California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, March 13.

State assumes the power to seize hotels.
A mad rush for toilet paper and water.
And Bernie Sanders finally wins California.



Visitors endured the rain at Disneyland in Anaheim on Thursday.

Allen J. Schaben/L.A. Times via Getty Images

Schools. Colleges. Courts. Prisons. Offices. Arenas. Nursing homes. Farmers' markets.

California is hunkered down. At this point, it may make sense to talk about what isn't closed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. That would include the second-largest school district in the country: Los Angeles Unified. Even as districts moved to halt classes in Sacramento, San Francisco, and numerous other places, Los Angeles has so far held firm. But that may change. Among those now demanding a shutdown: The L.A. teachers union. L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News

Lists of cancellations and closures by region:


Gov. Gavin Newsom talked to reporters in Sacramento on Thursday about limiting crowds.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.

A few days ago, it was a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people, and only in Santa Clara County. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to limit gatherings to no more than 250 — across the entire state. "The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice," he said. A.P. | Mercury News

L.A.'s mayor went further: He wants gatherings of no more than 50. L.A. Daily News | Hollywood Reporter


California can now seize hotels. Newsom issued a sweeping executive order granting government officials the power to commandeer private property as quarantine sites in a public health emergency. "As you can imagine, under our pandemic planning, we're also looking to secure additional assets," he said. L.A. Times | Sacramento Bee


"Government likes to convince the people that they're in charge and everything is under control and we'll take care of you — and that's not true. You're mostly going to experience this on your own." Dr. Scott Morrow, the outspoken chief health officer for San Mateo County, has been getting attention for his unvarnished bulletins on the crisis. N.Y. Times


A patient was tested for the novel coronavirus at a drive-thru facility in San Francisco on Thursday.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Five more cases in San Diego County, six more in Sacramento County, and 18 more in Santa Clara County. Here are latest totals, according to the S.F. Chronicle and N.Y. Times:

1,660 in U.S.
251 in California
142 in Bay Area
54 in Southern California

See live trackers of confirmed coronavirus cases across California, the U.S., and worldwide.


Using a white board and persistent questioning, Rep. Katie Porter got the director of the Centers for Disease Control to agree that the agency would cover all future coronavirus testing. During a congressional hearing, the Democrat from Irvine stressed the need to discover who is infected, then pressed for Dr. Robert Kadlec's commitment. "I think you're an excellent questioner," he said finally, "so my answer is 'yes.'" "Excellent!" Porter responded. "Everybody in America hear that?" O.C. Register | CNN


People waited to enter a Costco in Glendale on Thursday.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Other coronavirus developments:

California's rush to detect new infections is being slowed by shortages of a key chemical used for testing. "I'm surprised this is not more of the national conversation," Newsom said. Mercury News | HuffPost
Asked if he is open to imposing travel restrictions to Washington and California, President Trump said it hasn't been discussed, then added: "Is it a possibility? Yes." C-SPAN | NBC News
Here's a bonkers video showing a line of shoppers winding through a Costco parking lot in Santa Clarita. The hot items: water, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. YouTube/CBSLA

Reminder: You can watch live kittens any time you need at the Kitten Rescue Sanctuary in Los Angeles. YouTube




Bernie Sanders finally won California. With nearly 90 percent of the Super Tuesday votes in, Sanders had 34 percent of the total, followed by 28 percent for Joe Biden, according to NBC News. Sanders has picked up as many as 202 of California's delegates, compared to Biden's 148. The win, while expected, gives Sanders a boost going into Sunday's debate after a string of losses to Biden. NBC News | CNN

Turnout for the March 3 vote is estimated to have been somewhere around 48 percent. Good, not great. S.F. Chronicle


Inmate suicides in California reached record highs last year. A crucial part of the problem: So few psychiatrists are willing to take jobs at the state's prisons. In 2018, about 40 percent of California's psychiatry jobs were empty. That's despite average wages of nearly $300,000 a year. Sacramento Bee


An arid climate and poor drainage has left California soil glutted with salt.

Scientists have compared rising salt levels in the Central Valley floor to a cancer inching surreptitiously into the food supply. Short of somehow whisking it all away, researchers have been zeroing in on another approach: Making crops love salt. At a Riverside laboratory, for example, they're doing DNA analysis that can be used to breed salt-tolerant almond trees. The Counter


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Chip Walter, author of the new book "Immortality, Inc." He discussed how Silicon Valley is trying to solve the biggest disease of all: aging. "It is a biological problem," Walter said. "And you could look at it as an incredibly complex disease, but a disease nevertheless and get to the bottom of it." California Sun Podcast

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In case you missed it


A visitor to Yosemite was unimpressed.

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Death Valley: "Ugliest place I've ever seen." A genius Instagrammer makes national park illustrations using quotes from real one-star reviews. Instagram | Boing Boing
San Francisco's Sutro Baths was inspired by the idea that the finer things in life should be available to all. But blacks were excluded. California Sun
Oil derricks once ruled the Southern California landscape, looming over beaches and neighborhoods. Here are a couple looks back. KCET | Timeline
In 1986, spring break in Palm Springs turned ugly as a mob of young men attacked vehicles, threw bottles at police, and tore at women's clothes. Hundreds were arrested. Desert Sun
A British newspaper Telegraph once named Ganna Walska Lotusland along the Santa Barbara coast among the 10 most beautiful gardens in the world. Atlas Obscura |

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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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