Bay Area COVID-19 Roundup: Dream Vacation Ends In COVID Tragedy; Vaccine Supply Shortage Slows Distribution; Newsom Launches Recall Fight

CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It’s been a year since the historic COVID-19 shutdown and the battle with the virus is still impacting our daily lives. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 24 hours.

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Grand Princess: Dream Vacation Ended In COVID Tragedy For San Francisco Family
SAN FRANCISCO — The last vacation Margrit and Lucio Gonzalez took together began with an ominous delay: a medical emergency on the Grand Princess cruise ship they were set to board in San Francisco. After a four-hour wait, the couple of 51 years got on the Grand Princess on Feb. 11, 2020, for a round-trip voyage from San Francisco to the Mexican Riviera, a decision Margrit Gonzalez came to regret. “I wish we had come back home. He would still be alive,” the 82-year-old said. Within weeks, the Grand Princess had captured the world’s attention and made the coronavirus real to millions in the United States when thousands of passengers on a subsequent trip were quarantined as the ship idled off the California coast. Read More

Second Suspect Arrested in Fatal Oakland Assault, Robbery of 75-Year-Old Asian Man
OAKLAND — Police in Oakland on Monday evening confirmed the arrest of a second suspect in connection with the fatal assault and robbery of 75-year-old Asian victim Pak Ho. Police tweeted about the arrest of 56-year-old Elbert Britton shortly after 5 p.m. Monday. Britton was taken into custody in connection with “the homicide of a 75-year-old Oakland resident” last Friday, according to the tweet. Police confirmed to KPIX a short time later that the Oakland resident in question was Pak Ho. Britton has been identified by the Alameda County Sheriff as the getaway driver for robbery and homicide suspect Teaunte Bailey in the assault and robbery of Pak Ho last Tuesday. Read More

Gov. Gavin Newsom Launches Campaign Against Likely Recall – ‘I Will Fight It’
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom established a political committee Monday to begin raising money to defend his seat in a potential recall election, the strongest acknowledgment to date that he expects to be on the ballot this year. “I won’t be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall — but I will fight it,” the governor said in a tweet on Monday. The Democrat’s new fundraising arm could soon send a powerful message to his possible rivals: Under state rules, Newsom alone is allowed to raise money in unlimited amounts, while other candidates must adhere to contribution limits. It’s likely he will soon receive a flood of cash from his familiar Democratic constituency, including powerful public worker unions that spent millions of dollars helping install him in office in 2018. Read More

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Bay Area Health Officers: Best COVID-19 Vaccine Is ‘One You Can Get The Soonest’
SAN FRANCISCO — As some debate the differences between the approved COVID-19 vaccines, health officials across the Bay Area gave their endorsement of all three shots, saying the vaccines are highly effective. “With COVID-19 continuing to circulate as we work toward community immunity, our collective medical advice is this: the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest,” said a statement co-signed by health officers in all nine Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley, which operates its own health department. The health officers said the shots from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson Johnson have been shown to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic illness and hospitalization from the virus. Clinical trials demonstrated the three vaccines have been 100% effective in preventing deaths from COVID-19, the officials said. Read More

Vaccine Eligibility Expands But Appointments For Doses May Be Hard To Find
SAN JOSE — Millions of Californians with pre-existing health conditions and disabilities are now qualified to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the state expands eligibility. However, many are finding that getting an appointment to get a dose isn’t easy in some parts of the state. In Santa Clara County, a shortage in supply has forced the county to nearly halt the scheduling of first doses. Some residents have said even trying to find an appointment for a second dose has been challenging. Last week, the county canceled many first dose appointments in order to reserve its supply for second doses. That included Kaiser patients whose appointments were canceled. Read More

Oakland Teachers, School District Tentatively Agree To March 30 Return To Classrooms
OAKLAND — Oakland schools will begin reopening before the end of March, after leaders from the teachers’ union and the school district reached a deal Sunday after weeks of negotiations. The tentative agreement — which won’t become official unless it is first approved by the Oakland Education Association and then passed by the Oakland Unified School District board — also preserves the option for students to remain in distance learning. The first phase of the agreement has in-person classes resuming March 30 for pre-kindergarten through grade 2 and priority students, with the second phase resuming April 19 for grades 3-5 and at least one secondary grade to be determined later. Read More

San Francisco Condo Market Heats Up After Pandemic Tumble
SAN FRANCISCO — The real estate selling season is off to a hot start this year and the San Francisco condo market has significantly strengthened since the pandemic doldrums of last the summer. Despite the lackluster condo market last year, the Four Seasons Private Residences at 706 Mission is home to the two highest closings for luxury high rise residences in 2020. KPIX 5 got an exclusive preview at the first luxury condo set to officially open in San Francisco during the pandemic. The ultra post, ultra luxury project has been in the works for 12 years. It fills the last remaining buildable space in the Yerba Buena neighborhood. Read More

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Bay Area Transit Workers Become Eligible For Shots
SAN JOSE — Transit workers across California can begin registering for vaccines Monday, as part of the latest change to the state’s constantly evolving distribution plan. In a joint announcement last week, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265, said the news felt like “Christmas in March.” The agency’s 2,100 workers have been separated into tiers within the organization itself, with frontline drivers and operators slated to get the vaccine first, using a special registration code. As of Monday afternoon, 300 VTA employees had already been vaccinated. Read More

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