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Morning Briefing: LA Remains A City Of Disparities. And We Have A Friend In Randy

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As L.A.’s coronavirus numbers begin to take shape, it’s quickly becoming clear that the pandemic will be yet another angle from which we can see the city’s stark racial and socioeconomic disparities.

Back in mid-March, wealthy neighborhoods like Hancock Park and Beverly Hills reported a higher number of cases than lower-income areas, thanks to better access to testing; these were probably the same people who could afford $250 for a cheek swab test. But local health officials announced Tuesday that black Angelenos have a slightly higher COVID-19 death rate compared to other groups, and there's concern that lower-income communities and communities of color will still go without equitable access to tests.

"It's unfortunate, but it's logical," David Eisenman, the director of UCLA's Center for Public Health and Disasters, told Alyssa Jeong Perry. "If you have health insurance and a doctor, it's easier for you to get."

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L.A., California, The World: L.A. County has 6,910 cases of the coronavirus, and 169 deaths. The U.S. has almost 400,000 cases, and there are over 1.4 million cases worldwide. The Navy hospital ship Mercy has treated about two dozen patients since it docked in L.A.

New Day, New Rules: L.A. grocery store employees are finally getting face masks, and other local businesses will be able to refuse service to customers who aren't wearing them. A local ER doctor’s anti-contamination ritual is “a whole deal of, like, 45 minutes.” San Bernardino County, one of four “nursing home hotspots” in California, is taking additional steps to deal with outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities.

$$$: The coronavirus is highlighting L.A.’s economic and racial disparities, as lower-income Angelenos are less likely to get tested and African Americans with the virus are dying at a higher rate. L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu announced a motion that would provide small grants to artists and arts nonprofits. Many of the city’s struggling small businesses still don’t know if they’ll get federal loans. Without forgiveness for back rent, L.A. could see a huge surge in homelessness. California’s rainy day fund -- about $20 billion -- will likely be completely depleted by the toll of the pandemic.

Mental Health: The state has released a guide to help adults and kids manage stress while at home. People struggling with addiction aren’t able to meet in-person for 12-step programs and therapy sessions. Experts are encouraging a switch from the phrase “social distancing” to “physical distancing.

Questions Are Arising: "I couldn't have done it any better," Trump said about his and the administration's handling of the pandemic. What would happen if a big earthquake hit right now?

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Hello In There: And finally, the coronavirus has taken the life of legendary American singer and songwriter John Prine, who gifted the world reams of music and wise words to get through trying times – like these.



When our newsroom asked Grammy, Emmy, Oscar-winning artist Randy Newman to do a social distancing message for our audience he went one step further, he wrote a song about it! You can hear the premiere of that song today on AirTalk with Larry Mantle or watch for a link to the video in the afternoon newsletter.

(Courtesy of Randy Newman)


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