With more and more aspects of public life in the U.S. shutting down to fight the coronavirus, the federal government plans a massive economic stimulus package.
In Economic Triage Mode
There are now confirmed novel coronavirus cases in all 50 states. A new poll has found some 18% of adults in the US. reported that they had been laid off or seen their work hours cut. More than 8 million Californians are living under shelter-in-place orders. Even Nevada has ordered the shutdown of all casino and gambling operations.
The efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and to save lives are disrupting more and more of the reality we’re used to in the U.S. Their severity reflects the ultimate bad choice that governments around the globe have discovered: Wreck your economy or lose millions of lives.
While some initially hesitated, leaders and legislators in the U.S. and worldwide increasingly have decided they have to accept the severe economic pain, given that the worst-case scenarios could be extremely bad.
To counter the economic effects, the Trump administration has proposed a $1-trillion stimulus package, including relief for small businesses and the airline industry, and sizable checks for Americans in the next two weeks. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have expressed widespread support for a significant and immediate economic stimulus package — one that will probably top the response to the 2008 financial crisis — though there have been squabbles over the particulars.
But the fast-moving coronavirus legislation reflects the urgent need to flush cash into a society that is rapidly changing as workers stay home, airlines cancel flights and restaurants and institutions close their doors to try to contain the spread of the virus.
Empty Classrooms: For How Long?
California’s schools are all but shut down due the pandemic, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has delivered more bad news: Public schools are likely to be closed for the remainder of the school year, a disruption that would affect the education of 6.1 million students and their families.
The sober school news came as larger swaths of California faced even greater restrictions on movement. Orange County issued an order restricting all public gatherings, closing bars that don’t serve food and limiting restaurants to takeout service. Millions more across the state, including those in Palm Springs and Sacramento, were ordered to shelter in place, similar to the rules imposed Monday across the Bay Area.
The virus has now claimed 13 lives in California. Two new deaths were reported Tuesday — one in Coachella in Riverside County and a man in his 50s in Santa Clara County who was hospitalized on March 9. All told, more than 470 people across California have tested positive for the virus, a number that is certainly lower than the actual number of infections, given a lack of testing.
One Family’s Tragedy
After more than 30 years in advertising, Loretta and Roddy celebrated their retirement with a trip. They left their home in Orlando, Fla., for the Philippines on Feb. 4. At one point, they traveled to Thailand. They had layovers in Seoul on the way to the Philippines and the way back to the U.S. On March 8, they flew into Los Angeles International Airport. They planned to stay at Roddy’s sister’s house in Walnut for two nights and then fly back to Florida on March 10.
But when Roddy couldn’t awaken Loretta, he tried to revive her by performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions. His wife of 45 years would die in the hospital; the next day, officials told her family that her test results were positive for the coronavirus.
But to the family’s shock, the L.A. County Department of Public Health did not recommend that 72-year-old Roddy be tested.
More Top Coronavirus Stories
— The Trump administration is taking steps to close the southern border to certain migrants, citing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
— Renters and homeowners in L.A. are likely to see significant new protections against evictions and foreclosures after the City Council on approved emergency measures to mitigate the economic effects.
— Tax day is still April 15, but the Treasury is pushing back the deadline to pay taxes owed, giving most individuals and many businesses 90 extra days to send checks to the government.
— Will more direct sunlight and the warmer temperatures of spring and summer help to clear up the coronavirus? The truth is no one really knows.
— This coronavirus glossary will help you make sense of the pandemic.
Plus, here are some tips from Coronavirus Today, a new special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter that will help you understand more about COVID-19:
— Wash your hands for at least 40 to 60 seconds. It’s a better protective measure than a mask.
— Stop touching your face, and keep your phone clean.
— Watch for these symptoms of possible infection: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
— If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re worried you might be infected, call your doctor or urgent care clinic.
And some ideas for helping you get through the days ahead:
— Some Southern California supermarkets are establishing store hours exclusively for seniors, pregnant women and people with disabilities.
— Working from home is awesome. Here’s how to excel at it.
— Got kids under 5? Use these at-home school resources for parents.
— The lost art of deep listening: Choose an album. Lose the phone. Close your eyes.
Closing In on the Nomination
On an extraordinary election day shadowed by the pandemic, Joe Biden swept the Arizona, Florida and Illinois primaries, taking a long stride toward clinching the Democratic nomination.
The former vice president prevailed over Sen. Bernie Sanders in convincing fashion, forging a now-familiar coalition of party moderates, older and pragmatic voters as well as African Americans, who once more supported Biden in landslide numbers. Biden now has more than 1,100 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination, and Sanders once again is facing calls to step aside in the interest of party unity, made all the more urgent by the nation’s growing sense of crisis.
Leaders in Ohio called off their primary election Tuesday because of the outbreak, and several states have delayed their upcoming contests, leaving the candidates and their campaigns in an unprecedented limbo.
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FROM THE ARCHIVES
Happy 53rd birthday to Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean — even though we can’t celebrate in person because of the coronavirus shutdown of the theme park.
The ride opened on this day in 1967. It was “by far Disneyland’s longest and rowdiest ride,” according to a Times story on its opening. Disney spent $20 million to open Pirates, plus It’s a Small World, the Primeval World and New Orleans Square between 1966 and 1967.
Walt Disney died on Dec. 15, 1966, making Pirates one of the last attractions he worked on. The ride has remained not only a popular attraction but also became the inspiration for the movie franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
— The federal judge who forced the opening of new homeless shelters in a landmark Orange County case has called for an emergency hearing in Los Angeles this week over the coronavirus threat to L.A.'s homeless people, citing the risk to people living on the streets.
— The coronavirus is threatening to thin the ranks of L.A.'s police and firefighters on the front lines.
— Former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter has been sentenced to 11 months in federal prison. Prosecutors say the California congressman conspired to illegally use more than $150,000 of his campaign money for personal benefit.
— L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey appears highly likely to face progressive challenger George Gascón in a November runoff that could set the tone for criminal justice policy inside the nation’s largest court system for years to come.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— As the coronavirus pandemic cancels concert events, John Legend, Pink, Keith Urban, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and more artists are delivering live performances through social media.
— Activists who have been advocating for the rights of Hollywood’s film and television assistants have created a relief fund to help workers hurt by coronavirus cutbacks.
— Independent movie theaters were already struggling. Then the coronavirus arrived.
— The Justice Department is moving to drop charges against two Russian companies that were accused of funding a social media campaign to sway American public opinion during the 2016 election, a key case explored in the Mueller report.
— In a growing conflict, China says it will revoke the credentials of Americans at three U.S. newspapers in response to new U.S. restrictions on Chinese media.
— Guatemala has become the first Central American nation to block deportation flights from the United States in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
— Mexico and El Salvador have clashed over airplane passengers purportedly infected with coronavirus.
— Italy is seeing wartime-era stress at hospitals — and cemeteries.
— The coronavirus is hitting the Middle East hard. It has upended where prayers are prayed and even traditional arrangements that have generations of families sharing the same house.
— Across California, wineries have heeded advisories to shutter their tasting rooms and cancel tours. But questions remain about how the closures will affect the state’s economy, where wine dominates. Bookstores in Los Angeles and beyond are being forced to make some very tough decisions. And as L.A. real estate firms close offices, agents are figuring out what to do next.
— Amazon says it’s prioritizing the stocking of household staples and medical supplies. The company is struggling to deal with a surge in demand for online orders.
— Tom Brady, the only NFL quarterback with six Super Bowl rings, is headed to Tampa Bay. The longtime New England Patriots superstar has agreed in principle to a deal with the Buccaneers.
— The Triple Crown is in flux after organizers of the Kentucky Derby postponed the race until the fall over coronavirus concerns.
— The coronavirus pandemic points out our preparedness gaps, columnist Nita Lelyveld writes. If only it were a practice run.
— A doctor says he was once skeptical of telemedicine. Now he thinks it could revolutionize healthcare as the coronavirus looms.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— From the red carpet to the hospital: How the face mask became a symbol of our times. (New York Times)
— Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, speaks about the coronavirus, his faith and an unusual friendship. (The Atlantic)
ONLY IN L.A.
When the going gets tough, the restaurant chefs get creative. Running a food establishment in good times is challenging enough, but with a strict mandate to close bars and restaurants (excluding takeout and delivery) until at least the end of March, many are now struggling for survival. Some are encouraging people to buy gift cards and branded merchandise, boxing up unused inventory for sale, offering no-contact curbside pick-up and flipping restaurant spaces to become retail shops. One even has a $150 “emergency taco kit,” which includes 5 pounds each of carne asada and roasted chicken, a quart each of red and green salsa, tortillas and 30 eggs — plus four rolls of toilet paper.
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