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Three Years Into The Pandemic, What It’s Like To Still Battle Long COVID. And Other News.

Two images of Shelby Hedgecock: One before COVID, competing as a triathlete, the other a selfie in a hospital bed.
Before she developed long COVID, Shelby Hedgecock competed in endurance competitions. She's had long COVID for three years.
Courtesy of Shelby Hedgecock)
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I will never forget the week the entire world upended. Nearly three years ago today, many of us journalists were told to gather our materials and report from home for the indefinite future.

I was a green K-12 education reporter, fresh out of graduate school and suddenly tasked with writing two to three stories a day about the hardships students, parents and teachers faced with remote learning, social isolation and looming threats of illness. It was scary. There was so much we didn’t know.

The lingering effects of long COVID

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Three years later, more than 1 million people have died from COVID in the U.S. But the country seems to have largely moved on from the pandemic that changed our entire lives. The federal government will end the COVID health emergency in May. L.A. County is ending it earlier — at the end of this month. There is one group of people, however, who can’t move on: the estimated 15 million people in the U.S. who have long COVID.

In California, 575,000 adults are still suffering from symptoms associated with the disease, like chronic fatigue, along with almost 200 other conditions.

My colleague Jackie Fortiér talked to three people still wrestling with the lingering effects of COVID.

They were personal trainers, therapists and school employees. They were all stripped of their regular lives when they fell ill. Now, they feel abandoned by a world that seems to be turning its back on COVID-19 and all that’s happened these last few years.

Shelby Hedgecock used to be a personal trainer — that is, until COVID impacted her breathing and neurological system.

“We were injured by this virus, and patients are losing hope,” said Hedgecock, an advocate who has had long COVID for three years. “We feel swept under the rug.”

Read more of their stories here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • Residents living near burn scars in Santa Barbara County are being told to evacuate this morning as more heavy rain is expected today and tomorrow. 
  • This latest atmospheric river is ranked on a scale 2-3, but what exactly does that mean? My colleague Erin Stone explores that question.  
  • These storms have been a little intense this winter and with heavy water fall, comes the risk of mudslides. Here’s some more info about what area in Southern California will most likely experience debris flows, mudslides and flooding this season and what you can do to prepare your home in case of an emergency. 
  • Following the Monterey Park shooting in January, President Joe Biden is visiting the city today to discuss his plans to stop gun violence. Here’s what else you need to know about his trip here.
  • L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Roberto Carvalho told parents via email that schools may have to close if workers go on strike. Negotiations are continuing. (Los Angeles Times
  • The University of California system received $15 million in state grants for researching ways to solve climate issues. Here’s more information about the state’s partnership with the UCs.
  • Traveling from USC to LAX as a college student can be costly. So students created a rideshare app for that. 
  • California regulators took over Silicon Valley Bank, and on Monday it opened again under the guidance of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Ben Christopher at CalMatters wrote about whether this current incident is the end of a small crisis, or the beginning of a big one. 
  • The hotter, drier state of the climate is severely impacting the tall trees of California’s Sierra Nevada region. Stanford University researchers estimated that nearly a quarter of the conifer trees were no longer compatible with their surrounding environment. 
  • Roland “Rolly” Crump, the designer behind “It’s a Small World” and other Disney attractions, died Sunday morning. The iconic designer was 93 years old.
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Wait... One More Thing

Stranded cows get a lifeline

A landscape picture of cattle walking in snow in Northern California.
Authorities in Northern California spot cattle in the snow as they prepare to drop food.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office)

Here in the city, we hardly ever think about cows … unless we’re actively thinking about where our milk comes from. Well, cows in Northern California are in danger because of the intense weather we’ve had this winter season. Cattle have been stranded and starving in the snow for weeks. And because the grass is not growing (or its covered with snow), there is little to eat.

But now, these bovines are getting the food they need from state, federal and local officials in Humboldt County with something called “Operation Hay Drop." It’s fed thousands of cattle already. Read NPR’s Kai McNamee story about the importance of these emergency measures.

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