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Jackie Rubio, Matthew Rubio, Katrina Rubio and Francisco Rubio hold a photo of Francisco Rubio III on November, 28, 2021. Rubio died of COVID-19 complications earlier this year. He was 21 years old. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A new project by Voice of San Diego, Year One: COVID-19’s Death Toll, will seek to understand the impact of the pandemic on communities across the county. 

The first story chronicles wide disparities in education and class among those who died

A team of reporters spent hundreds of hours at the San Diego County archives logging each death certificate from the first year of the pandemic. The death certificates provide new insights about people’s education, job and living situation — information previously unreleased by San Diego County. 

COVID-19 took its first life on March 22, 2020, according to the records — a 76-year old business owner, born in Mexico, who lived in the South Bay. Over the next year, 4,045 more people died related to the novel coronavirus. 

The education levels of those who died show in disturbing detail COVID-19’s disproportionate impact. 

Relatively few people in San Diego County — just 12 percent — do not have a high school diploma. But among those who died, a full 31 percent did not have a high school diploma. 

“In many ways, the presence of having a bachelor’s degree for individuals during the pandemic was really an insurance policy,” one person told VOSD. 

Read the first story in our Year One: COVID-19’s Death Toll series here. 

The Complex Relationship Between San Diego and Tijuana

A new book by two San Diego political scientists lays out why we should be concerned about the stigmatizing stories San Diegans have long been telling about Tijuana. 

The book, “Unequal Neighbors: Place Stigma & the Making of a Local Border,” analyzes a decade of tourism promotion in San Diego and how it referenced Tijuana through interviews with journalists, activists, business leaders and more in the binational region. 

VOSD contributor Sandra Dibble writes about the new book in the latest Border Report and how the decades of skewed narratives about Tijuana have had “profound economic and social costs.”

Click here to read more.

In Other News

  • The San Diego City Council voted 8 to 1 Monday to move forward with its vaccine mandate. City employees have until Wednesday to show proof of full vaccination or request a medical or religious exemption. About 20 percent of city employees remain unvaccinated and about 700 are police officers, the Union-Tribune reports. 
  • A federal appeals court has put a halt on San Diego Unified School District’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate after a Scripps Ranch High School family sued. (KBPS) 
  • CalMatters revealed that the Cal State system misread the fine print of a new state student housing program, which could cost thousands of students affordable housing opportunities. Housing has been an issue for UC campuses across the state. UC San Diego has been in a construction frenzy, CalMatters reports, but the school’s chancellor told the news org that it would benefit from a “revolving loan” from the state at 0 percent interest to reduce campus rents. 

This Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Maya Srikrishnan. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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