Essential California: How to move the needle on vaccinations?

A worker prepares a COVID-19 vaccine
A worker prepares a COVID-19 vaccine during a clinic held at the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus on July 6.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, July 14. I’m Shelby Grad, filling in for Justin Ray.

California’s COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly becoming a tale of two worlds. For the vaccinated, life is beginning to return to normal. Masks are coming off; shopping, travel and socializing are all back. Despite the new Delta variant, experts say, they are protected.

But for the unvaccinated, the dangers are rising. L.A. County is seeing a worrying spike in cases, and 99% of those infected have not been inoculated.

So, what to do? Experts say some tough political and social choices are ahead. Should vaccinations be mandated at some workplaces? Should health workers go door to door offering the vaccine in communities with low vaccination rates? And the big question: How much worse can it get?


Here are some of the potential answers.


Enforcing student mask mandates will fall to local school officials. What are they going to do? Los Angeles Times

A compelling, heartbreaking narrative about one family’s unique struggle with COVID-19. Los Angeles Times

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

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Why the delay? There are growing questions about why it took so long to alert the public to a massive sewage spill into Santa Monica Bay — and whether officials handled the crisis properly. Los Angeles Times


Video: The terrifying behavior of one Northern California fire caught on tape. SFGATE

River fire update: The latest on the fire outside Yosemite. Fresno Bee

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More money is on the way: As California emerges from the pandemic, state leaders have approved a $100-billion plan to spur the recovery, with checks going out for rent relief, state stimulus payments and grants to businesses. Los Angeles Times

Should Newsom be recalled? Columnist George Skelton says his own report card says no. Los Angeles Times

High-rises under scrutiny: Should California require more inspections of aging towers? Los Angeles Daily News


Irvine’s Great Park has a long history (it was once the El Toro Marine base). The city is now considering changing the park’s name. Orange County Register

College bound: Getting better data in California about who is going to college. LAist


Recidivism numbers: A new study looks at recidivism of people released from San Francisco jails. San Francisco Chronicle

As an investigator for the State Bar of California, Tom Layton was responsible for policing the legal profession for rogue attorneys. But while collecting a salary as a watchdog for the public, he spent work hours advancing the interests and political connections of Tom Girardi, a lawyer with a long record of misconduct complaints, emails obtained by The Times show. Los Angeles Times

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Does the indie movie house have a future in our post-pandemic streaming world? Some big names think so. But it will be slow going. Even in Los Angeles, a haven for cinephiles, the movie business’ comeback has been slow going for many of the area’s independent circuits, arthouses and revival cinemas. Los Angeles Times

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Los Angeles.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Emmy nominations are out: While the movie business struggled through 2020, TV thrived. And that is leading to a competitive, exciting Emmy season. HBO got the most nods, but Netflix was not far behind. Los Angeles Times

— The snubs. Los Angeles Times

— All the nominees. Los Angeles Times

— Some analysis. Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter

Things go better with KOLA: The secret of an Inland Empire oldies station. Los Angeles Daily News


As the Bay Area comes back to life, one of the new hotspots isn’t in San Francisco or Oakland. The crowds are flocking to suburban Walnut Creek. San Francisco Chronicle


Yellow jackets: California backyards have some very unwelcome residents. Sacramento Bee

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Los Angeles: Sunny, 85. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 76. San Francisco: Mostly sunny, 65. San Jose: Sunny, 80. Fresno: Sunny, 102. Sacramento: Sunny, 90.


Today’s California memory is from Deanna “Dee” Manning:

I am an Orange County, Calif., native, spending my 1940s elementary school years in La Habra. I walked to school alongside groves of Valencia oranges. On frosty mornings, the coal-filled smudge pots were burning to keep the orange crop from freezing. On warm days, we took coal from the pots and drew on the sidewalk. It was a pretty wonderful life.

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

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