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CSU Maritime Academy set for face-to-face classes in May
California State University Maritime Academy will be allowed to reopen its campus for a limited number of students, allowing them to complete their spring semester in face-to-face classes, according to a letter from the school’s president sent Friday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office confirmed the news in a statement, noting that the academy trains merchant marines and maritime workforce required for shipping and logistics.
“This specialized maritime workforce is essential to the California economy, as 90% of U.S. trade moves by sea,” the statement says. “Nearly $500 billion of trade moves through the Los Angeles and Long Beach port alone — the largest on the U.S. Pacific Coast — supporting roughly 200,000 jobs.”
CSU Maritime, located on 92 acres on the Vallejo waterfront, has 1,051 students, according to its website.
Bob Art, vice president for University Advancement at Cal Maritime, told KABC-TV Channel 7 that many classes are hands-on and cannot be taught virtually. Newsom’s administration provided the school with conditions that allow limited in-person instruction for 513 merchant marine officer cadets after May 10, “including strict, unique health and safety guidelines,” according to the statement.
Each cadet and instructor will be screened each morning for symptoms of COVID-19. Other safety measures include maintaining physical distance, using personal protective equipment and having access to hand sanitizing stations.
“This is the only academy of its kind in the state and does not serve as a precedent for other colleges or universities in California,” Newsom’s office said in its statement.
Garcetti says some L.A. stay-at-home rules could be eased in weeks
Mayor Eric Garcetti seemed optimistic that social distancing measures were proving effective and said he believed “the curve really is beginning to flatten,” even suggesting that easing restrictions under the city’s safer-at-home order could be weeks away.
Testing capabilities were continuing to increase, according to Garcetti, who said asymptomatic essential workers including delivery, ride-hail and taxi drivers, as well as journalists, will now be able to be tested for the virus.
“These are folks that are on the front line, helping us get where we need to go, delivering food to our apartments,” he said.
Garcetti also announced the city’s implementation of a program announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week that would pay out-of-work restaurant employees to cook meals for seniors. The mayor said the program would put 150 people back to work immediately. Depending on their income level, people who are either older than 65 or ages 60 to 64 with a preexisting medical condition may be eligible to receive meals from the program.
‘You stayed classy, San Diego,’ mayor says of residents at beaches
SAN DIEGO — Most San Diego residents who took advantage of the newly reopened beaches on Monday were careful to follow the rules, prompting a “thank you” from Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
“I’m happy to report you stayed classy, San Diego,” Faulconer said at his afternoon briefing.
The mayor said lifeguards and police officers were out in force, prepared to educate residents about what is and isn’t allowed — but it was largely unnecessary.
Lifeguard Chief James Gartland said that while the water was crowded during the early morning, it thinned out as the day progressed. Although most people followed the rules, he added that there were some “trouble spots” on boardwalks and at pocket beaches.
More flying changes: American and JetBlue want you to wear a mask
As the COVID-19 pandemic decimates demand for air travel, U.S. carriers have taken several unprecedented steps to increase onboard safety. The latest: urging passengers to wear face masks.
The world’s largest carrier, American Airlines, said Monday that passengers will be handed a mask and hand sanitizer when boarding some flights, starting in early May. Travelers will be urged to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to wear a face mask, but the airline won’t require masks onboard.
“We are looking out for our customers’ well-being to give them peace of mind while they travel with us,” Kurt Stache, American Airlines’ senior vice president of customer experience, said in a statement.
The program will be expanded to all flights based on the supply of masks and sanitizer, airline representatives said.
Texas says movie theaters can reopen Friday. Not so fast, say Texas theaters
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said that movie theaters would be able to open as soon as this weekend, as the state looks to gradually ease restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
But one of the state’s major theater companies, Alamo Drafthouse, had a clear message to patrons: “We will not be opening this weekend.”
The Austin-based chain, which operates about 40 locations in multiple states, said the company needs more time to create new procedures and retrain employees to keep them and guests safe. That means the company won’t be opening anytime soon, despite the governor’s permission for certain businesses to resume as long as they maintain 25% capacity.
“Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training,” the company said in a statement provided by a spokesman. “This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly.”
Teletherapy, meds, meditation: How musicians with mental health issues are coping with corona anxiety
After 16 years as the leader of the influential emo-rock band Paramore, Hayley Williams is about to release her anticipated debut solo album, “Petals for Armor.” Like so many artists, she was scheduled to be touring the country this spring and summer, kicking off a new phase of her career, performing in front of thousands of fans, doing what she loves most. Instead, she’s at home in Nashville, in quarantine, coping with not just the effects of COVID-19 on the launch of her album, but on her well-being as well.
Williams, 31, suffers from depression, PTSD and anxiety. She has been whiling away the days the best she can, baking, cooking and listening to music. But it’s been challenging.
“If I wake up and I don’t put music on, which I didn’t do today, I can feel the emptiness,” says Williams. “I can feel my thoughts racing, and I’m trying to understand the balance between running from my own thoughts when there’s good stuff to mine from them.”
Newsom sued by California residents demanding end to stay-at-home rules
SACRAMENTO — Two Sacramento County residents on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s sweeping stay-at-home order that is credited with helping slow the spread of coronavirus.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Ron Givens of the Sacramento Gun Club and Christine “Chris” Bish, a real estate agent and a Republican candidate for Congress running against Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), alleges that the California Highway Patrol unconstitutionally denied their requests for permits to hold a protest outside the state Capitol.
Givens wants to protest the state’s failure to process background checks for people buying firearms, and Bish hopes to protest the stay-at-home order, according to the lawsuit.
“At a time when Californians are rightfully questioning the duration and extent of the stay-at-home orders, which are unevenly enforced and which have resulted in other constitutional challenges, Gov. Newsom has reacted to citizen protests not by addressing widespread concern, but simply by shutting down protest at the Capitol altogether, making no reasonable accommodations for this fundamental function in a free society,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, one of the attorneys handling the case.
Two Inland Empire men accused in $4-million scam to sell N95 masks
Two Inland Empire men were arrested after allegedly seeking more than $4 million for N95 respirators they did not have, federal authorities said.
Donald Lee Allen, 62, of Riverside and Manuel Revolorio, 37, of Rancho Cucamonga were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office said. They were scheduled to appear Monday in federal court in Los Angeles.
“The defendants sought to take advantage of the urgent national need for lifesaving personal protective equipment through a fraudulent scheme designed to line their own pockets,” Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.
L.A. looks to help restaurants by capping food delivery service fees at 15%
Los Angeles restaurant owners, who have been vocal about high service fees charged by food delivery apps, could soon pay significantly less if a new city ordinance is approved.
Restaurants currently pay as much as 30% in fees to third-party delivery apps such as Postmates, Grubhub and UberEats.
Under the proposed ordinance, introduced in a motion request from Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, the apps could charge no more than 15% of the purchase price per order in fees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to do all we can to help improve their [restaurants’] chances of survival, and the worst thing we could do is not lean in when we see these cases that look a lot like price gouging,” O’Farrell said in an interview Monday. “We hear from our restaurants in the district a lot, and when we hear about this price gouging, it’s just unconscionable.”
Amoeba Music won’t reopen original Sunset Boulevard store: ‘We have no choice’
Though you didn’t know it at the time, your last shopping spree at Amoeba Music in Hollywood was your final one.
After a month of speculation, the famed record store has announced that it won’t be reopening at its original location at the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga. The spot, where Amoeba had operated since its 2001 opening, has been shuttered since the statewide stay-at-home orders were announced in March.
Instead, it will devote its energy to opening in its new location, hopefully in the fall, at 6200 Hollywood Blvd.
In a statement, Jim Henderson, co-owner of Amoeba, said: “We are devastated for our run at this beautiful destination to end like this, but we simply have no choice.”
Wedding license office reopens in ‘marriage capital’ Vegas
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas returned to the wedding business Monday, nearly six weeks after the Marriage License Bureau was closed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya said staff members at the license office at the downtown Regional Justice Center had masks, gloves and no-touch thermometers. Couples need to complete license applications online before arriving, she said.
The development came as state health officials reported nearly 4,700 Nevada residents had tested positive for the COVID-19 respiratory illness, and at least 206 have died.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says state will start reopening economy Friday
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott became the latest governor to start reopening his state’s economy.
During a briefing Monday in the capital flanked by fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Abbott announced that restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, malls and museums will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity Friday and could expand to half capacity by mid-May.
Doctors and dentists can also go back to work, he said. Churches will also be allowed to expand capacity and small-group sports such as golf and tennis will be allowed, he said. Abbott said his stay-home order will expire as scheduled Thursday because it “has done its job.”
“Just as we came together to fight COVID-19, we must also come together to start rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of our fellow Texans,” Abbott said.
He noted that the state’s coronavirus infection rate had declined for the last 17 days, the state’s hospitalization rate has been steady and hospital bed capacity remained “abundant.”
Texas counties with five or fewer COVID-19 cases can reopen businesses at half capacity, Abbott said, a nod to rural areas of the state with low infection rates, although he cautioned that if infections spike, that could be limited again.
Abbott said that with the reopening, “if there is no flare up of COVID-19,” Texas will increase capacity at reopened businesses to 50% and open more mid-May, such as gyms and hair salons.
“We wanted to make sure we were able to open as quickly as possible and as safely as possible,” Abbott said.
The governor said he consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House coronavirus task force in crafting the new rules, detailed in a manual he held up during the briefing titled, “Open Texas.”
A fraction of Texans have been tested for the virus. This week, 3,000 Texas National Guard troops were operating more than two dozen mobile testing units, Abbott said, promising increased coronavirus testing and contact tracing as the state reopens.
“We’re not just going to open up and hope for the best,” he said.
A dozen states have already started reopening for business. One Texas town outside Fort Worth reopened Friday, ahead of the governor’s briefing, stirring controversy. The mayor of the east Texas city of Beaumont had to apologize after she was caught on video last week getting a manicure in defiance of her own stay-at-home order.
Abbott has said his order will override those by local officials, but it wasn’t clear how that would play out across the state of 29 million, whose population is concentrated in a handful of cities led by Democrats.
Most major cities in Texas kept businesses closed this week, extended local stay-at-home orders and required residents to wear masks in public. Houston’s Harris County — third-largest in the country — faced a backlash to the new mask order Monday, and it and Dallas County have seen some businesses reopen despite local orders.
“We will not be able to rebuild our economy while Texans are still afraid to leave their homes,” Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said in a statement ahead of Abbott’s briefing. “Republicans’ rush to end social distancing is dangerous and experts warn it threatens the economy in the long run. Today’s announcement is just the latest in the Republican coronavirus catastrophe.”
L.A. County sheriff says new decontamination center will allow N95 masks to be reused 20 times
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced an initiative Monday to decontaminate N95 masks that would allow first responders and healthcare workers countywide to safely reuse them up to 20 times as they battle the coronavirus.
The new decontamination center comes as hospitals grapple with a nationwide shortage of protective gear and a rise of counterfeit masks on the market.
The cleaning chamber, at the Sybil Brand Institute in Monterey Park, is scheduled to begin operating this week. It will be able to clean up to 30,000 masks each day and save the Sheriff’s Department and other agencies tens of millions of dollars, Villanueva said.
Newsom criticizes beachgoers, warns that defying restrictions could delay reopening California
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday criticized Californians who defied the statewide stay-at-home order and flocked to beaches over the weekend. Ignoring restrictions, he said, could prolong the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
Newsom’s comments came after thousands of beachgoers descended on the coast in Orange and Ventura counties despite the governor’s pleas last week to avoid doing so during the warm weekend.
“This virus doesn’t take the weekends off,” Newsom said during his daily COVID-19 briefing in Sacramento. “The only thing that will set us back is people stopping ... appropriate social distancing. That’s the only thing that’s going to slow down our ability to reopen this economy.”
Newsom vowed to increase statewide enforcement of the stay-at-home order if necessary and, in a thinly veiled criticism of the cities and counties that saw crowded beaches, said, “We’ll have a little work to do to improve upon Saturday.”
Having trouble with the IRS site? Try all caps — yes, really
Getting a “payment status not available” error when you’re trying to learn the status of your IRS coronavirus stimulus check? Try this one weird trick that really works: Enter your street address in all caps.
Yes, really. The IRS website had a big update this week, so it’s possible the site only just ported over your information and will let you log in now without having to shout at it. You’re welcome to try typing out your street address the normal way. But if that doesn’t work, don’t despair: Many people, including this reporter, found that entering the street address in all capital letters was the key to being able to get in and enter bank account information in order to have their stimulus funds deposited electronically instead of waiting for a check in the mail.
NBA to allow limited player workouts starting May 8
The NBA has told teams they can set a target date of May 8 to reopen their practice facilities if they play in a location where public health guidelines allow it.
“The purpose of these changes is to allow for safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so, and to create a process for identifying safe training options for players located in other states,” the NBA said in a statement, which noted that the May 8 date was fluid.
The NBA has mandated that no more than four players can be inside a facility at any time, with no head or assistant coaches present. Group activities are prohibited.
Players will be not allowed to use public gyms.
6 Bay Area counties extend stay-at-home orders through May
SAN FRANCISCO — Six San Francisco Bay Area counties plan to keep stay-at-home orders in place through the end of May but will ease some restrictions, officials announced Monday.
“Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across our jurisdictions, we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our local hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and saving lives,” a statement by Bay Area health officers said.
“At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely reopen our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases.”
The statement was sent on behalf of health officers for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as well as the city of Berkeley, which has its own health department separate from Alameda County.
The statement did not elaborate on what kinds of restrictions would be eased.
Ohio to begin gradual reopening
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a gradual reopening of businesses starting Friday, while maintaining restrictions such as social distancing and wearing masks under the slogan, “No mask, no work, no service, no exception.”
Starting Friday, healthcare procedures that don’t require an overnight stay in a hospital can move forward, and dentists and veterinarians can resume all activity, DeWine said at a news conference in Columbus.
On May 4, manufacturing, distribution, construction, and general offices can reopen, with people still encouraged to work from home if possible, DeWine said. Consumer, retail and services firms can reopen May 12 with proper precautions, he said.
Ohio’s restriction on gatherings of no more than 10 people will remain, and restaurants, hair salons and day-care centers will stay closed for now, he said.
The governor, a Republican, said testing and tracing of cases was expected to increase enough during May to allow the phased-in reopening but that the state would be watching for signs of a spike in infections.
DeWine was among the first U.S. governors to close schools and nonessential businesses, and the state issued a stay-at-home order that took effect March 23 and initially was set to expire April 6 but was extended to May 1. Ohio reported 16,325 total cases on Monday, up from 15,963 on Sunday, and 753 deaths, an increase from 728 the previous day. There were 3,232 hospitalizations in the state on Monday. The five-day trend of cases, deaths and hospitalizations is declining, DeWine said.
U.S. is ‘well-positioned’ to handle the pandemic, WHO says
LONDON — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says the U.S. is “well-positioned” to handle the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and says states may have different strategies because they are at different points in their respective outbreaks.
In a news briefing on Monday, Dr. Michael Ryan said that although the U.N. health agency issues epidemic control recommendations to all its member countries, it’s up to countries to decide whether to follow such guidance.
“I believe the federal government and the system of governors are working together to move America and its people through this very difficult situation with public health and other scientific leaders,” Ryan said in Geneva, adding that the American plan for exiting lockdowns appears to be based on several parameters, including a downward trajectory in cases and sufficient healthcare capacity.
He added that the U.S. had a “superb” public health infrastructure able to manage the transition once restrictive measures were loosened.
WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said all countries should have heeded the agency’s warning when it declared COVID-19 to be a global emergency on Jan. 30, when there were only 82 cases of the disease beyond China.
CDC to release new priorities for testing
WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release new priorities for coronavirus testing Monday, including testing asymptomatic individuals in high-risk settings.
And the White House is set to unveil what it describes as a comprehensive overview of its efforts to make testing for COVID-19 more widely available.
The White House is aiming for states to have enough tests and needed supplies to test at least 2.6% of their populations per month — a figure needed to catch asymptomatic spread.
The administration is also releasing a “testing blueprint” for states, outlining how they should prioritize testing as they devise their reopening plans.
It includes a focus on surveillance testing, as well as “rapid response” programs to isolate those who test positive and identify those with whom they came into contact.
The administration aims to have the market “flooded” with tests for the fall, when COVID-19 is expected to recur alongside the seasonal flu.
Free testing site opens in Carson
Another coronavirus testing center opened Monday in Los Angeles County, as the city of Carson began free screenings for all of its residents.
The new drive-through site will offer free testing for all city employees, residents “and anyone else who schedules an appointment,” a city memo states.
Testing isn’t limited to those with symptoms of coronavirus infection — such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19 are also eligible, the city says.
“It’s available to anyone in Southern California, whether you’re sick or asymptomatic, whether you’re insured or uninsured and whether you’re rich or poor. Everybody can apply,” Mayor Albert Robles told KTLA-TV Channel 5. “But because the focus is on Carson ... our priority is for Carson residents.”
Texas new deaths drop
Texas reported 15 new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, the lowest daily increase since early April, bringing total fatalities in the state to 663. Positive cases rose 2.7% from Sunday to 25,297. Another 14,496 virus tests were performed, down from the record 20,269 reported Saturday. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to lay out his plans for easing lockdown restrictions across Texas.
He allowed retailers to begin operating to-go operations on Friday. He has said his plan will allow businesses and some services to reopen “in strategic ways” starting in early May.
San Francisco says vitally needed masks, gloves, face shields are being diverted
The buying isn’t the issue — Mayor London Breed said the city had been able to purchase 15 million pieces of the medical gear, known as personal protective equipment, and private firms have donated more.
But getting the equipment has been challenging, she said at a news conference Friday.
“We had isolation gowns on the way to San Francisco and then diverted to France,” she said. Another order of equipment went through customs and then was “confiscated” by FEMA for other places.
Reopening of Florida may differ by region
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said his strategy for reopening the economy might differ by region as three of the state’s 67 counties —
Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, all in the southeast part of the state — account for 60% of Florida’s 32,138 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“Pretty much the rest of the state has really handled this very well,” DeSantis told reporters Monday in Tampa. “I think that is something that you take into consideration.”
DeSantis’ stay-at-home order is set to expire Thursday, and he hasn’t provided details of how he intends to proceed. The first phase of the reopening would be “a baby step,” he said, and his approach would be “very slow, methodical and data-driven.”
Consumers could see less meat selection, higher prices
DES MOINES, Iowa — Meat isn’t going to disappear from supermarkets because of outbreaks of the coronavirus among workers at U.S. slaughterhouses. But as meat plants struggle to remain open, consumers could face less selection and slightly higher prices.
Industry leaders acknowledge that the U.S. food chain has rarely been so stressed and that no one is sure about the future, even as they try to dispel concerns about shortages. On Sunday, the meat processing giant Tyson Foods ran a full-page advertisement in the New York Times and other newspapers outlining the difficulty of producing meat while keeping more than 100,000 workers safe and shutting some plants.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has infected hundreds of workers at meat-processing plants and forced some of the largest to close and others to slow production. While the output at beef and poultry plants has diminished, pork plants in the Midwest have been hit especially hard. The viral outbreaks have persisted despite efforts by the meat companies to keep workers at home with pay if they become sick.
The 15 largest pork-packing plants account for 60% of all pork processed, so when even one of those plants closes for days or weeks, the consequences ripple across the industry. That has become abundantly clear with two of the nation’s biggest plants now closed: Tyson suspended operations at its plant in Waterloo, Iowa. And Smithfield Foods halted production at its plant in Sioux Falls, S.D. Each plant can butcher nearly 20,000 hogs a day. Some plants have reopened days after cleaning.
Lakers pay back $4.6 million received from rescue loan program
“The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program,” the team said in a statement first provided to ESPN. “However, once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need.
“The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”
Hawaii’s stay-at-home order extended through May
Hawaii doubled down on its stay-at home order Saturday. With Georgia and a few states starting to reopen businesses, Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige went in the opposite direction. He extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 31, keeping beaches closed to sunbathers and swimmers and other businesses shut.
Ige’s order extended mandatory quarantine rules too. Anyone flying to the islands will have to quarantine at home or at their hotel for 14 days. As of Sunday, Hawaii reported 606 cases and 68 deaths, according to its Health Department website.
San Bernardino County lifts some restrictions, reopens parks and recreation areas
San Bernardino County residents returned to the great outdoors over the weekend after officials lifted some closures initiated to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
County parks, lakes, rivers and recreation areas — as well as parking lots — reopened Saturday after having been closed for over a month.
Private and city-owned parks, trails, lakes and golf courses also opened on a limited basis. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Mojave River Forks Regional Park are still closed.
New York state nixes Democratic presidential primary
In an unprecedented move, New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary, originally scheduled for June 23.
The Democratic members of the state’s Board of Elections voted Monday to nix the primary. New York will still hold its congressional and state-level primaries on June 23.
New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs has said that the cancellation of the state’s presidential primary amid the coronavirus outbreak would mean a lower expected turnout and a reduced need for polling places.
“It just makes so much sense given the extraordinary nature of the challenge,” Jacobs said last week.
Local election officials and voting groups have called on the state to use federal funds to purchase cleaning supplies and protective gear, and to boost staff ahead of 2020 elections.
Both the state’s Democratic Party and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have said they didn’t ask election commissioners to make the change, which is allowed thanks to a little-known provision in the recently passed state budget that allows the New York Board of Elections to remove names of any candidates who have suspended or terminated their campaign from the ballot.
The decision to cancel a Democratic primary is left up to Democratic state election commissioners.
Former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced earlier this month he had suspended his campaign. In a Sunday letter, a lawyer for the Sanders campaign asked the commissioners not to cancel the primary.
“Senator Sanders has collaborated with state parties, the national party and the Biden campaign to strengthen the Democrats by aligning the party’s progressive and moderate wings. His removal from the ballot would hamper those efforts, to the detriment of the party in the general election,” the lawyer, Malcolm Seymour, wrote in a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
Saudi Arabia takes 5% stake in Live Nation as virus hits concert industry
Saudi Arabia has taken a 5.7% stake in Beverly Hills-based Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, according to a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
The investment, valued at about $500 million, comes as businesses like Live Nation that depend heavily on live events have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerns about the disease have shut down or postponed music festivals and concerts, including some hosted by Live Nation.
The company said 8,000 shows were affected by the suspension of events from mid-March through March 31. Live Nation sold 15 million tickets for those shows, many of which were postponed. About 10% of the tickets sold were for shows that were canceled, Live Nation said.
‘All Americans’ campaign aims to combat racial hatred
As the coronavirus pandemic has sparked racial harassment and hate crimes against Asian Americans, a coalition of politicians, celebrities, fashion designers, athletes and activists on Monday launched an effort to fight racial animus while raising money for those affected by COVID-19.
Former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang is among the leaders of the effort, which includes a public service announcement featuring Dave Chapelle, Alyssa Milano, Daniel Dae Kim, Hasan Minhaj, Lisa Ling, Megan Rapinoe, Joseph Gordon Levitt, John Leguizamo, Joel McHale, Fat Joe and Sophia Bush.
“There are millions of Asian Americans experiencing an unprecedented level of racial hostility, and we need to do everything we can to bring everyone together,” Yang said in an interview. “Look, this virus doesn’t know race, and Asian Americans are victims of this virus like any other Americans.”
The public service announcement spotlights how the virus disproportionately affects underserved populations such as the African American community.
“We are all Americans,” several of the participants say in unison before Chapelle concludes, “So let’s act like it. Let’s be good friends. Let’s be good neighbors. And let’s get through this safely. Much love.”
The PSA is part of “The All Americans Movement,” an online campaign and fundraiser that aims to raise money for relief efforts, medical supplies and economic stimulus for small businesses affected by the pandemic.
California faces mounting pressure to ease stay-at-home rules, at least in some areas
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other top state and local health officials have made it clear it’s still too early and risky to ease stay-at-home orders, which have been credited with slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Still, Newsom is expected to face more pressure this week to offer a clearer timeline, especially in parts of California where the virus appears to be a lessening threat.
There has been a growing movement from politicians in some rural or less urbanized parts of the state to request an easing of the rules, arguing that the situation there is not as severe as hot spots like Los Angeles County and Silicon Valley.
Newport Beach may close beaches on weekends after heat wave draws thousands
Sandy stretches in Newport Beach could be off-limits over the next few weekends after Southern California’s first spring heat wave drew thousands to the city’s shoreline despite statewide stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday will consider closing the beaches for three weekends in May or blocking roads leading to popular beach spots on the Balboa Peninsula and Corona del Mar.
City officials say they have made an effort to keep most public beaches, parks and open spaces accessible to the public for the mental and physical well-being of residents. But the crowds that swarmed the sand over the weekend — looking to beat the heat and weary of isolating at home —“generated significant neighborhood impacts,” according to a news release from the city.
Deaths doubled in L.A. County over last week
The number of coronavirus deaths in Los Angeles County doubled in the last week amid new evidence that the poor were being hardest hit, according to the county Department of Health.
As of Sunday, the county had recorded 916 deaths and nearly 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Officials said the rising numbers underscored the need to stay indoors as much as possible and also raised questions about when Los Angeles County would be able to ease its strict social distancing rules.
“Because we are still seeing a significant increase in new cases and deaths, we ask that you continue to stay home as much as possible,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said over the weekend.
Photos from inside: Scripps Mercy Hospital battles COVID-19
Hospitals closest to the U.S.-Mexico border are reporting increased numbers of COVID-19 patients as the pandemic continues to strain medical resources throughout Baja California.
The increased patient volume at Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista reached an inflection point on Thursday, when the facility was forced to begin transferring COVID-19 patients to its sister facility in San Diego for the first time since the pandemic started.
Dr. Juan Tovar, an emergency medicine specialist and operations executive at Scripps Chula Vista, said the overall success of San Diego County’s widespread social distancing campaign — one that has shut down beaches, kept all K-12 students home from school and shuttered all businesses deemed nonessential — has slowed the surge of patients enough that hospitals, backed up by those that are less heavily hit farther north, have so far been able to keep pace with demand.
County lines separate packed beaches from empty ones
As temperatures soared into the upper 80s in some parts of the region Saturday, crossing county lines was like entering different worlds.
Despite the threat of the novel coronavirus, many flocked to beaches in Orange and Ventura counties to beat the heat.
In contrast, L.A. beaches remained closed and largely empty.
Here are a few scenes showing how county lines separated a crowded day at the beach from empty sand.
Back at work, Boris Johnson urges patience over Britain’s lockdown
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged his lockdown-weary nation to be patient, saying Monday that easing social and economic restrictions too soon could create a second deadly spike of coronavirus infections.
On his first day back at work in three weeks after a bout of COVID-19 that left him dangerously ill, Johnson said Britain had reached the moment of “maximum risk” in its outbreak.
Speaking outside his 10 Downing St. office, Johnson said the country was reaching “the end of the first phase of this conflict” but warned that a quick end to a lockdown due to last at least until May 7 was not in sight.
“I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and to risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life and the overwhelming of the [healthcare system],” said Johnson.
Iran new cases drop below 1,000
Iran has reported 991 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, the first time that number has dropped below 1,000 since late March.
The total number of confirmed infections climbed to 91,472 on Monday with more than 70,000 recoveries, while fatalities rose to 5,806, with 96 more deaths.
WHO addresses its defunding by Trump
It is “really difficult to understand” why a country would want to cut funding to the World Health Organization, its COVID-19 envoy David Nabarro said in an apparent swipe at the U.S. after Trump moved to cut funding for the international body.
“I particularly wish that one member state had not said we think you’re so unsatisfactory we want to cut your money,” Nabarro said in response to a question on the U.S. attitude to the WHO.
Although he acknowledged the WHO’s management of the coronavirus should be analyzed, it should not happen while it is “super-stretched” dealing with the pandemic, he said.
Assange extradition trial delayed
Julian Assange’s extradition trial, set to begin next month, has been delayed because of the pandemic. The three-week trial was due to begin May 18 at a London magistrates court but was postponed to an unscheduled date because of the U.K.’s extension of its lockdown. The WikiLeaks founder and all lawyers must be present, Judge Vanessa Baraitser said.
Although “delay undermines the administration of justice,” remote attendance by the parties in this case “will not be appropriate,” she said. Assange is facing extradition on American charges that he conspired to obtain and disclose classified documents passed to him by former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Italy is the first country to apply for financial aid from EU fund
BRUSSELS — Italy has become the first European Union country to apply for financial aid from an 800-million euros ($866.5 million) fund set up by the 27-country bloc to tackle the crisis triggered by the new coronavirus pandemics.
Italy has been the hardest-hit EU country by the deadly virus so far with some 26,000 fatalities.
The fund initially was designed to help countries hit by natural disasters. Now it can be used in health emergencies like the COVID-19 crisis after the European Council and the EU Parliament approved a proposal from the bloc’s executive arm.
The European Commission said Monday that member states could request aid until June 24. Applications will then be assessed by the commission, which will submit a proposal for financial aid to the council and EU Parliament.
The commission will deal with all applications in a single package, not on a first-come, first-served basis.
Those flocking to the beach see little risk of getting virus. Experts aren’t so sure
The sunshine and a yearning for freedom beckoned Christopher Sumners to the ocean. So the 31-year-old and several of his friends hit the road Sunday morning, driving from hot and dry Corona to much cooler Huntington Beach.
Beneath cloudy skies, the group of six sprawled on their beach towels and chatted with one another, unconcerned by the threat of the coronavirus. Sumners believes he’ll be fine as long as he continues to wash his hands, he said.
“I think you have better chances of winning the lottery or getting hit by a car than getting coronavirus,” Sumners said.
As the year’s first heat wave hit California this weekend, thousands converged on Southland beaches to seek relief from record-breaking temperatures and weeks of isolation.
California’s jobless face jammed phone lines, computer glitches and bureaucratic blunders
SACRAMENTO — For Californians desperate to get unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the last month has been a perfect storm of failures for a state government with a long history of technology problems.
Many seeking jobless benefits in recent weeks found phone lines jammed at the state Employment Development Department and had their calls disconnected before they could talk to a live service representative at the agency, which processes unemployment insurance claims.
How the crisis has helped Spotify’s podcast business
For months, Los Angeles musician and actor Finneas O’Connell and his girlfriend talked about making a podcast about their lives but could never find the time. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As soon as we realized that most of the rest of our lives was going to be put on hold, we were like, ‘You know what? It would be great to have a podcast right now,’” said 22-year-old O’Connell, who created the “We Bought a House” podcast with his 24-year-old girlfriend, YouTube vlogger Claudia Sulewski.
The hourlong show about life under the quarantine is part of a surge of podcast activity on Spotify. The Swedish streaming service said it had nearly 150,000 podcast uploads last month, 69% higher than February and the largest monthly increase in Spotify’s podcast catalog.
Battling lockdown fatigue, California messages both hope and fear. Will it work?
When the Spanish flu erupted in Los Angeles in the fall of 1918, health officers had few means of warning the city’s half-million residents.
With a wartime ban on civilian radios in place, officials relied on newspapers, posters and crowded public meetings to urge Angelenos to keep their kids out of school, skip church and stay home.
Now, as the world battles an entirely new pandemic, city and county officials have many more ways to communicate with a population of roughly 10 million. Television, radio, electronic billboards, email, social media and cellphone alerts are all being used to deliver the official line on social distancing, business closures and home sheltering.
Japan adds more countries to its entry ban
TOKYO — Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that his country was adding 14 more countries, including Russia, Peru and Saudi Arabia, to its entry-ban list as coronavirus infections continued to spread in the country.
Japan has already barred entry for travelers from more than 70 other countries and for foreigners with a record of visiting those countries in the last two weeks, while invalidating visas for the rest of the world. The additional step on the 14 countries will take effect Wednesday, Abe said.
The entry ban and the visa restrictions, initially set to end on April 30, are extended until the end of May.
Japan is now under a monthlong state of emergency through May 6. Officials and experts are now gauging its effect and whether to extend the measure.
Japan has 13,385 confirmed cases, as well as 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 364 deaths, according to the health ministry.
Over 1 million Australians download virus app
Australian officials are pleased that more than 1 million people have downloaded an app designed to accelerate contact tracing for coronavirus despite some privacy concerns.
Within 12 hours of the Australian-developed COVIDsafe app becoming available late Sunday, 1.13 million of Australia’s 26 million population had downloaded it to their smartphones.
Chief Health Officer Damian Murphy said Monday he was “really excited” by the app’s early popularity.
Government officials intend to rush legislation through Parliament to outlaw use of collected data for purposes other than tracing people who might have COVID-19. Officials have also promised to release the app’s source code within two weeks so independent analysts can better understand how it works and its privacy implications.
The government says at least 40% of the Australian population needs to take up the technology based on Singapore’s TraceTogether app for it to be effective.
If users of COVIDsafe are diagnosed with the virus, they can upload the app’s encrypted data logs, which identify other users who have been in close proximity for 15 minutes or more in the previous three week.
The government hopes the app will help Australia to safely reopen the economy by enabling health officials to quickly identify and contain new outbreaks. Australia will resume non-urgent surgeries this week for the first time since March 27 as confidence grows that hospitals won’t be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
Australia had recorded 6,720 cases of the virus, 83 patients had died and 27 remained critically ill in hospitals on ventilators as of Monday.
Spain’s kids celebrate freedom from 44-day lockdown
BARCELONA, Spain — After six weeks cooped up with her 3-year-old twins, Susana Sabaté was finally able to release her energy-filled boys onto Spain’s sunny streets.
On Sunday, Spain’s government lifted a home-confinement rule for children under 14 years old after 44 days, ending one of the most restrictive measures of its national lockdown. The coronavirus outbreak has claimed more than 22,000 lives in the European country. Even Italy, with more deaths than Spain, has not kept its youngsters completely secluded.
“This is wonderful! I can’t believe it has been six weeks,” the 44-year-old Sabaté said in Barcelona. “My boys are very active. Today when they saw the front door and we gave them their scooters, they were thrilled.”
Census delay could put off new voting districts, primaries
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Census Bureau needs more time to wrap up the once-a-decade count because of the coronavirus, opening the possibility of delays in drawing new legislative districts that could help determine what political party is in power, what laws pass or fail and whether communities of color get a voice in their states.
The number of people counted and their demographics guide how voting districts for the U.S. House and state legislatures are redrawn every 10 years. The monthslong delay in census data could make a divisive process more complicated, potentially forcing lawmakers into costly special sessions to complete the work or postponing some primary elections.
Governors say they’ll ease virus restrictions, with an abundance of caution
A pair of U.S. governors on Sunday outlined plans to ease stay-at-home orders in the days and weeks ahead but cautioned constituents that the coronavirus remained a threat in their communities.
“What matters a lot more than the date that the stay-at-home ends is what we do going forward, and how we have an ongoing, sustainable way — psychologically, economically and from the health perspective — to have the social distancing we need,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”