Essential California Week in Review: Coronavirus spreads

An intense search is underway for people who may have been exposed to a California coronavirus patient.
(Scott Dudelson / Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Feb. 29.

Here’s a look at the top stories of the week:

Coronavirus spreads. California recorded a new case of the coronavirus Friday in Santa Clara County in a patient who had no known exposure through travel or close contact with an infected person, raising concerns that it could be spreading in communities.

Meanwhile officials are searching for others who may have been exposed to a Solano County patient believed to be the first in the U.S. to contract it from community contact. A four-day delay in testing her is raising questions about federal policies and protocols and whether government missteps may have worsened problems.

— The federal government will not send patients to a Costa Mesa facility after intense local opposition.
— Here’s how the spread of the virus may affect the daily lives of Americans.
— For the first time in a century, a U.S. election faces the unusual threat of being upended by a potential pandemic.


Presidential primary nears. California votes this Tuesday, March 3, in the presidential primary. The L.A. Times has everything you need to know about the voting process, the candidates, the local races and more:

California 2020 primary election voters’ guide
Map of L.A. County vote center locations
FAQ about voting in the primary
A complete list of L.A. Times endorsements
How to vote if you’re homeless
A look at Proposition 13, the $15-billion school bond on the ballot

Kobe Bryant remembered. Family, friends and NBA legends said their goodbyes to Kobe and Gianna Bryant at a memorial Monday at the Staples Center. As millions watched worldwide, Beyoncé opened the program by singing “XO” and “Halo.” The event’s first three speakers to follow host Jimmy Kimmel and Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, were stars of women’s basketball.

Getting the youth vote. In conservative California, Democrats are struggling to win desperately needed young voters amid what they call a “sea of gray hairs.” They’re hoping to beat the odds, but they know turning Placer County blue won’t be easy.

College admissions scandal in court. A judge has set an Oct. 5 start date for a blockbuster trial featuring Lori Loughlin and other parents charged with defrauding USC. And the heiress to the Hot Pockets fortune was sentenced for paying to fix her daughters’ college entrance exams and agreeing to pay to sneak one girl into USC as a bogus beach volleyball player.

Heat records set. Temperatures rose Thursday to 85 degrees at Los Angeles International Airport, breaking a previous record of 83 degrees set on the same date in 1992. The unseasonably warm weather was the result of a high-pressure ridge that’s rerouted winter storms that typically soak California to the Pacific Northwest.

A tale of two Bobs. After 15 years at the helm of Disney, Bob Iger is stepping down as CEO, and Bob Chapek is stepping up, effective immediately. Chapek previously led the company’s parks and consumer products businesses and speaks fluent Disney.

A town gives in to the ocean. Marina is a rare coastal California town where the pavement stops well before the high tide. It’s forbidden sea walls and embraced a policy of managed retreat, making room for sea level rise. It wants to show other cities how it’s done.

From the farmers market to must-have status. Hydro Flask started as a mom and pop brand. Travis Rosbach and Cindy Weber simply didn’t like the reusable bottles available on the market. But with a big boost from social media, their creation became an eco-chic status symbol for a generation of teens.

Weinstein convicted. A New York jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of one count of committing a criminal sexual act and one count of rape, marking a major milestone in the fall of a Hollywood titan and the rise of the #MeToo movement. Weinstein still faces charges in Los Angeles, and experts say the New York verdict could make a conviction in L.A. more likely.

1. The complete list of L.A. Times endorsements in the March 3 California primary. Los Angeles Times

2. An illustrated guide to Los Angeles trees and flowers. Curbed LA

3. The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board endorsements. San Francisco Chronicle


4. Man drives Jeep off roof of Santa Monica parking garage and lands across the street. Los Angeles Times

5. Political endorsements from the Orange County Register. Orange County Register

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Why is there a peak high in the San Gabriel Mountains called Mt. Disappointment? “The answer to that question lies in a little-known tale of ambition, adventure and, yes, disappointment, that would forever alter the nation’s perception of the great American West.” Los Angeles Times

For six years, a North Carolina family has tried to find out what the U.S. government did with its children after they were separated at the border. In this deeply upsetting piece, powerhouse immigration reporter Aura Bogado investigates the “unknown number of kids who have simply disappeared into the U.S. immigration system.” Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting

Replaying my shame: Former Gawker editor Emily Gould reckons with her time at the site in 2007, the notion of public humiliation and what we are willing to write off as the price of doing business. The Cut

Poem of the week: “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert. Poetry Foundation


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. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Diya Chacko and Laura Blasey for all their help on the Saturday edition.)