Coronavirus updates: New signs that restrictions are here for the long haul in California

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

Coronavirus updates for May 11 are here


Wear a mask? Even with 20,000 dead, some New Yorkers don’t

Eric Leventhal felt a sneeze coming and panicked.

The Brooklynite left his cloth face mask at home for a morning run in a park last week. Walking home, he turned toward an empty street and let the sneeze out, hoping no one would notice.

Too bad for him, there’s no hiding without a mask in virus-stricken New York City.

“I picked my head up and I caught eyes with a woman who was wearing a mask, an older woman,” Leventhal recalled recently. “She was just kind of shaking her head.”

Leventhal, 36, is caught in the middle of a debate over when and where, exactly, it is necessary to wear a mask in a city where COVID-19 has now claimed more than 20,000 lives.

Since April 17, everyone in New York state has been required to wear a face covering in any place where they can’t stay at least 6 feet from people who don’t live with them. Only children younger than 2 and people with a medical excuse are exempt.

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How a night out jeopardized South Korea’s COVID-19 response and sparked homophobic backlash

The city had begun breathing easy, life once more pulsating in its streets. Museums and art galleries reopened, gyms welcomed back regulars, baseball and soccer leagues kicked off. Traffic choked thoroughfares, and schools readied to greet students for the first time in months.

For 18 days in a row, this metropolis of nearly 10 million reported zero cases of community transmissions of the novel coronavirus. It seemed, even in these uncertain times, that danger had receded in a nation praised for its handling of the pandemic.

Then, a 29-year-old man who’d gone clubbing over a holiday weekend came down with COVID-19, shattering the tenuous sense of normality and setting off a frenzied search for thousands who’d been in the clubs and bars he visited.

As of Tuesday, more than 100 people had tested positive for the virus linked to a cluster stemming from the popular nightlife district of Itaewon. Co-workers and family members of clubgoers have tested positive, including an 84-year-old woman who’d dined with a grandson. The city recoiled: More than 2,000 establishments were ordered to shut down, office buildings where the infected worked were closed, and start dates for schools were, once again, pushed back.

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After seventh coronavirus death, congresswoman says Terminal Island inmates lack protection

Days after a seventh inmate at the Terminal Island federal prison died from a coronavirus-related illness, a U.S. congresswoman emerged from the San Pedro lockup Tuesday saying she was disturbed by what see saw inside and that detainees are desperate for protective equipment.

After touring the facility, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán peeled off a suction cup mask, gown and protective visor that allowed her to step into isolation areas of one of the nation’s largest spread of the coronavirus and described inmates screaming for help. Many in the highly infectious units were supplied with just cloth masks.

“While I was there, I would hear the inmates screaming that were in isolation units,” Barragán said. “‘Saying, ‘Turn on the air, get us some air, help me, I need to make a call.’”



Gym, motorcycle dealer, hair salon among 60 businesses charged with violating stay-at-home rules

The owners of 60 businesses including car washes, gyms and hair salons across Los Angeles deemed nonessential by the city but still remain open are now facing criminal charges for violating the mayor’s stay-at-home order.

Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer revealed the latest round of the crackdown on businesses flouting Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Safer at Home order by staying open. Dozens of businesses have been identified by Los Angeles police as keeping open despite being told to close. Police investigators have turned over evidence against at least 79 businesses identified by the department.

The number of businesses seemingly ignoring Garcetti’s order has risen steadily as the shutdown drags on and many small business owners struggle to keep operating.



New signs that coronavirus restrictions are here for the long haul in California

Even as officials laid out more tentative plans to reopen California’s battered economy, there were growing signs Tuesday that life would not be getting back to normal anytime soon.

The 23-campus California State University system plans to all but cancel in-person classes in the fall and instead will offer instruction primarily online.

The vast majority of classes across the Cal State system will be taught online, with some limited exceptions that allow for in-person activity. The decision comes as schools throughout the country grapple with how long to keep campuses closed amid the coronavirus crisis.

“Our university when open without restrictions and fully in person … is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity,” Chancellor Timothy White said at a meeting of Cal State’s Board of Trustees. “That approach sadly just isn’t in the cards now.”

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When will dining rooms reopen? For L.A. restaurants, the wait drags on

California restaurants might soon be able to reopen their dining rooms in counties that have seen reduced cases of the novel coronavirus, provided they follow a list of guidelines for physical distancing and cleaning regimens, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

The announcement came as the state released a detailed plan outlining “guidance for dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, craft distilleries, breweries, bars, pubs, and wineries,” including the use of face masks by employees, enhanced sanitary procedures, disposable menus, increased fresh air circulation, the elimination of table-side or cart service, and the limiting of dining room seating to allow for physical distancing.

But even as the state is moving forward with those plans, restaurants in L.A. County will likely be forced to remain on the sidelines for many more weeks.

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Silicon Valley has no plans now to weaken coronavirus stay-at-home order

SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley’s health officer has no immediate plans to weaken its strict stay-at-home order in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s relaxation of the statewide mandate, saying she couldn’t take that step without increasing the risk to public safety.

The San Francisco Bay Area’s most populous county, Santa Clara County, was California’s original epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. And while levels of disease haven’t surged to catastrophic levels, they’ve remained steady, and even a small increase in disease transmission would heighten the risk to vulnerable communities, said Dr. Sara Cody, a key architect of the nation’s first regional shelter-in-place order.

“We’re not there yet,” Cody told the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

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What gyms will look like when they reopen

In Los Angeles, we don’t know when we will see the inside of a gym again. But one thing is certain: when we get there, it will look different.

As California moves into Stage 2 of the state’s stay-at-home order, Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted that Stage 3, where higher-risk workplaces such as gyms and fitness studios would be allowed to reopen, may arrive sooner than later.

But on Tuesday, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home orders will “with all certainty” be extended for the next three months.

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Workers in L.A. County unincorporated areas now have more protections to get their jobs back

Thousands of people who were working in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas before the COVID-19 pandemic now have more protections under the law to get their jobs back.

At the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, two ordinances passed that provide enhanced job protections to janitorial, maintenance, security and hospitality workers in unincorporated L.A. County, areas of the county not within any city’s boundaries. (There are 88 cities in L.A. County.)

The first measure, a “right of recall” ordinance, ensures that workers who are laid off because of the pandemic have first rights on their jobs when their employer starts hiring employees back. The other ordinance is a “worker retention” measure that ensures that workers get to keep their jobs if the business they work for gets sold because of the pandemic.

For example, if someone was laid off from a hotel in Marina del Rey, under the “right of recall” ordinance, they could get their job back once that hotel started hiring again.

Under the new measure, workers will have five days to respond to a recall notice. An amendment was made to the ordinance to ensure that workers who cannot return to work because of health concerns can use their remaining sick leave before accepting their job back.

Several people called into the meeting to voice their support or opposition of the measures, including members of the business community who opposed the measures.

“Businesses are struggling to survive and doing their best to adapt under unprecedented circumstances. When this crisis is over it should be up to them to figure out how best to rehire and rebuild their businesses,” said Sarah Wiltfong, Los Angeles County Business Federation policy manager.

Meanwhile, Unite Here Local 11, a labor union representing more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona, celebrated the ordinances.

“We thank the supervisors for their hard work in creating them, and the fact that everyone worked very hard to find the right path is a sign of good policymaking,” said Francis Engler, California political director with Local 11.


Orange County will unveil proposed coronavirus ‘reopening’ guidelines this week

Orange County is just days away from unveiling a possible road map for lifting some coronavirus-related restrictions, a top health official said Tuesday.

Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, told the Board of Supervisors that he would on Thursday “submit to you a comprehensive plan on reopening and how to do that.”

Those guidelines, which Chau did not detail, would be presented to the board “so you can make your decision” as to whether to adopt them, he added.

Chau’s pledge comes as county supervisors, and dozens of residents who turned out to lobby them Tuesday, are itching to relax restrictions that were imposed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and to reopen businesses and public spaces.

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America’s pathetic sick leave policies are killing our coronavirus response

If you’re looking for an area in which the United States is indisputably a global standout, here it is: paid sick leave.

Unfortunately, not in a good way. Of United Nations member countries, 181 provide paid leave in some form. Eleven do not, including the U.S.

That places America in an elite group that includes the Pacific Island nations of Tonga, Tuvalu, and Nauru, along with Somalia (which is barely a functioning nation at all).

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‘No time to get cocky’: Experts urge caution as governors weigh more reopenings

Governors across the nation have faced armed protesters and death threats as they have struggled with how to begin easing coronavirus restrictions on residents and businesses without creating new outbreaks of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, as the nation’s top health officials warned that moving too quickly could lead to more infections and deaths, new polling indicated that Americans overwhelmingly approve of how the nation’s governors are handling the coronavirus outbreak, particularly those who have been the most cautious.

Despite pressure from protesters and the business community to reopen the economy, nearly three-quarters of Americans approved of their governors’ performance, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Washington Post and Ipsos.

Governors who acted swiftly to shut down their states in the face of the pandemic and have been cautious about reopening received the highest marks from their constituents — Republican Mike DeWine of Ohio with 86%, and Democrats Andrew Cuomo of New York with 81% and Gavin Newsom of California with 79%.

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Surviving the Shutdown: A taco truck owner in Santa Ana tries to keep the city’s lonchera culture going

The bottle of hand sanitizer that Alebrijes in Santa Ana has next to its takeout window has always been there.

“We’re a taco truck, so hands always get messy for our customers but also us workers,” owner Albert Hernandez said on a recent morning, as customers who just finished shopping at a nearby Northgate Supermarket queued up to order.

“But almost none of our customers would ever use it,” he said. “Now, they ask for it more than salsa!”
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Vaccines ‘are poisonous’ and other views of a business owner who banned masks in his shop

By the time I got to the Simi Valley flooring shop late Monday morning, the controversial signs had been hauled inside, and the store was locked up tight.

Peering through the window of Ramsay One Construction, I could see why they had caused such a fuss. There were four of them; white paint on plywood slabs about four feet high and two feet wide:

“We’re OPEN – to the truth.”

“No Masks Allowed.”
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Newsom sets new rules for reopening California restaurants, malls and offices amid coronavirus

California restaurants can soon reopen in counties that meet standards for testing and success at reducing cases of coronavirus, while strip malls can soon provide pickup services, but all businesses will have to abide by state guidelines for physical distancing and cleaning regimens, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

Two months after the governor issued a stay-at home order that closed most businesses, Newsom said restaurants can reopen for dine-in service in counties certified as meeting state benchmarks for addressing the pandemic, but they should implement changes to guard against spreading the virus.

Strip malls and outlet malls will be allowed to open for pickup purchases from customers throughout the state. Car washes and pet groomers can also resume operating in those counties with safeguards.

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She organized California’s back-to-work protests, but now she’s calling it quits

A group calling itself We Have Rights has recently started organizing large back-to-work protests throughout California, calling on state and local leaders to end social distancing orders aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The group, which popped up in just the last two weeks, has a professional-looking website and a growing social media presence, which provide details for upcoming events, instructions for dealing with the media and highly produced Instagram videos, as well as T-shirts and other branded merchandise for sale.

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What’s open and closed this busy week: Beaches, parks and trails in Southern California

Southern Californians are still under orders to remain close to home and cover their face outdoors, but the reopening of Los Angeles city and county trails Saturday — followed by L.A. County beaches on Wednesday — means new room to move for millions of people on thousands of acres of public land.

With that freedom come warnings from many public health professionals that this relaxation of rules could give the pandemic a chance to grow further.

Beaches are now open (with many restrictions) in Orange, Ventura, San Diego and Santa Barbara counties. L.A. County, which has kept beaches shut while suffering more pandemic deaths than any other area in the state, joins them Wednesday morning.

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CSU plans to cancel most in-person classes and go online this fall, chancellor announces

The 23-campus California State University system plans to all but cancel in-person classes in the fall and instead will offer instruction primarily online, Chancellor Timothy White announced Tuesday.

The vast majority of classes across the Cal States will be taught online, White said, with some limited exceptions that allow for in-person activity. The decision comes as schools throughout the country grapple with how long to keep campuses closed amid the coronavirus crisis.



L.A. County to keep stay-at-home orders in place through July

Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home orders will “with all certainty” be extended for the next three months, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer acknowledged during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Ferrer said that would only change if there was a “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand.”

“Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months,” she said. But without widely available therapeutic testing for the novel coronavirus or rapid at-home tests that would allow people to test themselves daily, it seems unlikely that restrictions would be completely eased.

Ferrer made the comments as the board debated whether to extend the county’s eviction moratorium for one to three months.

The comments come one day before beaches of Los Angeles County are set to reopen Wednesday, just days after the county lifted restrictions on hiking trails, parks and golf courses and allowed curbside pickup at nonessential businesses.



What the 1918 flu pandemic can teach us


The 1918 flu was one the worst pandemics in history, infecting one-third of the world’s population. How cities responded to the crisis in 1918 provides lessons on handling COVID-19 today.


Watch live: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a news briefing



After rescinding stay-at-home orders, Riverside County reports rise in coronavirus cases

Following a controversial vote on Friday to rescind Riverside County’s stay-at-home orders, officials on Monday reported 150 new coronavirus cases and 12 deaths.

With 5,189 confirmed cases and 217 deaths, the county now has the second-highest number of cases in the state behind Los Angeles County, which had more than 32,000 cases as of Monday morning.



Pelosi unveils $3-trillion coronavirus aid package for Friday vote

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has unveiled a $3-trillion coronavirus aid package the House is expected to take up Friday for a vote. Pelosi was scheduled to make a statement on the bill later Tuesday.

She has encouraged Congress to “go big” with the next virus aid package to help cash-strapped states.


Air National Guard flyovers today salute California’s essential workers amid coronavirus outbreak

A sky-high salute will honor California’s workers on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus Wednesday.

Taking off from Fresno, four California Air National Guard F-15C Eagle fighter jets will soar over parts of the state as part of a nationwide show of support for healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel.

The jets, assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing, will launch about 10 a.m. and head north to Sacramento before banking west over the San Francisco Bay Area.

From there, they will head south to Los Angeles before turning around near Santa Ana and heading back to base.

During their journey — which is expected to take a little more than two hours — the jets will fly over numerous medical centers and hospitals, law enforcement offices, fire stations and government buildings, including the state Capitol.


After public outrage over gender imbalance, Italy adds women to key committees on reopening the country

ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says six women are joining a key committee advising the government about how the country can safely emerge from lockdown.

That comes after female researchers, scientists and lawmakers noted with outrage that women weren’t represented in Italy’s management of the pandemic, even though more than half of the country’s doctors are women.

The premier’s office says Conte made the appointments “out of the need to guarantee gender representation.” Since Italy’s devastating COVID-19 outbreak began, the 20-member technical-scientific committee had been all male.

Among the female experts who now join the committee are a biologist with expertise in immunology and an expert on safety in the workplace. Conte also added five women to a separate ad hoc advisory body that is headed by a male Italian industrialist and made up mainly of men. Among the women joining that advisory body will be a sociology professor and a founder of Italy’s first university center dedicated to fighting domestic violence.

Earlier this month, female lawmakers lodged a parliamentary motion calling on Conte to remedy gender imbalance on the advisory panels. For weeks, Italians had been briefed daily by only male doctors, epidemiologists and other experts about developments in the pandemic.


Column: With California reopening, L.A. County Arboretum charts a safe path for people and peacocks

It’s peafowl mating season, in case you were wondering, which means the peacocks are strutting and posing like celebrities on the red carpet all over the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, COVID-19 be damned.

They are also screaming quite a bit, a startlingly desperate whoop of a noise familiar to many residents of Arcadia and adjacent neighborhoods — a noise that’s currently being deployed to get the attention of any nearby peahen who might be looking for a good time.

The peahens, it must be said, appear generally unimpressed. Indeed, none of the other Arboretum fauna reacts at all to the mournful cry, not even the wee gaggles of fuzzy goslings, skittering about their mamas in photo-op adorableness.

Wandering the gardens, you can hear in the peacock’s howl an echo of our shutdown fear and frustration — or you can pretend it’s the paparazzi trying to get your attention.

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Scores of L.A. businesses reopened but failed to follow safety rules, officials say

As California businesses slowly reopen, public health officials are trying to make sure they follow social distancing rules to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said that it surveyed 410 businesses and found 162 were in violation “because they were allowing customers into stores, not following physical distancing measures and not requiring customers to wear cloth face coverings.”

Some retailers were allowed to reopen with curbside service beginning Friday, including florists, bookstores and clothing stores.

“As a reminder, retail establishments are closed to public entry and must ensure compliance with all protocols before reopening. Inspectors will continue to monitor for compliance and ensure that all adhere to the health officer order,” the county said.

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Trump joins the fray over Tesla plant reopening amid coronavirus restrictions

President Trump joined the debate over Elon Musk’s scorched-earth effort to reopen Tesla Inc.’s only U.S. car plant hours after the chief executive officer thanked employees who risked being arrested for defying a county order.

“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW,” Trump wrote in a tweet Tuesday. “It can be done Fast & Safely!”

Musk, 48, said Monday that Tesla was restarting production at its plant in Fremont, Calif., flouting county officials who ordered the company to stay closed. When asked on Twitter how the day went at the factory, Musk replied Tuesday: “Great.”

“Just wanted to send you a note of appreciation for working hard to make Tesla successful,” Musk wrote in an email to employees seen by Bloomberg News. “It is so cool seeing the factory come back to life and you are making it happen!!”

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More than 8,000 people died of COVID-19 in British nursing homes over two-month period

LONDON — More than 8,000 people died of COVID-19 in British nursing homes from March 2, the date of the first recorded death, to May 1.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics says that, in the two-month period, there were 8,312 recorded deaths in care homes in England and Wales that mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. The figure doesn’t include deaths in Scotland or Northern Ireland, which would add several hundred to the total.

In all, there were 35,044 deaths involving the coronavirus in England and Wales up to May 1.

The figure is higher than the official government toll, which stood Monday at 32,065, because it includes cases in which COVID-19 was suspected but not confirmed by a test.

The number of deaths among people with the virus, both in hospitals and elsewhere, is starting to fall. Nick Stripe, head of health analysis at the statistics office, says the total number of weekly deaths is declining but remains well above average for the time of year.


Fauci warns of ‘suffering and death’ if U.S. reopens too soon

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is expected to warn Congress on Tuesday that if the U.S. reopens too soon during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will result in “needless suffering and death.”

Fauci is among the health experts testifying to a Senate panel. His testimony comes as President Trump is praising states that are reopening after the prolonged lockdown aimed at controlling the novel coronavirus’ spread.

Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force charged with shaping the nation’s response to COVID-19, which has killed tens of thousands of people in the U.S., is testifying via video conference. He is self-quarantining after a White House staffer tested positive for the virus.

With the U.S. economy in free-fall and more than 30 million people unemployed, Trump has been pressuring states to reopen.

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‘I’m borne down’: Each day brings more grief as coronavirus outbreak ravages black communities

For weeks, Marsha Music’s Facebook feed has brought a stream of death notices as COVID-19 tears through the black community in her hometown of Detroit. She refuses to let herself cry.

Music knows, or knows of, more than 30 people who have died of the disease, the vast majority of them black like herself.

“I’m borne down — heavy,” she says. “This is horrific.... But I fear that if I start crying, I won’t stop.”

Music is the name she uses in her roles as a writer, performer and local historian. Her given name is Marsha Battle Philpot, and since the coronavirus outbreak, she has mostly stayed confined to her apartment overlooking a quiet street on Detroit’s north side.

There, she pours her heart into tributes to the dead that she posts for friends on her Facebook page. Some of them were people she’d been close to her whole life, while others were more recent acquaintances. Many were community figures she admired for making her city feel more unified and hopeful.

A playwright and poet who took pride in showcasing her fellow black writers; a friend from work who always looked regal in her head wraps; a tiny woman with the impeccably kept house who used to press and curl Music’s hair when she was a girl; a DJ who hosted soul music parties for the over-40 crowd; a restaurant owner who was famous for his huge sandwiches and cakes — she wrote tributes to them all.

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Slammed economically by the coronavirus, Santa Monica offers grim preview of crisis to come

Rick Cole spent his career working to shape and move institutions — not big, august ones with world renown, but midsize cities such as Ventura and Azusa. Over 34 years in five city halls, he built a regional reputation as a wizard of municipal reform.

Sharp, outspoken, at times brusque and divisive, he fought to create compact, walk-able communities near public transportation hubs, while pushing to pare bloated budgets, using data to pinpoint inefficient services and employees.

As city manager of Santa Monica, he had been warning for two years that it needed to start paying down its pension debts, because the good times would end, as they always do.

He just didn’t imagine they would end like this.

The coronavirus outbreak and the shutdown severed the city’s two main streams of revenue, hotel bed tax and sales tax. Santa Monica is now looking at a $226-million shortfall by June of 2021. And while the affluent coastal town is better off than most of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, it is facing drastic cuts and layoffs.

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Column: Amid race for COVID-19 cure, medical files ‘are not as confidential as we think’

To hear President Trump tell it, a COVID-19 vaccine is just around the corner.

“We think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of this year and we’re pushing very hard,” he told Fox News last week.

While many healthcare experts say that’s an unrealistically ambitious goal — most say a vaccine for widespread use is unlikely until next year at the earliest — Trump’s comment raises a few interesting questions.

How will researchers recruit subjects for the vaccine or cure tests? Will scientists await infected or interested people to contact them? Will they use other means to find suitable research participants?

If the latter, it seems fair to wonder how confidential our medical records are. There’s no faster way to recruit research subjects than by going through people’s healthcare files and seeing who qualifies.

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India reopens part of its vast railway network

NEW DELHI — India reopened parts of its huge rail network on Tuesday, running a limited number of trains as it looks at easing a nearly seven-week lockdown despite a continuing rise in coronavirus infections.

Special trains departed from several large cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai. Passengers were allowed to enter the stations only if they were asymptomatic and cleared thermal screening. They are required to maintain social distancing on board and are given hand sanitizer when they enter and leave.

Indian Railways also is requiring that passengers download a government-run contact tracing smartphone app before boarding the train. Critics say the Aarogya Setu app endangers civil liberties in how it uses location services and centralizes data collection.

Thousands of passengers waited in long, serpentine queues outside New Delhi’s railway station, the hub of India’s rail network. Police in riot gear tried to maintain social distancing and citizen volunteers offered water bottles to passengers who lugged heavy bags. Station workers sanitized the area with disinfectants.

“I don’t care about what happens next. At least I will be with my family,” said Ram Babu Kumar Singh, who works as an air conditioning mechanic in New Delhi but whose home is in eastern Bihar state. “If I stay here for long, I will die.”

The decision to open select train lines was made Sunday as India considers easing the strict lockdown of its 1.3 billion people that has left millions stranded in cities. The announcement led to a mad rush for online bookings on Monday as more than 45,000 people purchased train tickets within hours of the start of sales, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.


Quick burials in Nicaragua hint at a coronavirus crisis that officials say doesn’t exist

Roger Ordoñez was hospitalized with breathing problems last week.

When his son Enrique came to visit the following morning, the 69-year-old retiree was already being buried by government workers wearing white full-body protective suits in a cemetery on the outskirts of Chinandega, a city of 133,000 people in northwest Nicaragua.

The hospital warned the Ordoñez family to self-quarantine for two weeks but said their patriarch did not have the novel coronavirus, even though they were shown no test results.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government has stood out for its refusal to impose measures to halt transmission of the coronavirus for more than two months since the disease was first diagnosed in his country. Now, doctors and family members of apparent victims say, the government has gone from denying the disease’s presence in the country to actively trying to conceal its spread.

“I begged the doctor to tell me what happened to him,” Enrique Ordoñez said. “I needed to know if he was infected. I have an 18-month-old girl, my mother has a variety of ailments and we need to know if it was COVID.”

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Children go back to school in France

PARIS — French children start going back to school Tuesday as the country gradually lifts confinement measures following two months of lockdown.

Authorities say 86% of preschools and primary schools are reopening this week.

Most schools across the country start welcoming children again Tuesday. In Paris, schools will reopen Thursday.

Classes are capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 elsewhere. Students are required to keep physical distance from each other and wash their hands several times a day. Teachers must wear a mask.

School attendance is not compulsory. The government has allowed parents to keep children at home amid fears prompted by COVID-19, as France is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.

Junior high schools in regions with fewer virus cases are expected to reopen next week. A target date hasn’t been scheduled yet for high schools.

As of Tuesday, French authorities reported nearly 140,000 people infected with the virus and more than 26,000 deaths.


Nebraska holds first in-person primary election in weeks amid pandemic

OMAHA — Nebraska on Tuesday will hold the nation’s first in-person primary since a heavily criticized election in Wisconsin five weeks ago in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Election officials have repeatedly urged voters to cast early, mail-in ballots, but Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts and Secretary of State Bob Evnen both pledged to forge ahead with an in-person primary even though many other states have rescheduled theirs or switched to all-mail voting.

On Monday, Ricketts said members of the Nebraska National Guard would be on call to help short-staffed polling sites in eight counties, including the Omaha and Lincoln areas. He said guard members would be dressed in civilian clothes, not their normal uniforms.

“They’ll be available to help out,” he said.

A guard spokesman said 135 members had gone through poll-worker training but would not be dispatched unless requested. The counties that might have guard members as poll workers are some of Nebraska’s hardest-hit: Dakota, Dawson, Douglas Hall, Lancaster, Lincoln, Madison and Scottsbluff.

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California considers unprecedented $25-billion economy recovery fund, rental relief

SACRAMENTO — Two unprecedented proposals to help Californians weather the fiscal storm unleashed by the coronavirus crisis are expected to be unveiled Tuesday by Democrats in the state Senate — one to help struggling renters, the other to create a $25-billion economic recovery fund by issuing long-term vouchers to those willing to prepay their future state income taxes.

Taken together, the ideas suggest lawmakers are willing to launch never-before-tried experiments to avoid the unpaid debts and deep cuts to government services that resulted from the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

“We need some short-term assistance,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) in an interview with The Times on Monday. “But we’ve got to be thinking long term on how to do this in a very strategic way.”

The proposals are scheduled to be formally unveiled Tuesday morning in Sacramento, two days before Gov. Gavin Newsom sends lawmakers a plan to erase a short-term budget deficit that could total more than $54 billion.

Neither the renter-assistance program nor the economic recovery fund would have a direct effect on the state budget in the coming weeks and months. Still, lawmakers believe both ideas could boost California’s shattered economy.

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Coronavirus death toll in New York is worse than official tally, study says

New York’s death toll from COVID-19 may be thousands of fatalities more than the official tally kept by the city and state, according to an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between March 11 and May 2, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, said the report, which was released Monday.

That’s about 5,300 more deaths than were blamed on the coronavirus in official tallies during those weeks.

Some of those excess fatalities could be COVID-19 deaths that went uncounted because a person died at home, or without medical providers realizing they were infected, the researchers at New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said.

It might also represent a ripple effect of the health crisis, they wrote. Public fear over contracting the virus and the enormous strain on hospitals might have led to delays in people seeking or receiving life-saving care for unrelated conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

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More than 100 new infections in Seoul linked to nightclubs

SEOUL — The mayor of the South Korean capital says the number of recent coronavirus cases linked to the city’s clubs and other nightspots has surpassed 100.

Park Won-soon told reporters that 64 of the 101 new cases detected as of 10 a.m. Tuesday came from Seoul, which is requesting that anyone who visited any clubs or bars in the Itaewon entertainment district between April 24 and May 6 get tested for COVID-19. He said more than 7,200 people have been tested so far.

More than 8,500 police officers have been deployed nationwide to track down thousands of people who were listed as customers of the Itaewon clubs and bars linked to infections but have been out of contact, according to Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho.

Health workers are also using credit card and telecommunications records to track down Itaewon visitors. Park said the city sent text messages to some 10,900 people urging them to get tested after receiving data from police and mobile phone operators that showed they used their devices in the area.

Figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday brought national figures to 10,936 cases and 258 deaths.

The recent transmissions linked to club-goers have alarmed a country that had eased up on social distancing and scheduled a reopening of schools, which was pushed back by a week to May 20.


Quarantine to be required for visitors to Spain

Spain will require all visitors from abroad to quarantine for 14 days if they arrive in the country after May 15.

The new Health Ministry order, published Tuesday in Spain’s official gazette, says the goal is to “limit the risks derived from the international traffic of people” during the rollback of the coronavirus lockdown.

Travel agencies and transport companies must inform their customers about the new regulations before they sell their Spain-bound tickets, and airlines need to make sure that passengers fill out a “location card” in case they need to be contacted after their trip.

Tourism-magnet Spain is starting to loosen the grip after seven weeks of strict confinement. Authorities have reported more than 26,700 deaths for the coronavirus and more than 268,000 infections confirmed by tests.


Judge denies request to release medically vulnerable federal inmates from San Diego detention center

A federal judge over the weekend denied a request from medically vulnerable inmates in federal criminal custody at Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego County to be released because of the COVID-19 outbreak there.

The decision comes less than two weeks after the same U.S. District judge — Dana Sabraw — ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to review the cases of those in its custody at the facility and release as many detainees as possible who are medically vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.

While Sabraw wrote in his order that he did not dispute inmates’ concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union, he could not grant the temporary restraining order because of a 1996 law that limits judges’ ability to order released people who are in criminal custody.

“The 5th Amendment prohibits punishment of detained persons prior to ‘a formal adjudication of guilt’ but cannot require a complete elimination of all risk of contracting the virus,” Sabraw wrote in his decision. “Holding otherwise would place an impossible burden on detention facilities.”

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Rodeo in Shasta County delays plans to reopen as many fans sidestep coronavirus guidelines

A day after crowds flocked to a rodeo in Cottonwood, a community of about 3,000 people in Shasta County, the county health officer said Monday that the rodeogoers — many of whom thronged the town’s livestock auction without masks or keeping a safe distance between one another — have delayed the county’s plans to reopen.

“I am not happy and the state isn’t happy and it’s impacting the approval of our variance,” Dr. Karen Ramstrom said in a news release.

Last week, Ramstrom said Shasta County had met certain requirements that would allow some storefronts, dine-in restaurants, childcare centers, shopping malls and office buildings to reopen — subject to approval by the state government.

In Shasta County, which has a population of about 180,000, 32 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Four people have died.

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Organ transplants plummeted as the coronavirus spread, study says

Organ transplants plummeted as the coronavirus swept through communities, with surgeons wary of endangering living donors and unable to retrieve possibly usable organs from the dead. Even when doctors were willing and able, hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients were sometimes too full to accommodate them.

Between late February and early April, deceased donor transplants — the most common kind — dropped by about half in the U.S. and plunged 90% in France, researchers reported Monday in the journal Lancet.

Transplants from living donors had a similarly staggering dive, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which runs the U.S. transplant system. There were 151 living donor transplants in the U.S. in the second week of March when a pandemic was declared. By the week of April 5, there were only 16 such transplants, according to UNOS.

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Fifth worker at SoFi Stadium tests positive for coronavirus

A staff member for the joint venture overseeing construction at SoFi Stadium tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal email sent Monday to trade partners on the $5-billion project.

This is the fifth worker on the 298-acre development in Inglewood known to have tested positive since late March.

According to the email, the staff member performed “office related duties” in the Turner-AECOM Hunt complex on site. The staff member last worked Thursday, felt ill Friday and was tested the same day.

“First and most importantly the staff member is doing well with minor symptoms, and is at home under self-quarantine,” the email said.

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Avoid weekend trips and summer vacations for now, California health officials say

As Americans start planning summer vacations, health officials in California urged the public to not take leisure trips, including weekend trips, in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.

“We are, in fact, asking people in our health officer order to avoid nonessential travel and we would ask that our neighbors across the state and across the country do the same,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County. “There’s probably very few places in the world right now that would like to see travel into their communities.”

There is no mandatory 14-day mandatory quarantine for visitors coming to California, as is the case in Hawaii, which is punishable by a $5,000 fine and a year in imprisonment.

But Ferrer requested that people coming to L.A. County “do self-quarantine when you come in [and] you do keep yourself away from other people … for that 14-day period.”

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Los Angeles County beaches may reopen Wednesday. Here are the new rules

Los Angeles County beaches, which have been closed for more than six weeks, should reopen Wednesday with some restrictions on activities and other rules in place, officials said Monday.

Manhattan, Redondo and other county beaches will reopen on May 13 for active recreation only, the Department of Beaches and Harbors said on Twitter. Permitted activities will include running, walking, swimming and surfing. Group sports like volleyball are prohibited.

More languid activities, including picnicking and sunbathing, and their accessories — canopies, coolers and the like — will continue to be prohibited.

Face coverings will be mandatory for anyone on the sand, but not for people in the water. People will be required to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other groups, the department said.

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