SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With a surge in coronavirus cases, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 24 hours.


‘Your Claim Is Closed’: Victims Of EDD Debit Card Scam Fighting Bank Of America To Get Money Back
SAN FRANCISCO — Fighting to get unemployment compensation has been hard enough for so many since the pandemic. So, imagine how it feels once you finally have money coming in, to see it all stolen away. KPIX was the first to expose what appears to be a massive fraud problem involving the use of unemployment debit cards issued by Bank of America. Since then, we have received more than 60 emails from people who say their EDD debit card was hacked and they lost thousands of dollars. “I sort of shouted out, oh my god, almost all of my unemployment has been hacked!” Brooke Suchomel described her reaction a few weeks ago when she went online to check her Bank of America EDD card balance. Two charges, one for $1500 at Neiman Marcus and another for $1200 at the online luxury vendor Intermix had wiped out her account. “It had been drained overnight, the day before rent was due,” said Suchomel. Read More

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Newsom Warns Surging Cases Could Overwhelm State’s ICU Capacity By Christmas
SACRAMENTO — With new COVID cases continuing to surge across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered a somber prediction Monday that by Christmas the state could run out of beds in ICU units needed to take care of those most critically ill with the coronavirus, flu and and other life-threatening illnesses. Newsom and state health officials are alarmed by the acceleration in the number of new COVID cases with an 89 percent increase of hospitalizations in just the last 14 days. And the anticipated surge in cases from Thanksgiving travel and gatherings will not begin until early December. Compounding the problem is that the state is entering its flu season and annually those numbers also place strains on ICU and hospital capacities. Of the new COVID cases, Newsom said 12 percent would likely require some form of hospitalization. Read More

San Francisco 49ers Moving Home Games To Arizona; Still Working On Practice Facility
SANTA CLARA — Rendered homeless by the new Santa Clara County COVID health restrictions, the San Francisco 49ers announced Monday they would be playing their next two home games in Arizona. Faced with a major surge in COVID cases, local health officials announced a ban Saturday on all contact sports from holding games and practices in Santa Clara County for the next three weeks. It forced the 49ers to look elsewhere to host the team’s Dec. 7 game against Buffalo and the Dec. 13 contest against Washington. “The San Francisco 49ers have come to an agreement with the National Football League and Arizona Cardinals which allows the 49ers to host their Weeks 13 and 14 home games against the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium in Arizona,” the team said in a short statement. Read More

California Could Get First Round Of Vaccinations By Mid-December
SAN FRANCISCO — The first round of coronavirus vaccines may arrive in California in a matter of weeks. The U.S. biotechnology company Moderna will apply for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as the latest study results confirm the shots to be nearly 95% effective. “To be able to get the results that we’ve seen today, certainly is a feeling of both relief and excitement. Excitement about the impact,” said Moderna co-founder and chairman Noubar Afeyan, in an interview with CNN. This comes one week after Pfizer asked for FDA authorization for its vaccine, with data also showing that it offers strong protection. Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted Monday that the state is set to receive 327,000 doses in mid-December. Read More

‘Chopped’ Winner Creates Food Collective To Help Black Chefs Survive The Pandemic
OAKLAND — An Oakland chef who gained fame as the winner of a popular TV cooking competition is sharing his good fortune and business skills with other black food entrepreneurs during the pandemic. Shabriya Hill used to cook soul food like gumbo out of her home. But now, the chef and owner of Briya Be Cookin’ can fill larger orders in a certified commercial kitchen. “It’s keeping me going. It’s keeping me afloat,” said Hill. She’s one of 30 members of the Black Food Collective, founded two years ago by Chef Rashad Armstead, known for Crave BBQ, and Grammies Down Home Chicken and Seafood. Armstead invites members of the collective to use his Epic Ventures Test Kitchen in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. The collective is helping black-owned businesses survive especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

Santa Clara County New COVID Cases Soar Over 800; Returning Travelers Face Quarantine
SAN JOSE — As the flights landed at Norman Y. Mineta International Airport Monday, passengers were greeted by tough new COVID-19 restrictions including a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving to Santa Clara County from a trip of more than 150 miles. The travel quarantine went into effect at midnight and was among several measures taken by county officials to slow a surge of new cases that could possibly overwhelm local hospitals by mid-December. “We are putting measures in place to protest our county and our health system,” said Santa Clara County Health Director Sara Cody during a CNN interview Monday. “Hospitals are starting to feel the pinch. Beds are filling up.” But Cody admitted there wasn’t a hard enforcement in place for the travel ban on returning Thanksgiving revelers. She said limiting local hotel availability to only essential travelers would help. Read More

Retailers Look To Cyber Monday To Help Keep Afloat During Year Of Struggle
PLEASANTON — What does Cyber Monday mean to small businesses? Some say they will make more online than in the store. Downtown Pleasanton, even with COVID, usually has some shoppers strolling down Main street, but not today. Small business owner Wendy Schulte says folks are mostly shopping online. “We don’t have many customers coming in today but I do believe that our online will do more than we’ll do here in the store,” said Schulte, who owns Good Common Sense Naturals organic skin care store. Wendy’s online presence is a website that she developed herself, adding special Cyber Monday deals as best she can. “We actually have a special online where you get this bath gift set, all five pieces when you spend $100 online.” Read More

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Stanford Hoover Institution Fellow Dr. Scott Atlas Resigns As Trump COVID-19 Advisor
STANFORD — Dr. Scott Atlas, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution who has faced controversy for advising President Donald Trump on the COVID-19 pandemic, has resigned. CBS News confirmed with the White House on Monday that Atlas has resigned after nearly four months with the administration, but officials would not give a reason why. In his resignation letter, Atlas thanked Trump for “the honor and privilege to serve on behalf of the American people.” “I worked hard with a singular focus—to save lives and help Americans through this pandemic,” Atlas went on to say. The doctor also appeared to express well wishes for President-elect Joe Biden and the incoming administration, at a time where Trump has repeatedly spread baseless claims of election fraud and has refused to concede nearly a month after Election Day. Read More

Impacted Businesses To Receive Tax Relief, $500M In Grants
SACRAMENTO — California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced additional aid for businesses impacted by COVID-19 in the form of grants and tax relief. Newsom made the announcement during a press conference Monday in which he and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly warned of possible new restrictions as a coronavirus case surge threatens to overwhelm hospitals by Christmas. The tax relief would be in the form of an automatic three-month income tax extension for businesses filing less than $1 million in sales tax, and expands the ability for larger companies to make interest and penalty-free payments. In addition, Newsom announced the creation of a $500 million COVID Relief Grant for small businesses impacted by COVID health and safety restrictions. The funds would go to established community development networks for distribution to underserved micro and small businesses, as well as non-profits, throughout the state by early next year. Read More

San Mateo County Establishes Permanent Testing Site In Daly City
DALY CITY — Starting Tuesday, San Mateo County will provide a permanent COVID-19 mobile testing site free of charge that will operate five days per week, Supervisor David Canepa announced. The site will operate in the Jefferson Union High School District parking lot at 699 Serramonte Blvd. in Daly City as part of a contract with the company Curative. People as young as 5 can get a test free of charge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, according to the county. Since Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan in September, San Mateo County has more than doubled its testing rates, and is now testing at the second-highest rate of any county in the state, behind only San Francisco, Canepa’s office said. The state sponsors one Verily/Project Baseline testing operation in San Mateo County, and the county has a private contract with Verily for a second testing site, costing San Mateo County approximately $1.7 million per month. Read More

Other Trending Bay Area COVID Stories

SF Ballet’s Nutcracker Marches On With All-New Virtual Experience
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Ballet was the first company in the United States to perform the Nutcracker and now it’s leading the way with a digital version of the holiday tradition in the era of the coronavirus. The War Memorial Opera House is all dressed up for the holiday season, but San Francisco Ballet goers can only visit through an all-new interactive, virtual experience from home. It features a previous live performance of the holiday classic, backstage access and other activities “Unfortunately, we’re not able to be live in the Opera House for you, but we are going to be streaming it,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. “It’s really quite remarkable what technology can do for us today.” Tomasson has choreographed the Nutcracker since 2004. He says dancers that would have normally spent the next month performing the show are now rehearsing for the all-digital 2021 season, which begins early next year. The company is working on four different works. Read More

Good News On COVID Vaccine Front; Moderna Will Seek Emergency Approval Of Its Virus Shot
SAN FRANCISCO — With new cases soaring to all-time highs across the San Francisco Bay Area, there was more hopeful news on the vaccine front Monday as Moderna Inc. said it would seek emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection. Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 160,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths. Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide. Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca. Read More

Fear, Prejudice Contribute to Pandemic Slump in San Francisco Chinatown
SAN FRANCISCO — Chinatown is one of the most colorful and historic districts in San Francisco but, despite a relatively low infection rate, the area is fighting for its life as fear of the pandemic is causing longtime businesses to fail. “It’s desolate and there’s nothing here anymore,” said area resident Mark Lobell. Grant Avenue on a Sunday morning would normally be jammed with shoppers and diners but, these days, it’s quiet and empty. Steven Lee co-owns the Sam Wo restaurant which has been operating in Chinatown for more than a century. “You see? This is the result of a pandemic,” Lee said as he climbed stairs to the dark, second-floor dining room. The tables were empty and a restaurant that once had people lined up down the block is reduced to take-out. “We’re down to maybe like three, three and a half people from 23 (employees). Three shifts down to three people,” Lee said. Read More

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Hawaiian Businesses Launch Campaign To Attract Remote Silicon Valley Tech Workers
SAN FRANCISCO — While the steady exodus of tech workers from the San Francisco Bay Area continues, a group of Hawaii leaders launched a campaign Sunday to promote the islands as an appealing location for a remote office with a view. Now that many companies, especially in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, allow employees to work from anywhere during the pandemic, they hope Hawaii will be alluring. Some say high-paid workers will bolster an economy decimated by dramatically fewer tourists. Others worry what those with Silicon Valley money will mean for housing, especially when there’s already a crunch for affordable places to live. Coinciding with the approach of winter in other parts of the U.S., “Movers & Shakas” — a reference to the Hawaii term for the “hang loose” hand gesture — launched Sunday as a campaign to attract former residents and those from elsewhere to set up remote offices. Read More