Trump halts U.S. funding for World Health Organization
WASHINGTON — President Trump said Tuesday that he is suspending U.S. funding for the World Health Organization pending an administration review of its early response to the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The suspension threatens to undermine the WHO, the United Nations agency for international public health, as it seeks to coordinate governments in the battle against a pandemic that already has left more than 125,000 people dead in about 200 countries.
But the announcement was consistent with Trump’s efforts to deflect blame for his delay in declaring a national emergency until mid-March, after weeks of dismissing the threat, and for his personal disdain for international organizations.
Trump accused the U.N. group of mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus after it was first detected in Wuhan, China, in early January.
“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said during a news briefing in the Rose Garden.
Tens of thousands apply for free cash debit cards through non-profit overseen by Garcetti
Tens of thousands of applicants sought free cash debit cards ranging from $700 to $1,500 that were offered Tuesday through a non-profit overseen by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The “Angeleno cards” are paid for by private donations raised by the Mayor’s Fund.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 56,000 applications had been entered, said Yusef Robb, a spokesman for the Angeleno card campaign. The surge in traffic apparently caused the web site to go down during the day. The call-in number also wasn’t working at some points Tuesday.
To quality, recipients must live in Los Angeles and their families’ total annual income must have fallen beneath the federal poverty line prior to the pandemic. Also, individuals and their families must have fallen into deeper economic hardship during the crisis because at least one family member has lost their job, or experienced a reduction of income of at least 50%, Garcetti said.
Another non-profit linked to Garcetti, Accelerator for America, and Mastercard’s City Possible initiative, helped design the Angeleno card campaign.
Robb said that as of Tuesday morning, applicants from at least 133 cities had applied for the card.
L.A. County moves to protect delivery workers, limit number of customers in stores
Los Angeles County leaders on Tuesday passed new rules aimed at protecting the health of food delivery employees, who are playing a key role in getting meals and groceries to housebound residents.
Companies such as Instacart, Doordash and Shipt are targeted by an ordinance written by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and passed by the board on Tuesday.
The ordinance requires food delivery platforms to provide access to face coverings and gloves or hand sanitizer for workers, either by supplying workers directly or by making sufficient funds available to workers to purchase this personal protective equipment.
Companies are also required to provide a “no contact” option, so that workers can make deliveries without being physically close to customers. Grocery and pharmacy stores will be required to allow delivery workers to use their restrooms to wash their hands.
Grocery delivery services are in high demand as people avoid visiting stores for fear of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Many most vulnerable to the coronavirus, including those 60 years and older or those with underlying health conditions, have begun to rely heavily on food delivery workers contracted by these companies to get their groceries, toiletries and other essential household goods.
Delivery workers for start-up Instacart and Target-owned grocery delivery app Shipt in recent weeks have protested what they see as a lack of safety protections and pay commensurate with the risk they are taking by operating during the pandemic.
Major airlines will take $25 billion in aid to meet their payrolls
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Tuesday that the nation’s major airlines had tentatively agreed to terms for $25 billion in federal aid to pay workers and keep them employed through September.
The deals aren’t final, but the assistance is almost certain to be a mix of cash and loans, and the government could take a small ownership stake in the leading airlines.
The airlines did not want to give up equity, but the Treasury Department demanded compensation for taxpayers. The airlines have little leverage — their business has collapsed as the COVID-19 pandemic reduces air travel to a trickle, and they face mass layoffs without the federal aid.
The nation’s six biggest airlines — Delta, American, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue — along with four smaller carriers have told the Treasury Department they plan to take part, and discussions are continuing with others, Mnuchin said.
“We look forward to working with the airlines to finalize the necessary agreements and disburse funds as quickly as possible,” Mnuchin said in a statement.
The airlines had expected to begin receiving the aid — entirely in cash that didn’t have to be repaid — from the government to cover their payrolls by April 6, the deadline set by Congress. Instead, they found themselves locked in several days of tense negotiations with the Treasury Department, which insisted that only 70% of the aid should be in cash, with the rest in loans that airlines must repay.
California DMV extends expiring licenses until May 31
With all field offices closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Tuesday it is extending driver licenses that are expiring for residents under age 70 until May 31.
The DMV had previously granted 120-day extensions for licenses of drivers age 70 and older, a group that is particularly vulnerable to the virus and so is under caution to stay home.
DMV officials also said Tuesday that all commercial driver licenses expiring between March and June are now valid through June 30, a date set by an emergency declaration from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“The DMV has alerted California law enforcement of the extensions,” said an agency statement.
Officials have opened a new Virtual Field Office at https://virtual.dmv.ca.gov/ where drivers can still conduct many transactions.
L.A. County health officials confirm 40 more deaths, marking largest reported total in a day
Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday confirmed 40 more deaths linked to the coronavirus, the highest number reported in a single day.
The county’s death toll now stands at 360, Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said, noting that the mortality rate has increased to 3.6%.
Ferrer confirmed 670 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the county’s total to more than 10,000. Officials have previously said that the case count includes individuals who have recovered, but there is currently no way to track those numbers. Of more than 63,000 people who have been tested in the county, 11% were positive.
Ferrer said that percentage could indicate that of Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents, “we could have as many as 1 million people at some point in time” who are infected. Of course, not every individual will obtain testing for COVID-19.
The number of those tested has been collected via an electronic reporting system, Ferrer said. Commercial labs, medical providers and hospitals are recording those numbers, and a public health team checks for duplicate reports. Ferrer said the numbers are reported once a result is obtained.
At some point, certain labs did not have access to the reporting system, which is one possibility why the reported number of those tested jumped by more than 10,000 Tuesday.
The governor said Monday that 3,015 people had been hospitalized in the state, including 1,178 who were receiving intensive care.
Nearly half of those hospitalized are in L.A. County. Ferrer said Tuesday that roughly 1,433 residents are hospitalized for the virus. One-third 33% of those patients are in intensive care, and of those in ICU, 22% are on ventilators.
California must do 6 things before restrictions can be lifted, Newsom says
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday offered his most detailed look yet at how California could begin to lift coronavirus stay-at-home rules and get its economy going again.
The administration highlighted six key indicators for altering his stay-at-home mandate, including the ability to closely monitor and track potential cases, prevent infection of high-risk people, prepare hospitals to handle surges, develop therapies to meet demand, ensure schools, businesses and child-care facilities can support social distancing, and develop guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again if necessary.
Newsom did not offer any firm timetables for when stay-at-home orders could be modified but provided some general goals that must be met to move forward.
Santa Monica combines all weekend farmers markets into one big Saturday market
All weekend farmers markets in Santa Monica will be consolidated into a single Saturday market for the duration of the shelter-in-place restrictions.
The new combined market, announced Tuesday, will operate out of the existing downtown farmers market location starting Saturday. It will include the Saturday Pico farmers market at Virginia Park, the regular Saturday downtown farmers market and the Sunday Main Street farmers market.
The Wednesday downtown farmers market will continue to operate normally.
While meeting with survivors, Trump again touts unproven drug
WASHINGTON — Reeling from mounting death tolls and escalating criticism of his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump searched for a silver lining on Tuesday by touting an unproven drug during a meeting with people who had recovered from the infection.
It was the latest episode in Trump’s weeks-long promotion of hydroxycloroquine as a possible treatment or preventive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, even though clinical trials have yet to confirm his claims.
“I haven’t heard a bad story. It’s pretty amazing, actually,” Trump said. “The word is out.”
Forget puzzles: Model-car building should be your next shutdown activity
Add model cars, boats and planes to the hobbies making a comeback, another old-school activity, like baking and sewing, that has received a lightning bolt of life because of the coronavirus lockdown.
“We are definitely seeing an unbelievable increase in business across all segments but certainly in plastic modeling,” Alan Bates, an executive with Hobby Enterprises and MegaHobby, said last week by phone.
Jack Hodgkins, owner of Model Roundup, said in an email, “I talked to a man today ... [who] is retired, lives in Central California and is returning to modeling after a 50-year hiatus due to the stay-at-home mandates.”
Column: The shaming of Anthony Fauci at Trump’s news conference from hell
One of the first signs that Monday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing was going further off the rails than usual was the early appearance of Anthony Fauci at the microphone.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been among the few trustworthy voices in that room, taking care, day after day, to stick to the facts.
But the doctor is only human, and every once in a while we have gotten brief glimpses of how hard it must be for him to cope with the president’s incessant need to politicize everything. Remember when, a few weeks ago, he rubbed his forehead as President Trump spoke dismissively of the “deep state”?
How to thank healthcare, grocery and other essential workers during the outbreak
Lines snake through parking lots at grocery stores. Buses carry people to essential jobs. Packages wait outside doorsteps. And doctors and nurses gear up for long shifts in packed hospitals.
While many people work from home and await the end of stay-at-home guidelines, some workers continue to brave the coronavirus pandemic to go to work to keep essential parts of society running.
“At first, we looked at it like we’re here to provide to the community,” said Prince Clay, a store captain at a Trader Joe’s in Culver City. “But now people look at us — we’re not heroes — but we’re on the front line of defense.”
Here are a few ways to thank those essential workers.
Column: Bears thriving at Yosemite. Clear skies. Does the outbreak reveal a ‘World Without Us’?
Skies have cleared over the smoggiest urban centers, wildlife runs free in parks, streets and plazas, flowers rise from the cracks of formerly well-trodden sidewalks and birdsong replaces the more motorized score of modern daily life. With much of the world’s population on COVID-19 lockdown, nature has never seemed more gloriously present — sublimely indifferent to human anxieties, eager to run riot over all the places in which it was once controlled, to return to the spaces from which it was expelled.
Meanwhile, in his Massachusetts home, environmental journalist Alan Weisman is getting many calls from people in many nations who all want to know the same thing:
Are we beginning to see the world without us?
In largest increase since the pandemic began, Riverside County reports 9 new deaths
Nine more people died Monday in Riverside County of complications from COVID-19, the largest number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in a single day since the pandemic began, health officials said.
An additional 132 people tested positive a day after the county recorded the biggest jump in its number of confirmed cases.
The new deaths bring the county’s toll to 50. Two of the victims were from Palm Desert, two from Riverside, two from Moreno Valley and one each from Cherry Valley, Wildomar and Hemet, according to Brooke Federico, the county’s public information officer.
Paul McCartney hopes Chinese government shuts down wet markets
Paul McCartney has some thoughts on the health crisis that has upended the entire world.
McCartney explained that he was “locked down” with his daughter Mary and her family and said “the only bad” thing about self-isolating there was that his wife, Nancy, was in New York.
“Can you believe what’s going on? Did you ever think in your lifetime you’d see something like this?” Stern asked McCartney.
Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines goals that must be met to lift California’s order
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom says California needs to increase testing, protect high-risk residents from infection and expand hospital capacity before the state can begin to modify the unprecedented stay-at-home order he imposed one month ago and gradually return to a sense of normalcy.
“I want you to know it’s not, it will not be, a permanent state,” Newsom said of the restrictions put in place to fight the spread of coronavirus. “We recognize the consequences of the stay-at-home orders have a profound impact on the economy, your personal household budget, your personal prospects around your future.”
The governor broadly described the steps his administration expected to take in the weeks and months ahead to protect the public and gauge how long the order should remain in place, underscoring a transition in the fight against the virus in recent days as California and other states map out plans to ease restrictions.
How to make your own hand sanitizer at home
When it comes to protecting yourself from the novel coronavirus, you already know what to do: Stay home and keep your hands clean by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — and keep your hands away from your face.
But what happens when you have to leave the house to go grocery shopping or pump gas and don’t have access to soap and water?
Hand sanitizer is the next best option, although health officials stress that it’s not a replacement for washing your hands with soap and water.
That hasn’t stopped the demand for hand sanitizer, which has flown off store shelves much like bottled water and toilet paper. The demand has been so great, in fact, that EBay has forbidden the sale of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in the wake of egregious price gouging.
Lockdowns and civil liberties collide in a remote corner of California
CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — In Del Norte County, which lies along California’s northwestern coast, officials are straddling a tenuous line: On the one side, they are desperate to keep their residents free of a deadly virus raging across the globe; on the other, they can’t ignore their community’s libertarian tendencies and traditions.
“For people living here, we kind of naturally social distance already,” said the county’s sheriff, Erik Apperson, who noted that many of the county’s residents lived here precisely because they wanted to avoid the crowds and traffic found elsewhere in the state.
“But, if we start pushing too far onto people’s civil rights and personal liberties — their ability to move freely, or get out onto the ocean to fish — well, what are we doing here?” he said, referring to his office’s role in defending and enforcing the U.S. Constitution.
Construction crews back on the job in Spain, but rebuilding work life won’t be simple
GIJON, Spain — It was the first day back at work in more than four weeks for Alberto Menendez, a construction company owner in the northern Spanish city of Gijon.
But Monday was hardly a normal day on the job.
In its first tentative move to ease coronavirus restrictions that were imposed last month across much of Europe as the outbreak took hold, the Spanish government has begun allowing construction and factory employees to go back to work under strict safety guidelines.
It was a small first step toward restarting a national economy devastated, like others around the world, by the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Chris Cuomo just wants his battle to be over: ‘It is in my head’
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is still battling symptoms — and his own psyche — in his ongoing fight with COVID-19.
In conversation with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Monday’s edition of “Prime Time,” a frustrated Cuomo offered another update on his health, which has yet to fully recover from his “freaky” bout with the coronavirus two weeks after his diagnosis.
“I’m scared by this. I’m scared by the potential of this, and it frustrates me because I can’t get out of this basement,” he said. “I still have this low-grade fever. I can’t shake it. And I know everybody tells me it’s gradual. It takes time. It’s anywhere between two to 3½ weeks — but it is maddening to have this little, stupid fever.”
Column: Trump can’t reopen the economy, but governors can’t either
President Trump’s assertion Monday that he has “ultimate,” even “total,” authority to dictate the reopening of the U.S. economy raised eyebrows among constitutional scholars and set up a conflict with governors and local officials who had placed their own states and communities on lockdown.
“In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 — with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities,” said Gavin Newsom, Jay Inslee and Kate Brown, respectively the governors of California, Washington and Oregon, in a joint statement Monday. “This effort will be guided by data.”
The truth is that Trump doesn’t have the legal or practical authority to dictate that restrictions be lifted for workplaces and commercial establishments, but neither do the governors.
Amazon fires 3 more employees who criticized working conditions
Amazon.com Inc. is hitting back at activists within its own ranks, terminating three employees who criticized working conditions in its warehouses.
The retailer confirmed Tuesday that it had fired Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa for violating company policy. The two employees, who worked at Seattle headquarters, had taken to Twitter recently to voice concerns about the treatment of workers during the coronavirus pandemic; they’ve also long been involved in an employee campaign urging Amazon to do more to fight climate change.
A third employee, Bashir Mohamed, who worked in a warehouse in Minnesota, was also fired. The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News reported earlier on the firings, which took place last week.
‘We don’t have a king’: Governors hit back at Trump
The battle between President Trump and governors over how and when to relax COVID-19 restrictions continued Tuesday with more angry words from both sides.
Reiterating his claim of “total authority,” Trump started the day with a series of tweets that, among other things, compared any resistance from the states to a “good old fashioned mutiny.”
“Tell the Democrat Governors that ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ was one of my all time favorite movies,” he tweeted.
Within hours, prompted by reporters’ questions, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired back.
Disney animator’s death is third at motion picture retirement home
A famed Disney animator has become the third resident of the Motion Picture and Television Fund skilled-nursing facility in Woodland Hills to die from complications related to the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, 16 residents and eight staff have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Ann Sullivan, 91, a veteran Disney artist, died Monday. Her death follows those of actor Allen Garfield, 80, and John Breier, 64, both of whom died last week after being hospitalized, according to MPTF officials.
Am I still an elite flier? Some airlines extend status 18 months
Airlines want you back. Really. U.S. carriers have allowed passengers to change or cancel flights without penalty fees during the coronavirus pandemic. Now some are giving elite members in their loyalty programs automatic extensions on their status, some as long as 18 months.
Airlines have lost big in the last few months. Airline tracker OAG says that, since March 1, U.S. airlines have been operating many flights at less than 20% of their usual passenger load.
How citizen scientists can help fight the outbreak
As the new coronavirus continues its assault on humanity, scientists are fighting back by gathering data from an unlikely source: ordinary people.
With a smartphone app and a little free time, anyone 18 or older can contribute valuable information that might help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, researchers say.
The apps ask volunteers — whether they’re feeling healthy or sick — to log their symptoms and, with permission, tap into the health data that smartphones and fitness trackers collect as a matter of course. Others apps search out more context, asking participants about their success in social distancing and the status of their jobs, among other things.
A 2020 timeline: How California could reopen, from restaurants and schools to offices and sports
SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday is set to provide more detail on how California might ease out of a strict stay-at-home order aimed at curbing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
What might it look like? We spoke with Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a UCLA medical epidemiologist and infectious disease expert, to see what a possible timeline for reopening the state might look like.
Kim-Farley has been in the shoes of public health officials before. He headed the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention from 2004 to 2018 and previously worked as a career epidemiology field officer for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Based on what’s known now, here is a likely scenario of what may be to come:
Cannes Film Festival abandons plans for June or July postponement but will explore other options
NEW YORK — The Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday abandoned plans for a postponed 2020 edition in June or July but declined to give up entirely, saying it will explore other options.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday extended France’s national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, banning all public events until mid-July. That essentially dashed the hopes of Cannes organizers, who last month said they would aim to move the annual May event by a month or two.
“It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form,” the festival said in a statement.
Italy has fewest cases in a month
Italy reported its fewest new coronavirus cases in a month on Tuesday, as a government-appointed task force seeks to map out a way to ease a nationwide lockdown that’s crippling the economy.
There were 2,972 new cases of the disease — the fewest since March 13 — compared with 3,153 a day earlier, civil protection officials said at their daily briefing in Rome. The decline came as testing slowed over the Easter holiday weekend. Confirmed cases in the country now total 162,488.
Italy registered 602 deaths linked to the virus, compared with 566 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 21,067.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended containment measures until May 3, and he appointed Vittorio Colao, former chief executive officer of Vodafone Group, to head a team that will help the country’s firms gradually restart activity, depending on the spread of the disease.
Hedge fund managers are claiming bailouts as small businesses
That’s the enticing prospect hedge funds and other trading firms are pondering after realizing they too might be able to participate in a historic U.S. stimulus package to keep small businesses alive through the coronavirus pandemic.
Since early April, law firms have hosted webinars and sent out alerts, and accounting firms have reached out to clients, all with the goal of explaining how they might be able to tap into the Paycheck Protection Program. The $349-billion package administered by the Small Business Administration provides loans to cover payroll, rent and utilities for up to eight weeks. The loans can convert to grants if recipients retain or rehire their workers.
California cases approach 25,000 as state eyes plans to lift restrictions
Coronavirus cases in California are approaching 25,000 as the state enters a new phase of the crisis: figuring out how and when to lift social distancing rules that have been credited with keeping deaths in the state relatively low.
California has seen more than 700 COVID-19 deaths, a fraction of the toll in hot spots such as New York and New Jersey. Although state officials say California won’t hit a peak until May, they already are beginning to talk about how the economy could eventually be restarted.
Gov. Gavin Newsom will discuss some ideas at his news conference Tuesday.
Rita Wilson took chloroquine to fight COVID-19 and didn’t like what it did to her
Rita Wilson doesn’t know if chloroquine helped her in her COVID-19 fight. She only knows how it made her feel on her road to recovery.
In short? Not good.
“I don’t know if the drug worked or if it was just time for the fever to break,” Wilson said Tuesday, noting the “extreme side effects” she suffered.
Wilson, who along with husband Tom Hanks came down with COVID-19 while in Australia, told “CBS This Morning” that the medication left her “completely nauseous” and suffering from vertigo. She was given the drug on about Day 9 of her illness, she said.
Trump accuses Democratic governors of ‘mutiny’ over power struggle
WASHINGTON — Invoking the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty,” President Trump suggested Tuesday that governors’ objections to his claim of absolute authority over when to lift guidelines aimed at fighting the coronavirus were tantamount to insurrection.
Democratic and Republican governors sounded the alarm about a federal power grab a day after Trump asserted he had the ultimate say on when and how to reopen the economy after weeks of tough social distancing guidelines.
Trump, meanwhile, said he was relishing the fight with state officials — particularly those in hard-hit states run by Democrats — who voiced fears that Trump’s ambitious timetable could lead to a resurgence of the virus.
16 meaty book series to get you through stay-at-home orders
It might be time to immerse yourself in the world of a multi-volume book series — a universe with a wild diversity of options, each tailored to your particular taste for distraction. Here’s a list of recommendations for books grouped by genre (with further reading suggestions too) that can easily soak up the isolated weeks (months?) ahead.
Walk-up testing site opens in South L.A.
A new walk-up coronavirus testing site opens Tuesday in South Los Angeles as city and county officials continue work to expand the capacity to screen for infections.
The new location, at the Kedren Community Health Center, is one of roughly two dozen testing centers across Los Angeles County.
“Testing is absolutely critical to our ability to track this outbreak and flatten the curve, and so we are scaling up and ramping up this effort,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in announcing the opening Monday.
South Korea forges ahead with an election — with masks, thermometers and lots of hand sanitizer
SEOUL — At a time when most governments are urging citizens to stay put at home, one country is calling on them to come out in force this week — to the polls.
South Korea is going ahead with its hotly contested parliamentary elections Wednesday, even as nations around the world, from Britain to Bolivia, have postponed races out of coronavirus concerns, and as primaries in Wisconsin raised myriad concerns about safety and disenfranchisement.
With nearly four out of five South Koreans saying they intend to cast a ballot and early voting already logging record turnout, the country may offer an early look at how to hold a general election in the midst of a pandemic.
French court tells Amazon to stop delivering nonessential items
PARIS — A French court has ordered Amazon to stop buying, storing or delivering nonessential goods for the next month to protect its employees from the virus.
The emergency ruling Tuesday requires Amazon to evaluate health risks at all its facilities around France and negotiate new safety measures with worker representatives, according to lawyers for unions that launched the legal proceedings.
The court stopped short of halting all Amazon warehouse activity, which the unions had sought.
Lawyer Judith Krivine says Amazon must suspend its nonessential trade within 24 hours of Tuesday’s ruling or face 1 million euros in fines per day. Sales of food, medicine and hygiene supplies are still allowed.
Amazon did not immediately comment. The head of Amazon France, Frederic Duval, said last week the company was putting in place safety measures.
Another Trump vs. California battle looms over reopening a battered economy
California could find itself again at odds with the Trump administration, this time on when and how to lift the unprecedented social distancing restrictions that many credit with helping contain the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
California has seen markedly fewer deaths than other hot spots like New York and New Jersey, and officials have said its early embrace of stay-at-home rules is one reason why.
Now, Gov. Gavin Newsom and others are beginning to talk about how the economy could restart. But President Trump on Monday claimed that he had that power, rather than local and state officials.
IMF sees 2020 recession as worst since Great Depression
The International Monetary Fund predicted Tuesday that the “Great Lockdown” recession, fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, would be the steepest in almost a century and warned that the world economy’s contraction and recovery would be worse than anticipated if the coronavirus lingered or returned.
In its first World Economic Outlook report since the spread of the coronavirus and subsequent freezing of major economies, the IMF estimates that global gross domestic product will shrink 3% this year.
That compares to a January projection of 3.3% expansion and would likely mark the deepest dive since the Great Depression. It would also dwarf the 0.1% contraction of 2009 amid that financial crisis.
India’s Modi extends lockdown to May 3
MUMBAI — Hundreds of jobless migrant workers crowded a railroad station protesting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to extend the lockdown in the country to May 3.
They’re demanding special trains be run to take them to their hometowns and villages in northern India.
Police charged them after they refused to leave Bandra railroad station in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, and pushed them to nearby slums where they live.
They were hoping for easing of the lockdown restrictions to allow them to return home, mostly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states.
Maharashtra state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray asked the Modi government to arrange trains and buses for their journey back.
The first phase of India’s three-week lockdown ended with nearly 10,000 positive cases and 353 deaths, with people restricted to their homes for all but essential trips.
Sex-toy sales are up, stigma is down
The near-countrywide stay-at-home shutdown has, over the last month, turned us into a nation of at-home mask makers, stress bakers, manicurists and declutterers. It’s also turned us into a nation of self-gratifying pleasure seekers eager to stay connected — sexually and intimately — with both ourselves and others during this anxiety-fraught period of extended social isolation. At least that’s a conclusion that can be drawn from the recent increase in sex-toy sales.
Adult novelty companies contacted by the Los Angeles Times reported increased web traffic and surging sales, particularly in late March, after stay-at-home orders started being issued coast to coast.
How to find the pandemic sex toy that’s right for you
Whether your goal is alleviating boredom or becoming a more complete sexual being, there’s a sex toy out there somewhere with your name on it. There are several options to narrow the field (hey, this pandemic isn’t going to last forever, right?) for singletons, cohabitants and disconnected couples alike.
And if you’re taking your first baby steps into the buzzing, pulsing, shiny chrome and colored plastic world of assisted loving, here’s a piece of advice from the professionals: Check any self-judgment at the door.
57 California inmates, 78 staff members test positive
As of Tuesday morning, 57 inmates in California prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, 78 correctional or medical staff who work there have tested positive.
That number is up from Friday, when 72 custody and medical staff at prisons statewide tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus, along with 37 inmates, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Tour de France postponed; no starting date set
PARIS — After weeks of holding out hope that the Tour de France would be able to go ahead as planned despite the coronavirus outbreak, the world’s most famous cycling race was finally added to the list of sporting events called off.
It may still happen this year, but it’s clear the three-week race won’t be starting June 27 in the Riviera city of Nice as scheduled.
French President Emmanuel Macron effectively made that decision in his speech to the nation on Monday when he announced that all public events with large crowds had been canceled until at least mid-July.
Their Hollywood romance is cut short by COVID-19
More than 25 years ago, Lynne Lerner walked onto the set of “China Beach,” an ‘80s television show about medics in the Vietnam War, to check in for work as an extra. There, she met the man who would become her husband, Larry Lerner, an assistant director on the show.
Over the years, the two would share beautiful moments as a married couple. They loved to rescue pit bulls together, attended Emmy events and watched TV shows in their Van Nuys home.
She acted in “General Hospital,” “Married With Children” and “Days of Our Lives.” He worked on shows that included “The Man in the High Castle,” “Ambitions” and “Drop Dead Diva.” Sometimes they worked together.
On April 1, their decades-long Hollywood romance was cut short when Larry Lerner died from COVID-19 at the age of 71.
More people are sampling new streaming services
More consumers are increasing the number of streaming services they have access to, looking for ways to entertain themselves at home as the nation deals with the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
The average person is streaming eight hours of content each day, double the number of hours streamed before the pandemic rapidly spread in the U.S., according to data collected from surveys conducted by market research firm OnePoll for streaming service Tubi. The study surveyed 2,000 Americans who could access at least one streaming service.
Three in four people are using more streaming services since the coronavirus came to the U.S., the study said.
U.K. fiscal watchdog projects 35% real GDP drop
The U.K.’s Office for Budget Responsibility sees real GDP falling 35% in the second quarter under a scenario that assumes a three-month lockdown followed by another three months where measures are partially lifted.
OBR sees unemployment jumping to 10% in the second quarter and the deficit climbing to 218 billion pounds ($274 billion) relative to March forecasts under this scenario.
Deaths in England are 15% higher than an official count
Deaths involving COVID-19 in England are running 15% higher than the number reported by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
The Office for National Statistics said 5,979 deaths up to April 3 had been registered by April 11. That compares with the 5,186 reported by NHS England, a number which is itself revised several days after the official daily tally from hospitals.
The discrepancy is important because the government is using data on deaths, hospital admissions and the impact of social-distancing measures to plan its response to the pandemic and eventually ease a nationwide lockdown.
Europe’s economy to slump more than 10%, survey finds
Europe is heading for a double-digit slump in the first half of 2020 amid widespread lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus, according to economists.
Bloomberg’s monthly survey puts the contraction in the euro area at more than 10% in the January-June period, with most of the hit — 8.3% — in the second quarter. Even with an expected rebound later in the year, the bloc’s output will still decline more than 5% in 2020.
The survey results aren’t the only gloomy numbers to emerge on Tuesday. The International Monetary Fund predicts the 19-country bloc will contract 7.5% this year thanks to what it calls the “Great Lockdown,” with the world economy shrinking 3%.
In its first World Economic Outlook since the virus outbreak, the IMF said the global recession would be the steepest in almost a century.
Among the major euro-area countries, Italy will be the worst affected, with a 9.1% contraction, followed by Spain at 8%, the survey predicted.
In France, where the government extended confinement measures to May 11, the IMF sees a 7.2% hit this year. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is even more pessimistic, saying on Tuesday that the slump could be 8%.
The Bloomberg surveys show widespread damage: Germany will shrink 7.6% this quarter, Italy 8.8%, Spain 10%, and the U.K. will suffer a near 12% contraction.
Although rebounds are predicted later in the year, the timing depends on when restrictions on movement, gatherings and businesses are lifted, or at least eased.
Cities, counties fear losing out on rescue funding
WASHINGTON —The $2.2-trillion U.S. federal rescue package could fail to deliver badly needed financial aid to thousands of smaller cities and counties where a majority of Americans live, according to documents and interviews with local officials.
The coronavirus outbreak has blown holes in the budgets of communities as the costs of battling the outbreak skyrocket and critical sources of revenue such as sales and income taxes plummet.
Congress’ Coronavirus Relief Fund uses a formula based on population to parcel out tens of billions of dollars to the states while allowing local governments with more than 500,000 residents to apply directly to the Treasury Department for cash infusions. But localities below the half-million population threshold are in limbo.
89% of L.A. nursing homes with outbreaks have a history of infection problems
The vast majority of skilled nursing facilities battling outbreaks of the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County have been cited in recent years for violating federal safety rules on preventing infections, according to a Times analysis of nursing home data.
The news outlet’s review found that 89% of facilities with the coronavirus had previous infection control violations that ranged from mishandling patients with highly contagious bacterial infections to not properly cleaning ventilators and other equipment.
The data raised new questions about how prepared nursing homes and regulators were to deal with the pandemic.
Despite promises of more masks, doctors and nurses still have to reuse N95s
The nurse keeps her mask in a Tupperware container. In an unwelcome daily ritual, she dips her face in the plastic tub to put on and take off her N95 respirator, careful not to touch the front in case it is contaminated with the coronavirus.
“If you had told me I would be reusing N95 masks before the coronavirus, I would’ve laughed and not believed you,” said Jill Tobin, an emergency room nurse in the Bay Area. “The methods we’re using are not scientific.”
Despite assurances from government leaders about adequate personal protective equipment supplies as well as COVID-19 numbers flattening, tensions between front-line health workers and hospital leaders are higher than ever. Nurses and doctors say hospitals are conserving gear by forcing staff to re-wear masks to stretch the existing supply — and endanger their own health.
Column: When even the Girl Scouts can’t get a refund, something’s very wrong
If we’ve learned anything from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that once a business gets its hands on your money, it really, really doesn’t want to give any back.
Airlines, cruise ships, hotels — each has displayed reluctance in providing refunds to customers for virus-related cancellations, offering instead credits for future bookings.
How bad have things gotten? Bad enough that even the Girl Scouts have reached out for help.
Adriana Leyva, 50, contacted me the other day to say that her Pasadena troop of nearly two dozen 10- and 11-year-old girls had to cancel a planned trip this month to Northern California for what’s known as a “bridging ceremony.”
L.A. is getting a government-run tent city. All it took was 40 years and a pandemic
Tent cities and tiny-house villages for homeless people have long been taboo in Los Angeles, where they’ve been deemed too expensive to maintain and too difficult to dislodge once established.
But the novel coronavirus has a way of upending the most deeply entrenched thinking.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs set up L.A.’s first temporary tent city in four decades. It’s for veterans without homes — 25 initially, with a plan to expand to 50 as needed — so they can wait out the COVID-19 crisis by sheltering in place and social distancing in their own tents.
France forecasts an 8% drop in economic growth this year
PARIS — France is forecasting an 8% drop in growth this year because of anti-coronavirus measures and is facing its worst recession since World War II.
The 8% may even be an optimistic estimate, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on BFM television Tuesday.
One of the world’s richest economies, France is pumping money into temporary unemployment payments and to help struggling businesses. Le Maire said France’s strategy is based on “more debt for fewer bankruptcies.”
But that spending, coupled with plunging growth, could push France’s deficit up to 9% in 2020, Budget Minister Gerard Darmanin said.
France entered a recession in the first quarter as lockdown measures around the world pummeled the tourism industry and other key parts of the French economy. President Emmanuel Macron has now extended he confinement measures until at least May 11.
Poland to start gradually lifting lockdown restrictions this weekend
WARSAW — Poland is to start gradually lifting the restrictions that have been imposed on businesses and daily life in the fight against coronavirus spread.
Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said Monday that starting the “de-freeze of the economy” this weekend should be “good news, if we look at the costs of the isolation” that was initiated March 13.
Government spokesman Piotr Mueller said the details of the easing, to start Sunday, would be decided later this week as data of new infections come in and can be assessed. He said the number of customers allowed into shops was expected to be raised and some restrictions on open-air activity would be lifted, such as a ban on entering woods, parks and other public spaces.
The nation of 38 million has reported almost 7,050 cases of infection, including 251 deaths.