Coronavirus Today: Turnover troubles
Good evening. I’m Diya Chacko, and it’s Friday, Aug. 14. Here’s the latest on what’s happening with the coronavirus, plus ways to spend your weekend and a look at some of the week’s best stories.
As it continues to clear its backlog of coronavirus test results, California has become the first state in the nation to soar past 600,000 cases. Still, there’s growing evidence that the surge in infections and deaths that began when California reopened its economy in May is beginning to slow.
Los Angeles County’s effective transmission rate is now about 0.86 — meaning that one infected person passes the virus to an average of less than one other person. Last week, the rate was 0.91. The state’s overall effective transmission rate is 0.96.
The number of hospitalizations, which was not affected by the state’s test backlog, is also falling. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that the latest data show an almost 20% drop in the last 14 days. He also promised that all errors in state coronavirus testing data will be resolved by Monday.
The errors have complicated the already stressful job of California’s public health officers as they try to keep pace with the governor’s flurry of new guidelines, programs and policy changes and become targets of hostility from the public. When Dr. Sonia Angell resigned Sunday as Newsom’s public health director, she became the latest of more than half a dozen top health officials to depart over the last year, raising concerns that the upheaval is threatening the state’s response at a critical time. “If we’re going to churn through them like this, we’re going to be in big trouble,” said state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).
California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health will temporarily hire retired inspectors to help process an influx of workplace safety complaints that have flooded the agency during the pandemic. Reporting from The Times found “crippling” staff vacancies at Cal/OSHA, with former workers suggesting the agency was failing to implement the very coronavirus guidelines it recommends to employers.
By the numbers
California cases and deaths as of 3:04 p.m. PDT Friday:
Track the latest numbers and how they break down in California with our graphics.
What to read this weekend
Will COVID-19 change Americans’ views of the social safety net? For some conservatives, asking for and then accepting federal funds has prompted some reflection on their views about government aid.
“He believed that he would be fired.” José Roberto Álvarez was known for his work ethic and instilling in his children a love of others. The Salvadoran immigrant feared losing his food industry job during the pandemic — which ultimately led to his death from COVID-19.
He’s Los Angeles’ most recognizable superfan. For the first time in two decades, the NBA playoffs will take place without 80-year-old James Goldstein courtside, dressed in his high-fashion leather jacket and pant suits, signature hats and neckerchiefs. Despite his wishes, he won’t be allowed in the league’s Orlando, Fla., coronavirus bubble.
It’s the perfect pandemic getaway. Founded in 1893, Sturtevant Camp in the Angeles National Forest is a remote, off-the-grid oasis of quiet — if you don’t mind a 4-mile hike to reach it.
A pivot to planter boxes. Work had dried up in the pandemic for commercials director Raúl B. Fernández. But a pair of planter boxes he built for his wife turned out to be the springboard for a completely new business.
“We have the kids taking care of us.” These brothers from Hemet, ages 14 and 12, have been creating face shields using their school robotics team’s 3-D printer. Now they’re reaching out to other schools to help fulfill the high demand for personal protective equipment for essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus fight.
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What to do this weekend
Try pickling. Now that we’re all cooking, trying to stretch stuff, preserve stuff or figure out a way to use up that last CSA box, pickling is the thing to do. Here’s the Food team’s guide to everything you need to know.
Get outside. Thinking about a trip to Griffith Park? Check out these six scenic but quiet spots when you get there. Here’s the latest on what’s open and what’s closed from Christopher Reynolds and Mary Forgione. You can sign up for the newsletter The Wild for more.
Watch something great. Need a new TV show to get into? Start with nine great British and Aussie imports. Additionally, our culture picks for this weekend include a dance film directed by Benjamin Millepied and an online L.A. celebration of Japanese culture.
Get takeout with The Times’ ultimate guide. The Times Food team collected more than 100 restaurants into this interactive guide to help you find the best restaurant delivery and takeout options in the Los Angeles area.
Explore the internet. Here’s the Times’ guide to the internet, for when you’re looking for self-care, learning, entertainment or just something interesting.
— For general safety, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (here’s a super-fun how-to video). Stop touching your face, and keep your phone clean. Practice social distancing, maintaining a six-foot radius of personal space in public. And wear a mask if you leave home. Here’s how to do it right.
— Watch for symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. If you’re worried you might be infected, call your doctor or urgent care clinic before going there.
— Need a COVID-19 test? Here’s how to receive a free test if you’re in L.A. County. And here’s a map of testing sites across California.
— Here’s how to care for someone with COVID-19, from monitoring their symptoms to preventing the virus’ spread.
— If your job has been affected by the pandemic, here’s how to file for unemployment.
— Here are some free resources for restaurant workers and entertainment industry professionals having trouble making ends meet.
— Advice for helping kids navigate pandemic life includes being honest about uncertainties, acknowledging their feelings and sticking to a routine. Here’s guidance from the CDC.
— In need of mental health services? Here are resources for coping during the crisis from the CDC and the L.A. County Department of Mental Health. L.A. County residents can also call (800) 854-7771 or text “LA” to 741741.
The pandemic in pictures
When Southern California shut down, Dilan Jay found himself with dozens of canceled shows on his hands. “It was a real mess,” he recalled.
Inspired by stories of other musicians playing on their porches, Jay decided to give it a try. Months later, his Friday night concerts have become socially distanced happenings with sometimes more than 100 people spread out in the street. He splits his hourlong set with vocalist Starr Light, whom he met before quarantine at a local pub’s open mic night.
“When you love music, you love music,” Jay said. “It isn’t about money, it’s about expressing yourself. We need it as a community too.”
Our reporters covering the coronavirus outbreak want to hear from you. Email us your questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them. You can find more answers in our Frequently Asked Questions roundup and in our reopening tracker.
For the most up-to-date coronavirus coverage from The Times over the weekend, visit our homepage and our Health section, sign up for our breaking news alerts, and follow us on Twitter and on Instagram.