Plan to administer hydroxychloroquine to crowded Indian slums is shelved
Public health officials in India have shelved their plan to administer hydroxychloroquine — or HCQ, an untested anti-malarial — to thousands in Mumbai’s crowded slums as a way of preventing infections in healthy people.
Health officials in Mumbai said that the plan to “conduct a test” was still on the cards but had not yet been approved by the Indian government. For now, they will follow federal guidelines that say that the drug can only be used for “high-risk” groups: health care workers taking care of COVID-19 patients, contacts of confirmed patients and those in quarantine centers.
Experts have pointed out that there is little evidence to show that HCQ can help treat COVID-19 infections and none to justify its use to prevent infections.
India has reached the grim milestone of over a thousand deaths. There are over 30,000 cases in the country and cases are doubling in roughly 10 days.
The malaria drug had been widely touted by President Trump for treating the new coronavirus and has, since, been advised by India for front-line healthcare workers. But a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals last week found that more death was recorded among those given the drug, versus standard care.
Experts in South Korea downplay possible reinfections
South Korean infectious disease experts have downplayed concerns that patients could get reinfected with the new coronavirus after fully recovering.
While hundreds in South Korea have tested positive again after their release from hospitals, Oh Myoung-don, who heads the country’s central clinical committee on new infectious diseases, told a news conference on Wednesday there was a “high possibility” that such test results were flawed.
He said South Korea’s standard real-time PCR tests, designed to amplify the genetic materials of the virus so that even tiny quantities are detected, doesn’t reliably distinguish between remains of dead virus and infectious particles. He said lab tests on animals suggest that COVID-19 patients would maintain immunity for at least a year after their infections.
He also said it was unlikely that the virus could be reactivated after remaining dormant when it doesn’t seem to be a type that causes chronic illnesses.
As of Tuesday, 277 people in South Korea tested positive for the virus for a second time after being diagnosed as recovered. Health authorities have tested some of their samples, but none so far have been successfully cultivated in isolation, indicating a loss of infectiousness.
Newport Beach council votes to keep beaches open, despite crowds and rebuke from Newsom
The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday rejected a measure that would have closed its beaches for three consecutive weekends in May.
Instead, the council advised city staff to maintain beach access with additional enforcement of social distancing. Any visitors to the city’s beaches will see an increased presence of police officers and lifeguards, and the council supported citing anyone who doesn’t follow the social distancing order, according to a city news release.
The council action followed a busy weekend in Newport Beach as thousands of visitors sought to escape the Southern California heatwave.
“The vast majority of the beach visitors this weekend were practicing social distancing, but many were not,” the city said in its statement.
O.C. learning center comes to the rescue for panicked parents during pandemic
Emeteria Hernandez walked through the empty supermarket aisles, hunting for food, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes for her family.
The month-old memory still brings fresh tears to her eyes.
“I thought the world was going to end,” the 41-year-old cook said in Spanish. “And I didn’t have food for my [three] kids.”
That afternoon, she received a call from Myrna Zornoza, an educator at the Shalimar Learning Center, the Costa Mesa-based founding facility of the not-for-profit organization Think Together.
“What do you need?” asked “Ms. Myrna,” as Hernandez affectionately calls her, after two years of attending Think Together’s parenting classes while her son Jeremy went to after-school teen classes.
Soon, Hernandez received the first bins from Think Together, filled with food, sanitizer and soap. The next week, more food came. Then more food, soap, toothpaste and $100 gift cards.
In the age of the coronavirus, organizations that offered one kind of service — such as Think Together’s educational programs after school and during the summer — have found themselves pivoting to serve the ever-changing requests of an increasingly needy population.
The Shalimar Learning Center had just hit 25 years of offering educational services to about 120 families in its predominately Latino and low-income neighborhood in Westside Costa Mesa, called Shalimar. The center, which operates out of an apartment in Shalimar, was the go-to after-school place for nearly 250 neighborhood children whose parents worked multiple jobs. At various points, it also provided translation services for families, as well as all-around academic support and college and career guidance.
L.A. County releases first neighborhood breakdown of COVID-19 deaths; poor areas hit hard
The first neighborhood-level glimpse of the COVID-19 death toll in Los Angeles County shows in grim detail that poorer areas are seeing an outsize number of fatalities.
Some of the highest death rates are in low-income neighborhoods of Central Los Angeles, a Times analysis of county health department data released Tuesday shows.
Working-class neighborhoods such as East Hollywood, Pico-Union and Westlake all have more than 40 deaths per 100,000 people, which is four times higher than the countywide rate of 9.9 per 100,000. Many neighborhoods across South L.A. also had higher death rates, figures show.
Orange County creating guidelines for when businesses reopen
The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a set of business guidelines Tuesday that could help inform the county’s eventual easing of stay-at-home rules that have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The county is seeking to “strike a balance between the need for continued protection from the disease and the need for the economy to function again,” Supervisor Don Wagner said.
“These guidelines are intended to state clearly the minimum that business owners and operators must do, in addition to following all applicable jurisdictions’ orders,” he said.
Employers should require customer-facing workers to wear disposable gloves or wash their hands or use hand sanitizer every 30 minutes, according to the guidelines.
Read more > > >
Third construction worker at SoFi Stadium tests positive for COVID-19
A third construction worker at SoFi Stadium has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal email Tuesday from the joint venture overseeing the $5-billion project in Inglewood.
The worker, who hadn’t been on the 298-acre site since last week, was involved in “light pole foundation work” outside of the stadium structure.
“First and most importantly the worker is doing well, had shown no symptoms, and is at home under self-quarantine,” the email from Turner-AECOM Hunt to trade partners said.
Equipment, facilities and tools the worker might have used have been disinfected, according to the email, and other workers who may have been in “close contact” with him are under self-quarantine until May 8.
In Gov. Newsom’s four-phase plan to reopen the state, concerts are phase four
Concerts in California will be on hold until a vaccine or other therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 are developed, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In a new four-step plan outlined by Newsom on Tuesday morning, some aspects of California’s economy could start reopening in less than a month. “We believe we are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications” to the current shutdown rules, Newsom said.
Retail and offices, movie theaters and religious services will be among the businesses and events to resume in phase two and three of the plan. However, mass gatherings will be, as expected, in the final tier of public life to resume.
Stage four means “reopening the highest-risk parts of our economy — once therapeutics have been developed,” Newsom wrote on Tuesday. Among the industries singled out? Concerts, live sports and conventions.
L.A. County working to ease stay-at-home order by May
Los Angeles County officials passed a motion Tuesday to develop a plan to ease the safer-at-home order, strict social distancing rules that have slowed the spread of the coronavirus, that is set to expire May 15.
Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday there were no plans to extend the current order, but as the deadline approaches, officials will reevaluate what is best for the county.
More than 20,000 in the county of 10 million have tested positive for the virus, and nearly 950 have died. County officials have warned the public that although social distancing practices have worked to slow the spread of the virus, the number of those who have been infected is likely far higher than the official count.
More than 200,000 in the U.S. on H-1B visas could lose legal status by June
Manasi Vasavada has less than three weeks left before she loses her legal right to be in the country.
The dental practice in Passaic County, N.J., where Vasavada, 31, has worked for almost two years closed its doors in mid-March because of COVID-19. She has been on an unpaid leave of absence since.
Vasavada is in the country on an H-1B visa, a temporary visa program designed for people with specialized skills. H-1B recipients can remain in the country legally only for 60 days without being paid. Her husband, Nandan Buch, also a dentist, is in the country on an H-1B visa that expires in June. They have been watching the days tick by with growing fear.
There may soon come a point when the couple can’t stay and can’t go: India, their home country, has closed its borders indefinitely. They also have a combined $520,000 in student loans from the advanced dental degrees they completed at U.S. universities, which would be nearly impossible to pay back on the salaries they would earn in India.
Horse owners and labor organizers call for racing to resume at Santa Anita Park
About three dozen members of the horse racing industry gathered in front of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, which houses the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday in hopes of convincing the Board of Supervisors to push for racing to resume at Santa Anita Park.
Tuesday marked the first official meeting of the Board of Supervisors since Santa Anita submitted a proposal to the county for additional safety protocols they would implement should racing be allowed to resume. That includes a plan to house jockeys at the track.
The gathering was spearheaded by Oscar de la Torre, a labor organizer and advocate for backstretch workers, and included several horse owners and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The protest did not include many backstretch workers who must typically work at the track until about 11 a.m.
This is California’s reopening plan for stores, offices, schools, sports, concerts
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday released a four-stage plan for reopening parts of the California economy after weeks of stay-at-home home rules that have been credited with slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
The phases are designed to slowly reopen the state while preventing new outbreaks that could lead to another shutdown. There are no timetables attached; rather, officials will use benchmarks around testing, hospitalizations and other factors.
Under the plan, some retail businesses, manufacturing, schools and open spaces could reopen first, with strict social distancing rules. Down the line, certain entertainment venues and religious institutions could reopen. Live sports, concerts and other crowded events would be the last to reopen under the plan.
Here’s a breakdown of that four-stage plan:
Rafael Cardenas set out to capture L.A. in a photo a day. He ended up recording a pandemic
The plan was simple: take a photo a day, every day, for a year.
For Rafael Cardenas, a Los Angeles photographer known for capturing candid images of life in the city, the plan was a way of staying nimble with his camera — a daily looking exercise that also functions as a visual diary. (He posts one image to his website, rafa.la, every evening.)
The project is also a way of marking an important personal milestone.
Nick Cordero’s COVID-19 battle takes a turn as Broadway castmates salute him in song
Broadway star Nick Cordero’s health took a turn for the worse on Monday, not long after some of his former colleagues banded together for musical tributes to help support him over the weekend.
Amanda Kloots, who has been documenting on Instagram her husband’s battle with COVID-19, shared on Tuesday that the “Rock of Ages” actor had gone into septic shock after an infection in his lungs spread into his blood.
“We had a bit of a rough day yesterday,” said Kloots in her Instagram story. “This kind of came out of nowhere after two days of really great progress. But he’s back to feeling better and he’s resting.”
Oregon furloughs state workers
SALEM, Oregon — Facing steep budget shortfalls, the state of Oregon is furloughing workers to save money.
A state economist predicted that Oregon’s leaders would have to grapple with “balancing limited revenues with increased need for programs to help Oregonians” affected by the economic shutdown put into place to stem the coronavirus spread.
“Things won’t bounce back overnight” after the restrictions are lifted, Josh Lehner, who is helping produce Oregon’s economic and revenue forecast, said on a webcast.
Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle announced late Monday that managers in the agency she directs, the Bureau of Labor and Industries, must take one unpaid furlough day per month through June 2021, the end of the budget cycle.
“The coronavirus pandemic has collapsed our economy,” Hoyle said.
Fauci is ‘cautiously optimistic’ on vaccine
The U.S. government’s top infectious disease specialist is “cautiously optimistic” scientists will develop a COVID-19 vaccine that can protect against future outbreaks of a virus he says is unlikely to disappear.
“The very fact that people can mount a natural immune response that gets rid of the virus in them makes me cautiously optimistic that we can develop a vaccine that can mimic natural infection enough to induce that same sort of response that would ultimately protect people,” Anthony Fauci said Tuesday at a virtual event hosted by the Economic Club.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the past has shied away from making predictions about treatments.
California schools could begin as early as July, Newsom says
The academic year could start in July or early August to prevent further learning loss that may have been worsened by school closures in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
“We recognize there’s been a learning loss because of this disruption. We’re concerned about that learning loss even into the summer,” Newsom said. “Our kids have lost a lot with this disruption. ... And you can either, you know, roll over and just accept that or you can do something about it. So that’s our thinking.”
Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, said reopening child-care centers was also important for parents.
Schools for California’s 6.1 million students have been closed since mid-March.
Russian activists protest lockdowns
MOSCOW — Russian opposition activists have staged an online protest against lockdowns.
Participants in Tuesday’s video call charged that the government had used the coronavirus outbreak to impose illegal restrictions violating people’s rights.
Opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov denounced an electronic pass system introduced in Moscow as a “digital concentration camp.” He also criticized the Kremlin for failing to offer tangible support to private businesses.
A partial economic shutdown ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin has kept most Russians home since late March. The measure was set to expire Thursday, but Putin extended it through May 11.
Russia has recorded 93,558 cases of coronavirus infection and 867 deaths.
Reopening California: Hollywood is figuring out how to start rolling again
Los Angeles movie studio Millennium Films was just days away from starting production on its Megan Fox horror movie “Till Death” in Sofia, Bulgaria, before fears of the coronavirus shut everything down.
Millennium President Jeffrey Greenstein doesn’t know when the film will get up and running at the company’s Nu Boyana Film Studios. But he knows that when it happens, film sets will feel very different from the pre-COVID-19 era.
Health and safety rules will be stricter. Social distancing standards could limit how workers interact with actors, filmmakers and department heads. Crew members may even have to wear protective masks on set.
Some California businesses could reopen within weeks, Newsom says
SACRAMENTO — California businesses seen as presenting less risk of spreading the coronavirus could open in the near future under a plan Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled on Tuesday, the first of several slow steps toward easing the statewide shutdown order.
“We believe we are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications,” of the current restrictions, Newsom said.
But Newsom’s announcement of a four-phase plan did not come with a guaranteed timetable. He said that although current public health indicators such as hospitalizations and testing capacity looked promising, additional progress needed to be made.
“Politics will not drive our decision-making. Protests won’t drive our decision making. Political pressure will not drive our decision making,” he said.
L.A. County isn’t ready to lift restrictions, but it has a plan
When California issued its stay-at-home order on March 19 in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, most counties went beyond the state’s guidelines to impose more stringent policies, each with varying expiration dates.
Some counties, like San Francisco, took measures well before the governor shuttered all nonessential businesses and mandated that all Californians should stay home and restrict their social interactions.
Now, 40 day later, several places have begun to ease local restrictions. Golf courses and beaches have reopened in some areas. Other areas are petitioning the governor to be allowed to open restaurants and places of worship
Syrian, Kurdish governments inhibiting medical supply delivery, rights group says
UNITED NATIONS — Human Rights Watch says medical supplies to prevent and treat the new coronavirus are not reaching northeast Syria because of restrictions imposed by the Syrian government and the Kurdish regional government.
The international rights organization urged the U.N. Security Council to immediately adopt a resolution reopening the Al Yarubiyah border crossing from Iraq into the northeast, where Syrian Kurds established an autonomous zone in 2012. The crossing, which was used primarily to deliver medicine and medical supplies, was closed in January at the insistence of Russia.
Louis Charbonneau, U.N. director for Human Rights Watch, stressed at a video news briefing that “this is not a political question, it’s a humanitarian question, [and] very easy for the Security Council to move quickly.”
Some governors extend orders and urge caution as cases top 1 million
As President Trump applauded the states that had reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed tens of thousands of American lives and topped 1 million confirmed cases, several governors warned that caution was needed before allowing people to crowd shops and restaurants.
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus reached 1 million as the death toll topped 57,200 in the United States on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. death toll is the highest in the world.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state officials would be measuring certain critical data points as it reopened businesses in the weeks ahead. Among those points, Cuomo said, is whether hospital emergency rooms begin to exceed 70% capacity.
Trump to order U.S. meat plants to stay open
President Trump plans to order meat-processing plants to remain open, declaring them critical infrastructure as the nation confronts growing disruptions to the food supply, a person familiar with the matter said.
Trump plans to use the Defense Production Act to order the companies to stay open, and the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to the person.
Trump signaled the executive action at the White House on Tuesday, saying he planned to sign an order aimed at Tyson Foods Inc.’s liability, which had become “a roadblock” for the company. He didn’t elaborate.
The order, though, will not be limited to Tyson, the person said. It will affect all processing plants supplying beef, chicken, eggs and pork.
What leaving lockdown looks like in Europe
PARIS — Europeans are starting to venture outside after weeks of confinement, scarred emotionally by a virus that has overwhelmed some of the world’s best healthcare systems and killed more than 120,000 but yearning to rediscover signs of normalcy.
Leaving lockdown looks different in Berlin than it does in Madrid, however, as each government sets its own rules and pace for letting the continent’s half a billion people taste freedom again. Here’s a look at some of the measures being rolled out:
L.A.'s clean air streak has already come to an end. Here’s why
It’s been hailed as a silver lining of the coronavirus lockdown: With fewer cars on the road, air quality has improved, bringing clearer skies to cities across the world.
Los Angeles had its longest streak of good-air days in decades, and social media is full of photos of an unusually crisp skyline. “Coronavirus Got Rid of Smog,” proclaimed a headline in the Wall Street Journal.
So has L.A. smog been eliminated?
Texas cases rise 3.5%
Texas cases rose 3.5% to 26,171, almost in lockstep with the rate of increase in testing, according to the state Health Department. Hospitalizations climbed by 119 to 1,682, or 19% higher than a week ago.
The increases in caseload and admitted patients came as Gov. Greg Abbott moved to reopen the economy and leaders of the state’s biggest metropolitan areas warned that moving too fast could ignite a second wave of contagion.
Business, health industry groups urge Congress to beef up insurance coverage for the unemployed
WASHINGTON — Business and health industry groups are urging lawmakers to shore up health insurance coverage for unemployed Americans in the next coronavirus bill.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Assn. and the insurance lobby America’s Health Insurance Plans are calling for lawmakers to put aside bitter political differences over Obamacare and provide support for keeping people insured as millions lose coverage in a shuttered economy.
The Trump administration has instead said it will reimburse hospitals for caring for uninsured COVID-19 patients, from a pot of money Congress approved.
The three groups wrote congressional leaders of both parties that more ambitious steps were needed to make sure reopening the economy goes smoothly.
U.K. reports 586 more deaths
Another 586 people have died in U.K. hospitals from the disease caused by the coronavirus, the government says.
That’s an increase from the 360 deaths reported Monday, but U.K. death numbers are usually artificially low after a weekend.
Some 3,996 more people tested positive for the disease, down from an increase of 4,310 the day before, according to figures provided Tuesday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The U.K. now has more confirmed cases than does Germany, and the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases in the world.
Britain ramps up testing efforts
LONDON — Britain is ramping up its coronavirus testing efforts, with tests now available to people older than 65 as well as those who are not able to work from home.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says anyone over 65 and their households, and all workers who must leave their homes to work, are now added to the list of those eligible for tests as long as they show symptoms.
All hospital patients and staff, as well as nursing home residents and workers, also qualify, even if they have no symptoms.
A government website where people can book coronavirus tests crashed last week after tens of thousands of eligible people rushed to apply.
Trump considers requiring tests, temperature checks for airline travelers
WASHINGTON — President Trump says his administration is talking to the airline industry about giving passengers temperature checks and testing them for the coronavirus.
Trump also says it “sounds like a good idea” for passengers to wear face masks during flights.
The comments come as Trump meets at the White House with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida about that state’s plans for loosening restrictions on the economy put into place as a result of the pandemic.
Florida health authorities have attributed many of the state’s COVID-19 cases to people traveling from other hot spots, including Europe, Nile river cruises, the New York City area and Latin America.
DeSantis tells Trump that his state’s ability to test people for the virus exceeds current demand and that moving to the first phase of reopening the economy should not be a heavy lift.
Ohio primary tests mail-in voting
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first major test of an almost completely vote-by-mail election during a pandemic is unfolding Tuesday in Ohio, offering lessons to other states about how to conduct one of the most basic acts of democracy amid a health crisis.
The process hasn’t been smooth as state officials have navigated election laws and the need to protect citizens and poll workers from the coronavirus. Ohio’s in-person primary was delayed just hours before polls were supposed to open last month, prompting legal challenges and confusion.
Tuesday’s election replacing it requires the delivery of at least three pieces of mail — a ballot application, a blank ballot and a completed one — through the U.S. Postal Service.
California air travel declined dramatically. But by how much?
Air travel has fallen dramatically since the novel coronavirus prompted social distancing and travel restrictions earlier this year, reducing flights each week from major airports across the globe.
Since early March, the number of departures from world airports has fallen just over 60%, according to a Times analysis of millions of aircraft radar records released by Flightradar24, an industry tracking firm.
California hasn’t escaped the pandemic’s toll: Departures from its commercial airports dropped by roughly 65% during this period, largely clearing the skies of passenger traffic in recent weeks.
When will California reopen? Here’s a reality check from across the state
Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to get requests from some local officials in California who want to begin easing stay-at-home rules put in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Most of the calls to reopen have come from areas that weren’t hit as hard by the outbreak as hot spots such as Los Angeles and the Bay Area, where many officials said they were concerned about the effects of restarting the economy too soon. That fear is echoed by many health experts, who say lifting social distancing prematurely could cause additional outbreaks.
MLB reverses ticket policy, clearing way for teams to offer refunds to fans
With more than 400 major league games already called off because of the coronavirus outbreak, the league Tuesday reversed a policy that restricted fans from widespread refunds on tickets to those games.
On a conference call, Major League Baseball informed team officials that they no longer needed to advise fans to hold onto those tickets. The decision clears the way for teams to announce refund policies for the games.
The change comes one week after MLB and all 30 of its teams were named as defendants in a lawsuit over the failure to refund tickets. StubHub, the league’s official resale partner, and three other ticket outfits also were named as defendants.
Spain to remove most restrictions over next 8 weeks
Spain aims to remove most restrictions on daily life and return to a “new normal” over the next eight weeks, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.
The process will be subject to data on the number of COVID-19 infections and won’t follow a strict calendar, Sanchez said in a televised address. Schools won’t reopen until September. Each province will ease curbs on activity at its own pace in accordance with its particular situation, Sanchez added.
After a six-week lockdown that has crippled the economy, the health ministry earlier reported a drop in the number of new virus cases and deaths, continuing a trend of steady decline in Europe’s most extensive outbreak. Fatalities rose by 301 to 23,822 in the 24 hours through Tuesday, compared with Monday’s increase of 331. Total confirmed cases increased by 1,308 to 210,773 after rising by 1,831 Monday."The only target is to reach the new normality,” Sanchez said. “We will recover gradually.”
Putin extends Russia’s lockdown
President Vladimir Putin ordered Russians to remain under lockdown through May 11 after the total number of coronavirus cases in the country surpassed China’s.
“We have been able to slow down the epidemic,” Putin said Tuesday in a videoconference with officials and regional governors. “The peak has not yet been reached. We are facing the most intense stage of the fight against the epidemic.”
Putin also ordered the government to prepare a plan for gradually lifting the virus restrictions starting as early as May 12, and said ministers should draw up further programs to support the economy. Easing the measures against the epidemic won’t happen all at once, the president said.
Nevada joins Western states pact to fight virus with science over politics
LAS VEGAS — The states of Nevada and Colorado joined a Western regional pact Monday to help fight the coronavirus outbreak while moving closer to reopening businesses and modifying stay-at-home orders.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak resisted joining a West Coast pact earlier this month with California, Oregon and Washington, saying he intended to base any decisions about relaxing pandemic-related restrictions on the advice of his state’s medical experts.
Sisolak and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday the five-state Western States Pact had a shared vision that put science ahead of politics. The Nevada Democrat said state leaders intended to exchange critical information about how to mitigate the outbreak and reopen businesses “responsibly.”
“Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier destination and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long-term economic comeback,” Sisolak said.
Chris Cuomo tests negative but finds his antibodies ‘confusing’
Chris Cuomo’s “freaky” battle with the coronavirus is finally won.
On Monday’s episode of “Cuomo Prime Time,” the CNN anchor revealed he had tested negative for COVID-19 nearly a month after announcing his diagnosis. And he has antibodies, a development that seemed to perplex the TV host more than it comforted him.
“I have both antibodies — the short-term one and the long-term one. So I’m lucky, right?” he said, broadcasting from his home under lockdown. “Or not. Why do we question it now? Well, the World Health Organization issued a warning, saying, ‘Chill out with these immunity passports. We don’t know what the antibodies mean — if they mean anything.’”
The WHO update that Cuomo referenced states, “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
Nine essential workers describe what their lives are like
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 COVID-19 pandemic to go to work to keep essential parts of society running.
“I just want to thank everybody who’s out here working because at the end of the day, people are laying their lives on the line,” said Alonzo Wells, a security guard in Alhambra. “So just thanking everyone. Thank you for taking the time just to talk to us.”
Virtual pet therapy, coloring books: How hospitalized kids are coping
In the 14 months that 4-year-old Rhett has battled cancer, few things excite him more than visits with Cooper.
When the playful dog lies on Rhett’s bed at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the boy forgets about everything else. At home, Rhett refers to every golden retriever and yellow Labrador he sees by the name of his canine friend and talks constantly about the dog until they are together again.
“So much of their freedom and normalcy is stripped away when they’re here,” Rhett’s mom, Jenn Dupke, 33, said of the young patients at the hospital.
The dog therapy program at CHLA includes 127 pairs of patients and dogs, including Cooper. The animals help ease children’s anxieties before surgery, during physical therapy and at checkups. But amid the coronavirus crisis, the hospital has had to move its 19-year-old program to a virtual space, one of several changes made to lessen dangers posed by the virus.
Federal loans of more than $2 million will be audited, Mnuchin says
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says all loans of more than $2 million in a government relief program for small businesses will be audited to ensure they are justified after large public companies and big chains sparked outrage by taking funds.
Mnuchin said the loans of as much as $10 million, meant to keep workers on payrolls under the Paycheck Protection Program, were intended for small firms that lacked access to other capital, and the U.S. Small Business Administration will check that borrowers who took large loans properly certified that money was needed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I want to be very clear it’s the borrowers who have criminal liability if they made this certification and it’s not true,” Mnuchin said Tuesday on CNBC.
The Treasury secretary also said those states that had poorly managed budgets before the COVID-19 outbreak shouldn’t be rescued by the federal government.
France to begin reopening shops May 11
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Tuesday that a decision on whether to reopen restaurants and cafes would be examined at the end of May and that pupils could start returning to school beginning May 11 but with strict rules.
Public events of more than 5,000 people are outlawed until September, and working from home is encouraged for at least three more weeks, he said.
New York City sees drop in hospitals admissions
New York City reported a decline in the number of people admitted to hospitals for coronavirus infection, to 112 from 122 as of April 25.
The number of people in New York City Health + Hospitals intensive-care units also declined, to 745 from 766 as of April 25, according to figures presented by Mayor Bill de Blasio at his Tuesday virus briefing.
In another sign of progress, De Blasio reported that the citywide percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 was 27%, down from 29%. Positive test results were slightly higher at the public health lab, up to 56% from 55%.
Britain working on virus contact tracing app
LONDON — An official says the British government’s virus contact tracing app will be ready in two to three weeks.
Britain and many other countries are developing mobile apps to help reduce infections after they ease lockdown restrictions.
Matthew Gould, CEO of the National Health Service’s digital transformation unit, says San Francisco-based software company Pivotal Labs has done most of the work building the app.
He told Parliament’s science and technology select committee the rollout would be part of a wider post-lockdown strategy that included expanded testing.
The app will use Bluetooth signals to anonymously log when a user comes into close contact with others. The data are kept on devices. But if users later develop COVID-19 symptoms or get positive test result, they can choose to upload the data to a central server so those contacts can be alerted.
Gould says such an approach would maintain user privacy while allowing authorities to see any patterns in the movement of the virus.
Students sue California’s university systems, demand refunds
The University of California and California State University systems were sued Monday by students demanding refunds of some campus fees since the virus pandemic closed schools and forced learning online.
The class-action lawsuits, filed in federal courts in Los Angeles and Oakland, say that the systems, which serve more than 700,000 students, have refused to refund unused portions of fees for campus services that spring-semester students aren’t using, such as health facilities, student association dues and student centers.
Britain holds a minute of silence for front-line workers who have died
LONDON — Britain held a minute’s silence Tuesday for all front-line workers who had died from coronavirus infection. Meanwhile, official figures showed a new weekly high in the total number of deaths in England and Wales.
As clocks struck 11 a.m., senior political leaders, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, joined hospital and nursing home staff in observing the silence. London’s subway and bus networks came to a halt as workers honored colleagues, and Westminster Abbey paid tribute to “the sacrifice of health and care workers who have lost their lives in the service of others.”
On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 82 workers in the National Health Service and 16 social care staff had died so far. Other workers, including a number of bus drivers in London, have also died after testing positive for COVID-19.
The minute’s silence had been campaigned for by the Unison union, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal of College of Nursing.
Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said it was “important to pay tribute” and urged all front-line workers be “afforded the greatest protection.” The government has been criticized for not having sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment.
Johnson, who returned to work on Monday after recovering from COVID-19, tweeted that the country “will not forget you.”
It’s a Zoom cooking lesson with the Food team: Beer-braised chicken
Covering restaurants for a living has a few side effects. In addition to the added salt and calories, you don’t get to cook nearly as much as you would like: Mealtimes are always an opportunity to try a new restaurant. The result is that the less you cook, the worse you are at cooking, and it becomes something of a vicious cycle. Two of our less-experienced cooks on the Food staff, deputy editor Andrea Chang and columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson, have made it a goal to cook more this year, and with everyone at home, this seemed like a perfect time to start.
Fortunately, they have a wealth of knowledge that’s just a few keystrokes away: Cooking editor Genevieve Ko and cooking columnist Ben Mims’ series How to Boil Water shows readers how to make simple, delicious food without too much technical know-how.
‘Angels without wings’ helped save a couple in their 80s
Sandra Borns glances at her husband, her expression a mix of surprise and concern. His head is bowed. His eyes glisten. His forehead rests on a bony hand.
“We’ve been married for over 60 years,” she says. “I’ve never seen Bob cry.”
But on this Thursday morning in April, sitting in a wheelchair in the living room he thought he would never see again, Bob Borns tears up over and over. It mostly happens when he talks about how grateful he is. For his long life. For his loving family. For the nurses who helped him and Sandra fight off death.
“Angels without wings,” he calls them, over and over again. When their shifts ended, they promised the man some dubbed “Papa” that they would see him in the morning, that he would get better. He was “shocked,” he says, “that anybody would give a damn so much. And work so hard.”
Everyone is cooking on Instagram. These are the best chefs and celebrities to watch
Many of us are trapped in the Instagram vortex. In the absence of sleep or anything to do, you scroll and scroll (and scroll) until you pause at a video of someone throwing something into a pan. The ASMR of the sizzling is enough to inspire your own attempt at cooking or, at the very least, offer a welcome distraction.
It seems everyone — that college friend you never see in person but still follow, your favorite chef, your celebrity crush — is cooking on Instagram. The hashtag #quarantinecooking has nearly 200,000 tags.
Some videos offer real cooking tips. Others provide self-validation: My kitchen is somehow cleaner than yours? Winning.
Here’s a list of chefs and celebrities to follow on Instagram, for the next time you’re trapped in the vortex and never want to (or simply can’t) get out:
How will L.A. theater reopen? Leaders begin talk of the future
“L.A. Theatre in the Time of a Pandemic and Beyond,” the first installment of a new Center Theatre Group series of online public discussions, was surprisingly upbeat. Encouraging without being falsely optimistic.
The artistic leaders who gathered via Zoom on Thursday to discuss “the environment of unknowns,” to use the words of CTG Managing Director and Chief Executive Meghan Pressman, who served as moderator for this inaugural “L.A. Theatre Speaks” event, didn’t pretend to have answers about when the theaters might safely reopen. But they shared stories of how they’d been managing the crisis and pooled ideas about how they might move forward.
Most crucially, they offered strength in solidarity. Cohesion hasn’t always been in evidence in the L.A. theater community, which Pressman, a relative newcomer to the scene, aptly described as “robust” yet “fractured.” In leading this conversational initiative, CTG is to be commended for living up to its central role in the city’s theatrical ecosystem.
Column: America’s poor record on COVID-19 reflects stagnant federal science funding
Among the many ways the coronavirus crisis has exposed America’s decline as a world leader, one that has gotten insufficient attention is the federal government’s decline as a supporter of scientific research.
The consequences can be looked at in several different ways. One certainly is the collapse of the American healthcare infrastructure in the face of a challenge that could more easily have been met with even minimally competent federal technological leadership.
Another is the government’s ceding responsibility for basic research to private enterprise, which doesn’t like to do much of it. Then there’s the politicization of science, which undermines institutional research and drains government programs of talented researchers.
L.A. turned to Silicon Valley for a streamlined test. It brings potential risks and rewards
When the coronavirus hit, Los Angeles County faced a testing crisis.
Officials had only one test processing machine at its laboratory in Downey and little hope of getting help from the federal government. Swabs were scarce. Laboratories were backlogged. And there weren’t enough healthcare workers to take samples from patients.
So they turned to a brand-new Silicon Valley start-up with a novel approach that said it could provide a large number of drive-through tests very quickly.
That company, Curative-Korva, now performs most of the public testing across Los Angeles County for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The firm, started in January by a 24-year-old scientist and entrepreneur, processes nearly 6,000 samples per day at dozens of pop-up sites and claims to provide nearly 20% of all testing for the virus in California.
Singapore scales up medical facilities as cases climb
Singapore is in the process of scaling up medical facilities by adding capacity at isolation wards and intensive care units as the confirmed number of virus cases nears 15,000, making it Asia’s most-infected nation after China and India.
More than 18,000 beds have been created for isolation and medical needs, the Singapore Armed Forces’ director of joint operations, Brigadier-General David Neo, told reporters at a briefing Tuesday. Another 23,000 are in the pipeline.
Singapore was lauded for its response to the coronavirus in the early months. But the city-state, which reported 528 new cases on Tuesday, is grappling with a rise in the number of infections among migrant workers living in often cramped dormitories. Of the total number of infections in Singapore, an overwhelming majority are now among the community of foreign low-wage workers.
French president to present plan to reopen country
PARIS — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is presenting a nationwide plan to Parliament on Tuesday for how the country will gradually reopen schools, stores and some other businesses.
The plan is expected to include guidelines for public use of masks, and what to do on public transportation as more people start going back to work.
Lawmakers are also scheduled to discuss a tracing app the French government is working on to help track the virus after the lockdown eases, one that has raised privacy concerns.
Tuesday’s plan will have a key blank spot, however: The government still doesn’t know when it plans to reopen restaurants, hotels and museums, which are central to France’s all-important tourism economy.
Authorities say more than 23,000 people with the virus have died in French hospitals and nursing homes, more than any other country except the U.S., Italy and Spain.
What’s a city to do when half its population is in the crosshairs?
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — It was a choice Lisa Weaver wished she didn’t have to make.
Keep her restaurant open. Risk contact with someone who has the coronavirus. Bring the disease home — to her doubly vulnerable partner, who is 68 and suffers from an autoimmune disorder.
Or close Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and risk losing her investment in the place — half the money she’d set aside for retirement. Weaver would have to lay off her remaining employees. For at least one, that paycheck means the difference between shelter and the street for her mother and younger siblings.
“I never thought I’d see something worse than summer,” Weaver said on a Sunday during high season in this resort and retirement hot spot. Summer’s when temperatures soar, tourists disappear and business evaporates here. “I bought this restaurant a year ago. It’s not something I’d do again, knowing what I know now.”
Pope Francis calls for ‘prudence and obedience’ as governments weigh lockdown exits
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is calling for “prudence and obedience” to government protocols dictating the easing of coronavirus shutdowns to prevent infections from surging again.
Francis made the appeal Tuesday after Italian bishops bitterly complained that the Italian government’s reopening schedule contained no provisions for Masses to be resumed.
At the start of his morning Mass on Tuesday, the pontiff said: “As we are beginning to have protocols to get out of quarantine, let us pray that the Lord gives his people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to the protocols so that the pandemic doesn’t return.”
The government announced Sunday that funerals could resume starting May 4, but there was no information on when the faithful could attend Mass. In a statement, Italian bishops said they “cannot accept that the exercise of the freedom of worship is compromised.”
The office of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte hastily responded that it was working on protocols to allow the resumption of Masses as soon as possible but “in conditions of maximum security.”
The clash was an unusual public display of tension between the Roman Catholic Church and the Italian state over the curbing of public religious observance, which has been blamed for helping to spread the infection in some parts of the world.
Spain records 301 new COVID-19 deaths, for a cumulative total of 23,822
MADRID — Spain has recorded 301 new deaths of patients infected with the new coronavirus, for a cumulative total of 23,822, official data released on Tuesday showed.
The figure was down from the day before, when 331 new fatalities were recorded. The country has 210,773 infections for COVID-19 that have been confirmed by the most reliable lab tests, but the real number is believed to be much higher because many patients don’t show signs of the illness or are not being tested.
Spain’s Cabinet was set to outline Tuesday a plan that would allow people to come out of their homes for exercise starting on Friday, along with other moves to ease a seven-week lockdown that is one of the world’s strictest amid the pandemic.
The announcement came on the heels of a new order allowing children to take supervised strolls outside, around their house, for one hour per day. Officials have called on residents to be responsible and avoid crowds after people were seen in promenades and beachfronts closer than experts recommend to avoid contagion.
Discussions are underway as well on how to reactivate the economy.
Japan’s top doctor says Tokyo Olympics would be difficult without vaccine
TOKYO — The medical community in Japan is moving toward a consensus that holding next year’s Tokyo Olympics may hinge on finding a coronavirus vaccine.
Japan Medical Assn. President Yoshitake Yokokura said in a video media conference on Tuesday that the Olympics were possible only if the infections were under control, not only in Japan, but also globally.
“In my view, it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed,” Yokokura told reporters. “I hope vaccines and drugs will be developed as soon as possible.”
He did not say whether he opposed holding the Olympics without vaccines.
Japan has reported 13,576 COVID-19 cases, and 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year. On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 389 total deaths from the virus.
CSU Maritime Academy set for face-to-face classes in May
California State University Maritime Academy will be allowed to reopen its campus for a limited number of students, enabling them to complete their spring semester in face-to-face classes, according to a letter from the school’s president sent Friday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office confirmed the news in a statement, noting that the academy trains merchant marines and maritime workforce required for shipping and logistics.
“This specialized maritime workforce is essential to the California economy, as 90% of U.S. trade moves by sea,” the statement says. “Nearly $500 billion of trade moves through the Los Angeles and Long Beach port alone — the largest on the U.S. Pacific Coast — supporting roughly 200,000 jobs.”
CSU Maritime, on 92 acres on the Vallejo waterfront, has 1,051 students, according to its website.
Bob Art, vice president for University Advancement at Cal Maritime, told KABC-TV Channel 7 that many classes were hands-on and could not be taught virtually. Newsom’s administration provided the school with conditions that allow limited in-person instruction for 513 merchant marine officer cadets after May 10, “including strict, unique health and safety guidelines,” according to the statement.
Each cadet and instructor will be screened each morning for symptoms of COVID-19. Other safety measures include maintaining physical distance, using personal protective equipment and having access to hand sanitizing stations.
“This is the only academy of its kind in the state and does not serve as a precedent for other colleges or universities in California,” Newsom’s office said in its statement.
Garcetti says some L.A. stay-at-home rules could be eased in weeks
Mayor Eric Garcetti seemed optimistic that social distancing measures were proving effective and said he believed “the curve really is beginning to flatten,” even suggesting that easing restrictions under the city’s safer-at-home order could be weeks away.
Testing capabilities were continuing to increase, according to Garcetti, who said asymptomatic essential workers including delivery, ride-hail and taxi drivers, as well as journalists, will now be able to be tested for the virus.
“These are folks that are on the front line, helping us get where we need to go, delivering food to our apartments,” he said.
Garcetti also announced the city’s implementation of a program announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week that would pay out-of-work restaurant employees to cook meals for seniors. The mayor said the program would put 150 people back to work immediately. Depending on their income level, people who are either older than 65 or ages 60 to 64 with a preexisting medical condition may be eligible to receive meals from the program.
More flying changes: American and JetBlue want you to wear a mask
As the COVID-19 pandemic decimates demand for air travel, U.S. carriers have taken several unprecedented steps to increase onboard safety. The latest: urging passengers to wear face masks.
The world’s largest carrier, American Airlines, said Monday that passengers will be handed a mask and hand sanitizer when boarding some flights, starting in early May. Travelers will be urged to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to wear a face mask, but the airline won’t require masks on board.
“We are looking out for our customers’ well-being to give them peace of mind while they travel with us,” Kurt Stache, American Airlines’ senior vice president of customer experience, said in a statement.
The program will be expanded to all flights based on the supply of masks and sanitizer, airline representatives said.