After almost 10 years of helping distressed communities abroad, Hollywood actor Sean Penn is joining the battle against COVID-19 much closer to home.
The Oscar award-winning celebrity’s disaster relief organization called “CORE” has partnered up with the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as Los Angeles’ fire department, to put up free drive-thru coronavirus test labs for those with ongoing qualifying symptoms. His staff members, while wearing thick hazard suits, are also administering coronavirus tests in Malibu, his home city.
Penn hopes that through the efforts of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), they can alleviate the depletion of resources and save people’s lives. His non-profit organization also assisted the victims of Hurricane Matthew, and helped rebuild Haiti after the country suffered from the 2010 earthquake. He said that he and his team decided to act quality to help run the coronavirus testing sites.
Penn said in an interview that they have an infrastructure in place that can respond to the issues. It’s something that they can adapt to fast, with the initial training of the L.A. Fire Department. Soon, they were able to take the firemen back to serve the residents, in that way we need them to.
So far, the program has offered over 6,500 free COVID-19 tests since March 30. CORE is operating at 4 locations, with plans of expanding more. They will manage a new site in L.A. starting Friday.
Around 60 volunteers and staff are working in California. This includes 10 Peace Corps volunteers.
Garcetti said in a statement that getting more residents tested will help them get proper care, and flatten the curve faster to slow the spread of the coronavirus. They are working closely with their partners to grow testing capacities and expand access. They are grateful to every person who has stepped up and took part to strengthen this work.
Jeff Gorell, Los Angeles deputy mayor, said in a tweet that the program’s efforts will help lessen the workload of the Los Angeles’ fire department, since it will free up the emergency responders.
For many people, COVID-19 causes only moderate or mild symptoms, including cough and fever. For older adults and other individuals with existing health issues, it can cause pneumonia and other severe illnesses.
The huge majority of people recover from the illness. As per the WHO (World Health Organization), individuals with mild symptoms heal in around two weeks. Those with more severe symptoms may take three to six weeks to get better.
Sean Penn hopes that other local governments and non-profit organizations will help run coronavirus sites as well. For now, he said that each one of us must wash our hands often.
If you’re interested in reading more about Operation Gratitude, click here.