Health care workers prepare hundreds of needles that will administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff at the La Costa Glen Retirement Community in Carlsbad. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The new COVID times demand new questions: Why is Delta so much worse? Is it OK to go to concerts and ball games now? What if I have a vaccine? And what’s the deal with booster shots?

Scott Lewis put these questions and others to Shane Crotty of the La Jolla Institute of Immunology.

Money quote: “You’re either vaccinated or you’re going to catch Delta variants. Whether you’re young or old, if you’re unvaccinated, it’s going to be the most likely thing you’ll ever have in your life in terms of an infection that puts you in the hospital,” said Crotty.

Lewis asked whether Crotty would take his children to concerts or travel overseas if they weren’t old enough to be vaccinated.

You can listen to the interview or read excerpts from it here.

More vaccine news: NBC 7 took a look at local vaccine exemption letters that have been circulating from Awaken Church, which previously held indoor services when they were banned. Reporters talked to religious scholars and officials to find out whether the exemptions would hold up in official settings.

And: The city of Imperial Beach is considering a vaccine mandate for its employees, joining several others. In San Diego, the head of the police officers’ union said the results of a recent survey show 90 percent of its members oppose a vaccine mandate and nearly half would rather be fired than comply. (Fox 5, KUSI)

Answering Readers’ Questions

Have a question about local governments or schools, coronavirus rules or even a random San Diego thing you’ve been wondering about for years? We’re taking your questions — and we’ll take a stab at answering them in future Morning Reports.

The question from Allison Wood: Why isn’t San Diego Unified on a year-round schedule? What would it take to change?

We’ll skip the diatribe about holdover traditions from agrarian society and how summer is awesome, Allison, and get straight to the point.

San Diego Unified used to offer lots of year-round options, but in 2014 the Board of Education voted to bring its 39 year-round schools back onto a traditional academic calendar.

District officials, at the time, said they wanted to promote “greater community cohesion,” as this district webpage explains. They noted several problems from having so many schools on different calendars. Having siblings at different schools with different calendars sucked. Military families sometimes needed to transfer between schools with different calendars. And it made childcare hard if one sibling needed to take care of another on a different calendar.

Promoters of year-round calendars say they ensure children don’t experience “summer slide,” aka learning loss, and that teachers don’t have to waste the first month of school catching students back up. In general, students also get the same amount of time off from school; it’s just broken up.

There’s not a thing in the world blocking local schools from going year round. All of the schools at Sweetwater Union High School District are year round and Sweetwater is the second largest district in the county.

So, in other words, for San Diego Unified to move to a year-round calendar it would take nothing more than a vote from the Board of Education — and summer being a whole lot less awesome than it is right now.

Costs, Results of the Recall Becoming Clearer as GOP Candidates Hint at Re-do

In his post-election analysis, U-T columnist Michael Smolens explains how San Diego’s influence on the recall started big — with petition signatures and two of the leading candidates — then faded. There had been some wishful thinking among former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s backers in the Republican establishment that businessman John Cox could be persuaded to drop out, Smolens writes.

But in the end, it didn’t matter. The party consolidated around conservative radio host Larry Elder — who, among other things, opposes the minimum wage, abortion and gun control — and polls suggest that opposition to removing Gov. Gavin Newsom grew as a result. Ron Nehring, former chairman of the California GOP and a Faulconer supporter, told the Associated Press that Elder “served as a life preserver” for Newsom. (Though Elder appears to lean libertarian, Democrats portrayed him as Trump’s successor.)

Anyhow, as Jared Aarons of 10News pointed out, Faulconer did slightly better in liberal counties, like San Francisco and Marin, and worse in more conservative, rural parts of the state. For instance, in Shasta County, which voted in favor of the recall, Faulconer got a mere 2.7 percent of the vote.

Buckle up: Elder, Faulconer and Cox are all hinting at another run for the governor in 2022.

It bears repeating how much money we spent: California Secretary of State Shirley Weber previously put the cost of the recall election at $276 million, with counties picking up most of the tab. Citing Weber again, KPBS reported Wednesday that the final total will likely be around $300 million.

In Non-Election News

This Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx, and edited by Megan Wood.

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