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CDC Gives Vaccinated People The Go-Ahead For These Activities

 March 8, 2021 at 11:17 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 New guidelines opened up for the fully vaccinated. Speaker 2: 00:03 If you are around very low risk people like grandchildren, you can also resume life. As we know it, Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. Jade Heinemann is out today. This is KPBS midday, edition Homeless people prepare to leave the San Diego convention center and move into bridge shelter. Speaker 3: 00:30 We're already making preparations for folks to come and sell and we're getting their names. So each individuals will have their overflow bins writing for them or how they're better assignments. It'll be a smooth operation. Speaker 1: 00:41 I knew warning about the health effects of breathing smoke from wildfires on the San Diego rep repairs a month of new play readings from black voices. That's ahead on midday edition, Speaker 1: 01:00 Vaccinated grandparents visiting their families, vaccinated groups, socializing without masks. Those tantalizing scenarios are part of the new guidelines for vaccinated. People released today by the CDC. The guidelines offer a glimpse of a post pandemic life for fully vaccinated people two weeks after their final injection. It's the kind of good news we've been waiting almost a year for, but the CDC warns, there are still risks. Even when people are fully vaccinated, especially in larger groups. And with older unvaccinated people joining me is Dr. Mark Sawyer and infectious disease specialist with Rady children's hospital and UC San Diego. Dr. Sawyer also served on the panels that recommended the FDA authorized the Medina Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. And Dr. Sorry. You're welcome. It's good to join you. It's good to have you. Now, these guidelines differ from previous CDC advice where masks were required in just about all settings, even after vaccination. Why have the guidelines changed? Speaker 2: 02:06 Well for one thing, we've, we've learning more and more about the effectiveness of the vaccines and, and w I think we we've been talking about how effective we thought they were, but now we're seeing them in real life, and they really are working extremely well to prevent people from getting ill and especially high risk individuals. Speaker 1: 02:25 The guidelines don't come out and say that fully vaccinated people can finally hug low-risk members of their families like grandchildren, but the implication is that's okay, isn't it? Speaker 2: 02:38 Yes. The guidelines are predicated on the notion that if you're fully vaccinated, the chance that you are going to be carrying the backs, the infection and giving it to somebody else, who's also fully vaccinated is extremely low. It's not zero, but it's extremely low. So, so the CDC is saying we can get back to life. As we used to know it, if you're only around people who are fully vaccinated Speaker 1: 03:05 And also low risk members of families like grandchildren, isn't there, Speaker 2: 03:09 Right? That's right. We among the things we have learned over the last six months is that young children are very unlikely to transmit infection. So they can't be vaccinated now yet, but they are considered low risk for transmission. So it's okay for a vaccinated grandmother to be around they're un-vaccinated young grandchildren, Speaker 1: 03:30 Fully vaccinated people being around children from another household. And those children may be at higher risk of complications from the virus. What's the advice there? Speaker 2: 03:40 Well, the general advice is if you're, even if you're vaccinated, if you're around people who are at high risk from getting Coke, when they get COVID, then you should still follow the standard precautions we have been following nothing is a hundred percent here. So to be extra careful with high risk people, you should continue to wear a mask and socially distance. Speaker 1: 04:01 What about out in public, in larger gatherings are masks and social distancing still advised for people who were fully vaccinated in those settings. Speaker 2: 04:10 Yes. We want people to continue to follow the guidelines in, in public settings, because you have no idea who's around you, whether they're contagious, how contagious they are, you have to keep in mind. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so you could still get sick. And on top of that, we're still waiting for evidence about whether the vaccine keeps you from actually acquiring the infection. Even if you don't get symptoms, if you acquire the infection and are contagious, then you could then pass it onto somebody else. Speaker 1: 04:41 Since older people have been at highest risk for severe illness, and that's the group who've gotten most of the vaccinations so far, there's a great deal of relief that the mental stress of isolation might be lifted by these new guidelines. What impact do you think that's going to? Speaker 2: 04:58 Oh, I think it's going to be huge. Uh, I just had my mother who's 98, uh, over to my house to visit the grandparents and grandchildren. Great grandchildren yesterday for the first time in a year. And you could tell from the look on her face, that it made a great deal of difference. Speaker 1: 05:16 Yeah. You must've seen a lot of that in your work with Rady children's hospital, how the isolation was affecting families. Speaker 2: 05:25 Yeah. It's affecting all of us, but it's certainly affecting seniors who have been confined to their, to their apartments or houses or, or long-term care facilities. It's impacting children. We're seeing that in their learning and school and socialization. So this new CDC guideline is great news and it paves the way for future guidance as we get more and more of the population vaccinated. Speaker 1: 05:49 Now, even with this good news, there still a great deal of concern about the Corona virus, various and how our may not be able to control them. Do you share those concerns? Speaker 2: 06:02 Certainly the variants are something we have to watch very closely. There's there are an increasing number of them and that's inevitable and will continue. As long as we're having a pandemic. The key to controlling them is to get everybody vaccinated, but we will monitor how the current vaccines are working. And the good news here is that the companies are already working on backup vaccines. That should deal with the variants. If we find that we need that, Speaker 1: 06:30 There's been some suggestion that people might need a booster vaccination in the fall because of the variance, is that likely, Speaker 2: 06:38 It's really, really hard to predict the current vaccines look like they're still working against the variance. So as long as that's true, we will not need a booster as early as this fall, but each new variant has to be analyzed and determined whether the vaccine still work. And if we get to a point where the vaccines may not be working, then a booster or a second vaccine will be required. Speaker 1: 07:02 And Chelsea, so that we're all on the same page here. Is it possible for you to sum up the new guidelines for us? Speaker 2: 07:09 I guess the quick summary is that if you're fully vaccinated and are all around other fully vaccinated people, you can return to your life as you knew it without a mask and without social distancing, if you are around very low risk people like grandchildren, you can also resume life as we know it. But when you're out in public around people, you don't know, you should continue to follow the guidelines of masking and distance. Speaker 1: 07:36 Now, a number of health officials say that the new guidelines offering more interaction, the promise of not wearing masks all the time will actually encourage people to get vaccinated. Do you see that happening? Speaker 2: 07:50 I think so. I mean, there have been people who have been reluctant to get vaccinated in part because they didn't see what it was going to do for them. If they didn't perceive that they were at high risk themselves. But now this is going to show them that by getting vaccinated, they can return closer to life as we knew it. And it's also going to help the overall effort to get the population vaccinated. Speaker 1: 08:13 I have been speaking with Dr. Mark Sawyer and infectious disease specialist with Rady children's hospital and UC San Diego, Dr. Soria, as always. Thank you so much. Speaker 2: 08:22 Thank you, Maureen. Speaker 1: 08:28 The San Diego convention center is about to take on another role in its pandemic journey. Officials have announced that after housing, thousands of homeless San Diego during the last year, the convention center will close its operations shelter to home program. The week of March 22nd, after that plans are in the works to reopen the convention center as another major vaccination site, more than 700 people still being sheltered at the center will be moved to bridge shelters, run by father Joe's villages and by the alpha project. And joining me today is Bob McElroy, CEO of the alpha project, which operates two of the city's shelters. And Bob welcome. Speaker 3: 09:09 Thanks for having us. Speaker 1: 09:11 Are you preparing to get alpha project ready for this transfer of people? How are you doing that? Speaker 3: 09:17 Well, we've been doing that. We've been working out for a couple of months now to get the shelters all back up to speed. And, uh, we're weighing out the beds now, so that we're spatially distanced appropriately, but we're good to go. We're really excited to get back to the bridge shelters. They're more homey and more community oriented instead of the big warehouse. Uh, although the, the convention center has been a true, true blessing, but we'd like to be back in the neighborhood. Speaker 1: 09:41 How many people will be coming to your shelters? Speaker 3: 09:44 Well, we're going to have, let's see a total of 286. We're going to have 180 at their biggest facility. We used to have 324. We'll be back to 180 at the 16th and Newton site. We have 72 women and 108 men. And then we'll have one Oh six at Imperial 42 women in 64 men. So it's a little more cozy over there, but we're taking those folks out there that have been out there for a long time and need more comprehensive care. So it's really kind of cool. Speaker 1: 10:12 What kind of coordination is going to be needed to move hundreds of people from a single shelter to various other locations? Can you give us a sense of the kind of effort that that takes? Speaker 3: 10:23 It's a huge effort, but, uh, you know, our folks are so resilient. You know, we've bugged out a couple of times when we got flooded out a few years ago, I moved 324 people who we got flooded at 16th to noon. We moved into San Diego's through the Jack Murphy stadium and an hour and a half. And you know, when we had to, when we had to bug out, uh, with the COVID over to the bench and center, our folks are just just way cool. You know, we get the buses going and, uh, what we've been doing now with the convention center, cause it's not an emergency evac. We're already making preparations for folks to come and settle land. We're getting their names. Uh, of each individuals will have their overflow bins ready for them. We'll have their bed assignments, it'll be a smooth operation. Speaker 1: 11:04 Do you know if the people who come to you from the convention center will be vaccinated? Speaker 3: 11:09 Well, we hope so. You know, we've done the 65 plus, uh, folks I've been begging for months, you know, to have every habit available for everyone, including our staff. And the protocols seemed to change all the time. My outreach workers got vaccinated, but not my onsite workers that are there 24 seven, uh, and same with our residents. But we hope to have that available here in the next week or so of what I've heard. But you know, there's also some re some resistance there. You know, some of us, uh, have mental health challenges and they don't want to have the vaccinations, just like a lot of people don't want to have their flu shots. So we provide as much information as we can to our folks. And, uh, you know, I, I, I got out there with everybody. It's took me, it took me a to get vaccinated and, you know, I'm old as dirt, but I didn't want to get vaccinated before we started offering him to the, to the residence there. And, uh, as I do with the chute flu shots every year, so it kind of encourages people will, Oh man, Bob gets a shot. Well, maybe I can get a shot too. They wait to see if I'm going to croak in two weeks and then they get their shots. So, uh, what we're doing it little by little we're we're, we're getting people, getting people, their shots Speaker 1: 12:19 Last week. Mayor Gloria said that the shelter to home program found long-term housing for more than a thousand people. I'm wondering, how would you assess the whole convention center program? Speaker 3: 12:31 I mean, it was outstanding. I mean, at one time we had 1700 people on site. At one time we had over 700 on our side of the house, I think St. Vincent said five and, and BVSD was there for a while. A couple of hundred. So we have a lot of folks there, but the, really the beauty of it was really centralizing services. You know, you've always, we've always heard this, you know, uh, like a central intake facility where all the services are on one site. Well, we actually did that here, where the housing commission physically on site, we had the County and their medical clinicians physically onsite. We had the regional task force. We had fire, we had police, we had all the resources onsite all the time. And, uh, you know, instead of people having to shop around, uh, you know, to get things done, I'm talking about our residents and providers. Speaker 3: 13:20 We had everything there and we're gonna, we're gonna, we're going to transition that same mindset, that same technical support to each one of the shelters also. So we're going to keep the ball rolling on here, um, and, and keep carrying on, you know, it's over a thousand people actually that have been housed. And the miracle of that is as you know, as well as I do Marine, there's no low-income housing and said, there's no, there's no affordable housing in San Diego or any other city, but low-income housing certainly does not exist. So it's just been a tremendous blessing, uh, for, for all of us to find housing for what little there is out there for those, for those thousand plus people. And we want to continue the same thing. Speaker 1: 14:00 And has mayor Gloria given any indication that he's committed to funding temporary bridge shelters in the longterm? Speaker 3: 14:08 Absolutely. Absolutely. He's been at my I've known Todd for years and years and years. And, uh, we had a conversation while he was running it. And I, and I just want to make sure that he was, he understood the importance of having people to play, you know, a bridge to that housing. You have to have people, a bridge facility, uh, where people can be safe with access to healthcare and mental health counseling and drug and alcohol treatment, all those resources in one spot while they wait for that housing that may or may never come. So, uh, yeah, he's on board with that being supporter. And, uh, and we're going to continue on the efforts that we've made. The, you know, we've made tremendous progress. These last few years, Speaker 1: 14:50 I've been speaking with Bob McElroy, he's CEO of the alpha project. Bob, thank you. And best of luck, This is KPBS day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh surveys show that black Californians are a lot more reluctant to get the Corona virus vaccine than white Californians. But most surveys don't ask respondents why the California reports health correspondent, April Demboski reports. One hypothesis politicians and medical experts have widely embraced, may not be as widespread in the community Speaker 4: 15:32 For months. Health officials, politicians and journalists have been invoking the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study to explain why black people are skeptical of the vaccine. Experiment Speaker 5: 15:44 Is a terrible stain Speaker 6: 15:46 Because of things like the Tuskegee experience to ski experiments, Speaker 5: 15:51 The experiment is this, the federal government trying to fool you again. Speaker 4: 15:57 This bothers Maxine Toler, she's 72 and lives near Los Angeles. She talks to her friends and neighbors about the vaccine all the time. She's black, they're black, hardly anyone brings up Tuskegee. And she says, the handful that do are fuzzy on the details. Speaker 5: 16:13 If you ask them well, what was it about and why do you feel like it would impact your receiving the vaccine? Now they can't even tell you Speaker 4: 16:21 Most people. She talks to cite very current reasons for not wanting the vaccine religious beliefs or safety concerns, or they think the former president brushed it through for political gain Toler calls, the Tuskegee references, a distraction, irrelevant. Even Speaker 5: 16:37 It's almost the opposite of Tuskegee because they were being denied treatment, right? And this is like, you know, we're, we're pushing people forward, like go and get this vaccine Speaker 4: 16:49 A little history review for all of us. From the PBS documentary that deadly deception, Speaker 6: 16:54 The experiment was called the Tuskegee study of untreated syphilis in the Negro male. Speaker 4: 16:59 It began in 1932 with about 400 black men in Alabama who had syphilis, a bacterial STD. Speaker 6: 17:06 It was authorized by the U S public health service paid for with taxpayers' dollars and conducted by government doctors. Speaker 4: 17:13 Well, believe that researchers injected the men with syphilis, but that's not true. They already had it though. Researchers never told them they had syphilis. Speaker 6: 17:22 The doctor said, they'd come to cure bad blood. Speaker 4: 17:26 And they never intended to cure them. Even when a cure became widely available in the 1940s, Speaker 6: 17:32 The war period saw the rise of a wonder drug penicillin, Speaker 4: 17:37 That he was about tracking the effects of untreated syphilis on the body. And doctors were determined to make it to their end point autopsy. They withheld treatment and continued the study for another 25 years. The researchers Speaker 7: 17:50 Pushed on the term Speaker 4: 17:53 By the time the study was exposed and shut down in 1970 to 128, men had died from syphilis or related complications. 40 wives and 19 children were infected With a horrific history like this. You might assume that black people would never want to participate in clinical research ever again, or the next three decades, various books, articles and films repeated this assumption Speaker 8: 18:21 Gospel. That was a false assumption. Speaker 4: 18:24 When Warren is in charge of bioethics at Tuskegee university and is a former assistant director of minority health at the CDC. He's originally from Speaker 8: 18:33 The hesitancy is there, but the refusal is not. And that's the important difference. Speaker 4: 18:39 Starting in the mid nineties, some researchers went on the hunt for evidence that black people would refuse to be part of research over the next dozen years, they completed 17 studies, including surveys of thousands of people. The conclusions were definitive while black people were more wary of participating in research compared to white people, they were equally willing to actually participate Speaker 8: 19:02 Hesitant. Yes, but not refusal. Speaker 4: 19:06 Squeaky was not the deal breaker. Everyone thought it was more and says, this did not go overwhelm at the CDC. And in other regions Speaker 8: 19:14 Circles, much of indicted and contradicted what the government said. Speaker 4: 19:19 Searchers have to confront the real problem. Many of them never invited black people to participate in their studies in the first place when they did, they didn't try very hard to ski was a scapegoat. Speaker 8: 19:32 That was the excuse that they used to not include black and other communities of color in the research enterprise. If I don't want to go to the extra energy resources to include the population, I can simply say they were not interested in. If you Speaker 4: 19:48 Warren says the same presumptions that were made about clinical research are resurfacing around the coronavirus vaccine. A lot of hesitancy is being confused for refusal. And so a lot of the work that needs to be done to get the vaccine to black communities is not being done. USC sociologists, Karen Lincoln believes Tuskegee is once again, being used as a scapegoat, Speaker 7: 20:11 It's an excuse. And I do think that if you continue to use it as a way of explaining why many African-Americans are hesitant, it, it, it almost absolves you of having to learn more, do more involve other people admit that racism is actually a thing today. Speaker 4: 20:32 The memory of Tuskegee is still very present for some people, but Lincoln says it's the contemporary failures of the healthcare system that are causing more distrust than events of the past. Speaker 7: 20:42 It's what happened to me yesterday, not what Speaker 4: 20:44 Happened 50 years ago. African-American seniors complained to her all the time about doctors dismissing their concerns or nurses answering the call button for their white roommate, more than them. Speaker 9: 20:56 And the word travels fast. When people have negative experiences, they sh they share Speaker 4: 21:00 Like the Facebook live video of Susan Moore that went viral more a black doctor with COVID filmed herself from her hospital bed, an oxygen tube in her nose. She tells the camera how she had to beg her physician to give her REM Dessa veer. The drug that speeds up recovery from COVID Speaker 10: 21:17 So that you don't need it. You're not even short of breath. Yes, I am. He further stated you should just go home right now. I put forward and I maintain if I was white, it wouldn't have to go through that. Speaker 4: 21:36 Dr. Moore died two weeks later. It's stories like these, that stoke mistrust, Dr. Rubin Warren says, if you want to shift that, if you want black people to trust doctors and trust the vaccine, don't blame them for distrusting it. The obligation is on the health institutions to first show that they are trustworthy, prove yourself, trustworthy and trust will follow. Warren says black people will participate when institutions and officials take responsibility and stop making excuses Speaker 1: 22:13 Last year, raging wildfires, especially in Northern California caused weeks of dangerous air pollution. Now researchers at scripts have found that smoke from wildfires is not just bad for your health, but potentially worse for your health than other forms of air pollution. A new study finds that tiny particulate matter in the wildfire smoke can be more damaging to the respiratory system than similar matter from factories and car exhaust. The authors of the study say the findings may change how air quality is measured and health warnings issued during wildfires. Joining me is Tom Cottingham. He is a postdoctoral research economist at Scripps institution of oceanography and a co author of the recent report. And Tom, welcome to the program. Thank you. It's nice to be here. Can you start off by reminding us just what particulate matter is like its size and why it causes damage? Speaker 9: 23:11 Sure. There are, there are several kinds of, uh, fine particulate matter. What we studied in this, uh, work was PM 2.5 or particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. Uh, to give you a sense of what that is like, it's about one 20th, uh, the width of a human hair, uh, it's important because, uh, our body has natural defenses against larger particles, but when they get that small, they can actually get into the lungs and pass into the body. Speaker 1: 23:40 What did researchers look at to determine the health impact of particulates wildfire smoke? Speaker 9: 23:47 So in this study, we, uh, we took 14 years of data where we looked at wildfire occurrence and, uh, levels of PM 2.5. And then we linked that to hospital admissions for respiratory conditions. And we found that while we were able to separate out the wildfire particulate matter from other forms of particulate matter. And we found that a 10 unit increase in, um, non wildfire related, uh, particulate matter led to a 1% increase in hospitalizations. Whereas the wildfire particulate matter unit for a unit led to a 10% increase. So there was, there was a substantial difference, um, between the two forms of air pollution. Speaker 1: 24:29 And what kind of respiratory problems do these particulates? Cause, Speaker 9: 24:34 Uh, it's a variety of, uh, of, uh, respiratory complaints. The main ones we focused on were upper respiratory tract infections, asthma and COPD, but, uh, the, these particles have been implicated in a lot of different health conditions beyond just the respiratory, uh, impacts. Uh, they, uh, have been shown to increase cardiovascular problems, um, uh, among other things, Speaker 1: 24:58 Why are the PM 2.5 particular it's found in wildfire smoke worse than the same tiny particles in other kinds of admissions? Speaker 9: 25:08 Uh, so it's, it's still, uh, still something of an open question. There is evidence in the toxicology literature that there are certain compounds in, uh, in burning organic matter that aren't present in other forms of particulate matter. And, uh, I should say, um, you know, there are, are things out there that are worse than, than wildfire smoke. So diesel set for example, is quite harmful and certain pollutants that come from industrial plants. But, um, what we found in this study is that, uh, you know, over our domain and time period, uh, the, the wildfire smoke was, was more harmful in terms of, uh, causing hospital admissions than the other sources of pollution, Speaker 1: 25:49 About how close to a wildfire do you have to be, to be at risk from the potential health effects from the smoke. Speaker 9: 25:56 There's still there's work ongoing to answer, answer that question, but it does seem like, uh, clearly the effects are, are more pronounced when you're closer to the fire. But, uh, we have seen in, in more recent work that, um, even smoke from as far away as Northern California, seems to result in an uptick in, in hospital admissions. So when you think about the fires of 2020, looking at the satellite images, there's just the whole West coast was blanketed in smoke. And, uh, smoke was, uh, seen as far East as, as, uh, as the East coast. So, um, I think certainly for the West, um, any of these large fires can have potential health impacts. Yes. Speaker 1: 26:39 Does this possibly mean that when we're finally able to take our COVID masks, that we may be advised to wear masks during wildfire season? Speaker 9: 26:49 Well, certainly I think the main thing that people can do to protect themselves is, uh, stay inside if possible, uh, during these heavy smoke conditions and definitely avoid any kind of strenuous outdoor activity. And if you're able to stay inside, uh, it may be worth investing, uh, in, uh, improved air filtration system for your home or buy a portable purifier. So those are the types of things that people can do ahead of the fire season. And during the fire season to protect themselves, Speaker 1: 27:17 Your findings of course have a particular significance considering what we know about climate change and its effects on wildfires, because we're likely to be seeing more wildfires. Isn't that right? Speaker 9: 27:29 That's right. With the changing climate, we're seeing hotter and drier conditions across the Western United States and this leads to a more frequent and more intense wildfires of larger area. So it's definitely something that we need to be thinking about, uh, as we, as we move forward. And we've actually done very well with reducing pollution from other sources, but clearly the wildfires are not something that you can regulate. So it's something that we need to take seriously. Speaker 1: 28:00 And the study seems to suggest that our air quality standards need to be updated to reflect the extra health risk associated with wildfire smoke. How, how should they be updated? Speaker 9: 28:12 I think there's certainly a possibility here for changing the thresholds. For example, if the air quality index that's put out by the EPA, um, to reflect the, the source of the pollution, um, another option would be simply to, to add a flag to the, to the warnings, uh, alerting people to the fact that this air pollution is due to wildfire and should perhaps be taken more seriously. Speaker 1: 28:35 I've been speaking with Scripps institution of oceanography scholar, Tom Cottingham, Tom, thank you so much. Speaker 9: 28:42 Thank you for having me Speaker 1: 28:53 Now to a story. Many have followed in the city of Stockton, California. Twenty-five percent of Stockton's population lives in poverty. So two years ago, then mayor Michael Tubbs opened the door to an experiment 125 low-income stock. Tony would get $500 a month, no strings attached from donors, including the economic security project backed by a Facebook co-founder and based in Silicon Valley, the results from the trial are out former mayor Tubbs spoke to California report host Lily Jamali, and here's that interview. So as you look at the data from Stockton's guaranteed income trial, what's been your biggest takeaway, Speaker 9: 29:35 The biggest takeaway, and it's shot it from the mountain tops, is that a guaranteed income AVP giving people money? Speaker 5: 29:42 I repeat did not stop people from working Speaker 4: 29:45 Right. And there were two groups in this trial. One was getting the extra $500 a month. There was another group not getting that. And in the group, getting the benefits, the share of people with a full-time job, Rose 12 percentage points compared with 5% in the control group, what do you make of that? Speaker 5: 30:03 I make that people want to be productive and not these tropes we have around economic scarcity or poverty being caused by a poverty of character or by a poverty of ambition is just false, the lies. And we should retire them and move on. What we saw was that it was structural factors. It was the fact that people couldn't buy clothes for interviews. It was the fact that people couldn't afford childcare is the fact that people couldn't afford car fixed. So the fact that people can afford to take time off of their hourly job to, to, to, uh, interview for a job with maybe a more stable schedule. Speaker 4: 30:35 So before I let you go, I want to ask you about the campaign you lost your bid to remain Stockton's mayor in November. Um, and in my conversations with stock, Tony ans I've met a lot of fans of yours. I have also though, spoken with people who voted for you and then, you know, felt like local issues sometimes took a back seat to the national attention, which this experiment brought in fairness to you, you know, this, this trial also put a spotlight on Stockton, not just you individually, but, but do you think that bringing this project to Stockton hurt you politically and might even have cost you the election? Speaker 5: 31:14 Yeah. Well, let me say that, um, I will put my record as mayor of Stockton against any mayor of Stockton history. I left office with a $13 million surplus of that office with two of my four years being named the All-American city and left office with two of the safest years, it started shooting in homicides in the last 20 in the city. Um, so I, I think that I'm, I'm proud of that work. And I think also economic scarcity and poverty is a huge issue for the city of Stockton and some of the mayor should be focused on, um, I think I lost my election has been documented because of disinformation. And I also understand that in the history of this country, anytime anyone has been unapologetic about equity unapologetic about condemning white supremacy, vocally unapologetic about making sure that we get rid of poverty. The status quo has a lot of friends, but I would say I lost an election, but I'm going to win the power, the policy war, and we're going to win the policy war because now we have 40 minutes for a set up for Gary to think up. And the momentum is just only beginning to build. Speaker 1: 32:17 It was former Stockton mayor, Michael Tubbs speaking with California report host Lily Jamali, the adrenaline of gliding into a bowl at a skate park. Isn't just for skaters or bikers KPBS, North County reporter Tonya thorn tells us why Speaker 11: 32:40 Everybody here is a skater, but not everyone rides a skateboard. 20 thug. Martin loves a skate park, but in 2017 he got hurt really bad snowboarding. Speaker 9: 32:51 So when I broke my back, the doctors from which said, I'll never be able to skate again. And I wasn't going to let that like happen. Like I was like, no, there's no possible way. Speaker 11: 33:00 After that he began researching wheelchair sports and met Troy McGuirk. McGuirk also uses a wheelchair. He's won several national titles playing and coaching wheelchair rugby. McGurk helped thug Martin get a specialized skating wheelchair made to withstand the heavy wear and tear of skating. Speaker 9: 33:18 Our biggest problem is the price of a chair to really come out here and have a lot of fun. People have destroyed their everyday chairs. And so what's nice. There is there's different foundations out there. They give grants for wheelchairs. Speaker 11: 33:33 Each chair has to be customized to the person and is handmade making the price unaffordable. For most people, thug Martin was awarded a grant for a specialized wheelchair and has never looked back. Speaker 9: 33:45 It just took a lot of practice, a lot of time, a lot of effort, and just committing to myself, going out multiple times a week, pushing through the pain and not really caring about the fear of falling. It's kind of putting that in the back of the mind and just go Speaker 11: 34:00 Thug Martin hopes to go pro and is grateful that the skateboarding community is encouraging. Speaker 9: 34:05 And when it comes to like the wheelchair, like they've been like very open arms about it and like skaters love it. Cause you know, like a lot of people don't see this every day. So when they do see it, it kind of gives them a step back and go, Whoa. Speaker 11: 34:16 Aside from coaching term McGuirk is also the organizer of Soquel WCMX or wheelchair motocross and Southern California. McGuirk puts together events for the wheelchair community to get together and skate Speaker 9: 34:30 It's just to put together a flyer and put it out. And whoever shows up shows up with really skate, have fun. Speaker 11: 34:37 Most of Merck's meetups happen at Southern California skate parks. Although the skate parks appear to be a perfect destination for a wheelchair. One problem not visible to the naked eye is ADA accessibility. It's easy for wheelchairs to get into the pits and bowls of the skate parks, but not so easy to get out. Terry new house sits on the committee for the new upcoming Fallbrook skate park. This will be the first skate park for the city of Fallbrook. Speaker 9: 35:02 And this is a needed thing in fabric. There's so many kids who are in Fallbrook. They have nowhere to go. They're skating and back alleys of, of apartments and stores trying to find some place to stay Speaker 11: 35:12 New houses, a skateboarding instructor, and also works with challenged athletes while planning for the skate park and Fallbrook. He wanted to make sure the ski park included one thing, ADA accommodations. Speaker 9: 35:24 They want to be self-sufficient just like everyone else is going to be a way for them to get in and out of the park on their own. Without the use of having somebody push them out all the time or wait for somebody. Speaker 11: 35:34 New house said the Fallbrook skate park is expected to be completed by the end Speaker 1: 35:38 Of this year until then thug Martin has one piece of advice to a skate park, have some fun. That's what it's all about. Tonya thorn KPPs news. This is KPBS mid edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. Next week, the San Diego rep launches its new black voices, 2021 play reading series. It consists of a selection of plays representing a diverse range of black voices with post show discussions. After each play KPBS arts reporter Beth Armando speaks with playwright, Vincent Terrelle Durham who's played polar bears, black boys and Prairie fringed orchids kicks off the series. Speaker 12: 36:24 Vincent you're part of the San Diego reps, black voices, 2021 play reading series. And your play has the interesting title of polar bears, black boys and Prairie fringed orchids. So give us a little insight into what this is about. Speaker 13: 36:39 I like to describe it as my God of carnage play. I wanted to write a play that got people into the, into a room and they had conversations and those conversations just spiral all over the place. Personalities come out, frictions happen, alliances happen. So that's really where the play generated from in my heart was God of carnage. I just loved that play. And plus it was a play that I thought was timely in tackles, gentrification, racial identity, black lives matter, a whole bunch of topics. And so you can see like, you know, if you get all these people in that room talking about these things, you're going to have a lot of interesting things happening onstage. Speaker 12: 37:21 So when you were contemplating, what characters you wanted in this, what was the process you went through in terms of determining what that mix of people was going to be? Speaker 13: 37:31 Sure. Um, I wish I had an answer for that truly, but like when I sit down and things are going well as a writer, these people just come into my head, but, um, really, it kind of starts with the dialogue and when I get to people talking, then that starts to create the characters. So the play really started with, uh, Molly and Peter, a Caucasian couple who gentrify Harlem, or who move into Harlem. And you know, just from that, I wanted to see, okay, what characters can I introduce to make them react in a certain way? So once I had those two characters talking to each other, uh, flushing out their personalities, then I got to add other people. And that's where, you know, Shameeka came in and Tom and Jiuquan. So all of these people who would challenge each other's personalities, Speaker 12: 38:19 Vincent, since I can't play a clip or seen from your play, I was wondering if you could just read a little something, okay. Speaker 13: 38:26 This is later in the play. And I don't think it's given away too much of the play, but it's [inaudible] I think this line expresses lot about what I'm trying to say. It's not the only thing I'm trying to say, but I think it's, it's, it's something that I really cherish. So this is [inaudible] line. All it should take to protect us is to see our humanity, even in our worst moments, the same humanity, they still saw in the eyes of a white boy who had just killed nine people after walking into their church and praying with them, you're telling me they can only see my humanity if I'm listed next to a bangle Teicher so that's a little tease and yeah. All right. Well thank you. Oh, thank you, Beth. I liked that Speaker 12: 39:12 And talk a little bit about the process and the evolution of the play because you know, people go to see a play and it's just there and it's done and you don't have the sense of how much work goes into it. And also the part that theater companies can play in helping you to evolve a work like this. Speaker 13: 39:32 Absolutely. Yeah, there's, there's so many people behind me right now that have helped this play because you know, the 10 minute play started at playground LA as an incubator for playwrights. And it's the first time we bring in a 10 minute piece, it's a stage greeting. So it's the first time you get to hear that. And I was lucky and grateful to receive a commission. And so then throughout the commission process, I was receiving support through the person on planet earth arts. I should be specific. They gave me the commission and, you know, during that whole process of me writing the play, they kept in touch with me. They set up a table, read, set up a second table read. So you can keep hearing all of these drafts. You know, I can't tell you which drafts I'm on at this point. And even for San Diego, I've been back at the piece and rewriting and tightening it up. So it is a process. Yeah, there's a whole bunch of people behind me. I should be, um, a little shout out to, uh, to Jim Clineman and elder Billingsley, because it was their, uh, Juneteenth project that really brought this play to the attention of a lot of people and San Diego rep as well. It brought it to their attention and I'm grateful for that. Speaker 12: 40:46 And it's very different for a playwright versus somebody who's like writing a novel where you're writing something strictly for somebody to read off the page, but for a playwright, what is that like when you hear those words spoken for the first time and find out kind of like how they bounce off the walls and really sound when they're spoken. Speaker 13: 41:07 I love that question because I've been taking a master classes and Aaron Sorkin was one of the master classes I've taken recently. And he says that, you know, a play is not meant to be read it's meant to be performed. And like when he stepped down, I was like, wow. Yes, that's so true. The first time you hear your words is like, it's either, uh, amazing or terrified. You know, it really, it really is because like, I can tell you, I'm not really this play, but I'll go back to the very first play I ever wrote. It really was a moment of me being vulnerable. You know, the very first stage reading I had, I didn't know if I could write a play. I had all these people waiting to see if I could write a play. And then when I had the actors jump into it and they started reading those words and when it was all over, I was like, Oh, okay. I do know what I'm doing. You know, I, I, haven't been in my room just scribbling on the laptop. I actually wrote a play. So it's, it's, it's a lot of confirmation and sometimes it's a little pain Speaker 12: 42:11 And talk about the tone of your play because you are able to mix very serious issues, but you also have a sense of humor to this. This is very entertaining. And there are moments of comedy in kind of these moments of realization also. Speaker 13: 42:25 Sure. I think, um, when you ask people to come into a theater and sit 90 minutes, you have to respect their time and you have to respect their, their sensibility as well. So like, I didn't want people to come into a play and just be hit hard with things I wanted them to come in. I actually, I wanted them to come in and feel like they were a part of the cocktail party and have some laughs and relate with some jokes and, and see themselves, you know, and then hit them with the hard stuff, you know? So I, I tend to lead with comedy and then hit with that hard stuff. It makes it a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. They said, okay. Speaker 12: 43:06 And what do you hope people are going to take away from your play? I mean, what is kind of, why did you write this? Like, what was the thing that really motivated you to write the, Speaker 13: 43:16 My, I think the biggest thing for me is conversation. I want people to, to leave. There's so many themes, so many, um, subjects in this play that I want people to leave the theater talking and, and having an open and honest dialogue say like, you know what, like when Peter said that, I, I say that and I, I don't know what it means. Let's talk about it. You know? Or like when this happens like that, I felt that way. You know, what does that mean? I, I think theater is like a beautiful place to start conversations and to start healing and to start just discussions really Speaker 12: 43:57 Well. I want to thank you very much for talking about your play. Speaker 13: 44:01 Thank you so much. Have a great day. Speaker 1: 44:03 That was Beth haka. Amando speaking with playwright, Vincent Tirrell Durham about polar bears, black boys and Prairie fringed orchids. It will be presented live online next Monday at 5:30 PM.

New CDC guidance indicates those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can gather indoors in some circumstances but should keep wearing masks in public. Plus, about 700 homeless people sheltered for months at the San Diego Convention Center are scheduled to move into smaller shelters starting March 22. And surveys show that Black Californians are a lot more reluctant to get the coronavirus vaccine than white Californians. But most surveys don’t ask respondents why. Then San Diego scientists say wildfire smoke is more harmful to the health of people living in the path of smoke from the fires than other pollutants. Plus, twenty-five percent of Stockton's population lives in poverty. Two years ago, then-mayor Michael Tubbs opened the door to an experiment: 125 residents would get $500 a month, no strings attached. And an upcoming skate park in Fallbrook will be built with extreme wheelchair skaters in mind. Finally, the San Diego REP launches its new Black Voices 2021 Play Reading Series next Monday.