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 May 23-24.
• See the full timeline.
Updates from Monday, May 25:
4:43 p.m. Marin County reports more cases: County public health officials reported 14 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the county’s case total to 417 cases. The death total remained unchanged at 14 on Monday, according to Marin Health & Human Services data.
4:18 p.m. Santa Clara County cases climb: County public health officials reported 36 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the county’s case total to 2,652 cases. The death total remained unchanged at 139 on Monday, according to the county’s data dashboard.
4 p.m. U.S. ticks toward tragic milestone: The holiday weekend offered no reprieve for the nation’s steady march toward a marker that reveals the extent of the coronavirus pandemic’s human toll. As Memorial Day celebrations drew to an end, the nationwide death toll remained just shy of 100,000 lives lost, standing at 98,184 late Monday afternoon, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.
3:56 p.m. Bay Area keeps it mainly virtual for Memorial Day remembrances: It was a virtual Memorial Day Monday, with a coronavirus-ravaged Bay Area replacing in-person parades and cemetery services with videos and online commemorations of those who have given their lives in service to the country.Veterans groups still honored service members in non-public events, including a virtual memorial hosted by the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation. Read more about the Bay Area’s holiday.
3:46 p.m. Neighborhood ‘guerrilla history’ project attracts SF outdoor viewers: The Western Neighborhoods Project is an act of “guerrilla history” responsible for hundreds of historic photos showing up on telephone poles in San Francisco neighborhoods over the past two weeks. The often hastily-hung posters show streets and views over more than a century so passersby can get a then-and-now view of their neighborhood — the perfect outdoor museum for coronavirus times. Read the details.
3:35 p.m. LA records more than 1,000 cases in single day: Los Angeles County reported a second day of soaring new coronavirus infections, with 1,047 new cases as of Saturday evening, and 42 additional deaths. County health officials have recorded 46,018 COVID-10 cases in all, with a death toll of 2,116.
3:22 p.m. Holiday travel’s down but we don’t know how much: For the first time in 20 years, AAA did not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, though an official predicted travel volume “is likely to set a record low” due to coronavirus restrictions. Accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19, AAA said. The group found last year that a near-record 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day.
3:10 p.m. Cases edge up in Alameda, Contra Costa counties as state eases restrictions: Alameda County reported 26 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 2,788, with 92 deaths as of Saturday. Contra Costa County reported 15 new cases and 1 death, bringing its total so far to 1,136 cases and 37 deaths. Bay Area numbers continued to climb as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced loosened restrictions for churches, retail and political gatherings Monday.
2:58 p.m. Doubt cast on European Union ‘immunity’ certification: The EU can’t count on immunity certification when lifting border restrictions within the bloc, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told health ministers on Monday. Immunity certification isn’t reliable, she said, emphasizing instead prevention measures like maintaining physical distancing and “robust” testing strategies.
2:30 p.m. Is there a way to help the Tenderloin? On the Fifth & Mission podcast, Sam Dennison of the anti-poverty nonprofit Faithful Fools tells host Heather Knight what City Hall should be doing to help people in the Tenderloin, where tents continue to crowd sidewalks and people are unable to maintain social distance. Click here to listen.
2:15 p.m. Protests allowed in California with limited size: California health officials on Monday said that while most large gatherings remain prohibited under the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, in-person protests can occur as long as attendance is limited to 25% of an area’s maximum occupancy — or up to 100 attendees. The directive came in new guidelines on protests and events involving political expression.
2:10 p.m. California says retail stores can open statewide if counties approve: The California state health department on Monday announced that if approved by county public health departments, all retail stores can reopen for in-store shopping under previous guidelines — but without having to take the step of asking state officials for approval. Counties may choose to keep tighter restrictions as most in the Bay Area already do.
1:15 p.m. Japan ends state of emergency: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas on Monday, ending the restrictions nationwide as businesses begin to reopen. Abe also unveiled a plan for a new stimulus package to support businesses hit by the pandemic.
12:17 p.m. England set to open most stores in June: The vast majority of shops in England can reopen in June as the government gradually eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says outdoor markets and spacious car showrooms can open June 1 because likelihood of transmission is low there. Clothes stores, bookshops, tailors, auctioneers and other retailers can follow on June 15, if infection numbers continue to fall and businesses can be made “COVID-19 secure.”
12:08 p.m. One partial explanation for partisan gulf on reopening: The staggering death toll from the coronavirus, now approaching 100,000, has touched every part of the U.S., but is most dramatic along the coasts, in major cities, across the industrial Midwest and in New York City. The devastation, in other words, has been disproportionately felt in blue America, which helps explain the partisan divide in the outlook on the coronavirus, the New York Times has found.
12:01 p.m. Counterproductive decisions due to fear of virus: Amid the high anxiety over COVID-19, fear is gripping not just people who are ill with the coronavirus but those in urgent need of other medical care. Even as the number of COVID-19 cases declines in many places, patients with cancer, heart disease and strokes, among others, are delaying or forgoing critical procedures that could keep them alive, the New York Times reports.
11:50 a.m. Poignant Memorial Day in nation’s hot spot: New Yorkers marked Memorial Day with car convoys and small ceremonies instead of big parades, blending tributes to coronavirus victims and frontline workers with the traditional remembrance of the nation’s war dead. Veterans wore masks and saluted while standing at social-distancing intervals at observances shrunk by virus precautions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo honored both veterans and essential workers on a day he called “especially poignant and powerful.”
11:35 a.m. California guidelines for churches call for written plan: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new guidelines for the reopening of places of worship call for them to create “a written, workplace-specific COVID-19 prevention plan at every location, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas, and designate a person at each workplace to implement the plan.” The guidelines also detail measures like disinfecting and face coverings and state, “All workers and volunteers should wear gloves when handling items contaminated by body fluids,” presumably a reference to communion distribution in Roman Catholic and other churches.
11:10 a.m. Newsom says churches can open with 25% of capacity: Churches in California can reopen for in-person services, provided the congregants are limited to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is fewer, under new state guidelines Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled Monday. After three weeks, state and county health officials will “assess the impact of these imposed limits on public health” and make a determination on future services, the guidelines state. The guidelines come after President Trump declared places of worship as “essential” businesses allowed to be open during the coronavirus pandemic. Read The Chronicle’s story with details.
10:59 a.m. WHO halts tests on drug Trump touted and took: The World Health Organization temporarily halted tests on hydroxychloroquine — the drug President Trump has touted without scientific evidence — in its Covid-19 drug trials because of safety concerns. The WHO on Monday announced “a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial,” pending further review. The decision followed a Lancet-published study saying the drug was linked to an increased risk of death and heart ailments. Trump said he recently finished a two-week course of the drug.
10:34 a.m. Black religious leaders in Bay Area urge churches in their communities to stay closed. A group of black pastors and clergy members is calling on Bay Area churches in the black community to stay shut to curb the COVID-19 risk. Black communities in the Bay Area — and around the country — have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus. A dozen of the leaders planned to gather Monday at San Francisco City Hall to publicize their call for more testing, medical services and educational support, as California anticipated imminent state guidelines for reopening places of worship.
10:10 a.m. New York frontline workers to get death benefits: New York’s state and local governments will provide death benefits to the families of essential workers who died while fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday. “We want to make sure that we remember them, and we thank our heroes of today, and they’re all around us,” Mr. Cuomo said at his daily news briefing.
9:49 a.m. Biden, in mask, lays wreath for Memorial Day: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill donned black face masks to visit to a veterans memorial, where he laid a wreath, in his home state of Delaware on Monday. It was Biden’s first public appearance since mid-March. He has been observing coronavirus stay-at-home guidelines, campaigning from his home. He and the masked people with him contrasted with President Trump who has refused to don a face mask despite federal health guidance.
9:39 a.m. Suit hits Trump administration on food aid during pandemic: The Trump administration is defying Congress and harming some of the poorest and hungriest Californians by refusing to increase their food stamp benefits under a new federal law, advocates charged in a lawsuit. The government “is denying emergency food assistance to those who need it the most in the midst of this unparalleled economic and health catastrophe,” said the suit filed in federal court in San Francisco. Read The Chronicle’s story.
9:30 a.m. Newsom highlights measures taken to protect veterans. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Memorial Day message touted California’s “proactive approach” to minimizing COVID-19 risks at the state’s eight veterans homes. To date, three veterans in the homes have had confirmed cases of the virus and there are currently no active cases, according to the governor’s office.The homes house 2,400 veterans; each has its own detailed emergency operations plan and “rigorous testing” is conducted, Newsom’s statement said.
9:22 a.m. Pelosi slams Trump on coronavirus testing: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, excoriated the Trump administration Monday for lack of a comprehensive national plan for testing to combat spread of the coronavirus. In a tweet and a joint statement with fellow Democrats, she called the administration’s new test plan disappointing and wrote: “After six months and nearly 100,000 lives lost, the Trump Administration still does not have a serious plan for increasing testing to stop the spread of the virus.”
9:13 a.m. Spare the Air alert despite coronavirus-driven emissions reductions: Soaring temperatures prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to declare Memorial Day the first Spare the Air day of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic era’s reduced traffic and lower-than-normal air pollution. Temperatures were anticipated at as much as 20 degrees higher than average over the next few days, with light winds, which could make any vehicle exhaust linger, officials said.
8:53 a.m. Bay Area holiday crowds so far mostly observe social distance: Authorities throughout the Bay Area continued warning outdoor afficionados to be vigilant about physical distance to inhibit spread of the coronavirus, after heavy crowds in parts of the Bay Area during the first two days of a beautiful three-day Memorial Day weekend mostly succeeded — to keep their distance from each other. One exception was Dolores Park on Saturday where sunbathers and picnickers crowded.
8:43 a.m. Trump threatens to yank GOP convention from North Carolina: President Trump is threatening to move the GOP’s August nominating convention out of North Carolina unless the state allows a packed arena, despite the coronavirus pandemic. In a Monday morning tweet, he wrote he had insisted on Charlotte as a venue but, “Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed … ..full attendance in the Arena.” Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Monday the GOP would find another locale “if need be.” Cooper’s office said state officials are working with the GOP on convention decisions.
8:29 a.m. Post-pandemic life in San Francisco — who knows?: The pandemic’s uncertainties — no vaccine, no idea whether the virus might mutate or fade, no unified national response — are different from a “typical” disaster, where a single event turns history on its head. Despite countless predictions about what lies ahead, it could be six months to a year before we have a sense of how cities will respond long term to a crisis that still is playing out. The Chronicle’s John King explains.
8:20 a.m. Bay Area firms study range of drugs for the coronavirus: Gilead’s antivirual drug Remdesivir is not the only treatment for the coronavirus being studied in the Bay Area. The scope of local research appears to be broadening, with a host of potential treatment raising the prospect that a major advancement against the coronavirus could come from the Bay Area. Read the story from J.D. Morris.
8:09 a.m. Trump administration delivers testing plan that relies on states: In a report to Congress, the Trump administration is pledging to buy 100 million swabs by the year’s end for states to help expand coronavirus testing capacity. The report, delivered on the Sunday deadline lawmakers had set for officials to submit a strategy, was obtained by the Washington Post. It doubles down on the administration’s stance that individual states should bear primary responsibility for carrying out diagnostic tests to help curb the pandemic.
7:58 a.m. Dry winter compounds pain of coronavirus in northern state: In a handful of farm-dependent counties along the Oregon border, the prospect of running out of water, as soon as next month, has arrived as the Klamath Basin region faces the hardship of the coronavirus outbreak. Many businesses have closed or cut hours during the pandemic, leaving little cushion for the imminent fallout of drought. Hundreds of farmers are at risk of having their irrigation water shut off — and watching their crops wither in the field. Read more from The Chronicle’s Kurtis Alexander.
7:39 a.m. Trump lays traditional wreath in Arlington National Cemetery: President Trump performed the traditional, somber wreath-laying Monday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. Va., accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and their wives. The first couples and the assembled dignataries and military members this year spaced themselves apart, but none appeared to be wearing face coverings to prevent spread of the coronavirus which is on the verge of claiming its 100,000th American.
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