Today’s Headlines: COVID is making a comeback in California. Officials say there’s no cause for alarm

Shoppers make their way along Santee Alley in Los Angeles.
Shoppers make their way along Santee Alley in Los Angeles. According to state data, coronavirus levels have more than doubled in Los Angeles’ wastewater since the start of summer.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Hello, it’s Friday, Sept. 1, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California’s COVID comeback intensifies, but officials say there’s no cause for alarm. COVID-19 is making a comeback in California. Coronavirus levels in wastewater are on the rise in the state’s most populated areas, and hospitalizations continue to tick upward as residents return from trips and head back to school. With Labor Day weekend right around the corner, some may wonder whether they should scale back or alter their plans.

While residents should be aware of current trends, and the steps they can take to reduce their risk of infection, the higher transmission rates aren’t “a cause for alarm,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.


California allows more gas storage at the Aliso Canyon leak site. State officials voted Thursday to let Southern California Gas Co. store far more fuel at the Aliso Canyon gas storage field, eight years after a record-breaking leak spewed more than 100,000 metric tons of planet-warming methane into the atmosphere and prompted thousands of San Fernando Valley residents to evacuate their homes for months.

The vote frustrated climate change activists who have urged state officials to do more to help families replace gas appliances with electric heat pumps and induction stoves.

The hunt for bones and closure in Maui’s burn fields. Three weeks after wildfires roared through Lahaina, the search for human bones — or iwi, as they are known in Hawaiian — has wrapped up, and officials are shifting to clearing toxic debris. But only 115 bodies have been recovered, with fewer than half of them identified.

Still, an unknown number of people remain unaccounted for, with numbers varying depending on the source. The highest is the FBI’s verified list of 388, though questions surround that figure.

Deadly racist attacks are now a way of life in the U.S. In a report released this year, the Anti-Defamation League tallied extremist mass killings and attempted ones, finding that 46 took place since the 1970s. Each was at the hands of extremists motivated by far-right, far-left or radical Islamist ideology, with a small number connected to lesser known extremist ideas.


But since 2011, it’s been right-wing extremists behind the majority of attacks. Most of those were carried out by white supremacists.


A detail image of three pairs of legs dancing on a pier.
Justin Corbo, 25, Vanesa Seco, 27, and Kento Moriguchi, 24, perform a shuffle dance routine on the Santa Monica Pier.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

‘What’s that foot thing?!’ Shufflers are doing the ‘running man’ at Los Angeles’ iconic places. Dancers flock to L.A. places such as Grand Park, Rodeo Drive and Venice Beach to perform 20-second shuffle routines that take off on Instagram and TikTok.


Fentanyl is blamed for a surge in overdose deaths in and around Skid Row, according to new data. Deaths from drug overdoses rose dramatically in ZIP Codes encompassing Skid Row, from 13 in 2017 to 148 in 2022.

As El Niño gathers strength, lawmakers look to fortify Pajaro’s flood-ravaged levee. Residents and lawmakers are pushing to speed up repairs to the damaged Pajaro levee. With an El Niño winter approaching, they’re not taking chances, they say.

No high school calculus, chemistry, physics class? Caltech has a new admission work-around. Caltech is dropping calculus, chemistry and physics course requirements for some underserved students and will offer alternative ways to demonstrate knowledge in those fields.


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Asylum seekers from Muslim-majority countries are disproportionately imprisoned at the Texas border. Immigrants from Muslim-majority countries are a tiny percentage of border crossers. But in one Texas judicial district, they made up more than half of those prosecuted under an obscure law.

This Barbie is being censored. The film’s rollout in the Arab world hits a snag. The movie, which opened globally in July and has raked in $1.34 billion at the box office, was the latest targeted by the region’s censors. There was no official reason given for delays, but many speculated they were so cuts could be negotiated.


Taylor Swift Eras concert film, shot at SoFi Stadium, is coming to theaters in October. “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” as the movie is called, will bring to the screen Swift’s first road show since 2018.

10 books to add to your reading list in September. Bethanne Patrick’s recommended reads for September include novels from Ben Fountain and Anne Enright and nonfiction on mental illness, AR-15s and doppelgangers.

50 Cent injures a fan after hurling a faulty microphone into the crowd at Arena. 50 Cent struck a concertgoer with a microphone during his Wednesday tour stop at Arena and is now reportedly the suspect in a battery report.


Forget Harry Styles. Riot Games is one of L.A.’s biggest stars headlining the Kia Forum. The roar of cheering fans echoed across the Kia Forum on Saturday as singers took the stage beneath glimmering lights and flashes of flame to perform a dramatic opening act. But they weren’t screaming for Sam Smith or Harry Styles — they were cheering for professional esports players.


Tech billionaires’ secretive plan to build a California city from scratch. The billionaires behind Flannery Associates have bought up more than 140 parcels in Solano County with dreams of “a new city with tens of thousands of new homes.” Yet, officials and residents were in the dark about who these people were and what they planned to do with all that land.

Biden proposed new rules to boost Americans’ overtime pay. California is way ahead of him. The proposed raising of the salary threshold will not affect California workers, who already benefit from a more generous standard. Salaried workers in California are eligible for overtime if they are paid up to $64,480, or twice the state minimum wage of $15.50 per hour.


Two women testified to MLB about Trevor Bauer. Will their accounts be heard in court? A San Diego woman alleges the former Dodgers pitcher twice battered her. He denies it and claims she defamed him. Bauer and the woman were alone at the time of the alleged incidents. Yet, in a civil trial scheduled to start in February, other women could provide key testimony.

What do tickets cost to see Lionel Messi and Inter Miami play LAFC? Try $36,0000. Tickets on StubHub were selling for at least $450 on Wednesday afternoon before climbing to $504 a few hours later. One pair of seats close to the field was listed Wednesday afternoon at more than $36,000. (A ticket to an average game typically costs $95.)

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Racist attacks against Black Americans are still a fixture of life that go largely unanswered. “The year I left college, Black churches were being burned to the ground — some reportedly by members of the KKK. More than a quarter of a century later, a white man with swastikas painted on his gun and a white supremacist patch on his tactical vest guns down three Black people in Jacksonville, Fla.,” writes LZ Granderson.

One overlooked way to fight opioid deaths? Give people something to do. When towns lose bowling alleys or movie theaters or libraries, they lose a safety net in the battle against addiction.

Armenians are starving at Azerbaijan’s hands. Why isn’t Biden doing more to help? Azerbaijan has been blockading crucial supplies from Armenians since December. To end this cruelty, the U.S. must apply more pressure.


India Shore, Wallice Watanabe and Claire Altendahl roasting hot dogs around a fire pit on Dockweiler Beach.
(Jade Sadler)

How to snag a coveted fire pit at Dockweiler Beach during Labor Day weekend. Dockweiler is the only beach in L.A. County that has fire pits for public use. That’s why its 87 fire pits have become so sought after. And the only proper way to enjoy one is to get to the beach early and stake your claim.

A local’s list of the absolute best bars in Long Beach. From North Long Beach to Bixby Knolls down to Belmont Shore and clear to Alamitos Beach, there are time-tested neighborhood joints such as the Falcon, which celebrated 25 years last year, as well as notable new hot spots such as Baby Gee.


How to get into the hottest clubs in L.A. County — community gardens. They are some of the most exclusive clubs in town. Some people wait up to two years to become dues-paying members. Here is why you might want to join one and how to get started growing food and community.


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There’s a reason this SoCal destination is featured in so many movies. Think “Top Gun,” “Some Like It Hot” and “Almost Famous.” The sunsets alone are enough to attract travelers from all over, but the relaxed vibes and excellent food scene really seal the deal. HuffPost

The best pizza in America, by region and style. The United States is home to more than 80,000 small-chain and independent pizza restaurants, according to Yelp and industry statistics. From slice shops in New York City to fancy California-inspired pizzas, here are some of the country’s best pizzas. Washington Post

On ‘And Just Like That,’ Black and brown characters are little more than props. “Season One was a letdown because it felt like the writers didn’t know what to do with these new characters outside of using them as props for the three white main characters,” Monique Judge writes. In the second season, “the writers’ room still seems confused about how to give these women stories of their own.” Andscape


Wreck of the RMS Titanic at the bottom of the ocean
On this day 38 years ago, the wreck of the Titanic was found on the ocean floor at a depth of about 13,000 feet.
(NBC / National Geographic / Ralph White)

On Sept. 1, 1985, the wreck of the Titanic was found on the ocean floor at a depth of about 13,000 feet.

The Titanic, while on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York, struck an iceberg and sank April 15, 1912, with the loss of 1,513 lives among its approximately 2,200 passengers.

As The Times reported in 1985, the 882-foot-long, 45,000-ton pride of Britain’s White Star line was the biggest ship in the world and the most luxurious cruise liner of its era. Designed with a double bottom, it was regarded as unsinkable.

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