May 18, 2020



North SJ Valley:

Coronavirus update: Stanislaus ‘positivity rate’ climbs; MJC receives big grant Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County announced its 24th death to the coronavirus Friday. No detail was provided other than that the person was 50 or older, as were the other 23. Turlock Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had no update Friday. A day earlier, it reported that resident deaths rose from 14 to 16.

See Also:

●     Coronavirus update: Turlock center reports 17th death; Rent struggles in Modesto Modesto Bee

No one-size-fits-all approach: Stanislaus County asks state to let local economy reopen

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County officials Friday morning sent the state its variance application pointing out reasons why it feels it’s ready to proceed with a safe reopening of the local economy while preventing a new surge in coronavirus cases.

See Also:

●     STAPLEY: We can debate Stanislaus COVID-19 reopening without getting ugly Modesto Bee

Merced County sheriff shares letter to state, critical of Newsom’s coronavirus tactics

Merced Sun-Star

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke is highly critical of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his extended “shelter-in-place” orders during the coronavirus pandemic in a letter the sheriff wrote to the state. The letter was shared on the Merced County Sheriff’s Facebook page on Saturday afternoon.

Atwater is now a business ‘sanctuary city’ during coronavirus pandemic. What does it mean?

Merced Sun-Star

Atwater residents gave City Council a standing ovation and cheers Friday when they unanimously passed a resolution to make Atwater a sanctuary city for all businesses to open amid the coronavirus pandemic. What does this mean for Atwater businesses?

See Also:

●     Atwater declares itself ‘sanctuary city’ for business, allows owners to open abc30

Coronavirus: How we decide the risks we’re willing to take to venture out

San Jose Mercury

Emerging research shows that the most dangerous settings are large gatherings of mixed social groups, where people who don’t know each other are close, sing, chat and commingle. Think San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival, where music lovers from far-flung locales are crowded together for hours. Indoor and confined areas, like bars and restaurants, are much worse than more solitary outdoor recreational activities, such as golf or hiking. 

OPINION: Strengthening Modesto and Stanislaus connections despite COVID-19

Modesto Bee

The worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is the catalyst causing an oil crisis — or rather a reverse crisis, with too much oil. Production is now coming off the market, some permanently perhaps. This could upend long-term global economic growth, as oil is the highly efficient lubricant upon which globalization is built.

Central SJ Valley:

Hanford rally pushes for businesses and churches to open now

Fresno Bee

About 40 rally participants gathered in Hanford to support opening all businesses, like hair salons, as well as churches despite state orders and growing coronavirus cases.

See Also:

●     Board votes to reopen the county Hanford Sentinel

Fresno and other counties urging Newsom to back down on reopening requirements

Fresno Bee

Central Valley counties, including Fresno, plan to request that California officials ease requirements so the region can move to the next phase of recovery and reopening from the coronavirus pandemic.

See Also:

●     Fresno County asks permission to allow dine-in. COVID-19 deaths still outside state standardFresno Bee

●     Clovis Barber Shop Organizing Petition to Governor to Reclassify Industry as Essential Clovis RoundUp

Fresno County residents are staying home more — but how much? Here’s what your phone says

Fresno Bee

Fresno County and much of California have been under shelter-in-place orders for two months with the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Bredefeld: Nowhere in Constitution does it say our rights are to be removed for a virus

Fresno Bee

Ten weeks ago, the nightmare of the coronavirus began, which led to “shelter in place” orders and the closing of “non-essential” businesses. We were told this was necessary to “flatten the curve” and not overwhelm our hospitals and medical care system. See Also:

●     Commentary: Fresno should not reopen yet, as data show its COVID-19 cases keep rising Fresno Bee

Huron Mayor Rey León On Leading A Small Town Through A Pandemic


The population of Huron, California, a rural town in southwest Fresno County, more than doubles during harvest season with an influx of migrant farm workers. FM89’s Kathleen Schock spoke with the city’s mayor, Rey León, about how the coronavirus is affecting this population and what it’s like to lead a community through a pandemic.

South SJ Valley:

Couples wait for Kern County to institute marriage licenses via videoconference

Bakersfield Californian

As the novel coronavirus pandemic approaches two months, more and more long-planned events have been pushed back, with little certainty about when they can be held.

Kings County Supervisors vote “yes” to reopen the county for business.


The Kings County Supervisors say they want any business that wishes to open to go ahead, but they need to adhere to the safety guidelines. Supervisor Doug Verboon said he cannot sit and watch people suffer while others just go about their day.

Wonderful Co. widens philanthropic efforts to help its local workers during the coronavirus crisis

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County’s largest grower, long noted for its philanthropy in the southern Central Valley, recently spent millions of dollars expanding the direct support the company gives its workers and their families in the Delano and Lost Hills areas.


By The Numbers: California’s Revised 2020-21 Budget

Capital Public Radio

As California faces a landmark budget deficit due to COVID-19’s impacts on the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom presented a revised 2020-21 budget proposal Thursday that looks drastically different from what he originally presented in January.

See Also:

●     California state budget has a big problem, but are Gavin Newsom’s numbers accurate? Sacramento Bee

●     How Gavin Newsom plans to close California’s huge budget gap during coronavirus pandemic San Francisco Chronicle

●      Here’s how a $54 billion deficit will hurt Californians Public CEO

●     OPINION: As COVID-19 crushes California budgets, tax-hungry leaders must learn from the pastSacramento Bee

●     The 2020-21 May Budget Revision LAO

●     Skelton: To balance California’s budget, state will stick it to its most vulnerable citizens Los Angeles Times

●     Commentary: What California needs to move forward economically – it doesn’t start with austerity CalMatters

●     Commentary: May Revise Proposes Major Revenue Raisers Fox & Hounds

●     Commentary: State has a budget problem — but how big? Fox & Hounds

California state workers face 10% pay cut, possible furloughs, union leader says

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reduce state worker pay by 10 % as part of a cost-saving plan for state government, according to SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker.

See Also:

●     Underfunded pensions make GOP leaders reluctant to send federal aid to states like CaliforniaSacramento Bee

●     To soften blow of state worker pay cuts, California might suspend $2,600 health deductionsFresno Bee

How a single insurance company came to dominate Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 testing team

Sacramento Bee

As Gov. Gavin Newsom navigates one of his most vexing problems during the pandemic, supplying the state with enough tests for COVID-19, he has relied heavily on a single company: insurance giant Blue Shield of California, a generous campaign contributor and supporter.

Rural California is reopening despite little coronavirus testing. Is it too soon?

Los Angeles Times

Bolstered by new coronavirus testing sites recently opened by the state, 23 rural California counties this week began to shake off some of their social restrictions and resume a semblance of pre-pandemic life. More are expected to follow.

See also:

●     Can I see my friends yet? What the current coronavirus guidance says Los Angeles Times

●     First Look: Governor Confronts Unprecedented Challenges for State and Californians Amid COVID-19 California Budget & Policy Center

Applicant Review Panel Submits the Remaining Pool of 60 Applicants for 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission to the California State Legislature in Next Step of Selection Process

Shape California’s Future

The Applicant Review Panel (panel) has announced that it concluded the last of its public meetings on May 7 and selected 60 of the most qualified applicants to move forward in the selection process for the 14-member 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission). Today the panel submitted the list of the 60 remaining applicants to the California State Legislature, where leadership has the option of removing up to 24 names from the list—eight from each sub-pool.

Walters: Business targets COVID-19 bills as ‘job killers’


A quarter-century ago — rather suddenly — California began shifting rapidly from a two-party state into what became utter dominance by one party, the Democrats. The reasons for that transformation are still being debated, but it is a political fact of life in the nation’s most populous state, nowhere more evident than in the state Capitol, an arena for duels between competing economic interests.

See also:

●     Walters: State has a budget problem — but how big? CalMatters


Obama criticizes US coronavirus response in online commencement speech


Former President Barack Obama on Saturday criticized U.S. leaders overseeing the nation’s response to the coronavirus, telling college graduates in an online commencement address that the pandemic shows many officials “aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

See Also:

●     Obama, in national commencement address, decries racial impact of COVID-19 deaths Los Angeles Times

●     Obama criticizes nation’s leaders for bungled handling of coronavirus pandemic Washington Post

●     A Sitting President, Riling the Nation During a Crisis  New York Times

●      Lancet editorial blasts Trump administration’s coronavirus response Washington Post

●     Top official: Navarro is criticizing Trump with shots at CDC The Hill

●     Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown  FT Magazine

Unprecedented World Health Assembly Convenes Online As Pandemic Rages

The World Health Organization’s annual oversight convention will be held by teleconference beginning Monday, as the worst pandemic in modern history continues around the globe.

See also:

●     Coronavirus “may never go away,” World Health Organization warns CB

●     Adding to Dr. Fauci’s diagnosis: The critical case for ending our shutdown The Hill

●     CDC guidance urges fewer health precautions than original plan Roll Call

●     Commentary: The coronavirus crisis shows experts aren’t enough AEI

●     OPINION: How WHO Lost Its Way Wall Street Journal

●     Why Don’t Americans Trust Experts Anymore? PBS

De Blasio, Newsom push back on Trump’s ‘bad management’ 


President Donald Trump accused state governments of using the pandemic to make up for “25 years of bad management,” as local leaders prod the federal government for more aid. Democrats were not pleased.

See Also:

●     Trump faces criticism over lack of national plan on coronavirus The Hill

●     In next phase of pandemic, Trump appears poised to let others take the lead Washington Post

●     Conservative William Kristol: ‘We’re really going to pay a price for this terrible failure in leadership’ Washington Post

Congress may be forced to deal with coming wave of bankruptcies
Roll Call

Despite record unemployment numbers, consumer bankruptcies declined last month by more than 30% compared with last year, according to American Bankruptcy Institute data. That’s because federal courts have largely closed and consumers usually file for bankruptcy after they’ve hit rock bottom, not in the middle of a crisis, said Bob Lawless, a law professor at the University of Illinois.

See also:

●     $500 billion Treasury fund meant for coronavirus relief has lent barely any money so far, oversight commission finds Washington Post

House Narrowly Passes $3 Trillion Aid Package

Wall Street Journal

The House narrowly passed a sprawling, $3 trillion coronavirus-relief package Friday night, capping a weeklong effort by Democratic leaders to quash rebellions from various wings of their party.

See Also:

●     As House Democrats push virus relief bill, GOP candidates pounce Roll Call

●     Congress nowhere close to a coronavirus deal as unemployment spikes Politico

●     House approves $3 trillion coronavirus relief package Politico

House changes its rules during pandemic, allowing remote voting for the first time in its 231-year history

Washington Post

The House on Friday approved the most radical change to its rules in generations, allowing its members to cast committee and floor votes from afar — the culmination of a months-long struggle to adapt the 231-year-old institution to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus Trackers:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

See also:

●     California Department of Public Health

●     Coronavirus (COVID-19) CDC

●     Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic – WHO

●     John Hopkins University & Medicine John Hopkins University

●     Tracking coronavirus in California Los Angeles Times

●     Coronavirus Tracker San Francisco Chronicle

●      Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count New York Times

●     How many coronavirus cases have been reported in each U.S. state? Politico

●     Coronavirus Daily NPR

●     Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads Financial Times

●     Coronavirus in California by the numbers CalMatters

Elections 2020:

Biden focuses on Arizona as key election state

Los Angeles Times

As Joe Biden struggles to build on his narrow lead in the industrial Midwest states that favored Donald Trump four years ago, his campaign is increasingly focusing much farther west — on a former Republican stronghold that could prove crucial for Democrats in the fall.

See Also:

●     Biden’s VP search puts spotlight on how long he’ll serve Associated Press

●     Val Demings’ stock rises on VP shortlist Politico

●     OPINION: Joe Biden: How the White House coronavirus response presents us with a false choiceWashington Post

●     OPINION: Biden’s #MeToo Blunder Wall Street Journal

Sanders Says ‘Vast Majority’ of Supporters Will Back Biden, Despite Polling Concerns

National Review

Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) promised that the “vast majority” of his primary supporters “will be voting for Joe Biden” in the general election, contradicting a former top aide, who warned last week that Biden was facing an uphill battle to win over Sanders supporters.

See Also:

●     Youth Climate Activists Once Opposed Joe Biden. Now, They Say They’ll Vote for Him. Politico

●     Before the coronavirus, Joe Biden offered stability. Now he’s talking bold change Los Angeles Times

●     Biden campaign calls Eric Trump’s coronavirus comments ‘unbelievably reckless’ The Hill

●     Faced with a Trumpian barrage of attacks, Joe Biden chooses to look the other way Washington Post

●     OPINION: How Biden Can Win Over Progressives Wall Street Journal

Health or wealth? Republicans champion economy, and it’s likely to pay off

San Francisco Chronicle

Anytime there’s a crisis, politicians are going to try to make it look like they’ve got your best interests at heart. In the case of the pandemic, our best interests are twofold: our physical health and our economic health.

See also:

●     Freed by Court Ruling, Republicans Step Up Effort to Patrol Voting New York Times

●     GOP Officials Say They’re Expecting 50,000 In Charlotte For Republican Convention NPR

●     Commentary: All Mail Voting Works – for Republicans Fox & Hounds

Seeking: Big Democratic Ideas That Make Everything Better

New York Times

By the end of primary season, the Democratic Party had all but settled on a conventional center-left agenda. But the pandemic is forcing the Biden campaign and other leaders to redraw plans for 2021.

See also:

●     Democrats wrote the playbook on digital organizing, so why is Trump dominating? MSN

●     OPINION: California’s Warning Signs for Democrats New York Times

California race shows why the election for President is close


Voters are less than six months away from the election between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Neither candidate is likely to emerge with a landslide victory, as it is clear that the race is far from over.

Eric Trump accuses Democrats of “milking” coronavirus lockdowns to win the election


Eric Trump suggested on Fox News Saturday that Democrats are “milking” coronavirus lockdowns in order to “deprive” President Trump of campaign rallies and hurt him in November’s election.

See Also:

●     Donald Trump Jr. Smears Biden With Baseless Instagram Post New York Times

●     AP Fact Check: Trump, GOP falsehoods on Flynn, Biden, virus AP

Commentary: Union-led measure on fall ballot threatens health of dialysis patients

Fresno Bee

Dialysis patients are used to worrying about infection and other complications that arise from having End State Renal Disease, and we are more at-risk for complications if infected with the coronavirus.


Crisis exposes how America has hollowed out its government

Washington Post

The government’s halting response to the coronavirus pandemic represents the culmination of chronic structural weaknesses, years of underinvestment and political rhetoric that has undermined the public trust — conditions compounded by President Trump’s open hostility to a federal bureaucracy that has been called upon to manage the crisis.

See also:

·       Commentary: The pandemic reminds us of the importance of public service Brookings

·       Commentary: COVID-19 has made expanded national service more important than everBrookings

Vaccine opponents are gaining in Facebook ‘battle for hearts and minds,’ new map shows


A first-of-its-kind analysis of more than 1300 Facebook pages with nearly 100 million followers has produced a network map that’s alarming public health professionals. Antivaccine pages have fewer followers than pro-vaccine pages but are more numerous, faster growing, and increasingly more connected to undecided pages, the study finds.

See also:

·       Navarrette: A virus that causes law-and-order conservatives to become outlaws Longview News-Journal

The Personality Trait That Is Ripping America (and the World) Apart 

Scientific American Blog Network

People who are antagonistic resonate more with populist messages.

See also:

●     Being Wrong Is Human and Will Happen. But Staying Wrong Is a Choice. National Review

●     OPINION: We need to enter the fifth stage of coronavirus grief: Acceptance

Washington Post

Commentary: Rethinking work and life in lessons learned from COVID-19


I must admit to a strong bias. I am old fashioned. I believe in going into the office, and appreciate the routine of rising early in the morning, drinking coffee, joining the flow of people commuting to work and retreating to my home sanctuary after a hard day’s work. 

OPINION: In this moment of multiple crises, we need strong local journalism

Washington Post

Over the course of 52 years at the Seattle Times, 39 as publisher, I thought I had seen it all in terms of big stories and damaging crises. Whether they are national, regional or hyperlocal, big stories demonstrate how critical are local media, led by local newspapers, to ensuring vibrant communities. 


Fresno County asks permission to allow dine-in. COVID-19 deaths still outside state standard

Fresno Bee

Fresno County health officials submitted a letter to the state on Friday, asking officials to loosen restrictions on businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic — despite the county’s death ratebeing too high to meet the state standard.

See also:

●     Some California Restaurants Are Re-Opening — But There Are A Lot Of New Rules Capital Public Radio

Farming, ranching industries to get financial aid amid coronavirus pandemic

Merced Sun-Star

The Trump administration is preparing to release $19 billion in aid to help farms and related industries to weather the economic harm caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said late Friday.

See also:

●     Farming it forward: SJ food bank gets boost from Farmers to Families program Stockton Record

How the Pandemic Has Disrupted Food Chains


The COVID-19 health emergency has changed what we eat and where we eat it. We talked with Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers (which represents family farms growing fresh produce) and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center advisory council, about how these changes are affecting California’s agricultural sector.


Merced County sheriff declares he won’t enforce California’s ‘stay at home’ order


Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says he will no longer enforce the state’s ‘stay at home’ orders. The department posted a message from the sheriff on its Facebook page on Saturday, which was quickly shared more than 3,000 times.

Coronavirus outbreaks continue in California prisons amid plan to accept more inmates

Sacramento Bee

Amid coronavirus outbreaks that have left inmates being housed and treated by doctors in tents inside one California prison, the state has signaled that it plans to resume accepting new prisoners from county jails on May 26, introducing thousands more people into the system, lawyers for the inmates say.

California’s prisons and jails have emptied thousands into a world changed by coronavirus

Los Angeles Times

In short order, the coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a sweeping and historic emptying of California’s overcrowded prisons and jails, as officials have dramatically lowered the number of people held in custody to avert deadly outbreaks.


California wildfire victims approve $13.5 billion payout by ‘overwhelming’ margin, PG&E says

Sacramento Bee

PG&E Corp. said Monday it believes thousands of Northern California wildfire victims have approved the utility’s $13.5 billion payout plan, clearing the way for PG&E to emerge from bankruptcy.

See Also:

●     PG&E bankruptcy plan gets broad support from fire victims, attorneys say San Francisco Chronicle

●     PG&E Says Wildfire Victims Back Settlement in Bankruptcy New York Times

EPA proposes extending deadline for selling wood heaters with high smoke output

The Hill

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing extending the deadline to sell wood heating devices that emit more smoke, citing the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on retailers.

EPA emails reveal talks between Trump officials, chemical group before 2017 settlement

The Hill

When the chemical company Brenntag received a fine in 2017, the National Association of Chemical Distributors asked for help from two new Trump administration appointees who previously worked in chemical lobbying, according to emails obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request.



J.C. Penney filing for bankruptcy amid pandemic. What happens now to Merced, Fresno stores?

Fresno Bee

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the storied but troubled department store chain J.C. Penney into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is the fourth major retailer to meet that fate. As part of its reorganization, the 118-year-old company said late Friday it will be shuttering some stores.

See Also:

●     Pandemic claims yet another retailer: JC Penney Stockton Record

●     J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy under the weight of coronavirus and years of struggle Los Angeles Times

Fresno’s small businesses had a hard time getting COVID-19 loans. More help is coming

Fresno Bee

For small- business owners in Fresno and across the San Joaquin Valley who have been hammered by closure orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program passed by Congress as part of a massive COVID-19 relief package sounded like just the thing to keep employees on the payroll and stay financially afloat.

See Also:

●     Chowchilla City Council issues grants to business program applicants Madera Tribune

●     Kern County prepares $25 million for businesses overlooked by federal efforts Bakersfield Californian

Support Our Local Businesses

Madera Tribune

The Madera Tribune believes by supporting each other we will get through this COVID-19 virus together. Our businesses play an essential part of our community. Thank You for being open to serve customers.

See Also:

●     Face Masks, Distancing Could Be Key to Businesses Reopening Clovis RoundUp

●     ‘What the heck’: Store owners, shoppers are ‘so ready’ to reopen their lives Stockton Record

●     Bitwise keeps on track even as pandemic leaves project timing unclear Bakersfield Californian

●     Americans head back to shops and restaurants amid early signs of recovery Washington Post

●     EDITORIAL: ‘Don’t tell me how to run my business’ doesn’t work in COVID-19 era. Public safety is key Fresno Bee

‘A Lot To Be Hopeful For’: Crisis Seen As Historic, Not Another Great Depression

With the U.S. economy in free-fall, a lot of forecasters have been digging deep into the history books, looking for a guideposts of what to expect. Often, they’ve turned to the chapter on the 1930s.

Hospital giant Sutter Health points to first-quarter loss of $1 billion as tip of iceberg

Sacramento Bee

In reporting a $1.08 billion loss Thursday for its first quarter, Sacramento-based Sutter Health laid out in striking detail the cost for health care providers as they confronted a disease of pandemic proportions.

See Also:

●     California hospital leaders again appeal to Newsom for coronavirus financial relief Sacramento Bee

CEOs cut millions of jobs amid coronavirus yet keep their lofty bonuses

Los Angeles Times

Even CEOs are starting to get squeezed by the economic realities of this pandemic. But compared to their employees, a growing number of critics still say it’s not nearly enough. So far, top executives of many major U.S. corporations — including some at the very epicenter of the crisis — have mostly held on to their outsize pay packages after giving up some of their salaries.

Fed Chair Warns Economy May Not Fully Rebound Until End of 2021, Could Require a Vaccine

National Review

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell warned in an interview released on Sunday that a full economic rebound following the coronavirus pandemic may not occur until the end of 2021.

See Also:

●     Fed’s Powell Says Sharp Downturn Won’t Last VPR

●     Bipartisan commission offers blueprint for Fed, Treasury oversight Politico

●     Hopes dim on quick economic recovery The Hill 

States Were Prudent; Here’s Why They Need a Bailout Anyway

Wall Street Journal

The debate over the next federal stimulus package is taking on the trappings of a morality play, pitting Democrats who want $1 trillion in aid for cash-strapped states against Republicans, including President Trump, who say that’s a bailout for fiscal mismanagement.

Commentary: Musk’s SpaceX Is Denied Job Funding Sought From California Panel


A California employment panel rejected a funding request from Elon Musk’s SpaceX after its billionaire founder defied a San Francisco Bay area health order and threatened to move Tesla Inc.’s headquarters out of the state.

Commentary: Women’s Work Boosts Middle-class Incomes But Creates A Family Time Squeeze That Needs To Be Eased


In the early part of the 20th century, women sought and gained many legal rights, including the right to vote as part of the 19th Amendment. Their entry into the workforce, into occupations previously reserved for men, and into the social and political life of the nation should be celebrated. 


Going Back to Work While COVID-19 Is Still Spreading

Consumer Reports

Many people in the U.S.—including doctors, nurses, bus drivers, and grocery clerks—have not stopped working throughout the coronavirus pandemic. But among the millions of others who have been furloughed or teleworking for a month or more, some are now being asked to return to work.

See also:

·       Truck drivers rally in Sacramento for better pay, access to basic facilities Sacramento Bee

·       The price of being ‘essential’: Latino service workers bear brunt of coronavirus Los Angeles Times

·       Who’s Enforcing Mask Rules? Often Retail Workers, and They’re Getting Hurt MSN

·       AFL-CIO sues OSHA to demand standard for worker protections The Hill

California Unemployment Insurance Claims For Week Of May 9

California Center for Jobs & the Economy

Although continuing to ease from levels in the prior 6 weeks, initial Unemployment Insurance claims remained elevated during the week of May 9 as the ability to keep workers employed erodes during the extended shutdowns.

See Also:

●     Analysis On Unemployment Projects 40-45% Increase In Homelessness This Year Community Solutions

●     Commentary: Incomes have crashed. How much has unemployment insurance helped? Brookings

●     Commentary: Debunking myths about COVID-29 relief’s ‘unemployment insurance on steroids’ Brookings

●     Commentary: How does COVID-19 unemployment compare to the Great Depression? Brookings

Eligibility for ACA Health Coverage Following Job Loss

The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have led to historic level of job loss in the United States. Social distancing policies required to address the crisis have led many businesses to cut hours, cease operations, or close altogether. Between March 1st and May 2nd, 2020, more than 31 million people had filed for unemployment insurance.

California minimum wage would continue to go up under Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget

Fresno Bee

California’s minimum wage increases will continue as planned, having escaped the chopping block in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised 2020-21 budget. California’s minimum wage is currently $12 an hour for businesses with fewer than 26 employees, and $13 an hour for businesses with 26 or more.

Wonderful Co. widens philanthropic efforts to help its local workers during the coronavirus crisis

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County’s largest grower, long noted for its philanthropy in the southern Central Valley, recently spent millions of dollars expanding the direct support the company gives its workers and their families in the Delano and Lost Hills areas.

California state workers face 10% pay cut, possible furloughs, union leader says

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reduce state worker pay by 10 % as part of a cost-saving plan for state government, according to SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker.

See Also:

●     Underfunded pensions make GOP leaders reluctant to send federal aid to states like CaliforniaSacramento Bee



Will Clovis schools reopen in May? What some top officials are saying as decision looms

Fresno Bee

Clovis Unified Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell plans to ask the Board of Trustees to formally close campuses for the rest of the school year. O’Farrell announced her recommendation Friday morning during an online video posted to the district’s Facebook account.

See also:

●      CUSD superintendent to recommend continuing remote learning to end of school year Clovis RoundUp

Are Fresno students and teachers working during COVID-19? A new tool will keep tabs

Fresno Bee

Fresno parents now have a way to make sure their kids are engaged in distance learning and communicating with their teachers while schools remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Panama-Buena Vista Union’s first African American female superintendent ready for challenges of coming year

Bakersfield Californian

Being the “first” can be a daunting task on one’s shoulders. Katie Russell, the instructional superintendent at the Fresno Unified School District, has filled those shoes before. It’s an honor to be the first to serve in a role, she says, but what’s more important is realizing what it means for others.

Preparing for students’ return, Modesto school board hears of summer facility projects

Modesto Bee

What learning will look like when Modesto City Schools starts its next academic year in August remains very much up in the air. One thing for sure, though, is how a good number of campuses will look when kids return: better.

California schools to lose billions of dollars in Newsom’s budget. It could have been worse

Modesto Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a $5 billion cut in funding to California’s K-12 schools, a grim projection that could have been worse without a pot of money he wants to use from the economic stimulus package Congress allocated in March.

See also:

·       California schools fear disaster in Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus budget San Francisco Chronicle

·       Schools face prospect of layoffs, furloughs as state budget shrinks CalMatters

·       Education Reporters Discuss The Impact Of COVID-19 On Schools VPR

·       Temperature Checks, Isolation Rooms, Closed Playgrounds: Schools Could Look Much Different In A COVID-19 World Capital Public Radio

COVID-19 Highlights the Need for Statewide Student Data


The pandemic makes it clearer than ever that California would benefit from a data system that links information across educational institutions. Without it, California policymakers will continue to lack important information—including insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our students and educational institutions.

How some California charter schools support students during distance learning


Each morning, Yolanda Anguiano receives a text message asking if her two kids, who attend Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep in San Jose, have what they need to stay safe and continue learning while their school is closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Commentary: 5 actions to help bring the most marginalized girls back to school after COVID-19


The past two decades have been marked by outstanding gains in girls’ education worldwide, with the number of girls out of school dropping by 79 million. We cannot risk rolling back this progress. For some children, the impact of COVID-19 will be temporary. But for others, this pandemic will be devastating and will alter the course of their lives.

Commentary: Betsy DeVos on coronavirus and schools: An update on the federal response


The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for America’s schools and colleges. Washington’s response has included the $2 trillion CARES Act. The Department of Education has been charged with dispersing $13.5 billion in CARES Act aid, providing guidance on the use of funds, and deciding which federal requirements to waive.

Higher Ed:

Statement by Pres. Castro on governor’s revised state budget

Fresno State Campus News

“The Governor’s revision to the proposed 2020-21 State Budget is sobering although not unexpected, given the current ongoing public-health crisis. While this initial revision will guide our budget planning for next fiscal year, we will not know the final state-budget allocation to the California State University system until early fall, due to the State delaying its assessment of tax receipts until August.

Fresno State had graduation ceremonies scheduled this weekend. Here’s what happened instead

Fresno Bee

On the weekend Fresno State was to hold commencements for the Class of 2020, graduates turned to social media to show how they celebrated earning a degree after graduation ceremonies were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

See Also:

●     Fear of the future: Class of 2020 enters a world in crisis Fresno Bee

●     Class of 2020 set to join worst job market in history The Hill

●     UC Merced’s virtual graduation was today. Here’s how students are celebrating online Merced Sun-Star

●     In response to pandemic, colleges across California hold virtual commencements EdSource

Cal State Chancellor Says Virtual Classes Can Still Lead To ‘Lifetime of Opportunity’


School hasn’t ended yet in most places around the country. But educators are already grappling with what the next academic year will look like, as the future spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. remains unclear.

See also:

·       With Cal State and other colleges moving online, higher ed has to prove its value San Francisco Chronicle

·       OPINION: California Defines Testing Down Wall Street Journal

●     What will Fresno State tell student-athletes who aren’t comfortable returning in fall? Fresno Bee

●     State Auditor: Cal State Should Let Students Vote Down Fee Increases Capital Public Radio

Congress Gave Colleges A $14 Billion Lifeline. Here’s Where It’s Going

College dorms are closed. Athletic events are canceled. Classes have moved online. Like so many sectors of the U.S. economy, higher education is taking a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

AP exams to get new safeguards after widespread reports of technical glitches

San Francisco Chronicle

In a message sent out to teenagers and their families on Sunday, the nonprofit organization that administers the exams expressed concern for the students who were unable to successfully submit their responses online for the high-stakes tests last week and said it would roll out a backup email option for those who run up against error messages, starting Monday. 

Commentary: The pandemic is going to shake up higher education


Here’s a thought experiment for you. Would you rather have a Princeton education, or do without the education but get the Princeton diploma? Economist Bryan Caplan posed this question a couple of years ago in his provocative book, The Case Against Education. 


Quake splits road over 2 inches, shutting Highway 95 in Nevada

Sacramento Bee

Road damage closed Highway 95 for repairs after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook the earth near Tonopah, Nev.

Commentary: With recycling on pause, it’s a good time to update California’s bottle bill


The coronavirus has changed how we live in ways that go far beyond what we associate with public health, such as returning bottles and cans for redemption.  All states, including California, are struggling to adjust to the new recycling reality.



Tulare County adds three coronavirus deaths, 88 new cases; Fresno County up 36 cases

Fresno Bee

Fresno County has 36 new coronavirus cases and Tulare Countythree more deaths and 88 additional cases, according to the latest updates posted Saturday by health officials in the six-county central San Joaquin Valley. Total cases in Fresno County rose to 1,192, with 379 recoveries from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the pandemic. The death toll remained at 16.

See Also:

●     Tulare County adds 10 deaths, nears LA for California’s highest coronavirus mortality rate Fresno Bee

●     Coronavirus updates: Mariposa County reports first death; Tulare County adds 10 deaths Fresno Bee

●     Coronavirus: Tracking Central California COVID-19 cases abc30

●     COVID-19 Updates: Cases up 82, County Totals 1,156 Clovis RoundUp

●     COVID-19: 88-person spike in cases, three more deaths in Tulare County Visalia Times Delta

●     COVID-19: 10 dead in two days, 1,300-plus cases now reported in Tulare County Visalia Times Delta

●     COVID-19: Cases continue to increase, three more deaths in Tulare County Visalia Times Delta

●     Kern sees 42 more coronavirus cases Bakersfield Californian

●     Kern County Public Health: 42 new COVID-19 cases, 1,525 total, 969 recovered BakersfieldNow

●     Ten new deaths reported in county due to COVID-19 Porterville Recorder

●     Two new COVID-19 deaths reported in Merced County. Pandemic’s total caseload hits 200 Merced Sun-Star

FDA Cautions About Accuracy Of Widely Used Abbott Coronavirus Test

The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning the public about the reliability of a widely used rapid test for the coronavirus. The test, made by Abbott Laboratories, has been linked with inaccurate results that could falsely reassure patients that they are not infected with the virus.

See Also:

●     FDA probes accuracy issue with Abbott’s rapid coronavirus test Los Angeles Times

An Emergency Medicine Doctor On Covid-19 And ‘A Rebirth of Public Health’

Near the beginning of the pandemic, we talked to an ER doctor who said the emergency room at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno felt like “the calm before the storm.” So, more than two months in, what’s it like now? 

The risk levels of everyday activities like dining out, going to the gym, and getting a haircut, according to an infectious-disease expert

Business Insider

Coronavirus transmission is not black and white — some activities are riskier than others, while some should cause little worry. As states start to reopen parts of their economies and people tire of an all-out quarantine, the risk level of various activities should be considered to make decisions about what’s safe and what should be avoided.

See also:

·       How Coronavirus Spreads through the Air: What We Know So Far Scientific American

·       No, you are not better off wearing gloves in public PolitiFact

·       Gottlieb alarmed by “deeply concerning” mysterious illness among children CBS

·       Kidney injury seen in more than a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients CBS

·       Areas that fail to social distance face 35 times more virus cases, study suggests The Hill

·       Texas reports massive jump in COVID-19 cases in single day Houston Chronicle

As coronavirus testing expands, a new problem arises: Not enough people to test

Washington Post

Four months into the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, tests for the virus finally are becoming widely available, a crucial step toward lifting stay-at-home orders and safely returning to normal life. But while many states no longer report crippling supply shortages, a new problem has emerged: too few people lining up to get tested.

See Also:

●     FDA halts Bill Gates coronavirus testing program The Hill

●     How Much Testing Does the U.S. Need to Reopen? The New Yorker

CDC Director: ‘Very Aggressive’ Contact Tracing Needed For U.S. To Return To Normal


It’s the question on everyone’s minds: What will it take for us to come out of this period of extreme social distancing and return to some semblance of normal life? It turns out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working on a plan to allow the U.S. to safely begin to scale back those policies. 

See Also:

●     Tracing coronavirus origins is vital to moving forward. But there’s a catch — several, actually Los Angeles Times

●     Commentary: Developing policies for effective COVID-19 containment: The TRACE model Brookings

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine shows encouraging early results in human safety trial

Washington Post

Moderna, the Massachusetts biotechnology company behind a leading effort to create a coronavirus vaccine, announced promising early results from its first human safety tests Monday. The company plans to launch a large clinical trial in July aimed at showing whether the vaccine works.

See Also:

●     Coronavirus vaccine could come from California, with no shot needed San Francisco Chronicle

●     Gottlieb says widespread coronavirus vaccine availability ‘more likely a 2021 event’ The Hill

●     Public health expert: Vaccine possible this year ‘if everything goes in the right direction The Hill

●     Coronavirus Vaccine Trial by Moderna Shows Promising Early Results New York Times

●     Azar says Trump administration aiming for 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses by 2021 CBS

●     Vaccine is possible by end of year, Johns Hopkins expert says Politico

●     Eight Covid Vaccines Now in Human Trials National Review

Can You Get Covid-19 Twice?

Wall Street Journal

More than 160 South Koreans tested positive a second time for the novel coronavirus last month, weeks after being discharged from medical supervision. Some symptom-free Americans have been barred from donating their blood plasma to help treat others because they are still testing positive.

‘Immunity passports’ won’t reopen America


Antibody tests and “immunity passports” were supposed to be the great hope for safely reopening the economy. The problem is many of the more than 120 tests on the market are inaccurate. And scientists don’t really yet understand how much immunity antibodies confer or how long it lasts.

Commentary: How to address mental health issues of youth in fallout from COVID-19


There will be many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic will reshape American life. While our immediate attention is on the impact the virus has had on physical health, we also need to address how the pandemic will impact the mental health of our young people and their families.

OPINION: Cut Through the Fog of Coronavirus War

Wall Street Journal

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its first definitive statement last week describing a rare but disturbing condition in children related to Covid-19. Doctors in the U.K. first reported in April a spike in previously healthy children presenting with features similar to another rare condition, Kawasaki disease, whose symptoms include rash and fever and, later in its progression, inflammation of blood vessels.

Commentary: The Doddering Deifiers of Density—Part 1

Fox & Hounds

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has ever observed the cult that Yimbys and other assorted density fetishists would react reflexively any time the word “density” is mentioned in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commentary: COVID-19 much more fatal for men, especially taking age into account


A topical trope is that COVID-19 “does not discriminate.” This is false.  A range of factors, including the intersecting dimensions of class, race, preexisting health status and geography make some people much more vulnerable. Some are more likely to contract the virus, especially those living in denser urban areas or working in close proximity with others. 

Human Services:

COVID-19 challenges Fresno-area hospitals with ‘unchartered waters’ for care, economics

Fresno Bee

Week by week, we see the intensity of debate escalate about whether local businesses should reopen, or maintain restrictions. From my medical and hospital perspectives, it’s a vexing question.

Some nursing homes taking coronavirus stimulus checks from patients. Can they do that?

Fresno Bee

If you or a loved one live in a nursing home and are on Medicaid, the Federal Trade Commission wants you to know that the facility is not entitled to take your coronavirus stimulus payment.

See Also:

●     Coronavirus: As California mulls sheltering orders, older adults remain isolated and alone Mercury News

●     California nursing homes are examples of how cruel the coronavirus pandemic can be Washington Post

●     Major nursing home chain violated federal standards meant to stop spread of disease even after start of covid-19, records show Washington Post

●     Understaffing at nursing homes may be making coronavirus crisis worse: “It makes me mad and it makes me scared” CBS

This Fresno Nurse Is On A Mission To Help Frontline Workers And Local Restaurants At The Same Time

Tali Whelan is a registered nurse. “I have worked the long 12-hour shifts in the past, and so I know how difficult it can be to be on your feet for so long and constantly on the go,” said Whelan. 

How to Get Free or Discounted Prescription Drugs During the Coronavirus Crisis

Consumer Reports

Even before Dustin Quinn, 33, became one of the 30 million Americans to lose their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, she was just getting by. Working 24 hours a week for $12.25 per hour at the front desk of a hotel in Fargo, N.D., she made enough, barely, to cover expenses.  

Obamacare’s insurance safety net protects many of the millions losing their employer-provided health insurance – but not all

The Conversation

The loss of 31 million jobs due to coronvirus has an added downside: 27 million have lost job-based health insurance. The worst may still lie ahead. One study estimated that 25 to 43 million people could lose coverage from their employer.

See Also:

●     Did You Lose Your Health Insurance Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic? You May Have Other Options Time

Medicaid Clinics And Doctors Have Been Last In Line For COVID-19 Relief Funding


Casa de Salud, a nonprofit clinic in Albuquerque, N.M., provides primary medical care, opioid addiction services and non-Western therapies, including acupuncture and reiki, to a largely low-income population.

Commentary: On public health and private incentives


The COVID-19 pandemic is in its early stages but that has not stopped some commentators from claiming the U.S.’s unsteady early response proves they were right all along about what is wrong with health care in this country.


$500 State Grants Available For Undocumented Californians Beginning Monday

Capital Public Radio

There are now 23 California counties that have the green light to proceed more rapidly with reopening. Newsom presented a budget proposal about $19 billion lower than his original, which includes major cuts in several areas. Here’s a look at the numbers.

See Also:

●     Coronavirus Aid: California to begin offering stimulus funds for undocumented immigrants abc30

●     Undocumented workers can apply for coronavirus relief in California starting Monday Sacramento Bee

●     Financial help for California’s undocumented immigrants starts Monday CalMatters

●     Coronavirus aid assistance for undocumented immigrants in California kicks off on May 18 NBC

Immigration courts in ‘chaos,’ with coronavirus effects to last years

San Francisco Chronicle

Raquel and her sons fled gang threats in El Salvador, survived the weeks-long journey to the U.S., and then endured the Trump administration’s 2018 separations at the southern border. This month, she was finally going to get her chance to convince an immigration judge in San Francisco that she should be granted permanent asylum in the U.S., ending the agony of having to prepare for her court date by reliving the danger in her native country and her weeks of detention at the border.

Commentary: As COVID-19 spreads in ICE detention, oversight is more critical than ever


On May 6th, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced the first COVID-19 death of an immigrant detainee. Detainee deaths were bound to happen in a system that houses tens of thousands of individuals, and in which ICE has so far reported that 943 detainees have tested positive—an infection rate of 1 in 31. Additionally, 44 ICE employees at detention facilities have tested positive. The ultimate spread and lethality of COVID-19 will depend on ICE’s response to the pandemic.


Land Use:

Some Big Sur beaches and trails are reopening this weekend. Here’s where to go

Fresno Bee

Los Padres National Forest is laying out the welcome mat — for locals only. Starting Saturday, Los Padres National Forest will reopen the day-use sites at Sand Dollar, Willow Creek and Pfeiffer beaches in Big Sur to provide additional outdoor recreation spots for nearby residents. They were previously closed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

See also:

●     Tony Krizan: Hike down Yosemite’s ‘Grand Canyon’ reveals five major falls Sierra Star

●     Coronavirus: Modesto Reservoir opens for watercraft use only — others turned away Modesto Bee

●     WARSZAWSKI: Fresno folks love the Central Coast. They can prove how much they care by staying away Fresno Bee

Can national parks safely reopen? Lawmaker calls COVID-19 plan ‘wholly insufficient’

Fresno Bee

National Parks are opening their gates again, but is it safe? House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva doesn’t think so, and he wrote a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela expressing his concerns on Friday.


Stanislaus County businesses among those struggling to pay rent during coronavirus

Modesto Bee

It’s not just people living in apartments, homes and condos who’ve had a hard time paying the rent in the pandemic. Businesses also are struggling. Two Modesto-based commercial property management firms have the proof.

California homeless quarantine in hotels, more rooms needed

Bakersfield Californian

Anxiety mounted every time someone at the homeless shelter sneezed or residents got too close. For Matthew Padilla, a 34-year-old with a pacemaker and asthma, catching the novel coronavirus would likely mean death.

Housing, homelessness funds mostly spared in proposed budget cuts


With a forecasted deficit of near-record proportions and an economy in freefall, homelessness and low-income housing advocates were braced for painful cuts in the revised budget proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled earlier this week. 


California state workers face 10% pay cut, possible furloughs, union leader says

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reduce state worker pay by 10 % as part of a cost-saving plan for state government, according to SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker.

See Also:

●     Underfunded pensions make GOP leaders reluctant to send federal aid to states like CaliforniaSacramento Bee

●     To soften blow of state worker pay cuts, California might suspend $2,600 health deductionsFresno Bee

Coronavirus could push Social Security to insolvency before 2030


Social Security could be insolvent by the end of this decade because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to some new estimates, creating new pressure for Congress to fix the troubled program after decades of inaction.


Long wait at the DMV: Car owners face delays registering vehicles or signing titles as offices close or scale back due to COVID-19

Stockton Record

Trying to buy or sell a car on your own has become tough for many Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. The reason: The pandemic has forced Departments of Motor Vehicles and similar offices to close or reduce their capacity in many states, making registering and signing a vehicle title more difficult.

The coronavirus pandemic emptied America’s roadways. Now speeders have taken over.

Washington Post

Three months into the coronavirus pandemic, the United States faces another crisis: a surge in speeding and reckless behavior on the nation’s roadways. Reckless driving has increased dramatically since March, leading to a disproportionate number of speed-related crashes and fatalities, according to law enforcement and traffic experts.

TSA Preparing to Check Passenger Temperatures at Airports Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Wall Street Journal

U.S. officials are preparing to begin checking passengers’ temperatures at roughly a dozen airports as soon as next week, as the coronavirus pandemic has heightened travel anxieties, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bike Sales Gear Up As The Homebound Try Socially Distant Exercise


Sales are booming at many bike shops around the country, as people stuck at home try something new for exercise and essential workers adapt to scaled-down public transit.

How to Stay Safe From Coronavirus While on Planes, Trains, and Buses

Consumer Reports

Across the country, millions of Americans are still under local “stay home” orders, which remain in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. But some people still need to commute to their workplace—a hospital, for example—or go grocery shopping.


Coronavirus: Modesto Reservoir opens for watercraft use only — others turned away

Modesto Bee

Dozens of people were turned away from Modesto Reservoir on Saturday not because of capacity but because of an apparent misunderstanding of the rules. Under restrictions because of the coronavirus outbreak, the reservoir opened Saturday for watercraft day use only. 


Fresno Chaffee Zoo needs your help to survive COVID-19 closure


Fresno Chaffee Zoo officials are worried they could soon face financial hardships. They’re now asking the public for help since they can’t open during what would typically be their busiest months. Signs and closed gates stop anyone in their tracks trying to reach the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

He drove more than 600 miles for a haircut. He’s not alone

Los Angeles Times

The temptation after seeing the Facebook post was too great for J Farr, a 28-year-old living in near isolation in his Olympia, Wash., apartment. An old friend from his hometown of Yuba City, north of Sacramento, had announced he had gotten a haircut.

Bethany Clough: Cocktails, wine and beer? How to get alcohol delivered to your doorstep in Fresno area

Fresno Bee

I can’t be the only one who’s been making an extra cocktail or two during these stressful times. Whether it’s a “quarantini” cocktail, a beer or something else, a lot of us are likely turning to the little bit of relaxation that a drink can bring as we cope with the coronavirus pandemic.