Morning Briefing: LA Remains A City Of Disparities. And We Have A Friend In Randy
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."
COMING UP TODAY
- Schools must figure out how to provide critical services for California's 795,000 special education students, reports Kyle Stokes, but many parents are still waiting.
- If home health and nursing home staff keep working, they may inadvertently spread the coronavirus to their elderly patients. Jackie Fortiér explores how these workers are weighing their own need to pay bills and keep patients healthy against the potential harm of the virus.
- Josie Huang looks into incidents of hate crimes or threats Asian Americans are reporting around L.A.
- Federal, state and county guidelines are now recommending people use cloth face coverings when in public spaces — except for kids under 2 years old. Mariana Dale talks with pediatricians about why the masks might not be effective for young children.
- Matt Tinoco gives an update on all attempts to protect the homeless from COVID-19, including L.A. Housing Services Authority’s ambitious plan to secure 15,000 hotel rooms in the county for homeless residents.
- Emily Guerin shares how small businesses in L.A. are trying to navigate federal, state and local aid programs.
- Aaron Schrank takes a deeper dive into why the case against the influential leader of the La Luz Del Mundo church, who'd been in L.A. jail without bail since last summer on sexual abuse charges, fell apart.
- Sharon McNary, our infrastructure reporter, looks at a plan to offer relief on the high home electricity bills generated from all our staying at home.
- And join Sharon — who jokes she's finally converged sewers (aka our drainage system) with sewers (aka people who sew like she does) — for our live virtual event at 2:30 p.m. when she demos how to DIY a mask.
THE PAST 24 HOURS
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.”
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.
- We didn't have a 'Miracle March' for rain, but precipitation was still pretty good.
- The criminal case against megachurch leader Naasón Joaquín García, the self-proclaimed “apostle” of La Luz del Mundo, on charges of child rape and human trafficking was dismissed on procedural grounds.
- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Universal Music Group by several musicians who wanted an accounting of the loss caused by a music storage facility fire, and a share of a possible $150-million insurance settlement.
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN
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.
HELP US COVER YOUR COMMUNITY
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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.