LA Times download.pdf - $2.75 DESIGNATED AREAS HIGHER \u00a9 2020 WST D latimes.com FRIDAY Virus\u2019 fallout grows more dire Events called off and parks to

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Unformatted text preview: $2.75 DESIGNATED AREAS HIGHER © 2020 WST D latimes.com FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020 Virus’ fallout grows more dire Events called off and parks to close STOCKS SUFFER WORST DAY SINCE ’87 Dow loses 10% amid virus fear despite reassurances from the Fed and Trump. As Newsom moves to limit mass gatherings, public life slows to a near halt across state. By Geoffrey Mohan and Don Lee Financial markets exercised their own form of social distancing Thursday as they ignored friendly intervention and plunged deeply into bear territory amid coronavirus fears, notching their worst day of trading since the 1987 crash. Neither an automatic timeout in trading, nor a $1.5-trillion Federal Reserve pledge to sop up the bond market, nor a series of clarifications and reassurances from the Trump administration could stem a selling contagion. The market listened, then spun on its heels and sold. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2,352 points, down about 10%, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq trimming 9.5% and 9.4%, respectively. The pain was widespread. Travel plummeted over government restrictions and concerns about containment of the virus. Energy was particularly hard hit as an oil price war coupled with an anticipated fall in demand weighed on investors. Technology firms faltered, with Amazon dropping nearly 8% and Apple falling 9.9% over questions about its supply chain and sales in China. The consumer durables sector notched one of the market’s few gains, up more than 6%, as buyers hoard supplies. Investors were not convinced by President Trump’s Wednesday night speech, nor his Thursday reassurance that the markets would bounce back “very big at the right time.” Within hours, they sent a message back that Thursday was not that time. Some took the coronavirus panic as validation of an ongoing hunch that the market was overvalued, said René Nourse, a CNBC commentator and founder of Urban Wealth Management, an El Segundo financial advisory firm. “When the coronavirus happened, it kicked the door down.” With the market in chaos, talk in Washington turned to remedies. Few of them promise help in the short term. Trump reiterated his [See Markets, A8] By James Rainey, Hailey Branson-Potts and Anita Chabria Allen J. Schaben Los Angeles Times DISNEYLAND , where rainy weather kept crowds sparse Thursday, will close along with Disney California Adventure from Saturday through the end of the month in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Parties close to agreement on coronavirus assistance House Democrats and White House in talks for stimulus bill to aid workers, businesses. By Jennifer Haberkorn and Sarah D. Wire WASHINGTON — After a day of negotiations and partisan brinkmanship, House Democrats and Trump administration officials were close to reaching agreement Thursday evening on an economic stimulus package to address the widening impact of the coronavirus on American workers and businesses. The deal — being forged by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin via frequent phone calls — is expected to eliminate insurance co-payments for COVID-19 testing and provide billions of dollars in aid to state and local governments for food programs and unemployment benefits. It is also likely to include assistance for workers dealing with coronavirus who don’t receive sick pay from their employers. “It’s fair to say we’re close to an agreement, subject to the exchange of paper,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday [See Stimulus, A8] Susan Walsh Associated Press HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell avoid a handshake Thursday at a lunch with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. MORE COVERAGE Closure debate at LAUSD A void in the sports world District officials and the teachers union are at odds over keeping campuses open. CALIFORNIA, B1 The NCAA tournament is canceled, and major pro leagues halt play. At least for now, it’s lights out. SPORTS, D1 Hollywood takes a hit Nightlife braces for effects Studios delay release of potential blockbusters, and TV networks cancel upfront presentations. BUSINESS, C1 Concerts and clubs were still mostly in full swing this week, but that was likely a last gasp before a hiatus. CALENDAR, E1 Biden looks past primaries, slams Trump By Janet Hook WASHINGTON — Joe Biden on Thursday delivered the opening salvo in the general election campaign against President Trump in a speech that centered on the coronavirus crisis, but, more broadly, posed the question Democrats hope to make the centerpiece of their campaign: What kind of leader does America want? With the primary compe- tition against Sen. Bernie Sanders now largely behind him, the former vice president appeared in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., posed in front of five American flags, and focused on his general election rival, Trump. “This virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration,” Biden said. “Public fears are being compounded by pervasive lack of trust in this president fueled by adversarial relationships with the truth. “Our government’s ability to respond effectively has been undermined by the hollowing out of our agencies and disparagement of science.” Later in the day, Sanders also gave a speech on the public health crisis that has overtaken the campaign, and he linked it to his signature issue: the need for a strong government role in providing healthcare to all who need it. Speaking from his hometown of Burlington, Vt., he argued that America’s ability to respond to the crisis has been hampered by the “incompetence and recklessness” of the Trump administration and by the absence of universal healthcare. “If there ever was a time in the modern history of the country when we are all in this together, this is that moment,” Sanders said. [See Biden, A12] State’s pace of testing still lags Without needed chemicals, officials will continue to undercount cases. By Soumya Karlamangla and Emily Baumgaertner ■■■ ELECTION 2020 ■■■ The Democrat paints the president as an ineffective leader fumbling virus crisis. Public life across the state of California ground into a slower and more ominous gear Thursday as attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus shut down community gatherings, sports events and government meetings and forced the planned closure of Disneyland for just the fourth time in its 64-year history. A day after calling for the cancellation of all gatherings of more than 250 people, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a sweeping executive order allowing the state, if necessary, to take over hotels and medical facilities to treat a potential tide of coronavirus patients. The unprecedented actions mirrored a hunkering down across the U.S., as the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, all theaters on Broadway went dark, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would no longer welcome visitors and Major League Baseball called off spring training games and said the start of the season would be delayed at least two weeks. “This is where we need to go next,” Newsom told reporters Thursday, adding that the shutdowns are aimed at slowing the virus’ spread and to “get through [See California, A9] Drew Angerer Getty Images “THIS VIRUS laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration,” Joe Biden said. Testing for the novel coronavirus continues to face severe limitations, as California health officials lack key components to conduct laboratory analysis, marking another barrier in the state’s efforts to identify infectious patients. The shortfall compounds a month of sluggish progress in deploying diagnostic tests developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, if not quickly remedied, could mean continued undercounting of infected patients and hinder efforts to contain the outbreak. “This is imperative that the federal government and [See Testing, A12] A2 FR I DAY , M A R C H 13 , 2 0 2 0 L AT I M E S . C O M BACK STORY His own version of truth Trump’s response to the coronavirus may be making things worse By Eli Stokols and Noah Bierman For the love of stories. Get the latest book news, events and more from the L.A. Times Book Club newsletter. Sign up at latimes.com/bookclub WASHINGTON — President Trump’s inattention to detail, distaste for experts, need for validation and belief that he can create his own set of alternative facts have been hallmarks of his political rise. But after three years in which daily headlines about chaos in Washington often have contrasted with a robust market on Wall Street and tranquility in much of the country, the president’s unorthodox approach to his job has suddenly been cast in a harsher light by a spiraling and potentially catastrophic global public health crisis. Determined to convince the public and the markets that his administration has the threat posed by the new strain of coronavirus under control, Trump’s public statements have more often added to the panic than calmed it. “Lack of information, not being forthright, sugarcoating information — ‘We don’t want people to panic!’ — leads to credibility problems,” said Craig Fugate, who served as a top emergency manager for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and then as the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Obama. Telling the public what you don’t know and what level of confidence you have in the information you have, he continued, is also crucial. “I tell people in public service: This is your moment of truth.” Trump, however, is imposing his own version of truth on the situation. Even as advisors have sought to convince him of the seriousness of the public health threat, he has continued to minimize the impact, repeatedly saying that only the elderly are at real risk. “Stay calm; it’ll go away,” he said after a visit to Capitol Hill this week. But Trump is learning that the virus won’t be contained by wishing it away. Over the weekend, he played golf at Mar-a-Lago and dined with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s spokesperson, who after the dinner posted a photo of himself standing next to Trump, tested positive Thursday for the virus. That news, however, has yet to compel the president to be tested for the virus himself, according to White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. She said he had displayed no symptoms of illness. It was not until Thursday that Trump agreed to quit shaking hands and start canceling campaign rallies, Evan Vucci Associated Press PRESIDENT TRUMP has minimized the COVID-19 pandemic even as advisors have sought to convince him that it is a serious threat to public health. following cancellations by major sports leagues and corporate conventions as well as his Democratic rivals. One of the areas on which Trump has most conspicuously made statements that don’t square with reality involves testing for the virus. “We’ve done a good job on testing,” he insisted Thursday. Almost simultaneously, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the dearth of available tests in the U.S. as the outbreak spreads amounts to “a failing.” “The system is not really geared to what we need right now,” Fauci said in testimony to the House Oversight Committee. “That is a failing.... Let’s admit it.” “The idea of anybody getting [tested] easily, the way people in other countries are doing it — we’re not set up for that,” he said. “Do I think we should be? Yes.” The lack of easily accessible tests has become a major line of attack from Democrats and has generated rising bipartisan frustration. It has increasingly become a devastating symbol of the administration’s overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have a lot of work to do,” Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.) said Thursday. Asked whether he was confident the work would get done to ensure coronavirus tests are more readily available to meet the soaring demand, the senator paused for nearly 10 seconds before answering, “It would be better if we could rewind about six weeks, but we don’t have that luxury.” Inattention to detail has also hurt. Wednesday evening, as he read prepared remarks from a TelePrompTer during an Oval Office address, Trump made several factual errors, including a declaration that the new ban on travel from Europe would apply to trade, which he corrected in a tweet minutes after the speech. His failure to make clear what was covered by his ban on travel from Europe to the U.S. helped generate a crush of travelers at European airports as some American citizens rushed to flights under the mistaken impression that they might not be able to return home. Trump avoided any mention of the meager testing in the U.S. and assured the country that the decline in financial markets wasn’t a crisis but “just a temporary moment in time.” That immediately sparked another massive sell-off. Earlier in the crisis, Trump stated that a vaccine would soon be available, forcing his own health experts to explain that it would not be available for roughly 18 months. He also tipped his hand on the degree to which public perception drives his decisions, saying that he didn’t want to allow a cruise ship with many infected passengers to dock because that would drive up the number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. On Monday, while returning to Washington from Florida, Trump made a point of shaking hands with supporters gathered on the airport tarmac, despite warnings to avoid close contact with others who could spread the virus. Before reporters and cameras in the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump joked that he was uncertain about shaking hands with the visiting Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. But the president continued to put a positive gloss on an increasingly dire situation, stating that the sudden drop in gasoline prices resulting from sharply lower crude oil prices and a growing reluctance to travel is “like a tax cut.” The persistent nonchalance from the president of the United States, increasingly off-key amid growing national concern, has complicated efforts by public health officials to deliver more essential information. That effort gets even harder because of the unofficial requirement for anyone serving in the administration not to contradict Trump publicly. During an off-camera briefing with reporters this weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar was asked about Trump’s false statement that anyone who needs a test for the virus can have one. Rather than simply correct the error and move on, Azar, whose standing in the White House is fragile, tried to square Trump’s bluster with reality. “It’s just different ways of phrasing it,” he said. “He’s using a shorthand. What he meant to say is, ‘We’re not in the way of that.’ ” Inside the West Wing, several officials are “nervous that some of the things being said on television are less than duly vetted,” said a person close to the White House who did not want to be identified to avoid burning bridges. “Everyone is answering to an audience of one,” the person added. Vice President Mike Pence, tapped by Trump to lead the response to the coronavirus crisis, has prefaced almost all of his public comments with praise for the president. During one appearance, he even backed Trump’s decision to shake hands as appropriate “for someone in our line of work.” As Fugate says, “You’ve got public officials put in an awkward position where they’re either having to testify or put out statements that are correcting the president, and now it’s looking like they’re disagreeing with the president.” Many of the administration’s health officials and political appointees share a sense that Trump and some of his closest aides have been slow to appreciate the seriousness of the threat, multiple White House staffers said. But there are some signals that may finally be changing, even though the window for containing the spread of the pandemic has likely passed. “They’ll never admit to any sort of wrongdoing, but I think they’re pivoting to, ‘Here’s the real story and this is what we know,’” said the person close to the White House. Times staff writer Jennifer Haberkorn contributed to this report. 1,000 WORDS: OLYMPIA, Greece Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images TORCHBEARER Greek Olympian Anna Korakaki receives the Olympic flame during the lighting ceremony Thursday in Olympia, in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Tokyo organizers are downsizing the arrival ceremony for the Olympic torch because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori said that 140 children will not be sent to Greece to give the flame a send-off on March 19, a day before it is due to arrive in Japan. The four-month torch relay around Japan will begin on March 26. F R I DAY , M A R C H 13 , 2 0 2 0 L AT I M E S . C O M A3 THE WORLD U.S. travel ban opens new rift with Europe Leaders on continent say Trump’s order won’t stem spread of virus and only stokes bias By Christina Boyle and Laura King LONDON — President Trump’s surprise order banning travel to the United States from much of Europe hammered financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic on Thursday, opened a stark new rift with European allies and drew accusations that he was fanning xenophobia rather than engaging in a serious effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus. European leaders expressed indignation and bafflement over the sweeping restrictions, saying they were not consulted in advance about a directive likely to carry broad economic repercussions. They also chafed at Trump’s suggestion that inadequate containment efforts in Europe allowed travelers to “seed” a U.S. outbreak. In an Oval Office address Wednesday night, the U.S. leader announced that all travel and movement of cargo into the United States from Europe, except from Britain, would be halted — though that statement was quickly walked back. U.S. officials said the restrictions would apply to people, not goods — and not to U.S. citizens and their immediate family members. The directive covers most foreign citizens who had been in Europe’s passportfree travel zone — the socalled Schengen area — at any point in the 14 days before seeking to travel to the United States. Even in its diluted form, the order appeared to be another instance of Trump catching allies unawares with a major policy decision, and markets plunged anew in Europe and the United States, intensifying fears of a global recession linked to the outbreak. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. The leaders called the spread of the coronavirus “a global crisis, not limited to any continent,” saying it “requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.” And they took exception to Trump’s characterization of a lax European response, saying the EU is “taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.” Some former diplomats and analysts suggested that the president’s announcement was an attempt to blame outsiders rather than explaining how the U.S administration intended to combat the threat. “Trump needed a narra- Emilio Morenatti Associated Press TRAVELERS at Barcelona’s airport on Thursday. Spain is among the 26 European countries affected by Pres- ident Trump’s sweeping travel restrictions, which were issued without consultation with European leaders. ‘In a time when the EU is challenged to its core, the U.S. is closing its borders and turning its back on allies.’ — Benjamin Haddad, Thanassis Stavrakis Associated Press director of the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council EUROPEAN Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the pandemic is “a global crisis” that “requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.” tive to exonerate his administration from any respon...
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