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LA County Residents Ordered To Wear Masks Indoors Again

 July 16, 2021 at 11:20 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:01 Should fully vaccinated people in San Diego wear masks masking Speaker 2: 00:06 Wiley's small sacrifice. It's us protecting our fellow San Diego. Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition. Yeah. This pride weekend, we check in on the health of San Diego's gay bar cars, their Speaker 3: 00:30 Sanctuary safe havens for people that have typically experienced a lot of prejudice and discrimination growing up Speaker 1: 00:37 And our weekend preview highlights the first ever north park book fair that's ahead on midday edition, San Diego health officials say they are not following LA county's lead and are not reinstating mandatory mask requirements for people who are fully vaccinated. LA is seeing a disturbing surge in COVID cases for the last seven days. There have been more than 1000 new daily infections when California reopened a month ago, Las daily COVID case rate was under 200. The mask mandate will require fully vaccinated people to join unvaccinated people and wearing masks in indoor settings, including restaurants. San Diego has seen its daily case raid double in recent weeks, but officials say they are sticking with state and CDC guidelines, which don't require masks for the fully vaccinated. Johnnie Mae is Dr. Joel Wertheim associate professor in the division of infectious diseases and global public health at UC San Diego school of medicine. Dr. [inaudible]. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. The Delta variant is apparently causing this surge in cases in LA, but we've heard that the vaccines J and J Pfizer Moderna provide good protection for the vaccinated public from the variant. So why is Los Angeles saying vaccinated? People need to wear masks? Speaker 2: 02:16 Well, we still see people who are fully vaccinated with these various vaccines getting infected. And as we see, as people start going out more and more in the community and interacting with more and more people, even if you're vaccinated, your risk is becoming higher. So I know that when I go inside, I still mask up because this Delta variant is really a different beast from what was circulating previously. How so? How is it different? Well, it definitely seems to be, uh, more transmissible. Uh, we're seeing not only just faster rate of spread among unvaccinated populations, but also breakthrough infections in vaccinated people at a higher rate than you would expect, Speaker 1: 02:59 But isn't the larger issue of this mandate for vaccinated people being that vaccinated people are being asked in a way to make a sacrifice, to help slow COVID in the unvaccinated. Speaker 2: 03:09 Uh, yes. And we've been needing to make sacrifices throughout this pandemic. Importantly, a lot of the unvaccinated population can't get vaccinated yet. Anyone who's 12 and younger isn't eligible to get vaccinated and probably won't be eligible until late fall, early winter. So we definitely want to avoid seeing a large-scale spread among that group. Plus you have people who are resistant to getting vaccinated or just haven't been able to do it yet. So to protect all of those people, I think that's what the mask mandate, uh, in LA is serving. Also CDC guidelines never really gave us the opportunity to distinguish between who's vaccinated and who's not. So I don't believe that only vaccinated people have been taking off their masks, Speaker 1: 03:54 The CDC and the California state guidelines, they aren't recommending renewing mask mandates for the vaccinated. So I'm wondering, is Las move, is that good health policy or is it more of a message to the unvaccinated population? Speaker 2: 04:08 I think masking in general, in the presence of the Delta variant is good health policy. Now, whether or not it can be implemented is I think more of a political issue than a public health issue. San Diego Speaker 1: 04:19 Does not have COVID case numbers anywhere near Las, but we've seen a doubling of daily cases since the beginning of July with averages over 200. So would you recommend San Diego consider a new mask mandate Speaker 2: 04:34 Just because San Diego's numbers aren't where LA is are today? Doesn't mean we're not going to get there in the coming weeks. Now with this new Delta variant and our, uh, admirably high vaccination rates in San Diego county, we don't know where this is going to go in the future. We don't know if our numbers are going to continue to double or to reach sort of a new, somewhat higher plateau that said, I see the value in masking. I continue to mask indoors and anyone who asks me, I would advise to mask indoors, but I'm not here making policy only 52% Speaker 1: 05:06 Of LA county's residents are fully vaccinated. That's opposed to more than 68% of eligible San Diego ones. How much of a difference does that make in our susceptibility to the Delta and other variants of COVID? Speaker 2: 05:21 Well, we've seen the Delta variant rise in places like Israel, where they have very high vaccination coverage, uh, with MRNs, uh, vaccine, similar to what we have in San Diego. But we also saw it spike in the UK where most people that are only had a single dose of the vaccine and it definitely went up a lot higher and faster there. So while I'll leave it to the modelers to predict the future, I am definitely concerned about what the Delta variant can do, even in a vaccinated population when we don't have social distancing or masking restrictions. Now, I hear Speaker 1: 05:54 You saying that you would advise people to wear masks they're vaccinated or not in indoor settings, but isn't this all rather confusing when people hear one thing from one health agency and another thing from another health agency, if you do go into an indoor setting in San Diego and you are fully vaccinated and you don't wear a mask, do you really have a lot to worry about Speaker 2: 06:16 The good news is that the vaccine seems to protect you from serious complications of COVID like serious disease, hospitalization, and debt. And that is the most important thing we can be worried about right now, but we also don't want to spread it to our fellow San Diego ones. So masking while a small sacrifice may benefit those who are unable to get vaccinated unwilling or who are immunocompromised, where the vaccine may not be as effective. So in that sense, it's us protecting our fellow San Diego. We've Speaker 1: 06:47 Heard a lot of discussion on vaccine hesitancy, vaccines resistance. Do you think surges like this will have an impact on motivating people to get vaccinated? Speaker 2: 06:58 I hope the increase in case counts right now, help wake people up to the reality of COVID. And it's dangerous to those who haven't been vaccinated because this Delta variant means that anyone who hasn't gotten a vaccine is even more at risk than they were before. And they need to seriously reconsider why they're not getting the vaccine. Okay. I've been speaking Speaker 1: 07:20 With Dr. Joel worth. I'm associate professor in the division of infectious diseases and global public health at UC San Diego school of medicine. Dr. Worth hon. Thanks a lot. Thank you for having me. Gay bars are back as California lifts COVID restrictions and the annual pride celebration comes to town KPBS. As Katie Stegal says, these longstanding safe havens for the LGBTQ community are re-emerging. After a year, in which many feared they would go out of business. Speaker 4: 07:59 It was mid June two days after California lifted its COVID restrictions. And the crowd at the rail is ready to celebrate. After a long 16 months, it's been a hard road back. San Diego's oldest gay bar has survived attacks from law enforcement, the HIV aids epidemic. And most recently the COVID-19 lockdowns. The low point for some business owners came in 2020s. Pride was canceled. That's when the rails owner Gail Santillan thought the run might be over. And that Speaker 5: 08:27 To me was like the harder blow, not just COVID. It was losing pride and losing pride to anyone in this neighborhood. Business-wise is huge. Um, we, we bank on that entire week. It's just bigger than most people can imagine Speaker 4: 08:46 Something land made the best of the downtime while the rail was closed. She did some minor repairs and made an effort to take care of the staff. She made the meals each day until they were on unemployment. Santillan also received a PPP loan and her landlords helped her work out a plan to stay open, but she says there were moments when she considered closing for good. I would Speaker 5: 09:06 Come in, walk in, walk around the barn. Oh God, I can't do this. And just walk out the door in tears just got. And I still didn't know, none of us knew, sorry, but it's over. It's over. We hope it's over. We're past it. Everyone's healthy. Not Speaker 4: 09:25 All gay bars made it through last year has gotten Lim. The owners of martinis above fourth allowance known for its specialty drinks in live performances announced in October, they were declaring bankruptcy, but overall San Diego's LGBTQ establishments have shown remarkable resilience. Paul Detweiler produced the documentary San Diego's gay bar history. He says that may be because LGBTQ folks depend on the bar scene for a lot more than just drinking Speaker 3: 09:52 Bars are culturally different than straight bars because they're sanctuary safe havens for people that have typically experienced a lot of prejudice and discrimination growing up, uh, which is something that the straight population hasn't experienced being in the majority demographic. Speaker 4: 10:09 Most importantly, they've served as the hubs of the gay rights movement dating back to the 1960s protests awareness campaigns, and even San Diego's first pride were conceived in the dark and dusty corners of these clubs Speaker 3: 10:23 For, uh, the, uh, different levels of government stepped up and assisted with HIV and aids and stuff. The community did it themselves. And, um, so that's a reason that an older generation of LGBT people really have that fond spot in their heart for bars. Speaker 4: 10:40 But while LGBTQ people today have been able to emerge from the shadows in ways that might've been inconceivable a generation ago, gay bars are still essential for the community. Alan Torres who's come to the rail for roughly six years says they remain a big part of his comfort zone. Speaker 6: 10:56 I feel more comfortable with myself and my partner. Um, I mean, for lack of a better word, I mean, yeah. It's, you know, I mean, we kept behaving the same straight arm. I mean, it's like comparing going here to somewhere in downtown. I mean, for me going to the light at night and like I like at the rail, Hillcrest is not the same as going to like Onyx, you know, downstairs. Where is there another light language I like, but it's not the same as coming to here. Speaker 4: 11:23 Ours and many others are excited about pride 2021, which is happening this week. Organizers have put together a full slate of events that should keep gay bars packed throughout the weekend for KPBS news. I'm Katie Stegal. Speaker 1: 11:40 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh in the arts this weekend, a book fair takes over north park, a festival of classical music and art crawl in San Ysidro and some of the arts and culture events you can find at San Diego pride. Joining me with all the details as KPBS arts editor, Julia Dickson Evans, and welcome Julia. Speaker 7: 12:03 Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me Speaker 1: 12:06 Now, let's start with what you're referring to as a big literary block party. Tell us about the first ever north park book fair. Speaker 7: 12:14 So this was dreamed up by verbatim books in north park and almost every single independent bookstore in the area will be there. Uh, when everyone was warning, as the books are, are over, eBooks are going to take over publishing. We instead here in San Diego, watch this total Renaissance of independent bookstore is happening across town. So yeah, this is like a block party version of independent bookstore day that the crawl that these stores also put together every year, there'll be tons of authors, there's poetry and storytelling groups, small presses, Xen makers, even artists and galleries. They'll all be there selling and showing work and verbatim books. We'll also have a free book booth. So you can't argue with that. There'll be performances and live readings that the day starting with a children's story time at 10 30, and there'll be a bunch of food booths too, including vegan ice cream. Hm. Speaker 1: 13:09 The north park book fair takes place at north Parkway and 30th street, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM coming to San Diego this weekend as a classical music festival from some of the best young musicians in the world. Tell us about these performances. Speaker 7: 13:26 Yeah. So this is the E palpate tea festival. It's a program founded 25 years ago for exceptional young professional musicians, um, built to advance their careers. So yeah, definitely the best of the best in the world. And they're putting on a set of solo showcases at the end, Sydney, this library, there's two more, um, one tonight and one tomorrow at seven 30, but the big event is this full concert on Sunday afternoon, it's indoors at the Conrad previs performing arts center in LA Jolla. So they'll perform a check ski piece and then a piece by Anton Penske who was kind of, he was inspired by Tchaikovsky in the living in the same period. Also a piece by Austrian American composer, Fritz Chrysler, and then this composition it's called seascapes by contemporary composer, Alexi shore. This is from the third movie gathering stolen. Speaker 8: 14:40 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 14:40 You? Palpitate festival concert takes place Sunday at three at the Conrad previs performing arts center, solo his performances take place tonight and Saturday night at seven 30 at the Encinitas library. San Diego pride is underway. It's in hybrid form this year. So in addition to virtual offerings, they're also doing some in-person events and you have a few art related pride events on your radar. Julia, tell us about those. Speaker 7: 15:10 Yeah. First is diversionary theater's production of dear one, love and longing in mid century, America. That's a, it's a new play by trans play rate, Joshua Ervin gearshift, and they use a set of archive letters that were sent into one magazine in the fifties and sixties. Uh, one was the first openly gay publication in America. And these letters, they range from people expressing anger or fear or looking for community. Even some early shows of allyship and diversionary was producing this, their teen version every summer acting intensive program. These will be outdoor shows at St. Paul's cathedral at one and four o'clock on Saturday and also in the visual art world is the studio doors annual juried proud plus show. This has been, the show has been open since the beginning of the month, but they're throwing an artist reception Saturday night from six to nine. There's a ton of options throughout the weekend. There's drag performers and smaller parties in person as well as a full event live stream tomorrow, that'll be on Facebook live or YouTube starting at nine o'clock. Speaker 1: 16:19 San Diego pride continues all weekend. You can find virtual offerings as well as a full schedule of events linked on our website. LGBTQ plus issues are at the heart of an exhibition at the front gallery, and there's a big art culture and food crawl in San Ysidro Saturday night. Julia, tell us what we can expect and how we can attend. See DRO Saturdays. Speaker 7: 16:45 Seadrill Saturdays. It's pretty new. This is just the second month, and they're doing this on the third Saturday of each month throughout the city of San Ysidro, the galleries and shops, restaurants, they all do special events or have DJs and extend their hours. And one of the galleries in the heart of San Ysidro is the front and the exhibition they have right now is especially powerful. It's called and we will sing in the tall grass again. And it's on view through September 1st. It's a group show with the work of 13 artists, and these works all dig into issues of gender and social constructs and the ways that younger generations are working to envision a future that sort of dismantles this, I think, is there a really thoughtful option for pride weekend? Here is Alan Luna. Who's one of the curators who he worked with Julie Chu to bring this exhibition to life. And here's what Alan Lena had to say. Speaker 2: 17:42 We don't yet have I think the language to describe liberation. You can't describe what the looks like because the feature doesn't exist yet necessarily. And I think part of the goal that we have with this exhibition is what could the future look like? Maybe the greatest thing about visual art is that it can express things that exist beyond words, every work of artists and new, you know, it's a new form of language making that's, what's so compelling, Speaker 1: 18:09 Alan Luna, one of the curators of, and we will sing in the tall grass again, which will be on view at the front gallery Saturday from five to 8:00 PM. Seadrill Saturdays we'll run from five to 10:00 PM throughout San Ysidro. You can find details on these and more arts events at the KPBS arts calendar and by signing up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts slash arts. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And thanks, Julia. Speaker 7: 18:41 Thank you, Maureen. Have a great weekend.

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In the face of steadily increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Los Angeles County residents will again be required to wear masks in indoor public settings beginning Saturday night. San Diego has seen its daily case rate double in recent weeks, but officials say they are sticking with state and CDC guidelines which don’t require masks for the fully vaccinated. Plus, gay bars have re-opened and are again providing safe havens for many in the LGBTQ community as Pride Week is set to kick off in San Diego County. And, a look ahead to some weekend arts events, including the North Park Book Fair, Sidro Saturdays and an exhibition at the Front, Pride, Guillermo Galindo's found object sonic devices and the iPalpiti Festival.