Health

Time for Us to Change

April 3, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Out of fear
and despair
there are folks
on their knees
in prayer,
pleading for a return
to normalcy
when this nightmarish
coronavirus
health scare
allows us to breathe
more easily –

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San Diego Should Use Coronavirus Time to Clean the City

April 3, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

With every crisis comes an opportunity. This opportunity arrives once in a century.

Forget massive funding needs, scarce special equipment requirements, or rare skill sets. This coronavirus opportunity is easier to fix. It only requires common sense and some hustle, and it can create “workforce-demand” jobs instantly.

There are very few people or cars clogging the streets and sidewalks. Take advantage of those near ghost town conditions in our city of more than 1.3 million people. Shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, social distancing; whatever you want to call it is a fabulous opportunity for the City to do work that cannot be efficiently done at any other time. Use this break wisely.

Use it to clean the City. It desperately needs it. Singapore did it to great effect. Why can’t we?

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San Diego County Map of COVID-19 Cases by Zip Code

April 2, 2020 by Staff

Here is a map of San Diego County’s COVID-19 cases based on the 2010 census population for each zip code as of March 31. OB’s own Kevin Hastings created it and plans to update it as long as no one else puts one together.

Also, inewsource has put together a series of maps of populations at highest risk of COVID-19 complications in San Diego County. Here’s what they say:

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Amazon’s Poor Treatment of Workers Is Catching Up to It During the Coronavirus Crisis

April 1, 2020 by Source

A big surge in orders isn’t the only reason Amazon is struggling to keep up

By Casey Newton / The Verge / April 1, 2020

It’s been clear for weeks that Amazon faces an unprecedented challenge in coping with the fallout from COVID-19. With tens of millions of Americans now dependent on online delivery for their food, medicine, and other essential items, the nation’s No. 1 e-commerce company is buckling under increased demand.

And as fulfillment center employees are diagnosed with the virus across the country, Amazon’s already-restive workforce has escalated its efforts to win better pay and safer working conditions. Among other things, employees at affected locations have simply walked off the job.

You’ve likely felt the affects of the crisis on Amazon if you attempted to order anything from the company in March. Once lightning-fast delivery times stretched into days and weeks. In the case of grocery deliveries in San Francisco, Amazon had no available slots for Tuesday or Wednesday.

Still, we really don’t know how badly Amazon is stretched.

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Bay Area Doctors See Flatter Curve After 2 Weeks of Social Isolation

March 31, 2020 by Source

By Debra Kahn and Carla Marinucci / Politico / March 30, 2020

State leaders and doctors are cautiously optimistic that the Bay Area’s early moves to lock down residents two weeks ago have prevented surges of coronavirus patients from overwhelming the region’s health care capacity thus far.

Six Bay Area counties were first in the country to adopt aggressive tactics with an enforceable March 16 order requiring residents to stay at home. Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly followed with a statewide order three days later restricting the state’s 40 million residents from all but essential activities.

After 14 days — the outermost period at which symptoms are believed to emerge post-infection — doctors at area hospitals are now reporting fewer cases than they expected to see at this point, and officials credit the lockdown with stemming the tide of patients they feared would flood into emergency rooms.

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Testing Resilience in the Game of Existence

March 31, 2020 by Source

By Jeoffrey B. Gordon, MD, MPH / March 24, 2020

We know of only two crucially important rounds remaining in the game of human existence on earth. This round – THE CORONA PANDEMIC -has been more like a rapid play, rough and tumble, basketball game. During pre-game warm up drills, most everyone felt strong and invincible.

Like past pandemics, the corona virus burst on the scene suddenly, but not quite unexpectedly, to start the round. Nonetheless, as we entered the early minutes of the first period we have already lost the game. Asian countries, forewarned by past challenges such as SARS, had plans, staff, capacity.

China, stunned by a sudden surge and massive morbidity and mortality, was able to rapidly, scientifically identify the germ down to its DNA underwear and take comprehensive public health and medical care actions and in a powerful “Hail Mary” effort sacrificed its economy to shut down the threat in merely two months.

Singapore and Taiwan, close by in the circle of danger, activated a playbook of well thought out, previously planned, well manned and scientifically based public health programs with sophisticated leadership curtailing the epidemic on their court.

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How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Marijuana Use? New Data from Study of 990 U.S Consumers

March 31, 2020 by Source

Editordude: The folks at this nifty website, American Marijuana, have come up with a study on how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed – if at all – marijuana use by American consumers. Written by Dwight K. Blake, it’s based on data from a study of 990 American pot consumers. There’s lots of great graphs and pie-charts on the original site, so we recommend you check those out, as we’ve only included one graph below.

By Dwight K. Blake / American Marijuana / March 30, 2020

As of March 24, 2020, the coronavirus disease had swept through over 195 countries with over 260,000 confirmed cases worldwide. This caused a panic that led people to stock up on foods, toiletries, and other basic needs.

But how did it affect marijuana consumers? Let’s take a look at the survey presented below.

Compared with Marijuana, Which One Is More Important Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Hiding from the Virus: Living the New Normal

March 30, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl / Riehl World / March 30, 2020

It’s Day 16 of our lockdown in the Château Lake San Marcos retirement community. None of our 140 residents have been diagnosed with COVID 19.

Yesterday, according to Public Health Services, there were 519 cases and seven deaths reported in San Diego County, including 4 cases in San Marcos, 20 in Carlsbad, 18 in Encinitas, 11 in Oceanside, 9 in Escondido, and 10 in Vista.

We pass our time cocooning with the same daily schedule we had before the virus got here.

Awakening at 5 am, we watch the morning news, beginning with BBC America, since our son lives in London with his wife and our 13-year-old granddaughter. Thanks to our weekly Skype video calls, we stay connected with them during their own lockdown.

BBC America has also become our favorite channel to maintain our mental health. Yesterday morning we watched the weekly meeting of the House of Commons, called Questions to the Prime Minister, when Boris Johnson was called upon by members of Parliament to answer questions about his government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Barrio Logan’s Small Businesses Struggle During Coronavirus Fallout – Chicano Park Day Cancelled

March 30, 2020 by Source

By Roberto ‘Rob’ Camacho

As more and more states across the country increasingly issue stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic (officially known as COVID-19), it is an understatement to say that the virus has fundamentally turned all of our lives upside down. …

Locally, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also declared a State of Emergency in the city in response to the ongoing pandemic. Prohibiting all public and private gatherings of fifty or more people, and strongly discouraging all nonessential gatherings of any size in effort to contain the spread of the virus.

While no region in San Diego, let alone the country, has been untouched by the outbreak and subsequent public shutdowns, few communities are likely to be as directly affected as San Diego’s neighborhood of Barrio Logan; one of the most colorful and historic Chicano communities in all the country and home to historic Chicano Park.

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In the Midst of this Disastrous Failure of Public Policy – ‘There Should Be Shame’

March 30, 2020 by Jim Miller

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is Right

By Jim Miller

Last week in the lead up to the passage of the massive stimulus bill by Congress, I argued that “Whichever package emerges today from the Congress will not be nearly enough to help the majority of Americans weather this crisis. Trump’s hesitance to use the tools of government to take more effective collective action is a predictable product of thirty years of rightwing ideological assault against not just ‘big government,’ but the government period.”

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San Diego Union Calls for Action in Support of Grocery, Pharmacy and Other Healthcare and Retail Workers

March 27, 2020 by Source

UFCW Local 135 demands that their essential members be designated as emergency frontline personnel in the state of California

Working long hours and exposed to large volumes of customers and patients, essential retail store workers, and pharmacy and other healthcare professionals are unsung heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, leadership from the state, county, and cities in San Diego, must do everything in their power to support and protect them.

UFCW Local 135 calls on the state of California to designate their essential members as emergency frontline personnel. This must include, at a minimum:

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Latest San Diego News on COVID-19 Crisis

March 27, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Editordude: Realizing that many OBceans and San Diegans do not have access to up-to-date news from San Diego, below is an effort to keep abreast of city and county news relating to the COVID-19 crisis. (Most of this is right from the SD Union-Tribune with some editing for brevity and clarity.)

  • A third San Diego County resident has died of COVID-19, an 87-year-old woman;
  • a new cluster of infected people has been identified at an assisted-living community in Rancho San Diego; four employees of La Vida Real, a senior living community had tested positive for the disease; this cluster is the fifth in the county, including a cluster of five people who tested positive at the Veterans Affairs office in Mission Valley, which was confirmed Wednesday.
  • the county had reported 341 cases of infected residents, an increase of 64 in one day, announced Thursday.
  • Three San Diego Lifeguards have tested positive; ”
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Living Through a Real Nightmare Everyday

March 26, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Had a fright
in my sleep
the other night,
dreaming one of those dreams
where you’re
fighting for your life
but you can’t move
or scream
and suddenly you
spring to
an up position in your bed,
saying to yourself,
in relief,
“Oh, thank goodness
that was a dream.”

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Widder Curry Raves: The Angels Among Us

March 26, 2020 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

In this very contemptuous time that we are living in, where many people are in violent disagreement with their neighbors, it is so refreshing to know that those disagreements can be put aside and “neighbor helping neighbor” shines through the clouds.

There are many people struggling right now to make ends meet; to put food on the table; to purchase prescription drugs, etc. Many of those people are “Senior Citizens” – referred to by that horrible word, “elderly” in today’s society. Being a “senior” does not make us elderly, but that is another story.

A group of “restaurateurs”, bakers, interested people have started an organization entitled, “Stayhomesd.com” – a “grocery assistance program for the elderly.” (Damn!). Their aim is specifically for those residents that are 65 and older, but if there are others with compromised situations something may be able to be worked out for them.

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Pressure on Ocean Beach and SoCal Surfers to Stop Surfing During Coronavirus Shut-Down

March 25, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

There’s a lot of pressure on OB and SoCal surfers right now to stop surfing during this coronavirus shut-down. As local cases and deaths mount, government has had to respond to the ignoring of pleas from the Governor on down to the mayor to get off the beach. The front page of the San Diego Union-Tribune for today, Wednesday, March 25, showed SDPD officers stopping a surfer from going down the stairs at Sunset Cliffs. The City of San Diego was forced to shut beach and coastal parking lots because many didn’t take the warning seriously at the beach and in the ocean.

One of the largest surf websites, Surfline, issued this statement:

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Reader Rant: Keep San Diego’s Parks Open – They’re Essential

March 20, 2020 by Source

By La Mesa Reader

This morning, with my bicycle in the back, I drove up to my favorite place to bike to take a much needed break from being cooped up inside during this Coronavirus Shut-Down. As I approached the gate to Lake Murray, immediately I could see the gate was closed and a small sign announced something I’m sure about having to close the park as it wasn’t essential.

Now I know Lake Murray isn’t in Ocean Beach or Point Loma and I know I don’t live out at the coast. But I read the OBRag almost daily and thought its readers might be interested in these thoughts. I’m sure there’s plenty of parks in OB and Point Loma.

Finding the gate closed and locked kind of pissed me off – I need my exercise as an older person – and I have to mightily disagree with the notion and government policy of closing parks during the shut-down.

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UC San Diego Researchers Working on Fast Test for Coronavirus

March 19, 2020 by Source

Researchers at UC San Diego are evaluating a new diagnostic testing system designed by an Orange County company that holds promise for identifying the novel coronavirus in as little as 45 minutes and typically within one hour.

Initial tests by Irvine-based Fluxergy using a synthetic COVID-19 virus suggest this system has the potential to dramatically reduce the time it takes to get results and deliver those results directly at the patient bedside. Such a test, if validated by physician-scientists at UCSD, would potentially eliminate the need to send patient samples to centralized labs, significantly speeding up the time it takes to get results.

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No Hunches, Please, as We Fight a Dreadful Disease

March 17, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

One never knows what life
might bring,
like this coronavirus thing,
a deadly disease
that has rolled up its sleeves
and got people shaking at their knees
afraid of themselves
if they cough or sneeze,
hording toilet tissue
as if it’s the answer
to being at ease

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Coping with COVID-19: ‘Cocooning’ in Our Own Chateau

March 16, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl

Two days before the pandemic was declared, we received a warning from the executive director of our 55+ senior community. The Château’s salad bar would be closed during meals. Seating in the dining hall would be limited. Two days later we found the second notice, a critical update after the pandemic was declared, taped to our front door.

The dining room has now been closed, and will remain so for at least 30 days. We may order our breakfast, lunch and dinner by telephone. Meals, packed in disposable boxes, will be carried to our front doors. Servers will not be permitted to enter our units or come within six feet of us upon delivery. It is “highly recommended” that we “limit outside guests or other visitors.” We are urged to “minimize all contact with non-residents.”

You might say we have been quarantined, but we choose to call it cocooned.

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Governor Newsom: Provide ‘Drive-Through’ Testing for Staff at California’s Prisons

March 16, 2020 by Source

Governor Newsom: Make the Call Re: Coronavirus

California is one of the best educated, richest, most advanced states on the planet. In fact, we are really an “nation-state.”

We have the talent, the wealth, the high-tech labs and universities capable of leading the nation in innovative responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Ideas and discipline are required for success in any crisis.

So, here is one simple idea that can help stop an explosion of infections in an existing “petri-dish” environment.

These people cannot “stay home;” cannot “shelter in place” and cannot avoid probable infections. Yes, these are the front-line responders—firefighters, nurses, doctors, and other health care providers. That is common knowledge.

However, often overlooked are their less popular clients—the homeless and prisoners. California has the largest populations of these individuals as well. Local governments will provide necessary care for their homeless populations — some greater than others.

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American Fecklessness in the Time of Pandemic

March 16, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

After waiting a week for California’s and San Diego’s glacial election returns, I had planned to write a post-election column. Then the COVID-19 pandemic got real and everything changed. As a professor at San Diego City College and as the father of a high school student, I was thrust into the chaos that “social distancing” brings to educational institutions and family.

In between planning for teaching virtually for three weeks (or perhaps the rest of the semester) and dealing with the contradictory stew of confusion, panic, fear, hostility, sadness, as well as with the personal courage, compassion, and community solidarity that arose all around me, I talked to friends and family who were slow to respond and watched their retirement and/or college funds collapse before they had time to act as the stock market went on its manic roller coaster ride.

Poof! the markets were gutted. Would they come back in time? Nobody knows.

As for my working-class students, mostly of color, the scary thing was not the stock market, but their lack of healthcare and their need to work

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Gov. Newsom Calls for Closure of All Bars, Clubs, Wineries and Brewpubs

March 15, 2020 by Source

From LA Times:

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday significantly ramped up California’s response to the coronavirus, calling for the closure of all bars, nightclubs, wineries and brewpubs, and urging people 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions to stay indoors in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

The governor also called on much greater social distancing measures for restaurants. They will be directed to reduce their occupancy by roughly half and ensure that tables are at least six feet apart, he said.

“We recognize that social isolation for millions of Californians is anxiety inducing but we recognize what all the science bears out and .. we need to meet this moment head-on and lean in,” Newsom said.

The governor said the request of older Californians was made in hopes of limiting their exposure to the virus, given that health officials have pointed out higher dangers for those who are older. “We are prioritizing their safety,” he said.

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Could San Onofre Nuke Demolition Cause Catastrophe?

March 12, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

As San Onofre nuke demolition begins Watchdogs assert it could cause a nuclear catastrophe.

On February 6, Coastal News, from Solana Beach in San Diego County, reported, “Public Watchdog, a nonprofit (San Diego-based) advocacy group filed a petition with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission” to put the kibosh on that action.

Coastal News continued “The advocacy group claims that if the facility if flooded with rain or ocean water, the proposed method of disposing of nuclear waste could lead to an explosion of a radioactive steam geyser.”

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A Warning From a Friend in Italy

March 12, 2020 by Source

Editordude: A good friend of the Widder Curry who lives in Italy wrote her to share what was really going on. We are not certain when it was written, so the dates mentioned are hazy.

To Judi Curry

I am writing to you from Bergamo, Italy, at the heart of the coronavirus crisis.

The news media in the US has not captured the severity of what is happening here. I am writing this post because each of you, today, not the government, not the school district, not the mayor, each individual citizen has the chance, today to take actions that will deter the Italian situation from becoming your own country’s reality.

The only way to stop this virus is to limit contagion. And the only way to limit contagion is for millions of people to change their behavior today. If you are in Europe or the US you are weeks away from where we are today in Italy.

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Is Trump’s Karma Chasing Him?

February 28, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Odd this.

Trump’s two greatest fears — germs and money — have come back to haunt him, bigly. Some would call it Karma.

As a spiritual practice, Karma means “Good thoughts and deeds contribute to good Karma and rebirths.” Bad thoughts and deeds bring about the opposite. Karma comes back to haunt or bless you.

Trump’s karma seems to be making up for lost time.

First, the stock market is not a true gauge of the country’s economic health, but Trump knows most people think it is. And, so does he. Hence, the angst. And the crash is happening on his watch.

Just last year, Trump predicted “if the I lose the stock market will crash.” Bad timing or bad Karma?

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Taking a Cue From Schools, Doctors and Hospital Should Color-Code Their Patients’ Conditions

January 22, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl

Twenty years ago the California State Legislature passed the Public Schools Accountability Act, leading to the creation of an Academic Performance Index. Each year, every public school was to be assigned an API score, ranging from 200 to 1000, to measure its success. Proficiency in English and Math, based on standardized test scores, were the primary measures of a school’s API.

The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, passed by Congress, was for all school children to become proficient in English and Math by 2014. After the failure of both of these well-intentioned efforts, the California State Board of Education has teamed up with the California Department of Education to launch still another plan to measure the quality of public schools.

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OB Planning Board to Review Application for 6 Cell Towers on Lifeguard Station

December 4, 2019 by Source

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California Families Go Hungry While a Third of State’s Crops Rot in Fields

October 22, 2019 by Source

By Manuela Tobias / The Fresno Bee – Times of San Diego / Oct. 19, 2019

Maximina Molina Sanchez is worried about going hungry this winter. She depends on a food bank in Huron to feed her husband and two kids. But with most agricultural workers out of jobs during the winter, demand is bound to increase, so she worries there won’t be enough food to feed everyone who needs it.

The Sanchez family is among the 22% of people in Fresno County who couldn’t afford the groceries they needed in the past year. Fresno ranks third in the country for food insecurity, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

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‘I’m an American doctor. Here’s the truth about Juul, vaping and legalizing marijuana’

October 21, 2019 by Source

Fear-mongering does none of us any good. We need to talk about the actual evidence

By Eugene Gu / Independent / October 18, 2019 San Francisco

As a physician, I believe the medical community has a solemn responsibility to adhere to facts and evidence over hype and sensationalism. This is especially true when it comes to public health, for it is an integral part of our Hippocratic oath to “first, do no harm.”

Yet it is with great dismay that I’ve seen the medical community in both the mainstream press and on social media resort to fear-mongering and mob-like scapegoating when it comes to the nuanced complexities of the vaping epidemic in the United States. A UCSF Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Tobacco Control even tweeted that those who vape “would be better off just smoking.”

When doctors ignore actual evidence, we exploit our credibility as healers to promote our own agendas — which can ultimately cause great harm to patients.

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Congress to Expand Investigation into San Diego VA Liver Study

October 4, 2019 by Source

by Jill Castellano & Brad Racino / inewsource / October 1, 2019

Congress will conduct a hearing to investigate a powerful healthcare office in the Department of Veterans Affairs following inewsource stories that exposed the office’s shoddy review of a dangerous San Diego liver study. A new inewsource analysis shows the agency under scrutiny — the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector — has a long history of performing poor investigations into veterans’ medical care.

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