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Our masked and mail-in future

\Despite early dire warnings from health officials, a sunnier outlook is emerging for California, with several epidemiological studies suggesting the state is probably at the peak number of daily new cases — provided social distancing restrictions remain in place. “Any peak, when it comes, will probably not be significantly higher than today on ICU hospitalizations and overall hospitalizations because we have done all the right things on physical distancing and staying at home,” said Mark Ghaly, California’s health secretary.

Some local governments are contemplating how they might Los Angeles News gradually reopen some workplaces next month. Los Angeles County’s public health chief, Barbara Ferrer, said strategies will need to be in place in order to begin lifting the county’s Safer at Home order, probably in late May. Those could include one-way trails and bike paths, fan-free events that can be seen only on TV, and limits on the number of people in stores.

But the U.S. economy is still tumbling into a recession that appears to be the worst in decades, with deep job losses hitting nearly every industry. Unemployment could reach 20% this month, some economists say — which would be the highest rate since the Great Depression nearly a century ago. During the Great Recession, it never topped 10%.

And California continues to see a rising number of deaths linked to COVID-19. For the third straight day, the number of fatalities in L.A. County hit a new high Thursday as health officials confirmed 55 new deaths. One mother and daughter in Southern California died from the coronavirus on the same day in early April, hours apart in separate hospitals. The Times is writing about some of the hundreds of Californians like them who have lost their lives in the pandemic; their stories will appear on a regularly updated page on our website.

Scientists in China have shed new light on how readily the virus spreads unseen from person to person. They found that an infected person can walk around feeling fine for more than two full days while spewing virus into the air, depositing it onto door knobs and Press Release Distribution Service In Los Angeles handrails, and silently sowing the seeds for future infections.

It’s just one more reminder that, even as California begins planning for a less isolated future, it’s of the utmost importance to follow social distancing measures so we can make that future a reality.

To that end, new rules on face coverings took effect Wednesday night throughout L.A. County: Customers of essential businesses must wear face coverings while inside, and employers must give all employees cloth face coverings to wear while working with people. The order does not require wearing a mask in your own yard or while on a solo run or walk.

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