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SoCal has the sun, surf and most coronavirus cases

The state slowly reopens, but some counties, along with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other individuals, want it to happen even faster.

Five California counties have more than 70% of the entire state’s coronavirus cases and when it comes to hospitalizations, the number’s even higher. And Tesla CEO Elon Musk joins those requesting to reopen faster, but he didn’t wait for an answer.

It’s Arlene Martínez, with news for Monday. 

But first, Disneyland Shanghai reopens, and tickets for the rest of the week are sold out. Is Anaheim next? 

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COVID-19 overwhelmingly hits SoCalPeople keep their distance as they exercise outside of a closed La Jolla beach in San Diego on April 15, 2020.

New data show the majority of cases, current hospitalizations and deaths in the Golden State are concentrated in Southern California. 

Together, five SoCal counties account for about 71% of all the state’s cases to date. Not surprisingly, Los Angeles County, as the most populous, leads the pack. But despite housing a quarter of California’s population, it has 47% of the cases as of Monday. The other top four are Riverside, San Diego, Orange County and San Bernardino.

As of Monday, there were 2,770 fatalities from the coronavirus. There are now 67,939 confirmed cases statewide. 

Explore your county’s information here. 

Newsom’s nail salon claim, the packed United flight and Tesla reopensTesla CEO Elon Musk reopened the company’s factory in Fremont, defying a stay-at-home order issued by Alameda County.

Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed the first case of coronavirus from community spread originated at a nail salon, but he won’t elaborate and things don’t all add up.

A United flight bound for San Francisco, and carrying at least 25 medical professionals who had gone to New York to help, was full and passengers wonder why. United had previously said it would keep the middle seats open.

Elon Musk sued Alameda County for being forced to stay closed, threatened to move Tesla out of state and reopened his factory Monday in defiance of public health orders. A state legislator expressed her feelings over the weekend toward him in a tweet: “F*ck Elon Musk.” 

Story continues

Counties to Newsom: We want to open faster

More than two dozen counties have asked for permission to loosen their stay-at-home plans beyond what the state allows, Newsom announced Monday, promising a speedy review as more than 4.5 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.

Newsom relaxed restrictions last week to allow for curbside pickup at many retailers and for manufacturers to resume operations with some limits. But he said counties could go further if they meet strict state standards, including no coronavirus-related deaths and no more than one confirmed case per 10,000 residents in the past two weeks.

Visalia’s Candy Cottage reopened on Thursday with modifications to keep customers safe. The Tulare County Public Health department agrees chocolate is “essential.”

Newsom said his administration has talked with 19 counties, with nine more planned. But it’s been difficult for some highly populated counties to meet state standards. Officials in Kern County, where one nursing home has accounted for most of its deaths, have asked Newsom to reconsider those rules.

“There is a lot of really interesting nuance within these large counties and that obviously needs to be taken into account,” Newsom said during his midday news briefing. 

Yuba and Sutter counties in Northern California easily meet those standards but they didn’t wait for state approval, already allowing dine-in restaurants, hair salons and gyms to reopen.

Last week, the Newsom administration warned the counties they could forfeit federal disaster dollars if they keep ignoring the governor’s order. By Monday, the Democratic governor called the two counties “incredibly cooperative” and said “we’re having some very good conversations.”

States have largely been given authority to handle the pandemic how their leaders see fit. Here’s how it’s played out in four cities near Las Vegas.

More than 15 states were set to reopen in some stage on Monday. Here’s a state-by-state tracker.

“Chocolate is essential”: Downtown Visalia starts to slowly reopen. 

What else we’re talking aboutProtesters gather along the lawn of the Ventura County Government Center on May 9, 2020, to support fully reopening California from coronavirus restrictions, the second such rally in a little more than a week.

Protestors over the weekend gathered outside Ventura County’s government center, calling on the state to fully reopen. Few wore masks. 

They shared water and a mask in an apparent attempt to infect themselves with the coronavirus, and within two weeks 30 prisoners tested positive at a Los Angeles County jail. 

Jobless claims have dropped the last five weeks and four other reasons not to panic over April’s historic unemployment rate. 

A nurse in Hollywood without proper protective gear chose to help a quickly fading patient. The decision may have cost her life. 

A Shasta County resident spent nearly four weeks on a ventilator as she battled for her life. She got out in time to celebrate her 72nd birthday.

The anti-vaccination movement and demonstrations against the coronavirus-related lockdown share a similar message: “In both cases, protesters insist their individual rights trump any societal needs for safety and survival.” (Opinion)

Santa, TV trays, breathing and DIY stroopwafels (!)The Nyeland Acres Santa Claus gets his own mask. The 20-foot-tall landmark off Highway 101 north of Oxnard reminds passersby to wear a mask.

A 20-foot St. Nick off Highway 101 joins the crowd of mask wearers. No word on what the elves are doing.

Bring back the TV tray: The case for mindlessness in a time of pandemic. 

Learning I was breathing wrong changed so many things. See if you’re breathing right plus more tips/advice for coping in a pandemic.

First, it was DoubleTree’s warm chocolate chip cookie, then Disney gave us its Dole Whip and churros. Now, United offers up its stroopwafel recipe. 

Well, now, off to bake. See you Tuesday. Send me any concerns, suggestions, advice or trademarked recipes at or DM me here. 

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Eater Los Angeles, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter.  

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19, California, Elon Musk, Tesla, United, Disney: Monday’s news

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