Today’s Headlines: Another stay-at-home order ahead?
With COVID-19 numbers heading in the wrong direction, L.A. County leaders place new restrictions and say more could be on the way.
Another Stay-at-Home Order Ahead?
Los Angeles County officials are warning that a new stay-at-home order could be imposed if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to spike over the next few weeks.
County leaders said they are desperately trying to avoid another shutdown, announcing that, starting Friday, they will begin ordering restaurants and nonessential stores to close at 10 p.m. and place a cap on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings — a maximum of 15 people from no more than three households — in hopes of slowing the infection rate.
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Los Angeles County has been particularly hard hit by the latest wave of COVID-19. The average number of daily cases has tripled in the last month, from more than 900 a day to more than 2,800 for the five-day period that ended Tuesday, according to a Times analysis. The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infections has also surged in L.A. County by nearly 60% in the past month. And the rate at which coronavirus tests results are coming back positive is substantially up, now at 5.3% over the past week.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti called for city residents to remain at home when possible. “This is a different kind of moment, a new level of danger,” he said. “If we don’t make these decisions now, there really is only one outcome: We will almost certainly have to shut things down again. And more people will get sick and die.”
At the state level, California health officials issued a new mandate this week requiring residents to wear face coverings whenever they’re outside their homes, with few exceptions. Gov. Gavin Newsom also moved more than two dozen counties into the most restrictive reopening tier earlier this week. But Orange County officials are expressing frustration with the latter decision, arguing the state has gone too far.
More Top Coronavirus Headlines
— The alarming rise in new coronavirus cases has prompted major reopening rollbacks that also will stall efforts to reopen school campuses throughout Southern California and most of the state — and affect the education of millions of students.
— Amid the increase in cases and moves to combat the virus’ spread, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators are being criticized for not following their own advice.
— The Food and Drug Administration is allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be performed and developed entirely at home. The test will require a prescription, likely limiting its initial use.
— Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the longest-serving Republican senator and third in the line of presidential succession, said that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
— Pfizer says that further results from its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study suggest the shots are 95% effective and that the vaccine protects older people most at risk of dying. The company is preparing to formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine.
For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.
Telling It to the Judge
As President-elect Joe Biden plots a course ahead for the U.S., President Trump has continued to falsely describe the election as stolen, rigged and fraudulent. Trump even fired Chris Krebs, a top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security, for vouching for the reliability of the 2020 election.
Yet while Trump and his allies have kept up the stream of conspiracy theories, they’ve had little success in court.
Rudolph W. Giuliani has peddled disinformation about voting software in Fox News appearances, spread baseless allegations of fraud from the parking lot of a Philadelphia landscaping company (next to an adult bookstore), and claimed the media was corrupt in his personal YouTube show, pausing at one point to advertise a cigar store.
On Tuesday, Giuliani tried a new venue — federal court in Pennsylvania. Although the former New York City mayor has served as the president’s personal lawyer for years, it was his first appearance on Trump’s behalf before a judge. It didn’t go well.
In an episode emblematic of Trump’s faltering legal effort to overturn the election result, Giuliani argued without evidence that there was a massive conspiracy behind Biden’s victory, even though there were no such allegations in the Trump campaign’s actual lawsuit.
“It’s a widespread, nationwide voter fraud,” Giuliani said. But under questioning from a U.S. district judge, Giuliani admitted, “This is not a fraud case.”
The Future of Energy
After four years of unsuccessful efforts by Trump to revive coal, tackling the climate crisis will once again take center stage under Biden. But it may not be as politically straightforward as one might think.
The president-elect campaigned on 100% climate-friendly electricity by 2035, a timeline that could squeeze natural gas, the nation’s largest power source, off the power grid in the next 15 years. But within the Democratic Party, there are renewable energy advocates who see natural gas as no better than coal — as well as establishment figures who say the fuel still has a role to play in reducing pollution.
Meanwhile, some supporters of California’s troubled high-speed rail project have hoped Biden, a self-professed train fanatic, would throw his support behind the planned system between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Yet state officials don’t expect an imminent bailout, and some doubt that the president-elect will make investment in high-speed rail a priority.
More From Washington
— At the president’s direction, the Pentagon has ordered U.S. troop levels reduced to 2,500 in both Iraq and Afghanistan, accelerating a planned drawdown but stopping short of Trump’s promise to end America’s involvement in both wars.
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should breeze through her reelection bid in today’s leadership vote, but with a slimmer majority and a long to-do list, what she faces on the other side could be the real challenge. On Tuesday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy easily won reelection as Republican leader.
— The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook defended their efforts to reduce the spread of online disinformation about the presidential election and the integrity of the U.S. voting system as they faced an onslaught of criticism from Senate Republicans.
— The nomination of Judy Shelton, Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve board, is stalled in the Senate after a vote. She’s drawn opposition from most economists, many former Fed officials and several key Republican senators.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The Long Beach earthquake of March 10, 1933, heavily damaged hundreds of school buildings. A month later, the California State Legislature passed the Field Act, which mandated school buildings be reinforced to withstand earthquakes. But money was needed to upgrade the buildings, and in the meantime thousands of students were forced to go to school in tent classrooms.
In 1934, the L.A. Board of Education proposed three bond issues totaling more than $20 million. Despite heavy promotion by public officials and The Times, the measures failed to get the required two-thirds vote.
A similar Nov. 19, 1935, bond measure for more than $12 million passed after The Times had published numerous images documenting the canvas tent classrooms. The Nov. 18, 1935, Times included an entire page of tent photographs.
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— The Los Angeles Police Department has barred officers and detectives from using outside facial recognition platforms in their investigations after uncovering a handful of detectives had used a powerful commercial software platform known as Clearview AI without permission.
— There isn’t evidence of widespread voter fraud in the presidential election, but L.A. County officials say there is evidence of fraud in the Hawthorne mayoral election, in which a candidate and another man are charged with trying to register 8,000 fake or dead voters to get mail-in ballots.
— The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.
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— Michigan’s largest county reversed course and unanimously certified its presidential election results night after Republicans first blocked the move in a party-line vote that threatened to temporarily stall official approval of Biden’s win in the state.
— The U.S. government said that it was dropping drug trafficking charges against former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, a stunning turnaround in a prosecution that had deeply angered Mexican authorities.
— Less than two years after taking power, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Now, he is waging war on Tigray’s regional government.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— How hard has the pandemic hit American museums? Whether they’ve closed or just seen admissions drop, a new survey predicts a grim future.
— In addition to her countless country classics and donated children’s books, count COVID-19 vaccine funding among Dolly Parton’s contributions to American life. Months after she gave $1 million to a top Nashville hospital in a friend’s honor, it appears some of her gift funded Moderna’s promising vaccine candidate.
— Lil Wayne has been charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, following a search of his private plane at a Miami-area airport late last year. A decade ago, he served eight months on Rikers Island on a felony weapons charge.
— The protracted fight between Hollywood writers and their agents isn’t over just yet. Creative Artists Agency filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in federal court in L.A. that would prevent the Writers Guild of America from restricting its members from being represented by agents at the Century City talent agency.
— Stanford University’s move to distance itself from faculty member and Trump pandemic advisor Scott Atlas points to an increasingly acrimonious discussion, columnist Michael Hiltzik writes: whether Stanford should also reconsider its relationship with the conservative Hoover Institution.
— How will tonight’s NBA draft go down? We asked team reporters what they’re expecting. And later this week, with the opening of the free-agent market, the consensus among league executives is that Anthony Davis will return to the Lakers.
— Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger underwent surgery to repair the right shoulder he dislocated celebrating a playoff home run last month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
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— There couldn’t be a worse time to put Judy Shelton on the Fed board, The Times’ editorial board writes. It’s fortunate that Mitch McConnell’s move to confirm her narrowly failed, and her nomination shouldn’t be brought up again.
— Schools must come first, not last, among our pandemic reopening priorities, writes Austin Beutner, the Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent, in an op-ed.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— Left jobless by the pandemic, many immigrants in New York have turned to working as street vendors. But due to the city’s restrictive permitting system, many are struggling and feel treated like criminals, as they explain in this interactive photo essay. (New York Times)
— A professor looks at the challenges of preserving historic landmarks that are threatened by the effects of climate change. (The Conversation)
ONLY IN L.A.
Starting the night after Thanksgiving, the Dodgers will stage a drive-through holiday festival at Dodger Stadium most nights through Christmas Eve. Expect a light show, “Dodger Elves” and multiple interactive experiences celebrating the team’s World Series win.
Comments or ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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