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Newsletter: A red flag on hospitalizations

People wear protective masks while riding scooters in Studio City
People wear protective masks while riding scooters in Studio City last week.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Coronavirus hospitalizations are rising in some parts of California, and that could jeopardize more reopenings.

TOP STORIES

A Red Flag on Hospitalizations

Health officials have said that the public needs to look beyond the rising number of coronavirus cases in California and focus on whether hospitalizations increase as a sign that reopening the economy is leading to new outbreaks.

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Statewide, coronavirus hospitalizations have been relatively flat for the past six weeks, even as officials have allowed myriad businesses to open their doors and people begin to resume old routines.

But in some parts of California, hospitalizations are again on the rise — including Orange County, where groups have clashed over mask requirements, Ventura County and the eight-county San Joaquin Valley, a Times analysis has found.

If the trend continues, it could force officials to slow the pace of reopenings. The reasons for the upticks vary and are open for debate, but health officials have expressed concern about some people not following safety recommendations, including wearing face coverings and social distancing.

“We have met the enemy, and they are us,” said Dr. Robert Levin, the health officer in Ventura County. “And many of us have to do a better job of social distancing and quarantine. Some of us are doing a great job; we’re stalwarts. If we can do this — and I know we can — we can prevent the state from telling us that we must take a step back from some of the gains we’ve made in opening our activities and businesses.”

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— In a development that could dramatically shrink the death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, British researchers have found that dexamethasone, a cheap and readily available steroid, prevented more than a third of the sickest patients from dying.

— Health officials said the number of new coronavirus cases in Arizona has hit an alarming new daily high of nearly 2,400 — almost double the previous record.

— Travel restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border will remain in place through July 21.

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— As L.A. reopens, an underground dance party drew revelers eager to restart their lives. But health experts worry the celebration comes too soon and it could spread new infections.

— Dr. Anthony Fauci said Major League Baseball would be wise to wrap up its postseason in September, not the traditional October.

N95 masks with a vent on them can spread the coronavirus. Here’s how to fix them.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

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An Arrest in the Killings of Two Bay Area Officers

When sheriff’s deputies searched a white van on June 6 in a wooded hamlet in Santa Cruz County, they found ammunition, firearms, bomb-making equipment — and a ballistic vest with a curious patch. The patch contained an igloo and Hawaiian-style print, markings associated with a growing, extremist, anti-government movement aimed at fomenting unrest and civil war.

On Tuesday, federal law enforcement officials announced that they were charging Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, the alleged owner of that vest, and suspected accomplice Robert A. Justus Jr., 30, of Millbrae in the May 29 shooting death of a federal security officer in Oakland.

Officials said Carrillo, who also faces state charges in the June 6 killing of a Santa Cruz sheriff‘s deputy, was a follower of the “boogaloo” movement, which a federal complaint said is not a fixed group but includes people who identify themselves as militia and target perceived government tyranny.

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The security officers were shot while guarding a federal building in downtown Oakland during a protest over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The pair used the protest as a cover for their plans to attack law enforcement, said FBI Special Agent In Charge Jack Bennett.

Seniors Speak Up

Protests supporting racial justice and decrying police brutality have spread across the country — including in Laguna Woods, a city in Orange County where the average age is 78, and most of the land is occupied by a retirement community once known as Leisure World.

Because of the coronavirus, the residents there have lived under virtual lockdown since mid-March, with public gates shut to limit access to outsiders. The many social clubs around town suspended gatherings indefinitely. In early April, county officials announced they wanted to house homeless individuals stricken with COVID-19 at an Ayres Hotel within city limits, which sparked a protest that made the officials drop those plans.

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Then came Floyd’s death, and another protest was born — one with no outsiders, no chanting, but with mandatory masks and social distancing.

More About Race in America

— Authorities in High Desert communities initially dismissed the hanging deaths of two Black men. Now they are getting intense investigations.

— Hundreds of students, parents and community members gathered in front of a downtown L.A. high school, calling for the elimination of the Los Angeles School Police Department, a force of about 470 officers and civilians.

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— President Trump signed an executive order that seeks to leverage federal grants to improve police training and hiring for local police, but it’s unclear whether his directives can or will be enforced.

— Filmmakers John Ridley and Sacha Jenkins documented the 1992 L.A. uprising. Here’s how the Floyd movement compares.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In the 1950s, Los Angeles Transit Lines workers had uniforms of heavy woolen trousers and caps. But they were no match for the warm L.A. summers. In June 1953, the workers received a new uniform option: A set of seasonal clothing to keep them cooler while they assisted passengers and commuters. Their new outfits included lighter twill pants, poplin shirts and tropical sun helmets — “like guides in the cement jungle of the city,” according a June 16 Times story.

Los Angeles Transit Lines workers in summer uniforms
June 15, 1953: Daniel G. Hunsaker, left, and Red Sorensen were among downtown traffic loaders for Los Angeles Transit Lines who made the change into summer uniforms, complete with sun helmets.
(Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times)

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CALIFORNIA

— The L.A. City Council has taken a first step toward asking voters to approve a new tax on empty homes, but the council has not made a final decision to put the tax on the November ballot. The tax has been proposed as a way to nudge landlords to put vacant apartments back on the market.

— Las Vegas is waking up. But the town of Baker, Calif., on the road there is struggling to come back to life.

Pacific Gas & Electric has pleaded guilty to killing 84 people in a devastating 2018 wildfire that wiped out the Northern California town of Paradise in November 2018.

San Diego’s largest homeless shelter opened April 1 amid growing concerns that the tight quarters of other city-run shelters could be breeding grounds for the coronavirus. Whether it’s working depends on who you ask.

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NATION & WORLD

— The Trump administration has sued former national security advisor John Bolton to stop the publication of a book that the White House says contains classified information. The Justice Department also is asking a federal court to grant it the rights to all proceeds Bolton earns from the publication of the book.

— A specialized CIA unit that developed sophisticated hacking tools and cyberweapons didn’t do enough to protect its own operations and wasn’t prepared to adequately respond when the secrets were stolen, according to an internal report.

— The Indian army said that 20 of its soldiers were killed in a border skirmish with Chinese troops, the first deadly clash along the disputed frontier in nearly half a century.

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— Two women tested positive for the coronavirus, ending New Zealand’s streak of being free from the virus.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Jimmy Kimmel will host the Emmy Awards this fall for the third time. But he isn’t sure where or how it will happen.

— Actor Martin Freeman has built a career playing nice guys. With two new American shows, he’s embracing grittier roles: “I didn’t go to drama school just to be likable and funny.”

Center Theatre Group, the largest nonprofit theater company in Los Angeles, says it will remain dark until spring 2021 to help curb the spread of COVID-19 — an unprecedented, more than 56-week closure period.

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— The show “One Day at a Time” will get animated about politics and family in a new election episode.

BUSINESS

U.S. retail sales jumped in May by 17.7% from the prior month. Economists say it’s a promising rebound following a 14.7% slump in April.

— Few industries haven’t been hit hard by the coronavirus. Video games are among them, writes business columnist David Lazarus.

SPORTS

— After months of uncertainty concerning how college football might carry on this season, if at all, USC offered a bit of optimism by saying the university is planning for “a reduced capacity” Coliseum.

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— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the U.S. Open tennis tournament will be held as planned in late August as part of the state’s reopening after coronavirus shutdowns.

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OPINION

— Trump’s latest efforts to sabotage asylum should remind you why he has to go, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— As a nation, we are flunking a test of self-restraint, columnist Doyle McManus writes. Instead of states reopening slowly and carefully in accordance with public health guidelines, many are reopening regardless of the risk to people’s health.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Netflix’s billionaire founder is quietly building a luxury retreat for teachers in rural Colorado. (Vox)

— There are thousands of real ghost towns across the United States. Here’s what happens when you ride out a pandemic in one. (New York Times)

ONLY IN L.A.

Andi Xoch has grown her Instagram account @LatinxWithPlants to more than 5,000 followers since launching a little over a year ago. She highlights Latinx in the plant world and sells plants out of her Boyle Heights home. Her weekend plant pop-ups on a folding table outside have grown more popular each week. “Supporters have expressed that they don’t want to support big corporations, and people are dealing with anxiety caused by COVID and the long history of systemic oppression,” she says. “People are hungry for any sense of normalcy, and plants provide that.”

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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