Newsletter: ‘Past the point of containment’

Grand Princess cruise ship
Grand Princess passengers showing signs of the coronavirus are expected to remain in California, while others will be sent to a military base in the San Antonio area.
(Associated Press)

As a cruise ship with nearly 3,000 stranded travelers prepares to dock in the Port of Oakland, top health officials warn that the U.S. has entered a stage in which containment of the coronavirus is no longer possible.


‘Past the Point of Containment’

Top health officials are warning that the U.S. has entered a new stage in dealing with the deadly coronavirus. “We’re past the point of containment,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration during the first two years of President Trump’s administration. “We have to implement broad mitigation strategies. The next two weeks are really going to change the complexion in this country. We’ll get through this, but it’s going to be a hard period.”


U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams also said on TV that shifting to a mitigation phase means that communities will see more cases and need to start thinking about whether it makes sense to cancel large gatherings, close schools and make it more feasible for employees to work from home. That’s what happened Sunday, with more reported school closings, including the largest school district in Northern California; warnings against group gatherings; and cancellation of big events, such as the BNP Paribas Open, the Indian Wells tennis tournament that was scheduled to start this week.

The comments from current and former officials marked a big shift at the federal level, after the Trump administration tried to downplay the outbreak’s severity. Some California officials have also acknowledged there is widening discussion on whether they should shift from a strategy of tracking every potential exposure to asking the public to limit social gatherings.

Meanwhile, the State Department is urging U.S. citizens to not travel on cruise ships. That warning comes as the Grand Princess, with nearly 3,000 travelers aboard, prepares to dock today in the Port of Oakland. Gov. Gavin Newsom said it could take three days or longer to get passengers and those who need medical attention, including 19 infected crew members, off the cruise ship. Many Californians on board will eventually be sent to two California military bases.

More About the Coronavirus

— The nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., at the center of a deadly outbreak has spurred precautions at such facilities across the U.S.

— In Italy, the government extended a quarantine to cover a quarter of its population — 16 million people in the north. Many fled south on the last departing trains and buses, drawing the wrath of local officials.


— As South Korea has scrambled to contain a surge of infections, the virus has in particular seeped into the spaces where society’s most frail are gathered or institutionalized — the elderly, the mentally ill, the disabled.

— Sen. Ted Cruz said he will remain at his home in Texas after learning that he shook hands with a man at the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for the virus. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) also said in a tweet that he and three of his senior staffers are under self-quarantine after “sustained contact” with the person.

— The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest, is hurting. That may be a leading indicator of the pain that’s in store for Southern California and the U.S. economy as businesses hunker down to deal with the rapidly expanding new coronavirus.

Religious institutions in Southern California have begun to change their practices to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Sign up for Coronavirus Today, a new special edition of the Los Angeles Times’ Health and Science newsletter that will help you understand more about COVID-19.

Another Key Test in the Primaries

It’s not Super Tuesday, but tomorrow six states will hold primaries or caucuses. Most pivotal among them is Michigan. With Joe Biden holding a significant lead in the race to amass a majority of delegates to the Democratic convention, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is pouring resources into the Wolverine State. At a rally in Grand Rapids, Sanders touted an endorsement from the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The Biden campaign countered with another raft of prominent endorsements, led by Sen. Kamala Harris. Sen. Cory Booker joined them early Monday, tweeting that he was endorsing Biden.

Game Changers

Nearly 50 years after Congress passed Title IX to give female athletes an equitable playing field, they’re still looking for a fair shot. In hockey, the U.S. and Canadian women’s teams are good as gold in the Olympics but would love to have a solid league of their own. And they are far from alone. In this special project from The Times, we profile female athletes who are champions of sports and justice, from the trailblazing Billie Jean King, who never takes no for an answer, to Michelle Kwan, who makes time for figure skating and U.S. diplomacy.

Latino Media’s Labor Movement

The La Raza and Mega radio stations are the second- and sixth-most-listened-to Latino stations in L.A., respectively, according to Nielsen data. They’re also the first Spanish-language radio stations to unionize nationwide, given that local DJs say they can barely make the rent. A labor standoff with the parent company highlights a broader push by Hollywood’s biggest union to organize in Latino media nationwide.


— Lawsuits and labor claims: How the operators of the now-shuttered Curry House chain do business.

— Energy companies are scrambling to build “pumped storage” projects to complement solar and wind farms. They call them key to a clean energy future, but environmentalists are concerned.

A homeless man, a corgi and a rescue mission on two legs and four.

— How architect Henry Cobb gave L.A.’s skyline its distinctive crown.


In 1964, a Pacific Electric railroad ramp in downtown L.A. needed to be removed. A giant mechanical “woodpecker” helped in the demolition. A story in The Times on this date in 1964 reported:

“A woodpecker started its rat-a-tat-tat downtown at dawn Sunday, and a giant steel railroad trestle thundered to the ground. The mechanized ‘bird’ is a new invention that can strike a 7.5-ton force for the demolition of superstructures.”

March 8, 1964: As Manuel Perez takes a swing with an old-fashioned sledgehammer, the new “woodpecker” slams down to break concrete on the old Maple Avenue trestle railroad ramp at 6th and Main streets.
(Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times)


— After a whirlwind week, L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has an election, and a family matter, hanging in the balance.

— The AIDS Healthcare Foundation vowed to do homeless housing better. Tenants say it’s a “slumlord.”

— Hundreds march in Irvine last week to bring awareness to the sexual assault of female janitors during night shifts.

— Gov. Newsom and his wife, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, reported an income of $1.2 million in 2018, including $800,000 from the governor’s wineries, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses.

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— Despite worries that the new coronavirus might affect moviegoing, the overall domestic gross box office was up 4% over last weekend. Tops this week was “Onward.”

— The South by Southwest festival has been canceled because of coronavirus concerns, though some vow the show will go on. Meanwhile, there’s some debate over what to do with the upcoming Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race, but that didn’t stop her from stealing the opening of “Saturday Night Live.”


— Trump will skip annual bipartisan St. Patrick’s Day luncheon with House and Senate lawmakers, blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

— South Korea’s military says North Korea fired three short-range projectiles off its east coast. The action came two days after the North had threatened to take “momentous” action to protest outside condemnation over its earlier live-fire exercises.

— Authorities in southeastern China say at least 10 people were killed in the collapse of a hotel used to isolate people who had arrived from other parts of the country hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

— Seething anger over a rise in deadly violence against women in Mexico spilled into the streets of the nation’s capital as tens of thousands of female demonstrators marched to demand that the government do more to protect them.


— American stock futures tumbled Sunday night, with losses triggering exchange rules that limit declines at 5%, as plummeting oil prices added to the backdrop of dread surrounding the coronavirus. Oil prices tumbled after Russian President Vladimir Putin spurned Saudi Arabia to start a war on America’s shale oil industry.

— California air regulators have found that taking an Uber or Lyft pollutes more than driving. That means new rules aimed at cutting pollution will be coming.


LeBron James’ performances against the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Clippers this weekend are earning him “MVP” accolades from his teammates.

— Despite coronavirus fears, the L.A. Marathon went on with masks, sanitizer and some dark humor amid the water bottles. Bayelign Teshager and Margaret Muriuki won the race.


— The Times’ editorial board argues that shoppers can surely afford a couple extra pennies on imported goods to help clean up “diesel death zones” and fight climate change.

— Where did Bernie’s revolution go wrong? Columnist Doyle McManus writes that what makes Sanders successful as an insurgent leader makes it hard — maybe impossible — for him to build a majority among Democrats.


— Interviews and documents show security contractor Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, “has in recent years helped recruit former American and British spies for secretive intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda.”

— “How to work from home without losing your mind.” (Wired)


If you’ve ever seen the “fail whale” on Twitter or used the dumpling emoji, you’ve seen designer Yiying Lu’s work. She’s also created the emoji for the Chinese takeout box, chopsticks and fortune cookie. But getting one of her designs onto phones worldwide has proven more elusive: the boba emoji. Lu, a native of Shanghai who moved to San Francisco, told us why it took so long for boba to get its due.

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