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San Diegans with ties to Ukraine watch in horror as Russian invasion unfolds

 February 24, 2022 at 5:08 PM PST

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Local reaction to the invasion in Ukraine.
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It's time we are talking now , but people are dying over there every minute , every seconds people die.
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I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
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This is KPBS midday edition.
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The point in time homeless count happened this morning , so how is the information used ? The idea is , you know , they go in this area and they say , Oh , look , maybe there's more homeless people living here.
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We need to allocate more resources here.
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Author Heather McGhee talks drained poll politics and her book The Some of US , plus a look at some upcoming musicals for our midday movies.
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That's ahead on Midday Edition.
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As the U.S. woke up to news that Russia was invading Ukraine , many in San Diego's Ukrainian community began worrying about their relatives and the fate of their native land.
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He is holding to his promise of taking the whole thing the whole of Ukraine.
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That's us , called Hawass , who with his wife , Nadia , spoke to KPBS this morning following news of the invasion.
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They expressed rage and confusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin , but not surprise.
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I felt simply anger and anger at something like this happening at all at this time and this age , something that I I couldn't understand why somebody would want to do that.
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Just crazy.
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Just something that I couldn't envision a surrealistic.
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The couple shared how friends and family in the region are faring.
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Nadia says people she knows have already fled contentious regions or are in the process of getting out now.
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But continued explosions and further bombings have halted evacuations in some areas.
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We have friends who were very close to Donetsk and they've left and they are now outside of Kiev.
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We have friends in the new here , which is to the north , and they've gotten in their car and they are leaving.
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And when I ask them where they're going to , they do not know they are very frightened.
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Friends from Odessa have made it as far north as been nature , and they couldn't go any further because of explosions and detonations.
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So we are we are worried and we don't want this to last forever.
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We want this to be done and it needs to be done quickly.
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When asked about the international response to the invasion , Moscow said that while he was encouraged by the widespread condemnation of Russia's military action.
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Sanctions alone would not bring the conflict to an end.
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The sanctions will not stop for a period.
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I don't care what you put on that list.
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It will not stop your actions that will stop us , something that nobody wants to mention.
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So the question is yes.
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And what now ? Faced with the prospect of escalating global conflict , Ice-Cold quoted Winston Churchill , We the West have a choice , war or shame.
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And he predicted , correctly said it will take shape , but the war will come anyhow.
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Father Yuri Sars's , administrator of Saint John , the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in San Diego.
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His concern is for the Ukrainian people.
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It's time we are talking now , but people are dying over there.
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Every minute , every second people die.
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We need to stop this stupid aggression.
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My relatives , they leave school three or four.
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They just hear a couple explosions like , I can't believe it's happened , but it happened.
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And we need to stay together.
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We need to support each other.
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According to source.
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Ukrainians in the country that now find themselves trapped by the conflict are faced with a choice flee or fight.
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SA says those who are choosing to stay behind remain resolute , preparing to dig in and fight the Russian aggression.
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You can run from what you can and my friends , they are ready to protect their muzzle.
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They're not soldiers.
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They're just regular people.
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But some of them , like , try to sense a family like Abro to Poland , but they are not going to run from their country.
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As world leaders consider the scale of response to the conflict , Sasse says that regardless of what consequences Russia will face , he hopes that global support will rally behind Ukraine before more people die.
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World is vacant.
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For what ? For more victims , more blood.
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U.S. President Joe Biden addressed the nation this morning , outlining what the Ukraine invasion will mean to the U.S. and the rest of the world.
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The next few weeks and months we hard and the people of Ukraine.
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Putin has unleashed a great pain on them , but the Ukrainian people have known thirty years of independence , and they've repeatedly shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards.
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This is a dangerous moment for all of Europe , for the freedom around the world.
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Putin is a committed assault on the very principles that uphold the global peace.
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CPB's safe and will bring you the latest on the Ukraine invasion and the U.S. response.
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With updates from NPR.
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Last night was one of the coldest nights this winter , leaving those unsheltered in dangerous conditions.
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This morning was also the point in time homeless count in San Diego , teams hit the streets at four a.m. to get a count of how many people are living without a home.
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KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman was there and joins us now with more.
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Matt , welcome.
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Hey , Jake.
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You've been out in Spring Valley since 6:00 this morning , covering the point in time homeless count.
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What did you see out there ? Yeah.
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So we got in Spring Valley just a little bit before 6:00 , obviously still dark and something to point out too.
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It was freezing out there.
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I mean , not quite freezing , but my car said it was about 37 38 degrees.
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So very cold night for those who are out sleeping in tents and sleeping out there on the streets , unlucky enough to not be in shelters by the time we got there.
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You know , the count starts of 4:00 a.m. , supposed to go to eight in the Spring Valley area.
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They had already finished around six o'clock , so we got the chance to talk to some of the volunteers out there.
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And we also went out and saw some of what they had seen , albeit it was much darker , but saw a lot of the encampments up there , some of them under overpass freeways and some of them just freestanding tents.
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Does conducting the count in the winter make it harder to get a more accurate count due to the homeless population seeking shelter during the colder nights ? So something to understand with this count as it counts the unsheltered and the sheltered.
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And when we're talking about unsheltered two , we're also talking about people who are living in their vehicles.
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And so , for instance , in 2020 , you know , there was no count last year due to the pandemic 2020 , there was about 7600 total homeless and it's almost split 50-50 between unsheltered and sheltered.
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Obviously , when it's winter , it's much colder out there.
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But I think part of the idea of doing it in the early morning hours is that they're hoping that people will be where they sleep and they try to put caseworkers , case management workers who are out there working with the unsheltered every day so they know , Hey , this is where this person sleeps.
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If they're not there , maybe we know that they sleep over here.
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The San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness conducts this count.
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What kind of information are they looking to get ? They're looking to get some demographics.
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So , you know , things like age , they're also looking for if people from our military , if people are , you know , living with spouses , a partner , or maybe if they're living with a family to try to get them the help that they need.
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The idea is , you know , they go in this area and they say , Oh , look , maybe there's more homeless people living here.
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We need to allocate more resources here.
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We know that the count is tied to federal and state funding , something that's a little bit interesting , though.
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You know , a lot of times the count is focused on downtown.
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Obviously a very visible problem there.
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In San Diego City Center , thousands of homeless expected to be counted down there , but a lot of times when they interact with those people , you know , they're offering them shelter when the shelter beds are available because it's so close , even at the beach areas , you know people can go to shelters.
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But in the East County , like out here in Spring Valley , a lot of people , you know , they don't want to go downtown to go to a shelter.
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And right now , that's sort of really the only option.
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As Brian Gruters , he's the associate director of outreach for Path , they were out there today and he spoke to a gentleman who's in this situation.
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I saw a guy who said he'd been homeless for 15 years freely admitted that he's got a substance use issue.
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But that's to me , that's a fellow that we could get connected to a shelter.
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I mean , I think typically we see in areas outside of the downtown core , whether that's in the city of San Diego or in the county , if there were a shelter close by that would uproot them.
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I mean , he said he'd been homeless here.
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This is where he became homeless and this is where he's been homeless for 15 years.
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So he's from this community.
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I think for someone like that , the idea of moving the downtown to live in a shelter is , I mean , you may as well ask going to move to Iowa.
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It doesn't want to go there.
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And that's something that we hear , not just from people outside of the city centre , but sometimes people even living in the city of San Diego that they don't want to go to congregate shelters.
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I will add a note to that.
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The county is trying to work on building some shelters out there.
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So maybe people like this gentleman will have a place to go pretty soon to find shelter.
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You know , Matt , how is the information collected during this count used ? So there's kind of two pieces.
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So there's the piece that they count the number of people living on the streets.
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There's some federal and state dollars that correlate to that sort of , you know , supposed to correlate to the amount of problem there is and then get the corresponding dollars to help try to fix that.
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And then there's also the other information in terms of just talking to people and asking them , Hey , what can help you ? You know , do you need a blanket ? Do you stay in this area often ? Do you move around just trying to get a sort of a grasp on the homeless to figure out what they need ? Now I will point out to a lot of this work happens every single day.
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Obviously , this count gets a lot of attention because typically it only happens once a year.
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And how does the homeless count process work ? So there's teams that go all across the county and they go in census tracts and typically on a team.
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They like to have a case manager or a case advisor who works with the homeless directly.
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And typically , if they can find somebody from that area , like in Spring Valley , they had a homeless outreach worker from Path who was leading a team.
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He works that area every day.
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He knows where the people stay , has personal relationships , and that's to help try to get an accurate count.
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They want to be as accurate as they possibly can to try to get them.
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Most dollars that represent the current situation , the homeless count happens every two years , but recently it was postponed.
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Can you tell us about that and how the pandemic has impacted this effort ? Yeah , so there was no homeless count last year due to the pandemic now.
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The regional task force on the homeless , which organizes all this , they say that per federal guidelines , they only have to do it every other year.
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But here in San Diego , they typically do it every single year.
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Something to note , too , may be an early indicator.
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You know , you talk to people , you talk to those who work with the homeless.
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It seems anecdotally that there's a visual increase in those people living on the streets.
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Obviously , the results of this will confirm that or not.
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But at least in downtown , the downtown partnerships there are nonprofit down there.
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They do monthly counts of the number of tents down there.
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From this January , compared to last January , they've seen a 50 percent increase.
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So not sure if that's an indicator , but we may see a higher number than in 2020 , which was about 7600 shelter and unsheltered.
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We know information from the point in time count is used to get funding , but what about policy changes ? That's something that the providers on the ground talk about.
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You know , when you go on this count , whether it be Spring Valley , whether you're going up to Oceanside , if there's a problem and keep in mind , they haven't taken a official count of these areas in two years.
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So they want to see where people are going.
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Are they moving out of the downtown center where we know that there's a lot of resources and a lot of people congregate ? Are they starting to move to other cities where maybe there's not a lot of resources , so they want to pinpoint where these people are and move the resources accordingly ? I've been speaking with KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman.
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Matt , thank you very much.
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Thanks , Jay.
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Even as new cases of the Omicron COVID variant to climb , health providers continue to grapple with long COVID.
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Perhaps the most mysterious and enduring aspect of the pandemic , while many people who are infected with COVID 19 recover in days or weeks , others sometimes called long haulers , experience debilitating symptoms months after their infection.
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The list of symptoms and health problems caused by long COVID are wide ranging , attacking different parts of the body in patients and making it difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat.
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UCSD Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Lucy Horton spoke with Christina Kim about what is known about long COVID today.
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Can you define this term long COVID for us ? What do we know about it today ? So long COVID really refers to a spectrum of persistent symptoms that patients can have in the weeks to months or even longer following their acute COVID infection.
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There is really no consensus definition , but most experts would agree that symptoms lasting longer than at least four weeks from the time of the acute infection would be long COVID.
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There is a huge range of symptoms , and they can impact really any organ system.
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So when we're defining long COVID , it's hard to determine it based off of any specific symptoms , but more kind of patterns of symptoms that occur in the right timeframe after a COVID infection.
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Is there any other illness or virus that has these kind of long lasting effects ? There are many post-viral syndromes that we know about.
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Most of them only occur in a very , very small subset of patients.
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So we've never really seen a post-viral syndrome to the degree that we have with COVID.
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For example , the Ebola virus can lead to long term symptoms , and there are some other childhood infections , for example , such as measles , that can cause a long term symptoms or syndromes.
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But we just don't experience those that much because those viruses aren't really commonly seen here in the United States.
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Do we have a sense of the number of people who are suffering from long COVID in the United States ? We know that approximately 15 percent of patients who survive their infections may continue to have long COVID symptoms , so we can make estimates based on the overall number of people who've been infected to date in the United States.
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There's there haven't been any really wide studies to try to determine that exact number.
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We've heard a lot about brain fog as being a common symptom of long COVID.
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But what are some of the other more common symptoms your patients are experiencing ? So in our patient cohort , we do see quite a bit of the brain fog.
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We also see a lot of fatigue , persistent muscle and joint pain , persistent issues with breathing , you know , a lot of decreased ability to exercise and a lot of fatigue after exercise.
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But symptoms really are so wide ranging.
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We've seen patients with chronic rashes , chronic diarrhea , vision hearing issues just to name a few.
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Do we know anything about who is more likely to develop long COVID ? We're still trying to understand who is at highest risk for developing long COVID.
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There have been a few studies that have come out recently suggesting that patients with diabetes , for example , may be at a higher risk of developing long COVID symptoms.
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But what's really interesting is that the initial part of the infection doesn't necessarily seem to predict who develops long COVID.
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So the majority of patients who have long COVID actually had pretty mild initial infections.
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They were not hospitalized.
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They did not require any intensive care unit stays.
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So unlike those who are more likely to develop severe COVID and even die from COVID , those who develop long COVID seem to be a much different population.
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What have we learned about long COVID from this most recent surge ? And has it been changing as new variants arise ? We're really just over two months from when infections in the United States with Omicron really surged , so we're just now starting to see patients present with long COVID symptoms.
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So it's a little bit early to really understand the impact of the different variants have on long COVID.
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But there have been several studies that have come out recently looking at the role of vaccination on long COVID , showing that people who are vaccinated prior to getting infected are less likely to develop long COVID symptoms.
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So when I think about that and understanding how many people during the Omicron surge were vaccinated but still got infected , I would think that the percentage of people who would develop long COVID symptoms might actually be a little bit lower compared to prior surges.
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What are the treatments that have been developed to actually deal with long COVID ? Are they different than other COVID treatments ? So right now , there are no specific targeted treatments for long COVID , unlike those for acute COVID.
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There are no monoclonal antibodies or antiviral drugs.
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So we're really left with trying to treat specific symptoms and focusing a lot on rehab and kind of emotional and psychosocial support as well.
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I'm hopeful that we'll have more treatments in the future.
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There's several that are in clinical trials , but as of now , there are no approved or authorized treatments specifically for long COVID.
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Do you anticipate that long COVID will impact our medical system ? Do hospitals have the ability to fully handle the needs of long COVID patients ? We're expecting to see large numbers of long COVID patients as long as the pandemic continues.
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Right now , I think that the majority of patients with long COVID symptoms are not yet in care either because they haven't presented for care or they haven't really been identified as having long COVID.
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So I think that we're really only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of patients coming and seeking care at a clinic like ours , for example.
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So I do think that health systems should prepare for more patients and put systems in place so that they can identify , treat and support all of these patients in the months and years to come.
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What is your biggest concern when it comes to long COVID ? My biggest concern about long COVID is just not knowing how many people will fully recover.
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We do know that many will have a meaningful recovery , but many still have symptoms almost two years after their initial infection.
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And that would really impact , you know , both the individual patients.
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But society as a whole , if we think about these young , relatively healthy people who may be permanently disabled because of long COVID.
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So not knowing that and not being able to predict how many people fully recover and not , I think , is one of the biggest challenges I face as a clinician treating these patients.
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I've been speaking with infectious disease specialist Dr. Lucy Horton.
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Thank you so much.
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Thanks so much for having me today.
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This is KPBS midday edition.
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I'm Maureen Cavanaugh with Jade Heinemann.
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A long stretch of sandy beach coastline is a big part of what makes San Diego San Diego.
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But new information on the expected rate of sea level rise has raised concerns about the future of our beaches , our coastal cliffs , even the built environment along our coast.
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If the projections are right and sea levels along the California coast rise by eight inches by mid-century , how will it change San Diego and what , if anything , can we do to prepare ? Joining me is Mark Merrifield , oceanographer with Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
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And Mark , welcome to the program.
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Thank you.
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Now , it's hard to imagine exactly what eight inches and sea level rise actually means.
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What happens when sea levels are that much higher ? What would we see ? Well , we see that swing every day with the tides.
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So we're , you know , we're used to seeing that level of change.
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But what will what will change is that every high tide will be that much higher and every low tide as well.
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So we'll be in a situation where what tends to happen on our coast is that we tend to get flooding during the highest tides when there are some other factors involved , like ocean waves or an El Nino rising sea level.
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And so this extra seven inches or so will cause that risk to be even higher.
00:21:41.580 --> 00:21:54.630
What happens if we have more than an eight inch rise in sea levels ? There's prediction that it could rise of climate change continues unmitigated to a much higher degree at the end of this century.
00:21:56.370 --> 00:21:57.630
Yeah , there's a tipping point.
00:21:58.140 --> 00:22:16.620
It comes down to , you know , what's the elevation of the land above mean sea level right now ? And so when you get up to sort of four feet above sea level , which is not , which is predicted in some of these projections going forward , certainly by the middle of the next century , then we're talking about a very different waterfront.
00:22:17.100 --> 00:22:23.800
Good parts of the San Diego Bay around the perimeter will be flooded Mission Bay as well.
00:22:24.240 --> 00:22:47.280
The estuaries , the wetlands will be the parameters of those will be much broader and we'll see these low points in the Midway area and Imperial Beach and Coronado , where the groundwater table will be very close to the surface in a way that whenever we get heavy rain , events of flooding will occur , even if the ocean doesn't over wash from from the shore.
00:22:47.940 --> 00:22:50.530
So it's going to be a very , very different.
00:22:50.550 --> 00:23:02.700
San Diego , if we get to above this sort of natural threshold imposed by our own terrain here , where we will be having to really accommodate water in a way that we've never done so before.
00:23:03.780 --> 00:23:10.560
And if we have water in the streets , that could also affect storm drains and important aspects of our infrastructure.
00:23:10.560 --> 00:23:12.420
Isn't that right ? That's right.
00:23:12.430 --> 00:23:14.670
We're already seeing that during some of the king tide events.
00:23:15.150 --> 00:23:18.540
You know where you'll have to divert traffic or close down a road.
00:23:18.540 --> 00:23:30.360
And of course , there's big concern about how rising sea levels and with that more wave action at the base of some of our cliffs is going to translate into increased rates of bluff erosion.
00:23:30.720 --> 00:23:36.390
And of course , with the coastal terrain and some of our infrastructure right along the coast , there it is a big concern.
00:23:37.180 --> 00:23:40.560
Now I want to talk to you a little bit more about what happens to our coastline.
00:23:40.890 --> 00:23:51.690
How does sea level rise create beach and coastal cliff erosion ? As the sea level rises , that wave action rises higher and higher up the beach and higher and higher up the cliff.
00:23:51.690 --> 00:24:03.990
And so you are now creating a situation where there's just more hours of attack per day and more days per year where a beach is underwater , and that leads to more erosion.
00:24:05.130 --> 00:24:10.530
And so does this mean an end to our sandy beaches ? It's a concern.
00:24:10.530 --> 00:24:13.060
We've already seen kind of glimpses of this.
00:24:13.060 --> 00:24:32.160
So when we're in the middle of an El Nino winter , for instance , where the sea levels are as unusually high at least a foot higher than usual , and we get heavy storm events , the beaches , the sand on the beach has a hard time staying in place and where it's replaced by more of a rocky shoreline.
00:24:32.610 --> 00:24:42.210
And so that's the concern is that we may not be able to sustain beaches year round , and that cobbles may be a big part of San Diego coastal experience.
00:24:43.890 --> 00:24:55.230
There are some ideas about how to confront this sea level rise to move infrastructure inland , even using managed retreat to move homes back from the coast.
00:24:55.500 --> 00:24:58.230
But all of that is basically talk now.
00:24:58.410 --> 00:25:14.040
How can a report like this become a call to action and certainly set some timeframes right now ? We know that by the middle of the century , with that much sea level rise , planners can start to look at what the most vulnerable parts of our shorelines and work that in.
00:25:14.170 --> 00:25:26.710
WHO planning design as well as strategies for building resilience along the coastline , which we're seeing more of that we're seeing things like natural shorelines , where dunes and other natural systems are used to try and protect the beach.
00:25:28.360 --> 00:25:42.850
And I think more and more , we're going to have to look at innovative ways of maintaining the shoreline , holding off that rising waters as much as we can in the hopes that ultimately that we keep the levels below kind of critical thresholds.
00:25:42.850 --> 00:25:49.960
As time goes on by the mid-century and even by the end of the century , these will certainly be nuisances.
00:25:49.960 --> 00:25:55.480
And then as time goes on , more and more of of a fundamental risk to the coastline.
00:25:55.480 --> 00:26:07.090
But ultimately , if we get into situations where we're talking about two , three , four and greater feet of Sea-Level Rise , then kind of all bets are off on how we're going to be able to maintain a lot of our infrastructure.
00:26:08.400 --> 00:26:11.140
We've been hearing about this coming for quite some time.
00:26:11.160 --> 00:26:22.150
Do you think there's finally enough public will to actually start to do fundamental things to confront this issue ? There is certainly a lot of awareness.
00:26:22.600 --> 00:26:34.450
And I know that it is a it's a daunting problem because individually it's hard to to imagine steps that we can take that can , you know , lead to positive change.
00:26:34.450 --> 00:26:39.910
But we have to start , and I think this report is really a call to action.
00:26:41.580 --> 00:26:50.560
What are some sea rise adaptation strategies you'd like to see started right now ? I like this living shoreline approach.
00:26:50.580 --> 00:27:01.800
I do think that there's ways that we can think about maintaining our shorelines through a good part of the century through a combination of replenishment and smart design.
00:27:02.250 --> 00:27:07.040
And those are systems I'd like to see tested more.
00:27:07.050 --> 00:27:14.820
I mean , they're hard to implement and kind of hard to permit , but they're going to become essential and we might as well start now and getting out in front of that.
00:27:15.570 --> 00:27:18.420
But adaptation can only take us so far.
00:27:18.690 --> 00:27:28.860
Does this new report say there's a chance we can avoid the worst effects of sea level rise ? The report does paint a very different picture in the future , depending on our emission levels.
00:27:28.980 --> 00:27:40.530
So if we can keep to if we can reduce emissions and keep the global temperatures in check , then the future sea level scenarios are are manageable and adaptation will be effective.
00:27:41.550 --> 00:27:45.210
And some of the worst case scenarios they're adaptations will be.
00:27:46.120 --> 00:27:55.240
Completely irrelevant , and we'll be facing a very , very different world with profound impacts , not only in San Diego but across most coastlines.
00:27:56.080 --> 00:28:01.060
I've been speaking with Mark Merrifield , oceanographer with Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
00:28:01.240 --> 00:28:02.560
Mark , thank you so much.
00:28:03.340 --> 00:28:04.120
Thank you very much.
00:28:10.550 --> 00:28:26.390
Author Heather McGhee says she started out on a mission to answer one simple question Why can't America have nice things , nice things like well-funded public schools in every neighborhood and truly universal guaranteed health care , child care and affordable housing.
00:28:26.690 --> 00:28:34.070
She explores answers to those questions in her book The Some of US How Racism Cost Everyone and How We Can Prosper.
00:28:34.370 --> 00:28:36.830
Joining me to talk about her book is Heather McGhee.
00:28:37.100 --> 00:28:37.970
Heather , welcome.
00:28:38.510 --> 00:28:39.590
Thank you so much , Chad.
00:28:40.430 --> 00:28:44.680
You know , in your book , there's some of us you talk about drained pool politics.
00:28:44.690 --> 00:28:52.580
Can you explain what that is ? When I went on this journey , I wanted to look at real life examples across the country.
00:28:53.180 --> 00:29:05.210
And one of the first places I went was Montgomery , Alabama , where I walked the grounds of what used to be a thousand plus person , lavishly funded public swimming pool.
00:29:05.960 --> 00:29:23.300
And these kinds of swimming pools used to be kind of a hallmark of American life in the 1930s , 40s and 50s , when middle-class security was really strong and it was funded by tax dollars , it was part of this sort of ethos of public goods that ensured that everyone had a decent standard of living.
00:29:23.900 --> 00:29:31.400
But as we know , the public pool in Montgomery , Alabama and in so many other places , either by law or by custom , was segregated.
00:29:31.610 --> 00:29:39.110
And for whites only , and so too were the other kinds of public goods that helped to make a middle-class life really possible and affordable.
00:29:39.320 --> 00:29:47.690
Whether it was mortgages and and virtually free , no down payment housing or Social Security or collective bargaining.
00:29:47.690 --> 00:29:54.140
All of these public goods at that time really helped to create a big middle class , but helped to create a whites only middle class.
00:29:54.590 --> 00:30:09.290
And what I discovered was that when the civil rights movement challenged the racial exclusivity of public goods like swimming pools and also of the rest of our social contract , that was really when we began to turn away from that winning formula.
00:30:09.710 --> 00:30:18.890
And in the case of the swimming pools literally in Montgomery , Alabama , and in hundreds of other places across the country , they actually drained the water out of the pool.
00:30:19.340 --> 00:30:21.560
So that's what I mean by drain pool politics.
00:30:21.560 --> 00:30:28.850
The idea that racism in our politics and our policymaking ultimately can end up being self-sabotaging and can have a cost for everyone.
00:30:29.150 --> 00:30:29.510
00:30:29.990 --> 00:30:38.340
What are some examples of recent policy that's guilty of drain pool politics ? Well , I found examples of drain pool politics.
00:30:38.360 --> 00:30:40.130
It seemed to be sort of everywhere I looked.
00:30:40.520 --> 00:30:52.880
Think about how we went in our society , from going from having basically free public college , right ? State schools and universities that helped really create middle class prosperity.
00:30:53.120 --> 00:31:04.340
And yet we moved away from that free college system and towards a debt free diploma system where families have to kick in for tuition and where we have all of these loans.
00:31:05.120 --> 00:31:15.080
And that happened when this new anti-government sentiment really rose up in the wake of the civil rights movement and integration of education.
00:31:15.080 --> 00:31:21.860
And so the debt system right now that we have in higher education is an example of drained pool politics.
00:31:22.220 --> 00:31:34.100
So is the fact that we sort of stand alone in this country by not having real family policy like universal child care and that we stand alone by not having really universal guaranteed health care.
00:31:34.700 --> 00:31:54.740
White Americans are the largest group of the uninsured , and yet , because of racial resentment against the first black president and deeper racial resentment against the idea of collective action against government , against public solutions , white folks have been the majority have been disapproving of of Obamacare ever since it wasn't enacted.
00:31:54.740 --> 00:32:19.640
And even though they benefit largely , you know , I mean , since the 30s , 40s and 50s , how much progress do you think the country has made in terms of moving away from these zero sum policies ? You know this this phenomenon of the zero sum rate , the idea that people believe that progress for people of color has to come at white folks expense that a dollar more in my pocket must mean a dollar less than yours.
00:32:20.030 --> 00:32:32.390
That idea has really been throughout our history , sold to most Americans by a narrow , self-interested elite.
00:32:32.480 --> 00:32:40.730
I'm really interested in the question of who's selling these racist ideas for their own profit , more than holding accountable the people who are desperate enough to buy them.
00:32:41.090 --> 00:33:09.020
And so I think right now we are seeing a resurgence of that zero-sum story of a of , you know , paid bullies in the corporate media , you know , selling this idea that demographic change is going to mean the loss of the American way of life , blaming immigrants and people of color and racial justice advocates for what is ultimately , you know , a set of policies and decisions that have redistributed wealth upwards people governing.
00:33:09.370 --> 00:33:14.320
On tax cuts for the wealthy and yet running their campaigns on culture , war politics.
00:33:14.650 --> 00:33:20.470
That's really the same phenomenon that we have seen during other moments of of acute demographic change.
00:33:20.620 --> 00:33:30.970
I mean , like here in California , the cost of living , you know , meaning just basic necessities are skyrocketing , which widens the wealth gap.
00:33:30.970 --> 00:33:33.250
It puts equity further in the distance.
00:33:34.390 --> 00:34:15.130
What policies do you think would fix some of these issues ? Ultimately , the solution to these big problems where each individual trying to pay on their own has not made the math add up , is for us to start pooling the costs right for us to really actually refill the pool of public goods and say , You know what ? There's a bill in Washington that is languishing on the vine that would cap , for example , the amount that families pay for child care at seven percent of their income because it would , you know , inject public funding into the system and make millions of new high wage , well-trained child care jobs and elder care jobs.
00:34:15.490 --> 00:34:17.920
That's the kind of solution that we need.
00:34:18.250 --> 00:34:21.100
We have a major supply problem in housing.
00:34:21.100 --> 00:34:23.050
We need to build more housing.
00:34:23.050 --> 00:34:32.430
And yes , dare I say , low low income , affordable working class public housing that is , you know , really a gold standard for the world.
00:34:32.440 --> 00:34:33.670
We can do that.
00:34:33.680 --> 00:34:40.570
We can afford to do it and we can't afford it publicly and we simply can't afford to do it privately anymore.
00:34:40.600 --> 00:34:41.830
The math just isn't adding up.
00:34:42.160 --> 00:34:57.700
And what do you hope people and policymakers walk away with when they read your book ? I hope that policymakers and people walk away with a sense that there's a real mutual interest in addressing racial injustice.
00:34:58.120 --> 00:35:04.900
That racism costs our economy over $2 billion a year in lost GDP growth.
00:35:05.260 --> 00:35:17.870
That the kinds of solutions that we need to enact in order to address the vestiges of explicit racism in our laws and our policies is not a zero sum.
00:35:17.950 --> 00:35:19.960
That's what I hope people take away.
00:35:20.710 --> 00:35:24.700
I've been speaking with Heather McGhee , author of The Some of US.
00:35:25.030 --> 00:35:26.830
Heather , thank you so much for joining us.
00:35:26.890 --> 00:35:27.430
Thank you.
00:35:27.610 --> 00:35:38.470
Heather McGhee will be discussing her book with some of us virtually for the Black History Month lecture series held by the San Diego Public Library Monday , February 28th , from 6:30 to eight p.m..
00:35:38.740 --> 00:35:40.600
For more information go to our website.
00:35:40.600 --> 00:35:42.250
KPBS dot org.
00:35:47.330 --> 00:35:49.400
This is KPBS midday edition.
00:35:49.520 --> 00:35:51.680
I'm Maureen Cavanaugh with Jade Heineman.
00:35:51.920 --> 00:36:02.660
Movie musicals made a comeback last year with West Side Story , Tick , Tick , Boom and Serono all being released and then being nominated for Oscars earlier this month.
00:36:03.020 --> 00:36:12.350
Serena opens this Friday in San Diego Cinemas , with West Side Story currently streaming on Disney Plus and Tick Tick Boom , available on Netflix.
00:36:12.890 --> 00:36:18.800
So it's a good time to convene our midday movies critics to discuss modern musicals.
00:36:19.100 --> 00:36:27.260
Joining me today is KPBS film critic and host of Cinema Junkie podcast Beth Accomando and movie Wallahs Yazdi Puebla.
00:36:27.800 --> 00:36:35.030
Now , before we talk about these recent musicals , I just want to ask you both if you like musicals and if you grew up watching them both , you first.
00:36:35.270 --> 00:36:41.900
I did grow up watching a lot of musicals , and I really love the old Hollywood musicals like Singing In The Rain and an American in Paris.
00:36:42.170 --> 00:36:49.580
But is the studio system faded ? I found fewer musicals that I enjoyed as they felt a little more formulated and a little less innovative.
00:36:50.060 --> 00:36:56.150
But I do appreciate the work of Bob Fossae and rock musicals like A Hard Day's Night and Jesus Christ Superstar.
00:36:56.510 --> 00:37:07.580
But I really feel like it's a tough genre because more so than any other , it really requires audiences to take a leap of faith and to buy into the fact that people are going to just break into song.
00:37:08.000 --> 00:37:15.060
I think that's even more difficult than making them buy into , like the Star Wars universe or monsters or , you know , anything like that.
00:37:15.650 --> 00:37:17.900
It's an acquired taste for some people.
00:37:17.960 --> 00:37:23.940
But Yazdi , you grew up in India , where musicals Bollywood remain a cinema staple to this day.
00:37:24.110 --> 00:37:35.670
So how do you feel about musicals ? I just grew up watching Indian films at least once a week , and to this day , as you mentioned , Indian cinema predominantly is musicals.
00:37:35.690 --> 00:37:39.080
I mean , it's rare to find a movie which does not have a musical number in it.
00:37:39.650 --> 00:37:45.200
And also , I should say that the golden age of Hollywood musicals also had a considerable influence on Indian shores.
00:37:45.200 --> 00:37:55.700
Films like Singing In The Rain and My Fair Lady and the Sound of Music , played year after year to Sold-Out Indian theatres and endless reruns for musicals are in my blood.
00:37:56.090 --> 00:38:01.490
And I should also say that for me personally , I have seldom like two film simply because it's a musical.
00:38:01.580 --> 00:38:07.490
The fact for them is the musical has always been only one of other things that has made a particular film great.
00:38:08.120 --> 00:38:11.630
OK , well , let's start on our film selections for today.
00:38:11.830 --> 00:38:13.790
Serono opens tomorrow.
00:38:13.940 --> 00:38:19.640
It's an adaptation of a stage musical that was based on Edwin Ralston's play Serono de Bergerac.
00:38:19.970 --> 00:38:39.950
In the play , the charismatic and poetic title character believes he is too ugly to win the love of the beautiful Roxann , so he helps a handsome young man named Christian to steal her heart with his words in the film , Serono is played by Peter Dinklage , so instead of a facial disfigurement , Serono is a dwarf.
00:38:40.250 --> 00:38:44.510
Here is the famous balcony scene where Sirino feeds lines to Christian.
00:38:45.230 --> 00:38:46.730
I could no more stop loving you.
00:38:46.940 --> 00:38:50.540
I could no more stop loving you , and I could stop the sun rising.
00:38:50.870 --> 00:38:52.520
Then I can stop the sun rising.
00:38:53.150 --> 00:39:01.020
Really ? My true love is never stopped growing in my soul from the day it was born there.
00:39:01.050 --> 00:39:02.400
From the day I was born.
00:39:03.650 --> 00:39:04.900
They're there.
00:39:06.530 --> 00:39:09.560
If your love is cruel , you should have killed it.
00:39:09.980 --> 00:39:10.670
I tried.
00:39:11.240 --> 00:39:12.170
It has the strength of.
00:39:12.200 --> 00:39:12.950
I tried.
00:39:13.340 --> 00:39:16.220
It has the strength of Hercules.
00:39:16.220 --> 00:39:22.820
Hercules can't think better to continue grace.
00:39:23.600 --> 00:39:33.260
So Beth , what do you think of this musical ? Well , I love Edmund Rustan's play , but I find the musical hugely disappointing in capturing the spirit of that play.
00:39:33.710 --> 00:39:39.230
And what makes it all the more infuriating for me is that I think Dinklage is actually a perfect soprano.
00:39:39.710 --> 00:39:46.490
But the musical leaves out the best of Rustan's play and tries to replace his wonderful poetry with trite songs.
00:39:46.850 --> 00:39:53.330
And then adding to this aggravation is that Dinklage delivers his lines with the panache that the character deserves.
00:39:53.720 --> 00:39:57.530
But then he's forced to sing in a decidedly kind of mediocre voice.
00:39:58.040 --> 00:40:06.410
I think director Joe Wright has a nice visual flair , but there's just too little of the actual play and the character that I grew up loving in the movie.
00:40:06.860 --> 00:40:13.670
Plus , it opens with a focus on Roxann and an attempt to add some sort of like misplaced female empowerment to the the film.
00:40:13.670 --> 00:40:14.870
And it just doesn't seem to fit.
00:40:15.290 --> 00:40:19.880
You know , I mean , she's kind of a shallow woman who can't see Serena's soul until it's too late.
00:40:19.880 --> 00:40:24.240
So I didn't appreciate that kind of shift in the focus and yazdi.
00:40:24.260 --> 00:40:27.770
What did you think of Sarah now ? I loved this film.
00:40:29.450 --> 00:40:43.010
I think the choice by the choice by Joe Wright to convert the stage play to a musical didn't hurt me as much as Bette , primarily because there are white swings and melodrama to the story at every point.
00:40:43.490 --> 00:40:45.920
And I think the musicality complements that.
00:40:46.250 --> 00:40:50.900
And also , I believe the musical numbers are pretty well choreographed with a lot of flair.
00:40:51.530 --> 00:40:54.680
There are other reasons why I also admire this iteration of Sarah.
00:40:54.690 --> 00:41:02.390
No , the original sitter now is a lovelorn man with a large nose who thinks himself unworthy of the love of this beautiful woman.
00:41:02.870 --> 00:41:16.310
But the decision to cast Peter Dinklage , Arsenal and Peter Dinklage as a small person , that decision heightens the stakes so much more because he truly now has had reason to doubt that this woman is out of his reach.
00:41:16.610 --> 00:41:20.930
Socially , economically , they cannot even physically see eye to eye.
00:41:21.470 --> 00:41:32.360
And also the fact that Dinklage doesn't have the strongest singing voice , I think works to the film's benefit because it is one more thing at which he cannot measure up to the woman he loves.
00:41:33.080 --> 00:41:40.070
So I think few filmmakers are able to do swoon as well as to right , and he's made movies like Atonement and Pride and Prejudice.
00:41:40.490 --> 00:41:42.170
And I think this one is no exception.
00:41:42.380 --> 00:41:44.810
So a big disagreement on Serono.
00:41:45.050 --> 00:41:50.150
Let's move on now to one of the most anticipated musical remakes in recent years.
00:41:50.360 --> 00:42:00.470
Steven Spielberg's West Side Story This is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet played out with New York street gangs instead of rival families.
00:42:00.770 --> 00:42:09.400
Rita Moreno Anita in the 1961 film , plays a new character in Spielberg's film , and here's a scene Tunney.
00:42:10.820 --> 00:42:17.630
I don't tell you who to hang out with , but what ? Those boys are juvenile , delinquent.
00:42:19.430 --> 00:42:21.860
They're no good for you and dobara wash up.
00:42:21.950 --> 00:42:26.300
Hey , you made fun of the way I talk one more time , Blondie.
00:42:27.680 --> 00:42:33.200
I'm going to talk to riff and tell him he can't just come in here and not pay Tony.
00:42:33.770 --> 00:42:34.640
Wake up.
00:42:35.000 --> 00:42:38.630
I know you love Riff , but he hates Puerto Ricans.
00:42:39.200 --> 00:42:39.970
That is not you.
00:42:40.480 --> 00:42:40.790
00:42:40.850 --> 00:42:41.600
Don't hate you.
00:42:42.440 --> 00:42:44.480
I married a gringo.
00:42:45.320 --> 00:42:47.870
He thinks that makes me a gringo , which you don't.
00:42:48.080 --> 00:42:50.210
And I ain't Yazdi.
00:42:50.240 --> 00:42:55.850
Did Spielberg succeed in this remake ? Listen , like many , I wanted to hate this school.
00:42:56.180 --> 00:42:59.000
Some properties are just too hallowed and should be left alone.
00:42:59.180 --> 00:43:00.920
Don't try remake of Gone With the Wind.
00:43:00.920 --> 00:43:07.160
Don't worry imagination of Citizen Kane , and in the same way , don't do an updated version of the West Side story.
00:43:07.850 --> 00:43:10.940
So as much as I went into this film with the frump on my face.
00:43:11.150 --> 00:43:15.170
Spielberg and Tony Kushner are slowly but surely won me over.
00:43:15.770 --> 00:43:18.380
There are many things that I grew to admire about this film.
00:43:18.710 --> 00:43:34.340
This version corrects many of the wrongs from the original , but it makes the original story about warring gangs in New York City relevant to the current reckoning we are seeing as a nation in relation to the racial divide and police brutality and so forth.
00:43:34.730 --> 00:43:39.490
But I think of all the reasons that I like this movie , the one that I like most.
00:43:39.530 --> 00:43:45.050
That is the sense of direct yearning that manifests between the two leads.
00:43:45.590 --> 00:43:49.820
They barely meet the first time , and suddenly nothing else seems to matter to them.
00:43:50.360 --> 00:43:56.900
The film takes the most cliched of romantic motifs and renders that achingly gloriously believable.
00:43:57.380 --> 00:44:00.270
This Maria and this Tony don't have a choice.
00:44:00.290 --> 00:44:03.140
They are overcome by a yearning for each other that.
00:44:03.210 --> 00:44:06.480
Is as colossal and inevitable as planets in the sky.
00:44:07.350 --> 00:44:17.700
This takes it back to the absolute origin of the story , which is Romeo and Juliet , and I think this is very hard to convey on screen and Spielberg's choice to make this female lead.
00:44:17.700 --> 00:44:24.150
The Maria in this version , very assertive in making all the first moves is such a wonderful update.
00:44:24.210 --> 00:44:26.900
So I really grew to love this from.
00:44:27.360 --> 00:44:35.430
Beth , did you develop a yearning for this musical ? I know I'm going to sound like such a grump compared to Yazdi.
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I'll start with the good things about this film.
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So Arianna Dubbo's is fantastic as Anita.
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The opening shots of the Rumble were breathtaking.
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The fact that the actors were not forced to darken their skin and that people of color got to play people of color , all those things were great.
00:44:52.380 --> 00:44:54.930
The bad things for me , however , is a far longer list.
00:44:55.020 --> 00:45:01.080
But at the top of that is Spielberg directing , and the leads are exceptionally bland to me.
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Spielberg gives the film occasional moments , but nothing to convince me that he knows that much about musicals or New York City.
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So that's A. That's A..
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OK , I'm the curmudgeon in the corner.
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Another musical set in New York City is Tick , Tick , Boom.
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It's based on Jonathan Larson's autobiographical play about trying to produce his first stage musical.
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It's directed by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda and stars Andrew Garfield.
00:45:33.000 --> 00:45:55.350
And here's a clip Suburbia , a satire set in the future on a poisoned planet Earth , where the vast majority of humanity spend their entire lives just staring at the screens of their media transmitters , watching the tiny elite of the rich and powerful who filmed their own fabulous lives like TV shows.
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A world where human emotion has been outlawed.
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This will be the first musical written for the MTV generation , this is my is this supposed to be aliens ? I wasn't sure if was all like aliens.
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Nope , not aliens , but it is set in the future.
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Beth , I'm almost afraid to ask , will this musical ? Get your third thumbs down ? Actually , no.
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Ironically , I thought Lin-Manuel Miranda , who comes from theater , did a much better job of creating a vibrant , modern movie musical with tick , tick boom than Spielberg did with West Side Story.
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In this and last years in the heights both of which he directed , he displayed a genuinely innovative sense of filming musical numbers , and he made them feel wonderfully cinematic in terms of production , design , shot choices and editing.
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So I really love the way this one integrated the music into the story.
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And Andrew Garfield character did feel a little bit like a Glee character on steroids and sometimes got annoying.
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But all in all , I enjoyed this film and the music was strong.
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Unlike in Sereno Yazdi , will you and Beth finally agree on one film ? Alas , this is not going to be that easy.
00:47:15.310 --> 00:47:18.730
But jokes aside , I don't love or hate this film.
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I think it is very heartfelt and earnest , and my issue with Tick , Tick Boom is one of scope.
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It is about the dreams of one person , and that is usually enough.
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But somehow , I wish this film was about more.
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It doesn't carry the large epic scale splendor of Lin-Manuel Miranda's other musical that was released earlier this year , which is in the Heights.
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And that musical had so much ingenuity , so much raw energy and creativity in terms of how each of the musical numbers were picturised.
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And I think pure purely because that particular musical had such a large scope that that other musical impressed me far more.
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Well , now I want to see all of them because I want to see which one of you was right , and I want to thank you both.
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You can find a list of Betts and Yazdi , whose top ten musicals at KPBS dot org slash cinema junkie and midday movies will be back next month to talk about the Oscars.

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