COVID-19 update and Metro News; Jan. 14, 2021

•The COVID-19 surge continues in Los Angeles County. There were 281 COVID-related deaths reported across the county on Wednesday. And this news as reported today in the LAT:

One in three Los Angeles County residents have been infected with the coronavirus, according to new estimates by county scientists, an astonishing sign of how rapidly the virus is spreading in the hard-hit region.

The estimate, based on scientific modeling, means officials believe more than 3 million of L.A. County’s 10 million residents have been infected with the coronavirus, including nearly 13,000 who have died.

Another important LAT article details the rise in cases and deaths among Latino, Black and Asian residents of our communities. Especially hard hit are those who can’t work at home, says county officials.

•Metro continues to run regular service for essential trips. We are telling riders that some bus and rail trips may be canceled due to staff shortages — with workers out either sick with COVID-19, caring for family members or in quarantine.

From our Jan. 5 Source post:

We encourage riders to use Transit — Metro’s official smartphone app — to plan bus and rail trips and check crowding predictions. We also suggest allowing additional time for your travel.

These impacts to transit service will likely continue until the number of COVID-19 cases decreases in our region and more employees can return to work. Other transit agencies around the region — including LADOT and Foothill Transit — are experiencing similar challenges.

•Below is a good interview of L.A.  County Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer by KPCC’s Larry Mantle. Well worth a watch/listen with good discussion of the county’s vaccination efforts. Mantle does not throw softballs.

•And this important news from the County on vaccines:

In other Metro news:

•Rail car No. 235 is in the house.

•Free Bike Share rides on Monday…

In the media…

•Not exactly a shocker to anyone who watched the news last year or who stepped outside last Labor Day weekend when So Cal turned into Death Valley. Obviously we’re in the midst of a pandemic but in the future After Times, taking transit is a good way to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, especially compared to driving alone.

•A ‘tiny’ Target store is coming to Temple Street in Echo Park, reports the Eastsider. It’s quite the opposite of Target’s usual suburban model store.

•For those who need something to read whilst transiting or not going anywhere, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour offers up four good reads about America. Since, you may have heard, America has been in the news a bit lately. All four books tackle race, as is fitting after the events of 1492 through yesterday.

I’ll add a couple of my fave books about America.

–The late Stephen Ambrose’s “Undaunted Courage” tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition across the Western U.S. and shows how wild and civilized (by Native Americans) our part of the country was — and not that long ago.

–“The Fifties,” by the late David Halberstam, explains the many sweeping changes across our land that happened that decade ranging from the rise of McDonalds to television to the space race to birth control.

–Finally, I’ll offer up “Confederates in the Attic” by Tony Horowitz which tells the bizarre (and oft-unflattering) tale of Civil War re-enactors and how one of our nation’s most tragic events is interpreted in modern times. All three books, btw, are very well-written and entertaining reads.

And this: if possible please try to support the L.A. region’s local bookstores. The pandemic has been tough on them and it would be tragic for our region to lose these beloved and important Places of Knowledge.

•On the subject of culture, a good article in the NYT on the arts in crisis and what government can do to help (spoiler: the kinds of things that government has done in the past — i.e. hire artists to create art!).

Very relevant here as Metro has long boasted its own Art department that is charged with making our facilities reflections of our communities instead of just lumps of grayish concrete. That’s in addition to the long list of cultural offerings Metro Art has produced ranging from live music to films to opera (see below).