Coronavirus in California: State Records Highest Number of Cases

ImageA long line of cars at a coronavirus testing site at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Credit…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Good morning.

(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up here to receive it by email.)

First, we have a brief update on the pandemic:

California recorded its highest number of new cases on Tuesday, exceeding 10,000 new cases in one day for the first time, according to The New York Times’s database.

New cases lag as an indication of the virus’s spread, and state officials noted that testing had expanded. On Tuesday, the state reported that 118,321 tests were conducted.

Still, the milestone was disheartening for Californians hoping that the surging case numbers might slow as many counties reinstated restrictions and the state ordered businesses to close.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the most marked rollback yet of reopening plans. And on Tuesday, state public health officials unveiled new, stricter Covid-19 testing guidelines amid supply shortages and long waits for results.

[Track coronavirus cases by California county.]


Credit…Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Now, here’s an update from Berkeley, by my colleague Kellen Browning:

The Berkeley City Council on Wednesday morning moved forward with a first-in-the-nation plan to prohibit the city’s police officers from conducting traffic stops and instead train unarmed public works officials to pull over drivers.

In a 8-0-1 virtual vote that occurred shortly before 3 a.m., after hours of public comment, the Council directed the city manager to begin studying how to enact a pilot program that would create a department of transportation with civic officials who would stop drivers for violations like failing to pause at a stop sign.

[Read more about the proposal.]

Researchers have found widespread racial bias nationwide in whom police officers pull over, and proponents of Berkeley’s plan say removing armed cops from the mix would de-escalate situations that have too often turned fatal for Black drivers.

“Berkeley took a brave action last night to begin the process of de-policing traffic enforcement and ending pretext stops,” said Councilman Rigel Robinson, who proposed the legislation. “The heaviest work is ahead of us still, but we’ve begun a journey that every city in America needs to make.”

Cities across the country are rethinking the roles of law enforcement agencies, but Berkeley appears to be the first to seek a change to police officers’ traffic enforcement duties. The Council, which previously cut the city’s Police Department budget by $9.2 million, also recommended other police reforms Tuesday night.

A Berkeley Police Department spokesman previously declined to comment on the traffic proposal. But Sgt. Emily Murphy, the president of the Berkeley Police Association, raised concerns with local television station KTVU on Tuesday about unarmed public works officials facing a drunken or armed driver.

[Read more about calls to defund the police in California.]

Here’s what else to know

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Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times
  • Geoffrey S. Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who was abruptly fired last month by President Trump, will teach a course at Stanford. [The New York Times]

  • Workers who have been laid off reflect on paying the bills, filling their days — and the prospect of re-entering a profoundly different job market. [California Sunday]

  • Vallejo police officials confirmed that they destroyed a key piece of evidence in the high-profile death of Sean Monterrosa, the 22-year-old whom officers shot through a windshield after responding to reports of people taking merchandise from a Walgreens. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Two behemoths in the Western water world, the Imperial Irrigation District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, are locking horns in court. [The Desert Sun]

  • In a major show of force, hackers took over the Twitter accounts of some of the world’s most famous people, including Elon Musk, Kanye West, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Joe Biden, in a Bitcoin scam. [The New York Times]

  • More than 1,000 companies have halted their Facebook advertising in protest over the social network’s handling of hate speech. But Hollywood has been noticeably silent. [The New York Times]

  • Hundreds of hyperpartisan sites are masquerading as local news, including in California communities. Here’s a map. [Nieman Lab]

  • The Rose Parade is the latest iconic California event to fall victim to the pandemic: For the first time in 75 years, it’s been canceled. Like the cancellation of Coachella, it’s also a huge economic loss, not just for Pasadena, but for the region. [Pasadena Star-News]

  • If you missed it, roller skating is back. [The New York Times]

And Finally …


Credit…Carol Padilla

We’re continuing with our remembrances of those lost in the pandemic. (If you’d like to share memories of a Californian who has died, please email us at

Today’s piece, about a mother and daughter, Carolina Tovar and Leticia Ramirez, was written by Ashley Njoroge:

Carolina Tovar, 86, and her daughter Leticia Ramirez, 54, lived minutes apart from each other in Rowland Heights, a community in the San Gabriel Valley. Everyone in the family knew Ms. Ramirez was her mother’s go-to: She drove her to dialysis treatments, shopping and any place else she needed to go. They were together so often that Ms. Ramirez’s seven brothers and sisters liked to joke that the two were best friends.

But the mother and daughter were miles apart at different hospitals when they died of Covid-19 on April 3.

Ms. Ramirez became ill first, in late March, followed soon after by her mother. Ms. Tovar instructed her family not to put her on a ventilator if her condition worsened. Her husband, Antonio, had died last January, months before their 70th anniversary. “Just let me go,” she said to one of her children. “The love of my life is gone. My kids are fine.”

On a FaceTime call with her family, she blew kisses and blessed each one of them. They watched as she drew her last breath, with her youngest daughter, Gina, at her bedside.

A few hours later in another hospital in Los Angeles County, Ms. Ramirez would also die of Covid-19. Ms. Ramirez, who worked as a receptionist at a real estate firm, leaves behind a husband and three children.

The double loss for the exceptionally close family has been overwhelming, all the more so because the family had expected Ms. Ramirez to recover. “We’re very numb, heartbroken, sad, lost, everything,” Edward Tovar, one of Ms. Tovar’s 21 grandchildren, said.

“We’re going to miss them,” Carol Padilla, Ms. Ramirez’s niece, added. “We’re going to continue keeping the family together no matter what.”

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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