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Morning Briefing: What Do We Have To Lose?

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Ronny Chieng first came on my radar when he starred in a sketch on The Daily Show about cryptocurrency, asking the question everyone wanted to know about the new money but was afraid to ask: "What is it?!"

Now, in the wake of his Netflix special, Chieng, who was born in Malaysia, is weighing in on other pressing issues of the day. Speaking to Take Two host A Martínez, Chieng took on the coronavirus pandemic and where misinformation about the virus leads

"It can bring out the worst in people," he said. "A lot of ignorant comments disguised as reason. It all sounds very reasonable and very fact-based, but then when you kind of dig into it a little bit it kind of breaks down and is a little bigoted."

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The conversation veered to President Donald Trump's former insistence on calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus," which Chieng noted would hurt kids of Asian descent more than anyone: "They don't know what's going on. They literally woke up one morning and suddenly there's a new thing that they're being teased about."

But it was when Martínez, drawing on a bit from Chieng's special, asked what an Asian president could bring to America, that their chat really rounded the bases and slid into home. Using a phrase that Trump himself recently employed to promote the unproven use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus, Chieng asked, "At this point, do you have anything to lose?"


COMING UP TODAY, APRIL 9

Robert Garrova examines how COVID-19 is affecting kids with developmental disabilities and their families.

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A mammoth effort is underway in L.A. County to shelter thousands of homeless people using up to 15,000 hotel rooms. It goes far beyond what Governor Newsom proposed last week, reports Matt Tinoco

Libby Denkmann looks at campaigning in the age of coronavirus.

Courts are supposed to hold many hearings remotely now. Emily Elena Dugdale reports that Riverside County is out front.

Farmworkers in Central California often lack health insurance, reports Jacob Margolis, so they're turning to local health clinics to get care.

Our reporters answer readers' questions about Census 2020.

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A total of 84 patients are being moved from a Riverside skilled nursing facility after employees of the facility did not show up to care for sick patients two days in a row. Jackie Fortiér has the story.

An appellate court dismissed charges against the head of the La Luz Del Mundo church this week after finding prosecutors took too long to hold a preliminary hearing while Naason Joaquin Garcia remained behind bars. But the criminal case may be far from over. Aaron Schrank has been covering this since Garcia was arrested in L.A. this past summer and charged with child sexual abuse and human trafficking. He looks at why and how an already complicated case just became more complicated.

Christine Ziemba delivers 12 safer-at-home events you can attend in the glow of your own computer screen.


THE PAST 24 HOURS IN L.A.

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L.A., California, The World: In L.A. County's worst day yet, 29 more people have died of the disease caused by coronavirus and 620 more have tested positive, bringing the county's total to over 7,500. There are over 18,500 cases in California, and the worldwide number has surpassed 1.5 million.

Systemic Inequities: African Americans constitute 13% of the U.S. population, yet represent 33% of Americans who have become sick enough from COVID-19 to require hospitalization.

Park It Elsewhere: Because a lot of people make it a tradition to visit the park on Easter Sunday, the city and county are shutting parks down completely.

Today, In Face Masks: Sharon McNary provides a tutorial on converting a cotton T-shirt into a brand-new face covering. California will acquire more personal protective equipment, including 200 million face masks

The More You Know: Local outposts of the Small Business Development Center are answering questions about federal loans most days at 3:00 p.m. The first iteration of the USNS Mercy, which recently docked at the port of L.A., was used during World War I and during the Spanish Flu in 1918; here's some more history about the ship. Long-term exposure to high levels of air pollution increases the risk of death related to COVID-19

Trying To Help: Federal Judge David Carter chastised L.A.'s response to shield homeless people from COVID-19 even as county officials announced a mammoth effort to shelter the unhoused in up to 15,000 hotel rooms. Nursing facility and home health care aides providing support to the elderly worry they may unknowingly transmit COVID-19 on the job. Your next power or gas bill should have a credit of $26. People struggling with addiction search for ways to cope when they can't meet in-person for 12-step programs and therapy sessions.

California Kids: The CDC recommends against putting face masks on children under the age of two. LAUSD's shutdown has prevented kids with special needs from receiving one-on-one assistance and other special education services, and nearly 90% of all California parents are worried their children will fall behind academically while their school campuses are closed. Child care providers who are still operating must limit the number of children in their care to no more than 10, and screen everyone for illness.

'Singular Figure' In U.S.-Japan Relations: That's how Irene Hirano Inouye, who led the Japanese American National Museum for 20 years, is being remembered. She died Tuesday at the age of 71.

Comedians And Musicians: Comedian and The Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng explains why President Trump calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" is so dangerous.

And Randy Newman wrote us a song for the times:

Stay away from me / Baby, keep your distance, please / Stay away from me / Words of love in times like these.


A Glimmer Of Hope: Public health officials advising the White House were cautiously hopeful that the U.S. may undershoot the worst-case predictions for coronavirus deaths as long as we keep up physical distancing and safety precautions like face masks and hand-washing.

YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

Our senior producer for KPCC's AirTalk shot this rainbow on Las Tunas Boulevard in San Gabriel. Fiona Ng, who recently told us about take-out hot pots, reports that her favorite Hong Kong food joint is on the left.

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(Fiona Ng/LAist)

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