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The Dodgers Will Stream Last Year’s Opening Day Game on Thursday

March 26, 2020 by Brian Champlin
view of dodger stadium from the top deck
View of Dodger Stadium from the Top Deck / Photo by Christina Champlin

Today should be Opening Day for the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Instead, the sports world, like the rest of the world, is on indefinite postponement.

For Dodger fans and sports-hungry Angelenos looking for a fix, one solace is that you can catch a host of classic games through social media and the MLB network.

To start, the Dodgers will stream their 2019 Opening Day game vs. the Diamondbacks on all of their social media platforms— including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter— at 1:10 p.m. PDT. If you don’t know or can’t remember the outcome, I won’t spoil it for you.

If you’re looking for other games to check out on Thursday, the MLB will offer Opening Day at Home, a free showcase of 30 classic games featuring great moments from each franchise over the past 20 years or so. Games include the 2003 ALCS Game 7 featuring Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run and the Cubs Game 7 win vs. the Indians to bring home their first World Series trophy since 1908. For the Dodgers, they’ll be streaming Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter against the Rockies from 2014. All games will be streamed on MLB.com, and the Dodger-Rockies matchup will air at 6 p.m. PDT.

While it’s obvious that watching recorded baseball isn’t the same as a fresh season of new games to enjoy, I’ll say this much: hearing Vin Scully’s voice calling Dodgers baseball ought to bring at least a little comfort in this very uncertain time.

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News

Ballmer, Clippers to Buy The Forum for $400 Million

March 25, 2020 by Brian Champlin
The Forum in Inglewood. Photo by Ritapepaj / Wikipedia Commons

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said that one way or another, The Clippers would open an arena in Inglewood. Now, that way looks secured.

Ballmer and the Clippers, under the legal umbrella of CAPSS LLC, have reached an agreement to buy The Forum from the Madison Square Garden Company for $400 million. The agreement ends years-long public sniping and legal posturing between Ballmer and MSG executive chairman James Dolan, who is also the principal owner of the New York Knicks NBA franchise.

MSG bought The Forum in 2012 for $23.5 million and invested $100 million in renovations to transform the building into a state of the art music venue. At the same time, Dolan and MSG gave up their leasehold and purchasing option on parking lot acreage adjacent to The Forum. When Dolan learned that the city of Inglewood had been negotiating with the Clippers to build a new arena, he contended that Inglewood and its mayor, James Butts, had convinced MSG to give up its rights to the parking lot under false pretenses. Things escalated from there.

Last year, an affordable housing advocacy group called Uplift Inglewood filed a lawsuit asserting negotiating agreements between Inglewood and a Clippers-controlled company violated the Surplus Land Act, which states that when cities, counties, transit agencies, and other local agencies sell or lease their land, they must prioritize affordable housing development. A judge ruled against the lawsuit in November.

According to Bloomberg News, MSG wasn’t directly involved in the litigation, but it had donated to the California Community Foundation, which supports Uplift Inglewood.

Now, with the purchase agreed to and the biggest legal hurdles out of the way, Ballmer is looking forward to the next steps in the process.

“This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer stated, via a release. “We are committed to our investment in the City of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans.”

The City of Inglewood is currently performing an environmental review of the proposed project, with public comment tentatively scheduled to take place this summer.

The Clippers’ current lease with Staples Center ends after the 2024 season. If construction on the new arena were to begin by 2021, the goal would be to open in time for the 2024-2025 NBA season. It’s not clear yet what alternate site the Clippers would play at should the construction be delayed past 2024.

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MRCA Closes All Parks and Trails Because Angelenos Can’t Keep Their Distance

March 23, 2020 by Brian Champlin

Hikers pass by one another in Griffith Park. Photo by Brian Champlin

As cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles are on the rise, the options for outdoor recreation are dwindling.

On Sunday, The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) announced that it will close all of its operated parks, trails, and building facilities, including public restrooms, until further notice. The closure represents more than 75,000 acres of parkland, including all parks owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The move to close the parks follows a weekend that saw people flocking to beaches and hiking trails. This helicopter footage from NBC Los Angeles shows small groups of hikers packing trails in Griffith Park on Sunday, in many cases in many cases visibly ignoring the social distancing order mandated by the city in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

A partial listing of the closed parks and trails can be found here. Among the more than 70 closures are Ballona Creek Trail and Bike Path, Franklin Canyon Park, La Tuna Canyon Park, Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park (formerly Marsh Park), Los Angeles River Center & Gardens, Mulholland Scenic Parkway and Corridor, Newhall Pass Trailhead, Vista Hermosa Natural Park, and others.

Crowding also prompted the closure of facilities and parking lots at other outdoor areas. Last night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to Twitter to admonish Angelenos for not properly abiding the ‘Safer at Home’ emergency order issued this past Thursday.

As a result, several other closures throughout L.A. County have been announced. L.A. City golf courses are closed. Parking lots near Venice Beach and the Venice Boardwalk are closed, KTLA reports. The City of Santa Monica announced the immediate closure of beach parking lots on Sunday.

In Long Beach, all basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, dog parks, playgrounds, skate parks, and picnic areas at city parks are closed.

Elsewhere in the city, Griffith Parkline, Griffith Observatory, Travel Town, and the Los Angeles Zoo are all closed, but for now, general access to Griffith Park is still available to the public.

However, if too many hikers continue to use the trails while not practicing proper social distancing, one wonders if the city’s next move will be to close the Griffith trails as well.

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 9: Stay at Home for Health, Stay Busy for Your Sanity

March 21, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Photo by Christina Champlin

Much will be written in the months and years to come of the mental health toll inflicted as a result of the social distancing measures being instituted right now.

While reasonable and necessary for our physical well-being, and logical to stave off rampant spread of the COVID-19 virus, these behaviors do come at a cost to our psyche. Radical introverts notwithstanding, people are evolved to be around other people. Hole yourself up in your home for a week with minimal in-person contact and then paint me a picture. It’s not roses.

There are no easy remedies here. A 30-day calendar of isolation is daunting. If you live alone the outlook is even tougher.

As of today, people in Los Angeles are still allowed to go outside for exercise, as long as we’re social distancing. Of course you can’t be hiking or jogging or walking the dog 24/7. You’ll need to find ways to occupy the mind at home, and preferably not by dwelling on the latest COVID-19 news cycle.

So what’s there to do?

We Like L.A., in no small part thanks to our site editor Juliet Bennett Rylah, has (in my humble opinion) done an admirable job in putting together some content to guide your entertainment at home. Below are a few lists we’ve published in the past week that you ought to consider checking out if you’re looking for ways to occupy your mind, and preserve some sanity:

Beyond these curated lists, one of the most common activities I’ve seen on my own social feeds is friends doing virtual hangouts. This could just a simple FaceTime conversation to catch up, or a more thoroughly planned ‘happy hour’ where you invite multiple friends to a group chat and fix yourself a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine for the occasion.

Others are using this time to tackle major at-home organizational tasks they’ve been putting off. Or maybe just go on a cleaning binge. I’ve heard some people say they actually find cleaning the home to be therapeutic. Not that I have any clue what these aliens are talking about.

However you approach this challenge, I hope you’re doing it in a way that keeps your sanity meter as charged as possible. We’re going to need every ounce of mental strength we can muster in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 8: ‘Safer at Home’ in Los Angeles

March 20, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Photo by Brian Champlin

Last night, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new ‘Safer at Home’ order aimed at suppressing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It prohibits Los Angeles residents from leaving their homes for non-essential activity.

The order went into effect at midnight and is scheduled to last until April 19. People can still go out to pick up groceries or for essential services. If you have a job that’s deemed essential, you are still required to go to work. You can take a walk, ride your bike, or exercise outdoors, so long as you practice social distancing. But for the most part, Los Angeles is at a standstill.

Soon after Garcetti spoke, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a similar state-wide mandate called ‘Stay at Home.’

Whatever you want to call it—stay at home, safer at home, shelter in place, a statewide lockdown—this much is clear: we’ve reached the inflection point. We’ve crossed the divide. This is it. Day one of a long slog that’s scheduled for the next month, at least. My hunch is it will almost certainly last much longer. Still, I’m glad we’re taking it this seriously.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a modeling report released this past Monday by the COVID-19 Response Team at Imperial College London and published by the World Health Organization. Imperial College is considered a sort of gold standard in modeling epidemics, according to the NY Times. This is because of their close ties to the WHO, and because they are led by Neil Ferguson, one of the most prominent epidemiologists in the world. When they speak, governments listen.

The report is haunting. It details projections of human loss in the United States and Great Britain based on various response strategies to the spread of COVID-19. John Timmer of Ars Technica provides an excellent synopsis of the report and of the strategies being modeled. From Timmer’s article:

“With a working model of the pandemic in the UK and US, the researchers could try out different scenarios, from doing nothing through an increasingly draconian combination of limits on population movements. These roughly break down into two categories. One is mitigation, an attempt to slow the spread so that the country’s health care system isn’t overwhelmed before previously infected people start providing herd immunity. And the second is suppression, where various forms of isolation are used to try to lower the rate of transmission to the point where each infected person has less than even odds of handing it on.”

What sticks out from the above quote to me is the ‘do-nothing’ strategy. Here’s what the report projects in that case (from page 6):

“In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.”

2.2 million is an incredible number. To put that in perspective, that’s more than the total United States military casualties from every war we fought in the 20th century. And even with an effective mitigation strategy, we’d still be looking at over 1 million deaths in the U.S., plus we’d be putting a massive strain on our healthcare system, which in itself may have many unpredictable consequences. If you have any friends who are doctors who work in major hospitals, I encourage you to ask them how they’re feeling about the current supply of masks and ventilators.

In any case, I highly suggest you read the report. If you had any doubt about whether strict home isolation measures are necessary, I hope this sobers you up.

With all that in mind, I guess it shifts my outlook about what’s coming down the pipe. Yes, I’m dreading the forthcoming changes to daily life. The wave of economic despair that’s about to ripple through our county will be awful. This is all going to suck. It already sucks.

But at the moment what I really feel is relief. Not because I thought this whole ordeal would soon be over, but rather because finally, our state is taking the necessary collective government action to stem the tide of forthcoming infections. I hope other states soon follow California’s lead.

For now, I do feel safer at home.

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 7: Keep Your Distance

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 7: Keep Your Distance

March 19, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Morning walk on the L.A. River Path. Photo by Brian Champlin

I’m finally feeling like myself again, even if the world outside now seems thrown off its axis. It’s been six days since I had any severe cold symptoms, and today was the first time in a week I felt like I could give the dog a proper walk.

This morning Milo and I strolled to the L.A. River Path, which is only a football field away from our place in Frogtown. I decided in advance that if it was really crowded we’d come right home. I didn’t want to risk getting into close contact with anyone, if only on the off chance my illness was more than a cold, and I was somehow still contagious.

It was 8 a.m. Primetime for cyclists and joggers and dog-walking neighbors. Hardly a soul was around.

A lack of people made it easy to do what we were supposed to do. If you approached someone on the river path, you hugged the opposite side as you walked by. If you saw someone stopping to tie their shoe in front of you, you’d slow down to make sure you didn’t get close.

The vibe was eerie. Everyone exchanged ‘good mornings’ but it was hard to tell if anyone meant it. Smiles seemed forced. Body parts moved in slow motion, as if striding underwater. The air itself felt heavy, like an overpacked suitcase filled with morbid politeness. No happy dogs were allowed to greet.

I wonder if this how things will be in the future?

You figure that a real-deal pandemic will change things, especially in respect to how we interact with one another in public spaces. Anything less than a germaphobic approach will be unacceptable. People will be suspicious by nature. A new aisle of personal cleaning products will pop up at Target. Masks will not only be a health necessity, but a fashion statement. Legions of marketers will sit in meetings brainstorming on how to pry open consumer wallets based on fears of a reemergent health crisis. Hand shaking will be a no-no. Maybe we’ll bow, or give one another the Vulcan salutation. I don’t even think my fingers can bend that way.

Everyday the distance between that future and this present seems to be growing shorter and shorter. This afternoon our mayor put the city on a ‘safer at home’ protocol, and soon after the governor did the same for the the state. Everyone here is going to be inside for a good while. It seems to me that it won’t be long until much of the rest of the country follows suit.

I don’t know where the path takes us from here, but I try to be optimistic. Tomorrow is another day. And as the shock of locking down wears off I think people will steel their resolve, and the air will move a bit easier.

I hope I’m wrong about a lot of things.

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 6: My Dog Loves That I Never Leave the House

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 6: My Dog Loves That I Never Leave the House

March 18, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Milo the dog. Photo by Brian Champlin

If there’s anyone who sees the upside to this whole self-quarantine business, it’s Milo. If you have a dog, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.

Milo’s general rule is that every time my wife or I leave the house, it’s a major drama. Gone two minutes to get the mail? “Where have you been?!?” Gone for 30 minutes to run an errand? “How dare you?!” And if we leave for a couple hours to attend a work obligation or go to dinner? “I thought you were dead! Now let’s party like you’ve returned from the grave!”

The current requirement for social distancing means more quality time with the pup. Basically, we’re hanging out 24/7. I guess I expected the novelty to fade for him, the opening and closing of the front door to become routine, the ritual of stalking me from room to tone down. But if anything, his habits have only been emboldened. He wants more time on the couch, on my lap, or on a blanket near my feet while we watch the daily press conferences Mayor Garcetti streams to his Facebook page.

And I’m grateful for that. Because at a moment when loneliness is one of the greatest threats to our mental health, his companionship is a blessing. Given the circumstances and anxiety we are all facing, it’s nice to have a little friend that (quite literally) begs me to pay attention, both to him and this present moment.

I hope your animal companions, if you have them, are helping you get through this strange and difficult time.

I know mine is.

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 5: Now Seems Like a Good Time to Take a Breath

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Food, News

Sign of the Times: Philippe’s Closes for the First Time in Over 100 Years

March 17, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Phillipe The Original
Phillipe The Original / Photo by: Christina Champlin

Sandwich-loving Angelenos are well acquainted with Philippe The Original. The Chinatown staple has served locals seven days a week since it first opened in 1908. But now, it’ll close its doors for the foreseeable future.

Philippe’s shutdown comes in the wake of an order from Mayor Eric Garcetti to close bars and cease dine-in service at restaurants, at least through the end of the month, in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

Philippe’s management has opted not to offer delivery or takeout at this time, and its last dine-in service was this past Sunday at 10 p.m. When it’ll reopen is still up in the air, but the good news is that this isn’t expected to be a permanent closure.

Andrew Binder, a manager and partner with Philippe’s, told the L.A. Daily News that the plan is to stay closed through the end of the month, though a firm reopening date won’t be established until later.

Closed Sign at Philippe
Closed Sign at Philippe / Photo by: Christina Champlin

For the uninitiated, Philippe’s French-dipped sandwich (which they claim came before the one at Cole’s, though Cole’s will readily dispute) originated in 1918. Owner Philippe Mathieu was prepping a sandwich for a police officer when he accidentally dropped a French roll into a hot oven tray filled with sizzling meat juices. The bun was salvaged and the sandwich that arrived turned out to be a keeper. Angelenos have been enjoying them ever since.

But, for as much as the French dip at Philippe’s is a cultural touchstone, the restaurant’s closure is just another example of food establishments coping with the reality of social distancing.

Elsewhere today, The Eastsider reports that Guisados will temporarily close all seven of its taco shops. Meanwhile, another Los Angeles old-school staple, The Apple Pan, will offer delivery for the first time in its 73-year history.

With the spread of COVID-19 and concurrent dine-in restrictions hitting the service industry hard, a number of industry professionals have started online petitions for government support, including one created by Hail Mary Pizza owner David Wilcox.

Let’s hope restaurants can get the support they need and that community mitigation strategies can help us get through the crisis sooner rather than later.

Personally, I can’t wait until that next-first French dip sando.

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 5: Now Seems Like a Good Time to Take a Breath

March 17, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Photo by Sebastien Wiertz via flickr cc

It’s St. Patrick’s Day today. Just a couple weeks ago, our staff was outlining a ‘Things to Do for St. Patrick’s in Los Angeles” article. That seems like a lifetime ago. It’s crazy to realize how much has changed.

As I spend some time reflecting on the historic times we’re living through, I find my mind divided against itself. On the one hand, it’s impossible not to be infected with a tinge of the fear and panic that has people filling shopping carts with towers of toilet paper. On the other, my inner skeptic reminds me almost hourly that the greatest enemy we’ll face in the coming days, the one that could truly cripple our country, is panic itself. All these people cramming every last pallet of bottled water into their trunk? They’re just spreading the fear. Perhaps the proper modulation of emotion lies somewhere in between.

Two days ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of NIAID at the NIH,  made the Sunday talk show rounds, including an interview with ABC’s John Karl. Speaking to Karl, Fauci put it this way: “For me, the dynamics and the history of outbreaks is you are never where you think you are… if you think you’re in line with the outbreak, you’re already three weeks behind. So you [have] got to be almost overreacting a bit to keep up with it.”

It’s unsettling to think how far behind we might be. Sobering up to that reality is what has people racing to catch up. Unlike countries in Asia, which have been through SARS and MERS, in the U.S. there are no pandemic protocols built into our DNA. This is all uncharted territory. People are slow to react. But now, finally, we’re reacting.

Just yesterday, in the wake of a 14% jump in confirmed coronavirus cases in California, San Francisco and five other Bay Area counties ordered their residents to shelter-in-place as of this morning (Tuesday) at 12:01 a.m. This is an unprecedented action for a U.S. city.

There’s no guarantee that Los Angeles will follow suit in the coming days, but there’s a significant chance. This will mean more changes to day-to-day life and more uncertainty ahead. More stringent social distancing and other uncomfortable adaptions to daily life.

But this is the timeline. Here we are.

I, for one, am glad I live in a city where our leadership seems to modulating an appropriate response. Yesterday, Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference alongside representatives from regional grocery stores to reassure residents of our supply chains. The message was simple: food is here, and it will continue to be here. Even in the midst of partial quarantine—or shelter-in-place or whatever may be next—shelves will be stocked. Stop buying six months worth of toilet paper and canned beans.

Yes, I know, food is just one part of it. Even if we manage to tamp down emotion, there are still challenges ahead. Maybe it’s a good time to take a step back and mindfully prepare for what’s to come in the next few weeks and months.

Maybe I should pick up my mediation habit again.

The meditation practices I’m familiar with don’t focus on emptying one’s mind. That’s a misnomer. Instead, you just try to focus on the breath. Each time you breathe in, you pay attention to this singular action. And if the mind slips away, you acknowledge the thought, and then gently bring yourself, without self-judgment, back to the present. The rep isn’t the breath. It’s the act of reminding yourself where you want your mind to be. And just like bench presses at the gym, the more reps you do, the stronger you get.

I don’t know about you, but right now seems like a good time to take a breath.

Let’s just make sure we’re all six feet apart.

“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

– First Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 4: Protecting the Most Vulnerable

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 4: Protecting the Most Vulnerable

March 16, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Photo by Ethan Prater via Flickr cc

During a press conference yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out new guidelines to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, including the statewide closure of bars, wineries, and nightclubs. He also issued a recommendation for seniors and people with chronic health conditions to isolate themselves.

Isolate. That word sticks.

Over the past week, I’ve voluntarily chosen to quarantine myself after coming down with what I’d consider mild to moderate cold symptoms. I’m beyond lucky to live with an able-bodied and loving wife who has made trips to the store and cooked a giant vat of chicken soup. But if you’re someone over 65 and you live alone, what a terrifying time this must be.

This morning, I finally felt symptom-free for the first time in five days. I decided to poke my head out the front door and get a breath of fresh air while the dog did his business. From across the street, I spotted my neighbor Lupe, who was walking one of Milo’s best buddies, Lucky. Unfortunately, the pups would not be greeting one another today.

Lupe and I spoke from 30 feet away. I imagine I’ll have a lot of conversations from 30 feet away in the coming weeks. I asked her if she lives alone. She does. Thankfully, her daughters have supplied her with food, which is certainly a relief. But the creases in her face hinted at an overwhelming unease with the whole situation.

I offered her my phone number and told her if she needed anything, please call us. My wife and I are pretty well-stocked, I said. I concluded by telling her that we’re all in this together. We’ll take care of one another. She agreed.

It’s a small thing, but hopefully a good example nonetheless. As the problem we face gets bigger, our worlds will get smaller. And small actions will make a big difference.

On that note, here are some other small suggestions I think are worth considering:

  • Check on friends and neighbors, especially anyone over 65 and definitely anyone who lives alone. Specifically, I would ask seniors about their stock of prescription medications and if they need assistance re-upping that supply.
  • Make an inventory of what you have in the house in terms of supplies and food. Can you spare anything if a neighbor is in need? Remember that LADWP says your tap water is perfectly fine. If you’re short on anything, make a note. Food supply chains are intact. You will have the chance to buy more stuff.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for continued uncertainty over the next few weeks.
  • Share messages of support on social media. I don’t believe in the ‘thoughts and prayers’ approach, but I do believe in crowd psychology. Right now, I think every bit of positive reinforcement helps. The more we follow up with one another, the more the feeling of solidarity will prevail.

Maybe the government seems like it’s falling short right now, at least at the federal level. If that’s the case, then it’s up to friends and neighbors.

Be good to one another.

“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy, and the handicapped. ” -Hubert H Humphrey

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 3: If Cabin Fever is the Worst of It

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 3: If Cabin Fever is the Worst of It

March 15, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Morning sun Los Angeles River
Morning sun on the L.A. River. Photo by Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Three days into a self-quarantine and I’m already scratching the walls. It poured last night, a torrent that seemed like it could go on forever. But then, just as suddenly, it stopped.

This morning, a yellow sun squeezed between the storm clouds like a long-lost friend emerging from a crowd. Her warm smile and open arms invite me to embrace, but I have to keep my distance. Six feet at least, they say. So inside I stay.

In terms of symptoms, my cough and body aches have eased up. Probably just a common cold, as suspected. That’s some good news. Still, I won’t leave the house—at least until I show zero symptoms for 48 hours, or whatever my doctor thinks is prudent. You can’t be too careful these days, right?

In any case, there are lots of ways to occupy one’s mind, even if you’re stuck at home. Just yesterday, we published a list of 22 Los Angeles-Centric TV Shows to Binge While Social Distancing (shameless plug). Over the coming days, we’ll have more content on a variety of handy topics, including planning home workouts, virtual meetups, and listening to new podcasts. The distractions will find us.

Still, it’s hard not to ruminate on all the friends whose financial lives could be devastated by the events that will unfold over the coming months. I worry about the people I know in the travel industry, media, hospitality, and the restaurant game—all of whom will face massive losses of income. I picture the empty seats at restaurants and the locked entrances at museums. I think of the freelancers and gig-economy workers who won’t have gigs and who don’t have benefits. I wonder about We Like L.A.’s own financial future. I look at the shutdowns taking place throughout Europe and I feel like I’m getting a preview of what’s to come in the States. Not good, Bob.

If cabin fever were the worst of it, then I’d know everything would eventually be just fine. But that’s kind of wishful thinking at this point, right?

I just checked the forecast for tomorrow. There’s a 100% chance of precipitation. Another storm is coming. Or maybe it’s the same storm that’s been here for a while now.

For now, the best thing we can do is stay out of the rain.

Next: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 4: Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 2: In Standing Apart, We Stand Together

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Culture, View Points

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 2: In Standing Apart, We Stand Together

March 14, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Graphic via Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

When you’re under self-quarantine, the one thing you definitely have is an abundance of time. I’ve used that time to do some reading. Specifically, I’m educating myself on the concept of social distancing, the mathematics behind it, and the reasons why it’s the most important tool we have to fight the current COVID-19 pandemic. In today’s post, I thought it might be useful to share some of the most insightful pieces I’ve read over the past two days.

Social Distancing is a concept that, up until last month, most Americans hadn’t even considered, if they’d even heard of it at all. So what does it mean? Well, when epidemiologists refer to social distancing, they’re talking about a set of conscious behaviors adopted to limit close contact between individuals and slow down the community spread of illness. Basically, if people aren’t around one another, they can’t transmit the disease. But what does that look like from a practical point of view?

The Atlantic’s Kaitlyn Tiffany spoke with a panel of experts on the Dos and Don’ts of Social Distancing. It turns out it’s not a one size fits all approach, and the reality of social distancing may mean different things to different people. But even among the healthiest of our population, significant behavioral changes will be necessary to slow down community transmission. Tiffany writes:

“There is a general consensus that while young and healthy people who are at lower risk for personally suffering severe illness from the coronavirus don’t have to be locking themselves in their homes for the next month, they do need to dramatically alter their daily lives, starting now.”

To learn about the math behind social distancing, I suggest reading this piece by Aarian Marshall written for Wired. If you’re interested in why it’s so important to suspend sports leagues, schools, and other mass gatherings, this will give you some food for thought. As Marshall explains:

“From a mathematical perspective, determining how big a crowd is safe depends on a couple of key questions: How many people in a given area are infected with the disease? And how big is the event? If you know those things, you can estimate the probability of someone getting infected at the event.”

In an article for Quartz, Michael J. Coren uses St. Louis during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak as a textbook example of the effectiveness of social distancing. The article also explains the concept of “flattening the curve” and why this is such an important goal from a public health perspective. Coren writes:

“The extreme measures—now known as social distancing, which is being called for by global health agencies to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus—kept per capita flu-related deaths in St. Louis to less than half of those in Philadelphia, according to a 2007 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Finally, in an opinion piece published in the NY Times this morning, sociologist Dr. Eric Klinenberg discussed the importance of not only social distancing, but social solidarity as it relates to combating the current pandemic. This was a quote I found particularly insightful:

“In addition to social distancing, societies have often drawn on another resource to survive disasters and pandemics: social solidarity, or the interdependence between individuals and across groups. This an essential tool for combating infectious diseases and other collective threats. Solidarity motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school. It compels us to let a ship of stranded people dock in our safe harbors, to knock on our older neighbor’s door.”

There are certainly more thoughtful pieces worth sharing, but I think the above four perspectives are a good place to start.

Right now, people are scared and uncertain. As more confirmed cases tally up, fear and uncertainty will rise. Start by getting a level head, educating yourself, and mentally preparing for some of the societal changes that may yet come to pass.

Practicing informed social distancing is the best defense we have right now to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19. In standing apart, we stand together. And standing together is what’s going to get us through this in the end.

Next: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 3: If Cabin Fever is the Worst of It

Previous: COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Day 1: What’s That Tickle in My Throat?

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