Postcard From The Edge: L.A. Street Vendors Who Can’t Stop Working

LOS ANGELES — One day last week, on a sunny, beautiful Los Angeles afternoon, 23-year-old Alex Salvador Morales set up shop on a sidewalk near downtown, selling freshly cut pineapple, mango and watermelon in quart-sized plastic cups for $5.

Before the pandemic, fruit stands like his dotted streets on days like this, one every few blocks on the busy stretches. With millions of people staying home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, business was so bad that many of Salvador Morales’ fellow fruit vendors hadn’t bothered to show up.

But Salvador Morales said he couldn’t afford to stop working because his family in Guatemala counts on him to send money back home. He also needs to pay his rent. It was due last Wednesday, and he didn’t have enough to pitch in his $500 for the apartment he shares with a roommate.

With the surrounding streets mostly empty, Salvador Morales had

Read More

‘When It Starts Getting Into Your Local Hospital, It Becomes Real’

The folding chairs outside the windows appeared late last month, after the maintenance staff at St. James Parish Hospital labeled each window with a patient room number so families and friends could at least see their loved ones battling COVID-19.

Yet even this small solace the Louisiana rural hospital can offer is tainted for clinical nurse educator Leslie Fisher. She has to remind the family members to take shifts to properly social distance from one another — even when their loved ones could be in their final moments.

The difficult conversations feel unceasingly cruel, she said, but she feels she has an obligation to protect these people, too. All she can do is look them in the eyes and say, “I’m so, so sorry.”

Folding chairs outside the hospital’s windows allow families and friends to see their loved ones battling COVID-19.

This is the new normal for St. James Parish

Read More

California Hospitals Face Surge With Proven Fixes And Some Hail Marys

California’s hospitals thought they were ready for the next big disaster.

They’ve retrofitted their buildings to withstand a major earthquake and  whisked patients out of danger during deadly wildfires. They’ve kept patients alive with backup generators amid sweeping power shutoffs and trained their staff to thwart would-be shooters.

But nothing has prepared them for a crisis of the magnitude facing hospitals today.

“We’re in a battle with an unseen enemy, and we have to be fully mobilized in a way that’s never been seen in our careers,” said Dr. Stephen Parodi, an infectious disease expert for Kaiser Permanente in California. (Kaiser Health News, which produces California Healthline, is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.)

As California enters the most critical period in the state’s battle against COVID-19, the state’s 416 hospitals — big and small, public and private — are

Read More

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: All Coronavirus All The Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

The medical and economic needs laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic are forcing some immediate changes to the U.S. health system. Congress, in its latest relief bill, provided $100 billion in funding for the hospital industry alone. Meanwhile, the federal government has quickly removed previous barriers to telehealth and other sometimes controversial practices.

But big fights are still brewing, including whether the federal government will reopen the Affordable Care Act marketplaces it runs and whether states can use emergency powers to ban abortions as “elective medical procedures.”

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The ACA was passed on the heels of the Great Recession. The coronavirus outbreak has produced the
Read More