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Newsletter: One million deaths around the world

Ruth Morales waits for the coffin of her husband, Juan Paucar Quispe, who died from COVID-19, at a cemetery in Lima, Peru.
Ruth Morales waits for the arrival of the coffin of her husband, Juan Paucar Quispe, who died of COVID-19, at a cemetery in Lima, Peru.
(Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)

The COVID-19 death toll hits 1 million amid fears of renewed outbreaks.

TOP STORIES

One Million Deaths Around the World

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 1 million people — a grim milestone that is but one metric of a scourge that has ravaged lives and economies, mocked notions of stability and evoked a seemingly bygone era of plagues.

It has brought great cities to a standstill, shuttered schools and unleashed social and political tumult. It has brought restrictions on where we can go and when, prompted mask mandates and reshaped the world and the ways we live — and die. And still it goes on. “It feels like it’s never going to end,” said Imang Maulana, between digging graves in Jakarta, Indonesia, for its victims.

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More than a fifth of the recorded lives claimed worldwide have come in the United States. Brazil has suffered the second highest number of deaths, followed by India. Experts in those two countries worry that a recent uptick in cases could presage a renewed outbreak. So could the cold-weather flu season in the Northern Hemisphere. Says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’ infectious disease chief: “Don’t ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic.”

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— President Trump announced that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urged governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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— By practically every metric, California is steadily beating back the pandemic. But officials are watching data that could suggest a second surge of the virus is on the way, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

— A coalition of private schools, including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, called for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and public health officials to begin accepting waiver applications to allow elementary schools to open.

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

Once Again Besieged by Fire

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The toll from California’s latest round of wildfires has worsened, with three deaths reported in Shasta County and numerous structures lost in wine country, where tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes, and the memories of devastating fires three years ago still run fresh.

The number of structures damaged or destroyed was unclear Monday, “but there was significant loss” in some areas, according to Santa Rosa’s fire chief. Almost 34,000 people have been ordered to evacuate, officials said, while more than 14,000 others have been warned that they, too, may have to leave.

In Shasta County, authorities said, three people died in another fast-moving wildfire that ignited Sunday afternoon near the rural community of Igo, about nine miles southwest of Redding.

Meanwhile, hot and dry winds prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power to about 87,500 customers in 16 California counties, and the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and the Santa Clarita Valley.

More About the Fires

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— A brush fire ignited Monday afternoon above Santa Clarita, enveloping 300 acres within minutes, fire authorities said.

— Latinos found a piece of an Old West dream in the rugged far reaches of the Antelope Valley. But it comes with a heightened fire risk, writes columnist Gustavo Arellano.

Track the progress of California’s wildfires with our map.

Ready to Rumble

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After months of trading barbs through social media, speeches, TV ads and two nominating conventions, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will meet face to face — and at least six feet apart — tonight for the first presidential debate.

The presidential race has been stable for the last few months, with polls showing Biden ahead. Not helping Trump’s case are revelations that he has paid little or no federal income taxes for years, which plays into Biden’s message that the 2020 election is a choice between the working class he came from and the wealthy elite the president personifies.

Still, it’s unclear what would change voters’ minds at this point. For a high-profile event like the debate, which will be moderated by Chris Wallace, the candidates are thinking about winning over the relatively few undecided or persuadable voters in the minority of too-close-to-call states. This year, many of those close ones are in the Midwest.

More Politics

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— Trump vs. Biden: Comparing their policies on race, immigration, climate and more.

— Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on a ruling in the state that extended the deadline in November’s election to receive and count mailed-in ballots.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Providing veterinary care to a cat is one thing. Providing it to a big cat is another.

In 1966, the old Griffith Park Zoo was preparing two tigers for a move to the new Los Angeles Zoo, and both needed a vaccine and a blood test. Staff tranquilized the tigers so Dr. Charles Sedwick could safely treat them, but he didn’t have an easy time. According to The Times, the male tiger, Henry, weighed 300 pounds, while his mate, Hilda, clocked in at 200. A Times photographer captured Sedwick adjusting Henry’s body.

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This photo ran in the Sept. 30, 1966, Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Charles Sedwick attempts to move a 300-pound tranquilized Bengal tiger named Henry by his tail.
A 300-pound tranquilized Bengal tiger named Henry is adjusted by Dr. Charles Sedwick to a level spot for an exam before moving to a new enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo.
(Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times)

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CALIFORNIA

— Knocking on doors. Mingling at meet-and-greets. Many of the familiar rituals of stumping for votes are off the table during the COVID-19 pandemic, drastically changing what it looks like to run for office in Los Angeles.

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— Detainees at California’s for-profit ICE detention centers will soon be able to sue over abuse and harm after Newsom signed a bill that mandates greater accountability.

San Diego police have launched an internal investigation into allegations that an officer posted a photo on social media that appeared to make light of a makeshift memorial for a man who was fatally shot by the officer and a partner in late June.

— A security video from inside the Los Angeles police station where a veteran officer was attacked this weekend shows the officer getting knocked to the ground and repeatedly pistol-whipped with his own gun before the attacker points the gun at the officer’s chest at close range.

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NATION-WORLD

— The U.S. Postal Service must prioritize election mail and immediately reverse changes that resulted in widespread delays in California and several other states, a federal judge has ruled.

— U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week allowing the head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October, according to a tweet from the Census Bureau.

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces fought over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh for a second day, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the attacks that reportedly killed and wounded dozens as the decades-old conflict has reignited.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— For some Hollywood investors, the pandemic opened new doors as studios seek help mitigating the risk of making movies while theaters are shut down.

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— A collection of violins that survived the Holocaust was due to tour Los Angeles with special performances. The pandemic has kept them largely hidden away.

L.A. Comic Con is moving forward with its plan to hold a limited-capacity, in-person convention in December at the L.A. Convention Center.

— First-time voter Tyler, the Creator is urging fans to “pull up” to the polls.

BUSINESS

— House lawmakers unveiled bipartisan legislation to reform aircraft manufacturing in the wake of the Boeing Co. 737 Max disasters, an effort that would partially undo efforts over decades to streamline aviation-industry approvals.

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— More than 30 of the largest U.S. companies have agreed to new disclosures of previously private race, gender and ethnicity workforce data as part of a push by the New York City comptroller and three city retirement funds.

SPORTS

Doc Rivers is out as coach of the Clippers, a decision that was mutually agreed upon by him and owner Steve Ballmer, the team said in a statement.

— The Chargers’ inability to win close games continues to haunt them, with a dismal record in games decided by one touchdown or less.

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OPINION

— The Times’ editorial board endorses George Gascón for L.A. County district attorney, calling him the right candidate at the right time to lead the largest local criminal justice jurisdiction in the United States. See all the endorsements from the board, which is separate from The Times’ newsroom, here.

— The presidential debate has outlived its usefulness, TV critic Lorraine Ali writes.

— We need to talk about all those Breonna Taylor T-shirts, masks and other items for sale on Amazon and Etsy, writes Justin Ray.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Tax records show how “The Apprentice” helped rescue Trump from financial ruin. (New York Times)

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— What was it like to edit Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s writing? A book editor remembers. (The Paris Review)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Death Valley National Park has always had visitors. But as temperatures soared this summer, park officials have noticed something new: people drawn by the prospect of baking in a record swelter, in what park officials have dubbed “heat tourism.” After recording a peak of 130 degrees Fahrenheit in August — probably the hottest temperature on Earth since 1931 — a wave of visitors came to take photos with the Furnace Creek thermometer, make YouTube videos and simply experience extreme heat.

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


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