Help us rise to the challenge of covering the coronavirus crisis. Our journalism is free for all to access. But we rely on your support. Donate today to power our journalists.

Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):

No Poppy Selfies This Year But You Can Watch Via Livestream

People visit the poppy fields at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, California on April 21, 2019. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

California's iconic orange poppies are now in bloom, but this year's stay-at-home orders won't allow for a run through their colorful fields. And yes, that rule applies to influencers, too.

In northern Los Angles County, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is closed to the public. And in Riverside County, visitors are being steered away from the Walker Canyon poppy fields in Lake Elsinore.

Apparently though, that's not enough to deter some people. According to ABC 7, California State Parks had to put up roadblocks in Lancaster near Antelope Valley to stop incoming traffic.

But, good news! You can still see the flowers remotely, from the comfort of your own (hopefully air-conditioned) home, without ruining it for everyone.

Antelope Valley has "a 360-degree camera out in the bloom so people can see the three different views of the reserve -- east, middle and west," said Lori Wear, from California State Parks.

You can see the poppy live cams here.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Via A Car Protest Through DTLA, Activists Call For More Protections For Renters


Los Angeles has passed ordinances to protect renters and homeowners from eviction and foreclosures during the pandemic, but local activists say it's not enough.

A car protest that began in South L.A. and then drove through downtown, was part of a national day of action to demand rent and mortgage cancellations for people financially struggling due to the crisis.

Ernesto Huerta is an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. He says groups like the National Lawyers Guild and Women's March agree that solely delaying rent and mortgage payments doesn't go far enough.

"People can still be evicted after the moratorium is lifted. About 36% of this country are renters. 64% percent have to pay a mortgage, and they can't afford to do that anymore."

Landlord groups argue that they cannot afford the outright loss in rent. Huerta says it's important for Angelenos to call for federal funding to help those affected by the pandemic.

The protest today came the same week the Los Angeles City Council voted to create a program to help people pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently funded at just $2.2 million, the fund is available to tenants making 80% or less of their area's median income.

  • Tenants will have to document the economic toll the pandemic has taken on their finances.
  • Money paid out will go directly to landlords, and will cover up to half a month's rent, with a maximum of $1,000 per month and $3,000 over the life of the program.

How many people could be helped? The report on the plan estimated it could help several hundred families.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

LA County Now Has Over 19,000 Cases Of Coronavirus

A student wears a face mask to protect against the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as he leaves the campus of the UCLA college in Westwood, California on March 6, 2020. - Three UCLA students are currently being tested for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) by the LA Depar

As of this afternoon, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed 19,107 positive cases of COVID-19. Over the past 24 hours, 607 new cases have been identified and 48 people have died in the county.

"This past week in L.A. County, we doubled the number of deaths from COVID-19 and diagnosed more than 7,000 new cases," said the county's Director of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer. "Because we are still seeing a significant increase in new cases and deaths, we ask that you continue to stay home as much as possible."

More details about today's deaths:

  • 37 people who died were over the age of 65
  • 9 people who died were between 41 and 65-years-old
  • 38 people who died had underlying health conditions
  • 2 deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach

More details about the total deaths so far:

  • L.A. County has confirmed a total of 895 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic
  • 92% of them had underlying health conditions
  • Of those who died, for whom we have racial and ethnic data:
    • 37% Latino/Latina (48.6% of county residents)
    • 28% White (26.1% of county residents)
    • 18% Asian (15.4% of county residents)
    • 14% African American (9% of county residents)
    • 1% Native Hawaiin/Pacific Islander
    • 1% identified as "other"

More data about the spread of COVID-19:

Coronavirus Map: LA County Now Has More Than 19K Confirmed Cases And 895 Deaths

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

ICE Ordered To Release Children From Detention Centers

Young people walk the grounds of the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. in July 2019. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Late Friday night, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee directed the federal government to make every effort to promptly and safely release children who are in custody at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) and Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities.

That includes children subjected to the so-called “Remain in Mexico” program, and the Migrant Protection Protocols. The order applies to about 2,100 unaccompanied minors in custody through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well as 342 children who are currently being held with their families at the three I.C.E. detention centers.

Unacompanied minors will be released to relatives.

Read the full story:

Hundreds Of Migrant Children Held In SoCal Expected To Be Released Because Of Pandemic

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

We Can Do Better Than Florida....Right, Guys? Right??

Women wearing face masks sunbathe on Huntington Beach (Apu Gomes / AFP via Getty Images)


Huntington Beach on Saturday, April 25. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Bad News For 'Immunity Passport' Idea For Reopening LA

Medical student volunteers from Keck School of Medicine of USC administer antibody tests to randomly selected participants as a part of the USC-L.A. County COVID-19 Study. (Photo by: Kit Karzen) Kit Karzen

In a scientific brief dated Friday, the World Health Organization wrote:

"Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an 'immunity passport' or 'risk-free certificate' that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."

The statement comes days after Chile announced it would begin issuing immunity cards that effectively act as passports, allowing travelers to clear security at airports with a document that purportedly shows they have recovered from the virus. Authorities and researchers in other countries — such as France and the United Kingdom — have expressed interest in similar ideas, while some officials in the U.S., such as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, have mentioned it as one possible facet of a reopening strategy.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Mis Ángeles: Some Answers To Questions Undocumented Angelenos Are Asking

Jessica Huerta has been fielding questions related to COVID-19 from undocumented Angelenos via livestream. (Photo courtesy of CHIRLA/ Illustration by Chava Sanchez)

Jessica Huerta is community education coordinator for the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights Los Angeles or CHIRLA, which serves primarily Latino immigrants in L.A.

"Most of our essential workers are our people, so while COVID-19 is not discriminatory, Latinos are exposed in greater numbers than others."

She spends her days going through CHIRLA's hotline where people leave their questions, or make requests for help. Here's a sampling of those questions and answers:

"If I get a COVID-19 test, will I go on a list?"

Testing is available for all L.A. County residents who have symptoms. There is no question about legal status.

"Even if I get a positive test, how will I pay for the treatment?"

Through L.A. CARE, Los Angeles County is covering testing and treatment for coronavirus.

"Will getting aid penalize my application for a change in immigration status under the public charge rule?"

For any health-related aid, no. It will not be used to determine a violation of the public charge rule. For other aid, it depends. You should contact CHIRLA's hotline for specific questions at 888-624-4752

"If I don't pay my rent, can my landlord call ICE?"

It's against the law for a landlord to coerce you. L.A. is currently has some eviction protections if you are impacted by the coronavirus.

"If I get laid off, is my DACA status at risk?"

Not immediately. DACA is however in danger of ending this summer by court order so make sure you renew your permit as soon as possible. There is no way of knowing exactly what the Supreme Court will decide, but there is hope that if you have a current permit, it will buy you some time.

"Can I collect unemployment if I have DACA?"

If your DACA is up to date, and you have been laid off, you qualify for unemployment.

"Can I get government aid if my partner is undocumented?"

This is another complicated issue that can depend on your specific circumstances.



Orange County Officials Ask Visitors To Stay Off The Beach

Only a few surfers are spotted on Huntington Beach, still practicing social distancing. (Screengrab from HB Cams)

Last week, Ventura and Orange Counties made the move to re-open some of their beaches. But despite 90-degree weather this weekend, they're urging visitors not to crowd them.

Officials say social distancing is still required and beach use should be limited to walking or biking, not sunbathing. They're also asking that people in other counties (ahem, L.A.) stay home.

Angela Bennett with the Huntington Beach Police Department told NBC 4 that the beaches are meant for local use only, adding that "there will be nowhere to park at all."

Despite the parking deterrent, though, images of Huntington and Newport Beach released yesterday showed crowds hanging out, as if we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic. Residents say visitors are finding nearby street parking and walking to the beach.

Orange County officials warn that if beaches become too crowded to ensure public health, they will close them again.

All Los Angeles County beaches remain closed this weekend and will have extra police on patrol. Cities such as Malibu, Santa Monica, and Long Beach will issue citations if necessary.

Mayor Garcetti put it bluntly at a news conference on Friday: "If you go out and hit the beaches and the trails, the safer-at-home orders will last longer, more people will be sick, and more will die."

The L.A. County stay-at-home order is in effect until May 15.


Huntington Beach on Saturday, April 25. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Why Long Beach Isn't Doing Contact Tracing For All New COVID-19 Cases

Bixby Knolls Towers in Long Beach is among the skilled nursing homes identified by the California Dept. of Health as having confirmed COVID-19 cases among both staff and residents. Megan Garvey / LAist

To track the spread of a disease like COVID-19, typically public health investigators fan out like detectives, questioning family members, the hospitals and workplaces with a mission to piece together a list of people who could have been exposed to the virus.

This process, called contact tracing, is a critical element in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus. But the ability of California’s 61 county and city public health departments varies greatly as they struggle to keep pace with rising numbers of patients.

Long Beach, which has its own city health department, was initially tracking all COVID-19 cases. But then people kept getting sick, and most of the deaths are in long-term care facilities

As people sheltered in place, contact tracing didn’t have to be as extensive. Emily Holman, communicable disease controller for the city’s health department, said:

“Now we’re to the point where we have more than 400 cases, and we’re really focusing on our healthcare worker cases, and our cases in our long-term care facilities.”

Tracing contacts of people in long-term care facilities is different than in the community at large. Instead of focusing on reconstructing a web of contacts, the aim is to rapidly identify and separate infected and potentially exposed people from healthy people. Speed is key, so if someone’s symptomatic, they’re treated as a case even with no test results.

“Every minute in those facilities can be crucial and could prevent an exposure,” Holman said.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

When 'Take Your Child To Work Day' Is Every Single Day

This is an eye pad. Kids love them. (Lisa Brenner/LAist)

A "holiday" happened this week that was, without being too dramatic, gaslighting to the nth power times infinity.

It was Take Your Child To Work Day, but how could that possibly be? Millions of people have lost their jobs, and for millions more, "To Work," means either "out in a pandemic" or "out in the living room."

Even under the best circumstances, what would I expect my daughter to take away from such an exercise? She probably already knows that adults are just tall children, and that the thermostat is a battleground.

So, instead of having her shadow me (which kids already do expertly), I put her in charge. Here's how it went.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Morning Briefing: When Home Isn’t A Safe Place To Shelter


Patricia Macias has found cockroaches in her hair. They’ve fallen on her 13-year-old son’s face and body. It happens inside their home in Arlington Heights, reports Aaron Mendelson, where they’re supposed to be sheltering to stay safe amid the pandemic.

They’ve filed a lawsuit, but according to Macias, her landlord has done nothing.

"I have so much anger,” she told Mendelson. “Because I feel like I have my son's life in my hands.”

Part of an ongoing series looking at the housing and homelessess crisis in Southern California, Mendelson’s story highlights the trauma and danger faced by Angelenos who, from a health standpoint, confront perhaps as many risks at home as they would outside during the pandemic. Roaches can cause respiratory problems, which Macias’ son, who has Down syndrome, has experienced. Some areas of their home have hazardous levels of lead.

“After we started talking, it was quickly clear Patricia had an important story to tell,” says Mendelson. “But it was a tough conversation to have.”

Macias isn’t the only one whose home isn’t safe. Domestic and child abuse advocates worry that violence might increase, or go unreported, behind closed doors. To that end, L.A. officials have launched a campaign to provide information and resources to the public.

Meanwhile, Mendelson hopes to follow up with Macias, and others facing the same challenges.

“I was very struck by Patricia and Elijah’s situation,” he says. “It’s not just them, either. There are many other families sitting out this pandemic in unsafe housing.”

Jessica P. Ogilvie

The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are at least 18,517 coronavirus cases and 848 deaths in L.A. County. There are nearly 41,000 cases and almost 1,600 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are at least 2.8 million cases and over 195,000 deaths. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision about when and how to return California to normal might be his toughest one yet. A day after creating a furor by suggesting people ingest disinfectants to treat COVID-19 (no, don't do this), President Trump said that the country is “getting through this challenge together as one American family.”

The Arts: Nearly two-thirds of artists say they have lost their livelihoods as a result of the crisis.One Pasadena artist has turned to the streets -- and chalk -- to create. Meanwhile, how do you teach improv comedy online?

Immigration: Jessica Huerta, an immigrant rights advocate, has become the community’s go-to coronavirus question-answerer in L.A. Now that Trump's ban on most green cards has kicked in, that means that for the next 60 days, some families will have to wait even longer to see their loved ones.

Honoring The Past: The Armenian American community gathered yesterday to mark Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Most years, the occasion is marked by demonstrations outside. This year, many instead donated meals to the hungry and tuned in to live-streamed commemorations.

On The Road (And In The Water): A 36-hour closure of the I-5 Freeway in Glendale and Burbank starts this Saturday as part of a project to tear down and replace the Burbank Boulevard Bridge over the freeway. As of Thursday, 27 oil tankers were lined up in SoCal’s coastal waters, carrying crude oil nobody needs right now.

Protecting The Vulnerable: Newsom announced a new program for local restaurants to deliver meals to seniors during the coronavirus epidemic. A lawsuit has been filed against L.A. County and the sheriff, claiming they haven't done enough to protect jail inmates from COVID-19. All residents, workers and contractors at every skilled nursing facility in L.A. will undergo mandatory coronavirus testing every month.

When Home Can Hurt: For Angelenos living in substandard housing, staying home can pose other types of health risks. L.A.’s top prosecutors launched a campaign to identify cases of domestic abuse that may be going unreported. Find out where you can go to escape the heat and still keep that 6 feet of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, In Dependents: Two pet cats in New York have been confirmed to have COVID-19. Yesterday was Take Your Child To Work Day… yeah.

Your Moment Of Zen

May we all have as much zen as Liam Watkins, shown here balancing on a slack line at Griffith Park.

(Chris Pizzello / AP Photo)

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, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.