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Morning Briefing: LA Scientists Take On COVID-19 Research

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It was a busy weekend in Southern California.

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, researchers continued their work testing remdesivir, the antiviral drug that preliminary studies have shown can help patients recover from COVID-19 faster. At USC, researchers are pursuing a theory about suppressing the immune system to fight the virus. And while most Orange County residents wound up abiding by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s closure of their beaches, they didn’t go down without a fight.

Meanwhile, not one but two small earthquakes shook Chatsworth in a span of less than 12 hours, and across the state, health officials scrambled to access coronavirus testing supplies, which have seen highly uneven distribution from one county to another.

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In other words, we’re hitting this week at full speed ahead — even from inside lockdown. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, May 4

Maria, an undocumented farmworker in Oxnard, shares her concerns with Jacob Margolis about picking strawberries during the time of COVID-19.

When city and state stay-at-home orders were taking effect the week of March 17, Emily Guerin visited every small business on a block of Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. Six weeks later, she checks in again to see how they're faring.

L.A. County officials are giving paramedics and EMT's special permission to work in nursing homes. As Jackie Fortiér reports, the county's move comes as many nursing homes are short-staffed due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

A Martínez talks with Tyree Boyd-Pates, a curator at the Autry Museum of the American West. The Autry is launching Collecting Community History: A Regional Collections Initiative of Exploration and Preservation, the first in a series of efforts to help communities in the West collect, catalogue and preserve moments of history.

Listen to rare music from Nick Cave and Phish. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home. Christine N. Ziemba has these couch-worthy events as well as the Reno 911! revival, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Fest and a Paley Front Row event featuring Brockmire.

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The Past 48 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 25,677 coronavirus cases and 1,229 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 54,721 cases and 2,210 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are more than 3.5 million cases and 247,000 deaths.

Money Matters: Freelancers who had W-2 income might receive less money for unemployment. Airbnb hosts are struggling to pay off their mortgages now that reservations have disappeared. Long Beach officials are talking about reopening the economy, even as the city reports its highest number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Broken Systems, Shaking Plates: Most California nursing homes that experienced COVID-19 outbreaks already had red flags. Supply chain limitations have plagued the labs responsible for coronavirus testing in California. Two earthquakes hit Chatsworth on Sunday.

Beachy Keen: Huntington Beach police patrolled the beaches on Saturday, although they were all but empty this weekend. San Clemente's city council is arguing over whether or not to take legal action to reopen their beaches. Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, a top White House advisor on coronavirus, told Fox News she found the images of tightly packed, unmasked protesters of stay-at-home orders "devastatingly worrisome."

L.A. Researchers On COVID-19: Cedars-Sinai is playing an important role in a promising trial for remdesivir, an antiviral drug that was approved for emergency treatment of COVID-19. USC immunologists theorize that suppressing the immune system may help the body fight off the virus.

Breaking The Fast: A virtual iftar brought interfaith participants together via Zoom.

Final Good-Byes: Bobby Lee Verdugo, who helped lead the 1968 Los Angeles high school student walkouts, died Friday after a lifetime of activism and mentoring young Latinos. Fifty-two years after walking out of his Lincoln Heights school, Verdugo was still inspiring the next generation, said his fellow student leader, Moctesuma Esparza. “He took a stand for everyone, that we should all have the opportunity to have a quality education and be encouraged to reach our potential and be able to go to college,” Esparza said.

Your Moment Of Zen

Some residents of Orange County still aren't happy about it, but this photo of an empty Huntington Beach is about as tranquil as it gets.

(Photo by Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

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