Newsletter: Coronavirus disrupts the flow of business

Workers make protective clothing to guard against the coronavirus at a factory in Wuxi, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, on Feb. 8
(STR / AFP via Getty Images)

The deadly respiratory disease, now known as COVID-19, is taking a toll on global trade.


Coronavirus Disrupts the Flow of Business

Activity at Chinese factories has slowed or stopped. Fewer cargo ships from China are docking at Southern California ports. Chinese visitors’ spending in Los Angeles could plunge nearly $1 billion this year.

Businesses of all stripes in California and across the U.S. are seeing a disruption from the new coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 1,800 people and infected more than 72,000 others worldwide, mostly in China. Indeed, the World Trade Organization says global trade in goods, which had already been slowed by tariffs and uncertainty, will probably remain weak in coming months


Apple, Mattel, Disney and Tesla are among the many California-based corporations feeling the effects. The effect on supply chains extends to the Port of Los Angeles — along with the dockworkers, truck drivers and the vast warehouse and distribution network that rely on it.

More About the Outbreak

— U.S. officials say that 14 American passengers evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan had tested positive for the new coronavirus but were allowed on flights to military bases in California and Texas.

Cambodia’s lack of caution in welcoming the cruise ship Westerdam has sent company officials, governments and medical experts scrambling to trace passengers who have dispersed to multiple countries. The situation highlights the challenge of containing a virus that often fails to trigger symptoms and is circling the globe.

Study-abroad programs in China are being canceled, as institutions such as the University of California suspend all nonessential travel to China.

— The spread of the coronavirus has spurred organizers of next month’s Tokyo Marathon to downsize their massive race to only a small field of elite runners.


Sanders Vs. Bloomberg

Tensions between Bernie Sanders and Michael R. Bloomberg have taken on a nasty edge in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The senator from Vermont has denounced what he called Bloomberg’s “racist” stop-and-frisk policy and his status as one of America’s richest men, while Bloomberg’s campaign has decried “such slanderous attacks from other Democrats.”

But beyond the harsh words lie concerns by some members of the Democratic Party that Sanders’ liberal policies could cost them control of the House and a chance at grabbing the Senate from Republicans this fall. They argue that while Sanders’ nomination would drive enthusiasm among liberal voters eager to defeat President Trump, it would be a dramatic liability in conservative areas.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has spent more than $124 million on advertising in the 14 Super Tuesday states, well over 10 times what his top rivals have put into the contests that yield the biggest trove of delegates in a single day. The only other candidate to advertise across most of those states so far is Sanders, who has spent just under $10 million.

Bloomberg has also qualified for the upcoming Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday. It’s the first time he’ll appear on the debate stage.

Lacey Vs. Gascón

L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and George Gascón, the former San Francisco district attorney and LAPD assistant chief trying to unseat her, have each spent more than three decades in law enforcement. Yet their visions to run the nation’s largest prosecutorial office couldn’t be more different. The Times reviewed crime statistics, filing rates and other data to compare their terms. Voters will choose from Lacey, Gascón and former public defender Rachel Rossi when they go to the polls on March 3.


Badge of Dishonor

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection, as legal claims by former Scouts of past sexual abuse continue to grow. The Scouts’ Chapter 11 petition, filed in Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, comes amid declining membership and a wave of new sex-abuse lawsuits after several states, including California, New York and New Jersey, recently expanded legal options for childhood victims to sue. The bankruptcy is not likely to affect local Scouting activities but will halt ongoing lawsuits while settlements are negotiated. It also will require new abuse claims to be handled in that venue rather than in state courts.


Presidents Day: How history remembers chief executives can change dramatically.

— As the homeless population grows, street medicine — the practice of sending medical teams onto the streets — is growing in popularity in cities around the U.S.

— Should cars be banned on Broadway in downtown L.A.? City Councilman Jose Huizar would like to study the idea.

— Inside the Marciano Art Foundation’s spectacular shutdown.

— How one writer learned to stop worrying and love his Asian Glow, that flush of redness that happens when some people drink alcohol.


On Feb. 17, 1938, authorities tried to serve an eviction notice on George Farley at a home south of downtown Los Angeles. Instead, a gun battle erupted. Authorities said Farley opened fire on them, killing Deputy Marshal T. Dwight Crittenden and Leon W. Romer, and was wounded five times before his capture. Farley was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and ordered to serve 10 to 20 years in San Quentin State Prison.

Feb. 17, 1938: Tear gas issues from a home in the 1700 block of East 22nd Street as police trade shots with barricaded suspect George Farley.
(J.H. McCrory / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


— The state Assembly is expected to approve, with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s endorsement, a formal apology to all Americans of Japanese descent for the state’s role in policies that culminated with their mass incarceration during World War II.

— Court records show that Amie Harwick, the sex therapist and author who was fatally attacked in her Hollywood Hills residence, had twice sought restraining orders against ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse. He was arrested on suspicion of murder.

— With jury selection set to begin in L.A. on Wednesday, the Robert Durst murder trial is expected to last up to five months. The twists leading up to it have been stranger than fiction.

— In San Diego, the Rev. Kori Pacyniak is believed to be the first transgender, nonbinary priest in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.

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— The Writers Guild of America is looking to crack down on writers secretly working with “fired” agents, against the rules of their union.

“McMillions” on HBO isn’t your usual true crime docuseries. Here’s how its creators incorporated humor into their work.

— The NBC show “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” remade a Beatles classic, with “Help!” from 70 performers in San Francisco.

— The faces of Frieze 2020: Picturing the art crowd at Los Angeles’ premier fair. (Spoiler alert: There was a lot of funky eyewear.)


— In Austin, Texas, leaders are fighting over how to deal with growing homelessness, and California has become their punching bag.

— A leaked database shows that the Chinese government has focused on religion as a reason for detention in Xinjiang — not just political extremism, as authorities claim, but ordinary activities such as praying, attending a mosque or even growing a long beard.


— With Russian President Vladimir Putin pursuing a nationalist agenda, some Tatars fear for the future of their language and the rights of their community.


— If you ever get a letter saying a relative you’ve never heard of has left you millions in inheritance, read this first.

— Inc. founder Jeff Bezos announced he’s created the Bezos Earth Fund. At $10 billion, it’s his biggest philanthropic investment to help counter the effects of climate change.


Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 after Ryan Newman was involved in a crash that sent him to a hospital.

— The Lakers say fans wishing to attend the Feb. 24 public memorial for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others killed in a helicopter crash can register online for tickets. Several sources have said the event will be restricted to ticket-holders. Over the weekend, the NBA All-Stars paid their tributes.

— Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner is none too pleased with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s comments defending his investigation into the Houston Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scheme and referring to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.”


— For long-suffering L.A. Kings fans, the 2010s provided two championships and lots of memories. Lately, they’re back to suffering as the hockey team rebuilds. The latest: Tyler Toffoli was traded to the Vancouver Canucks.


— L.A. needs to preserve affordable housing, but eminent domain isn’t the way to do it, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— Columnist George Skelton looks at the new Proposition 13. He says that it would send billions to California schools that need it, but if you are confused by the name, you aren’t alone.


— More than 2,000 former Department of Justice employees have put their names to a letter calling on Atty. Gen. William Barr to resign after events surrounding Roger Stone’s sentencing. (Medium)

— Defense Secretary Mark Esper has defended the Pentagon’s effort to strip the news organization Stars and Stripes of all of its federal funding as part of its 2021 budget request. (Stars and Stripes)


UC Riverside’s 113-year-old Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection has been described as a Noah’s Ark for citrus: two of every kind. But now, an apocalypse is nigh. A bacterial infection known as citrus greening, or Huanglongbing, that has ravaged citrus wherever it’s appeared is coming ever closer to the collection. Here’s how they’re trying to protect the trees and bring an end to a disease once and for all.


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