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Local COVID-19 expert: BA.5 is ‘worst’ variant

 July 20, 2022 at 5:07 PM PDT

S1: Why doctors say the new COVID sub variant is the worst yet.
S2: This variant is quite problematic. I don't think we're giving it enough respect.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. 988 is the new suicide crisis lifeline.
S3: One of the powerful things about 988 is that gives us an opportunity to talk publicly about the breadth of behavioral health concerns and the importance of accessing care.
S1: Congresswoman Sarah Jacobs talks abortion rights after her arrest at a demonstration. And we'll tell you about a new vinyl listening bar along with Comic-Con. That's ahead on Midday Edition. COVID isn't conquered. With those words in the L.A. Times last week , my next guest urged for more action to combat the rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations as a result of the be a five variant. Also last week , San Diego County moved into the high or orange coronavirus tier due to increasing case numbers and hospitalizations in the area. That prompted an indoor mask mandate for San Diego Unified Schools. Meanwhile , Comic-Con returns to downtown San Diego tomorrow for its first large , in-person gathering since the pandemic began , with a mask , mandate and testing policies in place. Joining me once again with a COVID update is Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. Dr. Topol , welcome back.
S2: Thanks , Jane. Always good to be with you.
S1: In your most recent article on your blog , you compare our handling of COVID to that of a boiling frog.
S2: And there's a lack of perception that it's really the worst variant its properties in terms of how infectious. In terms of starting to crack our vaccine protection even against severe things like hospitalizations. And so we're not feeling it because we have this immunity wall being built at the same time because of so many infections and vaccinations and boosters. So this lack of perception , because it's a gradual all these different variants that have been occurring over the course of two and a half years. We're missing the fact that the latest variant is now taking over the country. Bay five and certainly in San Diego is the worst one. And we're in a denial state really in a way isn't going to work.
S1: You maintain that Bay five is the worst version of this virus we've seen yet , despite the fact that deaths and hospitalizations are not where they once were.
S2: You can see that had we had this variant before Bay one across the way that hit us so hard in January and February , it would have been even worse. So the point is that the virus version is substantially different. The so-called distance of the protein or antigen distance , the genetic distance. I mean , it's it's a basically it deserves its own Greek letter. It's so different than Bay one. If you look at it from every property you can think of of a virus , this one is clearly the worst since the pandemic began. But because we have so much immunity , we have this optics , this idea that , oh , it's not so bad. But actually another attribute that you are seeing is that it's lasting longer. People who are getting infected would be a five. Their time of being positive testing and having symptoms is longer than prior versions of the virus , which goes along with it. You don't have to look at deaths and hospitalizations to say that that's an issue , although they're both going up throughout the country and certainly not nearly what we saw in the worst one hour crime wave. But again , that's just because we've got lots of protection out there.
S1:
S2: Everything's on the way up. And this is not a good picture because we don't know where the peak is going to be. We know that we have weeks to go to get through a five. And so we're starting to see the increase in hospitalizations , fortunately , not at the level that in the worst times previously , but they'll continue to go up no less. The number of people infected. The critical issue , as you know well , is that our testing essentially is very minimal. And so the number of people who are actually infected or infectious , not even knowing that they're infected , is very high. And , you know , in the country , it's gone up to about 130,000 cases a day , but it's probably at least 700,000 or a million a day. We just don't know because so many people are either not tested or doing rapid tests at home.
S1: You know , the Novavax vaccine was approved yesterday by the CDC. How does this vaccine differ from the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine ? Right.
S2: Well , this is a protein based vaccine. So instead of the Moderna or Pfizer , which is a messenger RNA , which once it gets into the cells , it encodes the protein. This is just direct to the protein. It's very similar. Otherwise , it's basically using the spike , the key portion of the virus to induce our immune response. And the data that was presented this week to the CDC and previously the FDA looked like it's very comparable to the RNA vaccines. And so hopefully more people will get vaccinated. It also may have use as a booster. That is because it's somewhat different. That whole idea of mixing might have some appeal as we get more data about that.
S1: Currently , people above 50 are those who are high risk are eligible to get the fourth shot of the COVID vaccine.
S2: We don't have enough people who are 50 and older getting a fair shot. You know , we're at about 27%. That should be 100%. The reason being is the risk of death and hospitalization and people over age 50 is substantially lowered by a fourth shot. We have four studies to prove that. Again , people less than 50. You know , there's many people there , such as health care workers or essential workers who have lots of risk. And that would be great to use those shot , because otherwise they're going to get thrown away because they're about to expire , tens of millions of doses to be thrown away. So we don't have the green light to get these out there. But we should we should have gotten them going some time ago where the people who have a considerable risk because of their work or because of their medical status with lots of different coexisting conditions even less than age 50 , should give this a consideration.
S1:
S2: It's about 80% right now. So this variant , you know , as I mentioned earlier , is quite problematic. I don't think we're giving it enough respect as to the fact that it's showing attrition over vaccines , even against severe protection to some extent. So this decoy to our immune system , that is this escape artist , it's a real problem. And the fact is we may not be done it by five. We could see , you know , be a X or even a no hope in other family like our crime. Hopefully not. But what's in store , unfortunately , is that the virus is evolutionists. It's accelerated as we've seen. We've gone from a 1 to 5 in a matter of months , whereas in the first year of the pandemic , where there was no substantive evolution of the virus to change its properties. So we really should plan. That's why we need much better vaccines. These so-called universal plans , rotavirus vaccine , nasal vaccine , better drugs , because we may be seeing over the months ahead that the Paxil group , which is keeping hospitalizations down and that's important emphasized actually could we could develop resistant to it the mutations in the critical portion of the virus two packs of it. So we should get more backup drugs out there. And that's something that's not enough effort along with these better vaccines is not happening right now.
S1: On the subject of drugs like Paxil bid , how are coronavirus treatments such as that doing against the A5 variant ? Are they proving to be effective against these newer variants ? Yes.
S2: The good thing about Paxil is that it really hasn't been a variant specific pill. I mean , the problem , however , even though it has a very good track record for reducing hospitalizations and deaths , there is this issue of rebound that's occurred commonly whereby after five days of the treatment of the blister pack , you know , a couple of days later , symptoms come back and the person does testing and they're still infectious and that can go on for several more days. So rebound is a problem. People are not winding up in the hospital. It's rare after Paxil , but the prolonged symptoms and infectiousness is is not good. And what we're studying is whether a prolong course instead of five days rather than ten days to deal with these outright variants , like a five might be better to help avoid the rebound phenomenon. The problem is the pills cause a lot of side effects. You know , the taste is really altered and also a lot of gastrointestinal side effects. So you don't want to take it for ten days , but that may wind up being the way to deal with rebound. But it is working well in terms of reducing hospitalizations , and that's another part of the solution if things aren't too bad. But a lot of those people that might have wound up in the hospital were preventing it.
S1:
S2: So anybody who is symptomatic. Has other conditions that might be in their department of worry that just progressed. They could wind up in a hospital. You know , it's not hard to access Paxil. There's a very good supply right now. My my biggest concern besides Rebound is it's working well. But how long ? And we don't have a back up pill. We really need that. And there's a bunch of candidates , just like with the vaccines that are pan coronavirus , nasal vaccine , bunch of candidates for all of these things. But we're not doing anything about that yet.
S1: San Diego County re-entered the high COVID tier last week.
S2: But we don't have that from anyone else. And we know masks help with their 95 and 95 , and we're just not using them. People are tired and fed up and they don't want a mask. But it's a help. It's not a guarantee to avoid a fight. But the problem is the virus is so hyper infectious and we're just playing into its properties by not masking up , particularly indoors , but possibly even outdoors , by not using our tools of ventilation , filtration and distancing. These things help while we're waiting for better ways to get on top or ahead of the virus with the three biggies , the corona virus , the nasal vaccine , and better drugs. So we need something to bridge that. And we're just not we're ignoring it largely. And that's unfortunate.
S1: I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. Dr. Topol , thank you.
S2: Thank you.
S4: After every report that references a mental health crisis or suicide , we and most media outlets include the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. And it's always been a standard 800 number , which could be a little hard to remember during a crisis. So the Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new number , nine , eight , eight , as the new suicide and crisis lifeline. The short , easy to remember number based on the popularity of the 911 emergency line is aimed at serving more Americans in crisis and expanding the options available for behavioral health services. And joining me is Dr. Luke Bergman , director of the Behavioral Health Services Department for the County of San Diego. And Dr. Bergman , welcome to the program.
S3: Thanks so much for coming. Glad to be here.
S4: So nine , eight , eight is now the line to call for mental health emergencies anywhere in the U.S..
S3: That's correct. Across the country , there is one number nine , eight , eight that in any jurisdiction will connect you to a resource that can address behavioral health crises. So substance use and also mental health crises. I did want to note just one caveat , which is that as the system is currently developed , if you dial from , say , a phone with , say , a San Diego area code , you will be connected to the local San Diego County access and crisis line resource if you dial from a phone that has a different jurisdictions area code. New York , Arizona , what have you , you'll be connected to that local resource. There's an opportunity for you then to explain to the person who would be talking with that you would want to be transferred to the local resource if you happen to have a phone , as many people do in San Diego County that does not have a San Diego County area.
S4: And what kinds of situations and emergencies is the nine , eight , eight number designed for.
S3: The National Suicide Hotline number has been promoted as primarily a suicide , a call line , a line that folks would call in cases where they are experiencing suicidality. One of the things that we want to really emphasize locally and that other behavioral health jurisdiction leadership is emphasizing across the country , is that we want to try to broaden people's understanding of the cases where it would be useful to call nine , eight , eight. So one doesn't have to be in the midst of a suicide related crisis. One doesn't have to be calling on behalf of a loved one or a family member or social network member who is in imminent danger of self-harm. One of the powerful things about nine , eight , eight is that it gives us an opportunity to talk publicly about the breadth of behavioral health concerns and the importance of accessing care , of seeking care and access and care. Earlier , in the midst of an evolving crisis.
S4: When someone does call nine , eight , eight in San Diego County , who will be answering the call.
S3: So nine , eight , eight , if dialed from a San Diego County area code , will connect the caller to our established access and crisis line service. It's a service that staffed with masters prepared licensed clinical folks who can respond to calls and one of a 150 different languages , 24 seven. So it's a very well-established service. We have , of course , been anticipating that there would be with with the establishment of nine a day , a significant uptick in total call volume to the to the establish access and crisis line. The estimates where that increases may may be as much as 150% in call volume over time.
S4: I read that close to 90% of people who call can get the help they need from a phone call. Talk about why having someone to talk to when you're in a mental health crisis can be so effective.
S3: Talk and talk therapy. Relational interaction is really the bedrock of behavioral health care. Medication has important ongoing connection to services important. But the basic act of having a relational conversation with somebody is incredibly effective. The guidance that that people in moments of crisis are given is often very simple. In fact , what makes that simple guidance effective , though , is that it's delivered in the context of of a real conversation , a conversation that is founded in what both parties , in fact , would experience as a as a real personal connection.
S4: I've been speaking with Dr. Luke Bergman , director of the Behavioral Health Services Department for the County of San Diego. Dr. Bergman , thank you very much.
S3: Thanks , Bernie. Appreciate it.
S4: If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide or a behavioral health crisis , the new number to call is nine , eight , eight. This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. 17 members of Congress were among those arrested yesterday during a demonstration for abortion rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court. And San Diego Congresswoman Sarah Jacobs was one of them. It was one of many protests that have taken place in Washington since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade last month. Supporters say the action is part of a larger effort to secure reproductive rights through legislation. Two women's health bills were approved by the House last week , but they are unlikely to make it through the Senate. Joining me is Democrat Sara Jacobs , representative for San Diego's 53rd district. And Sara Jacobs , welcome to the program.
S5: Thanks for having me , Maureen.
S4: Now , there have been a lot of protests , as I've said.
S5:
S4:
S5: We were blocking a cross way. And so we got arrested. And I felt like it was important because this fight is really happening on the bodies of people across this country. And we know as Californians that while we have this right right now , that's not guaranteed there could be a federal abortion ban if Republicans come back into power. And I felt like it was important for me to put my body on the line for this incredibly fundamental right.
S4:
S5: Okay.
S4: Okay. So you were sort of prepared when you were hauled in ? Yes.
S5: Okay.
S4: Okay. All right. So two bills passed the House last week , one that would secure abortion rights into law. And the second , to assure women to a access to travel for an abortion across state lines. But both are not expected to pass in the Senate.
S5: First is we need to do everything we can to codify the right to abortion into law. As you said , we did pass it again in the House and we are still working with our colleagues in the Senate to see what might be possible there. Although , as you said , it will be important for us to get two more Democratic senators next year to really be able to probably get this done. But while we're working on codifying that right , we're also codifying other rights that we know from Justice Thomas's concurrence are potentially at risk , like the right to marriage to marry who you love , which we passed yesterday , like the right to contraception , which we'll be passing tomorrow. And we're also working on things to protect people in states who are criminalizing abortion right now , like the travel bill that you mentioned , like access to medication , abortion. And like my bill , the my body , my data act that will protect people's reproductive and sexual health data to not be used against them in these states.
S4: Now , the Right to Contraception Act is a bill that you co-led.
S5: We know that access to birth control and contraception , including emergency contraception , is incredibly important for people to plan their lives , to have autonomy and agency to make decisions. It's an economic thing. It's a right I've had my entire life and that I've used for decades. No , I used birth control pills in high school to deal with my cramps. I relied on an IUD for years. I've even used Plan B and was able to get it over the counter at the time that I needed it. And these are important things that people need to access to be able to make choices and decisions about their own lives and and really fulfill their goals and dreams. And so what this bill would do would just say that no state could get in the way of people having that right to access contraception and that medical professionals have to provide contraception as well , too , to patients who need it.
S4: Now , Republicans say that House Democrats are being unreasonably alarmist in suggesting travel for abortion and contraception are being threatened.
S5: And here we are. So I'm not willing to take them at their word any more. In fact , they there are many Republicans who are saying that they want to get rid of these rights. We saw Justice Thomas's concurrence that specifically laid out these rights.
S4:
S5: I was heartened by the first round of executive orders that he released , and I think that there is more that they are going to be releasing and that they're going to be able to do. There's an important role for the executive branch to play in enforcing access to medication , abortion , and enforcing the right of anyone to travel across state lines. And and I know that the Biden administration is looking at every possible way that can work to protect people who need abortions right now.
S4: You know , you have said that as one of the younger members of Congress , one of the younger women in Congress , that this is a very personal issue for you.
S5: I'm one of the few women of reproductive age in Congress. So this is not a hypothetical question for me , just like it's not a hypothetical question for millions of Americans across this country. This is radical justices on the Supreme Court saying that they know more about my body and my health care decisions than I do. This is the very real threat that they could take away my right to access contraception that I use for my life right now as a young woman. Reproductive health care is my health care for many years. That's the only doctor that I went to. And so and these are very real things for me. Like , they're very real things for many young people across this country. And that's why I feel such a sense of urgency. And I feel really strongly that we need to be doing everything we can in Congress to protect people right now because people are being harmed right now.
S4: I've been speaking with Congresswoman Sarah Jacobs , and thank you so much for joining us.
S5: Of course. Thank you for having me.
S1: With summer in full swing , San Diego residents are flocking to the beaches. But as the county implements new water quality tests , there are lingering concerns over whether or not the beaches should be left open in the first place. Joining me now with more is Voice of San Diego environmental reporter Mackenzie Elmer. Mackenzie , welcome back to Midday Edition. Hi.
S5: Hi. Thanks for having me back.
S1:
S5: And so that's kind of something that is also helpful because the county can test the water and get results back within 6 to 8 hours. So presumably beach goers would know what the water quality is like the day that they would enter the water.
S1:
S5: Again , when the county started to use this test , they rolled it out on May six. And the results that we were getting back showed that water quality appeared to be a lot worse than we previously knew. And again , that's because this new test is much more sensitive. So it can pick up the minutia of bacteria in the water and tell us more precisely about the actual quality of the water. And so that was definitely alarming because for the first time , we were seeing water quality not only in Imperial Beach , which is really close to the US-Mexico border , where we have a lot of pollution problems , but also also all the way up north to Coronado , which doesn't really experience as bad a water quality under the old technology that we were using. This new technology showed that that beach water quality was also failing public health standards.
S1:
S5: Both of them have a lot of faith in this test , so they're casting any doubt on their results at all. When they talked to me. And this is also a test that's been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. And in fact , that's the first time , as I understand it , one of these tests that detects the DNA of bacteria has been used in the entire world. So San Diego truly is like a guinea pig for this brand new water quality test. But there is potential that this test will start to be used in other cities. So so far the city or sorry , the county is definitely behind its test and hasn't cast doubt on it , but they definitely changed their policy as there was more of a public outcry for beach closures.
S1:
S5: Everybody down there knows that there's a source of sewage pollution from the Tijuana River , basically the city of Tijuana. And there's actually another source of sewage pollution that we know of in Tijuana. And it's this broken down wastewater treatment plant called Punta Bandera. And it's virtually spilling sewage basically all the time into the ocean there. And so in the summertime , those currents bring that sewage northward. And I think that's what these tests are really picking up and proving and showing that there is indeed pollution a lot more often in the summertime than the old technology can necessarily pick up in time to tell us.
S1: Here's the million dollar question. I mean , when we see those signs that say there may be pollution , this water may cause illness.
S5: According to the test results that show there's a high amount of this bacteria that actually indicates there's a high amount of fecal matter in the water. If you look at those tests and that's precisely what the test showed and the story talked about is even though the county changed its policy July 1st , put out these warning signs , the water quality was still failing public health standards. So but one thing one caveat here is this Bundarra wastewater treatment plant that I talked about earlier that doesn't appear to count as a known source of pollution yet , and I'm not sure why. I've asked the county if they will identify that as a known source , and they haven't affirmed that yet. And that's kind of the point that Imperial Beach and Coronado are making. Kind of the larger picture here is we all know where the sewage is coming. Do you stand by your test or not as a water safe enough to swim in ? I think what the region might face then is if the county decides to call it and say , okay , water quality isn't meeting public health standards. We know that the sewage is coming from Tijuana. That means that we probably face a lot of summer beach closures.
S1: I've been speaking with Voice of San Diego environmental reporter Mackenzie Elmer. Mackenzie , thank you very much for joining us.
S5: Thank you so much. Good to talk to you.
S4: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hyneman. A new bar in San Diego is offering a high fidelity twist on the typical cocktail experience. Part time lover. Located in the former bar , Pink Space in North Park is a vinyl listening bar , meaning that along with Manhattans and martinis , guests can enjoy curated selection of tunes spun from vinyl records by live deejays. The Hybrid Concept Lounge is a partnership between Hospitality Collective Consortium Holdings and local music institution Folk Arts Rare Records. Midday Edition producer Harrison Patino spoke about the new space with folk arts owner Brendan Boyle , who also coordinates music curation for part time lover. Here's Brendan Boyle on where the idea for the hybrid concept came from.
S3: So what do you think it is that really resonates with people about the idea of having a curated playlist for them at their night at the bar ? There's a lot to say about it because we try to interact with the people at the bar and have those interactions affect what kind of direction we might go in that evening. We've been open for just a month and we've kind of wanted a very relaxed , laid back atmosphere , a very slow atmosphere , and that has resonated really well with people. So I know that for me , one of the best things about hearing someone put a playlist together is the chance to discover some new music. Is that something you're hoping that guests will get out of this experience ? Yeah , that's a big motivation for us and how we've always been motivated at folk arts. We want people to come into our store wanting to discover something new , wanting to ask the question , What is this ? So discovery is one of the main motivations for what we do. All right. Well , it would make sense just to talk about this music. You've gone ahead and curated five tracks from some of the previous sets at Part-Time Lover to give our listeners an idea of what's been happening at the space. So let's start off with this first track you've chosen. It's by a jazz musician , Ethel Ennis , and it's called Blue Prelude. What can you tell us about it ? It's just a beautiful , beautiful track from Ethel Ennis. First record. Lullaby for Losers. It features Hank Jones on piano , Kenny Clarke on drums. We play a lot of music like this and part time lover , where it's slow , relaxed , a little moody , little historical. It just sounds amazing on that system.
S6: Let me sound. Let me crawl.
UU: Where I'd be.
S6: Let me go. From this low. So.
S3: And that's Blue Prelude by Ethel Ennis. Up next , we have a song by Brian Eno of Roxy Music Fame. Tell us about this song called The Big Ship. Oh , it's just a beautiful recording. Brian Eno is a ambient music pioneer , and we like to dabble in music like this recording here where you don't really need to describe it. It's beyond words or beyond description. It's a bit otherworldly and experiential , and it's beautiful. And the song you're hearing is The Big Ship by Brian Eno. Moving right along , we have a pretty deep cut here from R&B singer Jeanette Baker. Brendan , what can you tell us about Vacation from My Mind ? Oh , it's just an obscure early seventies soul track that it's just nice and relaxing , kick back music. It represents a lot of the music that we're spinning down there where it just feels right. With that beautiful sound system in that beautiful space.
S6: We wish. I couldn't take. A banking shot. And.
UU: And. You wish. My time. Is.
S6: Is. I wish. Take. A vacation.
S3: And the song is called Vacation from My Mind by Jeanette Baker. The next track on our list is something a little different from harpist Mary Lattimore. It's called Wah Wah By the Ocean. And looking to tell us about this track. Mary Lattimore is sort of like Brian Eno in that she is an ambient artist , a harpist , and her music is truly beautiful and truly otherworldly. And , you know , I think the calming , experiential nature of her recordings have played a big influence on the direction we have taken for the first month with this collaboration. And it's just lovely , lovely music. That's wah wah by the ocean by harpist Mary Lattimore. Finally , on our list of selections from part time lovers , curated DJ sets is definitely my personal favorite. It's by Ethiopian saxophonist Getachew Acharya. Brennan Tell us a little bit about this track. It's called Musica , he wrote. Well , this particular track blends jazz with traditional Ethiopian music , the ancient Ethiopian melody to Zita. And it's a truly dynamic , one of a kind recording that kind of transcends borders or style and is truly unique.
UU: La la la la la la la la la.
S3: And you're listening to music , he wrote by Getachew Makerere for the full playlist of his tracks. You can visit our website at KPBS Talk. I've been speaking with Folk Arts Rare Records owner and part time lover music curator Brendan Boyle. Brendan , thanks for talking with us today. Thanks so much for having me. Appreciate it.
S1: Comic-Con International returns to its first full scale in-person summer show since 2019. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO has been intending for more than four decades and explores why the Pop Culture Convention has some dedicated fans.
S5: Once upon a time , a geeky fan could walk up to Comic-Con on opening day and buy a ticket to enter the gates of the pop culture kingdom. But then Twilight fell upon the land. Okay , it's not entirely the fault of Twilight moms , but that sparkling vampire film did bring an influx of obsessive fans. Just as Marvel was launching Phase one of its cinematic universe. So around 2009 , things began to change for Comic-Con and for those attendees who were determined to get into Hall H. The lines are crazy , right ? And people are sleeping out and you're getting tired because you're like , Yes , I did. 12 hours by myself. A line of gore. Are we doing that ? Because being a geek is all about passionate commitment. Brooklyn agreed to share an insider perspective as long as they didn't use her full name. She runs one of the multiple Hall H line groups. I read on Reddit that their group is 100 people this year for Hall H Saturday. So it kind of intensified where you had to be more organized because everybody around you was also being more organized. She has a Google spreadsheet to organize shifts for people waiting in line. Attending Comic-Con now requires tactical skill if you want to get an exclusive toy or autograph or attend Hall H when Marvel has a panel. But it's worth it , says Brooklyn. We're all going to the same thing and we're all hyper. And then when you get in that room and you work that hard and you're with all your friends , when Tom Hiddleston walks out dressed as Loki.
S6: Look how far you've fallen.
S5: I don't know. You worked for it and you're excited.
S6: Lining up in the sweltering heat for hours.
S5: You're happy. And you're with all the people that you work for.
S6: Huddling together in the dark. Like beasts.
S5: The crowd , the sound of the crowd. But when everybody's camped out and then sat in.
S6: That room all.
S5: Day long for that Marvel panel , and they finally start telling you everything that's going to happen for the next few years , the feel of the crowd is just something that you won't get anywhere else. Sometimes that intensity can be overwhelming , as when Brooklyn joined a crowd as it surged forward to enter the Hall H line , everybody rushed to go into the tent. In hindsight , I should not have joined everybody , but my feet were off the ground and the crowd was just carrying me. Attending Comic-Con requires planning , says Brooklyn. So figure out what you're into. What are you comfortable with ? If you're not comfortable sleeping out , that's fine. The plan can be that you'll just check out Hall H and see if it's a walk in day with no line. Just don't expect that on a Saturday when Warner Brothers and Marvel are bringing their superheroes. But Brooklyn says your plan should include some basics for survival. So not everything is going to be at your fingertips. So start thinking about what you're going to need if you're going to be outside your room for 16 hours a day to make sure that you're comfortable , hydrated and ready. So pack snacks and water deodorant if you want to be considerate of others and wear comfy shoes because you can easily do 30,000 steps on the exhibit floor. This year also has a new pandemic requirement , says Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer.
S3: We do have a mask mandate , so people will be seeing everybody wearing a mask , whereas before that you saw mostly people in costume with masks.
S5: Attendees will also need proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the kingdom. But the most important thing to remember is that Comic-Con can be whatever you make it. You can do panels or shop or game or cosplay , or just hanging with friends and kindred souls. You know , you bond on a level that you bond with other people on a daily basis. It's a place where I don't get a lot of judgment , and that's always nice. In other words.
S6: Chewie , we're home.
S5: Beth ACCOMANDO , KPBS News.
S1: Comic-Con International kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center and the extended Comic-Con campus.

San Diego county is now in the high COVID-19 tier due to increasing case numbers and hospitalizations. Everything’s on the way up and this is not a good picture because we don’t know where the peak is going to be, Dr. Eric Topol tells Midday Edition. Then, San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs was one of 17 members of congress arrested yesterday during a demonstration for abortion rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court. “We will not stop fighting until we make sure that Americans across this country have the fundamental right to bodily autonomy,” she said. Plus, the department of Health and human services has launched a new number - 988 - as the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Then, with Summer in full swing, San Diego residents are flocking to the beaches. But as the county implements new water quality testing, there are concerns over whether the public should be going in the ocean. And for something a little lighter, a new bar in San Diego is offering a high-fidelity twist on the typical cocktail experience. At Part Time Lover in North Park, along with Manhattans and Martinis, patrons can enjoy a curated selection of tunes spun from vinyl records by live DJ’s. Finally, Comic-Con International returns to its first full scale, in-person summer show since 2019. KPBS explores why the pop culture convention has some dedicated fans.