The SisterhoodThe Sisterhood

At the start of the pandemic, Jollene Levid and her mother, Nora, found themselves glued to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nightly press conferences. In a press conference late last March, Garcetti announced a new milestone: the first health-care worker in Los Angeles County to die of the disease.

“When I heard him say that, I realized that he was talking about Auntie Rosary,” Jollene Levid says, speaking about Rosary Castro-Olega, a 63-year-old nurse who came out of retirement to work in hospitals strained by the pandemic. Castro-Olega’s death helped inspire an online memorial called Kanlungan, which honors the lives of health-care workers of Filipino descent. 

This week on The Experiment, the story of why so many people—many of them women, many of them nurses—have left the Philippines to work in the American health-care system, and why they have been so disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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This episode was reported and produced by Tracie Hunte and Gabrielle Berbey, with editing by Julia Longoria and Katherine Wells. Fact-check by William Brennan and Stephanie Hayes. Sound design by David Herman.

Music by Keyboard (“Small Island,” “My Atelier,” “Mu,” and “Ojima”), water feature (“a paradise,” “richard iii (duke of gloucester)”), Laurie Bird (“Detail Wash”), naran ratan (“Forevertime Journeys”), r mccarthy (“Home/Home”), and Parish Council (“New Apt.”) provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by APM (“Macho Theme”). Additional audio from C-SPAN, the Associated Press, and ABS-CBN News.