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A.M. Brief: Analysis Shows Travel Data Correlates to Spike in Infections

December 16, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Clutter's Park LAX
A plane takes off at LAX. Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Lots of locals traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday, a move that (predictably) preceded a massive uptick in COVID-19 infections. Also this morning: Young Republicans say they’re less likely to distance, Long Beach votes in favor of grocery employee hazard pay, and people sing Christmas carols to protest Stay-at-Home. Finally, it looks like Garcetti is out of luck if he was hoping for a cabinet position. It’s Wednesday. Here is your news. Take it!

Morning News Rundown

A new analysis of infection and travel data pulled from Johns Hopkins University and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that Los Angeles County had the highest uptick in average new daily infections the week after Thanksgiving compared to other major counties nationwide. At the same time, L.A. also had the highest number of residents that traveled 500 miles or more Thanksgiving week. Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has said that the surge in cases has put “extraordinary stress on our healthcare system.” Yesterday, the California Department of Public Health said available ICU capacity in Southern California dropped to 1.7%, a full percentage point lower than Monday. L.A. County alone has more than 4,600 people hospitalized. That number is expected to top 5,000 by the weekend. [ABC 7]

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A new study by USC shows that young Californians (ages 18-25) who self-identify as Republicans are less likely to follow distancing guidelines as compared to Democrats or Independents. The young Republican demo was also more likely to visit public indoor venues such as malls and restaurants, and more likely to participate in indoor gatherings of 10 or more people. [Patch]

On Tuesday, Long Beach City Council voted in favor of a resolution that orders grocery stores to give frontline workers an additional $4 an hour in hazard pay. The so-called “hero pay” ordinance expires after 120 days. [ABC 7]

Hundreds of protestors gathered in the parking lot of a Thousand Oaks mall on Tuesday to sing Christmas carols as a demonstration against Southern California’s regional Stay-at-Home order. The event was promoted and led by former Growing Pains star and longtime Christian evangelist Kurt Cameron. [CBS Los Angeles]

A report from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office concludes that officers acted lawfully during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect who ran into the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s on July 21, 2018. Melyda Corado, an assistant store manager, was struck and killed by police gunfire during the shootout. The report is dated Nov. 30, a week before newly-elected D.A. George Gascón was sworn in. [LAist]

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti will not be our nation’s next Transportation Secretary, as the Biden administration announced yesterday it would tap former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for the role. Speculation that Garcetti was a strong contender for the job lingered over the past few weeks, even as local activists held daily protests outside the Mayor’s residence against the possible appointment. [L.A. Times]

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