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Morning Brief: New Year, New Opportunities

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Good morning, L.A.

The new year is here and, along with it, the ongoing, unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases. L.A. County has reported well over 10,000 new cases a day for the past week, and hospitals continue to swell with new patients for whom there is not have enough space or staff.

Meanwhile, as we look towards the not-so-distant one-year anniversary of the pandemic hitting L.A., some of us have started to wonder which changes to daily life will become permanent. Will we all go back to in-person grocery shopping? Or gathering in public spaces? Will we want to?

Experts see some things changing, and some remaining the same.

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Anthony Dukes, a professor at the USC Marshall School of Business, tells my colleague Julia Paskin that people’s pre-pandemic preference for shopping in-person will likely stick around, especially when it comes to food. Authorities in the realms of education and public space, on the other hand, see lasting change — hopefully for the better.

"I think, if there's a silver lining to this year, it's seeing folks, cities, organizations and businesses kind of co-opt [public] space," said Midori Mizuhara, an urban planner with the Gensler architectural firm in Los Angeles.

Adds Pedro Noguera, Dean of USC's Rossier School of Education, "My hope is that schools will see the disruption as an opportunity to do things differently."

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

What You Need To Know Today

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County surpassed 800,000 coronavirus cases, the fastest acceleration of the virus to this point. On Sunday, the county reported 12,488 new cases and 91 new deaths due to COVID-19.

Ch-ch-changes: New laws affecting health care, law enforcement, education and more are taking effect with the start of the new year.

The Parade That Wasn’t: Pasadena streets were eerily quiet over the weekend, with the Rose Bowl parade and game canceled for the first time in decades.

A New Class: Michelle Steel, a new member of Congress from Orange County, talks about her move to Washington D.C.

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Food Service: Facing an impossible situation professionally, restaurant workers talked to us about how they’re feeling going into the new year.

Race In L.A.: In the most recent installment of our series examining race and racism, contributor Laurel J. Davis writes about how she’s “gotten used to the sprinkling of macro- and micro-aggressions from some of my own people about my skin tone and hair texture.”

Before You Go… Keep Your Battery Charged — Literally

(Photo by Daniel @ on Unsplash)

Have you tried starting your car recently only to find the battery dead? Even though you can clearly see you didn't leave any lights on?

You wouldn't be alone: AAA reports a 6.2% increase in calls for a dead battery throughout Southern California since March, when the first stay-at-home orders were issued. Here’s how to avoid the dreaded pandemic-related dead car battery.

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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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