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Here's What It Felt Like To Have The Coronavirus Disease

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This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML)

We're collecting audience stories about what it's like to live in Los Angeles during a pandemic. You can share your story here.

Two friends shared with us their accounts of what it was like to get seriously ill during the coronavirus pandemic. One ultimately tested positive for COVID-19, and while the other was unable to get tested and may never know for sure, both accounts are sobering.

Adrian, a Koreatown resident who asked that his surname not be used, was at first turned away by doctors, who said his vitals looked relatively normal. But he had a bad case of pneumonia that kept getting worse. He was finally checked into the hospital, and that's where he finally got his test. This is how he described some of his worst days:

I woke up with an even worse cough — so painful every part of my body hurt. I coughed up phlegm with a significant amount of blood, which naturally freaked me out. My roommate graciously took me back to the ER...

...One night in the hospital turned into four nights. I couldn't have any guests. Each time a doctor or nurse entered the room, they needed to put on what was basically a hazmat suit. I felt like I was some sort of science experiment. By the third day in the hospital, my test results confirmed I had the pandemic virus.

I'll admit it, I was scared and cried a decent amount. Will it get worse? Would I get through this?

READ THEIR STORY:

SHARE YOUR OWN STORY:

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FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization For First Coronavirus Antigen Test

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silver Spring, Md. in 2018. (Jacquelyn Martin/ AP)

The Food and Drug Administration has announced its first emergency authorization for a new type of an antigen test that can detect the coronavirus.

The test looks for protein fragments associated with the virus. The sample is collected with a nasal swab that can produce a result in minutes, the FDA said in a statement. The agency notes that compared to already approved genetic testing, the antigen test is cheaper and easier to use and could "potentially scale to test millions of Americans per day," once multiple manufacturers enter the market.

So far, only San Diego-based Quidel Corporation has received authorization for the tests. That authorization was granted late Friday.

Two other types of tests for the coronavirus have received emergency authorization. One, called a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR test, is a molecular diagnostic tool that identifies the virus' genetic material. The other is an antibody test.

Antigen testing is not without its shortcomings. The FDA notes the test is less reliable at ruling out infection in patients, and that negative results "may need to be confirmed with a PCR test prior to making treatment decisions or to prevent the possible spread of the virus due to a false negative."

The agency said:

"Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular PCR tests. This means that positive results from antigen tests are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection."

The FDA says it expects more antigen tests to be authorized and that it "will play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19."

READ MORE ON TESTING

Birthday Party In Pasadena Exposes 30-40 People To Coronavirus

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A sponge birthday cake. (Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)

The Pasadena Public Health Department has identified a cluster outbreak of coronavirus that started at a birthday party on Easter Weekend.

Lisa Derderian, a spokesperson for the city, told LAist that at least five attendees have now tested positive for COVID-19, but many others were exposed. Derderian said there were about 30 to 40 people at the party, both inside and outside the host's home.

The source of the outbreak, according to the public health department, was a party guest who was reportedly coughing and not wearing a face covering. The other guests at the gathering of family and friends also were not wearing coverings or practicing social distancing.

Derderian said that several more guests at the party are now "significantly ill." The Pasadena public health department encouraged them to get tested, she said, but they don't have the authority to force them.

"The five that we were able to identify as positive cases, we have been in contact with," Derderian said. But some of the other party guests have not been as cooperative.

The party happened after Pasadena's Safer at Home Order went into effect on March 22. An investigation team with the city's public health department identified patient zero (technically called "the index case") and through contact tracing, discovered the other five postive cases among the party-goers.

Derderian said this is a concern for the city on Mother's Day weekend, and warned that just one visit can easily spread the virus.

"More things are opening up throughout the state and in our city ... there's an increase in traffic, people are out in the community now more, walking and running and bike riding, which is great as long as they're maintaining social distance," she said. "But we don't want people to get a false sense of security. All it takes is one to infect several others and then it's like investigative reporting where you have to go in and determine what contacts these people had."

She said that contact tracing is very difficult and time consuming for Pasadena's relatively small public health department, which has recruited some library employees to help with tracing research, since libraries are closed.

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Rock Legend Little Richard Had Long And Deep Ties To L.A.

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Musician Little Richard performs during the halftime show of the game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Boise State Broncos in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on December 31, 2004 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. (Andy Lyons / Getty)

Rock ‘n’ roll icon Little Richard died today at 87, from bone cancer.

In 1986, he was one of the 10 original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1993 was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia. He was a struggling performer when he signed in 1955 with the Los Angeles label, Specialty Records, which released his biggest hits.

He would soon buy a house in L.A.’s Lafayette Park neighborhood. And through much of the 1980s and ’90s, he lived in a hotel on the Sunset Strip.

During that time, he had a memorable part in Paul Mazursky's 1986 comedy, "Down and Out in Beverly Hills."

L.A.-based writer Emory Holmes II met Little Richard and his producer, Bumps Blackwell, at a press conference around 1980. Holmes recalls: "After I corrected Richard about a detail of his own early career, Bumps grabbed me following the event and asked, 'Do you have a car?' Yes, I said.

"I stayed with them, as a driver and aide, until Bumps died in ’85, and served as one of his pall bearers with Quincy Jones and Casey Kasem. Richard, dressed in a sequined jacket, was the officiant at the funeral. The Angeles Funeral Home on Crenshaw was packed; the altar heaped with flowers. At one point in the service, Richard looked around and said, 'What beautiful flowers! Bumps would have loved them. But why didn’t any of you think to bring him flowers while he was still alive? That’s when he needed them.'"

Our friends at NPR created a playlist in his honor. Listen below:

READ MORE ABOUT LITTLE RICHARD'S LEGACY:

LA Hiking Trails Are Open Again. Don't Mess It Up.

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Los Angeles is visible behind Griffith Observatory, seen from hiking trails in Griffith Park. Andrew Cullen for LAist Andrew Cullen/Andrew Cullen for LAist

This weekend will be a second test to see if L.A. hikers can follow safety guidelines. Most trails in Los Angeles are open today after being closed in late March because people were crowding paths, not wearing masks, nor following physical distancing guidelines.

Rangers will be managing crowds and taking notes about how Angelenos do this weekend. Failures could be reported to the mayor.

“Rangers will be checking for masks, for example, and if people aren’t wearing masks, they might close trails again,” said Casey Schreiner, founder of Modern Hiker.

Not everything will be back to normal, either. Griffith Park trails are open today, for example, but traffic will be restricted. Meanwhile the ever-popular Runyon Canyon remains closed.

If you do go out, remember to stay six feet away from people and wear a face covering. And be ready to try nearby alternatives if you find a trail is too crowded. Mayor Garcetti had some more tips on doing this right yesterday.

Alternatively, Schreiner suggests making peace with not going hiking right now. “If you’re concerned about the heat and you're concerned about the crowds, remember you don’t need to go hiking this weekend,” he said.

For his part, Schreiner says he plans to stay home and head out to the trails midweek when — hopefully — they're less crowded.

SEE WHAT THE TRAILS LOOKED LIKE TODAY:

Listen to the full story from KPCC's Take Two below:

MORE ABOUT HIKING AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN THE PANDEMIC:

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Morning Briefing: Adapting To The New Normal

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(Amber Lung / LAist)

Never miss a morning briefing, subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

As we’ve heard from many of you, the coronavirus is forcing everyone to alter their day-to-day lives in very particular ways. In today’s Mis Ángeles column, Erick Galindo examines how his 60-year-old mother went from scoffing at technology to becoming, in his words, “a badass Latina with mad YouTube skills”:

“As my family's personal tech support, I'm the one who's been a key witness to my mother's transformation from someone who never had her phone on her to what she used to call a ‘boba,’ her choice term (it means silly fool in Spanish) for people who stare at their screens.

I admit, I was worried when I got a Facebook friend request from an Elvia Galindo, with a stylish photo of moms and pops at some quinceañera... But Elvia has quickly caught on. And she's not a boba, she's actually using the technology to thrive during the quarantine, just like she thrived without technology before it.”

Elvia’s ability to adapt is impressive, but what’s even more remarkable is her ability to turn that into action. It would be easy to sit back and let the pandemic wash over us, passively waiting to resume “normal” life. But life isn’t going back to how it was before; it never does.

Elvia Galindo, for one, is embracing the change. We should all be so wise.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 30,296 coronavirus cases and 1,468 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 62,477 cases and 2,545 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.9 million cases and more than 274,000 deaths. L.A. public schools are unlikely to reopen by July.

L.A. Communities: Members of China’s Muslim Uighur population living in Southern California are especially fearful for the fate of their homeland; here’s how Filipino/Filipina health care workers, who make up a large share of California’s medical workers, are holding up; columnist Erick Galindo shares how his first-generation mom is embracing all things digital while staying at home; a bill introduced Tuesday would require California to collect data on how the coronavirus pandemic affects the LGBTQ community.

Money Matters: For local governments still sporting scars from the last recession, this downturn is both familiar and entirely new; more Californians are out of work now than during the last recession, with the entertainment industry hit especially hard.

Health: L.A. County health officials are working to determine the link between COVID-19 and Kawasaki syndrome, a rare disease that typically affects young children; the county's mental health hotline is seeing a surge in calls; there is a smaller gap between Latino coronavirus cases and the population rate than experts previously thought; about one-quarter of the county’s 360 nursing homes have tested all residents and staff; county officials are working to help people who have recently been released from jail and need psychiatric services.

Reopening California: The state’s Phase 3 of reopening could be less than a month away, and Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged people to shop at local businesses rather than big-box stores; L.A.'s flower market reopened yesterday, but social distancing doesn’t seem to be happening there; a plan to promote more space for residents to walk, bike and play in their neighborhoods has been postponed.

L.A.’s Arts And Food Scene: AirTalk's film critics join Larry Mantle to review the latest on-demand offerings, including "Becoming," "Rewind," "Spaceship Earth," and "Driveways”; the popular buffet chain Souplantation, which was founded in San Diego in 1978, is closing all 97 of its restaurants.


Your Moment Of Zen

KPCC/LAist's Amber Lung snapped this pic on a walk in her neighborhood recently, and then "a ladybug landed on [her] sunglasses."

(Amber Lung / LAist)

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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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