Skip to main content

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

Health Officials Worry Super Bowl Sunday Could Lead To COVID-19 Spread In San Diego

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY ALEXANDER NGUYEN

Above: Football flags hang over the entrance of Beachside Bar & Grill in Encinitas, Jan. 3, 2021.

The Super Bowl is often a time for gathering, but this year health officials warn it could lead to the spread of COVID-19. Plus, the Navy has come out with its long-awaited report on racial bias. Task Force One Navy was created in June, after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Then, this weekend in the arts, the experimental Vietnamese music of Vân-Ánh Võ, 1960's women's lithography, Human Rights Watch Film Festival and the Met Opera's "Ariadne Auf Naxos."

Speaker 1: 00:00 Stopping the Superbowl from becoming a super spread.

Speaker 2: 00:04 If there's any chance that you're infected, you know, don't, don't expose others, stay home. There'll be another Superbowl next year.

Speaker 1: 00:11 And Kevin, this is KPBS mid day,

Speaker 3: 00:25 The Navy

Speaker 1: 00:25 Issues its report on racial bias.

Speaker 3: 00:28 We have people in our, in our services that don't want racism in our ranks and they are willing to step up and root it out and speak up. And some Superbowl,

Speaker 1: 00:39 All alternative arts events coming up on our weekend.

Speaker 3: 00:43 Yeah, that's ahead on midday edition

Speaker 1: 01:01 Just as the number of new COVID cases is going down and vaccination rates are going up here comes super bowl. Sunday, San Diego health officials are concerned that pent up energies and an eagerness to return to normal might make this Sunday. Another COVID super spreader event. Public health officer Wilma Wooten is urging. All San Diego means that if they're going to watch stay home and share the day with their household members only, but many restaurants and bars across the region are preparing for an outdoor socially distanced super bowl afternoon. So what are the risks and gathering to watch the game is an outdoor restaurant safer than an indoor party. Should you mask up before you cheer for your team? Joining me is UC San Diego epidemiologist Richard Garfield professor in the Herbert Wertheim school of public health and professor. Garfein welcome.

Speaker 2: 01:59 Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Speaker 1: 02:01 How do big gatherings result in increased cases? Obviously some of the people who are in the gathering have to be sick, right?

Speaker 2: 02:09 Not necessarily with the coronavirus, uh, a large, the people who are infected don't have any symptoms at all, or symptoms that are so mild that they don't really recognize them as being sick. And so, uh, people can attend an event and think that they're fine. And at the same time, spread the virus to other people who will go on to get sick, or they may also be asymptomatic, but they may spread it to somebody who is vulnerable to be having severe illness from coronavirus.

Speaker 1: 02:40 And now there's at least one more contagious variant circulating in San Diego. That must increase the risk.

Speaker 2: 02:48 Yeah, that's a really good point. I'm glad that you bring that up. Maureen, it's the [inaudible] strain. Some people know it as the United Kingdom strain. This strain has been estimated to be anywhere from 30 to 70% more infectious than the currently circulating strains in the United States. So if you have another strain, that's about 50% on average more infectious. That means that even if it's not more deadly, just the fact that more people become infected it'll increase the rates of severe disease and mortality rates due to COVID. So it is a big concern, um, and it could potentially offset a lot of the progress that we've made in reducing the number of cases in our community.

Speaker 1: 03:36 If you were attending an outdoor event, uh, at a restaurant or for super bowl Sunday, I know that you wouldn't be, but if you were, how would you keep yourself

Speaker 2: 03:45 If people are attending, um, outdoor events or going to bars or restaurants, uh, which is a great time, and I love doing it myself, then there are things that you can do to try to minimize the risk. So first of all, just be really aware of your surroundings. The closer people are together, the riskier it is. So clearly when you're in an outdoor setting, you want it to really be outdoors. So if the venue has put up plastic sheeting or a tent, and so basically they created an indoor space outside, that's still an indoor space. So you really want it to be outdoor with good open ventilation. Next, when you get to the venue, arrive and wear your mask, wear your mask as you walk in, um, and keep it on until you get to your table and you can even keep it on until the foods and drinks are delivered at that point.

Speaker 2: 04:36 Um, you know, hopefully you're just with the people that you arrived with. Um, so you know who your group of people are, um, and you can take off your mask and then if you need to get up and use the restroom or go to the bar and get another drink, put your mask back on, you know, you might end up standing in the line or being in a crowd, or you might end up bumping into a friend who wants to stop, stop and chat. And if that happens, you'll be much safer if you have a mask on as, as well as that other person, um, you may be wearing a mouse, but if the person that you're talking to isn't mouth, there's still a chance that you can be in hearing some of, of their air and put yourself at risk,

Speaker 1: 05:13 No national city distributed what it calls a super bowl safety kit, which included N N 95 face masks, hand, sanitizer, and shields. And that seems to assume that despite public health advice, people will be gathering, gathering even in their homes to see the game. So if friends are coming over to the house, can you make it a safe event?

Speaker 2: 05:37 Yeah, there's a lot of things that could be done in a household to keep things safe first and foremost, if there's any chance that you're infected, you know, don't, don't expose others, stay home. There'll be another Superbowl next year for people who are gathering, ideally sit outside, you know, move the TV set outside. If you can't do that, at least open up doors and windows, try to get good air circulation and you can turn on fans, um, ideally blowing the air outwards from the house so that you'd circulate new errands to the house. And another thing that I think a lot of people aren't aware of is that you can turn on the fan on the, um, home ventilation system. So rather than setting the thermostat to auto set, set the fan to on so that it's constantly circulating air, even if it's not heating or cooling it.

Speaker 2: 06:24 And you can also replace the air filter in your air conditioner, uh, to a higher filtration filter like a Merv 13 number 13, and that will help to filter out any virus that's being circulated in the air. So ventilation is really important. You want people not to be breathing each other's there also wear masks. Um, the N 95 is a very efficient mask, which, um, filters out, um, most of the viral particles that might be in the air, a surgical mask, like we normally see people wearing is, uh, less efficient at, uh, filtering out particles and a homemade face mask of cloth mask is probably a little less efficient than most, um, surgical masks. And so, um, if you're going to where you want people to wear a mask and where they wear them correctly, they should fit tightly. They shouldn't have, um, big pockets that puff out on the side where the air is really just circulating in and out around them.

Speaker 2: 07:21 Um, and, um, and in, in some cases that people are really concerned, they can even double mouse. Um, the other thing that we want to keep in mind is, um, avoiding close contact with each other. So I know everybody is, um, excited to see their friends and their family, but try to avoid the hug. I know it feels awkward, but, um, you know, for at least the next few months, until we get this pandemic under control, the less physical contact we have, the better one last thing is, again, even though there hasn't been documented cases of transmission of COVID from food, there is always that possibility of surfaces. And so wash your hands frequently.

Speaker 1: 08:07 I've been speaking with UC San Diego epidemiologist, Richard Garfield. I want to thank you so much for all that information.

Speaker 2: 08:14 You're very welcome.

Speaker 1: 08:20 The Navy has come out with its long awaited report on racial bias task force. One Navy was created in June after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police KPBS, military reporter, Steve Walsh says, despite critics saying the effort feels watered down. Navy leadership says they intend to create lasting change. There are only a handful of African-American admirals or flag officers in the Navy and few people of color in some of the Navy's most celebrated communities, such as Naval aviation, where the head of the task force Admiral Alvin

Speaker 4: 08:56 Halsy is from.

Speaker 5: 08:57 I'll tell you being here at this point, one of the black flag off the Navy is the only spot I think the Navy is committed. I think we can make some reasonable ground here.

Speaker 4: 09:07 The task force worried that their effort to root out discrimination would be caught up in the past. Administrations targeting of diversity training says Dr. Charles Barber, he's the consultant who worked on the report. Some things will now be put back into the draft. He says with a new attitude at the white house,

Speaker 5: 09:26 We had training to kind of talk about bias. We had some, some content that did talk a little bit about, uh, the concepts of, of, of white privilege and how discussions center around, you know, white privilege. So those are the things that we want to put back.

Speaker 4: 09:38 Critics say the report stresses, inclusion and diversity, but didn't look more directly at overt racism. John Clarke is a recently retired commander who writes about his experience as an African American in the Navy.

Speaker 5: 09:51 To me, what was disappointing, what was not in the report, there was not a direct discussion of de facto racism and segregation of the current state of the Navy and why we are,

Speaker 4: 10:03 We are a recently released 2017. Pentagon survey showed roughly one in five sailors and officers experienced racial or ethnic discrimination or harassment that year more than any other service. Clark says the Navy's process for filing discrimination complaints is broken.

Speaker 5: 10:20 We have people in our, in our services that don't want racism in our ranks, and they are willing to step up and root it out and speak up. But at the same time, you have some other people, mainly older white men that want to retain that position of power.

Speaker 4: 10:36 Unlike a similar report at the Pentagon level, the Navy didn't address hate groups in the ranks. The report did look at reforms in Navy justice, but didn't recommend specific changes in the early 1970s, during a period of racial unrest in the country and within the Navy itself, the head of the Navy Admiral Zumwalt is credited with a push to better integrate women and people of color into the service barber. The Navy's consultant admits that many of the reports that followed have sat on the shelf, but he plans this day on to administer their findings, which are based on dozens of focus groups held behind closed doors with sales

Speaker 5: 11:14 Need to be able to continuously diagnose these things. Look at those gaps and, and produce prescribed Getwell plants, working continuously, looking at culture all the time. So that way we can continuously make, make some progress. We don't want to keep talking about this stuff for years and years from now

Speaker 4: 11:28 Rear Admiral Halsy the leader of the task force says a top priority now is to bring in more people of color and women into leadership roles.

Speaker 5: 11:36 It's not a one and done. So imagine every six months, this, this is not going to go away. It's going to be a bit better than our, our training, uh, throughout the, the life of a sailor. And now senior leader is going to be constantly engaged and pushing the true levers on this.

Speaker 4: 11:50 And he says, the problems won't go away because of change in administration

Speaker 1: 11:54 Or the recent confirmation of the first African-American secretary of defense for the Navy, it's all about readiness. He says people who cannot trust one another cannot easily come together. When it comes time to find Steve Walsh, KPBS news, this story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh this weekend in the arts. We have some super bowl alternatives for you, and some of them can even involve sitting on your couch with snacks on our radar. This weekend is an afternoon of Vietnamese music. The human rights watch film festival and the nightly opera streams from the met featuring iconic black singers. Joining me as KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans, and welcome Juliette. Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me. Well now, first up earlier this week, we spoke about one of the filmmakers involved with the human rights watch film festival that film through the night is about a 24 hour childcare center. What can you tell us about the other films in the festival and how can we watch them?

Speaker 6: 13:22 Yeah, so there's four other films. We can also cover. One of the upsides to these virtual festivals is how easy it is for more casual viewers to decide last minute to tune in for some portion of it. So first step is missing in Brooks County. It's a film that looks at the human toll of immigration policies in a Texas border County. There's an interior border patrol checkpoint, and many migrants crossing the border have to navigate through the dangerous terrain in the desert to go around it and hundreds die. Every year, we've followed some of the families trying to find missing migrants and some of the human rights workers trying to help

Speaker 1: 14:01 The goal with this was to shut down the borders that were easier to cross, to funnel people into the most dangerous terrain. And they knew there was going to be a large death toll, but they assumed that that would prevent more migrants from coming. And it didn't. Um, it funneled them into the most dangerous place to cross and they never stopped trying to come. Texas now has surpassed Arizona and the number of migrant deaths, the national Institute of justice came out with a report calling unidentified remains the nation's silent mass disaster.

Speaker 6: 14:34 And that's from missing in Brooks County. Another film is talking about trees, which is about a group of filmmakers and friends, trying to pull off a public film screening in Sudan where cinema has been banned for the 30 years prior. Next there's. I am Samuel, which is based in Kenya where anyone identifying as LGBTQ is criminalized, and we follow Samuel, a rural preacher son who finds solace and Nairobi's LGBTQ community and falls in love. There's also a free Q and a at four o'clock on Saturday with the director and human rights advocates. And finally, there's a reckoning in Boston. One of the plot lines in this film follows Kathy Dixon, who is a woman trying to build a community garden and land cooperative. And she struggles against bias racism, gentrification, and a city that keeps trying to shut it down Dickson. And the filmmaker James Rutenbeck will be part of the closing night panel on Saturday night at seven, the human

Speaker 1: 15:39 Own rights watch film festivals, screens, five films on demand. Through Tuesday, you can buy tickets for individual films or get a festival pass for full access. Next, the metropolitan opera in New York is offering two weeks of nightly free streams of iconic opera performances featuring black opera singers with Julia. What stands out to you?

Speaker 6: 16:03 So the met offer has been doing these nightly streams and for black history month, they're dedicating two straight weeks of selections that feature these black opera singers. And one that caught my eye is Saturday nights. They're acclaimed 1988 production [inaudible] by Strauss with legendary soprano. Jesse Norman is Ari AdNet. She just passed away in 2019. She went on to receive a national medal of the arts Kennedy center honors and five Grammys. I recently watched a scene from this production and I held my breath the entire time watching your thing.

Speaker 3: 17:00 [inaudible]

Speaker 6: 17:00 Jesse Norman and the met operas, Ariana Alf Naxos. And I don't often recommend streaming arts picks from out of San Diego, but this is a pretty special opportunity. And as I'm going to answer that you have from four 30 on Saturday until three 30 on Sunday to watch. So you could even also watch the Superbowl when you're done.

Speaker 1: 17:19 What a combination, the 1988 production of Ariana off Naxos by Strauss performed by the metropolitan opera in New York streams for free Saturday evening on Sunday, San Diego center for world music is hosting an event of the traditional music of Vietnam. Tell us more.

Speaker 6: 17:38 Yeah, this is going to be really cool. Cause they're bringing in composer and performer found on Bo, who is known for her experimental takes on traditional Vietnamese music and also dialing in will be ethnomusicologists Alexander Cannon. And they'll dig into Vietnamese folk music and its ties to resilience and the Vietnamese people that will perform several works, including some new pieces inspired by the pandemic. And also earlier work. I especially love her piece three mountain pass, which really shows off her amazing vocals alongside a single instrument, the melodic hang drum and the workspace on 18th century, female Vietnamese poetry.

Speaker 3: 18:34 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 18:35 That's three mountain pass by van non-VA who performs and discusses her work online through the center for world music Sunday at 2:00 PM, it's free, but advanced registration is required for more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to kpbs.org/arts. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Julia. Thank you.

Speaker 6: 19:03 Thank you, Maureen. Have a good weekend.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

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.