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A Top White House Coronavirus Advisor Calls Images Of Protests 'Devastatingly Worrisome'

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Published
Protestors trying to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber on April 30 and kept out by the state police. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

The coordinator for White House coronavirus response efforts says it is "devastatingly worrisome" to see crowds of demonstrators protesting stay-at-home orders while also refusing to follow social distancing guidelines or wear masks.

Asked about demonstrations last week where crowds swarmed Michigan's capitol building — some, brandishing firearms — Dr. Deborah Birx told Fox News' Chris Wallace that protesters may inadvertently jeopardize the health and lives of their family members:

"It's devastatingly worrisome to me personally because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a co-morbid condition, and they have a serious or ... an unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives."

READ THE FULL STORY

Demonstrators cross the street near the Huntington Beach pier May 1. (Sharon McNary/LAist)

MORE ON PROTESTS

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Two [Small] Earthquakes Rattled Chatsworth Today

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Published
Map shows epicenter of the second of two small quakes on Sunday, with the outer lines indicating how much shaking people reported feeling. (Courtesy of USGS)

Two earthquakes rattled Chatsworth on Sunday: A 3.3 quake at 3:19 a.m., then another 3.2 quake at approximately 2:45 p.m. The epicenter of both was near Topanga Canyon Boulevard, just east of Santa Susana Pass State Historical Park, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Twitter weighed in on the shaking, with some users noting that adding earthquakes to the mix seemed like a little too much to deal with right now:

Others were just shook (sorry) that there were two in a row:

Seismologist Lucy Jones weighed in after the second small quake of the day, noting the small possibility that these were foreshocks. And one thing she could say with some certainty: these were not aftershocks from the destructive 1994 Northridge:

THE BIG ONE IS COMING. GET PREPARED

We don't want to scare you, but The Big One is coming. We don't know when, but we know it'll be at least 44 times stronger than Northridge and 11 times stronger than the Ridgecrest quakes last year. To help you get prepared, we've compiled a handy reading list

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Long Beach Had Its Worst Week So Far For New COVID-19 Cases

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Published
In early March, cruise ship passengers docked in Long Beach awaited the testing of fellow passenger at a local hospital. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Long Beach confirmed 184 new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, the worst week of newly-detected infections since local health officials in the state's seventh-largest city found its first coronavirus patient about two months ago.

Until this week, the highest number of cases confirmed during a Monday-to-Sunday span there was only 124. City officials have said they expected an increase in confirmed cases as they’ve expanded who could get tested and opened several new screening sites this week.

But another key indicator of the pandemic, coronavirus hospitalizations, also hit its highest point reported by the city, with 58 on Thursday.

Those two benchmarks come even after local officials have said COVID-19’s spread appeared to be slowing locally and talk has turned to reopening some parts of the economy in the coming weeks.

READ MORE FROM THE LONG BEACH POST

TRACKING COVID-19

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USC Researchers Have A New Theory About How To Treat COVID-19

Updated
Published
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells (NIAID-RML) cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Our immune system launches two different waves of attack against viruses:

  • The first is a generalized self-defense that kicks in as soon as a foreign body is detected.
  • Days later, our immune system adapts and makes cells tailor-made to kill the virus.

USC immunologists are now theorizing that suppressing the immune system may help the body fight off COVID-19.

USC Keck School of Medicine researcher Sean Du said that's because COVID-19 is a particularly slow-moving disease. And that might mean our immune responses come in too early to kill the virus off completely. Instead, he said our responses:

"slow down the infection and then keep [it] going for a much longer time"

He says this may explain why some people feel better for a few days before their symptoms worsen.

The theory has only been tested with a mathematical model, but Du says delaying the body's reaction with immunosuppression therapy may actually help defeat the virus. And that could also have lasting benefits. He told us:

“It'll keep some of the antibodies for a very long time, so that will kill off the infection even before it takes hold.”

The study, which was peer reviewed, was published late last week in the Journal of Medical Virology.

READ THE MORE

LA County Reports 781 New COVID-19 Cases, 21 New Deaths

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A blockade at the the entrance to a L.A. County testing site at a parking lot for the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

L.A. County has 781 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 21 additional deaths, health officials reported Sunday. Of the fatalities:

  • 15 were over the age of 65
  • 3 were between the ages of 41 to 65
  • 10 people did not have underlying health conditions

Two of the new deaths were reported by Pasadena, which now has 54 deaths. One new death was reported by Long Beach, which is reporting 37 dead in all. Both cities have their own health departments.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in L.A. County to 25,677 (including additional cases reported by Long Beach) and the number of deaths to 1,229. Of those who have died, county officials said 92% had underlying health conditions.

Race and ethnicity information is available for 99% of people who have died from the virus:

  • 38% — Latino/a
  • 29% — White
  • 19% — Asian
  • 13% — African American
  • 1% — Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • 1% — identifying with other races

African Americans, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and people living in communities with high levels of poverty continue to have the highest rate of death per 100,000 people for COVID-19 when compared to other groups.

Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer, as she does every day, offered condolences to the families of those who have died.

“The people lost to COVID-19 are mourned by all of us in L.A. County, and to their loved ones, we wish you peace and healing.”

To date, county officials report that 4,986 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (20% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. As testing capacity increases, nearly 159,000 people have been tested in the county, with 14% testing positive.

MORE ON TRACKING COVID-19

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Join A Virtual Iftar Tonight

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Published
Volunteers wear masks as they pack meals for iftar at an Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia. The pandemic has changed how Ramadan is observed all over the world (Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

If you're looking for a place to safely break your Ramadan fast tonight with more than the people you're already bunkered down with, consider joining a virtual iftar dinner co-hosted by the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For the holy month of Ramadan, observant Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Iftar, the daily breaking of the fast, is usually a communal meal. But, well, pandemic. And that has moved all sorts of celebrations online.

Sarah Halverson-Cano is pastor of the Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa and president of the interfaith council hosting tonight's dinner. She sees a possible silver lining in going virtual.

“This might give folks the opportunity to really explore from the safety of their own environment, but have the experience of breaking the fast and more fully understand what Ramadan is all about.”

Halverson-Cano says iftar always highlights common beliefs and she believes participating in breaking the fast gives someone unfamiliar with Islam a different perspective.

“And we feel it at a visceral level so much more than just learning about it from a book or watching a documentary on TV,” she said.

Tonight's virtual interfaith iftar will be hosted on Zoom and begins at 6:45 p.m. Information on how to join is at NMIInterfaithCouncil.org.

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Across California's Counties All COVID-19 Testing Is Not Created Equal

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Published

A mix of commercial and public labs are responsible for coronavirus testing in California, and supply chain limitations have plagued them all. But those with deeper pockets and stronger commercial relationships have been out-competing counties and public labs with limited resources.

County to county, city to city — even hospital to hospital within a city — testing capacity varies widely, as does the definition of who qualifies for testing.

Conversations with dozens of local health officials, hospital systems, scientists and elected officials reveal just how complicated a task it will be to straighten it all out.

Meanwhile, counties with plenty of tests face a different dilemma: not enough test takers.

Los Angeles is testing roughly 10,000 people daily, but says it needs to double that to lift the shelter-in-place orders. Its focus in coming weeks is to increase testing among the uninsured and those in at-risk living environments such as homeless encampments and skilled nursing facilities.

READ THE FULL STORY

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Cedars-Sinai Played A Role In Emergency Approval Of Promising COVID-19 Drug

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Published
A vial of the drug Remdesivir presented last month at a news conference in Germany announcing the start of a trial there. (Ulrich Perrey / AFP via Getty Images)

An experimental drug, remdesivir, has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for emergency treatment for COVID-19. A study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center helped nudge the FDA’s decision.

Cedars Director of Hospital Epidemiology, Jonathan Grein, says clinical trials around the country administered the antiviral medication to coronavirus patients hospitalized with pneumonia.

“This is really the trial that will help us to understand most completely not only if patients will benefit clinically from the drug, but, hopefully, which patients are most likely to benefit the most.”

Grein says the findings are only preliminary and that trends showing a lower mortality rate with the drug need more study and peer review before being confirmed.

“This is not a cure-all,” he said. “Specifically, not everyone with COVID-19 will need this drug or even benefit from this drug.” Reports indicate that the drug seems to shorten the recovery time for patients.

Grein says the process for administering remdesivir for emergency treatment is still being determined, but Cedars-Sinai is working to have access to the drug. The approval was granted late last week.

NPR reported:

Authorization means remdesivir can be distributed in the U.S. and given intravenously to treat COVID-19 patients — both adults and children — who are hospitalized with severe disease, the FDA says. The agency defines that category as "patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator."

NPR on Sunday reported that the drug's maker, Gilead, spent $2.5 million in lobbying during the first quarter of this year — about 1/3 more than the same period last year. The report also said research out of China indicated the drug has no significant effect.

MORE ON REMDESIVIR

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Morning Briefing: Just Beachy

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Saturday's news was all about the beaches. Closed, empty, crowded, contested ... the L.A. vs. O.C. battle continues to rage.

On Friday, thousands of demonstrators crowded Huntington Beach to rally against state-ordered closures and the economic shutdown writ large. Other things they're reportedly upset about: their personal freedom being infringed upon; their constitutional rights being infringed upon; science in general; and "not being able to hang out with their friends," according to one.

By the next day, though, most people did what the Governor asked them to do – they stayed off the beaches. L.A.'s white sand was also empty, with the exception of some joggers and walkers. Although the anti-lockdown protests are getting a lot of attention, research shows that the vast majority of Angelenos (95%) support the city's stay-at-home policy, if it means slowing the spread of coronavirus.

But with all the sadness going on in the world, maybe it's OK to argue over something as simple as beaches. It feels easier than trying to make sense of what we're going through right now. I, for one, am avoiding that train of thought to maintain a semblance of sanity. And reading about angry beach lovers is honestly, a top-notch distraction.

That's all I've got. Enjoy the rest of your quarantine weekend and stay cool, L.A.

Gina Pollack


The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 24,894 coronavirus cases and 1,209 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 52,596 cases and 2,111 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.4 million cases and more than 238,000 deaths.

Financial hardship: Freelancers who had some, even a little, W2 income might receive less money for unemployment than they should, under the new system. Airbnb hosts, who are also considered freelancers, are struggling to pay off their mortages now that reservations have disappeared. Judging by the comments, a lot of you don't feel bad for them.

A new report from Kaiser Health News found that most of the California nursing homes that experienced COVID-19 outbreaks already had some red flags, including nurses or aides not washing their hands or wearing protective clothing around potentially contagious patients. Lesson: check the ratings when selecting a nursing home. These weren't good.

Huntington Beach police patrolled the beaches on Saturday for the first time. They didn't issue actual citations, but they did ask people to leave. For the most part, people listened. San Clemente's city council is arguing over whether or not to take legal action to re-open their beaches.

Sashay to your couch for virtual DragCon this weekend. If that's not your thing, here are a bunch of other events happening on the small screen. As for food, may we suggest menudo?


Your Moment Of Zen

A Florida lawyer was so fed up with his state's crowded beaches that he donned a grim reaper costume and ... headed to the beach. Here he is doing a live interview on local Florida TV and let me just say, it's very 2020.


Help Us Cover Your Community

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Morning Briefing: Just Beachy

Updated
Published
null

Never miss a morning briefing, subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Saturday's news was is all about the beaches. Closed, empty, crowded, contested...the L.A. vs. O.C. battle continues to rage.

On Friday, thousands of (overwhelmingly white) demonstrators crowded Huntington Beach to rally against state-ordered closures and the economic shutdown writ large. Other things they're reportedly upset about: their personal freedom being infringed upon, their Constitutiona rights being infringed upon, science in general, and "not being able to hang out with their friends," according to one.

By the next day, though, most people did what the Governor asked them to do – they stayed off the beaches. L.A.'s white sand was also empty, with the exception of some joggers and walkers. Altough the anti-lockdown protests are getting a lot attention, research shows that the majority of Angelenos (95%) support the city's stay-at-home policy, if it means slowing the spread of coronavirus.

But with all the sadness going on in the world, maybe it's nice to argue over something as simple as beaches. It feels easier than trying to make sense of what we're going through right now. I, for one, am avoiding that train of thought to maintain a semlance of sanity. And reading about angry people in Orange County is honestly, a top-notch distraction.

That's all I got. Enjoy the rest of your quarantine weekend and stay cool, L.A.

-Gina Pollack


The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 24,894 coronavirus cases and 1,209 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 52,596 cases and 2,111 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.4 million cases and more than 238,000 deaths.

Financial hardship: Freelancers who had some, even a little, W2 income might receive less money for unemployment than they should, under the new system. Airbnb hosts, who are also freelancers (they get via 1099's too), are struggling to pay off their mortages now that reservations are cancelled. Judging by the comments, a lot of you don't feel bad for them.

A new report from Kaiser Health News found that most of the California nursing homes that experienced COVID-19 outbreaks already had some red flags, including nurses or aides not washing their hands or wearing protective clothing around potentially contagious patients. Lesson: check the ratings when selecting a nursing home. These ones weren't good.

Huntington Beach police patrolled the beaches on Saturday for the first time. They didn't issue actual tickets or fines, but they did ask people to leave. For the most part, they listened. San Clemente's city council is arguing over whether or not to take legal action to re-open their beaches.

Sashay to your couch for virtual DragCon this weekend. If that's not your thing, here are a bunch of other events happening on the small screen. As for food, may we suggest menudo?


Your Moment Of Zen

A Florida lawyer was so fed up with his state's crowded beaches, that he donned a grim reaper costume and...headed to the beach. Here he is doing a live interview on local Florida TV and let me just say, it's very 2020.


Help Us Cover Your Community

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.