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Morning Briefing: You Need To Wear A Mask Because Of Your Mouth's Micro-Droplets

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Driving around my neighborhood today, I — like many of you, no doubt — saw people walking, jogging and biking sans face mask, casually passing their neighbors on the sidewalk by a foot or less.

After raging to myself in my car for one satisfying and self-righteous moment, I acquiesced that lots of folks probably aren't aware that Angelenos have been asked to wear face masks at places that might make social distancing hard; so, fair enough. But others — including us — may be wondering what masks accomplish, exactly. Do disease-carrying particles float out from the sides anyway? Does cloth or paper provide an adequate barrier, or are COVID-19 molecules smaller than mask molecues, enabling their entrance to our mouths and noses regardless?

Take Two host A Martínez posed these questions and more to University of San Francisco data scientist Jeremy Howard, and his answers put things in stark, micro-droplet-sized relief. If you become sufficiently convinced, here's how to make your own mask out of a t-shirt.

Have a great Monday, and see you tomorrow morning.

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HERE'S WHAT WE'RE COVERING TODAY

  • Ryan Fonseca has been talking to scientists about how clear our skies have been now that SoCal's infamously crowded roads are suddenly wide open. Is it a silver lining? Experts caution against that conclusion.
  • Many of us have struggled to get through to aging parents about how seriously they need to take this pandemic. Susanne Whatley asked a clinical psychologist for some much-needed advice, and later, she speaks with an L.A. tourism expert on how the coronavirus has impacted the city.
  • Mike Roe is taking a closer look at the galleries the Academy Museum will have when it opens in December (please, let's be back to normal by then.)
  • We're talking to a historian about the history of Navy hospital ships like the USNS Mercy that's docked at the Port of L.A. to treat non-coronavirus patients.

THE PAST 24 HOURS:

L.A., California, The World: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Sunday announced 663 new cases and 15 new deaths. There are now more than 5,940 total cases to date in L.A. County and 132 deaths. The U.S. is reporting more than 331,000 cases, and the worldwide count has surpassed 1.2 million.

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California Kids: Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an expanded executive order intended to keep essential workers working by providing childcare and after-school programs for their children. In L.A. County, it's now been been more than two weeks since foster kids have been unable to visit their biological family — those in-person meetings were suspended by the court to minimize the spread of COVID-19. And check out this virtual school assembly the LAPD put on for students.

Safety Measures: Riverside County this weekend took one of the state’s strictest measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 by banning all gatherings with non-household members and ordering all residents to wear face coverings outside. If you have any doubts about why you need to cover your face, listen to what this data scientist told us.

The Federal Response: President Trump doubled down Sunday on the suggestion that people should consider taking an anti-malaria drug that has not been proven to be an effective treatment for coronavirus.


YOUR (MUCH-NEEDED) MOMENT OF ZEN:

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The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was closed to the public on Palm Sunday. James Francis prayed outside the gates.

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(Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

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