California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 28.

Bakersfield doctors' virus claims are debunked.
North state officials ask for freedom to reopen.
And a cautionary tale from the 1918 flu pandemic.



A view of Powell and Market streets in San Francisco on March 30.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another 33 days.

In a joint statement, health officials in six Bay Area counties said the region's March 17 shelter-in-place order would remain "through May," with some limited easing to be announced later this week. "We need to stand our ground and maintain our gains," one health official said. "Make no mistake, this virus is still out there and it is still a threat." S.F. Examiner | Mercury News

Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday said Los Angeles could tiptoe toward normalcy "in the next two to six weeks." LAist | L.A. Magazine


"It is insane. It's so busy and it has been since sunrise."

San Diego reopened a number of its beaches for recreational activities on Monday, prompting thousands of surfers, runners, and swimmers to descend on the shore. For the most part, people observed social distancing protocols, said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "I'm happy to report you stayed classy, San Diego," he said. S.D. Union Tribune | NBC San Diego


As for those who gathered on the coast in Orange and Ventura counties over the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom wasn't nearly so pleased. "Those images," he said, "are an example of what not to see, people, what not to do if we're going to make the meaningful progress." Newport Beach officials planned to meet today to consider shutting its beaches for the next three weekends. O.C. Register | A.P.


City Hall was lit up in blue last Friday in Los Angeles.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

In the Bay Area, the number of hospitalizations hit the lowest point since data became available. In Los Angeles County, the number of coronavirus deaths doubled in the last week. And in Riverside County, nursing homes have now recorded 650 infections. Here are the latest coronavirus totals, according to the S.F. Chronicle and N.Y. Times:

Confirmed cases:
987,691 in U.S.
45,171 in California
7,663 in Bay Area
33,353 in Southern California

50,819 in U.S.
1,780 in California

Cumulative infections and deaths in California:

Sources: California Department of Public Health; SF Chronicle

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


A protester in Sacramento on April 20.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

In a letter, elected officials from six north state counties and 14 cities asked Newsom to let them reopen for business. The counties — Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama, and Yuba — have recorded just 69 coronavirus cases among a combined population of roughly 500,000 people. On Tuesday, Newsom was expected to share more of his thinking on changes to the stay-at-home order, which he has said were "a few weeks away, not months away." KRCR | A.P.


Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, both dressed in scrubs, called a press conference last week to announce what many stuck-at-home Californians wanted to hear: that Covid-19 was no worse than the flu. The claim blew up on social media. A local TV segment got 4.3 million views. Laura Ingraham booked the doctors as guests. But public health experts have debunked the doctors' methodology as ludicrous, akin to estimating the average height of Americans by measuring NBA players. CalMatters


The Lakers, one of the NBA's most profitable franchises, said it returned $4.6 million that it received from a federal program designed to help small businesses weather the pandemic. The team, which applied for the money, faced a backlash after their participation in the Small Business Administration program was publicized. ESPN | Washington Post

USC, meanwhile, said it would keep $20 million in emergency federal grants, even as other universities turned down assistance. USC has a $5.7 billion endowment. CBSLA | A.P.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress may need to consider a guaranteed minimum income to help people meet their basic needs during the coronavirus pandemic. "Let's see what works, what is operational and what needs attention," she said. "Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so." The Hill | CNBC


A Norwegian couple moved to La Crescenta, an L.A. suburb, last summer. But it wasn't until the pandemic that they got to know their neighbors during a "social distancing happy hour." Kjetil Njoten got to talking with a neighbor, Erik, who has Norwegian ancestry. Turns out, not only were they related, they had the same great-great-grandfather. There were cries of disbelief and tears. Washington Post


People lined up for masks in San Francisco, which made their use mandatory.

California State Library

Public health experts have been warning us that it would be a disastrous error to reopen too early. A cautionary tale: During the 1918 influenza pandemic, San Francisco seemed to have the things under control. So the city, under tremendous pressure, lifted restrictions. People celebrated in the streets, removing their masks. Three weeks later there was a dramatic resurgence. NBC News

See photos from the 1918 flu pandemic. California Sun


Other odds and ends:

Seven small businesses are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other elected officials, saying forced shutdowns have violated their civil liberties. ABC News
On Friday, Mayor London Breed accused FEMA of confiscating a San Francisco-bound shipment of medical equipment in widely publicized remarks. On Monday, she walked the claim back and apologized. CBS SF
California's unemployment agency seems completely overwhelmed. One newly jobless person said he called 500 times trying to get an answer to a question. Sacramento Bee | L.A. Times

California wonders


Grace Cathedral is perched in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood.

California has its own version of Notre Dame.

Grace Cathedral in San Francisco was constructed in the French Gothic style, with a spire nearly identical to the one that toppled in Paris during a fire last year.

Like Notre Dame, Grace Cathedral rose hand-in-hand with the city of its birth. It was on this day in 1850, as San Francisco was being transformed by the Gold Rush, that the Episcopal parish was formally organized.

The first collection plate, according to church history, included gold dust collected by miners.

Grace Cathedral learned a lesson in 1906 when the Nob Hill structure was destroyed in the great earthquake and fires. It was rebuilt over decades with steel reinforcements and consecrated in 1964, a moment celebrated with a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But no amount of steel can guard against every danger. By tradition, Grace Cathedral welcomes the public seven days a week. Only twice in the last hundred-plus years have its famed Ghiberti doors been locked shut: during the 1918 influenza pandemic and since mid-March, as the coronavirus swept into California.

Below, a few more views of the cathedral.

Those who walk a labyrinth inside the cathedral are said to enter a meditative state.

Twenty miles of colored satin ribbon cascades from the cathedral ceiling.

A soaring arch inside Grace Cathedral.

Among many murals inside the church, this one depicts Saint Augustine preaching.

Light reflected through a stained glass window onto the ground outside.


Thanks for reading!

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

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