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Slight decrease in local cases could bode well for COVID outlook

 January 25, 2022 at 3:03 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:01)

The number of local COVID 19 cases dropped over the weekend.

Speaker 2: (00:04)

It's definitely showing a decline in the number of cases reported. We're still seeing cases in the thousands, but definitely less are coming in.

Speaker 1: (00:12)

I'm G Kim with Marine Kavanaugh. This is KBB S midday edition, The killing of a second Tiana journalist in a single week sparks, outrage and concern.

Speaker 3: (00:30)

I really want to say to you that my, my country, my city is safe for everyone, but it isn't true.

Speaker 1: (00:41)

What's next. After the region's homelessness count is once again, delayed by COVID 19. And we check in with the state's reparation task force ahead of their first meeting of the year that's ahead on midday edition. Although the spread of 19 remains high locally, San Diego county did see a slight reduction in cases over the weekend, whether or not this downturn represents the beginning of the end of the current surge remains to be seen. However signs are emerging that the current rate of transmission could stabilize before beginning a more significant drop in the coming weeks. Joining me now with more as KBS health or order Matt Hoffman, Matt, thanks for joining us. Hey, Christina, Matt, how do the most recent case numbers compare to previous week's

Speaker 2: (01:30)

Data? Yeah. So if you look at the data overall, you know, on the state's website, the county's website, it, it's definitely showing a decline in the number of cases reported. You know, we're still seeing cases in the thousands, but definitely lesser coming in. One thing I will say, though, is, is that the positivity rate is something that we've been struggling with lately. We did have it really down low and single digits before, but, um, it's been hung up around that 25% zone or so, um, so that's something that's definitely been, uh, concerning for officials do

Speaker 1: (01:57)

The recent numbers indicate that we may actually be headed in a downward trend of cases in the county. It

Speaker 2: (02:03)

Definitely indicates that we're heading in a downward slope, or at least in this most recent surge, we're starting to like plateau and, and head head in a better way. Um, also something that we have to back that up is, uh, wastewater data, uh, from UC San Diego health experts that are looking at some of this stuff from the point Loma treatment plant. Um, we know that, you know, a COVID infection first develop the gut before it goes to the airways. And that's when they look at that sewage, when they can see, you know, how much, uh, transmission's been out there in the community, they've been able to predict past surges. And they're also starting to see, uh, the amount of COVID that's inside that sewage going down. So, uh, a good indicator, a good, uh, early indicator that we are on the downward, uh, stretch of this surge. Do we know

Speaker 1: (02:44)

Of hospitalization are dropping as

Speaker 2: (02:45)

Well? Hospitalizations have been another thing. That's kind of been a thorn in the San Diego county side. Uh, they've risen sharply ever since the Thanksgiving holiday. Um, and they've been stuck around there. Um, not, not as comparable as the surge we had around this time a year ago, but still, you know, 1300, uh, COVID related hospitalizations is, is

Speaker 1: (03:05)

A lot given all this are local health experts hopeful about what we're seeing right now.

Speaker 2: (03:10)

You know, the most recent thing we heard, uh, from the county public health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten was last week. Um, and she, uh, put out a statement saying, you know, there could continues to be a lot of virus activity in our community. And the best bet for preventing illness is to avoid large crowds, wear your mask, you know, things that we know to do to, to keep ourselves safe here. Um, and also, you know, she said, get a booster shot when you're eligible. And also of course, encouraging vaccinations about 80% of San Diegos have gotten it done. So, um, just continuing to do the things that we know work to rent the spread of this virus, but, you know, in this business, they never want to be predicting and saying, yes, we're going in a, in a good, in a good way. And then, you know, a week later we start going in the opposite direction, but they also wanna look for trends too. Uh, not just looking at, you know, cases from a few days, but looking at it over a few week period,

Speaker 1: (03:54)

Speaking of trends have experts indicated when they think the peak of this surge will be, are we any we're near it? Have we passed it? Where exactly are we?

Speaker 2: (04:02)

So, you know, in speaking with experts to work on the wastewater project, you know, they think that definitely in terms of like the caseload that we are, you know, still inside the surge right now, but on the downward trend of the surge. I mean, in terms of cases now, hospitalizations, uh, might be a little bit more of a lagging indicator, but there's hope that you know, that it should turn around soon within that two weeks or so

Speaker 1: (04:21)

Across the region, staffing shortages remain a key concern for hospital administrators. Are we seeing this problem ease up at all?

Speaker 2: (04:28)

I would say yes, we're definitely seeing it ease up a little bit. You know, not as many staff at these hospital systems are out as they were, you know, compared to like just after the new year's holiday, but they're still seeing an impact. Um, there's still a lot of COVID out there and that's also affecting hospital workers. Um, and we're still seeing, you know, systems like scripts having to, you know, delay care and delay some of these procedures that, you know, may not be a big deal now, but you put it off for a year. You put it off for two years and then it becomes, you know, an even bigger issue, other systems just like that. They're having to not only move patients around, but move staffing around from different clinical areas, bring them inside the hospital to keep up the pace of quickly intaking and discharging COVID patients.

Speaker 1: (05:05)

I wanna talk about testing now. Many San Diegos are still finding it difficult to get tests kits. Do we know of this high demand for tests has decreased at all in recent

Speaker 2: (05:13)

Weeks has not decreased at all. In recent weeks, the testing demand is still very high out there. We actually saw the county moved to open, you know, while the county doesn't not do the bulk of the testing, uh, here in San Diego, they're more of the backstop that they say we did see them open up another testing site up in the north county there in, in, uh, Escondido. All the hospital systems are reporting. You know, testing demand is still up. And if you look at the data on the county's website, it's up quite a bit, way more than 10,000, even if you compare it to a month ago, we know we're still seeing some of those long lines out there, but generally providers are getting tests back pretty quick in about two days. Um, you know, some of the signs you see say two to four days, um, but keep in mind too, all these tests that are, uh, being done, those do not include any of the rapid tests. Uh, those are just the PCR confirmed tests by the labs.

Speaker 1: (05:55)

And in related news, there's a new proposed California bill that would add the COVID 19 vaccine to the state's list of required inoculations here's San Diego unified board member, Richard Barre, talking about

Speaker 4: (06:06)

That. If a few people wanna say that by sending their unvaccinated students to school, they're willing to risk the help and safety of all other students, educators, we need to send a different message

Speaker 1: (06:20)

Matt, before you go. What can you tell us about this proposed legislation?

Speaker 2: (06:23)

Yeah, so this bill would sort of remove the mandatory personal belief exemption so that the state could enforce something like a vaccine mandate inside of these schools. And keep in mind, this is something that we saw, you know, San Diego unified, they tried to implement a COVID 19 vaccine mandate, uh, but a San Diego judge, you know, struck that down, said that, Hey, this has to be something that has to be done by the legislature. Um, and so that's exactly what you know, this lawmaker's trying to do, obviously with some of the support of some of the state's biggest school systems, but this still has a long way to go. You know, it's just been introduced. So we'll see, uh, if there's any appetite from other politicians in the public for it, I've been

Speaker 1: (06:58)

Speaking with KBB S health reporter, Matt Hoffman, Matt, thanks again for joining us.

Speaker 2: (07:02)

Thanks, Christina

Speaker 5: (07:09)

Demonstrations are a plan today across Mexico to protest the deaths and intimidation of journalists. The latest victim Lord desalt, the NATO was found shot to death outside her Tijuana home on Sunday. It's the second shooting death of a journalist in Tijuana in a week. A third journalist was killed inve Cruz. Earlier this month, the recent death seemed to confirm Mexico's notorious reputation as the deadliest country for journalists in the Western hemisphere. Joining me is K P S reporter kitty Verado and kitty. Welcome.

Speaker 6: (07:43)

Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Speaker 5: (07:46)

What do we know about the death of Lord's Maldonado? Where and when was she found?

Speaker 6: (07:52)

Well, she was found on Sunday evening and she was shot to death inside of her car right outside her home. And that's really disturbing. Someone must have been either waiting for her, um, outside and obviously must have followed her home several times, knew exactly where she lived

Speaker 5: (08:09)

And she told people she feared for her life. Didn't she?

Speaker 6: (08:12)

She did. You know, this is what I find really, um, unbelievable is that in 2019 LUS had the courage stand up during a presidential press conference in front of a national audience and plead with the president, uh, Manuel Lopez for help saying that she feared for her life.

Speaker 5: (08:31)

Do we know why she would've been a target? What kinds of stories she covered?

Speaker 6: (08:37)

Yeah, and she was a veteran reporter. She covered politics corruption for about 40 years and she had a, a blog and also a, a, a show and she had received threats for her previous work. And she was under, uh, a protection program for journalists, but she was also in a dispute for years with a former employer, an affiliate, uh, of a giant broadcaster owned by a man who became the governor of Vaca, California. And she was suing him for back wages and wrongful termination. And, uh, that's what she explained to the president during that news thing that she was receiving death threats. And after about a decade, it was reported that she won that lawsuit this week. And, um, I guess we have to note that the, the president of Mexico asked the public not to jump to conclusions and Bonne himself did speak out saying that he feels terrible for what happened and has the utmost respect for journalists. He said he had been working with her for years and denies any involvement, but also this is also notable the week that she was murdered, her car was vandalized. Um, and, uh, so she must have been terrified and, but she didn't tell anyone about that.

Speaker 5: (09:49)

And just last Friday, Maldonado spoke at a vigil for a photojournalist margarita. He was killed last Monday in Tijuana, was his death similar.

Speaker 6: (10:01)

It was. And that's what I find. So chilling both were shot outside of their homes. And as I said earlier, I, they were, they must have been followed home or someone was just waiting for them outside. In his case, he was leaving his home, uh, ready to go to work. And he was shot right outside of his car.

Speaker 5: (10:20)

You spoke with one of the friends of both journalists. What did she have to say about how these shootings have affected other journalists in Mexico?

Speaker 6: (10:30)

That's right. I spoke with a mutual friend of theirs, Alina CorpU, she's been a reporter for over two 20 years, just an extraordinary reporter and, and uh, extraordinary person. And she was just so worried and scared, not just for herself, but for all journalists.

Speaker 3: (10:49)

We have a question in our minds who could be the next one. I really want to say to you that my, my country, my city is safe for everyone, but it isn't true no more.

Speaker 5: (11:08)

Well it's already well known that Mexico can be a dangerous country for journalists. Can you tell us some of those statistics?

Speaker 6: (11:17)

Yes. You know, ludas is actually the third murder this year and we're not even out of the first month. Another, another reporter was stabbed to death in the state of Cruz about three weeks ago. And according to the committee to protect journalists, 18 reporters were killed in Mexico, just in the last two years. And that's about one every six weeks. That's not even counting the reporters that are missing that is really disturbing, but maybe a little bit of hope for the first time. I think ever, uh, the governor of the state of Vaca, California announced that she appointed, uh, a special prosecutor to the case and, and said in no uncertain terms that she was going to use every resource and all of the power of her office to bring these criminals to justice.

Speaker 5: (12:04)

I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, kitty Alvarado, kitty. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Speaker 5: (12:17)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Christina Kim Jade Henman is away San Diego's annual count of people who are homeless, both sheltered and unsheltered would normally take place during this last week in January, but not this year. The San Diego regional task force on homelessness has postponed the count until late next month. Due to the surge in COVID 19, the number of homeless residents reported in each year's count is used to determine federal funding and where county resources are needed. The most. It also tells us more about the people experiencing homelessness, young and old veterans and families, and what they do to survive. Joining me is Tamara Kohler, CEO of the San Diego regional task force on homelessness and Tamara. Welcome to the program.

Speaker 7: (13:08)

Thank you, Maureen. It's good to join you.

Speaker 5: (13:11)

Why did you decide the surge in COVID 19? Should the homeless count?

Speaker 7: (13:15)

You know, this count is critical that we're engaging in speaking with individuals experiencing homelessness on the street, and you can't to do that level of engagement, uh, safely when we have this level of ity of this variant. So last year, 2021, we tradit do account every year, 2021. We didn't have the vaccines. We were still in a high level of spread. And so we canceled the count last year, this year, same concern of safety, not only for those doing the activity of engaging, but the homeless population as well. We felt like with the data coming out and now it's really been evidence in what we're seeing the surge and the challenges of, of breakthrough. Even with vaccinations, that it was the right thing to do to delay it by a month, looking at the data that the county was putting out as well. We feel we can safely do this. Everyone being considered in February, we're, we're planning to do it February 24th. Now, now

Speaker 5: (14:20)

Remind us what the volunteer counters do during the count, where do they go? How do they try to locate people who are homeless?

Speaker 7: (14:27)

You know, we use over 1600 volunteers to do this level of engagement across the entire county. It looks different do depending on the geography. So as an example, in downtown San Diego, we have people that leave from a central location. They have a designed map of every street, every intersection, every location, and it's mapped out and they look to talk to people in tents, curled up in blankets. Uh, those walking around to ask them about their experiences get really critical information, age demographics, as you had mentioned possible veterans service now is this a family age is a really important thing. And as much as we can speaking to individuals, we also have a large geography. So in some areas it looks different. I have two people in a vehicle driving around in a designated area, looking for individuals to engage if they can do it safely, if, and observe someone, but not able to engage them, they do an observational count and make some judgements based on what they visually can see, but it requires people able to walk and, uh, talk closely and engage.

Speaker 7: (15:46)

It requires people driving. It requires a lot of planning. There are 32 who deployment sites. We print out maps of the entire region through these census tracks. And we also use a mobile app to collect all this information. So then it's plotting it all on a map, collecting this information so we can correlate it all together to do a complete, accurate count, and then represent that numbers, demographics, age, you know, veteran status, and it ask some important, uh, questions as well. So it is quite an effort. It takes a lot of people. It looks different in different communities, but it happens across the entire county in a four hour timeframe from four in the morning until eight. So it's, it's big effort, important engagement, but needs to be done safely. Now, even

Speaker 5: (16:37)

Before the count this year, is there a sense that the pandemic has increased San Diego's homeless population?

Speaker 7: (16:44)

You know, I've had the pleasure of being over point in time counts, not only in San Diego, but in other communities. And I'm very, uh, intentional that we don't estimate. We don't guess we want to make sure we do a full count of those individuals. It's been two years since we've done a full unsheltered count. And so I think we need to make sure that we do our due diligence. We do it to the highest standards in engagement, and then see what that information provides for us. I know that we're seeing more concentration in different areas, but I don't know if that's balanced out across the entire region, so important to not predict, but to count accurately and intentionally, and then report the numbers and do our work diligently every day to address our and sheltered homeless in a really person centered way. Now

Speaker 5: (17:32)

This year's homeless count will take place about a month from now on February 24th. Do you have enough volunteers? Are you still looking for some people to sign up?

Speaker 7: (17:42)

We still need volunteers. Uh, we need about 1600 volunteers to really do this well. And to get to all of the geography and locations that we have our volunteer count right now is just over a thousand. We believe it was low considering the high surge of Omni crumb and the concern of that we really would appreciate and would be indebted to people who would consider volunteering. We are going to provide N 95 masks that protects both the wear and the person that they're speaking to. And it's a great barrier, um, to be able to keep us safe, we're going to match people up more intentionally of people that are already working with. So it would be really great is if you and someone in your household would volunteer and that's the safest way for us to be able to do that work, you can volunteer by going to our website, R T F H S, and it's on the landing page. And Maureen, we would just be so thrilled and indebted to anyone. If you're interested in understanding homelessness, if you want us to, uh, really understand the numbers that are happening, are the numbers up or down, participate in the count that helps us get the most accurate numbers to address the situations on the street and to plan appropriately.

Speaker 5: (18:58)

I've been speaking with Tamara Kohler. She is CEO of the San Diego regional task force on homelessness, Tamara, thank you very much.

Speaker 7: (19:05)

Thank you

Speaker 1: (19:21)

Right now. There's a staffing crisis for preschools and childcare centers and they can't raise wages without raising the cost for families in part two or of her series, KBB S investigative reporter. Claire Traer looks at potential solutions, which experts agree, rely on government intervention. So

Speaker 8: (19:40)

This is what we have to follow. If they have close contact,

Speaker 9: (19:44)

Lin work tries to make sense of the most recent guidance from San Diego county on what to do when there's a positive COVID K in one of her preschool classrooms, she sounds like someone stuck in one of those torturous hedge Maes in 16th century, Europe,

Speaker 8: (19:59)

Her staff that is vaccinated or has had COVID, they would still be able to continue on working. That's not the case anymore, so they have to follow. Um,

Speaker 9: (20:08)

It got so bad last week that she decided to close her center for a week. The staffing crisis is nothing new. It's been a struggle since the pandemic first hit two years ago, beyond fear of COVID low wages are the main culprit. Many providers can only offer staff close to minimum wage. And if they raise pay, they'd have to raise prices for families which might mean would leave. The result is a vicious cycle that keeps the industry in crisis. There are potential solutions on the horizon, but they won't happen without significant action by lawmakers in Washington, DC and Sacramento, part of

Speaker 10: (20:47)

Build back better is a requirement to pay early care and education teachers, childcare providers in general, um, par parity with the kindergarten teacher, uh, pay. So that would be an incredibly huge incentive, um, to keep childcare providers in the field.

Speaker 9: (21:06)

Kim McDougal with the local, Y M C a says, topping, this list is president Joe Biden's massive build back better plan. The 1.7 trillion proposal would offer universal and free preschool to all three and four year olds and subsidies ensuring that families pay no more than 7% of their come on childcare. It would also include a requirement that childcare and preschool staff be paid the same amount as kindergarten teachers.

Speaker 10: (21:36)

If we're getting cash, to be able to select the kind of care that best meets the needs of our family, that infuses more revenue into the childcare system, it really changes the equation and, and builds the stability for the, um, system.

Speaker 9: (21:49)

However, it's highly unlikely that the bill will pass Congress in its current form. That means state and local leaders are also looking at solutions. One is a San Diego ballot measure targeted for 2024. That would help more families in San Diego county pay for childcare, recent voters in San Francisco approved attacks on commercial rents to fund childcare and Portland, Oregon approved a measure to expand free preschool. McDougal says the San Diego measure could be similar.

Speaker 10: (22:20)

That money then goes to, uh, provider pay. That is what the, what many communities use it for is kind of bridging that gap between what a parent can pay and what it really costs.

Speaker 9: (22:30)

Another effort in San Diego county aims to help employers provide childcare on site, say San Diego set up a childcare center at its offices for both the community and its employees. It charges rates on a sliding scale and has so far been a big success, says Nancy again in Hornberger the organization's CEO parents

Speaker 11: (22:52)

Benefit. So whether they're teleworking or in person on the job, they can work without distraction or guilt. So they know their children are safe and also learning and, and thriving. And then employers can attract and retain talented parents, parents of young children by offering this very desirable benefit,

Speaker 9: (23:13)

Say San Diego is currently working with local employers to set up childcare centers of their own. We'll be

Speaker 8: (23:19)

In a scenario where the she session, you know, will

Speaker 9: (23:23)

Continue Courtney BKI with the Y M C a says, the important thing is that something happens other more parents, especially mothers will leave the workforce

Speaker 8: (23:34)

In 10 years time. If we're having these conversations and looking at the data and saying, why have we reverted to 1960 statistics about women in the workforce? It all comes down to

Speaker 12: (23:45)

Access to quality, affordable childcare,

Speaker 1: (23:47)

Claire Traeger, K PBS news, All eyes have been on California since last summer when the nation's first ever task force on reparations began meeting their goal to come up with a proposal of what reparations could look like for black Californians descended from slavery. And more importantly, who could qualify over the course of the last few months, the taskforce's nine commissioners have heard testimony from community members, academics and people whose lives have been shaped by the vestiges of slavery like Don SQUI, who shared her family's story of having their land in California, taken by eminent last September. There's

Speaker 13: (24:33)

So much. And I also feel guilty, the pain that I feel, but it's real. It resonates with me. This is my family are stories that have been told retold and it hurts. And, um, how do you fix that?

Speaker 1: (24:50)

The task force will meet for the first time this year on Thursday and Friday of this week. Joining me now for updates and what to expect is Camila Moore, attorney and chair of California's reparations task force. Welcome back, Camila.

Speaker 12: (25:03)

Hi, thank you for having me again.

Speaker 1: (25:05)

So when day first spoke with you, the task force was only just starting to meet. How has your participation on this task force these past few months changed how you and the other commissioners define and understand what reparations mean?

Speaker 12: (25:19)

Since we started in June, I think the task force members and myself have grown to have a more appreciation of, uh, the mantle that we have before us in terms of, you know, not only what repair looks like, but you know, how that can manifest and bringing in community members to, you know, help inform our discussions around what reparations can look like for black Americans, uh, with special consideration of black Americans who descend from child slavery in the United States,

Speaker 1: (25:50)

From the beginning, the number one question has been, who will get to qualify for reparations. This Thursday, the task force will hear from the secretary of state Shirley Weber about how to define eligibility. Can you walk us through some of the possible parameters of who will be eligible and kind of what are some of the tensions and issues arising around this question? The

Speaker 12: (26:09)

Tension lies in how the bill was actually written. So, um, AB 31 21, um, the language of the bill states, this is a reparations task force for African Americans with a special consideration for African Americans who are descendants a persons enslaved in the United States. So the, a latter part is making a distinction between African Americans or black Americans. Who's had ancestors who were enslaved in the United States versus maybe somewhere else like in the Caribbean or south America or not enslaved at all. Right. Um, there are some people in the black diaspora, namely continental, Africans, like Nigerias or Ghanaians who may not have, you know, child slavery in their ancestry or in their lineage. And so the tension lies, or the question lies in, um, who's eligible all these groups or some of these groups, but I will also say in the news, yes, yesterday, we found out that the Supreme court of the United States, um, will take up the, the question of, of whether race based affirmative action is constitutional or not. And they will have a decision on this July, 2023, which is also the end of the life of our reparations task force. So as chair, I am, um, you know, paying attention to those developments from the Supreme court of the United States very closely, because whatever they decide may also have Ram ramifications on what we decide in terms of who is eligible for reparations in the

Speaker 1: (27:34)

State. How might their decision impact who you decide is

Speaker 12: (27:38)

Eligible? Well, we know that this is a conservative Supreme court. And so if they decide that race based, um, affirmative action is illegal or unconstitutional, then that could mean that any race based initiatives that we come up with might also be deemed challenged and the courts. And so then that would be up to us to be very crafty, to kind of evade some of those challenges,

Speaker 1: (28:05)

According to William Dardy and a Kristen Mullen scholars of black reparations reparations must include acknowledgement redress in the form of atonement or restitution and closure. In other words, reparations are a process they're not just a single act. Do you see the task force meetings as part of the acknowledgement process of reparations, or, or do you think there's limitations currently set up because the institutions and individuals who cause the harm, aren't always there bearing witness? Well,

Speaker 12: (28:33)

I would say that, you know, the first half of our meetings, um, you know, since June, until now, uh, we've really been dealing with trying to identify, compile and synthesize the relevant purpose of evidentiary documentation, not only of, um, the transatlantic slave trade and the institution of slavery, but of more the contemporary form of discrimination in the public and private sectors against black Americans. And to your point, um, you know, the task force is still working through, you know, getting culpable actors in the room or, or figur out when that is most appropriate to do so. Um, but I think we're satisfied with how things have gone so far, you know, allowing space for, you know, the injured group to kind of Cathar share how they have been impacted by anti-black discrimination. You know, it's up to us as task force members to bring in those culpable actors, into the, a room. And we're having, we're going to have more intentional conversations about how

Speaker 1: (29:29)

To do that. As I mentioned, the task force will be meeting again this Thursday and Friday. What other topics will the task force be hearing this week as it continues to gather evidence?

Speaker 12: (29:39)

Absolutely. So we are on Thursdays, starting at 9:00 AM, but particularly at 10:00 AM, we're having a panel on discrimination and technology. Um, but then we're also hosting a series of panels, um, later that day and on the following day, Friday on public health, mental health and physical health. And I'm really excited to hear from Dr. Joy Droy who is well known and has written a book called the post traumatic slave syndrome that talks about the psychological effects and trauma that black Americans have still to this day.

Speaker 1: (30:17)

I've been speaking with Camila Moore attorney and chair of the California reparations task force. Thank you so much.

Speaker 12: (30:22)

Thank you so much

Speaker 5: (30:30)

Legislation that would help create a single payer government run health plan in California will face a key hurdle in the next week. The bill must pass the full assembly floor by January the 31st or it's dead. The effort is being led by the state's nurses union, but on the other side, the state's largest association of doctors is opposed. Ned Wigglesworth is a spokesperson for the protect California healthcare coalition.

Speaker 14: (30:58)

It will disrupt people's healthcare at the worst possible time. It will for all 40 million Californians into a new untested state government program and will prohibit them from being able to choose private coverage, even if they wanted.

Speaker 5: (31:14)

There are some interesting history here in all previous attempts to create a single payer system in the us. The fierce system objections have always come for from doctors, Dr. Micah Johnson, the co-author of the book, Medicare for all a citizens guide and a practicing internal medicine physician in Boston spoke with the California reports April. Demboski about the history of single payer effort.

Speaker 9: (31:40)

In your book, you call doctors the per per opponent of health reform. What events led you to draw that conclusion?

Speaker 15: (31:47)

So really doctors have had a century long history in the health reform debate, usually as the opponents. And that started back in the 1910s during the progressive era of reforms. This is after Germany in 1883 had passed health insurance, 1911, great Britain had passed health insurance. It seemed clear that the us would be following suit. And initially it looked like doctors in the American medical association were going to be supporters of the bill. But as the discussions unfolded, doctors turned,

Speaker 9: (32:19)

What were their

Speaker 15: (32:19)

Concerns? The top one is really their own pay. And the second one being their autonomy in the practice of medicine. So, you know, going back to the 1910s and also in the 1940s, there's this fear that if there is a universal public insurance plan, that doctors are going to get paid less. So I think the most striking example is Harry Truman's healthcare proposal in the 1940s. This is the first and really only time a sitting us president gave a full throw to endorsement of a single payer style, truly universal national health insurance plan. And it was the American medical association were the top opponents of the plant. They hired a P R firm called campaigns, Inc, that rose to fame in California, helping to defeat a statewide universal health insurance plan in the state, the American medical association put an incredible amount of money behind this. So 3.5 million in today's dollars, that's about 40 million. It was the largest lobbying can campaign the nation had ever seen, and it worked. So at the beginning, the public was in support of this national health insurance plan, but then support dwindled over the years. And the vast majority of people had heard of the AMAs puzzle, uh, to, to the plan.

Speaker 9: (33:35)

When I talked to doctors or groups who are opposed to the single payer proposals right now, they say their top concerns are their patients.

Speaker 15: (33:44)

I think doctors have been double agents in the health reform debate for the last century. And, you know, we wear two hats in these conversations. We wear the hat of medical experts. People who know a lot about what's best for patients. And we also wear a hat that's just a, our own personal financial interest. And I think these things can often get confused and, you know, can be leveraged against each

Speaker 9: (34:07)

Other. In the early sixties, there was one of the early attempts to create a Medicare program for seniors. And back then doctors hired Ronald Reagan to speak out against the idea. One of

Speaker 16: (34:18)

The traditional methods of imposing stateism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford

Speaker 15: (34:37)

It. Definitely a remarkable moment in the history of health reform. They with, you know, doctors, hiring Reagan, and even though Medicare passed, Ronald Reagan was also elected in a landslide in 1980 and ended up presiding over the Medicare program. Um, so we have all these, these ironies in health reform.

Speaker 9: (34:55)

How has doctors thinking evolved from the earliest 20th century to the Medicare days to now?

Speaker 15: (35:02)

I think we're really seeing an evolution. And first seeing doctors support the affordable care act in 2008, 2009. And then over the last 10 years, we've seen a lot of very interesting developments. One. Now in most polls, a majority of doctors do support single payer healthcare. And then secondly, we've seen that the American medical association, there's some internal debate about what the stance is going to be. And at one of the, in recent years, the big meetings for the American medical association, it was actually the medical student chapter brought up a resolution to try to remove the AMAs opposition to single payer healthcare. And it very narrowly failed. It got 47% support. So the AMA still opposes a single payer, but we can see signs that things are changing. And then you have the second biggest group of doctors in the country, the American college of physicians. This is where most of the generalist physicians are, and they now support single payer healthcare as an option for moving forward on health reform.

Speaker 5: (36:06)

That was Dr. Micah Johnson speaking with the California reports April Demboski. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Christina Kim Jade Henman is away the new children's museum in San Diego recently hired a new executive director and CEO Elizabeth Yang Hellowell before this, she spent a decade working at of a contemporary art most recently as the chief advancement officer and part of the team that fundraised for the major campus expansion in LA Jolla yang, Hellowell just started her role at the new children's museum. This month. She spoke with K PBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Here's their conference station. You

Speaker 17: (37:00)

Have spent the most recent few years of, of your career at the museum of contemporary art, San Diego, as the chief advancement officer. And earlier you worked in education and curation for the museum. So I'm wondering what is one big thing on your to-do list that you have brought from your ex experience there to the new children's museum?

Speaker 18: (37:23)

I feel very close to some of my initial roles in museums and those roles were, as you said, in education and really as a teaching artist. And so I think that experience for me, of taking art into the community is something that I've carried with me throughout my entire career and something that the new children's museum does very well and has a history of doing very well. But I think we can always do more. And the engagement with the community could always be deeper. It could always be richer. It could always be more expansive. So that is something that I am seeking to develop. While I here at the new children's museum,

Speaker 17: (38:11)

The neutral news museum does have this prolific history of using contemporary art by living artists, not just in to these immersive play spaces in the museum, but in, in the creation of those spaces. Could you talk a little bit about that philosophy and the way the museum shares contemporary art with children? I mean,

Speaker 18: (38:35)

This is an organization that was created with this idea, this philosophy that, you know, artists, as drivers of creativity of innovation, would be able to, to work with an educat team and create installations for engagement, for play. It is part of the DNA of this organization. It is something that I wanna bring forward more. I mean, the artists, the, the creation, um, the, the spaces, and then the art making for guests in the actual spaces has always been a part of what this organization does. Um, but we're gonna, we're gonna see, we're gonna see if there's other ways to do it. We're going to sort of experiment with the different spaces and, and places in and around this building. I think as we move forward in particularly thinking about outdoor spaces. So certainly in this moment, when I think we're all thinking about outdoor spaces and COVID, and I think for artists too, this is such a unique opportunity to create large scale installation work, where, you know, you also have to think about audiences engaging with it in, in a way that maybe they wouldn't in other types of traditional contemporary art spaces.

Speaker 17: (40:02)

So one of those recent installations was, um, Tiro pinata by, uh, David Israel Renoso and also, um, Panka Elmas ALA, can you talk about what first stood to you about those works in particular

Speaker 18: (40:19)

David Reynoso's Tiro pinata. I mean, it is an immersive play experience. So, I mean, and I always am now thinking about experiences through my own children's eyes. So, I mean, I, when I bring them to the museum and they walk into a space, I'm always so curious to see how they engage with it. You watch kids and my own kids, you know, walk into these spaces and it's like, they know exactly what to do. They know exactly how to engage with the space in Tiro pinata it's they immediately sort of understandable performance element of it. So, you know, they're exploring all of the spaces, but then they're getting on the stage and there doesn't even have to be anyone in the audience, you know, most of the time there's not, or there's, you know, someone walking by, but it's that element of, of play of creativity, of, of making something, even if it's not physical something, but it's making sort of a short performance with whoever else happens to be in the space. So I, I love that that sort of impromptu nature of the play that comes out of that particular installation. How

Speaker 17: (41:35)

Have museum staffers been impacted by the pandemic the last two years? Almost.

Speaker 18: (41:42)

I think there are a lot of questions about museums as places, uh, for community and, uh, questions about who the museum serves and how the museum functions, and, you know, if a museum is closed and so many museums did close during this pandemic period, then how does a museum function then? How do you engage with audiences then? What is the role of your organization as a community catalyst at a space where communities can meet, um, and have conversations and be engaged with, with art? I think it's put into question everything that museums are , you know, and I think not to mention with museums being closed, it's also around the financial stability of, of organizations, I think has also been something that a lot of museums have been grappling with too. It's many factors that have come to play and it's, I think, going to result, and this is already happening, but in a complete reconceptualization of what museums are and how they function and who they serve.

Speaker 17: (43:01)

I am also wondering how the new children's museum is handling the continuing, but ever changing C landscape. Um, particularly what you're hearing from visitors and and families about what they are looking for in these public gathering spaces.

Speaker 18: (43:22)

It's complicated. I will say what I have found, and, you know, maybe this will change tomorrow. Um, but you know, it, everything is changing from one day to the next. We still have many, many families, many children, many caretakers of these children coming through these doors every single day that we're open what this also says to me. And I mean, I can, I can Intuit this as a parent too, is that, but this is a crisis moment. I mean, we have been working through COVID for the past two years now, but children, their caretakers families still need and maybe need more than ever spaces to play and to be, and to think creatively and to make things I think children and their caretakers need safe spaces to engage with one another. And I am grateful that we can provide these spaces safely and, you know, continue to support those types of experiences for the community. I think they are so absolutely necessary in this moment.

Speaker 5: (44:57)

K PBS arts editor and producer, Julia Dixon Evans, talking with Elizabeth Yang. Hellowell from the new children's museum.

Speaker 1: (45:11)

Remember to join us for KBB S evening edition at 5:00 PM on KBB S television and join us again tomorrow for KBB midday edition at noon. And if you ever miss a show, you can find the midday edition podcast, wherever you listen to podcast. I'm Cina Kim in for Jade Heideman with Marine Kavanaugh. Thanks for listening.

San Diego County saw a slight reduction in cases over the weekend, what can this tell us? Later, demonstrations are planned today across Mexico to protest the deaths and intimidation of journalists. The latest victim, Lordes Maldonado, was killed in Tijuana Sunday. After, the San Diego Regional Task Force has postponed the annual count of people who are homeless until late next month due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. Then, KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser looks at potential solutions to the staffing crisis at child care centers. Later, all eyes are on California as the state comes up with a proposal on what reparations could look like for Black Californians descended from slavery and who qualifies. Then, California legislation that would help create a single-payer, government-run health plan, faces a key hurdle next week. Finally, KPBS/Arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans talks to the new executive director and CEO for the New Children's Museum in San Diego, Elizabeth Yang-Hellewell.