Search underway for two members of the Kennedy family missing in the Chesapeake Bay

Two members of the Kennedy family, Maeve Kennedy McKean and her 8-year-old son, Gideon, have been reported missing in the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland, since Thursday. McKean is the granddaughter of former US Attorney General and US Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. She is a public health and human rights lawyer and serves as the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. “At this time, our family asks for privacy and that everyone keep Maeve and Gideon in their prayers,” the Kennedy family said in a statement provided by a spokesperson. McKean’s husband, David McKean, told The Washington Post that the family was visiting his wife’s mother’s waterfront home in Shady Side, Maryland, when the children, playing in a yard, kicked a ball into the water and his wife and son “popped into a canoe to chase it down.” “They just got farther out than they could handle, and couldn’t get back in,” he told the paper. The US Coast Guard confirmed they are conducting a search for two missing canoers and that crews on boats and helicopters were continuing their search Friday morning. Coast…

White House says anyone ‘in close proximity’ to Trump or Pence will get rapid virus test

The White House will give rapid Covid-19 tests to anyone who will come in close proximity with either President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, CNN has confirmed. “As the physician to the President and White House Operations continue to protect the health and safety of the President and vice president, starting today anyone who is expected to be in close proximity to either of them will be administered a Covid-19 test to evaluate for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers status to limit inadvertent transmission,” said deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere in a statement. White House officials are declining to specify what counts as “close proximity” but one official said members of the White House press corps who participate in the daily briefings will not have to take the tests. As the administration has worked on its response to the pandemic, Trump has continued to meet with outside industry representatives, brief the press with his White House coronavirus task force and interact with his staff and advisers in person. Sometimes, both the President and those around him have not been practicing social distancing guidelines suggesting six feet…

Angeles National Forest temporarily shuts down several popular trails with COVID-19 closure

The Angeles National Forest announced Friday that several popular trails are being closed to the public in accordance with social distancing guidelines from public health officials. Portions of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Los Angeles Gateway Range District — including about 81.5 miles of trail and 54.5 miles of roadway — are being shut down beginning April 4 through April 30, federal officials said in a statement. This includes formal trailheads Millard, San Antonio Falls (Baldy Bowl), Icehouse Canyon and North Devil’s Backbone along with 23 informal trail access points, officials said. Twenty-three trails and 19 roads are within the closed areas. A full list of the trails and roads being shut down can be found here. Local officials in L.A. County have been barring access to recreational areas like hiking trails and beaches after coronavirus-related restrictions failed to keep some of those places clear of crowds last month. “This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a March 22 tweet. “So we are closing sports and recreation at @LACityParks and closing parking at…

Trump admin ended pandemic early-warning program to detect coronaviruses months before outbreak

Two months before the novel coronavirus is thought to have begun its deadly advance in Wuhan, China, the Trump administration ended a $200-million pandemic early-warning program aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to such a threat. The project, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2009, identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics, including more than 160 novel coronaviruses. The initiative, 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 September, and organizations that worked on the PREDICT program laid off dozens of scientists and analysts, said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a key player in the program. On Wednesday, USAID granted an emergency extension to the program, issuing $2.26 million over the next six months to send experts who will help foreign labs squelch the pandemic. But program leaders say the funding will do little to further the initiative’s original mission. Read the full…

On a single block in Eagle Rock, coronavirus brings 6 L.A. businesses to the brink of disaster

As of 2019, there were an estimated 30.7 million small businesses in the US, employing 59.9 million people, or almost half of the private sector workforce. Small businesses drive the American economy, but as the coronavirus pandemic has proven, they do so from a cliff. Many are about to fall off. Behind those numbers are the actual people who own and work at the small businesses. It’s impossible to tell all of their stories, but we can tell some. So last week we talked to the owners of six small businesses on a block of Colorado Boulevard in Los Angeles’ Eagle Rock neighborhood about their hopes and fears right now. The block and its businesses are very much unique, made up of a group of independently-owned stores in the heart of a gentrifying community in northeastern Los Angeles. But you could transplant them anywhere in the country — any town, any large city — and the stories would be much the same. Most of the business owners on the block are women, and many are minorities, reflecting a growing trend in the US. They went into…

As California fire season approaches, coronavirus complicates preparation

With the traditional start of California’s dreaded wildfire season rapidly approaching, the spread of the coronavirus has threatened to complicate state firefighting efforts. Although top emergency officials say they are hopeful that the spread of COVID-19 will taper off by the time serious fire weather arrives in the fall, the outbreak has already forced departments to put a hold on large training exercises, cancel controlled burns and delay inspections of fire-prone properties in Los Angeles. Of greatest concern to Red Cross officials is preventing the spread of illness at evacuation centers, which can quickly grow crowded with evacuees of all ages. Another question is how battalions of firefighters might guard against the pathogen while battling flames in close formations, or while eating and sleeping in fire base camps that were notorious for outbreaks of “camp crud” even before the pandemic. Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Gov. Newsom: More than 2,000 COVID-19 patients in California hospitals, 900 in ICUs

Gov. Gavin Newsom said more than 2,000 patients with COVID-19 are now hospitalized in the state of California, including 901 who are in intensive care unit beds. During a press briefing on Friday in Sacramento, Newsom confirmed that more than 40 percent of the 2,188 individuals who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus are in ICU beds. “That 901 number represents a 10.4 percent increase from the previously reported number yesterday,” Newsom said. Related Articles Coronavirus: 27 test positive at senior care facility in Contra Costa County Coronavirus: Senators call for probe into fired carrier captain Coronavirus: Live in these Bay Area cities? You may not be getting a stimulus check CA secures nearly 7,000 hotel rooms for homeless during coronavirus pandemic Drive-in movies make for a fun option during pandemic Over the last seven days, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has nearly tripled around the state while the number of patients in ICU beds has more than quadrupled. At a briefing last Friday, Newsom said there were 746 COVID-19 patients in hospitals including 200 in ICUs. California still faces a massive…

Coronavirus: San Jose police, DA field hundreds of complaints about COVID-19 order violations

SAN JOSE — Kids playing in a front yard. People working on cars in driveways. Some teens on scooters. In one case, “neighbors standing outside of their house, showing signs of COVID-19.” These are some of the calls that have flooded into San Jose police and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to report possible violations of the shelter-in-place orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. They have fielded nearly 3,000 combined complaints about individuals, businesses and churches. In many instances, by the time officers arrived the reported activity was gone, but hundreds of warnings have been also issued. San Jose police have issued three misdemeanor citations, for non-compliant businesses that were already given warnings, and none based on social-distancing claims. For San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia, it embodies the still-gray enforcement directives that his department and other police agencies have been tasked with carrying out since mid-March. “As we’re hearing about these orders in real time, we have to figure out enforcement on the fly,” Garcia said. “There has to be education to our community with regards to what is realistic with…

BART service stopped in El Cerrito after person possibly hit by a train

EL CERRITO — The El Cerrito del Norte BART station was closed and service stopped Friday afternoon after a person was reportedly hit by a train on the tracks, officials said. Thei person’s condition was not immediately available. The incident was reported about  12:36 p.m. and involved the Warm Sprints line, officials said. Police and firefighters responded to the scene. BART service was stopped between Richmond and El Cerrito Plaza. It was not immediately known when the station would reopen and service resume, officials said. AC Transit was providing parallel bus service between those stations on bus lines 72 and 76. Check back for updates.  

Coronavirus: 27 test positive at senior care facility in Contra Costa County

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY — At least 27 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Contra Costa County senior care facility, health officials confirmed Friday. Health officials did not immediately disclose the facility or city, but the health department plans to hold a news conference Friday afternoon. A person familiar with details of the outbreak expressed concern because a “substantial number” of the residents at the facility are over the age of 80. The news comes as the disease has spread to skilled nursing facilities and senior care centers in the Bay Area and beyond. At San Jose’s Canyon Springs Post-Acute Care center, 30 people — including residents and staff — are being monitored for COVID-19, six of whom have already tested positive. Seniors and those with underlying medical conditions, like many of those receiving care and treatment at senior centers and skilled nursing facilities, face the highest mortality rate from the virus. It was at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, that the first outbreak in the U.S. exploded. Eighty of its 120 residents tested positive and more than 30 died from the virus.…

Coronavirus: Senators call for probe into fired carrier captain

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali | Reuters WASHINGTON – A group of prominent Democratic senators formally requested on Friday that the Pentagon’s independent Inspector General investigate the Navy’s firing of the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who called for stronger measures to halt a coronavirus outbreak on board. Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his command on Thursday after his scathing letter was leaked to the media. “Given the extraordinary circumstances under which these events took place, we believe a closer examination by a neutral third party is warranted,” the senators wrote, according to a copy of the text seen by Reuters. Reuters is first to report such a congressional request to the Inspector General’s office. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland led the push and were joined by 15 other U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris. Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told Reuters earlier on Friday that Crozier shared the letter too widely and questioned the commander’s judgment. Critics have accused Modly of firing Crozier because the letter…

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