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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

Vaccinations Still Best Defense Against Contagious Delta Variant

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY KEVIN HAGEN AP

Above: A doctor prepares to administer a vaccine injection at New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, N.Y., in January. The FDA has approved emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for patients age 12-15.

With 70 percent of eligible San Diego County residents fully vaccinated, the Delta variant continues to spread. Plus, the impending civil sex abuse lawsuit of defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick could lead to more men speaking up about their past sexual trauma. Then, child care centers are trying to figure out how to balance increasing class sizes and flexibility so they can stay in business without making parents uncomfortable. Later, some women say California insurer makes it too difficult to get the proper prescription for postpartum depression. And, the latest episode of KPBS’ Cinema Junkie podcast pays tribute to the men and women who risk their lives as Hollywood stunt performers.

Speaker 1: 00:00 County efforts to boost vaccination rates.

Speaker 2: 00:03 So we really need to get our population immunized and shut down the circulation.

Speaker 1: 00:08 I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen, Kevin. This is KPBS mid-day edition opening up about the trauma of sexual yeah. Abuse.

Speaker 3: 00:28 Every time, something like this story with Cardinal McCarrick comes out. It pushes men to talk a little more particularly when the public reaction is one of anger towards the perpetrator. Plus

Speaker 1: 00:43 How an effective medication to treat postpartum depression is out of reach for many and a glimpse at the life of a stunt man. That's ahead on midday edition. With 70% of eligible San Diego county residents, fully vaccinated, the Delta variant continues to spread so much. So it's prompted officials to require county employees to get vaccinated or get weekly testing. California is also the first in the nation to implement measures, to encourage state employees and healthcare workers to get vaccinated. So how will this impact vaccination efforts and where do they stand across the county now? Infectious disease specialist. Dr. Mark Sawyer is a member of San Diego counties, COVID-19 vaccine clinical advisory group. And joins us to answer that question. Dr. Saw, you're welcome.

Speaker 2: 01:38 Thanks. I'm glad to be here. So has

Speaker 1: 01:41 San Diego county seen a cha a change in its vaccination rate as the Delta variant has taken hold and infection rates have risen

Speaker 2: 01:49 Well you're right. That that story is rapidly changing. Uh, the county does track how many doses are given in the county every week. And the data as of last week, suggested a little bit about increased rate of vaccination. So I'm hopeful that the publicity around the Delta virus is leading some people to change their mind and go out and get back unaided. Those numbers will be updated, I think even later today. So we'll have a better picture, uh, later today and then continue to monitor that.

Speaker 1: 02:20 Do we have any idea whether the recent rise in cases is actually convincing those who have been vaccine hesitant to now get vaccinated?

Speaker 2: 02:29 Well, I don't have any solid data on that, but anecdotally I've certainly heard stories from people who put it off all this time and now in the face of needing to go back to masks and threaten our ability to circulate out in the community and go to school and gathering gatherings is motivating some people to finally go out and get vaccinated,

Speaker 1: 02:49 You know, for people who still don't trust the vaccine though, and are hearing news, that breakthrough cases are on the rise and that some vaccinated people can carry the same viral load as unvaccinated people. What are you telling them?

Speaker 2: 03:04 Uh, there's lots of information flowing. It may be hard for everybody to digest. So, so I want to start off by saying the vast majority of people who are still getting hospitalized with COVID are the unvaccinated people. It's not vaccinated people with breakthrough disease. They make up less than 1% of the total. So if you're avoiding vaccine, because you don't think it works, you're not looking at the information correctly. The vaccine definitely works at keeping you out of the hospital, keeping you from dying from COVID. And most of the people who are getting so-called breakthrough disease have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, but it is true that we've now learned in the last few weeks that the Delta variant can infect people. Who've been vaccinated and they can replicate the virus in their nose and throat and they can be contagious. And that's why we're seeing the mask mandates coming back, because we need to break the transmission cycle, even from those people who are vaccinated and still get infected

Speaker 1: 04:11 Role. Do you see vaccine mandates playing in increasing vaccinations in San Diego?

Speaker 2: 04:16 I think we're seeing a, sort of the momentum increasing behind vaccine mandates. Everybody's aware of the federal and state efforts along those lines, the university of California, as issued a mandate for everybody coming to UC campuses. I think it's a very important public health intervention that we really need to do. You know, we've tried our best to convince people that the vaccine is in their best interest, but we've got still 30, 40% of the population who doesn't seem to agree with that. And they're the ones who are really aggravating this outbreak. And if we don't get our head around, COVID, it's going to keep developing new variants. Some that are even worse than the ones we've had so far. So we really need to get our population immunized and shut down the circulation.

Speaker 1: 05:06 Okay. You know, we hear about vaccines also being key to stopping mutations and variants. So I kind of want to talk about schools a bit now. I mean, do you think sending children back to school could potentially give this virus more opportunity to spread mutate and vary among children who don't have access to the vaccine yet?

Speaker 2: 05:25 Yeah. That's a great question. And it's being, you know, being thoroughly discussed right now at school boards and, and, and county health departments that are playing a role in making decision about school until Delta showed up, we were in really very good shape to reopen schools fully. And the schools are prepared. They've taken lots of measures to prevent transmission, but we do know that the Delta variant is much more contagious than previous versions. So we are unlikely to see some transmission in that needs to be weighed against the benefit of kids going back to school, which is immense. And I don't think we've talked about it. Enough children are suffering both in terms of their education, but all also their socialization and their mental health by not being in school. I think we all know that children in school aged children are not likely to get severe disease. So I think from my point of view, the risk benefit favors still going back to school. But again, this is why we need to get as many people immunized to have access to the vaccine. So we don't have a big upswing in infections when kids go back to school, what's

Speaker 1: 06:37 The biggest challenge for pediatricians right now. I know you, you happen to be one and you were just at a conference. What, what was the biggest, uh, talk there?

Speaker 2: 06:47 You know, the, the frustration we have as physicians is, is essentially convincing people that, you know, we're, we're in, we have their best interest in mind when we are strongly recommending this vaccine or everybody that I know, every pediatrician that I know has been immunized and has had their family get immunized. You know, when people say they don't trust the vaccine, we have over 200 million people have been immunized just in the United States with MRN vaccines over this last year plus. And so we have a lot of information, a lot of data on the safety and that's being very transparently shared with the community. So people have heard about mild carditis and clotting events, but those things are, although are, are there and are definitely linked to the vaccine. They are very, very rare. And infection is not rare. As, as you read every day in the newspaper, this infection is spreading widely. And the best thing we can do to protect our families and our loved ones, and stay as close to business as usual is to get vaccinated

Speaker 1: 07:57 As a pediatrician. What advice are you giving parents of kids under 12, who are unable to get vaccinated today?

Speaker 2: 08:04 Yeah, I think, you know, they need to, uh, send their kids to school. First of all, and advising them that the schools are taking every measure possible to limit translation. That's things like increasing the ventilation in the rooms, spacing out kids as much as possible, uh, having good sanitation or hand washing facilities, available the schools that are ready for kids to come back and, and kids are ready to go back. They may not agree, but they need to go back to school to, for all the reasons that we've already talked about. So I think parents should not be anxious about sending their kids back, particularly if the parents and everyone else at home is immunized. That's, that's the whole issue here. Then we don't, it's not such a big deal. If we get a little transmission in schools, your kids, aren't going to get very sick. And if they bring it home, nobody at home is going to get sick because they're immunized.

Speaker 1: 09:00 I've been speaking with Dr. Mark Sawyer and infectious disease specialist with Rady children's hospital and member of San Diego county's COVID-19 vaccine clinical advisory group. Dr. Sawyer. Thank you so much for joining us. Yes. Thank you.

Speaker 4: 09:20 Next month, a former Catholic Cardinal will face criminal charges in Massachusetts for alleged sexual molestation. Theodore McCarrick is the highest ranking member of the U S Catholic clergy to be criminally charged with sex abuse and remarkably the charges stem from an alleged incident involving a teenage boy that happened more than 45 years ago. Many of the sex abuse cases we hear about involving boys and young men are not reported until the victims are adults. And in the past many such reports have been disbelieved. Does it still take male sex abuse victims many years to come forward? And is there trauma being properly treated? Joining me is Alan rule a psychotherapist in San Diego who works with male survivors of sexual abuse and Alan, welcome to the program.

Speaker 3: 10:10 Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

Speaker 4: 10:12 The reports about boys being sexually molested by members of the clergy have made headlines over the years. I'm wondering, have they been an important part in bringing male sex abuse out of the shadows?

Speaker 3: 10:24 Absolutely. Most of the men with whom I work wait decades before they speak up. And what I'm noticing is that over the past several years, since particularly the Catholic church abuse scandal broke several years ago and the boy Scouts sex abuse scandal has broken. Men are coming into treatment for the trauma. They've encountered much earlier, but it's still at least typically 10 20, sometimes 30, 40 years. Do we have

Speaker 4: 10:56 Any statistics on how many boys and young men are molested

Speaker 3: 11:01 The prevailing statistic right now that has been replicated in several different studies is one out of six boys. By the time they're 16 years old have been the victim of inappropriate sexual contact by someone else. So what that means is in our county, if you extrapolate that across the male population, we had roughly 280,000 men in this county that had been victims of childhood sexual abuse are

Speaker 4: 11:29 The people who commit the abuse or where it occurs different for boys than for girls.

Speaker 3: 11:35 When I was growing up, my parents warned me about the creepy guy, stranger with candy, the guy in the, um, what's the word I'm looking for? The guy in the trench coat, that's hanging out by the playground stranger danger. What we know now is that's typically not who perpetrates sexual abuse of boys, of all the men I've worked with over the years, only one was assaulted or abused by someone who did not know. Typically it's someone that the boys trust, someone that they know well most frequently, someone that they really love and feel very close to. That's usually statistically it's tends to be outside the nuclear family, but it's in that first ring of intimate engagement outside the nuclear family, you know, extended family members, clergy, coaches, babysitters, neighbors, family, friends, again, almost always someone that the boys know and trust. So the issue that that raises is one of betrayal and difficulty trusting people, because they've learned early on that, that the people that they are told that they can trust. Sometimes they can't. Now the charges

Speaker 4: 13:00 I referred against. McCarrick go back to incidents 45 years ago. And you were saying it takes men longer to reveal the fact that they were molested. Why does it take longer for men?

Speaker 3: 13:13 There are many myths that are out there in the public mind about men who have been sexually abused. And these things really conspired to keep men quiet. For example, if a boy is sexually abused by an older man, which most perpetrators of sexual abuse against boys are male, then people will tend to question his sexual orientation, the child's sexual orientation. They will tend to question the child's masculinity as boys. We are trained to, we're supposed to be able to always protect ourselves. We're not supposed to be victims. And so there's a question. There are questions around masculinity. There are questions around sexual orientation. There's also a very pervasive myth that men who have been sexually abused grow up to go to become sexual abusers themselves. Again, these are not born out by the statistics, but they're still out there. And these boys have grown up hearing this.

Speaker 3: 14:24 And so that conspires those things, conspire it among others to keep them quiet. They're afraid of saying anything. I have had clients tell me that they will not tell their adult children, that they have been victims of sexual abuse, because they're concerned that the adult children would not allow them to be alone with the grandchildren after that. And that's heartbreaking because again, these things are myths. They are not statistically supported. Um, men who have been sexually abused are not that much more likely than men who have not to be engaged in any kind of inappropriate sexual relationship or contact or abuse with anybody else.

Speaker 4: 15:09 And is it getting any easier for men to reveal their childhood sexual abuse?

Speaker 3: 15:15 I believe it is just in my experience. Again, I'm seeing clients come in younger and younger. I am seeing more people, more men talking about it. So every time something like this story with Cardinal McCarrick comes out, it pushes men to talk a little more. Um, when particularly when the public reaction is one of anger and disgust towards the perpetrator and empathy for the victims, that makes it a little safer for these men to come forward. So yes, short answer, absolutely. The Catholic church scandal, the boy scout scandal, the, um, again, this latest revelation about Cardinal McCarrick all. Every time it's in the media, it does become a little bit easier in my opinion, for men to speak out. I've been speaking

Speaker 4: 16:14 With San Diego psychotherapist, Alan rule, Alan. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1: 16:33 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh, one out of eight new moms in California experiences, postpartum depression. Two years ago, the FDA approved the first and only medication designed to treat postpartum depression. It's called brand X alone, and most women who get it start feeling better within days. But the drug is outrageously expensive, $34,000. And according to a new K Q E D investigation California's largest insurer makes it extremely difficult to get KQ EDS, health correspondent, April Demboski explains Miriam

Speaker 5: 17:12 McDonald was 44. When she told her doctor she wanted to have another baby. The doctor said she had a better chance of winning the lottery. So when she got pregnant, she and her husband or thrilled, but right after having her son, everything turned

Speaker 6: 17:26 Three days into giving birth to him. I was thinking, oh my God, what did I do? I just brought this baby into this world. And I, I can barely take care of myself right now. I feel exhausted. I haven't slept in three days. I haven't really eaten in three days. As

Speaker 5: 17:40 The weeks went by, her depression got worse. She felt sad, but also indifferent.

Speaker 6: 17:46 I didn't want to hold my baby. I didn't want change him. I didn't have a connection with my child at all.

Speaker 5: 17:54 I'm worried her mood might hurt her son. She worried she might not make it at

Speaker 6: 17:58 All. Every day I was crying every day. I felt like I just wanted to die. Every day. I thought about ending my life.

Speaker 5: 18:08 Miriam went to Kaiser Permanente near Sacramento for help. And she says, the doctors there put her on a merry-go-round of medication, trial and error. First one drug.

Speaker 6: 18:19 It was making me more anxious than anything.

Speaker 5: 18:21 Then her doctor up the dose of another drug,

Speaker 6: 18:24 I was having these horrific nightmares.

Speaker 5: 18:27 So he tried another drug that

Speaker 6: 18:29 Night. I started hallucinating. I actually heard a jazz band playing outside of my window. A full jazz.

Speaker 5: 18:37 Her doctors will turn to stop taking it, but he said it could take seven weeks before the hallucinations stopped. Then he retired. And when Miriam complained to her new doctor at that, she was still depressed for months after giving birth. She suggested some more medications

Speaker 6: 18:53 Desperate. I was like, I'm trying to help myself, but things are just getting worse. So what am I left with? What do I do?

Speaker 5: 19:04 Miriam did her own research. And she found out about a new drug called Brex and alone. It's the first and only drug designed specifically to treat postpartum depression instead of targeting the serotonin system in the brain, like most antidepressants, for example, it works by replenishing a hormone that becomes depleted after having a baby it's infused into the bloodstream. Over 60 hours,

Speaker 6: 19:25 You can go to a hospital with three days. They give you this drug. It's an infusion. This dis could really get me out of this postpartum depression in clinical

Speaker 5: 19:33 Trials, 75% of women who got Rexann alone started to feel better immediately after the three-day infusion treatment. UNC chapel hill, Dr. Ryan Patterson says for most of the women they've been treating over the last two years, the result is night and day.

Speaker 6: 19:48 People walk out of the hospital, wanting to be with their child, wanting to return home. You can really see that transformation in the hospital room over those 60 years. But

Speaker 5: 19:59 When Miriam asked her doctor at Kaiser for Brex and alone, she said, no. In an email, her doctor said the existing studies were limited and unimpressive. And she told Miriam that she didn't meet Kaiser's criteria for the drug. She said Miriam would have had to try and fail four medications and electroconvulsive therapy before she could try Brex and alone. And all this had to happen within six months of having her baby for Miriam. It was too late, but she thought, how could anyone qualify?

Speaker 6: 20:28 This is crazy. You know, by the time you even try one drug, that's like four weeks out. Another drug is four weeks out. Another drug is four weeks out. There's just no way.

Speaker 5: 20:41 Kaiser's guidance is an outlier. KQBD analyze the guidelines from a dozen health plans, three of them women to fail one medication before trying Roxanne alone. One plan requires two fails, but Kaiser is the only system we found that recommends women first fail for drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. Clinicians who treat postpartum depression say this is ridiculous.

Speaker 7: 21:03 That is abusive. That's absurd. That strikes me as insane.

Speaker 5: 21:08 It may also be illegal under a new state law health plans must conform to scientific evidence and expert consensus when denying mental health treatments, state Senator Scott Wiener is the,

Speaker 8: 21:20 If Kaiser's making it effectively impossible to get a particular important mental health treatment, that could definitely be a violation of our parody law.

Speaker 5: 21:33 There says it always follows the law. It also says it's integrated structure. It makes it different from traditional insurers at Kaiser, a patient's doctor determines whether a medication is necessary, not the health plan, but when I asked Kaiser, why it's doctors use criteria that make it so hard for women to get and standalone, they said the criteria are just recommendations. Not requirements. Doctors don't have to follow them. The head of psychiatry for Kaiser in Northern California is Dr. Maria Koshy

Speaker 3: 22:05 Individual clinical decision by boat.

Speaker 5: 22:13 But why issue clinical guidance? If you don't expect doctors to follow it, Senator Wiener says Kaiser providers get questioned or can even face consequences. If they don't couched

Speaker 8: 22:24 As a recommendation or requirement is almost irrelevant. It has the same effect. When

Speaker 5: 22:30 Miriam MacDonald's doctor refused to prescribe her Brex and alone, she said she was following Kaiser's criteria that Miriam had not tried for other drugs. When another Kaiser patient, you send you a Munoz, requested the drug. She was also told she didn't qualify because she hadn't failed enough medications. You, Cynthia was devastated by the denial four months after giving birth to her daughter, she still felt suicidal.

Speaker 3: 22:54 I do get out the door sometimes and take the stroller and go walk. And my mind kids, don't see if you're just stepped in front of the car, it's all going to go away.

Speaker 5: 23:09 You said you went to state regulators for help. And the state sided with her ordering Kaiser to pay for Brex and alone. She started feeling better on the first day of treatment,

Speaker 7: 23:20 The nurse came me and she said something funny. And I laughed. It was the first time I had laughed in so long. She

Speaker 5: 23:28 Started looking through photos and videos of her daughter on her phone. She says it was like she was experiencing those moments for the first time.

Speaker 7: 23:36 It was like a switch flipped. He made me happy enough to want to live. It saved my life. Kaiser

Speaker 5: 23:43 Declined to comment on any cases for privacy reasons, but Dr. Koshi acknowledged that their Breck standalone recommendations were developed two years ago, based on the safety and efficacy data available at the time she says Kaiser is reviewing them. Now

Speaker 3: 24:00 Just recommendations are revised and made on the farm.

Speaker 5: 24:09 In the meantime, women are waiting. It was six months before you send you a Munoz, Scott Roxanne alone, and was able to start bonding with her baby Maryann MacDonald suffered for a year and a half. She never got Breck alone. She eventually got Kaiser to cover a different depression treatment that finally worked for her, but she says she lost so much time with her son. When he took his first steps, she felt like she was barely there.

Speaker 6: 24:35 I felt like I've been robbed really of all those moments of those little milestones, you know, that I'm never going to get back.

Speaker 1: 24:46 That was K Q E D huh? Of correspondent, April Demboski reporting

Speaker 4: 25:01 Childcare centers were hit hard here in San Diego and across the country during the pandemic and their troubles. Aren't going away. KPBS reported Claire Treg, her talk to providers who are still taking precautions while trying to stay afloat. Financially. It's

Speaker 5: 25:18 Been a rough past year and a half for Randy bum and his four year old son, miles, miles. Are you okay? So they were excited for miles his first day at a new preschool last week, but their excitement didn't last long.

Speaker 9: 25:34 We caught a summer cold. And with any cold, um, for you to go back to school, you need a negative COVID test. Just

Speaker 5: 25:41 One day at school, Myles was home. Again. He went back on Friday, but on Saturday they got more bad news.

Speaker 9: 25:50 Uh, I get a call from the Y MCA. Um, long story short, one of the kids over the weekend tested positive, and the kid was at school on Friday. So that's where this is in miles Miles's class. So miles was exposed. So his class automatically shut down for two weeks

Speaker 5: 26:07 Lum and his wife, Abigail are back tour reality. They thought they'd moved past, trying to work from home while taking care of miles and his younger sister, Amelia though, Emilia wasn't exposed. They're also keeping her home for two weeks.

Speaker 9: 26:21 Abby's upstairs, uh, working normally. And I'm just stuck downstairs with the devils.

Speaker 5: 26:29 At most childcare centers. It's still looks like 20, 20 kids, 12 and under are unvaccinated. So everyone ages two and up are wearing masks and providers are still taking other precautions, which is hard on their business. So this is Laura cone and early education and childcare advisers. Some

Speaker 3: 26:48 Of them are choosing to serve fewer kids or serve them in stable groups that make it harder to staff. And all of those things are just reducing the total amount of revenue that they can pull in for their business. And, um, already these are businesses operating on thin to nonexistent.

Speaker 5: 27:10 Sally Chenowith, the owner of discovery preschool and Oceanside says, she's now at 70% capacity, but she can't count on consistency. Especially now that the Delta variant is causing cases to surge. Again,

Speaker 3: 27:24 I could have called off my wait-list and filled up all of my classes like right away could have done it. But, um, I'm just so worried that things are going to go back in the other direction. And then I'm going to have to ask all these people that started now, you have to leave and go do something else

Speaker 5: 27:38 Says she like many providers are struggling to hire new staff. She's also had to pass on cost to parents this year. She raised rates by 8%. Sorry.

Speaker 7: 27:50 I need these for my magic ocean castle, Holly

Speaker 5: 27:53 Weber, the owner of magic hours children's center in Mira. Mesa says she's at 60% capacity now. And she's stuck at that level because she can't hire more qualified staff to increase class sizes.

Speaker 3: 28:05 The only thing that's stopping us is having a qualified staff member to continue to build

Speaker 5: 28:10 COVID vaccine for kids to an up should be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. It could possibly come by late fall, early winter, but it doesn't make Weber feel

Speaker 3: 28:21 Much better once it becomes available. How many parents are willing and comfortable to give their child? The vaccine

Speaker 5: 28:28 One positive is that masks have really cut down on the typical illnesses that usually coarse through daycare centers. Weber says she plans to use them well into the future during cold and flu season. But she's worried about the developmental impact.

Speaker 3: 28:43 We have two year olds that you know, that have never seen the faces of their caregivers. Parents like love. He knows the, your head will

Speaker 5: 28:51 Likely involve staying at home from work. When a kid is sick, even with just a runny nose. And that puts new weight on his day-to-day decisions.

Speaker 9: 29:01 Having kids at home who are not vaccinated, who won't be vaccinated for probably another year, I'm going to wear a mask. I'm going to wear a mask like nothing's changed because nothing has clarified

Speaker 5: 29:13 A certain KPBS news

Speaker 4: 29:16 And journey me is early education and childcare advisor, Laura Cohn, Laura. Welcome. Thank you. Last week, the CDC and pediatricians groups advised masking for all students to wind up and all staff in school settings, regardless of the staff's vaccination status is that what's been standard though in most preschool settings. Anyway,

Speaker 3: 29:40 Uh, not until now, the masking has been advised and recommended for childcare settings, but not required and not enforced. So we're moving into a new phase in terms of masks and childcare, where, um, it's going to be mandatory.

Speaker 4: 29:59 So one of the teachers in this report said some young children have never seen the faces of their caregivers without a mask on what do you think is the impact?

Speaker 3: 30:09 You know, honestly, we, we worried a great deal about that at the beginning of the pandemic, when mask wearing was new to all of us. Uh, what we've learned is that first of all, children, even small children are more willing and compliant about wearing their mask than we expected to be. And secondly, although some children maybe are affected by not seeing, um, the faces and the smiles, it's not as severe of an impact, or it's not an impact on many children. Um, at all that we worried it would be. So I share, I share some concern about that, but, um, overall I'm very concerned about the COVID pandemic as well. And so, um, I'm, I'm glad we're taking the precautions. We need to keep teachers and children safe

Speaker 4: 30:58 On this year's budget. The state doubled the number of subsidized childcare slots and increased rates paid to teachers. Is that a significant help to daycare providers here in San Diego?

Speaker 3: 31:11 Oh, absolutely. Yeah. We're thrilled about that. There are families who, who don't make enough to afford the market rate of childcare and have not been able to access publicly funded childcare, um, until now. And so these extra slots are gonna make a huge difference for families. And then the additional payments to providers from the state for those subsidized slots are long overdue. I have to say, but extremely welcome.

Speaker 4: 31:40 Now we heard in this report that parents may not yet be comfortable sending their kids to preschool or daycare. Is there any way childcare providers can increase that comfort

Speaker 3: 31:51 Level? I think, um, being very transparent with families about the precautions that you're taking helps a lot. A second thing is to let families know that we've been watching, um, childcare operate during the pandemic. Although many providers are closed, many, many of them have been continuously operating. And we have not seen many instances at all of transmission of COVID-19 in childcare. So we need to be careful and cautious and aware that COVID is not gone. But we also can be assured that, um, that our experience so far has showed that childcare is not a major source of transmission of the disease.

Speaker 4: 32:37 Now there are companies across the well like Qualcomm here in San Diego that say they want all employees back in the office in some capacity by September, but what the childcare situation so precarious, do you think that will be possible? Well,

Speaker 3: 32:53 I think it's going to be tough for families. I guess the thing I would emphasize is that the childcare situation was precarious and tough even before the pandemic. So working parents in San Diego county have been struggling, struggling, struggling to find care arrangements that they can afford, that they feel confident are going to nurture their children. Um, and that are convenient for where they have to go to work. It was already tough. So the impacts that the pandemic has caused on the sector are absolutely going to make it even, even tougher for parents to go back to work full time. So for that reason, it's really important for us here in our region to step up to doing everything we can to support the childcare sector and childcare providers, not just to kind of limp through the pandemic, but really reset our system and set it up for growth and for quality over the longterm. And I've been just so thrilled to see, um, many of our local politicians and leaders recognizing the importance of childcare as a, an essential part of our economic health and growth and, um, leaning into figure out ways that our county government, our city governments and our school district governments, I really want to emphasize that can help meet working. Parents needs, keep kids safe and learning, um, and help our economy get back on track.

Speaker 4: 34:19 Now educators have known for years that good early education can really boost a child's chances for success in school. Do you have concerns that we now have a group of very young children who've lost that book?

Speaker 3: 34:33 Yes, absolutely. Um, I'm really worried. I'm worried about families who chose not to send their children to kindergarten, uh, virtual kindergarten last year, which I have to say as a parent, I might've made that same choice, but that's a, that's a lost year of education for those kids and same thing for the preschoolers, um, who missed out on in-person learning, learning to play with one another learning to follow directions, learning their numbers and colors and letters as well. So I absolutely anticipate that it's going to be a rough few years as those kids catch up and our schools are going to have to really dig into their best knowledge about early childhood development, early literacy and early numeracy to help help all of our kids get back on track working

Speaker 4: 35:25 With early education and childcare adviser, Laura cone. Laura, thank you very much.

Speaker 3: 35:31 You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1: 35:45 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. Imagine a job where you might be asked to jump off a building or get set on fire. Well, if you're a Hollywood stuntman, those are not unusual request KPBS Sinema junkie host Beth Amando dedicates her latest podcast to stunt performers. And this excerpt from crew call stunt performers edition. She speaks with Brad Martin who decided on a career as a stuntman after watching TVs, the fall guy.

Speaker 10: 36:17 This is a story at one of America's great unsung heroes. I mean, you've seen him, but you never knew who he was. You've cheered for him. Cried for him. Women have wanted to die for him, but did he ever get any credit or the girl? No, he was what we call a man. And the reason that I'm talking so finally about him, his girl, because it's me, Brad

Speaker 11: 36:44 Martin grew up in the eighties watching the fall guy and was inspired by what the job could entail.

Speaker 8: 36:50 I'm not far from the town

Speaker 10: 36:53 Brand new car cause unknown stuff, man.

Speaker 12: 37:01 I just remembered that that was a career that I had heard of when I was growing up. And I was like, well, wait a second. That's something that sounds perfect for me.

Speaker 11: 37:11 And it was, Brad is now a stunt man stunt coordinator, and second unit director with credits on the matrix, reloaded live free and die hard Tropic thunder, Batman V Superman and TVs, the Falcon in the winter soldier. I was curious about how someone can actually become a stunt performer. I mean, is there a school you can attend to learn how to get set on fire or do you have to find a mentor and do a kind of apprenticeship? Brad offered his journey as a good template for how to become a stunt man

Speaker 12: 37:43 Up until like the eighties was a very, very tight knit business and it was really hard to get in as an outsider. So I moved down to LA in 93 and I just started asking people, questions started finding out, you know, who is a stuntman, how to become a stunt man, where do people train? I started by finding gyms where stuntman worked out. I met a couple of stunt. People found out about the art of hustling, which is not what you do in Vegas. It's more like it's a, it used to be going out to movie sets and meeting stunt coordinators and giving them your resume and introducing yourself. And after, you know, a couple of years and maybe a real, a video reel of showing your skills, somebody might give you or an opportunity for an audition. You might get a shot at working on a, on a movie. My first shots came through auditions and finally there was a man named Conrad Palmisano who hired me originally through an audition to be Robin, the Robin double in Batman forever

Speaker 10: 38:40 Riddler and Two-Face can make a pretty lethal combination, figured you could use a hand do against to our better odds.

Speaker 12: 38:47 And so I kept in touch with him over the, over the next year and a half or so. And then he hired me to be the stunt double for the lead in the movie, the peacemaker, which happened to be George Clooney,

Speaker 10: 38:59 5, 3 7, 6, 2. Those women's could be going to Chestnut or Georgia. We repeat, put your weapons at all.

Speaker 12: 39:06 It was a snowball effect. I followed George through his career and then just started, um, getting my name around there that way.

Speaker 11: 39:13 So for a stunt coordinator, I know that there's no such thing as a typical day on a movie set, but what might a day for you involve or what kind of things do you have to do on a regular basis on a film shoot?

Speaker 12: 39:25 Well, yeah, actually, yeah. The funny thing is there is no regular day on a, on a movie set every single day is different. And as far as generalities, you know, there's often lots of fights and falls and crashes and things like that. So all in all, I'm a general idea you have to, or me as a stunt coordinator needs to hire the personnel needs to design the action needs to correspond with the directors and make sure I'm putting their vision on film and creating what they want to see and choreographing the top quality action. Um, just basically anything you see that has to do with the action, a movie I would be involved with or a stunt coordinator would be involved with. And what kind

Speaker 11: 40:07 Of stunts do you most look forward to and which ones kind of give you? I don't know, the most anxiety or present the most challenges

Speaker 12: 40:16 As a stunt man. The things that would give me the most anxiety were the, the bigger stunts, the big car wrecks, precision based high falls and things that I haven't done that often. Um, like say for instance, like headless fire burns and things like that, that, you know, they want you to stay on fire for a long time. And you know, I'm not super well versed in it. I've done a lot on my shows, but I haven't been in that many burns. So they're just things that you're unfamiliar with, or just not super comfortable with as far as anxiety for stunt coordinating. When you get with a director that doesn't really know what they want and you're trying to choreograph something for them and you're trying to please them, and they're not giving you all the information that you need and you it's time for you to come up with the goods. Um, and so, um, when I'm unsure about that, you know, it gives me anxiety. I just want to make sure that I'm proving myself and make sure that I'm coming up with the goods for everybody.

Speaker 11: 41:17 And which stuff do you actually enjoy and really look forward to doing

Speaker 12: 41:21 Well? I mean, just because something gives me anxiety doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it, but like something that, that I'm super comfortable with, like say for instance, fights and, and physical chase sequences, like something that I'm really comfortable. I love designing that stuff. I love conceiving of it from the beginning of a script and breaking it down from the script to a set, figuring out the shots and figuring out what exactly the choreography is with everything. That's just something that I Excel in most steam. And that's what I enjoy doing the most.

Speaker 11: 41:53 I'm a huge fan of Hong Kong action films. And I know that in Hong Kong, especially during their heyday, like back in the eighties, you know, stunt choreographers and stunt people, I mean, they were very much integrated into the process of making the film and, you know, played a very pivotal role in how all that played out today. What is it like for you creating action choreography? Are you involved from very early on? Do you come in, you know, later in the process, are you there, like when they're working on the script, how does that work for you now?

Speaker 12: 42:24 Okay. So talking about Hong Kong action take like Jackie Chan, friends, sensor will ping, or those kinds of those guys. They don't necessarily have a long time ahead of time to conceive of action ideas and then choreograph him. Jackie, for instance, will walk onto a set and have a look at it and take a month shooting a two minute fight scene. And he'll sit there for a day. Sometimes I haven't worked with him, but I've, you know, I've heard the stories sit there, you know, smoke a cigarette, take a nap, wait to get inspired. And everybody just sits around and waits for him to find these moments of genius from the, the American filmmaking standpoint, we don't have that luxury. So we try to choreograph things ahead of time on this movie in particular, uh, Dungeons dragons. We didn't get a lot of prep. I only had a few weeks of prep. So I'm kind of in that realm of what Jackie and and whooping would do is I'm just trying to figure it out on, not necessarily on the day, but with little notice here, I think necessity, spawns creativity is kind of my phrase that I like to go to all the time and it just, I work well under pressure and I work well. Um, my creative juices flow under those moments right there.

Speaker 1: 43:51 That was Beth Armando Mondo speaking with man Brad Martin. You can listen to the full cinema junkie crew call stunt performers edition at kpbs.org/cinema junkie.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.