California reached the grim milestone of more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases while many counties head back into Gov. Gavin Newsom’s more restrictive tiers. California isn’t alone, though. As colder weather sends more people inside, we may be facing a potential nationwide surge in the coming weeks.
Good evening, I’m Maria Sestito, senior issues reporter for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs. Today is Thursday, Nov. 12, making tomorrow — just like almost every other day in 2020 — unlucky. Unless, of course, you don’t believe in that kind of thing.
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COVID-19: California hits 1 million mark
California joined Texas today as its total case count exceeded 1 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state reported 1,000,631 coronavirus cases and more than 18,000 deaths.
Texas, the second most populous state after California, hit the milestone yesterday.
Nationwide, there have been more than 10.45 million cases and 242,000 deaths, with new cases soaring to all-time highs of well over 120,000 per day over the past week.
With the holiday season fast approaching alongside colder temperatures and growing mask-fatigue, health officials are fearful cases will continue to increase. And, as Gov. Gavin Newsom said, maybe “Uncle Joe with a heart condition shouldn’t be coming over to see the kids for the holidays.”
San Diego, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties all moved backward this week in the state’s four-tiered system for reopening, which is based on case and infection rates.
Thirty-eight of California’s 58 counties were in the most restrictive tier when the state launched the new system at the end of August. That number fell to 10 as case rates declined statewide into October but now is at 12, including four of the five largest counties — Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino.
San Francisco, which has had fewer COVID-19 cases than other large cities in the state, voluntarily moved itself down to a level that requires curtailing indoor dining at restaurants.
“The problem is the timing of this,” said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and herself an operator of two eateries. “The weather is changing up here, and it’s cold. Nobody wants to sit outside.”
Though it isn’t as cold in California as it is in much of the country, businesses are trying to adapt. For restaurants, that may mean bringing heaters to outdoor patio spaces, reports The Mercury News.
“They are quite a hot commodity,” said Gina Seghi, general manager of Belcamp in Oakland. “We were lucky to get in under the wire.”
Did Trump forget about TikTok?
The ban on TikTok that was supposed to begin today didn’t.
The Department of Commerce put a stay on enforcing an executive order that would have forced the short-form video app to suspend all U.S. operations as of midnight tonight, reports Ars Technica.
Commerce said the orders against TikTok are on hold “pending further legal developments” in multiple lawsuits, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The president signed two executive orders this year related to TikTok. One declaring the app a national emergency, the other giving ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, 90 days to divest the app to a U.S. owner.
The deadline for divestment was today. ByteDance has not divested any portion of TikTok yet, but has “a deal of sorts in place” with California tech company Oracle.
ByteDance filed an appeal in federal court earlier this week asking for more time to make the Oracle deal happen.
Who will takeover for Kamala?
Speculation and suggestions about who will fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat has been all over news outlets today. But, despite pressure from all sides, the decision falls to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“We are working through the cattle call of considerations,” Newsom told reporters this week. “I want to make sure it’s inclusive, I want to make sure that we are considerate of people’s points of view.”
Here are some of the names being floated:
- Rep. Karen Bass, who represents parts of Los Angeles and its suburbs. She is former speaker of the California Assembly, heads the Congressional Black Caucus and was on President-Elect Joe Biden’s vice presidential short list. She’s also been mentioned as a possible pick for Biden’s cabinet.
- Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the son of Mexican immigrants, is being backed by the political action committee Latino Victory Fund.
- Rep. Ro Khanna, the son of Indian immigrants and a prominent member of the party’s progressive wing, is being backed by the Indian American Impact Fund, a political action committee.
Others likely to get consideration include Rep. Barbara Lee, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, U.S. Rep. Katie Porter of Orange County and California mayors London Breed in San Francisco, Robert Garcia in Long Beach, and Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles.
Filling the Senate seat is only part of Newsom’s considerations.
If he decides to select Padilla or state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former Latino congressman, he would need to fill that post, too, giving him a second opportunity to diversify state officeholders with a woman, a minority or both.
And because Harris’ term runs through January 2023, his Senate choice has to be ready to begin fundraising and campaigning for a 2022 election. Competition to hold the seat could come from Democrats the governor bypassed, among others.
My favorite Kamala news of the day, though, is that her husband, Doug Emhoff, will be leaving his job in order to fulfill his duties as second gentleman. Bravo! I bet he can make a mean grilled cheese sandwich, too.
Bigfoot found in Santa Cruz mountains!
“He was a little banged up but will be returned to his rightful place at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum,” the Scotts Valley Police Department said in a Facebook post.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office had urged people to keep their eyes peeled for the 4-foot-tall wooden statue after it was stolen from outside the tiny museum in nearby Felton on Monday. The museum is closed due to COVID-19.
In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: the Associated Press, Ars Technica, and The Wall Street Journal.