Even as promising vaccine news breaks Monday morning, local and national trends for COVID-19 spread offer plenty to worry about in the coming months. Also: Angelenos take to the streets to celebrate the new president-elect, some California propositions are still too close to call, and snow falls in the San Bernardino Mountains. Finally, the L.A. Times dives deep into the Grace Community Church saga. First, news.
Morning News Rundown
The United States has averaged 108,737 new COVID-19 cases a day over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins Unversity. The record number of average weekly infections is being felt locally. In Los Angeles County, the 7-day rolling daily positivity rate increased almost a full percentage point over the past week and new daily infections have exceeded 2,000 cases for four consecutive days. [Public Health]
In a bit of good coronavirus news, an early report on the efficacy of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine shows that so far, it has been more than 90% effective during stage 3 trials. The DOW jumped over 4% in early trading on Monday in light of the optimistic news. [CNN]
After Joe Biden was declared president-elect early Saturday morning, residents took to the streets in downtown L.A., Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and other neighborhoods throughout the city to celebrate the victory. Meanwhile, some Trump supporters upset over the result gathered in Beverly Hills to demand a recount. [KTLA]
Three California propositions remain too close to call as of Monday morning. Proposition 14, which would authorize bonds to fund stem cell research, is currently 51% YES to 49% NO. Proposition 15, which would change the tax basis for some commercial properties in order to fund schools, is 51.9% YES to 48.1% NO. Proposition 19, which would change the rules for tax assessment transfers for certain homeowners, is 51.3% YES to 48.7% NO. Currently, 84% of precincts are reporting in California, with millions of votes left to count. About 600,000 votes still need to be counted in L.A. County alone. [CA SOS]
Beloved Jeopardy host Alex Trebek passed away yesterday after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Trebek hosted the iconic quiz show for 36 years. He was 80 years old. [NBC News]
It wasn’t a deluge, but for the first time in over six months, it rained in Los Angeles County on Saturday. Portions of the San Bernardino Mountains also received their first snowfall of the season. [ABC 7]
A football game between UCLA and Utah scheduled for this Friday at the Rose Bowl is being pushed back a day because the Utah team cannot field the minimum number of scholarship players due to COVID-19 isolation protocols. One player’s earlier positive COVID-19 test spurred contact tracing and testing for the whole team. [KNX1070]
The Grace Community Church Saga Continues
I’ve been checking in on the Grace Community Church story every week or so for new developments. In Sunday’s paper, the L.A. Times dug deeper into the months-long battle between the County and the Sun Valley worship center that has refused to comply with orders to stop indoor services.
The reporting calls the church’s fight an “intractable legal and emotional drama that turns on sharply differing visions of safe behavior during a pandemic.” Put another way, it’s a mirror-image of the politicization of COVID-19 that been happening all over the country, starting in the oval office. If you support the epidemiological science that says that mass indoor gatherings are the quickest way to spread infection, it’s also scary as hell.
The Times interviewed several congregants of the church, each of whom had a slightly different rationalization for their ongoing attendance. One thing appears true: The crowds are big, and the beliefs spurring the packed services are only growing more entrenched. It’s worth a read.