Morning Brief: Vaccine Requirements, Water Theft, and Stinky Flowers
Good morning, L.A. It’s July 21.
My colleague Monica Bushman reports that the policy comes amid a 240% increase in coronavirus cases in Pasadena since the beginning of July. Announced at Monday’s city council meeting, the regulation will apply to approximately 2,000 people.
The requirement won’t go into effect until the FDA gives final approval to at least one of the three available COVID-19 vaccines, which are currently being used through an emergency authorization.
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City spokesperson Lisa Derderian said the move is partly a response to residents who are concerned about possibly needing to call emergency services, but being unsure that first responders are vaccinated.
"[Some] members of the public have commented that if they need to call for emergency services, they want the personnel that respond to be vaccinated,” she said. “At this point, we can't guarantee that.”
About 60% percent of Pasadena city workers have self-attested to being fully vaccinated, compared to about 80% of all eligible residents.
Pasadena is also instituting an indoor mask requirement, following the lead of L.A. County health officials.
Announcing the county mandate last week, public health officer Dr. Muntu Davis emphasized the seriousness of the current situation. Every day for more than a week, L.A. County health officials have reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases. Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 made up the biggest increase, and nearly four million people in L.A. County remain unvaccinated.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Davis said. “We’re seeing the rates go up too high. We all need to do our part to try and prevent the need to do something else.”
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- Another former senior staffer has testified that L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and his top aides were aware of sexual harassment and bullying by political consultant Rick Jacobs.
- Personal spending has bounced back, but local economists say L.A.’s small businesses aren't reaping the benefits.
- As drought grips most of California, water thefts have increased to record levels — often diverting the scarce resource to illegal marijuana farms.
- Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can appear almost anywhere; here’s where it comes from, and how it spreads.
Before You Go ... Why Do We Love Stinky Flowers?
This week, the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is inviting plant enthusiasts to “ooh” and “ahh” — and maybe gag — at two giant corpse flowers when they bloom.
The pair of Amorphophallus titanums are roughly six feet tall, and named after two iconic paintings in The Huntington Library's collection, “The Blue Boy” and “Pinkie.” “We decided to call [the flowers] Green Boy and Stinkie,” said Brandon Tam, the Huntington’s Orchid Collection Specialist.