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Today’s Headlines: ‘A life-and-death race’

A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is held using a pair of forceps
A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine contains roughly six doses.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As the U.S. ramps up efforts to vaccinate against COVID-19, officials warn of a new surge and urge patience for people eager to get out and socialize.

TOP STORIES

‘A Life-and-Death Race’

President Biden implored Americans to maintain precautions and expanded federal efforts to vaccinate the country as signs of a potential new surge in coronavirus cases spawned fears of a deadly fourth wave of infections and deaths.

“We’re in a life-and-death race with a virus that is spreading quickly,” he said, and “we’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains.” Biden urged states to stop loosening restrictions on public gatherings and admonished people against “reckless behavior.”

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The president announced that in three weeks, by April 19, his administration will more than double the number of pharmacies where people can get shots. He also said 90% of American adults will have become eligible for the vaccine by that point, and the final 10% after May 1.

The faster timetable and expanded network of inoculation sites represent an effort to outrun the coronavirus as states loosen restrictions on public gatherings and people are eager to return to normal life. New infections, hospitalizations and deaths are all on the rise, fueled by looser behaviors and the virus’ contagious variants.

So far, California has not seen the same kind of spike in coronavirus cases that has sparked alarm in other parts of the country. But the state has seemingly been an early outlier in the past, only to be hit later.

Public health officials in California are growing increasingly worried that the next week or so — spring break combined with Passover and Easter Sunday — could lead to increased travel, social gatherings and celebrations. Without precautions, all those heighten the risk of coronavirus transmission. Already, crowds are returning to areas such as beaches, and some mistakenly feel the pandemic is behind them.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— California is days away from dramatically expanding who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. But will there be enough doses to go around?

— LAUSD is trying to win over parents. But dozens told The Times they remain apprehensive about sending their kids back because of ongoing safety fears, dissatisfaction with what the district is offering and logistical issues.

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— From across the U.S., these nurses traveled to save Californians “one vaccination at a time.”

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

The World Is Watching

The televised trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd began Monday, with prosecutors showing the jury the video of Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck. The killing triggered worldwide protests, scattered violence and national soul-searching over racial justice.

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Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell showed jurors the recording during opening statements, after urging them to remember the nine minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the pavement in May. The officer “didn’t let up” even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and went limp, Blackwell said.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson countered by arguing that his client “did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career.” He said that Floyd was fighting efforts to put him in a squad car as the crowd of onlookers around Chauvin and his fellow officers grew and became increasingly hostile. The defense attorney also disputed that Chauvin was to blame for Floyd’s death.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

The idea began as a bait-and-switch: Give people searching online for terms like “join Oath Keepers” or “bomb instructions” some content that seemed to fit their request but instead offered an alternative to extremism.

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The method, developed by Moonshot CVE, is called the “Redirect.” Through partnerships with Google as well as the Anti-Defamation League, the British firm’s goal is to dissuade users from pursuing conspiracies and violent rhetoric by luring them with advertisements to other sites. And it’s just one of dozens of ideas that tech companies are experimenting with as they come under pressure after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

But this effort to stem online extremism accidentally pushed people toward a man with a history of supporting anarchism and making statements that to many seem anti-Semitic.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1966, Dodgers pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were bargaining for better contracts with the team. They eventually got what they wanted — Koufax signed for $120,000 and Drysdale for $105,000.

But in between was a media spectacle in which the pair signed contracts with Paramount Studios, agreeing to play minor parts in the 1967 film “Warning Shot.” On March 28, the press were invited to “rehearsals” to see Koufax and Drysdale as they prepared for two weeks of filming, according to The Times.

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The attention didn’t last, though. The Times reported on March 31 that the duo had returned to the Dodgers after signing new contracts. They used an escape clause to get out of their Paramount obligations.

Four men sit in chairs, surrounded by men with cameras and microphones
March 28, 1966: A news conference is held on the set for the Paramount Studios movie “Warning Shot.” Seated from left is Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, actor David Janssen and Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale.
(Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times )

CALIFORNIA

— A major construction team on the California bullet train project notified the state rail authority this month that it will not complete a 65-mile section of the future route in Kings County until at least April 14, 2025 — nearly two years after the date that the state included in a business plan adopted Thursday.

— The tally of petition signatures in the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom won’t be complete until next month, but California’s election rules could make the recall a wild ride this year.

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— A bluff collapse warning system is being proposed for the northern San Diego County coastline.

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NATION-WORLD

— After crossing the U.S. border, a Honduran boy has spent nearly a month in a shelter like thousands of other unaccompanied minors the U.S. is struggling to process. He asks his mother, “Why am I still here?”

— Critics of Georgia’s new Republican-backed election law issued fresh calls to boycott some of the state’s largest businesses for not speaking out more forcefully against the law, a day after advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging it.

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— Fierce fighting for control of Mozambique’s strategic northern town of Palma left beheaded bodies strewn in the streets, with heavily armed rebels battling army, police and a private military outfit in several locations.

— Ever Given, the giant container ship that plugged the Suez Canal for nearly a week, was dragged off the waterway’s banks and refloated, easing fears of a major, prolonged disruption to world trade.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— CBS is denying a report that Sharon Osbourne received a payout of up to $10 million for exiting “The Talk” after making inflammatory comments about race on the daytime talk show this month.

— After a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic kept film lovers watching from the isolation of home, Michelle Robinson’s artwork for the upcoming Academy Awards pays glorious tribute to the power of the movie palace.

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— In a Latin genre dominated by men, reggaeton “bichota” Karol G takes aim at the top with attitude, flashy cars and a new record.

— COVID-19 changed how movie and TV music gets made. L.A. musicians are worried it could shrink an industry that was already in flux.

BUSINESS

— A proposed California law would give actors and music artists more labor protections as television shows produce shorter seasons.

— Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., are deciding whether they want to form a union. Here’s what you need to know about the biggest labor push in the online shopping giant’s history.

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SPORTS

— The Dodgers have only gotten better since dominating en route to winning the 2020 World Series title. In 2021, they’ll become the greatest team in MLB history, columnist Bill Plaschke writes.

Andre Drummond on joining the Lakers: “I’m not here to do anything besides win.”

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OPINION

— It’s time to pay back the Black family that once owned Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach and was run out of town, The Times’ editorial board writes.

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— If Democrats really want gun control, they’ll have to stop pressing Sen. Dianne Feinstein to retire — and she’ll have to work with them on the reforming the filibuster, writes columnist George Skelton.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— In an era of division, could you tell how a neighborhood voted, just by looking at it? It’s harder than it seems. (New York Times)

— NBA Players Assn. leader Michele Roberts discusses the lack of Black women in executive roles in the NBA. (The Undefeated)

ONLY IN L.A.

Restaurateur Dana Hollister has listed the Paramour Estate, one of Silver Lake’s largest and most storied properties, for $40 million — a price tag that is leaps and bounds above the nearby homes nestled in the hills of the scenic neighborhood. Like many of L.A.’s iconic homes, the nearly century-old mansion boasts an ownership history as fascinating as the house itself. And there’s an interesting story about the seller as well.

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


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