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Today’s Headlines: 50 states, 48 strategies

Lines of cars between orange traffic cones in a parking lot
Drivers wind their way through the parking lots at Dodger Stadium for COVID-19 vaccinations.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Your place in the COVID-19 vaccination line depends a lot on where you live.

TOP STORIES

50 States, 48 Strategies

Though the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine availability will probably improve substantially in the coming months, officials are now going through what could be the most contentious phase of the rollout: a period marked by relentless demand, constrained supply and a patchwork of policies over who gets priority.

Attempts to fairly distribute the scant supply have created 48 vaccine eligibility lists across 50 states, according to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In California, there are as many as 61 more vaccine priority lists, as local health departments are allowed to deviate from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s rules as they deem appropriate.

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“When you get your place in line really ends up depending on where you live,” said Jennifer Tolbert, an author of the Kaiser foundation report. “There honestly are no good decisions when you’re in a situation of so many people needing the vaccine, and just not enough doses.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County are at their lowest point since Thanksgiving, authorities said. But cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a serious condition associated with COVID-19 that affects people under 21, are rising.

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— Forty percent of COVID-19 vaccines available for school staff in L.A. County will go to the L.A. Unified School District through a new distribution formula designed to help reopen campuses sooner in areas hit hardest by the pandemic.

— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging stricter precautions for gymgoers after tracing coronavirus outbreaks to fitness centers in Hawaii and Chicago that left dozens of patrons with COVID-19.

— Pfizer announced that it had begun studying the effects of a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, part of a strategy to guard against mutated versions of the coronavirus.

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

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The Ballot Battle Continues

In statehouses across the country, voting restriction measures are winding through the legislative process. Leading the way is Arizona, which has seen dozens of bills introduced this year, the most of any state, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank at New York University Law School.

Republicans championing these bills say they are necessary to restore faith in a system now widely seen by their constituents as suspect. Democrats counter the GOP is capitalizing on the distrust Republicans have fostered.

One point of agreement across the political spectrum: The state-level focus on voting procedures has reached unprecedented heights — more than 165 bills nationwide to restrict voting, according to the Brennan Center analysis.

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More Politics

— The United States launched airstrikes in Syria, targeting facilities near the Iraqi border used by Iranian-backed militia groups. President Biden’s decision to attack did not appear to signal an intention to widen U.S. military involvement in the region but rather to demonstrate a will to defend American troops in Iraq.

— The Senate parliamentarian has dealt a potentially lethal blow to Democrats’ drive to raise the minimum wage, deciding that the cherished progressive goal must fall from a massive COVID-19 relief bill the party is trying to speed through Congress, Democratic Senate aides said.

— The Democratic-led House passed a bill that would enshrine LGBTQ protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws, though the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

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Former President Trump plans to use Sunday, the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, for his first public speech since leaving the White House just over a month ago. Throughout the weekend, loyalty tests will be everywhere.

Tumult Around the Globes

With Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony approaching, preparations for the annual show would normally be at a fever pitch. Instead, with the pandemic forcing the event to be held virtually, the famously loose and star-packed show’s glitz and glamour will be dampened.

And after a Times investigation that raised fresh questions about the 87-member Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which doles out the awards, some believe the very future of the Globes could be in jeopardy if the organization doesn’t undertake reforms.

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Among the findings of The Times’ investigation was that the group currently has no Black members. That has further fueled criticism over this year’s Globes picks, which didn’t include any of the year’s Black-led awards contenders.

In a statement to The Times on Thursday, an HFPA representative said, “We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Spring training season is upon us. For six decades, that meant a trip to Vero Beach, Fla., for the Dodgers. The facility was originally U.S. Navy housing but became known as “Dodgertown.” Florida hosted the team from 1949 to 2008, until spring training was relocated to Arizona. Dodgertown became a Florida Heritage Landmark in 2014.

The Times archives feature dozens of photos from training sessions as the team prepared for a new season, from creative stretches to activities such as hula hooping. See more photos here.

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Tommy Lasorda tries to swing nine hula hoops
Feb. 27, 1982: Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda tries nine hula hoops as Steve Garvey, left, gets a good laugh.
(Jayne Kamin / Los Angeles Times)

YOUR WEEKEND

Airbnb for gardens is a thing. Rent an L.A. oasis to nap, do yoga, work — it’s up to you.

— Treat yourself to a fish sandwich. But first: Watch what The Times’ food writers have to say about where to get the best one.

— There’s no escaping Girl Scout cookies this time of year. Which one reigns supreme?

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— Planning a road trip soon? Here’s what you need to know.

CALIFORNIA

— In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that a law that barred most offenders under 16 years old from being tried for crimes as adults does not violate the state Constitution.

— It’s been almost six years since the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department agreed to implement sweeping measures to improve policing in the Antelope Valley. Court monitors say progress still lags.

— Three months after election day, some ballots are still being held by Riverside County’s district attorney, an impasse that is only the latest in a series of bitter feuds between the D.A.’s office and the registrar of voters.

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— An L.A. County sheriff’s deputy was killed Thursday morning when his motorcycle was struck in Lakewood, authorities said.

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NATION-WORLD

— The Biden administration is expected to soon release an unclassified intelligence report establishing that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, directed the killing of the dissident U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

— House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made an abrupt pivot to become Trump’s most loyal ally in the chamber. Now he sees a chance to ride that relationship into the House majority and a job he’s coveted for years: speaker.

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— Biden will visit Houston today, at the epicenter of Texas’ deadly winter storm. He will be welcomed by many who blame state leaders for failing to quickly respond to the disaster.

— The conviction of a former Syrian secret police officer of aiding and abetting torture and imprisonment as a crime against humanity brings solace — but also a debate over war’s moral conflicts.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

“Reply All,” the popular Gimlet Media podcast, will discontinue a recent miniseries about Bon Appetit magazine’s work environment amid accusations of a “toxic dynamic” in “Reply All” and Gimlet’s own workplace.

— The Santa Monica-based public radio station KCRW-FM (89.9) is under fire this week after a former news producer alleged that she experienced a pattern of racist behavior while working there.

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— Here’s the story behind HBO’s new documentary “Allen v. Farrow” and its use of a never-before-seen video.

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two dogs after her dog walker was shot and the pets were taken in Hollywood. The incident has led to speculation about the motive for the attack.

— A revival of “Frasier” is officially headed to Paramount+, with the sitcom’s original star, Kelsey Grammer, set to reprise the role as the titular psychiatrist.

BUSINESS

— The engine failure of a Boeing 777 plane this week turned out OK. That’s because modern planes are designed to withstand such a mishap.

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Paramount+ is coming March 4. ViacomCBS says it will compete in the streaming wars by leveraging legacy brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount and CBS.

— Why are people spending hours on Clubhouse? Simple curiosity, or the promise of hopping into a room with a favorite celebrity — or sometimes, the money.

SPORTS

— A former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself after being charged with two dozen crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise.

— Washington Wizards standout and former UCLA star Russell Westbrook announced his foundation is partnering with L.A. Promise Fund to launch the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy in South L.A.

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OPINION

— Treating mentally ill accused felons will save money and prevent new crimes, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— Don’t be smug about Texas’ troubles, seismologist Lucy Jones writes. California isn’t prepared for disasters either.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— The making of Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia representative who was censured by her colleagues in the House. (Politico)

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Garrett Morgan invented a “safety hood” and improved traffic signals. But for a Black man in the early 20th century, racism prevented him from being hailed as a hero. (Scientific American)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Pacific Grove is known as Butterfly Town, USA, but during the Thanksgiving count last year, not a single monarch butterfly was found. An ill-timed fire had something to do with it, but more disturbingly, the numbers have been dwindling for decades. But before you start feeling complete despair, there are some things you can do to help save the monarchs.

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


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