Coronavirus updates: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized


The latest updates from our reporters in California and around the world

The Los Angeles Times will provide around-the-clock updates on COVID-19 from across Southern California and around the world.

What South Korea did right to combat coronavirus

South Korea provides lessons the U.S. and other countries could have learned to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


Britain’s Boris Johnson in intensive care, illustrating U.K.’s growing struggle with coronavirus

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, infected by the coronavirus, was moved Monday to intensive care at a London hospital, a dramatic development illustrating his country’s escalating battle with the outbreak.

The first major world leader to be so seriously sickened with COVID-19, the 55-year-old prime minister’s move to a stepped-up level of care came less than 24 hours after he was hospitalized, ostensibly for tests.

He tested positive for the virus on March 26 and acknowledged persistent symptoms including a fever and cough. In a video released Friday, he looked markedly ill, puffy-eyed and subdued, a far cry from his usual ebullient self.

His foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, was deputized to step in as necessary for Johnson, who had been reported earlier in the day to be tending to government affairs from his hospital bed.

After Johnson’s hospitalization was disclosed Sunday, President Trump called the prime minister a personal friend and “great gentleman,” expressing hopes for his recovery.

In recent years, Britain and the United States have shared a certain political zeitgeist, with Brexit and Johnson’s rise both preceding and echoing the populist presidency of Trump.

That transatlantic pas de deux continued into the early days of the coronavirus crisis, with Trump and the British leader both striking an initially dismissive stance about the dangers of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

But now the two countries’ responses to the outbreak may be diverging, even as the near-term epidemiological trajectories in Britain and the United States appear similarly grim.

Less than two weeks before being hospitalized Sunday, Johnson shifted his stance on the outbreak, ordering a March 24 lockdown allowing only essential movement in public. His government now strongly advocates physical distancing measures, consistently pleading with Britons to stay home and save lives.

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Skelton: Newsom’s California Health Corps to fight coronavirus is unprecedented. Now he needs to produce

It’s easy for political leaders to order people to stay home and cover their faces when they venture out. What’s hard is to make all those ambitious programs work that they’re launching.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have earned kudos for briefing the public almost daily on their latest steps to fight the highly contagious coronavirus.

Newsom was the first governor in the nation to issue a stay-at-home order for people not engaged in essential services, such as providing healthcare, bagging groceries or operating gas stations. Garcetti was the first mayor to ask people to wear homemade masks when out and about.

But that’s just verbal jabber mixed with persuasion and cheerleading.

Making all the programs work that they’re rolling out — many in partnership with private enterprise — will be the final test of their performances during this pandemic crisis.



From Iran’s hot zone, Afghans flee home, spreading virus

Mahdi Noori, a young Afghan refugee in Iran, was left jobless when the factory where he’d worked cutting stone was shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak. He had no money, was afraid of contracting the virus and had no options. So he headed home.

He joined a large migration of some 200,000 Afghans and counting who have been flowing home across the border for weeks — from a country that is one of the world’s biggest epicenters of the pandemic to an impoverished homeland that is woefully unprepared to deal with it.

The massive influx of returnees — who are going back untested and unmonitored to cities, towns and villages around the country — threatens to create a greater outbreak in Afghanistan that could overwhelm its health infrastructure wrecked by decades of war.



Fired captain of aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

The Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Capt. Brett Crozier, fired from his post last week, had tested positive, citing two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family. A Navy spokesman declined to comment on Crozier’s health status.

The commander began exhibiting symptoms before he was removed from the warship Thursday, two of his classmates told the newspaper.

The San Diego-based Roosevelt is in port in Guam fighting an outbreak of COVID-19 among its crew.



1 dead, 13 hospitalized from cruise ship in Florida

Authorities say 14 people have been taken to hospitals from a cruise ship that docked in Florida with coronavirus victims aboard and one of them has died.

Two fatalities were reported earlier aboard the Coral Princess, which docked Saturday in Miami. The ship had more than 1,000 passengers and nearly 900 crew members.

Authorities did not immediately disclose whether the 14 people removed for immediate medical attention had a confirmed coronavirus link.

The Princess Cruises line ship began disembarking fit passengers cleared for charter flights Sunday. The cruise line said it was delayed by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policy preventing passengers from being placed on commercial flights.

Anyone with symptoms of the disease or recovering from it were being kept on ship until medically cleared.


An FDA-approved coronavirus home test kit? That’s false, L.A. authorities say

For just $40, the news release billed, you could prick your finger and in 15 minutes learn “with a specificity of 100%” whether you’d tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The “Corona Virus At-Home Test Kit” was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, its manufacturer trumpeted on Twitter.

Not so. Yikon Genomics, a Chinese company staffed by researchers from some of the country’s leading universities, agreed in a settlement with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office to pull its unauthorized product from the market and refund anyone who purchased it. City Atty. Mike Feuer will announce the settlement Monday morning.

As a pandemic sweeps across the United States, straining medical workers’ ability to test for the coronavirus, a mishmash of laboratories, entrepreneurs and outright charlatans have begun selling “home test kits” for COVID-19.

While the FDA says it wants to develop home testing for COVID-19 and is “actively working with test developers” to that end, as of Sunday, the agency has approved no such kits. Such unauthorized and potentially bogus tests put people at risk, the FDA says. If someone uses a defective test that returns a false negative, he or she could fail to seek treatment and unwittingly expose others to the virus.



Coronavirus outbreak at Riverside nursing home leaves 30 sick

Riverside County announced Sunday that 30 patients of a skilled nursing facility, Extended Care Hospital of Riverside, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Some staff members also had tested positive, and officials were awaiting results from other patients and workers at the 90-plus-bed facility, public health officials said Sunday.

The facility was closed to new admissions, sick patients were being isolated, and staff were not being permitted to work elsewhere.

“This is a very serious situation and shows why we must all take serious steps to change our behavior, because these steps are intended to protect our most vulnerable,” Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel said in a statement.



U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for virus pandemic

As the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment.

A review of federal purchasing contracts by the Associated Press shows that federal agencies largely waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line healthcare workers.

By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile. That federal cache of supplies was created more than 20 years ago to help bridge gaps in the medical and pharmaceutical supply chains during a national emergency.

Now, three months into the crisis, that stockpile is nearly drained, just as the numbers of patients needing critical care is surging. Some state and local officials report receiving broken ventilators and decade-old rotted masks.



Pastor who refuses to cancel Sunday services greeted by police

On Sunday, the pastor of Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi, Calif., was greeted by several police officers in the parking lot about an hour before he intended to hold an in-person service despite coronavirus restrictions.

Pastor Jon Duncan, whose small evangelical church leases space in Bethel Open Bible Church, arrived Sunday morning to find that Bethel, which stopped having in-person services on March 15, had changed the locks on the building to prevent his congregants from entering, Lodi Police Lt. Michael Manetti told The Times.

Duncan had continued to hold in-person services for Cross Culture Christian Center amid the coronavirus outbreak.



Tiger at NYC’s Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

NEW YORK — A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday.

The 4-year-old Malayan tiger and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16.

“We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution” and aim to “contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Paul Calle, the zoo’s chief veterinarian.

The finding raises new questions about transmission of the virus in animals. The USDA says there are no known cases of the virus in U.S. pets or livestock.

“It’s important to assure pet owners and animal owners that at this time there isn’t any evidence that they can spread the virus,” said Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official.

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15 more coronavirus deaths in L.A. County as cases jump to nearly 6,000

Los Angeles County on Sunday announced 15 additional deaths related to the coronavirus and 663 new cases, bringing the county’s total to 132 deaths and 5,950 cases.

This weekend has seen a particularly deadly toll in the county, with 38 deaths reported Saturday, the largest one-day total yet.

“We have some very difficult days ahead and now is the time for all of us to redouble our physical distancing efforts and look after our neighbors, friends, and families who may be at the highest risk for serious illness from COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

Of the fatalities reported Sunday, 10 of those who died were older than 65, and 11 had underlying health conditions, officials said. One person was under the age of 40. Two of the deaths already had been reported by the city of Pasadena, which has its own health department.

There have now been nearly 1,400 coronavirus infections recorded in L.A. County over the last 48 hours as the number of people tested has risen to 31,000. Long Beach officials also reported 15 new cases Sunday, for a total of 213.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized with COVID-19

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus more than a week ago, was admitted to a hospital Sunday for tests.

Johnson’s office said he was hospitalized because he still had symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Downing Street said it was a “precautionary step” and that he remained in charge of the government.

Before his hospitalization, Johnson, 55, had been quarantined in his Downing Street residence. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.

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Queen delivers message of hope to U.K. amid coronavirus outbreak

Queen Elizabeth II makes an address Sunday from Windsor Castle.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II addresses the nation and the Commonwealth from Windsor Castle on Sunday.
(Associated Press)

Britain needed a message of hope Sunday. The queen delivered it.

Queen Elizabeth II offered support to a country locked down in the coronavirus pandemic, promising the nation that it would rise to the challenge and overcome the outbreak.

In a rare address to the nation, the 93-year-old monarch acknowledged the suffering that many families have experienced because of the coronavirus crisis, which has infected more than 47,806 people in the U.K. and killed at least 4,934 of them. She drew upon wisdom from her decades as Britain’s head of state to urge resolve in a time of crisis.

“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different,” she said. “This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal.

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In coronavirus-stricken Italy, a new field hospital rises at the foot of the Alps

BERGAMO, Italy — Italy’s historic mountain infantry, the Alpini, got ahold of pavilion B at the convention center in Bergamo in late March under emergency conditions brought by the coronavirus.

At that time, pavilion B amounted to nothing more than 6,500 square meters of empty hall space, pavement and ceiling ducts.

By April, members of the infantry wearing the Alpini’s iconic pointed green hat with black feathers were on their hands and knees, scrubbing the new wooden floors of a COVID-19 field hospital complete with intensive-care units, physician changing rooms, oxygen hook-ups and test labs.

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Cameo videos let NBA stars connect with fans during self-isolation

Lakers center JaVale McGee has done the autograph thing countless times.

Fans line up at a collectibles shop or at a convention booth with jerseys, basketballs — whatever — all to get a few seconds from an NBA player and his autograph.

For McGee, it was a grind. The same pleasantries, the same Sharpie marker, the same autograph, over and over.

Like a lot of NBA players, though, he’s found an alternative way to connect with his fans — to help wish your girl a Happy Valentine’s Day, to shame you for a fantasy draft performance, to embarrass you for jumping on bandwagons and to share a small slice of his day thanks to cellphone video and Cameo, a Chicago-based company that books and delivers personalized messages.

“Sometimes, you’d go to signings and people would want stuff personalized and you’d have to say ‘No.’ If we personalized every one — we have 3,000 people waiting,” McGee said earlier this year before social distancing and self-isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “With Cameo, it’s personalized.”

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Amid coronavirus outbreak, Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass without the public

Virus Outbreak Italy Palm Sunday
A person on a balcony follows the celebration of Palm Sunday Mass on the roof of the church of San Pio X in Rome on Sunday.
(Associated Press)

Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass in the shelter of St. Peter’s Basilica without the public because of the coronavirus pandemic, while parish priests elsewhere in Rome took to church rooftops and bell towers to lead services so at least some faithful could follow the familiar ritual.

Looking pensive and sounding subdued, Francis led the first of several solemn Holy Week ceremonies that will shut out rank-and-file faithful from attending, as Italy’s rigid lockdown measures forbid public gatherings.

Normally, tens of thousands of Romans, tourists and pilgrims, clutching olive tree branches or palm fronds, would have flocked to an outdoor Mass led by the pontiff. Instead, Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which seemed even more cavernous than usual because it was so empty.

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SoCal megachurch pastor tells people to attend church online

Amid stories that several megachurch pastors in recent weeks have defied calls to cancel gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump tweeted this weekend that he would be “tuning in” Sunday to listen to Greg Laurie, a Southern California megachurch pastor, online.

And so, from his empty Riverside campus at Harvest Christian Fellowship, a church of 15,000 people that would normally be bustling Sunday morning, Laurie filmed a greeting for “a very special guest to our service today.”

“Thank you for talking about the importance of the church in your press conferences,” Laurie said to Trump. “I know you had mentioned earlier that it was your hope that maybe we would be meeting in person on Easter, and unfortunately that has not worked out. But the amazing thing is we’re able to reach a lot of people now online.”

Across the country, pastors have revolted against stay-at-home orders, pitting public health concerns against claims of religious freedom.

Last week, a preacher in Tampa, Fla., was arrested for continuing to gather hundreds of people, with police saying he showed “reckless disregard for human life” by potentially exposing his congregation to the coronavirus.

Still, most churches have been improvising and taking services online.

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Thousand Oaks councilman, a pastor, resigns, says he’ll defy coronavirus order

A Thousand Oaks city councilman has resigned his post, citing his decision to hold Communion at his church Sunday in defiance of stay-at-home orders in place to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Rob McCoy, pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel, submitted his resignation in a letter Saturday night, saying he planned to violate orders that deem churches nonessential.

“As an elected official I am in conflict and thus must tender my resignation from the council,” he wrote in the letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times. “I have no desire to put our community at risk and will not. … However this is portrayed, please know I am obligated to do this.”

McCoy could not immediately be reached for comment.

He wrote in his resignation that, although the church can seat 400 people, on Sunday he would cycle congregants through 10 at a time over a two-hour period after a morning livestream-only service, allowing them to take Communion in the afternoon.

The church’s website said there would be arrows on the ground, six feet apart, outside the building and advised congregants to avoid physical greetings.

The website also advised those who were sick or high-risk to stay home, and asked congregants who had masks or gloves to wear them.

“Some people will disagree, and some people will be overjoyed,” the church wrote on its website of its decision.

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California judicial leaders to adopt emergency order setting bail at zero for some offenses

In a move aimed at reducing the jail population to limit the spread of the coronavirus, California judicial leaders are set to meet remotely Monday, where they’re expected to adopt a statewide emergency order setting bail at zero for misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses.

The Judicial Council, the policymaking body for California’s court system, also is expected to vote to suspend evictions and foreclosures and to allow for the expansion of court hearings held by video or telephone.

For criminal and juvenile proceedings, including arraignments and preliminary examinations, the council will direct courts to prioritize the use of technology to meet legal deadlines and ensure that defendants and children are not held in custody without timely hearings, according to a report prepared for Monday’s meeting.

In criminal cases, the defendant must agree before a court hearing can be held remotely.

Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer last week called on judicial leaders to issue a statewide order requiring preliminary hearings be held remotely. Orange County Public Defender Sharon Petrosino countered that clients had a constitutional right to appear in person for preliminary hearings. During preliminary hearings, prosecutors must show there is sufficient evidence to believe a crime has been committed.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report says, “trial courts must protect defendants’ constitutional rights to have the assistance of counsel and to be personally present with counsel, and at the same time take steps to protect the health of defendants, judicial officers, court staff, counsel, and all those who are required to be present in court.”

Defense lawyers say defendants must be able to see the witnesses testifying against them and confer with counsel.

Public defenders have complained that a previous emergency court order extending legal deadlines for arraignments and preliminary hearings have forced their clients to stay in potentially virus-infested jails.

The Judicial Council also is expected to order courts to give juvenile delinquency cases priority.

“Every state and territory in the country has now delayed jury trials,” the report says. “But courts must provide court access for defendants in custody who are entitled to timely pretrial appearances.”

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye heads the council, which is primarily made up of judges. Gov. Gavin Newsom has given her and the council extraordinary temporary powers to suspend laws to deal with the health crisis.

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A California county takes unusual step to slow coronavirus spread; state braces for jump in cases

Concerned about the rise of coronavirus cases, Riverside County has taken the unprecedented step of ordering all residents to cover their faces when leaving home, marking a dramatic escalation by county officials in their attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite previous pleas from county officials for residents to practice social distancing, cover their faces and stay home, “more and more” residents were getting infected with the virus, and “not everyone’s getting the message,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, said Saturday in issuing the order.

“We change from saying that you should to saying that you must,” Kaiser said in a prepared statement published by the county. As of Saturday, Riverside County has reported 665 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection, while 18 people have died from COVID-19, officials said.

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Death toll, number of infections in coming week may be ‘shocking to some,’ Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci at the White House on Wednesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appears at a White House briefing on Wednesday.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, warned Sunday that the numbers of deaths and COVID-19 infections in the coming week would be “shocking to some” but stressed that all Americans must do what they could to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Across the country, lives and livelihoods have been upended by restrictions on daily activities — measures that Fauci described as painful but necessary to ease the toll of the pandemic.

“We are struggling to get it under control, and that’s the issue that’s at hand right now,” he said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said everyone must “continue to do the physical separation, because we’ve got to get through this week that’s coming up.”

It would be “false,” he said, to state that the outbreak is under control.
There are preliminary signs that stay-at-home directives and social distancing have been effective, Fauci said, but “we’re still not at that apex.”

“Within a week, eight, nine days or so, we’re hopefully going to see that turning around,” he said.

Fauci, who said last week he did not understand why there was not a nationwide stay-at-home order in place, said Sunday that states that did not take such measures harmed the overall effort to stem the outbreak.

“It isn’t that they’re putting the rest of the country at risk as much as they’re putting themselves at risk,” he said. “Every time I get to that podium in the White House briefing room, I plead with people to take a look at those very simple guidelines of physical separation.”

President Trump has said he wants to leave it up to governors rather than imposing a nationwide stay-at-home order. The federal government has issued voluntary guidelines that call for steps including maintaining physical distance.


Governors, criticized by Trump, seek help: ‘States can’t possibly do what the federal government can do’

Days after President Trump criticized states for being ill-prepared for the coronavirus outbreak, several governors on Sunday renewed pleas for more federal help in procuring necessary medical supplies and equipment. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the lack of national coordination in fighting the coronavirus had been “ludicrous.”

Inslee, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” cited good communication with Vice President Mike Pence and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But without mentioning President Trump by name, he blasted the president’s contention that the federal government was meant to serve as a “backup” for states’ efforts to obtain needed supplies.

“I mean, the surgeon general alluded to Pearl Harbor,” said Inslee, a Democrat. “Can you imagine if Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, ‘I’ll be right behind you, Connecticut. Good luck building those battleships.’ Look, we need a national mobilization of the manufacturing base of the United States.”

The governor of Illinois, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, said states lacked the power to invoke the Defense Production Act and therefore could not compel manufacturers to meet critical needs.

“The president does not understand the word ‘federal’ -- Federal Emergency Management Agency,” Pritzker said on CNN. “We have a state emergency management agency, but if he were right, why would we ever need a Federal Emergency Management Agency?

“It’s because individual states can’t possibly do what the federal government can do,” he said.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who, like Inslee, has been the target of heated personal attacks by Trump, said Sunday that more robust testing efforts were needed to help public health experts tamp down scattered outbreaks before they became major conflagrations.

“My job is to do everything I can to protect the 10 million people of Michigan,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Michigan is a hot spot; we need assistance, and I’m grateful for any partnership at the federal level.”

Some GOP governors who have avoided criticizing Trump or the federal response cited worsening situations in their states. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson talked about the challenges of procuring personal protective equipment for medical personnel.

“It’s difficult,” the Republican governor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Arkansas, he said, had sometimes been “outbid by another state after we’ve had the order confirmed.”

He added: “It literally is a global jungle that we’re competing in now.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said his state was running out of ventilators and hospital beds. New Orleans is weathering one of the nation’s worst outbreaks.

“We now think it’s probably around the 9th of April before we exceed our ventilator capacity, based on the current number on hand,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Edwards said the state was “a couple days behind that on [intensive-care] bed capacity being exceeded.”

In New York, however, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said there were potential signs of hope. The state has suffered the nation’s worst outbreak.

He said at a news briefing on Sunday in Albany that the number of deaths had been dropping in the last few days, along with the number of new hospitalizations,. He said, however, it was “too early to tell” what that signaled.


Coronavirus spreading rapidly through California nursing homes, assisted-living centers

Nursing homes and assisted-living centers across California continued to see significant increases in coronavirus cases, alarming officials who are trying to slow the spread.

The older populations of these facilities almost always have underlying health problems, making them particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. They often live in close quarters. Administrators have responded by banning visitors, confining patients to their rooms and scrambling to create sterile wings to treat residents who contract the disease.

Still, there have been outbreaks at facilities from Redondo Beach to Burlingame.

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Coronavirus frays the safety net for people with severe disabilities, leaving many at risk

MENLO PARK, Calif. —Sue Swezey, 83, has spent the last three weeks at home caring for her son John, who is 57 and severely autistic.

John needs 24-hour supervision. He cannot cross a street safely. The other day, he used a metal fork to free a piece of bread stuck in a toaster. His mother rushed in to pull the plug.

Before the coronavirus outbreak struck, John Swezey and people like him with intellectual and developmental disabilities received state assistance through a network of 21 regional centers that funded programs providing home health aides and other services. Those programs are now closed, and they could remain so for months.

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L.A. has a coronavirus eviction ban, but landlords are finding ways to demand rent

Simona Boneva knew she wasn’t going to be able to pay her rent this month. Her shift as an office manager at a media company was cut in half, and her bartending job went away entirely because of the citywide shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak.

When she went to talk to her landlord, the company responded with a letter outlining terms for it to agree to temporary relief and a repayment plan — among them that she turn over any money from a federal stimulus check or from a charity within five days.

“I can’t believe that they would legally be able to do that,” said Boneva, 27, who rents a two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood with a roommate. “They’re not entitled to the money for your rent above all else.”

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School from home is the new coronavirus reality. What will the next three months look like?

A senior at John C. Fremont High School in South L.A., Emilio Hernandez’s class load is about as rigorous as it gets: AP calculus, physics, design, English, engineering and government. He loves talking to his peers in English class, who make all the readings thought-provoking. He often turns to his math teacher, who has a way of drawing the graphs and walking him through derivatives and complex formulas.

Now, with a borrowed laptop from school and family crowded in the living room, he’s struggling to make school feel like, well, school. He has trouble falling asleep and finds himself going to bed later and later — sometimes as late as 3 a.m.

“Assignments that would normally take me two hours or thirty minutes are now taking me days to complete. I just … can’t focus,” he said. “I don’t have anyone giving me direction. It’s just me reading and having to give myself the incentive to do the work.”

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South L.A.’s renaissance was decades in the making. The coronavirus could end it in weeks

Four months into a profitable start, the owners of South LA Cafe sent out an SOS to their nearly 10,000 Instagram followers.

“Help us keep South LA Café open!” Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace posted to the café’s page on Sunday. “Can you commit to sending us $10 or more just for the next three months to keep us on our feet?”

The eatery, on Western Avenue near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, had been making money since the first day it opened its doors in November, turning a 10% profit every month over the next, the owners said. Patrons came for the coffee but returned for the culturally conscious events, the safe space that celebrates blackness and a vibe that emanates “for us, by us.” Early talks had begun to expand to two more locations.

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Over Lent, this Episcopal priest battled coronavirus: ‘I didn’t know what plans Jesus had for me’

Janet Broderick felt fine for the first few days after she returned from a religious conference in Kentucky in February. The 64-year-old rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church put on her flowing green robe and held Sunday services.

She handed out communion wafers. She baptized a baby. She went for a bike ride. She led the monthly meeting of church leaders.

She had arrived at the Beverly Hills church last summer and was busy preparing for her first Lent there — the season of reflection and repentance that starts with Ash Wednesday and culminates in Easter Sunday.

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Coronavirus is America’s common enemy, but the states aren’t all playing on the same team

As the pandemic has washed over the U.S., the coronavirus has faced an inconsistent set of defenses in recent weeks, with state borders often marking the difference between whether millions of Americans — and therefore the virus — are free to move about or not.

The lack of strong direction from the Trump administration has left many life-and-death decisions in the hands of state and local officials, whose varied response is projected to produce a notable disparity in rate of infection and how many lives are spared or lost.

Under the nation’s decentralized system of public health management, governors hold sweeping quarantine powers, making them marquee political figures. An early group, primarily Democrats, bucked the Trump administration in mid-March to shut down businesses and impose social distancing orders in the most disruptive government intervention into Americans’ lives since World War II.

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Column One: Calls to suicide hotlines over coronavirus are spiking. Counselors feel the pain

The voice on the other end of the line was filled with panic.

The woman on the phone had come back from the market with a dry cough; she was worried about having COVID-19, worried that she could infect her husband and her children. For a brief moment, she’d forgotten her fears and embraced her kids.

“Now I’m afraid they may have gotten it from me,” she said.

April Rosas comforted the woman the only way she could — over the phone from a small gray cubicle on the third floor of the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center in Century City.

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Aid workers seek to avoid coronavirus outbreak at Matamoros migrant camp

MATAMOROS, Mexico — Scores of tents are pitched side by side, some home to as many as six people.

Residents wash at communal showers and sinks, line up in tight queues for evening meals, and gather after dark to socialize and sing evangelical melodies.

Smoke from campfires and swirling dust nurture colds, coughing jags and a wide range of other respiratory ailments.

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Death toll from coronavirus passes 300 in California on L.A. County’s worst day yet

Coronavirus-related deaths across California have soared past 300, with Los Angeles County reporting its largest single-day rise in fatalities, as officials worked to improve testing and keep people inside to slow the spread of the virus.

Los Angeles County on Saturday announced 28 additional deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as officials warned again that they were preparing for several tough weeks ahead. The county also reported 711 new cases, bringing the total to more than 5,300, with 119 deaths.

“Unfortunately, today’s significant increase in the number of people who have died leaves so many families in our communities facing unimaginable loss and grief,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

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How a discovery that brought us Viagra could help those battling the coronavirus

Nitric oxide is a gas with a pretty enviable medical resume.

Its discovery gave rise to a treatment that snatches thousands of “blue babies” — newborns starved of oxygen by a heart defect — from the jaws of death every year. Later, research into the gas’ knack for relaxing blood vessels led to the development of the world’s best-known little blue pill — the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.

In 1992, the journal Science named nitric oxide “molecule of the year.” And in1998, UCLA pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro shared a Nobel Prize in medicine for uncovering nitric oxide’s role as a “signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.”

Nitric oxide may not be done yet. The colorless, odorless gas, inhaled through a mask or even from a small “flute,” is now being tested as an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

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Surgeon general calls coming week ‘our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment’

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday the coming week was going to be “the hardest and saddest of most Americans’ lives,” likening the projected toll from COVID-19 to “our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.

”More than 310,000 cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus have been reported, and the nationwide death toll is nearing 8,500.

Adams, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” urged Americans to follow social-distancing guidelines and to wear face coverings in public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week called on Americans to wear masks when outside their homes, but Trump said Friday: “I don’t see it for myself.”

“The president is making a choice that is appropriate for him,” said the surgeon general, who has released a video showing how to make a simple homemade face covering with fabric and rubber bands. Wearing a mask, he cautioned, is not a substitute for social distancing.

Adams also deflected questions about the need for a nationwide stay-at-home order. Trump has said he prefers to leave the decision to governors, nine of whom have not issued such a directive in their states.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, said last week he did not understand why there was no nationwide stay-at-home order. Adams said in the Fox interview that the federal government’s guidelines, which are voluntary, were “essentially” a national order.

“Over 90% of the country is staying home,” he said.


On the road in the Southwest during the coronavirus pandemic. Shelter in place? Keep driving?

An RV pulls into Black Bart’s RV Park in Flagstaff, Ariz., during the pandemic.
An RV pulls into Black Bart’s RV Park in Flagstaff, Ariz., during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — They didn’t pack masks or latex gloves before their morning hike, trusting that the increasingly empty trails amid the vast mountain vistas would provide more than adequate protection.

For R.W. Van Arsdale and his son, Robert, an impromptu respite in the Southwest has become an unlikely antidote to riding out the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s also their only option for now.

Van Arsdale’s Ford F-150 broke down two weeks ago during their father-son road trip from Oregon to the Grand Canyon. It took several days to locate a mechanic who wasn’t booked up for several more days, but he finally found one and planned to be back on the road to the Pacific Northwest soon.

In the meantime, however, the pair has remained quarantined inside their travel trailer: father, son and two golden retrievers, Watson and Fink, cooped up inside a 24-foot rectangle. But Van Arsdale’s not complaining. He’s glad they have their own place in which to isolate.

“What is happening is really real and it’s terrifying,” Van Arsdale, a retired pharmacist, said one recent morning. “If people don’t take proper precautions, it can and definitely will get even worse.”

The question for Van Arsdale and other Americans traversing the country in RVs and campers this spring is what, exactly, are proper precautions during a health crisis that even a month ago — when many of them set out on their adventures along Route 66 — seemed inconceivable.

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Federal court panel denies motion to force California prisons to move inmates out of harm’s way

A federal court panel has denied an emergency motion to force California prison officials to move thousands of inmates out of harm’s way of the coronavirus.

“We are living in unprecedented times. The spread of COVID-19 is a global crisis, a crisis that is heightened in the most vulnerable groups among us,” the 15-page ruling begins.

The request by prisoners’ attorneys for mass releases in the face of that virus is “understandable,” and inmates have an 8th Amendment right to be protected from disease, the ruling states. But the three-judge panel ruled it is the wrong judicial panel to decide such a case.

The federal panel was created in 2007 to address chronic prison overcrowding, and affirmed in 2009 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The judges Saturday said the question of protecting prisoners from COVID-19 belongs before a single court, such as one overseeing inmate medical care.

“We take no satisfaction in turning away Plaintiffs’ motion without reaching the important question of whether Defendants have implemented constitutionally adequate measures to protect the inmates of California’s prisons from the serious threat posed by this unparalleled pandemic,” the judges wrote. And they add, “It is likely that only through significant effort will California’s prisons be able to minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

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Video: Spyder Surfboards sets up build-your-own skateboard drive-through

With the coronavirus leading to stay-at-home orders for most businesses, Dennis Jarvis, owner of Spyder Surfboards, and his family decided to think outside the box and set up a build-your-own skateboard drive-through.


Delaware police use checkpoints for governor’s travel order

WILMINGTON, Del. — Delaware police are enforcing Gov. John Carney’s latest order to blunt the spread of COVID-19 in part with checkpoints designed to discourage out-of-state visitors from entering the state.

Carney’s order allows any Delaware law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle with out-of-state tags except when they’re traveling on interstates.

State police did just that as they stood outside a Claymont shopping center on Friday. Officers asked out-of-state drivers among the 500 that passed through whether they had essential business at the shopping center, and turned them back if they didn’t, The News Journal of Wilmington reported.

No citations issued or arrests were made during Friday’s operation. Violating an emergency order is a misdemeanor, and can be punishable by a fine or prison time.

Troopers also performed similar patrols on roads in the Claymont area on Thursday night, a police news release said.

Carney’s order also tells out-of-state travelers, with some small exceptions, to self-quarantine for 14 days if they arrive in Delaware. A stay-at-home order has been in effect for almost two weeks.

As of Saturday, evening Delaware reported close to 600 positive COVID-19 cases and at least 14 deaths. The number of people with the virus who were hospitalized neared 100.


Two sisters were inseparable for 9 decades. Now the coronavirus lockdown keeps them apart

Corrine "Corky" Casserly, 91, has been virtually cut off from her 95-year-old sister Ruth Sorney, who has mild dementia and lives in an assisted-living home nearby.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Since childhood, 91-year-old Corrine Casserly and her 95-year-old sister Ruth Sorney have been the closest of friends.

As young women coming into their own in Hollywood in the late 1940s, they’d put on their little black dresses most Saturday nights and pretend to be rich by treating themselves to chicken a la king at Tom Breneman’s restaurant by Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street.

They’d celebrate their Italian American heritage later in life at “Club Italiano” socials at St. John Eudes Catholic Church near their homes in the San Fernando Valley.

There were hair appointments every Friday at 10 a.m. at a salon in Woodland Hills, and twice a year the sisters would take the shuttle with their church’s senior club to a casino in San Bernardino, always splitting their winnings 50-50.

It seemed as if nothing could keep the sisters apart, not even the family’s decision to move Sorney into a long-term care home at the beginning of the year. Casserly, who lives only a few blocks away in Tarzana, visited every day.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

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How USC students turned Zoom into a video game platform for coronavirus life

Just a few weeks ago, when the game world was anticipating the next generation of consoles, such as Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, we had no way of knowing that soon a new game platform would emerge. It’s one that had long been right in front of us and seems especially attuned to life during the coronovirus pandemic: Zoom.

Video conferencing platform Zoom had been used regularly and often in business settings, but in our new stay-at-home, work-at-home lifestyle it has become a prime way to connect, be it for jobs, for school, for socializing or even for fitness. And, as an academic team at USC has discovered, it’s a pretty good place to play.

“Play is very natural to fall into, and playing with non-game platforms is something humans have been doing for a long time,” says Aubrey Lynn Isaacman, who is a game designer and student in USC’s Interactive Media MFA program. Isaacman references the Choose Your Own adventure books popular in the 1980s, noting that where there is a medium, there is play.

“With so many people staying at home,” Isaacman says, “we’re going to see a lot of cool, new interactions coming from places we wouldn’t expect.”

Shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom placed restrictions on social gatherings, the USC Game School sprang into action. Jeff Watson, an assistant professor of Interactive Media & Games at the university, put out a call for students to create games using Zoom, keying in on the idea that many would now to be utilizing the platform to connect and in need of ways to use it for its full potential — that is, to play, of course.

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This opera will be sung by more than 250 global performers for coronavirus relief

Just a few days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and as California’s public spaces began to shut down one by one, Sean Griffin, a founder of the avant-garde opera company Opera Povera, posted a random thought to Facebook: “I’m sure there are a few cool Pauline Oliveros pieces we could all perform together in quarantine.”

The response from fellow artists and performers, says Griffin, was immediate: “A bunch of people said, ‘We’ll do it!’”

So on Tuesday evening, for six hours, more than 250 artists from around the world will gather for an epic online performance of the late composer’s “The Lunar Opera: Deep Listening for _Tunes,” an open-form opera in which the enlisted performers create their own characters, movements and sound based on sonic cues known only to themselves.

“It’s not really a spectator opera, but a participant opera,” says Griffin. “It’s participating with everybody else’s creative interpretation.”

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Gov. Gavin Newsom said he ‘owns’ coronavirus testing lapses, announces task force

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said California will significantly increase COVID-19 testing capabilities, adding that he “owns” testing lapses in the state that have made it difficult to track the deadly virus. In a Saturday news conference, Newsom announced a task force that he said will work toward a fivefold increase in daily testing in the state by identifying supply shortages and adding testing locations.

The announcement comes as California continues to see dramatic increases in people hospitalized with the virus, with 2,300 patients in the state. Another 3,267 people hospitalized are suspected of having COVID-19, but are awaiting testing results.

Overnight, the number of coronavirus patients in California’s intensive care unit beds rose nearly 11% to 1,008 people.

In all, Newsom said 126,700 people have been tested in California, a state of nearly 40 million people. Of those who have been tested, 13,000 are awaiting results.

“The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that,” Newsom said. “And I have a responsibility as your governor to do better and do more testing in the state of California.”

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Pandemic exposes low pay and scant protections for nursing assistants and home-care aides

When she heard friends working at Lowe’s were in line for $300 hazard-pay bonuses, Allanah Smit wondered why her employer, Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Miss., had no such plans. “Healthcare workers deserve hazard pay too,” she declared on Twitter. “Yes, we chose this profession, but we didn’t sign up to fight a global pandemic with ONE N-95 respirator and improper PPE.”

As a certified nursing assistant, Smit makes just over $14 an hour to bathe, feed, and reposition patients recovering from car accidents, strokes, and major surgeries like hip replacements. When elective surgeries were suspended last week as the coronavirus spread from hot spots such as New Orleans, Smit began caring for patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

As the healthcare system braces for the full impact of the pandemic, the shortage of doctors and nurses in epicenters like New York has gotten massive attention.

Less scrutiny has been paid to home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants — who collectively represent the largest category of healthcare workers in the country, nearly 5 million people working across a fragmented landscape that includes teaching hospitals and nursing homes, as well as homes and apartments. These are jobs that do not require an associate’s degree.

Even in hospitals, where wages are higher and full-time employment is the norm, these workers are typically paid less than $15 an hour. The pandemic has highlighted the low pay, lack of equipment and scant job security for these workers.

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Thanks to coronavirus, these costumers are now Hollywood’s ‘mask crusaders’

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03: Nikolaus Brown, president of Motion Picture Costumers Local 705, makes face masks at his home in Hollywood on Friday, April 3, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. With the Coronavius rampantly spreading through cities across the world, n95 masks have become in high demand and short supply. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
(Kent Nishimura/Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

Like many of his colleagues in Hollywood, costumer Nickolaus Brown felt helpless when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

He had been working on Netflix’s big-budget action movie “Red Notice,” making sure Dwayne Johnson’s clothes fit right on set in Atlanta, before filming was shut down.

The crisis hit home for Brown, president of the Motion Picture Costumers Local 705. His sister, a nurse in Winston-Salem, N.C., had sent him a photo of her son waving goodbye to his dad through a window — a necessary physical separation because her radiologist husband was exposed to COVID-19 at work. Medical providers, she said, faced a severe shortage of masks and other protective equipment.

Brown was determined to do something. So he took to Facebook and put out a “call to arms,” rallying 250 designers, sewers and cutters to make masks for healthcare providers and others.

“It breaks my heart,”Brown said, his voice breaking in a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “So I have a personal reason for doing this as well.”

The motion picture industry has been decimated by the coronavirus crisis, which has halted film and television productions worldwide. More than 100,000 cast and crew have lost work and are turning to relief packages set up by unions, independent Go Fund Me efforts and various Hollywood foundations.

With no end in sight to the crisis, costumers — whose job is to create and fit costumes for actors on sets — are plying their sewing and design skills to help address the very real shortages of face masks and other protective clothing among medical workers.

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Trump pushes for return of sports, says it will happen ‘sooner rather than later’

President Trump, who spoke to commissioners from various sports leagues earlier in the day, said at Saturday news briefing that he was eager to have fans back in the arenas “whenever we’re ready, as soon as we can.”

“The fans want to be back too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey,” he said. “They want to see their sports. They want to go out to the golf courses.”

Trump added: “I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later.”

At the news briefing, Trump said there was no contingency plan for the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 24-27 in North Carolina.

“We think by the end of August we’ll be in good shape,” he said.


California starts to arrest and charge violators of Safer at Home orders

As California officials try desperately to keep people inside to slow the spread of the coronavirus, authorities are beginning to crack down on scofflaws.

The crackdown has escalated in recent days, with nonessential businesses that refuse to shut down as well as people who defy orders to stay out of the water finding themselves in the crosshairs.

Los Angeles prosecutors on Friday filed criminal charges against two smoke shops, a shoe store and a discount electronics retailer, accusing them of refusing to shut down despite orders imposed to fight the coronavirus. It marks the first time the city has filed charges for violations of the “Safer at Home” order, which requires businesses deemed nonessential to close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A paddle boarder was arrested Thursday after ignoring lifeguards’ orders to get out of the ocean near the Malibu Pier despite beach closures. County lifeguards patrolling the shore by boat tried to get the man to come ashore. Despite repeated orders to exit the water, the man continued paddle boarding for at least 30 minutes. Lifeguards eventually flagged down Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who responded by boat to help, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

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Patricia Bosworth, actor turned celebrity biographer, dies of coronavirus

Patricia Bosworth, known for her role opposite Audrey Hepburn in the 1959 film “The Nun’s Story,” her biographies of Hollywood luminaries and her own celebrated memoirs, died in Manhattan on April 2. She was 86.

Bosworth’s stepdaughter, Fia Hatsav, told the New York Times that the author died of pneumonia brought on by the novel coronavirus.

A member of the Actors Studio during its golden era under Lee Strasberg, Bosworth studied alongside Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Jane Fonda. In the 1950s and ‘60s, she appeared in a number of Broadway plays, including “Inherit the Wind,” along with such TV shows as “Naked City” and “The Patty Duke Show” and films.

During the 1960s, Bosworth gave up acting to become a journalist, writing for the New York Times and magazines including New York, Mirabella and Working Woman — largely about the entertainment business and the many luminaries she befriended at the Actors Studio. In 1994, then-editor Tina Brown hired her as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

Bosworth also penned acclaimed biographies of Fonda, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and photographer Diane Arbus.

Her biography on Arbus served as the basis for the 2006 film “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” which starred Nicole Kidman.

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Israel cracks down on enforcement of coronavirus orders

Police in Tel Aviv were handing out "many, many, many" fines to beachgoers and others.
Police in Tel Aviv were handing out “many, many, many” fines to beachgoers and others on Saturday, an officer said.
(Noga Tarnopolsky / Los Angeles Times)

Israel has ramped up its enforcement of strict measures intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In Tel Aviv, three-person teams of police officers patrolled the beaches on a sunny Saturday, said an officer who, according to protocol, asked not to be identified. They issued “many, many, many” fines of $135 to beachgoers, cyclists, picknickers, and at least one father who brought his two young children on scooters to the seaside promenade and none of them were wearing masks, which this week became mandatory in Israel.

Helicopters were heard overhead on Saturday, the first full day of a complete lockdown imposed on the adjacent ultra-Orthodox Jewish township of Bnei Brak, where the rate of COVID-19 infections is seven times that of nation.

The officer who could not be identified foresaw a major police deployment on Wednesday night, the beginning of the Passover holiday.


Spain starts to see slowdown in new cases

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says that his nation, ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, is “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Sánchez said that, if the current slowdown of the outbreak continued, Spain was on course to reduce its cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Current numbers show Spain has 124,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 11,000 deaths.

Sánchez gave a televised address to the nation Saturday and said Spain was close to reducing the spread of the virus. He implored citizens “to make more sacrifices” during the crisis.

Sánchez used the address to announce that the government planned to extend the lockdown of the country until April 26. Spain has been under lockdown orders for three weeks.

Strict limitations that have kept people at home except for shopping for food and medicine, as well as the closure of nonessential businesses, are believed to have helped Spain reduce its rate of contagion, which topped 20% last week, to 6% on Saturday.

Sánchez warned that when restrictions are loosened they will be rolled back gradually. He says it is unclear when all normal activities will be resumed.


New York to receive 1,000 ventilators from China, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that China was facilitating the shipment of 1,000 ventilators to his state and that he was continuing to shop for more of the lifesaving devices.

The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded a quarter of a million, with the death toll climbing past 7,000; more than 3,500 of those deaths were in New York state. Cuomo said the ventilators from China were expected to arrive Saturday.

“This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said, adding that the state of Oregon also is sending 140 ventilators to New York. Cuomo is also looking for ventilators closer to home and has issued an order that forces even private hospitals in the state to redistribute ventilators to the hospitals most in need.

“I want this all to be over,” Cuomo said. “It’s only gone on for 30 days since our first case. It feels like an entire lifetime.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Saturday that Oregon planned to send 140 ventilators to New York.

President Trump announced late Friday he would prevent the export of N95 protective masks and surgical gloves to ensure they were available in the U.S. — prompting neighboring Canada’s prime minister to respond that cross-border aid goes well beyond supplies.

“I think of the thousands of nurses who cross the bridge in Windsor to work in the Detroit medical system every day,” Justin Trudeau said. “These are things Americans rely on.”


China honors virus victims with 3 minutes of reflection

A Chinese national flag is flown at half-staff in Wuhan on Saturday.
(Ng Han Guan / Associated Press)

With air raid sirens wailing and flags at half-staff, China held a three-minute nationwide pause for reflection on Saturday to honor those who had died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially “martyrs” who fell ill while fighting what has become a global pandemic.

Commemorations took place at 10 a.m. in all major cities but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, the industrial city where the virus was first detected in December.

Wuhan was placed under complete lockdown on Jan. 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. It’s been lauded as a “heroic city” by the nation’s communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.

People have gradually been allowed to travel into and out of Wuhan under strict conditions. The quarantine in the city is to be formally lifted on Wednesday.

In Beijing, President Xi Jinping led other top officials, all dressed in black suits with white carnations, as they bowed before a flag at half-staff in the leadership compound of Zhongnanhai.

On Saturday, China reported one new confirmed case in Wuhan and 18 among people arriving from abroad, along with four new deaths, all in Wuhan. China now has recorded a total of 81,639 cases and 3,326 deaths, although those figures are generally considered to be understated because of a lack of testing and a reluctance to report the scale of the original outbreak.

China’s slow, cautious emergence from the global pandemic comes as the U.S. is struggling to deal with an outbreak that has taken more than 1,860 lives in New York City alone. Hard-hit European nations Italy, Spain and France are also seeing rising numbers of cases and deaths, although strict social distancing measures such as those adopted by China appear to be having an effect.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, ordered that national flags be flown at half-staff around the country and at Chinese embassies and consulates abroad, and the suspension of all public recreational activities. The horns of automobiles, trains and ships joined in what China’s official Xinhua News Agency called a “wail in grief” for three minutes. China has held such moments of silence in the past, often to mark World War II-era atrocities by Japan, but rarely on a national scale.


Despite lockdown, Argentines awaiting government assistance line up in droves

Argentines left their homes in droves as banks reopened their branches to give out government assistance.

Thousands of pensioners and citizens who receive government welfare lined up outside banks to get their monthly payments. Branches, which have been closed since a nationwide lockdown began March 20, reopened Friday so citizens who couldn’t receive the payments on debit could get their cash.

The long lines underscore some of the strains that have been created by the coronavirus pandemic in a country where less than half of the population has a bank account. About 4% of pensioners don’t have a bank account, according to data from the pension agency Anses.

“It’s disappointing to see so many pensioners out; the largest risk group is on the streets,” said Damian Otuono, who runs a local food company, while he stood in line outside a branch of Banco Supervielle to deposit cash for his company. “It makes the lockdown feel worthless.”

The banks is open over the weekend so people can continue to receive their funds, according to a notice published by the central bank.

“The situation was overwhelming,” central bank chief Miguel Pesce said in an interview with Radio La Red. “We’re facing a situation that’s unprecedented around the world; there isn’t a guide to handling this situation.”

Argentina was one of the first countries in the region to order a lockdown, allowing citizens to leave their homes only for essential tasks. The lockdown was extended until April 12 as the government aims to avoid a full-scale health crisis. Argentina has 1,265 confirmed cases of the virus and 37 deaths.

“We’re asking that only pensioners with an urgent need go to the banks,” said Alejandro Vanoli, head of the state-run pension agency Anses, in an interview with local TV. “We’re calling for those who can resolve their needs online to use those channels.”


Trump administration tries to narrow stockpile’s role for states

The Trump administration has abruptly changed its description of the Strategic National Stockpile and put forward a narrower vision of the role the federal government’s repository of life-saving medicines and equipment should play in supplying states’ needs.

The change comes as the White House already is facing growing anger and worry from governors over federal assistance to fight the coronavirus outbreak. But it conforms with President Trump’s insistence that the stockpile is only a short-term backup for states, not a commitment to ensure supplies get quickly to those who need them most during an emergency, the latest front in a concerted White House effort to try to put the onus for battling the crisis on the states, with Washington meant to play more of a supporting role.

Trump angrily defended the approach in his Friday news conference, his early sunny demeanor darkening as he was pressed on expected death rates and comments by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, suggesting the national stockpile was not intended for states. He sparred with reporters and insisted his administration was “doing our best for New York,” the pandemic’s epicenter, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned the state is in danger of not having enough ventilators to help patients stricken with coronavirus in a matter of days.

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Doctor fired after criticizing his hospital for coronavirus response

Worried that his hospital was doing too little to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Dr. Ming Lin took his concerns to his superiors.

Still not satisfied, he turned to social media and, in a series of posts over 11 days, called for greater protections for doctors, nurses and patients at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash., where he worked in the emergency room.

“I do fear for my staff,” he said in a March 26 video posted on YouTube. “Morally, I think when you see something wrong, you have to speak out.”

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Sean Penn’s nonprofit boosts COVID-19 testing efforts in Los Angeles

As the need for COVID-19 testing grows, the city of Los Angeles received an unexpected boost from actor Sean Penn and his nonprofit organization, Community Organized Relief Effort. The group, known as CORE, has been working with L.A. officials to run operations at some coronavirus drive-through testing facilities.

“We are accustomed to working in foreign places supporting other communities,” Penn said in an emailed statement. “In this situation, every single one of us responding, including myself, are also experiencing the impact of this crisis in our own personal lives.”

According to Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell, CORE’s efforts will allow more city and county residents to be tested while freeing up first responders, including firefighters, for other emergency services.

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L.A. files criminal charges against four stores for refusing to close amid coronavirus

Los Angeles prosecutors on Friday filed criminal charges against two smoke shops, a shoe store and a discount electronics retailer, accusing them of refusing to shut down despite orders imposed to fight the coronavirus.

It marks the first time the city has filed charges for violations of the “Safer at Home” order, which requires businesses deemed nonessential to close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

City Atty. Mike Feuer on Friday said the four stores were deemed nonessential businesses under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s executive order.

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39 million masks for hospitals never materialized. Federal officials are investigating

They had seemingly done the impossible. The union that represents healthcare workers in California announced it had arranged the purchase of 39 million N95 masks for hospitals and government agencies that badly need the protective equipment.

Among the intended recipients was Kaiser Permanente, which placed orders for 6 million masks.

A week later, none of those masks have materialized, and Kaiser is cooperating with a federal fraud investigation into the deal, a spokesman for the health plan confirmed.



‘We are reeling’: Coronavirus kills two Riverside sheriff’s deputies in 24 hours

In the end, it was not the bombs he disarmed, the suspicious packages he retrieved or the meth labs he raided that killed David Werksman, a 22-year deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

It was the coronavirus.

Werksman, 51, died Thursday night, the second Riverside sheriff’s deputy killed by the virus in a day. Terrell Young, 52, a deputy who worked in the county jails, died Thursday morning.

“We are reeling from the reality that this virus has taken the lives of two of our family members within the past 24 hours,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said Friday.

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Coronavirus killed China’s whistleblower doctor. Now the virus has changed how the country can mourn him

They speak to him like they know him, calling him brother, uncle, doctor, hero, comrade, martyr, friend.

“Doctor Li, I had a dream that I saw my grandfather just now,” one person writes on Dr. Li Wenliang’s Weibo wall at 3:35 a.m. “It was like when I was little, coming home from school to find him in the farm, offering me pocket money. ... If you meet my grandfather over there, please tell him: I miss him.”

Almost two months have passed since the death of the whistleblower doctor who was punished by police for sending warning messages in a chat group about the new coronavirus. Yet the comment section of his final blog post — one sentence on Feb. 1 announcing he’d tested positive — lives on.

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California Legislature extends recess over coronavirus concerns until May 4

Leaders of the California Legislature on Friday extended the cancellation of all legislative hearings and meetings until May 4, a decision they said reflected the need for additional caution in the face of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“Our priority continues to be bending the curve of infection,” Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said in a written statement. “We must continue to support the efforts of our first responders and healthcare personnel.”

Lawmakers were supposed to return to Sacramento to resume work on April 13, a date that began to look less tenable as the number of COVID-19 infections and related deaths across the state continued to rise. The initial decision last month to suspend activities at the state Capitol was unprecedented in California history and came after legislators grappled for several days to balance public health concerns with the need for action to address the impact of the pandemic. Both houses quickly passed a $1-billion relief plan on March 16 before putting a halt to all legislative business.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Trump target, leaps into prominence during coronavirus crisis

Gretchen Whitmer first gained attention when she ran for governor of Michigan with an unforgettable campaign slogan: “Fix the Damn Roads.”

The back-to-basics approach led Whitmer to overwhelmingly claim the seat in 2018, positioning her as a Democratic fresh face capable of winning back the Midwestern voters who abandoned Hillary Clinton two years prior.

Now, the first-term governor is facing the biggest crisis of her tenure, a death toll from the coronavirus that exceeds all but two states, as she faces new scrutiny after likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden confirmed she was on his short list for a running mate.

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This is how we’re getting extra doctors and nurses to fight coronavirus

The surgeons in training puzzled over a machine that looks like an overly complicated landline phone plugged into aquarium tubing. They’d seen it hooked up to numerous patients, but its workings were a mystery.

Normally, operating that intravenous infusion pump would be none of their business.

The circumstances are not normal. Not for these surgical residents at Keck Medicine of USC, and not for any of the nation’s healthcare professionals, who are on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 7,000 Americans.

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Economy in shambles, Trump scrambles for new 2020 message

WASHINGTON —When President Trump battled impeachment early this year, his reelection campaign staff blasted out Facebook ads, texts and emails to donors and supporters, arguing that he was delivering gonzo job figures and a soaring stock market in the face of bitter partisan obstruction.

Those ads drew Trump’s highest audiences on Facebook, his campaign’s chief advertising platform, which it has used to test out thousands of messages and images since the 2016 election.

Now with the nation’s economy reeling, more than 10 million Americans out of work and the stock market plummeting 30%, Trump and his aides are struggling to find a new message he can take to Americans for the November election.



27 people at Bay Area nursing home positive for coronavirus

ORINDA, Calif. —Twenty-seven people at a skilled nursing facility in the East Bay city of Orinda have tested positive for coronavirus, in the latest sign of the dangers such facilities face.

Contra Costa County health officials said the facility, the 47-bed Orinda Care Center, notified public health officials on Tuesday that two residents were sent to the hospital with symptoms.

Of those who tested positive, 24 are residents and three are staff member. The county has tested all the residents and is testing all staff. Most of the residents are older than 65 and about half are older than 80. Fourteen people at the facility tested negative, and results for others are still pending.

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CDC recommends wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines Friday recommending that the public voluntarily wear a non-medical basic cloth or fabric mask that can be either purchased online or simply made at home.

“The transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood,” President Trump said when announcing the guidelines at a White House briefing. “So you don’t seem to have symptoms and it still gets transferred.”

He emphasized that the announcement did not replace rules on social distancing, and he said the government was not recommending medical grade masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers. He also described the guidelines as voluntary.“I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

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14 cases of COVID-19 among California homeless population

There have been 14 cases of COVID-19 in the homeless population across the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

The cases came from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Ventura and Fresno. Newsom made clear that there were likely more cases lurking out there as testing ramps up.

“By the way, that’s an undercount,” he said during his news conference outside a motel in Sacramento that would be housing vulnerable homeless individuals.

“We know that’s just what’s been reported to us, but there’s heightened concern around the need to do more in our congregate facilities to isolate people into shelters like this and provide those basic essential services as we work through this crisis. ”

This count includes one homeless man who passed away in Santa Clara county last month.

The state hopes to lease up 15,000 rooms for homeless people, and counties have gotten 869 homeless individuals who are vulnerable to the virus into shelter.

So far 6,867 hotel and motel rooms have been committed to this effort.

During her news briefing Friday, Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said there were seven homeless individuals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. That was down from nine the day before, because upon further investigation, two of the people that were included in the count the day before were not actually homeless.


Losing a loved one is hard. While social distancing, it’s brutal

I’m typing this with gloved hands and 6 feet of distance between myself and my hero.

I pause to read that sentence, and I can’t hold back the tears or fight the persistent lump in my throat.

My grandfather is dying in hospice care. And I have never more appreciated the power of touch. Because it’s been stolen from us.

This pandemic has robbed us of final hugs, kisses, pats on the back, hand holding and shared meals across an intimate table.

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CIF announces high school spring sports season is canceled

The California Interscholastic Federation announced on Friday that the remainder of the high school spring sports season has been canceled.

The 10 section commissioners from around the state held a teleconference and confirmed they had run out of options in the face of a growing number of school districts announcing this week that their schools would remain closed because of social distancing measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The big remaining state championship was in track and field, which was scheduled for May 29-30 at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

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Here’s how freelancers can get unemployment pay for work lost to coronavirus

New coronavirus laws provide a litany of benefits to the self-employed, freelancers and workers in the gig economy. But what are the benefits, and how do you claim them? Here are some answers explaining how the laws impact freelancers.

I lost my part-time gig because of the coronavirus lockdown. Can I claim unemployment insurance?

Yes. The federal CARES Act creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment insurance coverage to self-employed individuals, independent contractors and those with limited work history. (You must be available for work but unable to do your job as the result of the pandemic.) All of these individuals were barred from claiming state unemployment insurance benefits prior to the passage of this law.

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Orange County coronavirus infections more than double in a week, now top 700

Orange County reported 57 new coronavirus infections Friday, hiking its total number of cases to 711 — more than double what it was a week ago.

The county’s death toll remained unchanged at 13 — the first time in four days that more COVID-19-related fatalities haven’t been reported in the region.

Countywide, 103 people are currently hospitalized, 44 of them in intensive care, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

To date, 8,727 people have been tested for coronavirus infection in the county.

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Ventura County reports additional coronavirus death, adds new cases

Ventura County reported its sixth coronavirus-related death this week, less than two weeks after the county reported the first fatality.

The person, like most of the others who have died from COVID-19 in the county, was in his or her 70s and suffered from preexisting health conditions, county spokeswoman Ashley Bautista said. The first death was reported on March 22.

The county also reported 17 new cases in a day, bringing the total to 177. Of those, it includes 36 cases where someone recovered, and 135 people under active quarantine.

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Government’s new program for small businesses hurt by coronavirus is slowed by snags

WASHINGTON —Small business owners across the country woke up early Friday morning, desperate to be among the first to apply for a $349-billion federal relief program — the government’s largest effort to date to keep Americans employed through the pandemic. Instead, they confronted problems and delays.

Some of the nation’s largest banks said they weren’t ready to participate, having received information too late from the Treasury Department. Others were overwhelmed, hit with a deluge of applications from millions of business owners trying to stay solvent amid the economic crisis caused by coronavirus-related shutdowns.

The loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, was assembled by the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, with funding from the $2-trillion relief package agreed to by Congress and President Trump last week. It depends on major banks and other lenders to provide small businesses with forgivable loans, up to $10 million, to cover their payroll.

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