The monster genius


And like most places, Covid-19 has hit Los Angeles‘ poor the hardest.

Dr Heidi Behforouz, the medical director of LA County’s Housing for Health, says she thinks Los Angeles is a city accustomed to tolerating extreme inequities in a country that does the same.

„We’re sort of a pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of country – we’re very individually minded and it’s hard for us to think about giving up what we feel is our right to do what we want,“ she says.

While Covid-19 can infect anyone, it’s definitely more cruel to the have-nots than the haves.

For every case of Covid in Beverly Hills, there are six times more in Compton. While two people from Bel Air have died, more than 230 people have lost their lives in working-class East LA.

And now, the virus is surging through LA’s vast homeless population. People who live in Los Angeles are used to driving past dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people living on the streets every day.

At the beginning of the pandemic, they were largely spared from infection – likely because they’re so isolated as a population.

Behind the building, a fabric tent meant to house the most vulnerable women on the streets is now a field hospital full of men with Covid, tended to by doctors and nurses covered head-to-toe in the now familiar protective gear.

„The Covid situation is the worst ever and this is the most horrific battle we’ve ever been in,“ says Reverend Andy Bales, who runs the mission.

„It’s like playing chess with a monster genius – every move we make, it gets overcome by Covid.“

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