Janet Keating at her home in Lakeside on Dec. 10, 2022.
Janet Keating at her home in Lakeside on Dec. 10, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Covid-related deaths went down considerably in San Diego County after vaccines became widely available in 2021. But that wasn’t the case in all communities.

While rates of death were plummeting virtually everywhere in year two of the pandemic, they actually rose in several parts of the county with higher concentrations of White people. Nowhere was the increase as acute as Lakeside.

Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry went to investigate for themselves and found that the small town on the eastern edge of the metro is also home to one of the lowest vaccination rates in San Diego County.

Some of the locals they spoke to reacted to Voice of San Diego’s analysis with shock, but most offered shrugs and skepticism, arguing that the vaccine is the real source of danger. 

One woman whose husband died in his sleep after going to bed complaining of a cold said she would be open to Covid as the cause if it hadn’t been so sudden. Another mother said her son fell for the things he was hearing on conservative talk radio, and she couldn’t convince him that the vaccine was safe. 

Both men were in their 40s and suffering from underlying conditions that made them particularly vulnerable to the virus. 

This is the third story in an ongoing series about the effect of Covid-19 on the San Diego region. 

Marx and Huntsberry previously reported that younger people are dying of Covid-19 as the pandemic wears on and that the gap between racial groups has also narrowed while class remains a powerful predictor of one’s likelihood to perish. 

Read the full story here. 

Elsewhere: The Union-Tribune reports that emergency rooms are stressed as Covid cases increase in San Diego County. Not everyone there is dealing with the virus, but one doctor urges residents to use home tests to ease pressure on hospitals. 

Chula Vista’s Newly Elected Mayor Wants SANDAG Seat 

John McCann speaks to reporters at the Republican election party held at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego on Nov. 8, 2022. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran for Voice of San Diego

Newly elected Chula Vista Mayor John McCann wants a shot at representing his city on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board of Directors. 

MCCann told KPBS he’d like to lobby for more funding for South County. He noted that he has the most experience in comparison to newly elected members of the City Council and Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas, who was elected two years ago. 

Chula Vista gets one representative on the board. The South County city gets the second largest weighted vote on the board because of its proportion of the county’s population — it’s the second largest city in the county. 

It’s not a guarantee that he will get that seat, though. As Andrew Keatts wrote last month, partisan lean on Councils has some say.

And more politics: The Republican Party of San Diego County is set to re-elect Paula Whitsell as its chair and not everyone is pleased. The Politics Report authors explain what’s going on in the latest newsletter. Read the Politics Report here. The weekly newsletter is available to VOSD members. 

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discuss a new approach by the farmers in Imperial Valley. Some say they want to pay more for the water they get to fund their own future and use water more conservatively.

Plus: The San Diego District Attorney decided not to file criminal charges in the high-profile rape case involving SDSU football players; the civil case, though, is ongoing. And there are more homeless people downtown than ever recorded.

Listen to the podcast here, or wherever you get your pods. 

In Other News 

  • The Union-Tribune reports that a Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed the city from a taxpayer lawsuit over its now former 101 Ash St. lease.
  • The county announced last week that it awarded about $5 million in grant funds to back shelter programs in San Diego, Carlsbad, Chula Vista and Escondido, according to The Union-Tribune.
  • Newly elected members of the San Diego City Council get sworn in today at 10 a.m. Watch that here.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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