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Morning Brief: COVID Cases Increase, ‘King Tides,’ Forgotten Revolutionary

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Good morning, L.A. It’s Thursday, July 14.

I know you’re probably enjoying your summer vacations and all, but I have some slightly bad news. Indoor masking just might be making a comeback.

Health officials are expecting Los Angeles County to be in the “high” category soon and if it stays there for two consecutive weeks, then we’ll be fitting indoor masks along with our summertime hoochie daddy shorts and bandeau tops.

That’s because a highly contagious Omicron subvariant known as BA.5 is on the loose.

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1,170. That’s the number of COVID-19 positive patients in local hospitals right now (as of Wednesday evening) and it doesn’t look like it’s going down anytime soon. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said this for LAist’s latest article about the COVID updates: 

While we’re not seeing anywhere near the devastation this summer that we saw during last winter’s omicron surge, we are seeing much higher case numbers than we saw during the peak of the delta surge. It’s unlikely that we are at the peak of our recent surge.
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I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to keep my mask on indoors. I also encourage you to stay up-to-date with your vaccinations. Please get vaccinated, y’all. IF you feel a little scratch in your throat or you feel anything that could be the sign of sickness, please get tested as soon as possible. Here are the L.A. County testing locations.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below the fold.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • A new map from UCLA shows how extreme heat caused by climate change has affected different communities in L.A. Researchers hope the map will encourage people who live in worst-affected areas to call up their legislators and spark change.
  • Have you seen Lucas Assiss’s cucumber margaritas on your FYP yet? We asked the L.A. local bartender and mixologist for his most refreshing summer cocktail recipes.
  • Abortion pills are set to be available on college campuses in California, freeing up appointments at clinics throughout the state. Experts say as many as 6,228 students could seek medication abortions on UC and Cal State campuses each year.
  • At 9.1%, inflation hit a new, 40-year high. Gas prices went up the most (no surprises there) by almost 60% from June 2021 to 2022.
  • According to a new report, 84% LGBTQ adults said they feel unsafe on social media platforms. TikTok and Twitter got one thing right: prohibiting users from misgendering or deadnaming transgender and nonbinary people.

Before You Go...Throwback Thursday...One Reporter's Connection To A Chicano College Activist

Three people in their late teens or early 20s pose together for a photo.
College activists Oscar Gomez, left, Natalie Paredes, and Juan Gonzalez in 1993.
(Courtesy Natalie Paredes)

Every Thursday, I’ll share a little piece of L.A. or California history that piqued my interest.

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Today, I want to highlight LAist’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez’s personal essay about his connection with Oscar Gomez, a young Chicano college activist who mysteriously died in 1994 on a Santa Barbara beach.

Adolfo hosts a podcast about the strange case of Oscar Gomez’s death in Imperfect Paradise: The Forgotten Revolutionary. As he told the story about Gomez, he realized that it was actually his story too.

“I could have left the story there. I could have moved on. And I was about to move on. But the people I interviewed, Oscar’s activist friends, recounted stories of how Chicano college students resisted and reacted to the state’s politics, sometimes putting their own lives on the line, and that dislodged my own memories of my own activism in those years. In the past 30 years I’ve rarely talked publicly about how I was part of the early 90s Chicano student movement, leading a student newspaper, producing a campus public affairs show, and attending protests in California, some of the same protests that Oscar attended.”

Read this story on LAist.

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