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1 In 3 LA County Residents Has Been Infected With Coronavirus

A group of masked pedestrians cross through the Wilshire Vermont intersection in Koreatown. Chava Sanchez/LAist

About one in three people in the county has been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to new estimates this week from L.A. County's DHS COVID-19 modeling team.

That adds up to more than 3 million of the county's 10 million residents having the coronavirus at some point, more than triple the amount of confirmed cases reported by the county so far (989,928 total).

Why the discrepancy? The new estimates are based on updated scientific modeling, health officials say.

County health officials also say we still haven't seen the peak of the surge in cases from the Christmas and New Year's holidays. They expect to see continued high demand on hospitals for at least another four weeks.

The county expected to hit a milestone of 1 million cases tomorrow.

Currently 1 in every 115 residents of the county are infectious, about .89% of the local population. One week ago, that estimate was 1 in every 125 residents.

Today, L.A. County reported more than 15,000 new coronavirus cases and 258 more COVID-19 deaths, for a total of 13,489 since the pandemic began.

You can read the full findings of the COVID-19 model here.


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What’s It Like To Be An ‘Activist Journalist’?

Vishal Singh (center) at an Aug. 2020 protest. (Rayna Zemel)

Vishal Singh calls himself "a volunteer citizen/activist journalist." He’s part of a growing number of people who have taken it upon themselves to document causes they believe in, whether they’re on the right or the left.

Singh is a committed leftist who found his new calling after witnessing what he considered a heavy-handed police response to a George Floyd protest last May.

He’s been roughed up by Trump supporters, hit with police batons, shot with non-lethal projectiles, and had his foot run over.

Singh consider it his “responsibility to use my skills to show a really honest, embedded perspective of what these protests are like from the protesters’ perspective.”


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LA City Council Cancels Inauguration Day Meeting Over Concerns Of Potential Violence

File photo: City Council President Nury Martinez. (Screenshot from Channel 35)

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez has canceled Wednesday's scheduled council meeting because of threats of violence surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on the same day.

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests around the country in support of President Trump in the days leading up to the Inauguration.

In a statement, Martinez said:

"In light of this concerning information, I am urging all departments in City Hall whose staff work in these buildings that they work remotely on January 20 to ensure their safety and allow LAPD and other law enforcement to focus on safety concerns outside the buildings and throughout Los Angeles. I make this decision for the safety of all city employees, including those who must be in council chambers with me for our council meetings in City Hall to take place."

Council members have been conducting meetings virtually since the pandemic began, but Martinez said that still requires some staff to be present at City Hall.

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WATCH: Dodger Stadium Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Officially Launches; Gov. Newsom, Mayor Garcetti Give Update

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the opening of Dodger Stadium as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti behind him, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's office via Facebook)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other politicians gathered on Friday to launch the mass coronavirus vaccination site at Dodger Stadium. You can read highlights below or watch the full video above.

Garcetti said that the new vaccination center at Dodger Stadium will be the largest in the state. Once the center is at full capacity, the city will be able to vaccine 20,000 people per day, Garcetti said. It will be possible to vaccinate 12,000 people per day at Dodger Stadium.

So far, 1.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in California. Newsom said that the state is on track to meet its goal of vaccinating 1 million people in 10 days. L.A. County will have to be able to vaccinate that many people alone, with 100,000 vaccinations per day, in order to get everyone vaccinated on the timeline they're looking at, Rep. Jimmy Gomez said. The state has received just over 3 million doses to date, Newsom said.

Garcetti said that he spoke with President-elect Joe Biden about the current lack of enough vaccine to speed up vaccinations in Los Angeles. Newsom responded to the news that a reported federal stockpile of 50 million doses doesn't exist. He said the state will be seeking clarity about the availability of vaccine does from the incoming Biden administration.

The state still expects to have enough shots for everyone who has been vaccinated to get a second dose despite the lack of a federal stockpile, but that it will be "really important" to verify people are actually eligible to get the vaccine. The state anticipates receiving hundreds of thousands more doses, but wants to be certain that they will arrive given today's news.

Newsom defended the announcement Thursday that vaccinations will be opened to Californians 65 and over, though some counties aren't yet ready to start vaccinating that age group, including L.A. County.

"I'll be damned if any of the vaccine goes to waste or gets thrown out simply because we don't know how to follow regulations, or the confusing guidelines, or simply because somebody refuses to take it," L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez said.

She called for the vaccine to be distributed safely, and justly, and for shots to be made available quickly to low-income and immigrant communities.

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Attention Health Workers: You Can Now Get Vaccinated At Dodger Stadium

Staff check drivers' appointments and ID's at the entrance to the vaccination site at Dodger Stadium. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

As part of the effort to supercharge the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Dodger Stadium opened today as a mass vaccination site, ending its role as a location for coronavirus tests.

For now it’s reserved for those working health care and nursing homes. The county still has another 500,000 health workers who need to get immunized before it can move on to inoculating those 65 and older, along with first responders and other essential workers.

Some 200 people will staff the Dodger Stadium site, with the target of vaccinating 12,000 people a day.

We’ve got all the details on how it works when you go for your shot.


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The Day My Brother Learned To Fly: When The Police Came To The House, Something Epic Happened

Esther Lira's brother Charlie upon his high school graduation. Note the tall fence at lower left. (Courtesy of Esther Lira)

When Esther Lira was five years old, the police came to the house, looking for her oldest brother. He'd been spotted drinking something out of a paper bag -- which would later turn out to be soda.

But never mind that. As she writes for Race in LA:

I remember a feeling of battening down the hatches, our hearts beating fast and our souls aroused to perhaps an inescapable bad ending. It was understood, though not spoken, that a young Mexican American boy singled out by a couple of white cops would not end well.

I felt my family's tense energy. Next came the pounding on the door.

Prettty soon chaos ensued after another brother, Charlie, said something that offended the police. Before she knew it, Lira's four brothers were being chased through the house and into the back yard.

It was then that Charlie did something she will always remember as epic.



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Morning Brief: LA's Vaccination Lineup

Healthcare workers get vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Martin Luther King Jr Community Hospital. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Good morning, L.A.

It’s not news at this point that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine hasn’t been as smooth — or nearly as fast — as state and local officials first hoped.

L.A. County doesn’t have enough doses to reach the number of healthcare workers officials planned to inoculate by the end of January, and Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged that the speed of distribution in California so far is “not good enough.”

So if you’re wondering where, amid the confusion, you stand in the vaccine line, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there’s a website (and a newsletter!) for that.

According to Dr. Paul Simon, the L.A. County Department of Public Health's chief science officer, the department will work with the media, healthcare providers, and organizations like the AARP to let civilians know when it’s their turn. Plus, he added, residents can sign up for an email alert.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Desperate to stay afloat, all sorts of small businesses, from restaurants to bookstores, have turned to crowdfunding as a last resort.
  • L.A. officials will ramp up enforcement on people who refuse to wear masks in public.
  • It's dry, windy and hot, making for a high risk of wildfires.
  • In California, the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history is run largely by the same overworked and underfunded local health departments tasked with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
  • Disneyland is getting rid of its popular Annual Pass program.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom has mobilized the California National Guard over concerns of civil unrest leading up to and during next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., virtually. Explore the era of dinosaurs, from your car. Take an armchair tour of early L.A. film locations or Rudolph Valentino haunts. Dine with the Fonz and his friends. Listen to mindful music during the darkest time of the year. And more.

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

Biddy Mason, a formerly enslaved woman, went on to become one of the most important and wealthiest landowners, midwives and philanthropists in 19th Century Los Angeles. (LAist)

College students whose financial aid packages are based on higher, pre-pandemic income are potentially losing out on millions of dollars in grants, loans and scholarships. (LAist)

Regardless of what you may have heard, Los Angeles has had good pizza for a very long time. We created a Pizzapedia to help you find it. (LAist)

As a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., another group took to the streets of downtown L.A. in solidarity, holding "Stop the Steal" signs. Here’s what it looked like. (LAist)

Black physicians are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to build trust in a community that’s long faced systemic injustice at the hands of the medical system. (L.A. Sentinel)

Artist Lalo Garcia’s most recent work, a mural in the City of San Fernando, addresses children forced to live in cages by the Trump administration. (San Fernando Sun)

James “YAPO” Valenzuela, a victim of the pandemic, was a legend in the San Gabriel Valley hardcore punk scene. (L.A. Taco)

The third-largest home in America has been revealed, in Bel Air. (L.A. Mag)

Before You Go … How To Order In N’ Out Fries

(Photo by Elina Shatkin/LAist)

We love In-N-Out Burger. We discuss it on the radio. We cover its political donations. We'll fight you if you talk smack about it. On the 5 freeway, we'll drive past dozens of other fast food joints so we can eat at the outpost in Kettleman City, even when it means waiting in a 30-minute line on Thanksgiving weekend. But as much as we love the sinner, we hate the sin — and In-N-Out's original sin is their fries.

The fries at In-N-Out are pale, limp, undersalted potato tubes that begin congealing into a soggy, oily mass the moment they emerge from the fryer. God help you if you wait until you're done with your burger to eat your fries. By that time, they're hot garbage — except that they're cold.

Which brings us to the workaround.

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