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Respiratory Viruses Are On The Rise. Here's How To Stay Healthy

A health worker wears a mask and gloves as she pulls a dose of COVID-19 vaccine from a vial.
A COVID-19 vaccine is prepared for administration ahead of a free distribution of over the counter rapid COVID-19 test kits to people receiving their vaccines or boosters at Union Station on Jan. 7, 2022.
( Frederic J. Brown
AFP via Getty Images)
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We are inching closer and closer to the day where we get to eat Turkey, dressing and yams with our loved ones. It’s the first semi-normal gathering for many in the last two years. I think we can all be grateful for that but we also want to do everything we can to stay healthy, right?

A variety of respiratory illnesses are on the rise in Southern California. There is the flu, RSV and, though many of us would like it to go away, COVID-19 is still here, and cases are increasing.

Thank goodness for my colleague Jackie Fortiér. She has compiled a guide about what we can expect from this trio of viruses and how we can best protect ourselves against severe illness. 

Now, in addition to the tradition of gathering around a table to share a meal, this is also a time to be thankful. So bear with me while I say a few things about that.

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For me, there’s a long list of things I am grateful for. First of all, I am so thankful to have been able to grow such an expansive, diverse community in just one year in Los Angeles. I’ve been able to attend events that have grown my outlook on life and meet people who have taught me about the world through their eyes. It truly is a beautiful thing.

Second of all, I am grateful for every single person who reads this newsletter. It’s been so heartwarming to receive all of your shout-outs to me whether it’s through emails, social media or in-person. I am truly honored to produce this newsletter bright and early in the morning for you every weekday. Thank you for being a friend (*cue Golden Girls theme song)!

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With all that said, I will be busy stuffing my mouth with macaroni and cheese at my cousin’s house on Thursday so there won’t be a newsletter tomorrow morning. We’ll be back Friday. Be sure to check back with us then and peruse our holiday gift guides! 

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you Stop Hitting Snooze)

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

  • The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday on a plan to audit the annual homeless count after questions of accuracy were raised.
  • LA County is dispensing $20 million of COVID relief funds to child care providers. The county expects to give more than 500 grants away to the childcare providers. 
  • Last year, two USC graduate students filed a lawsuit claiming that the Department of Children and Family Services unlawfully withdrew their internships after a mental health evaluation. Now, a Superior Court judge says L.A. County was unfair in that decision and that they were discriminated against. Read my colleague Robert Garrova’s story for more. 
  • California Attorney General Rob Bonta aims to investigate racial discrimination in hospital algorithms in the health care system. He asked 30 hospital CEOS for a list of software programs their hospitals use. 
  • The Supreme Court did not block a request by a House committee to review former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. It’s expected the returns will be released immediately, bringing a multi-year fight over the issue to a close. (NPR
  • As President Biden’s student loan relief plan remains locked up in court, the administration is extending the pause on repayment of loans. 
  • Before you hop on that train or plane that will take you through Orange County, my colleague Jill Replogle has some tips to sharewith you about Amtrak, Metrolink and John Wayne Airport travel. 
  • Also, and this applies to travel anywhere, here's a few tips to help you remain calm on planes, trains or automobiles. (NPR)
  • Astronomers are excited about a new discovery in space of a Jupiter-like planet outside of the Milky Way. Researchers say it could bring insight into life existing on other planets.

Wait! One More Thing...Death, Dams and Demonic Attacks at Devil's Gate

A grainy black-and-white photo of three men in various action stances stands next to a tall pile of bags full of concrete with a box on top. One of the men has his hand on the bags. There are also long black wires that almost stretch across the length of the wire.
The Suicide Squad conducted rocket experiments at Devil's Gate.
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Every holiday season, specifically around the last few days of the year, my parents used to sit me and my siblings down to go to a “fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man…a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity…”

That place was The Twilight Zone. It was the New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone annual marathon on the Syfy channel. Even though I was often left so scared I couldn’t even fall asleep, I grew to love the show’s exploration of deep, existential topics.

For today’s trip, imagine I’m Rod Sterling and we’re going way back through time and space to Halloween in 1936. We’re in Pasadena. Here we meet a ragtag team of graduate students and some researchers from CalTech. They’re called the “Suicide Squad”. Aeronautical engineer Frank Malina and self-taught chemist John “Jack” Parsons welcome us to what’s called Devil’s Gate Dam.

The Squad proceed with a crude rocket motor hoping for combustion, but as history tells it, the oxygen hose caught on fire and caused a firestorm that would fill the canyon. Now, what you really need to know is that this guy Parsons right here…he dabbles in the occult and believes he just opened the door to hell. 

Now, if that doesn’t make you want to know more about this wild bit of L.A. history, I don’t what will. Read more here about how the Suicide Squad’s work lead to the creation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and about Parsons’ connections to the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard.

There’s also a new LAist podcast about this crew and their adventures that influenced space exploration. Check it out here.

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