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tv   ABC7 News Getting Answers  ABC  January 18, 2022 3:00pm-3:30pm PST

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questions every day to get answers in real-time. we are talking to san francisco's mayor today to get the details on a new safety space and that helping get people off the streets. also details on san francisco's crabbing industry. first, when is the time to lift covid restrictions? two ucsf doctors doctors doctors that the time is in some areas
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10 days from now, at least when it comes to masks in schools. joining us to discuss our thinking and the latest covid news is you cfs infectious disease doctor monica gandhi -- ucfs infectious disease doc disc monica gandhi. you tweeted last night you are taking a break from twitter. you said too much rancor and unhappiness. so sorry. first of all, you never have to apologize for the help try to get. i'm really sorry to hear this. you should not be getting that. dr. gandhi: i appreciate it. kristen: what do you think you are getting rancor for? dr. gandhi: advocating a harm reduction approach meaning we try to keep
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things open, that we are essential with safety procedures in place, absolutely, and we can talk about that in a minute. and we never had this unprecedented all school closures in any historic epidemic. for example, 1918 in new york city, schools never close because they said we have to protect our children, they need to be in schools. this is a very unique response to the u.s. kristin: it is never an easy answer, right? it is all shades of gray. there's no black and white. you know that. i want to ask you, in that op-ed, you and your colleague say we need a new plan, that it is unsustainable to keep imposing and lifting restrictions with each wave, and school closures part of that. what is wrong with that approach, the back and forth when we have a surge? dr. gandhi: i think it was the
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right approach before vaccines. you needed to close down and then open up and we did that during the pandemic, but what has changed as part of vaccinations is we are not espousing how well the vaccines work well enough. cdc data showed us that the vaccines are working so well, even two dose in terms of preventing severe covid outcomes, we are in much lower hospitalization states then we have been ever for the vaccinated, and you are right that unvaccinated people are still there, adults that are declining vaccination, but we have to trust in our vaccines and vaccine strategies. kristen: i think a lot of us are coming around to realize that you really have to focus on hospitalization numbers, right? but in that op-ed, you did mention the media's obsession with covid case count. do you think the case count should not even be looked at at all anymore as long as the
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hospitalizations are low, then whatever the case count is, that is totally fine and we are still, you know, good to, like, not have restrictions? dr. gandhi: no, actually, it is a different approach. what we talked about is that what we do is -- what we do with increased surveillance is we track cases, and what the public knows about is the hospitalizations so that the reason the case department helped as they need to make sure they are not going above what they should or what they usually do one year. it is going from endemic to pandemic. when we go from pandemic to endemic with covid, we will track cases, but it will be health departments and hospitalizations that determine what needs to be done for the public. kristen: but for me as a reporter, you would like for me just a report on
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hospitalizations then? dr. gandhi: we are in the middle of an omicron surge, and it is a little difficult to change things midstream. i think a lot of people are talking about intimacy after this. after this. kristen: i will testify to the fact that you have been coming on our program a little over a month now. you have been talking about off rooms to restrictions being lifted for months now. i totally get it. i want to visit one of your proposed metrics, which is to lift the school masking mandate 12 weeks after that age group has become eligible for the vaccine, so i think that will be january 28, right, but given that we are in the middle of the omicron surge, do you still say that? dr. gandhi: no, i think the omicron surge will not end until
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mid-february. the state has put a mask mandate in place until february 15. if you are in the middle of a surge, it is sort of tone deaf to do anything with masks, so i think that the masks will probably be true for the entire population until after the surge. then what will happen after that? i think what they state and cdc will recommend is mask optional for the population and certain types of masks, the specific masks we have talked a lot about on this program, the ones that work, the kn95's the option if they want to mask endorse or mask their children indoors. kristen: for anyone suggesting you are not paying enough attention to that, i will also testify you have talked about mask efficacy, which are the best and right now you should wear them in public and all that. i want to go back to you pegging lifting the mask mandate to after you have given people
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enough time to get vaccinated. should it matter at all if kids have actually gotten the shots, or do you think they have had enough time so it is good, or do you think we should actually hit a percentage? dr. gandhi: the problem with hitting a percentage is this state is doing great in terms of child vaccinations, but overall in the country, it is about a 20% rate, so i don't know if we have generated enough trust in public health messaging in terms of getting young adults vaccinated. maybe people need to see the vaccines because they work really well, sort do not think it can be attached to a certain number. i also think it is really important to say that since masks protect you, when the state goes to masks optional, which i think governor newsom has intimated after february 15,
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that people should feel comfortable that their masks protect them. i think probably masking inside any time there is covid because i am a health care worker. my dad will be masking inside. probably my child will. just know that it is consistent to wear a mask. kristen: right. i also want to talk about in the op-ed, you mentioned we need to retire the policy of school closures and the cancellation of school sporting events based on asymptomatic testing. how does it make you feel right now that the cdc is almost going the opposite direction as far as school sporting events, especially indoor ones like basketball, wrestling, and several school district have closed school districts the past couple of weeks. i guess you could argue it was due to asymptomatic testing with teachers not being available. what do you make of all that? dr. gandhi: i think we are in the transition on the pandemic to the endemic phase.
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the cdc has on one set of guidelines that if you test positive and are a symptomatically, go to work -- and are a symptomatically -- asymptomatically, go to work. everything is pretty much a mess right now, and i don't think anything can change, and i think schools will be closed and sports will be closed until we get through this omicron surge. isolation and quarantine guidelines. the cdc director said if you have been exposed, you don't have to test, go about your day for the next 10 days with a mask, so it is completely all over the place. kristen: it really is. one point of confusion as i have seen people say, i came out of isolation after five days, but i'm still testing positive on the antigen test and by day 10, i'm finally testing negative.
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now those people will be running around infecting other people, right? is that a worry? dr. gandhi: i think that is not a fair comment. i would say the cdc director and cdc team defined the guidelines as a large study published in the general journal medicine before -- from taiwan was before omicron, but it was in unvaccinated people. second is there was a study yesterday from the american society of microbiology that you are testing positive until no longer infectious. the test being positive does not mean you are infectious. at the third reason was there was a delta breakthrough study from italy that showed that people who are a symptomatically
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and vaccinated tested positive one day and they tested the next day and the next day and were negative the second and third day, so they are on new data saying if you are asymptomatic, you're likely not infectious if you are vaccinated. right now, i would that are still doing a symptomatic testing. dr. gandhi: harvard this spring semester will be doing no a symptomatically -- no paysymptomatic -- no pay no asymptomatic
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kristen: you have mentioned we should provide passionate care for the unvaccinated. i have heard people say they have run out of compassion for patients with those who choose not to vaccinate at this point? -- not to vaccinate at this point. thoughts? dr. gandhi: i would say in the field of medicine we have always taken care of people for whom things may have led to a problem . it is our duty and honor to take care of people, no matter what the reason for their illness. i just think it is part of the hippocratic oath, and i know that people have grown grown grn with the unvaccinated and i wish we had higher rates of vaccination, but it is your oath to take care of that person. kristen: i know it is kind of rough on social media.
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stay off it for now. i need to take that break sometimes, too. coming up, the san francisco mayor joins us to talk about a variety
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kristen: welcome back. covid, crime, homelessness, and the economy are all major challenges facing san francisco right now. in the tenderloin, where the mayor has declared a new state of emergency, a new ray of hope in the form of a new linkage center that opened today. mayor breed, thank you for joining us. congrats on that tenderloin linkage center on market street. give us the details on what it will do, who it will serve and what kinds of services will be provided there.
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mayor breed: i think what happens when people need services from the city, oftentimes, it is a lot more complicated than we know. the lincoln center today helped someone who wanted to get treatment who has been struggling with addiction, who has been struggling with a number of challenges, and we discovered the reason he could not get into treatment right away had a lot to do with not having a tv shot -- tb shot. we were able to get him the shot, take him to a different dead as he awaited his treatment meds, so he is getting the services he needed. this is about not just moving people and shifting them to different places, it is about trying to solve all of the various barriers that exist to getting them to the services and support they need. we are starting to see that happen. kristen: how is this different from, for example, project homeless connect? i know there were other resources available in san francisco already. how is this unique?
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mayor breed: with project homeless connect, the desire is to do exactly what we are doing, but the ultimate goal is to make sure people are connected in some way to housing, so what we are trying to do is, yes, we want people to have shelter and have housing, but we want to understand why they are on the streets in the first place, what is going on. some of the people that struggle with addiction are actually housed, so we want to understand what the root cause of the problem is. ultimately, the goal of this center is to help people struggling with mental illness and substance use disorder and to get them the help and treatment that they need. kristen: you tweeted that people can drop in or be brought by outreach orders rather than remaining on the street. well they have a choice? mayor breed: part of it part or have a choice when they decide to show up on their own. on occasion when officers encounter people who clearly are
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struggling who have some issues depending on the situation, sometimes the decision is made to 5150 someone and put them on 72-hour hold and take them to san francisco general. there is a lengthy process, and depending on drugs hour whatever they have in their position, jail could be warranted, but the goal is not to take people to jail who suffer from addiction. the point is to take them into services and to use this as an alternative, even if unfortunately, they could be committing or have committed a crime, the goal is to try to get people into treatment rather than to put people behind bars, and i think that is really the importance of this center, to make sure we are meeting people where they are. we are not here to judge. we are here to help. we are here to support, but we are not here to allow the conditions on our street to continue.
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kristen: i realikris tenderloin emergency declaration has also gotten some backlash that you have received, right, with a few supervisors and the da arguing increased police presence will not improve conditions. is that a concern for you? mayor breed: to be clear, there is nothing about the increased police presence in the emergency declaration. the emergency declaration if they would read it, specifically highlights the need to do exactly what we are doing with this linkage center to avoid many of the barriers that prevent us from helping connect people to services and treatment. with or without the board of supervisors, the ability to provide an increased police presence is within my authority to do so as mayor, so what i need is support from the board, and what i got and what i appreciate from those members who supported this because of the importance of saving lives -- we are going to do exactly what many of these people who claim to oppose this emergency declaration have been asking for
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. kristen: the da recall election, as you know, is in june. do you plan to endorse the recall? mayor breed: i will make a decision closer to the time as the election comes before us. kristen: before i let you go, i have to ask about the economy. major companies are delaying their return to the office again. the long-term outlook a little shaky with 15% of san francisco office workers survey saying they plan to stay remote next year. harry plan to counteract those losses? mayor breed: i have to tell you, i'm tired of being home already. -- how do you plan to counteract those losses? mayor breed: i have to tell you, i'm already tired of being home. covid will probably be with us. we are not seeing the death rate spiral out of control in san francisco. we are seeing hope. we do have over 200 people who
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are hospitalized, but our hope is they will get better and return home, so i think that as we see new variants, as we see shifts on covid, we are just not going to be in as bad of a place as we were when this first started. we are prepared to deal with it and i think more people ultimately will want to go back to the office. they are not going to want to stay home. they are going to want to be in a vibrant city like san francisco because again, i'm just tired of being at home and i want to see people return to the office. i want to see people shopping, hanging out at the restaurants and bars and places and all these great places in san francisco we have to enjoy. there's only so much time you are going to want to spend in the house. kristen: i know and we are out of time, but i just want to squeeze in, the mayor is trying to make it free to go to the japanese tea garden for residents, so keep us posted on that. thank you so much. coming up next, local fishermen
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kristen: it is one of the biggest parts of san francisco's economy -- the crabbing industry -- but a series of problems is causing some longtime fishermen to consider leaving their jobs altogether. from the peer 25 warehouse fire to the covid pandemic, the industry is struggling. joining us to talk about the future of crabbing in san francisco is kevin, a reporter from the "san francisco standard." we all love crab, but unfortunately, the start of crabbing season has been delayed every year since 2019. the traditional start date in november, but this year, it did not start until the end of december. why this delay? kevin: the issue really stemmed from an issue in 2016 where the
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crabbing industry entangled a record number of whales. that led to a lawsuit from the centers of dialogical diversity, a local environmental group, in 2017 and eventually a settlement in 2019. that convened a group of industry experts, environmental activists, as well as government officials, to determine a moving date for the start of the crabbing industry depending on whale patterns. kristen: i see. have those patterns changed to global warming or some other factor? kevin: migratory patterns are generally regular, but the patterns do change on a year-to-year basis. it is to difficult to say if there is a long-term shift in the patterns. kristen: what is this doing financially or, you know, other impact on the crabbing season? kevin: a lot of fishermen sayen
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the attitude they have had the last couple of years is hurry up and wait. a lot of fishermen basically go to work every day on their boats with no idea when they will be actually able to get out in the water, so that compounds the ability for them to catch crab as well as the ability for them to get labor. it is really difficult to get people to work on your boat if you do not know when you are actually going out. kristen: no doubt. has the state provided assistance to the industry or other solutions? kevin: yes, the state has been working closely with crab fishermen to help them determine the start of the season. one proposal that has gained steam, at least locally, is to actually have a date by which the crabbing season will not start before then, so that will allow some momentary planning and give some stability to the start of the season.
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kristen called and makes a lot of sense. kevin, don't go away. we need to take a short break on tv to pay the bills, but on facebook, we will continue to chat. folks, by the way, i should tell you abc 7 is very excited to have this partnership with the "san francisco standard." part of highlighting the bay area is featuring anyone working for the same mission we have here. we do have links to the "san francisco standard's" other original reporting on our website.
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kristen: thank you for joining us on this interactive show, "getting answers." we will be
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here every day at 3:00 on air and online getting answers to your questions. wo tonight, news on the pandemic. the hospitals crushed, patients being treated in the hallways. and those free test kits now available. how to get one. and in new york city tonight, the horrific and deadly gas explosion. the images just coming in now. first, the biden administration's now website to order those at-home covid test kits up and running. americans placing their first orders and we'll tell you how. as the number of new cases spikes in much of the country. nearly 1 million children testing positive in just a week. from oklahoma city to oregon tonight, hospitals described as war zones. also here in new york city tonight, those images just coming in of that deadly gas explosion. several injured including five police officers. body camera images showing officers racing in to help
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