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Morning Briefing: ‘We’ve All Got To Do Our Part’

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Local officials are starting to take a harder edge with our neighbors who are struggling to accept the severity of COVID-19. In an interview with KPCC’s All Things Considered host Nick Roman, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer got serious about what's happening.

“I try not to ever alarm people unnecessarily,” she said. “That's not never my intent. But I do want people to understand, this is a disease that causes some very serious illness and even causes death for some people. And, you know, more than ever, we've all got to do our part… Everybody either helps, or we continue to see dramatic increases in the numbers of cases.”

Here’s what happened in the past 24 hours:

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti repeated his warning that residents will likely need to stay home until at least May, and Ferrer pleaded with Angelenos to "do their part.
  • There are currently at least 812 cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County, and more than 470,000 worldwide. The mortality rate sits at 1.5% nationwide and 1% in L.A. County, higher than what we experience with annual flu cases.
  • During his press briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Donald Trump became emotional and claimed that the media wants him to do poorly. Prior to that, he announced that Senate leaders have struck a deal to inject the U.S. economy with about $2 trillion in aid in response to the coronavirus pandemic (that deal was later delayed).
  • A lesson from history: When L.A. lifted its seven-week shut-down during the Spanish Influenza of 1918, cases immediately spiked and a second shut-down commenced. Also, if you don’t have health insurance but think you might need a COVID-19 test, call a healthcare provider and get their input on what to do.
  • Four out of the five largest banks have agreed to a 90-day waiver for residential mortgage payments for those impacted by coronavirus, with the exception of Bank of America. (Gov. Gavin Newsom, in announcing the measures, twice called out Bank of America for only committing to 30 days.)
  • State and county officials in California have been negotiating with hundreds of hotels to house homeless people during the COVID-19 outbreak, and some hope the plan could turn into a long-term solution.
  • For domestic violence victims, staying at home may not be safe.

Here’s what we’re covering today:

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  • While some Angelenos were turning Costco into the Wild West, many others are finding everything they need at carnicerias, liquor stores, tienditas and Latino supermarkets, reports Erick Galindo.
  • Mike Roe talks to street artists who are coping with the coronavirus through their work.
  • Jacob Margolis answers your questions about the supply chain in the time of COVID-19 in a Facebook Live Q&A at 3 p.m.
  • The new federal coronavirus bill will let self-employed and gig workers file for unemployment, reports David Wagner. How much will this help?
  • Emily Elena Dugdale delves into state prisoners’ concerns about contracting coronavirus.
  • Little Tokyo restaurants have historically depended on foot traffic, reports Josie Huang, and are now scrambling to get online and create takeout menus.
  • Routine dental cleanings are on hold, reports Jackie Fortiér, so that personal protective gear like masks can be freed up for frontline healthcare workers.

Here are some blessed, relaxing, non-COVID-19 reads from our recent archives:

  • Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt opened Don's Beachcomber in Hollywood in 1933. The tiny, cheerful hut-like establishment is believed to have launched L.A. tiki culture.
  • Cristela Alonzo, whose ABC sitcom Cristela left a big impression, talks to us about how to become a comedian in L.A.

And now, your moment of Zen:

Sunnier times: Space Shuttle Endeavour arrives in L.A. over the beach in Santa Monica on September 21, 2012.

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(Jason Merritt/TERM/Getty Images)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.