US death toll surpasses 1,000; 60 in California
Sac Bee's ROSALI AHUMADA/MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "More than 1,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University’s online tally which is tracking the global spread of COVID-19.
As of Wednesday night, there were nearly 69,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. with 1,041 deaths reported nationwide, according to the university’s data.
California’s shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic could very well last into the summer, as the virus has now resulted in at least 60 deaths in the state."
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California could lose 1.6M jobs by summer. Here's where unemployment will hit hardest
Sac Bee's PHILLIP REESE/DALE KASLER: "California could lose 1.6 million jobs by summer, taking the state from record-low unemployment to a dismal economic picture that could rival or exceed the Great Recession in a matter of weeks.
But economists say the recovery could be fairly swift, maybe just as swift as the downturn, if the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control quickly.
A new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, said Wednesday the nation and California could lose about 11 percent of their private-sector jobs to COVID-19 by June. That would translate into 14 million jobs erased coast-to-coast and 1.6 million in California."
READ MORE related to Economy: California isn't ready to increase unemployment bennies in virus crisis, analyst warns -- Sac Bee's DAVID LIGHTMAN; Big banks will grant mortgage waivers to Californians affected by virus, Newsom says -- Sac Bee's ANDREW SHEELER; Global stocks lower after US Senate approves virus aid -- AP
COVID-19 and California's rape crisis centers
SCOTT SORIANO in Capitol Weekly: "When a person who has been sexually assaulted or is trying to escape a domestic violence situation comes to either of Community Solutions’ two offices, they will notice two things.
First, the doors are open. Second, the waiting room has no chairs. As is the case with all of California’s 84 rape crisis centers, Community Solution is continuing to provide services to clients in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
Community Solution operates offices in Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County and in Hollister in San Benito County. The chairs in the lobby have been removed in order to encourage social distancing. In each office are three staff members who will see anyone who walks through the door immediately."
‘Deeply flawed and very risky:’ 2 fire victims resign key roles in PG&E bankruptcy
J.D. MORRIS, Chronicle: "Two of the 11 people on the fire victims’ committee involved in PG&E Corp.’s bankruptcy proceedings have resigned their positions, a fresh sign of discord in the high-profile case that the company is trying to conclude in the coming months.
Kirk Trostle and Adolfo Veronese both told The Chronicle they resigned from the committee because they felt that PG&E’s $13.5 billion settlement to pay victims is not a fair deal for the people who lost homes and businesses in fires caused by the company’s power lines.
Their resignations come as attorneys for the remaining members of the committee have questioned how the stock market turmoil over the coronavirus pandemic could affect the value of the trust intended to pay victims."
Las Vegas high-speed train project, once stuck in low gear, is now moving forward
LA Times's RALPH VARTABEDIAN: "The last time a California railroad conductor hailed “all aboard for Las Vegas” was more than 20 years ago, after lines such as the Desert Wind, the Crapshooters Express and the Fun Train failed to attract riders.
Amtrak had tried to jazz up its service, enlisting comedian Milton Berle and basketball great Wilt Chamberlain. New proposals for train service since have come and gone, including one by a Spanish firm that saw a “renaissance in train travel on the horizon.”
But in recent weeks, a more concrete proposal by Florida-based XpressWest for Las Vegas train service has quietly advanced. The privately-held firm has taken key steps to secure private debt funding under bond programs operated by California, Nevada and the federal government."
Bay Area's largest housing development appears dead
The Chronicle's J.K. DINEEN: "The redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station, the Bay Area’s largest proposed housing project, appears to be dead after the Concord City Council declined to extend an agreement with Lennar, the project’s master developer.
In a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, the council rejected legislation that would have extended the current exclusive negotiating agreement with Lennar Concord LLC, which was set to expire at the end of March. The 5,000-acre redevelopment of the mothballed military base calls for 13,000 housing units, 8 million square feet of commercial space, 2,500 acres of open space and potentially a college campus.
“Split decisions are always difficult,” said Guy Bjerke, the city’s director of community reuse planning, in a statement. “Concord will comply with the terms of our existing agreements with Lennar, and we will look ahead to how we can get this project moving again once our community gets through the COVID-19 public health crisis and the city better understands the pandemic’s impact to the regional economy and the city’s finances."
Sac sheriff ordered to release more inmates from jails over virus concerns
Sac Bee's SAM STANTON: "Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones’ office says a court has ordered additional inmate releases from its two jails because of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that will lead to 421 more prisoners being set free by Monday.
The order from Sacramento Superior Court directs the sheriff to release any inmates who have less than 60 days remaining on their sentences and who are not serving time for domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any offense that requires registration as a sex offender.
The move comes a week after the sheriff’s office released 120 inmates from the Main Jail downtown and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center near Elk Grove under a court order allowing the release of non-violent, non-serious offenders with less than 30 days to serve."
READ MORE related to Public Safety/Crime: State C.O.s shouldn't get a raise before the Legislature compares salaries: analyst -- Sac Bee's WES VENTEICHER
SF city attorney slams promoter for selling tickets at nightclub during pandemic
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Wednesday that his office had demanded the property owner of a San Francisco nightclub cancel a concert planned for Friday night because during the coronavirus pandemic it would be considered an “illegal party.”
The venue, 251 Club on Rhode Island Street, was scheduled to host a DJ set featuring the artist Lehar on Friday night.
The venue’s website makes clear that the club is “closed until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the concert’s promoters at Set San Francisco were still selling nonrefundable tickets to the show as of Wednesday morning, in what Herrera described in a statement as ignoring the health order put in place that prohibits public gatherings. However, Christian Pineiro of promoter Set San Francisco said the event is off and that he had tried unsuccessfully to pull down the ticketing promotion."
Senate unanimously passes massive aid plan
AP's ANDREW TAYLOR: "The Senate passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The unanimous vote Wednesday came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.
The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared somber and exhausted as he announced the vote — and he released senators from Washington until April 20, though he promised to recall them if needed."
Why the IOC and Japan agreed to postpone the 2020 Olympics
LA Times's DAVID WHARTON: "Olympic leaders had spent weeks buying time, watching the spread of the coronavirus, hoping for signs of improvement while stubbornly insisting the 2020 Summer Games would proceed as planned.
The numbers looked promising in Tokyo, the host city, but Sunday morning brought a fresh batch of statistics that caught the International Olympic Committee’s attention.
COVID-19 was surging across Africa."