Live

Coronavirus updates: California becomes first state to recommend tests for some without symptoms

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

Coronavirus updates for April 20 are here

Share

Coronavirus outbreak at Orange County nursing home kills two patients, sickens 72

Two patients at an Orange County nursing home died this week from COVID-19 as a coronavirus outbreak at the facility has sickened half its residents and several staff members.

Thus far, 48 other patients and 24 healthcare staff members at Huntington Valley Healthcare Center, 8382 Newman Ave. in Huntington Beach, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a news release from the company.

Of the 48 sickened patients, 14 are in hospitals, but their status, including whether they were in ICU, was unknown by the company Tuesday evening, according to Huntington Valley officials.

One of the patients, a 77-year-old man, died Monday night at a hospital, and the other patient, a 79-year-old man, died at the facility Tuesday. Company officials did not have information available Tuesday evening on whether the two patients had preexisting conditions.

It is one of many outbreaks in recent days at nursing homes across California. More than 30% of those who have died in Los Angeles County were residents of long-term care facilities; more than 70% of the deaths in Long Beach have been nursing home residents.

Read More > > >

Share

Autopsies reveal first confirmed U.S. coronavirus deaths occurred in Bay Area in February

SAN FRANCISCO — Two coronavirus-infected people died in Santa Clara County on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, the medical examiner revealed Tuesday, making them first documented COVID-19 fatalities in the United States.

Until now, the first fatality was believed to have occurred in Kirkland, Wash., on Feb. 29.

Officials previously had said the first Silicon Valley death was March 9. But the Santa Clara County medical examiner revealed Tuesday that people who died Feb. 6, Feb. 17 and March 6 also died of COVID-19.

“These three individuals died at home during a time when very limited testing was available only through the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. Testing criteria set by the CDC at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms,” the county said in a statement. “As the Medical Examiner-Coroner continues to carefully investigate deaths throughout the county, we anticipate additional deaths from COVID-19 will be identified.”

Silicon Valley was an early center of the coronavirus outbreak. So far it has reported nearly 2,000 cases and eight deaths.

There have been growing concerns that the new coronavirus has been in California longer than experts first believed.

Read More > > >

Share

Dodgers to collectively pay gameday workers $1.3 million amid coronavirus shutdown

The Dodgers notified gameday workers Tuesday that they will collectively receive $1.3 million in financial assistance payments from the organization, following through with every Major League Baseball club’s pledge of at least $1 million to help event staff through the season’s suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each employee will receive one-time payments of $750 or $600, depending on the worker’s service time. The payments will be issued by April 30.

Those employed by the Dodgers for at least five years, worked at least 100 hours at Dodger Stadium in 2019, and were scheduled to work at the ballpark in 2020 will receive $750. Those who have worked at the stadium for fewer than five years but hit the other criteria will receive $600.
Read more > > >

Share

Mexico braces for a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths

MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials warned Tuesday that the country is about to experience a major surge in coronavirus infections and deaths, as health professionals worried about overwhelmed hospitals, a prospective shortfall of doctors and a lack of medical equipment.

“We are prepared to confront the most difficult moment,” President Andrés Manuel r told reporters in an attempt to reassure the public. “We have the [hospital] beds, we have the equipment, we have the doctors.”

But others have questioned whether a long-neglected public healthcare system is ready for a rapid rise in demand.

“I don’t trust the capacity of the hospitals,” said Alejandro Macías, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Guanajuato who served as the national flu commissioner during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which originated in Mexico. “We’re not going to have enough intensive care beds. We have a fraction of what we need.”
Read more > > >

Advertisement
Share

Garcetti pushes law protecting displaced workers from being replaced by cheaper labor

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday evening that he intends to sign a worker retention ordinance that could protect people who have been laid off or furloughed by requiring companies to rehire them based on seniority.

“Those folks with decades of experience and seniority, who support families and communities, can’t be the victims when we get back to work,” Garcetti said. “For so many thousands of displaced workers in these industries, this could mean at least a little bit of certainty at this moment of so much insecurity and a whole lot of fairness as we navigate this crisis.”

He said the City Council is taking up the ordinance Wednesday.
Read more > > >

Share

L.A. County courts launch video hearings during coronavirus crisis

Los Angeles County courts launched a program Tuesday to conduct arraignments via video, the latest in a series of actions to reduce traffic in the nation’s largest court system amid the coronavirus crisis.

The program, which will involve 32 courtrooms in 17 courthouses from the Antelope Valley to downtown L.A., aims to cut down on prisoner transfers and promote social distancing as concerns continue to mount over how quickly the virus can spread in confined spaces.

A number of L.A. County Sheriff’s Department employees, jail staff and inmates have contracted the coronavirus in recent weeks. Balancing the need to maintain essential court functions with the safety of attorneys, judges, prosecutors and defendants has challenged the criminal justice system since March, when confirmed cases began to climb.
Read more > > >

Share

L.A. sports merchandise sale to help those impacted by coronavirus

Sports around the world have been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic but fans in L.A. are now able to buy discounted merchandise from some of their favorite local teams while also supporting the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles.

The Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks, Galaxy, AEG and Rank + Rally joined forces Tuesday to launch the “Teams for LA” online sale during which fans will be able to buy sports and music-related merchandise with all proceeds going to help those affected by COVID-19 in Los Angeles.

The site, which will be updated regularly, offers jerseys, hats, T-shirts, warmups, scarfs, bobbleheads and other items from the teams that are owned and operated by AEG. The site also includes merchandise from other events at AEG venues or organized by AEG such as the 2011 and 2018 NBA All-Star games, the 2017 NHL All-Star game, the Amgen Tour of California, championship boxing events and music events such as the Grammy Awards and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Read more > > >

Share

Ventura County urges residents to keep social distancing despite coronavirus progress

Ventura County officials urged residents to continue practicing social distancing despite signs that the region is bending the coronavirus curve.

As of Tuesday, Ventura County has reported 428 total coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.

On Friday evening, Ventura County announced the reopening of county parks, but playgrounds, tennis courts, campgrounds and golf courses remained closed.

On Saturday, the health officer issued a modified Stay Well At Home order that allowed businesses to reopen physical locations of up to 10 workers as long as they did not serve the public.
Read more > > >

Advertisement
Share

San Diego County announces 15 new deaths from the coronavirus, the highest one-day total yet

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County officials announced Tuesday that 15 more residents have died of the novel coronavirus, the highest single-day death toll yet.

The region also logged an additional 109 cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total in more than two weeks.

The county’s new case total is 2,434, which includes 87 deaths.

The latest victims were identified as six women and nine men between the ages of 43 and 92.
Read more > > >

Share

California becomes first state to recommend coronavirus tests for some without symptoms

California public health officials have partially lifted restrictions on who should receive tests for the coronavirus, recommending for the first time that asymptomatic people living or working in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, prisons and even some households should now be considered a priority.

The move makes California the first state to broaden restrictive federal guidelines and reflects increasing availability of testing, as major labs report sufficient supplies and excess capacity to run more procedures, according to the public health department.

The developments are viewed by some experts as a significant step toward establishing widespread testing in California to identify and isolate every coronavirus case.

“California is leading the way,” said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at UC Riverside. “We will be able to test more individuals, identify more people currently with COVID-19, isolate them, and thereby both flatten the curve and prevent the future spread of infection.”
Read more > > >

Share

Op-Ed: We all need to shake off the pandemic, literally

Eight years ago, when my boyfriend and I started dancing in our living room after dinner, little did we think our somewhat eccentric pastime would sweep the nation. But if social media are any gauge , dancing at home is the coronavirus pandemic’s bathtub gin.

Confined to the all-too-familiar patch of steel and plaster we call home, Americans are sashaying and kick-ball changing our sadness and fear away. Families are erupting into tiny pageants of jazz hands. A dance challenge started by the video-sharing app TikTok, meant to promote social distancing, has drawn more than 4.6 billion views. Videos from LeBron James, Mark Wahlberg and Judd Apatow suggest that now may be the best time ever to see heterosexual men tangle with precision choreography.

But beneath the roar of approval and delight elicited by all this shimmying and twirling, you can hear a whine of disapproval. When Courtney Cox, the “Friends” star, put up a sultry video of herself dancing to “Slidegang!” by Lil Jackie, the backlash was immediate: “You know thousands of people just lost their jobs right?” Or, as one viewer of a wildly popular video featuring a father in Louisville, Ky., dancing with his two adult sons sniffed, “Really?????
Read more > > >

Share

Oil tankers are parked off the California coast with nowhere to unload

Oil tankers carrying enough crude to satisfy 20% of the world’s consumption are gathered off California’s coast with nowhere to go as fuel demand collapses.

Almost three dozen ships — scattered in waters from Long Beach to the San Francisco Bay — are mostly acting as floating storage for oil that’s going unused as the coronavirus pandemic shutters businesses and takes drivers off the road. Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s refinery in Martinez, Calif., has been idled and others, including Chevron Corp.’s El Segundo refinery, have curtailed crude processing as the state orders residents to stay at home.

The more than 20 million barrels of crude is the highest volume of crude to ever float off the West Coast at one time, according to Paris-based Kpler SAS, which tracks tanker traffic. About three-quarters of those tankers are holding oil in storage, meaning they have been floating steadily for seven days, also a record.
Read more > > >

Advertisement
Share

O.C. clears the way for golf courses to open amid coronavirus pandemic

Orange County leaders agreed Tuesday to allow public and private golf courses to reopen amid a push from residents to begin easing restrictions and closures that have been in place because of the coronavirus.

While the county hadn’t specifically included golf courses in its list of nonessential businesses during the pandemic, about 90% of them had curtailed operations in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, officials said.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to allow golf courses to reopen or, in some cases, stay open with certain recommendations for social distancing and cleanliness, including sanitizing golf carts after each use and staggering tee times for players. Restaurants and shops at the golf courses will remain closed.
Read more > > >

Share

Here is the latest list of Orange County communities with coronavirus cases

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Orange County grew to 1,691 Tuesday as health officials announced 29 new cases.

Officials did not report any additional fatalities linked to the coronavirus, leaving the death toll at 33.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported that 148 people are hospitalized, with 54 in intensive care.

According to the county, 19,483 people have been tested by the county and commercial labs.
Read more > > >

Share

California needs ‘an army of volunteers’ for its coronavirus response, Newsom says

SACRAMENTO — Urging Californians to answer the immediate needs of the coronavirus pandemic and create a lasting commitment to community volunteerism, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday unveiled a new statewide program designed to enlist more of the state’s residents to offer both in-person and remote help for those in need.

“We’ve launched this initiative in order to launch an army of volunteers to express themselves, day in and day out, as only Californians can,” Newsom said. “Not only to meet this moment, but to prepare to meet subsequent moments.”

The “Californians for All” effort focuses on a new web-based application for those willing to volunteer in a variety of ways. Josh Fryday, the state’s chief service officer, said the program is designed to provide a variety of options for those who want to get involved. Not all volunteerism has to be done in person, he said. Those concerned about their health and safety can offer to help from home.

“We want you to sign up and tell us, when you sign up: What interests you? What issues do you want to work on in your community? Where would you like to make a difference?” Fryday said.
Read more > > >

Share

A coronavirus side effect: lots of lawsuits

Carnival Corp. is facing lawsuits from several passengers who claim they weren’t warned of the high risk of being infected with the novel coronavirus on the company’s cruise ships.

Wells Fargo,, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and US Bancorp have been sued by small businesses that missed out on coronavirus rescue loans because, the small firms contend, the banks first processed big loans that generated big fees rather than on a first-come-first-served basis.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is being sued by a theme park fan who objects to the park collecting monthly payments for his membership pass while the park is closed due to the pandemic.

Crisis and calamities spark finger pointing and demands for compensation, and the coronavirus outbreak is no different. Like the pandemic, coronavirus-related legal disputes are likely to be widespread and drag on for years.
Read more > > >

Advertisement
Share

Oil prices take a new dive as coronavirus wipes out demand

The price of U.S. crude oil for June delivery fell by almost half Tuesday, and Brent, the international benchmark, dropped below $20 a barrel for the first time in 18 years as global oil markets remained under intense pressure.

The value of West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in June — which had held above $20 a barrel Monday even as the May contract traded at an unprecedented negative price — slumped to $6.50 a barrel at its worst, before recovering somewhat to settle at $11.57, down 43%.

The move suggested the blowout in the May contract was more than just a technical blip, and it reflected growing concern that U.S. storage facilities will fill up unless energy demand quickly rebounds from its coronavirus-related collapse.
Read more > > >

Share

Hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser earns her biggest assist during COVID-19 pandemic

The hands that once gripped a hockey stick so skillfully have a new and heroic purpose. Every time Hayley Wickenheiser collects cartons of masks, surgical gowns, face shields or hand sanitizer and brings them to front-line medical personnel battling the COVID-19 pandemic, she earns an assist more momentous than any point she scored during a brilliant career that took her from rural Saskatchewan to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Wickenheiser, widely considered the best female player in hockey history, won four Olympic gold medals and one silver medal during a dominant run that spanned 23 years and included a rare Winter-Summer Olympic double after she made Canada’s softball roster for the 2000 Sydney Games. She retired in 2017 to pursue her dream of becoming an emergency room doctor and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019, her first year of eligibility.

When the pandemic hit, Wickenheiser was working in the emergency rooms of several hospitals in Toronto as part of her final year of medical school. The doctors training her were reassigned to treat COVID-19 patients; she wasn’t allowed to directly treat those patients but felt she couldn’t sit idle while colleagues in the trenches were running low on personal protective equipment.
Read more > > >

Share

California sets guidelines on which patients are prioritized if hospitals overwhelmed

SACRAMENTO — California has made progress in protecting the healthcare system from a dramatic spike of sick patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But state public health officials are still planning for a “worst-case scenario,” quietly publishing a sobering set of detailed guidelines to answer the troubling ethical question of who lives and who dies should California face a new surge in the coronavirus outbreak, resulting in a shortage of ventilators and medical supplies.

A 38-page document by the California Department of Public Health, published last weekend, prescribes a method to prioritize patients in the event that an outbreak overwhelms hospitals, preserving intensive care beds and ventilators for people with the greatest likelihood of surviving with treatment over those with serious chronic conditions that limit their life expectancy. If necessary, younger people and workers who are “vital to the acute care response” would receive care before others.

Read more>>>

Share

Newsom suggests he won’t allow communities to lift stay-at-home orders for now

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested on Tuesday that he would not allow local officials to take any action that would loosen the statewide restrictions that he put in place more than a month ago.

“I imagine there’ll be some examples of people just getting ahead of that collaborative spirit,” he said. “And we may have to dial a little bit of that back.”

The governor said his advisors were seeking to better organize the various conversations with county and city leaders over relaxing the restrictions. He said he’d provide an update Wednesday on how current conditions in California compared to the requirements in his six-point blueprint.

In particular, Newsom promised an in-depth look at the challenges related to testing for the coronavirus and tracing potential cases of COVID-19 in communities across the state. He said the state was now averaging about 14,500 tests a day, fewer than his target of 25,000 a day by the end of April.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Senate votes to increase funding for small businesses dealing with coronavirus shutdowns

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a deal to increase funding for a popular small business loan program that ran out of money last week as businesses scrambled for a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic.

The House is expected to pass the measure on Thursday, giving members time to return to Washington to vote. President Trump has vowed to sign it.

The bill provides another $484 billion in coronavirus relief, including $310 billion for the now-depleted Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to provide forgivable loans to small businesses if they keep workers on the payroll during the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic.

The program exhausted its original $349 billion last week, but efforts to immediately replenish funding stalled as Democrats and Republicans argued over what else to include in an interim spending bill. An agreement was reached early Tuesday.

Read more >>>

Share

Column: Trump tariffs raise cost of masks, other medical supplies

Matt Rowan had a harsh warning for Trump administration trade officials.

Rowan, the CEO of the Health Industry Distributors Assn., which represents middlemen in the global trade of medical masks, gowns, ventilators and other supplies and equipment, warned that Trump’s trade war with China would erode America’s ability to acquire those crucial products.

“With infection protection as a key initiative throughout healthcare, usage of these products should be encouraged, not inhibited by tariff-associated cost increases or disruptions,” Rowan said. He forecast “product shortage” and limits on “the ability of all levels of government...to adequately support response efforts during emergency events.

That was on Aug. 20, 2018, just before the administration was preparing to launch a trade war with tariffs of up to 25% on products from China, including healthcare supplies.

Rowan’s example of a public health emergency was not today’s coronavirus, which was unknown at the time, but the Ebola virus, which was then experiencing a resurgence in Africa.

The China tariffs were imposed anyway. The Trump White House didn’t lift them on desperately needed healthcare supplies until last month. But it has left in place previously imposed tariffs on many of these products, regardless of their nation of origin.

To this day, the highest-quality and most sought-after N95 masks still carry a 7% tariff. The levies on other medical headwear are as much as 8.3% and on medical gowns and other protective clothing 4.5%.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus puts U.S. pork industry in crisis mode with some farmers euthanizing piglets

DES MOINES, Iowa — After enduring extended trade disputes and worker shortages, U.S. hog farmers were poised to finally hit it big this year with expectations of climbing prices amid soaring domestic and foreign demand.

Instead, restaurant closures due to the coronavirus have contributed to an estimated $5 billion in losses for the industry, and almost overnight millions of hogs stacking up on farms now have little value. Some farmers have resorted to killing piglets because plunging sales mean there is no room to hold additional animals in increasingly cramped conditions.

“One producer described it to me the other day as a snowball rolling downhill, and every additional disruption that we have just kind of adds to that and how fast and how big it’s going to be when it finally hits,” said Mike Paustian, who farms 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans and sells 28,000 pigs a year near the small eastern Iowa community of Walcott.

Read more>>>

Share

What my coronavirus drive-through test looked like

×

Advertisement
Share

Mayors resist Southern governors’ push to reopen

As several Southern governors began to reopen their states, shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak, some mayors pushed back Tuesday, saying they have yet to see the decline in COVID-19 cases needed to ease stay-at-home orders.

“I am beyond disturbed,” Van R. Johnson, mayor of Savannah, Ga., said on CNN after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that gyms, salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys in the state could reopen Friday as long as customers obeyed social distancing guidelines.

Johnson called the governor’s order “reckless, premature and dangerous,” and asked businesses in his city to show “common sense” by staying closed.

He said Savannah still lacked the wide-scale testing that public health experts say is necessary before shops and businesses can safely reopen.

Read more>>>

Share

Food shortages and job losses: Coronavirus fuels social and political unrest around the world

The threat of social and political unrest around the world is rising as the coronavirus crisis fuels discontent amid food shortages, job losses and lockdowns.

That may particularly affect nations that are already battling food crises, according to a report from 16 organizations including U.N. agencies and the European Union. The number of people facing acute food insecurity will almost double this year to 265 million unless swift action is taken, the U.N.’s World Food Programme warned separately.

Increased unemployment is curbing incomes available for food, while supply-chain disruptions are starting to affect food security in many parts of the world, boosting prices of key staples such as wheat and rice. Several governments have restricted some food exports to safeguard domestic supplies recently, and the United Nations has urged countries to avoid “beggar-thy-neighbor policies” seen during a global food price crisis a decade ago.

Read more>>>

Share

Not even the coronavirus puts Baby in the corner

They take your tickets and get your popcorn, and they’re among those not getting paychecks now. To help them out, some popular movies are streaming free in online communities for three more Fridays — with a bit of star assistance.

Lionsgate is making four popular titles part of “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies,” a fundraising series for the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation to benefit furloughed movie-theater workers. In partnership with Fandango and YouTube, the studio started the series April 17 by streaming “The Hunger Games” on YouTube with Jamie Lee Curtis hosting and providing a charming introduction (with a little help from some friends).

Damon Wolf, president of worldwide marketing at Lionsgate, said as they saw the fundraising and support efforts being conducted for first responders and the like, “we saw so many of [the people in our business] being furloughed, and this was something real we could do for them. This is our business and people who need love.”

Read more>>>

Share

Not all tests are the same. These are the two main types

Testing is critical to controlling the coronavirus and eventually easing the restrictions that have halted daily life for most Americans. But there’s been confusion about what kinds of tests are available and what they actually measure.

There are two main types in the United States. One is a diagnostic test to see if you have an active infection with the coronavirus, whether you have symptoms of COVID-19 or not. The other checks to see if you were previously exposed at some point and fought off an infection.

Currently, almost all testing in hospitals, clinics and drive-through sites uses the first testing method, to help doctors detect and treat people with active infections.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Cases keeping rising in California, but counties differ on stay-at-home orders

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, California officials have differed with one another in their approach to combating the spread of the illness. As Week 5 of California’s stay-at-home orders continue, some counties have begun to shift their policies as Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to outline more specific plans for easing restrictions when the time is right.

COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to be reported in 53 of the state’s 58 counties, with the largest numbers tallied in Los Angeles County.

L.A. County officials on Monday reported the death toll had surpassed 600 and emphasized the need for residents to maintain social distancing practices after results from a study suggested that tens of thousands of the county’s residents have been infected by the virus. Without such efforts, that number would be far higher than the nearly 14,000 cases that have been confirmed in the county of roughly 10 million people.
Read more>>>

Share

Angels to pay employees through May

Rather than take extreme cost-cutting measures as they wait to find out the fate of the Major League Baseball season, the Angels on Tuesday informed baseball operations employees they would continue to be paid through the end of May.

That group includes general manager Billy Eppler and his assistants, manager Joe Maddon and his MLB coaching staff and those in coaching positions in the minor leagues. Other year-round employees will be compensated with full wages, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

They all form part of the same group that Commissioner Rob Manfred told teams one day earlier they could lay off.
The coronavirus-related shutdown forced the league and team owners to seek financial relief.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus leads to ‘alarming’ drop in child abuse reports; L.A. County sheriff plans checks

On a typical day, up to 1,000 calls and reports of suspected child abuse and neglect flood into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Department of Children and Family Services.

Eagle-eyed teachers, doctors, dentists, counselors, coaches — an army of mandated reporters across California — along with security guards, janitors and observant parents typically fill the hotline with reports of suspected child abuse or neglect. Those calls, investigators say, often save lives.

But since the outbreak of the coronavirus has shuttered schools, curtailed medical visits and largely hidden the lives of children behind closed doors, the reports of suspected abuse have dropped by as much as 50%. The drop began almost immediately after California began its stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more>>>

Share

San Diego to reopen neighborhood parks

SAN DIEGO — After weeks of canceled events, closed businesses, roped-off recreation areas and orders to stay inside, San Diego residents heard some encouraging news: Neighborhood parks in the city would reopen with restrictions on Tuesday.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Monday afternoon in announcing that neighborhood parks would reopen in the city the following day.

“We’ve come a long way in five weeks,” he said, thanking residents for following orders and recommendations that have turned life upside down for many people but are credited with heading off a surge of patients in hospitals as COVID-19 has spread throughout the county.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

7 Wisconsin cases linked to in-person voting

MILWAUKEE — Officials have identified seven people who appear to have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin.

Shawn Benjamin, a spokesman for the Milwaukee health department, said in an email to the Associated Press that his agency had confirmed the infections. Commissioner of Health Jeanette Kowalik said six of the cases involved Milwaukee voters and one was a Milwaukee poll worker, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Officials hope to have additional information on the cases by the end of the week, including whether any of them were concentrated in any of the city’s five polling places or if any resulted in death, Kowalik said Monday.

Read more>>>

Share

Italy recoveries almost surpass new cases

Italy reported an almost equal number of people who had recovered from coronavirus infections and new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was drawing up a plan to cautiously extricate the country from a nationwide lockdown.

There were 2,729 new cases of the disease, compared with 2,256 a day earlier, the first increase in five days, according to Italy’s civil protection agency.

The number of newly recovered patients was 2,723 over the last 24 hours, a daily record. Confirmed cases now total 183,957.

Share

Texas cases rise 38%

Texas reported its first bump in new cases in five days, with a 38% increase to 738, according to the state’s health department. The jump came a day after testing almost doubled to more than 15,000. Total cases now stand at just under 22,000.

Deaths in the Lone Star State edged higher to 22 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 517. The Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas have accounted for more than half the fatalities so far, although that is based on incomplete figures because not every death is geographically tagged in the state’s database.

There are about 1,400 patients in Texas hospitals and more than 6,200 ventilators still available, according to the state.

Share

Sheriff in Washington state says he won’t enforce governor’s stay-at-home order

PASCO, Wash. — The sheriff of a county in eastern Washington state is telling residents that he will not enforce Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order or any guidelines that he believes infringe on constitutional rights.

Franklin County Sheriff J.D. Raymond sent a letter to constituents on Monday in which he said believed the coronavirus pandemic was real and needed to be “dealt with appropriately.” But Raymond, who has been sheriff for six years in the county of about 95,000 people, also said he believed adults were capable of policing themselves.

Sheriffs in Michigan and Wisconsin also have said they won’t enforce social-distancing mandates. There have been mounting calls for Inslee to ease the state’s stay-at-home order after a weekend protest drew about 2,500 to the state Capitol. Inslee’s directive runs through May 4.

Advertisement
Share

Cal State Fullerton cancels in-person fall classes, will go online. Will others follow?

Cal State Fullerton is planning to begin its fall semester with online classes, one of the first universities in the nation to make that move as campuses throughout the country grapple with how long to stay closed to most students amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Based on what we know, we are planning to go to a virtual course delivery in the fall semester,” the university said in a statement Tuesday. “But we will monitor the notices from the various health agencies so we can pivot to other modalities.”

Fullerton is the only one of 23 California State University campuses to make a decision on the fall term so far, according to systemwide spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp. The University of California’s 10 campuses are currently considering different scenarios for the fall but have not made firm decisions.

Read more>>>

Share

Postponing Tokyo Games could cost $6 billion. Officials wrangle over who will foot the bill

With the postponement of the Tokyo Summer Games triggering potentially massive expenses, a war of words has broken out between Olympic leaders and local organizers.

Media reports in Japan estimate that shifting the international competition to the summer of 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic could cost between $2 billion and $6 billion. There has been some uncertainty about who will pay for what.

On the International Olympic Committee’s website, on a Q&A page, a now-revised post suggested that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed his country would “continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

Read more>>>

Share

Amoeba Music puts out desperate call for help

The founders of Amoeba Music, the beloved California record store with three locations, have launched a GoFundMe campaign to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis.

The donation site had amassed $63,000 as of late Tuesday morning to support the business, which was forced to shutter its locations in Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco due to the pandemic. The company is hoping customers and fans worldwide can chip in to the tune of $400,000.

“We have weathered many storms — 911, recessions, the Internet, downloading and streaming,” read the call for help from Amoeba co-founders Dave Prinz and Marc Weinstein. “But we don’t know that we can weather the COVID-19 storm.”

Read more>>>

Share

More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug, study shows

A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported.

The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19, which has killed more than 171,000 people as of Tuesday.

The study was posted on an online site for researchers and has been submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, but has not been reviewed by other scientists. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia paid for the work.

Researchers analyzed medical records of 368 male veterans hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infection at Veterans Health Administration medical centers who died or were discharged by April 11.

About 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival.

Hydroxychloroquine made no difference in the need for a breathing machine, either.

Researchers did not track side effects, but noted hints that hydroxychloroquine might have damaged other organs. The drug has long been known to have potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death.

Advertisement
Share

COVID-19 could become leading cause of death in L.A. County

A new report says that perhaps 4% of Los Angeles County residents have been infected with the coronavirus at some point. The research offers both hopeful and sobering news for the county, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.

It suggests social distancing has slowed the outbreak and that COVID-19 might be less fatal in L.A. County than originally believed. But it is still a killer. More than 600 have lost their lives to the coronavirus, accounting for about half the coronavirus deaths in California — even though L.A. County has only about a quarter of the state’s population.

The results come from the first large-scale study tracking the spread of the virus in the county, which is California’s most populous and has the state’s highest numbers of cases and deaths. Researchers identified a pool of 863 adults reflecting the county’s demographics for the study.
Read more>>>

Share

Senate reaches deal on more funding for small business loans, Schumer says

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders and the White House reached a deal Tuesday to increase funding for a popular small business loan program that quickly ran out of money last week as businesses scrambled for a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate’s top Democrat said.

“We have a deal and I believe we’ll pass it today,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on CNN on Tuesday morning.

President Trump on Tuesday tweeted his support and urged both the Senate and House to pass the measure.

The Senate is in session Tuesday afternoon, and the bill could pass by voice vote as long as no senator objects. The House isn’t expected to take up the measure until Thursday, because it is not expected to pass by a voice vote there and House members need time to return to Washington.

Read more>>>

Share

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman call a truce in their fake feud to fight coronavirus

Avengers who?

Wolverine and Deadpool are teaming up to make the world a better place amid the coronavirus crisis, ending a years-long fake feud between actors Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds.

As part of the #AllInChallenge, the pair of famous adversaries took to Instagram Monday to announce that they would be temporarily burying the social media hatchet to support Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels and WC Kitchen’s efforts to help communities experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic.

“The Jackmans and Reynolds have been mortal enemies for as long as there have been Jackmans and Reynoldses-ses,” Reynolds said in a promo video presenting a photo-shopped black-and-white image of the duo’s superhero counterparts with old-timey clothes and weapons.

Read more>>>

Share

The outbreak squeezes finances of Democratic grassroots donors

WASHINGTON —Well-to-do donors gathered in August at the sprawling Charlotte, N.C., home of Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Clinton, where they nibbled finger food, sipped wine and listened to Joe Biden.

Last week they again joined Bowles and his wife, Crandall. But this time it was for a far less intimate affair: a fundraiser held by video conference that Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, joined from the makeshift studio in the basement of his Delaware home.

The coronavirus shutdown has forced Democratic donors to forgo the opulent fundraisers that allow them to rub shoulders with powerful elected leaders and candidates.
Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

California acknowledges more than 850 cases in assisted-living facilities

More than 850 residents and staff in assisted-living facilities in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data released late Monday by the state social services agency.

Among the most severe outbreaks were at Chateau III in Contra Costa County, which has 52 residents and staff with confirmed cases, and Silverado Beverly Place in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, with 50 residents and staff testing positive for the virus.

This marks the first time that state officials have released data on outbreaks in assisted-living facilities — a broad category of congregate living homes for mostly elderly residents. With aging and frail residents in close quarters, assisted-living homes are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus.
Read more>>>

Share

Dr. Fauci explains why quarantined MLB games are likely to be part of ‘new normal’

Sports fans will have to embrace a “new normal,” which probably means not being able to attend live events at crowded stadiums, for the rest of this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci says.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a regular at President Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings, told the YES Network on Monday that sports could resume this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic but games would have to take place in venues without fans or with fans practicing social distancing.

“I cannot see a return this year to what we consider normal,” Fauci said. “There would have to be some degree of [social distancing]. It could be as stringent as only television or it could in the stadium with significant difference of space between people and even then, wearing a facial cover.”
Read more>>>

Share

As humanity hides, wildlife reclaims lost territory

Image of a deer captured on April 17 from a remote camera just outside Griffith Park.
(Gerry Hans)

Naturalist Gerry Hans stood in the middle of a lonely road in Griffith Park on Saturday, inhaled deeply though his face mask and admired the natural sights and sounds of an oddly serene landscape that typically draws thousands of visitors each weekend.

“It’s sheer heaven not hearing the deafening clatter of tourist helicopters hovering over the Hollywood sign,” he said, with an appreciative sweep of his eyes.

As California’s coronavirus lockdown enters its second month, some residents on the edges of Griffith Park and other urban ecosystems swear that Mother Nature is reclaiming territories that once echoed with humanity’s tumult.

On message boards, shut-ins trade emotional “coyote talk,” recounting the movements of stealthy canids as they search for prey along quiet streets. Others share snapshots of hawks and owls nesting in the trees of city parks and center dividers, and of raccoons and rats raiding trash cans, suggesting that — by bits and pieces — wildlife is restaking old claims.

Read more>>>

Share

U.K. Parliament agrees to virtual sittings

Britain’s House of Commons agreed to new rules allowing members to take part in proceedings remotely during the virus lockdown. The chamber, often packed because it’s too small for its 650 members, will now be restricted so only 50 people can be present at a time.

Benches have been blocked off to keep those present at least 6 feet apart, and other members will be able to ask questions using Zoom. Speaker Lindsay Hoyle will continue to chair proceedings from the chamber. Plans for virtual voting are still being worked up.

Advertisement
Share

These California communities say it’s safe to start reopening

Some California communities have asked for permission to begin easing stay-at-home restrictions, saying they have made enough progress against the coronavirus to justify reopening their areas.

The requests reflect how some smaller counties are beginning to see coronavirus cases decline more dramatically than some larger counties, raising hopes that they might be able to relax restrictions before others.

In Los Angeles County, where more than 100 coronavirus deaths were recorded over the weekend, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said allowing stay-at-home rules to end too soon could worsen the situation.

“I know many of you are feeling frustrated or wondering when we’ll be able to lift the Safer at Home order. But lifting the restrictions too soon could risk lives. My promise to the people of L.A. is that evidence and medicine will continue to guide us through this crisis,” the mayor said on Twitter.

Read more>>>

Share

Monaco palace to cut spending by 40%, prince says

PARIS — The palace of Monaco says its ruler, Prince Albert, has decided to cut the palace spending by about 40% amid the coronavirus crisis.

Albert, who announced last month he had contracted the virus, has decided to extend confinement measures in the Mediterranean principality until May 3.

In a statement Tuesday, the palace said Monaco’s budget would be “very deeply impacted” by the consequences of the pandemic, leading to an estimated deficit of 500 million euros ($543 million) this year due to emergency measures to support the economy and a planned decrease of the state revenues.

The operational budget for the palace will drop from 13.2 million euros to 8 million euros ($14.3 million to $8.7 million).

Share

For National Park Week, here are the best webcams to watch

Every April the National Park Service reminds us about the beauty and value of America’s national parks. With most parks in the West and elsewhere closed to visitors, what’s there to celebrate during this year’s National Park Week?

Plenty.

Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, is taking time “to revisit places I have been in the past and explore new places to go.”

Read more>>>

Share

Trump tweet saying he’ll suspend immigration generates confusion

WASHINGTON — The morning after President Trump tweeted a potentially drastic change to the nation’s immigration standards, White House officials could not explain what he meant when he wrote that he planned to sign an order to “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

The lack of clarity reflects the often-chaotic nature of policy making in Trump’s White House. It also suggests the tweet could amount to fairly little in terms of policy changes. The State Department a month ago announced it was canceling visa appointments at consulates and embassies worldwide, effectively shutting down most new entries to the U.S.

Trump has been openly frustrated with polls showing the majority of Americans feel he has done a bad job handling the coronavirus, and he has frequently turned to immigration — a main campaign staple for him — when he feels a need to demonstrate executive action.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Congressional leaders near deal on second rescue package that will aid small businesses

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday his party’s congressional leaders and the Trump administration had reached a tentative deal on an emergency economic rescue package that would replenish a tapped-out small business aid program and provide money for coronavirus testing and overwhelmed hospitals.

An administration official said Tuesday the two sides were “very close” to a deal. A Senate Republican aide said no agreement had been reached yet.

Share

U.S. home testing kit gets emergency FDA authorization

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings has gained U.S. authorization for the first home-testing kit to diagnose an active infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

After the test is recommended by a doctor or other healthcare provider, patients will be able to collect samples from their noses and send them to LabCorp for testing, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement Tuesday.

The test kit includes a “Q-tip-style cotton swab” for patients to use to collect a nasal sample, the FDA said. Once collected, the swab is mailed to LabCorp in an insulated package.

The kits are expected to be available in most states in the coming weeks, according to the FDA. The agency said it worked with LabCorp to ensure the tests were as accurate as those done in a doctor’s office or hospital.

Share

Spain to allow young children leave their homes

MADRID — Spain will begin allowing children age 14 and younger out of their homes starting next week, though they must be accompanied by an adult they live with and their movements will be limited.

Government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero says that beginning Monday, younger children can go along on family errands to the supermarket, pharmacy or bank. Those between the ages of 15 and 17 already were allowed. There will be no time limit, and the children won’t be required to wear masks.

Montero said Tuesday after the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting that the children have been inside for the past five weeks and are unlikely to be infected with the new coronavirus. Restrictions on movement are part of the country’s state of emergency rules.

Spain’s official coronavirus death toll stands at more than 21,200, behind only the United States and Italy, and the country has imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.

Share

National Spelling Bee is canceled for the first time since 1945

WASHINGTON — This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled after U.S. organizers concluded there is “no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision announced Tuesday by Scripps means kids who are in eighth grade this year will miss their final opportunity to compete in the national finals. Scripps won’t change eligibility requirements for next year’s bee, which is scheduled for June 1-3, 2021, at a convention center outside Washington.

Televised by ESPN since 1994, the bee had only previously been canceled in 1943-45 because of World War II. The first Scripps bee was held in 1925.

Scripps had announced on March 20 that this year’s bee would be postponed but did not commit to a new date.

Advertisement
Share

TV pros are getting creative, using tech to keep your shows afloat

Hollywood is an industry built on the work-around. Can’t actually shoot a woman tied to the railroad tracks, a guy climbing Mt. Rushmore, a kid playing Quidditch? Then build a set, paint a backdrop, use greenscreen technology. The actor is too old, too young, too bald — or pregnant? Meet the make-up, hair and costume departments.

So it’s not surprising that even before COVID-19 formally shut down film and television productions (on Friday, March 13, not that anyone in Hollywood is superstitious), the industry was scrambling to figure out how to keep working, together but separately, to ensure that production can resume the moment safety concerns allow.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus canceled his birthday party. These beautifully intimate photographs became his gift

When Saam Gabbay’s birthday landed amid the coronavirus pandemic last month, the Los Angeles-based photographer decided to turn a missed opportunity into an intimate celebration. Unable to celebrate with his guests at a birthday party, Gabbay decided to visit his friends and family at their homes throughout Los Angeles and photograph them through their window as they sheltered in place.

“Uncertainty created a shared vulnerability and heightened sense of daily gratitude,” Gabbay said. “I canceled a planned gathering and decided to see my friends and family at their homes. Not that I could go near them. Instead, I photographed them from outside, looking in. I mapped out a route from Venice to Pasadena and asked to meet at their windows at a set time.

“I’m Iranian born, and Iranian culture is one of deep attunement. When one is socialized to say ‘yes,’ one must constantly scan micro-expressions for whether a ‘yes’ is really a ‘no.’ Similar to jazz musicians who listen for micro-cues, when I shoot, I aim to create that same sense of connection and attunement that I experience culturally and when I play music.”

Read more>>>

Share

How to make a no-sew mask with a T-shirt

As the “normal” in “new normal” changes daily because of the coronavirus pandemic, one thing feels certain: It looks like we will be wearing face masks for a long time.

Ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended cloth face coverings as a way to help curb the spread of COVID-19, people have been scrambling to find masks.

But now that Los Angeles County has required us to wear non-medical masks when conducting essential services, the demand has grown exponentially.

Local crafters and designers are making them and selling them online, but many are overwhelmed by demand and are experiencing production delays.
Read more>>>

Share

Amtrak relaxes its refund rules

Here’s good news if you have or make Amtrak reservations before May 31: If you decide to cancel your ticket and want a refund, you can get one. The only catch: You must call.

The number is (800) 872-7245 (USA-RAIL). The refund cannot be completed on Amtrak.com or the Amtrak app.

Amtrak is also waiving change fees for reservations before the end of May. Reservations may be modified by phone, at Amtrak.com or on the app.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

After denying crisis, Indonesia has most deaths in Asia except for China

JAKARTA, Indonesia — While its neighbors scrambled early this year to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the government of Indonesia — the world’s fourth most populous nation — insisted that everything was fine.

The health minister, Terawan Agus Putranto, told his compatriots they shouldn’t fear the virus, even as tens of thousands around the world were being infected. Instead of creating social-distancing guidelines or increasing testing, Putranto credited the country’s lack of infections to Indonesian “immunity” and the strength of prayer. He dismissed as “insulting” a report by Harvard researchers that said Indonesia must have chosen not to report its cases.

Read more>>>

Share

Federal judge is risking his life to save homeless people

“Anybody want to test my accountability by walking with me in a few moments down to skid row?”

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter leveled the question at a room full of attorneys on a recent Tuesday afternoon.

“Do you all believe me, or do you want to see it?” he pressed. “Do you want to see it?”

At 76 years old, Carter knows he should be at home and away from people, not in a cavernous ballroom in the basement of the Alexandria Hotel surrounded by attorneys and journalists, or outside leading a tour of the largest concentration of homeless people in the country. Public officials have warned that his age puts him at high risk for contracting the coronavirus and dying of COVID-19.

Read more>>>

Share

‘Empire’ changed the industry. Virus interrupted its grand finale

When “Empire” premiered in January 2015, the Taraji P. Henson- and Terrence Howard-led drama made waves. With its “King Lear”-inspired story line set in the world of hip-hop, the Fox series had massive social media buzz and high ratings to match, scoring at least nine straight weeks of ratings growth: the type of debut networks and creators dream of.

Five years later, as “Empire’s” sixth and final season comes to a close Tuesday, the enduring impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has compromised its bow — an unceremonious end for a show that helped change the landscape of television.

“We were in the middle of shooting and then all of the sudden it was just like, ‘Nope, uh-uh,’” showrunner Brett Mahoney said recently in a phone interview. “I mean, we didn’t even finish the day. It was just like, ‘No, go home because we’ve got to be concerned about health and safety,’ which is real.”

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus brings new levels of misery to impoverished California trailer park

THERMAL, Calif. — Even before the coronavirus struck, the Oasis Mobile Home Park was like a patient with underlying health issues. Decrepit trailers. Piles of garbage. Arsenic in the water.

So when the outbreak swept through Southern California, the patient didn’t stand a chance.

The owner of the park in Thermal was supposed to provide bottled water for the 1,900 residents to drink and cook with. But virus-fueled panic buying made the precious commodity hard to find.

So were farmworking jobs, as agricultural employers cut the size of their crews in an effort to keep workers a safe distance apart and because of decreased demand for produce.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Broad museum lays off 130 in visitor services and retail

The Broad will lay off one full-time and 129 part-time employees, including retail workers and public-facing visitor services staff, starting Friday as part of the museum’s extended coronavirus-related closure.

When the Broad might reopen remains unclear. “We are hopeful for a July reopening,” said a spokesperson via email, “though public health officials will ultimately determine the date.”

But even when the museum does reopen, “daily operations will change dramatically,” read a statement issued by the museum on the layoffs. Social distancing and sanitation measures will likely mean changes to operations and, as a result, it will affect “future staffing needs dramatically and unavoidably for a considerable period of time.”

An email sent to the affected staff on Monday evening by museum director Joanne Heyler and deputy director Stacy Lieberman said “the realities of COVID-19 are becoming clearer.”

Read more>>>

Share

Column: Here’s why a COVID-19 vaccine could end up costing you a small fortune

Things have gone from bad to worse for Brian Helstien. For a decade, he’s been grappling with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Now he needs surgery for a leaky heart valve.

But because his medical network, Kaiser Permanente, like all healthcare providers, is dealing with a tsunami of COVID-19 patients, the Laguna Woods resident has been informed his non-life-threatening ticker trouble is an “elective” procedure.

“They said maybe they’ll be able to get to me in three to six months,” Helstien, 71, told me. “As if we were talking about a nose job instead of heart surgery.”

In the meantime, he’ll have plenty of time to ponder the high cost of being sick in America.

Read more>>>

Share

The sweatshops are still open. Now they make masks

Rosario Ruiz got a call from her boss in early April: The small factory on the southern edge of downtown L.A. where she sews T-shirts had work for her. It was getting into the mask business.

The next morning, she left the home she shares with her 70-year-old father and walked the mile to work, fearful that she could catch the virus on the bus and pass it on to him.

When she arrived, she learned her pay had changed. Instead of making 5 cents for every label that she sewed onto a shirt, she would be paid 20 cents for each pair of elastic straps she sewed onto a fabric mask.

Before, she had made anywhere from $250 to $400 per week, depending on how many hours she worked and how simple the pieces were to sew. Now, she could get through about 300 masks per day, and expected to get $350 at the end of a 50-hour workweek.

Read more>>>

Share

Bats get blamed. But bats face their own virus risk — from humans

LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT — As forensic virologists search to uncover the origins of COVID-19, bats have been fingered as a likely source. Genetic analyses show the virus is very similar to one harbored by Chinese horseshoe bats, and researchers think it’s possible it jumped from those winged mammals to people.

But some bat lovers and chiropterologists — scientists who study the flying mammals — are adamant there is no proof. Instead, they’re wringing their hands about the reverse: that people with COVID-19 could spread the disease to their furry, nocturnal housemates.

They are particularly worried about already vulnerable North American bat populations, which are being wiped out by white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by a deadly fungus.

There is no evidence indicating that bats can get the coronavirus from people, said Alice Chung-MacCoubrey, a bat biologist for the National Park Service and an affiliate faculty at South Oregon University. “But it’s something we’re concerned about.”

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

A nurse watched her father die in her hospital. She couldn’t help him

Chanell Jackson rubbed sanitizing gel on her hands and pulled a protective gown over her clothes as she had done so many times before.

As a nurse, she did this ritual to help deliver wailing babies and to wheel worried women into surgery.

But this was different. This was her father.

It was Sunday, March 29. It had been 22 days since he had returned home from a ski trip in Idaho, 14 days since he had checked into Chanell’s West Los Angeles hospital with shortness of breath, and eight days since his coronavirus test had come back positive.

Read more>>>

Share

Bay Area health officers got ahead of the crisis. Here’s how they did it

Sunday was supposed to be a rare day off for Dr. Tomás Aragón after weeks of working around the clock.

Instead, the San Francisco public health officer was jolted awake by an urgent 7:39 a.m. text message from his boss.

“Can you set up a call with San Mateo and Santa Clara health officers this a.m., so we can discuss us all getting on the same page this week with aggressive actions, thanks,” said the message from Dr. Grant Colfax, director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.

“Will do, getting up now,” Aragón responded.

Read more>>>

Share

Students, families are in ‘desperate need’ of computers

As the school year slips away, state officials are far behind in a race to provide students the computers and broadband they need to continue learning that was interrupted by campus shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Monday brought some good news from Gov. Gavin Newsom — that 70,000 computers and 100,000 hot spots have been pledged to date — those figures fall well short of the state’s tally estimating that over 400,000 more computers and hot spots are needed.

About 200,000 households with students are without computers or hot spots. That figure is based on information assembled by the California Department of Education.

Read more>>>

Share

It’s the ‘wild West’ for virus antibody tests, a potential setback for reopening the economy

As debate intensifies about how and when the country can resume regular life, immunity testing widely seen as essential for that reopening is mired in the same competition and chaos that marred earlier diagnostic tests.

“It’s already a case of the continuing wild, wild West,” said David Relman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford who is on a White House advisory panel on testing. “The sequel is certainly live and in action.”

Dozens of companies have rushed tests onto the market that promise to tell users whether they have been exposed to the virus, and therefore may have some kind of immunity.

These serology tests, which look for antibodies in blood that have the ability to fight off the virus, are rolling out at a rapid pace both for private individuals looking for hope and clarity, and public health officials increasingly pressured for timelines for reducing social restrictions.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Austria plans to to open all shops and restaurants by mid-May

VIENNA — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says his country intends to go ahead with plans to open all shops at the beginning of May and restaurants in mid-May.

Austria allowed small shops to open a week ago. Kurz said Tuesday that coronavirus infections had continued to drop, so the government can move ahead with the reopening plan it’s already sketched out. He said the government would review the situation at two-week intervals “so as always to have the opportunity to pull the emergency brake if that is necessary.”

The plan calls for remaining shops, along with services such as hairdressers and manicurists, to open at the beginning of May. Schools are scheduled to start opening in May, with religious services resuming May 15.

The government also plans to allow the catering industry to restart on May 15, with all staff required to wear masks. There will be restrictions on how many customers can be present.

Share

Europe says its vaunted tourism industry is facing ‘staggering’ losses

HALLE, Belgium — The European Union says its vaunted tourism industry is facing “staggering” figures of decline because of the coronavirus crisis, and the bloc’s internal market commissioner wants the sector to be first in line when it comes to recovery funds.

Across Europe, desolation illustrates the tourism crisis. Squares including Brussels’ Grand Place are empty, and Rome’s Colosseum and other monuments are deserted while gondolas idle in Venice. Arrival areas in airports stand empty, and sunshine-drenched beaches are vacant.

Europe is hardly alone in facing such hardship — what with the deserted waterfront at Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, and the closed-off pyramids outside Cairo. But EU market commissioner Thierry Breton said the European market accounts for half of world tourism.

“Tourism was the first sector to be hit by the coronavirus, and I am sure that it will be the slowest to recover and come out of this phase,” Breton told a European Parliament committee via videolink on Tuesday.

Share

Death toll in Britain tops 18,500

LONDON — Official statistics show that at least 1,500 more people have died in Britain than the 16,500 whose coronavirus-related deaths have been tallied by the government.

The Office for National Statistics says that 1,043 deaths in nursing homes in England and Wales up to April 10 involved COVID-19, with 826 of those deaths recorded in the final week of that period. More than 500 other people died in hospices and private homes.

Those are not included in the British government’s daily total, which only includes deaths in hospitals.

The figures show that the total number of deaths in the week to April 10 — 18,516 — was the highest weekly total in 20 years. About a third of all the deaths involved the coronavirus.

The British government is under pressure to include nursing-home deaths in its daily coronavirus figures amid concerns the number is being underreported.

Share

Spain cancels the running of the bulls in Pamplona

MADRID — Spain’s famous running of the bulls in Pamplona is the latest major European event to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pamplona city hall announced Tuesday that the nine-day San Fermin festival held in July won’t take place this year.

It said in a statement that, although the decision was expected, “it still brings sadness.”

Pamplona Mayor Enrique Maya is infected with the virus.

The San Fermin fiesta was made famous internationally by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”

Advertisement
Share

Hit by upsurge in infections, Singapore extends lockdown by four weeks

SINGAPORE — Singapore has announced it will extend its lockdown by four weeks after a sharp upsurge in coronavirus infection cases in recent days.

The city-state reported 1,111 new cases earlier Tuesday to take its total to 9,125, the highest in Southeast Asia. Foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories account for nearly 80% of infections.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said most of the new cases were due to aggressive testing of workers in the dorms, including those who are asymptomatic. Lee said in a televised speech that the clusters of coronavirus infections in the dorms had remained largely contained, but the shutdown of nonessential businesses and schools will be prolonged from May 4 till June 1.

Lee said the government would shut more workplaces so that only the most essential services would remain open. Lee said the “short-term pain” was crucial to stamp out the virus and pledged to provide further help for businesses and workers.

Share

Muslims try to keep Ramadan spirit amid coronavirus restrictions

BAHTIM, Egypt — Every year during Ramadan, the Light of Muhammad Mosque sets up long tables on the street and dishes up free meals at sunset for the poor to break their daily fast. It’s a charity that many rely on in this impoverished district on the edge of Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

But it’s too dangerous in this era of the coronavirus. In Egypt and in many Muslim countries, such “Tables of the Compassionate” have been barred.

So the mosque, which like others in Egypt had to shut its doors as a precaution against the virus, will use the funds that would have gone into the free communal tables to distribute packed meals and cash to those in need.

“We hope this could ease their suffering,” said Sheikh Abdel-Rahman, the muezzin of the mosque in the district of Bahtim.

As Ramadan begins with the new moon later this week, Muslims around the world are trying to maintain the cherished rituals of Islam’s holiest month without further spreading the coronavirus.

Read more>>>

Share

Conspiracy theorists are burning 5G towers, claiming they are linked to coronavirus

The CCTV video from a Dutch business park shows a man in a black cap pouring the contents of a white container at the base of a cellular radio tower. Flames burst out as the man jogs back to his Toyota to flee into the evening.

It’s a scene that’s been repeated dozens of times in recent weeks in Europe, where officials are pushing back against conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the coronavirus pandemic are fueling arson attacks on cell towers.

Popular beliefs and conspiracy theories that wireless communications pose a threat have long been around, but the global spread of the virus at the same time that countries were rolling out fifth-generation wireless technology has seen some of those false narratives amplified.

Read more >>

Share

Oktoberfest canceled in Munich, Germany, amid coronavirus fears

This year’s Oktoberfest in Munich has been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation of the world-famous annual celebration of beer, which was supposed to run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, underlines expectations that the way back to normal life will be very long.

The Oktoberfest typically draws about 6 million visitors every year to the packed festival grounds in Bavaria’s capital.

Bavaria’s governor, Markus Soeder, said after meeting Munich’s mayor Tuesday: “We agreed that the risk is simply too high.” He added that “you can neither keep your distance nor work with facial protection” at the Oktoberfest.

Soeder noted that the festival attracted visitors from around the world, raising concerns about bringing new infections to Bavaria.

Mayor Dieter Reiter said, “It is an emotionally difficult moment and of course it is also an economically difficult moment for our city.”

Advertisement
Share

New Zealand could pull off bold goal of eliminating coronavirus

While most countries are working on ways to contain the coronavirus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it altogether.

And experts believe the country could pull it off.

The virus “doesn’t have superpowers,” said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland. “Once transmission is stopped, it’s gone.”

Geography has helped. If anyplace could be described as socially distant, it would be New Zealand, surrounded by stormy seas, with Antarctica to the south. With 5 million people spread across an area the size of Britain, even the cities aren’t overly crowded.

Read more >>

Share

Trump says he’ll ‘suspend immigration’ amid coronavirus pandemic but offers no details

President Trump said Monday that he will sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” because of the coronavirus.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” Trump tweeted.

He offered no details as to what immigration programs might be affected by the order. The White House did not immediately elaborate on Trump’s tweeted announcement.

Read more >>

Share

WHO warns that the rush to ease virus rules could cause a resurgence

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions would likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again.

“This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.

He said governments must remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus and that the lifting of lockdowns and other social distancing measures must be done gradually and strike the right balance between keeping people healthy and allowing economies to function.

Despite concerns from health officials, some U.S. states on Monday announced aggressive reopening p