California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, March 26.

Rate of new cases now on par with New York.
Banks agree to a 90-day mortgage grace period.
And a look back at California during the 1918 pandemic.



Health care workers demanded more protection during a rally in Los Angeles on March 11.

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The scarcity of PPE — or "personal protective equipment" — has become a flashpoint for California nurses who say they are being given N95 respirator masks only when treating patients confirmed to have COVID-19. "We are really afraid now," one said. "There are nurses writing their wills." NBC News

L.A. County officials told health workers to reuse face masks and wear expired gear in a desperate bid to conserve supplies. L.A. Times


About half of the patients at a hospital in San Jose are confirmed or suspected to have the new coronavirus, a hospital executive told a medical journal. Dr. Stephen Parodi said the "jury's still out" on the age group most affected. "We have people that are as young as in their 30s and 40s who have clinically deteriorated and required mechanical ventilation," he said. L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle

California once expected the rate of new cases to double every six to seven days. That's changed, a top health official said: "We see cases doubling every three to four days." CalMatters | L.A. Times


A full lockdown was ordered at Laguna Honda Hospital, a large nursing home that serves some of San Francisco's most vulnerable people, after five staff members tested positive for the virus. Nursing homes, with their closely quartered residents, have been vectors for the coronavirus in other places, where death arrived quietly, then spread everywhere. S.F. Chronicle | SFist


People maintained maintained safe distances at a Trader Joe's in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former gubernatorial candidate John Cox, a first case in Inyo County, and a doubling of infections in Humboldt County. Here are the latest coronavirus totals, according to the S.F. Chronicle and N.Y. Times:

Confirmed cases:
68,508 in U.S.
3,166 in California
1,176 in Bay Area
1,587 in Southern California

990 in U.S.
67 in California

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


Kaiser Permanente, a major health group in Oakland, has halted filling routine chloroquine prescriptions for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and malarial patients because it wants to conserve the medication as a possible treatment for COVID-19. A Los Angeles woman with lupus asked about the denial and received a letter thanking her for her "sacrifice." Buzzfeed


Gov. Gavin Newsom said Californians are struggling.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.

Four of the nation's largest banks have agreed to suspend mortgage payments for 90 days for California homeowners affected by the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and U.S. Bank, along with about 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions, agreed to the grace period. More than 1 million Californians have filed unemployment claims since March 13. Mercury News | KQED


"Maria, I'm going to have to cancel tomorrow's cleaning. Thank you," said one text.

“Hi, plz cancel our cleaning for tomorrow," said another.

Job cancellations have been piling up on the cellphones of California's housekeepers and nannies, as the well-off dispense with their help. "I'll go crazy with despair," said Maria Zamorano, just before another text arrived on her screen. "Oh my God, she canceled, too." N.Y. Times


A closed theater in Berkeley encouraged people to stay safe.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

"Everything came to a screeching halt." "It's terrifying." "I am scared."

Berkeleyside checked in with local business owners to see how they were faring through the shutdown. It found widespread despair, with receipts plummeting by as much as 75 percent and the decline only worsening. Also: customers rallying in support. Berkeleyside

A couple of the latest examples the hemorrhaging of jobs:

An ice skating rink in Santa Clarita closed permanently after 20 years in business, leaving youth hockey leagues and figure skating in limbo. The Signal
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, a zoo a botanical garden in Palm Desert, announced that it laid off two-thirds of its staff. Desert Sun

California has been slowly growing its financial surplus for more than six years, amassing the largest cash reserve in the state's history — projected to amount to $21 billion by next summer. Now analysts say the whole thing could be spent in a matter of months. "This is a sudden downturn unlike anything we've seen," one said. L.A. Times


Aidan Lower, a kid in Sonoma County, figured his 10th birthday would be a low-key affair. Then a parade appeared in front of his house, headed up by his grandparents. Friends and family cheered from inside their cars, blasting "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. "It brought tears to everybody," his granddad said. Press Democrat

A couple other uplifting stories:

Little Free Libraries in the Bay Area have been turning into coronavirus supply stations as neighbors fill them with food, soap, and toilet paper. S.F. Chronicle
The Chino Hills High School choir performed an a cappella rendition of "Over the Rainbow" — from their own houses — to cheer people up. It's been viewed 1 million times. O.C. Register

Stephen Curry is using his celebrity to spread public health knowledge.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Other coronavirus developments:

What would the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by the Senate mean for California? Significant aid for airports, transit, and the homeless, as well as $1,200 for most American adults. S.F. Chronicle | L.A. Times
Tim Cook said Apple had procured 10 million masks and would donate them to the medical community in the U.S. Bloomberg
Stephen Curry is hosting a question-and-answer session with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Instagram today at 10 a.m. Watch it here. S.F. Chronicle

California archive


Corpsmen in the influenza ward of the U.S. Naval Hospital on Mare Island, Dec. 10, 1918.

U.S. Navy

In September of 1918, a global flu pandemic made entry into California. What happened over the following months will sound familiar. City officials imposed "stay at home" orders and closed schools and places of "public amusement." Tents, hotels, and large halls served as makeshift hospitals. Panic was everywhere. Here's a visual look back at California's experience of the 1918 influenza pandemic. California Sun


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

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