Thursday, April 2, 2020

A leading doctor warns we are entering into a crisis of care locally, The Padre Hotel closes temporarily, words of wisdom from a young teacher and must-see TV in the morning

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

 * ... CORONAVIRUS: If you listen to the medical experts, we are in for a bone chilling, terrifying month as illnesses and deaths from the coronavirus spike in April. Dr. Brij Bhambi, cardiologist and a physician-owner of The Bakersfield Heart Hospital, said the specter of the virus killing thousands and sending thousands of others to the hospital "sends shivers down my spine." Bhambi said California is
not ready for the virus and in fact there is a dangerous shortage of PPE (personal protection equipment) like face masks, gloves and even respirators. Nationally, the experts warn that between 100,000 and 240,000 could die because of the virus, and that is a "best case" scenario. If the public does not heed the call for social distancing, the death toll could go north of 2 million people. Even worse, Bhambi worried that if we run out of hospital beds and critical equipment like respirators physicians may be forced to make heart-breaking decisions on who gets treated, and who doesn't.

 * ... THE PADRE: The iconic Padre Hotel downtown, resurrected to life with a dramatic renovation back in 2009, has shut down because of the coronavirus. A sign on the Padre's main entrance said the hotel was was expected to reopen on April 30.

 * ... BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB: Hats off to Aera Energy, which donated $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club at a time when non-profit needs it the most. In normal tines, the organization serves some 8,000 kids at four main facilities and 65 satellite facilities, but today because of the coronavirus, it is serving a little over 100 children as well as providing lunches for 1,000 others daily.

 * ... MUST SEE TV: If you want to keep up with the coronavirus, it's wise to tune into the daily press briefings by President Trump and his crisis team, the briefings by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and locally, Maddie Janssen and Dr. Hemmal Kothary on the KGET morning show. Kothary is a breath of fresh air: authoritative, calm and a straight shooter. Kudos for KGET for locking down Kothary for this important daily segment.

 * ... BAD FORM: I suppose it's good to see people wearing face masks and rubber gloves during this crisis, but is it too much to ask them to discard them properly. In parking lots across town, people are unceremoniously discarding their gloves in the parking lots. Go figure.

 * ... WORDS OF WISDOM FROM A TEACHER: Listen to Jolie Brouttier, a first grader teacher at the Downtown Elementary school, on how we should view this time when our children are out of school. Words of wisdom from a teacher who cares: "Whether this lasts two more weeks or two more months, do not worry---we will get your kids caught up. It is our job; it’s what we are trained to do. Don’t worry if you are not the perfect homeschooling parent; don’t worry if you are torn between working at home and helping your kids. Don’t let these days be joyless for your kids. Twenty years from now, your children will not remember what they learned during the spring of 2020---honestly, they won’t. They WILL remember the time they stayed home with you (or with whomever is caring for them) for a few weeks. They will tell their own children about feeling safe, and loved, and peaceful during an anxious time. They will remember the fun things you did with them. Do what is most important for your family these days."

 * ... HOMELESS: If you notice an increase in homeless encampments along the Kern River, there is a reason for it. Adhering to some new national recommendations, authorities are not disturbing the homeless as long as they are not in dense public settings. That's the word from Jim Wheeler, executive director of Flood Ministries, who questioned the wisdom of breaking up homeless camps and dispersing the homeless in established neighborhoods at a time when  the coronavirus poses such a threat to the general public.

 * ... TRAFFIC (OR LACK THEREOF) When was the last time you saw the 405 this empty. According to a Facebook post, this picture was taken early Monday morning.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out these contrasting pictures from the bottom of the Grapevine, complements of Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.

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