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'Bubble Man' of Ocean Beach explains reason for rolling around streets

Jason Chase, a San Diego artist and interior designer, has a 10-year-old son who is part of a vulnerable population and the coronavirus is a serious threat to him.

SAN DIEGO — A video that recently went viral seemed to be a sign of the times showing social distancing taken to an extreme. The man in the video has become known as the "Bubble Man of Ocean Beach," but what seemed like a gimmick is the man's way of getting a message across. 

The cell phone video that spread on social media shows a man rolling through the streets of Ocean Beach in a giant plastic bubble. What you may not be able to see is he was also wearing a hazmat suit and mask.

After seeing the video posted on Instagram, News 8 wanted to know, was this really just an extreme form of social distancing or was there more to the story? 

So, after little social stalking, News 8 tracked "Bubble Man" down.

“I just had a general vision of trying to provoke thought related to the current state of how we’re separated from each other, like life inside a bubble,” Jason Chase said.

Tuesday afternoon Chase, a local artist and interior designer, suited up and went for a stroll in OB for News 8. His goal is to share the message of what motivated him to buy the bubble and take it out on the streets in the first place.

“You can see here, it’s all closed off on the beach,” he said as News 8 met up with him while observing social distancing near the Ocean Beach pier. “I’ve never seen anything like it."

The pandemic was definitely the beginning of his vision but for Chase and many other families, the coronavirus is about much more than closed beaches and businesses. The virus is a direct threat to their loved ones.

In this case, it's a threat to Chase's 10-year-old son Maximus.

His 14-year-old son was there Tuesday helping him pump up the bubble while News 8 filmed.

“I have another son and he has cystic fibrosis, that means if he gets the slightest infection in his lungs, it could possibly be fatal for him,” Chase said.

As an artist, he knew an extreme version of social distancing would catch people’s attention and hopefully inspire them to take precautions.

“Just try and do your best to try and keep it away from others and that is definitely at the center of what I was trying to purvey,” said Chase.

The bubble obviously makes people do a double-take. Chase can only hope people look beyond the outer sphere and take his message to heart and think about what’s really at stake.

“Someone like my son could be seriously hospitalized or something like that or worse. I hope everyone would think about it and do what they have to do to keep others safe and themselves," he said. 


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View all News 8 coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19 
News 8 has joined forces with The San Diego Foundation to raise immediate, emergency funds for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Here is how you can help.  

We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page we will continue updating with the latest information and reports.  

Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020. 


According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.  

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:  

Know how it spreads 

  • There is no vaccine  

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus 

  • It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact 

  • And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes 

Protect yourself 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds 

  • If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 

  • Put distance between yourselves and others 

Protect others 

  • Stay home when you are sick 

  • Wear a facemask if you are sick 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash 

  • If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow 

  • Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing  

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe 

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page. 

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. 

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.