Live

California asks Navy for coronavirus support

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.

Share

Iran’s supreme leader to pardon 10,000 more prisoners in apparent effort to curb spread of virus

Iran’s top leader will pardon 10,000 more prisoners in an apparent effort to combat the coronavirus, state TV reported Thursday.

As part of steps to curb the spread of the new virus that has killed more than 1,100 people in Iran, the country has already released 85,000 prisoners on temporary leave.

Separately, the United Arab Emirates added to its list of people barred from entering all residents who are currently abroad. The decision impacts people whose homes, children, bank accounts and livelihoods are in the country, but who were traveling or outside the country. The ban goes into effect at mid-day Thursday for at least two weeks. Only Emirati citizens are allowed to return.

The UAE, which is home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has 113 confirmed cases of the virus. It announced it was suspending all new labor permits, including those for drivers and domestic workers, until “further notice.”

The UAE is unique in that only about 10% of its population, or about 1 million people, are Emirati citizens. The other 90% are foreign residents who fuel its economy and keep the country running. They hold the vast majority of jobs in construction, transportation, hospitality, sales, medicine, education and other key sectors.

The Middle East has some 20,000 cases of the virus, with most in Iran or originating from Iran.

Share

6 residents of assisted living facility near San Francisco hospitalized; 3 test positive for coronavirus

Six residents of an assisted living facility in Burlingame have been hospitalized, with three testing positive for the novel coronavirus, San Mateo County health officials confirmed Thursday evening.

Health officials declined to provide any further information about the residents, other than that they are receiving medical care, and that they live at an Atria facility in the small city near San Francisco.

Atria, which operates monthly rental apartments for older adults in 26 states and seven Canadian provinces, has suspended all nonessential visitation and appointments for residents and “has outbreak precautions in place, including twice a day temperature checks for its residents,” according to the county’s statement.

San Mateo County Health’s public health unit has partnered with the California Department of Public Health to ensure residents’ needs are addressed.

San Mateo County, which has a shelter-in-place order in effect, had 81 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday evening.

Share

Citing coronavirus, homeless families seize 12 vacant homes in L.A.: ‘We have to do this’

Several houses were taken over in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A group of homeless and housing-insecure Angelenos seized more vacant, publicly owned homes in El Sereno on Wednesday, arguing that government officials have failed to provide the shelter that’s necessary for them to remain healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The occupation followed a similar takeover Saturday, when two families and a man moved into one of the neighborhood’s dozens of empty homes — all owned by Caltrans. The state agency bought them years ago as part of a now-failed plan to extend the 710 Freeway.

The protesters have taken over 12 homes and plan to remain in the properties indefinitely, organizers said.

“With this health crisis and this housing crisis, we need every vacant house to be a home for those who don’t have a safe and stable place to sleep in,” said Ruby Gordillo, 33, while standing on the porch of a two-bedroom bungalow before moving in with her three children.

Gordillo and others involved in the protest have said they were inspired by a group of homeless mothers in Oakland. Late last year, those mothers took over a vacant, corporate-owned property and, after they were evicted, secured backing from Gov. Gavin Newsom to force the Bay Area property’s sale to a community land trust.

Read More > > >

Share

At Stanford and other private colleges, coronavirus is forcing thousands to evacuate

PALO ALTO — At 5 p.m. Wednesday, hundreds of students were forced to leave Stanford University, an effort by one of California’s most prestigious academic institutions to stem the coronavirus outbreak and adhere to Santa Clara County rules banning gatherings of more than 50 people.

Universities across California and the United States are taking similar precautions, creating hardships for students who are homeless, don’t have safe places to shelter or have immunocompromised relatives at home.

On Tuesday evening, the University of San Diego told residential students to move out of their dorms by late Wednesday, four days ahead of schedule. “To date, only 1,100 of our 2,600 students in our residence halls have relocated,” the private Catholic university said in a message that evening to the college community.

On Wednesday, only a few students were spotted on campus at Stanford. Tresidder Memorial Union was devoid of students, as was White Memorial Plaza, where hundreds of students would typically be riding their bicycles, walking in small groups or lolling under trees to read and study.

“It’s eerily quiet,” said Tiffany Cartagena, a junior from Gainesville, Fla. “It’s depressing.”

Read More > > >

Advertisement
Share

California asks Navy for hospital ship and two mobile hospitals

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that the state has asked the Department of Defense to deploy the Navy’s Mercy hospital ship and two mobile hospitals to California to help care for the expected surge in hospitalizations of residents stricken by the novel coronavirus.

California has seen the number of confirmed cases continue to rise: at least 836 cases and 17 deaths as of Wednesday, compared with 157 cases and three deaths the week before. Nearly 12,000 people in the state are self-monitoring for symptoms.

The governor said the state is working to expand its cache of hospital beds by roughly 20,000, the number needed if more than half of Californians come down with the coronavirus.

“That’s just one scenario plan. There’s others that are more modest. Some may, some cases be more extreme,” Newsom said Wednesday evening during a Facebook Live broadcast. “When you’re looking at getting an additional [19,000] to 20,000 beds in your system, you have to look at your existing surge capacity within the healthcare delivery system, and you have to look at procuring additional assets.”

Read More > > >

Share

Three confirmed coronavirus cases at Redondo Beach assisted living facility

The Kensington Assisted Living and Memory Care facility in Redondo Beach.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

One resident and two staff members at a South Bay assisted living facility, Kensington Redondo Beach, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, administrators said Wednesday.

The assisted living facility said two other residents and five staff members were awaiting results of tests for COVID-19, which were being performed “in-house” with the help of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Of the affected residents, two have been hospitalized, a spokeswoman for Kensington Redondo Beach confirmed.

The cluster of cases in the high-end assisted living home comes as elder care facilities grapple with the widening pandemic. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is considered particularly threatening to those 60 and over, and it can spread quickly in close living quarters, rendering elder care communities especially vulnerable. Senior facilities across the U.S. have restricted visitors and imposed other precautions.

At the Kensington Redondo Beach, the current cases appear to have originated with a staff member who reported “flu-like symptoms” on March 6 and was sent home. The employee has since been hospitalized and placed on paid leave, according to a statement released by a spokesperson for the facility.

Read More > > >

Share

UCLA announces virtual commencement ceremonies

To limit the spread of the new coronavirus, UCLA announced Wednesday that its spring commencement ceremonies will be conducted through virtual events.

“Please remember that, even for an event as momentous as commencement, the day does not define the journey,” Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.

UCLA previously announced it would transition to remote learning and suspend all nonessential events of any size through the end of the spring.

Block said that for the UCLA College, whose commencement is UCLA’s largest, “we will hold an engaging virtual ceremony on June 12, 2020.”

The ceremony will feature a keynote speaker, whose name will be announced soon.

University leaders will reach out to the schools and departments that hold individual commencement ceremonies to provide support where possible.

“We will work diligently to make graduation as special as possible for all of our students and all of your loved ones,” Block said. “Even when we are apart, we remain deeply connected as Bruins, and I look forward to celebrating your accomplishments this spring.”

Share

No Kings or Ducks players have reported or shown symptoms of coronavirus, the teams say

The Ducks and the Kings, who were the last teams to face the Ottawa Senators before the NHL paused its season and a Senators player tested positive for the coronavirus, said Wednesday no players in their respective organizations have reported or shown symptoms of the virus.

The Senators, who have declined to identify the player, faced the Ducks at Honda Center on March 10 and faced the Kings at Staples Center on March 11. The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, who have acknowledged that four of their players had tested positive for the virus, played the Lakers at Staples Center on March 10. Visiting NBA and NHL teams have separate, dedicated locker rooms at Staples Center but the Kings used the visiting NBA locker room on March 11 to conduct postgame media interviews.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

NYSE to temporarily close its trading floor after two test positive for coronavirus

The New York Stock Exchange will temporarily close its iconic trading floor in lower Manhattan and move to all-electronic trading beginning Monday as a precautionary step amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The trading floors of the NYSE and the NYSE American Options market in New York will be closed, as well as that of the NYSE Arca Options in San Francisco.

Read more>>>

Share

Newsom announces $150 million to address coronavirus risk for homeless people

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced $150 million in emergency funding to quickly move homeless people indoors — an action meant to protect both a vulnerable population and a medical system at risk of being overwhelmed as the novel coronavirus continues to attack the state.

Newsom said $100 million in funding will go directly to local jurisdictions — including Los Angeles — to boost shelter capacity and increase emergency housing.

An additional $50 million will be aimed at buying travel trailers and leasing hotels, motels and other facilities in an effort to provide space for those without homes to practice social distancing or be quarantined if they test positive for the virus or have symptoms of COVID-19.

Read more>>>

Share

L.A. will turn recreation centers into homeless shelters, in hopes of slowing virus spread

Los Angeles will convert 42 of its recreation centers into temporary shelters for homeless residents, providing 6,000 new beds in an effort aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.

In the initiative’s first phase, the city will will open 1,600 shelter beds at 13 recreation centers by the end of the week, Garcetti said during a live Facebook briefing on the city’s response to the pandemic. Beds will be provided by the American Red Cross, he said.

“We have the supplies. We have the space. and we are prepared for this task,” he said.

The initiative comes as an array of city buildings — libraries, aquatic centers, cultural facilities and even City Hall — remain closed to the public, part of the city’s reduce the number of new infections. Garcetti called the move to create thousands of additional beds unprecedented, but said it’s needed because homeless residents are at much greater risk of dying during the pandemic.

Read more>>>

Share

L.A. animal shelters are closed, but adoptions are available by appointment

Animal shelters run by the city of Los Angeles are closed to the public to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t adopt or foster an animal.

L.A.'s Department of Animal Services announced Wednesday that people can check out adoptable animals on their website, then call 888-452-7381 to set up an appointment to see them at the shelter. The appointments will be arranged so that no more than 50 people are assembled at one time, including shelter staffers.

People can also foster animals by emailing ani.volunteers@lacity.org with an application.

Advertisement
Share

Florida Republican is first member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first member of Congress to have contracted the disease.

“On Saturday evening, Congressman Diaz-Balart developed symptoms including a fever and headache,” his office announced. “Just a short while ago, he was notified that he has tested positive for COVID-19.”

“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart said in a statement. “However, it is important that everyone take this extremely seriously and follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid getting sick and mitigate the spread of this virus.”

Read more>>>

Share

Facing criticism, ICE will reduce enforcement actions due to coronavirus

In the wake of criticism across the country for continued enforcement actions amid the coronavirus pandemic, ICE said Wednesday that it would shift its focus to “public safety risks.”

As of Wednesday, ICE said in a statement, it would focus enforcement on public safety risks and those subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those who don’t fall into those categories, ICE “will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”

With safety measures taken across the state to protect against coronavirus, immigrant advocates have criticized ICE for its continued enforcement operations. More than 45 organizations signed a letter this week calling on the Department of Homeland Security to suspend such actions.

The Times reported on new immigration actions in the Los Angeles area on Monday

Share

Here are the communities in L.A. County with coronavirus cases

There was another spike in coronavirus cases in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and officials had a warning to go along with the numbers.

“We’re going to see an increase in positive cases today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future,” L.A. County Public Health Department Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said. “We cannot stop the spread of COVID-19. All of our strategies are aimed at slowing the spread.”

Los Angeles County on Wednesday confirmed 46 new cases of the novel coronavirus, including eight in Long Beach and two in Pasadena. The new cases bring the county’s total to 190. All new patients have been isolated, and their close contacts are being quarantined. Officials are hoping the extraordinary regulations that closed dine-in restaurants, curtailed public gatherings and shuttered schools and bars will slow the spread.

Here is the latest list of coronavirus cases by community in L.A. County:

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus shakes Las Vegas casinos like never before

The Esplanada shopping area at the Encore.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Before the clock struck midnight, armed security guards at casinos across the Las Vegas strip finished collecting chips from baccarat tables. Slot machine screens turned black and bartenders removed bottles of wine and liquor from the shelves.

Blackjack dealers, sensing the surreal unfolding before them, snapped selfies while janitors sprayed disinfectant and wiped door handles. The high-rollers packed up; the entertainers and musicians went home. And suddenly this city of hustlers and romantics, which rides on the crests and dips of the U.S. economy, shuttered Wednesday and changed in a way it never had before.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

“Orange County is not on lockdown”: Officials clarify Tuesday’s health order

On Wednesday afternoon, Orange County leaders held a news conference to clarify the health order issued Tuesday and calm local business owners who had expressed confusion about whether they were being forced to close.

“There has been confusion about the wording and meaning of yesterday’s public health order, but let me make it very clear — Orange County is not on lockdown and, except for businesses directed to close by the state, all businesses can remain open,” Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said.

After the release of Tuesday’s health order, many residents and members of the media thought officials were announcing a shelter-in-place order, which many Bay Area counties have implemented.

At Wednesday’s news conference, local leaders stressed that was not their intent and that there is no shelter-in-place order in the county. Rather, residents are asked to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing and good hand hygiene, among other things.

Local leaders repeatedly stressed that Orange County was business friendly and that the sheriff had no intention of sending out deputies to patrol the streets looking to jail merchants.

The hope, officials said, is that local businesses that must close under the county order — all bars that don’t serve food, movie theaters, gyms and health clubs — will voluntarily follow the order. Restaurants, food trucks and farmers markets must only offer food through delivery, pickup or drive through while also practicing the recommended six feet for social distancing.

“The most important point to make, I think, is that Orange County is not shut down for business. We are asking for all of our citizens to be responsible in how you’re interacting out in the community,” Supervisor Donald Wagner said.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said of all the days to announce bars were closed, St. Patrick’s Day was a good test to see how businesses and patrons would react.

Barnes said deputies did find some bars still operating, but deputies were able to resolve each incident without issue.

“I think even the patrons there, as much as they wanted to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, realized this was much bigger than one day a year,” Barnes said.

As of Wednesday, Orange County has confirmed 42 cases of the coronavirus, up from 29 on Tuesday.

Orange County Health officer Dr. Nichole Quick said she anticipated that number to increase.

“The more we look for this, the more we’re likely to find, so increasing cases are not unexpected,” Quick said.

Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said in response to the pandemic, firefighters and paramedics going on calls to help someone thought to possibly have the coranavirus are being supplied with protective gear. Additionally, the agency has been better able to protect personnel because dispatchers are asking callers more questions about COVID-19 and supplying that information to first responders.

While on duty, 20 firefighters have been exposed to someone thought to possibly have COVID-19, but thus far, only one Orange County firefighter has been exposed to a person with a confirmed case. That firefighter is self isolating at a hotel, he said.

Share

‘We are being punished’: Some Californians from Grand Princess question quarantine

With much of the state being asked to stay at home, questions are being raised about the forced quarantine imposed on hundreds of Californians from the Grand Princess cruise ship who continue to be held at military bases, even as passengers from other states are released.

“My feeling is a lot of it has to do with optics,” said Kate Gilbert, whose 82-year-old grandmother Hinda Gilbert is at Travis Air Force Base in Solano County.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has the ability to take over monitoring of Californians on the base, potentially allowing them to quarantine themselves at home, but his office hasn’t responded when asked.

Read more>>>

Share

Nursing home staff spread coronavirus to other facilities, CDC investigation finds

Staff members at the Seattle-area nursing home overrun by COVID-19 spread the coronavirus to other facilities where they worked, an investigation led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

The report published Wednesday said that as of March 9, the CDC confirmed 129 COVID-19 cases among people linked to Life Care Center of Kirkland. These comprise 81 residents, 34 staff members and 14 visitors.

Separately Wednesday, public health officials reported five more deaths associated with the facility, bringing the total number who have died to 35.

Read more>>>

Share

The line at this Costco begins at 2:55 a.m. as coronavirus spooks shoppers

When Shannon Davis arrived at a Costco in Hawthorne on Wednesday, 2 hours and 15 minutes before its doors opened, the sun had not yet risen and about 30 people were already in line.

Davis, who lives and teaches in Lawndale, knows food and other essentials will not run out. That’s what her rational brain tells her. But those lines.

They trail out the doors and hug the walls of grocery stores and warehouse clubs, in Southern California and elsewhere in a nation gripped by a pandemic. Those lines worry Davis — and so she stands in them.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Pasadena approves eviction moratorium and other economic relief measures

The Pasadena City Council approved a Local State of Emergency Declaration and instituted a handful of relief measures to reduce the economic impacts on residents.

1. Suspension of any new late fees and penalties for City-provided services, including water, power and garbage pickup.

2. Suspension of any new all utility shut-offs for non-payment.

3. Modification of various parking policies to reduce the financial burden on residents and support local businesses, including: Temporary suspension of metered parking enforcement to facilitate delivery and curbside pickup zones for food from restaurants; temporary suspension of non-critical vehicle impounds; temporary suspension of impounds of vehicles with five or more past-due parking citations or expired registrations.

4. Approval of $150,000 to provide meals to for seniors, as well as disabled and other vulnerable citizens.

5. Enactment of a moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent if a residential or commercial tenant has been impacted by COVID-19 and, therefore, unable to pay.

Councilmembers also asked City Manager Steve Mermell to begin formulating a mandatory stay-at-home order should local public health officials deem it necessary.

Share

The 44 best TV shows to binge while self-quarantining, according to TV experts

It’s a strange time for television, there’s no doubt about that. While many productions have halted to slow the spread of the coronavirus, new spring series that had already finished filming are still rolling out as planned, and social distancing has left all of us with more time than we might like to peruse the seemingly endless number of streaming titles. What’s a discerning viewer to do?

For one, stay tuned to The Times, which will be bringing you guides to everything from children’s TV to free streaming trials to help you navigate being housebound in the coming days and weeks, in addition to regularly scheduled programming. For another, use the following poll of 41 (!) TV critics and journalists to plan your binge-watching. From socially relevant dramas to escapist, feel-good comedies, this is a to-do list worth tackling between bouts of fresh air.

Read more>>>

Share

LAUSD packs 400,000 meals, prepares for months of ‘grab-and-go.’ Recipients express relief

LOS ANGELES CA MARCH 18, 2020 -- Courtney Johnson, Benjula Prasad and Cindy King, left to right, preparing the food kits to be distributed to drivers at Dorsey High School Wednesday morning, March 18, 2020. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
(Al Seib/Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

One man wore plastic gloves and a face mask as he pulled up in a pickup to receive school-packed meals for his children. A woman with a preschooler at her side took her boxed meals through her car window and quickly drove away. Another woman said she was grateful to hear that the district was giving out milk. She couldn’t find any the last time she went to a local market.

As students and parents woke up to news that public schools in California might be closed for the remainder of the school year, Los Angeles school officials opened campus gates to what they said would be the first of many morning food pickups in the weeks and possibly months ahead.

Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s second-largest school district, has been training volunteers and ramping up food services to care for more than half a million students, and even their families, affected by the closures. About 80% of its students are from low-income families and qualify to receive breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner from school.

About 400,000 “grab-and-go” meals were prepped and ready to be distributed Wednesday between 7 and 10 a.m. at 60 pickup sites throughout the district. The locations are set up for drive-through and walk-up distribution. Officials say they will make adjustments in the coming days based on how many people show up and where.

Read more>>>

Share

Pentagon readies San Diego hospital ship and tent hospitals to help with coronavirus

A Navy hospital ship based in San Diego will be ready to sail within days to assist civilian hospitals, probably on the West Coast, in case they become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, Pentagon officials said.

No decision has been made about where to send the Mercy, a 1,000-bed hospital ship, Pentagon press secretary Jonathan Hoffman told reporters Wednesday. It would probably be ordered to Seattle or another West Coast port to care for non-coronavirus patients, freeing up civilian hospital beds for victims of the infectious disease.

“When it is prepared to sail, we’ll make a determination about where,” Hoffman said. “This is a fast-evolving situation. We don’t know where we’re going to be in a week or two weeks.”

President Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper described the plans Wednesday at the White House. The Pentagon has asked state officials to seek assistance if the virus strains their medical systems. But it cautioned that the military has limited capabilities to respond to a pandemic; its field hospitals aren’t equipped to deal with infectious diseases.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Coronavirus makes California census count more crucial, and more challenging

Taking a head count of the entire U.S. population was already going to be hard. The coronavirus will make it much harder.

Across California, grassroots groups looking to amp up census participation among historically hard-to-count communities have hit a snag: how to reach people at a time when many are self-quarantining to stem the spread of the pandemic.

Canvassers had hoped to use the weeks leading up to Census Day, April 1, to reach communities that are at the greatest risk of an undercount by knocking on doors. They were betting that a face-to-face connection would help to ensure Californians would fill out the decennial survey.

But with social distancing, those conversations will have to happen via text messages and phone calls, or on social media.

Read more>>>

Share

Will coronavirus affect food supply? First problem: A possible shortage of workers

California’s nearly $50-billion agricultural industry is bracing for a potential labor shortfall that could hinder efforts to maintain the nation’s fresh food supply amid the widening coronavirus outbreak.

The immediate concern centers on a backlog in the recruitment of foreign guest workers because of the virus-related shutdown of consul offices processing agricultural H2-A visas in Mexico.

The expected bottleneck in recruitment of temporary agricultural workers arises weeks before harvest time for crops such as strawberries and lettuce that heavily depend on the foreign crews along the state’s central coast and in Salinas Valley, according to growers and labor contractors.

The fears highlight a gap in the Trump administration’s market-centered approach to keeping vital industries running, which includes numerous measures aimed at supporting aid, credit and the major commodity crops in the nation’s heartland. There has been little done to address the labor-intensive fresh food crops that form the backbone of California agriculture.

Amid uproar from the agriculture industry this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pressed the State Department to continue processing H-2A visas even as it closed consulates across the border region. So far, State has responded by promising to waive in-person interview requirements for H-2A applicants who obtained visas last year. That’s about half the H-2A workforce, according to industry trade groups.

Read more>>>

Share

Can tacos stand against coronavirus? L.A. street vendors struggle under lockdown

Avenue 26 Tacos stand
Julio Dominguez, a Tasquero at the popular Avenue 26 Tacos stand in Los Angeles, cleans and prepares food trucks March 17.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Outside Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, street vendors called out to passersby, trying to entice them with gorditas, tamales or pupusas.

Many of them have sold there for years, side by side with food trucks, used to a steady flow of hospital patients and staff day and night.

But after the coronavirus outbreak happened, the L.A. County Department of Health Services began rescheduling all nonurgent appointments and postponing elective surgeries and procedures.

Food vendors who made hundreds of dollars a week are now only making enough to cover their expenses.

Read more>>>

Share

How pro sports teams like the Lakers get tested for coronavirus so quickly

A handful of NBA teams, including the Lakers, have offered coronavirus testing for their players since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first to test positive March 11, whether they have symptoms or not, providing them a service that isn’t available to the general public.

Due to a shortage of coronavirus testing in America, health officials asked public clinics to test only those with severe symptoms. Private clinics that offer testing are not placed under similar restrictions but are encouraged to limit their testing to those with severe symptoms. In Los Angeles County, as of Monday afternoon, only 1,100 people had been tested, which amounts to about .01% of the county’s population.

Read more >>>

Advertisement
Share

Silicon Valley death toll reaches six as coronavirus continues rapid spread

Silicon Valley, which has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus, reported a sixth death on Wednesday with the total number of cases increasing to 175.

Of those who have contracted the virus, 70 are believed to have gotten it through community transmission and 56 are now hospitalized, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

Read more >>>

Share

Lime will remove its scooters from California and other states due to coronavirus

Lime is pulling its shared electric scooters from 20 countries and 21 states, including California, as the number of COVID-19 cases spread across the world.

Scooters will be pulled from California, Texas, New York and other U.S. states, as well as from most of Europe, including France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

In a statement Wednesday, Chief Executive and founder Brad Bao said that Lime will “begin winding down and pausing our service to reflect public health guidance.”

Read more >>>

Share

L.A. moratorium on business evictions could squeeze landlords

A Los Angeles moratorium on evicting restaurant operators and other small businesses that are losing customers during the novel coronavirus pandemic may cause pain to landlords while offering relief to their struggling tenants.

Early reports, however, suggest that commercial property landlords are not eager to boot tenants who have fallen on hard times because they might not be able to find new renters any time soon.

Read more >>>

Share

What’s closed or restricted in California’s largest counties?

What's closed/open in California counties

County health agencies have banned gatherings and closed schools and stores. More than 10 counties have directed residents to shelter in place, the most restrictive measure in the U.S. These closures affect more than 30 million Californians.

Here’s a survey of the measures currently in place in the state’s largest counties.

Advertisement
Share

Commentary: Sports are on hold due to the coronavirus. ESPN hosts are mourning the loss too

“Stick to sports.”

It’s a dismissive catchphrase that became a rallying cry for some fans, one that has changed the course of careers, cable network coverage and one justifiably revered website.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the cancellation or uncertain delay of every live sporting event including March Madness, the NBA, the NHL, the Masters and the Kentucky Derby, just what is a 24-hour sports network like ESPN to do when there are no more games to cover?
Read more>>>

Share

How long will California schools be closed for coronavirus? Here is what we know

It’s the question parents across California want to know: How long will schools be closed because of coronavirus?

Virtually all schools across the state are closed and there has been hope that it might last only a few weeks and include spring break in many districts. But Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that schools might need to stay closed through the end of the academic year in response to the coronavirus emergency.

Both state and local officials stressed that no decision has yet been made about keeping schools shuttered through June and said those assessments are being made on an ongoing basis.

Here is what we know:
Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus forces reckoning for Trump’s healthcare cuts

WASHINGTON —The widening coronavirus pandemic is forcing the Trump administration to pause, and even reverse, its years-long effort to roll back healthcare regulations and restrict access to the nation’s medical safety net.

As more Americans are sickened, officials are now pushing for government protections they once said were unnecessary.

President Trump and his deputies have urged health insurers to make testing for coronavirus free to patients, calling it an “essential benefit,” despite years of pushing to loosen federal rules on what health insurance plans must cover.
Read more>>>

Share

Senate approves coronavirus legislation as Trump harnesses wartime powers

WASHINGTON —The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to provide sick leave and free corornavirus testing to Americans, as President Trump invoked wartime powers to boost manufacturing of medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic and the U.S. restricted its border with Canada.

The legislation -- approved by the House Saturday -- passed 90-8 in the Senate and next goes to Trump’s desk for signature. Congress is already working on the next emergency package, expected to top $1 trillion, including aid to struggling industries and individual checks to most taxpayers.

By signing a declaration under the Defense Production Act, Trump can direct private industries to churn out protective masks and gowns for hospital workers, as well as ventilators needed to keep critically ill patients alive. Healthcare officials have repeatedly warned that stockpiles of medial equipment could be wiped out as coronavirus infections spiral.
Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Costa Mesa creates Disaster Council to ramp up emergency preparedness

Costa Mesa is taking steps against the coronavirus, city leaders assured residents at a sparsely attended City Council meeting Tuesday night.

To shore up its emergency preparedness team, the council unanimously approved an ordinance to form a Disaster Council with authority to create emergency and mutual-aid plans.

Four of the seven council members participated remotely in light of protective measures in place to help curb the spread of the virus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.
Read more>>>

Share

UC regents postpone vote on tuition increase, SAT test, citing coronavirus uncertainties

University of California regents will not vote on a tuition increase as scheduled this week because the coronavirus crisis has created too much uncertainty, board Chairman John Pérez said Wednesday.

Pérez said he and UC President Janet Napolitano, in consultation with Gov. Gavin Newsom, campus chancellors and others, believe it was “not an appropriate time” to move forward on the tuition proposal.

“In this moment of great uncertainty, adding a change to people who couldn’t fully anticipate is not the right course of action,” he said.

Pérez also said that a scheduled discussion on whether the UC system should continue to use the SAT and ACT tests for admissions decision would be deferred to a future meeting.
Read more>>>

Share

Is it safe to hike, run and bike outside now? L.A. authorities say yes

Is it safe to walk, run, hike and bike outside? Is it recommended?

Yes, say L.A. County Public Health officials. In fact, “take a walk” and “go for a hike” are at the top of the L.A. County Public Health Department’s “safe-to-do” list as the region’s fight against the coronavirus continues.

And, a spokesman said, “Biking and running are great as long as not in a group where there is close contact.”

But authorities have grown increasingly restrictive about other outdoor activities. Public Health officials caution parents against taking their children to playgrounds. And as measures to fight the virus multiply, many outdoor venues have closed.
Read more>>>

Share

Powell’s, Portland’s beloved indie bookstore, will lay off most workers

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Portland, Ore.,'s beloved Powell’s Books is laying off most of its employees in the coming days.

The indie bookstore’s owner and CEO, Emily Powell, sent its workers a letter Tuesday night announcing the layoffs during “these unprecedented and grievous times.”

“When we closed our doors, we also closed off the vast majority of our business without any prospect of it returning soon,” she said in the letter. “As a result, we have been forced to make the unthinkable decision to lay off the vast majority of you in the coming few days.”
Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Fox News to be offered as a free channel ‘during dangerous times’

Fox News will be made available free to viewers amid the coronavirus public health crisis.

On Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch’s media company said it would partner with cable and satellite TV providers to make Fox News Channel and its Fox TV stations widely available “to ensure that every person in America can access the latest national and local news regarding coronavirus.”

The company, based in New York and Los Angeles, said it would also offer free streams of Fox News Channel and programming feeds from Fox-owned TV stations.
Read more>>>

Share

Nevada shuts down casinos and nonessential businesses

On Tuesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the immediate closure of all casino and gambling operations, as well as nonessential businesses, in an effort to curb the further spread of the coronavirus.

The casino shutdown went into effect at midnight and will last at least 30 days. Nonessential businesses, which include restaurants that aren’t doing delivery or takeout only, will have to close by noon today. Hospitals, grocery stores and gas stations will remain open.

In addition to Nevada, other states have ordered the closure or partial closure of nonessential services like restaurants and bars. They include California, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

Share

Long Beach VA patient tests positive for coronavirus; hospital closes to visitors

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Beach has been closed to visitors while the facility treats a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

Additional information about the patient, or that person’s condition, was not immediately available Wednesday, but officials said this was the first case of the illness caused by the coronavirus within the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

The decision to bar visitors was made “to stay ahead of a constantly changing environment and to reduce risk [of] exposure,” officials said in a statement Tuesday.
Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus tips: The do’s and don’ts of social distancing

As health officials in the United States work to slow the spread of COVID-19, they’ve asked Americans to do one important thing: practice social distancing.

Schools are closed. Workers are staying at home. Bars are shuttered and restaurants are offering take-out and delivery service only. Sporting events, concerts and festivals have been canceled.

Life without its interaction can be trying, but public health experts insist that each person’s commitment to social distancing is key to taming the new coronavirus — and ultimately saving lives. Here’s a closer look at how to do it right.
Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Car-dealer house calls: Auto makers and dealers unveil coronavirus-time tactics

Attracted by an ad for 0% financing, a customer phoned Chuck Olson Kia in Seattle saying he wanted to buy a Sedona minivan. But with more than 400 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington state, he said there was no way he’d go to the dealership.

So the salesperson sent a staffer to the customer’s home with paperwork and closed the sale of the loaded $40,000 vehicle. Given the circumstances, the dealer was lucky the buyer even agreed to meet in person at his house.

“If they will let us, we’ll come to them,” said Jim Ault, sales manager for the dealership, which sells Chevrolets and Kias. “Volume is down, but we’re still in business.”
Read more>>>

Share

COVID-19 outbreak in San Jose Fire Department

When it comes to the front line for the coronavirus, the San Jose firefighters are experiencing what officials fear will become a common problem among first responders.

So far, 10 firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19, and 50 others are in self-isolation.

There have been a scattering of other cases of first responders testing positive, including a Los Angeles Police Department officer and an L.A. firefighter.

But the number of San Jose firefighters with the disease and those quarantined grew rapidly this week, according to the San Jose firefighters union. As the virus sweeps across the Silicon Valley, firefighters are treating every call as though it is a COVID-19 call, union leaders say.

Read more>>>

Share

As coronavirus causes closures, local residents seek alternative methods of entertainment

Jeff Spohr has been running the Huntington Beach Disc Golf Course for nearly five years.

The course was busy Tuesday afternoon. Rob Vermeeren of Huntington Beach got in a round with his 14-year-old son Maddox, an eighth-grader at the Pegasus School.

“We want people to have some joy in their lives still, through all of this,” Spohr said. “This is perfect. So is regular golf, but it’s expensive. We’re $2 [for a round], you know?”
Read more>>>

Share

Burbank places moratorium on evictions

The closure of businesses throughout the state, combined with the shelter-in-place orders given to the public to slow the spread of the coronavirus have many workers and business owners worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

To address those concerns — at least for several weeks — the Burbank City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt an urgency ordinance that prohibits the eviction of residential and commercial tenants for not being able to pay their rent due to lost income and/or increased medical expenses related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium also urges financial institutions to put a hold on mortgage foreclosures on residential and commercial properties for the same reasons.

The emergency order went into effect Tuesday night and will last through April 30, unless extended by the City Council.
Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Costa Mesa restaurant offers free toilet paper rolls with takeout order

As restaurants across Orange County shutter their dining areas and offer only takeout or delivery in response to coronavirus isolation measures, one Costa Mesa restaurant is providing a bonus: free toilet paper rolls.

Descanso and its owner, Rob Arellano, announced the promotion on Facebook: one free roll for every $20 spent on takeout orders.

Many restaurants are offering free delivery or discounts, but Arellano’s establishment might be the only one sweetening the deal with an item most can’t find elsewhere right now.

“So far it’s been very well-received,” he said, adding that the promotion is getting some social media buzz.

Read more>>>

Share

WTA and ATP tours cancel more tournaments amid the coronavirus pandemic

The professional tennis calendar lost more events on Wednesday when the men’s and women’s tours announced the cancellation of tournaments through June 7. That wiped out high-profile tournaments in Madrid and Rome, as well as women’s tournaments in Strasbourg, France, and Rabat, Morocco, and men’s events in Munich, Germany; Estoril, Portugal; Geneva; and Lyon, France.

The Women’s Tennis Assn., which represents female players, and the Assn. of Tennis Professionals, which represents the men, issued identically worded statements to announce that the spring clay-court swing would be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. All events in the ATP Challenger Tour and the International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tour also were canceled.

The men’s and women’s rankings will be frozen during this period of inactivity and until further notice, the statement said.

Read more>>>

Share

How LeAnn Rimes, MGK and more are entertaining themselves in quarantine

So you have some time on your hands thanks to increasingly strict social-distancing recommendations from the CDC.

While you’re consuming hours of Netflix, what about all the people who make those shows — and write the books, direct the films and play the music that’s keeping you sane in isolation?

The Los Angeles Times reached out to stars, artists, filmmakers, showrunners and some of L.A.'s leading culture figures to find out what they’d be digging into for the next few weeks.

Read more>>>

Share

Free streaming sites Roku, Pluto TV are becoming more popular as home viewing surges

MILLBRAE — Video streaming apps Roku and Pluto TV are becoming more popular among consumers looking to entertain themselves amid concerns about the rapid growth of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported streaming service based in Los Angeles, and Roku Inc., which operates an app that connects consumers to various streaming services and also offers free licensed shows and movies, landed in the top 10 most used video streaming apps for Android phones in the U.S. for the first week of March compared with a month ago, according to San Francisco-based analytics firm App Annie.

Pluto TV was ranked ninth, while Los Gatos-based Roku was eighth in the first week of March, App Annie said. That’s a considerable improvement from a month earlier, when Pluto TV was 12th and Roku was 11th, the analytics firm said. The rankings were based on the amount of time Android phone users spent on the apps.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Coronavirus is turning an overloaded immigration system into a ‘tinderbox’

Last week, immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor cordoned off the first row of seats in her courtroom at Los Angeles Immigration Court. Interpreters brought their own headsets. Clerks carried disinfectant wipes.

And some judges limited the number of people inside courtrooms, which normally are packed shoulder-to-shoulder.

Workers said they were doing their best to limit their and the public’s exposure to the coronavirus and COVID-19 in the face of what they described as insufficient protective measures taken by federal officials.

Read more>>>

Share

Tesla tells workers to report to factory, cites ‘conflicting’ coronavirus orders

Tesla, citing “conflicting guidance from different levels of government” on how to handle the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday ordered production employees at its Fremont, Calif., car-manufacturing plant to continue coming to work.

In an email sent at 8:49 a.m., Tesla human resources head Valerie Capers Workman said, “There are no changes in your normal assignment and you should continue to report for work if you are in an essential function,” which she said included “production, service, deliveries, testing and supporting groups.” Sick workers could stay home and use their accumulated paid time off, she said.

Read more>>>

Share

Twitter queen Chrissy Teigen defends Vanessa Hudgens after ‘stupid’ coronavirus remarks

The coronavirus pandemic has canceled many things: movies, TV shows, concerts, festivals and now ... actress Vanessa Hudgens.

But not if Chrissy Teigen has anything to say about it. And you can bet she does.

The outspoken model and TV host took to Twitter on Tuesday night to defend the “High School Musical” alum, who came under fire recently after posting a video of herself criticizing efforts to slow the spread of the virus and calling any resulting deaths “like, inevitable?”

Read more>>>

Share

California state park campgrounds close. Here’s the latest on national, local parks too

California State Parks closed all campgrounds Wednesday because of the coronavirus, but hiking trails and beaches remain open. Outdoor spaces also remain open in local and national parks, but many services have been suspended.

Park programs, shuttles and tours have been halted as a precaution against the outbreak, while some lodgings and restaurants are closed.

Read more >>>

Advertisement
Share

Coronavirus misinformation and hoax emails are making the rounds. Here’s how to spot them

By the time the urgent text message warning that the U.S. military was about to deploy soldiers across the country to enforce a nationwide quarantine landed on Pamela Chelin’s phone this week, it had already made its way to an untold number of people.

A friend had sent her the foreboding note, which claimed to be from someone who spoke to “a source that works for Homeland Security.” The friend, in turn, had received it from another friend, whom he considered “reliable.”

“Who knows,” Chelin’s friend wrote, “but I believe them, given who sent it to me.”

Chelin, a freelance arts journalist in Los Angeles, thought otherwise. The message’s jumbled syntax and anonymous claims made her suspicious. After a quick check of Twitter confirmed it was fake, she told her friend and another acquaintance who sent her a similar message not to spread the hoaxes any further.

Read more>>>

Share

LAPD, Sheriff’s Department arrests drop amid coronavirus outbreak

Los Angeles County’s two largest law enforcement agencies made significantly fewer arrests in recent weeks, reflecting the changing realities of policing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Los Angeles Police Department made 14% fewer arrests during the first 15 days of March compared to the same period last year, according to the department. The LAPD recorded 2,944 arrests during that time compared to 3,406 the previous year.

The decline mirrors what has been happening at the county’s second largest agency, the Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced earlier this week that arrests by his deputies have plummeted from a daily average of 300 to 60.

Arrest figures may continue to decline as the agencies adapt. As the response to the coronavirus outbreak intensified this week, both departments ordered officers to cite and release people as much as possible while still arresting violent offenders.

Read more>>>

Share

Majority of Lakers players in L.A. tested for coronavirus

The majority of Lakers still in Los Angeles were tested for the coronavirus around 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The testing was done by a doctor at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo.

One person said the doctor inserted a big swab in the nose, that it had to touch the throat and then was twisted while inside the nose. It took about 10 seconds for the testing to be completed.

The testing wasn’t mandatory for the Lakers’ players, and none of the coaches were tested.

Players who took the test are hoping to get the results back by Friday.

Read more>>>

Share

Seth Rogen live-tweeting ‘Cats’ while stoned is the coronavirus entertainment we need

Frequently stoned actor Seth Rogen took his off-screen skills to the masses Tuesday night, live-tweeting the movie “Cats.”

“I’m pretty stoned and watching Cats,” he tweeted, setting the stage for what would be an hour of posts about the widely panned flick. “I’ve never seen the broadway show. It is truly trippy. Am I supposed to know what a Jellicle is? They’ve said it 200,000 times but I don’t know what’s happening haha.”

Rogen soldiered on, trying to figure out the “Broadway funny” of it all, like why some of the cats wore pants and others didn’t.

“Is the milk bar for humans??! For cats? Is this in Clockwork Orange world? Huh?” he wondered.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

IOC responds to criticism a day after insisting 2020 Olympics plans proceed

An International Olympic Committee communique insisting that preparations for the 2020 Summer Games should proceed — and rejecting “any drastic decisions” in the face of the coronavirus outbreak — has sparked debate on the global sports scene.

Faced with criticism, the IOC walked back its comments slightly on Wednesday, issuing a follow-up statement.

“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions,” a spokesman said. “The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least-negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.”

Read more>>>

Share

U.K. schools to close beginning Friday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that schools across the country would close on Friday until further notice as the death toll from the coronavirus topped 100.

Schools will remain open for the children of key workers, such as National Health Service staff, as well as for vulnerable youngsters, but all others will be asked to stay home indefinitely.

This year’s summer exam period will also be canceled, the prime minister said.

Johnson said the measures already introduced across the country — namely, asking entire households to self-isolate for 14 days if anyone within the house is unwell and asking the entire population to avoid unnecessary social contact and diligently wash their hands — had worked well to curb the virus’ spread so far.

But he said now was the time to amp up the measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 even further.

“We think now that we must apply downward pressure on the upward curve by closing the schools,” the prime minister said.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.K. rose to 104 on Wednesday with 2,626 confirmed cases. More than 56,000 tests have been carried out, and the government plans to more than double the number of tests.

London continues to be the epicenter of the virus, reporting the highest number of cases, but Johnson has so far resisted calls to order a mandatory shutdown of all nonessential businesses, although he has not ruled that out.

Share

Trump suspends public housing evictions, invokes wartime law to produce needed supplies

President Trump announced Wednesday that he had ordered federal housing officials to suspend evictions and foreclosures until the end of April as the fast-spreading coronavirus crisis forced a number of Americans out of work or reduced their wages.

Trump also said he would invoke the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law giving the federal government more authority to force private companies to produce needed goods.

The authority could help address shortages in medical equipment such as masks, gloves and ventilators, or supply goods needed to combat the spreading virus.

“There’s never been an instance like this where no matter what you have it’s not enough,” Trump said at the White House.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus stranded these U.S. travelers in Morocco. They’re trying to get home

BEIRUT — The first time Alison Blue visited Morocco last year, she made a decision: “I thought it was the most amazing place and that other people should see it,” she said.

The 56-year-old travel agent from Westlake Village assembled more than a dozen others and planned a trip that Blue — who is Jewish — hoped would “expose people” to the Muslim-majority nation and “show that Muslims aren’t the stereotype.”

On March 9, her group set off. The trip was going well. Then came the coronavirus and the Moroccan government’s abrupt announcement that it would suspend all flights on Sunday in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Now, Blue’s group is among an estimated 3,000 Americans trying to get on rescue flights back home amid complaints of inaction from U.S. authorities in the country.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Live from Jimmy Fallon’s home! Late-night hosts adapt to coronavirus reality

Jimmy Fallon filmed his late-night show from his home.
(NBC / YouTube)

It appears coronavirus prevention measures have forced almost everyone to work from home — even late-night TV hosts.

Because the pandemic shut down production on their respective programs, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien all filmed material from the safety of their homes on Tuesday in an effort to keep themselves busy and uplift spirits.

“Hey, guys. This is Jimmy Fallon, and this is the ‘Tonight Show: Home Edition,’ I guess you could call it,” Fallon said, opening his video with some new “Tonight Show” key art drawn by his daughter with a marker.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus cleaning? Don’t flush disinfectant wipes, water board warns

As Californians continue to stockpile disinfecting wipes and paper towels to sanitize their homes amid widespread coronavirus concerns, state water regulators this week reminded individuals to throw those items in the trash rather than flush them down the toilet.

Nylon wipes and paper towels are stronger than toilet paper and do not break down in water in the same fashion. Flushing them can quickly cause clogs, wreaking havoc on sewer systems and treatment plant pumps and resulting in spills that end up in lakes, rivers and the ocean, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Read more>>>

Share

U.S. stocks fall 7%, triggering a brief halt in trading

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks dived 7% on Wednesday, triggering a “circuit breaker” that halted trading on Wall Street for 15 minutes.

Markets have been incredibly volatile for weeks as Wall Street and the White House acknowledge an increasing risk of a recession due to the coronavirus outbreak. The typical day this month has seen the stock market swing up or down by 4.9%. Over the last decade, the median move was just 0.4%.

The selling pressure swept markets around the world. Benchmark U.S. oil fell roughly 10% and dropped below $25 per barrel for the first time since 2002. European stock indexes lost 4% following broad losses in Asia. Even prices for longer-term U.S. Treasury bills, which are seen as some of the safest possible investments, fell as investors flocked to the very shortest-term Treasury debt.

Read more>>>

Share

Yes, the U.S. government has a stockpile of ventilators; no, it likely won’t be enough

WASHINGTON — President Trump says the federal government has stockpiled “massive numbers of ventilators” and “tremendous amounts of equipment” to help hospitals respond to a crush of seriously ill coronavirus patients.

The problem, experts say, is that the government’s cache of supplies probably won’t be nearly enough to satisfy the demand. That’s because its stockpile was designed to be a temporary lifeline to healthcare workers in a particular place or region, until they can get more equipment and medicine from the private sector — not to provide all the gear they need, and to caregivers nationwide, simultaneously.

“There will likely soon be a surge all over the country and every state is going to be asking for material, and I think the concern is that it’s going to be depleted very quickly,” said Dr. Anand Parekh, chief medical advisor for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank. “The government’s stockpile is a great asset to have nationally, but if it’s taxed, it won’t have enough supplies. Many people have called for greater stockpiles, but unfortunately we are where we are.”

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Treasury proposal: Deliver $500 billion to Americans starting April

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department wants to start issuing direct payments to Americans by early next month as the centerpiece of a $1-trillion plan to stabilize the economy as the coronavirus pandemic threatens a body slam to taxpayers and businesses.

In a memorandum issued Wednesday, Treasury is calling for two $250-billion cash infusions to individuals: a first set of checks issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May. The amounts would depend on income and family size.

The Treasury plan, which requires approval by Congress, also recommends $50 billion to stabilize the airlines, $150 billion to issue loan guarantees to other struggling sectors, and $300 billion for small businesses. The plan appears to anticipate that many of the loans will not be repaid.

The details are for the third coronavirus response bill that lawmakers hope to pass next week.

Read more>>>

Share

Column: Another strike against Trump’s tax cut — most of it would go to the rich

Decision-makers in Washington have come together on the idea of a major cash infusion to household pocketbooks to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, with the debate now focused chiefly on how much to deliver and who gets the money.

Still on the table, though fading, is the notion of providing the assistance by eliminating the payroll tax, possibly through the end of the year. If this idea has any life at all, it’s because it’s been a hobby horse of President Trump. But a new study showing that two-thirds of the benefit would go to the richest Americans should kill it for good.

The statistical analysis is offered by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit think tank that tracks how taxes and tax breaks are distributed along the income spectrum. ITEP compared the distributional effects of the payroll tax cut to those of a proposal for an immediate cash payout of up to $2,000 per adult and $1,000 per child, phased out for households earning $140,000 or more.

Read more>>>

Share

Thomas Waerner wins Iditarod as fans opt not to practice social distancing

Thomas Waerner, of Norway, arrives in Nome, Alaska, to win the Iditarod on Wednesday.
(Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News)

ANCHORAGE — As a young boy growing up in Norway, Thomas Waerner spent idle hours thinking long and hard about two different kinds of iconic American modes of transportation: muscle cars and the sled dogs in the Iditarod.

Waerner, 47, made one of those dreams reality on Wednesday, winning the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across Alaska. He took a commanding lead in the late stages of the race and held a five-hour advantage over the next closest musher, three-time champion Mitch Seavey.

“This is awesome,” Waerner said after winning the race. “This is something special.”

Waerner took his dog team over mountain ranges, on the frozen Yukon River and across treacherous Bering Sea ice to the finish line on Nome’s main street in nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds.

Read more>>>

Share

Here are L.A.'s plans to protect workers, renters and homeless people amid coronavirus

Faced with the coronavirus crisis, Los Angeles leaders have taken action on key areas involving the homeless population and evictions and are now considering dozens of other measures.

HOMELESS: The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to temporarily stop enforcing a law requiring tents to come down during daytime hours, saying the change is needed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Council members also voted to instruct city agencies to begin providing hand-washing stations, portable toilets, dumpsters, vermin-proof trash cans and weekly shower service at “major” homeless encampments. But they rejected a plan to stop confiscating the belongings of homeless Angelenos that exceed 60 gallons.

EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES: Renters and homeowners are likely to see significant new protections against evictions and foreclosures after the City Council approved emergency measures to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus. L.A.'s plan will temporarily ban evictions and late fees, require landlords and residential mortgage-holders to work out payment plans with affected residents, reduce city business taxes and create a citywide rental assistance fund. The measures will not take effect immediately. Instead, the council’s vote directs the city attorney to draw up an emergency eviction plan, which could be finalized as soon as Tuesday.

Here are measures that are under consideration:

HYGIENE STATIONS: Offering more hygiene stations with hand sanitizer on the Metro system; 24-hour access to restrooms in public parks; and staffers have been asked to scout for city buildings or lots that could be used as testing sites.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

Watch Live: White House task force gives updates

Share

Kids ask coronavirus questions, we answer

×

Share

Kids offer parents teaching advice for coronavirus quarantine

×

Share

With three coronavirus deaths in area, Palm Springs issues shelter-in-place order

Faced with three coronavirus deaths in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs has issued a shelter-in-place order in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

The city in a press release said its order is modeled on the one in effect in San Francisco.

There have been 18 coronavirus cases confirmed in Riverside County.

Few details have been released about the victims, but officials have said there was an outbreak at a Rancho Mirage nursing facility.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

UCLA student tests positive for COVID-19, is being treated at hospital

A UCLA student who lives off-campus has tested positive for COVID-19 and is receiving care at a local hospital, university officials announced Tuesday.

Anyone who had close contact with the individual, who was not identified by officials, will be contacted and notified if they need to be isolated or tested, Chancellor Gene D. Block wrote in a news release.

“I know the entire UCLA community joins me in keeping our fellow Bruin in their thoughts and remaining committed to our shared well-being as we navigate this new reality together,” Block wrote.
Read more>>>

Share

Get your museum fix here: Six Google art discoveries for your coronavirus quarantine

Coronavirus closures may mean months could pass before you can stand in front of a museum masterpiece again. If you have time on your hands and a deep need for cultural sustenance and succor, be it for yourself or your children, it’s time to get familiar with a resource so obvious it’s not: Google Arts & Culture.

This Google project launched nearly a decade ago, and while you likely were forgetting about it, the platform expanded exponentially. It now features thousands of high-resolution images from more than 1,200 museums globally, including the National Gallery in London, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus quarantining with kids: Movies, games, baking and ... carpentry?

Like many people, this L.A. Times reporter is holed up at home trying to work remotely — with the kids in the house. While the Twitterverse is full of people joking (I hope) that their small humans have already turned on them, there’s no shortage of things for kids to do — with each other and with their larger humans. And if they’re occupied, they’re less likely to band together against us ... right?

Our house is a media hub, so the kids — 11-year-old twins Winston and Betty — are two nights into their “Social Distancing Film Festival.” The opening-night feature, for perhaps obvious reasons, Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” went over well. Winston said, “I love this movie! Well directed and well written.” Dad was struck by how scientifically accurate it was turning out to be, chillingly so. The second night, they chose to stream “Outbreak,” the Wolfgang Petersen adventure movie from 16 years earlier. Dad remembered it as more thrilling than on this repeat viewing, especially after the Soderbergh film, which made this one seem stilted and conventional. Betty agreed. “It was good, but not as good as ‘Contagion.’”

Read more>>>

Share

Shut inside? Open your window and start singing. You’ll feel better

You may have seen those videos of quarantined Italians serenading each other from the balconies of their apartment buildings, snapshots of isolated people reaching for a connection. They’re singing local anthems, breaking out the folk song “Volare,” doing the Macarena (and changing the refrain to “Hey, Quarantena!”) and highlighting why more households here in the States need to have tambourines handy in the event of a global pandemic.

Watching these displays of solidarity, shared on social media, has been a balm in these times of social distancing, inspiring people throughout Europe to follow suit. Italians singing “tell me what it is which makes us feel like we’re together, even when we’re apart” hits home, and even if you don’t understand the words, the emotion comes through. We’re all feeling lost right now.

Read more>>>

Advertisement
Share

The coronavirus stole his birthday party. Mom comes to the rescue

Jack Henry Iverson got the bad news on Sunday.

He was 6 years old, but not for long. And therein lies the problem. Because the Culver City first-grader turned 7 on St. Patrick’s Day. His school was closed. The president of the United States had told everyone to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus and warned against gatherings of more than 10 people.

Like birthday parties.

In the frightening new world of COVID-19, it doesn’t pay to be a Pisces or an Aries, those unfortunate folks who will be the first to celebrate their Big Day on lockdown. The virus has abridged our ability for celebration. But it also has forced us to find new ways to commemorate and communicate.

Read more>>>

Share

Eight great very long books you finally have time to read

Certain books are just imposing, with dimensions that call to mind the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey” more than your standard-size novel or memoir. Some call them doorstoppers; others ponder whether they could be used to repel intruders. There are more than a few that sit on people’s shelves, unread, as statements of purpose: “Ulysses,” “Infinite Jest,” “Middlemarch.”

If you’re currently under self-quarantine or just embracing social distancing, now might be the time to tackle a book the size of a human head. There are plenty of notable tomes out there, in addition to sizable complete collections of short stories by the likes of J.G. Ballard or Mavis Gallant.

But certain supersized books have the makings of ideal quarantine reading. If this goes on for long enough, you might even have time to tackle more than one. Some of the books below will transport you to another place or another time; others will give you a better sense of your own place in time. They have little in common except for their scale and their hypnotic ability to make you forget your own predicament.
Read more>>>

Share

Trump says U.S., Canada have agreed to close border to nonessential traffic

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced the near-closure of the U.S. border with Canada on Wednesday, adding to severe coronavirus-related travel restrictions already affecting Asia and much of Europe.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!” Trump tweeted.

The president is expected to speak in detail at a news conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Eastern.

Read more>>>

Share

Coronavirus has 8 million Californians under shelter-in-place orders

With coronavirus cases spreading rapidly, more than 8 million Californians are living