SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – This is a breaking news update. AP’s original story is below:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says four of the nation’s largest banks have agreed to temporarily suspend mortgage payments for those affected by the coronavirus.
Wells Fargo, US Bank, Citi and JP Morgan Chase have all agreed to waive mortgage payments for 90 days, Newsom said. Bank of America has agreed to a 30-day suspension, he said.
More than 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits since March 13.
The news comes after Congress reached a deal with the Trump administration on a stimulus package that will increase unemployment benefits by an $600 per week on top of what the state provides.
Los Angeles County health officials backtracked Tuesday on their announcement that a child died from coronavirus, saying itâ€™s possible the death was caused by something else.
During their daily briefing, the county health department said the unidentified child from the city of Lancaster was among four new deaths.
Hours later, after Gov. Gavin Newsom had cited the death of the teenager as evidence the virus can strike anyone, the county issued a new statement.
â€œThough early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality” and the case will need evaluation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the statement said.
Lancsaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said a 17-year-old boy had been hospitalized with respiratory problems and died from septic shock, a reaction to a widespread infection that can cause dangerously low blood pressure and organ failure.
Parris said the boyâ€™s father also has coronavirus and worked in a job where he had close contact with the public.
The mayor said the boy may have had long-term health problems in the past but was healthy recently. He said he doesn’t doubt that the teen died from complications of COVID-19.
â€œWeâ€™re the first city in the nation to lose a child and that is unbearable to me,â€ he said.
A report last week by the CDC found no coronavirus deaths in the U.S. among people 19 and under. That age group accounted for less than 3% of all hospitalizations.
As with many other communities, Lancaster, a Mojave Desert city of 170,000 north of Los Angeles, has been struggling to find tests and protective gear to deal with the virus. Parris said the city has ordered 100,000 test kits from Europe.
Meanwhile, Newsom and others took issue with President Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday that he wants the United States â€œopened up and just raring to go by Easterâ€ – some two weeks away and far sooner than medical experts expect the fast-spreading outbreak will begin to diminish.
Noting that results are still pending for thousands of Californians who have taken the virus tests, the governor said it will take at least until May to determine if quarantine and testing measures have reduced the spread of the virus enough to consider modifying tough stay-at-home orders.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said his city might see a surge in coronavirus cases based on the ferocious outbreak in the New York area.
â€œWe are anywhere from about 6 to 12 days behind what we are seeing in New York City … where more than one American is dying each hour,â€ Garcetti said Tuesday.
â€œEverybody is hopeful and some are putting out that hope of us being back in churches by Easter or synagogues by Passover, of restarting the economy in a couple of weeks,â€ Garcetti said. But in Los Angeles, he added, â€œwe will not be back to that normal in that short period of time. I said to be prepared for a couple months like this.â€
A tally by Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday found California cases have topped 2,500, with at least 50 deaths.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Anticipating more hospitalizations and deaths, California and local governments have been scrambling to obtain gloves and safety gear for healthcare workers and ramping up the number of available hospital beds for virus patients and emergency beds for the homeless, who are considered at a disproportionate risk.
â€œHere in San Francisco we had private companies go out and get masks and (personal protective equipment) in general to go out support our health care workers. We have had to basically be innovative and work with the private sector to try and get the resources we need,â€ San Francisco Mayor London Breed told KGO-TV Tuesday. â€œThe federal government just isnâ€™t moving fast enough.â€
Newsom announced that the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship Mercy was on its way to Los Angeles from San Diego and would arrive Friday and could be ready as early as Saturday to provide care to non-coronavirus patients in order to ease the crush on hospitals.
The governor also announced new measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus in state prisons. He halted new admissions to prisons for 30 days, a move projected to lower the population by more than 5,000 inmates after one convict and seven prison employees tested positive for the coronavirus.
His executive order responded to advocates’ increasingly dire warnings of a lethal danger in facilities holding about 123,000 inmates, some stacked in bunks in dormitories and others paired in cells about the size of a parking space. Newsom did not order any earlier paroles, though his action is likely to speed releases of lower-level offenders from county jails that already have freed hundreds of inmates in response to the pandemic.
Throughout the state, lawmakers pleaded with Californians to abide by local and state stay-at-home orders affecting some 40 million people. While most people and businesses were obeying the orders, there were hints that authorities were losing patience with scofflaws.
Reports of people frequenting beaches and parks without maintaining a safe social distance prompted Newsom to close parking lots at those facilities.
In San Diego, patrolling police were reportedly stopping people from walking on the sand at beaches.
In Los Angeles, the mayor said there have been reports of so-called nonessential businesses ignoring orders to shut down.
While he hopes for voluntary compliance, those ignoring warnings could face misdemeanor charges and the city could shut off the businessâ€™s water and electricity, Garcetti warned.
Such businesses are â€œirresponsible and selfish … it will put all of us at risk,” Garcetti said.
Associated Press writers Adam Beam and Don Thompson in Sacramento, Kathleen Ronayne, Janie Har and Juliet Williams in San Francisco, Christopher Weber, Stefanie Dazio, Brian Melley and Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles and Julie Watson and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.