Morning Briefing: Mochi, Inmates And Carnicerias
The more we know about coronavirus, the more we don’t know about… well, lots of things. Inmates at a California prison told Emily Elena Dugdale that social distancing pretty much can’t be done behind bars. Little Tokyo mochi shop owner Brian Kito spoke to Josie Huang about COVID-19 making him more nervous than the Great Recession. And while some people were mowing down their neighbors for toilet paper at L.A. Costcos, Latino supermarket chains, carnicerias and tienditas were low-key doing just fine with supplies, says Erick Galindo.
Nevertheless, Dodgers fans persisted.
Here’s what happened in the past 24 hours:
- Nine more people have died in Los Angeles County from complications related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 21. The total number of cases in the county are now at 1,216. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that if the current rate of increase continues, L.A. will be where New York is in six days when it comes to cases per capita.
- Latino supermarket chains, carnicerias, liquor stores, tienditas and even gas station markets are on the frontlines of providing food during the pandemic. When returning from them – or any grocery store – you don’t have to change clothes, but you do have to wash your hands. And while we’re at it, what actually *is* an “essential service”?
- Ridership and sales tax revenue have plummeted for L.A. Metro, putting the agency in uncharted territory. The funeral industry is feeling the uncertainty too – despite planning for a pandemic since about 2006, it’s never been stress-tested by anything like coronavirus. L.A. City Council will hold its first Zoom meeting Friday, and an online tool tracking racist incidents toward Asian Americans has received more than 670 reports in one week.
- Inmates at the Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility near Bakersfield say social distancing is impossible when 70 or more men are packed into dorms "the size of a convenience store." A Southern California man arrested by the FBI for a bogus cure for COVID-19 may soon be among them.
- The U.S. now has over 82,000 COVID-19 cases – more than any other country in the world. More than three million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week – well above the levels seen during the darkest days of the Great Recession. Here’s how to navigate job loss, if you’re going through it. And, there may be some good news – the Senate’s stimulus package includes a boost in unemployment benefits, including for self-employed workers and those in the gig economy.
- Famed Little Tokyo mochi shop Fugetsu-Do has weathered every crisis in the past century, but COVID-19 feels like the biggest test yet. Dental providers are being urged to limit routine services like cleanings in an effort to free up personal protective gear. Amidst it all, Dodgers fans found ways to celebrate opening day at home.
- ProPublica found that the CDC "fumbled its communication with public health officials and underestimated the threat of the coronavirus." LAX workers were among the confused.
Your 5-minute briefing on yesterday:
Here’s what we’re covering today:
- Instruction in Southern California public school classes has, quite suddenly, gone entirely virtual — so is any learning happening during this time? Kyle Stokes examines the challenges.
- Aaron Mendelson sorts through the confusing situation with evictions in California.
- Matt Tinoco brings the latest news from Judge David Carter, who is famous for compelling Orange County cities to shelter their homeless and is now overseeing a case against both the city and county of Los Angeles.
- Erick Galindo talks with a warehouse worker on the front lines of providing essentials like toilet paper during the COVID-19 outbreak, and learns it's a grueling job.
- Lisa Brenner deconstructs the movie Groundhog’s Day to figure out what day we’re all (re)living.
Here are some blessed, relaxing, non-COVID-19 reads:
- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will vote next Tuesday to remove Sheriff Alex Villanueva as head of the county's emergency operations center. Villanueva is calling it a “power grab.”
- The history of lawn bowling stretches back at least 700 years – and Highland Park is a little-known hotspot.
- Millard Sheets' murals include the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple (now Marciano Art Foundation) on the border of Hancock Park and Koreatown, as well as the "Angel's Flight" painting at LACMA… but his work is slowly disappearing from L.A.’s streets.
And now, your moment of Zen:
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.