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Ex-California Rep. Duncan Hunter Gets 11 Months In Prison And More Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, March 18th I'm Andrew Bowen and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Disgraced former Congressman Duncan Hunter jr is going to prison and the phrase flatten the curve has been tossed around a lot, referring to slowing the spread of coven 19 but it might be hard to understand,

Speaker 2: 00:17 so we need to do these even if we are LLC.

Speaker 1: 00:21 Why social distancing is key to slowing the spread of the Corona virus. That and more San Diego news stories coming up. Duncan Hunter was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 11 months in prison. KPBS reporter, Prius reader has more

Speaker 2: 00:43 former Congressman Duncan Hunter jr was charged with 60 criminal counts for allegedly using $250,000 of campaign money on personal expenses. At first, Hunter denied the allegations, but in early December he pleaded guilty to one of the counts. Tuesday in court. Hunter said he accepted responsibility for his actions and ask the judge to take sympathy on Margaret Hunter, the mother of his children who is also said to be sentenced on the same charges. In early April after the sentencing Dunkin Hunter sr had words for the press.

Speaker 3: 01:19 This was a political hit. Job.

Speaker 2: 01:22 Dunkin Hunter jr is set to surrender himself to the court on May 29th to serve his time. Priya [inaudible] K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 01:30 San Diego County officials Tuesday gave an update on those in federal quarantine at Miramar air station for the Corona virus. Since last week, 489 passengers from an evacuated cruise ship have arrived there, but more than 130 have been sent to their home States and more are on their way. The county's Dr. Eric McDonald said an additional 115 were scheduled to fly home on Tuesday. They are operating a, a basically a many flights to many States and they call this operation a Homeward bound. Uh, and uh, all those individuals, uh, will be continuing their a quarantine, uh, in their home States. 136 of those in federal quarantine are from California, including two from San Diego County. The San Diego city council voted Tuesday to draft a temporary moratorium on evictions for residents and businesses in the city. The council also ratified mayor Kevin Faulkner's state of emergency declaration that stays in effect for 30 days. Faulkner said, work is slowing down and businesses are closing their doors as jobs disappear. Rents do not. He says this relief is incredibly important. Any resident or business missing rent payments due to a loss of income or medical bills from the novel, coronavirus will be granted a stay until at least may. Many seniors in California can go days, sometimes weeks without seeing or speaking to anyone. KPBS is Amita Sharma says California's new directive for seniors to stay home to protect themselves from the Corona virus may intensify their loneliness. About 20%

Speaker 4: 03:00 of seniors in the United States are socially isolated. According to the ARP governor Gavin Newsome's recent call for seniors to self quarantine as a shield against the Corona virus is likely to exacerbate this problem. UC San Diego geriatric neuropsychiatrist. The lip just day says Newsome's order while necessary, can make seniors living alone feel even more isolated, scared, helpless, even panicked. He urged loved ones and neighbors to phone elderly people more frequently and use face time

Speaker 1: 03:32 if possible, using quiz game so that they can see the lower ones.

Speaker 4: 03:37 Just say added. It's important for seniors at home to maintain their exercise regimen even if they can't travel to the gym or go for walks outside. I mean the Sharma KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 03:48 the Navy shut down training facilities in San Diego after a third sailor tested positive for the Corona virus. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the number of cases is expected to increase the training support command. San Diego actually shut its school house Saturday after two sailors and an instructor each tested positive for coven 19 the people who they came into close contact with are being asked to self isolate. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Navy has identified six cases of coven, 19 amongst sailors in San Diego, including a sailor assigned to the USS Essex and a sailor assigned to the U S S boxer. Both ships are ported in San Diego and either crew member was living onboard ship. At the time. All of the sailors have been isolated. Dining facilities and recreation centers have been closed on Naval Bay San Diego. At camp Pendleton, only essential staff is being told to report other Marines and support staff are being asked to work from home.

Speaker 1: 04:46 Steve Walsh KPBS news with some San Diego ins being out of work because of the Corona virus. Local food banks are working to increase their efforts. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, unlike some businesses, the food banks are staying open. We're seeing a spike in demand feeding San Diego CEO Vince hall says they are scaling up. We are at this moment able to meet the needs of the people who are showing up at our distributions, but each day as this progresses, the line is getting longer. Feeding San Diego is opening emergency distribution sites where people can get food without having to leave their cars. Limiting potential exposure to the virus. We're going to a lot of calls from people that they think that the distribution sites are closing down. They are not. San Diego food bank CEO James fluoro says they too are also seeing an increase in demand. Our supporters, our stakeholders are rallying.

Speaker 1: 05:34 We're purchasing more food. We're up at our game and make sure we have enough product between the two organizations. There are hundreds of food distribution sites across the County to find one near you or to set up home delivery for a senior official state to call two one one Matt Hoffman K PBS news. While the County continues to coordinate its response to the pandemic neighbors in San Diego are reaching out and offering assistance to one. It's called mutual aid and it could save lives. KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler has more through websites like Facebook or next door neighbors in San Diego began to reach out to one another this week. They were asking if people needed anything like food or sanitizer but couldn't make it out to the store or it wasn't safe for them to do so. One group of neighbors and activists trying to coordinate this type of community response. It's called we all.

Speaker 1: 06:22 We got SD Christina Griffin Jones started the mutual aid group this weekend with fellow organizer, candy co studio town. Griffin Jones says, the goal is to connect people who can help to those who need it without getting anyone exposed to the virus. The organizers say they're not trying to reinvent the wheel. They want to spread information and make sure that people who need help can find help from either their neighbors or existing resources. The group is holding an information session for volunteers and people that need assistance. On Wednesday evening. You could find more details that we all. We got sd.com max, Revlon, Adler, K PBS news economist at UCLA Anderson school of management. Say the U S economy is already in a recession. Anderson revised an economic forecast at issue. Just last week, Jerry Nichols Berg, director of the Anderson forecast told KPBS mid day edition host Maureen Cavanagh that they predict the recession will last at least until the end of September.

Speaker 5: 07:19 The forecast that we released a week ago was a forecast that was actually done several weeks ago. We put together our forecast and it's, you know, rather complicated process of doing a national and state forecast and making sure that we think we have it right. But events over the last a week and a half or so, it moved quite fast and we've seen a shutdown of restaurants, a shutdown of retail establishment, uh, cancellations, massive cancellations of uh, tourism and of transportation on aircraft and the um, uh, transportation across the Pacific and across the Atlantic, uh, all is impacting tourism. So in light of this, these fast moving events, we felt it important that we incorporate those into a new forecast. And well, when we did, it was pretty clear to us that we've already answered the recession and this is going to last for a while.

Speaker 1: 08:26 How deep a recession do you say we're in now and how deep will it get?

Speaker 5: 08:31 It is important to realize that any forecast of a recession right now is going to depend on the course of this pandemic. So we had to make an assumption and our assumption was in part based on what's happened in South Korea and in China, that the pandemic will have run its course by early summer and then we will begin to, uh, get back to normal, although that will take some time. That gives us a recession that lasts through the third quarter of this year. The third quarter is, uh, is July, August, September, and the second quarter, the one we're about to answer with the beginning of April, we're expecting national GDP to decline by 6.8%, followed by a further decline in the third quarter of 1.9%.

Speaker 6: 09:26 How high do you predict the unemployment rate will get?

Speaker 5: 09:29 So we're looking at, and you know, kind of importantly for California California's unemployment rate to get up to 6.6% for the U S uh, approximately 2 million jobs will be lost in this recession. And our forecast for California is that we'll have a higher than average job loss of about 300,000 jobs lost in the state, pushing us up to that, uh, four mentioned 6.6%.

Speaker 6: 09:55 Why is California particularly vulnerable to this Corona virus downturn?

Speaker 5: 10:00 The reason why California is more vulnerable is that California is, uh, blessed to be a state that people want to come and visit. So we have a larger than average, uh, leisure and hospitality industry that includes, uh, tourism. So that's, uh, restaurants and entertainment and, and hotels. Uh, then the U S on average and tourism has just collapsed [inaudible] as well. Other aspects of leisure and hospitality. Also, California is the port of entry or manufactured goods coming out of Asia and that's ground to a halt. So our transportation and logistics industry is hit harder as well.

Speaker 6: 10:45 President Trump has just proposed an $850 billion stimulus package, which includes sending checks directly to most Americans. So what's your reaction to that plan?

Speaker 5: 10:57 The uh, sending a check to individuals that may will be a very good thing. Uh, it happened in 2008 under president Bush, and the best evidence suggests that in 2008, at the end of that time, uh, only a third of that went into, uh, into demand for goods and services. And the other two thirds was safe. That that might be good, that might be bad, but I think you know, more, uh, analysis needs to happen and hopefully is happening right now in Washington.

Speaker 1: 11:31 That was Jerry Nichols Berg, director of the UCLA Anderson forecast this week in California. Governor Gavin Newsome ordered many businesses to temporarily close their doors to create social distance. We're doing this to flatten the curve. KPBS science and technology reporter Shelina chat, Lani explains what that means and why it's so critical to slowing spread of the Corona

Speaker 6: 11:54 virus. Social distancing is exactly what it sounds like. It's keeping your distance at least six feet from other people. So working from home, skipping out on happy hours and avoiding large gatherings such as concerts. There are a few reasons why officials are asking for this. The first is that many people who have the virus don't know it. In fact, they may even seem perfectly healthy, says medical anthropologists, Bonnie Kaiser with UC San Diego.

Speaker 7: 12:22 We're starting to get data where it may be 25% of, um, infections are, uh, or of exposures are happening when people are asymptomatic.

Speaker 6: 12:30 That means many people may not realize they're spreading the virus. That's why officials say if there isn't social distancing, the number of people getting sick will grow exponentially. Here's what that looks like.

Speaker 7: 12:43 If you double the size of a drop of water every minute, within less than an hour, it'll fill a baseball stadium.

Speaker 6: 12:49 So for every person who tests positive, another two people could get the virus and those numbers keep doubling. This rate of growth can quickly become a problem because as a number of people getting sick goes up, so will the number of people who need to go to the hospital. And that's where the phrase flatten the curve comes in, says UC San Diego health economists, Jeff Clemens. So one way to think about

Speaker 8: 13:13 the health system is that it's there to me to manage the flow, uh, patient health needs across the population in the same way that a drainage system is there to manage the flow of water that comes from the storm.

Speaker 6: 13:28 But sometimes when it storms, those drains aren't able to manage all the rain. And that leads to damaging floods. Now picture of what could happen when a surge of patients check into doctor's offices across the country. Remember we're talking exponential numbers.

Speaker 8: 13:44 The social distancing concept is meant to kind of spread out that flow of patients in a way to try to at least mitigate the extent to which the system is overwhelmed.

Speaker 6: 13:54 Countries around the world are implementing social distancing measures like quarantine in order to reduce the flow of patients into the healthcare system. In Italy, lessons have already been learned there. Last week, nearly 400 people died in just one day. Manu, Ella Rafa tell Lou is a scientist at UC San Diego who's also from Italy.

Speaker 8: 14:15 So this was just, I think, the tip of the iceberg. The disease has been spreading and especially started in Northern Italy that I would like to highlight. This is the best LKR in the country and one of the best ital care system in the world.

Speaker 6: 14:28 But Rafa teller says some people didn't take seriously how contagious the viruses. So the disease spread

Speaker 8: 14:35 in the CTOs bear Gomorrah now, which is a CT, a CT near Milan, they started quarantine a little later than other cities and this one week delay for the lockdown really cost them a lot. You know, the entire is basically dedicated to two people who die.

Speaker 6: 14:54 Doctors even in Northern Italy are having to make tough calls on who can be seen because medical staff is limited or they have to decide who can get lifesaving supplies that are running out like ventilators, which help people breathe. And economist Jeffrey Clemon says in the United States, the hospital system could easily get overwhelmed as well.

Speaker 8: 15:13 The system as a whole, you know, has roughly 1 million hospital beds of which 100,000 beds. Our intensive care unit

Speaker 6: 15:23 and Rafa tele says it's important for people to think about who needs those beds. The most folks in the population who might get the most severe case of Corona virus

Speaker 8: 15:33 parents, our grandparents, our neighbors and and so we need to do these that even if we are healthy and young

Speaker 6: 15:45 and remember flattening the curve isn't about panicking. It's about keeping a safe distance so we can slow down the rate of the virus. Shalina Celani K PBS news.

The former congressman is sentenced after he was charged with 60 criminal counts of corrupt use of campaign donations. Plus, KPBS explains how you “flatten the curve” and why it’s important to fighting COVID-19. And San Diego groups mobilize to help get food and assistance to neighborhood residents who are stranded due to the virus.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.