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Newsom says lifting restrictions by Easter in California seems unlikely

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.

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Tokyo soars 8% as U.S. stimulus deal lifts world markets

BANGKOK — Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 8% and other world markets also jumped Wednesday after Congress and the White House reached a deal to inject nearly $2 trillion of aid into an economy ravaged by the coronavirus.

The advances followed the best day since 1933 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rocketed 11.4% higher on Tuesday.

Tokyo logged its biggest daily gain since 2008. Share prices there were lifted also by the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics to July 2021 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought travel almost to a standstill and is leaving many millions of people ordered to stay home to help contain the outbreaks.

The postponement alleviated fears the event might be canceled altogether.

Shares were moderately higher in early European trading.

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India’s 1.3 billion locked down as virus surges elsewhere

The world’s largest democracy went under the world’s biggest lockdown Wednesday, with India’s 1.3 billion people ordered to stay home in a bid to stop the coronavirus pandemic from spreading and overwhelming its fragile health care system as it has done elsewhere.

The unprecedented move came as infections surged in Europe, New York scrambled to set up thousands of new hospital beds, and organizers delayed this summer’s Tokyo Olympics until next year.

In India, everything but essential services like supermarkets were shuttered. Normally bustling railway stations in New Delhi were deserted and streets that just hours before were jumbled with honking cars were eerily silent with just a trickle of pedestrians.

“Delhi looks like a ghost town,” said Nishank Gupta, a lawyer. “I have never seen the city so quiet before.”

India has about 450 cases of the virus, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that if he didn’t take action now it could set the country back decades.

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Deal reached on $2-trillion coronavirus stimulus bill — largest by far in U.S. history

After haggling for days over the final details, Senate Democrats and the White House agreed Wednesday to a nearly $2-trillion stimulus package to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, including direct payments to most Americans and a half-trillion-dollar fund to shore up struggling companies.

The stimulus bill — by far the largest ever proposed — comes with a price tag equivalent to 9% of the nation’s gross domestic product and is meant to provide direct financial aid to help individuals, hospitals and businesses. It includes $300 billion for small businesses, $150 billion for local and state governments and $130 billion for hospitals, according to those involved in the negotiations.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) negotiated through Monday night and all day Tuesday to resolve outstanding issues.

A Senate vote on the deal could occur by midday Wednesday, with the House potentially following soon after.

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24 Stanford faculty members, staffers, students or postdocs test positive for COVID-19

One student living on campus at Stanford and 23 others connected to the university’s community have tested positive for COVID-19, the university announced Tuesday.

The student is self-isolating on campus while the others — faculty members, staffers, students and postdocs who live in a variety of communities in the Bay Area “and beyond” — are advised to recuperate in self-isolation and to seek medical care when needed, according to the university.

The figure includes both people tested at Stanford as well those who have been tested elsewhere and have self-reported their results to the university. It includes students who have left the Stanford area and returned to their homes, and School of Medicine employees, including those working in clinical settings.

“However, this count should not be considered comprehensive, given that it is partly based on self-reporting to the university and given the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 spread,” the university said in its Tuesday update.

Last week, hundreds of students were forced to leave Stanford, which must adhere to Santa Clara County rules banning gatherings of more than 50 people. Students were only allowed to stay if their petition to stay or application was approved.

In early March, Stanford announced all classes would be moved online for the last two weeks of the winter quarter.

“The university is actively monitoring the local and global health situation and is taking precautionary measures in an effort to help limit the spread of infection,” officials said in a statement at the time.

The move came after a faculty member tested positive for the virus.

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Beware of malicious websites, emails and scams capitalizing on COVID-19 pandemic

Los Angeles County officials are cautioning residents about several fraud schemes, including malicious websites, email scams and suspicious links, designed to prey on vulnerable people in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“Malicious actors can prey upon those that are distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and use it to their advantage,” Los Angeles County chief information officer William Kehoe said in a statement. “The public needs to be mindful and careful and avoid websites, phishing emails, and scams that engage people through false information about the health crisis, and steal personal user information and data. By clicking on fraudulent weblinks, hackers can deliver malware and then gain access to passwords, browsing information, credit card numbers, and other personal information. We all need to stay vigilant.”

Currently, there are several coronavirus tracking and mapping sites that are actually malware websites, according to the county.

Instead of clicking on these links, cybersecurity experts advise that users should instead hover over the link to verify the URL before moving forward. Online hackers might also send users emails from fraudulent accounts impersonating official websites and doctors, or offering medical supplies and services.

A trusted COVID-19 mapping resource is the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Global Map, which can be found at coronavirus.jhu.edu. Additionally, there are several websites the County of Los Angeles recommends for accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19. The following is a list of sites:

Scammers are also trying to take advantage of residents spending more time at home and online. Fraudsters have been reaching out door-to-door asking for donations and fundraising contributions through cash, Bitcoin or Paypal. Residents are reminded that they are not required to open their door and should not feel intimidated by a false sense of urgency to answer door-to-door solicitations.

The county provided a list of safety tips the public can follow:

  • Avoid online advertising offers related to COVID-19
  • Decline door-to-door solicitations claiming COVID-19 fundraising
  • Do not click on emails and attachments that you do not recognize
  • Visit trusted websites for COVID-19 related information
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Orange County jail inmate tests positive for the coronavirus

An inmate in the Men’s Central Jail in Santa Ana has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first Orange County inmate to do so, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The inmate, whose name was not released, is in his 40s. He recently showed symptoms of the flu and was placed in isolation, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Test results returned Tuesday showed he has the coronavirus, Braun said.

The man has “moderate symptoms” and does not require hospitalization, she said.

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L.A. Archdiocese closes all churches in hopes of easing coronavirus danger

Citing danger from the coronavirus, the Los Angeles Archdiocese announced Tuesday it was closing all its churches until further notice.

The decision was made in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus, church officials said. The order began Tuesday.

“Our community of faith is fully committed to doing all we can to limit the spread of this global public health threat,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said. “We are taking these extraordinary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the faithful and the public, as well as all who continue to serve in our parishes and ministries.”

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced it was lifting the obligation of attending Sunday Mass from its parishioners.

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Two workers at SpaceX test positive for the coronavirus

Two workers at SpaceX’s Hawthorne rocket factory have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an industry official familiar with the matter.

Because of the positive test results, the company sent some of its workers home to quarantine and watch for symptoms of the virus, according to CNBC. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment. The Telegraph first reported the news.

The Elon Musk-led company is considered an essential business under the state’s “Safer at Home” order since it is a defense contractor.

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Maurice Berger, 63, curator who explored race, dies of coronavirus complications

Maurice Berger, a writer and curator whose prescient work on the nature of art, race and image helped set a framework for the social discourses of today, died from complications related to COVID-19 in Craryville, N.Y., on Sunday. His death was confirmed by representatives at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (where he served as chief curator of the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture), as well as New York’s Jewish Museum, where he helped curate numerous exhibitions over the course of his career. Berger was 63.

In an emailed statement to The Times, the Jewish Museum’s director, Claudia Gold, described Berger as “a brilliant visionary with a love for life and a deep sense of humor.” His work “brought inspiration to many of our exhibitions and catalogs.”

Curator and writer Maurice Berger
(Will Ragozzino)

Berger was known for his nuanced explorations of race in the book “White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness,” published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2000, and the 2003 exhibition “White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art,” which debuted at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture before traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Photography in New York. They not only explored the inequities of the Black and Latino experience, they examined the privileged position of whiteness — a profound consideration of the issue before such discussions had come to circulate in the culture at large.

“There were not a lot of people talking about this in the 1990s,” says Steven Nelson, a UCLA art historian who also teaches at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “He was just a tireless advocate for talking about race in the art world and how race functions and racism functions. ... This was his battle cry.”

That cry included a now-famous 1990 essay published in Art in America, “Are Art Museums Racist?” — in which he called out institutions that talked about racial inclusion but did little to move the needle. As he wrote: “Not until the white people, who now hold the power in the art world, scrutinize their own motives and attitudes toward people of color, will it be possible to unlearn racism.”

“It was really groundbreaking,” says Nelson, of Berger’s work. “It helped a lot of others find their voices.”

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Newsom says lifting coronavirus restrictions by Easter in California seems unlikely

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the state, and urged all residents to heed his executive order to stay at home, saying the death of a teenager from Lancaster was evidence that no one is immune.

Newsom also pushed back on President Trump’s comment that the coronavirus restrictions, which have caused widespread financial disruption and hardship, could potentially be lifted by Easter. Newsom said with the spread of the virus still on the rise, he doubts that would happen in California.

“I think that would be misleading to represent, at least for California, that that will be the case,” Newsom said in a news briefing broadcast on Facebook on Tuesday evening. “April for California would be sooner than any of the experts that I talked to believe is possible.”

Newsom also issued an executive order to temporarily halt the intake and transfer of inmates into California’s 35 prisons and four youth correctional facilities to protect both them and staff from the virus spreading inside those the institutions. The inmates and youth will remain in county custody for at least the next 30 days.

The governor also announced that British billionaire Richard Branson, whose business holdings include Virgin Atlantic Airways and the Virgin Galactic spacecraft venture, was sending a 747 aircraft to California with essential medical gear to help healthcare workers caring for patients with the coronavirus. Branson joins Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX and Tim Cook of Apple in pledging to donate and produce health supplies and equipment including masks and ventilators.

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Garcetti: Teen who appears to have died from COVID-19 did not have any preexisting conditions

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was informed by county officials that the Lancaster teen, who appears to be the first person younger than 18 to die of COVID-19, did not have any preexisting conditions.

The mayor also rebuffed President Trump’s earlier comments that he wanted to quickly ease restrictions and said that Angelenos should be “prepared for a couple months like this.”

“I know that everybody is hopeful, and some are putting out that hope of us being back in churches by Easter or synagogues by Passover or restarting the economy in a couple weeks,” Garcetti said. “I think we owe it to everybody to be straightforward and honest. We will not be back to ... that level of normal in that short period of time.”

Garcetti said that his office is still receiving daily reports of nonessential businesses that continue to operate as normal — behavior he called “irresponsible and selfish.”

He also announced a “Safer at Home” business ambassadors initiative that aims to help push greater adherence from nonessential businesses who aren’t complying with the city’s order to close. Such businesses should also expect to get a warning call from local prosecutors before the city takes more aggressive action, including turning off their water and power, he said.

“The easiest way to avoid a visit from the city is to follow the rules,” Garcetti said.

Los Angeles, he added, could be six to 12 days from seeing similar numbers to the outbreak in New York City, where the death toll has dramatically increased in recent days.

“It’s coming,” Garcetti said. “The peak is not here yet. The peak will be bad. People will lose their lives. Many of us will know those people.”

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Send us a video of your coronavirus stay-at-home setup

Comedian Brandie Posey poses for a portrait in her home on March 17.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order for Californians to stay home to slow the rate of coronavirus transmissions has dramatically changed the lives of most people. What have you done to adapt to work and life at home?

Send us a video and in one minute or less, show us your home office, give us a tour of your newly planted garden, or give us a peek of your video conference happy hour with friends. Tell us how you’re coping with either working from home, or with the loss of work, and what keeps you sane in these house-bound times.

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L.A. Unified confirms first known employee COVID-19 case

L.A. Unified Supt. Austin Beutner sent a message to employees Tuesday announcing that “the first known diagnosis of an LA Unified employee having COVID-19 was reported” to the district late Monday.

The facilities contract employee, who last worked on the 28th floor of the district’s downtown headquarters on March 13, was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider on March 21st “although the employee has not been tested due to unavailability of the test,” Beutner said.

The office, which houses thousands of employees but no students, “was closed March 16th through March 18th due to problems with the data systems and was thoroughly cleaned during that time,” the letter said.

On March 19, several employees at that building who may have come in contact with the diagnosed employee met with a Contract Administration staff member on the second floor of another office building in Pico Rivera, he said.

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Where entertainment industry workers can go for help during the coronavirus crisis

Here are some places where entertainment industry workers can get help:

  • #PayUpHollywood, a group that has been advocating for the rights of assistants, along with several leading TV writers and others, has raised more than $500,000 on GoFundMe for up to 800 Los Angeles-based support staff affected by production shutdowns. Those facing wage losses caused by production cancellations can receive payouts of $600 to $1,050. For more information contact: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GQKXL5K.
  • The Motion Picture and Television Fund offers a variety of services to provide emotional and financial assistance to qualified industry members. MPTF President and CEO Bob Beitcher said the group’s intake line is four times busier than usual. “The calls are mainly focused ... around health insurance, around strategies for dealing with banks on mortgages and auto payments, landlords, utility companies and credit card companies,” Beitcher said. “There is high anxiety.” Beitcher said the fund is ready to help those in the industry in need of medical, financial and emotional assistance. For further information visit https://mptf.com or call 323-634-3888.
  • The Actors Fund, which assists actors, performers and film crew workers, is offering emergency financial assistance to individuals with immediate financial needs. Those unable to pay their basic living expenses such as food, housing and healthcare over the next two months can seek help through the group’s website. For applications go to actorsfund.jotform.com/200766730518860.
  • The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees offers members resources and information on health plan waivers for testing for COVID-19. The union donated $2.5 million to three entertainment charities, including the Actors Fund. It is also working with employers on emergency measures and lobbying the federal government to ensure that displaced entertainment workers are included in relief efforts. IATSE members should visit the website https://www.iatse.net/coronavirus-update-portal for further details.
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To wear a mask or not? Experts answer coronavirus protection questions

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, you may be wondering whether you should be wearing a mask when you leave your home to shield yourself from the new coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice is unequivocal: Healthy people who do not work in the healthcare sector and are not taking care of an infected person at home do not need to wear masks.

“Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers,” the government agency says.

Indeed, federal officials have warned that the Strategic National Stockpile contains just 1% of the top-notch N95 respirators that experts predict may be needed throughout the pandemic.

Many hospitals are already facing a shortage of these tight-fitting masks that filter out about 95% of small airborne particles. This has forced healthcare professionals to either reuse masks or switch to standard surgical masks, which do not block airborne particles as effectively.

Health experts say that the best way to protect yourself from becoming infected with the coronavirus is to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

However, some say there are times when wearing a surgical mask or a homemade mask, or simply putting a bandanna around your face, might be a good idea.

Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, noted that in Taiwan, people are required to wear surgical masks in places such as schools and restaurants and while riding public transportation. On an island of nearly 24 million people just 110 miles from mainland China, there have been only 215 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday and two deaths.

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Universal Studios Hollywood extends coronavirus closure until April 19

Universal Studios Hollywood and the Universal Orlando Resort will remain closed because of the coronavirus outbreak until April 19, three weeks longer than previously planned.

The parks closed March 14 with the intention to stay closed through the end of March. That announcement came only a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that gatherings of more than 250 people should be canceled to prevent the spread of the virus.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim also closed March 14, and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida closed March 16, both with plans to stay closed through the end of the month.

Disney representatives haven’t said whether they plan to extend the closure for either the Anaheim resort or the Florida resort.

Disney California Adventure Park was expecting a July 18 opening of its newest expansion, Avengers Campus, based on the superheroes of Marvel comics and movies. Disney representatives told the Orange County Register that construction during the coronavirus closure has stopped on the Avengers project as well as a new ride at Disneyland, Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

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Biden found his footing — then coronavirus changed everything

Former Vice President Joe Biden
(Jessica Kourkounis / Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — It was another tough break for Joe Biden in his struggle for relevance while the nation wrestles with the pandemic: The former vice president was poised to appear before the vast audience of ABC’s “The View” Tuesday, but before his interview started, the show vanished from TV screens, as network affiliates cut away to cover New York’s governor and Washington, D.C.’s mayor addressing the coronavirus threat.

That encapsulated the brutal challenge Biden’s presidential campaign faces, as he struggles to connect with voters preoccupied with more pressing matters than politics.

Even as President Trump fumbles his way through the outbreak, there are risks for Biden if he remains in the background of this ever-changing public crisis. Fresh polling this week shows a diminished lead for Democrats in November, and Trump’s approval rating mostly stable despite heavy criticism of his early efforts to downplay the significance of the pandemic.

That leaves Biden in uncharted territory, a candidate awkwardly adjusting to the new reality of virtual campaigning and struggling to find a message that gets him back on voters’ radar.

“Everybody is navigating a new world,” said Steve Schale, an advisor to Unite the Country, a super PAC supporting Biden. ”There is no easy answer to this. There is nothing normal about this moment. Yet the political calendar doesn’t take a break.”

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Electrical worker on MTA rail project tests positive for coronavirus

An electrical worker and an employee on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority rail project have been infected with the coronavirus, Los Angeles County officials said.

An electrical worker who reported to the downtown Los Angeles subway yard last Monday with flu-like symptoms, but stayed inside a truck, later tested positive for the coronavirus, Metro said in a statement. Three other employees who had close contact with the worker were sent home and were asked to self-quarantine for two weeks, officials said.

Crews working on the project have “returned to work with remedial actions taken,” the agency said, including holding meetings outdoors “whenever possible” and using a roll call instead of passing around a sign-in sheet.

A document worker for the consortium of companies building the Crenshaw Line project through South L.A. became ill on Wednesday and was hospitalized on Saturday, officials said. All employees who worked on the same floor of the office building in Inglewood were “notified and placed into quarantine,” officials said.

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San Francisco mayor slams Trump on coronavirus comment: ‘Why are we still listening to the president?’

San Francisco Mayor London Breed
San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

President Trump’s comments Tuesday suggesting the coronavirus restrictions end by Easter prompted a swift response from San Francisco Mayor London Breed, whose city has pushed aggressive social-distancing rules to slow the spread of the virus.

“Why are we still listening to the president?” Breed said on KGO-TV. “I mean, the fact is, we here in our city, throughout states in the United States of America, we have demonstrated, sadly, that we have had to jump into action and make this work without federal government support.”

She suggested state and local officials ignore the president.

“Even here in San Francisco, we’ve had private companies go out and get masks and [personal protective equipment] in general to support our healthcare workers. We’ve had to basically be innovative and work with the private sector to try and get the resources we need in order to make sure that public health was protected,” Breed said.

“The federal government just isn’t moving fast enough. I know the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is busting her butt in Congress to try to get us the package we need that is actually going to help workers and not necessarily corporations,” Breed said.

“But you know what? We don’t have time to waste. Lives are in jeopardy. I mean, look at what happened in New York. San Francisco is at 152 cases as of today. And so we don’t have time to mess around.”

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L.A. community colleges postpone classes that cannot be moved online to May 4

The Los Angeles Community College District said Tuesday that it would temporarily suspend all classes that cannot be moved online by the start of remote instruction on March 30.

These classes will resume in person on May 4 at the earliest.

The district said in a news release that less than 5% of the thousands of classes it offers across nine campuses and two satellites still require in-person interaction in order to meet learning objectives and requirements. It cited “classes that include hands-on performance as learning outcomes, such as stage production and lighting classes,” as examples.

The May 4 date for resumption of classes was selected “to sustain and complete the academic calendar to the extent possible” and to keep the district in sync with the L.A. County Office of Education and L.A. Unified School District, which has closed schools until at least May 1, the news release said.

Students who wish to drop their classes because of the coronavirus pandemic will receive excused withdrawals, which do not affect students’ GPA for transfer or degree purposes. Refunds will automatically be processed for excused withdrawals on or after March 20, the district said.

“We encourage all students to stay enrolled and finish their classes. ... Don’t let this current situation take you off your path — hang with us,” LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez said in a statement.

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The L.A. death of a child from coronavirus is highly rare. Here’s what we know

Los Angeles County reached another grim milestone amid the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday when health officials announced the first death of someone younger than 18.

Experts have long said that older people are more susceptible to the virus and that young people in general are less likely to contract the illness. But health officials said Tuesday the death underscores the threat that coronavirus poses to the entire population.

“This is a devastating reminder that COVID-19 affects people of all ages,” L.A. County Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said.

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Widening coronavirus crisis threatens to shutter doctors’ offices nationwide

WASHINGTON — As hospitals in California and across the country struggle with a surge of coronavirus infection patients, a second crisis is brewing in physicians’ offices nationwide, threatening to push the nation’s healthcare system further to the brink.

Primary care physicians are being leaned on to keep patients out of hospitals, and to make do with limited protective equipment and other supplies. Yet they are seeing steep drop-offs in visits as patients stay away, fearful of getting ill.

These doctors have seen a big uptick in tele-health visits — a move widely hailed by public health experts — but the fees for these services are lower.

The developments are forcing growing numbers of physician practices to consider laying off staff, or even close their doors. And that’s stoked alarm that even more patients will end up in hospitals, at a time when every bed is needed to handle the widening coronavirus outbreak.

Doctors’ offices are “the front door to our healthcare system,” said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, a former federal and New York City public health official who now heads a company that helps primary care physicians manage their patients. “If primary care practices start to close and to get any healthcare you need to go to the emergency room, that’s just about the best formula for fanning the flames of this outbreak.”

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Sacrifice the old to help the economy? Texas official’s remark prompts backlash

HOUSTON — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick faced a backlash Tuesday for suggesting that fellow seniors should risk their health for the sake of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Let’s get back to living,” Patrick, a tea party Republican stalwart and longtime ally of President Trump, told Fox’s Tucker Carlson late Monday, defending the president’s push to reopen businesses in a matter of weeks despite dire warnings from public health officials.

“Those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country,” said Patrick, who turns 70 next week.

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Two airlines allow flight attendants to wear masks on flights

At the request of flight attendants, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have agreed to let flight attendants wear masks while serving passengers on domestic flights to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

American Airlines had previously allowed flight attendants to wear masks only on flights to and from Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.

Representatives from both American and Southwest said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not recommend masks for healthy people, but the carriers said they agreed to allow it on a short-term basis.

“While the CDC does not recommend the use of masks by healthy individuals, Southwest recognizes and empathizes with the level of unease among some of our flight attendants, and their safety and peace of mind are important to us,” said Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish. “Therefore, Southwest flight attendants are now allowed to wear face masks at any time while at work, including on board the aircraft until further notice.”

Southwest said it did not have masks to provide its flight attendants but would allow them to bring masks from home.

For weeks, the Assn. of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents more than 50,000 flight attendants on about 20 airlines, has asked airlines to let their members wear masks and gloves and to make masks available to passengers to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, employees of American Airlines wrote to Chief Executive Doug Parker asking that all employees be allowed to wear gloves and masks while at work, whether customers are around or not.

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San Francisco mayor: ‘Why are we still listening to the president?’

When asked about President Trump’s comments suggesting that coronavirus restrictions may end by Easter, less than three weeks away, San Francisco Mayor London Breed suggested state and local officials ignore the president.

Why are we still listening to the president?Breed said on KGO-TV. “I mean, the fact is, we here in our city, throughout states in the United States of America, we have demonstrated, sadly, that we have had to jump into action and make this work without federal government support.

“Even here in San Francisco, we’ve had private companies go out and get masks and [personal protective equipment] in general to support our healthcare workers. We’ve had to basically be innovative and work with the private sector to try and get the resources we need in order to make sure that public health was protected,” Breed said.

“The federal government just isn’t moving fast enough. I know the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is busting her butt in Congress to try to get us the package we need that is actually going to help workers and not necessarily corporations,” Breed said.

“But you know what? We don’t have time to waste. Lives are in jeopardy. I mean, look at what happened in New York. San Francisco is at 152 cases as of today. And so we don’t have time to mess around.”

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Watch Live: Coronavirus task force news conference at the White House

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Coronavirus infection cases in Orange County swell to 152

Confirmed coronavirus infections in Orange County have soared by 60% over the last two days, health officials said.

The COVID-19 case count hit 152 on Tuesday — up from 125 on Monday and 95 the day before that, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. Although cases have been rising steadily, no deaths have been reported.

Most of the patients — 87 — are between the ages of 18 and 49. The number of men who have tested positive in the county, 89, continues to outpace the number of women, 63.

Countywide, 2,159 people have been tested so far.

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Report may close door on remote voting in House during crisis, but some aren’t giving up

WASHINGTON — A key report from House Democrats has all but ruled out the idea of voting remotely during the coronavirus outbreak, but there is growing support for the idea in the Senate, where one member has tested positive for COVID-19.

A report released late Monday by Democrats on the House Rules Committee found that voting remotely would raise legal questions over whether that constituted a House “meeting,” as specified in the Constitution, and would risk a court challenge to any legislation approved during such a process.

But 17 senators from both parties support voting remotely, including progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and conservative Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Congress developed contingency plans to conduct its work in a different location after the 9/11 attacks, but lawmakers have never considered how to keep the legislative branch functioning when its members are spread across the country.

The House is currently in recess and it’s unclear when lawmakers will return to Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) is hoping to pass the proposed $2-trillion economic stimulus plan by unanimous consent, without having to bring members back for a vote.

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When will coronavirus restrictions end? Here’s what Trump, Newsom, Fauci say

Just how long will the unprecedented restrictions on daily life amid the coronavirus outbreak last?

That is the question everyone is asking after California imposed sweeping stay-at-home orders that closed all nonessential businesses and limited trips from home to basic needs such as getting food or medical care or taking walks.

Experts and political leaders have said they don’t know how long social distancing will be required, but they note it’s the best shot at slowing the spread of the virus and helping hospitals, which are expected to be overwhelmed by patients.

In the wake of the new restrictions, the economy has taken a beating, prompting calls from some, including President Trump, for the closures to end as soon as possible.

Trump on Tuesday said he expected that the federal government could lift restrictions within three weeks, but public health experts say to expect social distancing to last one to three months.

Click read more to see what key figures and institutions are saying:

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Here’s who qualifies for coronavirus paid sick leave under new federal law

The federal government’s emergency coronavirus relief law includes paid sick leave benefits for American employees at small to midsize firms who have to take time off because of the spreading virus.

But the law signed by President Trump last week includes exceptions that some analysts said could exclude nearly 20 million private sector workers, including an exemption for small businesses that’s causing confusion as to how it will be implemented.

Congressional Democrats have introduced additional legislation to close those gaps and make paid sick leave available to all U.S. workers.

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How to keep yourself safe if you have to leave home for work

An 81-year-old man wearing gloves in Los Angeles
An 81-year-old man wearing gloves in L.A. on Sunday.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Not everyone can work remotely. But you have some options for staying safe when you’re not at home. Not all options offer equal protection. Here are the details:

Hand-washing: The best thing you can do to keep yourself safe is to wash your hands. Twenty seconds with soap and hot or cold water.

If you’re working outside your home, wash your hands before, during and after your shift. Don’t touch your face. It sounds simple, but “there’s nothing better than washing hands,” said Steve Chen, associate dean for clinical studies at USC.

Gloves: Wearing gloves is another option, but keep in mind that they can transmit the virus just like hands. Wash your hands before and after wearing them.

Use the same thoughtful precautions as you would if you didn’t have gloves on — i.e., don’t touch a surface and then touch another person. If you don’t have access to gloves, don’t stress about it too much: If you’re washing your hands and practicing social distancing (as much as you can), one expert said that’s probably as good as wearing gloves.

Masks: The evidence suggests there’s no benefit to wearing a mask if you’re not infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not recommended that people wear masks for everyday activities, and with a shortage of supplies for medical professionals, experts urged caution. Ask yourself whom you might be taking a mask away from if you’re wearing it.

If you are infected, diligent mask use could limit the spread of the disease. Wash your hands before touching your mask to put it on. Treat the mask like an extension of your face — do not touch it once it’s on. If you drop it, don’t put it back on. If you’re using an N95 respirator, make sure it’s fitted correctly.

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Here’s what pregnant women should know about the coronavirus

Pregnancy is already stressful enough. As Times reporter Hannah Fry can attest, going through it in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic only raises new fears for mothers-to-be.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data available on how the coronavirus affects pregnant women. Here’s what we do know:

  • Pregnancy can weaken a woman’s immune system, placing them at higher risk for complications. Studies found that during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, pregnant women who contracted the swine flu got sicker than women who were not pregnant.
  • There’s no evidence to suggest you can pass the coronavirus to your infant. According to a recent study, researchers followed nine women from Wuhan, China, who tested positive for the coronavirus and found that none of their infants were infected. There’s also no evidence to suggest that the coronavirus can cause birth defects.
  • It’s still possible to pass on the virus from respiratory particles leaving the mouth of an infected person.
  • Mothers with COVID-19 should wash their hands and wear a face mask while breastfeeding.

For more tips for pregnant mothers in the time of coronavirus, go here.

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Thinking about growing a coronavirus hiatus beard? Read this first

The recently issued order shuttering all nonessential businesses through at least April 19 in an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus has left many people out of work, many others working from home and many questions such as, “Should I get this cough checked out?”, “What businesses are open?” and “Should I grow a beard?”

The last of those might, at first blush, seem silly in the context of a global pandemic, but it’s one that’s probably crossed many a man’s mind after realizing that next month (at the very least) will be an opportunity to depart from the grooming rituals of normal daily life. (Who doesn’t remember the “strike beard” phenomenon that grew out of the Writers Guild of America strike from November 2007 to February 2008?)

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U.S. water polo’s Alex Obert says IOC made right decision in postponing Olympics

His wife is in a medical residency in Tucson, so U.S. water polo player Alex Obert has had an inside view of preventive measures taken to control the coronavirus outbreak.

The IOC’s decision Tuesday to postpone the Tokyo Games left him wrestling with emotions.

“The health and well-being of everyone in the world is the most important thing, but when as an athlete you get so focused on one thing, it’s hard when these things change,” Obert said in a phone interview. “It’s just kind of a shock right now. Obviously, I think it was the right decision.”

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Fashion brands are making face masks, medical gowns for the coronavirus crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has caused fashion and textile companies, including ones in Los Angeles, to refocus their businesses and align with a common goal: to address the urgent need for face masks and hospital gowns.

This deficiency includes medical-grade N95 masks to filter about 95% of airborne particles as well as reusable cloth masks, which offer a layer of protection to food workers and senior citizens as well as anyone going out to the grocery store.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Rapp pay tribute to Terrence McNally

The theater community is paying tribute to the four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, who died Tuesday. He was 81.

The writer of numerous plays, including “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” “Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune” and “It’s Only a Play” — and also the librettist of many musicals, such as “Ragtime,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “The Full Monty” and “Anastasia” — died from complications related to the coronavirus. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001 and twice underwent surgery.

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L.A. County reports first COVID-19 death of a person under 18 as cases top 660

Los Angeles County on Tuesday confirmed four more deaths linked to the coronavirus, including the first of a person under the age of 18.

The number of deaths in the county from the virus is now 11. Tuesday’s update also included a previously reported death in Long Beach. The young person who died was from Lancaster. No further details were immediately available.

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How to get an airline ticket refund due to canceled Olympics or coronavirus fear

Getting a refund from an airline has never been easy, and it hasn’t become more so in this time of chaos in the airline industry and elsewhere.

I’d welcome you to the Twlight Zone, but anyone who has tried to get an airline refund, even if the flier has died, has already visited the TZ. Now, with the postponement of the Olympics (and pretty much everything else), we may become permanent residents.

Before plunging in, please heed these words from Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director of Travel Fairness Now, a consumer advocacy group: Your chances of getting a refund “varies by carrier, and it’s something that’s in flux right now,” said Ebenhoch, whose group specializes in airline and hotel issues.

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After backlash, Philadelphia 76ers decide they won’t cut staff pay by 20%

Faced with the financial hardships that will follow the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to institute pay cuts to salaried employees of up to 20%, but after overwhelming negative response to the decision, ownership reconsidered.

“Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all employees working through this very difficult situation. As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a 20% pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits — and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season,” 76ers managing partner Josh Harris said in a statement.

“After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world — unlike any most of us have ever lived through before — and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment.”

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Column: Tell us, Mr. President, just how many coronavirus deaths are worth it to save the economy?

“We can do two things at one time,” mused President Trump during Monday’s endless campaign rally-cum-media-briefing in the White House press room.

Our flagging economy can be restarted, he suggested, even as Americans continue to practice the rigorous social distancing that public health experts say is required to save lives and keep already overwhelmed hospitals from becoming paralyzed.

By Tuesday morning, the concept had jelled like the lacquered strands of hair above his ears.

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New York coronavirus relief order may disrupt investment, financial contracts

A New York directive ordering banks to help cushion the economy by providing temporary relief on mortgages and loans is so sweeping that it may unintentionally roil markets and pose risks to the financial system.

The executive order signed on Saturday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo requires banks regulated by the state’s Department of Financial Services to provide 90 days of forbearance to “any person or business who has a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and it contains a specific provision for mortgage relief. That should help homeowners and small businesses struggling to make payments as their revenue plummets.

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Big national retailers plan to stop paying rent to offset coronavirus closures

Major retail and restaurant chains, including Mattress Firm and Subway, are telling landlords they will withhold or slash rent in the coming months after closing stores to slow the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the situation.

In a brewing fight, chains are calling for rent reductions through lease amendments and other measures starting in April, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private.

These moves mark the next phase in virus fallout: What happens to billions in rent owed for businesses that have been closed?

The stakes are high. Retail has a slew of big chains in turnaround mode. And if they do withhold payments, there would be a ripple effect. Landlords can’t afford to stop collecting rent for long, with many property owners sitting on loads of debt.

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Lady Gaga was planning a surprise Coachella set, but coronavirus canceled that

Brace yourselves, Little Monsters.

Lady Gaga won’t be dropping her highly anticipated new album, “Chromatica,” next month as planned. Initially scheduled for April 10, the release has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The “Shallow” singer and actress announced on social media Tuesday morning that she was pushing back the album’s release indefinitely. It joins a list of other high-profile album postponements, including Haim’s “Women in Music Pt. III,” Alicia Keys’ “Alicia” and Willie Nelson’s “First Rose of Spring.”

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Commentary: Postponed Olympics creates new problems for Team USA basketball

Spain, Argentina, France, Australia, Serbia and the Czech Republic finished the 2019 FIBA World Cup ahead of the U.S. basketball team — the worst finish in history for the American men in a major competition.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were going to provide Team USA a chance for redemption.

Stars like Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard said they wanted to play at the start of training camp in September. Others like Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, Paul George and Anthony Davis expressed interest and were finalists for the Olympic roster.

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Mexican health officials call for tighter restrictions on businesses

MEXICO CITY — Mexican health officials called on all businesses and organizations to suspend most work requiring travel.

Hugo López-Gatell, deputy health secretary, said at a news conference hosted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that work requiring people to travel between home and work sites or to public spaces must stop.

The measure, which could bring much of the country’s economic activity to a halt, was included in a list of measures the government had already implemented. There was no discussion of how it would be enforced or whether there would be penalties.

Many companies have already put into place plans to have employees work from home, but most businesses remain open, including restaurants and gyms.

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Three sailors on U.S. aircraft carrier test positive

WASHINGTON — Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly says three sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19. The aircraft carrier at sea in Asia last made a port call 15 days ago in Vietnam.

The chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, says there currently is no plan to pull the carrier from its mission. He says the three sailors are being removed from the ship and admitted to a Defense Department hospital.

Navy officials said those who came in contact with the trio were in isolation, as best as it could be achieved, aboard the ship. But the officials couldn’t say say how many were in isolation.

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Marge knows best. How ‘The Simpsons’ inspires one L.A. mom in quarantine

In my 18 years as a parent, I have returned again and again to some advice spoken by Marge Simpson during a trip to “Itchy & Scratchy Land” in Season 6 of “The Simpsons”: “You know, part of spending time together as a family is spending time apart as individuals.”

The line is funny because we all know that family time, however well planned, isn’t always idyllic. (In fact, I have a theory that the better family time is planned, the more disastrous it will be. Blissful, revelatory, life-affirming moments happen all the time in families — just never when you’re expecting them.)

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Here’s what a coronavirus-like response to the climate crisis would look like

Both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are global crises with the power to derail economies and kill millions of people.

Society has moved far more aggressively to address the coronavirus than it has the climate crisis. But some experts wonder if the unprecedented global mobilization to slow the pandemic might help pave the way for more dramatic climate action.

Leah Stokes, a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara, pointed out that aggressive steps to reduce planet-warming emissions — such as investing in solar and wind power, switching to electric cars and requiring more efficient buildings — wouldn’t be nearly as disruptive to everyday life as the stay-at-home orders that have defined the novel coronavirus response.

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Newport Beach closing both piers and its beach parking lots

Newport Beach will close its two ocean piers Wednesday, along with its beachfront parking lots, joining nearby coastal cities in escalating shoreline restrictions as part of efforts to prevent gatherings and curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Newport’s move affects the Balboa and Newport piers, the large lots adjoining those piers and the city-owned lot at Corona del Mar State Beach. They will be closed until further notice.

The beaches themselves and the boardwalks and city parks will remain open.

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Lee Green, former St. John’s basketball player, dies at 49; friend says he had coronavirus

Lee Green, a defensive standout who played on two NCAA Tournament teams for St. John’s, has died. He was 49.

The Big East Conference school announced the death Tuesday without identifying a cause. The New York Post quoted former teammate and friend Lamont Middleton in reporting Green’s death was related to the coronavirus.

A New York City native, Green played for St. John’s from 1991 to 1994, playing his first season under Lou Carnesecca and his final two for Brian Mahoney. He averaged 2.3 points.

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L.A. County sheriff: Gun stores owners must close or face citations

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Tuesday said gun shops were nonessential businesses and, if they didn’t close their doors, they would be cited and face the loss of their business licenses.

“Gun shops, strip clubs, nightclubs are nonessential businesses. We are trying to get them to close their doors,” he said. “If they don’t close their doors, they will be cited,” which could mean the loss of a business license.

“We aren’t going you haul people off to jail,” he added.

The department is informing any gun businesses to shut down immediately. To ensure the message is delivered, deputies will talk to owners at any businesses still in operation.

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Playwright Terrence McNally dies at 81 of complications related to virus

Terrence McNally, whose long, varied and prolific career as a playwright, musical librettist and screenwriter earned him four Tony Awards and an Emmy, died Tuesday. He was 81.

McNally, once called “the quintessential man of the theater” by actress Zoe Caldwell, died from complications from the coronavirus, according to his publicist Matt Polk. McNally was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001 and twice underwent surgery.

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Here’s who qualifies for coronavirus paid sick leave under new federal law

The federal government’s emergency coronavirus relief law includes paid sick leave benefits for American employees at small to midsize firms who have to take time off because of the spreading virus.

But the law signed by President Trump last week includes exceptions that some analysts said could exclude nearly 20 million private sector workers, including an exemption for small businesses that’s causing confusion as to how it will be implemented.

Congressional Democrats have introduced additional legislation to close those gaps and make paid sick leave available to all U.S. workers.
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Climate activist Greta Thunberg believes she had mild symptoms

STOCKHOLM — Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg says on social media that she believes she has recovered from mild symptoms of COVID-19 experienced during a period of quarantine following a European trip.

The teenager called on young people to protect groups at greater risk from the disease. Thunberg says her mild symptoms are “what makes it so much more dangerous” due to the risk of passing on the virus without knowing it.

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Elon Musk-funded ventilators came from China

Those 1,200-plus ventilators that SpaceX and Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk brought to Los Angeles originated in China.

Musk tweeted Monday night that China had an “oversupply” of ventilators, and that he bought FDA-approved machines from that country. It’s unclear whether Musk donated the ventilators to the state of California or whether the state purchased them from him. The governor’s office of business and economic development did not have an immediate response, and Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ventilators appear to be free for healthcare facilities. Musk tweeted Monday night that “if you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know.”

There was some confusion initially that maybe SpaceX or Tesla had already set up their own ventilator assembly processes, which experts say could take months. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that Musk promised to use the supply chains that support Tesla and SpaceX for help in assembling ventilators. Over the last few days, Musk has tweeted that SpaceX would be producing ventilators and that he had a “long engineering discussion” with ventilator manufacturer Medtronic, which has operational headquarters in Fridley, Minn.

Musk has been skeptical, though, tweeting Thursday that “we’re working on ventilators, even though I think there will not be a shortage by the time we can make enough to matter.”

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To slow coronavirus spread, Orange County moves to close parking lots at beaches, parks

Like its neighbors up and down the California coast, Orange County is moving to restrict parking access at its parks and beaches in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday.

Although it was initially unclear whether the Orange County Board of Supervisors had the power to issue such an order during its regular meeting — since the item was not on the agenda — County Executive Officer Frank Kim made his intentions clear.

“I would intend to close the parking lots of our beaches,” he told supervisors. “Please understand that’s likely what action I would take immediately following this meeting.”

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Spanish soldiers helping amid crisis find residents’ bodies in beds at care facilities

BRUSSELS — Spanish soldiers dispatched to fight the coronavirus outbreak by disinfecting care facilities for the elderly in Spain found the bodies of several residents left in their beds, resulting in a nationwide investigation of such facilities, according to officials.

Spanish authorities said there had been widespread reports of mistreatment and poor conditions at facilities, which caused the government over the weekend to order the army to start disinfecting them.

“The army has been able to see elderly people, absolutely abandoned,” Defense Minister Margarita Robles said in an interview Monday on the television program “Telecinco.”

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Hawaii records first death

HONOLULU — The state of Hawaii has recorded its first death from COVID-19.

State officials say the unidentified adult suffered from multiple underlying health conditions, and that the available history of the person suggests they had a potential indirect travel-related exposure.

The person was tested at a clinical commercial laboratory, but the results were indeterminate.

Authorities say the person died Friday, and follow-up testing at a state lab on Monday confirmed the cause was COVID-19. Other than they lived on Oahu, officials didn’t release the person’s age or gender. The state health department says Hawaii has 77 positive cases with a majority of those on Oahu.

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Mindfulness and meditation tips for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic

Paying attention to what’s happening in the moment is difficult in the age of COVID-19, but it can also help us cope during an unsettling time.

Are you worried about tomorrow? Just try to focus on today, says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. “Most of the time, our minds are locked in the past and future,” Winston explains. “Mindfulness puts you in the moment. Most people are OK in the here and now. If you can put yourself in the present, you can handle difficult thinking.”

As people become more anxious as they self-quarantine at home, Winston recommends mindfulness meditation, a practice that has been proven to alleviate stress, depression and insomnia, as a way to cope. (UCLA offers free online guided meditations.)

People often feel discouraged when they first give meditation a try, Winston says, because their mind goes in a million directions.

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Singapore says its app can help slow the spread of the coronavirus

SINGAPORE — One of the most effective ways authorities can limit the spread of a pandemic is to immediately locate, test and isolate anyone who’s had contact with a carrier of the disease.

But pinpointing those contacts is painstaking. An infected person can’t reliably remember the dozens or more people they’ve crossed paths with in the preceding days or weeks.

With that in mind, the Singaporean government introduced an app that will alert users if they’ve been in close proximity with a confirmed case of the coronavirus, helping authorities slow the spread of a disease that’s surged in the city state over the past week.

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2 Cal State Long Beach students have coronavirus; city has its first death

Two Cal State Long Beach students tested positive for the coronavirus and are in self-isolation off campus, the university announced in an email to students Tuesday morning.

One student has not been on campus for two weeks, the university said. In the second case, public health officials determined there was no opportunity for on-campus exposure.

Students who may have come into close contact with these students are being notified by health officials, according to the email. “While it was to be expected that The Beach family eventually would be affected by this pandemic, we were saddened to hear this news,” Kimberly Fodran, codirector of student health services and chief of medical staff, wrote in the email.
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With Olympics postponed, soccer great Carli Lloyd puts off retirement for a year

Carli Lloyd has had one of the most spectacular careers in soccer history.

A two-time women’s world player of the year, a two-time World Cup champion and the only player to score the winning goal in two Olympics, Lloyd planned to make the Tokyo Games her curtain call.

On Tuesday those plans changed.

With the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government announcing they are postponing the Games because of the coronavirus outbreak, Lloyd now plans to stick around another year in the hope she can grab one more gold medal.
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Half of Diamond Princess passengers and crew who had coronavirus showed no symptoms, CDC says

Almost half of the coronavirus-stricken people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship never showed symptoms before they were tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 700 passengers and crew members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the boat docked in Japan on Feb. 3 and was quarantined for 14 days in Yokohama. Of those, about 46.5%, or 331 people, were asymptomatic at the time of testing, the CDC announced.

Of the 381 symptomatic patients, 37 (9.7%) required intensive care and nine (1.3%) died.

The lack of visible symptoms likely allowed the virus to spread aboard the Diamond Princess as passengers failed to quarantine themselves and crew members were still expected to keep working.

Traces of coronavirus were still on surfaces on the ship up to 17 days after the cabins were cleared, the CDC said.

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Trump suggests ending coronavirus restrictions by Easter

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Tuesday that he expected that within three weeks, by April 12, the federal government could lift restrictions, including school closures and requiring people to work from home, that were put in place to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said during a virtual Fox News town hall, where he fielded questions from network hosts and viewers.

The country is halfway through a 15-day period, ending March 30, that Trump initially set for limitations to slow the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing, such as limiting public gatherings to fewer than 10 people. He said the guidelines would remain in place “a little bit longer than that.”

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Commentary: I did a Napa wine tasting. At home. Here’s how it went

Hate sipping wine alone ... at home? Here’s an antidote: virtual wine tasting. (I confess I was a virtual wine tasting virgin until recently.)

During the coronavirus crisis, a number of California wineries have turned to the internet to help you experience what you can’t do right now in person. And you’ll feel like you’ve made a quick trip to wine country.

Last week I participated in a 26-minute wine tasting of a Sauvignon Blanc at St. Supéry Estate Vineyards in Napa. What I loved was the Mister Rogers-friendly vibe. The charming CEO Emma Swain welcomed us to St. Supèry at Home, saying: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. And won’t you be my neighbor here, sharing a glass of wine with all of us?” (And yes, I poured myself a glass to be a good neighbor.)

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Olympics postponed: What does this mean for ticket lottery winners?

Hironobu Yamashita was disappointed.

“But it can’t be helped,” he said in Japanese.

He found humor in his practicality.

“I know that’s a very Japanese reaction,” he said with a chuckle.

Yamashita, a sports reporter for Asahi Shimbun, was one of the so-called lucky ones.

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L.A. restaurants offer free food to those in need during the coronavirus crisis

Thousands of Los Angeles restaurant employees have lost their jobs due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Below is a list of L.A. restaurants offering meals to people in the hospitality industry who have been laid off or had their hours cut due to the shutdown of nonessential businesses, as well as those offering meals to medical workers and first responders.

The Times aims to keep this list as up-to-date as possible, but it’s best to confirm availability with the restaurants as things are changing rapidly.

Employees Only

The West Hollywood bar and restaurant is offering free meals Monday through Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. or while supplies last. The bar plans to make 100 meals a night and provide each person with two. Workers will be asked to show paperwork or a pay stub and an ID. Casamigos, Grey Goose, Casa Azul and El Silencio are sponsors.

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Harvard president and wife test positive

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Why Oprah Winfrey and partner Stedman Graham are not quarantining together

Oprah Winfrey is not messing around when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak.

During an Instagram live session on Monday, the TV mogul revealed that she and her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, were self-isolating separately during the pandemic.

While chatting with the digital director of Oprah Magazine, Arianna Davis, Winfrey explained why she asked Graham to keep his social distance from her at the start of their quarantine.

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Canceled by coronavirus, SXSW Film Festival names award winners

The South by Southwest Film Festival announced its jury prize winners on Tuesday. Of course, the juries that decided on those prizes were among the few to have seen the winning films, as the festival, originally scheduled to run March 13-21, was canceled by the city of Austin, Texas on March 6 amid growing concerns over the rising coronavirus outbreak.

The award in the narrative-feature competition went to Cooper Raiff’s “Shithouse,” while the award in the documentary feature competition went to Katrine Philp’s “An Elephant in the Room.”

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The best cuts of meats to freeze during coronavirus restrictions and how to thaw them

Freezing prepared meals and uncooked ingredients is a smart way to space out visits to the market. Fortunately, cuts of meat that hold up well in the freezer, whether raw or cooked, also happen to yield the most comforting dishes.

As a general rule, freeze cuts of poultry and meat that will end up intentionally beyond well-done after being cooked low and slow. When meat is frozen, ice crystals form, damaging the cellular structure of the meat and potentially making it mushy once cooked. That means thawed steaks, pork chops or chicken breasts may not grill or sear properly, and won’t achieve that satisfying balance between tenderness and chewiness. Better to stick with big, sinewy cuts — bones and all — that braise into fork-tender dishes saturated with sauce. Or go for the fattiest ground meat available, roll into meatballs, use as a filling for dumplings or mix into a thick sauce. As a bonus, these cuts tend to be the least expensive.
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The best dishes to make with frozen meat

Here are the cuts of poultry and meat that are ideal for freezing and the best ways to use them:

Chicken:

Best cuts to freeze: bone-in, skin-on thighs; whole chicken legsBest techniques: braising; stewing

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MOCA lays off all part-time employees with expectation of a long coronavirus closure

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is laying off all its part-time employees given the grim prospects for a long coronavirus-related closure.

MOCA began notifying all 97 part-time workers — including gallery attendants, exhibition installers, retail staff, education team members and AV crew — on Tuesday morning, a spokeswoman said. The museum called the layoffs temporary, said it hoped to hire back staff when the museum reopened and took the move so workers could file for unemployment benefits and cash out accrued vacation pay.
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For Israel’s first Olympic baseball team, it’s wait until next year

Never has Israel won an Olympic medal in a team sport. The chances would have been 50-50 this summer.

Israel had qualified for one of the six spots in the Olympic baseball field. On Monday, Team Israel announced that four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler had obtained Israeli citizenship and signed up for the team.

On Tuesday, the Olympics were postponed, a particularly cruel blow to Israeli baseball officials who have toiled for years to establish the sport in a country that loves basketball and soccer above all. In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, an underdog Israeli team and its “Mensch on the Bench” mascot beat powers Cuba and South Korea in a magical run.
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Olympics history: Have the Games been postponed before?

The International Olympic Committee took the extraordinary step Tuesday of postponing the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were scheduled to start July 24, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Just how extraordinary was this step? This marks only the fourth time since the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 that the Games have been drastically affected by outside forces. The other three occasions were cancellations during the first and second World Wars.

So this is the first time the Olympics have been postponed, rather than canceled.
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African jazz great Manu Dibango dies of illness linked to coronavirus

Saxophonist Manu Dibango performs in Paris on Jan. 24, 2018.
(Christophe Ena / Associated Press)

Manu Dibango, who fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music, died Tuesday of an illness linked to the coronavirus, according to his music publisher. He was 86.

The Cameroon-born saxophonist, who gained international fame with his 1972 song “Soul Makossa,” died in a hospital in the Paris region, Thierry Durepaire said.

Dibango was hospitalized with an illness “linked to COVID-19,” his official Facebook page said last week.

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Fearing new round of coronavirus, mask-wearing Hong Kong targets barefaced foreigners

Front-page stories in Hong Kong newspapers warn that foreigners, mostly Westerners kissing and carousing in a neighborhood known for its nightlife, are endangering the city with a new round of the coronavirus.

“Downfall of the Devil’s Den,” reads one headline, referencing news that at least five confirmed COVID-19 patients had gone drinking in the Lan Kwai Fong district. Hong Kong’s health authorities have not confirmed the neighborhood was the source of the outbreak, but a backlash against foreigners has drawn race and culture into the fight to contain the deadly virus.

While domestic infections dropped in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, a new wave of imported cases is raising tensions between locals and internationals, especially those from Western countries where many citizens are perceived as not taking the pandemic seriously, even as infection numbers rise in Europe and the U.S.

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New York governor says rate of infection in the state is accelerating

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded his most dire warning yet about the coronavirus pandemic, saying the infection rate in New York is accelerating and the state may be two weeks away from a crisis that could mean 40,000 people in intensive care.

Such a surge would overwhelm hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds statewide.

Cuomo says the rate of new infections is doubling about every three days. Although officials once thought the peak in New York would come in early May, they now say it could come in two to three weeks.

“We are not slowing it. And it is accelerating on its own,” he said during a briefing in New York City. “One of the forecasters said we were looking at a freight train coming across the country. We’re now looking at a bullet train.”

There were more than 23,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York state as of Tuesday morning and 183 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

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O.C. residents can get daily coronavirus text alerts; Huntington Beach closes pier

As the ongoing coronavirus outbreak upends everyday life on an everyday basis, Orange County residents can now get the latest facts at their fingertips.

The county has launched a new text-alert system to share updates and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Residents can sign up by texting OCCOVID19 to 888777. The county’s Emergency Operations Center will send out daily text message updates to those who enroll.

The system is the latest telephonic resource Orange County has rolled out to distribute information regarding the coronavirus — which so far has infected 125 residents.

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In Louisiana, death comes before coronavirus test results

Claremont native Natasha Ott, 39, died while awaiting results of a COVID-19 test.
Claremont native Natasha Ott, 39, died in New Orleans while awaiting results of a COVID-19 test.
(Emily Coalson Stamet)

NEW ORLEANS — Social worker Natasha Ott was feeling ill but declined a COVID-19 test earlier this month because her clinic, Crescent Care — which serves the HIV-positive community — only had five, and she wanted to save them for patients.

“They don’t think I need to get tested unless I develop a fever,” the 39-year-old texted her boyfriend, Josh Anderson. “All looks well.”

Ott, a Claremont native who moved to New Orleans five years ago, was finally tested a week later, on March 16. She was told she would have to wait for the results. Anderson offered to bring her pho, but she said she didn’t have an appetite. She was tired, and asked him to walk her dog, Zola.

Two days later, she texted: “I just don’t understand why I don’t feel much better yet.” Two days after that, Anderson found her collapsed in her kitchen, dead.

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Olympic athletes and federations react to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics

International Olympic Committee officials announced Tuesday its decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until a date to be determined in 2021.

The decision, which was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, drew reactions from athletes and sports federations across the world:

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India’s prime minister decrees 21-day lockdown to curb virus

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a “total lockdown” in the country of 1.3 billion people during a televised address Tuesday night, the most extensive stay-at-home order yet in the world’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The 21-day lockdown was set to begin at midnight.

“To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Modi said, adding that if the country failed to manage the next 21 days, it would be set back by 21 years.

Indian health officials have reported 469 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 10 deaths.

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Virus strands 19 Alaskans in Peru, senator says

ANCHORAGE — At least 19 Alaska residents are stuck in Peru due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said.

The U.S. Embassy in Peru said the country had closed its borders to all international travel, KTVA-TV reported Monday. The Republican senator spoke with families worried about their loved ones who could not return to Alaska from Peru and other parts of the world, she said. Murkowski and Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan are working with the U.S. State Department to address the stranded travelers’ situation, she said.

Officials expect there will be upcoming commercial flights out of Peru and flights chartered by the State Department, Murkowski said.

Travelers should register with the State Department’s Smart Travelers Enrollment Program, which allows federal officials to contact and provide transportation for people trying to get home, Murkowski said. Family members or Murkowski’s office can help register travelers in the program, she said.

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Column: IOC finally made the smart decision by postponing the Tokyo Olympics

Spurred by a near-rebellion by the federations of several countries who feared for the safety of their athletes while the COVID-19 pandemic rages, the International Olympic Committee came to its senses Tuesday and announced it will postpone the Tokyo Summer Games.

The Games, which were scheduled to run from July 24 through August 9, will be rescheduled “to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athlete, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the IOC said in a statement.

The Olympic flame will remain in Japan, where it had begun its journey toward Tokyo, and the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Games, unusual but smart decisions.

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Democrats, White House resolve sticking points in coronavirus stimulus bill

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and the White House appear to have agreed on some of the last sticking points holding up a nearly $2-trillion stimulus bill, including adding greater oversight of a $500-billion fund to shore up struggling companies, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) announced Tuesday morning.

Pelosi said a deal on the stimulus bill, meant to help individuals, hospitals and businesses respond to the coronavirus outbreak, could be made shortly.

“I think there is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours,” Pelosi said on CNBC.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also indicated that a resolution was close.

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California COVID-19 cases surge to 2,200 as L.A. County hospitals await wave of patients

The number of COVID-19 cases in California surged to more than 2,200 as officials issued urgent warnings about the need for more hospital beds and equipment as medical facilities begin to fill up.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he believed California would need 50,000 hospital beds for patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a significant increase from the 20,000 beds his administration had forecast last week. The Democratic governor said the state’s 416 hospitals were doubling so-called surge plans to 40% of their capacity, which includes providing 30,000 new beds across the system.

San Francisco officials warned that a surge in coronavirus was expected to come within a week or two, and voiced dismay over images of the public crowding at beaches and parks across California.

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Hard-hit Silicon Valley leads California with 13 COVID-19 deaths

Santa Clara County officials announced the deaths of three more people from the disease caused by the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths to 13.

Silicon Valley has been particularly hard hit by the outbreak, with 321 total cases and more than 100 people hospitalized.

Despite the large number of confirmed cases, the county said the real totals were much higher. “Because of limited testing capacity, the number of confirmed cases almost certainly represents a small fraction of the total number of persons with COVID-19 in the county,” officials said in a statement.

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Emily St. John Mandel’s prophetic imagination

Maybe Emily St. John Mandel’s next book should be about people who are happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. In her hit 2014 novel, “Station Eleven,” the world was devastated by a global pandemic; six years later, she’s out with “The Glass Hotel,” which turns on a massive financial crisis. And now we have both.

“I don’t see anything particularly prescient in ‘Station Eleven,’” Mandel protested in mid-March, on a phone call from New York, as the coronavirus began sweeping across America. Yet she couldn’t help tacking on a warning: “I would not recommend reading ‘Station Eleven’ in the middle of a pandemic.”

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Planned Los Angeles outpost of St. John on hold for now

In recent months, Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver had been spending more time in Los Angeles readying the first out-of-London outpost of their legendary restaurant, St. John.

It was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year. That was, until the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on the world and upended the restaurant industry for the foreseeable future. Now, St. John Los Angeles is on hold, one of many planned openings that the virus has put in jeopardy.

“As we head into the eye of the storm here,” Gulliver said in an email Monday from London, “our L.A. plans are now on a big hold and will be picked up again on the other side of all this. We all, of course, have to deal with what is smack bang in front of us.”

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Online dance classes are booming: 8 places to keep you moving through quarantine

Dancers, choreographers and studios are turning to online platforms including Instagram and Zoom to keep people moving through the coronavirus outbreak.

With a plethora of class options — from beginner to professional level, Bollywood to ballet — you can dance in the comfort of your home and try a new style without pressure. And don’t forget to keep checking your favorite studio’s website or social media, because more businesses are moving online.

Dance it out with these classes:

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UCLA women’s water polo wonders how season might have played out

Adam Wright could barely bring himself to look his team in the eye. The UCLA women’s water polo coach is no stranger to difficult team speeches, but this one was something he never thought he would have to prepare for.

No coach is ready to address the effects of a global pandemic.

“It’s an unprecedented thing,” Wright said one day after the NCAA canceled winter and spring championships amid the coronavirus outbreak. “No closure.”
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Texas’ largest county to be placed on stay-at-home-order

Houston and Harris County leaders on Tuesday issued a stay-home order for Texas’ largest city and the country’s third-largest county, citing impending shortages of ventilators and intensive care beds.

“If we keep going at the rate we are going, we will end up in the situation New York is headed towards and Italy is in,” said Lina Hidalgo, chief executive of Harris County, home to 5 million people. “We are taking steps to prioritize human life.”

Hidalgo said she was announcing the order after conferring with local hospital chief executives from Texas Medical Center, among the largest medical centers in the world.

“They are seeing the rate of patients coming into their hospitals and they are sounding the alarm,” she said, about “an exponential increase in patients” including those requiring lengthy intensive care, “longer than in other places.”

The county has so far only been able to open two COVID-19 testing sites. As of Tuesday, 24,000 had submitted requests for testing online and 500 had been tested, exhausting the county supply sent by federal officials last Friday. Another shipment was expected Tuesday.

“If we don’t get that shipment, we will have to wait … and trust and hope that next shipment arrives,” Hidalgo said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner last week had said the city wouldn’t shut down, but on Tuesday said, “We are in a healthcare crisis.”

Houston hospitals have been trying to add beds in existing facilities, doctors said.

“The goal is to buy us time,” with the stay-home order, said Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, CEO of Harris Health System. “Unfortunately, New York, Seattle and San Francisco are examples of what can happen if this disease proceeds unchecked. That is what we are trying to stop.”

The order takes effect at midnight Tuesday night and lasts until April 3. People are still allowed to visit parks, which will remain open as long as residents practice social distancing, officials said.

Unlike California, Texas — the country’s second-largest state — still has a patchwork of different local directives on COVID-19, even among the state’s largest cities and counties.

Dallas County issued a stay-home order Sunday; San Antonio on Monday. Austin-area leaders are expected to announce an order at noon Tuesday.

It’s not clear whether Gov. Greg Abbott will announce any new statewide restrictions at a planned afternoon briefing. Abbott, a business-friendly Republican, has closed restaurants and schools statewide but has so far opposed a statewide stay-home order, noting many of the state’s 254 counties have not reported COVID-19 cases.

As of Tuesday, Texas had reported 352 cases and eight deaths in 46 counties, including all of the state’s largest cities.

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