Good morning, Bay Area. It’s Wednesday, Aug. 5, and a technical glitch means California is worried about their case reporting. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
Clear, comfortable and unknown
Are face shields a safe alternative to masks?
Made of a curved plastic panel attached to a headband that can be worn over the face, there’s plenty to like about the lightweight accessories. They’re reusable and easy to clean. If you wear glasses, they won’t cause them to fog up. If you are hard of hearing, they make it possible to read lips and facial expressions.
But as Aidin Vaziri reports, there’s not enough evidence to support the efficacy of face shields as a direct substitute for cloth face coverings. Even hospitals use them in combination with masks.
• A Peninsula school district is offering pandemic day care for working families. Not everyone can afford it.
• Bay Area kids can play some sports this fall — with lots of restrictions.
• Outdoor waxing? Bay Area beauticians say they have a smarter idea.
• Reader poll: Do you wear a mask when you are in Bay Area parks?
Ethical concerns or retaliation?
One of the highest-ranking officials at the California agency that regulates private utilities says she is being forced out of her job after she sought to recover $200 million in fees owed to the agency.
Alice Stebbins, who has been executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission since February 2018, was placed on administrative time off and believes her employer is preparing to fire her.
Stebbins’ attorney sent a letter Tuesday to her bosses, the five commissioners who govern the agency, claiming she was being retaliated against for trying to “clean up a broken CPUC.” The commission has declined to comment on “personnel matters or pending litigation issues.”
Read more from J.D. Morris.
Numbers may be incomplete
California’s efforts to track coronavirus cases have been seriously hampered by a technical issue affecting the electronic data system used by state and local health departments, the state’s top health official said at a news briefing Tuesday.
The glitch could temper some of the optimism Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed for the state’s receding case numbers a day earlier. Officials were working to fix the issue and developing “parallel processes — manual processes” to get the same information to local public health officials, Mark Ghaly, state health and human services secretary, said.
“The seven-day positivity rate is absolutely affected by this,” Ghaly said.
New tool shows risk: If 25 people gather in S.F., odds are 34% that at least one has coronavirus.
A tentative deal in the do-or-die dispute over a three-county sales tax measure to keep Caltrain running appears to be on track — just in time to make the November ballot after weeks of political stops and starts. Santa Clara County supervisors approved the last-minute proposal Tuesday and other key votes are expected to happen this week.
Reporter Michael Cabanatuan explains what changed.
On the waterfront
For 32 years Sausalito has used strict zoning restrictions to protect its scrappy industrial waterfront, banning both new housing and offices in the 225-acre Marinship district, which stretches for about a mile north of downtown.
And, for the most part, it’s worked. Marinship remains a place where vessels are hauled out and repaired, houseboats built, sails sewn and outboard motors tuned up.
But Sausalito also has a history of housing exclusion: While it was a jobs center for African Americans during World War II, Black workers were barred from buying or renting property there.
But with the Black Lives Matter movement forcing cities to confront historic racial, social and economic inequality, Sausalito officials are debating whether some land in Marinship might be appropriate for low-income or senior housing.
J.K. Dineen reports on potential changes in Sausalito.
Around the Bay
• CalFresh surge: San Francisco is preparing for a surge in food assistance applications after increased federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week end.
• SFO, San Jose hit: Alaska Airlines and American Airlines plan hundreds of Bay Area layoffs. More: Our Bay Area Layoffs Tracker.
• ‘Unbelievable how close’: Rare, giant bluefin tuna off Half Moon Bay have turned the fishing world upside down.
• The ‘Razor’: Ralph Barbieri dies at 74 after battle with Parkinson’s.
• A view and outside: 10 scenic waterfront restaurants open in the Bay Area right now.
• ‘No good time’: San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia announces retirement after 28 years with the force.
• Yes, we know what question you have: S.F.’s buzzy vegan restaurant Baia nearly sold out of mozzarella sticks opening day.
• From Bruce Jenkins: A’s fans won’t get to heckle Astros, but Dave Stewart takes shot at ‘cheaters.’
• Unless you drive for Uber: Uber to allow work-from-home until July 2021, joining Google.
How do you plan a dinner party during a global pandemic? What if you’re an emergency room doctor?
Driving home from work at 7 in the morning, Dr. Maria Raven needs to take her mind off the night she has just spent treating COVID-19 patients as chief of emergency medicine at UCSF Parnassus. So she starts thinking about the dinner party she will host to break in the dining room of her new home, hopefully in January.
Sam Whiting walks through what a safe dinner party might look like — and the unique demands placed on the host to keep the risk as low as possible.
More from Throughline:
• Here’s what people are asking a sex coach during the pandemic.
• Having faith and letting go: Sketches of 3 Bay Area restaurateurs on life, nourishment and community amid coronavirus
Bay Briefing is written by Taylor Kate Brown and sent to readers’ email inboxes on weekday mornings. Sign up for the newsletter here, and contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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