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Morning Brief: A New Phase

A sign outside of Dockweiler State Beach reads COVID-19 Alert. (Mary Hawley/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

As many workplaces shut down for Christmas, those on the front lines of the unprecedented coronavirus surge are bracing for the worst.

With ICUs at 0% capacity throughout Southern California and many medical centers having already employed their surge practices, local hospitals are preparing to take the next step: rationing care.

My colleague Jackie Fortiér reports that a memo from the county’s Department of Health is advising health care workers to make sure their most fragile patients have filled out advance care directives. If the surge continues, those less likely to survive won’t get the same level of care as they normally would; there simply won’t be enough staff to save everyone.

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Meanwhile, forecasting suggests that between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, over 8,000 people in Los Angeles County will die from COVID-19.

“That is nearly three times the number of people that died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks," said Department of Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly. "The worst is yet to come.”

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

What You Need To Know Today

A Tamale Shortcut: Don't want to go through the complicated and exhausting process of making your own holiday tamales? Can't get hold of the lady your mom calls every year? Don't worry. Los Angeles has a wealth of tamalerias, from the serviceable (let's skip those) to the sublime.

The Show Will Go On: The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has a holiday surprise: it hit its $365,000 goal and will be able to keep its doors open in 2021. The fundraising success was reached through a combination of small donors and a last-minute $100,000 check.

Here’s What To Do: See the best Christmas light displays. Dine at BCD Tofu's drive-in movie nights. Watch Jewish and Muslim comedians on Christmas. Attend a Kwanzaa festival. Take an urban architectural hike. It’s all happening in this week’s best online and IRL events.

Before You Go… Some Very Last-Minute Gift Ideas, For Your Family (Or Yourself)

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Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are just around the corner. Here are a few gift suggestions. (Singh via Creative Commons/Flickr)

Need a little very-last-minute inspiration to get into the holiday spirit as we crawl en maske to the 2020 finish line? You're not alone.

If you want to support local restaurants, check out LAist's eclectic, food-focused, Southern California-centric gift guide, which is filled with creative suggestions for a variety of budgets, tastes and personalities. For all other types of retail therapy, check out our 60 best places to shop local.

Or, you know what? This year has been hard. We endorse buying a gift for yourself for making it through 2020.

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

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