We are publishing personal essays from CNN’s global staff as they live and cover the story of Covid-19. Stephanie Elam is based in Los Angeles as a correspondent for CNN.Los Angeles (CNN)After the sun sets beyond the California coast, the iconic Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier still lights up — its dancing colors mimicked on the surface of the Pacific Ocean below. It’s an eerie reminder of what life should be like in Los Angeles right now. But despite the light show, the pier is blocked off and silent — no games, no vendors, no rides. No tourists posing for selfies. This is California at war with the coronavirus.It’s been about two weeks since Governor Gavin Newsom put California under a stay-at-home order — the first state in the union to tell its nearly 40 million residents to do so. He also said the state’s coronavirus cases are expected to peak in May. Even with more than 15,000 current cases in California, this is expected to be the calm before the storm.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reiterated the governor’s call, demanding that all non-essential businesses close their doors temporarily.(I grapple with the word “nonessential.” A business may offer


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