Photo by Tony Pierce.

Coronavirus: Yesterday was the Deadliest Day in California So Far

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Sick people are avoiding emergency rooms over fears of catching the coronavirus. Meanwhile, health officials say the virus struck California way back in February.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

California saw its highest coronavirus-related death toll for a single day yesterday when 115 fatalities were reported. Marking an 8.5% increase from the previous day, bringing the grim total number of fatalities to 1,469. The total number of cases rose by 5.6% to 37,369. “It’s … a reminder we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “I know there’s a deep desire, people are making calls on an hourly basis, saying it’s time to open back up — consider the deadliest day in the state of California the last 24 hours.”KTLA

People who should be going to emergency rooms are avoiding it because they’re afraid of contracting the coronavirus. One doctor said he had a patient who called complaining of a headache and felt weak on one side of his body. The patient decided not to go to the ER but according to the doctor, “eventually, his symptoms progressed into basically a full-blown stroke and he ended up at the hospital.” — LAist

Officials are learning COVID-19 was killing Californians as early as mid-February. The new information, combined with antibody testing results, suggests that the coronavirus was circulating in California for at least a month before it first came to light — the earliest cluster of infection so far reported in the United States. — L.A. Times

Santa Monica High School students, teachers, staff and parents are raising money for health care workers at Martin Luther King Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to provide them with the protective gear and equipment they need. “Both of these hospitals are very different but need help and that’s how it all started,” said Theodore Berger, a junior at Santa Monica High School. “I partnered with my fellow student Nicole Thomson and I’ve been asking my friends to help out. Some of them have quite a large social media following.” — Santa Monica Patch

Orange County’s public health director decided that this is the perfect time to announce his retirement. On Monday, David Souleles informed county CEO Frank Kim and the Health Care Agency’s interim director, Bob Wilson, that he was retiring. In a resignation letter, he said his last day would be May 1. — CBS Los Angeles

Speaking of the 714, when he isn’t working as managing editor of video at Kelley Blue Book, Micah Muzio flies his helicopter around L.A. The other day, he flew over Disneyland and several other communities behind the orange curtain:

The Dodgers became MVPs for South L.A. residents today when they paid for groceries at the Smart & Final near the Watts and Florence-Firestone neighborhoods early this morning. Starting at an early hour reserved for shoppers age 60 and older, all tabs were paid, which continued with shoppers for the next hour. — KTLA

L.A. could be the next California city to cap restaurant fees in delivery apps. Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion last night that would cap fees for restaurants at 15 percent. — EaterLA

Of the many types of jobs affected by the pandemic, travel influencers are uniquely screwed. Including several based in L.A. “These businesses are hurting so badly, and I hope that they bounce back,” said Eric Stoen, the Instagrammer behind the @travelbabbo account. “One thing I can do is try to bring attention to these people and places that we love.” — Washington Post

With Hollywood shut down, what’s a stuntman to do?

The San Diego woman who police say organized the protest against the state’s stay-at-home orders may face a misdemeanor charge. The California Highway Patrol, meanwhile, announced it would no longer grant protest permits on state grounds unless they are approved by public health officials. — L.A. Times

A viral video is announcing a mandatory peace treaty for all gangs in Southern California. “If you are caught doing a drive-by shooting, you will be dealt with. Don’t worry about the police…worry about people in your own neighborhood putting you on check.” — L.A. Taco

The great columnist Nita Lelyveld wrote about all the disposable gloves she noticed were improperly discarded around the city. “Every time I go on a walk, I now have to step over gloves,” she wrote. “I’ve seen them sitting in abandoned carts outside my supermarket. I’ve seen them thrown on people’s lawns. They can look oddly alive … It’s an attitude that says screw you … ” — L.A. Times

And now for something beautiful from the mouths of babes:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Following SoCal golf courses, the Mt. Baldy Mountain Resort reopens even as state leaders call for adherence to stay-at-home orders.

There are 1,318 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of today in L.A. County and 66 new deaths. Total deaths to date: 729. Total cases to date: 16,435. Forty percent of the county’s deaths are from residents who lived in nursing homes and other institutional facilities. — LAist

Essential surgeries that were previously postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak can again be rescheduled, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today. “We are in position today to begin to pull back and lean in by beginning to schedule surgeries once again, not only through our hospital system but broader healthcare system,” Newsom said. “These are surgeries that are essential.” He named tumor and heart valve surgeries as examples. — The Hollywood Reporter

A 35-year-old pharmacy technician was charged this week with stealing hundreds of hydroxychloroquine prescription pills from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he worked. The thefts occurred on two separate occasions, prosecutors said. The tablets have a combined retail value of $6,700. — CBS Los Angeles

Most kids who are infected with the coronavirus develop only mild symptoms and typically recover in two weeks, according to a study published today. Italian researchers analyzed 1,065 COVID-19 patients, mostly in China, under age 19. — CNBC

They are not professional musicians, but Beong-Soo Kim (a lawyer) and his wife, Bonnie Wongtrakool (a portfolio manager) have been playing their respective instruments since they were 5. And now they perform for their community from the porch of their Pasadena home. “I think it’s just our very tiny way of saying to our neighbors and any passersby, ‘We’re in this together, and we’ll get through it together,’” Kim says. — L.A. Times

It’s about to get hot in the next few days. Isn’t that good news? Won’t heat kill the virus, making it safer to go out now that it’s warm? Yeah, no. “We’re used to viruses being seasonal, with more illnesses in the winter,” said Armand Dorian, chief medical officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “But that property is not true with all viruses, and the coronavirus does not seem to obey those rules. We’ve seen the outbreaks in both the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere (when it was) summer.” — The Orange County Register

Musso & Frank’s, which survived the Spanish Flu, is now suing its insurance company so as to survive the current pandemic. The restaurant accused its insurer of failing to adequately consider or investigate claims and that it has done so to other policyholders to earn “illicit profits” at their expense. —

South L.A. has a ready-to-bake gumbo pot pie that’s apparently selling out every day. “I wondered how I could put a gumbo in a pot pie,” said Calvin Johnson, aka Chef Grubby. “I researched it and there was a lot of troubleshooting to get the roux right. Once I got it, it’s been a top-seller ever since.” — EaterLA

Las Vegas has been deemed L.A.’s backyard by many. And it’s true that on any given weekend, you’re more likely to run into someone you know in Vegas than at Santa Monica Beach. Sin City’s Mayor Carolyn Goodman wants to reopen casinos faster than you can say Snake Eyes and debated Anderson Cooper about it last night on CNN:

The Mt. Baldy Mountain Resort in the San Gabriel Mountains has reopened. The resort’s rental shop remains closed, however, so skiers and snowboarders must bring their own gear. Also, no walk-up tickets will be sold. “With coverage on the mountain about as good as it gets for April and golf courses reopening around Southern California, we have decided to follow suit,” read a statement on the resort’s website. — KTLA

Lack of traffic has inspired some blazingly bad behavior. The California Highway Patrol reported a jaw-dropping 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph. “Higher speeds can lead to much more serious injuries and significantly increase the chance of death should a crash occur,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. — L.A. Times

There are 26 Navy warships with confirmed coronavirus cases. All of those ships are now in port. A total of 3,578 U.S. service members have tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday morning. Those numbers include two deaths, 85 hospitalized individuals and 1,073 who have recovered. — The Hill

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Local businesses struggle to secure funding as the coronavirus pandemic keeps customers at home.

L.A. County reported 46 more deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the total to 663. The total number of confirmed cases in the county is now 15,140. — LAist

Gov. Gavin Newsom warns that reopening California too soon could be deadly. “I caution those, including local election officials, that practicing physical distancing has worked to keep those numbers relatively modest in terms of growth, but if we pull back too quickly, those numbers will go through the roof,” he said. — KTLA

MLB faces a class-action lawsuit following their refusal to refund fans for tickets to games that have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. The lawsuit was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. “Baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis,” the lawsuit said. “Under the pretext of ‘postponing’ games, at the directive of MLB, teams and ticket merchants are refusing to issue refunds for games which are not going to be played as scheduled — if ever.” — AP

Domino’s Pizza workers protested last night outside a store in the West Adams neighborhood after they say several employees there contracted coronavirus. “They should be treated as essential workers, meaning they should get hazard pay, they should get paid sick leave if they end up getting sick,” said a woman taking part in the protest. “Domino’s as a company needs to acknowledge that, they need to protect their workers because they’re the ones that are doing the job on a daily basis.” — CBS Los Angeles

Members of the Torrance Fire Department will visit the homes of at-risk seniors to perform free nasal swab tests. Qualified residents should call (310) 320-5918 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to make an appointment. — NBC Los Angeles

Roadkill of western gray squirrels, rabbits, ring-necked snakes and western toads has plummeted to zero, according to Gerry Hans, a wildlife expert with the nonprofit Friends of Griffith Park. And for the first time in memory, rare peregrine falcons have been seen swooping over the Hollywood sign, instead of in the vicinity of downtown skyscrapers, where they nest and dine on pigeons. — L.A. Times

The Muffs performing at Amoeba Hollywood in 2016. Credit: YouTube.

Amoeba Records has launched a GoFundMe campaign to keep its three giant stores alive. “We have weathered many storms — 9/11, recessions, the Internet, downloading and streaming,” the founders wrote in a statement online. “But we don’t know that we can weather the COVID-19 storm. All three of our stores have been closed since mid-March and must remain closed indefinitely. With no way to generate income, our savings are running out, with bills and rent coming due, and with a primary commitment to our staff, who we are trying to keep as healthy and financially sound as possible.” The company has already raised close to $80K in the first day of its campaign. — Billboard

There is a petition underway demanding the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza SEE-LA’s Farmers Market reopen to serve the local community which has experienced issues accessing fresh fruits and vegetables. — OrganizeFor

After the City of San Clemente closed a popular skate park and dumped tons of sand inside, local shredders arrived with buckets, brooms and dirt bikes to fight for their right to ollie.Patch

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, a chain of 25 restaurants worth $82 million received $6 million from the Paycheck Protection Program meant for small businesses. The chain has 11 locations in Southern California, including spots in Sawtelle, Japantown, Little Tokyo, Torrance and Glendale. — EaterLA

Recently, the great L.A. Times photographer Jay Clendenin fell ill, so he visited a drive-thru coronavirus testing facility in Redondo Beach. Here’s what it was like:

Girl Scout leader Tandy Wilson trained to compete in the Boston Marathon, which was postponed. Instead, she ran 46 miles across the San Fernando Valley to show support for her scouts who must stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic. — Los Angeles Daily News

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically slowed Southern California house hunting, with new sales contracts falling 48% in the past four weeks, according to one tracking service. Los Angeles County numbers: 2,479 in escrow, down 2,527 or nearly 50% in four weeks; 9,037 listings, up 387 or 4.5% in this period. Market time: 109 days versus 52. That’s a 110% increase. — The Orange County Register

Why a COVID-19 vaccine could cost you a small fortune. David Lazarus with the scariest column of the day. — L.A. Times

Monday, April 20, 2020

As early results from antibody testing suggest coronavirus infections may be more widespread than previously thought, health officials emphasize the importance of testing and social distancing.

L.A. County officials today announced more than 1,400 additional cases of the novel coronavirus. This number reflects results from one laboratory’s backlog of nearly 1,200 positive tests conducted between April 7-14. Officials also announced an additional 17 deaths linked to the coronavirus after the county recorded more than 100 new deaths over the weekend. — L.A. Times

U.S. oil prices crashed into negative territory for the first time in history as the drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic left the world awash with oil and not enough storage capacity — meaning producers are paying buyers to take it off their hands. The collapse will be a blow to President Donald Trump who has gone to great lengths to protect the oil sector, including backing moves by OPEC and Russia to cut production and also pledging support for the industry. — Financial Times

Starting this week, approximately 70K California students will receive laptops and tablets. Google also committed to rolling out 100K free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the state. It’s part of California’s attempt to bridge the digital divide preventing some students from accessing online education. — LAist

Mayor Eric Garcetti said the economic fallout from the pandemic has been far worse than during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. “Our city is under attack, our daily life is unrecognizable, we’re bowed and we’re worn down, we are grieving our dead,” he said during an emotional state of the city address. “But we are not broken.” — Bloomberg

Between 2.8% to 5.6% of the Los Angeles County adult population has antibodies to the coronavirus, meaning 221,000 to 442,000 people have been infected. “These results indicate that many persons may have been unknowingly infected and at risk of transmitting the virus to others,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. — L.A. County Department of Public Health

Caltrans is allowing food trucks to set up shop at rest areas across the state during the pandemic. The move is meant to help provide warm meals for necessary travelers, particularly truck drivers crisscrossing the state, while also offering a new way for impacted food vendors to make some much-needed money. — EaterLA

A coronavirus drive-thru testing site.
A coronavirus drive-thru testing site. Photo by Tony Pierce.

California ranks near the bottom in regards to testing, coming in at 48th with 6,550 tests processed per million residents. The Golden State has lagged behind for the last three weeks, ranking 50th on April 3, 45th last week and back down to 48th this week. — ABC 7

Officials in Orange County can use a Laguna Hills hotel as a homeless shelter amid the coronavirus outbreak, a judge ruled. The county had placed 37 homeless people in hotel or motel rooms as of last week, including 18 who are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. Officials have identified eight individuals they plan to shelter at the Laguna Hills hotel. — L.A. Times

Santa Monica hotel groups are offering “hero rates” for COVID-19 front-line workers. “Our hero rates are an opportunity for us as responsible hoteliers to support health care workers and first responders during trying times,” said Jon Farzam, vice president of the hospitality group that includes the Shore Hotel, Ocean View Hotel and Santa Monica Motel. According to Farzam, the Shore Hotel Hero Rate is $109 + tax a night, the Ocean View Hotel is $79 a night and the Santa Monica Motel is $69 a night. — Santa Monica Mirror

Check out how Santee Alley vendors have adapted to sell coronavirus supplies in the streets. — L.A. Taco

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