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Morning Briefing: COVID-19 Denial Is Hurting Us, Badly

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As the coronavirus surges once again in L.A. and California, local and state officials have closed businesses again, begged residents to wear masks and reiterated time and again that our best defense against the virus is staying home whenever possible.

And yet.

In a vote taken on Monday, the Orange County Board of Education recommended that K-12 schools reopen next month with no mask requirements or social distancing strategies. At their meeting, which was public, one attendee made the following comment, according to our friends at Voice of OC:

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“Is it reasonable that our kids won’t get to dance together at prom?”

It’s not reasonable that children’s lives should be completely upended; of course not. But while global pandemics are many things, reasonable isn’t one of them.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the coronavirus isn’t anyone’s fault. Many of us are angry, hurt and afraid right now — understandably so. Channeling those emotions into denial, though, or directing them at other people is making the situation much, much worse. We can come together and try to make it better, or we can stay at odds and remain stuck.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, July 15

The additional $600 that has been going to unemployment recipients every week since the coronavirus pandemic began is slated to expire before the end of this month. For many unemployed L.A. workers, that income has been crucial to paying for rent and other essentials. Without it, some say they'd have to leave California, reports David Wagner.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County reported the highest numbers of both hospitalizations and new cases, along with a sharp rise in deaths. New testing guidelines are being released that prioritize both who gets tested for coronavirus, as well as which samples get processed first. Long Beach, under heavy demand for testing, will limit who can be tested at city facilities to residents of Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood, Paramount, and Compton starting today.

California Kids: The OC Board of Education recommended that schools should reopen with no requirements for masks and social distancing. Several districts nevertheless say they will remain fully online for the start of the fall semester. The state's fourth largest school district, Long Beach Unified, will start the fall semester online only.

Money Matters: A national coalition of public transit agencies, including L.A. Metro, is asking Congress for up to $36 billion in additional federal relief funding as COVID-19 cases surge across the nation.

Policing The Police: After revelations of officers fabricating information about people to put them in the state's gang database, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has cut off access to all LAPD-generated names in the database.

California City: When Emily Guerin was assigned to cover a story about the drought four years ago, she had no idea it would turn into "California City." Launched by LAist Studios this week, the seven-part investigative podcast explores the bizarre history of a half-built town in the Mojave Desert where, for over 60 years, real estate developers have sold a dream: If you buy land here, you'll be rich one day.

Trump Stands Down: In a settlement to lawsuits filed by Harvard and MIT, the Trump administration has dropped its attempt to force foreign students to leave the United States if all of their classes are to be taught online this autumn.

Photo Of The Day

Workers gather in an L.A. barbershop, which is shutting down once again amid new coronavirus restrictions. It's the second time salons and barbershops have been told to close.

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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