Families line up in front of the Sweetwater Union High School District office to protest the temporary ban on school sports. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

With a statewide ban on official competition, young athletes all across California have been trekking across the Arizona border to take part in official competition

Competitions teaming with California youth sports teams are brimming in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, reports Ashly McGlone. 

The youth sports scene has become so busy in Yuma just a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego that a room at Motel 6 now goes for $250 a night, one youth sports organizer said.  

In California, young athletes are only allowed to practice or do no-contact drills. In Arizona, they are allowed to actually compete.  

“For now, the hassle and expense of getting to Arizona – shelling out hundreds of dollars per trip – offers the chance to compete again,” writes McGlone. But that chance comes with a cost of increasing inequality among children as the pandemic drags on. 

“The whole issue is going to hit the lower-income kids the most,” the sports organizer said. “Our scholarship kids are having the hardest time getting over there to play.”

Aside from increased hotel rates in cities like Yuma, families can no longer carpool or share rooms to split the cost either, which snowballs the costs for families who want to participate in high-level competition. 

Many want California to reopen for outdoor sports competition. 

“It just seems somewhat illogical and unfair for kids that families can be at beaches with no protocols, with packed parking lots,” the sports organizer said. “Parents can be out drinking in bars that are crowded, even outside … but kids can’t play outdoors where there have been almost zero cases of transmission.”

Death Toll of Pandemic Could Be Much Higher Than Official Count

The true level of deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in San Diego could be nearly 70 percent higher than the official tally, according to a new investigation by inewsource that looks at overall deaths in 2020 in excess of recent annual tallies. Jill Castellano and Mary Plummer estimate that roughly 1,181 additional residents have died in San Diego County from March through August than in a typical year, far beyond those officially counted as deaths attributable to COVID-19.

County officials told inewsource that their analysis was not appropriate until after the pandemic was over, “if at all,” though other experts said it was perfectly justified. inewsource laid out its decision to go forward with the story despite the pushback.

“Excess deaths,” as experts call them, are frequently tracked after natural disasters, such as wildfires or hurricanes. The metric tracks deaths which might have been indirectly caused by a catastrophic event – such as someone not being able to seek medical care. 

In Other News

  • San Diego home prices continued to reach new highs in September, even while the coronavirus pandemic pushed the global economy to the brink of collapse, in a sign of a totally healthy and normal state of affairs. (Union-Tribune)
  • Need an explainer on Measure B, the proposal to beef up oversight of SDPD with a new watchdog group that can subpoena witnesses and records over allegations of misconduct? KPBS has you covered. It’s got a breakdown of two measures to reform elections and governance at the San Diego Unified School District, too.
  • One expert thinks California could lose one or two congressional seats during the redistricting process following the 2020 Census, and that the 49th District, which straddles northern San Diego County and southern Orange County and is filled by Rep. Mike Levin, could be on the chopping block. (10 News)
  • A biologist will spend six months in prison after a judge found him guilty of embezzling more than $200,000 from the San Diego Zoo. (Union-Tribune)
  • Theme park operators do not think the rules by which they can re-open during the pandemic are fair. (10 News)
  • The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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