Newsom offers tenants some relief when the cases increase

Mar 28, 2020 11:10 PM ET

Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a nationwide eviction ban on Friday until May, when the Bay Area enters its third week of protection and the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are sweeping across California.

Both Newsom and Officials in severely affected Santa Clara County, which has the most cases in the Bay Area, urged residents to follow unprecedented consequences Social distance orders as COVID 19 cases continue to increase – along with the death toll.

“We don’t think our fate is predetermined,” Newsom said from the port of Los Angeles, where he visited the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy, which was docked on Friday morning. “It is in our individual ability to continue to make good physical distancing decisions and to continue to meet strict standards in California for our home order.”

The governor’s new eviction notice provided a patchwork of rapidly enacting local tenant protection laws with the much-needed clarity and could give the estimated 1 million Californians who are already unemployed due to nationwide record unemployment a break.

More than 60 jurisdictions across the state, including the Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, and Sonoma counties, have issued some form of eviction ban since the governor granted local jurisdiction last week. All laws that go further or deeper than Newsom’s nationwide ordinance remain intact, he said.

Tenants directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic must state in writing that they have lost their jobs, become ill, or have been forced to take care of family members. Landlords are prohibited from removing residents until May 31 due to non-payment of the rent, while law enforcement agencies and courts are not allowed to evict during this time.

However, some housing advocates found little consolation in the new order, saying landlords could easily circumvent it by submitting clearance documents and waiting for the courts to reopen. Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said he would pursue legislation with more protection.

Newsom’s recent efforts to alleviate the economic chaos of the pandemic came when the cases in California rose to 4,867 on Friday. This was the second time in two days that the state exceeded a thousand cases, according to the Bay Area News Group’s live tracking map. Nationwide, 99 people have died of COVID-19 so far.

The cases in the Bay Area have also skyrocketed: As of Friday afternoon, the total of 10 districts grew to 1,648 cases with 36 deaths.

For a third day in a row, San Francisco reported a record number of new cases on Friday, with 56 new infections – and the city’s third death – reaching 279. San Mateo County reported 44 new positive tests for a total of 239, along with a sixth death. Alameda County had 42 cases, plus 16 in Berkeley, for a total of 220 cases in both jurisdictions. Contra Costa County reported 16 new cases for a total of 147 cases. And Santa Clara County reported 32 new cases for a total of 574 plus one new death for a total of 20.

According to Newsom, around 88,400 people have been tested nationwide – a jump of around 10,000 tests since Thursday – but “tens of thousands” are still waiting for results.

The governor, citing the increasing number of positive cases as the reason for the increase in hospital capacity, praised the 1,000-bed marine boat that is now available to Los Angeles County, which has the most cases in the state. Mercy will admit non-coronavirus patients to relieve the local hospital system.

Bay Area officials, meanwhile, reiterated the governor’s call for social detachment to alleviate the impending hospital bed crisis and urged residents to stay home when the spring weather and Easter weekend are approaching.

In an afternoon press conference, Jeff Smith, CEO of Santa Clara County, said it will take at least two weeks for the county to measure its impact on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Smith added that he expects the numbers to continue to rise.

“Stay at home, stay away from other people because if you do you will get a result like China – where it drops dramatically,” said Smith.

Bay Area health officials, who were the first in the nation to order residents to stay in the Bay Area, are considering whether to extend the shelter beyond April 7 or change any of the conditions, but no decisions have been made .

Smith also warned against relying on projections only, and found that statistics such as mortality rates can vary widely depending on geography and demography. Instead, people should be confident that staying at home has been shown to curb the spread of the disease and help hospitals take care of “really sick people”.

“A lot of people want to talk about statistics and modeling, and that’s not bad, but it won’t determine the future,” said Smith. “They do not predict the future because they are based on guesswork and one or all of these guesswork could easily be wrong.”

Santa Clara County established itself early on as one of the most aggressive counties in the Bay Area in terms of social distancing. On March 9, officials banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people and just four days later this was reduced to gatherings of more than 100 people. Two days later, seven districts forced a regional placement order, a move Newsom followed last week.

So far, people have largely followed the guidelines, Santa Clara County’s sheriff Laurie Smith said on Friday. While her deputies filed complaints about the prosecutor’s office, the order was “really followed through”.

Returning to the status quo after just two or three weeks would probably not do much to slow the pandemic, Dr. said. Nicholas Jewell, professor of biostatistics at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, told this news organization.

“You really need to maintain or suppress transmission for 12 or even 20 weeks before you can really make a big difference,” said Jewell. “It is a very long time for society and I cannot say if we can afford to do it economically.”

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