The bipartisan federal infrastructure package currently pending in Congress could lead to major improvements to San Diego’s transportation system. Meanwhile, masks are required in schools across the state, and also in daycare centers for kids two and up. But at least one North County daycare center is letting parents make the choice whether to mask their kids. And, some Vietnam veterans say the Afghanistan withdrawal has triggered symptoms of post-traumatic stress, while others are voicing frustration and powerlessness.
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday August 23rd
What the federal infrastructure package could mean for San Diego
That’s next, but first… let’s do the headlines….
San Diego county public health officials reported more than 900 new covid-19 cases and seven more hospitalizations on Sunday, with 3 more patients in ICU’s. There’s now almost 100 more people in San Diego ICU’s compared to a month ago. The current case rate in the county is 28.7 per 100,000–- That’s 10 times what it was in early July.
A new poll conducted by Blue Shield of California shows three-out-of-four California teenagers are worried about catching covid-19 at school. And even more students are concerned about their academic outlook this year.
Maya Gomez is a sophomore at Whitney High School in Rocklin near Sacramento. She says she lives in a school district that is divided over covid safety and mask mandates.
“we’ve had some very sad and even aggressive board meetings where students and community members were talking about… that students should not be wearing masks and it should not be enforced and that was very anxiety provoking for me.”
A frightening scene at the del mar race track on sunday afternoon. According to track officials, a spill involving seven horses and their jockeys occurred during the 7th race. A spokesperson says five jockeys were hurt in the spill. All of the riders were transported to Scripps hospital, but have since been released. None of the horses suffered life-threatening injuries.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
Southern California transportation projects are poised to get a much needed funding infusion, if Congress passes the more than one trillion dollar bipartisan infrastructure plan.
KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has more.
San Diego transportation officials know they have a lot to do to restore the region’s transportation systems. There are billions of dollars worth of maintenance projects waiting for funding.
Gustavo Dallarda is the director of Caltrans district 11
“It’s better to fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.”
Caltrans director Gustavo Dallarda says state officials pumped more money into their budgets this year thanks to a huge state surplus. Federal dollars being considered would only add to that. Former San Diego City Council president Georgette Gomez says this could be an opportunity to reshape how people get around.
Georgette Gomez, Community Advocate.
“I truly believe that if we can deliver a world class transit system for San Diegans, then the conversation changes. Our environment and our greenhouse gasses will change and will get reduced.
The federal legislation still needs approval from the House of Representatives and a signature from the president before becoming law.
Erik Anderson KPBS News
Masks are being required in schools and daycare centers across the state. But one oceanside daycare center is letting parents and staff choose whether to wear a mask. KPBS north county reporter Tania Thorne has more.
Last week, Julie Lowen, the owner of Children’s Paradise Centers sent out an email with a masking update.
The email said that Children’s Paradise would remain a neutral party in the masking debate and they had chosen to adopt a “parent choice” and “staff choice” approach to masking.
Marissa (MUR-isa) De Luca’s children were at Children’s Paradise in Oceanside when she got the email.
“I was disturbed enough to pull them out of the daycare the same day. That day that I got the email ended up being their last day in care.”
Lowen, the owner, declined to do an interview, but sent a statement saying they are prioritizing personal rights for children and their parents.
But this approach violates the state’s child care licensing rules. A state spokesman said failing to enforce masks could lead to fines or even losing your license.
While looking for a new daycare, DeLuca was surprised at how many facilities were not enforcing masks.
“I thought it was strange to find places that were not enforcing it when its a requirement, their license is on the line.”
Masks are only required for staff and kids two and up. Other local childcare centers say they are getting stricter with the use of masks among the kids.
TT KPBS News
The Mexican government has filed suit against US gun manufacturers who, the suit claims, allow guns and other weapons to flow into Mexico. Now a federal court in Massachusetts has agreed to take up the case. From the Fronteras Desk in Hermosillo, KJZZ’s Kendal Blust reports.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced on Twitter Friday that a federal court in Massachusetts has agreed to hear the country’s lawsuit.The Mexican government claims that the negligent practices of several U-S gun manufacturers have allowed the illegal flow of weapons to drug cartels in Mexico.Many see the suit as a longshot. But Ebrard called the court’s decision to hear the case the first big step forward.He has emphasized that it is not against the U.S. government nor it’s laws. Instead, it’s meant to change the practices of U.S. gunmakers and reduce violent crime in Mexico.Last year alone, nearly 35,000 people were murdered across the country.
In a debate in Sacramento last week, Republican recall candidates criticized Governor Gavin Newsom’s record on COVID-19 and wildfire prevention.
CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols fact-checked their claims in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment. He spoke with anchor Randol White.
CHRIS: Chris, GOP Assemblyman Kevin Kiley of Rocklin attacked Newsom for his handling of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Let’s listen to what he said.
2WAY“He further played politics with the vaccine and had the slowest rollout of any state in the country and did not prioritize seniors. So, I would have done those things very differently.” (:09)
ANCHOR: Did Kiley get these claims right?
CHRIS: He got some of this right. Right now, there’s plenty of vaccine supply. But ‘if we remember back to late January’, things were very different. California’s vaccine rollout per capita was among the slowest in the country, according to the CDC. State officials at the time blamed the federal government for not providing enough doses.
Kiley’s other claim about not prioritizing seniors needs some context. Initially, California gave priority to health care workers, farm workers and teachers. But by late January, it changed its strategy to an age-based approach, moving people 65 and over to the front of the line.
ANCHOR: Chris, we know that for adults COVID-19 is far more lethal than the flu. But during the debate, candidate and San Diego businessman John Cox made some questionable statements about the risk children face from COVID-19 compared to the flu.
Cox sound bite: “Our children are already scared enough about this. More children died of the flu than have died of Covid and we never required masks when we had the flu.” (:10)
ANCHOR: More deaths from the flu than Covid. Is that accurate?
No, Cox is wrong about this. To be clear, it’s rare for children to die or even be hospitalized — from either virus.
But the evidence so far, shows it’s COVID-19 that’s more harmful to children. A recent study by the CDC shows the number of hospitalizations tied to Covid-19 among adolescents was about 3 times greater than those related to the flu.
Also, the CDC reported that just one child in the United States died of the flu last winter, compared with nearly 200 the previous winter.
Masks and social distancing are credited with that drastic decline.
By contrast, more than 350 children have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
That was CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols speaking with anchor Randol White.
Coming up….The Afghanistan withdrawal has triggered symptoms of post-traumatic stress for some Vietnam veterans.
“It’s almost identical to the scenes that I saw evacuating from the rooftop of our embassy in Saigon. So yes it triggers a lot of those memories.”
We’ll hear from some Vietnam veterans next, just after the break.
The images of chaos in Afghanistan have deeply resonated with veterans from the Vietnam war. That conflict was far more deadly than the one in Afghanistan, but both ended with an enemy takeover of the capital city and a desperate American-led evacuation.
Some Vietnam veterans say the Afghanistan withdrawal has triggered symptoms of post-traumatic stress, while others are voicing frustration and powerlessness.
Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.
In just a week, the Taliban took control of the Afghan government and are returning the country to a theocracy. Haunting images of Afghans overwhelming the Kabul airport — and hasty evacuations — dominated news coverage and social media.
For Russ Clark, a former Marine infantry officer who fought in Vietnam, the scenes feel strikingly familiar.
CLARK: I’m seeing right now the scene of the evacuation going on… the helicopters or “choppers,” as we call them, on the roof of our embassy there. It’s almost identical to the scenes that I saw, evacuating from the rooftop of our embassy in Saigon. And so yes, it triggers a lot of those memories.
The emotions are much the same, too, with a heavy dose of grief… and confusion over what it all meant.
CLARK: Yeah, the feeling is one of pain, futility, sense of powerlessness, even embarrassment, deflation. All of those are… part of what I’m dealing with right now.
Echoes of Vietnam aren’t just affecting Clark. Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, calls this an “acute crisis” for veterans of that era, many of whom were already facing service-related injuries.
SCHWAB: Before this withdrawal, we saw rising suicide rates among Vietnam veterans, because they’re at that age, and they’re suffering from those conditions. And they’re experiencing loneliness and disconnectedness at levels that are obscene. And then you layer this on top of that, it amounts to a crisis.
Schwab says he’s hearing from veterans who are consumed with television news and social media, which is a huge trigger for their PTSD, anxiety and depression. He adds that Vietnam veterans are dealing with an extra layer of stress, given the similarities between Afghanistan and the war they fought.
SCHWAB: Frankly, many of them predicted and warned that this might happen again. And sure enough, right, they’re seeing that play out. So for many of them, their worst fears have come true.
In recent days, the Dole Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Military Health System, and other veteran-serving organizations have sent out email blasts offering support and mental health resources to veterans and their families. Advocates across the board are urging veterans to disconnect from the news and connect with other people.
Ron Harris served alongside Russ Clark in Vietnam as a Navy Medical Corpsman. He has some advice for younger vets who may be struggling now: get help.
HARRIS: Don’t wait, get in there. Talk with your friends, talk with those who were close to you during those times in Afghanistan and get help. Go get help. …You know, when we came back from Vietnam, we didn’t really have that stuff.
Harris says he feels irritable and angry because of what’s happening in Afghanistan. But he credits his wife and family with helping him get through it….just as they did when he returned from Vietnam.
HARRIS: The good things that are in my life.. I mean, I’m grateful. I have four great children, you know, eight grandchildren. We’re heavily involved and invested in family. And that helps.
Harris says it took him years to come to terms with his experiences in Vietnam. He hopes that, with greater support networks, the after-effects of war will be easier for younger veterans to manage. I’m Carson Frame in San Antonio.
That was Carson Frame reporting from San Antonio. 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
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.