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Morning Briefing: Why We Can't Have Nice Things

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Today, in why we can't have nice things, a bunch of people headed for the beach (and the poppy fields) on Saturday, despite clear orders from pretty much everyone to stay at home.

I get it. It's topping 90-degrees. Most of us are on day 40-50 of quarantine (I counted 43, personally) and driveable access to beaches and wildflowers is probably one of the reasons a lot of us chose to live here in the first place.

But, look: Public health experts, doctors, mayors, governors — all say the best way to beat this virus is to avoid contact with other people. And the best way to do that is to stay home.

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Neighborhood walks? Sure. Runs? That's ok, too. But please, stop posting your poppy selfies on Instagram. At the very least, have a little discretion. When you tag your location, we can see you. We know you were there today for a picnic at 1 p.m. sitting all over those innocent flowers. And beach goers, we see you too.

It's like, we've been in line for 43 days, do you really want to get out of line and start over? DO YOU? Because when you get out of the line, we all have to get out of line.

Plus, let's be real. If we all crowd the beaches, then we're no better than Florida. And I for one, think we are better than Florida.

So go sit on your couch, pour yourself a glass of whatever you have in the house, and watch the poppy cam. There are worse things. At least you're not getting publicly shamed for trying to sneak into Debs Regional Park during a global pandemic.

Gina Pollack

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What We're Covering Today

  • Much of how COVID-19 works in the body is still unknown, but USC's Keck School of Medicine wants to help fill the knowledge gap with its own research through a $4 million donation. Julia Paskin will dig into their plans.
  • We'll get the inside scoop on the beach situation from some Newport Lifeguards. How crowded were our sandy shores on Saturday? Is it Spring Break or a global pandemic? Or both? Maybe the lifeguards have a better sense of time than we do right now.
  • A couple of golf courses in Huntington Beach are reopening, after a change to Orange County's coronavirus health order. Sound familiar? We'll have the details.

The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are at least 19,100 coronavirus cases and 895 deaths in L.A. County. In California, there are a 41,577 confirmed cases and more than 1,600 deaths. Worldwide, there are at least 2.8 million cases and more than 202,668 deaths.

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Antibody tests might not be our get-out-of-jail-free card. The World Health Organization has pushed back against the theory that antibodies equal immunity from the virus.

What is time? There is no time, especially when you're quarantining with a five-year-old.

We know that contact-tracing, i.e. mapping everyone an infected person has been in contact with — like a medical detective — is a critical step for containing the spread of coronavirus. But most public health departments in California don't have enough people to do it. To make it work, Long Beach, for example, should have seven-to-nine times more investigators than it has now.

Beaches in Ventura and Orange County are open, but officials are asking people in other counties (e.g., L.A.) to please stay away and leave the sand to the locals. That didn't stop crowds from pouring onto Huntington Beach in recent days. If that trend continues, the beaches might close again (and you might get a citation).

Undocumented Angelenos have a lot of questions right now. Short answers: COVID-19 testing is free under L.A. Care and available to anyone with symptoms (and all essential workers, even if they're asymptomatic). Under a new court order, more than 2,000 unaccompanied minors in custody of Refugee Resettlement and 300 children being held at ICE detention centers will be released to family members.

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Activists are protesting from inside their cars to demand rent and mortgage cancellations for people struggling financially due to the current economic crisis. They say simply delaying rent and morgage isn't good enough.

You can't run through the poppy fields this year. Reports say California State Parks had to put up roadblocks in Lancaster near Antelope Valley to stop incoming traffic. May we suggest watching on a webcam instead, from the comfort of your (hopefully air-conditioned) home?


Your Moment of Zen

Ryan Heffington, choreographer, performer and owner of the Silver Lake dance studio, the Sweat Spot, is getting international attention for the Instagram-live dance class that he teaches from his living room. Yesterday, more than 8,000 people tuned in to sweat out their pandemic stress, including Emma Stone.


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