In a week of unprecedented measures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, more keep coming.
California’s ‘Stay at Home’ Order
Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered all Californians to stay at home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the fight against the new coronavirus.
The mandatory order allows people to continue to visit gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, banks and laundromats. People can leave their homes to care for a relative or a friend or seek healthcare services. It exempts workers in 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors, including food and agriculture, healthcare, transportation, energy, financial services, emergency response and others.
The new rules come as Newsom offered a grim projection about the toll coronavirus might take on California. He asked Congress for $1 billion in federal funds to support the state’s medical response, and in a letter sent to President Trump, he requested the deployment of the U.S. Navy’s Mercy hospital ship to the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County and city officials have announced new orders that severely restrict public movements.
The L.A. County order requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses to close and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people in enclosed spaces.
The L.A. city order is much more restrictive. It requires all nonessential businesses to close, with companies able to operate only through work-at-home arrangements. The order also bans all public gatherings of any size outside homes.
Two Crises Collide
Novel coronavirus and homelessness are colliding, forcing California leaders to launch the unimaginable: a massive effort to move those on the streets into hotels, motels and shelters within days to protect both them and a healthcare system that COVID-19 could soon overwhelm.
State models show that 60,000 homeless people could be hit by the novel coronavirus in the next eight weeks, with up to 20% of them needing hospitalization.
That would mean California would need 12,000 hospital beds just for those living on the streets — a formidable task for a state that is already struggling to find extra capacity to manage the pandemic before it’s too late and hospitals become overcrowded and unsafe with too many patients.
To avoid that prospect, the governor has directed local governments to procure hundreds of facilities statewide — hotels, motels, recreation centers — to house the most vulnerable. Some cities and counties are already moving forward.
More Moves in D.C.
The Trump administration is warning Americans to avoid all international travel and advising U.S. citizens overseas to come home — or prepare to remain where they are indefinitely.
The advisory issued Thursday by the State Department, believed to be the widest of its kind, could trigger the greatest disruption yet of travel by Americans. There are hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad at any one time. It is not an outright prohibition and does not mention exemptions for business or essential travel. But it says, “Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. government for assistance.”
Those options are fast dwindling. Even before the new restrictions, the U.S. airline industry had eliminated or dramatically reduced the frequency of most international flights. Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said his and other congressional offices have been flooded with complaints from traveling U.S. citizens who say they cannot find transportation home and that U.S. embassies and consulates abroad are not helping them.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans and Democrats are talking behind closed doors about competing ideas for an expected $1-trillion stimulus package, intended to limit the financial fallout from the pandemic. But just how much sheltering in place can the economy take before the damage is irreversible? The short answer is that experts don’t know.
More Top Coronavirus Stories
— President Trump, facing a national outcry over the lack of available coronavirus testing and an imminent spike in positive cases, continues to muddy the waters at daily media briefings. On Thursday, Trump said that two existing drugs may be effective remedies and that the Food and Drug Administration is fast-tracking them to market; the head of the FDA said neither is a proven treatment for COVID-19 and neither is likely to be publicly available in the near future.
— Workers in California are feeling the pain of losing their jobs or seeing their businesses dry up: “Honestly, none of us in this generation have ever been through anything like this.”
— Many international travelers have complained about LAX coronavirus screenings being haphazard. Experts say they’re futile.
— Children are largely spared the worst effects of the coronavirus, two new studies confirm. But the first reports to document COVID-19 deaths in children make clear that those under 18 are neither immune from infection nor completely spared from becoming very sick.
— How can you grieve without a funeral? As coronavirus restrictions become more strict, families make heartbreaking choices.
— Activists say prison overcrowding is a life-or-death issue as social distancing there is impossible. They’re asking for some at-risk inmates to be released.
Plus, here are some practical tips on getting through the days ahead. For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a new special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter that will help you understand more about COVID-19:
— Help yourself and others by practicing social distancing. If you absolutely must be out in public, maintain a 6-foot radius of personal space.
— Don’t know how to cook or feeling a little rusty? Our new series “How to Boil Water” starts with cooking a pot of rice.
— The ultimate guide to hanging out virtually with your friends.
— “The Invisible Man,” “Emma” and 14 more critic’s picks to watch at home.
— Stuck at home? Get to know your bird neighbors and the sounds they make.
Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Baseball stadiums and training facilities have gone quiet as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. But in late February and March in years past, players kept a busy spring training schedule that was well-documented in The Times. At one time or another, the Angels practiced in Palm Springs, Holtville, Calif., Casa Grande, Ariz., and Tempe, Ariz. — sometimes multiple cities in one training season. Bat boys, team owners and fans weren’t excluded, either. See more photos here of Angels players stretching, practicing and gearing up for a competitive season.
— A political fundraiser has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge for helping a real estate developer pay off a Los Angeles City Council member to clear the way for a major development project.
— Citing the coronavirus, homeless families seized 12 vacant homes in L.A., arguing that government officials have failed to provide safe shelter from the pandemic: “We have to do this.”
— California schools are closed and learning continues online. But what about the neediest students? Education leaders say they’re struggling to find answers for children in special education, English learners and low-income students.
— As University of California regents discuss whether to drop SAT and ACT test scores as an admission requirement, a new research paper is likely to deepen the disagreement.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— There’s a way to have virtual movie nights with your friends. Here’s what happened when three of our movie and TV writers tried it.
— The coronavirus kills the joke for L.A. comedians. Clubs are shuttering, the Upright Citizens Brigade has laid off staff and performers are left wondering what’s next.
— KROQ has abruptly fired morning host Kevin Ryder and crew, ending his radio show’s 30-year run: “Our boss said, ‘You know, there’s never a good time for this.’ No — but there is a bad time for this.”
— The Metropolitan Opera, the nation’s largest performing arts organization, is canceling the rest of its 2020-21 season and suspending the employment of union workers after March.
— The Hallmark Channel has decided the cure for pandemic panic is Christmas cheer.
— Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has officially dropped her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. She endorsed Joe Biden.
— In a sign of how difficult it will be to contain the coronavirus over time, Asia is reporting spikes in new cases of the disease known as COVID-19 after weeks of relative calm.
— Nationalism could rear its head as Europe struggles to contain the coronavirus.
— Lower greenhouse gas emissions are a side effect of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That’s a positive, but it won’t last, experts say.
— Some good news that will last (for three months): It’s officially spring, marked by the vernal equinox. What does that mean?
— Power and utility companies maintain meticulous disaster plans to keep your lights on during hurricanes and earthquakes. Their planning is paying off as the pandemic spreads.
— With internet demand surging, Verizon sought and received government permission for additional spectrum.
— A moment-by-moment look at an L.A. restaurant the day after the coronavirus shutdown shows how hard small establishments are trying to hang on.
— The big Hollywood star bus tours have closed, but the smaller ones? Operators say they’ll keep on rolling.
— As the coronavirus puts sports on hold, Major League Soccer has suspended its season into May, pushing the MLS Cup to December, and the NBA has told teams to shut down practice facilities by today. And it’s still not clear what’s going on with the Tokyo Olympics.
— Tom Brady isn’t the only football legend to leave a cold-weather East Coast market for sunnier territory. Joe Namath and some other quarterback vets know what’s ahead for him.
— There are steps you can take to help ease the coronavirus suffering. The Times’ editorial board writes it’s as easy as checking in on elderly neighbors and donating blood.
— Most parents’ attempts to home-school their kids during a pandemic can’t come close to the quality instruction of professional teachers, writes Kerry Cavanaugh. California needs a better coronavirus education plan.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— How one tiny Italian town eliminated new coronavirus infections: Test everybody, then test them again. (Financial Times)
— The Wing is a utopia for women workers, unless you work there. (New York Times)
— A global pandemic means business is booming for luxury survival bunkers. Here’s one writer’s journey inside. (The Guardian)
ONLY IN L.A.
For two decades, Andres Santos has been Highland Park’s beloved elotero. He spent mornings shucking corn and afternoons boiling the ears in his studio apartment. In the evenings, he opened to customers at Figueroa and Avenue 57, with a 300-pound cart in tow, carrying big tubs of mayo, bags of cotija cheese, bottles of lime juice and powdered chili. Now, decades after he moved from Mexico for a fresh start, he’s seeking another one — a result of both gentrification and new love. Despite his many fans, he says it’s the right time to retire and return to Mexico for a new life with his girlfriend.
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