Newsletter: A do-or-die moment

People wear protective face coverings at the Santa Monica Pier on Monday.
People wear protective face coverings as they stroll the Santa Monica Pier on Monday. L.A. County has surged past 100,000 coronavirus cases.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

With coronavirus cases surging in California, the Fourth of July weekend is shaping up to be a crucial test.


A Do-or-Die Moment

In California, state and local officials are planning more restrictions because they are increasingly alarmed that the Fourth of July holiday weekend could bring a wave of new coronavirus infections that could overwhelm hospitals.

The current surge in cases, with three record highs in eight days, and hospitalizations began around the Memorial Day weekend as residents began socializing after months largely spent at home. Officials say a repeat of that behavior — failing to wear masks and mixing with many people outside of your household — this holiday weekend would be disastrous.

Other holidays where there was extensive social interaction, such as Mardi Gras in Louisiana and the Lunar New Year holiday in Wuhan, China, have been associated with big spikes of COVID-19 that reverberated across their respective nations.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told U.S. senators that new cases nationally could rise to 100,000 a day if behaviors don’t change. The nation is currently recording about 40,000 cases a day. That’s double what the country saw the first week of June, when there was an average of 20,700 cases reported daily.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he planned to announce additional restrictions Wednesday, warning that they would include limits on indoor gatherings.

“The framework for us is this,” he said. “If you’re not going to stay home and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce, and we will.”


More Top Coronavirus Headlines

New York is urging travelers from eight additional states, including California, to self-quarantine for 14 days as it awaits a decision on the reopening of indoor dining in New York City.

— The European Union announced that it will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, but most Americans, along with Russians, Brazilians and Indians, will not be welcome due to rising caseloads in their home countries.

— Around the world, COVID-19 could force millions of children out of classrooms for good and into the workforce, reversing two decades of hard-won progress against underage labor and exposing vulnerable girls and boys to hazardous conditions, physical stress, emotional trauma and exploitation.

— Democrats drove a temporary extension of the Paycheck Protection Program through the GOP-controlled Senate, an unexpected development that came as spikes in coronavirus cases in many states are causing renewed shutdowns of bars and other businesses.

— Newsom is working to release more than 3,500 prisoners who are close to finishing their sentences as COVID-19 spreads through correctional facilities. About a third of San Quentin’s inmates are now infected after a transfer of prisoners from a Southern California correctional facility overrun by the illness.

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

Russia, If You’re Listening ...

President Trump’s long history of deference to Vladimir Putin is back under the microscope amid accusations that he ignored intelligence that Russia offered to pay Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Democrats returning from a classified briefing at the White House on Tuesday pledged to get to the bottom of the matter and questioned whether the president was unaware of the intelligence and why he hadn’t taken a harder line against Moscow. Meanwhile, Joe Biden, the former vice president and Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in this year’s election, said it was “a dereliction of duty” if Trump refused to read his intelligence report or failed to take action if he was briefed on the issue.

The president has said nothing critical of Moscow or indicated that he would take new steps to protect troops serving in Afghanistan, where he’s focused on withdrawing U.S. forces after nearly two decades of conflict.

A senior U.S. official said there was a strong circumstantial case that a Russian military intelligence unit was providing funds to Afghans with ties to the Taliban, ostensibly for bounties for killing American troops. “The evidence isn’t ironclad, but then it never is,” the official told The Times. The intelligence about the bounties originated from interrogations of Taliban militants.

The D.A. Contest in a New Light

The November election contest between incumbent Jackie Lacey and former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón for the office of Los Angeles County district attorney had already been framed as a test of appetites for criminal justice reform, with Gascón the flag-bearer for a nationwide movement to elect progressive prosecutors and Lacey representing a more traditional approach to crime and punishment.

But with hundreds of thousands protesting police brutality nationwide and the phrase “defund the police” moving from the fringes to a topic of debate for the L.A. City Council, the race is now being reshaped largely around which candidate is best poised to hold law enforcement accountable.

Separately, the Los Angeles Board of Education has approved an immediate 35% cut to its school police force, a reduction of $25 million, in response to weeks of protests.

One Girl With Family in Two Places

Dalia Hurtado plays five sports: She’s on the varsity football, volleyball and soccer teams at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles and participates in soccer, softball and boxing through neighborhood and club programs. And she spends much of her free time on weekends helping her grandmother.

“I get my mind off a lot of things. I stay occupied,” said the 16-year-old, who was born in Los Angeles to parents who have returned to Mexico. “That’s why I love doing it.”

In the last few months, her life has been made even more complicated by a deadly virus that has taken away the two things — schools and sports — that have kept her focused.


In the July 1, 1934, edition, the Los Angeles Times announced the construction of a new road that now runs along the North Shore of the Salton Sea, “offering motorists a new route into Imperial Valley.”

Workers were expected to complete 43.8 miles of “oil-mix surfacing” from Mecca to Niland by July 15, according to The Times. However, the Automobile Club of Southern California got a sneak peek as part of an inspection trip, telling The Times the project was “progressing rapidly.” By 1934, the beaches and vacation spots along the Salton Sea’s north shore had become popular.

Salton Sea North Shore Road
June 1934: View of the newly oiled Salton Sea North Shore Road with The Times-Auto Club car.
(Los Angeles Times)

Want more of the Los Angeles Times archives? We’re on Instagram.


— The Los Angeles City Council is poised to offer thousands of city employees cash payouts — up to $80,000 — to retire as part of a major push to cut payroll costs during an unfolding financial crisis.

— Attorneys for Los Angeles argued against a temporary restraining order to block city police officers from using batons and tactical bullets to control crowds, saying the request was “unwarranted and overbroad” and that police “must be able to respond” to unlawful crowds.

— The Los Angeles Times has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County, alleging that the Sheriff’s Department has repeatedly refused to turn over public records, including those about deputies involved in misconduct or shootings.

— State regulators have blocked Southern California Gas Co.’s effort to delay required safety testing at the company’s Aliso Canyon storage field, the site of a record-setting gas leak that spewed more than 100,000 tons of heat-trapping methane into the atmosphere and sickened residents of the nearby Porter Ranch neighborhood.

Support our journalism

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


— Trump is accelerating border wall construction ahead of the election. Government lawyers have filed twice as many lawsuits to seize land in the wall’s path in Texas, while the people who own the land say they’re struggling to fight back amid a pandemic and closed courts.

— The Supreme Court has ruled that states may not exclude religious schools from tuition grants that support other private schools. The justices, by a 5-4 vote, decided that denying grants to students in church schools amounts to unconstitutional discrimination against religion.

— With a stroke of the governor’s pen, Mississippi is retiring the last state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem.

— A judge in New York has temporarily blocked publication of a tell-all book by Mary Trump, the president’s niece.

Hong Kong’s new national security law, which tightens Beijing’s grip on the territory, is taking effect on the anniversary of its handover to China.


Carl Reiner, the veteran comedy actor, writer, director and producer who created the classic sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” has died at 98. He was best known for writing behind the scenes, but preferred to think of himself as “a master of ceremonies.”

— Author Rudolfo Anaya, who wrote the classic New Mexico-set novel “Bless Me, Ultima” and was revered as the dean of Chicano literature, has died at 82.

— The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited 819 new members. It also announced that it has surpassed its goal, set in early 2016 amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, of doubling the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities in the group by 2020.

— A highly anticipated version of the musical “Hamilton” arrives on Disney+ this week. Here’s what our film critic thinks.


— Many entertainment companies vowed they would stand against racial injustice, including West Hollywood-based Digital Brand Architects. Then came the employee backlash: “They don’t stand behind that within their company.”

— The U.S. Federal Communications Commission designated Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. as national security threats, a step toward driving the Chinese manufacturers from the U.S. market.


— The NBA will allow teams to hold mandatory individual workouts for players at their team facilities starting Wednesday. For the Lakers, there are many questions, none bigger than whether Dwight Howard will return to play.

— If Major League Baseball can launch a 60-game season in late July — and that’s still far from certain — columnist Helene Elliott has some ideas on how to cultivate young fans: For starters, begin the games earlier in the day.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at


— Who tells the story matters. And that’s why you need Black journalists at every level in newsrooms, writes broadcast journalist and journalism professor Tony Cox.

— Arizona’s rules for rationing healthcare in the COVID-19 pandemic should terrify you, writes columnist Michael Hiltzik.


Dollar-store chains are everywhere in poor communities, with new ones constantly opening their doors. But with cheap prices come economic strain and violence. (The New Yorker)

Parler has emerged as the new digital stomping ground for anti-Twitter conservatives. (CNBC)


In 1992, when parts of Los Angeles went up in flames after the Rodney King verdict, one of the buildings claimed by fire was a bank at South Broadway and 45th Street. It wasn’t just any bank: the archives of Paul R. Williams, one of the country’s most notable Black architects, had been stored in its vault — or so the story went. Not only has Williams’ archive been found safe in another location, the Getty and USC are now set to acquire it.

Comments or ideas? Email us at