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China exonerates doctor who warned of coronavirus crisis

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 17.

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

Senators sold stock before steep market losses from virus

Records show that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and his wife sold as much as $1.7 million in stocks in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February.
(Associated Press)

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) sold as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid fears about the coronavirus epidemic.

Senate records show that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to fall and as government health officials began to issue stark warnings about the effects of the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.

The stock sales were first reported by ProPublica and the Center for Responsive Politics. Most of them came on Feb. 13, just before Burr made a speech in North Carolina in which he predicted severe consequences from the virus, including closed schools and cutbacks in company travel, according to audio obtained by National Public Radio and released Thursday.

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China exonerates doctor reprimanded for warning of virus

China has exonerated a doctor who was officially reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus outbreak and later died of the disease, a startling admission of error by the ruling Communist Party that generally bodes no challenges to its authority.

The party’s top disciplinary body said the police force in Wuhan had revoked its admonishment of Dr. Li Wenliang that had included a threat of arrest.

It also said a “solemn apology” had been issued to Li’s family and that two police officers, identified only by their surnames, had been issued “disciplinary punishments” for the original handling of the matter.

In death, Li became the face of simmering anger at the ruling Communist Party’s controls over information and complaints that officials lie about or hide disease outbreaks, industrial accidents, natural disasters and financial frauds, while punishing whistleblowers and independent journalists.

After seeing thousands of new cases daily at the peak of the city’s outbreak a month ago, Wuhan on Friday had its second consecutive day with no new confirmed or suspected cases.

Activists implore prisons to release at-risk inmates to prevent coronavirus deaths

They live in overcrowded facilities, sometimes jammed into tiny spaces in groups of three. Sanitary conditions can be an afterthought. Social distancing is rarely an option.

For the nearly 2.3 million people held in prisons and jails nationwide and the guards who work inside, a scramble is underway to prevent the coronavirus from seeping within.

In letters to the U.S. Department of Justice and local leaders, the ACLU has called for the immediate release of inmates whose sentences would be completed within the next two years and who fall within a category deemed as particularly vulnerable: over the age 65 or having an underlying condition. In the letter dated March 18, the American Civil Liberties Union also asked local law enforcement to temporarily stop arresting people for minor offenses and instead issue citations. Those in jail on low-level nonviolent offenses should be released, according to the letter.

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Cannabis dispensaries listed as essential businesses under L.A. County coronavirus order

The “safer at home” emergency order just announced by Los Angeles County and the cities within its borders at a Thursday evening news conference requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses to close effective midnight tonight through at least April 19. Allowed to operate — as long as they observe proper social-distancing guidelines and do not include more than 10 people in one place — are a list of essential services including city and county government services, grocery stores, hardware stores and, wait for it, cannabis dispensaries.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom orders all Californians to stay at home

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to stay at home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

The governor’s order comes at a critical time in California, where 19 people died and another 958 have tested positive for the disease.

Officials hope telling people to remain in their homes and restrict social interactions will slow the spread of the virus and ultimately prevent hospitals from being overrun with sick patients. The request for all residents to quarantine at home marks the strongest escalation of the Newsom adminstration’s response to the virus.

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Here is what is permitted and not under L.A. County’s new ‘Safer at Home’ order

×

Under the city’s order, officials said the following activities are permitted:

  • Go to the grocery store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others in the community.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies.

This is not permitted:

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out, as possible
  • Travel to or from a job outside the City, unless to perform essential activities
  • Travel to or from a vacation home outside the City
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility

These are considered essential services:

--City/County government services:
--Health care providers
--Food and grocery service
--Hardware stores and nurseries
--Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other essential activities
--Banks
--Organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, (including gang prevention and intervention and domestic violence agencies).
--Laundromats/laundry service
--Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, podcasts and other media services
--Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities -- for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible

High-ranking LAPD member becomes second department official to contract coronavirus

A high-ranking member of the Los Angeles Police Department has contracted the coronavirus, marking the second time an LAPD employee has tested positive for COVID-19 this week, officials said.

In a news release issued Thursday, the LAPD said the employee began exhibiting flu-like symptoms last week. The person, who was not identified, is expected to make a full recovery.

The person was described as a member of the “senior staff” in a department memo obtained by The Times. A law enforcement source said the person is a high-ranking police official.

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L.A. County orders closure of indoor malls, shopping centers, non-essential retail businesses

In a new bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, Los Angeles County officials on Thursday announced a new order that requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and non-essential retail businesses to close and prohibits gathering in enclosed spaces of more than 10 people.

Read the order here

“We know this will have an impact on the social fabric of our communities. We still encourage individuals to stay connected to their community and their loved ones in creative ways, and to spend much-needed time outdoors,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. “We won’t have to maintain these restrictions forever, and they will have an invaluable long-term impact.”

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Two Lakers test positive for the coronavirus

Two players on the Lakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The players, who received the test on Wednesday if they wanted one, got the results on Thursday.

The Lakers had 14 players tested for the coronavirus virus at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. All of them stayed in their cars during the testing that took about 10 seconds.

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Glendora man, 34, dies of coronavirus infection after visiting Disney World, sources say

A 34-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, after visiting Disney World and traveling through Los Angeles International Airport earlier this month died Thursday at a hospital in Pasadena, according to medical and government sources.

The Glendora man, who spent nearly a week on a ventilator, had underlying medical conditions, including asthma and bronchitis, the sources said.

The Times has chosen not to not identify the man to prevent his family from being shunned or targeted.

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Why we should learn to accept the coronavirus craziness

Republique bakery
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18, 2020 Grace Curran, left, restaurant manager packs the take out order for Deni Ershtukaev at Republique (French Restaurant) located at 624 South La Brea as the restaurant continues to serve patrons who love the fine pastries in the morning with a full menu available for carry-out and delivery on Wednesday morning as the restaurant has changed its work flow to accommodate for the coronavirus limitations. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Thanks to the new coronavirus, our plans for the future, once so clear and reasonable, now seem hazy and improbable.

Who knows when our kids will go back to school, or when we will return to the office? Nobody can say how long dine-in restaurants will remain closed, or when we can finally meet friends for a much-needed drink.

And how long can we live with all this uncertainty and not lose our collective minds?

Life will return to normal, someday. But the end of this liminal time feels a long way off.

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As home viewing surges in Europe, Netflix will take a load off the Internet

(L-R)- Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown in a scene from "Stranger Things" season 3. Credit: Netflix
(Netflix/Netflix)

Netflix on Thursday said it would reduce its impact on European Internet traffic for 30 days, after a European Union official said a streaming surge caused by the coronavirus scare could strain the region’s Internet capacity.

Netflix said it would reduce its bit rates, or the bits per second, to transmit video streams onto screens.

“We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members,” Netflix said in a statement.

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2,500 ‘pop-up’ shelters, 3,500 hotel rooms to be used to isolate homeless people, others in San Francisco

San Francisco is adding 2,500 new shelter spaces for homeless people and identifying at least 3,500 hotel rooms to house people who need to be isolated as the city battles the coronavirus spread.

Many of the hotel rooms will go to those who live in single-occupancy hotels with shared bathrooms and kitchens, said Trent Rhorer, executive director of San Francisco’s Human Services Agency. The rooms are for people who test positive for the virus but don’t need a hospital and don’t have a place to self-isolate.

The city will open the 2,500 “pop up” shelters to ensure social distancing and isolate homeless individuals who have tested positive but do not require hospitalization.

Rhorer said the city was in the process of securing food and staffing for those in isolation.

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More L.A. County jail inmates released over fears of coronavirus outbreak

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has reduced its inmate population by 6% in the last three weeks to free up space in case the coronavirus enters its jails, officials said.

As of Thursday morning, there were no confirmed cases of the virus inside L.A. County jails, where the number of inmates was down to 16,017 inmates from 17,076 on Feb. 28.

“We anticipate the count is going to go further down,” said Cmdr. Jason Wolak of the Sheriff’s Department’s Custody Division. “The reason why we’re doing it is so we can have flexibility in the jail in case we’re going to lose a part of it.”

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More than half of Californians could become infected, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday asked Congress for $1 billion in federal funds to support the state’s medical response to the novel coronavirus, which he expects will infect more than half of all Californians.

The state projects that roughly 56% of Californians, or 25.5 million people, will be infected with the coronavirus over an eight week period, Newsom said in a letter sent to President Trump on Wednesday requesting the deployment of the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1.

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Amazon drivers say they received a single wipe to clean vans before a shift

When about two dozen Amazon.com Inc. delivery drivers reported for their shifts Tuesday morning on California’s Central Coast, their manager passed around a sleeve of disinfecting wipes. He said they could each take only one to clean their vans before starting their routes, according to three people present.

The drivers, who work for a company that has a delivery contract with Amazon, thought it was a joke at first. Upon realizing it wasn’t, they got busy figuring out how to use a tiny wipe to clean a van shared with other drivers and packed with boxes touched by untold others. One driver furiously scrubbed her scanner since she touches it frequently. Another wiped down his steering wheel and door handle.

“I felt so disposable,” said one of the drivers, who, like the others, requested anonymity for fear of losing her job. “We’re really worried, and one wipe for a van just doesn’t cut it.”

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Coronavirus cases in Orange County jump to 53 amid sweeping restrictions

The number of coronavirus cases in Orange County rose to 53, according to new numbers provided by the Orange County Department of Public Health.

So far, Orange County has reported no deaths. Los Angeles reported its second death on Thursday, with a total of 230 cases.

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Actor Daniel Dae Kim shares his coronavirus journey, from scratchy throat to drive-through testing

“I guess it’s nice to be mentioned in the same breath as Tom Hanks and Idris Elba — two of my favorite actors. I think I’m in some pretty good company.”

That’s what actor Daniel Dae Kim said Thursday in a video announcing he was diagnosed the day before with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He posted the 10-minute video, which describes his path to diagnosis step by step, on Instagram.

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Still need hand sanitizer? L.A. perfume makers have some for you

As a COVID-19-driven scramble for alcohol-based hand sanitizers continues, four Los Angeles fragrance creators are hand-blending natural, aromatherapeutic solutions in elevated scents to help fill the void.

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Tesla will suspend car production to comply with coronavirus lockdown

The state’s Air Resources Board has mandated that zero-emission vehicles comprise 15% of new-car sales by 2025 — up from less than 1% now. Above, Tesla employees work on a Model S electric car at the company's factory in Fremont, Calif.
(David Paul Morris / Bloomberg)

Tesla will temporarily end production at its Fremont assembly plant beginning March 23 to comply with Bay Area restrictions due to coronavirus.

The company made the announcement Thursday after days of controversy as Chief Executive Elon Musk kept the plant running full-tilt despite shelter-in-place lockdown orders from Alameda County, where Fremont is located.

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Saints coach Sean Payton says he tested positive for the coronavirus

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

His is the first known positive test from the NFL.

Payton told ESPN that he has no fever or cough but didn’t feel well Sunday, so he was tested the following day.

Payton, who led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory following the 2009 season, said he’s feeling fatigued but also upbeat.
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Coronavirus has shut down the box office. Faith-based romance ‘I Still Believe’ heads for VOD

In the latest example of film distributors scrambling to salvage their current releases amid mass theater closures, Lionsgate announced Thursday that it will make the faith-based romantic drama “I Still Believe” available for viewing on-demand across various platforms on March 27.

The film, which stars KJ Apa and Britt Robertson and is directed by Jon and Andrew Ervin, is based on the life of Christian music singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly their wedding. It was released in theaters on March 13, just as the exhibition business was being hit with a tidal wave of closings because of growing coronavirus fears. With that weekend’s box office plummeting to a 20-year low, the film earned $9.1 million, falling considerably short of pre-release tracking of $15 million or more.
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Make way for Granny: L.A. grocers go 65-plus in pre-dawn hours during coronavirus pandemic

ALTADENA, CA - MARCH 19, 2020 Shopper Aviva Rosenbloom, 72, left, is thankful for toilet paper donated in single rolls by shopper Carol Wallace, right, who was able to grab a package early at the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Altadena as senior shoppers lined up before dawn outside Thursday morning as the store opened before 7am to accommodate the senior population. The store which normally opens at 9am said they wouldn't turn any person away but were allowing 30 shoppers in the store at a time to not exceed the 50 person recommended limit including staff. The store also had volunteers who took shopping lists from seniors in their vehicles to shop for them and return the items to them. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
(Al Seib/Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

As concerns over the coronavirus pandemic grow and lengthy lines snake outside grocery stores before the sun even comes up, many retailers have announced they are setting aside time for people 65 and older (at most stores) and other at-risk populations to do their shopping in a less-crowded environment.
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MLB to pay minor league players a uniform per diem until the season starts

The minor leaguers are going to get paid.

After the Dodgers and several other teams had agreed to continue spring training living stipends for minor leaguers even after spring training had been called off, Major League Baseball announced Thursday that all minor leaguers would receive those allowances through April 8.

Furthermore, the league said in a statement it would work with teams to develop “an industry-wide plan for minor league player compensation from April 9 through the beginning of the coming season.” The minor league season was scheduled to start April 9.
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Country music stars to perform intimate sets from home for CBS special

The Academy of Country Music Awards show was recently postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but it turns out the performances will go on — in the comfort of everyone’s homes.

On Thursday, the academy announced “ACM Presents: Our Country,” a CBS television special that will feature at-home conversations and acoustic performances from country music stars. The program, which airs April 5 and will feature clips from former ACM celebrations, will replace the postponed awards show.

The performers have not yet been announced.
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Carnival offers ships for use as hospitals

After being forced by the coronavirous outbreak to halt cruises on some of its most popular brands, Carnival Corp. said Thursday that it was making select cruise ships available to be used as temporary hospitals to ease the increasing demand on the healthcare system.

“Carnival Corporation and its brands are calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise chips as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up additional space and expanding capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of COVID-19,” the Miami-based company said in a statement.

Carnival said each ship could provide up to 1,000 hospital rooms and the on-board high-speed internet could be used to connect to remote patient monitoring devices.

In addition, Carnival said each ship could “have the ability to provide up to seven intensive care units in the ship’s medical center, equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other key medical devices and capabilities.”

It is not clear if any government agency has taken up the offer by Carnival.

Grocers offer preferred times for seniors, others at risk amid coronavirus outbreak

As concerns over the coronavirus pandemic grow, and lengthy lines snake outside grocery stores before the sun even comes up, many retailers have announced they are setting aside time for people 65 and older (at most stores) and other at-risk populations to do their shopping in a less-crowded environment.

Read more>>>

Some California cities suspending public records requests

Some local governments in California are halting responses to public records requests as they deal with staffing restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Fresno suspended “immediate responses” to public records requests on Tuesday after the city declared a state of emergency, according to an email from the city attorney’s office. The city will resume responding to requests once the emergency declaration ends.

In the Bay Area, the city of San Leandro is closed to the public and only staffing “essential employees” because of a shelter-in-place order from Alameda County, according to an email from the city manager’s office. The city will need an additional 45 days to respond to records requests after the order is lifted, the email said.

And the city clerk’s office in Fremont told a journalist this week it would not be able to accept public records requests until its offices reopened following an emergency declaration there.

David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said he had also heard of similar issues in the Northern California cities of Los Altos and Martinez.

“While I’m totally sympathetic to staffing and other issues cities may now be facing, and understand that slower responses to public records requests may be required, the fact remains that the California Public Records Act is still the law of the land,” Snyder said.

The coronavirus emergency makes the state’s open record law “more important now than it has been in a very long time,” he said.

“The public has a need and a right to see and understand the inner workings of their government, especially when that government is taking the extreme measures it is now taking. Government power is at its apex in a crisis, and so is the risk that the government will abuse that power. Transparency provides a crucial check on that possibility,” Synder said.

Most local governments in the state are still providing records and updates to requests from the public and media, Snyder said.

The Los Angeles Police Department is accepting and processing requests as usual, according to spokesman Josh Rubenstein.

Cannes Film Festival postponed due to coronavirus concerns

Actress Leyna Bloom poses for photographers at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, which has been put off because of the virus outbreak.
(Ian Langsdon / EPA-EFE/REX)

The 73rd Cannes Film Festival, which was scheduled to take place May 12-23 in the south of France, has been postponed, for now, due to the growing coronavirus crisis, festival organizers announced Thursday.

The news follows the March 9 announcement by the French government banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people, as the country struggles to contain one of Europe’s largest outbreaks of the virus. Last year’s edition of Cannes brought in more than 12,000 attendees from around the world, and the festival’s largest venue, the Louis Lumière auditorium, holds 2,300 people.

Festival organizers said that a postponement of the event until the end of June or early July is being considered but will depend on how events unfold.

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Disney to end internships early, sending 2,200 interns packing

When the Walt Disney Co. closed its theme parks in the U.S. recently because of the growing coronavirus outbreak, the media giant promised its workers they would continue to get paychecks through the end of March.

But more than 2,200 college students and recent graduates who enrolled in Disney’s internship programs at the Anaheim and Florida parks received a more abrupt message: The program is over. You have less than a week to move out of Disney housing.

Interns from throughout the world, participating in an internship that began in January and was scheduled to end in August, were notified Saturday that the program had ended and told they had until Thursday to move out of apartments arranged by the company.

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How to have a Netflix Party: Instructions

Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that allows users to synchronize viewing with friends and chat while watching together.

Requirements: The Google Chrome browser and a Netflix account.

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Netflix and chat: Gabby movie nights at a social distance are possible

The coronavirus may be cramping our social scene, but it can never take away our movie nights.

Yes, movie theaters are shut down and having friends over for a flick now constitutes an actual public health risk. Enter Netflix Party, which essentially takes the second-screen habit of texting your friends about whatever you’re watching and merges it with watching the film together through a live-chat feed scrolling along the right of the screen.

It’s a free Google Chrome extension (not actually affiliated with Netflix) that enables users to synchronize their viewing with friends and chat while watching. As a public service, we at The Times gave it a spin.

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Book chats, karaoke, long-distance seders: 10 ways to connect virtually with family and friends

It’s 10 a.m. and my 4-year-old races to the computer on our coffee table.

“Is it time for my music class, mama?” she asks hopefully.

“It is,” I say, smiling through the knot that has been tied in my stomach since last week when it started to become shockingly clear that nothing in our lives — in anyone’s lives — was going to be the same again for a long time.

I load up the computer, click on a link to YouTube live and enter “the Hootenanny,” a virtual music and movement class led by Lauren O’Brien and Matt Commerce, two entertainers with a small son, who this week launched a streaming lifeline for the nearly 80 families who have participated daily.

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Rejoice! To calm coronavirus panic, Hallmark will air a Christmas movie marathon

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as brands and civilians continue searching for something — anything — to spark cheer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The holiday season is coming several months early to the Hallmark Channel, which has scheduled an impromptu Christmas movie marathon beginning Friday and ending Sunday.

Known and beloved for their cheesy and predictable plots, the feel-good films are meant to be a beacon of hope in these unsettling times.

“Guys ... hallmark just brought their Christmas movies back for this quarantine time,” one excited Twitter user wrote Thursday. “Everything’s gonna be OK.”

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Homeboy Industries to close down temporarily amid coronavirus restrictions

Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit helping gang members ease out of that life for 32 years in Los Angeles, has temporarily shut down as a result of restrictions intended to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“I’m here in my Jesuit community where all of us are on sheltering in place and ‘on house arrest,’ as the homies call it,” founder Father Greg Boyle said in a video message embedded in an email sent to subscribers Thursday morning. “We’re all trying to deal with the huge impact of this pandemic, which has altered all our lives. We’re so greatly appreciative of your help and support over the last 32 years of Homeboy Industries.”

Homebody Industries is yet another institution to announce its closure, days after Los Angeles County officials directed bars, fitness centers and movie theaters to close and restaurants to pivot to takeout only.

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Cherished springtime rituals disrupted by coronavirus threat in Toulouse, France

TOULOUSE, France —After the winter months in this southwestern part of France, March normally sees a kind of human blossoming as people return to the sidewalks and terraces to celebrate the return of the beaux jours.

But on this evening the city lay eerily quiet, with nearly every business shuttered and only scattered people wandering the streets. Yet the calm that reigned outside this week masked the emotions and uncertainties that churned behind the city’s famous red brick facades.

From small business owners anxious about their futures to parents trying to radically remake their daily routines, people were determined to adapt to unprecedented restrictions tied to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, including confinement rules that they hoped would be temporary but feared could go on without any end in sight.
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Governors nationwide request more resources from federal government

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the chair of the National Governors Association, announced that later today, he will submit five requests to the president, vice president, and leaders in both houses of Congress on behalf of the nation’s governors:

(1) Dedicate at least 50 percent of supplemental funding to the states, including direct funding, and act quickly on waiver requests

(2) Increase access to PPE, masks, test kits, extraction kits, and accelerating the production of life-saving equipment, such as ventilators

(3) Support Title 32 authorization to give governors maximum flexibility for use of the National Guard

(4) Provide guidance on implementation of Defense Production Act to include what health and medical resources Secretary of Health and Human Services Azar is prioritizing under his new authority

(5) Allow more time and flexibility for completion of both the Census and the transition to REAL ID

California coronavirus testing: Is it finally getting easier to get a test? Here is what we know

Is testing for coronavirus finally beginning to pick up?

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said answer is yes. The state saw a 20% increase in testing in just one day as more labs come online.
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On coronavirus containment, Britain’s Johnson is less restrictive than other European leaders

LONDON —Londoners kept calm and carried on through the blitz, when Nazi warplanes hammered the British capital. Through the centuries, they weathered catastrophic fires, killing smog and modern-day terror strikes.

But when it comes to coronavirus, the spirit of pulling together for the greater good is being sorely tested, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s containment strategy has left his government something of an outlier among European nations.
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Trump administration considering global travel limits for Americans

WASHINGTON —The Trump administration is expected to issue its strongest advisory on travel overseas Thursday, urging all Americans to refrain from international travel and encouraging those abroad to return home or take precautions in place to avoid infection with coronavirus.

President Trump, who has already partially closed the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico and barred entry of non-U.S. citizens flying from Europe, said in a briefing he was consulting with the State Department on how to execute the new restrictions.

A “level four” travel advisory urges no travel, usually to specific countries where there are wars, epidemics or other dangerous conditions. It’s not clear if global use of the advisory has been ordered in the past.
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Amid coronavirus siege, California cannabis sales soar

The coronavirus pandemic and the prospect of spending extended amounts of time sheltered in place have Californians stocking up on all kinds of items — toilet paper, hand sanitizer and guns to name just a few.

And, based on an informal survey of cannabis dispensaries and delivery services conducted by The Times this week, they are also getting a whole lot of weed.

At Eaze, a San Francisco-based tech platform that coordinates in-state dispensary-to-consumer deliveries, the average order volume was up 38% on March 16 over a typical Monday, according to company spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford. Also up were the number of deliveries (which increased 38%), first-time deliveries (up 51%) and the number of people signing up through the Eaze website (up 105%).

“We’ve seen increases in all these categories statewide since March 13,” Ashford said.
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How do I make working from home work?

Make working from home work for you.
(iana_kolesnikova - stock.adobe.com)

You’re probably already thinking: How many days deep are we into this thing?

Working from home may be a major adjustment for many, but the key to keeping sane is establishing a routine to build structure around the hours you’re staying inside.

Here are some tips from a few of our colleagues:

Community meeting held to shed light on racism stemming from coronavirus

A group of community activists streamed a multicultural news conference to the public on Tuesday to address the local effects of the coronavirus outbreak on the Asian, Latino and immigrant communities of Orange County.

Speaking in English, Vietnamese and Spanish, the speakers largely focused on the animus currently directed toward the Asian community due to the coronavirus, specifically highlighting a recent incident where two Garden Grove high school students ridiculed Asian American students.

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NBA tells teams to close training facilities by Friday

The NBA has instructed teams to shutter practice facilities by Friday as the league takes another step to intensify the fight against spreading the coronavirus.

The orders came in the latest memo to teams, according to people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

There have been seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in the NBA so far.

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Metropolitan Opera furloughs all union employees and cancels the rest of its season

The Metropolitan Opera announced Thursday it was canceling the rest of its 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspending the employment of union workers after March.

The Met is the largest performing arts organization in the country, with an annual operating budget of $308 million. Last week, the New York company canceled all shows through the end of the month — a move also made by Broadway theaters and other major cultural institutions across the country as large gatherings of people threatened to expand the reach of COVID-19.

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Italian death toll overtakes China’s as virus spreads in Europe, Africa

The death toll in Italy from the coronavirus overtook China’s on Thursday in a stark illustration of how the outbreak has pivoted toward Europe and the United States.

Italy, with a population of 60 million, recorded at least 3,405 deaths, or roughly 150 more than in China — a country with a population over 20 times larger.

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Senior shoppers and others at risk of coronavirus get special times at these stores

Albertsons is offering special shopping hours during the pandemic.
Albertsons is reserving every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. for seniors, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems and other at-risk populations.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

As concerns over the coronavirus pandemic grow and lengthy lines that resemble those for theme park rides snake their way outside grocery stores before the sun even comes up, many retailers have announced they are setting aside time for seniors (65 and up at most stores) and other at-risk populations to do their shopping in a less-crowded environment.

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Republicans and White House continue hammering out stimulus package

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans and Democrats outlined competing ideas Thursday for what looked likely to be a $1-trillion stimulus package to limit the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Conversations are currently underway behind closed doors, but it’s unclear how quickly an agreement will be reached, even as the economic damage spreads.

Republicans have been working closely with Trump administration officials on a plan for federally backed loans for small businesses that continue paying their workers, and direct payments to most taxpayers.

“Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He said the money should go out “as rapidly as possible” and would be available to “the middle class on down,” although it’s unclear how much money would be distributed and how “middle class” would be defined.

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