Thursday, April 9, 2020

Experts say we may be flattening the curve on the coronavirus but warn us not to let off the pressure... plus Tim Calahan joins Clinica Sierra Vista, keep an eye on Ishaan Brar and wearing masks as fashion statements

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:  Are we seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against the coronavirus? Judging by our ability to flatten the curve, it appears we are all making good progress, but experts tell us not to let off the pressure. Dr. Hemmal Kothary told KGET Kern County is not yet
a "hot spot" but it could well become one, if we stop practicing social distancing. Over at Bakersfield Heart Hospital, cardiologist Dr. Brij Bhambi echoed that sentiment: "If we fail to implement an incremental approach and near total compliance we will allow the virus to come back with a vengeance. The light at the end of the tunnel cannot be the train rushing at us."

 * ... BLACK SWAN: If you are like me, you have grown weary of the finger pointing in Washington and the search for someone to blame in this pandemic. Is it Trump's fault? Was the administration prepared? Was it Obama's fault? What about George Bush, was he prepared? For me, the coronavirus is s classic "black swan" event, an unpredictable catastrophe that is beyond what is normally expected and has potentially severe consequences. Black swans are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight. A little research shows the black swan as "an extremely rare event with severe consequences. It cannot be predicted beforehand, though many claim it should be predictable after the fact. Black swan events can cause catastrophic damage to an economy, and because they cannot be predicted, can only be prepared for by building robust systems." So here is a plea: how about we all pull together and stop politicizing one of the greatest health crises of our generation.

 * ... TIM CALAHAN: Former KERO TV evening anchor Tim Calahan has joined Clinics Sierra Vista as director of public relations and community development. Calahan previously worked KGET TV and the Mission of Kern County and said he is excited to join Sierra "to serve the community and healthcare marketplace in such a critical time. Families up and down the centra valley are concerned about their health during the Covid 19 crisis. I'm excited to serve the public interest, and support our doctors, nurses and critical staff on the front lines of this battle, it is truly an honor. I'll be responsible for providing critical information to the public about Clinica Sierra Vista mitigation efforts, how the public can be tested for Covid 19, and future plans for Clinica. My 13 plus years of experience in Kern County, both in news broadcasting and community non-profits have prepared me for this role, I'm excited to continue to serve the pubic--and look forward to the days ahead, we will be a stronger community because of it--excited to help take Clinica into the next chapter!"

 * ... A STAR IS BORN: Keep an eye on Ishaan Brar, a Stockdale High School junior who continues to excel academically - and astound - us all. Brar, a science whiz and the son of two doctors, is spending his quarantine producing podcasts featuring interviews with local doctors discussing the coronavirus. He is streaming the podcasts called Brarcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. (Brar pictured here during a recent appearance on The Richard Beene Show)

 * ... MASKS: Well we knew this would happen. Ordered to wear masks, some will take that as a fashion challenge while others will simply do their own thing. Can you identify these local celebrities behind the masks?

 * ... RAINBOW: The rains earlier this week brought spectacular rainbows about town. Here are a few.

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy these old color pictures of the Lebec Hotel, once a grand and famous landmark on the old Ridge Route before Interstate 5 was constructed. It no longer exists.

Monday, April 6, 2020

When will Kern County wake up to the dangers of the coronavirus? Plus the oil patch takes a big hit as it struggles to survive, and the small acts of kindness in our world

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: They are telling us that the coronavirus is this generation's Pearl Harbor. It will be terrifying. Thousands will die. And yet, so many in our community flaunt the social distancing guidelines, assuming they have done everything possible and they may be immune from
the virus. You see it at Riverwalk Park where families and friends gather for a day in the sun. You see it on the bike trail when groups of riders in tight formations pass in unison. You see it virtually
everywhere. Is there a point where the deaths and illnesses will spike to such a level that we will all just do the right thing? Or does the human condition defy logic? Kern County is now heading toward 300 infections. What is our number? Five hundred? A thousand? Two thousand? (Social media post of a bike ride this weekend. What is wrong with this picture?)

* ... IS THERE AN UPSIDE? If you look closely, you may find evidence of a silver lining in this lockdown. Friends check in on us out of the blue. A random text from a long lost family member brightens our day. Kindness from strangers. Small gestures that signal we are all in this together. This weekend, this chalk work titled "Be Safe" appeared on one of the shady streets of Oleander, a virtual work of art performed anonymous during the time of peril.

 * ... STARRY NIGHT: Okay, maybe it's not worthy of the great Van Gogh masterpiece "Starry Night" (image below) but have you noticed that the quarantine has cleared our air and skies? Across the world, as well as here in the southern San Joaquin Valley, the stars are visible at night, an unexpected treat and the result of fewer cars and trucks on the road. Tonight, check them out. You will not be disappointed.

 * ... SPOTTED ONLINE: "So now it's cool to walk into a bank with gloves and a mask, but when I did it, it was a felony."

 * ... OIL PATCH: Big trouble in the oil patch. First the price of oil sunk because of the feud between Russia and Saudi Arabia. And now the coronavirus sends oil stocks into the tank. Locally, California Resources Corp. (CRC) is flirting with bankruptcy as it struggles with massive debt associated with its spinoff from Occidental Petroleum a few years ago. AERA Energy also announced cutbacks, yet another shoe to drop in the collapse of the American economy that seemed so robust not that long ago.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check this out, social distancing back in the day, compliments of Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.