Today’s Headlines: California coronavirus cases increasing, hospitalizations starting to rise

A woman in a mask and face shield walks
California has recorded a nearly 30% increase in coronavirus cases over the past week along with smaller rises in hospitalizations.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Monday, May 2, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California coronavirus cases increasing, hospitalizations begin to rise

After months of declining numbers, California has recorded a nearly 30% increase in coronavirus cases over the past week along with smaller rises in hospitalizations, causing some health officials to suspect that the state is headed into a new pandemic wave.


The increase coincides with a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates and vaccine verification rules, as well as the rise of new subvariants of the highly transmissible Omicron strain. The question now is how much higher cases will go and whether new government intervention will be needed.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

L.A.’s anti-camping law is a patchwork of compliance

Nine months after the Los Angeles City Council adopted a new law allowing council members to designate areas as off-limits to homeless camps, permanent metal signs setting deadlines for all homeless people to leave have been posted at more than 100 locations.


But tents and makeshift shelters remain at many of the sites even weeks or months past the deadlines, as outreach workers struggle to persuade people to move voluntarily and the Los Angeles Police Department has issued tickets sparingly.

An insufficient number of outreach workers and a lack of interim housing options have hindered the implementation of the law, according to homeless services providers, and city and county officials.

More politics

  • Black Lives Matter-L.A. leader Melina Abdullah, a professor at Cal State Los Angeles, said she was forcibly removed by police officers from the mayoral debate on the campus. At the debate, five of the leading candidates for Los Angeles mayor traded accusations over such topics as crime, homelessness, the importance of public service and other issues.
  • The race between Rep. Michelle Steel and Jay Chen in a congressional district drawn to empower Asian Americans now features charges of racism, sexism and red-baiting.

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To survive drought, parts of SoCal must cut water use by 35%.

When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California unveiled its strictest-ever water restrictions for about 6 million residents, it did so with an urgent goal in mind: a 35% reduction in water consumption, equating to an allocation of about 80 gallons per person per day.


Officials said that’s the number needed to conserve critical supplies for health and safety amid a worsening drought. Currently, the average potable water use across the MWD’s service area amounts to 125 gallons per person per day.

The number is not arbitrary: Southern California communities that are dependent on water delivered from Northern California by the State Water Project normally demand about 380,000 acre-feet of water between June and December. But the projected supply during the second half of this year is far less — only 250,000 acre-feet.

Pelosi reaffirms U.S. support for Ukraine

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed U.S. military, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine, a day after she and a delegation of Democratic lawmakers met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the capital as intense fighting raged in the country’s eastern region.

Speaking from neighboring Poland, Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Ukraine needed the West’s assistance to deal with the “devastating human toll taken on the Ukrainian people by [President Vladimir] Putin’s diabolic invasion.”

In the port city of Mariupol, about 100 civilians were evacuated from a sprawling steelworks plant that is a final redoubt of Ukrainian defenders and hundreds of noncombatants. Zelensky’s office confirmed the evacuation, but gave few details.


More on Ukraine

  • Since war erupted in Ukraine more than two months ago, the Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church in Lviv has become a lodestar for those praying for their army’s success against a larger and more powerful invader.
  • If he fears a humiliating loss, Putin could order the use of a small-scale nuclear weapon against Ukraine, writes columnist Doyle McManus.
  • Russia says it made nearly 400 artillery attacks overnight. Ukraine says Moscow is trying to render its eastern heartland uninhabitable.

You got into your dream school, but it’s pricey. Can California help pay for it?

Amid rising college costs and economic uncertainty, students are more dependent than ever on financial aid. More than 70% of 76,000 California students surveyed in 2020 by the California Student Aid Commission said their families had lost part or all of their incomes during the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly two-thirds said they worried “a lot” about paying for tuition and fees.

California is mounting one of its largest-ever efforts to make college affordable — providing more than $1 billion in additional funding for expanded financial aid, affordable student housing and cheaper textbook costs. But college counselors say that the expansion of financial aid won’t mean much to students if they don’t know how to apply for it.

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Can you be a NIMBY and a Christian? An ex-Motown singer struggles with a new homeless shelter. Larry S. Buford faced a dilemma as subsidized housing for unhoused people and those with mental illness was built in his neighborhood. Take a NIMBY — not in my backyard — approach or the Bible.


A long-forgotten toxic dump site is raising new worries for this Los Angeles neighborhood. Nearly 40 years after a hasty cleanup, environmental concerns at the Avenue 34 site where American Caster Corp. operated have once again shaken the neighborhood as real estate developers want to demolish the industrial warehouse and, in its place, build a five-story apartment complex, retail space and an underground parking garage.

Critics of a plan to relocate youths from L.A. juvenile hall were increasingly vocal before the move. Plans call for gradually moving most of the youths housed at the troubled Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar to three smaller camps across the county: Kilpatrick, Camp Scott in Santa Clarita and Dorothy Kirby Center in Commerce.


Gerardo Mixcoatl, left, Rutilia Martinez and Alberta Mendez, maintenance workers at Union Station
Gerardo Mixcoatl, Rutilia Martinez and Alberta Mendez, right, maintenance workers at Union Station, say they have been attacked by homeless people while working at the station in downtown Los Angeles.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Violent crime and verbal abuse at Union Station have become unbearable, some workers say. As more homeless people shelter in Union Station overnight, janitors and retail workers face constant threats, erratic behavior and assaults. Their union is demanding better protection to make the property safer.

A speeding Mercedes. Two kids killed. Should a Hidden Hills socialite face a murder trial? Rebecca Grossman, the 58-year-old co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation, is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death in connection with the crash. Grossman faces 34 years to life in prison if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty and is out on $2-million bail.

Mayor Eric Garcetti urges healing at a Koreatown conference to commemorate the L.A. riots. Three decades after the riots, the mayor urged a group gathered at a Wilshire Boulevard hotel in Koreatown “to build a city of belonging” and heal the trauma from the riots. Koreatown was devastated during the riots as many businesses were burned and looted.


San Diego proposes a sweeping crackdown on scooters as usage revives after a pandemic lull. The city also wants to shrink the number of companies allowed to operate scooters, quadruple the annual fee they’ve been paying and require operators to respond to complaints about their scooters within one hour.

San Diego County loses population for the first time in a decade. U.S. Census Bureau data released last month showed San Diego County’s population fell by 11,183 residents from July 2020 to July 2021 — mirroring the wider trend of more people leaving California’s high-priced coastal urban centers.

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Tornado rips through Kansas, causing severe damage near Wichita. In addition to wreckage from the tornado, three University of Oklahoma meteorology students traveling back from storm-chasing in Kansas were killed in a car crash, according to officials.

Republican election deniers elevate the races for secretary of state. Former President Trump’s lies about election fraud, attempt to overturn the 2020 election and endorsements of candidates for state election offices who are sympathetic to his view have elevated those races to top-tier status.

Honduran economic zones are in ‘limbo’ after a government repeal. A plan to create special self-governing zones for foreign investors in Honduras has been thrown into limbo because the new government has repealed a law many criticized as surrendering sovereignty.


India seizes $725 million from Chinese phone company Xiaomi over remittances. The move comes after an investigation was launched by the federal agency in February over concerns of illegal remittances, local media reported.


With ‘Russian Doll,’ Natasha Lyonne wants to ‘catalog a life.’ Just not her life. Lyonne has a message for people who see the time-trippy dark comedy on Netflix she co-created and stars in, as a kind of television memoir: The show is personal but not autobiographical.

Fans and fellow country artists mourn Naomi Judd. News of the death of the country music star at age 76 sparked an outpouring of tributes from fans, fellow musicians and other celebrities.

Pete Davidson compares Kanye West’s behavior with Will Smith’s Oscars slap. Since Davidson began dating Kim Kardashian amid her turbulent divorce from West, the “Donda” musical artist has repeatedly targeted the “Saturday Night Live” star in his music videos and on social media.

Bill Murray addresses the conduct complaint that led to the ‘Being Mortal’ film shutdown. The actor suggested it arose out of a misunderstanding over an intended joke and expressed his hope that the situation will soon be resolved.


Layoffs at Netflix have some staffers questioning the company’s strategy and culture. After Netflix released its earnings data, some of the workers laid off said they had been assured by managers that their jobs were secure. Instead, they were told that Thursday was their last day and that they would receive two weeks’ severance.


Why are gas prices still so high? And what’s up with those rebate checks? Oil has fluctuated while pump prices stayed high. Analysts expect the cost of gas to stay up for now, but lawmakers are discussing relief options.


The torch remains in Jonathan Quick’s hands as the Kings open playoffs against the Oilers. The Kings goalie didn’t start the season opener but he will be there when it matters and will carry the team’s Stanley Cup hopes on his back, writes columnist Helene Elliott.

Can Jerry West take his case against HBO to the Supreme Court? Or any court? Given the uphill battle that public figures must fight when suing for defamation, West’s threat of legal action against HBO could seem implausible, but legal experts aren’t so sure.

Trevor Bauer was suspended for 324 games by MLB as a new accuser emerges. Bauer has on the record objected to the suspension and characterized all encounters as consensual. Using this line of argument, he could contend he does not warrant any suspension because he did nothing wrong, and that commissioner Rob Manfred has suspended him for unconventional but consensual sex rather than for sexual assault.

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It’s time to stop spinning our wheels on gas price relief and head in a different direction. Rather than trying to ease pain at the gas pump, the governor and lawmakers should focus on infrastructure projects, columnist George Skelton writes.

An L.A. freeway ‘phantom’ once terrified everyone I knew. Dangers haunt our freeways still. Freeway shootings in Southern California revive memories of my fears of a man dubbed the “Phantom Rock Thrower,” who haunted the 91 Freeway in 1977.


Tacos 1986 tacos, salsas and chips
Tijuana-style taco operation Tacos 1986 just opened its sixth location — this time within Echo Park bar-arcade Button Mash, beginning a new chapter for both businesses.
(Stephanie Breijo)

The pings, zips and buzzers of 1980s arcade games are filling the air at Button Mash once again, but now, so is the scent of adobada. Fans who’ve been holding onto their Button Mash tokens since 2020 can finally slide them back into the bar and restaurant’s video-game cabinets: The Echo Park arcade beloved previously for its craft beer, natural wine, and bites from pan-Asian pop-up Starry Kitchen is back, but this time with food vendor Tacos 1986 at the helm.

The much-missed Button Mash on Sunset Boulevard reopened last month and teamed up with the Tijuana-style taco operation that began as a street cart in 2018 and has since become one of the most recognizable taco chains across L.A. It marks the first time the space has opened since October 2020, and is now offering asada, chicken, mushroom, and trompo-sliced adobada tacos, mulitas, vampiros and quesadillas just a few blocks from Dodger Stadium, along with new Tacos 1986 items exclusive to the Button Mash location.


Workers atop cables of a bridge
Dated October 1935, a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay during its construction.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Eighty-five years ago this week, a ceremony was held to mark the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction on the bridge had started in January 1933 — mid-Depression, when men were desperate for work — and builders faced a number of challenges, including storms, tides and Bay Area fog. There were no federal safety standards at the time, but engineer Joseph Strauss insisted on hard hats, safety lines and a movable net for his crew. Four years passed without a fatality, but on Feb. 17, 1937, scaffolding collapsed and 10 men fell to their deaths. Still, the net was credited with saving 19 men, who called themselves the Halfway to Hell Club.

A report in the April 28, 1937, edition of The Times said the dedication of the bridge was disrupted when the golden “last” rivet on the bridge shattered. The pneumatic hammer being used showered “fine particles of gold … in the faces of spectators.” After the specially made rivet fell into the depths, “they finished the bridge with a steel rivet after all.”

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