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THE L.A. REPORT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY LLOYD PEST CONTROL

Lives On Hold After The Worst Jobs Report In Recent Memory

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Closed shopfronts in L.A.'s fashion district (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

On Friday morning, the federal government released the worst jobs report since the Great Depression. National unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7% in April. Governor Gavin Newsom says California is looking at an 18% unemployment rate here in California for the year.

These numbers are huge — unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. They reveal that more Californians are out of work now than during the last recession.

Layoffs have been widespread in many public-facing businesses. About 5.5 million jobs were lost nationally in restaurants and bars alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retail stores, hotels, education and health services also saw large job losses.

The entertainment industry has been hit especially hard, with 1.3 million workers in that field losing their job nationally. One of them is Sarah Taylor, who co-owns Readymix Music, a recording studio in North Hollywood, with her husband.

“We can't do anything,” said Taylor.

The studio has been sitting idle for nearly two months, and Taylor and her husband are not about to squeeze a bunch of musicians into the studio wearing masks and gloves.

“We have a big gospel clientele,” she said. “So, we have big groups of singers that come in and record. And we can't do that. I mean, there’s no way.”

Taylor has struggled to secure benefits from California’s unemployment office, because her income has come from a mix of self-employment through running the studio and W-2 residuals from past work in the entertainment industry.

Meanwhile, Taylor and her husband still have to pay rent for their studio space every month. She said this is the longest they’ve gone without recording, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how to safely get musicians back in for sessions.

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LA County Trying To Help Released Inmates With Mental Health Needs

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Twin Towers jail in downtown L.A. (Andrew Cullen for LAist)

As part of its effort to fight the coronavirus, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has reduced the jail population by over 5,000 through fewer arrests and releases of low-level inmates.

It’s estimated that one-third of those in the jails have serious mental health issues, so the L.A. County Department of Mental Health is working with the sheriff to identify inmates with psychiatric needs so they can be connected with services when they’re released.

Here’s Dr. Curley Bonds, the mental health department’s chief medical officer:

“We have put online a couple hundred extra beds so that people that are getting released from either hospital or jail — to the extent that we can — we try to find immediate placement for them so they don’t wind up back on the streets.”

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Mayor Garcetti Urges Angelenos To Use Caution on Newly Opened Hiking Trails This Weekend

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in his Wednesday, March 25, 2020 press conference. via Eric Garcetti's Youtube channel

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti used today's daily address to announce that this was the first week we've seen that was less deadly than the week before. That's good news for the city; it could be a signal that the curve is flattening, or at least starting to flatten.

"I can't call that good news when 296 people die," he said, but "we are seeing the curve stabilize. We haven't seen more than 200 hospitalizations a day since April 22."

The mayor said that with these positive numbers, as well as a high testing capacity and the current availability of hospital beds, he feels prepared to move forward into reopening efforts, at a gradual and cautious rate.

On that note, he urged Angelenos to stay safe and use caution this weekend when heading out to newly opened trails and golf courses.

"With every action, we cannot forget we are not moving beyond COVID-19," he said. "We are just learning to live with it."

He acknowledged that there aren't enough city employees to monitor the hundreds of miles of trails in L.A., especially in extremely large areas like Griffith Park, Elysian Park and Hansen Dam.

"It's also not our vision to make this like a junior high school dance, with people saying 'you're too close to each other'," he added, saying that the city will be monitoring the trails this weekend to get an overall sense of how many people are there. If parks and trails do get too crowded, they may have to close them.

Park rangers will be spread out across the city to monitor the situation. Trail counters won't be installed this weekend, but they've been ordered and are expected to arrive in the next week or two, Garcetti said, adding that the city has "sophisticated plans" for determining if the current amendment to the stay-at-home order is working.

If many people are violating the rules, he said they will cut off admissions to the trails, if necessary. "But I hope this weekend will be a good experiment," he added.

The city is also going to have the Department of Transportation control traffic in crowded areas, with the help of LAPD, including some mounted units on horseback.

The mayor added that although he will continue to share "regular updates" on the city's response to the pandemic, he will no longer give live updates every evening.

The numbers show that the curve in L.A. is stabilizing:

  • The mayor said we had about a thousand fewer cases of positive COVID-19 tests this week than last week; 7,301 this week compared to 6,081 this week. "That's good news," he said.
  • This week the mayor said was "finally less deadly than last week." This week we had 296 total deaths, compared to 324 last week, in L.A. County, adding "but I can't call that good news when 296 people die."
  • Since L.A. has opened up testing for people without symptoms, officials have identified some positive cases among asymptomatic residents. "This is really important progress," the mayor said, because "we can pass those on to the great County Public Health Department, who then can do the contact tracing of people that those newly diagnosed positive cases have been in touch with, so that this disease won't spread silently."
  • At the end of today, the city of L.A. will have tested over a quarter of a million people, thereby meeting the basic minimum threshold established by experts to consider steps forward for reopening.

Here's what else the mayor had to say about the weekend ahead:

  • Gathering of people who live outside your household are still prohibited. Garcetti asked that you please refrain from having backyard parties or BBQs, especially on Mother's Day.
  • If you are golfing or hiking, the city asks that you maintain proper social distancing of at least six feet at all times.
  • Runyon Canyon will remain closed until, as the mayor said "we install additional crowd control measures in that always busy park."
  • If you're visiting a trail, check with a park in advance to be sure about which areas are open.
  • Use "hyperawareness" on trails to keep your distance. The mayor suggests stepping to the side if someone passes you from behind, or letting someone know verbally if you are passing them from behind.
  • "We'll be able to cut off admissions," the mayor said, if parks and trails get too crowded. That's something the city has done before in places like Griffith Park, on holidays and big weekends where "it simply gets too crowded for people to come in."
  • Park rangers will be present.
  • Counters will be set up in the next week or two, for more accurate numbers.
  • The mayor advised that hikers use their judgement. "If it's too crowded, maybe wait until midweek," he said.
  • If you don't work during the week, the mayor suggests hiking or visiting trailhead parks on weekdays when they are less crowded.

The mayor also thanked the Jonas Brothers for donating $500,000 towards the city's efforts to help Angelenos in need. "Thank you to the Jonas Brothers, to Joe and his wife Sophie, to Nick and his wife Priyanka, who now live in L.A., along with Kevin and his wife Danielle who reside in New Jersey, for showing us L.A. love."

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A Quarter Of LA Nursing Homes Have Had Everyone Tested For Coronavirus

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Dr. Barbara Ferrer. (Screenshot courtesy L.A. County via YouTube)

Nearly half of the COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles county are nursing home residents.

In an effort to contain the spread, health officials have made rapid testing in nursing homes with ongoing outbreaks their top priority.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, said today about one-quarter of the county’s 360 nursing homes have reached the goal of comprehensive testing:

“As of this morning, 95 skilled nursing facilities have been able to test all of their residents and staff.”

Ferrer said staffing shortages at many nursing homes have hampered the push to expand testing.

In addition, nursing home administrators have reported delays when they tried to order COVID-19 test kits on their own, and Ferrer acknowledged a “continued delay on receiving results in a timely manner.”

Last week the county released a plan to ramp up testing in nursing homes that called for using up to 60,000 test kits per week.

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LA County Schools Chief: Unlikely Campuses Would Reopen By July

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A padlocked entrance to Bellevue Primary Center, an L.A. Unified School District campus in Silver Lake, on April 1, 2020. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)

Los Angeles County's top education official said today that it's unlikely that local public school districts will re-open their campuses by July, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom had suggested last week.

"Many of us were surprised by the governor suggesting that," L.A. County superintendent of schools Debra Duardo said during an appearance on KPCC's AirTalk on Friday.

There are still too many unknowns, Duardo said: masks and thermometers are still "on backorder." Re-opening schools early would require negotiations with labor unions.

Duardo has convened two dozen leaders of L.A. County's 80 districts for a task force to study the re-opening of schools. She says even when campuses re-open, classrooms are likely to run very differently:

"We're talking about only having a small number of students present at any particular time. A classroom that may have 30 students would more likely have 10 students. We'd have to stagger schedules. We'd have to have some students physically present on certain days while others continue to receive instruction remotely…

"We're also looking at partnerships with libraries and parks so some students can receive remote learning in a nontraditional school setting so parents can go to work while they're getting remote online instruction."

Earlier this week, leaders of the county's largest school system, Los Angeles Unified, said they've "made no decisions" about whether to reopen campuses for the fall semester.

MORE ON THIS STORY:

California's Filipino Nurses Are On The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Fight

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Angela Gatdula got sick with COVID-19 as a nurse at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. (California Nurses Association/National Nurses United)

No other country has exported so many front-line healthcare workers to California and beyond as the Philippines, a phenomenon that is rooted in colonialism and immigration policy.

Filipino nursing leaders in California say they're thankful that the state has so far escaped the surge in coronavirus cases that is devastating New York and New Jersey. But some L.A. nurses have paid dearly — some have become serious ill with the virus, and one nurse recently died.

READ THE FULL STORY:

There’s No Data On The LGBTQ Community And COVID-19, But That Could Change

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Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

California currently collects data based on race, ethnicity, age, gender and other information to understand the health impacts of COVID-19.

A lot of attention, especially in Los Angeles County, has been placed on the race and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

But there’s no information or data based on a patient’s sexual orientation.

Bay Area State Senator Scott Wiener wants to change that with SB 932, a bill that would direct the state and counties to collect data from LGBTQ patients.

“We know that LGBTQ people do have increased health for COVID-19 because we have increased rates of HIV, cancer, of smoking, of homelessness,” Wiener says. “Which are all risk factors."

If the bill is passed, it would be the first of its kind in the nation to require a state government to collect this type of information, according to Wiener.

SB 932 must first pass through the state’s health committee before a vote in the senate.

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Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Top 30K In LA County; Hospitalization Rate 'Relatively Stable'

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Los Angeles County officials reported 883 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 30,296 cases countywide. In total, 875 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 516 in Pasadena. (Those two cities operate their own health departments.)

L.A. County Public Health Director Ferrer also reported 51 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,468 people.

Of the 51 people who’ve died in the past day, 39 were older than 65 and, of those victims, 36 had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Eight victims were between 41 and 65 and six of them had underlying health conditions. Two victims were between 18 and 40, and one had underlying health conditions.

So far, 92% of those who have died had underlying conditions, Ferrer said.

The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County — particularly at nursing homes — continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 713 residents at those facilities have died. That number represents 49% of all deaths countywide.

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 1,352 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 12% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 18% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 39% Latino / Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 29% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

County health officials released a report this week showing a significantly higher mortality rate among minority communities in L.A. County. (We covered that report here.) Ferrer explained how the new data is informing health officials' response:

“The data are not only concerning, but they require all of us to work together and take quick action. Both reports identified strategies for closing the gaps, which included increasing access to testing, improving coordination of care and expanding access to appropriate communications. We've been working hand-in-hand with the city of L.A. and the Department of Health Services to actually expand the capacity for the county to have testing sites in the communities that are hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Ferrer also noted that health officials are working to determine the links between COVID-19 and the “unusual [and] rare” Kawasaki syndrome, which has emerged across the U.S. The disease typically affects young children and causes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels in the body. The disease is treatable, but is known as a leading cause of acquired heart disease in the U.S., according to the CDC. Ferrer explained:

“... for many of the cases where this syndrome has been seen in different parts of the country, there has been a link to the following: either a child has tested positive for having antibodies to COVID-19 — that means at some point in the past they had the infection — or a child is currently positive for COVID-19 … We are today beginning a survey at all of our pediatric intensive care units to make sure that they haven't identified a similar syndrome … we're going to work with the entire country at better understanding these risks for children.”

Here are some other key figures reported today:

  • More than 214,000 country residents have been tested for COVID-19 and had their results reported to health officials. Of those tests, 12% have been positive.
  • There are currently 1,790 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a rate that’s remained “relatively stable for the last week-and-a-half,” Ferrer said. Of those individuals, 29% are in the ICU, with 16% on ventilators.
  • In total, 5,298 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents about 17% of all positive cases.
  • The county health department is currently investigating 316 institutional facilities where there's at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Those sites include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, treatment centers, supportive living, and correctional facilities. Ferrer said there are 7,373 confirmed cases in those facilities — 4,663 residents and 2,740 staff members.
  • County officials have been working to increase testing capacity at nursing homes. As of Friday morning, 95 nursing homes have been able to test all residents and staff members, Ferrer reported.
  • Ferrer said 223 cases have been confirmed among L.A. County residents struggling with homelessness — 135 of whom were sheltered, Ferrer said. Health officials are currently investigating 23 shelter sites with confirmed cases.
  • There have now been 344 confirmed cases “at some point in time” in county jail facilities, Ferrer reported. In total, 244 inmates and 100 staff members have tested positive.
  • There are 150 confirmed cases in the state prison system110 inmates and 40 staff.
  • In California's federal prisons, 609 inmates and 13 staff members have tested positive.
  • At juvenile detention facilities, two youth and 12 staff members have tested positive.

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Column: How My 60-Year-Old Immigrant Mom Learned To Love Technology And Thrive In Quarantine

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(Photo by Erick Galindo/Illustration by Chava Sanchez)

This Mother's Day will be different. Very different. In a loving tribute to his mother Elvia, columnist Erick Galindo shares his mom's transition during the coronavirus pandemic from someone who was computer-shy to a master of all things tech, as she embraces Zoom, FaceTime and everything else to stay in touch with family, with her church, and with life in general as we all stay home.

Because like all immigrant moms, she's a badass. Erick writes:

And I think there is some symbolism in the fact that this year Día de la Madre - Latin America's version which is always May 10 - and American Mother's Day, always the first weekend of May, land on the same day.

Because Elvia Galindo, mother of five and grandmother of four, who was born destitute on a small Sinaloa ranch, is now a paradigm of an American matriarch in the 21st century and still a badass Latina with mad YouTube skills.

READ HIS COLUMN:

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FilmWeek: Our Reviews Of 'Becoming,' 'Rewind,' 'Spaceship Earth' And More Movies You Can Stream From Home

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Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama in a still from the new documentary on her life "Becoming" (Courtesy of Netflix)

Every week, AirTalk host Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics spend an hour talking about new movies.

This week, Christy Lemire, Claudia Puig and Peter Rainer join Larry to review this weekend’s releases and share some of their recommendations:

"Becoming”

  • Available on Netflix

Here's what Claudia said:

"If you loved the book, you’re gonna love the movie. Michelle Obama is such a warm, smart and likeable presence. And spending 90 minutes with her is such a wonderful treat. You feel reassured and inspired, and I found myself watching the film with a big, goofy grin on my face a lot of the time. There’s no huge revelations here [but] there are some wonderful, fairly intimate and candid moments.”

"Rewind"

  • Available on iTunes (also premiering on PBS May 11 — check your local listings for air times)

Peter’s topline:

"It’s a really powerful documentary ... part of an unfortunate genre about families with a cycle of child abuse. It’s quite shocking and revelatory. [Director] Sasha Joseph Neulinger is extraordinarily brave to come forward in the way he did, and it’s a film that I think represents a sort of healing, to the extent that that could be for him.”

“Spaceship Earth”

Christy says:

"Well the timing just couldn’t be more perfect for a movie about being stuck indoors for two years straight! And these people chose to do it in the name of science and exploration and learning! It’s fascinating and weird, but it doesn’t quite go deep enough.”

“Driveways”

  • Available on VOD (Amazon Prime & Google Play)

Here’s Christy’s review:

“This is such a lovely and delicate and quietly moving film. It’s about a single mom [Hong Chau] and her son who drive to upstate New York after her sister’s death to clean out her house. They strike up an unlikely friendship with the war veteran who lives next door, played by the late Brian Dennehy. They explore a kind of subtle racism when this Asian family moves in. It’s very lovely and much needed, like a warm hug.”

Press the audio player above to hear more in-depth reviews of these films and more:

ABOUT OUR CRITICS:

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Coronavirus Recession Will Not Impact Cities Equally

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Closed storefronts in Los Angeles's fashion district. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

This is no ordinary economic downturn, and it's not going to hit cities equally.

With a strong tourism and hospitality sector, for instance, "I would have used Santa Monica as a poster child for how some cities have really good financial DNA," said Bill Statler, a municipal finance consultant who spent decades working for the city of San Luis Obispo.

Last month, Santa Monica's city manager was pushed out of his job after his proposed budget cuts elicited massive public outcry. Now the city is considering laying off 337 workers.

If there's any type of California city best suited to weather the current recession, it's bedroom communities.

"Those cities that are highly reliant on property taxes and not sales — it's not to say that they won't suffer, but their treasuries won't get depleted immediately," said Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The divide between municipalities that rely heavily on property values versus those that do not is a Tale of Two Cities. According to a CalMatters analysis of municipal tax revenue data from 2018, the cities that rely most on property taxes are Mountain View, Pleasanton, Newport Beach and San Clemente — all wealthy.

Cities that are dependent on sales and hotel taxes are more of a mixed bag, with some well-to-do tourism destinations, but also many working- and middle-class towns with below-average incomes or cooler housing markets: South Gate, Hemet, Merced, Redding.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Gov. Newsom: Phase 3 In California Reopening Could Be Less Than A Month Away

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Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his daily update on California's pandemic response as the state begins to reopen some businesses in limited ways, saying that Phase 3 is coming in less than three months and maybe less than a month. (You can read the state's plan for reopening in four phases here.)

Read highlights below or watch the press conference above.

MOVING INTO PHASE 2 AND 3 — MORE REOPENING ANNOUNCEMENTS TO COME

Phase 3 of the state's reopening isn't three months away — it may not even be a month away, Newsom said. It includes personal care businesses and more.

If people continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing, the state will be deeper into the next phase sooner than most people believe, Newsom said. He reiterated that this could be in weeks, not months.

More announcements for areas that want to move further into Phase 2 are coming next week. Guidelines by sector and industry will be released on Tuesday, including checklists on handwashing, sanitation, customer pickups, how to practice social distancing in small environments, and more.

The governor spoke from the Sacramento flower shop, Twigs, which has reopened as part of modified stay-at-home orders, just ahead of Mother's Day. The governor asked people to support local businesses, not just big-box retailers, as they are in greater need of that support now.

Newsom said he hopes to make announcements consistently over the next few weeks, moving all of California into Phase 2 of the state's plan to reopen businesses. In this phase, about 70% of the state's economy can reopen with modifications, Newsom said — but noted that other factors mean that businesses will continue to struggle to get back to where they were pre-pandemic.

There were 33 hair salons that were shut down in the last two days who were opening against state orders, Newsom said.

LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS

There were 1,898 new coronavirus positives yesterday, with 81 deaths, Newsom said.

"For those that think this emergency is gone, that think this pandemic is behind us, I don't need to remind them of what they see, or should be paying attention to when they watch the nightly news," Newsom said.

But today there was a decline in hospitalizations and a 0.6% decline in ICU patients, Newsom said. He added that some parts of the state are less challenged than others, which is why the state is allowing local variances to move further into Phase 2.

The governor encouraged people to get tested for coronavirus and to use the state's locator service to find a nearby testing site. The more people that are tested, the more positives there will be, he noted. The case rate, with the number of positives vs. the total number tested, will help determine how quickly the state can move into further phases of reopening, Newsom said.

THIS FALL'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

The governor spoke about the November election and how to conduct it safely. He signed an executive order today to send every voter a mail-in ballot, but noted that there will still be in-person locations for those who want them — including those who aren't familiar with mail-in ballots, aren't comfortable with mail-in ballots, or have disability issues. A plan for in-person voting is planned to be ready by the end of the month.

The state is seeking willing, healthy people to sign up as pollworkers, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. Often, pollworkers are older people who won't be able to participate this year due to being part of the vulnerable population. Padilla said the state is also looking to make sure that the locations being used as vote centers are safe, given the current conditions.

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS

The latest national unemployment numbers showed the second highest rate since the Great Depression, Newsom noted, adding that the statistics are lagging behind true unemployment. There were 4.3 million people who filed for unemployment since March 12 and the state of California is north of 20% unemployed right now, Newsom said.

NURSING FACILITIES

The state isn't ready to make any announcements yet, but is looking to see if there's anything it can do to protect nursing homes from lawsuits, Newsom said.

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'I Don't Know How Many I Can Save.' NASA Scientist Fights For His Uighur People

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Erkin Sidick (second from right) with his wife, parents and 5 siblings in the late 1980s. Two of his siblings live in the U.S. Three still live in Xinjiang, along with Sidick’s father. His mother died in 2010. (Courtesy Erkin Sidick)

Erkin Sidick is a senior optical engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. When he's not busy building space telescopes meant to detect planets outside of our solar system, he's speaking publicly about the plight of his Uighur people in China.

"This is a crime against humanity. I want to do something to stop it. I sleep very little. I work very hard. I don't have a weekend. Everything that I can do, I am doing it right now, to save those people. I don't know how many I can save. A lot of people don't pay attention to this."

READ OUR FULL REPORT

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This Neighborhood Had A Plan For Safer Streets And Social Distancing. Why Did LA Hit The Brakes?

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A family walks wearing masks in downtown Los Angeles on March 22, 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak. Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

Fleeing the confines of your home for some fresh air and exercise is one of the few collective joys we have right now. But trying to navigate narrow Los Angeles sidewalks as all your neighbors stroll, bike, jog and walk their dogs — while still trying to follow social distancing guidelines — can present a challenge.

That's why some Angelenos want the city to rethink how public streets and sidewalks can best serve their needs in the age of coronavirus.

A growing number of U.S. cities, including New York City, Portland and Oakland, have launched their own plans to limit vehicle traffic, reduce car speeds and promote more space for residents to safely walk, bike and play in their neighborhoods.

But a grassroots effort to launch a similar program on the Westside as a model that other L.A. neighborhoods could adopt has been put on hold.

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Experts Raise Alarm About Looming Coronavirus Mental Health Crisis

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(Jake Melara on Unsplash)

Calls for information and referrals to the L.A. County Department of Mental Health were up more than 20% in March and April compared with the same months last year.

Some advocates worry it’s only the beginning.

At the same time the virus is causing more people to seek psychiatric help, the state’s prisons and jails are releasing thousands of inmates, many of whom have mental health issues.

We spoke to Michelle Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California:

“We are really concerned that in parallel with the public health emergency we have an emerging and significantly larger behavioral health crisis brewing across the state."

State Sen. Jim Beall, chair of the Select Committee on Mental Health, agrees.

“We should look at it as a public health crisis that’s within a crisis,” he said.

READ OUR FULL REPORT:

HOW TO ASK FOR HELP IF YOU (OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW) NEEDS IT:

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Flower Markets Reopen In Time For Mother's Day. How About That Social Distancing?

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Flower markets are one of the categories of businesses that can reopen as the city inches forward along its pandemic recovery plan. But how's it going so far? (Emily Guerin/LAist)

Flower stores were allowed to reopen today in Los Angeles County just in time for Mother’s Day.

At the Los Angeles Flower Mall downtown, social distancing, which is still required, isn't really happening, though many people are wearing their masks.

Flower markets fall under one of several categories of businesses allowed to begin operating again as part of the city and county's move from "Safer at Home," the stay-at-home order issued on March 19, to "Safer L.A.," the second of the city's five-stage plan for recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

(Emily Guerin/LAist)

Signs at the flower markets advise customers to keep 6 feet apart and wear their masks, but in the tighter aisles it can still get crowded.

One man buying flowers to sell on the street in La Puente told me it felt like a normal Friday here in the Flower District.

Ricardo Gonzalez, who sells snacks on the street in the Flower District, says it’s good to be back at work after six weeks at home. He pours alcohol on his hands after each sale and has a box set up as a barrier to keep people from getting too close.

Florist Valerie Jurado told me she’s been waiting weeks for her Paycheck Protection Program loan. In the interim she’s been doing flower deliveries to be able to pay her staff. She’s here in the Flower District buying filler for Mother’s Day bouquets.

But the crowds were evidently too much for some.

“Let’s get out of here, there’s lots of people,” I heard one woman say as she grabbed her flowers and her kids and walked away.

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Data: COVID-19 Is Taking A Heavy Toll On Poor And Non-White Angelenos

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Signage at a COVID-19 testing site states that the service is drive-thru only, and only for those with appointments. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Early COVID-19 data from L.A. County health authorities showed a higher rate of deaths and infections among some groups than others, with African Americans especially hard hit.

But the data was limited and, in some ways, surprising: Latinos seemed to make up a smaller percentage of total deaths than seen in other parts of the state and country.

Now, two months into the pandemic, county health officials have a much more detailed picture of the virus's disproportionate effects on some groups. And it's clear that Latinos are among the hardest hit.

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Morning Briefing: LA Stories In The Time Of Coronavirus

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In our Diary of L.A. series, we asked you – our readers, listeners and fellow Angelenos – to make a video telling us how the coronavirus pandemic has affected your life. Earlier this week, we heard from a Google employee who’s making puppets in her PJs (her daytime PJs, specifically) and a Bell High School teacher who’s conducting film and journalism classes from his front yard.

Most recently, we heard from Oak Park resident Joel Goldes. Filming his video diary from beside a creek near his house, Goldes says he’s been trapping invasive crayfish that throw off the area’s ecosystem for years.

“[Crayfish] eat Pacific tree frogs, which are a native species here... and they also eat another native species here called the Arroyo chub fish. Those fish eat mosquito larvae, so they're very useful for the area.”

Since the stay-at-home order, he’s had more time to spend by the water, dogs in tow.

So what do a Google employee, crayfish trapper and journalism teacher have in common? Like all of us, their lives have been completely upended by the pandemic. And we’re all learning how to adapt, day by day, minute by minute.

We’d love to hear your story, too. In the meantime, keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, May 8

In the latest entry of our Diary of L.A. in the Time of Coronavirus, we hear what it's like to actually have COVID-19.

AirTalk's regular Filmweek critics share their picks for what to stream at home while theaters are closed.

Filipino/Filipina health care providers make up a large share of the industry’s workforce. Josie Huang looks into how they’re faring, including one nurse who barely survived an infection (and fared better than a peer, who died) and explains why there's long been a nursing school pipeline from the Philippines to the U.S.

On Mother's Day, in the time of social distancing, many of our moms and tias are celebrating their mastery of the internet. Or not. Mis Angeles columnist Erick Galindo shares his first-generation mom's hits and misses as she embraces the virtual world.

Caroline Champlin reports on new data that confirms what some experts predicted would happen as the coronavirus progressed: Low-income communities and communities of color are suffering the most.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 29,427 coronavirus cases and 1,367 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 60,635 cases and 2,462 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.8 million cases and more than 269,000 deaths.

Reopening California: L.A. County is easing into the second stage of its five-stage plan for reopening. Gov. Newsom explained which businesses can reopen today, and how some local areas can move further into Phase 2. O.C. beaches are now allowed to open for active use only, but each beach has its own rules. California restaurant owners think their reopening should include servers with face masks, hand sanitizer instead of salt and pepper and no shared bread baskets.

Money Matters: California’s deficit is higher than it was during the Great Recession, and obliterates the state's once-healthy reserves. Some actors say residual checks from their past work are now coming back to haunt them as they seek unemployment benefits.

L.A.’s Unhoused: Some activists wonder if a government-run homeless camp set up at the beginning of the pandemic, which includes three meals a day, port-a-potties, around the clock security and nurse practitioners on site, could be a model for the future.

Holding Power Accountable: The Civilian Oversight Commission has subpoenaed L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to testify about his efforts to protect jail inmates from COVID-19.

California Babies: A scientific review of "tummy time" confirms that giving babies time to play on their stomachs increases gross motor development and helps them reach developmental milestones.

Couch-tertainment: We created a virtual theme park that includes 17 ride-through videos. It's Mother's Day on Sunday and we found a virtual wine tasting, a comedy show and cooking lessons that might make good safe-distancing gifts.

Your L.A. Stories: In the latest entry in our Diary of L.A. in the Time of Coronavirus, Ventura County resident Joel Goldes says he's removed more than 72,000 invasive crayfish from a creek in Oak Park, and the pandemic hasn't slowed his roll.


Your Moment Of Zen

Mariachi bands are among the many artists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. We're glad to see Mariachi Teocuitatlan performing here during a socially distant Cinco de Mayo party, on a beautiful day in Westlake Village.

(Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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