California farming country buckles under COVID-19 -- will the pandemic make or break the San Joaquin Valley?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — She was afraid of catching the coronavirus — so fearful, in fact, that she switched jobs to pack tomatoes for an employer who seemed to be taking the right precautions. But Maria Claudia Garcia got sick anyway. A farmworker from Venezuela living in the San Joaquin Valley town of Mendota, she came down with a harsh case of COVID-19. She experienced intense fevers and headaches. She lost her sense of smell and taste. Her husband, also a farmworker, got sick as well. Speaking in Spanish, she summed up the ravages of the coronavirus this way: “It’s like your body isn’t yours anym...


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