Newsletter: Coronavirus’ rising toll


The coronavirus outbreak centered in China shows little sign of slowing while exacting an ever-rising cost.


Coronavirus’ Rising Toll

Chinese officials say the daily death toll from the new coronavirus there has topped 100 for first time, with more than 1,000 total deaths recorded and 42,000 people having been infected. The outbreak’s persistence is lowering optimism that the near-quarantine of about 60 million people and other disease-control measures might be working.


The outbreak is also taking an economic toll on the mainland and in places like Macao, the semiautonomous Chinese territory that is the world’s gambling mecca. Macao isn’t on lockdown, but it has ground to a virtual standstill ever since the government closed the territory’s 41 casinos for half a month. Still, with new gambling licenses slated to be handed out in less than two years, the casinos aren’t complaining.

Meanwhile, misinformation about the coronavirus abounds, and in California, workers at March Air Reserve Base and their families have been verbally attacked by people fearing their proximity to the 195 Americans under quarantine at the base after fleeing China. To date, no one at the base has tested positive for the coronavirus. In San Diego County, where 232 American citizens and their family members are under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, a botched test result allowed an evacuee infected with the coronavirus to leave a San Diego hospital earlier in the day after initially saying the person was in the clear.

Indecision 2020 in New Hampshire

Voters in New Hampshire will make their choice for the Democratic presidential candidate today. But with a wide field of contenders and the pressure to pick someone who can defeat President Trump, making a decision has proven to be difficult. “In the past couple months, I’ve made a decision, then changed my mind, then made a decision, then changed my mind,” says one. “So, honestly, it’s right down to the wire.”

Still, multiple polls of New Hampshire voters show Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with the lead, possibly boxing out Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose campaign has the feel of a last stand to some observers. Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar are jousting for position as the main centrist alternative to Sanders, as former Vice President Joe Biden‘s campaign has continued to struggle.

Three remote hamlets voted just after midnight, giving Klobuchar the most Democratic votes so far and Michael R. Bloomberg a victory in a five-person hamlet, even though he wasn’t on the ballot.

More Politics

— President Trump has unveiled a $4.8-trillion election-year budget plan that recycles previously rejected cuts to domestic programs such as food stamps and Medicaid to promise a balanced budget in 15 years.


— Atty. Gen. William Barr said the Justice Department is taking information that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, is gathering in Ukraine about Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Giuliani is under federal investigation himself.

— Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer is calling on the nation’s 74 inspectors general to protect government whistleblowers amid Trump’s ouster of key government officials in the impeachment probe.

— Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Trump’s confidant Roger Stone to serve between seven and nine years in prison after his conviction on witness tampering and obstruction charges.

The Embers of the Past

It’s been nearly 28 years since the L.A. riots, but in many communities, the economic disparities and racial and cultural misunderstandings never went away. The reaction to a 2017 incident inside a Leimert Park liquor store reinforced that point. After a Korean stock boy wielded a stick at a black patron, some said the customer was rudely chased away for being short a nickel. Others said the man was drunk when the employee denied him service, as required by law. In time, one party would be driven out of town and the other would claim victory.


The Los Angeles Times described Evelyn Trout as “a wisp of a woman in a wisp of an airplane,” but she wanted more than a wisp of a flying record. She held the record for longest flight by a woman for a month, until aviator Elinor Smith broke it with a 13½-hour flight on Jan. 30, 1929.

Not to be discouraged, the 23-year-old Trout got back in her plane on Feb. 10. She took off at Mines Field — now Los Angeles International Airport — and landed 17 hours, 5 minutes and 37 seconds later. Read more about Trout here.


— The state Department of Justice has announced it will conduct its own investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department‘s use of a statewide database of alleged gang members after allegations that officers falsified records to enter people in it.

— Officials are worried California is running out of time to prepare for sea level rise. In Foster City, where the “king tide” over the weekend reached 9 feet, the answer is a taller levee, costing $90 million.

— Rep. Judy Chu is proposing wilderness designations for 30,200 acres in the western San Gabriel Mountains. It’s part of a package of conservation bills expected to be presented to the House on Wednesday.


— That potential record-breaking gust of 209 mph we told you about yesterday? It may have been a mistake, National Weather Service forecasters say.

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— Netflix didn’t win best picture at the Oscars, but columnist Mary McNamara contends “Parasite” couldn’t have triumphed without it opening people’s minds to subtitled works.

— Did “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho really drink until the next morning, as he quipped at the Oscars? Here’s how he and his team partied. Plus: South Korea is reveling in the Oscar wins of the “uniquely Korean” film “Parasite.”

Luke Perry was omitted from the In Memoriam segment at the Oscars. Fans aren’t pleased, but the film academy has an explanation.

— Does poetry matter? L.A.’s former poet-in-chief Luis J. Rodriguez explains why it’s life changing.



— The Justice Department has ratcheted up legal pressure on local governments over “sanctuary” policies that hinder federal immigration officers, bringing two new lawsuits and launching a coordinated messaging campaign to highlight an election-year priority of Trump.

— The U.S. has charged four members of the Chinese military with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency in 2017.

— German leader Angela Merkel’s chosen successor quit as party leader, creating a political crisis.

— Burning American and Israeli flags are often part of pro-government demonstrations in Iran. They come from a small factory near Khomein, Iran, made for protestors.

— It has been a month since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they would “step back” as senior members of the British royal family. Britons are continuing to debate the role of race.


— “Parasite’s” Oscars are a huge win for Neon, a scrappy indie production company that bet big on the film.


Amazon wants to depose President Trump over the tech company’s losing bid for a $10-billion military contract.


— After 16 seasons, quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers have agreed to part ways. But he’s not ready to retire.

— WWE’s WrestleMania 37 is coming to SoFi Stadium in March 2021. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr says, “Many people are more excited about us hosting WrestleMania than the Olympics.”


— The Times’ editorial board is endorsing Mark Ridley-Thomas for L.A. City Council again.

— The forgotten book that launched the Reagan Revolution.


— Gen Z kids are worried about climate change. Where’s the line between action and anxiety, education and alarmism? (Washington Post Magazine)

— How Bon Appetit accidentally launched a new generation of cooking shows with gourmet Pringles and weird jokes. (BuzzFeed)



There are so many famous people in the room at the Vanity Fair Oscar party that it’s almost like no one is famous. Sure, maybe everyone is whispering about who they’ve run into — Jeff Bezos, Monica Lewinsky, Brad Pitt — but it’s vaguely uncouth to appear outwardly starstruck. Still, some scenarios can elicit a reaction. When Katie Couric ran into Wiz Khalifa smoking a huge blunt, surrounded by scantily clad women, she said, “reefer madness!,” and made her way through the cloud of smoke.

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