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Home / Health / The Los Angeles Covid-19 pandemic exposed the city’s racial and class divisions

The Los Angeles Covid-19 pandemic exposed the city’s racial and class divisions

Dr. Nicole Van Groningen is exhausted. Van Groningen (Van Groningen) is a resident and assistant professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He has been on the front line of the battle against Covid-19 for 11 months, and since the pandemic began, Los Angeles Declined because of its worst cases, and spent the last two weeks of January in the overwhelmed intensive care unit of the hospital. Even if the case starts to stabilize, morale is frustrating.

“Everyone is on the edge. It’s a feeling of constant self-support for things getting worse. Also, ICU patients have been sick for so long,”

; she sighed softly. In late January, the area averaged more than 40,000 cases per week. The hospital’s ICU has exceeded 33% of its maximum capacity. “They get worse, and they don’t rebound like we usually see. We’re used to skills that can be used to make most people better. We know we’re doing our best, but when we can’t When these people are cured, it will cause psychological harm.”

Dr. Van Groningen’s description of fighting Covid is frightening. Patients panicked and waited anxiously to see if their symptoms finally passed, or if they would be elevated to the ICU, where the chance of survival was much lower. “Our patients were terrified. When they had difficulty breathing in the hospital for the first time, they were really scared. After giving them some oxygen, we will get better,” she said. “Sometimes, even so, they continue to move on and have difficulty breathing again. Once they are taken to the intensive care unit, you can see how scared they are.”

A few miles away, the death toll from the virus is hardly visible. A few days before talking to Dr. Van Gronigen, I stopped near the entrance of Runyon Canyon Park, a popular hiking spot overlooking the city from the Hollywood Hills. It is very quiet, even quiet. When they were about to start driving on the trail, several teenagers got out of a jeep and stood side by side without covering them. If there is a sense of normalcy in the devastating Covid-19 health crisis, this is it.

The pandemic has exposed the deep divides in our communities across the country. Black and Latino populations suffer from the disease, and the death toll is twice that of whites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nowhere in Los Angeles is clearer than this. In Los Angeles, according to the individual’s zip code, the latest coronavirus outbreak was a brutal plague that slightly eliminated the talking points during Zoom calls-waiting for dinner parties and vacations to come back-or destroyed families and communities.The ten richest communities in Los Angeles County collectively represent approximately 323,000 people 700 confirmed cases of coronavirus decrease It’s not just the City of Compton (95,000 people).

This is no accident. Richer, whiter cities are sparsely populated, less crowded, and have more residents who can work from home and travel by car, which is an important part of the infection rate.Meanwhile, those who live Poor community They rely more on public transportation and are forced to leave their houses to work, bringing the virus back to their families. After two months of brutal infections and deaths during the holiday, Los Angeles is recovering. The number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths continues to fall from the highs in late December and early January. But as the city slowly returned, the disproportionate loss was obvious.

It is confusing to see Covid statistics every day and hear scary anecdotes from the front lines of the ICU. Although Los Angeles residents die from the virus every 10 minutes during the peak period, residents can still enjoy their vacation in shopping centers. It wasn’t until three days after Black Friday that Los Angeles County resumed safer home orders. With the rapid increase in cases, the county took preventive measures. In late November, it ended outdoor dining and closed business such as hairdressing salons, and told residents to avoid going out when unnecessary. However, Los Angeles has never really reentered the lockdown.

Los Angeles, California-April 24: Christopher Prado (EMT) left, Jesse Lynwood (Jesse Lynwood) ED RN, right, with Martin Luther King Jr. at the Community Hospital on Thursday, April 23, 2020 (Martin Luther King, Jr.) The patient collaboration in the emergency room is located in the Willowbrook community in Los Angeles, southern California. The medical team suspected that he was positive for covid-19. They put on a gown and took precautions. Christopher, left. Dress the patient in a gown.  (Frankin Orr/The Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Christopher Prado of EMT (left) and Jesse Lynwood of ED RN (right) in the emergency room of Martin Luther King Jr. (Martin Luther King, Jr.) at the community hospital in the southern Willowbrook community on April 23, 2020. Suspected Covid-19 patients working together. Los Angeles, California.

Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

In sharp contrast to the beginning of the isolation, there is no traffic in the isolation zone and the city looks empty. In the deadliest period of Los Angeles, large shopping malls, jewelry stores, bookstores and most other types of retail stores had limited capacity when they opened. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city and state also need to support a severely injured economy. According to data from the California Bureau of Labor Statistics, California’s unemployment rate in December ranked third in the country, and the state is facing continuous business growth. pressure. California’s restaurants sued California Governor Gavin Newsom (sue) over food restrictions Recall effort In view of the state’s response to the virus, from the California Republican Party.

The limited number of vacancies only adds to the normality, which brings confusing information to Angelinos, telling them what to expect and allow.

The Martin Luther King Community Hospital in southern Los Angeles is surrounded by black and Latino neighborhoods, such as Watts, most notably the Watts riot of 1965, which has become a sign of how severe the coronavirus has hit these communities. Since December, the relatively small 131-bed hospital has far exceeded its capacity. As MLKCH CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor said, her hospital provides four times more services to Covid-positive patients than its size. Hospital. Although the surge in February has been greatly reduced, the hospital’s ICU remains 100% full.

The communities served by MLKCH are very vulnerable to the pandemic. Access to medical care is more limited, and underlying health conditions are more common. Batchlor said, for example, diabetes is one of the highest-risk groups in severe Covid cases, the incidence of diabetes in South Los Angeles is three times higher than in other parts of the state, and diabetic amputations and wounds are the number one surgery in hospitals. “Many of our patients are on the front line. If it continues to spread and is exposed to this point, they will live in crowded housing, they will go home and give it to their families. We see the whole family I was sick and lost important family members.”

The hospital is equipped with a gift shop that can treat more patients, increase the number of rooms, convert the entire floor into an intensive care unit, and set up five triage tents outside the hospital, where patients can receive treatment and board the plane until There is enough space in the hospital.

As Batchlor said, the community served by her hospital is most likely to bear the brunt of any health emergency for a long time, and she hopes that this pandemic will highlight the need for more resources in poor communities across the country. “Even before the emergence of Covid, we have triggered a public health crisis in the community, which is an epidemic of chronic diseases. [Covid] It then feeds on the disadvantaged population and suffers a greater blow than anyone else. “In the long run, we need to create better access and high-quality medical care for underserved communities. We are all connected. I hope this pandemic shows us that we are all suffering. “

Batchlor and Van Groningen see both sides of the Los Angeles Covid story every day. After treating the county’s sickest patients, they returned to their homes in Westchester and Santa Monica, where incomes were higher and there were fewer cases. Several times, Batchlor would return home and see her neighbors throw out social incidents while ignoring the city’s mandatory procedures, which she said made her feel “immoral.”

She said: “People are not taking it seriously enough and are unwilling to make the small sacrifices needed to keep others in the community safe, which is really frustrating and sad.” She said. “When I think about our efforts to treat people affected by covid, it really makes me angry. In the early days of the pandemic, when I saw people wearing masks with expressionless faces, what would I say. I stopped. Because it happened many times.”

She said that Van Groningen commuted to and from Santa Monica’s beaches, especially on weekends, and it was difficult to discern the difference from the precocious world.No mask Is not She said it was rampant, but still very compelling, and she still saw enough people from different families close to comfort. She said that it is a difficult task to find a way to find a way between making the case unable to support economic growth and the residents’ mental health decline in the past year into a pandemic, but it is dangerous to abandon the former.Like many epidemiologists and health Expert told Los Angeles Times, Fatigue and reduced social distancing behavior are a commonly mentioned factor in the increase in cases during the holiday season. However, Van Groningen is optimistic.

She said: “I don’t think we gave up.” “Through the experience with family and friends, I want to say that most people are still trying to do the right thing. But there is a disconnect. I think sometimes people are confused about the right thing. .”

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