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Today’s Headlines: Delta variant brings alarm for parents of unvaccinated kids

A nurse prepares doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Pico-Union on July 23.
Registered nurse Julie Anne Buenaventura prepares doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Pico-Union Project on July 23.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Delta variant brings alarm for parents of unvaccinated kids

New evidence about the Delta variant’s ability to infect and spread even among those who are fully vaccinated has been particularly alarming for parents of young children who are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Many parents who thought their children faced limited risks of getting the coronavirus are now reassessing their stance. Health experts said parents should be extra careful with the highly contagious variant, causing infection spikes in Los Angeles County and many other parts of the country.

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But several also stressed that it’s essential to keep the risks in context, adding that children could still go back to school with proper precautions.

“Children need to be in school,” said Julie Swann, a health systems engineer at North Carolina State University. “Those of us who have experienced last year, we know it.”

Dr. Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician in Orange County, said she has seen an increase in coronavirus cases among young patients in recent weeks, as well as an uptick in parents who are vaccinating eligible children — both of which she attributed to the rise of the Delta variant.

“Parents should be making sure that they’re doing everything they can to keep their kids safe when they have an unvaccinated child in their family,” Williamson said.

Yet, the risk of severe illness remains low for those vaccinated against COVID-19, and the rate of infections, hospitalizations and deaths is much higher for those without the shots.

With the proper guidelines and increased vaccinations among eligible people, Williamson said, it is still possible to keep young people protected.

More top coronavirus headlines

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Florida’s coronavirus cases jumped 50%, continuing a six-week surge that has seen it responsible for 1 in 5 new infections nationally.

— A growing number of Los Angeles restaurants are requiring that diners be vaccinated against COVID-19 or show proof of a recent negative test. That comes as new coronavirus cases continue to surge, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, which now accounts for upward of 84% of specimens sequenced in California.

— With breakthrough infections, and Delta variant rising, here’s what you should do to protect yourself.

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

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How L.A. finally cleared most Venice Beach homeless camps

After a month of intensive outreach — mostly subtle persuasion by police and park rangers — and painstaking separation of valuables from the jerry-built structures and furnishings, roughly 200 campers were removed from Ocean Front Walk in Venice.

All were offered someplace else to live — a few in apartments, many in private but temporary rooms in hotels, and a few in congregate shelters. Most took up the offer.

Mike Bonin, who was the public face of the effort to get people out of tents and into some form of housing, said in an interview that he had every expectation that rules prohibiting camping in parks and beaches would be enforced. Bonin pushed for this encampment-to-home model, in which outreach workers would come in and make offers of shelter or housing before the municipal code was enforced again.

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For Bonin, the people who went indoors over the last six weeks rebutted the trope that homeless people want to stay homeless. While pleased with the effort, he said it can truly be judged as a success only if and when people get permanently housed.

Hot Tokyo days and nights: Sweltering Olympics

It wasn’t just the unrelenting sun. Or the sluggish air, wet and still and settling close to the ground.

By midday, the canoe slalom course at the Summer Olympics, a man-made rapids beside Tokyo Bay, had been transformed into something that left racers sweating and exhausted after barely a minute, as if its churning waters had been brought to a boil.

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“It’s like a bath,” said Matej Benus of Slovakia. “It’s like paddling in bathwater.”

These Games figured to be among the hottest in Olympic history, and other than a few days when a tropical cyclone blew through, they have not disappointed. Beach volleyball has felt like a sauna, and tennis courts have turned into frying pans, with one player carted away in a wheelchair and another reportedly asking the umpire: “If I die, are you going to be responsible?”

Conditions at the equestrian center in the heart of the city have been fit for neither man nor beast.

“I felt it more for my horse,” said Kelly Layne, an Australian rider. “I felt like he was feeling it.”

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Temperatures in the high 80s with humidity around 76% is common in Tokyo at this time of year. As recently as the summer of 2019, dozens of people died and thousands more were hospitalized during a heat wave. The unkind climate is caused by factors both natural and not.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

— “Not a day goes by that I do not miss him or think about whether we might still someday have our chance,” writes Julie E. Buchwald. What might have happened if she had gotten that drink with her onetime tour guide?

— Flush with pandemic savings and eager to embrace all things wellness, wealthy consumers are seeking out huge crystals to decorate their homes and backyards.

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— When you lay out the facts about Joanne Lee Molinaro, also known as the Korean Vegan, she starts to sound a bit like the meme version of Chuck Norris: Joanne Lee Molinaro is a cookbook author, food blogger and partner at a major law firm; Joanne Lee Molinaro became a TikTok star in her free time; Joanne Lee Molinaro runs long distances for fun.

— All his life, Joseph Arriaga carried a painful secret about his origins. After getting his DNA results, he messaged a stranger: “I think you might be my father,” and that’s just the beginning of his story.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1924, a brush fire destroyed four homes and burned 900 acres. Firefighters stopped the blaze on the hillside behind the Encino Country Club.

The Aug. 4, 1924, Los Angeles Times reported: “The fire broke out about noon midway in the canyon. It spread to the mouth of the canyon where the Encino club is located. Then it ate its way up the ridge to within a short distance of the Encino reservoir.” In 1926, new owners purchased the financially troubled Encino Country Club. The club entered bankruptcy in 1929, followed by subdivision of its land.

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Aug. 2, 1924: Brush fire threatens the Encino Country Club.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

CALIFORNIA

— A powerful doctors group has fought a proposed California law that would require physicians to tell patients if they took money from drug or medical device makers.

— With energy resources looking exceedingly tight amid a persistently hot summer that has seen a spate of wildfires burn across the West, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation to free up additional megawatts of power to help make sure the state’s lights stay on in the coming months.

— The U.S. Forest Service lets some blazes burn. California officials say that practices should be updated as blazes explode, partly because of climate change.

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— TikTok star Anthony Barajas, who was shot with a friend inside a Corona movie theater, has died after being removed from life support.

Sign up early for our California Politics newsletter, coming in August, to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting, including full coverage of the recall election and the latest action in Sacramento.

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NATION-WORLD

— After much delay, senators unveiled a bipartisan infrastructure package calling for $550 billion in new spending Sunday night, wrapping up days of painstaking work. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said a final vote could be held “in a matter of days.”

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— The United Kingdom joined Israel on Sunday in alleging Iran carried out a fatal drone strike on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, putting further pressure on Tehran as it denied being involved in the assault.

— Shouts of “Liberty!” have echoed through the streets and squares of Italy and France as thousands show their opposition to plans to require vaccination cards for normal social activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants, visiting museums or cheering in sports stadiums.

Wildfires raged near Turkey’s holiday beach destinations of Antalya and Mugla and in the surrounding countryside for a fifth day as the discovery of more bodies raised the death toll to eight. Residents and tourists fled the danger in small boats while the coast guard and two navy ships waited at sea in case a bigger evacuation was needed.

— Six months after seizing power from the elected government, Myanmar’s military leader declared himself prime minister. “We must create conditions to hold a free and fair multiparty general election,” Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said during a recorded televised address. “We have to make preparations. I pledge to hold the multiparty general election without fail.”

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Scarlett Johansson‘s agent, Bryan Lourd, has stepped in to defend his client amid the star’s legal fight with Walt Disney.

— Rapper DaBaby has been cut from the final day of Lollapalooza‘s lineup after crude and homophobic remarks he made last week at a Miami-area music festival.

— The Hollywood Pantages Theatre announced it will now require proof of vaccination in order to attend “Hamilton,” or any show, through Oct. 10, when the policy will be reassessed.

BUSINESS

— There’s an air of desperation among tech employers this summer. Software talent, it seems, is in such high demand that companies are morphing how they hire. And workers are the ones with the power.

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— A wealthy San Francisco couple notched a record $475,000 buyout to vacate their luxury apartment of three decades, an indication of what some landlords are willing to pay for tenants to give up their homes in a city with strict rent control and soaring market rents.

SPORTS

— On the final day of swimming, Caeleb Dressel won gold in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4x100 medley relay to cap off an impressive Olympic performance.

Simone Biles will return to compete in the balance beam event final Tuesday, a week after she withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics competition to protect her physical and mental well-being.

NBA free agency begins today, when teams can negotiate with players and agree to deals, which can be signed starting Friday. Both the Clippers and the Lakers face challenges to fill their rosters.

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Get the latest news from Tokyo with our Olympics live blog and the Sports Report newsletter.

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OPINION

Surfing’s addictive cocktail of emotions keeps me coming back. This is one habit I’ll embrace, writes Thad Ziolkowski.

— The Olympics shouldn’t test for cannabis — much less ban athletes who test positive. If Sha’Carri Richardson had gotten drunk instead of ingesting weed, she’d probably have competed in the women’s 100-meter final, writes Robin Abcarian.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— “I Will Always Love You” stands as one of Dolly Parton’s most successful songwriting credits, a tune that became a global phenomenon when Whitney Houston covered it for the 1992 film “The Bodyguard.” Parton invested the cover royalties worth millions into the Black community in Nashville. (The Washington Post)

— Curtis Crosland, a Philadelphia man wrongfully convicted of murder, is freed by evidence that was on file for more than 30 years. (CNN)

ONLY IN L.A.

When filmmaker and poet Jane Stephens Rosenthal purchased her 1905 Craftsman-inspired home in Elysian Heights in 2013, she says she was particularly charmed by the backyard’s idiosyncratic handbuilt structures. The previous owner, a set decorator, had adorned the steep, multilevel yard with theatrical arches, a rustic stone fireplace and a disintegrating, unpermitted open-air pavilion, including electricity.

But she also knew that the unpermitted structure was not a long-term solution. “It was a hazard,” recalls designer Ben Warwas.

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Rosenthal reached out to Warwas, who, along with architect Chris Skeens, is fresh off receiving a merit honor for additions and ADUs at this year’s American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles residential awards. In the hopes of creating a writing studio that was as unique as the original structure, Rosenthal asked the pair to design something fresh and new for her backyard.

The Stiff Peaks writing studio, designed by Chris Skeens and Ben Warwas, features a hidden rooftop deck with views of DTLA.
The Stiff Peaks writing studio, designed by Chris Skeens and Ben Warwas, features a hidden rooftop deck with views of DTLA.
(Taiyo Watanabe)

Today’s newsletter was curated by Daric L. Cottingham. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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