A State Bill To Mandate PPE Stockpiles
Wildfires continue to rage across Northern California, but there is progress on containment. All three major fire complexes in northern California report some improvement in containment numbers. Elsewhere, in southern California, the Apple fire near Riverside is now 95% contained, and the Lake Fire in Los Angeles is 70% contained. The current heat wave is expected to continue through Friday, according to City News Service. For the latest on the California Wildfires go to KPBS dot org and fire dot CA dot gov. On Tuesday healthcare workers at Tri-City medical center in Oceanside demonstrated their support for a bill that would require officials to stockpile personal protective equipment. The Health Care and Essential Workers Protection Act would mandate the state to have a three month supply of clean PPE for healthcare and essential workers. It would also require healthcare employers maintain new, unexpired PPE in the event of a state of emergency. Lennie Pisco Garcia is Surgical technician for Tri-City Medical Center and says mandating stockpiles would make it feel like officials have healthcare workers' backs. Our government, our state who's going to support us when we run out of this stuff? And how are we going to do our jobs and take care of our patients and our community if we don't have PPE Mali Woods-Drake with SEIU - Service Employees International Union - says the union represents more than 100-thousand healthcare workers. She says 14 have died statewide as a result of the coronavirus. We have to do everything we can to basically outfit them as they're going to war and that's not something that's been happening (:06) Tri-City does have a stockpile of PPE and those at Tuesday's rally commended the healthcare system for 'stepping up to the plate' — but they say it's not this way across the state. San Diego ocean temperatures set a record this past weekend. The temperature at the end of Scripps Pier hit 79-point-5 degrees Fahrenheit for only the second time in the more than 100 years that records have been kept. The initial record was set two years ago. Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Art Miller says it is part of a trend that could soon impact nearshore habitats. “We are seeing all along our coast typically warmer temperatures as the decades pass and we have to be concerned about that because the stratification of the ocean controls the upwelling of nutrients that feeds the base of our food web along our coast.” Miller says scientists are trying to gauge the impact of the warming as they study the long-term trends. The Republican National Convention continued last night with speeches by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and first lady Melania Trump among others…. and it’s on again tonight on KPBS Radio starting at 6pm, and KPBS television starting at 5pm. I’m Anica Colbert. It’s Wednesday, August 26th. You’re listening to San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. California is witnessing some of the largest fires in its history. A new study suggests these fires could linger deeper into the autumn season in years to come. CapRadio’s Ezra David Romero reports. California has experienced three years of big fires including many occurring in the fall. Stanford climate scientist Michael Goss wanted to know if the dry and hot conditions that create mega fires are becoming more normal later in the year. What he found surprised him. Since 1980 the number of days that are perfect for a fire to start in the fall jumped from four to 12 statewide. [GOSS] “They're going to continue to get worse. It could be that we're going to see more seasons where we have multiple large wildfires across the state of California.” Goss says the number of days that pose a wildfire risk will likely grow even if carbon emissions are curbed. But he says individuals and policymakers still can take action to limit how often megafires strike. In Sacramento, I’m Ezra David Romero. California state lawmakers are gearing up to debate a handful of police reform bills before their session ends next Monday. On deck for a final vote are proposals to ban certain chokeholds and to restrict police from using tear gas and rubber bullets on protestors. But as the deadline looms, police unions are calling for more time. Eric Nuñez is President of the California Police Chiefs Association. I think a lot of these bills we actually support in concept; the problem is the devil’s in the details in what they actually say in these bills. Nuñez says the coronavirus has made it difficult to consult with lawmakers on language, particularly on two bills. One would decertify officers in certain cases and another would make all misconduct complaints against officers publicly available. He says with only a few days left, it would be better to hit pause until next year. A new plan could bring changes to the historic Friendship Park nestled at the westernmost edge between the US - Mexico border. KPBS reporter Tania Thorne gives us the details. Friendship Park has been a historic meeting place for families separated by the border. Because of COVID-19, the park is now closed on the US side. Now a group called Friends of friendship park has launched a new campaign- build that park- that could potentially mean the construction of a binational park between the US and Mexico. Architect James Brown is part of the group. "As important as this meeting space is in the world, it is one of the least attractive and oppressive parks I have ever laid eyes on. We're going to remedy that." The group's concept includes a retractable fence and a pier. They're hoping the design will capture the attention of the public and government officials to one day make it a reality. Tania Thorne KPBS News The federal agency in charge of approving green cards and naturalizing new citizens, is now backing off a plan to dramatically reduce its workforce. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it's no longer cutting jobs because, it says, revenue from new green card applications has ticked back up. Those funds had fallen sharply at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Critics of the planned furlough had said it would delay citizenship applications for years, and leave thousands of immigrants unable to renew their work authorizations. The head of USCIS said on Tuesday that his agency will still need a federal bailout this fall. But the agency will continue to operate at its current capacity until lawmakers can come to an agreement on future funding. The flu season typically begins in October and health experts are worried how that will collide with the current coronavirus pandemic. KPBS Health Reporter Tarryn Mento asks Kaiser Permanente's Dr. Will Tseng (Seng) how the annual flu shot may help. That was KPBS Health Reporter Tarryn Mento speaking with Kaiser's Dr. Tseng. Coming up on San Diego NewsMatters… Human brains owe a lot to genetics but they also owe a lot to human experience, which functions to wire those brain cells together. "Human brains in particular we drop into the world half-baked, and from there we absorb everything around us to finish that wiring." We hear from a neuroscientist and Stanford professor who talks about what he calls the ever-changing brain. That’s up next, just after this break. If only the brain were smart enough to figure out how the brain works. There is so much we do NOT know. in recent years, brain research has greatly expanded, including knowledge into how it is it's wired. David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, professor at Stanford and author of the new book "LIVEWIRED: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain." He talked with KPBS Midday Edition host Mark Sauer about how the wiring in the brain involves so much more than just a DNA molecule. Start with how the brain is wired. Unlike the hard drive on my computer here, our brains don't come entirely preprogrammed, right? Speaker 2: 00:35 That's right. It turns out that DNA is only, let's say half the secretive life and the other half is everything around you. All of the experiences that you absorb, this is what causes the brain to wire up in the particular ways that it does. We are essentially like sponges human brains in particular, we drop into the world half baked. And then from there, we, um, we absorb everything around us to finish that way. Speaker 1: 01:03 And you write that the brain's wiring changes one day to the next often in subtle ways, sometimes dramatically explain how that works. Speaker 2: 01:10 You know, you've got 86 billion neurons. These are the main brain cells. And each one of these has about 10,000 connections to its neighbors. So you've got, you know, like 0.2 quadrillion connections in the brain. And these things are changing all the time. You know, when, when you learned that my name is David, there's a change in your brain, such that if in a week from now, you say, Oh, I talked with that guy, David, that's represented by a physical change in your brain. That's what it means to remember something. And so we are a constantly changing dynamic system. And, um, and I think this is the really important way to think about and to understand the brain is not as a collection of pieces and parts that you draw on a map, but instead to understand it as a living dynamic electric fabric, Speaker 1: 01:58 What happens when suddenly nothing is normal, such as in a pandemic, when we all suddenly become like shut-ins, I'm thinking of kids, not in school because of the pandemic, it's a problem, vexing societies everywhere now, and fears over not just the lack of learning, but the disconnect from socializing and how does the brain adapt to such dramatic life changes or does it ever really adapt? Speaker 2: 02:20 Yeah. Well, I tell you, that's the thing we are so adaptable and strangely, I think that this whole issue about brain plasticity is the single silver lining to 2020. And here's what I mean by that. Um, you know, normally what the brain is trying to do is establish an internal model of the world so that we can operate in it effectively. And that's essentially what we've spent our whole lives doing is figuring out, okay, look, I get this, I know how to, how to optimize my performance in this world. And then suddenly 2020 comes along and all of us are kicked off the hamster wheel and the things that we thought we knew exactly how to do in situations, how to function in and so on, we suddenly are off that path of least resistance and we have to rethink things afresh. And that's actually what brain plasticity is really good at doing is figuring out, okay, whoops, this model doesn't work anymore. Let's generate a different model. Let's think of new things. And so despite how lousy this year has been for everyone, it's been an extremely creative time. Also everything from individuals to businesses have been figuring out new ways of doing things that they wouldn't have thought of even recently, of course, Speaker 1: 03:38 We're all individuals with individual brains. I'm wondering what happens in people where the wire wiring just fails to adjust Speaker 2: 03:45 That's right. I mean, people have a different capacities to deal with anxiety and stress. And so this is a really lousy time in terms of, you know, everything from alcoholism and drug addiction to suicide. Um, this is a really tough time on people. As I said, from the point of view of brain plasticity. The reason this matters is because we know from decades long studies, that the most important thing is to challenge the brain is to have it facing novel challenges and circumstances all the time. And where we see this, especially is when people retire. Often people will retire and their lives will shrink and they'll end up sitting on the couch, watching Jerry Springer and that's all they do. But you can contrast that with, um, with groups of people that have been studied, who have stayed cognitively active to their last days. And it turns out some of those people have Alzheimer's disease physically in their brain. And yet nobody knew it. They didn't show the cognitive deficits that are typical of Alzheimer's. And the reason is even as their brain was physically degenerating, they were making new roadways between a and B and C and D. They were constantly making new things happen in their brains specifically because they were being challenged with novel circumstances. Okay. Speaker 1: 05:06 Thinking, stay busy as the message there. I wanted to shift gears a little bit. Yeah. Lots of us dream where we remember dream sometimes interpret dreams, but what do we know really about dreams and their function in the brain wiring involved? Speaker 2: 05:18 Yes. So in this book, in Livewired, I propose a completely new hypothesis about dreams and, and I think this is correct actually. Um, essentially it has to do with how rapidly parts of the brain takeover other parts. So for example, when a person goes blind, other areas like touch and hearing ended up taking over the real estate that used to belong to vision. But one of the surprises in neuroscience has been how rapidly this sort of encroachment happens. So it turns out that if you blindfold somebody to be tightly and put them in the scanner, um, you start seeing touch and hearing have some influenced in the visual area of the brain after about an hour. And so when I saw that data a few years ago, I realized, ah, the issue is every night when we go to sleep because of the rotation of the planet, we're cast into darkness 12 hours of the night, um, when it's dark, you know, your hearing and your touch and all that still works, but your vision does not work. What I realized with a student of mine, Don Vaughn, is that we need to have some self defense system built in to keep the visual cortex, uh, to keep it having its territory during the night. And that's what dreams are. You have this very specific circuitry that looks at how much activity is in the visual cortex, and then essentially just slams it with activity every 90 minutes. And our hypothesis is that this is simply to keep it defended against takeover from the other senses. That was Stanford professor and neuroscientist David Eagleman speaking with Midday Edition host Mark Sauer. San Diego News Matters is a daily morning news podcast powered by all of the reporters, editors and producers in the KPBS Newsroom. Tune in to KPBS Midday Edition at noon on KPBS radio or KPBS Evening Edition at 5:30pm on KPBS television to keep up with the news throughout your day. You can also find us on Twitter @ Kpbs news, or to find our podcast producer, Kinsee Morlan, she’s @ Kinsee. I’m @AnicaColbert. And as always you can find more KPBS podcasts, like Only Here or Cinema Junkie, on our website at KPBS dot org slash podcasts, or wherever it is you get your podcasts.