Stimulus Checks Rolling Out, How Local Police Handling Arrests, Added Stress Plus Fact Checking Public Health Officials On Coronavirus (KPBS Midday Edition) – Get our quote now

Stimulus checks are starting to roll out to millions of Americans this week with the goal of making money to get the battered economy moving quickly. Additionally, Governor Gavin Newsom said he did not see California lift restrictions on coronavirus at any time in the near future and that local authorities will have "profound and outsized" influence on when this will happen. County supervisor Nathan Fletcher talks about what it will mean here in San Diego. In addition, even with hospitalization orders on the spot, law enforcement has yet to continue. How local police officers are handling the job with its added new danger. And public health officials are expected to provide the public with accurate and up-to-date information, but there have been several cases in the past month where that information was incorrect or contradictory. Finally, introducing a new series of pop-up podcasts about people who are doing creative and innovative things to keep the community connected through COVID-19 isolation. to lift the restrictions on the pandemic here. I'm Mark Sauer with Alison St John. This is the midday edition of KPBS. It is Wednesday 15th April. Our main story today, Governor Gavin Newsome today praised workers in the Employment Development Department for rapid retraining and to help Californian comrades get subsidies during the Corona virus crisis

Rapporteur 2: 00:38 in the past four weeks. 2.7 million Californians have previously applied for unemployment insurance. Right now we are dealing with an unprecedented number of people making calls in our EDD department, our department for employment development. We are trying to process these applications and trying to reverse those applications. Uh, in real time.

Rapporteur 1: 01:03 He said the call center where Californians can get answers on unemployment benefits will be extended from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm starting now. Check the California Employment Development Department website, for toll-free numbers for various help lines and saying that we are far from being quoted from the woods. Newsome also reported 63 more deaths from the virus, making a total of 821 families living in California today. The governor also announced a plan to offer bonus pay to workers across the state. Those who work in essential efforts from hospitals to the police, fire stations and grocery stores. In the meantime, millions of California and are expected to see stimulus money from the federal government in their bank accounts this week. Others will receive postal checks in the coming weeks. Checks bearing the name of President Donald J. Trump. The goal is to get money moving quickly in the battered economy. Joining me to discuss the details of the stimulus control is Los Angeles-era reporter Jack Harris. Jack, welcome to the midday edition. Thank you. Well, this stimulus money is part of these 2 trillion stimulus packages that Congress recently approved as well as trying to help people get through the economic shutdown. What is the immediate goal of these checks?

Loudspeaker 3: 02:22 Yes. The hope is that it will help revive the economy in the short term not only by giving money to people who have lost their jobs, who have been employed or who have been put on the run in the last few weeks, but who also give it to people who still have their jobs, who will be more willing to take these checks and actually spend them on pumping some money into the economy in a time when consumer purchases are really needed.

Speaker 1: 02:49 Yes. And since our economy is 70% consumer spending, you can see how important it is now. Who will receive this money and how much money can people expect?

Loudspeaker 3: 02:58 Yes, so generally with

Rapporteur 1: 03:00 the adjusted individual gross income of $ 75,000 or less per year, we will have the full allowance of 12 or $ 1,200. If you are a couple who register your taxes together, that number like $ 150,000 or Wes, uh, individuals who earn up to $ 99,000 or couples who make up to 198,000, $ 1,000 will receive a reduced payment. There is a ladder that goes down a bit, for those people, but basically in their head home filers have a higher threshold and there are other details, but for the most part, you are an individual who earn $ 75,000 or less, you will receive the full 1200 and those who have children under 17 get 500 more per child. It's right?

Speaker 3: 03:44 Yes. Right. So if you qualify for that first, any, any child you have or independent, you are under 17, you will also get 500 extra per child.

Speaker 1: 03:52 And I think we are seeing many of these people who are receiving their checks, even today and direct deposit, right?

Loudspeaker 3: 03:58 Yes. This is a, this is how most people will receive their checks. The IRS is using the information from a bank account that people use to file tax returns 20, 18 or 2019, whatever their most recent tax return has been with that of this year that mine has postponed in July. Er, and this should cover most people who qualify for these payments. We will have them deposited directly into their bank account.

Rapporteur 1: 4:23 And if someone's banking information has changed since they first provided it to the IRS,

Speaker 3: 4:27 on the right. So IRS OPIR has created a portal, online and on an online website where people can go online, edit their information if necessary, can track their payments to see if they got theirs. People will also receive a notice in the mail within 15 days from the time the money is placed in their account. But yes, starting this week, if you are someone who thinks your banking information might be different, you can go to the IRS website, they have a section under their coronavirus and find an area where you can enter and update your information if necessary.

Speaker 1: 4:56 And today it was reported that the portal spends a little flooded and there are now delayed messages about it.

Speaker 3: 5:01 am Right? Yeah. And, you know, it was something that hadn't even been opened when these checks started coming out. This was one of the things people were a little uncomfortable about just because it was a little bit unclear when it would open, how easy it will be for people. Um, you know, something on this scale, every time you have to try to get in and fix things manually, you may run into problems. So yes, that was one of the areas where people, you know, were a little unsure if they had to do what they exactly had to do that the IRS hopes this, this the portal is , you know, as the days go by, it will go a little easier. But yes, it has been one of the hurdles they have faced so far, with these people having banking information other than what the IRS had originally found.

Loudspeaker 1: 05:43 Now what I usually received was the refund of taxes with a paper check in the mail and the IRS does not have that account digitally filed.

Speaker 3: 5.50 am Right. So if the IRS doesn't have any kind of bank account information for you, you can log in and add it using, you know, that, you know, updating your information for them. If you don't, the IRS will start cutting paper checks to people, but it will be that, there will be a couple of different rounds of payments going out of current, this first current round of payments will go out to taxpayers who had account information. Bankers starting next week, they will likely start sending checks to recipients of social security who also provided their bank details to the IRS through, you know, social security forms. So, probably starting in May is when the paper checks will come out. Now the IRS can only send a certain number of paper checks per week, the number of around 5 million. Uh, so you know, there, there will be a little backlog that the IRS is afraid of and that sends paper checks. They will begin and reverse the order of people's income. So the people who earn the least amount of money will receive their checks first. But this could result in delays of weeks or months for some people who are waiting for paper checks and who could earn a little more.

Rapporteur 1: 06:53 Now the Washington post reports. Donald Trump's name will be on the checks. It's definitely not a standard practice, right?

Rapporteur 3: 07:00 No, usually he is not an officer missing from a payment center. Their names are what they are, you know, your regular tax return checks or something. And even some of the first checks that emerged under this agreement did not have his name. Those that go on will lead to some political discussion. Of course, the president said that, you know, this is not a political problem. Chuck Schumer has never stressed, you know, this president must think that, citing, you know, the crisis revolves around him and his desires, his needs, his enemies of the MNA. So, you know, it's one of these things where at a time like this, any kind of political move will be analyzed. And of course when you do something that is unprecedented and unusual, not with standard operating practices, some eyebrows are raised.

Speaker 1: 07:49 What about people who don't make enough money to file taxes? What should they do?

Loudspeaker 3: 07:53 Yes, so I'm on the IRS website. There is another section, it's called a non filer application. This is where someone who, yes, as you said, does not meet the minimum income threshold required to file annual tax returns. They can go there now and enter their information and only you know, simple things like your bank account information, how much they do to make sure that they qualify for payments and that the IRS knows where to send the money. This is something that had been open since last week before payments began to come out. Now you know that this does not apply to most social security recipients who normally do not file tax returns. As I said, the IRS has information on direct deposits for almost 99% of those people and is using the information they only get through the normal social security forms that people have to submit.

Speaker 1: 08:42 And that's a pretty big task, a great launch for the IRS. And we talked about the launch of the site flooded today. Have you heard of other problems at this point in the process?

Loudspeaker 3: 08:52 You know, some of the things people have criticized, it doesn't cover most college students. If you are an employee, you are not eligible for payments. Now, usually, there is a crossover on a normal tax return. Um, if you are 24 or under and a college student, then you can be applied for as an employee. But of course with this deal, that extra $ 500 payment you get for having children stops it for any kid at the age of 17. So there are a lot of kids and students between the ages of 18 and 24 who can't apply for $ 1,200 to check themselves up and parents won't get an extra $ 500 payment either. Uh, and then, you know, there's it is only the uncertainty that results from an unclear payment order. You know, I heard from some people who wondered why their friends got their checks and they haven't done it yet.

Speaker 3: 09:44 Because if they file separately, like the spouse, because the spouse has received the payment and has not yet done so. I think it was one of the things that caused the most unrest and that is why the IRS hopes so, this new website that they launched where people can enter and keep track of their information will be helpful. But once again, even that hasn't gone as smoothly as an IRS would have hoped so far. But overall it will probably take some time to find out if there are bigger image problems in this regard. I spoke to the Los Angeles-era reporter Jack Harris. Thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

Loudspeaker 4: 10:19 Uh,

Rapporteur 5: 10:20 San Diego County health officials reported 83 additional coronavirus cases and six more deaths yesterday, although the curve in the region continues to flatten slightly. The latest numbers come when the Del Mar board of directors announced the cancellation of the 2020 county fair, after Governor Newsome said yesterday that mass meetings are unlikely to be allowed for the foreseeable future. Joining us now to discuss the latest Cove in 19 developments in San Diego is county supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who led the daily briefings in the counties' coronavirus press. Thanks so much for joining us. Fletcher supervisor. Thanks for having me. So yesterday the governor shared his strategy to deal with the end of coronavirus restrictions and include further tests, protection of vulnerable residents, expansion of hospital capacity before lifting those restrictions. He said local authorities would cite a profound and outsized influence on this is San Diego County on the same page as the governor's six guiding principles.

Loudspeaker 6: 11:17 We are. And it really follows very carefully with a series of internal conversations and efforts and, to a large extent, the way we are structured. I want, however, I want to be clear, what the governor is talking about and what is being contemplated, uh, it's a gradual easing of restrictions, not a moment in time that resolves everything. Er, and I think it is important to note that as we advance through this process, er, in these six points, the governor reiterated that there may be a quadrant that could turn into listening. We could see worrying or disturbing things, similar to what they see in Singapore, for example. And so we may have to recompose some of these. The hope is obviously that when we start the easy and can continue on a stable state as we move through, but there are indeed a number of factors that need to be considered and all the sacrifice that has been made and all the effort that has been made , we do not want to waste, because of the ruin and, and to erupt or, or, or in an unjustified way, could bring us back to the situation right now.

Speaker 6: 12:16 It is indeed extremely important that we obtain this right not only to protect public health and protect life, but also to protect the integrity of the economy. When we start returning, we hope to return to the smoothest possible trajectory.

Speaker 5: 12:29 Right? But the Shire will have the final say on when and exactly how to lift the restrictions

Rapporteur 6: 12:34 that, what is really, to be determined? I think, I think what the governor had mentioned was that the counties were in very different situations. They are in very different places. They have different economic bases. They have a different positioning in public health. Uh, here in San Diego we moved much earlier than many other counties declaring a state of emergency a month before we had a single positive case. I'd say we're doing much better than most other California urban counties. And so I think what you will see is not necessarily a single measure suitable for all state approaches. Uh, but some discretion given to counties really rests on their ability to comply, or to have a plan to deal with the six main areas that the governor has outlined. And we are working tirelessly on each of these six. And then the governor's announcement helps us hone our focus on those key areas, which are really the key things you need to start in order to be able to ease the restrictions and begin the recovery process.

Rapporteur 5: 13:28 I mean, Newsome mentioned that popular tests would be critical. What is San Diego's current testing capability?

Speaker 6: 13:34 Well, we are evaluating in real time what the capacity is. There are really two questions and it is important to note that when we talk about tests, um, it's not like a pregnancy test that you get a baby out and do something and it gives you a result. An analogy that has been used in the past is that you may have a printer, but if you don't have toner and you don't have paper, it is not functionally a printer. And so we're working, we have a whole task force dedicated to working with both of us with what we have internally at the county lab with what our health system partners have within them, along with what's available for the labs to get a clear picture of the ability everyone has. And then establish the criteria that should be tested. The environment we are in now, we are still telling people if you have symptoms that you don't need to go to the hospital at home is a very different test, a requirement to meet that need compared to an environment in which we find ourselves doing rapid and mass tests on all those who immediately have a fever to isolate them from what we are imagining for the test capacity needed to get out of it is very different from what is needed today.

Loudspeaker 6: 14:38 So are we evaluating what we have today, what do we need to be able to emerge in this and how can we bridge this division by moving forward?

Loudspeaker 5: 14:45 Right. We are a little behind Los Angeles, it seems that Mayor Garcetti said that all Los Angeles residents with 19 coven symptoms are now receiving the same day or the next day crew and a test on virus. Do you think we can get there early enough?

Rapporteur 6: 14:56 Well, we need to evaluate what is out there and what is valid. Los Angeles County is making decisions on what, what tests are comfortable with what they see on the ground. San Diego will do the same. Uh, it was just a week or two ago, there have been several reports that San Diego County has run more tests per capita than any county in California. It appears that some of the others have achieved it, but it is really important that we only use reliable tests a test that has not been validated. A test we don't trust could generate a test that you can put on a graph and say we're doing more, but it may not necessarily help. And we are very careful when we evaluate what is out there, we are making sure that, we are really adhering to things in which we have a certain degree of trust. Uh, because we want the public to have the highest level of confidence in San Diego County, getting tested is the best.

Loudspeaker 5: 15:49 Okay. Now KBB has just published a story about supporters asking County to release the names of nursing homes where code 19 outbreaks occurred and Los Angeles released this information. Is it something San Diego is thinking of doing?

Speaker 6: 4:05 PM Well, our public health experts have looked at it several times. The criteria, i.e. if there is something the public needs to know why it would change behavior and action, therefore, we reveal the location of, of, outbreaks. We did it and we will do it going forward. But as a general practice or principle, you won't disclose every single business or venue that has them. Our county is moving aggressively and they soon, with, with dedicated efforts around nursing homes, before any outbreak of things they should do, what they should be aware of. And then when there is a positive K there is a very concerted effort, a very intentional effort with additional staff, additional support, additional mental help to ensure that those, those structures get all possible resources take every possible step possible. And, when it comes to releasing individual venues, this is ultimately a decision of our public health experts. Um, and I, I trust their judgment on when they need and when they don't need to release it, but they bring together care centers, nursing homes, senior citizens centers, ours, ours, some of our highest priorities and has received the greatest attention.

Rapporteur 5: 17: 17 Supervisor Fletcher, I mean you talked about yourself, releasing results when some action is needed and in this case it is possible that some family members may decide to withdraw their loved ones from a facility if there was evidence of test results. So they have no right to know

Rapporteur 6: 5:33 pm I have confidence and trust in our public health team who, when necessary, will release all the appropriate information.

Speaker 5: 5:41 pm Okay. And what about the soaring? Is the county still operating while a surge of patients is arriving at local hospitals?

Speaker 6: 17:48 Well, he, these, some of the things we don't do

Loudspeaker 1: 17:50 I know. We have seen tremendous progress in flattening the curve. We have seen enormous success, certainly related to other jurisdictions. Um, we, when we talked to hospitals, it's not just the availability of fans in the rooms. It is really the availability of personal protective equipment. In terms of location, we made significant initial efforts to raise the health system's capacity level. Uh, now we are well below that limit, and we certainly hope to continue being in that position and in that state. Er, but again, if you go back, whether you look, in other jurisdictions like them, when they came out, they saw significant increases. I mean Singapore first, there are other examples. Or if you go back to 1918, you can see multiple jurisdictions and have a second wave that was significantly greater than their first wave.

Loudspeaker 1: 18:41 Um, and so I think we have to keep preparing and planning for the worst, um, and then adjust accordingly as we move through it. Uh, and those are the actions we take daily and evaluate in the data, evaluating the trends. The need for hospital admissions tends to be a late indicator of positive tests. Um, because many times people will show symptoms. They could be tested, their severity will increase. So you may need to hospitalize about a week, so you may need to move to an ICU bed. And so the hospitalization rate can often be a late indicator, behind positive test rates. Uh, but we are in daily communication with our hospital systems to really evaluate what capacity they have and therefore what actions we should take to be appropriate for that. Well, supervisor Fletcher, thank you very much for your time. Thank you. This was being sent by Canada supervisor Nathan Fletcher. This is the half-day edition of KPBS. I'm Mark Sauer and Alison St John police across the region are seeing their jobs change in the era of the Corona virus. They are enforcing the order to stay at home, keeping peace in food banks and grocery stores. And when they make arrests, there is a new level of danger with the slightest touch, which means they could get sick. KPBS reporter Claire Traeger, sir, examines the psychological impacts of the pandemic on the police

Loudspeaker 7: 20:04 and he's running away from us and we made him reach him, get in touch with them and put him under arrest and gun. Having to face someone who is running away is a fairly standard part of the job for Chula Vista police officer Victor Del Rio, but the coronavirus pandemic makes it much more complicated during an arrest. The first contact with the topic that obviously we are practicing our social estrangement. We were less than a meter away from them and who we determined a crime had occurred. It was time to conduct our business and don't tell them to please, this must be on his back. The agents now wear masks and at all times, but an arrest is still an arrest and they must come into close contact with people to do their job. Del Rio says it is instinctive. Trading takes over and we just have to act. I mean it's training us, it's in the back of our mind. We are concerned about it. We are here for public security and it is time to do our job. Yet. The threat of the virus is always there, persistent and invisible. So says the official partner of Delrios, Javier Castillo.

Loudspeaker 8: 21:21 It constantly crosses our mind. Above all, the most worrying part is taking a contract. The area is bringing it to my family because I think what we are seeing now is that in many places police officers are more responsive than proactive ones.

Rapporteur 7: 21:34 Phil Stinson is a former police officer who studies police and criminal justice at the bowling university.

Rapporteur 8: 21:40 Police officers are responding to requests for assistance. Answering nine one calls, but they are not as aggressive in terms of applying proactive traffic and other types of activities.

Rapporteur 7: 21:51 In March, arrests in Chula Vista decreased significantly by almost 50% compared to 2019. San Diego police would not have made an officer available for an interview, but their arrests would also have gone. come on. Stints states that officers are to make arrests.

Rapporteur 8: 22:09 What we will see among other things is that the charges are aggravated. In other words, people will be charged with more charges or more serious charges than they would otherwise.

Speaker 7: 22:18 So fewer arrests, but heavier charges for those who end up in handcuffs. Chula Vista, Lt. Dan peeks, says the department has made other changes and an emergency personnel plan that eliminates the interaction between the teams and keeps officers in reserve in case others get sick. He says there is constant stress.

Loudspeaker 8: 22:40 Uh, we may have officers who have childcare problems just like anyone else in the world right now. Um, maybe they have a spouse or significant other who has lost their job. But above all, we are also asking our officers to come out and, you know, and to provide a suburban service to the public while knowing that there is this deadly virus.

Loudspeaker 7: 23:00 or emptied, you know, because it's a, it's a constant, er, hypervigilance. Dr Nancy bullpen rod leads the counseling team international, which provides counseling services to many local law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff & # 39; s department, Oceanside and national city police. She says the hyper awareness that police always have has gone to a higher level. Am I getting it? Am I carrying it? You know, the person I just was around and you know, arrested or put in the back of my, my patrol car or took to jail, you know, do they have it? Dr bullpen, rod worries about officers taking these additional stresses home with them and ratcheting up tensions with and children. Many of them have told me, I don't want him to come back. I don't want him to come back right now. I want him to stay at the station until this, this is over. I don't want him to come in. And those clothes, she's telling her clients to eat healthy exercise, talk with family and maybe even keep a journal. Law enforcement, they're instant gratifying, you know, and you know, they wanted it yesterday. I know it's really hard for them to be patient and just say, okay, this is what we're in now. They have to stay positive. This, this, this will pass. I mean, we & # 39; re a strong nation, we & # 39; re strong communities and it will Claire Trigere, sir KPBS news

Speaker 5: 24:31 every day we learn more about covert 19 and as news comes in, the challenges to sort fact from fiction. The daily afternoon news conferences from the San Diego County have been a steady source of mostly reliable information about what & # 39; s going on locally. But even there, we need to keep our critical faculties working. I knew source investigative reporters Jill Castillano reviewed all the counties news conferences from the past month and found some of what officials said was contradictory or just plain incorrect. Jill is here now with us to tell us more about her findings. Thanks for joining us, Jill.

Speaker 9: 25:03 Thanks for having me.

Speaker 5: 25:04 So this sounds like quite a bit of work. First off, how did you manage the fact to, to fact check all this material?

Speaker 9: 25:10 It was quite a bit of work. Like you mentioned, the County offers daily news briefings. They're usually between 30 minutes and an hour. So I transcribed all of them and look through them carefully to look for inconsistencies, uh, confusing or questionable statements, and then compile those into nine examples, which you can see on our website at [inaudible] dot org I fact check those against what I learned from the CDC, reading research papers, other news articles, um, and tried to paint a picture of sometimes where the County may not have provided the most accurate information possible. Although it wasn't common, I think it was worth pointing out. And what I realized was that a lot of these examples actually focused on a County public health officer. Wilma Wooten, who oversees a budget of $100 million, has a staff of more than 500 people and she speaks quite a bit at these press conferences. And some of the information that she's provided has been confusing and to some, a little bit concerning as well.

Speaker 5: 26:13 Now one of the statements you fact checked was about whether people who are asymptomatic can pass it along to others. What did you find?

Speaker 9: 26:20 Yes. So in mid-March, the County public health officer, Wilma Wooten, she was interviewed by a local pastor named mile miles MacPherson and she said something that was surprising and a little confusing. She said, you cannot spread the Corona virus if you don't have symptoms, but this was mid March and at this point in time there was evidence from multiple papers that had already shown that was not the case. Here you can listen to a clip of that conversation.

Speaker 10: 26:49 You are not actively displaying symptoms. The thinking right now is you cannot spread that to another person. Oh, I, you know, I heard, I heard it was that you could without symptoms, there are a lot of rumors that makes me feel good. That makes me feel good.

Speaker 9: 27:08 Uh, I did contact her via email and her office and like I mentioned, I was able to get a written statements. She didn't answer directly, but the spokesperson said that Wooten was following the CDC guidelines at the time. But as you probably heard in that clip, even MacPherson at that point said that he had heard something different about asymptomatic transition and it was clear at that point in time that asymptomatic transmission was possible even according to the CDC. If you go back and look at the CDCs website from that time, you can see that they had already acknowledged that people without symptoms were spreading the virus. Now, one of the other topics that you looked into is caused a lot of confusion in the community about which businesses can stay open during the pandemic. We know the County has been answering a lot of questions about this.

Speaker 9: 27:52 What did you learn through your reporting? Sì. This definitely has been a point of confusion and a lot of questions. It has to do with what's considered an essential business, meaning businesses that provide necessary services for residents. When a reporter asked Wilma Wootton whether hair and nail salons were considered essential businesses and could stay open during the pandemic, her response wasn't exactly clear. She said beauty parlors can stay open if they want, but they should be following social distancing rules and people who are inside the nail salons and hair salons to try to stay six feet away from each other and then she added this. Many of you have been to nail salons. If you get a pedicure, the person is at your feet. That's about six feet. If you get a manicure, a you are across from a table that might not be exactly six feet, but many of the U S operators are wearing masks and if someone is sick themselves, they should not be going to these businesses.

Speaker 9: 28:50 Well, we've come quite a ways since then, haven't we? What's the issue with what Wooten said then? Sì. We certainly have come quite a ways. We understand better, more about social distancing. If you're touching someone's feet or hands, it seems pretty clear that you're not six feet away from them. You're actually in direct contact with them. In the eyes of the CDC, they call this close contact and they actually say this is the main way the virus is spreading. When you're in close contact with someone for an extended period of time. So actually going to nail salons could increase the chance that you get the Corona virus, even though at the time Wooten was saying it's okay for these businesses to stay open and to be clear it's changed. Since then, the governor issued an executive order closing nonessential businesses and nail salons now are closed. So none of the counties nail salons are open at this point.

Speaker 5: 29:42 Oh, another of the, the, the points that you fact checked. Focus on statements made by County supervisor Nathan Fletcher about releasing data on the number of covert 19 patients who are homeless. Tell us what you uh, reported on that.

Speaker 9: 29:55 Yeah, so in the story we laid out some accounts where supervisor Nathan Fletcher, um, explained what can and cannot be released when it comes to homeless people contracting covert 19. So back on March 31st supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced the first three cases of homeless people contracting the coronavirus. He said they were all unsheltered. They were moved to a nearby hotel room. Then the next day he switched gears a little bit. He said that moving forward into the future, the County would no longer be breaking down and classifying the percentage of positive cases by sheltered or unsheltered so the County would no longer be providing this information to the public. After that, after some pressure from journalists, he then decided on Monday to release this information. He said, while the previously we decided not to release this information quote, we do believe that it is appropriate to share them on an ongoing basis given the challenges Corona virus presents to this population. So the story kind of shows that change in reasoning and understanding and information that's been released over time.

Speaker 5: 31:03 Earlier today we did speak with supervisor Fletcher and we asked him about your reporting and here's what he said.

Speaker 1: 31:09 Oh, it was a little perplexing that folks said, we really want to know this data. And we said, we're not able to provide that data. And then we work really hard to provide that data. And then we started providing that data and then we were criticized for those actions.

Speaker 9: 31:22 Well, first of all, I want to thank supervisor Fletcher and the other health officials for their hard work. And like supervisor Fletcher said to you, he and others have been working really hard to make information available and I think they've done a really good job of that. Our story is not intended to be any sort of take down or really even a criticism, but just to give people the most accurate information possible. And you can see if you've read our story, it very clearly lays out what was said when we're not trying to criticize anyone, but I think if you go online and you read it for yourself, you can make that decision.

Speaker 5: 31:57 Good. Well, it's always good to remind everybody to keep our critical faculties, uh, very active during this period. So thank you Jill for your reporting.

Speaker 9: 32:07 Thanks so much for having me on.

Speaker 5: 32:09 I've been speaking with I knew source investigative reporter Jill Castillano. You can read more of her fact checks. Said I knew I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS.

Speaker 1: 32:21 I'm Mark Sauer. You're listening to midday edition on KPBS part television star part and magazine writer. Troy Johnson has a big following among foodies. Maybe you've seen him. I'm one of the many food network shows he's been in. It's simple.

Speaker 5: 32:35 It's lovely. This is what you eat, you know 2:00 AM when you've made decisions in life.

Speaker 10: 32:40 I have an unnatural, creepy affection for this dish. It's not just rich, it's like eating Morgan Freeman's voice.

Speaker 1: 32:49 So when restaurants across the city started closing down to help stop the spread of COBIT 19 Troy Johnson's inbox started filling up. He someone, a lot of restaurant owners thought of when the Corona virus hit. They thought it could help them reach customers who might be able to help them stay afloat through the pandemic. Lots of local restaurants are still offering takeout. Farmer's markets are still open. The restaurant owners had stories to tell, but they needed Troy's help. So Troy decided to do something to speed up his normal storytelling process. He launched an Instagram live series to help keep the local food scene connected to its customers and the first of a new pop-up podcast series and KPBS is San Diego news matters podcast host Kinsey Morlan, talks to Troy about how the pandemic inspired him to pivot

Speaker 10: 33:40 when the pandemic got real for California. Troy came out with this print piece that just stuck in my head and my heart. It's so interesting ordering pizza and the time of the pandemic, the articles on San Diego magazine's website and it's called ordering pizza in a pandemic. It came out pretty quickly in March after the County of San Diego ordered all bars closed and closed all dining spaces allowing only take out and delivery. It was the very beginning of what will surely be the restaurant apocalypse for so, so many small mom and pop shops. Ostensibly Troy was just writing about picking up a pie from tribute pizza in North park, but his piece just captures the Corona virus site. Geist and [inaudible] so, so well.

Speaker 11: 34:29 So the way that they've set this up is that you call him or, or you order online and you can order a CSA box to go with your needs if you want. Um, there's different sizes, 25, $50, and you place your order, you drive up curbside park, you call them, they walk out with gloves and a smile and you give them six feet, you know, and they will put the pizza on your, on the hood of your car, you know, so they don't come in contact with the interior of the car or they will put it in the trunk if you, if you prefer. And these guys are taking so many precautions and they're putting themselves at risk every single day. You know, any employee that's at a restaurant right now dealing with the general public is putting themselves at risk. So she came out and put this CSA box and my pizza in the back and I got some soft serve ice cream to go, you know, and then I got home and I'm totally crazy, you know. So I, I started wiping off with hand sanitizers and to go back. You know, I, I, and I looked at my wife and I said, look, is that cause it nuts? Is it crazy?

Speaker 11: 35:31 Eight? I, you know, and then you just think of, it'll leave being shut down when you think of that healthcare worker, the images of them just crying on a floor

Speaker 12: 35:38 and you know, I, this is not crazy and if it is crazy, I'm going to be crazy for a while. I want to make sure that I'm not a carrier of this thing that breaks a hospital or it makes it so that somebody can't get a hospital bed or whatever it sounds.

Speaker 10: 35:56 Maybe there just is no way to comfortably eat in a pandemic. That's what Troy has ultimately decided. But still he thinks people need to do their best to get over their nerves. Sì. Wipe down the food containers. Sì. Heat up the food, do all the things you need to do to be extra safe right now. But if you think you can muster some extra courage, Troy thinks you should keep ordering food from local restaurants.

Speaker 12: 36:21 Here's what you have to realize, and again, I'm not speaking as a health expert here. I'm a guy who's written about restaurants for 12 years and I know their operations really well. And when you do have to realize though is that they have been in the business of pathogen pathogen control for decades. They are, their kitchens are, if done reasonably well, are way cleaner than ours at home. I mean they are micromanaged and sanitized every single day, even before a pandemic. And right now they're up in the concentration of their sanitation. They're not allowing their chefs or cooks or even servers to use their phone. And if they do use their phone that they're making them sanitize their hands religiously. I mean, I have to believe, and again, not giving health advice, that's not what I do. I have to believe that their kitchens are far cleaner than ours. And more importantly, the reason why restaurants have been called an essential business by Kevin Newsome is that we need food security in this time. If we go through it, a food, food insecure moment on top of a pandemic, we're screwed.

Speaker 10: 37:35 Okay. I will be honest, I ordered a pizza in the pandemic but just one. Then my husband and I decided we just couldn't do it anymore. Images of sneezing, chefs clouded our brains. What Troy said earlier though, he's absolutely right. I am 200% sure restaurant kitchens are way cleaner than my kitchen. My kitchen these days looks like a highly efficient dirty dish assembly line. The amount of crusty stuff that's piled up next to my sink right now is just unreal and yet my family ordering out right now, it's just not in the Corona virus cards. Troy gets that and he says for windows like me, there are other ways to support the restaurants we love.

Speaker 12: 38:18 One of the most heartening things that I heard in this process was somebody walked into garden kitchen, which is a tiny little farm to table restaurant and Rolando and you know, man walked in and said, you know, I'd like to get a $750 gift certificate. You know, I got a seven $50 gift certificate and he said, I'll see you guys on this as over. People can buy gift certificates. You can buy merchandise, you know, the gift certificate. The way I like to look at it is it's a, an investment in your, you know, Corona is dead party that you're going to have eventually.

Speaker 11: 38:50 You know, eventually this is going to be over. And that's a way that you can kind of, you know, buy futures in a restaurant by futures that small local piece drove. Because the sad thing is is that chain restaurants are going to be fine during this. Not fine. They're going to get hurt too, but they're going to have the financial backing to survive this. It's a small mom and pop restaurants that are at risk the most. They are our elderly with the coronavirus. They are, are at risk patients with the coronavirus small mom and pop restaurants with the most accuracy.

Speaker 11: 39:19 So I, I'm telling people, find your local bistro, find that local, uh, you know, independent place that you want to keep alive and buy 20 tee-shirts for Christmas by a merchant. I buy by gift card, by their mugs, you know, do whatever you possibly can. It's not going to help. Unfortunately, the people that have to be led off in this, you know, like the bussers, the dishwashers, the cooks that you know, servers and hosts everybody else. But it is going to help that small restaurant owner keep the lights on. So those people have a job to come back to when this is all on them.

Speaker 10: 39:57 Troy himself is still ordering out by the way. And so are lots of other folks out there and the food writers, other contribution of doing what he can to keep the local food scene alive has been these online videos.

Speaker 12: 40:09 It guys, I'm continuing my series today. I'm talking with local restaurant tours and food and drink people. These Instagram live videos. Basically I'm setting up a few a week. Um, I haven't had a regular schedule because I'm not a regular person. The big joke right now is like, Oh my God, the Instagram live pandemic. You know, it's, it's tough because you want to get these people's stories out, but now people are getting a little bit, um, like overwhelmed by all these Instagram live, um, popups that are happening. You know, it's, it's a fascinating time to be doing information distribution and right now I want to give you, um, invite somebody on. I just see his request right now. Yusef, I'll get to you in one second.

Speaker 10: 40:50 So far Troy's been averaging about 10 restaurant tours and interviews a week on Instagram. Live is handled by the way is at. Hey Troy Johnson. If you search for him on Facebook, you can also see recordings of those live videos,

Speaker 12: 41:02 hand sanitizer, nobody can find it. Well some of our distilleries in San Diego have started taking what they do and they're making, they're making hand sanitizer for the public.

Speaker 10: 41:11 And these videos are often empathetic check-ins that are apart purely promotional but also these incredibly intimate glances inside the minds of local restaurant tours who are really, really struggling right now. And somehow Troy also manages to capture a few solid moments of hope and creativity.

Speaker 12: 41:30 We're one of those industries that's really quick. And we, we our plan every

Speaker 13: 41:34 two hours, change our menu, add things. We've been delivering food. We've been, you know, running phone calls out to people to let them know what the current offerings are. So I think

Speaker 10: 41:42 Troy isn't the only one out there who's taken to social media to keep the local food and beer scenes alive through this isolation beer writer Beth DeMann has taken to the interwebs to report on beer stuff since all her beer columns are currently on hold.

Speaker 14: 41:57 Hey, all you cats and kittens out there today we are going to be talking to a couple of different breweries. We've got a black plague lined up Cairo ruler and uh, we've got,

Speaker 10: 42:08 and then restaurant owners themselves are taking to social media to stay connected to their clients. Just check the SD foodie hashtag on Instagram or make sure to follow some of your favorite spots for those direct updates. Personally, I've been really enjoying updates from drew Deckmann. Drew is a chef and restaurant tour from Guadalupe Valley and Baja. You can find him on Instagram at, at Baja fishing chef.

Speaker 11: 42:32 Welcome to kitchen quarantine today. You know, like we're saying, there's no more days of the week. Today's today, yesterday was yesterday. Tomorrow is tomorrow's the three days of the week that we have right now.

Speaker 10: 42:42 And then who could forget? Sam Xen a K a Sam the cooking guy.

Speaker 15: 42:46 I'm mad as hell. I'm not going to take it anymore. So I'm going to eat Sam's macaroni and cheese until I explode. Creamy, gooey, delicious macaroni and cheese. And if you can't make this in isolation, well I just need to come over and have a talk with you.

Speaker 16: 43:13 [inaudible]

Speaker 10: 43:13 the internet can be so ugly sometimes, so full of hate from people hiding behind their anonymous handles. But right now the internet is doing what we all know it can do so well. Sometimes it's our portal to the outside world, a window into other people's hearts and minds. It's keeping us connected.

Speaker 11: 43:34 There are great, amazing things coming out of this too. It's not all doom and gloom to see this community rally with one another is shockingly human. And you know, there's just so many people that are like I'm saying, open for the community. I'm not making any money.

Speaker 16: 43:52 [inaudible]

Speaker 10: 43:52 these lines from Troy's pizza in a pandemic piece stuck with me. Quote, restaurants have never been about food. They're about people, and now the people need to be about restaurant.

Speaker 16: 44:06 [inaudible]

Speaker 15: 44:07 you could hear the full episode with predict. Troy Johnson on the San Diego news matters podcast, search for the show in Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you listen

Speaker 16: 44:23 [inaudible].