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Total coronavirus cases:
• 769,456 cases in California, including 14,649 deaths
• 95,900 in the Bay Area, including 1,354 deaths
• More than 6.6 million in the U.S., including more than 196,000 deaths. Other states with the highest death tolls are New York with 33,038; New Jersey with 16,043; Texas with 14,574; Florida with 12,787 and Massachusetts with 9,225. Click on the Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker for a state by state case count and tally of deaths.
• More than 29.6 million in the world, with more than 937,000 deaths. More than 19 million people have recovered.
Resources on COVID-19 and California’s reopening: Use our interactive page to track the state and Bay Area’s reopening by county. For detailed maps and new city-by-city Bay Area data, check out The Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker. Information on Bay Area school reopenings can be found here. Find Bay Area COVID-19 testing sites that don’t require doctor referrals in our interactive map. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Latest updates from today:
6 p.m. CDC chief says he “100%” believes in “importance of vaccines,” COVID-19 vaccine: Shortly after a White House briefing in which President Trump said the chief of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention was “incorrect” on a timetable for a coronavirus vaccine, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield tweeted, “I 100% believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular” of a COVID-19 vaccine. He went on to say that a vaccine for a coronavirus “is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life.” He also said the best defenses against the coronavirus are “the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds.”
3:14 p.m. Trump says Redfield also wrong on masks: President Trump said CDC Director Robert Redfield “made a mistake” when he told a congressional panel Wednesday that wearing face masks was the most powerful tool against the coronavirus spread and even “more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take the COVID vaccine.” “It’s not more effective,” Trump said hours later. “If you ask him, he would probably tell you he didn’t understand the question.” “Vaccine is much more effective than masks,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
3:06 p.m. Confusing claims at White House on vaccine: In a head-spinning briefing, President Trump and his adviser Scott Atlas seemed to make contradictory statements on when a vaccine would be available to the general public. Atlas said “everyone high risk will have it no later than January,” causing Trump to jump in and repeat that distribution would be not just to high-risk people but that “we’re focused on the general public also.” He said “under no circumstance” was CDC chief Robert Redfield right to say general public distribution would not be until summer of 2021.
2:59 p.m. Mental health a pandemic perk: Bay Area employers are adding more mental health services to their benefits packages, as employees face isolation working at home and stress from child care and other new burdens. See the full story on how companies are adapting to the challenge.
2:50 p.m. Newsom says no barrier to Pac-12 resuming: Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that the Pac-12 has the option to resume play. “I want to make this crystal clear: Nothing in the state guidelines deny the ability for the Pac-12 to resume …Quite the contrary. That has been a misrepresentation of the facts.” In a statement to The Chronicle, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said: “At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice.” Read the story here.
2:39 p.m. Trump says CDC chief ‘incorrect’ on vaccine timetable: President Trump on Wednesday afternoon contradicted Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, who told Congress hours earlier that distribution of vaccine to the general public would not come until next summer. “He made a mistake when he said that.” Trump said in his latest contradiction of experts in his own administration. “Maybe he got confused … that’s incorrect information.” He said he had called Redfield after hearing the comments. “We’re ready to go as soon as the vaccine happens,” and distribute to the public “very quickly,” Trump told reporters.
2:26 p.m. Stocks finish flat: Markets closed virtually unchanged Wednesday after initially rising on news that the Federal Reserve held key interest rates at near zero and said they would stay there through 2023. The Dow Jones industrial average eked out a gain of 0.1%, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.5% and the Nasdaq closed down 1.3% as tech stocks stumbled.
2:21 p.m. Santa Clara County pushes large health care systems on virus testing: Santa Clara County health officials on Wednesday announced tighter requirements for large health care providers, instructing them to expand coronavirus testing efforts, “to ensure testing is more easily available and without delays to all residents.” It applies to providers including Kaiser Permanente, HCA Healthcare, Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation and other private hospitals, “which are subject to fines for noncompliance.” the county said in a release.
2:06 p.m. Trump adviser from Stanford says colleges should stay open: With several universities retreating to online-instruction after campus outbreaks of the coronavirus, President Trump’s new controversial adviser from Stanford’s Hoover Institute says, “That’s wrong. Universities should stay open, even when they see an increase in cases,” Scott Atlas wrote in an opinion piece Tuesday in the New York Post. “Cases will increase among young people as they socially interact, but that shouldn’t be a cause for panic if people adhere to CDC mitigation measures to protect the vulnerable.”
1:18 p.m. Hospitalizations statewide continue downward: The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized across California dropped 22% in the last 14 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday, and those patients accounted for 4% of the state’s hospital capacity. The intensive care patient load dropped by the same amount, he said.
1:07 p.m. ‘Trust the scientists,’ Biden says: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that when it comes to a coronavirus vaccine, “I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. I don’t trust Donald Trump.” Biden said he would establish a board of outside scientists to evaluate any vaccine, with “total transparency” on the criteria on which it was approved, to build public trust.
12:49 p.m. Guidelines coming for amusement parks, other sectors to reopen soon: Gov. Gavin Newsom said California health officials “very very shortly” will release guidelines for the reopening of amusement parks and other sectors. “We are actively working in a number of sectors,” he told reporters.
12:39 p.m. State’s new cases continue downward trend: California’s seven-day average for new cases of the coronavirus was 3,348, and on Tuesday dropped to a daily average count of 2,950, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. The state expects to soon ramp up its daily testing rate, which has been more than 100,000 tests a day, but hampered by smoke and wildfire interference with mobile and other testing sites, he said. The rate of tests with positive results has held at 3.6% average over 14 days, Newsom told a briefing.
12:11 p.m. Eli Lilly drug shows progress on virus: A drug being developed by Eli Lilly helped sick patients rid their systems of the coronavirus sooner and may have prevented them from landing in the hospital, according to newly released data, Stat is reporting. The drug is a monoclonal antibody, which experts view as being among the most likely technologies to help treat COVID-19. It’s a manufactured version of the antibodies that the body uses as part of its response to a virus.
11:55 a.m. CDC director says scientific integrity stands: CDC Director Robert Redfield told a Senate committee Wednesday his agency has not altered its scientific publications on the coronavirus, despite reports that Health department official Michael Caputo tried to gain editorial control over its weekly scientific report, and pressure from Trump officials who allege CDC has worked against President Trump’s re-election. Redfield testified that CDC’s “scientific integrity … has not been compromised and it will not be compromised under my watch.”
11:42 a.m. India on track to surpass US infections: India’s confirmed coronavirus infections passed 5 million on Wednesday, testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. The world’s second-most populous country added more than 1 million cases this month alone and is expected within weeks to surpass the United States, where more than 6.6 million cases, as the worst-hit nation.
11:32 a.m. Trump official who alleged scientists’ ‘sedition’ goes on leave: Michael Caputo, the Health and Human Services health official accused of trying to muzzle a CDC scientific weekly publication is taking a leave of absence for family reasons, the government announced Wednesday. Caputo, the department’s top spokesman, apologized on Tuesday for saying on Facebook that scientists battling the coronavirus are conspiring against President Trump and warning of post-election insurrection.
11:15 a.m. SF gives extension on seismic upgrades: San Francisco property owners will have another year to come into compliance with city-mandated seismic work under a Board of Supervisors extension passed Tuesday. The extension is meant to give property owners time to work with tenants on when best to complete the work during the pandemic.
10:36 a.m. CDC releases guidelines for in-person schools: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations this week on how schools moving to in-person instruction should operate to curb coronavirus transmission. The guidelines include “consistent and correct use of masks”; maintaining social distance “to the extent possible”; hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; cleaning with soap and water and disinfectants; and contact tracing in collaboration with local health departments.
10:09 a.m. Vaccine for general public likely next summer, Redfield says: CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told a Senate panel Wednesday that coronavirus vaccine probably won’t be available to the general public before “late second quarter, third quarter, 2021.” He said he expects initial vaccine perhaps in November or December this year, but “in very limited supply and will have to be prioritized” for health and emergency workers and those who need it most.
9:43 a.m. Cases increase in SF and San Mateo County: San Francisco confirmed another 60 cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total since the start of the pandemic to 10,490 cases. San Mateo County reported another 22 cases for total of 9,264 so far.
9:18 a.m. CDC director says masks more protective than vaccine: Wearing face masks is “the most important, powerful public health tool we have,” against the coronavirus and could be even more protective than taking a vaccine, CDC Director Robert Redfield told a Senate committee on Wednesday. The comment came a day after President Trump contradicted government experts’ repeated, emphatic endorsement of masks, telling a town hall, “A lot of people think the masks are not good.” Asked by moderator George Stephanopoulos who they were, Trump said, “waiters.”
It is with deep sadness that I share that my mother, Gaby O’Donnell, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19. My brother and I are heartbroken. Our mother was the kindest and most compassionate person we’ve ever known.
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) July 27, 2020
9:10 a.m. Pandemic isolation tied to dementia deaths: More than 134,200 people have died from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the U.S. since March — 13,200 more deaths than past years would predict, according to an analysis of federal data by The Washington Post. The numbers highlight an overlooked reality: People with dementia are dying not just from the coronavirus but from its isolation, as social and mental stimulation are among the few tools that can slow dementia.
8:59 a.m. Trump stuns by urging GOP to go big on relief aid: President Trump on Wednesday shook up the coronavirus relief debate, undercutting the long-held GOP position, the Hill reports, by urging in a tweet “Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).” Republicans have voted for a $650 billion aid proposal — scaled back from an initial $1.1 trillion, and only $350 billion of it in new funding. Democrats call it an inadequate “emaciated” offer.
8:39 a.m. Global recovery faster than predicted: The global economy has been rebounding faster from coronavirus lockdowns than expected, as governments’ and central banks’ support have helped prevent a more dire downturn, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report Wednesday. But the recovery already appears to be losing momentum, especially in countries where vurus resurgence is propting a new wave of local lockdowns, it warned.
8:31 a.m. Retail sales up, but less than previous months: Despite an end to the federal stimulus measures that have propped up consumer spending, retail sales climbed for the fourth straight month in August, extending a bounce back that has lasted longer than many economists had expected. Retailers serving pandemic-related needs reported record sales.The 0.6% gain, however, was smaller than in previous months, which some economists warned could signal that retail recovery has finally run out of steam.
8:25 a.m. TV host calls Pelosi ‘crazy Nancy,’ Trump say’s that’s fine: President Trump on Wednesday tweeted support of CNBC host Jim Cramer, who drew wide criticism, and apologized, for calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco “crazy Nancy” to her face during a live interview about coronavirus relief progress. “Jim, you didn’t make a mistake,” Trump wrote. “It’s true, and that’s why you said it. No pandering!”
8:13 a.m. Marin County now has some of area’s most expansive opening: Three Bay Area counties now are in the red — second-least restrictive — tier of the state’s framework for coronavirus progress. Marin, with a greenlight Tuesday to join San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, immediately is taking some of the area’s most expansive steps, opening indoor fitness, movies, personal care, restaurants and places of worship on a limited scale and expanding indoor retail and malls from 25% to 50% capacity.
7:34 a.m. Once we get vaccine, focus will be on essential and vulnerable: A sweeping distribution plan from federal health and defense officials indicates that when coronavirus vaccines eventually are approved, people will need two doses, 21 to 28 days apart, and initially there may be a limited supply, the Associated Press reports. The focus will be on protecting health workers, other essential employees, and people in vulnerable groups.
7:27 a.m. Trump indicates he wouldn’t change a thing: President Trump told an ABC televised town hall Tuesday night he would not do anything differently in his response to the coronavirus pandemic, despite nearly 200,000 Americans having died from the outbreak. He blamed China for the pandemic and said he saved many lives by “closing up the country.” “I think we did a great job,” he said.
7:19 a.m. Government promises free vaccine to all: The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make COVID-19 vaccines available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of skepticism rippling across the land. In a report to Congress and “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department presented complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or possibly later this year.
7:02 a.m. Stocks quiet on retail news: Shares rose only modestly in early trading. New data showed a slight rise in retail spending, with more Americans venturing out to restaurants and stores in August. E-commerce was flat after a huge spike in the early phases of the pandemic.
See previous updates in The Chronicle’s comprehensive timeline of the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area.