sporting events being played without spectators.

But experts and leaders alike continued to emphasize that risks were low if people take basic precautions. And please, please: Don’t panic.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • You can find all the latest announcements from Mr. Newsom and state officials here, including that health insurance companies have been ordered to waive out-of-pocket costs for preventive testing. [California Department of Public Health]

  • Companies could lose billions as a result of the outbreak. But business insurance may not help. [The New York Times]

  • The Los Angeles Marathon is on this Sunday, despite concerns. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • Events around the Bay Area, however, have been canceled. Here’s a list. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Organizers of California’s big festivals, like Coachella, are watching the outbreak. Even if they don’t cancel events, they’re worried about the impact on the live music industry. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • The Port of San Diego and cruise lines that stop there are taking more aggressive precautions. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

  • Here’s everything you need to help you figure out how to prepare. [The New York Times]

  • And, no, you can’t use Tito’s Vodka to make hand sanitizer. [Austin American-Statesman]

[Follow all the latest updates about the coronavirus outbreak from Times journalists around the world.]

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  • The latest directive from the Trump administration in its war with “sanctuary cities,” including Los Angeles and San Francisco, is simple: Arrest as many undocumented immigrants as possible, and “flood the streets.” [The New York Times]

  • Facebook said it had removed misleading ads run by President Trump’s re-election campaign about the 2020 census. While the company has been criticized for a permissive policy on political content, it drew the line on interfering with the decennial survey. (The ad linked the census to the Trump campaign, which it isn’t.) [The New York Times]

Read more about why the census is important, and why officials are worried about an undercount in California. [The New York Times]

  • Explore how your neighborhood voted in the presidential primary with this map. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • Lawmakers are finalizing rules for how power companies can implement power outages when wildfire risk is high. Utilities will most likely have to improve their communication. [CalMatters]

Here’s more about the chaos that Pacific Gas & Electric caused last year with its widespread power shut-offs. [The New York Times]

  • Most parents charged in the college admissions scandal were accused of trying to get one or two children into college. Prosecutors say the former chief of Pimco paid bribes for at least four children. He was sentenced to nine months in prison. [The New York Times]

  • Classes at the University of California, Santa Cruz, were canceled all day on Thursday and service centers were closed as demonstrators came out in force to support striking graduate students. Supporters also rallied on other U.C. campuses. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

If you missed it, here’s why students are protesting. [The New York Times]

  • Ax-throwing is uncomplicated, therapeutic and increasingly popular. There’s now a place to try it out in Los Angeles. [The New York Times]

  • If you missed it, the restaurant industry — notoriously taxing on workers — is getting into wellness. It’s better for employees, leaders say, and helps with high turnover. [The New York Times]

  • After a decade without making music, Mandy Moore talked about learning to love her teen pop star self, and her new album. (She previewed new songs at a series of shows for a small audience in L.A. last month — and yes, she played “Candy.”) [The New York Times]

It’s been a historically dry rainy season so far in California — as my colleagues on our Climate team reported, the driest on record in February.

That means it’s unlikely we’ll see anything approaching the level of wildflower bloom we saw last year, when deserts and fields were blanketed in purple, pink, yellow and orange.

But spring is still approaching, and, given everything that’s going on in society, perhaps you’re looking for an outdoor escape.

The Theodore Payne Foundation (named for one of the state’s early native plant advocates) has just the thing for that: Its wildflower hotline is set to send out its first dispatch of the year today.

The organization posts the weekly updates here.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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