Coronavirus Today: Why Trump's battle isn't over

Good evening. I'm Soumya Karlamangla, and it's Monday, Oct. 5. Here's what's happening with the coronavirus in California and beyond.

After a chaotic weekend of conflicting information about President Trump’s battle with COVID-19, the First Patient headed home from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening.

His departure came just three days after he was hospitalized for COVID-19. During that time, he received supplemental oxygen, remdesevir and dexamethasone, medicines typically reserved for the sickest of patients. That Trump was given these treatments so soon after his positive test result was announced raised questions about when the president actually fell sick, when he was first diagnosed, and how serious his symptoms were. Those questions remain unanswered.

Trump and some of his staff maintain that his symptoms are mild. On Sunday, he staged a motorcade drive-by to wave at his supporters lined up outside Walter Reed. On Monday, the president tweeted a message that downplayed the severity of the disease.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he wrote on Twitter. “I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Meanwhile, the number of Trump associates testing positive continues to grow. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and aide Nick Luna tested positive for the virus, as did Riverside Pastor Greg Laurie, who attended the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event where Trump announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Even more could fall sick in the week ahead, as it typically takes between five and seven days to test positive after exposure. Trump traveled to multiple states in the week before the announcement of his diagnosis. Now health officials in New Jersey are trying to contact 200 people who may have been exposed to the virus at a Trump campaign event.

As for Trump’s prognosis, experts say he remains contagious and should isolate himself in the White House for 10 days to avoid infecting others. His physician, Dr. Sean Conley, told reporters that the president has “met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria,” even as he cautioned that Trump could face a relapse and is not "entirely out of the woods yet."

“If we can get through [next] Monday … then we will all take that deep sigh of relief,” he said.

By the numbers

California cases and deaths as of 4:00 p.m. PDT Monday:

California logged more than 830,000 cases and 16,000 deaths as of 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, 2020.
(Los Angeles Times Graphics)

Track the latest numbers and how they break down in California with our graphics.

See the current status of California's reopening, county by county, with our tracker.

A map of California showing what tiers counties have been assigned based on their local levels of coronavirus risk.
A map of California showing what tiers counties have been assigned based on their local levels of coronavirus risk.
The tiers to which California counties are assigned based on coronavirus risk level. These determine what can reopen.
The tiers to which California counties are assigned based on coronavirus risk level. These determine what can reopen.

Across California

Months of lying in a hospital bed stripped away not only 50 pounds from Dr. Jay Buenaflor, but sometimes the will to live. The Imperial County pediatrician, now recovering from a rough battle with COVID-19, is relearning how to swallow, speak, stand and walk. “It’s a humbling experience," the 48-year-old said, "but I’m lucky I’m still here.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and 10 of the city’s public employee unions have struck a deal to delay a furlough program approved last month that would force 15,000 city workers to take one unpaid day off every two weeks. The furloughs would amount to a 10% pay cut aimed at trying to balance the budget during the pandemic. The new arrangement will leave workers with just one unpaid day off before the end of the year.

As San Diego schools allow students back on campus, county education and health officials are crafting guidelines for how to handle kids who show up with a stuffy nose or a cough. Under normal circumstances, such symptoms might simply warrant a trip to the school nurse or perhaps a day or two out of school. But conditions are far from normal. “There are a thousand ‘what-ifs’ and it’s really hard to get to the essential decisions that need to be made,” said a program specialist for the county's Office of Education.

When hipster strip club Jumbo’s Clown Room closed in March, a group of dancers from the East Hollywood joint realized no one was coming to save them. So they took their show online. “Strippers in general are often insanely creative people,” said one of the dancers, and with online shows, “we are our own creative directors, we’re our own art directors, we’re our own cinematographers, lighting designers, set designers.”


— For general safety, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (here's a super-fun how-to video). Stop touching your face, and keep your phone clean. Practice social distancing, maintaining a six-foot radius of personal space in public. And wear a mask if you leave home. Here's how to do it right.

— Watch for symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. If you’re worried you might be infected, call your doctor or urgent care clinic before going there.

— Need a COVID-19 test? Here's how to receive a free test if you're in L.A. County. And here's a map of testing sites across California.

— Here's how to care for someone with COVID-19, from monitoring their symptoms to preventing the virus' spread.

— If your job has been affected by the pandemic, here’s how to file for unemployment.

— Here are some free resources for restaurant workers and entertainment industry professionals having trouble making ends meet.

— Advice for helping kids navigate pandemic life includes being honest about uncertainties, acknowledging their feelings and sticking to a routine. Here's guidance from the CDC.

— In need of mental health services? Here are resources for coping during the crisis from the CDC and the L.A. County Department of Mental Health. L.A. County residents can also call (800) 854-7771 or text "LA" to 741741.

— For domestic violence victims, the pandemic can pose a "worst-case scenario," advocates say. If you or someone you know is experiencing such abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or L.A. County’s hotline at 1-800-978-3600. Here are more ways to get help.

Around the nation and the world

After months of campaigning by scientists who have studied the role of aerosols in super-spreading events, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially acknowledged that the coronavirus can spread through microscopic respiratory particles capable of remaining in the air for minutes or even hours before being inhaled. In new guidelines posted Monday, the CDC said that social distancing isn’t enough to protect against this type of transmission, and warned against spending time in crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces. An earlier version of the update briefly appeared on the CDC’s website last month.

Though not typically a slam-dunk for Democrats, Nevada is a state Joe Biden has been counting on. But the canvassing and other in-person campaigning tactics that typically help Democrats secure votes have been significantly hampered by the pandemic. Will Biden have enough support to win the battleground state?

A U.S. advisory panel released recommendations for how a coronavirus vaccine should be distributed. It suggests that the vaccine be made available at no cost, and that healthcare workers and first responders get priority.

When the Trump administration wanted to seal U.S. borders in March, health officials said there was no evidence that doing so would slow the spread of the coronavirus. Yet Vice President Mike Pence ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use its emergency powers and close the borders anyway. The action has so far caused nearly 150,000 asylum seekers and immigrants to be expelled from the country without the usual due process.

Since March, at least 55 journalists in India have been arrested, investigated or questioned by police in connection with their COVID-19 reporting or for alleged lockdown violations. In a country with one of the biggest tolls from the virus, reporting on government mismanagement of the pandemic has become a dangerous job.

A coffin-maker in Johannesburg, Casey Pillay saw firsthand the way the coronavirus upended South Africa. And then his wife, a midwife who delivered babies of coronavirus-positive women, fell sick.

Your questions answered

Today's question comes from readers who want to know: What's the difference between an osteopath and a regular doctor?

Many Americans seem to be wondering about this distinction after learning that Dr. Sean Conley, who is managing President Trump's COVID-19 care, is a D.O. and not an M.D. On Friday, Google searches for "osteopath" spiked higher than they have in the past 90 days — and continue to climb, according to Google Trends.

Times science reporter Deborah Netburn has some answers for us in her story that published today.

Like M.D.s, D.O.s are fully licensed doctors who practice medicine, prescribe drugs and perform surgeries. They also attend four years of postgraduate school, followed by a year of internship, and do at least two additional years of residency before they begin practicing medicine.

Roughly 25% of medical students nationwide are enrolled in colleges of osteopathic medicine, and there are more than 74,000 D.O.s in practice.

The main difference between M.D.s and D.O.s is philosophical, Dr. Kevin Klauer, a former emergency room physician who now serves as chief executive of the American Osteopathic Assn, told Deborah. In osteopathic medical schools, future D.O.s are taught to take a holistic approach to their patient’s care rather than just treating an ailment.

“Infused into the osteopathic curriculum is a focus on treating the whole person, including the mind, body and spirit,” he said.

Our reporters covering the coronavirus outbreak want to hear from you. Email us your questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them. You can find more answers in our Frequently Asked Questions roundup and in our reopening tracker.

For the most up-to-date coronavirus coverage from The Times over the weekend, visit our homepage and our Health section, sign up for our breaking news alerts, and follow us on Twitter and on Instagram.