San Diego Placed On State’s Watch List, New Swine Flu Raises Pandemic Concerns, Understaffing At County Nursing Homes Create ‘Perfect Storm’ In COVID Cases
KPBS Midday Edition / July 6, 2020
San Diego has been placed on the state’s watch list, meaning indoor activities at certain businesses must be closed for at least three weeks. Plus, a new strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus that killed 285,000 worldwide in 2009 is quickly spreading and San Diego scientists are worried that it could be the next pandemic. Also, years of understaffing at nursing homes in San Diego County has created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spread of COVID-19 cases. And, the state’s stay-at-home order has nixed a lot of vacation plans, but the California Report Magazine has created a virtual road trip for your ears. Finally, it’s half way through the year and we have six songs to discover for July.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Governor Newsome says the state intends to reverse rising rates of COVID-19. We have the capacity to do that again, to mitigate this increase. I'm worrying Kevin with Alison st. John. This is KPBS mid day edition.
Speaker 1: 00:24 Scientists are keeping an eye out for new emerging viruses like swine flu. The virus seems poised to, um, to, to jump to heal. We'll hear about the concerns and dedication of families who have loved ones in San Diego, nursing homes and new restrictions. Can't stop the music. We'll hear about new songs to listen for in July. That's ahead on mid day edition in his first, uh, COVID-19 update of the week, governor Gavin Newsome, governor Gavin Newsome confirmed that San Diego is now on the state's watch list of counties that have exceeded their virus targets and triggered a reopening slow down. That means additional business closures are likely Newsome says it's important to take a step back and find ways to open up safely.
Speaker 2: 01:15 This pandemic is still in front of us, continues to spread at rates. We have not experienced here in the state of California. Uh, since the beginning of this pandemic,
Speaker 1: 01:27 The governor said that state task forces were sent out over the weekend to make sure targeted areas and industries we're complying with COVID safety regulations. The emphasis he says is on education, not citations. Although some entities that he calls bad actors will be fined and possibly closed. Governor Newsome. Also again, emphasize the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of the virus. We will probably learn more about what being on the state's COVID-19 list means when the County officials hold a news conference this afternoon, KPBS reporter, Matt Hoffman has been monitoring COVID rates and responses over the holiday weekend, and he joins us now, Matt, welcome to the program. Good afternoon, Maureen. So as we heard from governor Newsome, San Diego is now one of 23 counties. The state is monitoring on his COVID-19 watch list. Does that take decision making about reopening out of the hands of County officials?
Speaker 3: 02:28 Uh, basically the answer is yes, it does. So San Diego County, the state as the state says has an elevated case rate due to widespread COVID-19 disease transmission. So basically when a County is on this watch list for three or more days, they must take actions to dial back, which is exactly what the County has been hinting at all week. These restrictions that could be coming as early as today. That's certainly what we're expecting them to announce later this afternoon is more restrictions Maureen.
Speaker 1: 02:53 So San Diego has already closed bars, already asked restaurants to close at 10:00 PM. What other restrictions could be coming?
Speaker 3: 03:01 Yeah. You know, we're, we're thinking that they're going to be restrictions on indoor activity specifically for these certain sectors. So restricting into activity for dining restaurants. So sort of, you know, going back to what we were before, you know, take out delivery only, uh, that also includes restricting indoor activities for wineries tasting rooms, uh, movie theaters, uh, family entertainment centers, card rooms, um, even things like museums and zoos also sort of inserts. Interestingly, you know, previously County officials had said that they were going to put a month long pause on any future reopenings. You know, the state has started giving any guidance on stage four activities. Those are large events. And here in San Diego, you know, things like Lego land, sea world eager to get reopened, you know, the Kaboom music festival supposed to be downtown later in September, this year at this rate, it looks like that these might not happen, or there's going to be a much longer pause than they were anticipating.
Speaker 1: 03:48 The number of positive cases announced by San Diego over the holiday weekend was very disturbing. Tell us about that. And if you can put it in some perspective, the number was over a thousand, but it was a multi-day tally. Right?
Speaker 3: 04:01 Right. Yeah. So a couple of days there, you know, 4th of July holiday lag and reporting, no COVID deaths reported over the weekend, but you're right. Just about over a thousand cases over those two days. And keep in mind, officials want to look at the rate, you know, when they look at these, they want to look at the rate of positive cases. So stick with me on these numbers here, you know, daily, total sum over the weekend had about a six and a 7% positivity rate. Now the two week average, keep in mind, the County looks for weekly trends and data is a 5.6% positivity rate. Now, Maureen, you go back just a couple of weeks and it was half of that. So we've doubled our positivity rate in just about two weeks. You know, the governor says statewide, our positivity rate is about 6.8%. So we're still under that, but definitely concerning to officials.
Speaker 1: 04:39 What is it that caused San Diego County to make it on the state's watch list?
Speaker 3: 04:44 Yeah, basically, you know, the, the rate of infection. So we, you know, basically the state says they want, you know, no more than a hundred cases per 100,000 residents. And according to the data on the state's website right now, San Diego County sitting at about 129 cases per a hundred thousand residents, you know, we are meeting the rest of the metrics. That's that, that's the one metric that we've been on this list for three days for we've been meeting, meeting the rest of the metrics in terms of testing positivity rate, percentage of ICU beds available and percentage of ventilators currently available. But we are still on that list. And like we said, we are expecting more restrictions to becoming announcing just in a couple of hours.
Speaker 1: 05:16 So let's go back over there, July 4th weekend for a minute, the state asked San Diego cities to close their beach parking lots, but many didn't they didn't. Why not?
Speaker 3: 05:25 Yeah. You know, basically city of San Diego officials say that they were given late notice, you know, the state, you know, sending a letter to Sydney managers saying, Hey, could you help us out close your beach? Parking lots. You guys are some of the only beaches that are going to be open in Southern California. And they just asked them to do that. Now, you know, we saw places like Oceanside and Carlsbad making that move to go ahead and shutter their beach, parking lots, state beach, parking lots too. But you know, places like the city of San Diego just saying, Hey, look, you know, we got late notice on this, but you know, we, we made sure that everyone else fall precautious in terms of masks and social distancing. So basically they were saying just a miscommunication late notice here.
Speaker 1: 05:56 Well, yeah. What is the consensus about this holiday weekend were first of all, the beaches crowded where most people wearing mask and what about social distancing?
Speaker 3: 06:05 Yeah. You know, we heard the governor today saying that he was very proud of California. It's this holiday weekend, you know, modifying their usual holiday celebrations. Um, you know, you talk about locally here at the beaches, the San Diego union Tribune is reporting that San Diego lifeguards say, you know, over the weekend, it was much slower than usual with no large lingering crowds into the night. They quoted one North County lifeguard sharp Sergeant that's saying pretty unremarkable weekend. So definitely not the large crowds that we're seeing, uh, in a normal non COVID situation. Um, and so we'll see if that sort of pans out. I know, you know, talking to officials from UC San Diego health, they're seeing, um, hospitalizations and people on ventilators coming from Memorial day weekend. So we know that there's a lag in some of these things. So we'll see in a few weeks where we are for seeing a lot of cases coming out of this 4th of July weekend.
Speaker 1: 06:45 And what about enforcement? Any news from police departments or the sheriff on how the mask order was being enforced?
Speaker 3: 06:52 Yeah, sort of like the big E word everyone segment, right. Is enforcement and the governor, you know, he talked a lot about it today, enforcement enforcement enforcement. He's putting up that $2 billion. He wants it to happen on a local level. Right. We heard about him saying that he's sending out these hot teams, you know, they may thousands of contacts over the weekend, but he talked about, you know, having cooperation from the local level, if they don't see that cooperation from the local level, then they will step in. And we know that a lot of jurisdictions here are taking an educational approach to this, you know, gaining compliance through education instead of going out, you know, giving a thousand dollar tickets that may carry jail time. So we do know that the County said that they are working on an enforcement plan with the local law enforcement. So babysitting, you know, we might have a chance to ask them about that today, about what that looks like in reality knows that enforcement. And I think, you know, the question of what does enforcement ultimately look like? Is it education? Is there, is it writing citations? I think that is sort of remains to be seen.
Speaker 1: 07:41 Is there a primary cause for the community outbreaks that we're seeing?
Speaker 3: 07:46 Yeah. You know, it's not looking good. We've seen 22 outbreaks in the last seven days and we've seen more bar restaurants outbreaks just in the last couple of weeks. I mean, you know, last couple of days, there were three new outbreaks all at restaurants and that's, we're expecting to see some of these new, additional guidelines. So we did her earlier when the governor moved last week to shutter bars in many counties throughout the state, he said, that's the largest area of concern from health directors. And that we're seeing obviously with a lot of these restrictions that they're targeting a restaurant and a bar industry.
Speaker 1: 08:15 Now you're going to be reporting on the County update later this afternoon. What is it that you're going to be listening for?
Speaker 3: 08:21 You know, I'm curious to see in terms of the dining and, you know, we talk about no more dining and for indoors, does that include dining outdoors on patios? You know, there's some that are saying, you know, we're going to be back to where we were in terms of just take out delivery only. So looking for some clarification on that, also seeing if, you know, in terms of right now, I don't believe that this includes barbershops nail salons, um, in terms of those indoor activities, I think those will be spared, so to speak, um, also enforcement. What does that enforcement look like? The governor, again, calling today, we want to see more enforcement, but I think for people just to keep in mind, you know, uh, you know, if the announcement is expected that we're having today, um, it's sort of gonna be rolling back to where we were a few months ago, you know, with no restaurants allowing for dining service. So we're going to be a lot of takeout and a lot of delivery. Um, and that's going to be for at least three weeks more.
Speaker 4: 09:01 And just one last question, isn't Del Mar supposed to be opening. Uh, I mean, where, where is that?
Speaker 3: 09:08 Yeah, the Denmark is kicking off it's summer season and it's still going on. It's kicking off this weekend on Friday, but it's going to be a little bit different for the first time. You know, it's going to be an empty grand stands. So they're going to be still be televising their games. They'll be doing offtrack betting. That's the racetracks as they do. They get a lot of their off-track bets come from off, off track. So that's like online bedding, things like that. So there's summer seasons still moving on right now though? No crowds morning.
Speaker 4: 09:29 Okay. Well thanks a lot. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Matt Hoffman. Thanks Matt.
Speaker 3: 09:35 Thanks Maureen.
Speaker 4: 09:45 Our experience with the coronavirus has made us more aware of the threat of viruses. In general, researchers are keeping an especially close eye on new flu viruses that could hit us this foal biologists that use CSD say they're watching a new swine flu that has emerged in China. The best way to deal with health threats is to understand them so here to help us understand the research and put it in context is [inaudible] Pascal, ganja and evolutionary biologist who specializes in influenza viruses. Thanks for being with us Pascal,
Speaker 5: 10:18 Hello there, and a pleasure to be there.
Speaker 4: 10:22 So what is it about this new strain of swine flu that's made you and other virus Watchers around the world? Sort of sit up and take notice.
Speaker 5: 10:30 So interestingly, this is a, this is a flu virus and flu viruses have been, uh, quite well known for a long time. And people know that it's worth following what new flu viruses might be around. This one was described in, in pigs and China. China is home to about half of the world's population, pigs, a half a billion pigs, and the flu viruses can jump from nonhuman animals or birds usually, or pigs to humans. And when they do so they can cause completely novel pandemics.
Speaker 4: 11:03 So, but the issue is, I guess, that the coronavirus is jumping from human to human. That is not the case for this virus yet. Is it? How easy would that be?
Speaker 5: 11:13 We don't quite know the answer to this, but there's a couple of findings so that the news is based on a recent, uh, proceedings of the national Academy of science, a paper by a Chinese group. And the disturbing finding is that they find that humans have antibody antibodies against this, this new novel virus that would indicate that at least some humans have been infected by this virus. So that prompted the researchers to ask, well, does this virus suck? You know, is it cause for alarm? And they ran a couple of tests and each one of the tests would actually add a little bit of alarm there's. This virus binds exactly the right molecule on the surfaces of host cells to jump into humans. It can be tested on human airway cells, a cell line or human airways, and it can infect them very well. And to top things off, uh, using the only animal model we have to test transmission, air droplet transmission between animals, the ferret, uh, also checked and positive. So the virus seems poised to, um, to, to jump to humans. And so that's the worrying image picture.
Speaker 4: 12:22 So is there anything that can be done with newly discovered viruses like this to bring them under control before they sort of start really spreading? And if so, is that happening? So the good news is
Speaker 5: 12:34 The influenza researchers. You know, there are vaccines. We have, we have to make new vaccines every year for influenza because it changes constantly. And so every year people do surveillance and try to guess which virus will be the next year's major strain. And so the good news is we have effective vaccines against the influence. So unlike the COVID-19 virus much more experienced in producing the virus in, in chicken eggs or animal cells, and then generating vaccines that we have proved do work.
Speaker 4: 13:07 Right. Um, there was a strain of, of this virus, the H one N one virus, which we saw in 2009, which did kill about 250,000 people worldwide. But, but then it was brought under control. Why wasn't that virus more deadly?
Speaker 5: 13:23 I don't think we have the answer for that. What, what had alarmed, you know, global authorities back in 2009 after the discovery of this virus here in San Diego was that the, the age group, uh, really affected by this virus was the most alarming age group. We're talking about 18 to 32 year old people that should have, you know, peak immune defenses. And so that hearkens back to the, the 1918 so-called Spanish influenza, which did not start in Spain that killed, you know, between 20 and 40 million people. And that was so terrible because the virus managed to kind of hijack the immunity of the infected people. So this is an added piece troubling piece of news about this virus based on several prevalence study, meaning studying hundreds of people in China, in households and people working with pigs. You know, many of these people were found to have antibodies against this virus and looking at the age distribution showed that it was the 18 to 32 year olds that had like a third, three time higher rate of being antibody positive. So that would, that would insinuate that this virus knows how to infect people with strong immunity. And that's another very big red flag.
Speaker 4: 14:40 Why is it that some people are really not badly affected by flu viruses, some of them not badly affected by the Corona virus even.
Speaker 5: 14:49 So they are a little piece of bad wrapped in glycoproteins and a piece of membrane of the host. They come in and take over many of you settled functions so that your cells from then on just make more little viruses, but they require hundreds, if not thousands of parts of your own cells. And these differ between each of us, we are all genetically unique. So each individual is packed with idiosyncrasies of how their cellular machinery might react to a hijacking event by one of these viruses. And so there was a kind of protection in the diversity we have in human populations, meaning that the same virus is very unlikely to be deadly for everyone. Viruses are part of the living world, even though some biologists arguing, given that they have no metabolism, are they even alive while they replicate and they evolve. And there was a lot of evidence from the study of genomes of the genetic code of living organisms.
Speaker 5: 15:51 That viruses are such an integral part of the history of life on this planet that every living animal on this planet. And that is true for plants as well, has a genetic code that is littered with past viruses that have essentially become us. So viruses on the one hand, a terrible threat, as we now see with this COVID-19 pandemic and, and, you know, have seen with past the influenza epidemic, but they are also constructive agents of evolution. They introduce tidbits of genetic information across species. So viruses are both very bad sometimes and extremely good for introducing novel adaptations into genomes that they in fact, why is it that we're seeing more life threatening viruses spreading recently? I mean, is that true or is it just that we hear about the more, why is this a very good question? You could, you know, there's, there's a couple of possibilities.
Speaker 5: 16:52 One could be, we have much more powerful means of detecting viruses, things like polymerase chain reaction, you know, DNA RNA technology that allows you to detect viruses in sewage, for example. But I think there is something else going on. It's we, as a species homo sapiens have a disturbed and contacted and penetrated every habitat, you know, including under the deep ice of the ice cores on both poles and in doing so, we come into contact with other organisms or, you know, uh, environments that have not had contact with humans ever. So this notion of us humans as a disturbing force on the ecosystem, and by going everywhere and messing everything up, we sample viruses. And some of these are really, really bad news wrapped in an envelope and pro so trade is an activity that defines humans, right? And that opens up think of the pangolin trade, for example, for, for traditional Chinese medicine or the bushmeat trade across Africa, where people eat, consume meat from animals captured in the forest. And so each one of these new contacts is an opportunity for viruses bacteria, or, you know, single cell parasites to infect humans. I'd like to thank you very much for speaking with us. We've been speaking with UCF Pascal again. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much, Allison.
Speaker 1: 18:21 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Alison st. John in San Diego County, at least 60 nursing homes have reported COVID-19 infections and 14 have reported deaths from the virus. I knew source investigative reporter. Jill Castellano explores the histories of staffing shortages at nursing homes, which have left them especially vulnerable to the pandemic.
Speaker 6: 18:45 Esther Hernandez was a 94 year old resident at the Windsor gardens nursing home. When the pandemic hit, her family used to be there with her every day, making sure she had enough food and was taken care of properly. When she was at the facility, she was never by herself. That's Hernandez, his granddaughter, Rebecca Nibla. She said when her grandmother's national city nursing home went on lockdown, her family worried about what would happen to Hernandez without them there. It was very hard and very difficult for us to not physically, you know, be there because we, we knew that the care was going to be way different. So we were afraid of something like this, you know, what happened to her. And unfortunately he did in may Hernandez, tested positive for COVID-19 the next time her family video chatted with her. She looked sick, but NAMBLA said during the six hour call, nobody from the nursing home, checked on her grandmother, they put the computer and they left it there from two to eight and she was organizing Hernandez died two days later, none of her family members were with her. Something very, very hard to process, you know, after so many years in their relationship that we had for her to go alone. And I knew source investigation found that the San Diego County nursing homes with the most COVID-19 cases, including Windsor gardens have long histories of staffing, shortages all have faced lawsuits or government citations in the past three years in response to understaffing their facilities.
Speaker 7: 20:22 There are many facilities. There's not the staff that it really takes to do the job they need to do.
Speaker 6: 20:27 Phillip Lindsley is a senior attorney at the San Diego elder law center. He says nursing homes have been cutting their workforces for years to increase profits
Speaker 7: 20:36 When there's family that can and is willing to come. That could be an important difference just for keeping a weather eye out, to make sure that what should be happening is happening.
Speaker 6: 20:45 Advocates believe banning visitors during the pandemic has made nursing homes more vulnerable to COVID-19 rather than less, they say families would be the ones to sound the alarm. If staff are not following infection control plans or providing proper care, Rosa Montiel does this for her sister Lilly who lives at San Diego post acute, where she's treated for down syndrome and epilepsy.
Speaker 8: 21:08 Normally I would ask her, do you need this? Do you need that? And I could get an answer. And then I could just ask the staff to come in and, and provide the care that she needed. And now it's much more difficult because I can't be inside. And it's difficult to tell from, from outside to determine what she means. I can't do that anymore. It's it's horrible.
Speaker 6: 21:29 Montiel spends nine to 10 hours a day sitting outside the window to her sister's room, making sure she's fed changed and given her medication on time,
Speaker 8: 21:38 I come here and as you can see, you know, I have this little stool and I sit here and I observe, you know what she's going through.
Speaker 6: 21:46 Montiel became her sister's caregiver in 1992, after their mom had a brain aneurysm on the same day their dad died.
Speaker 8: 21:53 I did promise her I'd take care of her always. So I'm here to fulfill that promise.
Speaker 6: 21:58 Montiel is concerned that the staff are too busy and are not taking enough precautions. She fears someone might accidentally bring the virus into the building and get her sister's sick.
Speaker 8: 22:08 I mean, one staff person bringing it in would be, it would be devastating. I mean, it would be the end. It would be the end of her life. And of, of many of them,
Speaker 6: 22:17 Mary Camarie, the administrator of San Diego post acute said that Lily Montiel is receiving round the clock care. And the staff's top priority is the wellbeing of its residents. Windsor gardens would not comment for this story for KPBS. I knew source investigative reporter, Joel, Castillano
Speaker 1: 22:35 Joining me as I knew source reporter Jill Castellano and Jill, welcome to the program.
Speaker 9: 22:40 Thanks for having me on
Speaker 1: 22:42 What are the requirements for a staffing to resident ratio at these facilities and how badly are some of the homes in violation?
Speaker 9: 22:51 So state law requires nursing homes to provide 3.5 hours of care to each resident every day. But researchers say that's way too low, that if you drop the number below 4.1 hours of care, you start to see the quality of that care decline. So I use that number of 4.1 and I analyzed federal data and found that 84% of San Diego's nursing homes don't meet that recommendation. They don't have enough certified nursing assistants who are like AIDS and 63% don't have enough registered nurses to meet these kinds of recommendations provided by researchers. One of the researchers I talked to said nursing homes, without enough RNs, registered nurses were twice as likely to have COVID-19 cases. So that is quite a big risk. And we see a lot of nursing homes not meeting those levels in San Diego County.
Speaker 1: 23:44 And if they didn't meet those levels before COVID, why were they still allowed to operate?
Speaker 9: 23:51 Well, it's a variety of factors. Um, nursing homes aren't generally shut down. They're often told by state regulators do this to improve the situation at your nursing home. We'll monitor you. We'll keep an eye on what you're doing sometimes. And like what's happening right now. There are certain waivers provided. So when the pandemic began, the state decided to lift certain requirements. So technically none of these nursing homes right now are in noncompliance. They are allowed to have facilities that are understaffed without getting in trouble because these regulators know how hard it is to keep the facilities staffed to the appropriate levels right now.
Speaker 1: 24:30 So have even more staff left because of the pandemic.
Speaker 9: 24:34 Yes, everyone that I've spoken to with agrees that the pandemic has made staffing shortages at nursing homes works for one thing. If you have COVID-19, you're required to self isolate for at least 10 days after developing symptoms. And there are other requirements like if you're exposed to someone, you might have to self isolate if you're a healthcare worker. So there are a lot of stipulations that make it difficult right now to keep staffing levels at the appropriate level, to provide the level of care necessary to keep these residents safe.
Speaker 1: 25:08 Well, how closely is the state monitoring nursing homes during the pandemic to see if proper COVID safeguards are observed and proper care is being given
Speaker 9: 25:18 The federal government suspended most onsite inspections in March to try to slow the spread of the virus, trying to keep too many people coming in and out of these facilities, but they are allowing onsite inspections for visits related to infection control or immediate threats to patient safety advocates say, that's not enough. We need more focus right now on what's going on in these nursing homes. But the people who represent these nursing homes say they're doing the very best they can and they aren't getting a lot of scrutiny right now. So it definitely depends on who you ask,
Speaker 1: 25:52 Do residents of the counties, nursing facilities account for many of the COVID deaths in San Diego.
Speaker 9: 25:59 It's hard to get an answer to that question. Unfortunately, the numbers are not very clear. The County refuses to release information about how many nursing homes and which nursing homes have residents with COVID-19. And at the state level, you can only see nursing homes that have had 11 or more cases. So the numbers that we do have are low estimates. We do know that outbreaks at San Diego nursing homes are responsible for somewhere around at least 89 deaths, but that's likely a very low estimate.
Speaker 1: 26:35 If the family members of nursing home residents observed proper precautions is social distance masks. Maybe even those plastic face masks that a hospital workers use, why aren't they being allowed to see their loved ones in person?
Speaker 9: 26:51 That's the exact question that they're asking and they feel like they're not getting a satisfying answer to the people who run nursing homes. They're trying to be as careful as possible. And we do know that there are instances where it appears to be the case that people coming in and out of nursing homes like staff seem to be bringing in the Corona virus. So it stands to reason that the more people come in there is a chance that the risk could go up up. But these family members say we don't have to be inside the facility. We could be arranging visits out in the courtyard or through some other means. And they want these facilities to work with them because they think it's very important for their loved ones in these nursing homes, to be able to spend time with them.
Speaker 1: 27:34 Finally, just talk to us a little bit more about the family members you spoke with the family of Esther Hernandez and Rosa. Monteon looking after her sister Lilly, the dedication of these family members is remarkable. How has the pandemic changed their lives?
Speaker 9: 27:53 It's changed them a lot for Esther's family. They didn't expect her to die to go so soon. They expected her to come home. But when she went into that nursing home, she never came back. So they're still struggling with this loss and trying to understand what happened and if it's possible, it could have been prevented. And it's an open question. That's really affected them. As for Rosa. She is terrified. She's doesn't know what's going on with her sister Lily, every day. She thinks that her sister is not getting the care she needs. And so it's really torn these families apart and created a lot of anguish among the people in San Diego who know and have loved ones in nursing homes.
Speaker 1: 28:33 I've been speaking with I news source reporter, Jill Castellano and Jill. Thanks.
Speaker 9: 28:38 Thanks so much
Speaker 1: 28:40 For more on this nursing home story, go to, I knew source.org. I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Alison st. John summer is usually a time for open air concerts. Lazy hours spent discovering new music or blasting your favorite songs with the car. Windows rolled down something I would never do, but as the months of shutdown stack up and live music venues have little hope of reopening. What are our options for getting a good dose of summer music, KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans is here to recommend some new tracks to round out your summer and welcome Julia. Thanks Marie. Thanks for having me. First up is a show that was originally scheduled this month at the Casbah. This is chances by the Bay areas, monophonic
Speaker 10: 29:41 [inaudible] [inaudible].
Speaker 11: 30:32 So monophonic, latest retro, still album it's only as came out in March. And for those of us keeping track March 13 is the release date. And the last day we did anything fun. This album would have been really great to hear life at the Casbah, but I think it's also perfect music to linger over morning coffee, or just stop at every drop of this. Mary pier summer chances is the opening track and it has a group that really pushes through all of the psychedelic soul elements. The lyrics are kind of a post breakup, good Britain's by, and that feels pretty universal, right?
Speaker 10: 31:20 [inaudible]
Speaker 11: 31:21 Good ridden summer 20, 20
Speaker 1: 31:24 Up next, we have a new local single LA rev by John Julian.
Speaker 10: 31:57 [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible].
Speaker 11: 32:25 So San Diego is John Jules. Julian put out this synth pop album earlier. That's here, the rag and Metro, her work is really understated and mysterious, but doesn't sacrifice any Sonic adventure Smiths it's full of layers and the lyrics have this sort of cinematic, other worldly absurdity of the dream. It's perfect for putting your beds in and detaching from the real world for a few minutes, John Jules, Julian's definitely someone to have on your radar. And look it,
Speaker 1: 33:02 The San Diego music awards have been re-imagined into a virtual event happening tonight. And you've picked a few tracks from the categories that don't always get much attention. Let's start with another Saturday by Jake nature. And the moment of truth
Speaker 10: 33:47 [inaudible]
Speaker 11: 33:55 Drummer, Jake major is one of those people who's kind of everywhere in local music is 2019 record. And the cat is that four best jazz albums to make the entire album is a study of Alyssa, has it is diverse. One of those, um, start to finish albums, but he has a bunch of guest artists. So every track fields fresh. My favorite is another Saturday with Jamie Allens, or if I'm vocals, it kind of has a rainy day mood. So whenever you're feeling like you need to escape the room, when the sunshine here put this song on
Speaker 1: 34:29 And another San Diego music awards nominee is multitalented local producer, songwriter and performer rafter. This is his song, colorful ghosts
Speaker 10: 35:11 [inaudible]
Speaker 11: 35:11 So rafter put out this album, a splitted battery in late October, it's nominated for the STMA best local recording category, which is kind of a catch all for genres. And it also includes a few out of town acts where their album was recorded here. But this category really spotlights the vibrant recording industry we have going on in town. And, um, a splitted battery is a really great example for all colorful is the album's opener. It has kind of a host punk catchy eighties edge to it, but it's melodically and emotionally complex, totally a Testament to rafters songwriting chops too. It's also worth noting that rafters released four other albums. Since this one came out, it was very prolific.
Speaker 1: 35:56 Yeah. Moving, not just out of San Diego, but out of the country, Grammy nominated Gabby Mareno collaborated with the artists known as Mexican Institute of sound on a track. That's hot off the press called Yama Ja
Speaker 12: 36:51 [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible].
Speaker 11: 36:59 So Guatemalans finger songwriter, Gabby Miranda teamed up with Mexico city based producer, Camilo, Lara. He's known as Mexican Institute of sound and they put out this new single that premiered on KCRW last week. Am I at is an Afro Cuban goddess of water and fertility. And in Miranda's work, she's a powerful woman of color taking all forms. And this track is about a love. That's overwhelming Marino has his striking voices and it takes on a sort of syllabary at theorial quality and this music nice blend of pop and synth elements with a Latin folk music aesthetic,
Speaker 1: 37:41 And finally local songwriter. Alfred Howard has joined forces with Mara Kay and Tim McNally to put out this truly very timely song, dystopian blues
Speaker 13: 38:09 [inaudible]
Speaker 14: 38:35 [inaudible]. I understand exactly why
Speaker 11: 38:41 This track is part of Alfred Howard's brand new one year of songs, project, where he's putting out original songwriting stories and art twice a week for a full year. And I highly recommend checking out the art online that goes with the song and all the others. They're all by Alfred's mom, Mary Howard. So Mara K's timeless evocative voice on this track feels somehow both delicate and kind of a force of nature at the same time. And the songs both boots have kind of in this static wash to it. But these lyrics are pure 2020
Speaker 4: 39:18 Now for more music, arts and culture coverage, including a playlist of these songs, go to kpbs.org/arts. And I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans. Julia, thanks so much.
Speaker 13: 39:33 Thank you, Maureen. [inaudible] [inaudible]
Speaker 14: 39:59 [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 40:08 The shelter in place orders might be nixing any plans for your summer vacation. So the California report magazine put together a little virtual road trip for your ears. We'll visit mano hot Springs in the Southern Sierra Nevada, way up over Kaiser pass in the rugged wilderness. It'll take a little fortitude to get to its healing, mineral waters, and as Valley public radio's Alice Daniel tells us you also need a tolerance for gooey mud and snakes.
Speaker 8: 40:36 The road to mono hot Springs is narrow winding, essentially one lane, even though cars go both ways, potholes and bumps caused my car to bottom out. Fortunately, I have two adolescent backseat drivers, and one of them is hanging out the window. I was going to look out of the car to see if there's gas leaking out of it. That's my son's Atticus and Asher. There are 14 and 12 takes an hour to go 17 miles before this road was built in 1927 with dynamite and power jackhammers pack horses and mules would take visitors over Kaiser pass sometimes guided by mono Indians, the 1930s, where the heyday for enthusiastic soakers people loved hot Springs. So that was kind of the golden years. That's Jeff Winslow. He runs the historic mono hot Springs resort. It's an easygoing rustic place with stone cabins and a bath house where spring water is piped into private tubs. There's no sulfur smell. And the water is a perfect 101 degrees. A few years before the resort opened the depression era, civilian conservation Corps built a campground here as well as concrete bats to hold in the spring water older Japanese American farmers from the central Valley would spend months here. In fact, there were so many people here, mostly Japanese that they just took over the whole camp.
Speaker 8: 42:08 Some of these concrete tubs still exist. The trail to them in a meadow along the San Joaquin river is mucky and parts kind of grabs you like wet clay, some crazy people like my kids jump in the ice cold leg, numbing, Sierra snow.
Speaker 10: 42:24 Yeah.
Speaker 8: 42:29 For hightailing it up the riverbank to plunge in a hot pool. Well, not to me, it feels pretty good. Although the water's really dark and kind of slimy, but there's more to this area than soaking rugged wilderness all around Alpine lakes framed by steep granite cliffs. One of them Joris Lake is a great swimming spot, but we've been told this place is slithering with snakes. I don't think I'll get all the way. Why
Speaker 10: 43:03 No snakes? I can only see one snake. If I can see the bottom idea,
Speaker 8: 43:12 You can see finally, the kids get in and try to catch fish with their hands to catch no fish. In hand, we head back for one last dip and one of the natural mineral pools for the California report. I'm Alice Daniel in mono hot Springs.