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Newsletter: Today: California’s Fight With the Flu

So many people have fallen ill with the flu in California that it’s forcing healthcare providers to take some unusual measures.

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California’s Fight With the Flu

Hospitals across California are facing a crisis: how to cope with a surge of patients sick with the flu. Some have had to fly in nurses from out of state and set up triage tents to handle the increase, while others have had to turn away ambulances. Since October, 42 people younger than 65 have died, officials say, but given the vulnerability of older people to the infection, the actual death toll is higher. The influenza strain known as H3N2 is particularly virulent, though there are still some precautions you can take, such as getting a flu shot. (Seriously, if it’s safe for you to do so, do it.) Doctors are unsure whether cases are peaking early or if this flu season will rank among California’s worst.

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TORRANCE, CA - JANUARY 11, 2018: Nurse Reggie Withers tends to flu patient Louise Dominguez,84, of C
Nurse Reggie Withers tends to flu patient Louise Dominguez, 84, as her son Al Dominguez sits nearby in the emergency room at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times )

A Nightmarish Scene in Riverside County

When Riverside County sheriff’s deputies entered the Perris home of David and Louise Turpin — based on a tip from a teen who says she’d escaped — they say they found “several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.” At first officials assumed all were minors, given their frail and malnourished appearance. Later, it was determined that seven of the 13 were ages 18 to 29. Now the parents are being held in jail each on $9-million bail, and neighbors are wondering: “How did no one see anything?”

The Winds of a Trade War

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Will President Trump turn his tough talk on trade with China into action? Heading into its second year, the Trump administration has begun to make rumblings about intellectual property violations and imports of steel, aluminum and solar panels into the U.S. The T-word — tariffs — has come up more than once. But the Chinese government would also have ammunition in a trade war, starting with America’s top two exports to China: soybeans and airplanes.

More Politics

-- Trump’s White House physician declared him in “excellent health” last week after his first check-up at Walter Reed military hospital; today we should get more detailed results.

-- Data show the number of Americans without health coverage, which declined for years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, jumped in Trump’s first year in office.

-- Trump issued his first public statement on the deadly Montecito mudslides, via a two-sentence statement from the White House.

-- “We got to find a way to work on this man’s heart”: Martin Luther King III, the slain civil rights leader’s eldest son, called out Trump.

L.A.’s Latest Idea to Help the Homeless

If you’ve driven near the historic El Pueblo site off downtown L.A.’s Main Street, you’ve seen the homeless living on the sidewalk. Now L.A. leaders are proposing to house dozens in trailers on a city-owned lot nearby at Arcadia and Alameda streets. The plan goes to the City Council today and, if approved, could be a model for temporary shelters elsewhere. Price tag: $2.3 million for the first year and $1.3 million annually after that.

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The Sao Paulo Connection

The United States is the biggest consumer of cocaine in the world, but Brazil is one of the most important shipping points. Bound for Europe and Africa, smugglers pass through Guarulhos International Airport, just outside Sao Paulo. They have a familiar modus operandi: carrying hard-shell suitcases with hiding compartments and swallowing cocaine-filled capsules ahead of the flight. Here’s how the cat-and-mouse game between federal agents and suspected smugglers played out one weekend last month.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- The L.A. County district attorney’s office has launched a comprehensive review of past criminal cases featuring deputies placed on a secret Sheriff’s Department list of problem officers.

-- Columnist Steve Lopez on the perils and the pleasures of living in California.

-- Restaurant critic Jonathan Gold tries the level-six-spicy ramen at Killer Noodle. It comes with water, towels and an endorphin high.

-- How hip-hop is reshaping the television landscape.

-- Ten shows to watch in the winter TV season.

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- In Ghana, people react with anger, and some humor, to Trump’s crude remark about immigrants.

-- Designer Justina Blakeney explains why her kitchen is her favorite room.

CALIFORNIA

-- As the search continued for more victims of the Montecito disaster, officials said they hoped to reopen the 101 Freeway by next Monday.

-- At a service for Blaze Bernstein, more than 500 people mourned the slain Orange County college student.

-- A wall for the wall? The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department incurred nearly $900,000 in added costs to provide patrols, fencing and more during the monthlong construction of eight border wall prototypes.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Dolores O’Riordan, whose voice helped make the Irish rock band the Cranberries a global success in the 1990s, died at a London hotel. She was 46.

-- Comedian Aziz Ansari has responded to allegations of sexual misconduct by a woman he dated last year. The woman’s story has generated quite the debate.

-- “Star Wars” meets virtual reality in the VR experience “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” in Downtown Disney.

-- Studio Ponoc, an animation studio founded by alumni from Hayao Miyazaki’s legendary Studio Ghibli, is taking a new approach to Japanese animated films.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Debbie Allen may be best known for her role as a no-nonsense dance instructor in the 1980 movie “Fame,” but with her own Baldwin Hills dance academy she’s mentored countless dancers, including the Syncopated Ladies. Allen was born on this date in 1950.

NATION-WORLD

-- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the United States a destabilizing force and said it’s no longer the world’s only superpower.

-- After spending two years in jail, Cliven Bundy met his supporters in Nevada and argued that the federal government can’t own land.

-- North Korea is playing a new tune ahead of the Winter Olympics: It’s sending a 140-member orchestra as part of its delegation.

-- A rogue police officer known as the Venezuelan Rambo was cornered by government authorities.

-- A 910-carat diamond discovered in southern Africa is among the biggest in history. That’s about the size of two golf balls.

BUSINESS

-- Are big businesses banding together to persuade lawmakers to sell out your privacy? Consumer columnist David Lazarus says it sure looks that way.

-- Southern California News Group, which includes newspapers such as the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Daily News, will be hit with “significant” layoffs in the coming months.

SPORTS

-- Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles says she is among the athletes sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a now-imprisoned former USA Gymnastics team doctor.

-- What happened after Monday’s heated game between the Clippers and the Rockets? “Our team was in our locker room,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Their team was not in their locker room.”

OPINION

-- Don’t fence us in: Los Angeles needs open space for wildlife and for our sanity.

-- What is the “Dreamer” fight really about? A Hoover Institution fellow weighs in.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- After 30 years of living in the U.S, a 39-year-old landscaper was deported from Detroit to Mexico; his wife and two children are U.S. citizens. (Detroit Free Press)

-- James Baldwin reflecting in 1972 on the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Esquire)

-- The adults without kids who love everything Disney. (The Awl)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

It’s a Palm Springs compound with a storied history: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk’s stone-walled house has come on the market after he bought it way back in 1983. Before it belonged to the writer, who is 102 and published a book last year, it was a desert retreat for actors Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood. Listing price: $2.495 million. Get a look inside for free here.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends.Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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