Newsletter: Trump tests positive for the coronavirus


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Oct. 2, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.

Just before 1 a.m. Washington time early Friday morning, the president of the United States sent a tweet that quickly sent shockwaves around the globe.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus. The president tweeted that he and the first lady would “begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.”

[Read the story: “Trump and first lady test positive for the coronavirus” in the Los Angeles Times]


His positive test came just hours after the White House announced that senior aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus after traveling with the president several times this week, including to the first presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday and to a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative on Friday morning.

The president traveled to New Jersey on Thursday for a reelection event, appearing at a fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club. According to the New York Times, White House officials have known about Hicks’ likely diagnosis since Wednesday evening, although she reportedly didn’t receive her positive test until Thursday.

News of Trump’s diagnosis comes just a month before the U.S. presidential election, and seven months into a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and transformed nearly every aspect of life across the country. The president has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus threat and refused to abide by public health guidelines.

Trump is 74, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the coronavirus. According to the Associated Press, this is the most serious known public health scare encountered by a sitting U.S. president in recent history. Several other world leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, have previously become infected with the coronavirus.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Dangerously dry and windy conditions will challenge crews battling the Glass fire in California’s wine country over the coming days, as officials warn that gusts could potentially push the blaze toward communities in Napa County. Los Angeles Times

Disney’s Bob Iger resigns from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force as tensions mount over theme park closures: Los Angeles Times


California adds a COVID-19 equity requirement: California’s larger counties will not be permitted to reopen their economies further unless they reduce coronavirus infections in the hardest-hit places where poor, Black, Latino and Pacific Islander people live. Los Angeles Times

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Mega-donors and police unions have poured nearly $12 million into the L.A. County district attorney’s race. Incumbent Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s campaign has been boosted primarily by law enforcement unions, whereas wealthy advocates primarily concentrated in the Bay Area have contributed a majority of the funds to challenger George Gascón. Los Angeles Times

After a disastrous March election, L.A. County faces a “huge challenge” in November. It will be the first election since the problem-riddled debut of the county’s new $300-million voting system, which officials have spent months trying to fix. Los Angeles Times

At these Koreatown shops, kimchi is everything and more. To distinguish themselves, independent kimchi shops try to focus on quality and specific tastes. Los Angeles Times

A plate of both white and spicy kimchi surrounded by an array of raw ingredients
Traditional baechu kimchi and baek kimchi surrounded by an array of raw ingredients from Kae Sung Market in Koreatown.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

[See also: “Your guide to the must-try kimchis of L.A.” in the Los Angeles Times]

Dodgers advance: The Dodgers completed a two-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers in the best-of-three wild-card round at Dodger Stadium and moved on to the National League Division Series to face either the St. Louis Cardinals or San Diego Padres. Los Angeles Times

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Trump’s war on election integrity “follows a racist playbook used in 1980s Orange County.” Columnist Gustavo Arellano makes the case for historical comparisons. Los Angeles Times

Merced County’s public health director says the government tried to “intimidate” the department into keeping a Foster Farms poultry plant open, despite the coronavirus outbreak at the plant. CBS News


A federal appeals court upheld Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions on indoor worship during the pandemic. The majority of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel said California’s health orders on churches did not discriminate against religious expression. Los Angeles Times


One reason for Northern California’s terrible fire season? Less rain than Southern California. Los Angeles Times

A ranger station in Sequoia National Forest has been wrapped in foil like “a big baked potato” to shield it from wildfire. “Only a chimney was left sticking out, making the structure look like a large, badly wrapped Christmas gift.” Fresno Bee


California’s compounding crises: Santa Cruz County lost almost 1,000 homes to the CZU Lightning Complex fires. Its housing crisis is now worse than ever. San Francisco Chronicle

Workers are quietly trickling back to Southern California offices. About 25% of the country’s workers are already coming into the office regularly — not five days a week, but at least two or three days, according to research by Newmark Knight Frank broker Ryan Harding and his colleagues. Los Angeles Times

Aerial angle of people talking to a receptionist in an office building with lots of social distancing precautions
Alexandra Rousso, foreground, left, and Carly Kinnan, background, left, receptionists at Hudson Pacific Properties, a big office landlord in Los Angeles, work behind safety partitions, as protection against the coronavirus.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Desperate for art and culture IRL? Here are six Southern California shows to see in person. Los Angeles Times

A poem to start your Friday: “Pan Dulce” by Jose Hernandez Diaz. Poetry Foundation

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Los Angeles: sunny, 96. San Diego: sunny, 84. San Francisco: partly sunny, 78. San Jose: partly sunny, 93. Fresno: sunny, 98. Sacramento: sunny, 100. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Hap Freund:

In 1978, I moved, with Claudia, the woman I eventually married, from a home on eight acres of woods and pasture overlooking Puget Sound to Santa Monica while she attended law school in Los Angeles. I started work in Ventura and for the first few weeks commuted partway on the Pacific Coast Highway. Each morning I was excited to see small figures in black bobbing in the water as I drove north; I came home each night to tell Claudia about the seals I was seeing. Until I embarrassingly eventually discovered that they were surfers in wetsuits.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.