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Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 7/23/20, PM


CA Enters Mask Market Again / UC Berkeley Teaching Online Only / CA Wildfire Update

CA Enters Mask Market Again

California will spend another $315 million on protective masks through a contract with a Chinese manufacturer. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the deal with BYD on Wednesday as he touted California's efforts to procure masks for health care and other essential workers. Newsom signed a $1 billion contract with BYD in April and the first masks began arriving last month after delays. Newsom said California will soon launch a competitive bidding process to try to get more masks at lower prices. But he also acknowledged the masks aren't always getting to workers that need them and pledged a more aggressive state response.

UC Berkeley Teaching Online Only

With a recent surge in coronavirus cases, UC Berkeley has decided to begin the fall semester fully remote.

Last month the school announced plans to open on August 26th with a mix of online and in-person classes with one caveat: the plan was subject to change. But with infection rates climbing in the state and on campus, the university issued a statement this week saying this semester will begin 100% remotely, with no in-person classes.

If conditions improve, the university would consider switching to a hybrid model mid-semester — with priority on lab work, fieldwork, and studio classes.

The statement cited a general increase in cases, but it did not address the recent 47-person outbreak linked to campus frat parties.

Students must now adjust their plans, which is especially challenging for international students, who make up about 15% of the student body

Officials wrote:

“We understand that this news will be disappointing. Many faculty and students continue to look forward to the resumption of some element of in-person instruction.”

CA Wildfire Update

Firefighters have increased containment of two wildfires in rural northeastern California. Cal Fire says the Gold Fire in northern Lassen County is 15% contained, as of this morning. The weather has begun to stabilize and thunderstorms are expected to be minimal, but authorities say gusty winds and low relative humidity will continue. The fire is in an area of private residences, ranches, and commercial operations, and some evacuations are in place. In southern Lassen County, the 15-square-mile Hog Fire west of Susanville is about a quarter contained. Elsewhere, firefighters have nearly completely contained the 46-square-mile Mineral Fire in western Fresno County.