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.
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.
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.
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:
- County of Los Angeles:covid19.lacounty.gov
- County of Los Angeles Public Health:publichealth.lacounty.gov
- California Department of Public Health:cdph.ca.gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:cdc.gov
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
How to keep yourself safe if you have to leave home for work
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Harvard president and wife test positive
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.
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:
Best cuts to freeze: bone-in, skin-on thighs; whole chicken legsBest techniques: braising; stewing
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.
Olympics history: Have the Games been postponed before?
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.
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.
Olympic athletes and federations react to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hard-hit Silicon Valley leads California with 13 COVID-19 deaths
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.
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.”
Planned Los Angeles outpost of St. John on hold for now
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.”
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:
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.
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.