Morning Briefing: Tales From An L.A. Emergency Room Doctor
Gov. Gavin Newsom has long been saying that California is about to experience a surge in coronavirus patients. According to one L.A. emergency room doctor who we've been talking to, health care workers are bracing for it. Elly Yu, who’s been in regular contact with medical professionals on the front lines, reports that more patients with COVID-19 are showing up in hospitals, and ICUs are starting to get full.
So, when officials say to keep up that social distance and wear a makeshift mask if you can, it’s probably a good idea to follow along. Fortunately, fashioning your own mask out of an old t-shirt is relatively easy, even for the less-than-crafty among us.
Here’s what we’re covering today:
- Rent moratoriums are one thing, reports Matt Tinoco; but if tenants have to make up rent that's been missed, that could make the difference between having a home and becoming homeless.
- Aaron Mendelson takes a deeper look at the results of the race for District Attorney — and finds some revealing data.
- Loans for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus outbreak will become available today. Emily Guerin asks if local banks are ready.
- Disney will begin a furloughing process of non-union employees on April 19, John Horn will looks at the repercussions for this industry giant.
- Santa Monica College Foundation opened a drive-through “pop-up” pantry for food insecure students. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez talks to the key players.
- Elly Yu speaks to an ER doctor who says that more and more COVID-19 patients are coming every day.
- Lots of landlords seem to be pushing their tenants to pay online in the age of coronavirus, in part for social distancing — but it also often pushes renters into automatic monthly payment. The problem, reports David Wagner, is that this is illegal in California.
Catch up on all these stories in our P.M. newsletter:
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HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST 24 HOURS:
By the numbers:
- L.A. County now has over 3,500 cases of coronavirus, and 13 more deaths. There are more than 1 million cases worldwide. Local emergency medical officials have also seen an uptick in calls related to COVID-19 symptoms.
- Movie ticket sales have plummeted in the last month, and passenger traffic through LAX on March 31 was down 90% from the same day last year.
What's going on in the schools:
- We've been updating a list of how long all public school districts in L.A. County will closed, as more and more announce they will not re-open physical campuses this year.
- LAUSD is implementing a hotline for students and families to call for assistance with any fear, anxiety or other challenges they might be experiencing related to COVID-19.
- California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who notes that school is still in session remotely, said state officials have “not waged into a conversation about summer school because this year is not over.”
- We've also looked at why early education poses some unique challenges to distance learning.
The official word:
- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the implementation of special parking zones for temporary food pickup, and a late night schedule for traffic lights, meaning red lights will cycle through more frequently to make it harder for drivers tempted to speed on the eerily open roads.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom offered more information to Californians on job opportunities and financial resources for individuals and small businesses. The state processed close to 879,000 unemployment claims during the week of March 22 through 28.
- White House officials outlined their coronavirus projections earlier this week, but researchers say there were five key facts left out
What's going on in our hospitals and institutions:
- In Elly Yu’s series, “Diary From The COVID-19 Frontlines,” a nurse at a major L.A. hospital tells of buying a tent to sleep in her back yard. And on this week’s “No-Panic Guide Live,” Dr. Glenn Fernandez talks to us about a day in the life of an ER doctor.
- Until Tuesday, 53-year-old Paul Klees spent his nights inside Bethel AME Men's Winter Shelter in South L.A., with almost 100 other men and virtually no personal space, despite COVID-19 concerns.
- St. Joseph Hospital in Orange completed its first blood transfer Wednesday from a recovered COVID-19 patient to a patient sick with the disease, in the hope that the former’s antibodies will attack the virus.
- Employees at many nursing home facilities say they don’t have the protection equipment they need to keep themselves and residents safe. A COVID-19 cluster is occurring at the Cedar Mountain nursing home in Yucaipa, but experts fear it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- Urgently seeking blood, the FDA today significantly shortened the length of wait time for accepting blood donations from men who have had sex with a man, women who have had sex with gay or bisexual men and people who have recently been tattooed or pierced.
News you can use:
- Making a homemade mask from a shirt isn't hard. Honest. Here's how to do it.
And since we all need the break, here are some non-COVID-19 reads:
- Hiu Kit David Chong, a former USC admissions official, has admitted that he made about $40,000 over several years by helping Chinese nationals feather their applications to the school with fake transcripts, letters of recommendation and personal statements.
- In this time of social distance and stay-at-home, here are 14 online offerings from L.A.'s local performing and visual arts organizations and spaces, including opera at home, family art workshops and a pop culture art opening.
- Portrait photography often requires getting in people's faces, or at least within six feet of them. In our current reality, though, some local photographers are having to find inventive ways of doing their work. And it's turned into something of a mini-trend.
- Working remotely, our newsroom found a way to keep ourselves entertained – by turning ourselves into our favorite emojis. Now, it’s your turn.
And now, your moment of Zen:
Cathy Ward, who is on the board of trustees for our non-profit newsroom, shared this beautiful shot that she took of a Bristlecone pine tree in the national park outside of Big Pine.
Help us cover your community:
- Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
- Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.
The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.