COVID Update: Friday, May 21


Former Councilmember John Duran has been doing daily COVID updates on his Facebook page since March 2020. Many members of the community have found them helpful. They are republished here with his permission.

LA County Cases1,246,821(up from 1,246,619)
LA County Deaths24,421(up from 24,416)
LA Positivity Rate.4%(unchanged at .4%)
LA Hospitalizations216(up from 218)


The New York Times has an excellent story today about COVID probably being in full and permanent retreat.   Victory over COVID has not yet arrived, but we are getting close.

More than 60% of American adults have received at least one shot of vaccination.  The share is growing by about 2 percentage points per week.   Among unvaccinated people, a substantial number have already had COVID and have some natural immunity (but probably not long term or against mutants).  

The share of COVID tests coming back positive has fallen below 3% for the first time since testing began.   Hospitalized patients are at the lowest point in 11 months.   For the first time, San Francisco General Hospital had ZERO COVID patients in their hospital yesterday.  

But COVID remains dangerous in communities with low vaccination rates.  This is especially true in much of the Southeastern USA.    About 600 Americans still die of COVID daily in this country.    Look at the number of deaths reported in LA Yesterday.  It is true that 19 is low.   But it is still 19 people with lives and families who will not be here for Memorial Day Weekend.   Who were they?  Did they have to die?   Can we get deaths down to zero?  Ever?  In a county of 10 million people? 

Well, here is one factor that is not helping …….


I am a Latino male.   Love my community.  And I have been immersed and grown up in a culture with HEAVY emphasis on the MACHISMO.    It’s such a burden.


The question of what it means to be a man?  You have to be fearless.  Brave.  Courageous.  Afraid of nothing.  Always right.   Unveering.  Stubborn.  Bull headed.  I know, I know.  It’s so overwhelming and tiring to type it.  Imagine having to live it!!!

So what’s the deal with my Latino male community?  

Here in LA County – 39% of Latino men have received at least one shot.   Compare that to 59% of white men.   Cholos!  We are 20 points behind!  And compared to Latinas?   Latina women are at 46% with at least one shot.  

Latino men are not good at going to the doctor.   Some go years without a physical exam.   Latina moms take their kids to clinics and doctors all the time at any sign of physical distress –  because that’s what Latina moms do – worry!   (ask my sister!).  But Latino men are often heads of households.  And if lower income – they work 2 or 3 jobs to keep the family housed and fed.

What was that comedy movie?   “WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ BADGES”!   I don’t remember.  Maybe one of you smart cookies will remind me in the comment section below.   But that phrase and the way it is was delivered with revulsion sums it up.  WE don’t like to be told what to do.  We don’t need anyone.  We are self made men.   We are strong enough.   We don’t get sick.  And so on and so on and so on (ask my brothers!).  

But COVID really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about machismo.  Or color or gender.   It’s just looking for a host to hitch a ride on to stay alive.  To go from one human host to the next and survive.   Any host will do.

Will some Latino men listen to their wives and girlfriends?  YES.  My mother at 4’10” and 98 pounds ruled La Familia.  She was the final word.   Matriarchs are at the center of the family.

But it’s not always true.   Many Latino men are essential workers in crowded factories, shipyards, dockyards, truckers, delivery, services.   They are often in workplaces with much contact with many people daily.   So, they are excellent candidates for a viral transmission.   

Culturally – how to translate this?  Protecting the family is probably one way.   Latino men are really down to protect the family at all costs.   The vaccine has to be done not to protect you – but to protect your wife and kids.   That will work…..

Or put in in the nutshell called “real men do get vaccinated”.   That will work also.   Facts won’t work as readily.   Many Latino men spend way too much time on false social media stories and conspiracy theories.   They are fodder for Fox News untruths.  

Come on Chicos!   Remember that mighty Montezuma and the Aztec empire got wiped out by virus and epidemic.  I know we don’t need “no stinking badges”.   But a vaccination card with 2 shots is a badge of courage and honor to protect the family.  Be there for your daughter’s quinceanera!  And her wedding.  And your grandkids.   Don’t be one of the 19 deaths that happened today……

Sunny and 72 degrees today.  Enjoy these May days before Summer officially starts next weekend !


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About John Duran
John Duran, a criminal defense lawyer, served on the West Hollywood City Council for 20 years, 2001-2020.

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