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Citizens and Businesses Are Flouting the Distancing Guidelines

Coronavirus Journal: Parks may yet have to close, AA goes online, first death in Alameda County, and school's out for summer?

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With staggering numbers of homeless individuals in Oakland and across Alameda County, Alameda County supervisors on Tuesday morning were likely to approve proposals to lease two Oakland hotels at a cost of more than $3.2 million through the end of April. The proposed lease agreements on Tuesday's Alameda County Board of Supervisors agenda call for the county to use the Comfort Inn & Suites and the Radisson Hotel Oakland Airport, both on Edes Avenue, and near the Oakland Coliseum, to temporarily house the homeless during the crisis. The initial costs will be steep. The 289-room Radisson Hotel Oakland Airport will cost $2.4 million to lease from Mar. 16 through the end of April, according to a county staff report. If the hotel space is still needed, the rate becomes $53,744 a day. The 109-room Comfort Inn & Suites will be leased to the county for $870,480 during the same time frame, and $19,344 a day thereafter, according to a county staff report. ...

With the crisis seemingly growing every day, and the potential unfettered spread of the virus in prisons across the state, East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta said in a tweet Monday night that low-risk prisoners who can't afford bail should be released immediately. "With #COVID19 in our jails, all low-risk ppl who can't pay should be released now!" Bonta tweeted. On Monday morning, Alameda County Sheriff's Commander Tom Madigan said no cases of the coronavirus have been reported among its inmate population at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Over the past week, over 400 prisoners have been released from Santa Rita Jail on modified sentences in order to limit the possible spread of the infection, Madigan said.

On March 2, European Society of Cardiology researchers published a study on how dirty air shortens more lives than wars, smoking, parasitic disease and HIV. They said they're findings suggest that the world faces an air pollution "pandemic." Barely two weeks have passed and we're in the midst of a very different pandemic. Although pollution still poses an existential threat for millions of people each year, the pandemic we're reckoning with on a global scale through unprecedented isolation measures has had a measurable effect on air quality in some places. Satellite imagery of three coronavirus hotspots shows a dramatic decline in air pollution in just the past couple weeks as China, Iran and Italy brought their economies to an abrupt halt. One Stanford University scientist estimated that China's sweeping lockdown has saved 77,000 lives — about seven times the COVID-19 death rate so far — by curbing emissions from cars and factories. ...

Stephen Buel contributed to this report.

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