Thursday, January 28, 2021

The emergence of a virus mutant that evades antibodies is terrifying epidemiologists, Amestoy's is demolished and the old owner of Trout's honky tonk is arrested, and Kern County gets a new director of public health

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 company or publication.

 * ... NEW VIRUS WORRIES: Medical scientists are alarmed - some terrified - about the emergence of a little known variance to the coronavirus that is devastating a city in Brazil. Known simply as the variant P.1, it emerged in December in Manaus, Brazil and within a month had caused a massive resurgence in

cases in a city of two million people. And here's the worrisome thing: the city had been devastated before by Covid-19, and so many residents had been infected and recovered that the city reached herd immunity. But the new strain, P.1, did not react to the antibodies and in effect may be evading the antibodies made by the previous virus."While we don't know exactly why this variant has been so apparently successful in Brazil, none of the explanations on the table are good," said epidemiologist Bill Hanage at Harvard. Experts further noted that this virus seems much deadlier than the mutated strains from South Africa and the United Kingdom, and the fact that is reinfected a city where herd immunity had been achieved is more than worrisome. Locally, Centric Health's Dr. Brij Bhambi called the Brazilian variant "frightening" and he will discuss the development Friday on The Richard Beene Show at 2 p.m. The show airs on KERN  NewsTalk 96.1 FM/1180 AM.

 * ... NEW PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR: Brynn Carrigan has been appointed the new director of the Kern County Public Health Department, succeeding the retiring Matt Constantine. Carrigan has served as assistant director of the office since 2012 and will work with Constantine until he leaves in March. She is a graduate of South High School and Cal State Bakersfield, earning a degree in business administration.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Finally earned some street cred this evening getting led away by police from an 'All You Can Eat' buffet."

 * ... TROUTS: The last owner of Trout's before it closed down for good, Thomas Rockwell, has been arrested in Sonoma for allegedly stealing money from a senior. If you remember, Rockwell disappeared from town along with the iconic Trout's neon sign that welcomed patrons to the bar on North Chester. No one knows where the Trout's sign is, and there are legions of people who want to see it preserved here in Bakersfield, possibly displayed with the other classic neon signs on display at Pioneer Village. The Californian's Steven Mayer broke the story on Rockwell and will be joining me on the radio today (Thursday) to discuss the case. Join us at 2:30 p.m. on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM. 

 * ... RIP AMESTOY'S: The bulldozers took care of what was left of the old Amestoy's bar on River Boulevard this week, moving in to demolish what was left of the iconic watering hole that served generations and hosted many a romance. Ever since the bar closed it has been the target of graffiti and vandals and it was set on fire at least three different times. RIP Amestoy's. Finally, Anthony Leary posted this remembering things he heard at Amestoy's over the years: "You'll never hear this again from Amastoy's: 'Pull your pants up turn your hat around... don't slam the dice.. last call you don't have to go home but you just can't stay here... OK you can stay but the rest of you have to go... get out from the back of my bar... thank ya thank ya thank ya... (and) we don't play that rap shit music in here." (photo courtesy of Anthony Leary)

 * ... MEMORIES: This photo of damage to a building at Chester and 19th Street was taken right after the 1952 earthquake. Credit: Kern County of Old Facebook page.

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