California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, March 25.

California braces for a N.Y.-style surge of infections.
Mountain towns are incensed by influx of outsiders.
And haunting drone views of an empty San Francisco.



A woman walked in front of a closed theater in Los Angeles's Koreatown over the weekend.

Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

New York has 10 times as many COVID-19 cases as California. That has public health experts wondering if an early and aggressive response saved the Golden State from a similar fate. More testing in New York is likely a factor. And it may be that New York is simply a few days ahead of California, where an explosion of cases now looms. "Days matter," a researcher said. S.F. Chronicle | Reuters


A Lancaster teenager who tested positive for the coronavirus has died, officials said. If the cause of death is confirmed as the coronavirus, the boy would be the youngest known victim of the outbreak in the United States. Gov. Gavin Newsom said half of California's coronavirus patients have been between ages of 18 and 49. "It is a reminder to everyone to take this seriously," he said. L.A. Times | A.P.


Three Santa Rosa cops, hospital workers in Ventura County and Sacramento, and first deaths in Orange County and San Francisco. Here are the latest coronavirus totals:

Confirmed cases:
53,852 in U.S.
2,628 in California
1,023 in Bay Area
1,267 in Southern California

728 in U.S.
51 in California

See trackers of cases in California, the U.S., and worldwide.


Motorists lined up to get coronavirus tests in Hayward on Tuesday.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By Sunday, California had performed about 26,400 coronavirus tests on its 40 million people. New York, which has half as many residents, had performed more than 78,000 tests as of Monday. California's uncoordinated testing operation was likened to "an orchestra playing without a conductor." The result: An incomplete picture of the problem. L.A. Times


Jurisdictions across California have taken steps to halt evictions during the coronavirus outbreak — among them San Diego County, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Sonoma County, and Humboldt County. Now San Francisco supervisors are going further: urging a moratorium on all rent and mortgage payments. "Yes," one said, "this would be an unprecedented step but we are in completely unprecedented times." S.F. Examiner | KGO

California's largest organization of rental property owners urged landlords to freeze rents and halt evictions for the next two months. O.C. Register


The Martin B. Retting gun shop in Culver City was closed to regular business on Tuesday.

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Sheriffs across the state have been improvising their own policies on the matter of whether gun shops should be forced to close. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva declared the businesses nonessential and in danger of losing their licenses. Then he reversed himself after talking with county lawyers. O.C. Register | A.P.

In Alameda County, the sheriff forced gun shops to close. Sheriffs in San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties declared them valuable services, free to operate. NBC Bay Area | NBC San Diego | The Tribune


"I'm worried someone is going to get shot."

As California's city dwellers swarm into little mountain towns, locals are becoming incensed. In Mammoth Lakes, they've banned short-term rentals. Others are calling for checking IDs on the highway. Sacramento Bee


A videographer piloted a drone around San Francisco on Sunday and captured haunting views of boarded-up buildings, empty avenues, and an abandoned Fisherman's Wharf in the normally bustling city by the bay. YouTube/Space Race Studio

The Chronicle published a photo essay on San Francisco's cooped-up residents, seen at their windows.


Other coronavirus developments:

Humboldt Bay's vital crab fishing industry season has been devastated after demand for seafood plummeted overseas and domestically. Eureka Times-Standard
The San Joaquin Valley has a longstanding doctor shortage, making the threat of a rampaging virus more harrowing. Moreover, the region already suffers from higher rates of serious illness. Fresno Bee
"Why are we still listening to the president?" said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. She added: "We don't have time to waste. Lives are in jeopardy." | L.A. Times

Clockwise from top left, a California condor, jelly, koala, and elephant seal.

Nathan Rupert; Tom Coates; San Diego Zoo; Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty Images

The animal webcam is enjoying a renaissance in our newly hermetic reality. And California has some wild offerings.

The San Diego zoo points live cameras at 10 animal enclosures, including baboons, koalas, and elephants. The Oakland Zoo has black bears. And here are the snorting northern elephant seals of the Central Coast.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers 10 streams, including sea otters and hypnotic jellies. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach has similar offerings.
Finally, a personal favorite: Watch endangered California condors devour carcasses along the Big Sur coast.



Kaiser had planned to build a $900 million office tower that would have been Oakland's biggest commercial project. This week, the health group told city officials that the project was no longer happening. Kaiser blamed delays and costs. The withdrawal is a major blow that could compound the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis. S.F. Chronicle | East Bay Times


Santa Monica Pier.

Jeffrey Milstein

A few years back, the photographer Jeffrey Milstein hung out of a helicopter and captured gorgeous aerial images of Los Angeles. In contrast to the drone and satellite imagery now ubiquitous, his images possess exquisite clarity, expertly composed at 90-degree angles to the geometric patterns and shapes below. "You can see the same places on Google," he told WIRED, "but would you listen to an opera on a cell phone?"


Thanks for reading!

The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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