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Coronavirus: What you should know right now, Thursday evening edition

Disneyland
A combination of weather and the coronavirus kept crowds sparse at Disneyland on Thursday. The park shuts down Friday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Here’s what you need to know right now about what’s going on with the coronavirus outbreak.

This is the first in a regular series that will be published online daily without a paywall. We know there is a ton of news out there. We want this to be a resource for everyone so that they have the essential information they need to stay informed, safe and healthy.

Some of the content linked here may be behind a paywall. Please consider subscribing to support our journalism. Right now we are offering four weeks for $1 at latimes.com/subscriptions.

Here’s the latest from the L.A. Times.

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Coronavirus is here and it’s spreading. Two of the three new cases announced in L.A. on Thursday were people who had no known exposure to the virus — aka cases of so-called “community spread.” There are currently 32 known cases of coronavirus in L.A. County, including four in Long Beach and one in Pasadena.

The total number of infections in California as of now: 198.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last night that the state recommended canceling any gathering of 250 or more people. L.A. is trying to set an example by scaling back meetings at City Hall.

Parents and school districts in L.A. are debating whether it’s time to shut down schools. No decision has been made yet.

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Many low-wage workers in the U.S. do not have access to paid sick days, as federal law does not require employers to provide them.

But that’s not the case in California. Employees that meet certain requirements are entitled to at least three days of paid sick leave. Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco all have local laws that mandate additional paid sick time.

You do not need to have been diagnosed with coronavirus to be eligible to take sick leave. You may take paid family leave to care for a sick family member.

If you run out of sick leave in California, you are eligible to file for disability. If you lose hours or your job, you are eligible to file for unemployment.

  • Disneyland and California Adventure will close starting tomorrow and through the end of March in an abundance of caution to prevent further outbreaks.

“While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month,” Walt Disney Co. wrote in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Downtown Disney will remain open. Hotels at the resort will stay open through Monday so guests can make travel arrangements. The company will refund current hotel bookings. Cast members — what the company calls the park employees — will continue to be paid during the shutdown.

A lot of movie studios are pushing back release dates, assuming people won’t be flocking to sit in a movie theater in the near future. The full list of what’s been pushed back

Over in sports, uh, pretty much everything is canceled. Complete coverage.

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Coachella: Postponed. E3: Canceled. The complete running list of events that are not happening because of coronavirus.

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What we’re wondering right now:

Is it safe to use the shared laundry facilities in my building?

Yes. Laundry detergent will kill the virus. Use normal precautions with shared surfaces. Mainly, don’t touch the shared washing machine and then touch your face. Wash your hands after.

Should I cancel my library book holds?

Maybe consider wiping down library books. Tests by the U.S. government and other scientists have shown the virus can live as long as four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and steel. Worth noting that there’s no evidence that anyone has contracted the virus from touching a contaminated surface at this point.

Do I need to take any special precautions when I’m walking my dog?

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Keep your distance from coughers and sneezers. Don’t touch your face while you’re out, and wash your hands when you get back inside.

Can I still go to the gym?

Yes, but exercise (ha-ha) caution. Don’t touch your face. (A tip from one of my co-workers: A sweatband will aid your efforts on this front by keeping sweat out of your eyes and your hair off your face.) Don’t get too close to anyone else. Many gyms have set up hand sanitizing stations; make liberal use of them. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

(Update on Friday, March 13 at 3 p.m.: Updated precautions from L.A. officials about going to the gym.)

What are you wondering? Submit your coronavirus questions here.

More from around the internet (some stories may be behind paywalls. Please consider paying for journalism you value.):

  • Social distancing: A how-to guide. (The Atlantic)
  • Trump’s Europe travel ban conveniently exempts any country with a Trump resort property in it. (Politico)
  • Public health officials and many others are calling to “flatten the curve.” Here’s what that means. If a cat-related visual would help you understand: Cattening the curve.
  • The virus is not spreading as fast in Taiwan and Singapore. Here’s what they’ve done differently. (Slate)
  • Another less-than-stellar day on the stock market. It was the market’s worst day since … Monday. (CNBC) (Update: Scratch that. Worst day since 1987.)
  • Anchors on Fox News: Coronavirus isn’t a big deal. Internal memos at Fox News: It kind of is. (L.A. Times)
  • An aide to Jair Bolsonaro, who met with Trump earlier this week, has tested positive for coronavirus. Bolsonaro himself is awaiting test results. (NBC News)

As always, follow our paywall-free liveblog for the latest updates. And sign up for our Coronavirus Today newsletter, also paywall-free, helmed by my colleague Diya Chacko. Is there a link I should add? Drop it in the comments or email me at jessica.roy@latimes.com.


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