Los Angeles Times - 03.04.2020

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$2.75DESIGNATED AREAS HIGHER © 2020 D FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2020 latimes.com

ing layoffs due to the corona-
virus pandemic pushed a
record 10 million Americans
to apply for jobless benefits
in the last two weeks, the
government said Thursday,
raising the specter of an eco-
nomic crisis so extreme it
could end in another Great
As COVID-19 cases
passed the 1-million mark
worldwide, the Labor De-
partment figures were the
latest evidence of how the
global health crisis has crip-
pled a U.S. economy that
just a month ago was enjoy-
ing a record expansion and
half-century low in unem-
“To put it bluntly, the U.S.
economy went from full
speed to full stop — and mil-
lions of workers were not
wearing seat belts,” said
Josh Lipsky, director of glob-
al business and economics
policy at the Atlantic Coun-
cil, a nonpartisan think
The avalanche of warn-
ing signs catapulted mem-
bers of Congress and policy
analysts to push for a new
round of federal relief on top
of the $2.2-trillion package
passed last week.
At a White House brief-
ing, Treasury Secretary
Steven T. Mnuchin said he
had spoken with congres-
sional leaders about another
bailout plan, but negotia-
tions had not begun. “When
the president’s ready and
thinks we should do the next
stage, we’re ready,” he said.
Mnuchin also pushed
back on concerns about de-
lays in sending direct pay-
ments of up to $1,200 to many
American adults, a key pro-
vision of the relief package.
He said people who already
receive direct deposit pay-
ments from the Internal
Revenue Service should
start getting money the
week of April 13.
“This money does people
no good if it shows up in four
months,” Mnuchin said.
The IRS is also creating
an online portal where peo-

Jobless aid filings rise to 10 million

The 6.6 million new

claims are double the

number of the week

before, raising fears

the U.S. and other

economies are headed

for a severe recession.

By Don Lee,
Sarah D. Wire and
Jennifer Haberkorn


(Seasonally adjusted, in millions)





2008 2009 2010 2011 201220132014 2015 2016201720182019 2020

March 28:Claims reached
6,648,000, an increase of
3,341,000 from the previous
week's revised level.

March 21:Claims are
revised up to 3,307,000,
an increase of slightly
more than 3 million claims
from the week before.

March 28, 2009: During the
Great Recession, initial jobless
claims peaked at 665,000.

Great Recession
from Dec. 2007
to June 2009

Department of Labor ThomasSuh LauderLos Angeles Times

Initial unemployment claims for last week marked the
highest level in the history of seasonally adjusted data.

Weekly unemployment claims

BUSINESS INSIDE:After clawing out of poverty, a hotel worker finds her life upended. A

Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention would soon
issue new guidelines, soft-
ening an earlier anti-mask
stance. This came 33 days af-
ter the U.S. surgeon general
tweeted that masks “are
NOT effective in preventing
general public from catching
Gov. Gavin Newsom
hewed to a similar path at a
noon coronavirus briefing.
He stopped short of telling

Amid the confusion from
Washington, D.C., to Sacra-
mento and parts in between,
one thing has become abun-
dantly clear in the era of
COVID-19: The mask is hav-
ing a moment.
On Thursday, President
Trump announced that the

Californians that they have
to wear face coverings when-
ever they leave their homes,
but he didn’t discourage use
of the increasingly ubiqui-
tous masks either.
“We believe, and we put
out guidelines, that if indi-
viduals want to have face
coverings, that that is a good
thing and a preferable
thing,” Newsom said, “in ad-
dition to the physical dis-

EMILY BERRYand friend Gavin Kelley walk on Venice Beach on March 27.

Mel MelconLos Angeles Times

Masks as the new normal?

Face protection could catch on in U.S., expert says

By Ruben Vives,
Maria L. La Ganga
and Deborah Netburn

As a potent new coronavirus con-
tinues its lethal spread across Califor-
nia, many of Los Angeles County’s
whitest and wealthiest enclaves are
reporting far higher rates of infection
than are poorer neighborhoods of
Predominantly white, affluent
areas such as Hancock Park, Bel-Air,

Beverly Crest and Brentwood re-
ported some of the highest per capita
rates of confirmed cases, while many
working-class and majority nonwhite
communities such as Bell Gardens,
Watts and El Monte reported much
lower rates, a Times analysis of
county health data through Wednes-
day shows.
But those disparities do not mean
the virus that causes COVID-19 is
spreading more widely through rich
neighborhoods than in poorer ones,
public health officials and experts

say. Rather, they are probably skewed
by uneven access to testing and, in
some instances, by wealthy residents
who traveled internationally and
had some of the earliest confirmed
The trend, some experts say,
bodes poorly for local efforts to con-
trol the spread of COVID-19, as it sug-
gests a troubling disparity of testing
along the lines of race, income and im-
migration status. They say a lack of
adequate testing in lower-income

HEALTH DATAin Los Angeles County suggest a troubling disparity of testing along the lines of race,
income and immigration status. Above, Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way are quiet and empty in Beverly Hills.

Jay L. ClendeninLos Angeles Times

Contagion’s class disparity

Wealthy L.A. areas have higher rates of coronavirus cases,

but the numbers may reflect inequalities in testing, travel

By Tony Barboza,
Ben Poston
and Angel Jennings


Special education

students’ needs

With schools shut, chil-
dren with learning disa-
bilities have lost crucial
resources. Officials try
to adapt. CALIFORNIA, B

nam has banned public
gatherings of more than two
people. Hong Kong has
closed nightclubs, karaoke
bars and mah-jongg parlors,
and deployed health inspec-
tors to check that restau-
rants are seating parties at
least six feet apart. Singa-
pore has warned that any-
one standing within three
feet of another person in line
could face up to six months
in jail.
Suddenly, Asian govern-
ments that appeared to be
bringing the coronavirus

under controlare imposing
new social restrictions as the
numbers of infections —
many from overseas — con-
tinue to rise.
In places that took early,
effective actionagainst the
COVID-19 outbreak, the
stepped-up measures in re-
cent days are a sign that
fighting the disease will take
much longer than antici-
pated. They also show that
governments must adapt
their responses as the threat
from the virus evolves, epi-
demiologists say.
“We have to find mea-
sures that can control, slow
down the virus, and do so in
a way that is sustainable —
not just for two weeks, two
months, but all the way
through to the end of the
year,” Lawrence Wong, co-
chair of Singapore’s co-

Asian authorities

impose new curbs

as virus rebounds

Governments adapt

as infections suddenly

are on the rise again.

By Shashank Bengali

Sunny and pleasant.
L.A. Basin: 71/53. B


Bleak numbers

on the outbreak

The pandemic has
reached a grim mile-
stone: more than 1 mil-
lion cases and more than
52,000 deaths. WORLD, A

Two months before the
novel coronavirus is thought
to have begun its deadly ad-
vance in Wuhan, China,
the Trump administration
ended a $200-million pan-
demic early-warning pro-
gram aimed at training sci-
entists in China and other
countries to detect and re-
spond to such a threat.
The project, launched by
the U.S. Agency for Interna-
tional Development in 2009,
identified 1,200 different vi-
ruses that had the potential
to erupt into pandemics, in-
cluding more than 160 novel
coronaviruses. The initia-
tive, called PREDICT, also
trained and supported staff
in 60 foreign laboratories —
including the Wuhan lab
that identified SARS-CoV-2,
the new coronavirus that
causes COVID-19.
Field work ceased when
the funding ran out in Sep-
tember, and organizations
that worked on the PRE-
DICT program laid off doz-
ens of scientists and ana-
lysts, said Peter Daszak,
president of EcoHealth Alli-
ance, a key player in the pro-
On Wednesday, USAID
granted an emergency ex-
tension to the program, issu-
ing $2.26 million over the
next six months to send ex-
perts who will help foreign
labs squelch the pandemic.
But program leaders say the
funding will do little to fur-
ther the initiative’s original
“Look at the name: Our
efforts were to predictthis
before it happens. That’s the
part of the program that was
exciting — and that’s the
part I’m worried about,”
Daszak said.
“It’s absolutely critical






A $200-million

project halted last

year worked with labs

worldwide to identify

potential pandemics.

By Emily
and James Rainey

[SeeProgram, A6]
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