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Morning Brief: Your Vaccine Questions, Free Cell Phones, And Legendary LA Muralists

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The association of African American Firefighters building in South LA.
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 22.

Every day, our newsroom’s call-in show, AirTalk, welcomes a physician to answer listeners’ questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Earlier this week, host Larry Mantle spoke with Dr. Dean Blumberg, a professor of medicine and the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at U.C. Davis Children's Hospital. Here are some of the questions he got, and his answers. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

It would appear we're going to be awash in vaccines pretty soon. Are we close to having vaccines with no takers?

Yes, that's what the models suggest. We know that there was a lot of demand for vaccines at the beginning, and we also know that there are still people who are vaccine-hesitant, or really anti-vaccine. As the people who want the vaccine get vaccinated, there eventually will be more vaccine available than people demand.

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This is going to be the more challenging part of the vaccine delivery — really trying to convince those who are hesitant or reluctant to be vaccinated that we do have safe and effective vaccines.

The U.S. State Department has put out a travel warning for something like 80% of the world because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Do you think that that is medically justified?

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Yes. Worldwide, we're seeing spikes in so many countries now. The U.S. is in a relatively good place, along with other countries such as the U.K., Taiwan, Iceland. But there's just a handful of countries that have really done well controlling transmission.

There's a lot less COVID-19 around us, but it's still there, and we’re trying to understand the variants. What would you say to people who still have the perception that they're taking their life in their hands when they step outside their home?

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Well, I don't think we're ever going to get to zero risk. And so we’re going to need to get to the understanding that everybody has different risk tolerances. We've all been hyped up to be scared of being with people without wearing a mask. Or, if somebody coughs, it makes us nervous. So as we get more people vaccinated and return to normality, we are going to go back to some socializing, some large gatherings in person, eventually we're going to not be masking in public, and I think that's going to be an adjustment for everybody.

It can be done gradually. It doesn't have to be all at once. We don't have to all rip off our masks and be in a stadium with 100,000 other people.

We've trained ourselves to have that kind of visceral response to the risk. It's going to take a long time, I think, to get out of that immediate response.

Oh, I fully understand that, and I've experienced that myself. And so I think people need to be generous with themselves, be forgiving with themselves and just really take small steps and not try to change everything at once. This last year we've been through an awful lot with changing our norms.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … LA Muralists Sonia Romero And Kristy Sandoval Paint The Future

Decolonized by Kristy Sandoval.
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

As two of the most celebrated and prolific muralists in L.A., a city that ranks alongside Buenos Aires, Melbourne, New York City and Montreal as one of the mural capitals of the world, Romero and Sandoval join a legacy of trailblazers who put this city's street art on the map.

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