LOS ANGELES - Dr. Barbara Ferrer's day starts early and ends late.
As L.A. County Health Director, during a pandemic, it's no wonder. The challenge to flatten the curve, to slow the spread of the deadly virus has called for painful sacrifices. It's a bitter pill to swallow. And often Ferrer is the one left to explain the prescription.
Ferrer walked into Friday's interview wearing a face mask, which she removed and placed in a brown paper bag. Just minutes before, the urgent call for millions to continue to shelter at home, had been extended to May 15.
She proceeded to give me a heartfelt account of the thinking about the decision... and said " I hope people know we are extending it because it's working, not because we're in deep trouble."
As far as her most persistent worry? "I worry every day can we just hang in there? We're asking so much of each other."
Ferrer lives in the southland with her husband. She is a mother and a grandmother. She is pained by the perfect storm, this virus has triggered "My heart breaks for the loss of life, the loss of jobs."
Yet she maintains better days are ahead.
"I'm hopeful we are back to routines by fall."
I asked her if she ever got to break from routine... a guilty pleasure, perhaps? She laughed and said when you work seven days a week, there isn't much time for that. But admitted she was hoping to get a little more exercise soon.