Coronavirus updates: Trump warns of difficult weeks ahead with projections of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths

The Manhattan Beach Pier is locked, and a city sign explains why in three repeated messages: "Lot closed," "COVID-19" and "Social Distancing."
The Manhattan Beach Pier is locked, and a city sign explains why in three repeated messages: “Lot closed,” “COVID-19” and “Social Distancing.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Germany’s coronavirus caseload rises, but its death rate remains low

BERLIN — Germany’s count of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 71,000, but its cumulative death toll Wednesday of 775 remains remarkably low.

That tally, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, stands in stark contrast to the situation in neighboring countries such as Italy and Spain. Italy has reported almost 106,000 infections and more than 12,400 deaths, while Spain has more than 96,000 cases and more than 8,400 deaths.

France has four times as many virus deaths as Germany and Britain has twice as many, even though both countries have fewer reported infections.

There may be many factors at play, but experts said early on that fast and widespread testing gave Germany an edge.

“The reason why we in Germany have so few deaths at the moment compared to the number of infected can be largely explained by the fact that we are doing an extremely large number of lab diagnoses,” said virologist Dr. Christian Drosten, whose team developed the first test for the new virus at Berlin’s Charité hospital. The hospital was established more than 300 years ago to treat plague victims.

Drosten estimated that Germany is now capable of conducting up to 500,000 tests a week.

Spain tests between 105,000 and 140,000 people each week, about 20% to 30% what Germany is capable of. Italy did around 200,000 tests over the past week, but that reflects a significant recent ramp-up.

Britain has so far fallen short of its pledge to conduct 10,000 tests a week.


Britain falls short of promised testing rate

LONDON — The British government is under fire for failing to keep its promise to increase the number of tests performed for COVID-19.

The U.K. has restricted testing to hospitalized patients, leaving many people with milder symptoms unsure whether they have had the new coronavirus. Many scientists have urged wider testing to allow medics who are negative to remain at work, and to better understand how the virus spreads.

That has happened in Germany, which has the capacity to do 500,000 tests a week.

The U.K. initially performed about 5,000 tests a day, but the government promised to increase that number to 10,000 by the end of last week. The target has not been met, with slightly more than 8,000 tests performed Monday, the last day for which figures are available.

Officials have blamed a shortage of the chemicals needed to perform the tests.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said Wednesday that the number of tests should hit 15,000 a day “within a couple of days” and rise to 25,000 a day by mid-April. He conceded, “We do need to go further and we need to do that faster.”

He told ITV that “it isn’t easy to procure the tests in a global pandemic because there is a great deal of demand.”


China reports 36 new COVID-19 cases, almost all from abroad

BEIJING — China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported 36 new COVID-19 cases, one day after announcing that asymptomatic cases will now be included in the official count.

The commission said all but one of the new cases was imported from abroad, while seven more deaths from the disease had been reported over the previous 24 hours. The commission did not say if any of the new cases were asymptomatic but on Tuesday reported that, of a total of 1,541 asymptomatic cases now being isolated and monitored for symptoms, 205 had come from overseas.

The move to disclose the number of asymptomatic cases comes amid scrutiny of China’s reported figures, which previously only included people who exhibited symptoms. While the proportion of people who have contracted the virus but remain asymptomatic is currently unknown, scientists say these “carriers” can still pass COVID-19 onto others who do end up getting sick.

As China’s domestic outbreak has largely abated, some questioned whether the country’s failure to count asymptomatic cases could lead to a resurgence of infections. China, where the virus was first detected in December, has recorded a total of 81,554 cases of COVID-19 and 3,312 deaths from the disease.


Churchgoers flock to hear Louisiana pastor despite virus ban

Buses and cars filled a church parking lot as worshipers flocked to hear a Louisiana pastor who is facing misdemeanor charges for holding services despite a ban on gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A few protesters turned out Tuesday evening, too, including a man shouting through a bullhorn against the gathering at the Life Tabernacle Church. Another demonstrator held up a sign reading: “God don’t like stupid.”

Afterward, as people began leaving the church, some chatted outside the front doors and many appeared to not be adhering to social distancing recommendations to remain at least six feet apart. Hugs and handshakes were shared freely as people said their goodbyes and departed.

Hours earlier, Pastor Tony Spell was issued a summons for holding services previously at the church in violation of the governor’s order banning gatherings.


Photos: Birds claim Peru beach emptied by virus outbreak

The Agua Dulce public beach in Lima, Peru, on Feb. 16, 2020.
(Associated Press)

Agua Dulce beach is usually a sea of humanity, packed with as many as 40,000 people a day at the height of Peru’s Southern Hemisphere summer, which runs from December to March.

The new coronavirus pandemic has changed all that. In recent days, an army of seabirds has claimed the sandy territory abandoned by people.

The Agua Dulce public beach in Lima, Peru, on March 24.
(Associated Press)



Garcetti announces expanded coronavirus testing capacity and new construction guidelines

In an online address Tuesday afternoon, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city will have doubled its testing capacity by Thursday. Testing will be opened up to the entire county Wednesday, he said.

Amid concerns that construction workers are being exposed to the virus, the mayor also announced new construction guidelines that will require all construction sites to create a “COVID-19 exposure control plan.” Plans should include protocols for symptom checking, physical distancing, hygiene and decontamination, Garcetti said.

“As most of our city has stayed home or changed the way of doing business, much of our construction program has continued,” he said, adding that it is important to continue crucial infrastructure, but “never at the risk of anyone’s life,” he said.

Read the official guidelines>>>

City inspectors will visit sites to enforce safety procedures, he added.

“We will not be shy about shutting down construction sites that do not comply,” he said. “So comply.”

Garcetti acknowledged that staying at home and social distancing has been “tough” for Angelenos, and that “life feels fundamentally changed.”

“The deeper we abide by these rules, the quicker this can be over,” he said. “These are not ordinary times. Everyone has to keep making these temporary sacrifices for the common good.”


Seven patients were an early sign the coronavirus was on the loose in L.A. County

Over a few days in mid-March, 5% of patients who came to the L.A. County-USC Medical Center emergency department with mild flu-like symptoms tested positive for the new coronavirus.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

In late February, doctors around Los Angeles County began seeing an unexpected rise in the number of patients with mild, flu-like illnesses.

The timing was definitely odd. Hospital emergency departments had already dealt with two “spikes” in flu cases. The number of patients with flu symptoms had been falling, from a little more than 100 cases per 1,000 patients at the beginning of the month to around 65 cases per 1,000 a few weeks later. The number of lab tests that came back positive for influenza was dropping too.

Now health officials think it was an early sign that the novel coronavirus from China was on the loose in the Southland.

Health workers tested 131 of these patients who came to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center between March 12 and March 16. Seven of them were infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

These seven patients were relatively young, ranging in age from 34 to 44. None of them had recently traveled to China or another coronavirus hotspot, nor had they been in contact with anyone who had.

Importantly, they weren’t so sick that they would have stayed home.

Read More > > >


Coronavirus strikes skid row as Union Rescue Mission reports first confirmed case

In the first confirmed case on skid row, an employee of the Union Rescue Mission has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is being treated at County USC Medical Center.

Chief Executive Officer Andy Bales said 95 residents and several employees have been quarantined on the mission’s third floor, which houses a live-in recovery program and is where the unnamed employee worked.

“We put entire third floor in isolation, delivering meals in full protective gear, hoping they don’t come down with symptoms,” Bales said.

Bales said the L.A. County Public Health Department is setting up tents in the mission’s courtyard to do triage on anyone else who may have been infected. The employee’s recent contacts also are being tracked down.

Read More > > >


Wear face covering when grocery shopping, Riverside County says in coronavirus warning

In a new recommendation, Riverside County health officials urged residents to cover their noses and mouths when out in public.

Officials made the recommendation Tuesday, covering such essential tasks as grocery shopping and medical visits.

“The face coverings do not have to be hospital grade but need to cover the nose and mouth. For example, bandanas, fabric masks and neck gaiters are acceptable. Fabric covers and bandanas can be washed and used again,” the county said in a statement.

Up to now, federal officials have urged the healthy not to wear masks. 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.

Read More > > >


Google and Facebook offer paid leave to parents amid coronavirus school closures

California public schools are likely to be closed for the rest of the school year. Day-care centers and child-care providers are scrambling to keep up under fears of coronavirus contagion and the difficulties of operating during lockdown.

Millions of parents are stuck juggling the twin demands of working a full schedule from home while keeping stir-crazy kids occupied, day after day. But for the ones who work at Facebook and Google, a measure of relief has arrived.

Long known for leading corporate America in employee benefits, the two Silicon Valley giants are offering large blocks of emergency leave to parents struggling to deal with disruptions to their family schedules.

At Google, employees taking care of children or family members are being offered two weeks off without dipping into their paid leave following the closure of any school or care facility. After using that, those who still need to work fewer hours or days have the option to take an additional four weeks of paid leave.

Facebook is similarly offering four weeks to employees who are facing unexpected caregiving needs, and an additional six weeks of emergency care leave for employees who need to take time to take care of any family members who fall ill or are dealing with other medical conditions.

Read More > > >


Veteran Santa Rosa police detective dies of COVID-19

A Santa Rosa police detective who was among the first infected with coronavirus in the department has died, officials announced Tuesday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of a member of our SRPD family, Detective Marylou Armer. Marylou has faithfully served our community in the Santa Rosa Police Department for the past 20 years,” the department said in a statement.

The department, which memorialized the loss on its social media accounts, added: “Marylou was one of the first employees to test positive for COVID-19 and today succumbed to complications from the illness. Our hearts are with the family and Marylou will be deeply missed.”

Coronavirus is spreading in police departments nationally.

The New York police announced that 1,048 officers and 145 civilian employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. Five of the department staff have died.

Of those positive, 17 have recovered and returned to the job. As of Tuesday, 15.6% of the department’s officers are out sick.

The Los Angeles police department continues to test more of its 13,000 employees, and nearly 30 have tested positive. Four are department leaders.

Read More > > >


California National Guard helps distribute food boxes in Ventura County

Crews from the California National Guard on Tuesday were in the mix at Food Share of Ventura County, its only food bank, to help prepare food boxes for the neediest and most vulnerable residents of this agricultural region.

“People think National Guard, they get scared, ‘martial law,’ but this is what they are trained to do, this is purely their humanitarian mission,” said Jennifer Caldwell, chief development officer for the food bank.

Giving a reporter a quick tour of the facility in an industrial section of Oxnard, Caldwell pointed to rows upon rows of dry and canned food supply as well as a massive produce cooler that looked almost like a walk-in bank safe; it was packed to the brim with fresh produce -- “apples and oranges, mostly” -- from their partnering sources.

There were also massive cardboard boxes filled with local citrus from residents’ private homes. Food Share volunteers normally collect fruit from people’s homes in Ventura County but have drawn down the practice in lieu of current physical distancing measures to fight Covid-19.

Now a limited group of volunteers, which normally number more than 3000, are preparing food boxes to distribute at three “pop up” locations starting on Wednesday in Oxnard. The boxes include juices, cereals, pasta, dried fruit bags, nuts, and some produce to help people get by during the statewide stay-at-home order.

“Even if they lift the orders, the economy won’t just snap and start up again. There will be a buffer,” Caldwell said. “And as we see unemployment filings go up, it’s clear people won’t just need financial help, they will also need food help.

“The bank purchases, collects donations, and distributes some 13 million pounds of supply to local residents every year. The privately funded organization expects to distribute thousands of boxes this April and expects increased demand. But since churches, boys and girls clubs, and other traditional points are closed during the shutdown, Food Share will be going out and getting boxes into people’s hands as directly as possible while still practicing the necessary distancing.

“This is what we’re prepared to do,” Caldwell said. “This is what we do on a daily basis.”


White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S.

The White House on Tuesday projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. President Trump called American efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “a matter of life and death” and urged the public to heed his administration’s social distancing guidelines.

Trump called on Americans to brace themselves for a “rough two-week period” but predicted the country would soon see a “light at the end of the tunnel” of the global catastrophe that has killed more than 3,500 Americans and infected 170,000 more.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”

Read More > > >


L.A. County officials confirm 10 new coronavirus-linked deaths

Los Angeles County officials on Tuesday confirmed 10 new coronavirus-linked deaths and said a healthcare worker was among those who have died from the illness — the first such fatal transmission in the county.

During their daily briefing, officials reported an additional 548 confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the total to more than 3,000. That number has tripled over the last week, Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said.

The number of deaths in the county is at least 54. The healthcare worker who died was over the age of 60, Ferrer said, and was included in Monday’s count. One of the 10 most recent individuals who died was under the age of 41.

“These aren’t just numbers. These are real people being mourned by their families and friends,” she said.

To date, more than 19,000 people have been tested for the virus in the county. Ferrer said that of those who have tested positive, 594 have been hospitalized, including 267 currently in hospital care.

Also Tuesday, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said 10 firefighters had tested positive for the coronavirus. Seven have recovered and are back at work, while three remain isolated.

Officials did not say that they were extending safe-at-home order beyond April 19.


He never missed a visit despite her memory loss. Then the coronavirus scare ended visits forever

Isabel, open your eyes, Ramón Hernández pleaded with his wife. Please, open your eyes.

Rarely did she heed his requests because of her dementia. She sat quietly in her wheelchair, face blank and eyes closed, while her husband sat beside her, holding her hand. They stayed that way for hours, until staff at the nursing home in Spain politely asked Hernández to leave before her lunchtime.

He never missed a day. Every morning, even at age 88, he walked the 12 minutes from his apartment in west Madrid — the apartment he and Isabel Costales, 86, had shared for half a century — to the nursing home, Monte Hermoso.

Read more >>>>


Trump warns of difficult weeks ahead as coronavirus continues spread

President Trump on Tuesday warned the country to prepare for difficult weeks ahead as the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States and the death toll rises.

“This is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks,” he said at a White House news briefing. “When you look and see at night, the kind of death that’s been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”

Trump has extended federal guidelines on social distancing until April 30, and he urged Americans to follow the rules as “a matter of life and death, frankly.”

“Each of us has the power through our own choices and actions to save American lives and rescue the most vulnerable among us,” he said. “Every citizen is being called on to make sacrifices. Every business is being asked to fulfill its patriotic duty. Every community is making fundamental changes to how we live, work and interact each and every single day.”


Here’s where the coronavirus has been found in Orange County

Orange County now has 502 confirmed coronavirus infections as the disease continues to spread throughout the region.

Along with the latest case numbers, county health officials also announced three new fatalities Tuesday, bringing the death toll to seven.

Read more >>>>


New coronavirus death rate estimates show how sharply the risk rises with age

The fatality rate for people infected with the novel coronavirus is estimated to be less than 1%, according to a new study.

Among the those whose infections cause them to become sickened by the disease known as COVID-19, the fatality rate is 1.38%, the study authors estimate.

Both fatality rates vary greatly with age, according to the report in the medical journal Lancet.

Read more >>>>


California will release thousands of inmates early as coronavirus spreads inside prisons

California is granting early release to 3,500 inmates in an effort to reduce crowding as coronavirus infections begin spreading through the state prison system.

Lawyers for Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday told a panel of federal judges the state was taking “extraordinary and unprecedented protective measures” to slow the spread of the virus and protect those who live and work within California’s 35 prisons. The accelerated parole policy — affecting inmates due to be released over the next 60 days — comes in the face of pressure to do much more.

Lawyers representing inmates in longstanding civil rights litigation against the prison system have asked those judges for broader prison releases, as well as protective measures to reduce the threat to older or medically vulnerable inmates not likely to be considered for release. A court hearing on the emergency motion is set for Thursday.

In court filings, state lawyers said California intended to accelerate parole dates for 3,500 inmates serving terms for nonviolent crimes and already due to be released within 60 days. The releases are to be conducted “within the next several weeks.”

Read more >>>


Bay Area extends its coronavirus order

MILLBRAE, Calif. — Health officers in six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area extended a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus through May 3 and put new restrictions on such things as residential construction projects and the number of people who can attend funerals.

Dr. Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County public health officer, said the Bay Area’s strict stay-at-home order was working but that it needed more time.

“I want to say that the incredible sacrifice that everyone has made, I believe it is starting to bend the curve. But it’s not enough and it hasn’t been in place long enough, so we need to keep at it, we just need to keep at it,” Cody said at a news conference. “I believe it’s beginning to make a difference, and it’s giving our hospitals more time.

The counties extending the order are San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin.

Read more >>>


Lakers clear quarantine, say no players have symptoms

The Lakers announced Tuesday that the team’s players had cleared quarantine and were without COVID-19 symptoms.

Two players tested positive two weeks ago after most of the team was administered tests while sitting in their cars in the parking lot of the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. The organization did not divulge the names of those players, and they have not come forward. The team did say both players who tested positive displayed no symptoms.

The testing was administered after the Brooklyn Nets announced four of the team’s players had tested positive for COVID-19. The Lakers’ most recent game was on March 10 against the Nets.

“I just kind of knew right away that we had to get tested,” forward Anthony Davis said on Friday when asked what his reaction was to the Nets’ announcement. “We were talking about getting tested regardless … but there was some type of rules that if you don’t have symptoms [you can’t]. When the team came out and said they had four players tested positive for coronavirus, I knew right away we would probably get tested.

“It’s kind of tricky because some guys you feel fine and you could have it, asymptomatic. And some guys you have all the symptoms.”

Davis said his test returned negative. Jared Dudley said on a podcast that his test returned negative. JaVale McGee’s sister posted on Twitter that her brother’s test was negative, and a report by Yahoo Sports cited a person saying Quinn Cook’s test had returned negative.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issues monthlong stay-at-home order

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to the media in Arlington on March 18.
(Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

Weeks after many other states took action, the Texas governor announced a monthlong statewide stay-at-home directive Tuesday, citing recent recommendations by state health officials, the president, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at a briefing. “I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them.”

Abbott didn’t call his directive a stay-at-home order, but it essentially was, requiring residents to “minimize nonessential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.” Essential services were exempt from the order, he said, including healthcare, grocery shopping, banking, hunting, fishing — and churches.

The governors of other states, including neighboring Louisiana, and some local Texas leaders have not exempted churches from stay-at-home orders and orders limiting gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, police charged a Baton Rouge area pastor with a misdemeanor for holding services six times in defiance of the governor’s order. On Monday, three Houston pastors appealed to the state Supreme Court to exempt them from a county order after police cited one of the ministers for holding Sunday services.

So far, 3,266 Texans have tested positive and 41 have died. Abbott has been reluctant to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, saying he preferred to leave such decisions to local authorities and noting that the virus had not spread to many of the state’s 254 counties. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who flanked him at Tuesday’s briefing, prompted a backlash earlier this month when he suggested the economy should be saved even at the expense of the elderly.

Abbott slowly took action as the virus spread, closing schools, activating the National Guard, declaring an emergency and recommending people stay home — but not requiring it.

Last weekend, he ordered people coming to Texas to self-quarantine for two weeks if they had traveled from COVID-19 hot spots, including Atlanta, California, Chicago, Connecticut, Detroit, Louisiana, Miami, New York, New Jersey or Washington state.

By Tuesday, COVID-19 had spread to 122 Texas counties, including all of the state’s largest cities, where local officials had issued stay-at-home orders in response. Representatives from the Texas Hospital Assn. and Texas Nurses Assn. sent Abbott a letter urging him to issue a statewide order as the virus spread.

The statewide directive will last from Thursday to April 30. The governor also extended school closures through May 4.


Three new coronavirus deaths confirmed in Orange County as case count tops 500

Orange County announced three new coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday as the number of confirmed infections surged to 502.

Seven people have died as a result of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Four of those patients were at least 65 years old, and the other three were between 25 and 34, 35 and 44, and 45 and 64, respectively.

Four of the deceased were women and three were men, health officials said.

Countywide, 94 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Tuesday. Of those, 46 were in intensive care.

Throughout the county, 6,674 people have been tested for coronavirus infection so far.

Read More >>>


L.A. County scores an A in social distancing amid coronavirus. Other counties lag

Freeways once clogged with daily commuters are nearly empty. The windows of bars that were packed with patrons just weeks ago are now boarded up. Sandy stretches of beach lay barren, even on sunny days.

Southern California’s desolate landscape amid the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted people’s unprecedented efforts to restrict their movement and help stem the virus’ spread. Staying at home was somewhat slow to catch on, with people packing beaches, parks and hiking trails in the early days, a move that eventually forced officials to order closures.

“I know it’s hard to have our favorite places — our beaches and hiking trails — closed. But these restrictions will save lives,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted Friday.

But just how much are Californians reducing their travel?

It varies by county, according to an interactive map released last week by Unacast, a New York-based technology company that aims to put a grade on people’s social distancing efforts.

The company’s social distancing scoreboard uses data from millions of anonymous mobile phones to compare the distance that people in each county in the United States traveled before the outbreak began and after it took hold. Areas that observe at least a 40% decrease in average distance traveled are assigned an A grade, while those that show less than a 10% decrease or an increase are given an F, Unacast CEO Thomas Walle wrote in a post on the company’s website.

California, where cases of COVID-19 spiked to more than 7,400 Tuesday, received an A for reducing movement. The company’s data shows Californians overall reduced their average distance traveled by 41% from late February to Thursday.

Los Angeles County also received an A after residents reduced their average distance traveled by 46% from late January to Thursday. Nearby coastal counties, including Orange, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara, where cases have also spiked in recent weeks, received high marks as well.

However, the data show disparities between the state’s counties. Some have cut travel significantly, while others have seen an increase.

In Mono County, residents slashed their travel by more than 70% -- the highest reduction in travel statewide. The analysis also found that Bay Area counties were among the biggest travel reducers.

The company’s data also compares the county’s letter grade to the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in an area to help people draw conclusions about social distancing behavior and the spread of the virus over time.

“Our goal in developing this and our COVID-19 Toolkit is to empower organizations to unearth reliable and valuable information to guide critical decision making and planning in relation to COVID-19 containment,” Walle wrote in a statement. “We are updating the Scorecard and enhancing this COVID-19 Toolkit to provide the most timely and accurate information possible, with the hope of ultimately saving lives.”

Read More >>>


Louisiana pastor who defied coronavirus order faces misdemeanors

Police on Tuesday cited a Baton Rouge area minister for holding services in recent weeks in defiance of the stay-at-home order issued by the Louisiana governor to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Rev. Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle church in the Baton Rouge suburb of Central received a summons for the misdemeanor charge of violating the governor’s March 16 order against gatherings of more than 50 people — six counts, one for each service he has held since the order, according to Central Assistant Police Chief Darren Sibley.

If convicted, Spell could face a penalty of $500 and up to six months in jail, said Sibley, who delivered the summons early Tuesday, ahead of a regular evening service.

Sibley described his meeting with Spell at the church as “very non-confrontational.”

“He was very compliant. He signed the summons with no resistance,” Sibley said. “He prayed for us before we left.”

More than 9,400 people had signed an online petition demanding Spell be prosecuted for holding services in defiance of the order.

Read more >>>


Plácido Domingo says he’s at home and feels ‘fine’ after coronavirus battle

Opera singer Plácido Domingo, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, says he is at home and feeling “fine.”

“Fortunately from the very first symptom I was, as usual, under medical supervision, given my age and my comorbidity, therefore the COVID 19 infection was immediately suspected and this helped me a lot,” the 79-year-old wrote in a statement posted Monday on social media.

Domingo had a fever and cough before he decided to get tested, he wrote in a March 22 Facebook post announcing his test result. He and his family were remaining “individually isolated” for as long as it was medically necessary, he said at the time.

“I continue my therapy and rest,” the tenor-turned-baritone said Monday. “My thoughts right now are with those who suffer and all those who are generously working to save lives.”



Newport Beach plans more weekend boardwalk closures on Balboa Peninsula

Newport Beach’s oceanfront boardwalk closure came and went over the weekend with good cooperation from the public, according to city officials, who said more closures were coming.

The city plans to close its boardwalk on the Balboa Peninsula every weekend in April, or until Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxes California’s social distancing guidelines intended to stem the spread of the coronavirus.



Fauci says White House could recommend broader use of masks

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force was looking into the idea of recommending broader, community-wide use of masks to deter the spread of the coronavirus.

Fauci said the task force first wanted to make sure that such a move wouldn’t take away from the supply of masks available to healthcare workers.

“But once we get in a situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks,” Fauci said in a CNN interview Tuesday. “We’re not there yet, but I think we’re close to coming to some determination.”

He said wearing a mask might prevent an infected person from spreading the virus.

Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader of the U.S. response to the pandemic.

President Trump said Monday he could see broader use of masks on a temporary basis.

“I mean, you know, we want our country back. We’re not going to be wearing masks forever, but it could be for a short period of time,” Trump said.

The World Health Organization on Monday reiterated its advice that the general population didn’t need to wear masks unless they were sick. Since the epidemic began in China, the WHO has said masks are for the sick and for the people caring for them.


Here’s how to help with relief by dining with Bill Walton

Hey, you’ve always wanted to have lunch with UCLA legend Bill Walton, right?

And three of your friends have always wanted the same thing? Perfect!

All four of you are in luck. Or at least you will be as soon as we’re all done social distancing.

You’ll also need a minimum $7,500 among the four of you.



Ventura County to close parks, push social distancing as cases rise

Ventura County officials on Tuesday raised concern that residents were not taking social distancing efforts seriously, as health leaders warned the spread of the coronavirus would continue without such measures.

The county’s latest numbers show 126 confirmed cases, 17 more than the previous count and double what was reported late last week. The total includes 16 people who have recovered, 28 who were hospitalized and 106 instances of those actively quarantined.

The death toll remains at four, all of whom people who were in their 70s or 80s with preexisting conditions.



Demand for food stamps surges in California as virus takes economic toll

SACRAMENTO —With many Californians losing income and jobs, the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a record surge in the number of applications for CalFresh, the state’s food stamp program, forcing operational changes to expedite help for those unable to put meals on the table.

The number of people applying for food assistance jumped to 55,624 in the third week of March, up from 34,882 during the same period last year, said Jason Montiel, a spokesman for the state Department of Social Services.

In Los Angeles County, CalFresh applicants nearly doubled from 9,060 in the third week of March 2019 to 17,532 during the same period this month.



Squabbling over 4th bailout bill begins, but passage is likely weeks away

WASHINGTON — Political squabbling over what Congress should do next to address the coronavirus pandemic has begun, and the only point of agreement so far seems to be that the fourth relief bill is likely weeks from being passed, if not longer.

Just days after President Trump signed a more-than-$2-trillion economic stimulus package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) began floating trial balloons of what the new package should look like, including potentially another direct payment to Americans, expanded paid sick leave and infrastructure projects.

“Our first bills were about addressing the emergency. The third bill was about mitigation. The fourth bill would be about recovery. Emergency, mitigation, recovery,” Pelosi told reporters on a conference call Monday.



L.A. coronavirus stay-at-home order could last well into mid-May, LAPD chief says

Los Angeles’ strict stay-at-home order designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus could remain in place well into mid-May, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said.

His statement underscores that residents should expect the social distancing rules to remain in place for weeks as coronavirus cases and deaths keep rising.

Both Los Angeles city and county officials have shut down all but essential businesses and told residents to stay inside except for shopping, medical appointments and short outdoor activities.



Sick-out at Whole Foods seeks better protections and pay

A group of Whole Foods employees across the country is calling in sick Tuesday in an effort to press the Inc.-owned grocery chain to provide more safety protections and higher pay for those in jobs with higher potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Leaders of the protest are pushing for paid leave for all workers who self-quarantine, hazard pay that would double store workers’ current hourly wage over the course of the crisis, more sanitation supplies and social distancing policies, and free coronavirus testing for workers. If a worker tests positive, they want the store where the employee works to be closed immediately and remain closed while all other employees at that location are tested.



NFL team owners approve expanding playoffs to 14 teams this season

The NFL playoffs just got more crowded.

Teams voted Tuesday to expand the postseason by two teams, starting with the upcoming season.

The vote took place during a league meeting held remotely because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Two additional wild-card teams, one from each conference, will qualify for the playoffs, expanding the field from 12 to 14 teams. Only the top-seeded team in each conference will receive a first-round bye, whereas in the past it has been the top two seeds.



ESPN’s Patrick McEnroe, former pro tennis player, tests positive

ESPN commentator and former professional tennis player Patrick McEnroe tested positive for COVID-19, he said in a video he released via Twitter on Tuesday. But he said he was feeling better and remained in quarantine in the basement of his home in Westchester, N.Y.

McEnroe, 53, said he “got some minor symptoms” and self-isolated 10 or 11 days ago. He recently received the positive results.

“The good news is, I feel fine,” said McEnroe, the younger brother of tennis legend John McEnroe. “My symptoms have passed. I feel really 100%.”



‘Buy more fruits and vegetables’: L.A.’s produce wholesalers are seeing a 90% drop in sales

Need a case of strawberries? How about blueberries? Raspberries? Mangoes?

Carlos Franco of Elias Produce has tons — literal tons — of fruit sitting in his walk-in cooler right now with no place to go.

The 29-year-old produce distributor is one of 88 vendors at the 7th Street Produce Market downtown who’ve seen an alarming drop in sales in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with many reporting declines of 90% or more.

“Before I might sell 20 cases of strawberries to a place each week,” Franco said. “Now I’m lucky if they order one or two.”



How Tesla fought to keep its Fremont factory open despite restrictions

Tesla Inc.’s lone U.S. assembly plant posed a risk to public health by staying open for days in spite of Bay Area shelter-in-place orders amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to documents obtained through a California public records request.

Officials with the city of Fremont, Calif., told Tesla in a series of conversations over several days that its factory was not considered an essential business, and that it therefore needed to comply with an Alameda County order issued March 16. The electric-car maker announced March 19 that it would suspend production four days later.



L.A. supervisors remove Sheriff Villanueva as head of emergency operations

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to remove Sheriff Alex Villanueva as the head of the county’s emergency operations center, citing a need to centralize disaster operations after shortcomings in the response to the deadly Woolsey fire.

Villanueva called the move irresponsible, criticizing the timing during a global pandemic as “a brazen attempt to consolidate power” within the board.

“It’s not gonna add more ventilators, it’s not gonna add more masks out there to first responders, it definitely does not improve functions,” he said at Tuesday’s virtual meeting. “When it comes to life-and-death matters, I don’t take it lightly.”



Ethiopia postpones general elections

Ethiopia will postpone general elections that were scheduled for the end of August because of the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s electoral body said on Tuesday.

The East African nation has 26 confirmed cases of the virus. Voter registration was supposed to start on April 22 and campaigns a little more than a month later.


U.N. chief says coronavirus is the biggest crisis since WWII

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that the world faces the most challenging crisis since World War II, confronting a pandemic threatening people in every country that will bring a recession “that probably has no parallel in the recent past.”

The U.N. chief said at the launch of a report Tuesday on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 there was also a risk that the combination of the disease and its economic impact would contribute to “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”

Guterres called for a stronger and more effective global response to the coronavirus pandemic and to the social and economic devastation that COVID-19 was causing.

He stressed that this would only be possible “if everybody comes together and if we forget political games and understand that it is humankind that is at stake.”

“The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis — large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive, with country and international responses being guided by the World Health Organization,” the secretary-general said, noting that not all countries are following WHO guidelines.

Guterres announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to support efforts in low- and middle-income countries, with the aim of swiftly enabling governments to tackle the crisis and promote recovery.


New York cases surge past those of China’s Hubei province

New York state reported an increase in coronavirus cases of 9,300 on Tuesday, for a total of 76,000, surging past China’s Hubei province, where the virus began.

New York has the lion’s share of infections in the U.S., which now has the most cases in the pandemic after eclipsing China last week. China’s epidemic, which has been contained to a few new domestic cases after a two-month battle, was largely confined to Hubei province, which had 67,801 cases as of March 30.

With a population only a third of Hubei’s, New York has emerged as the new epicenter of the outbreak, which has now infected more than 788,000 people worldwide and killed more than 37,800.


Social media companies remove misinformation posts from Brazil’s president

Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube have all removed posts shared by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for including coronavirus misinformation that violated the social media companies’ rules against posting harmful content.

Facebook said it took down a video on Monday that had been shared to both Facebook and Instagram, in which Bolsonaro said the anti-malaria prescription drug hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment for COVID-19. Twitter earlier had removed two tweets that also showed video of Bolsonaro praising hydroxychloroquine and encouraging the end of social distancing. On Tuesday morning, YouTube also said it had pulled two videos from Bolsonaro’s official account for violating its policies.

Small studies testing the effects of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients have had mixed results, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says the drug is “currently under investigation in clinical trials” for use as a treatment for the virus. President Trump has also praised the drug, which was given emergency FDA approval to be prescribed to COVID-19 patients, though scientists have criticized the move as premature.

Twitter and Facebook have also taken a stronger stance on coronavirus misinformation than other types of controversial content, including some political postings. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this month that fighting medical misinformation was easier because companies could follow clear guidance from the World Health Organization on what could be defined as “harmful,” instead of deciding as a company in a way that could be considered biased or restrictive of free speech.


Koreatown ramen shop burglarized during restaurant shutdown

Saikai Ramen Bar in Koreatown was broken into on Saturday, its front door smashed and broken glass strewn across the floor and sidewalk.

“During these uncertain times, it’s been challenging to keep our spirits high,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post detailing the incident. “It’s saddening to experience this when we already feel kicked down. Hopefully this post will warn other business owners to keep their guards up.”

The post went on to say there were no injuries and that police caught the suspect.

The noodle-focused restaurant, helmed by chef Jimin Kim, opened in July. It, like hundreds of other restaurants in the city, closed for business after Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the shutdown of restaurants, bars and other nonessential businesses March 15.



COVID-19 deaths in U.S. surpass China’s

NEW YORK — The U.S. death toll stemming from the coronavirus climbed past 3,500 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count.

New York’s mammoth convention center started taking patients to ease the burden on the city’s overwhelmed health system, and the tennis center where the U.S. Open is held was being turned into a hospital.

Worldwide, more than 800,000 people have been infected and over 39,000 people have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Italy and Spain accounted for half the deaths, while the U.S. had around 3,550 by midday, eclipsing China’s official toll of about 3,300.

New York was the nation’s deadliest hot spot, with about 1,550 deaths statewide, the majority of them in New York City.


Netanyahu demands fewer interviewees in TV news studios

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his communications minister to demand there be fewer interviewees in TV news studios, saying this is so as to emphasize the importance of social distancing to the viewing public.

Netanyahu’s Cabinet explains this demand as a reflection of the importance of showing the viewing public a 2-meter (about 6½ feet) distance between individuals.

Netanyahu and other top officials have been exposed to the coronavirus, whereas thus far, no one has reported having been exposed to the virus in a TV studio.

Netanyahu has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases. In two, he is alleged to have broken the law as part of an attempt to control media outlets.


Hospital construction ramps up around the world in response to coronavirus pandemic

A temporary hospital is readied at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.
A temporary hospital is readied at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Monday in New York City.
(Noam Galai / Getty Images)

With the number of coronavirus patients around the world growing at a rapid clip, construction of hospitals and hospital beds has also ramped up around the world.



MLB agrees to pay minor league players a stipend through May

By the end of May, it should be clear whether professional baseball will be played at all this season. Until then, minor leaguers will be paid.

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that a weekly $400 stipend for minor league players has been extended through May 31. In the unlikely event the season starts before then, salaries would replace stipends.

The money is crucial for minor leaguers, who are not paid during the offseason. The current minimum minor league salaries range from $290 per week in rookie leagues, where the season lasts three months, to $502 per week in triple-A, where the season lasts five months.



Los Angeles County gun stores remain open due to federal advice, sheriff says

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, on advice from a federal agency, he decided to cancel his order to close gun stores amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The sheriff’s latest reversal came after gun groups sued him.

Villanueva initially decided to close the stores but last week withdrew the decision, saying county lawyers had deemed gun stores essential businesses under a state stay-at-home order. But on Thursday, he announced he was closing gun stores to the public, although he would allow police and security personnel in county-patrolled areas to shop at the stores, after being informed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that he had the authority to make such closures.

Gun groups than sued Villanueva and Newsom, citing the 2nd Amendment.

Villanueva on Monday evening in a statement said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 28 had included gun sellers as “critical” infrastructure during this pandemic. Based on that information, he decided that they should remain open, he said.


Italian health official says nation has hit ‘the plateau’

ROME — The head of Italy’s national institutes of health says the country has hit the “plateau” in its coronavirus infection rate, three weeks into a national lockdown.

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro says the country should start to see a decline in new cases in the epicenter of Europe’s pandemic. But he stressed it would be folly to relax Italy’s productivity shutdown and stay-at-home restrictions now, even though the rate of new virus infections is slowing.

“The curve suggests we are at the plateau,” he said. “We have to confirm it, because arriving at the plateau doesn’t mean we have conquered the peak and we’re done. It means now we should start to see the decline if we continue to place maximum attention on what we do every day.”


We asked authors what they read, hear and watch in quarantine. Here’s Charles Finch’s diary

The Times asked authors to track what they do in isolation. Today, Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lenox mystery series, finds he likes Norah Jones, learns a Steely Dan solo, reads Kierkegaard and becomes a “candle guy.”



Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne is fighting the virus

Adam Schlesinger, the Fountains of Wayne co-founder who also won an Emmy for his songwriting work on the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” is reportedly on a ventilator in an upstate New York hospital fighting the coronavirus.

“He’s very sick and is heavily sedated, as are all people on ventilators,” his longtime attorney, Josh Grier, told Variety on Tuesday, discounting an earlier rumor that Schlesinger was in a coma.

Schlesinger, who also plays with the bands Ivy and Tinted Windows, has been hospitalized for about a week after testing positive for the virus, Grier told Billboard. That outlet reported that the singer-songwriter’s condition was improving.



Pasadena schools resume grab-and-go meals after virus test upends service

The Pasadena Unified School District is again offering grab-and-go meals for students one day after the service was suspended because a kitchen employee was tested for the coronavirus.

“Using social distancing and public health guidelines, meals will be provided by an outside vendor with the assistance of city of Pasadena volunteers,” district Supt. Brian McDonald wrote in a message announcing Tuesday’s restart.

Meal service will be offered from 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays at seven schools. A list of sites is available on the district’s website.

The plan is for district staff to step back in on April 14, according to McDonald.



CNN anchor Chris Cuomo tests positive

CNN primetime anchor Chris Cuomo has tested positive for the coronavirus, the network said Tuesday.

The cable news network said Cuomo, who is the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will continue to do his nightly program which airs at 9 p.m. Eastern.

“In these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus,” Cuomo wrote in a message on Twitter.



U.S. State Department official dies

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a State Department official has died from the coronavirus, the first American fatality among the U.S. diplomatic corps as a result of the pandemic.

Pompeo didn’t give details about the official who died or where the person contracted the disease. He said about four dozen to five dozen State Department employees had tested positive for the virus, including locally employed staffers at a handful of the 220 U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

On Monday, State Department health officials said at least two locally employed staff members had died from the virus.

Those officials said they were tracking 105 confirmed cases among the agency’s global workforce of about 75,000. Of those, 75 are overseas and 30 are at State Department offices in the United States in nine cities.


LAUSD school shutdown worsens inequities as many students go AWOL

New data showing large numbers of Los Angeles Unified School District students failing to keep up with at-home work amid the coronavirus shutdown underscore how the crisis could be worsening already deep inequities, experts say.

When school shut down last month, the district began distributing computers and arranged for free internet access — moves that have helped many. But the swift transition to online learning has presented massive challenges in the nation’s largest school district, which serves mainly students from low-income families.



NYPD has been devastated by the outbreak. Can LAPD avoid that fate?

As the coronavirus ravages New York, its Police Department has been hard hit.

More than 800 officers there have tested positive for the virus, and over 4,700 officers — about 12% of the force — have been calling in sick daily. Five NYPD employees have died, and John Miller, chief of intelligence and counter-terrorism, is among those who have been hospitalized. In each case in which an officer has tested positive, those who work alongside the officer have been forced to self-quarantine in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Los Angeles Police Department officials are now trying to avoid a similar fate. Here is what we know:



The crisis in Italy could provoke a depression, industrial lobby says

ROME — Italy’s industrial lobby says the coronavirus crisis could provoke a depression with a dramatic spike in unemployment and collapse of social structures unless officials in Italy and Europe take decisive action.

Italy has idled all nonessential industry in a bid to keep more people at home and stop the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 100,000 people in Italy and killed over 10,000.

Confindustria says measures to contain the virus have impacted consumption and production, with no clear indication when measures will ease.

It forecast a drop in second-quarter GDP of 10%, assuming production begins to resume in April, rising from 40% currently to 60% by the end of the month with a return to normal by the end of June.


Tokyo governor concerned about single-day record

TOKYO — Tokyo reported 78 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, a record single-day increase that concerns Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

Tuesday’s number exceeded the 68 cases confirmed on Sunday and brought the total to 522. She is asking residents to stay at home as much as possible, specifically urging them to avoid hostess bars, clubs and karaoke bars as hot spots. Koike has also suggested the possibility of a lockdown of Tokyo if infections don’t slow.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government enacted a special law enabling him to declare a state of emergency. That would allow local leaders to put into place a range of measures, including closures of schools and business operations.

Koike discussed Tokyo’s latest situation with Abe and says a “judgment by the government is now needed.”


How to stay safe, and how to help

The United States is home to roughly 49 million people who are 65 years or older, including 5.3 million in California. Many are at risk for severe illness with COVID-19, meaning that they must be extra vigilant to prevent being exposed to the coronavirus. Their families and caregivers must also be especially careful.

Seniors wrestle with numerous questions each day, including how to safely access essential services and cope with hoarding, isolation and other challenges. Here are some answers to many of these questions.



Clippers’ Patrick Patterson connects with fans through movie nights

Clippers power forward Patrick Patterson was supposed to have been in Detroit on Friday night. His team was scheduled to face the Pistons in its last multi-game road trip of the season. Instead, he found himself on his couch, hosting a virtual movie night.

Patterson, who is currently working toward opening a production company and becoming a film producer, has hosted movie screenings for fans since he was with the Toronto Raptors (2013-17). He took the tradition with him when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder (2017-19) and now plans to make it a weekly Friday night tradition as a Clipper with the NBA season suspended and much of the country ordered to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Hospitals, nursing homes become battlegrounds as California deaths rise

Hospitals and nursing homes have emerged as the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus in California as the number of cases and deaths continue to rise.

In the last four days, the number of intensive-care patients in the state has tripled — from 200 to 597 — and the number of hospitalizations has nearly doubled, from 746 to 1,432. By Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed cases had climbed to more than 7,400 and deaths to 149.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said modeling suggested the state would need 50,000 new hospital beds by mid-May.

“We project that we will need that toward the second half of the month of May,” Ghaly said. “So we are very busy trying to build toward that.”



Orange County inmate’s death may be linked to the outbreak

A 69-year-old man who spent roughly two months in the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana was tested for coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, before he died at a hospital Sunday, sheriff’s officials said.

The results have not been finalized, and it’s unclear whether the inmate was exhibiting symptoms before he died.



Top Moscow doctor positive, shook Putin’s hand

MOSCOW — The chief doctor of Moscow’s top hospital for coronavirus patients says he’s tested positive, a statement that comes a week after his encounter with President Vladimir Putin.

Putin visited the Kommunarka hospital a week ago and met with its chief doctor, Denis Protsenko. The doctor says he’s feeling OK and previously self-isolated in his office.

There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin on whether Putin had undergone a coronavirus test following Protsenko’s announcement.

The president wore a business suit and shook hands with Protsenko before the meeting, drawing a buzz on social networks over his neglect of safety precautions.

Later that day, Putin put on a yellow protective suit and mask to visit the rooms with patients.

On Tuesday, Russia had 500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the biggest spike since the start of the outbreak. The country has 2,337 cases so far.


Stocks wobble, on pace for worst quarter since 2008

U.S. stocks fell and then erased those losses Tuesday morning as Wall Street closed in on its worst quarterly performance since the most harrowing days of the 2008 financial crisis.

The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 0.4% around 7:20 a.m. Pacific, but it has lost nearly one-fifth of its value since the start of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3%, and the Nasdaq climbed nearly 1%. Asian markets rose earlier in the day following a stronger-than-expected report on China’s economy, where factories are reopening as the spread of the coronavirus slows there. But momentum stalled in Europe, where Spain’s tally of coronavirus-caused deaths jumped.



The pandemic could shut down some of L.A.’s most vulnerable hubs of culture and history

It was never easy getting people to walk into the Altadena Bunny Museum.

With a dearth of paying customers to help keep it going, naturally occurring social distancing was already a thing at the small rabbit-inspired museum Candace Frazee co-founded in 1998.

Then the first coronavirus guidelines rolled through California, locking down many “nonessential” businesses in a dramatic effort to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease. Soon, the advisories morphed into a stay-at-home order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom that closed down all museums, including Frazee’s.

“Now we have guidelines to follow, people are staying home for their safety and that’s going to make our survival difficult,” Frazee said.



Israeli army chief of staff enters quarantine after exposure to officer with coronavirus

Jerusalem—Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi has entered quarantine after having been exposed to an army officer who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

In a statement, the Israeli army said that on March 22 its top commander attended a meeting relating to the Home Front Command alongside its commanding officer and the army’s head of operations.

A reserve officer who participated in the encounter was diagnosed with the coronavirus Tuesday.

Kohavi, who the army spokesman reported has no symptoms, underwent a test for coronavirus infection immediately. He will be quarantined in his office for the rest of the week.


Neiman Marcus to furlough employees, extends closures

Neiman Marcus Group Inc., which closed all of its stores this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is extending the closures and will furlough a majority of its around 14,000 workers in the coming weeks.

The luxury retailer’s Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Last Call stores will stay shut at least until April 30, according to a statement sent to Bloomberg. A “large portion” of the organization “will either be put on furlough or take temporary salary reductions,” Chief Executive Officer Geoffroy van Raemdonck said.

The decision will go into effect April 5 and last through April 30, with the potential for an extension, according to the company.

Like other retailers, Neiman is bracing for a slump tied to the virus outbreak. The company continues to serve its customers through online channels.


Enjoy culture while social distancing: 9 picks, from Alvin Ailey to Bach cello suites

For a little culture during your home quarantine, we’re offering daily recommendations of streaming concerts, online musicals, virtual art exhibitions and more. Here are nine picks for Tuesday, all times Pacific:

Ailey All Access: This online portal from New York’s acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater features dance classes, short films and other original content, plus performances of full-length works including one of company founder Alvin Ailey’s signature pieces, “Revelations” (available until 4 p.m. Thursday). Free on YouTube.

Violinist Johnny Gandelsman: The Grammy-winning violinist performs live all six Bach cello suites, transcribed for violin — the very program he was slated to perform in a canceled concert at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. 3 p.m. Tuesday. Free on Facebook.



Major cruise lines suspend sailings until mid-May, for now

Spring cruises, including popular voyages through Alaska’s Inside Passage, seem to be off the table this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most lines decided to extend suspension of cruises by at least a month.

Cruise lines are offering refunds or value-added vouchers for future cruises for those who delay their plans. Many are allowing passengers to change their plans within 48 hours of sailing.

Some of parent company Carnival Corp.’s cruise lines are saying they won’t sail until at least May, extending a suspension that was supposed to expire April 11. Four brands — Holland America Line, Carnival, Seabourn and Cunard — announced their plans Monday. Carnival canceled cruises through May 11; Seabourn and Holland America, through May 14; and Cunard, through May 15.



In lockdown hair hell? Try these at-home tricks for cuts and covering gray

If you aren’t careful with your hair during the COVID-19 pandemic, your coming days might include having a man bob or a self-inflicted horror haircut or glaring color and extension outgrowth that reveal one too many secrets to your significant other or your colleagues on Zoom video chat.

In search of answers, The Times turned to pro hair colorists and stylists in L.A. to get tips and tricks on how best to tend to hair during quarantine.

One universal piece of advice: Tap into your usual stylist for personalized help and book a post-quarantine appointment now to beat the rush — as recent cancellations at some salons have caused future bookings to back up.



Carnival Cruise Line seeks to raise $6 billion

Cruise line operator Carnival Corp. is turning to all corners of the capital markets to raise $6 billion of cash after the COVID-19 pandemic halted travel, bringing its business to a near standstill.

The company is tapping bond investors on both sides of the Atlantic with a $3-billion sale of secured notes in U.S. dollars and euros, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the details were private. The new notes will be secured by a first-priority claim on the company’s assets and mature in three years, the people said.

Carnival said it also planned to raise $1.25 billion by issuing common shares and another $1.75 billion through the sale of convertible notes to improve its liquidity position.

President Trump asked Carnival and other major cruise line operators to stop sailing this month after a series of coronavirus outbreaks at sea raised concerns about the safety of the industry. The companies, which have large fixed costs, are now bracing for the possibility of having to go months without customers.


In China, the epidemic isn’t over, officials say

BEIJING — Chinese officials say the coronavirus epidemic isn’t over in their country and that daunting challenges remain.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday that authorities needed to make sure that infected people arriving from abroad didn’t spread the disease and start new outbreaks.

She hit back at U.S. criticism of her country’s handling of the epidemic, saying China and the U.S. should work together to fight it.

“We also hope that some U.S. officials can follow through in the spirit of the two heads of states’ call and create more favorable conditions for the two countries to cooperate in the fight against the disease,” she said. The two leaders talked late last week.

Hua noted that some local Chinese governments and companies had provided virus-related medical supplies to the United States, even as the demand for those supplies remains high in China.


Column: No coronavirus refund but credit for a future cruise? Are you kidding?

Craig Morris, his wife, two kids and three grandchildren are no longer booked on a seven-day holiday in hell.

But they were fought by the cruise operator, Carnival, every step of the way.

Morris, 71, and his family were booked into three cabins on the Carnival Panorama, which was scheduled to set sail from Long Beach on April 11.

Until Monday, Carnival had insisted the Riverside resident was out of luck if he wanted his $7,500 ticket cost refunded. Instead, the company said he and his family could book a different cruise at any time over the next 12 months.



Gov. Gavin Newsom sticks to pressure, not force, in California’s shutdown

SACRAMENTO — In addressing the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom has been steadfast in contending that his stay-at-home order should be enforced through persuasion, not punishment.

And instead of calling on the National Guard to patrol the streets, the 52-year-old Democrat continues to enlist Californians to pressure one another to “bend the curve.”

“That social pressure we’re seeing out there for people to do the right thing is the most powerful enforcement tool we have,” Newsom said Monday.

But while the approach is consistent with the governor’s deliberate response to the coronavirus pandemic and his effort to persuade Californians to adapt to the new restrictions rather than wielding the power of his office, some have questioned whether Newsom needs to do more.



Hold the bacon: Pork bellies aren’t being panic purchased like eggs, beef

As restaurants around the U.S. close, prices for the cut of pork used to make bacon have plunged to lows not seen since Bill Clinton was president.

Pork bellies have tumbled to about 41 cents per pound — the lowest since 1999 — according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, compared with 93 cents two weeks ago. That’s in contrast to some other foods such as eggs and beef that have surged as people prepare more meals at home during coronavirus lockdowns.

While bacon long has been a popular meat at breakfast, pork belly’s popularity in recent years owes more to its use in restaurants. Bacon tops burgers and doughnuts, is wrapped around dates, and the cut of pork is included in bowls of steaming ramen.


Julia Sweeney and ‘Jagged Little Pill’ star lead Geffen Playhouse watch-at-home series

Geffen Playhouse is launching a view-from-home lineup of new short performances beginning Wednesday featuring the likes of Jefferson Mays, Lauren Patten and Julia Sweeney.

The Westwood theater company will post its digital series, titled Geffen Stayhouse, on its website and on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram every Wednesday until its doors open to the public again. It is among many theaters that have halted operations since mid-March due to the novel coronavirus.

“It’s important to remind our patrons and theater lovers there is an artistic light at the end of this tunnel,” Geffen Playhouse Executive Director Gil Cates Jr. said in an interview. “In these uncertain times, nourishing the soul and knowing we will eventually get back to a familiar world and culture is important, and I think the arts, in their own way, can help. It’s also an opportunity to introduce people to new, complementary ways of experiencing theater they may have never considered before.”



Social distancing may have helped California slow the virus and avoid New York’s fate

MILLBRAE, Calif. — For California and Washington, the coronavirus triggers came early. They pushed the two Western states to social distancing measures earlier than the rest of the country.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the warning came while the Grand Princess cruise ship, carrying infected crew and passengers, lurked outside the Golden Gate. As the coronavirus cases spread in Silicon Valley, health officers as early as March 5 urged employers to consider allowing more employees to work from home, and companies to cancel large gatherings and nonessential travel.

By the time the ship docked in Oakland on March 9, the BART transit system had seen a 24% drop in ridership compared with a typical Monday in February. Ridership was down 75% a week later, the same day the Bay Area issued the nation’s first coronavirus shelter-in-place order.



New rulings amid coronavirus could force Trump to release migrant children and parents

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Los Angeles has given the Trump administration until April 6 to deliver an account of why it can’t quickly release many of the roughly 7,000 immigrant children at risk of contracting the coronavirus in shelters and detention facilities across the U.S., and unite them with waiting sponsors.

On Monday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., expanded the ruling to apply to their detained parents as well.

The Justice Department declined to comment Monday on whether the administration planned to appeal in either case, both of which also mandate oversight of the detention facilities’ preparedness for the pandemic. The White House did not respond.

While praising the rulings, Karen Tumlin, a Los Angeles-based lawyer and director and founder of the Justice Action Center, said the administration was forcing “ad hoc justice” amid the coronavirus outbreak.



Brazilian pews become battlegrounds in fight against quarantine

RIO DE JANEIRO —As he does every Sunday, Brazilian pastor Silas Malafaia took the stage of his Pentecostal church in a middle-class Rio de Janeiro neighborhood. But this week, he wore a T-shirt instead of a blazer, and behind the three cameras broadcasting to his legion of YouTube followers were thousands of empty seats.

Brazil’s churches have landed on the front lines of a battle between state governors, who have introduced quarantine measures designed to contain spread of the new coronavirus, and President Jair Bolsonaro, who is actively undermining them and says a broad lockdown will destroy Brazil’s economy.

Brazil’s politically powerful evangelical Christians helped bring the far-right president to power in the 2018 election, and Bolsonaro is letting them know they aren’t forgotten, political analysts said. The most influential pastors are backing the president’s defiant coronavirus stance while grudgingly respecting governors’ orders by canceling services or moving them online. There are signs some churches are disobeying.


Spain records its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day

MADRID — Spain on Tuesday recorded 849 new coronavirus deaths, the highest number since the pandemic hit the southern European country, according to the Spanish health ministry.

With both new infections and deaths up about 11%, for a total of 94,417 confirmed cases and 8,189 fatalities, Spain is seeing a slight rebound of the outbreak. It has surpassed China to become the country with the third-highest number of infections, after the United States and Italy.

That’s despite a tentative overall slowdown in the virus’s spread in Spain over the past week, which has allowed authorities to focus on heading off the collapse of the health system. At least one third of Spain’s 17 regions were already at their limit of capacity in terms of intensive care unit usage, while new beds are being added in hotels, exhibition and sports centers across the country.

At least 14% of those infected are much-needed medical personnel. Many of them lack proper protective gear.

The government also wants to cushion the social effects of a major economic slowdown. Spain is officially “hibernating,” with new measures halting all but essential economic activity coming into full force on Tuesday. The government’s decision to impose a two-week halt, effective Monday, came even as authorities claimed that the previous two weeks of confinement were starting to pay off with a slower pace of the pandemic’s expansion.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing Cabinet is expected to add a new $770 million aid package, including zero-interest loans, as well as suspend evictions for families who can’t afford to pay their rent.


Indonesia to ban all foreign arrivals

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia will close its doors to foreign arrivals in an attempt to curb the coronavirus spread, and the country plans to bring home more than a million nationals working abroad.

Foreign minister Retno Marsudi announced Tuesday that all foreigners will be temporarily banned from visiting and traveling in Indonesia territories, except for diplomatic corps and those who hold a residence permit.

The restriction will take effect later this week, Marsudi said.

She said the government would protect the health of nationals stranded abroad amid the coronavirus crisis, and has decided to repatriate more than a million Indonesian migrant workers from neighboring Malaysia.

Indonesia’s latest tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,414, with 122 reported deaths.


Russia registers 500 new coronavirus cases, the biggest spike of its outbreak

MOSCOW — Russia registered 500 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Tuesday in the biggest spike since the beginning of the outbreak that brought the country’s total to 2,337 cases.

The report comes as Russia edges closer to declaring a state of emergency, with many regions and cities ordering lockdowns and sweeping self-isolation protocols.

Moscow, the country’s capital, has been on lockdown since Monday, with most businesses closed and residents not allowed to leave their apartments except for grocery shopping, buying medicines, taking out trash or walking their dogs. Similar regimes are in place in more than 30 Russian regions.

Human rights advocates and lawyers in Russia argue that, in accordance with the Russian legislation, such lockdowns can’t be legally enforced until the state of emergency is declared by the president. The Kremlin has so far said that Moscow authorities have been within their rights to impose a lockdown.

On Tuesday, the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament house, hastily adopted a law allowing the Cabinet to declare the state of emergency, rubber-stamping it through all three required readings in one day.


‘What if I am a carrier?’ As the coronavirus spreads in Florida, a priest struggles to reach his flock

The Rev. Michael Sahdev of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Coral Gables, Fla., has made videos to connect with his congregation.
(Patrick Farrell / For The Times)

It was the third Wednesday of Lent, and the Rev. Michael Sahdev couldn’t sleep.

This was supposed to be one of the most important times of the year, when he’d join his flock each day to relive the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert before they celebrated his resurrection.

Instead, he was stuck in his apartment in khaki shorts and an un-tucked black clergy shirt with the white collar missing. He stress-ate through a big bag of salt and vinegar chips. He tossed in bed. He scrolled through the news.

“Can y’all not sleep either?” he tweeted at 3:50 a.m. to the other Episcopal priests who followed him.

There was too much on his mind.

The parishioner dying of leukemia whom he couldn’t anoint. The 98-year-old who came each week to receive the Eucharist from his hands. His mom, who greeted customers at the kids clothing store in the mall to make ends meet.

“I’m supposed to be there with the people,” he thought to himself. “What am I doing here?”

Social distancing has different meanings. In California, Oregon and many other states, everything “unessential” — including houses of worship — has closed. Many churches, mosques and synagogues have gone online. In Louisiana and Ohio, megachurches have drawn scorn for meeting. Absent across-the-board state orders, counties and cities in Florida have made their own rules.



Hundreds of stranded Americans leave Nepal amid lockdown

An American citizen arrives at an airport Kathmandu, Nepal, on Tuesday for a U.S.-bound flight.
(Associated Press)

Hundreds of stranded Americans left Nepal on a repatriation flight Tuesday, days after a complete lockdown was imposed in the Himalayan nation to help fight the coronavirus.

A Qatar Airways flight arranged by the U.S. government flew out 302 Americans from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport to Washington, D.C. The elderly, families with children and people with a medical condition were given priority on the flight.

The U.S. Embassy in Nepal estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 Americans are still in the country, but says that not all of them are seeking to leave. Plans for future flights to evacuate more of the Americans were unclear.

Passengers on board Tuesday’s flight said they paid $1,250 for the seat home.

“I have a three-month visa and I was hoping to stay another month and a half or so,” said one of the passengers, Ryan Paugh, a software engineer from Washington, D.C., who was trekking in Nepal. “We don’t feel like we want to leave, but it is the right decision to get back to the U.S. until the pandemic can calm down.”