Bay Area Headlines: Saturday, 3/21/20, PM | KALW

Bay Area Headlines: Saturday, 3/21/20, PM

Mar 21, 2020

First shutdown weekend / Medical supplies lacking / Fishermen left high and dry / PG&E bankruptcy agreement

First shutdown weekend

California has never seen a weekend quite like this. No sports practice for the kids. No dining out. No church services. Some 40 million Californians are coping with their first weekend under a statewide order requiring them to stay at home to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The order that took effect Friday bars people from meeting in groups larger than 10 and urges them to stay at home unless they must get food, prescriptions or medical care, exercise or help vulnerable relatives or neighbors.

Medical supplies lacking

This country is hurting when it comes to medical supplies. The Associated Press has found that the critical shortage of testing swabs, protective masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer can be tied to a sudden drop in imports of medical supplies. Disruptions in the supply chain half a world away and a lack of timely ordering are now leading to deadly delays in replenishing a rapidly dwindling stockpile. The materials are critical to containing the highly contagious coronavirus as emergency rooms and clinics brace for a surge. The United States counts on receiving the vast majority of its medical supplies from China, where the coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people.

Fishermen left high and dry

The coronavirus literally traveled over them from Asia to California while they were on the high seas catching tuna. Fishermen cut off from the world while out at sea for a month have returned to a cold reality: California and nearly one-third of the United States is all but shuttered because of the virus, leaving them few places to sell their catch. A handful of tuna boats filled with their catch are floating off San Diego's coast. Many wholesalers are refusing to buy after restaurants were ordered closed except for takeout. One vessel scrambling to find customers pulled up to a downtown dock in San Diego and was selling big-eye tuna to the public for as little as $10 a pound, a third of the market price.

PG&E bankruptcy agreement

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Pacific Gas & Electric have reached a deal for the nation's largest utility to emerge from bankruptcy triggered by massive liabilities from wildfires. PG&E agreed to overhaul its board and operations and to put the company up for sale if it doesn’t get out of bankruptcy by June 30. PG&E will also commit billions of dollars in additional spending to prevent wildfires, meeting one of Newsom's critical demands for the plan. The company said that with Newsom’s support it anticipates state regulators’ approval so that it can pay wildfire victims fairly and as soon as possible.