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WATCH: Monday's Top Headlines In 5 Minutes

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Happy Monday all. I hope you’re well. I’m Adriene Hill, the managing editor.

We had a number of sobering updates from state and local officials today. We’re doing our best to understand and explain how COVID-19 is reshaping life here in Southern California. If you have questions, or observations please be in touch.

Today, PBS SoCal Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis and I talk with:

About this project: The KPCC + LAist newsroom is working together with PBS SoCal and KCET to get our reporting out to a wide audience.

LA Suspends All Farmers Markets, Expands Eviction Moratorium

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All farmers markets in Los Angeles will be suspended until they can show the city they have a plan to enforce safe social distancing among their patrons, the mayor said Monday night, citing crowds that gathered this weekend.

"Now, this is a little different than the other [closures] because food is essential. And I don't want the closing of farmers markets to have even bigger crowds at our grocery stores," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during his nightly update on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Markets will now be required to submit plans that enforce physical distancing to the city's Bureau of Street Services. Garcetti said that will likely mean markets need to have one entrance and one exit and must enforce a safe distance between people waiting in line. Markets will not be allowed to operate until they submit their plans.

Garcetti said the city also had to close Silver Lake Meadow, a popular spot near the Silver Lake Reservoir where sunbathers, families and friends gather on weekends. That closure adds to the numerous park and trail closures already in effect across the city and county.

Garcetti also said the city is expanding the eviction moratorium that's currently in effect.

The moratorium covers both commercial and residential units, and residential tenants will now have a full year to pay back any rent they can't afford to pay during the current pandemic, per a city ordinance Garcetti said he signed today. (Commercial tenants will still have to pay back rent in three months.)

"If you cannot pay the rent as a result of this emergency, you cannot be evicted," he said.

In addition, Garcetti is implementing a new emergency order that puts a temporary hold on all rent increases in rent-stabilized units, of which he said there are 624,000 across 118,000 buildings in the city. Normally, landlords can increase the rent by 4% per year under the Rent Stabilization Order.

Here are some other takeaways from tonight's address:

  • LAPD visited 46 non-essential businesses that were refusing to close down, and Garcetti said those businesses will be referred for prosecution if they continue to operate
  • 42 trailers have been delivered to the Westwood Recreation Center to expand the city's capacity to safely shelter people who are showing symptoms and need to be isolated or quarantined. By Wednesday, another 27 are expected to be placed at the Granada Hills Rec Center
  • People are taking advantage of the reduced traffic to speed but that's causing "horrific accidents," Garcetti said. He warned drivers that LAPD officers will be issuing tickets.
  • 8,373 tests have been completed by the city's fire and personnel departments. By the end of this week, the pace of testing could increase to 13,000 per week
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Trump Backs Off Returning To Normal Life By Easter

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US President Donald Trump speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Ima

Donald Trump on Monday warned Americans to prepare for more disruption and death as authorities extend quarantine procedures for several more weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. president acknowledged on Sunday that his goal of returning to normality by Easter won't happen and said the federal guidelines for social distancing would remain in effect until April 30.

"Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days," Trump said.

He warned Americans to expect at least another month of social distancing — with all of its social and economic consequences — would be necessary. That decision was based on modeling that indicates the peak in fatalities might not arrive for another two weeks.

Public health authorities believe social isolation and bans on groups larger than 10 people will slow down the spread of COVID-19 and a smaller population of infected people will reduce the burden on hospitals and medical workers.

Virginia governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide "stay-at-home" decree that runs until June 10. San Francisco mayor London Breed extended the city's "stay safe" order until May 1.

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to climb, nearing 160,000, with nearly 3,000 deaths.

Public health authorities are framing the possible death toll in grim numbers. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, told NBC that in the best case, 200,000 people could die from the virus.

Trump said on Monday that Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, another specialist on the White House's coronavirus task force, showed him estimates that suggested if the U.S. returned to life as normal with no additional countermeasures, 2 million or more Americans could die.

But the precautions have delt a heavy blow to the economy. Millions of Americans are out of work after social distancing and isolation protocols forced the closure of countless businesses. Macy's said on Monday that it is furloughing some 130,000 workers.

One projection circulating on Monday put the potential nadir for the employment rate at a level worse than what was seen during the Great Depression.

Trump has signed legislation aimed at providing around $2.2 trillion worth of relief to the paralyzed economy. He and members of Congress haven't ruled out more legislation along those lines, depending on the way the coming weeks unfold.

The United States entered 2020 with record debt and the borrowing associated with this year's rescue package will be "mind-boggling," as one specialist told NPR.

Financial markets, at least, have been buoyed by the passage of the relief legislation and the commitments by leaders in Washington — including Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell — to take whatever measures are necessary to sustain the economy through the crisis.

Trump on Monday hailed what he called the valuable contributions made by American industry and invited a number of company bosses to discuss their production.

Trump also said that a number of companies are producing ventilators to help the growing number of hospital patients.

The latest announcement came from Ford and GE Healthcare, which are on track to build 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days.

Trump said that if the country produces more ventilators than America can use, he will send the surplus machines to Europe, perhaps Italy, France or Spain. It isn't clear whether the U.S. government would give the equipment to these nations or their governments would buy them.

Who LA's COVID-19 Eviction Ban Covers -- And Doesn't

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Dieu Pham, 70, takes part in an anti-eviction protest outside her apartment building on 920 Everett Street in August 2019. (Josie Huang/LAist)

Getting evicted during a pandemic means having to find a new place -- then moving -- at a time when California is under a stay-at-home order.

That has housing advocates in Los Angeles and some city officials calling for broad eviction protections for everybody.

The way the city's eviction moratorium is written now, just those tenants affected by COVID-19, including financially, would see removal actions stalled. Tenants seeking eviction protection would have to produce documentation such as medical bills or job termination notices.

The uncertainty tenants are facing now is playing out at 920 Everett Street on the edge of Chinatown and Echo Park. Some readers may remember this is where Dieu Pham, a 70-year-old grandmother from Vietnam lives.

When her ex-landlord threatened Pham and the other tenants with eviction last year, they went to look for him in Brentwood and held a protest outside his home in a residential neighborhood.

That eviction didn't happen, and the landlord sold the apartment complex to a new owner -- who is now threatening tenants with eviction once again so that the landlord can start a major renovation.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE:

Villanueva: 'Here's A Message For The Board Of Supervisors'

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In a press conference this morning, officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department provided an update on coronavirus in local jails, including the announcement that an inmate has tested positive.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva also took advantage of the moment to send a "message [to] the Board of Supervisors" regarding their effort to remove him as the head of emergency operations during a crisis.

One inmate and four people working in the county jail system have tested positive for COVID-19. The inmate was housed at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

According to today's briefing, he was removed from the housing area on the morning of March 26, and has since been in isolation. His condition is stable.

No one who had contact with the inmate is currently experiencing symptoms. However, 190 inmates are in temporary quarantine, pending testing results.

Villanueva then turned the topic to the board's effort to make changes to emergency protocol:

Here's a message for the Board of Supervisors. If the Board of Supervisors votes tomorrow to remove me as a director of emergency operations – actually, eliminate the position of Director of Emergency Operations, this will impact public safety and public health... If you're asking the public to stay home, cooperate with authorities, the same applies to the Board of Supervisors ... This is not meant to stoke any fears, but we have to be united in this fight, and not to be distracted by politics, because that has no place in this fight against this deadly disease.

Members of the board have said previously that the decision has been in the works for over a year, and has nothing to do with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus And Food -- The Latest News

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People on low incomes and retirees choose food at the World Harvest Food Bank in Los Angeles, California on July 24, 2019. (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Here's all the SoCal food news that's fit to print, or at least all the food news we can remember. It's been a busy few days.

At least four Southern California grocery store employees have tested positive for coronavirus including one employee at Costco in Marina del Rey, one at Vallarta Supermarket in Canoga Park, one at Gelson's in Pacific Palisades and one at Sprouts in Tustin.

Instacart's gig workers have launched a massive, nationwide strike. The grocery delivery company relies on 175,000 gig workers and, according to Vice, they are demanding the company "provide hazard pay of an additional $5 an order, free safety gear (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and soap) to workers, and expands its paid sick leave to include workers with pre-existing conditions who have been advised by their doctors not to work at this time."

After the coronavirus outbreak, China has made eating wild animals illegal — but ending the trade won't be easy. "The cultural roots of China's use of wild animals run deep, not just for food but also for traditional medicine, clothing, ornaments and even pets," CNN says. Scientists believe coronavirus jumped to humans from either a bat, a snake or a pangolin in a "wet market," one that sells fresh meat, fish, produce, and other perishable goods, in Wuhan.

Chef Tom Colicchio thinks it's a bad idea for restaurants to stay open, even for takeout and delivery — especially in New York. "Restaurants are doing this because they’re struggling, I understand the intention, I had the same desire to make sure my staff is kept whole, but it's just not a good thing to do right now," he says. Colicchio has joined forces with several other chefs and restaurateurs, including local stars Suzanne Goin and nancy Silverton, to launch the the Independent Restaurant Coalition, an orgnization that advocates for financial relief for restaurant workers.

World Harvest Food Bank, a Pico-Union food bank that works more like a grocery store, has tripled in business, thanks in part to a bump from artist Shepard Fairey, reports Los Angeleno.

On the local front, Beverly Hills institution Nate'n Al's has closed. Yesterday (Sunday, Mar. 29), was its last day in business. The Jewish deli had been struggling these last couple years alhough it seemed like it had been saved by Irving and Shelli Azoff, the couple that bought the Apple Pan, another old timer L.A. restaurant, back in Feb. 2019. It looks like the deal to move Nate'n Al's to a new location fell through, Eater LA reports.

For the first time since WWII, See's Candies has stopped producing its nuts, its chews and all of its other treats. The company was founded in Los Angeles in 1921. During WWII, it had to stop making candy due to rationing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mei Lin, the chef and owner of acclaimed Nightshade, talks about how and why she decided to close her swanky restaurant in DTLA's Arts District. It's not just a practical challenge, it's a devastating emotional one.

READ MORE OF OUR CORONAVIRUS & FOOD COVERAGE:

7 More Dead Of COVID-19 In LA County; 6 Deaths So Far In Nursing Homes

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Seven more people have died in Los Angeles County because of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths countywide to 44, while the number of positive cases has increased by 342.

Six of those who died were older than 65 and one was between 41-65 years old. In addition, six of the people who died had pre-existing health conditions, including the younger one.

In total so far, six of the people who have died in L.A. County were residents of nursing homes, according to county public health director Barbara Ferrer. That's a sobering reminder that while most of the infections continue to be among people aged 18 to 65, it is the elderly and those with underlying conditions who are getting hit hardest, and the more people who are infected, the greater the danger to those who are most vulnerable.

Earlier reports stated outbreaks at three nursing facilities and nursing homes. Ferrer said the health department defines an "outbreak" in this context as a facility with three or more positive cases.

In total now there are outbreaks at 11 "institutional settings" — a term Ferrer is using to include nursing homes and other facilities like jails and prisons. Staff, faculty, and residents of all 11 facilities have been notified, Ferrer said.

In all, positive cases have been reported at 25 institutional settings. That apparently includes one inmate at a jail, though Ferrer wouldn't say which one. The total number of cases across all of these settings is 130.

Here are some more takeaways from today's update:

  • 2,474 total cases in L.A. County
  • 86% of the people who have died also had underlying health conditions
  • The mortality rate for COVID-19 remains at 1.8%, though this is a number that will continue to fluctuate as more positive cases are identified
  • 492 people have been hospitalized so far, or about 20% of all positive cases
  • Of those hospitalized, 184 were 50 or older, and 46% were over 65
  • 26% of hospitalized patients are currently in the ICU
  • 1 inmate has tested positive and been removed from the jail to isolation at a medical facility
  • 4 staff members at correctional facilities have also tested positive; all are isolated now, and their close contacts are quarantined
  • 2 positive cases among the homeless, and these individuals are also in isolation with their close contacts being identified and quarantined
  • 1 staff person working to provide homeless services has also tested positive
  • "Dozens and dozens of cases" among health care workers, Ferrer said, and investigations are ongoing where they work to identify possible exposures
  • As of yesterday, more than 15,500 people have been tested, and 12% of them have been positive

"It's a good opportunity to remind all of us to be so grateful for the dedication of all of our healthcare workers. They really do put their lives on the risk, on the line every single day. They're taking a lot of risks, caring for people who are often very sick and need elaborate and close contact in the care that's being provided, so we owe them a debt of gratitude for being on the job and doing such a good job."

Ferrer affirmed that current models suggest cases could peak in late April, but she said her team is analyzing the numbers every single day to make adjustments. Any forecasts are just that — forecasts.

Gov. Newsom Announces California Health Care Worker Surge Initiative, Gives Coronavirus Update

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced what his office described as "a major initiative to surge California‘s health care workforce" as the state deals with the novel coronavirus.

HEALTH CARE WORKER SURGE PLAN

The state is seeking additional health care staff to assist with the projected surge in coronavirus patients, with Newsom asking health professionals to register at HealthCorps.ca.gov. The effort includes working with health professionals who may have retired in the last five years or are currently working to get licensed or relicensed. The shift in licensing requirements is currently set to last through June 30.

Over the next few weeks, Newsom expects that the state will be able to provide enough resources — such as hospital beds and medical personnel — in the aggregate to handle coronavirus patients, but that this depends on factors like success in finding additional health care workers.

There are about 37,000 potential health workers available who could be tapped, according to Newsom. Workers being asked to sign up, according to the state website, include:

  • Physicians (MD, DO), including medical students
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurses (RN, LVN, CNA), including nursing students
  • Behavioral health professionals (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, LCSW, LMFT, LPCC)
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Paramedics
  • Medical assistants
  • Emergency medical technicians

Newsom asked people who know anyone who might be willing to give their time — and be compensated for doing so — to encourage those people to register to join the effort. He also emphasized that this would only be temporary and that health workers shouldn't expect this to be the new status quo.

The health care worker surge program is being paid for through a number of sources, including both state and federal funding from sources like FEMA.

Dr. Shannon Udovic-Constant with the California Medical Association joined Newsom to encourage fellow medical professionals to sign up to help.

HOSPITAL BEDS AND OTHER RESOURCES

Over the last four days, the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in California has doubled, Newsom said. He said that there are 1,432 hospitalizations, with 597 ICU beds in use right now. Newsom said that county-level information on hospitalizations would also be released.

At least 50,000 additional hospital beds will be needed in the second half of May, according to projections, California Department of Public Health Director Mark Ghaly said. The largest impediment to increased coronavirus testing at this time is a lack of swabs, Newsom said.

Among other potential surge sites for additional hospital beds, Newsom cited the L.A. Coliseum as one location the state is looking at. There were 150 ventilators that have been refurbished and sent back to L.A. County, Newsom said.

Emphasizing the importance of continued social distancing, Newsom compared the current moment to skydiving, saying that we are not yet close to the ground — so we shouldn't cut the parachute.

Newsom expressed his thanks to Facebook for donating $25 million in stipends to help with child care.

The governor's office has announced there will be daily COVID-19 press briefings at 12 p.m. starting this week.

LAUSD Confirms First Employee Virus Case As It Rushes To Distribute Laptops, Internet Hotspots

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L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner confirmed the “first known diagnosis of a Los Angeles Unified employee having COVID-19” in a video update today. He said the school district first learned of the case last week.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “as the virus spreads throughout the communities we serve, we know this will not be the only employee or member of our school community who is diagnosed.”

Beutner also provided updated statistics on the district’s efforts to close a “great big digital divide” that has hampered efforts to pivot to online instruction while campuses are closed because of the coronavirus.

Beutner has estimated one-quarter of its students lack internet access at home. Others don’t own a computer at home, making it difficult for them to continue their studies online.

Throughout the crisis, Beutner has been blunt. Last week, he said this “digital divide” means thousands of students “aren't getting the learning opportunity they should be." Today, he shared more details about just how many students are logging on:

  • “Of 120,000 high school students,” he said, “there are about 15,000 with whom there has been no online contact since schools closed. We’re working to reduce that number to zero.”
  • 2,000 high school students have received internet hotspots as part of the district’s deal with wireless giant Verizon.
  • Most high schoolers — 88% — have logged on at some point since March 16, the first day schools were closed.
  • But the number of students who participate in online classes on a daily basis is lower: on any given day, about 68% of high schoolers log on, Beutner said.

Beutner said officials have started to distribute laptop computers and internet hotspots to the thousands who need them to continue their studies. He said the district’s primary goal is to distribute devices to every high school student who needs them “as soon as we can.”

While Beutner has not laid out a timetable for distributing all devices, he also counseled patience:

“Imagine trying to change the seats on an airplane, and maybe some of the wiring, while continuing to fly at 30,000 feet in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm in a plane low on fuel. The shift to online learning in our schools is a bit more difficult.”

LAUSD does not plan to resume in-person instruction until at least May 4.

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Lonnie Franklin Jr., Convicted ‘Grim Sleeper’ Serial Killer, Dies In Prison

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Lonnie Franklin Jr., a convicted serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper," listens to emotional statements from family members of his victims before being sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP

Lonnie Franklin Jr., the convicted serial murderer known as the “Grim Sleeper,” died in prison Saturday.

The 67-year-old was found unresponsive in his single cell on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

“Medical assistance was rendered and an ambulance was summoned. Franklin was pronounced deceased at 7:43 p.m.,” state prison officials said in a statement.

An autopsy is pending to determine the cause, but officials said there were no signs of trauma.

In 2016, Franklin was found guilty of killing nine women and one teenage girl in South Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007. Authorities believe he murdered at least five other women.

He was sentenced to death and arrived on death row in August 2016.

MORE ON THE ‘GRIM SLEEPER’ CASE:

Yes, SoCal’s Air Is Insanely Clear Right Now (And We Have A Good Idea Why)

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Near-empty freeways and clear skies in the age of coronavirus. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

We were driving on the 134 Freeway in the hills above Eagle Rock, making our way to Glendale when I gasped.

“Is that… the ocean?!?” I asked my wife. Past the rise of Griffith Park, where the thing that usually catches my eye is the observatory dome, I swear I saw blue waters.

I’m far from the only person to notice the skies above Southern California are ridiculously clearer these past couple weeks.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District keeps track of how our skies are doing. If you look at their interactive map showing the region’s air quality index (AQI), you’ll likely be seeing all green right now.

Transportation-related emissions — which includes planes, trains and private automobiles — are behind 80% of our region’s air quality problems, Philip Fine, deputy executive officer for AQMD, told me recently.

As more restrictions on daily life have been put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, we’re driving way less, so it makes sense that vehicle emissions are down. But just how much is that contributing to our cleaner air?

Researchers expect that the dramatic dropoff in private vehicle commuting — plus the slowdown of truck traffic at our local ports in the early weeks of the pandemic — had a notable impact on our improved air quality. But it’s too early to accurately measure that impact, Fine said, thanks to that series of rainstorms we got at the same time our commuting and social lives started to taper off.

March is typically “one of our cleaner months,” Fine said, given the weather systems that typically roll through as winter turns to spring. Here’s how he explained it:

"Those are the conditions that tend to clean the air anyway, absent any type of reduction in emissions. So it's been really difficult for us to tease out whether we're actually seeing the effect of the lower emissions, or we're just seeing our typical clean air that we get on these stormy days, and it's too early to tell which factor is more important, or what we can attribute the clean air to; it's probably a combination of both."

Fine said it’ll be a week or two before AQMD researchers have a scientific sense of just how much our reduced commuting has helped clear the air.

For reference though, check out this map from NASA showing an eye-popping change in air pollution in China before and after the government there shut down transportation and slowed the economy.

We’ll bring you an update when AQMD knows more.

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Pasadena Unified Temporarily Stops Grab-And-Go Meal Service

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A makeshift sign outside of Edison Middle School announces a grab-and-go station. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

The Pasadena Unified School District temporarily suspended free “grab-and-go” meal distribution to students on Monday because of a report that an employee in one of its central kitchens may have contracted coronavirus.

“While the diagnosis of COVID-19 is not confirmed at this time, our hearts are with our PUSD team member and their family during this very difficult time,” Superintendent Brian McDonald wrote in the announcement.

The district initally said that service would not resume until later in the week, but later in the day it sent out an updated message saying meal distribution will resume on Tuesday with help from volunteers and an outside vendor while the kitchen facility is being cleaned. Here's more from the update message:

In an abundance of caution, we temporarily suspended meal service for today, March 30 after we received a report of a possible COVID-19 case involving a PUSD employee who worked in one of our central kitchens. At this time, the case has not been confirmed.

Following the guidance of the Pasadena Public Health Department, deep cleaning and sanitizing of kitchens and facilities will be conducted, and employee’s co-workers were advised of possible exposure. We plan to resume regular meal service by PUSD staff on April 14.

Although we regret the hardship involved with the temporary suspension, we are fully committed to the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. The PUSD team is dedicated to creating solutions on issues affecting students, families and staff.

I am so grateful for the strength and commitment demonstrated every day by the employees of PUSD.

In times of crises such as the one we are living through now, it’s clear that heroes don’t always wear capes. Instead, they use computers and telephones to teach, answer phones and emails to keep our operations functioning, and prepare meals so that our students and their families continue to receive the essential services that they rely on to get through this crisis.

MORE INFORMATION:

Will COVID-19 Crisis Push Community College Students To Drop Out?

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The campus of Glendale College, a community college, pre-coronavirus. (Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/LAist)

The effort to move community classes online has been a large feat.

On Monday, many colleges enter their second week of online instruction and some, like the nine-campus Los Angeles Community College District begin online teaching. Educators say the goal is to continue instruction, not necessarily turn faculty into model distance educators. But some student reactions suggest colleges’ efforts may not be enough to counter the impact of the current crisis.

No matter how engaging the professors make the classes, some of their efforts will meet with the reality that online learning is not what some students signed up for.

And motivation won’t be enough for many community college students to overcome what the coronavirus crisis is throwing at them: lost jobs and many more hours during the day caring for family instead of studying.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE:

Map: COVID-19 Cases Top 786K Worldwide; Nearly 2,500 In LA County

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Note on the data you see when clicking on a bubble: Confirmed cases include presumptive positive cases | Recovered cases outside China are estimates based on local media reports, and may be substantially lower than the true number | Active cases = total confirmed - total recovered - total deaths.


Editor's note: For the most recent updates, check our latest tracker post for Tuesday, March 31.

Jump to: CALIFORNIA | WORLDWIDE | SOCAL COUNTIES | ANALYSIS

WHERE WE STAND

The U.S. is now reporting more than 164,000 of the more than 786,228 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide as of 9:30 p.m. Monday.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom had sobering news Saturday, saying patients needing ICU care in the state had gone up 105% overnight and hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients had risen nearly 40%.

Newsom spoke Saturday from of a Bay-area fuel cell plant that's now working to refurbish ventilators. He said the state now has more than 400 COVID-19 ICU patients. He called that number "relatively modest" but warned that as new confirmed cases continue the percentage increase was of deep concern.

The uptick in California cases came as the U.S. and Italy are now both reporting more confirmed COVID-19 cases than China, where the outbreak began late last year. Spain now has more confirmed cases than China, where the spread of COVID-19 has greatly slowed.

As of Monday afternoon, L.A. County is reporting 2,474 cases with about one in five patients requiring hospitalization. The county reported 342 new confirmed cases Monday. That includes seven new COVID-19 related deaths.

WORLDWIDE

The U.S. is among a number of countries experiencing large-scale outbreaks. The map at the top of this post shows cumulative confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries and is updated in near real-time throughout the day. Zoom out to see more of the world.

As of 9:30 p.m. Monday, here are the total confirmed cases for the 10 countries currently facing the worst outbreaks:

  1. 164,603 United States | pop. 327M
  2. 101,739 Italy | pop. 60.6M
  3. 87,956 Spain | pop. 47M
  4. 82,240 China | pop. 1.4B
  5. 66,885 Germany | pop. 83M
  6. 45,170 France | pop. 65M
  7. 41,495 Iran | pop. 82M
  8. 22,454 United Kingdom | pop. 67M
  9. 15,922 Switzerland | pop. 8.5M
  10. 11,899 Belgium | pop. 11.4M

These numbers are changing rapidly and experts have warned that confirmed cases are far under the actual total of infected individuals. For more detail check the full tracker, which includes death tolls and projections of cases on the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering site. Engineers there are collecting data from:

As of late Monday morning, worldwide the Johns Hopkins tracker is reporting:

  • 37,820 deaths
  • 166,041 recoveries

IN CALIFORNIA

Statewide, our friends on the L.A. Times data desk are tracking cases in California by surveying "numbers released by the dozens of local health agencies across the state." As of 10 p.m. Monday, the newspaper is reporting California has:

  • 7,426 confirmed cases
  • 149 deaths

[Note: If you hit a paywall on the full tracker, please consider subscribing. They have a $1 for eight weeks special. We don't have a paywall but we do count on member support to run our newsroom.]

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AT A GLANCE

Health officials here continue to stress that they are seeing most cases in people under the age of 65. L.A. County's Public Health director Barbara Ferrer has said 80% of the cases have been people between 18-65, and 42% have been people between 18-40.

The local mortality rate has ticked up. As of Monday L.A. County was reported a rate of 1.8%. That rate is higher than the nationwide average and significantly higher than what we experience with annual flu cases. Keep in mind, it partially reflects the who is being tested at this point.

Last week, when the local mortality rate was at 1%, Ferrer told us:

"You can imagine if we have thousands and thousands and thousands of people infected, then 1% becomes a large number. And every single person who dies like that's a story, that's a loved one. That's a person who other people care about and they're gonna miss."

Current as of Monday

LA COUNTY

  • 2,474 cases
  • 44 deaths

* [Includes numbers released by Long Beach after the county's Sunday update. See more from L.A. County]

ORANGE COUNTY

  • 464 cases
  • 4 deaths

* More from Orange County

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

  • 291 cases
  • 9 deaths

* More from Riverside County

VENTURA COUNTY

  • 126 cases
  • 4 death

* More from Ventura County

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

  • 111 cases
  • 3 death

* More from San Bernardino County

FLATTEN THE CURVE

As new cases continue to be confirmed, Californians are a week into "safer at home" and "social distancing" orders. Last Thursday, state and county officials ordered the vast majority of Californians to strictly limit interactions with other people, wash hands frequently, and stay six feet away from others.

Remember, the goal of social distancing is to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread.

Source: CDC, Drew Harris (Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR)

The more we can slow the rate of infection, the less overwhelmed the hospital system will be.

Here's a look at nine scenarios over six, nine, and 12 months from our friends at ProPublica:

(Courtesy of ProPublica)

And here's the impact on California hospitals:

(Courtesy of ProPublica)

SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


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How COVID-19 Is Affecting People Living With A Mental Illness

Updated
Published
A new study on mental health care suggests a dearth of providers willing to accept insurance. (Rebecca Plevin/ KPCC)

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s mental health, as we’re forced to limit face-to-face interaction and hole up at home under state and local orders aimed at slowing the rate of infection.

That psychological toll can be especially hard for people living with a mental illness.

“We’ve received a lot more crisis calls from family members, but also from people living with mental illness asking for resources of any kind,” said Brittany Wiessman, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in L.A. County.

Weissman said it doesn’t help that many patients are having their in-person clinical sessions upended.

Dr. Curley Bonds, Chief Medical Officer for the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, said many mental health providers have switched over to tele-health appointments.

But he’s concerned that some psychiatric facilities may be shutting their doors to in-patient care. He told us:

“We have heard some reports that a few of these facilities have said, ‘We’re not taking on new patients right now.’”

He’s also worried what the economic downturn from the pandemic could mean for non-profits that were already struggling to provide mental health services.

GET SOME TIPS:

Some resources from our friends at CalMatters:

ASK FOR HELP

Morning Briefing: LA Preps For A Surge In COVID-19 Patients

Updated
Published

As SoCal continues to prep for even bigger numbers of COVID-19, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced yesterday that the massive downtown convention center is being turned into a field hospital.

So there’s that.

Here’s what happened in the past 24 hours:

  • In a bid to ensure more hospitals and health care workers have the medical equipment they need, the mayor is appointing the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles as the city’s new chief logistics officer.
  • In Riverside County, all hotels, motels and short-term rentals are temporarily banned from taking any guests other than for essential workers such, as medical supply delivery drivers, or for sheltering the homeless and the sick.
  • A federal judge has ordered the release of two detainees from the Adelanto ICE facility in San Bernardino, arguing Immigration and Customs Enforcement is failing to protect them against the coronavirus pandemic.
  • As confirmed cases continue to climb in the U.S. (here in L.A., five more deaths were reported), President Donald Trump has extended the federal social distancing guidelines by another month — to April 30.
  • Got questions on how to practice safe social distancing? Consult a natural expert: P-19, the oldest mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains study area. Meanwhile, here’s what we know and what we don’t know about all those possible treatments for COVID-19 that Trump has been promoting.
  • We still don’t know how easily this new coronavirus can spread through the air. The World Health Organization says it doesn’t seem to linger or travel more than 3 feet, but at least one medical expert says it’s way too soon to know that.
  • Trying to remain sane through all this can be very, very hard. Here’s some expert advice on how to get through this crisis without losing your mental health (and yes, one pro tip is to know the facts — but limit your news intake).

Here’s what we’re covering today:

  • L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is scheduled to update the public on what’s going on in the jails this afternoon. We’ll have that news conference live and bring you the key takeaways.
  • Caroline Champlin has a closer look at local response rate to the 2020 Census, which has been hobbled when it comes to outreach due to the pandemic.
  • Adolfo Guzman-Lopez examines the struggles California’s community colleges are facing when it comes to distance learning for its unique student body.
  • While we're all stuck at home, comedians and comedy troupes are turning to the internet and social media to cheer up audiences. Christine Ziemba — who normally brings you each week’s fantastic events — has the details on 10 comedy shows happening at a computer near you.
  • We’re also examining what we do and don't know about the transmission of coronavirus via food.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s mental health. Robert Garrova outlines those concerns and has some resources.
  • Josie Huang continues to look into reports of bullying of Asian American children and what is, and isn't, being done about it.
  • We can all use a smile these days, right? Well our newsroom has some seriously strong game when it comes to holiday decorating and Halloween. Stay tuned for what happened when we issued a challenge to show up for work (virtually, of course) as your favorite emoji.

And now, your moment of Zen:

The snow capped mountains form the backdrop for a walk in Huntington Beach this weekend. Californians have been told to stick close to home, even for their walks.

(Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

Help us cover your community:

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.