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HomeUSTell us: How has your life changed since March 2020?

Tell us: How has your life changed since March 2020?


Good morning, and welcome to Essential California newsletter. Are Monday March 6.

This weekend marked three years since California declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus that spread from China to the US in late 2019. Gov. Newsom, which lifted the order on Feb. 28, first implemented it March 4, 2020 — when the state had just 53 known cases of COVID-19.

Over the next three years, more than 1 million people in the US died from the virus. In California, 100,424 dead have been confirmed, representing about 9% of the country’s fatal cases, according to the latest figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been more than 11 million confirmed COVID cases in the state in the past three years.

Statewide, nearly 73% of Californians received the first batch of COVID vaccines. About 61% of residents returned for their first booster, and nearly a quarter of Californians received a dose of the bivalent booster.

Those big, public statistics measure the effects of the pandemic from a public health perspective. But COVID-19 and the response to it permeated and distorted nearly every aspect of our lives: how we worked, how we learned, how we ate, how we recreated, how we interacted with our community.

For me, much of 2020 is a blur. The cloth of the daily routine was pulled from under us so quickly. Suddenly, I was largely housebound, scrambling with everyone else in my newsroom at the time to understand what was happening and get the latest facts, figures, and health guidelines to the public.

But through it all, my family and I were among the lucky ones. My husband and I have both kept our jobs (although I went through a period of pay cuts due to company leave at my previous newsroom). We have not lost any close family or friends to the virus. We managed to prevent COVID until the end of 2022 and luckily didn’t need any serious treatment or hospital stays.

But friends and colleagues lost loved ones. Millions of Californians were laid off, changed careers, moved or otherwise saw the trajectory of their lives changed.

Can we even begin to understand the toll a globally disruptive health crisis took and continues to take on Californians? Maybe not, but we hope you can help us understand the personal, nuanced impacts of the pandemic by sharing your stories.

We’ve launched a new newsletter reader survey: Tell us how the COVID-19 emergency has changed your life.

We want to know how the pandemic has most acutely affected you – whether that was a physical or mental health issue, the loss of loved ones, economic hardship, educational implications, or changes in relationships or social connections.

Our goal is to include as many of your answers as possible in a future edition of the newsletter, so limit your submissions to around 150 words per question and focus on the biggest effect the pandemic has had on you.

You can complete the survey hereand stay tuned to see your comments in an upcoming edition of Essential California.

And now, this is what is happening in california:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


Last fall, an arson attack destroyed a historic black church in South LA. As the leadership of the Victory Baptist Church contemplates rebuilding, they also ponder heavy questions about the church’s place in a changing community. Los Angeles Times

The rare snowfall in our local mountains has led to another rare sight: waterfalls. Times photographer Raul Roa captured some temporary waterfalls in Angeles National Forest. Officials have warned residents not to immediately take to mountain roads to catch a glimpse, as many routes have been closed due to storm damage. Los Angeles Times

Temporary waterfalls like this one now flow along Highway 39 after recent heavy rains in Angeles National Forest.

(Raul Roa/Los Angeles Times)

Check out “The Times” podcast for essential news and more

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re looking for a more balanced news diet, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse group of reporters from the award-winning LA Times newsroom, delivers the hottest stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from.


About 1.5 million elderly Californians eligible for food aid do not participate in state programs. State data shows that two-thirds of eligible state residents over age 60 do not participate in CalFresh. Experts and officials point to misinformation, a cumbersome application process and stigma surrounding government aid. The Sacramento Bee

The state task force that studies reparations for black Californians with enslaved ancestors recently met for two days in Sacramento. Here’s what’s next for the effort that could lead to the country’s first state-wide plan for black reparations. KQED


A winter storm continued to batter northern California on Sunday, creating dangerous conditions in the Sierra Nevada and closing ski resorts in the Tahoe area. UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab measured 30.5 inches of snow in the past 24 hours yesterday, and officials expect an additional 2 to 4 feet to fall through Monday. San Francisco Chronicle

As state and local officials take steps to address the fentanyl crisis, many Bay Area school districts are still not ready to rescue students who overdose. A survey by the Bay Area News Group found that 36% of the 33 counties that responded said teachers and staff are not trained to recognize the signs of a fentanyl overdose. Some districts do not yet stock the life-saving drug Narcan in schools. The Mercury News


K-Pop has some competition in Koreatown. “Trot” music captivates older members of the community, with its nostalgic lyrics and “Sinatra-esque crooner feel,” my colleague Jeong Park explains. Los Angeles Times

Times entertainment reporter Amy Kaufman has a new column, where she will explore the lives of “icons, underdogs and rising stars” to gain insight into the people who shape pop culture. In the debut of ‘For Real’, Amy interviews Drew Barrymore. Los Angeles Times

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Today California landmark is of Kathy Smith from Goodyear, Arizona: the ancient bristlecone pine forest in Inyo National Forest.

Kathy writes:

The trees are the oldest non-clonal organism in the world. The oldest have survived in very harsh conditions for almost 5,000 years. They are formed by wind, sand and ice and are incredibly beautiful. The landscape is stark in beauty and offers incredible views of the Sierra Nevada to the west and the Great Basin to the east. During your stay at the Grandview Campground, the dark sky at night makes for fantastic stargazing.

What are the essential California landmarks? Fill out this form to send us your photos of a special place in California – natural or man-made. Tell us why it is interesting and why it is a symbol of life in the Golden State. Make sure to only include photos taken directly by you. Your submission may be featured in a future edition of the newsletter.

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments to essentialcalifornia@WhatsNewDay.com.

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