New Zealand official demoted for lockdown breach
New Zealand’s health minister has described himself as an “idiot” and has been stripped of some responsibilities after breaching the country’s strict lockdown measures.
David Cook drove about 12 miles to the beach to take a walk with his family. He said that at a time when the government was asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices by staying at home, he had let them down.
“I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me,” he said in a statement.
Clark had earlier admitted to driving to a park near his home to go mountain biking.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said under normal circumstances, she would sack Clark. But she said the country couldn’t afford massive disruption in its health sector while it was fighting the virus. Instead, she said, she was stripping Clark of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings.
New Zealand is nearly halfway through a planned four-week lockdown aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus.
52 citations issued in San Diego County over violations of stay-home order
SAN DIEGO — Sheriff’s deputies and police officers in San Diego County started to enforce orders over the weekend to stay home and avoid areas including parks and beaches.
Following warnings in recent days about the possibility of citations, deputies across the county and police officers in San Diego and Carlsbad issued 52 citations for violations of the state’s stay-home order, which is intended to keep the public indoors to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The order allows people to leave their home for necessary activities, such as exercise or trips to buy food, so long as they keep six feet apart from others.
Of the 52 citations issued across the county, deputies issued 34, San Diego police issued 16 and Carlsbad police issued two.
Prominent chefs call on Congress to expand aid, say more is needed for restaurants to survive
A national advocacy group that represents more than 5,000 restaurant owners and chefs is calling for Congress to provide more financial relief amid the coronavirus pandemic for the independent restaurant industry and the 11 million people it employs.
“It’s simple: Without help, many of your favorite restaurants are not going to be there once this crisis is over,” said Tom Colicchio, the chef-owner behind Crafted Hospitality and one of the founding members of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
“Not only the restaurants owned by well-known chefs, but the small mom and pops as well.”
On Monday, the coalition sent a letter to Congress and held a conference call led by Colicchio and fellow chef-restaurateurs Naomi Pomeroy and Kwame Onwuachi.
San Francisco mayor says testing will be available for all front-line workers
On Monday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the city would be providing testing for all front-line and essential workers in the coming days and weeks.
“One of the most basic things we can do is to ensure that they have testing,” the mayor said in a news briefing. “We have lacked the testing we need to really put people at ease or have a lot of uncertainty,” she said.
“We are opening City Test SF, which will serve as a drive-through testing site for our front-line city workers,” she said, adding that the site would be located at San Francisco Piers 30 and 32. “And we will be able to ramp up to test hundreds.”
“The initial focus will be on first responders … and, as we ramp up, begin to expand it for some of our shelter workers and nonprofit workers and those other essential workers that are also on the front lines.”
City officials took turns wiping down the microphones and podium between speakers, using hand sanitizers as they spoke to the media.
Oklahoma court blocks state’s pandemic-time abortion ban
A federal judge this week ruled in favor of an Oklahoma clinic that had challenged an order by the Republican governor restricting abortion services — including abortion pills — as nonessential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order had forced the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City to close. But on Monday, a federal court granted the clinic’s request for a temporary restraining order allowing it to reopen.
“It’s a huge relief that we can start seeing patients again, at least for now,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women. “We hope the court will keep the ban blocked so our patients aren’t forced to travel to other states to find abortion care at a time when travel is risky.”
Trust Women also runs a clinic in Wichita, Kan., where the governor, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, has not issued orders restricting its operations. They have seen a dramatic increase in patients traveling for treatment from states including Oklahoma and Texas that have attempted to restrict abortion access due to the outbreak. In Texas and other states, abortion providers also sued to oppose the restrictions, with mixed results.
“Our patient load in Wichita has tripled to quadrupled,” Burkhart said. “We do not have enough staff, we do not have enough doctors, we do not have enough days in the week.”
When she discovered she was pregnant, the 22-year-old aspiring veterinarian started calling abortion clinics in her home state of Oklahoma.
Hope amid heartbreak: Why some theaters see light at the end of the tunnel
When Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the cancellation of large, nonessential gatherings in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, California’s theater companies were plunged into an involuntary, indefinite intermission. Productions and rehearsals were abruptly suspended or canceled outright, creating an unsettling state of limbo.
The region’s largest and most important nonprofit company, Center Theatre Group, suspended all productions until fall and furloughed half of its staff. How long can its smaller counterparts hold on before they become casualties of the pandemic?
To find out, the Los Angeles Times spoke with directors of five companies of various sizes from different parts of Southern California. They responded with a combination of grim determination and cautious optimism.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in intensive care
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, hospitalized for COVID-19, has been moved to intensive care, his office said Monday.
The 55-year-old prime minister was taken Sunday evening to London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital after experiencing “persistent symptoms” of a coronavirus infection that was diagnosed March 26.
Johnson’s office said in a statement that, over the course of Monday afternoon, “the condition of the prime minister has worsened, and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”
The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has been deputized by Johnson to step in “where necessary,” the statement said.
Concert industry could lose $9 billion this year due to the pandemic
Just a month ago, the live music industry was in a cautious wait-and-see mode about the effects of COVID-19. What everyone wouldn’t give to go back there now.
A report released Friday by the live-event trade publication and research firm Pollstar lays out the scope of damage that the novel coronavirus could wreak on the business. Pollstar projects that revenue for the industry could be down by as much as $9 billion in 2020, a decline without parallel in the modern music business.
“In 2008, the business took a hit,” said Andy Gensler, Pollstar’s executive editor, “but after that, it exploded. The last decade has been a golden age.”
Baby born prematurely dies in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — The coronavirus pandemic claimed its youngest victim yet in Louisiana on Monday — a baby born prematurely after her mother contracted the disease and was put on a ventilator.
“The baby, because of the extreme prematurity, did not survive,” said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark, who blamed the mother’s COVID-19 disease for putting her into labor.
The girl survived only one day, and the coroner said both he and Louisiana’s state epidemiologist agreed that she belonged in the state’s coronavirus death toll.
Whether the baby had COVID-19 remains under investigation, but Clark said her death was clearly linked to the virus.
If not for her mother’s infection, Clark said, “likely she would have not gone into preterm labor and there would have been a different outcome. This is an incredibly sad case.”
Clark said the mother was admitted to a hospital on April 1 and remained alive. He provided no details about her conditio, and no identifying information. This premature baby wasn’t the first U.S. newborn to die in similar circumstances, he added.
Louisiana’s coronavirus caseload grew Monday to nearly 15,000 people with confirmed infections, about 12% of whom are hospitalized. The death toll rose by 35 from a day earlier to at least 512.
France has its highest 24-hour death toll
PARIS — France’s health minister has reported the country’s highest 24-hour death toll recorded in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Olivier Veran said Monday evening that 833 people had died of coronavirus in hospitals and nursing homes since Sunday.
Though some predicted that the infection rate might start to slow, Veran said “we have not reached the end of the ascent of this epidemic.”
France has only recently started counting nursing home deaths in their COVID-19-related death counts, and previously only reported deaths in hospitals.
The total number that have died from the coronavirus stands at 8,911.
Milken conference, already postponed by virus, is pushed to October
The Milken Institute Global Conference, already postponed due to the coronavirus, has been rescheduled again, this time for October with a new focus on health and business challenges related to the post-crisis recovery.
The large conference put on by Los Angeles billionaire Michael Milken’s nonprofit institute, which features government officials, business leaders and others, was set for May until it was delayed a month ago and rescheduled for July. The event, in its 23rd year, will now be held Oct. 12-15 at its longtime home, the Beverly Hilton.
The conference, which draws several thousand attendees, will feature international government officials and executives who will explore ways to strengthen biomedical responses to disease and help business and government adapt to disruptions in supply chains, workforce and capital, the institute said in a news release.
Inside the frenzied campaign to get supplies to California. Will it be enough?
Emergency management officials say they are now moving mountains of protective masks, gloves, gowns and other medical supplies to California hospitals, as the highly coveted protective gear has started flowing in recent days out of federal, state and local stockpiles.
The vast stores of material, some kept in secret government warehouses, are now getting shipped in massive quantities: 41 million N95 protective masks, 600,000 gowns and 500,000 face shields and more than 2.3 million sets of gloves, according to state emergency officials.
Details about the medical supply chain, which have thus far been shrouded in secrecy, come from confidential state briefings obtained by The Times that explain emergency efforts to keep medical facilities equipped, though the material shipped so far might be just a fraction of what’s needed during the pandemic.
HIV, Ebola, SARS and now COVID-19: Why some scientists fear deadly outbreaks are on the rise
The social upheaval and death caused by the new coronavirus has awoken many to what some infectious-disease experts have been warning about for more than a decade: Outbreaks of dangerous new diseases with the potential to become pandemics have been on the rise — from HIV to swine flu to SARS to Ebola.
Many experts now believe that this surge in new infectious diseases is being driven in part by some of humanity’s most environmentally destructive practices, such as deforestation and poaching, leading to increased contact between highly mobile, urbanized human populations and wild animals.
“The evidence is clear; we’re driving disease emergence through less sustainable use of nature,” said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“It’s happening more often, and it’s mostly happening because of spillover of pathogens from animals to people,” he added.
Launching online learning is ‘akin to landing on the moon,’ L.A. school chief says
In a sign that the digital divide may be closing among Los Angeles public high school students who have lacked computer or internet access, teachers have connected with 96% of their pupils, leaving about 5,000 still unaccounted for, Supt. Austin Beutner said Monday.
A week ago, about 15,000 high school students were missing online or had not connected with their teachers since the school district shuttered campuses on March 16 and began the challenging move to online learning. The school district is on spring break this week.
“Even in the best of times, launching a comprehensive online learning program in the nation’s second-largest school district would be a monumental task, akin to landing on the moon,” said Beutner in a video update. “It would take years of careful planning, investment, training and engagement with the entire school community. During extended school closures due to the coronavirus, Los Angeles Unified is doing it in a matter of weeks, because students most in need are counting on us.”
Along with tracking down students, the district has had to ramp up training for teachers.
Billie Eilish, J Balvin, Elton John lead star-studded lineup for relief concert
Global Citizen, the organization behind a tidal wave of at-home concerts shared during the pandemic, has tapped Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Elton John and more acts to headline one big concert for coronavirus relief.
Curated by Lady Gaga and hosted by late-night TV hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, “One World: Together at Home” also will feature appearances from Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, David Beckham, Kacey Musgraves, J Balvin, Finneas, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Maluma, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Burna Boy, Eddie Vedder and Shah Rukh Khan, as well as Idris and Sabrina Elba — who both tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
The event, which takes place live April 18, will benefit the World Health Organization “and healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Disneyland won’t refund tickets, but you can postpone
If you bought tickets for a Disneyland visit on a date that coincides with closures prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, don’t expect to get a refund. Instead, the Anaheim theme park is allowing ticket holders to postpone the date of their visit.
Disneyland has been closed since March 14, the longest time the park has been shut since it opened in 1955. Typically, tickets to Disneyland and/or California Adventure Park are nonrefundable and nontransferable. During the coronavirus-related closure, the theme park has issued additional ticket guidelines.
“Unused single-day tickets and wholly unused multi-day tickets are valid for a future visit through the end of their respective validity period,” the park’s website said.
Wisconsin governor orders primary postponed to June
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday issued an executive order to delay the state’s presidential primary for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that will almost certainly prompt a court challenge and inject new uncertainty about whether the election will move forward.
Evers, a Democrat, had previously opposed moving Tuesday’s election. But he’s pushing to delay it until June 9 amid criticism about how in-person voting can proceed safely at a time when public health officials are discouraging groups of people from gathering to avoid spread of the virus. Some poll sites have already closed because nervous volunteers are unwilling to staff them.
Evers had been unable to strike a deal with Republicans to reschedule the election. His order comes after the GOP-controlled Legislature refused his request to cancel in-person voting on Tuesday.
The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access in the age of coronavirus with major implications for the presidential primary contests ahead — and possibly, the November general election.
The virus takes a heavy toll on California first responders
The coronavirus is taking a growing toll on police officers, firefighters and other first responders in California, with at least three dying and dozens infected.
The number of Los Angeles Police Department officers and civilian employees testing positive for the coronavirus increased to 45 with at least one employee hospitalized.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Fire Department has a total of 13 firefighters who have tested positive for the virus with one hospitalized, Some of the first infected are beginning to recover. One police officer and two firefighters have been cleared to return to duty. Four members of the command staff of the LAPD tested positive for the virus and all are said to be in the recovering stage.
Fire departments in San Jose and Long Beach have been hit by outbreaks.
WHO urges caution in relaxation of lockdown
LONDON — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said countries looking to exit their lockdown strategies need to use a “calibrated, step-wise approach” that does not release all the restrictions at once.
Dr. Mike Ryan said Monday that the lockdowns seen in many countries involve shutdowns of schools, workplaces, and social gatherings in venues such as public places and parks.
“It probably would be a bad idea to lift all the lockdown restrictions (at once),” Ryan said, noting that countries shouldn’t be looking to transition out of a shutdown without having a plan in place to keep the spread of COVID-19 to manageable levels.
“The lockdown is pushing the disease down. Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the infection,” Ryan said, explaining countries should have systems in place to detect cases, track contacts, quarantine suspect cases and test widely for the disease.
Solar power growth was strong before the outbreak hit. Now demand is plummeting
When the coronavirus hit China late last year, America’s solar industry immediately started worrying about manufacturing. Asia is the main source of panels and other equipment, and with residential installers anticipating a bumper year, a bottleneck in the supply chain could be a major hindrance.
Turns out the industry’s biggest 2020 quandary is very different: dwindling demand.
Many homeowners aren’t exactly in the mood these days to have panels or panel installers on their roofs — even some who had already agreed to buy or lease them. Analysts are now predicting residential installations could tumble this year, which would be a big setback for a sector that’s key to fighting climate change and that’s been on the verge of transitioning from niche in many markets to neighborhood mainstay.
Kyle Turley advocates cannabis as ‘cure’, even after warnings from feds
Kyle Turley believes cannabis can cure COVID-19.
Others, like the folks at the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission, aren’t convinced. Late last month, the agencies sent a letter to the former All-Pro offensive lineman’s company, Neuro XPF, telling it to stop promoting CBD products as a way of stopping the coronavirus pandemic.
Turley seems to have found a way to comply with the order without backing down from his claims. As of this weekend, he says, Neuro XPF is no longer his company. Neither is the Shango chain of dispensaries, which has locations in Moreno Valley as well as Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Michigan.
Rate of deaths in New York may signal a plateau
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic were showing signs of hitting a plateau in the state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
The challenge, he cautioned Monday, is to maintain the social distancing that he says has finally pointed New York toward a possible peak in fatalities. For a second day in a row, the percentage increase in the death toll was less than 10%, a turnabout from numbers about twice as large barely a week ago.
The peak of the outbreak could fall on the earlier side of the state’s models, showing that it could take anywhere from a week to 30 days for the situation to hit that point.
“I get that people are cooped up,” Cuomo said in his daily news briefing. “But, we get reckless, we change and we’re not compliant on social distancing, you’ll see those numbers go up again.”
He doubled the fine for social-distancing violations to $1,000.
21 best nature books to read during the pandemic
Like many who grew up on the West Coast, I discovered that hikes in the woods in the shadows of mountains were when my chest could crack open and the hamster wheel of thoughts could rest. Many of us are finding comfort now in remembering the enveloping smell of warm pine on a sunny day or the sight of ocotillo in bloom after a desert rain.
In the time of coronavirus, we circle our blocks cautiously, while trails and beaches are closed for our protection. Nature flourishes in our absence, awaiting our return. In these 21 nonfiction books, both recent and classic, writers illuminate a natural world that reflects back to us the wonders of this troubled planet. The list is far from complete; consider it a starting point toward virtual encounters with nature — until you meet again.
DOT tells airlines to refund canceled flights, but don’t count on cash just yet
Airline passengers whose flights are canceled or significantly delayed should receive refunds, the Department of Transportation said in a statement, but don’t count on your money back just yet.
The statement notes that that DOT will give airlines a chance to comply first.
In a statement Friday, the DOT noted that it had received “an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticket passengers … who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were canceled or significantly delayed.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced thousands of flight cancellations as air travel has ground nearly to a halt. Available seats on Delta Airlines, for instance, dropped by more than 3 million from Jan. 20 to April 6, according to OAG, which tracks airline data.
To aid the fight, The Times releases database of California cases
In an effort to aid scientists and researchers in the fight against COVID-19, The Times has released its database of California coronavirus cases to the public.
To follow the virus’ spread, The Times is conducting an independent survey of dozens of local health agencies across the state. The effort, run continually throughout the day, supplies the underlying data for this site’s coronavirus tracker.
Its tallies can arrive days ahead of numbers published by the California Department of Public Health. By polling local agencies, The Times database also gathers some information not provided by the state. The system has won praise from public health officials, who do not dispute its method of data collection.
How to gently remove your gel manicure and care for your nails at home
Your regular salon manicure is on hiatus with California’s estimated 7,800 nail salons closed because of the “Safer at Home” order. In the coronavirus era, your nail maintenance is now in your own hands.
As you try to replicate the technique of your trusted nail technicians, don’t worry. Doing your own nails at home isn’t impossible. Celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik said you just have to have the right tools, particularly for removing a gel manicure that might be growing out or peeling about now. (Your standard $20 to $25 manicure can be yours at home using a manicure set, which can be found online or at a pharmacy.)
Here are Bachik’s tips for DIY nail and hand care.
California loans 500 ventilators to New York, other areas
SACRAMENTO — Recognizing that states like New York are experiencing immediate supply shortages as a result of coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that California would loan 500 state-owned ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile inventory.
“California is stepping up to help our fellow Americans in New York and across the country who are being impacted the hardest right now by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Newsom.
“We still have a long road ahead of us in the Golden State — and we’re aggressively preparing for a surge — but we can’t turn our back on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now. We’re meeting this moment with compassion. I know that if the tables were turned and we were experiencing a hospital surge, other states would come to our aid and provide ventilators just as we are today.”
Italy’s new infections hit lowest point in nearly three weeks
Italy reported the lowest number of new coronavirus infections in nearly three weeks, prompting debate over how and when the country should start emerging from a nationwide lockdown.
Civil protection authorities reported 3,599 new cases of the disease on Monday, compared with 4,316 a day earlier. Italy registered 636 new deaths linked to the virus, compared with 525 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 16,523.
Italy, once the epicenter for Europe, now has fewer cases than Spain and the U.S.
Over 1,000 in active duty force have COVID-19, Pentagon says
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says the number of COVID-19 cases in the active duty force topped 1,000 over the weekend.
There were a total of 1,132 confirmed cases as of Monday morning. The total was 978 on Friday.
There also have been 303 cases among members of the National Guard.
Among the military services, the Navy has the most cases, with 431. That includes more than 150 among the crew of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
Merkel says it’s too early to consider ending restrictive measures in Germany
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she was as anxious as anyone for life to return to normal in the country.
Speaking to the media at the chancellor’s office in Berlin, Merkel said, “We’re still living in the pandemic,” and now isn’t the time to talk about an end date to restrictive measures.
“We would be a bad government if we did not intensively, day and night, consider how we can take steps to return to ordinary life while still protecting health.”
But she added that she would be considered “a bad chancellor, and we’d be a bad government” if she set an immediate date to end restrictions.
European officials are scheduled to hold a video conference Tuesday to discuss the crisis, and Merkel said the European Union was “facing its greatest test since its founding” that had hit every nation.
“Everyone has been affected and therefore it is in everyone’s interest, and in Germany’s interest, that Europe emerges stronger from this test.”
Despite the outbreak, Wisconsin goes forward with plans for in-person primary
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin moved forward Monday with plans to hold in-person voting for its presidential primary on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic with help from National Guard members staffing the polls, even as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether to intervene.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who had originally pushed for the election to proceed as planned, on Friday changed course and asked the Republican-controlled Legislature to extend absentee voting until May 19 and have it all be done by mail. Republicans ignored the request.
The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access in the age of coronavirus with major implications for the presidential primary contests ahead — and possibly, the November general election.
Your guide to face masks and coverings: How to do it right
Wearing masks or other face coverings is now recommended as one way of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
But the new suggestion has led to some confusion because, for weeks, federal authorities insisted masks were not necessary. And although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with many California officials, suggest wearing them while shopping or being out in public, President Trump says he won’t be covering his face.
Infections top 800 in Orange County as hospitalizations hit new high
Orange County continues to see a rapid rise in confirmed coronavirus infections, as its total case count hit 834 Sunday — up more than 400 from a week ago.
The county reported 124 new COVID-19 cases last weekend alone.
Also on Sunday, Orange County announced that 137 people were hospitalized — the most to date. Of those, 56 were in intensive care, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Trump administration is battling without a war room
A deadly virus was spreading in China, killing 40% of its victims and threatening to burst into a major outbreak.
In the U.S., the pandemic preparedness team at the White House’s National Security Council was tracking it daily, even as President Trump took office in those early days of 2017.
The NSC team, called the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, had helmed the country’s preparations for months, coordinating health agencies, the State Department, and even the Pentagon to prepare for its spread to the U.S.
That virus, H7N9, never did.
First government report on the crisis confirms U.S. hospitals face dire problems
WASHINGTON — The nation’s hospitals are facing severe shortages of tests, critical protective gear and staff needed to combat the coronavirus and protect their patients, a federal government watchdog reported Monday.
The report is the first by the federal government to assess how hospitals are responding to the crisis. Based on hundreds of interviews of administrators coast-to-coast from March 23 to 27, it largely confirmed anecdotal reports from news organizations and painted a far more dire picture than the one President Trump describes at his daily news conferences.
The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that hospitals’ problems hindered their doctors’ ability to combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Unable to obtain critical gear, hospitals were competing with one another in the market and relying on unproved suppliers who did not always deliver what was promised.
British Open is canceled; the Masters is tentatively scheduled for November
The British Open will not be played this year for the first time since 1945, golf officials announced Monday as they tried to reconfigure a major championship schedule that would end with the Masters being played two weeks before Thanksgiving.
Still to be determined is when golf can resume, depending on the spread of COVID-19 that has shut down sports worldwide.
The R&A announced that the British Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s in England, will be pushed back until July 15-18 in 2021, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews in 2022.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing the Open this year, but it is not going to be possible,” R&A chief Martin Slumbers said.
Amid the virus, cruise ships idle off the Southern California coast
Massive freighters regularly drift at anchor off the coast of Southern California waiting to unload cargo at the ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach. Tankers and container vessels are a common sight for local residents from San Pedro south to Huntington Beach.
During the past few weeks, however, some huge new silhouettes have joined the bulky freighter outlines visible from shore: full-size cruise ships biding time until they can resume sailing internationally. In the same way airlines have mothballed some of their fleets due to the coronavirus crisis, cruise lines are stashing hundreds of ships at various ports throughout the U.S.
‘The Nanny’ returns briefly to offer some relief
In such immensely troubling times, nostalgia — the affectionate longing for perceived simpler times — is such an attractive elixir. Therefore, who better than Fran Drescher to help comfort us all during the COVID-19 crisis?
Last week, Drescher announced on social media that the original cast of “The Nanny” would be back together to perform a virtual table reading of the pilot episode, which will be featured at 9 a.m. Pacific Monday on Sony Pictures’ YouTube channel.
Referencing the show’s co-creator, Peter Marc Jacobson (whom she was once married to), Drescher said in a statement, “Laughter is the best medicine. So, in these challenging times, Petah and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we pulled together the original cast of “The Nanny” for a virtual read of the pilot?’ ”
In the standout 1990s sitcom, which aired for six seasons on CBS, the much-loved actress played a badass Jewish makeup saleswoman from Queens, N.Y., named Fran Fine, who becomes the nanny for three well-to-do children on the Upper East Side.
‘Very difficult days ahead’ as jump in deaths expected across California
California is bracing for another spike in coronavirus deaths this week, with the total number of confirmed cases topping 15,000.
The toll has been particularly somber in Los Angeles County, which reported 28 deaths Saturday, the largest one-day increase since the coronavirus pandemic began. Los Angeles County on Sunday announced 15 additional deaths, raising the total to more than 130.
As the outbreak swamps India, hospitals turn away other sick people
As cases of the coronavirus were rising steadily in India, 76-year-old Ravindra Nath Singh arrived at a private hospital in the northern city of Lucknow complaining of breathing trouble.
Already suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Singh was immediately admitted to intensive care March 20 and diagnosed with pneumonia. Doctors did not test him for the coronavirus because he had no travel history but said he would need to remain hospitalized for at least a week, said his son, Jayant Singh.
British Prime Minister in the hospital but in good spirits, spokesman says
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly in good spirits following his first night in the hospital for what his office described as a “precautionary step” after contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Johnson, while remaining in charge of the government, was sent to St. Thomas’ Hospital after a cough and fever persisted. His spokesman James Slack said he remained in the hospital under observation.
The 55-year-old leader had been quarantined in his Downing Street residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26. He is the first known head of government to fall ill with the virus.
He has released several video messages during his days in isolation.
One teacher’s quest to track down her students amid school closure
By Friday morning, only eight of Keara Williams’ 24 AP English students had submitted the assignments she posted online after school closed three weeks ago.
Most of the remaining two-thirds of the juniors in her class at a South L.A. high school had not responded to any of her messages.
These 16 were among the thousands of Los Angeles Unified high school students who had not been showing up to online classes. By the end of last week, the school district had not made contact with 7%, or about 8,400, of high school students since campuses shut down on March 16, marking an improvement from earlier when about 15,000 had not joined online classes.
Some churches defiantly hold services despite stay-at-home orders
The congregants lined up six feet apart on Palm Sunday, waiting to take Communion at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks. Ten people were allowed inside at a time, with someone spraying chairs with disinfectant after each use.
By the end of the day, hundreds of people had cycled through.
Nearby, in the church parking lot, protesters lined up in their cars and honked their horns, disturbed that the church would so brazenly flout stay-at-home orders from Ventura County and the state, put in place to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
It wasn’t a decision Pastor Rob McCoy took lightly. On Saturday night, he resigned his position on the Thousand Oaks City Council, saying he planned to violate orders that deem churches nonessential.
As the virus snuffs out live shows, Quibi and Sasha Velour give drag fans a lifeline
For Sasha Velour, drag is a utopian practice: Its fantasy helps performers and onlookers alike see the world not as it is but as it could be. With Quibi’s “NightGowns With Sasha Velour,” which chronicles the live drag show the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner has been producing since 2015, Velour wants to put that fantasy in the palm of your hand.
“Queer art is always reflecting on a world that is sometimes unfriendly, that needs to be edited and changed and shifted in all these ways,” Velour says. “A lot of gay art has a balance of humor and heart in the face of despair, violence and death.”
Cut off from their kids, parents of juvenile detainees wait and worry as the virus spreads
It was the phone call Domonique had been dreading, the one that seemed inevitable.
Her 19-year-old son was on the other end of the line, calling from inside Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.
“Mom, one of the boys in the unit underneath me has the coronavirus,” he said.
It remains unclear whether the rumor was true, but the panic Domonique felt with no way to check on her asthmatic son was very real. Two days later, The Times obtained a document that revealed a probation officer who works at Nidorf had tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result, 21 youths were placed under quarantine.
This isn’t just a fight against a virus. It’s a fight for communities, neighborhoods and people
It’s hard to believe it took just a few weeks for this pandemic to remake this city.
Everything feels smaller and quieter. Once we roamed a sprawling metropolis, and now we pace our blocks. Our social lives now play out on phone and laptop screens. Before there were many stories in the news, and now there’s only one, and it’s inescapable, menacing us from every unwiped surface and errant gust of wind.
But this crisis has also gifted us with the clarity to see our city more clearly. And I’ve never found my neighborhood more beautiful, more heroic, more inspiring.
The outbreak turned Quibi’s plans to round up ‘Last Night’s Late Night’ upside down
As the hallowed hallways’ echoes on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and John Oliver’s awkward pauses for applause during “Last Week Tonight” have taught us, it’s bizarre enough to be making a comedic late-night TV show during a pandemic. Now imagine launching a new show about these shows.
And yet, one of the programs scheduled for the launch of mobile video platform Quibi on April 6 is Entertainment Weekly’s “Last Night’s Late Night.” Hosted by journalist Heather Gardner, the show aims to save us all some time during our morning coffee-and-news scan by cherry picking the best moments from all of the late-night shows. Airing Monday to Friday mornings — with Mondays serving as a recap for weekend shows like Oliver’s and Bill Maher’s HBO shows and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” — each episode will feature one stand-out moment likely to be trending on social media.
‘These people are warriors.’ Meet the waste workers taking risks to sort your recyclables
SAN FRANCISCO — On Friday morning, Noel Turner — gloved, masked, and dressed in an apron and hard hat — attacked the refuse stream rolling by her on a fast-moving conveyor built, pulling out plastic bags and loose plastic films, and tossing them into a metal bin by her side.
She’s a sorter at San Francisco’s Recology recycling center. And while most of the city’s residents are hunkered down in their homes, keeping clear of the coronavirus that has infected more than 1 million people worldwide, thousands of waste sorters, haulers, mechanics and engineers are getting up every morning and leaving their homes — putting themselves at risk to keep California’s towns and cities clean.
“These people are warriors,” said Robert Reed, Recology’s spokesman, as he showed a reporter around the bustling plant — a site of determined activity in a city that largely feels and appears abandoned.
California courts eye dramatic new steps to slow spread
ORINDA, Calif. — In dramatic moves aimed at slowing the rapid spread of the coronavirus, California judicial leaders are expected to adopt a statewide emergency order setting bail at zero for misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses.
In a remote meeting Monday, the Judicial Council also is expected to vote to suspend evictions and foreclosures and to allow for the expansion of court hearings held by video or telephone.
The moves come as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases topped 15,000 in the state, with more than 350 deaths. Los Angeles County had a particularly grim weekend, recording 43 deaths, with confirmed cases nearing 6,000.
Foreign doctors on front lines fear deportation from U.S.
WASHINGTON — When Sujit Vakkalanka felt he was showing symptoms of COVID-19, he was, naturally, worried about his health. But as the 31-year-old from India waited for the results of his test, he was also concerned about something else: the visa allowing him to remain working in the U.S.
As with many foreign doctors on the front lines of the pandemic in America, Vakkalanka’s H-1B visa is tied to his employment, and he fears he could lose his status if he remains sick and is unable to return to work promptly at a hospital in southwest Virginia.
“If you don’t keep working, you might sometimes be deported,” the internist said.
News Analysis: The crisis will change America in big ways. History says so
The Social Security check that arrives each month. The unemployment benefits that help tide workers over between jobs. The security lines snaking through airports, back when millions of Americans were still flying.
They are so deeply embedded in today’s society that we take them for granted.
Austria to start gradually resuming normal life next week
VIENNA — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that his government is aiming to start allowing some shops to reopen next week at the beginning of a long, phased return to normal life.
Kurz said that the aim is to allow small shops and garden centers to reopen next Tuesday, with a limited number of customers who must wear masks. He said that the government hopes to reopen the rest of the shops, as well as hairdressing salons, on May 1.
However, restaurants and hotels won’t be able to open until at least mid-May. Events will remain banned until the end of June.
Existing restrictions on people’s movement, which were imposed three weeks ago and set to expire April 13, are being extended until the end of the month.
Austria had some 12,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 220 deaths, as of Monday.
Japan to declare state of emergency, launch stimulus package
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he would declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday to bolster measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, but that there would be no hard lockdowns.
Abe also told reporters Monday that his government would launch a 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) stimulus package to help counter the economic impact of the pandemic, including cash payouts to households in need and financial support to protect businesses and jobs.
Abe said experts on a government-commissioned task force urged him to prepare to declare a state of emergency, with the COVID-19 outbreak rapidly expanding in major cities, including Tokyo, overburdening hospitals and medical staff. He said the state of emergency would cover Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and four other hard-hit prefectures, and be in effect for about a month.
The prime minister said he would hold a news conference Tuesday to explain the state of emergency.
Spain records lowest number of deaths and new cases in two weeks
MADRID — Coronavirus-related fatalities and recorded infections continued to drop on Monday in Spain, although authorities warned of possible distortions by a slower reporting of figures over the weekend.
The country’s health ministry reported 637 new deaths for the previous 24 hours, the lowest fatality toll in 13 days, for a total of more than 13,000 since the pandemic hit the country. New recorded infections were also the lowest in two weeks: 4,273, bringing the total of confirmed cases over 135,000.
Hospitals are also reporting that the pace of incoming patients to their emergency wards is slowing down, giving a much-needed respite to overburdened medical workers.
Mimicking the approach seen in China and other Asian countries, the Spanish government is putting together a list of venues, hotels and sports centers where patients who test positive but show no symptoms could be isolated to avoid infecting relatives.
The daily terrors of improvising in a makeshift ICU in Spain
BADALONA, Spain — The tension is palpable. There is no nonessential talking. An orchestra of medical monitors marks the tempo with an endless series of soft, distinct beeps.
Never have so many people been inside the library of the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in northeastern Spain. But the healthcare workers in improvised protective gear aren’t consulting medical books. Instead, they’re treating patients in critical condition suffering from pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.
From the outside, this makeshift intensive-care unit in Badalona, near Barcelona, looks nothing like a library. The bookshelves have been removed to make room for up to 20 hospital beds, breathing machines and an array of medical equipment after the longstanding ICU and other areas of the hospital were flooded with COVID-19 patients.
With the scarcity of full-body protective suits across Spain, doctors and nurses are employing what they can find, reusing masks, layering oversized surgical gowns with plastic aprons and running through an infinite number of latex gloves.
Fired captain of U.S. aircraft carrier 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.
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.
1 Coral Princess passenger dies, 13 are hospitalized
Authorities say 14 people have been taken to hospitals from a cruise ship that docked in Florida with COVID-19 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 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.