Skip to main content

ALERT: KPBS 89.5FM is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in a temporary signal outage. Click here to listen on our radio stream.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

First “Breakthrough” Death

Cover image for podcast episode

A vial of a COVID-19 vaccine at the CSU San Marcos vaccination site. Feb. 22, 2021.

ROLAND LIZARONDO

San Diego has reported the first person to die of COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. This so-called “breakthrough” case was a 70-year old woman who had "many underlying health conditions." Meanwhile, Rady Children's officials are seeing a 25 percent increase in mental health emergency room visits. They’re attributing the increase to the adverse effects of the pandemic, both directly and indirectly. Plus, many American Legion posts have closed due to the pandemic. Some are reopening but are facing financial uncertainty.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday, June 10th.

>>>>

San diego records first fully vaccinated person to die of covid-19

More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines….

######

A wildfire near Camp Pendleton broke out on Wednesday afternoon, prompting some evacuations around the military base. The Camp Pendleton Fire Department is fighting the blaze. Per the latest updates from last night, about 1000 acres have burned with no containment. Stay tuned to KPBS as we’ll bring you the latest as it unfolds.

########

California’s workplace regulators -- the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board or CalOSHA - has withdrawn their order mandating masks in the workplace if all employees are not vaccinated.. TThis comes after many businesses, including manufacturers and retailers, objected to the rule. The board will now consider a masking rule that will more closely align with the state’s broader plan to drop all masking and social distancing rules next Tuesday.

########

San Diego County moved into California's least restrictive "yellow tier" on Wednesday, following two consecutive weeks of an adjusted new daily COVID-19 case rate of fewer than two cases per 100,000 residents. It happened with just six days left before the state scraps the tiered system altogether. In the meantime, the county reported 62 new covid-19 cases and one additional death. Other counties in the yellow tier include Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange

#########

From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

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

It’s a first for San Diego County that no one wanted to see. The County says a woman who’d been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 died of the disease this week… a so-called “breakthrough” case. KPBS’ John Carroll says the death is exceedingly rare when viewed against the overall effectiveness of the vaccines.

There’s been so much good news surrounding COVID lately… San Diego County coming close to the goal of getting 75% of people here vaccinated… advancing to the yellow, least restrictive tier… but now news from the county that a 70-year-old woman... who they say had many underlying health conditions… died of the virus despite being vaccinated.
Dr. Christian Ramers is an infectious disease specialist with Family Health Centers of San Diego.
CG: Dr. Christian Ramers/Family Health Centers of San Diego
“You have to acknowledge that it’s true. It did happen. This is what we call a breakthrough case.”
A breakthrough case… a situation where, even with the vaccine, the virus overcomes the body’s ability to fight it off. But to say these cases are exceedingly rare is a big understatement.
“So in the CDC’s tracking database, 3,000 cases of breakthrough cases out of 135-million people vaccinated. So that’s a zero point zero zero two percent rate of hospitalization and a zero point zero, zero, zero four percent risk of death.”
In other words, for people still hesitant to get the vaccine, this one breakthrough case is not a reason not to get vaccinated.
“Scientifically and medically it is the best tool that we have by far at getting people protected. We’re seeing these incredible falling numbers. It’s really because of those that have been vaccinated.”
Plus, being vaccinated means the ability to return to doing lots of things without having to wear a mask. And Ramers says for those still unvaccinated, there’s something else to consider…
“You will be increasingly asked, maybe it’s by your employer, by an airline, by a concert venue to prove that you’re vaccinated. We do this already for so many other diseases.”
The bottom line… even with the tragic breakthrough case, there’s no reason not to get vaccinated and every reason to get the shot... to help society as a whole move back to where we were before any of us had ever heard of COVID 19. JC, KPBS News.

##########

Recently a Children's hospital in Colorado declared a state of emergency citing increasing numbers of youth suffering from mental illness. KPBS HEALTH reporter Matt Hoffman says local experts say they too are seeing a significant increase in mental health related visits to their emergency room, a surge that can be directly linked to COVID-19.

At this point over a year into the pandemic we have data so we know the rates of anxiety, depression and eating disorders they have all increased
Dr. Willough Jenkins is a child psychiatrist and the inpatient medical director at Rady Children's Hospital--
Personally i see children every single day
She says there has been about a 25 percent increase in mental health visits to their emergency room--
Could be a variety of things but to bring a child to the emergency room for mental health issues it’s something that’s pretty acute or pretty severe so our most common reason is suicide whether thoughts of sucide or actual action
Matt Hoffman, KPBS News
Dr jenkins says early interventions are key for preventing worse outcomes and for parents that can be simple as talking to your kids a little bit more especially if you notice something just isn't quite right
And I know a lot of parents get kind of nervous or unsure about have that conversation so I always tell families please please ask if you ask you’re not going to make that child think about it more it’s not going to cause them to act if anything you’ll get more information and save their life - this is very very serious
Rady Children’s has a 24-bed inpatient mental health unit which has been full, and during the pandemic a new psychiatric emergency room wing opened.
One of a few nationwide it’s a six bed specialized emergency room staffed with nursing social workers everything is geared to supporting the mental health of youth
Jenkins says there are a number of reasons for the increase in visits--
At this point in the pandemic we’ve had children that have lost their parents to COVID-19 so there’s grief and there’s loss and then there’s indirect effects of the pandemic so this is related to school closures being socially isolated from friends and piers
She says ongoing racial injustice and political tensions are also a factor plus the stresses of parents who may have lost their jobs..
So warning signs for mental illness in youth if you’re seeing your child becoming more withdrawn not hanging out with friends as much not doing things they enjoy
If they are becoming more irritable. More angry - that’s a key sign of depression in youth
Jenkins says one of the most common fears from parents is if they think there’s something wrong and they alert doctors, their child will automatically be put on drugs, but she says most mild to moderate cases can be handled with therapy.
Nothing is done without a full evaluation talking to the family reviewing all the options
San Diego County data shows in 2020 there wasn’t an increase in youth suicides when compared with the previous few years.. Anyone in crisis should call the National Suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit their website suicidepreventionlifeline.org MH KPBS News

##########

The reckoning on the role of police in society goes beyond city streets. a group gathered in San Diego today to call for the elimination of university police departments. Race and Equity reporter Cristina Kim has more from the event.

UC San Diego students and faculty together with local social justice organizations say it’s time to end police presence on college campuses.
Essence Leann, a third year UC SanDiego student and an organizer with the group UCSD Cops off Campus was pulled over by campus police on May 25th. Leann says she was racially profiled. She still remembers what ran through her head in that moment.
I had an interpersonal dialogue with myself. Don’t die Essence it was really that simple.You have to police yourself.”
In an emailed statement, a UCSD spokesperson said The UC system has been working with stakeholders including students to create The Presidential Campus Safety Plan, which will “transform UC’s culture, policies and practices to achieve a vision of safety in which all members of the community feel further welcomed, respected and protected.”
The current UCSD Police Department budget is 13.9 million dollars.The students and faculty gathered today say campus safety can still be achieved if the department is eliminated and those funds are redistributed.
Cristina kim. KPBS News.

##########

In March, the county Board of Supervisors ordered a review of its COVID-19 hotel sheltering program after reports of mismanagement. But inewsource investigative reporter Cody Dulaney found county staff missed a June 1 deadline to produce that report.

DULANEY: County staff gave San Diego State a $140,000 contract to do the review, which was supposed to take 90 days. But it took them a month to work out the contract. Now the June 1 deadline has been pushed back to sometime next month.
That’s bad news for guests like Shera Beem, who has been staying at one of the county-run hotels since February. She said she doesn’t have anywhere else to go.
BEEM: “Imagine the worst nursing home you could possibly imagine your grandma being in or something. That’s what this is like. It’s like the worst place ever.”
DULANEY: Chairman Nathan Fletcher said he prefers the report to be right, not rushed.

inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.

##########

Coming up.... Due to the pandemic, around 12,000 American Legion posts were shut down in order to follow safety guidelines. Now they are able to reopen, but many posts are facing a financial crisis. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

More than 12,000 American Legion posts closed for at least part of the pandemic. That left many of them in financial trouble. Now, they’re hoping people will come back for events like wedding receptions, family reunions, and bingo. Anne Kniggendorf [kin-IG-en-dorf] of the American Homefront Project visited post number 327 in Shawnee, Kansas.

In the main hall of a modest brick building on a suburban street, a few dozen people hunker over bingo cards along white plastic folding tables. [bring up someone wins bingo] The post only takes a small profit after prizes are paid out, but the sounds of the game are exciting--they signal that the space has reopened to the public. Far from the calls of letters and numbers, [bar sounds up] the post’s members and its commander gather around the bar in the basement, still reeling from their pandemic losses.
SOBEK: We were dying.
KNIGGENDORF: Richard “Bear” Sobek is a former marine and Vietnam veteran. He’s a longtime member but just took over as post commander in May. When asked if he thinks they can regain their financial footing he says:
SOBEK: Toss a coin up.
KNIGGENDORF: What galls Sobek is that while his post worked hard to follow health and safety guidelines—like closing for several months in order to keep its employees and 376 members safe--other posts did not.
SOBEK: That burnt a whole lot of people mentally and they said ‘pfft.’ And so a lot of our people decided, ‘Well, the other posts are open, so we’ll go there.’
KNIGGENDORF: The post received a loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program that helped a little during the shutdown. But that money is just about gone. And the pandemic not only cost the post revenue, but some of its members. Post manager Jeanne Barnhart says:
BARNHART: It’s hurt us big time.
KNIGGENDORF: But it’s getting better. They’ve resumed booking bands on Friday nights, and, slowly, members have begun to return.
BARNHART: Now that they don’t have to wear a mask, they’re happy.
KNIGGENDORF: Dennis and LeAnn Busby are glad to be back. Neither is a veteran, but Dennis is a member through Sons of the American Legion; his father served in WWII.
BUSBY: What’s fun now is the joy of seeing some of these guys come in here. One of them came in last week that I hadn’t seen in over a year. It was good to see him because you wonder if some of these people didn’t die.
KNIGGENDORF: Now he and his wife are parked at a high-top near the bar as many as four evenings a week.
BUSBY: Originally the reason I decided to join was the fact that it’s an older crowd that isn’t quite so crazy.
KNIGGENDORF: Like a lot of people, the Busbys spent the lockdown watching Netflix. But as far as entertainment goes, he knew he was missing out.
BUSBY: The amazing thing is that some of these old veterans that sit around in here have stories to tell that you just go what?
KNIGGENDORF: He says that while it was hard to be away, he appreciates that Post 327 followed guidelines.
BUSBY: It was as tough for them as it was for anyone, it was tough for everybody, but they didn’t complain about it or wonder why somebody wasn’t here to bail them out, it was just like this is the way it is, so we’ll go on.
KNIGGENDORF: Now that he’s gaining some perspective on it, Richard Sobek - the post’s commander - sees the situation a little differently. He tells about being strafed by enemy fire on a tiny island with a bunch of guys during Vietnam.
SOBEK: And that’s nothing different from COVID; you get shot at by the enemy. So, we’ve been shot at by an enemy; it’s called a disease, and if everybody worked together, it wouldn’t have gotten quite as bad as it did.
KNIGGENDORF: Sobek and his remaining members are hopeful that as word gets out that the post is back in business, hall rentals will take off again, and old friends will gather to hear the bands.
SOBEK: Where else can you go on a Friday night and pay five bucks and dance all night?
KNIGGENDORF: In Shawnee, Kansas, I’m Anne Kniggendorf.

This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

##############

Before Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda had a quieter success with a musical called In the Heights, which focused on the largely Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. The musical is now being brought to the screen by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. KPBS Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando has this review.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of West Side Story and In the Heights arrives as both a harkening back to the old Hollywood musical and a direct challenge to it.
CLIP Once upon a time… in a faraway land called Washington Heights…
Washington Heights is faraway from both Hollywood and the mainstream media’s representation of Latinx culture. So the irresistible attraction of the film is two fold, first it gives us a glossy, big budget film about a diverse community we don’t often see highlighted. And second the energetic, pulsing soundtrack grabs you and pulls you along even when the 143 minute running time starts to drag.
The film, however, serves up a mixed bag with some numbers exploding with originality and flights of fancy while others feel like the camera is planted in the audience with performers just singing into the lens.
But despite some shortcomings, the film proves appealing and brings the play to the screen with vibrancy and a sense of giving voice to characters that too rarely get center stage.
CLIP Let’s make some noise tonight…

In the Heights is opening at movie theatres across the county.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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.