Community leader John Eric Swing, who died due to COVID-19, remembered as LA sees record number of infections

California continues to be hot-bed for the coronavirus — with the state recording its highest single-day death toll on July 9, with 149 deaths — surpassing the highest daily death toll of 132 posted last May 19.

Governor Gavin Newsom said hospitalization rates had risen 44 percent in the past two weeks, with admissions into intensive care units rising by 34 percent.

“We’re seeing in the hospitalization rates some younger patients but we’re also mindful that it’s not just the young and invincibles. It’s not just those who are increasingly mixing outside of households and those that are not practicing physical distancing as they should, wearing masks as they must, but we’re also seeing our essential workforce and I just want to acknowledge that.”

Los Angeles County recorded its worst daily coronavirus death toll in at least a month — with 61.

Total deaths in LA County due to COVID-19 are over 3,600 — with 123,000 confirmed cases.

“Tragically we may expect that more of our loved ones and neighbors may die of covid19 in the coming weeks with all the increases we’re seeing in the hospitalizations,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA public health director.

Among the fatalities were Filipino American community leader John Eric Swing.

The executive director of the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans or SIPA passed away on June 28 due to COVID-19. He was 48.

“Kuya was such a positive, happy, gentle, and encouraging person. Even in his absence we feel him cheering us on,” said his sister Karen.

During a virtual memorial — city officials including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, community leaders and colleagues honored Swing.

“We feel akin to SIPA due to the organization’s long-standing passion for community service and empowerment and that passion was one shared by and led by John Eric Swing in so many instances,” said filmmaker Ava Duvernay.

“His mission of making his world and a city a better place and we saw that commitment through his service, at SIPA and countless other organizations dedicated to uplifting Asian Americans and Filipino American communities. We saw it in his tireless work to support small business owners and budding entrepreneurs,” said Garcetti.

The very same neighborhoods that Swing served are being closely watched by city officials for COVID-19 cases, including Filipino hubs like historic Filipinotown, LA’s Westlake district, and Panorama City — communities of color that have not only seen higher infections but increasing poverty rates in this ongoing pandemic.

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