Today’s Headlines: Long COVID, the ‘mass disabling event’

A woman stands inside a small room in a house, holding one hand against her cheek.
Nancy Rose contracted COVID-19 in 2021. A year later, the New York woman, 67, continues to exhibit long-COVID symptoms.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

Hello, it’s Tuesday, July 26, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Worried about long COVID

Efforts to understand the scale of long COVID’s impact have taken on additional urgency given the number of people who have come down with the virus since Omicron was first detected in California shortly after Thanksgiving. Some experts think this latest surge may exceed the record-high case counts seen over the fall and winter, leaving more people at risk of developing the condition.

It’s hard to predict the prevalence of long COVID, given the lack of a uniform definition, its sweeping array of symptoms and no easy way to test for it. But for long-haul sufferers, maladies such as a cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and brain fog have marred their lives. Long COVID has resulted in a “mass disabling event,” said one doctor.


Vaccinations and boosters may help reduce the risk of long COVID, but at least one study suggests the protective effect could be limited. That’s why, officials and experts say, it remains important to take reasonable steps to avoid infection.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

The UC and CSU campuses are set to provide cheap abortion pills

The medication will be available at University of California and California State University medical centers starting Jan. 1, 2023, under a state law aimed at expanding access to the pills to college students. The 2019 law made California the first state in the nation to require public universities to offer the pills.


Antiabortion groups that had campaigned against the California law said their fight was far from over. Emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade, the groups intend to monitor how the new service is unveiled and how students are affected by the medication. Some said they had already retained attorneys to be on the lookout for an opportunity to challenge the law.

Used-car prices are way up, and the repo man is back

In times past, finding and repossessing vehicles was often difficult, occasionally even risky. And recouping costs on seized vehicles was a losing game. But the pandemic changed that.

Supply chain snarls continue to cause chronic shortages in the computer chips at the heart of modern cars. And that’s led to an unprecedented rise in used-car prices as production of new vehicles remains constrained.

Now a dealer who moves fast to repossess a vehicle can expect to resell it quickly, sometimes at a far higher price. And thanks to the prevalence of tracking technology, finding vehicles is fairly simple.

The pope apologizes for the ‘catastrophic’ Indigenous school policy in Canada


Pope Francis issued the historic apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s cooperation with Canada’s policy of Indigenous residential schools, saying the forced assimilation of Native peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations.

In the first event of his weeklong “penitential pilgrimage,” Francis traveled to the lands of four Cree nations to pray at a cemetery and then deliver the long-sought apology at nearby powwow ceremonial grounds: “I humbly beg forgiveness,” he said, “for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples.”

Multiple women accuse ‘Scrubs’ producer Eric Weinberg of sexual abuse

Los Angeles police arrested Weinberg on July 14 on allegations of multiple sexual assaults between 2012 and 2019. The department has identified at least eight women it says Weinberg victimized, a number that is expected to grow. According to police and court records, the women were lured from coffee bars, supermarkets and a Los Feliz pie shop to Weinberg’s Edgemont Street home.

Some were lured under the guise of a photo shoot before he allegedly restrained and sexually assaulted them, police interviews and records show.

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A group of young girls in wetsuits stumble out of the ocean on a beach
Teaching young Latinas to surf at First Point. Los Courage Camp participants get ready to hit the water Saturday in Malibu. Camp founder Giselle Carrillo aims to inspire the Latinx community to get surfing.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


“Like Godzilla over my house.” The Oak fire near Yosemite is threatening thousands of structures. It’s the biggest blaze in California this year. Residents talked about living in the path of the blaze.

It’s been three nights now that the 6th Street Viaduct has been closed. Police cited “questionable activity.” The bridge has quickly become a popular spot for street takeovers, illegal racing, dangerous stunts and vandalism.

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Russia wants to end Ukraine’s “unacceptable regime.” Russia’s top diplomat used some of the bluntest terms yet on Moscow’s war goals, saying Ukraine’s regime is “anti-people and anti-historical.” Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s forces continued to pummel the country with artillery barrages and airstrikes.

Kansas’ attorney general tries to tamp down fears about an antiabortion measure. Derek Schmidt, a Republican running for governor who supports the measure, is trying to get ahead of arguments that the proposal up for a statewide vote next week would hinder medical care for patients with life-threatening pregnancies.


A codefendant in the Central Park jogger case has been exonerated. Steven Lopez was arrested along with five other Black and Latino teenagers in the 1989 rape but reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to a lesser charge. The convictions of the so-called Central Park Five were thrown out, but Lopez’s remained until Monday.

Myanmar executes a former National League for Democracy lawmaker and three other political opponents. The government announced it had carried out its first executions in nearly 50 years, hanging a former lawmaker, a democracy activist and two men accused of violence after the country’s takeover by the military last year.

The Pacific Northwest is bracing for a major heat wave. In Washington and Oregon, temperatures are forecast to top 100 degrees in some places this week as climate change fuels longer hot spells in a region where such events have been historically uncommon. Meanwhile, the Northeast will soon see a slight break in extreme temperatures.

A new generation of scientists is getting ready to commandeer the James Webb Space Telescope. Among the first users will be graduate students preparing to hunt for the earliest galaxies. Webb will tell us “when the first lights in the universe turned on,” said one scientist.


Can Arabic-language pop conquer America? A Tarzana ingénue and her power manager say, “Inshallah.” If she broke through, Elyanna would be a rare Palestinian figure in mainstream American life who isn’t being asked to voice suffering or tragedy. Can a major-label star also represent progress?

“Goodfellas” and “Law & Order” actor Paul Sorvino has died at age 83. In more than 50 years in the entertainment business, Sorvino was a mainstay in films and TV, playing an Italian American communist in Warren Beatty’s “Reds,” Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” and mob boss Eddie Valentine in “The Rocketeer.” He often said that, though he was known for playing gangsters, his real passions were poetry, painting and opera.


David Warner, a frequent onscreen villain, has died at age 80. The acclaimed British actor embraced dark roles in his career, acting as mischievous valet Spicer Lovejoy in “Titanic” and playing Jack the Ripper in 1979’s “Time After Time.” He died of a cancer-related illness.

Review: This tender, original queer YA novel will likely be banned. That’s not why you should read it. Lio Min’s “Beating Heart Baby” follows two boys who meet online and ultimately grapples with the joys and perils of making public art. This book is alive with ache, grief, hunger, love, pain and awe, writes Zan Romanoff.

Watch Joni Mitchell perform publicly for the first time since suffering a brain aneurysm. Mitchell performed Sunday at the Newport Folk Festival in what was the revered singer-songwriter’s first full public concert since she suffered the debilitating aneurysm in 2015.


The L.A. dining scene is bracing for the possible return of indoor masking. Restaurateurs and bar owners are preparing for a new wave of backlash and enforcement difficulties — reminiscent of hardships during the rapidly evolving dining regulations of 2020 and 2021.


Editorial: If homeless women have trouble getting contraception, why not bring it to them? In a homeless services system rife with complexities and problems, one straightforward thing L.A. County could do is offer more and better reproductive healthcare for homeless women whose priority is survival, not getting to a clinic for a checkup and birth control.

Column: How bad could November be for Democrats? Watch Colorado and see. Let’s say the red wave is a big one. Say it’s strong enough not only to sweep in GOP flotsam like Herschel Walker in Georgia and jetsam like election denier Adam Laxalt in Nevada and Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz, but also powerful enough to sweep a Republican to victory in a blue state like Colorado. In that case, Democrats’ November could be very bad indeed.


Op-Ed: Bring back beavers. Millions of highly skilled environmental engineers stand ready to make our continent more resilient to climate change. They restore wetlands that absorb carbon, store water, filter pollution and clean and cool waters for salmon and trout. They are recognized for helping to reduce wildfire risk. Scientists have valued their environmental services at close to $179,000 per square mile annually. And they work for free.

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How much would a team give up for Juan Soto? Probably more than you think. The Washington Nationals star is arguably the most valuable asset available in a midseason trade in modern Major League Baseball history. To get him, one official said, a team would need to be willing to retool its entire farm system.

The MLB will not have an international draft after all. The baseball players union rejected the international draft proposal, keeping the current system of qualifying offers for free agents in place.

Sydney McLaughlin anchored the U.S. on the record-setting final day at the world track championships. America’s burgeoning speed star turned a close 4x400-meter relay into a laugher on the anchor leg Sunday, putting the final stamp on the first worlds held in the U.S. and delivering America’s record 33rd medal of the meet.


Closeup of a fried piece of chicken and slaw in a long hoagie bun.
A fried chicken sandwich from Highly Likely.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Don’t have time for a one-day fried chicken crawl? Jenn Harris did it for you. The National Fried Chicken Day crawl was started in 2021 by Regarding Her, an all-female restaurant organization. The goal is to hit as many female-run restaurants serving fried chicken in a single day as possible.

What you may or may not know is that Jenn, a Times columnist, is a connoisseur of crispy, salty fried poultry. She sampled tempura-fried chicken on a bun, twice-brined wings, sauced-up tenders, breakfast burritos, Thai takes on the classic dish and more. Here’s what she recommends.


A young girl in a white tennis outfit and braids swings a wood racket as she returns a ball on court.
July 24, 1972: Tracy Austin competes in Los Angeles at age 9.
(Los Angeles Times)

Fifty years ago this week, on July 24, 1972, The Times snapped 9-year-old Tracy Austin playing at a junior tennis tournament in Los Angeles. Austin, who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, attended Rolling Hills High School (now Peninsula) and was a tennis wunderkind. In 1972, the same year The Times took this photo, she won the U.S. National 12s championship at age 10 and had earned two dozen age-group titles.

At age 16, in 1979, she became the youngest winner — male or female — in U.S. Open history. That record holds today. In 1980, she and brother John won the Wimbledon mixed doubles championship. In 1988, she was a U.S. Open mixed doubles semifinalist. In 1992, at 29, she was the youngest person inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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