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Morning Brief: Health Officials Urge Caution Around Reopening, Parents Sue LAUSD, And Cherry Blossoms Are In Bloom

Jack in the box in South Los Angeles. Chava Sanchez/LAist
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 9.

After Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California would move out of the color-coded tier system on June 15, a collective sigh could be heard throughout the Golden State. But some public health officials are worried that, in our excitement, we’ll lose sight of continuing to practice safety protocols and wind up with another coronavirus surge.

Speaking with my colleague Jackie Fortiér, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that the June 15 landmark — and the freedom it seems to promise — is highly dependent on the way Californians behave right now:

If we're not particularly careful as we're doing more reopenings ... we could see an increase in cases. And we also could see, unfortunately, the dominance of some of these variants of concern, which are just more infectious. None of that would be good for us. And it would thwart our ability to get to that June 15 deadline.

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Some states in the Upper Midwest, including Michigan and Illinois, are already seeing a worrisome spike in cases. Many of those cases are the result of B.1.1.7, a more contagious variant of the virus.

B.1.1.7. has been found in California.

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Dr. Anthony Fauci called the current situation in the U.S. “a race between getting people vaccinated and this surge that seems to want to increase."

To that end, Ferrer emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks, socially distance and abide by other known safety protocols.

“Part of me wants to just say, You know, folks, we are so very close right now,” said Ferrer. “We are also so very much not there.”

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

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What Else You Need To Know Today

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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:

Inside a California chain of nursing homes, a KPCC/LAist investigation found ongoing infractions — many of which proved fatal. (LAist)

Tiny home villages for unhoused Angelenos are underway in the San Fernando Valley, and possibly on the Westside. (Urbanize L.A.)

Mental health experts weigh in on how to grapple with the trauma of increasing anti-Asian hate. (LAist)

Tinhorn Flats, the Western-themed Burbank bar, continues to flaunt COVID-19 regulations — even after being padlocked by the city. (LAist)

Nearly three-quarters of American children living in poverty are children of color, according to a new report. (L.A. Sentinel)

Climate change activism is closely linked to the experiences of the Latino and Asian-American communities, and one local professor is documenting them in a new book. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

BASK is the nom de cuisine for a team of bakers operating out of a hidden Los Angeles location, creating impossibly sumptuous and delicate Basque-style cheesecakes. (LAist)

"The Story of Our Struggle," an 11-foot-high, five-foot-long fired-ceramic tile mural, charts Chicano history from pre-Columbian times to the present. (LAist)

Sad Girl Creamery is an ice cream pop-up with flavors such as arroz con leche and strawberry tres leches -- and it also raises awareness around mental health issues. (L.A. Taco)

Minimum parking requirements could mean more spots in L.A. and elsewhere in California. (Streetsblog L.A.)

Before You Go … This Weekend’s Outdoor Pick: Cherry Blossoms

'Beni Hoshi' cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge ( Courtesy Descanso Gardens)

The cherry blossoms are in peak bloom this week at Descanso Gardens. Check out the pink flowers of the Akebono cherry tree, or the long petals of the Beni Hoshi trees. As a bonus, lilacs are in full bloom at the gardens this week too.

Or, you could: Break out the Cracker Jack for the Dodgers' home opener. Do the socially distanced Time Warp as the Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to the drive-in. Snag some guava pie or a free ice cream bar. Score great deals at Dine Latino Restaurant Week. Learn about Catalina Island from pop culture historian Charles Phoenix. And more.

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