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Coronavirus updates: L.A. orders customers, workers to wear face coverings as protection

The latest updates from our reporters in California and around the world

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

Live updates on coronavirus for April 6 are here

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Coronavirus outbreak poses dilemma for Palestinians working in Israel

At the construction site in Tel Aviv, Jamal Salman and the other Palestinian workers wore gloves and masks, and their employer provided apartments for them to stay overnight.

But his wife, alarmed by the news about the coronavirus outbreak in Israel, called him every night from the West Bank, begging him to come home. He came back early this week.

Now he sits alone in his basement all day, quarantined from his wife and five children and wondering how he’ll make ends meet. In Tel Aviv he earned $1,500 a month, enough to support his family. Now he’s unemployed.

“Coronavirus is like an all-out war,” he said. “Everyone is suffering.”

The coronavirus outbreak poses a dilemma for tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers working in Israel who are now barred from traveling back and forth. They can stay in Israel, where wages are much higher but the outbreak is more severe, or they can return home to quarantine and unemployment in the West Bank.

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Sex. Drugs. Virus. Venezuela elites still party, despite pandemic

A suspect arrested for attending a multiday party is presented at a news conference March 31 in Caracas, Venezuela.
(Associated Press)

They whiled away the week on a sex- and drug-fueled romp: dancing on white-sand beaches and frolicking on a Caribbean island with prostitutes from Europe, some snapping selfies with famous reggaeton artists.

But unbeknownst to several children of Venezuela’s ruling elite, the coronavirus was spreading among them.

For some of Venezuela’s high-flying “Bolichicos” — the privileged offspring of the socialist revolution — the party hasn’t stopped amid a widening pandemic in a country already gripped by crisis.

To date, the virus has claimed only seven confirmed fatalities in Venezuela. But the potential is high for the pandemic to overwhelm an already crippled healthcare system, where hospitals lack water, electricity and supplies.

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L.A. County’s public health department will expand testing access to South L.A. residents

Los Angeles County’s public health department will partner with a local private nonprofit university to expand testing access to South L.A. residents and analyze demographic data to better determine how diverse communities are being affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

A mobile testing site will open Wednesday at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to serve residents in Willowbrook, South Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods.

The university will also begin working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to collect and analyze demographic data, including information on ethnicity and ZIP Code in relation to the number of tests performed, test results, hospitalization and fatality rates.

“It is heartening to know that residents of South L.A. and the surrounding areas will now have a convenient place to get tested,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. “It is imperative, now more than ever, to ensure that we are continuing our work against longstanding health disparities by ensuring greater equity and access to resources in our communities.”

Ridley-Thomas said the demographic data will help better ensure resources are equitably distributed to the communities that need them most.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County health officials released preliminary data that showed black residents were dying at a slightly higher rate than other races.

Nationwide, states have started releasing data that show stark disparities between black and white victims of the coronavirus.

Local leaders hope the new testing site and data analysis will help ensure everyone gets the help they need during the outbreak.

“The higher death rates from COVID-19 in Black communities is sadly, not surprising,” Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, the university’s College of Medicine dean, said in a statement. “There is an old saying in the Black community that when America gets a cold, the Black community gets pneumonia. The disparities that exists in healthcare are not explained by any one factor; multiple things add up to increase risk and create more severe outcomes. Poverty, institutional racism, poor public schools, lack of health insurance and lack of access to healthcare are some of those factors. With COVID-19, the higher rates of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney failure among African-Americans help explain the higher rates of death from the disease among Black Americans.”

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Coronavirus has led to thousands of early releases from prisons and jails. Not in Arizona

KINGMAN, Ariz. — As more U.S. states issued orders granting early release to thousands of older, nonviolent inmates at risk of contracting the coronavirus, Arizona’s governor balked.

Not here, said Gov. Doug Ducey, claiming less drastic health measures were enough.

With more than 42,000 inmates, Arizona has the highest incarceration rate in the western United States and the fifth-highest in the nation. As cases of COVID-19 soar in the nation’s cramped, overcrowded prisons, the state is among several facing intense criticism for what civil rights groups, families of prisoners and corrections officers say is a haphazard response.

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John Prine, revered singer-songwriter, dies of COVID-19 complications at 73

John Prine, who traded his job as a Chicago mail carrier to become one of the most revered singer-songwriters of the last half-century, died Monday of COVID-19 complications, after surviving multiple bouts with cancer. He was 73.

Rolling Stone first reported his death.

Since he broke through onto the folk scene with his 1971 self-titled debut album, Prine was hailed by critics and his musical peers for his keen observational powers, mordant sense of humor and finely wrought portraits of the human condition, from his trenchant tale of a Vietnam vet’s downward spiral upon his unceremonious homecoming (“Sam Stone”) to his empathetic expressions of the loneliness of old age (“Angel From Montgomery” and “Hello in There”).

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L.A. orders customers and workers to wear face coverings as protection

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an order Tuesday evening requiring all residents to wear a face covering when visiting essential businesses in hopes that it will protect workers slow the spread of the coronavirus .

Effective Friday at midnight, residents must wear a mask, bandanna or other type of covering over their noses and mouths when in grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, taxis, ride shares and any other essential busineses.

“Cover up, save a life — it’s that simple,” he said.

Additionally, effective Friday, workers at essential businesses must wear face coverings, which the business owners must either provide or reimburse workers for buying.

The mayor’s decision came the same day that the Los Angeles City Council discussed passing a similar measure.

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Column: Staging fights amid coronavirus outbreak is a risk, but you have to understand UFC culture

John McCain was an ardent supporter of boxing, but the late senator’s affinity for hand-to-hand combat didn’t extend to mixed martial arts — at least not initially.

“Human cockfighting,” McCain called the sport.

Understanding why the Ultimate Fighting Championship is refusing to shut down in the middle of a global pandemic requires familiarity with the organization’s transformation in a multibillion-dollar business.

The defiance that UFC President Dana White showed this week when announcing Tony Ferguson would fight Justin Gaethje on April 18 was founded in the same us-against-the-world spirit that fueled the rise of what was once a fringe sport.

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He was the life of the dance floor, until coronavirus took him down

Scott Blanks seemed to be able to tackle anything in life with good humor. More often than not, he put his worries on the back burner and focused instead on the good things in life, dancing many nights away with a seemingly endless circle of friends.

But on March 18, Blanks let out a rare cry for support. After experiencing flu-like symptoms for two weeks, he went to the emergency room — for the second time — with a feeling that he couldn’t breathe. From there, alone, he posted on Facebook: “These [past] two weeks I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! Keep me in your prayers please! It’s already been a really bumpy ride!”

Blanks, a 34-year-old dental assistant from Whittier, died on March 27 from COVID-19.

Blanks had asthma as a child but didn’t exhibit symptoms or require treatment as an adult, according to his family. His death highlights what is becoming increasingly common as we learn about the novel coronavirus: It is affecting people of all ages, including those who appeared healthy.

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The rise of quarantine pop: How two charming breakup songs became unintentional coronavirus anthems

Pop singer Benee wasn’t thinking about the emotional costs of social distancing when she came up with her viral hit “Supalonely.” Conceived last year during a songwriting trip to Los Angeles, this lightly comic expression of self-pity — in which the 20-year-old from New Zealand describes herself as “a lonely bitch” crying in the bathtub — captures the aftermath of Benee’s having split from her boyfriend just before she left home.

“The breakup was a good idea, because it was a bad relationship,” she said the other day over the phone from Auckland. “But obviously I was still sad about it. If I’d been here, I’d have had my mum and my friends around to support me. But I didn’t really know anyone in L.A., so I was feeling very alone.”

Ah yes, the alienating effects of global travel. (Remember travel?) Months after Benee wrote it, with much of humanity sheltering in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the deeply infectious “Supalonely” has morphed into a kind of quarantine anthem — less a song about longing for the comforts of home than one about counting the days till you can get the hell out.

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Consider pulling residents from nursing homes over coronavirus, says L.A. health czar

After announcing coronavirus infections at 121 nursing homes and other communal living institutions in Los Angeles County — including a home in Redondo Beach with four deaths and 38 confirmed cases — the county’s public health director advised families it would be “perfectly appropriate” to pull loved ones out of long-term facilities.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said she agreed with other experts who have issued similar advice, particularly since so many people are working from home and would be more able than usual to care for an infirm family member. She also sympathized with families who face the “horrible reality” that they cannot care for a loved one at home.

Nursing homes, with their concentrations of elderly residents with underlying health problems, are turning into ground zero in the battle against the deadly new virus.

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Treasury seeks a $250-billion boost for small business loans

The Treasury Department is asking Congress for $250 billion more to aid small businesses, and Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said he expects the House and Senate to act as soon as this week.

Mnuchin said Tuesday that he’s spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy about quickly securing the money.

“We look forward to the Senate passing that on Thursday and the House passing that on Friday,” Mnuchin said as he and President Trump met with bank executives at the White House.

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El Camino Real wrestler Justin Levy makes face shields with 3D printer

With El Camino Real’s campus closed and wrestling practice canceled, sophomore Justin Levy decided he needed to step up and help in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He bought a 3D printer several years ago with birthday money and decided he could start printing face shields to help keep medical personnel safe. So for more than a week, his day has been waking up at 8 a.m. and going to sleep around midnight and printing nonstop. He said he makes about 20 face shields a day and is also producing ear savers that relieve pressure on those wearing masks.

He’s part of the group masks for docs trying to get protective equipment into the hands of medical personnel.

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L.A. council members push for rent relief and a jobs program to help with coronavirus recovery

Renters who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic could get help from the city under an assistance program that Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez wants to revive and fund.

L.A. launched an “emergency renters relief” program last year as tenants complained of big increases just before a new law limiting rent hikes went into effect, providing payments for up to three months to help cushion the economic blow. In the face of the coronavirus crisis, Martinez wants to reinstate that program and get it running before the end of the emergency period.

Under a proposal introduced Tuesday, the council president would allocate $1 million from discretionary funds controlled by her office, Councilman Herb Wesson would contribute $150,000 from his discretionary funds, and the housing department would be asked to drum up other money for the program.

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Newly eligible California workers in limbo over unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON —Millions of gig economy, contract and furloughed workers who were promised they would qualify for unemployment benefits for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic are in limbo as the federal government and states scramble to implement that part of the $2.2 trillion relief package.

It could be weeks or longer before those newly-eligible workers get help as states await clarification from the Labor Department about precisely who qualifies and what documentation is required, and states then race to modify their existing unemployment insurance systems to include the expanded pool of recipients.

In California, officials are discouraging such workers — including those who have seen their hours cut drastically but still have jobs — from even applying at this time.

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More than 900 coronavirus cases in Orange County as death toll climbs to 15

Health officials on Tuesday reported Orange County’s 15th coronavirus-related death, as the overall number of infections in the region swelled to 931.

The Orange County Health Care Agency didn’t disclose additional information about the latest victim, but data indicate the person was between the ages of 45 and 64.

Overall, four people in that age range have died as a result of COVID-19. Eight others were at least 65 years old, two were between the ages of 25 and 34 and the other was 35 to 44 years old.

Countywide, 129 people are currently hospitalized with the illness, 75 of them in intensive care.

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L.A. County data shows black people have higher death rate

Los Angeles County for the first time released a partial racial breakdown of coronavirus fatalities, showing African Americans are somewhat more likely to die from COVID-19.

LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer said the county has racial information for 57% of the deaths reported so far but is “working hard to complete those records.”

Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday confirmed 22 more coronavirus-linked deaths, bringing the county’s total to 169, as the number of people testing positive for the illness nears 7,000.

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Infections spread rapidly at Orinda nursing home, almost doubling in five days

Coronavirus infections have spread rapidly at an Orinda nursing home, almost doubling in five days, and one resident has died, a county spokesman said Wednesday.

On Friday, Contra Costa County public health authorities reported that 24 residents and three staff members at the Orinda Care Center had tested positive for the virus. On Wednesday, that number had grown to 49 positives at the East Bay center, 27 of them residents and 22 staff members, said Karl Fischer, a spokesman for the county health agency.

He said he had no information about the resident who died. Four residents have been hospitalized and the others remain segregated at the center.

“This is something that does not come as a surprise,” Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said at a news conference Friday.

Orinda is a small, affluent community nestled against the Oakland-Berkeley hills.

As of today, Contra Costa County has 442 residents who tested positive for the coronavirus, with 29 people in hospitals and seven deaths. Nearly 6,000 residents have been tested.

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San Francisco will deploy public toilets and hand-washing stations at 15 high-need locations

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday that the city this week will begin deploying public toilets and hand-washing stations at 15 high-need locations.

The portable toilets and stations will be staffed and cleaned daily.

“These safe and clean public bathrooms and hand-washing stations will be available for anybody to use, and we are placing them in areas where we know our unhoused residents and other vulnerable populations gather,” Breed said. “These facilities provide another crucial component in San Francisco’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

The first toilets and stations should be in place Wednesday in the Tenderloin, South of Market, Bayview-Hunters Point, Castro and Mission neighborhoods. All 15 stations should be up and running by early next week, she said.

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Gary Bettman says it might not be possible to complete NHL season normally

A third player on the Colorado Avalanche has tested positive for COVID-19, the NHL announced Tuesday, not long after Commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged for the first time that it might not be possible to finish the regular season and conduct the Stanley Cup playoffs as it traditionally has done.

Bettman also said during an interview on NBCSN that continuing uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic makes it impossible to project a time frame for a resumption of the season.

The positive test on the unnamed Colorado player brings to eight the number of NHL players known to have tested positive. The Ottawa Senators have acknowledged five positive tests among their players and one positive test among the members of their traveling party for games at San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles from March 7 through March 11. In addition, broadcaster John Kelly of Colorado — which played at Staples Center on March 9 — and broadcaster Gord Wilson of Ottawa have said they had the novel coronavirus.

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Hal Willner, longtime music producer and ‘SNL’ veteran, dies of COVID-19 complications at 64

Hal Willner, the Grammy-winning record producer and longtime “Saturday Night Live” sketch music producer, has died from complications from COVID-19. He was 64.

Through his curation and production skills, the New York music connoisseur helped advance the careers of countless artists starting in the 1970s. As a producer, he worked with Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, the Neville Bros., Leon Redbone and dozens more.

Willner described himself in his Twitter bio as the “so-called Music Producer & Saturday Night Live sketch music guy since Raging Bull debuted, Another One Bites the Dust a hit & Kim Kardashian was born,” but that barely captures the effect his enthusiasm had on music culture.

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Court allows Texas to ban most abortions during coronavirus crisis

A federal appeals court sided Tuesday with Texas in allowing it to ban most abortions while the state is under an emergency order that limits nonessential surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic.

A panel of judges at the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision by a lower court that blocked the ban last week. The ruling allows the ban to stay in place.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last month ordered hospitals to cancel “nonessential” surgeries to free up hospital space and supplies that might be needed for COVID-19 patients and doctors.

Republican Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton then said the order would cover any abortions except for those needed to protect the health of the mother. Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups then sued to remove abortion from the procedures that should be delayed.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled last week that the “Supreme Court has spoken clearly” on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and ruled “there can be no outright ban on such a procedure.”

Texas immediately appealed. The appellate court’s 2-1 ruling noted “the escalating spread of COVID-19, and the state’s critical interest in protecting the public health.”

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Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word

WASHINGTON — Although President Trump has directed states and hospitals to secure what supplies they can, the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospital and clinic officials in seven states described the seizures in interviews over the past week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not publicly reporting the acquisitions, despite the outlay of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, nor has the administration detailed how it decides which supplies to seize and where to reroute them.

Officials who have had materials seized also say they’ve received no guidance from the government about how or if they will get access to the supplies they ordered. That has stoked concerns about how public funds are being spent and whether the Trump administration is fairly distributing scarce medical supplies.

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Lakers to ask top executives to voluntarily defer 20% of salary

The Lakers plan to ask top-level executives to voluntarily defer 20% of their pay as the team navigates its finances during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to people familiar with the situation.

The requests have not been made, but will be done in hopes of avoiding cuts that affect lower-level staff members. Once the deferments begin, they will last until the first regular season game of the 2020-21 season or mid-December, whichever comes sooner. The NBA season typically begins in late October, but it is still unclear how the pandemic will affect the schedules for this season and the next.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday in an interview streamed on Twitter that he had told league executives that they likely would not be able to make any decisions until after April.

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For the first time ever, California Supreme Court hears arguments remotely

SAN FRANCISCO — For the first time ever, the California Supreme Court on Tuesday held oral argument remotely, with three of the seven justices and all of the lawyers participating by video link due to the state’s coronavirus lockdown.

The San Francisco courtroom was empty except for four justices spaced six feet apart on the dais, a few staff members and the California Highway Patrol, which provided security.

For the most part, the unprecedented hearing appeared to work.

The justices in the courtroom watched a large screen displaying video of the other participants. Those outside the courtroom saw the lawyers and three justices in seven separate rectangles on the computer screen. Some of the remote participants appeared to be at home. Others were in offices. The justices at home wore their black robes. The lawyers dressed professionally.

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The VA and Bureau of Prisons are buying hydroxychloroquine, unproven in treating COVID-19

Two major federal agencies are stocking up on hydroxychloroquine, a longtime anti-malarial medication touted by President Trump as a potential “game changer” in the coronavirus pandemic, amid experts’ warnings that its use for COVID-19 is risky and unproven.

Federal contracting records show the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons have placed emergency orders for more than $250,000 of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets from private suppliers over the last two weeks, with both agencies apparently planning to use the drug to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Enormous controversy has swirled around the drug, typically used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Amid reports of shortages in the U.S., Trump threatened “retaliation” against India, a major world supplier, if the nation did not lift its ban on exports of hydroxychloroquine to the U.S.

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Love him or hate him, Brits rally around a stricken Boris Johnson

LONDON —Back in December, when Britain was in the midst of an angry, divisive general election campaign, Amy Woodrow Arai went door to door in her southeast London neighborhood, desperate to divert votes away from Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. To no avail: Johnson’s party romped to victory.

But now that the usually ebullient 55-year-old prime minister is in intensive care – a victim of the coronavirus outbreak many believed he lagged in addressing – Woodrow Arai is feeling “a weird mix of emotions” about a flamboyant politician who has both ardent devotees and furious detractors.

When it emerged late Monday that Johnson was being transferred to the ICU, barely 24 hours after he was hospitalized, “I suddenly felt so fearful and worried for him and his family,” said Woodrow Arai, a 41-year-old accounts manager. “For the man, but also him as our prime minister.”

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‘It hits you.’ Lester Holt on covering the evening news amid coronavirus crisis

The network evening news has seen a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic with an average of 30 million people watching the nightly half-hour telecasts on ABC, CBS and NBC in recent weeks.

Around 10 million of them have been turning to Lester Holt, anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” who is among the many TV news personalities working from home to protect them from the pandemic.

On Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern, Holt will do a second shift with a live hour-long program across NBC, MSNBC and the streaming service NBC News Now, where viewers can submit questions via Facebook and Instagram to the network’s team of experts, doctors and correspondents.

Holt, 61, spoke with the Times from his home in downtown Manhattan about how his job has changed with the massive story.

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California’s curve ‘is bending,’ but tougher days are ahead, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

SACRAMENTO —Nearly three weeks after ordering Californians to stay home, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that the state’s efforts are slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus and “bending the curve.”

“Let me give you a sense of optimism, in terms of the curve in California bending. It is bending, but it’s also stretching,” Newsom said.

Bending the curve means reducing the transmission of the virus to prevent a sudden and large spike of patients with COVID-19. Instead of a rapid surge, infections grow more gradually, essentially “stretching” out a bell curve over time, as Newsom said, to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system with more seriously sick patients than resources to treat them.
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Music producer Hal Willner among celebrities who have died

On April 7, Variety reported that Willner had died of complications related to the coronavirus at age 64. He was best known for assembling tribute albums and producing musical skits on “Saturday Night Live” since 1980. His long list of collaborations included projects with Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and Marianne Faithfull, the latter of whom has also tested positive for the respiratory illness.

Late last month, Willner tweeted that he was “in bed on upper west side,” along with a map of U.S. COVID-19 cases, suggesting that he might have been diagnosed. “I always wanted to have a number one, but not this,” he wrote.

Willner’s last tweet was a well-wish to singer-songwriter John Prine, who has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
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China’s pandemic epicenter Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown

WUHAN, China — The lockdown that served as a model for countries battling the coronavirus around the world has ended after 11 weeks: Chinese authorities are allowing residents of Wuhan to once again travel into and out of the sprawling city where the pandemic began.

The city’s 11 million residents are now permitted to leave without special authorization as long as a mandatory smartphone application powered by a mix of data-tracking and government surveillance shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus.

The occasion was marked with a light show on either side of the broad Yangtze River, with skyscrapers and bridges radiating animated images of health workers aiding patients, along with one displaying the words “heroic city,” a title bestowed on Wuhan by President Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. Along the embankments and bridges, citizens waved flags, chanted “Wuhan, let’s go!” and sang a cappella renditions of China’s national anthem.

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The pandemic pushes U.S. and China closer to cold war

WASHINGTON —The coronavirus pandemic, in an unexpected but potentially fateful twist, has moved the United States and China a big step closer to a new cold war.

It has strengthened hard-liners in both countries, and political pressures stemming from the pandemic are making it harder for leaders to back away from escalation.

For two straight months, as the virus killed thousands and wreaked economic havoc around the world, officials of the two superpowers have heaped blame on each other to divert attention away from the pain of the crisis and from their own missteps.

Early on, President Trump frequently referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”

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Column: ‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure

One little-noticed consequence of the novel coronavirus crisis might be an outbreak of chutzpah.

That’s a possible explanation for an audacious request by Martin Shkreli, the notorious “pharma bro” known for jacking up the price of old drugs to which he had acquired the rights, the better to reap profits from the needs of their desperate users.

Shkreli has asked for a three-month furlough from the federal prison in Allenwood, Pa., where he is serving a seven-year term for fraud. The request came in a research paper filed by Prospero Pharmaceuticals, a drug firm Shkreli co-founded in 2015.

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Fewer LAPD employees under quarantine, even as more officers test positive

The number of Los Angeles Police Department officers and civilian employees infected by the coronavirus continues to increase, with nearly four dozen testing positive, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.

Thirty-six officers and 11 civilians have contracted the virus, Moore said during a Police Commission meeting conducted remotely by Zoom.

Although the total number of those testing positive increased from the previous day, the number who are quarantined at home fell by 24, to 209. They all have COVID-19 symptoms and are either in a high-risk category or have had close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, Moore said.

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USC leads an army of architects making masks for medical workers using 3-D printers

KAA Design is known more for creating swanky homes for the likes of Matt Damon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson than it is for responding to a health crisis. Just last week, the Marina del Rey company’s 3-D printers — one the size of a refrigerator, the other resembling a tall photocopy machine — were humming quietly, crafting small-scale models for a modernist home is Santa Barbara.

Today?

The 3-D printers are running 24/7 making face masks for healthcare workers facing nationwide shortages during the COVID-19 health crisis.

The firm’s efforts are part of a quickly growing movement organized at USC and involving faculty, students and alumni from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, UCLA Extension and other schools, as well as more than 35 architecture firms and several nonprofits. They are creating face masks and face shields for the Keck Hospital of USC, which plans to distribute them to other hospitals.

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Researchers look for ways to divert patients from ventilators as shortage looms

At hospitals facing a flood of people infected with the new coronavirus and a shortage of equipment to treat them, an unspoken question looms over every medical interaction: Will this COVID-19 patient need a ventilator to survive?

Somewhere between 10% and 25% of patients sick with COVID-19 eventually require assistance to breathe. Roughly 5% of patients will develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, at which point only a mechanical ventilator can drive oxygen into their lungs and push fluid out.

Recognizing the difference between those whose survival depends on access to a ventilator and those who can recover with less aggressive breathing assistance has become a vital skill for doctors.

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Acting Navy boss submits resignation amid uproar

WASHINGTON — Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has submitted a letter of resignation to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

That’s according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter before an official announcement.

The official says Modly has also told staff he is quitting.

Modly created a combustible controversy by firing the captain of the Theodore Roosevelt last week, saying Capt. Brett E. Crozier had shown “extremely poor judgment” in widely distributing by email a letter calling for urgent help with the COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship.

Modly then flew to the ship, at port in Guam, and delivered a speech to the crew in which he lambasted Crozier, saying he was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier. On Monday night, at Esper’s insistence, Modly issued a public apology, but by then the calls among Democrats in Congress for his resignation were mounting.
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Israel on extreme lockdown

The Israeli government instituted extreme coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, effectively confining citizens to their homes for the Passover Seder. Under the latest measures, adopted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet, which went into immediate effect, all public transportation is stopped until Sunday morning, and all intercity travel is banned until Friday at 6 a.m. Under the new restrictions, Jerusalem has been divided into seven zones, among which travel is also banned.

In Jewish-majority cities, a 16-hour curfew will be imposed from 3 p.m. Wednesday, ahead of the festive meal, with residents limited to remaining within a 330-foot perimeter of their home. Similarly, pharmacies, supermarkets, bakeries and food delivery services will be closed at 3 p.m. Wednesday, reopening on Thursday.

As of Sunday, when regular restrictions are expected to be reinstituted, allowing individuals with urgent needs such as court appearances or medical emergencies to use highways, Israelis will be required to wear protective face masks any time they leave their homes. Political protest is still permitted, if demonstrators respect the rules of social distancing, and journalists are exempt from the regulations if reporting news.

Violations are considered a criminal offense, and lawbreakers are subject to a fine and, as of Tuesday, a sentence of up to six months in prison.

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A discovery that led to Viagra could help those battling the virus

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Column: ‘You knew and now my boy is dead.’ Trump is as craven as the mayor in ‘Jaws’

We are all Lee Fierro now.

Fierro, who died at 91 of complications from the coronavirus, was a drama teacher on Martha’s Vineyard when Steven Spielberg cast her as Mrs. Kintner, the mother of a boy who becomes the second shark attack victim in “Jaws.” When she learns that Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) knew about the first death and allowed the beaches to remain open anyway, she confronts him, throwing back her black veil and slapping Brody across the face.

“You knew it,” she says. “You knew there was a shark out there, you knew it was dangerous. You knew all those things but still my boy is dead now.

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Target’s Shipt grocery delivery workers push for more protections and pay

Some workers for Target Corp.'s grocery delivery app Shipt aren’t taking jobs Tuesday, protesting what they see as inadequate safety measures and pay for the risks they shoulder by working during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s the latest in a string of walkouts, sick-outs and wildcat strikes by frequently low-paid workers whose jobs are now deemed essential.

Grocery services are in high demand as people avoid visiting stores for fear of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Shipt users can order groceries and household items from Target and some other retail chains, including CVS, Petco and Costco, and the app’s team of independent contractors go to the stores, do the shopping and deliver the items.

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Celebrities keep saying, ‘We’re all in this together.’ But Lady Gaga isn’t so sure

Unlike some of her fellow celebrities, Lady Gaga does not believe we’re all in this coronavirus crisis together.

While promoting her upcoming coronavirus-relief concert with Global Citizen on “The Tonight Show,” the “Shallow” hitmaker and actress explained why she took issue with people like herself and host Jimmy Fallon using the unifying phrase of “we’re all in this together” during uncertain times.

“While I think the sentiment is nice, I also think that the fight that I’m in — or that you’re in, right? — is very different than the fight of a woman that is in, perhaps, an abusive relationship and has a child and lost her job and can’t feed her kid and can’t feed herself and also can’t get the help that she needs because she’s in a violent situation,” Gaga said while video-chatting with Fallon on Monday.

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Trump says WHO ‘blew it’

President Trump said the World Health Organization “blew it” on the coronavirus outbreak and was wrong to advise against travel restrictions he imposed on China.

Trump called the Geneva-based international body “very China centric” and said in a tweet that he would give it “a good look.”

The WHO has urged nations to avoid blanket travel bans to countries experiencing outbreaks because historically such moves have been ineffective. People often book flights through another hub, which can make their movements difficult for authorities to trace. Restrictions can also prevent countries from receiving medical equipment and vital goods.

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France passes 10,000 deaths

PARIS — France’s national health director announced that France has reached the grim milestone of 10,000 coronavirus deaths.

Jerome Salomon addressed reporters in the daily COVID-19 briefing to emphasize that “we are in the epidemic’s ascendant stage... we have not yet reached the peak.”

He recorded a total death toll of 10,328 since the start of the epidemic — with 7,091 hospital deaths and 3,237 fatalities in old people’s homes.

There were 597 fatalities in hospitals since Monday.

Over 30,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 nationwide, with 7,131 in intensive care.

He did offer one moment for hope, acknowledging that the virus rate “is slowing a little.”

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Manhattan Beach issues 129 citations for social-distancing violations

Authorities in Manhattan Beach issued 129 citations and shut down four construction projects over the weekend, citing violations related to social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Manhattan Beach City Council passed an ordinance last month requiring residents, visitors and businesses to adhere to certain social-distancing requirements recommended by state and county health officials, including maintaining a distance of six feet from other people when in public. The ordinance also banned gatherings of two or more people.

Those cited over the weekend face a fine of up to $1,000. Construction sites that do not adhere to the rules face fines and closure, according to the city.
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Stay out! 10 images of caution tape in places you wouldn’t expect to see it

Raymond Bartlett, 53, of Venice, does calisthenics next to yellow caution tape placed near the entrance to the basketball courts at Venice Beach.
Raymond Bartlett, 53, of Venice, does calisthenics next to yellow caution tape placed near the entrance to the basketball courts at Venice Beach.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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Column: The virus can be crushed in 10 weeks — if we do all these things right

President Trump describes the coronavirus crisis as a war and labels himself a “wartime president.”

What’s lacking in Washington and many parts of the country, however, is a home-front strategy aimed at winning the war. That’s the view of Harvey Fineberg, a former president of the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) and dean of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health who is now president of the Palo Alto,Calif.-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

In a recent essay for the New England Journal of Medicine, Fineberg mapped out a strategy that could defeat the novel coronavirus and lead to a reopening of the U.S. economy in 10 weeks — that is, by early June.
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Deaths hit one-day records in New York and New Jersey

New York State set a one-day record of 731 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday even as a drop in new hospitalizations suggested that the rate of infections could be slowing down, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

New York remains the hardest-hit state, with 5,489 deaths, Cuomo said. New Jersey follows with 1,232 deaths; Michigan with 727; Louisiana, 512; and California, 395, according to officials and data reporting. Nationwide, nearly 12,000 people have died.

At the same time, New York’s overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms have started to see a drop in new coronavirus patients, with the three-day average falling from a peak of 1,294 late last week to 529, according to Cuomo’s office. Admissions to intensive care units decreased more dramatically, from a three-day average of 395 last week to 89 on Monday, Cuomo said.

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California Supreme Court holds oral argument remotely

For the first time ever, the California Supreme Court Tuesday held oral argument remotely, with three of the seven justices and all of the lawyers participating by video.

The San Francisco courtroom was empty except for four justices spaced six feet apart on the dais, a few staff members and the California Highway Patrol, which provided security.

For the most part, the unprecedented haring appeared to work.

The justices in the courtroom watched a large screen containing video of the other participants. Those outside the courtroom saw the lawyers and three justices in seven separate rectangles on the computer screen. Some of the remote participants appeared to be at home. Others were in offices. The justices at home wore their black robes. The lawyer dressed professionally.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye noted there had been a “dry run” to ensure the system would work. There were glitches, though. At times, Cantil-Sakauye sounded as though she were speaking under water. A lawyer participating remotely had the bottom part of his face cut off during the first case.

The court had previously announced that Justice Joshua P. Groban, who lives in Los Angeles, and Justice Ming W. Chin, who is 77, would participate remotely. Justice Leondra R. Krueger, who lives in the East Bay and has young children, joined them remotely for the hearing. The court was hearing a consumer rights case out of Orange County. The Orange County District Attorney sued a handful of drug companies for allegedly trying to block the manufacture of a low-cost generic version of cholesterol drug. The suit accused the companies of having an illegal “pay-for-delay” pact to keep a generic version of the drug Niaspan off the market..

The law authorizes district attorneys, city attorneys and county counsels to bring such suits, obtain statewide injunctions against illegal practices and obtain penalties and legal settlements. But before the case was tried, the companies won a ruling in a state court of appeal that said monetary damages could be obtained only for the residents in the county that brought suit, not statewide. That decision, if upheld, would slash the amount of money counties could recover and likely lead to fewer count lawsuits.

The Supreme Court appeared likely Tuesday to overturn the court of appeal decision.

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The Check-In: Gordon Hayward expands horizons through video games

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward was getting ready to go out to dinner in Milwaukee when everything changed, one text at a time, before he could sit down to place his order.

“It was wild, over the course of 45 minutes I went from getting ready to play the Milwaukee Bucks to figuring out how we were going to get home,” Hayward said. “The first text was that a Utah Jazz player had tested positive for coronavirus and their game in Oklahoma City was canceled. And then our game was going to get canceled and then the whole season was suspended.”

It was March 11, and with no game the next night and the season up in the air, Hayward met with two assistant coaches at a nearby bar, where important questions were discussed.

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Riverside County deputies won’t ticket residents who violate order to wear a mask

Although the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has been given the authority to ticket or arrest potential violators of the county’s latest health order to help slow the spread of coronavirus, Sheriff Chad Bianco said it was the last thing he wanted to do.

In the new public health order, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, called for residents to stay home but, if they had an essential errand or appointment, to wear a face mask when going out. He also stated that residents shouldn’t have gatherings — of any number — outside of the people who lived in their home. Law enforcement agencies have the authority to enforce these orders, which run through April 30, “as they deem necessary,” according to county officials.

As of Monday evening, there were 946 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 60 recoveries, records show. There were 25 deaths, including two deputies who died Thursday.

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Watch the Carole King musical cast sing an epic, quarantined ‘You’ve Got a Friend’

You’ve got a friend in the cast of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” during the coronavirus shut-in.

Filming from the comfort of their respective homes, actors and musicians from various productions of the jukebox musical banded together to sing the ever-uplifting 1971 classic “You’ve Got a Friend” in support of the Actors Fund amid the public health crisis.

The feel-good video premiered Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” and now has thousands of views on YouTube. Even King herself got in on the fun, joining the video at the last minute to deliver one final “You’ve got a friend.”

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Cases climb in Inland Empire as San Bernardino County death toll doubles

Coronavirus cases have steadily risen this week in the Inland Empire, with an overall case count surpassing 1,000.

Riverside County continues to see an uptick in the number of people infected with the coronavirus even as it implements unprecedented rules to stop the spread. Officials reported 799 cases and 19 deaths Sunday; that number jumped to 946 confirmed cases and 25 deaths Monday. Sixty people have recovered from the illness.

A cluster of about 30 patients and some staff members tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday at Extended Care Hospital of Riverside. The nursing facility has since closed its doors to new patients, and those who are sick are isolated and being monitored.

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All L.A. County residents can now get coronavirus tests. Here’s how it works

Los Angeles County is expanding coronavirus testing to more people.

Officials emphasized that the expansion didn’t necessarily mean there would be enough tests for everyone who wanted one, but it should increase access to the tests.

Here is what we know:

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Sen. Rand Paul recovers, volunteers at Kentucky hospital

FRANKFORT, Ky. — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday that he had recovered from the coronavirus and had started volunteering at a hospital in his Kentucky hometown.

The Republican lawmaker tested positive for the virus in March, becoming the first case of COVID-19 in the Senate.

“I appreciate all the best wishes I have received,” Paul said Tuesday. “I have been retested and I am negative. I have started volunteering at a local hospital to assist those in my community who are in need of medical help, including coronavirus patients. Together we will overcome this.”

Paul, an eye surgeon, is volunteering at TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green while the Senate is on a break amid the pandemic. Paul worked in emergency rooms early in his career as a physician, his office said.

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Olympic flame removed from public view amid postponed Tokyo Games

It was barely two weeks ago that officials, deciding to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games because of the coronavirus outbreak, touted the Olympic flame as a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Now that light will dim.

Amid a monthlong state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures — established because of a domestic spike in COVID-19 cases — the flame will be removed from public viewing.

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Best shot at fighting ‘a virus that knows no boundaries’? Stay inside

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in California continues to climb, officials across the state are pushing the public to boost social distancing efforts — a move seen as the best shot at trying to control the virus’ spread.

With more than 16,000 confirmed cases across the state, chances of exposure are increasing rapidly. Officials, who expect the peak of the outbreak will not be reached until mid-May, continue to voice concerns about the possibility of hospitals being overwhelmed if people do not practice social distancing.

While the San Francisco Bay Area suffered one of the nation’s earliest outbreaks of COVID-19, cases from Southern California and the Central Valley are outpacing it, threatening a much larger population, according to a Times analysis of county health data.

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Most people on Antarctica cruise ship have the virus

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Nearly 60% of 217 people — many from Australia, Europe and the United States — on board a cruise ship off Uruguay have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the ship’s operator said Tuesday.

“There are currently no fevers on board and all are asymptomatic,” said Aurora Expeditions, the Australian operator of the Greg Mortimer ship that is working to disembark the crew and passengers and arrange flights to their home countries.

The Greg Mortimer departed March 15 on a voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia that was titled “In Shackleton’s Footsteps,” a reference to the polar explorer who led British expeditions to the region and died there in 1922.

Of the 217 people tested on the vessel, 128 were positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Aurora Expeditions said.

The people on the ship are calm but eager to go home, said Marcelo Girard, a doctor at a Uruguayan medical facility where two people from the Greg Mortimer were being treated.

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From ‘freaky’ to ‘mild,’ here’s how celebrities describe their experience

“Not bad at all.”

“A turbo-charged flu.”

“The hardest experience of my life.”

Those are just a few phrases celebrities have used to describe their wide-ranging experiences battling the novel coronavirus.

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Need a new quarantine read? Don Winslow drops ‘Broken,’ stories for our fractured times

In some ways, the novel coronavirus has upended everything for bestselling author Don Winslow. This month, he was supposed to be on a 21-city tour of the country with his new book, “Broken,” out today.

On the other hand, the 66-year-old crime novelist’s daily life “hasn’t changed much,” Winslow said during a phone interview last week. “Before coronavirus, I got up in the morning and spent all day making [stuff] up. Now, I get up in the morning and spend all day making [stuff] up. … Social distancing is good for writers.

“Broken,” a collection of six thematically connected crime novellas, comes at a time when the whole world seems broken — with the country in lockdown and more than 10,000 dead from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone.
In some ways, the novel coronavirus has upended everything for bestselling author Don Winslow. This month, he was supposed to be on a 21-city tour of the country with his new book, “Broken,” out today.

On the other hand, the 66-year-old crime novelist’s daily life “hasn’t changed much,” Winslow said during a phone interview last week. “Before coronavirus, I got up in the morning and spent all day making [stuff] up. Now, I get up in the morning and spend all day making [stuff] up. … Social distancing is good for writers.

“Broken,” a collection of six thematically connected crime novellas, comes at a time when the whole world seems broken — with the country in lockdown and more than 10,000 dead from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone.
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Italy’s new cases continue to drop

ROME — Italy’s number of new coronavirus cases has continued to drop.

Civil Protection authorities said Tuesday there were 3,039 new cases in a 24-hour period. Italy hasn’t seen such a low daily number since the early weeks of the outbreak.

Said Giovanni Rezza, director of the infectious disease division of the national health institute: “Finally it seems we are beginning to see a lessening of new cases” after a plateau phase. He expressed satisfaction that even Italy’s most stricken region, Lombardy, is also witnessing the same trend.

Italy has 135,586 cases confirmed cases. After some 600 additional deaths were registered on Tuesday, Italy has counted 16,523 deaths in the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Stay out! 10 images of caution tape in places you wouldn’t expect to see it

VENICE BEACH, CA-MARCH 27, 2020: A skateboarder ignores the yellow caution tape, placed around the skatepark at Venice Beach, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)
(Mel Melcon/Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Caution tape. It’s our visual prompt to stay away.

We are conditioned to see it at crimes scenes, construction zones and natural disasters.

Where we are not used to seeing it is at playgrounds, skate parks and wrapped around a bear statue at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Welcome to the Southland in the age of the coronavirus outbreak, when stay-at-home orders have given new life and purpose to caution tape.
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Andrea Bocelli will perform live from Italy’s empty Duomo cathedral on Easter

Andrea Bocelli is here to make your Easter Sunday more uplifting with “a message of love, healing and hope” as the world grapples with a global health crisis.

The Italian opera legend will give a concert on Sunday in the historic Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy, and it will be livestreamed on YouTube. The cathedral is closed to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic, so Bocelli will perform to an empty venue.

Cathedral organist Emanuele Vianelli will be Bocelli’s sole accompaniment, and together they will perform spiritual songs such as “Ave Maria” and “Sancta Maria.”
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Senate majority leader hopes to approve more money as $350-billion small business fund runs dry

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to approve additional money for the coronavirus small business relief fund without a vote on Thursday as the program’s $350 billion is running out.

McConnell said in a statement he would work with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) as well as the Trump administration on the new money for the Paycheck Protection Program. He did not estimate how much it would be, but Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, said the program needed another $200 billion to $250 billion.

“In just a few days, this program has become overwhelmingly popular,” McConnell said in a statement. “It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry. That cannot happen.”

The Treasury Department is expected to make a formal request to Congress on Tuesday.

It is unclear how Democrats will respond. Shortly after McConnell released his statement, a spokesman for Schumer said the senator “has not heard from Sen. McConnell.” The top Democrat on the Small Business Committee hadn’t heard from Rubio, either.

The idea of fast-tracking nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars in spending without a vote would have been unheard of before the coronavirus pandemic. But to prevent requiring all senators to return to Washington to vote, the Senate will have to approve the funding with the implicit approval of all 100 senators or by a voice vote that only requires a few senators to be present.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakerfield) echoed McConnell and Rubio’s request.

“I support the Secretary’s request and following the Senate’s approval, the House should move swiftly to do the same and provide confidence to small businesses across the country that their government will be there for them,” he said in a statement.

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MLB says it discussed starting the season with all games in a central location

Major League Baseball stated Tuesday that holding games in one central area is one of several ideas discussed regarding how and when it becomes safe to start the season.

But, the league added, that option has not been settled on and has not been submitted for approval from government and health officials or the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The statement came a day after ESPN reported that a plan to start the season as early as May with all games taking place in the Phoenix area with no spectators present has been embraced by the league and the players’ union with support from “high-ranking federal public health officials.” The Associated Press reported that such a plan was discussed Monday during a phone call between the MLB and the MLBPA.
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Trump offers $225 million in foreign assistance

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced an additional $225 million in foreign assistance to help countries around the world combat the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to nearly half a billion dollars.The new assistance won’t include personal protective equipment due to the high domestic demand for such supplies in the U.S.

But Secretary of State Mike R. Pompeo says it is intended to help foreign nations boost their response to the COVID-19 virus. He says the money would be for diagnosis, prevention and control, and bolstering national health systems. It could also prepare laboratories to deal with testing and train medical workers. Last month, the U.S. announced $274 million in virus prevention and treatment assistance to 64 countries.

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Needed: Not just ventilators, but also the people who run them

A nationwide shortage of ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients has prompted governors to plead for more machines from the federal government as factories race to start building them.

But ventilators alone aren’t much use to patients without respiratory therapists — the medical workers trained to operate them. And the rapidly growing demand, combined with the limited number of licensed therapists, could impede efforts to treat patients with coronavirus infection as they begin to overwhelm hospitals and the pandemic worsens, experts say.

Each patient on a ventilator, which pushes air into and out of the lungs, needs care from a doctor, a nurse and a respiratory therapist.

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Henry Rollins debuts long-form KCRW show, ‘The Cool Quarantine’

Henry Rollins is going long.

Quarantined inside his home with a killer stereo system, stacks and stacks of records and CDs and enough energy to power a thousand ventilators, the screamer, actor, writer, former Black Flag member and longtime DJ has announced an online expansion of his KCRW radio show.

Called “The Cool Quarantine,” the new punk-rock block will run for about four hours instead of the normal two and will feature Hammering Hank juggling music, personal yarns and interviews.

Rollins in a statement calls the new production “kind of like the show we do on Sundays but without time constraints or worrying about FCC compliance. It’s an extra slice of pizza. It will be completely indulgent.”

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What’s open and closed this week? Trails, parks and beaches in Southern California

Southern Californians can still walk, hike and bike outdoors without violating Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, but public agencies are urging residents to stay home as much as possible, and many are urging people to wear masks when they go out.

Local, state and federal agencies have closed or severely limited access to beaches, parks, trails and forests. The result: Southern California’s freeways have seen dramatic reductions in traffic, and the area’s residential streets and sidewalks have seen a surge in walkers.

And many are masked.

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U.N. estimates loss of 195 millon full-time jobs this quarter

GENEVA — The U.N.’s labor organization estimates the equivalent of 195 million full-time jobs could be lost this quarter alone from the COVID-19 outbreak, with businesses and plants shuttered worldwide.

The projection from the International Labor Organization is based on evidence of the emerging effects of the virus, and it amounts to a big increase from its March 18 prediction of an extra 25 million jobs losses for all of 2020.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said, “These figures speak powerfully for themselves: that the world of work is suffering an absolutely extraordinary fall.”

The agency says full or partial lockdown measures now affect nearly 2.7 billion workers or about 81% of the global workforce.

Some 1.25 billion are in hard-hit sectors such as hotel and food services, manufacturing and retail.

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New York City virus deaths top the toll from 9/11

NEW YORK — More people have died from the coronavirus in New York City than perished in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

At least 3,202 people have been killed in the city by the virus, according to a new count released by city health officials Tuesday.

The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.

The coronavirus has made New York ground zero again in a national tragedy and the center of a crisis that is reshaping Americans’ lives and liberties.

New York City recorded its first coronavirus death on March 13, less than two weeks after confirming its first infection.

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53 California corrections officials test positive

SACRAMENTO — The number of of California prison officials to test positive for coronavirus has jumped to 53.

The latest corrections workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are two nurses at the state’s medical prison near Stockton, which houses inmates in need of medical or mental health care. Underlying health conditions put people at greater risk for severe illness or death from the virus.

Internal prison records provided to the Los Angeles Times showed that the nurses, who worked in separate parts of the California Health Care Facility, tested positive on Sunday. In addition, another prison staff member is a “suspected case.” As a result, four blocks of the large prison have been put on medical quarantine — requiring staff to wear masks and gloves at all times when in those units.

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Need a new quarantine read? Don Winslow drops ‘Broken,’ stories for our fractured times

In some ways, the novel coronavirus has upended everything for bestselling author Don Winslow. This month, he was supposed to be on a 21-city tour of the country with his new book, “Broken,” out today.

On the other hand, the 66-year-old crime novelist’s daily life “hasn’t changed much,” Winslow said during a phone interview last week. “Before coronavirus, I got up in the morning and spent all day making [stuff] up. Now, I get up in the morning and spend all day making [stuff] up. … Social distancing is good for writers.

“Broken,” a collection of six thematically connected crime novellas, comes at a time when the whole world seems broken — with the country in lockdown and more than 10,000 dead from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone.
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We asked authors what they read, hear and watch in quarantine. Here’s Susan Straight’s diary

The Times has asked authors to track what they do in isolation. Today, the novelist Susan Straight quarantines on her Riverside porch, gives books away from her picket fence, blasts Jimi Hendrix from her car and compares “Gunsmoke” to “Gentefied.”

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I have the coronavirus and hope you’ll act like you have it too

I realized quite suddenly while making soup two Mondays ago that I couldn’t smell anything. Not the pan full of chopped onions, the herbs or any of the use-what-I-have ingredients dumped in from my fridge.

I had started feeling sick a few nights before and already decided to self-isolate completely in my apartment until I felt better, but hadn’t been that worried. My cough was wet, so I figured it was just a cold. But this was different, and matched what I’d read could be an early sign of COVID-19.

That’s the nature of this disease — it can be merely uncomfortably or potentially deadly, but for many, confirmation begins with this deceptively simple, irrefutable symptom.

At least once a day, I warmed up another bowl of my grab-bag soup and wondered if it was somehow miraculously delicious, or so terrible as to be barely edible. Who could know? I was alone in my apartment, and my sense of taste and smell had vanished.

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LAPD files complaints against 37 businesses for violating closure rules

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Monday that officers had filed 37 total complaints against businesses that had not complied with the city’s sweeping coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

Those complaints will lead to fines and potential criminal prosecutions, Moore said.

“This is not just irresponsible,” Moore said. “It is not only endangering themselves but their employees and everyone else in that community and I am proud of City Atty. [Mike] Feuer and of his work and the prosecution of those individuals.”

On Friday, Los Angeles prosecutors filed criminal charges against two smoke shops, a shoe store and a discount electronics retailer, accusing them of refusing to shut down despite orders imposed to fight the coronavirus. It marked the first time the city had filed charges for violations of the “Safer at Home” order, which requires businesses deemed nonessential to close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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Celebrate Passover a new way (Zoom, anyone?)

Passover commemorates the Exodus, when Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery in ancient Egypt. Families and friends recount the story at the Seder table, when food symbolizes the steps of their escape.

“Passover is a holiday when we eat the story in order to learn the story,” said Rabbi Susan Goldberg, founder of the spiritual community Nefesh and the rabbi consultant on the TV series “Transparent.”

But how do we celebrate Passover, which begins Wednesday, in the time of the novel coronavirus? Here are safe ways to come together when social distancing keeps us apart.

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Stocks continue rally on optimism about the virus

Stocks on Wall Street climbed Tuesday morning, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average up about 3% in the first minutes of trading, as markets around the world piled on even more big gains following their huge rally a day earlier.

The S&P 500’s gains added on to Monday’s 7% surge, following encouraging signs that the coronavirus pandemic may be close to leveling off in some of the hardest-hit areas of the world.

The stock market is looking ahead to when economies will reopen after authorities shut down businesses and travel and issued stay-at-home orders in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.

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Navy says crew member on N.Y. hospital ship tests positive

WASHINGTON — The Navy says a crew member on board the Navy hospital ship Comfort in New York harbor tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

The crew member has been isolated from patients and other crew members, and the Navy says the illness will not affect the Comfort’s mission of receiving and treating patients.

The Navy had recently announced that the Comfort, which initially was taking only non-coronavirus patients, is now accepting trauma, emergency and urgent-care patients regardless of their COVID-19 status.

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Virtual open houses, masked notaries: How you can still buy a home

It’s a Sunday, a day when home shoppers would normally pack open houses. Luke Smith arrives solo to a Redondo Beach listing, angles his laptop toward the front door so its camera can capture the scene and enters the two-bedroom condo.

“This property is listed for $819,900,” the real estate agent for Rex tells his client, a video director who is 30-plus miles away watching on his own computer in a Beverly Hills apartment. “One of the first things you will notice when you do walk in is that breeze. I have that patio door open.”

The novel coronavirus has shut down large swaths of the U.S. economy, leading to millions of layoffs and the closure of bars, malls and events. And it has slammed the real estate industry. Applications for loans to purchase a home have plunged, and deals are falling out of escrow.

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Immigrant advocates sue to get vulnerable detainees released from ICE custody

For weeks, as the coronavirus spread rapidly, Jose Hernandez Velasquez worried about the dangers of being detained inside the Adelanto ICE Processing Center 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old Guatemalan immigrant listened uneasily as other men called their families, begging them to do everything possible to get them released so as to reduce their odds of contracting the sometimes deadly illness.

Last Thursday, in light of the pandemic, a federal judge ordered immigration authorities to release Hernandez, an asylum seeker with hypertension who had spent nearly 2½
years at the facility in the high desert. When a guard came to tell him the news, Hernandez was speechless. Other detainees nearby burst into applause.

“I was really worried,” he said in a phone call after his release. “It was so difficult to be inside.”

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U.K.'s Boris Johnson receives oxygen treatment, is in stable condition

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, hospitalized with the coronavirus, remained in an intensive-care unit overnight but was in stable condition, was not on a ventilator and wasn’t suffering from pneumonia, a spokesman for his office said Tuesday.

The prime minister’s office said Tuesday that, aside from receiving oxygen treatment, Johnson was “breathing without any other assistance.” It added that the British leader was stable and “in good spirits.”

Asked whether Johnson had been diagnosed with pneumonia, not uncommon for patients sick enough to be hospitalized for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office said, “That is not the case, no.”

Oxygen treatment is a standard treatment for respiratory distress caused by COVID-19. The most serious cases require intubation and use of a ventilator that mechanically carries out some or all of a patient’s breathing functions. Johnson, 55, has not needed a ventilator, the prime minister’s office said.

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Polls are open in Wisconsin despite fears

MADISON, Wis. — Polls are open across Wisconsin on a most unusual election day.

Wisconsin is asking hundreds of thousands of voters to ignore a stay-at-home order in the midst of a pandemic to participate in Tuesday’s presidential primary election, becoming a test case for dozens of states struggling to balance public health concerns with a core pillar of democracy.

The National Guard will help run voting sites across the state after thousands of election workers stepped down fearing for their safety. Dozens of polling places will be closed. Those that are open will run until 8 p.m., but voters are urged to be patient and take safety precautions.

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Social distancing during the pandemic? Not when a family of six shares one room

MUMBAI, India — There is no sliver of space in Ashok Kunchikurve’s house for social distancing.

The 42-year-old Mumbai construction worker lives with his family of six in a single room covered in yellow tiles, an aging refrigerator against one wall, a stove against the opposite wall. Only three can sit on the floor for lunch at one time.

A rickety ladder in the corner leads to a dimly lighted loft, with mattresses where he and his two adult sons sleep. His wife, their teenage daughter and his mother-in-law sleep on the floor downstairs.

“I have to get out of the house to give some space to my family,” says Kunchikurve, his rotund face partially obscured by a surgical mask in an effort to protect him from the coronavirus that is pressing in on his sparse life.

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Ex-Sheriff Baca loses bid to get out of prison during the pandemic

A judge has denied a request from disgraced former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to be released from federal prison in Texas because of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ruled Sunday that although 77-year-old Baca faced a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, releasing him from custody on bail would not mitigate the threat to his health. The judge pointed out the precautions taken in federal prisons, including the screening of staff and the end of social visits, along with the risks posed by a return trip to Southern California and the higher infection rate in L.A. County.

“Sadly, there is no safe location,” Anderson wrote in his decision.

The judge also denied Baca’s request to have his conviction and sentence vacated.

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Southern California outpacing Bay Area in new cases. So where’s the peak?

The San Francisco Bay Area suffered one of the nation’s earliest outbreaks of COVID-19, but cases from Southern California and the Central Valley are outpacing it, threatening a much larger population, according to a Times analysis of county health data.

Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern, Stanislaus and Tulare counties are now seeing faster rates of newly detected coronavirus cases than any of the counties in the Bay Area, the Times analysis found.

And with more than 6,000 confirmed cases in L.A. County alone, chances of exposure are increasing rapidly.

“If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.

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Column: Why isn’t car insurance cheaper as we all stay home?

Chris Norlin, like so many others, is hardly ever behind the wheel these days as he follows guidelines to stay at home and play hide-and-seek with the coronavirus.

Which naturally leads him to wonder: Why is he still paying so much for car insurance? His household’s two cars now sit idle in West Los Angeles, aside from the occasional run to the grocery store.

“Surely with all the sheltering at home and reduced driving, insurance companies will be paying out far fewer claims over the next couple of months,” Norlin, 54, told me.

It’s a fair point. Why should anyone have to pay the same amount to insure something when their risk is greatly reduced?

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Take a break and check out the supermoon

A supermoon will rise in the sky Tuesday night, looking to be the biggest and brightest of the year.

Not only will the moon be closer to Earth than usual, but it will also be full. Scientists call this cosmic combo a supermoon.

At its fullest, the moon will be 221,855 miles away, making it appear larger and more brilliant.

NASA is encouraging everyone to look skyward, whether they step outside or peer through a window.

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Column: Republican politics has turned upside down. Will that last?

I’ve been telecommuting for decades, so for me sheltering in place isn’t remotely the burden it is for a lot of Americans. But it does make the job of following politics more difficult for two reasons.

First, to a certain degree, politics are on lockdown too. To the extent the Democratic primaries are in the news, it’s mostly as a public health story, thanks to Wisconsin’s debate over whether to carry on with in-person voting Tuesday (ultimately nixed by Gov. Tony Evers) and questions of how to conduct a convention while social distancing. Bernie Sanders — who is still running, by the way — wants to debate the presumptive nominee Joe Biden again, but very few in the party are interested in that. Biden himself is running a pandemic version of a front porch campaign via teleconference from his home office.

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L.A. County tells residents to stay inside this week as the virus hits new milestone

With coronavirus cases in California reaching more than 16,000, Los Angeles County officials urged residents Monday to avoid shopping and stay inside this week in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus that has claimed almost 400 lives in the state.

The plea to the public comes as officials continue pushing for diligent and persistent social distancing as the best shot at trying to control the outbreak and prevent hospitals from being overrun by the sick in the coming weeks.

“If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether,” said L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “We cannot underestimate COVID-19, a virus that knows no boundaries, infects people of all ages, and can cause significant illness and death, particularly among people who are elderly or who have underlying serious health conditions.”

Los Angeles County officials Monday confirmed 15 new coronavirus-linked deaths, bringing the county’s total to 147.

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