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CORONA WATCH--Bartenders over the weekend began mixing drinks, gyms turned on elliptical machines and nail salons began polishing away as Los Angeles County reopened more of its economy even as coronavirus cases continued to rise.

The county, a hotbed of COVID-19 in California, now has reported more than 3,000 deaths and 80,000 confirmed cases. The rising case numbers have sparked some worry about whether the economy is reopening too quickly and that easing stay-at-home orders could cause new outbreaks.

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CORONA WATCH--The United Nations announced Thursday that at least 75.9 million people were forcibly displaced as of the end of last year. (Photo: Houssam Hariri/UNHCR)

A United Nations report revealed Thursday that an unprecedented 79.5 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced by the end of last year "as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order" and now face the added threat of the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened millions and killed hundreds of thousands across the globe.

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CORONA WATCH--America just passed the grimmest of milestones. A hundred thousand dead of Coronavirus. 

How can sense be made of a such a colossal number? The mind reels. It’s staggering. When I think about it, my head spins.

I think, though, that it’s such a big number that it almost becomes meaningless. So let me try to put it in context for you.

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CORONA WATCH--"To contain the virus and relaunch the economy, everyone needs health care," write Archer and Potter. "But without employer-sponsored health insurance and a paycheck, many workers are no longer able to afford the care they need. During a pandemic, that puts all of us in danger." (Photo: Paul Becker / Becker1999 / flickr / cc)

The novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed many failings in our health care system, among them the unreliability and excessive cost of employer-sponsored health insurance. More than 40 million people are newly unemployed as a result of the pandemic. According to economists at University of Massachusetts, PERI, among these newly unemployed, 25.6 million workers and their families—more than 75 million people—are also likely to be uninsured.

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CORONA WATCH-Covid-19, an ongoing global human tragedy, may have at least one silver lining. It has led millions of people to question America’s most malignant policies at home and abroad.

Regarding Washington’s war policies abroad, there’s been speculation that the coronavirus might, in the end, put a dent in such conflicts, if not prove an unintended peacemaker -- and with good reason, since a cash-flush Pentagon has proven impotent as a virus challenger. Meanwhile, it’s become ever more obvious that, had a fraction of “defense” spending been invested in chronically underfunded disease control agencies, this country’s response to the coronavirus crisis might have been so much better.

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CORONA WATCH--Outside of Boston, a marketing company is struggling to figure out how to cover its bills. In Indiana, a dance studio is waiting on three emergency-loan applications. In Baltimore, a deli is closed and desperate for help.

The government is engaged in an unprecedented effort to save such companies as pandemic-related shutdowns stretch into the spring. But Washington’s policies are too complicated, too small, and too slow for many firms: Across the United States, millions of small businesses are struggling, and millions are failing. The great small-business die-off is here, and it will change the landscape of American commerce, auguring slower growth and less innovation in the future.

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CORONA WATCH--If you have Medicare and want to be tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Trump Administration has good news. 

Medicare covers tests with no out-of-pocket costs. You can get tested in your home, doctor’s office, a local pharmacy or hospital, a nursing home, or a drive-through site. Medicare does not require a doctor’s order for you to get tested.

Testing is particularly important for older people and nursing home residents, who are often among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Widespread access to testing is a critical precursor to a safe, gradual reopening of America.

When a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, Medicare will cover that, too.

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THE CORONAVIRUS WAR--Remember the song “Over There”?

“Over there, over there
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming everywhere...”

Maybe not, since it was popular so long ago, but it was meant to inspire American troops saying goodbye to their country on their way to a Europe embroiled in World War I. Written by George M. Cohan, the song paid homage to an American wartime urge to do good in the world, to take what was precious about this country and spread it to less fortunate, endangered peoples elsewhere. As Jon Meacham and country music star Tim McGraw reminded us, that song’s message couldn’t have been simpler: The good guys are coming.

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CORONA WATCH--A man looks toward the skyline from Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco, Monday, March 16, 2020. Officials in six San Francisco Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate Monday affecting nearly 7 million people, including the city of San Francisco itself. The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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CORONA WATCH--The United States Postal Service is the most ubiquitous face of the federal government (with over 34,000 offices, delivering mail to over 160 million addresses) as well as the most well-regarded (scoring 10 points higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019). It’s in the Constitution (which it actually predates) and it’s helped bind Americans together ever since. But in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic — when its service is more essential than ever — rightwing billionaires could finally realize their decades-long dream of destroying it as it now exists, and privatizing whatever fragments seem profitable enough for continued plundering. 

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CORONA WATCH — With unemployment at nearly 20 percent and food banks serving up to 10 times more Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic than before, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today launched a statewide guide to food resources.

The first and only map of its kind in the state, “Food for Californians” — accessible at lacontroller.org/foodforcalifornians — maps 1,800+ food banks, food pantries and emergency food distribution centers up and down California where residents can pick up free food. 

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CORONA WATCH-- L.A. Controller Ron Galperin has released a comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Hub that gathers the latest federal, state and local data to give Los Angeles residents and businesses easy access to information and services they need to get through the coronavirus pandemic. Located at lacontroller.org/covid19resourcehub, the hub includes a dashboard illustrating the impact of the coronavirus on L.A. neighborhoods, along with a map showing how stimulus dollars will be distributed by community, and contains hundreds of resources organized into 16 categories — for employees and job seekers, freelancers, renters, small business owners, immigrants and much more. 

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