Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

Calming Vaccine Fears

Cover image for podcast episode


Above: Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

An effort to vaccinate people in San Diego who will help convince skeptical populations to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Plus: we're close to doubling our deaths and cases from the start of the pandemic in just the last month alone, San Diego Unified School District's plans to eventually expand on-campus COVID testing and more local news you need.

Good Morning, I’m Kinsee Morlan in for Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, Jan. 13.


Calming fears in communities skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine…

That story coming up…

But first...the headlines.

The county Board of Supervisors approved new COVID-19 measures yesterday…
Including stepped-up enforcement of businesses not complying with restrictions..
Supervisors voted 4-1, with Jim Desmond opposed.

The county says it will step up inspections after getting complaints from the public…
officials will be more proactive when it comes to inspections..
And the county will issue more citations for those violating the reopening rules.
We are quickly approaching 2,000 deaths locally.
Dec. 1 was when the county first reported over 1,000 deaths.
As of yesterday, we were just a little over 100 deaths short of 2,000
Same with cases.. we’re closing in on 200,000
Dec. 12 is when we crossed 100,000 mark.
As of yesterday, there were about 195 thousand cases.
So we're close to doubling our deaths and cases from the start of the pandemic in about a month.. I know we keep saying surging cases, surging deaths, but when you break it down like this it's pretty stunning.
The San Diego City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend and expand a temporary ordinance allowing some businesses to use outdoor parkland during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ordinance will waive fees for the use of public parkland for places of worship and businesses like restaurants, gyms, yoga studios or any other indoor businesses forced to curtail business practices due to stay-at-home orders.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


00:14:44:20 “This is the immunization card, just like you get when you go to school.”
What looks like an index card is proof Dalia Mohammad received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. She’s a community health worker for the nonprofit License to Freedom. She spreads crucial public health information to the Kurdish-speaking community, especially those wary of getting the vaccine.
00:06:46:12 “And it is up to us to put it on our social media, go out in the community, talk about it, call people, send text messages, have zoom meetings and have like the entire community sometimes come together in a Zoom class.”
The immunity will help them better connect with hard to reach populations. License to Freedom plans to canvass neighborhoods to encourage eligible people to get the vaccine. They’re one of 11 groups reaching communities in about 20 languages. Tarryn Mento. KPBS News.

Our web team, by the way, is following all the latest developments on the vaccine rollout for you at KPBS-dot-org. Go there….Click on the Tracking Covid tab on our homepage, then the new tab, Vaccines. You'll find links to the county's vaccination sites and information on who is eligible for a shot now.
San Diego Unified School District resumed its COVID-19 testing yesterday as a small number of students and educators head back to school after the winter holiday.
KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong explains the district’s plans to eventually expand on-campus COVID testing

While campuses remain largely closed, a few high-needs students are receiving on-campus instruction. In partnership with UC San Diego, San Diego Unified is making sure all students and staff who are regularly on campus are getting tested once every two weeks. San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten visited Penn Elementary in the Paradise Hills neighborhood on Tuesday to receive her first COVID-19 test of the new year.
6:05CINDY MARTEN // SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SUPERINTENDENTWe’re happy to be able to provide testing to all of our students and lal of our staff every two weeks because we know that’s the cadence or frequency of testing that will prevent 90 percent of the spread.
The district’s testing program started on December 14 at 10 elementary schools. The district plans to open testing sites at all of its campuses in the coming months. The next group of testing sites will open at additional elementary schools on Tuesday, January 19.

Hospitals are inundated with COVID-19 patients, and local businesses are hurting from coronavirus-related lockdowns.
In Encinitas, a local woman is working to lighten the burden on both of those groups.
KPBS North County reporter Jacob Aere has the story.
A North County effort that started last month as an Addiction Awareness Initiative has blossomed into daily support of local businesses and hospital staff.
Syndee (Cindy) Wood of North County Justice Allies has organized food pickups from local restaurants… and deliveries of that food to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and other hospitals. She says she doesn't see the effort slowing down.
“I'm inspired to keep this going, members of the community are inspired to continue to help in ways that work.”
So far Wood has raised just under $12,000 on Venmo for the initiative helping restaurants and hospital staff.

Coming up…
A love letter to San Diego's music scene in film form..
That story after a quick break.

"Fanboy" is a new film by San Diego musician, writer and filmmaker Ben Johnson.

It centers around a fictional band, Xenos (ZEE-nos) and Freddie, an unhinged drummer.

Filmed in a variety of San Diego live music venues, with local musicians in starring roles, it's also something of a love letter to San Diego's music scene. The film will premiere for just one night on January 14th at the South Bay Drive In.

KPBS/Arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans spoke with the filmmaker, Ben Johnson, about putting this project together.

So in this film were following a struggling band as they start a tour and contend with an overzealous fan. And we also follow a new detective. Who's trying to find her place. What kind of story were you wanting to tell here? What I wanted to tell was. What people would do for even the smallest slice of fame and how much you would rearrange your life and do these things.

If that's something that you've been going for. So the band is kind of made of people that almost made it, and they put together by a guy who finances it and the financer is the drummer and they get out on the road and they play a show like their first show and they realize this guy's just not going to cut it.

And so it's about. Dreams and aspirations and how other people can derail them. If they're not serious about what they're doing, or if they bite off more than they can chew, because fan boy comes to the show and he's a good drummer, but he's a little bit on the hinge, but he just, you know, he sees, he has a niche that he could fill much better than the person who's currently filling the niche.

It's about the extent that one would go to, to grasp fame, kind of their last grasp. And it's to show and disseminate our world, which is the live music going to shows underground rock scene and disseminate that into mainstream culture via crime drama. And here's a scene where fan boy played by Ben Johnson starts to cast some doubt with Gilberto, from the band who is played by John Coda.

I would just sign that for me. Oh, um, yeah, it was interesting. Yeah. First night of tour. What are you going to do? Forget about it. That's the thing. I'm a pretty straight up guy. So I'm going to say something here. You guys need a better drummer. Is that guy like a close personal friend related to somebody?

I mean, Job and sticks missing snare hits. You guys could do way better. Um, that is straightforward. That's me. So you have the subtext of aggression and violence and there's this sort of. Commentary on toxic masculinity, that gets kind of appended as the story unfolds, but not completely. Freddy is a violent person.

Can you talk a little bit about why you wrote that character, the way that you did, Freddy thinks he's doing the right thing. There's definitely a trigger for each one. And the trigger is his heart being in the right place. But the way it triggers him and what he does to deal with the situation is obviously way.

Far beyond how anyone should really deal with those certain situations. If you see injustice, you don't go try to annihilate the person immediately. Who's doing the kind of these smaller, smaller injustices. So yeah, he is unhinged, but to him it makes perfect sense. And he he's, he doesn't see himself as toxically masculine.

He sees the world. As so out of joint that he needs to correct people, other people's behavior. And he also is driven by he's a guy that almost made it too, but he derailed himself through his violence and his aggression and his attitude. And he wants to get back in it, but he doesn't necessarily see his own violence and aggression as violence and aggression.

He just sees them as, as necessary parts of making the world. Right. Which of course they aren't. I want to talk a little bit more about casting and how you have musicians rather than actors in a lot of these roles, particularly the fictional band. What does it mean to have local musicians in, in these times?

So the band I cast, um, with. People that I had been in bands with before and already knew I played, I work and playing in a band with John Coda and then Arab Bella Harrison, who I played in bands with way back in the day, um, in the like late nineties and Alia jaywalk, uh, who I played in a bandwidth shortly, a couple of years ago, they are both music teachers.

So I kind of have the lyrics and the kind of idea for the songs to put together. And then I asked. Them. And they are both wonderful actresses and an amazing musician. So I knew that that would be really easy. And, um, and then Tommy. Yeah, I worked with Tommy as well. Thomas gets us. So that's how I cast the band.

Just kind of like, I know you can do this, so let's do this.

I think this film will really fit that missing space in a way of going out to see bands, um, may also be very bittersweet though, kind of a melancholy to see these places like the soda buyer in the first scene. Can you tell me what it has been like for you to be finishing off this movie and releasing it in the pandemic?

When we can't go to these venues and we can't see live music? It's bittersweet. Definitely. I mean, not even. Really that sweet. I also work at the Casbah, so I haven't, you know, I've worked there 23 years and at four nights a week, so they generally three bands a night. So there's some big, big math there with the amount of bands I've actually seen.

An and I mean, it's been, it's been weird, you know, I'm finishing this up and I'm seeing these shows that we play on this film and, and everything. And, you know, maybe it'll be a slice where people. You know, love it and feel great about that. And, Oh, wow. Look at that. And, and like you say, some of it might be kind of like a morning.

So fanboy is dedicated to Alberta Dorado of the band death eyes who passed away almost exactly a year ago. And you central in the movie is Ronnie, the merch person. Can you talk a little bit about working with him and that loss for the music community? You know, I, I really got to know him through the filming process and he's just such an amazing guy and just such a, just spot on actor and just everything, you know, he was really just super funny, hilarious guy, so talented and just commands the stage, you know, and commanded the camera.

That's Ben Johnson, whose new movie Fanboy will premiere at the South Bay Drive-in on January 14. He spoke with KPBS/Arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. You can get tickets to the drive-in showings at Casbah music DOT com.

That’s all for today. Tune in to KPBS today for special coverage of the House of Representatives voting to impeach President Donald Trump, once again. Thanks for listening.

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego News Now

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.