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Photo: Maureen Sullivan/Getty Images

More than 9,000 people were in the dark on Friday morning in several counties across Southern California, according to Southern California Edison.

The state of play: Edison began switching off power to customers on Thanksgiving Day as strong Santa Ana winds increased wildfire risk in the region.

  • Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties have largely gone dark, with Kern and Riverside counties under consideration.
    • More than 102,000 customers are facing potential power shutoffs.

Worth noting: The National Weather Service issued a high-winds warning on Friday as gusts top 55 mph and isolated gusts up to 70 mph blew near and below the Cajon Pass and in the Santa Ana Mountains.

Zoom out: The outages come as California experiences a spike of coronavirus infections, with nearly 15,000 new cases and 104 deaths reported on Thursday.

  • State officials urged residents to avoid large gatherings for Thanksgiving.

Go deeper

Black Santa, Latino Jesus: How holiday icons are changing in 2020

American Sprinter Carmelita Jeter poses with Mr. and Mrs. Black Santa at an annual Compton, Calif., Toy Giveaway in December 2017. Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images

Black Santa, Native American Nativity scenes, and diverse-cast Christmas movies are becoming regular sights around the holidays as U.S. demographics transform.

Why it matters: Advertisers, shopping malls, and movie studios have finally embraced diverse holiday imagery during a national reckoning on race and as communities of color continue to claim Christmas as their own celebration.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."