Newsletter: California’s coronavirus state of emergency

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks about the coronavirus at a news conference on Feb. 27, 2020.
(Associated Press)

After reporting its first coronavirus-related death, California is taking measures aimed at preparing for and containing the spread of the virus.


California’s Coronavirus State of Emergency

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a coronavirus state of emergency Wednesday, hours after the state had announced its first virus-related death, involving a person from Placer County who got sick on a cruise ship.


Health officials are trying to assess whether others who took the cruise from San Francisco to Mexico and back became ill from a virus that has struck 12 counties in California. By one estimate, more than 50% of the more than 2,500 passengers who returned aboard the Grand Princess on Feb. 21 were Californians, Newsom said. The state has delayed the ship’s arrival from a trip to Hawaii because several passengers and staff aboard the ship have exhibited coronavirus symptoms.

Newsom said his emergency declaration is intended to help California prepare for and contain the spread of the coronavirus by allowing state agencies to more easily procure equipment and services, share information on patients and alleviate restrictions on the use of state-owned properties and facilities. He added that price-gouging protections are being extended in response to Amazon vendors’ taking advantage of people seeking hand sanitizer and other in-demand goods.

The move also underscored the growing seriousness of the virus as it spreads in the United States, claiming at least 11 lives and sending financial markets spinning. More communities across California — including Los Angeles County — have declared a state of emergency, and in Washington, D.C., House lawmakers have struck a deal to allocate about $8 billion to help the federal government fight the virus.

More About the Coronavirus

— Empty stores, quarantined firefighters: Kirkland, Wash., the city at a coronavirus epicenter, is reeling as the death toll rises.

— In Southeast Asia, tourism helped drive a decade of world-leading economic growth. Then coronavirus arrived.


— From weddings to funeral trips, coronavirus fears are upending plans. A “general fear” has swept the concert industry, with calls to cancel the SXSW festival.

— A coronavirus danger: Touching your face. Here is how to stop doing it. Meanwhile, if you’re sick of singing “Happy Birthday” twice every time you wash your hands to make sure you scrub long enough, maybe try one of these other superior songs instead.

Coronavirus today: Get the latest coronavirus updates from our staff in California and around the world.

The Biden-Bernie Battle

Michael R. Bloomberg is gone. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is weighing her future. That means the Democratic presidential race is pretty much down to former Vice President Joe Biden, coming off a string of Super Tuesday victories, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who resonated with California to take the day’s big prize.

Some Democrats had been hoping for a quick resolution to their nominating fight, giving them all the more time to focus on defeating President Trump. But Sanders has signaled his intention to battle on against Biden.

Both candidates are in their late 70s and have big weaknesses in reaching beyond their respective bases. Their next crucial tests: Michigan and five other states vote next Tuesday, followed by a debate March 15 in Phoenix, and then another round of voting two days later in four states including the key battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida and Ohio.


More Politics

— Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. issued a rare statement to rebuke Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer for what Roberts called “threatening” and “dangerous” statements directed at the two justices named by Trump. The president soon weighed in as well, with a tweet.

— The Supreme Court’s conservative justices sounded open to upholding a Louisiana law that would put restrictions on clinics providing abortion.

— A vegan protester who jumped up onstage as Biden was speaking and tangled with his wife, Jill Biden, says, “I felt empathy when I heard her yell.”

‘Who Would Imagine?’

Robert Biedron, who has described himself as an “openly gay, atheist, leftist, anti-coal candidate,” is running for president in Poland — an overwhelmingly Catholic country that burns more coal than any in Europe after Germany, and whose government leaders have condemned gay rights as an “attack on children.” Yet Biedron’s rise over the years from activist to presidential contender has marked a turning point, as an increasingly vocal minority opposes the government’s and the church’s grip.



The Los Angeles Times archives are full of wild crashes, chases and other transportation mayhem. This photo was taken March 5, 1997, in Burbank. According to The Times, the driver of the truck lost control, crossed two streets and went backward through the restaurant, hitting cars along the way. Five people were injured, including the driver, a passenger and three restaurant patrons.

March 5, 1997: A runaway truck straddles a counter at El Burrito Loco in Burbank.
(Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)


— L.A. County supervisors want a “forensic autopsy” on the widespread voting problems Tuesday, when inadequate staffing, poor communications and balky technology turned election day into an anxious quagmire and left voters waiting in line for hours.

— A fault running through the heart of San Diego poses a much more critical earthquake threat than long believed, new research finds.

— The murder trial has begun for Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir accused of killing his friend in her Benedict Canyon home to prevent her from incriminating him in his wife’s disappearance. Prosecutors have assembled a web of evidence that spans decades, with more than 100 witnesses, dozens of hours of video and reams of documents that shed light on three crimes they say he committed.

— Weeks before his sentencing for misuse of campaign funds, former Rep. Duncan Hunter has again asked a judge to throw out his indictment or else recuse prosecutors from the case.


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— What’s a hit song worth these days? For “Roxanne” rapper Arizona Zervas, the answer ends in lots of zeroes.

Pamela Adlon is the co-creator and star of the FX dramedy “Better Things.” She also makes a great roast chicken and says you can, too.

— If you ask Los Angeles artist Catherine Opie, politics give swamps a bad name. Her new series, “Rhetorical Landscapes,” on view at Regen Projects in Hollywood, focuses on “a beautiful, vulnerable ecosystem.”

BritBox says it has reached 1 million subscribers in North America, doubling its base of customers in just 14 months. The niche streaming service offers licensed and original British programming.


— It’s official, now that the votes have been counted in Israel’s latest parliamentary election: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc is three seats short of the majority it would need to govern, less than two weeks before he goes on trial on corruption charges.


— Members of China’s Uighur ethnic minority forced into labor by Beijing may have made your iPhone, sneakers or TV — the latest step in a campaign of forced assimilation through mass detention, “reeducation” camps and labor.

— Greek authorities fired tear gas and stun grenades at migrants seeking to enter from Turkey.

— The chief rabbi of Rome sharply criticized the Vatican for its handling of the long-awaited opening of its archives on Pius XII, who kept silent during the slaughter of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.


General Motors is making a $20-billion bet on electric and automated vehicles.

Quibi says it raised $750 million in its second round of financing, a boon for the Hollywood streaming service that launches early next month.

— Three months after Viacom and CBS merged, the company has put book publisher Simon & Schuster on the auction block.



— Tales from Lakers land: Shaq has stopped shaving his head, and his hairline is a sight to behold. LeBron James’ shots from 30 feet or farther aren’t desperation heaves, but how he decides to attempt them is “just a feel thing.” And columnist Arash Markazi writes that Kobe Bryant’s love for his family eclipsed any potential Lakers front-office role.

— The rumors of Tom Brady leaving the Patriots for the Chargers or the Cowboys aren’t far-fetched.

— The three-year, $26-million contract Max Muncy signed with the Dodgers in February changed the slugger’s tax bracket but little else, he says.


— Now that Democrats have gotten through Super Tuesday, the real battle for the party’s soul begins, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— Four years after the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that would have shuttered abortion clinics across the state, it should do the same to an identical law in Louisiana, the editorial board says.


— Fiddle-leaf fig plants. Blush pink. Quirky sayings in sans-serif fonts. This is the millennial aesthetic we know and love — or do we? (The Cut)


— Inside Michael Bloomberg’s half-billion-dollar belly flop. (Politico)

— EPA scientists found a toxic chemical damages fetal hearts. Then the Trump White House rewrote their assessment. What’s unclear is whether the changes came from Nancy Beck, the lobbyist turned EPA official whom Trump wants to lead a consumer-protection agency. (Reveal)


San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park recently got some new residents: five 1-year-old bison. It’s the first time in eight years that new bison have been added to Bison Paddock, a meadow just west of Spreckels Lake. Park officials say the five yearlings are joining Betsy, Bailey, Bellatrix, Buttercup and Bambi to form a herd of 10 females. The youngsters’ names haven’t been announced yet (perhaps they’re trying to think of more that begin with B?), but as this video shows, these baby bison are definitely bouncing.

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