Daily COVID-19 Update by John Duran – May 5, 2020 – Happy Cinco De Mayo!

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Happy Cinco De Mayo!

I know you think it’s about drinking booze… but no! LOL. It’s about the Mexican army’s defeat of Napoleon almost 200 years ago. It’s a day celebrated lightly in Mexico and heavily in the USA by Mexican Americans (like me). And of course the American celebration got started here in Southern California.

Sigh. Remember when we all used to gather publicly on Cinco de Mayo? Or St. Patricks’s Day? Or Mardi Gras? Not to mention Pride in June. And Halloween in Weho on Santa Monica Blvd? Are those days all gone?

Last night at the Weho City Council, we did some helpful things. First – we extended the eviction moratorium to July 31, 2020. It was set to expire on May 31, 2020. I want to thank my 4 colleagues for joining my push to extend beyond May 31, 2020. I actually wanted to extend to August 31, 2020. Staff wanted June 30, 2020. My colleagues compromised in the middle to July 31, 2020 (with the thought if we had to extend again – we would reconsider). This means that both residential and commercial tenants in West Hollywood can defer or pay partial rents for April, May, June and July. Eventually the rents will come due – but a little more time to maneuver during this unprecedented time.

We also voted to cancel most public events for the rest of this year. The big one was Halloween on October 31, 2020. I know. I know. I know. But the thought of gathering 500,000 people on Santa Monica Blvd during an ongoing pandemic was just not possible. I did ask that we consider having Halloween still occur within nightclubs and bars with proper social distancing and face coverings. It’s the new reality for this year. And actually, maybe Halloween will become once again a gathering for Wehoans and our friends as a community – rather than playing host to all of Los Angeles County. The Halloween spirit will continue. Just a lot slimmer than years past. And you know what – maybe more of “just us” who live, work and play here?

How about some more good news? California’s current cases are 54,937 confirmed cases with 2,254 deaths. The numbers are not good because they reflect actual people who were in pain, suffering and death. But given what the health experts were predicting 3 months ago – remember that? – that there would be 20 million of us infected with hundreds of thousands of deaths in California – that didn’t occur. We did something right. The first State to lockdown (Thanks Governor). Wide (not universal) compliance with shelter in place. (Thanks everyone who did). And we are NOT seeing body bags stacked up at hospitals. We have 10,000 idle respirators ready to go if needed. And there are 2,072 empty hospital beds available today. On this first wave – we did well. Unsure if there will be a second wave in the fall. But if there is, next time we are better prepared.

Other states are handling this differently. I pray for the people in Georgia, Florida, Kansas and other states that may be going too far – too soon. I would never wish harm on anyone especially my fellow countrymen and countrywomen – many of whom have no control over when their Governors are lifting restrictions. Democratic Governor Cuomo in New York is doing a superhuman job in the worst of times for New Yorkers. But you know what? So are Republican Governors Dewine in Ohio and Hogan in Maryland. Despite what the Donald wants to make this – this is no time for division.

Speaking of which – “A House divided against itself cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln. How small and weak did the Donald look next to Abraham Lincoln? No amount of photo ops can ever cover up the daily tweets of hostility, anger, misogyny and child like tantrums. Nice try Donald. Not even close. You don’t even deserve to stand in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln who started the Republican Party. This was a moment for any President to bring the nation together against a common enemy. A no brainer. You totally failed. And President George W. Bush sent out a message calling for national unity this past week – and you disparaged him?! He did what you were supposed to do! Did I ever think I would live to see the day when I would be praising George W. Bush??? Only compared to you Donald. In a national crisis you were put to the test. And you will be remembered as a complete failure. Any President – Obama, either Bush, Reagan, Clinton, Eisenhower, Kennedy – any of them would have brought the country together. You have proven your mettle. Worthless.

Which reminds of something else. The ultimate defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Yes there were many reasons. But one of the contributing reasons – bubonic plague struck down much of Napoleon’s army on Haiti. This would eventually lead Napoleon to sell the Louisiana purchase to Thomas Jefferson for a pittance. And the rest of the story – created the modern day United States and its westward expansion.

Viruses produce consequences. Some horrible ones. Some silver linings. You need to stay tuned for whatever lies ahead. There’s a heat wave coming to LA this week. Going to be a scorcher on Thursday. That level of heat is intolerable for viruses on surfaces. (still have to deal with respiratory contagion by humans). So bring on the sun. Mask up. Starting Friday we begin phase two with a slow re open of California.

It’s going to be OK. Happy Cinco De Mayo! Viruses sometimes topple dictators……. hmmmmm… Election Day is exactly 6 months away. Dream of what’s possible……..

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Councilmember John J. Duran is a native Angeleno and a resident of West Hollywood since 1990. He has been an elected member of the City Council since 2001. Councilmember Duran has a Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from CSU Long Beach. He has been a lawyer in private practice since 1987.
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