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Morning Brief: Monkeypox Updates, Fiesta Flag, Summer Nights At The CAAM

A man with a rash covering about 3/4 of this face looks at the camera.
Kevin Kwong describes the pain of the rash caused by monkeypox as "inescapable."
Courtesy Kevin Kwong)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Friday, July 22.

Happy Friday, y’all. There’s so much going on this weekend and I want to make sure that you are all ready to thoroughly enjoy your time off. But before we head outside to have a BALL like Queen Bey told us to, I need to talk about monkeypox…once again. 

My colleague Jackie Fortiér has been very busy writing about monkeypox because the updates keep coming.

In her most recent article, she shares the story of Kevin Kwong. Kwong is a Californian who recently got tested after attending New York Pride and waking up with itchy hands. 

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He first thought it was eczema. But then it got rapidly worse. What was just itchy skin in the beginning turned into spots that oozed, redness on his face and sores in the back of his throat as well as all over his body.

“Your body is being taken over by this thing that you don’t understand. It’s both painful and terrifying,” Kwong tells Jackie.

This story is chilling. The good news: Kwong has since recovered. But one thing that I found really interesting is that he never tested positive for monkeypox, even though his doctor definitely thinks he had it. The man that Kwong had sexual contact with at New York Pride tested positive for it. One possibility is that health care workers who tested him didn’t rub hard enough to get the live cells. 

Monkeypox response so far has been…not great. Healthcare providers are still trying to figure out the best ways to efficiently and accurately test. Jackie tells me that healthcare providers are unfamiliar with the test. And because of that some cases are missed if the tests aren’t conducted correctly.

Another major issue is that California still needs a lot of monkeypox vaccines. Jackie reports that the state has received 19,500 doses and ordered another 25,000. But that’s far short of demand. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) says they need ANOTHER 600,000 to 800,000 doses…and that would only cover the highest risk populations. California is so low on vaccines that just yesterday afternoon, L.A. County officials released an update saying that they were “at capacity” and pre-registration is paused. This all comes after more Angelenos became eligible for testing a few days ago.

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State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has called on the federal government to declare a national public health emergency which would bring in more funds. 

“Had federal officials shown a stronger will to action, more could have been done to stop the spread just using basic public health methods,” Rendon said. “During recent Pride month activities, thousands of those vaccine doses could have been administered at celebratory events, clinics, LGBTQ bars and gathering places throughout the state. That did not happen, and it enabled this spread.”

So, what should you do if you have an unusual rash? Please still go see your doctor. And avoid monkeypox like the plague.

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

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Pop quiz: which three colors make up the L.A. City flag? If you didn’t know the answer to that (or even that L.A. has a flag), today’s as good a day as any to change that. The Fiesta Flag is celebrating its 91st anniversary
  • A day after Bruce’s Beach ownership was officially turned back to descendants of the Black couple who had the property seized by Manhattan Beach in 1927, racist and vulgar graffiti was discovered at an elementary school in the city. Police there are investigating.
  • Ever had the urge to jog dressed as a banana for Charity? Well,now you can this Saturday, July 23. The first annual Bananas Splitty in The City is being held through Santa Monica Boulevard, from the 4100 Bar to The Virgil theater. 
  • New California data shows schools with more low-income students have more underqualified teachers. The state’s 2022-21 school year data shows the percentage of classes taught by fully credentialed and “experienced” teachers.  
  • We have some out of this world news! The James Webb Space Telescopeuncovered some of the most interesting scientific treasures such as unexpected weirdness around Jupiter, alien planets’ atmospheres, and even distant galaxies.

Before You Go...Explore Dope Black-Owned Businesses OR See an I Love Lucy-Inspired Variety Show

Dozens of pople dance near a sign reading: CAAM California African American Museum
KCRW Summer Nights @ CAAM
(Courtesy KCRW )

I know some of you are about to head to the theaters to see Jordan Peele’s Nope like I am this weekend. I’m calling out a couple of stand-out events for me in our weekly listings here, but of course there’s so many more events to tempt you.

FREE.99 with RSVP  

KCRW is hosting Summer Nights at the California African American Museum (CAAM).

Take your friends, your boo and your auntie too to a night full of exhibition sight-seeing, eating good food from local food trucks, drinking in a beer garden, and exploring Black-owned businesses in a pop-up marketplace.


So growing up, I LOVED watching the goofy, oh-so-hilarious Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy. For all my fellow fans of old-school comedy shows, Club Babalu might be the spot this Saturday at 6 p.m. That’s where you can find yourself transported back to the 1950s in an immersive variety show that featuring live burlesque, aerialists and jugglers. This will be a night to remember. You just have to be 21+ to go! Tickets start at $40.

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