Coronavirus Today: A victim of our early success

Coronavirus Today: A victim of our early success

1/23/2021 6:48:00 PM

Coronavirus Today: A victim of our early success

How did California go from shining example to cautionary tale? Its early successes seem to have given people a false sense of security.

A wall of defiance and suspicionIn rural northern California, skepticism of the seriousness of the pandemic runs high, and health officials facein getting lifesaving vaccines into the arms of some 683,300 residents. It’s “a mountainous, heavily forested region where calamity — either from illness or physical trauma — can mean hours-long drives to the nearest medical facility,” my colleague Hailey Branson-Potts writes.

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AdvertisementWhile some of the problems are particular to the region, many are emblematic of the issues plaguing health officials nationwide. Among the toughest tasks in these remote towns are overcoming skepticism that the virus is a serious threat, assuaging fears over the vaccines’ safety and battling open rebellion against health orders meant to ensure the public’s safety.

Take Shasta County, where some residents have compared mask mandates to Nazis forcing Jewish people to wear a yellow Star of David, and where the county health officer has been threatened repeatedly. Or Tehama County, where in one bar on karaoke night, no one wore a mask. “Why would we?” the owner said. “We’re not sick. Masks are for sick people.”

“We’re getting very frustrated here in Northern California,” said Dr. Richard Wickenheiser, Tehama County’s health officer. “We have a lot of anti-vaxxers and a lot of independent people who just feel that COVID was a hoax, that it was going to go away when the election was over. And that didn’t happen. ... The excuses just go on and on.”

Rebecckeh Odle, left, and Natasha Keys, center, sing karaoke without masks at the Palomino Room in Red Bluff in the midst of the pandemic.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)AdvertisementA win for L.A.’s homeless residentsHere’s a little good news: L.A. County contractors are on track to complete a 232-unit

homeless housing developmentin downtown L.A. next month, in a project authorities are calling a milestone for speed and economy. The Vignes Street development — built in less than five months on a former industrial site, at a cost of about $200,000 per bed — “will have shattered the axiom that homeless housing takes years to build and is exorbitantly expensive,” my colleague Doug Smith writes.

The development, conceived as an experiment, is a hybrid of permanent and temporary structures and will be used flexibly for both permanent housing with services and for short-term shelter — unlike traditional homeless housing projects, designed for one or the other. The two main buildings, constructed of once-used shipping containers, will have 132 units of permanent housing. A village of trailers, each divided into five units, will be for interim housing. The administrative building will house dining facilities, laundry and support services such as case management and counseling.

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The project was shaped in part by the pandemic: The bulk of funding came from the federal CARES Act, which allowed the county to avoid the labyrinthine process of finding money for affordable housing. And the health emergency provided justification for exemptions from environmental review and competitive bidding.

AdvertisementThe bulk of the funding for the prefab units, which are largely made of shipping containers, came from the federal CARES Act.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)A teen center turned food pantryColumnist Gustavo Arellano takes us to Will Hall Park, where crowds gather outside the Wilmington Teen Center. The long lines of people and cars aren’t there for the horseshoe pits, the outdoor gym or the Ms. Pac-Man in a vintage arcade: They’re

waiting for free food. For the first time since it opened in 1968, the Teen Center has had to curtail nearly all youth activities because of the pandemic and has become more of a community pantry instead.“Lots of parents are laid off now,” said Mike Herrera, a Wilmington native who is director of the center. Herrera, 68, has held the job for four years with no salary because “I didn’t want to see this place close down. Doctors and lawyers and athletes have come from here.”

AdvertisementThe Teen Center’s scuffed linoleum floors and weed-choked garden beds have seen better days, but supporters keep it alive in honor of Connie Calderon, its longtime director who retired in 2008. The short, tough daughter of Mexican immigrants was so respected in the working-class town that gang members declared the Teen Center neutral ground. Read more about this storied center and the remarkable people who have kept it running.

Jesus Saquic, 17, left, and Wilmington Teen Center Assistant Program Director Ramiro “Bosco” Quezada prepare bags of canned foods, vegetables and rice at the weekly giveaway.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)Coupledom in the time of COVID-19Last August, my colleague Rachel Schnalzer asked readers, “Did you fall in love or become closer with your partner during the pandemic?” She received scads of personal testaments to the ways COVID-19 has

.AdvertisementOne couple took the leap and moved in together — with a grandparent. Another nearly filed for divorce, crushed by the weight of pandemic pressures. One reader found startling new love online, while another lost a loved one to COVID-19 and relied on their partner’s unconditional support during a painful time. And there’s this delightful vignette from one Charlotte Morrison:

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“I dated my college boyfriend and first true love for three years before we broke up. We weren’t ready to get married and had other plans.“Fast-forward almost 50 years. Life’s circumstances brought us back together. He came to visit me in early March, intended to be a short visit. COVID turned it into a five-month living situation instead! It certainly has brought to light the reason why we were compatible so long ago. It’s never too late!”

Please welcome to the virtual comedy stage — MomAdvertisementup-and-coming talent: her mother. Arline Geduldig, at “89 and three-quarters,” has launched a brand-new comedy career performing alongside the pros, using her walker as a desk and papering it with Post-it notes full of ideas for jokes.

Lisa flew east to visit her mother in Florida back in March and never left. The longtime host of “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” in San Francisco, Geduldig launched the new “Lockdown Comedy” as a way to bring some normalcy back to her new abnormal life. On a whim, she asked Arline to be a special guest. “She’s just so damn funny and fearless. She is constantly making me laugh. I thought: Why not?”

Lisa said she loves helping her mother find her comedic voice. “We’re still working on punchlines,” she said. But occasionally, daughter needs to cut off mother and summon the hook, Rachel Levin writes. Read on for a sampling of Arline’s style, and to find out how you can watch (every third Tuesday evening).

Arline Geduldig performs her comedy act on Zoom.(Lockdown Comedy)AdvertisementAn impoddible situationIf you’re a parent of young children, you’ve probably considered — or maybe are in — a pandemic “pod.” My colleague Cindy Carcamo began her search for the perfect pod mates after her 5-year-old, deprived of school and friends, grew increasingly (and understandably) frustrated with the situation — a frustration that manifested in picking fights and slamming doors. Desperate for a solution, Carcamo sought to find a family with whom they could ride out the isolation of the pandemic.

The search turned out to be far harder than she anticipated. She crossed off the list those friends who worked outside the home or whose kids went to school in person. She gingerly felt out the ones she believed were as careful as her family — but even those on her short list turned out to have complications, such as regular visits from family whose movements could not be fully accounted for.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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All, pls get better masks & ventilate. This spreads primarily via aerosols floating in dry, indoor air. 1. KF94 w cloth mask over it 2. Crack 🪟 3. Prop 🚪 (if own a shop) 4. Merv13/Hepa 5. 40-60% humidity 6. CO2 sensors Sources in my timeline Nope. More like stupidity at it's finest. People refused to shelter in place, refused to mask-up and refused to social distance. Better the world learn from these calloused failures in common sense. Retweet

Maybe look into why California has so many more thousands of people dying at home? And many more Covid deaths that account for more than the increased All Cause death in some ages/places. Ya your job. Classic CA arrogance