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A search on Pearl Harbor Day stories led to a surprising find at SFGATE, a sister-site to the San Francisco Chronicle.* Consider the trending stories late on December 7, 2020. Three of the top seven stories are skeptical, critical of the Democrats running the state and of so-called public health experts. This is a small hopeful sign from the heart of the radical left’s territory.
Soumya Karlamangla, of the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Many aren’t buying California’s ‘stay-at-home’ message. Experts say there’s a better way.” Public officials need to stop crying wolf and issuing unreasonable, unbearable demands in the name of risk avoidance. Instead, they need to promote harm reduction messages, communicating with people as they are, not as someone wishes them to be.
The percentage of Angelenos staying home except for essential activities has remained unchanged since mid-June — around 55% — despite pleas from health officials in recent weeks for people to cut down on their activities, according to a survey conducted by USC….
“It’s not because the public is irresponsible; it’s because they are losing trust in public health officials who put out arbitrary restrictions,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco. “We are failing in our public health messaging.”…
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, a harm-reduction approach would encourage masking and social distancing instead of demanding that people have no contact at all with friends or family they don’t live with. In other words, even during a pandemic, abstinence-only isn’t effective.
Eric Ting, writing for SFGATE, illustrates the problem of trus- destroying behavior at the very top of the Peoples Democratic State of California: “Gavin Newsom once again declines to show evidence newly closed businesses contribute to virus spread.”
For the second time in five days, California Gov. Gavin Newsom did not provide evidence that businesses ordered to close during the state’s new stay-at-home order are actively contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.
Under the new stay-at-home framework, activities previously thought to be low-risk such as outdoor dining and indoor personal care services that can ensure masking at all times must cease all operations. Many business owners have asked for state and local officials to show evidence their businesses are contributing to the spread, but Newsom did not provide such evidence during his press conference last Thursday.
On Monday, Newsom held another press conference and was once again asked to explain himself to small businesses that must now close….
“One of the most frustrating parts is you listen to any state or county press conference where they present reams and reams of data, and hear about how they’re data driven, how many people tested positive, how many people are in the hospital, and that they’re contact tracing,” said Julian Skinner, owner of The Style Bar, a hair salon in Greenbrae. “But when you ask why some sectors are closed and others open, we get general answers back and not data answers.”
Astrid Casimire, writing for the Bay City News Service, reported on the same day that a county health official is insisting on real science and real public health measures. I have extensively excerpted Dr. Scott Morrow’s latest public health statement at the bottom of this post. We need two or three thousand more Dr. Morrows in our country, in both Democrat and Republican areas. We would be far better off as a country if we had Dr. Morrow in the shoes of Fauci, Redford, and the two fake public health admirals, starting this past February.
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow on Monday reinforced the county’s stance in not adopting a new COVID-19 stay-at-home order, saying that increased restrictions might not be effective, hospital capacity remains adequate and people have an individual responsibility to practice safe behaviors.**
On Friday, several Bay Area counties and cities — including Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties — announced a new stay home order that is now in effect Monday despite intensive care unit capacity being above the state’s 15 percent threshold for such an order….
“Basing such extreme decisions on non-standardized and poorly understood metrics seems fraught to me,” he said….
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should wear a face covering when around people outside of their household, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings and only travel for essential purposes.
“The power and authority to control this pandemic lies primarily in your hands, not mine,” Morrow said.
In a separate article, Eric Ting gave voice to Californians seeing grossly unequal treatment by the Democrat governor [emphasis added]:
SFGATE heard from many small business owners impacted by the shutdown, and several common themes emerged. Here’s what small businesses are thinking as they prepare to close once again, and for too many of them, for good.
People want evidence their businesses are actually contributing to the spread of the virus….
The lack of data and transparency is infuriating for so many….
With no federal help on the way just before the holidays, people are scared they may close for good…
“Many restaurants are in a similar if not worse position,” wrote Denica Freitas, owner of the four Denica’s Real Food Kitchen locations across the East Bay. “Forced to reduce staff at the worst time. Forced to shift to takeout only at a time when we were counting on the holiday increase to help us get through the rest of the year. Leaving so many people unemployed right at the holidays, it is truly heartbreaking.”…
To say that people are incensed with California’s leaders would be an understatement
Gilmour’s business is on the ropes, and he had a lot to say about Newsom, whose now-infamous rule-breaking visit to the French Laundry has made him a villain in the eyes of many.
“We have a governor, a state and local government that is doing everything possible to put us out of business,” Gilmour wrote. “We employ people who depend on us for an income and at least some sort of security and we in turn depend on them to do their jobs and help us stay in business. We have governors and local officials that espouse rules that they don’t follow. None of them are dependent on a paycheck from a small business and none of them live paycheck to paycheck but a vast majority of California does and it’s that vast majority of California that pays income taxes, sales taxes and votes.”
“The only businesses that win in these close downs are the big ones. Amazon, Safeway, Taco Bell, etc,” wrote Granieri. “Seems like maybe they’re trying to squeeze the little guys out.”
* About SFGATE:
SFGATE began in 1994 as one of the first major news websites in history, ushering in a new era in information and interaction with digital news, and even winning a Pulitzer Prize. SFGATE reaches 30 million unique readers each month, ranking it among the top local news websites nationally.
** San Mateo County, DECEMBER 7, 2020 HEALTH OFFICER STATEMENT excerpt [emphasis added]:
What are some reasons that San Mateo County hasn’t decided, so far, to advance the implementation of the State’s SAH order like some other Bay Area counties have?
1. I may have a different view of the power and authority I have, as a function of my position, than some of my colleagues. During the first Shelter in Place order, which I wholeheartedly endorsed, the virus was brand new and had the capability of spreading exponentially due to zero immunity and people’s complete lack of awareness. It was very much consistent with my long-held views about the judicious use of power. I felt that this was the time for our great power to be maximally applied. And that our power and authority was designed to be broad for situations just like this. However, I very quickly rescinded my initial orders shuttering society and focused my new orders on the personal behaviors that are driving the pandemic, mainly limiting gatherings, using masks, social distancing, and adopting the State’s framework on business capacity restrictions. Just because one has the legal authority to do something, doesn’t mean one has to use it, or that using it is the best course of action. What I believed back in May, and what I believe now, is the power and authority to control this pandemic lies primarily in your hands, not mine.
2. I’m not sure we know what we’re doing. (Please don’t misinterpret this sentence. The science and public health principles around disease transmission interruption – no gathering, mask wearing, social distancing, etc. – are clear. I’m referring to how to get you, the community, to change your behavior). I look at surrounding counties who have been much more restrictive than I have been, and wonder what it’s bought them. Now, some of them, are in a worse spot than we are. Does an unbalanced approach on restrictions make things worse? Maybe, maybe not. But I think there is a more likely explanation. When I look at the trend data, the Bay Area seems to mostly move as a region, and it seems to me to be pretty independent of individual Health Officers’ actions.
3. Surely a hard, enforced, SAH order will certainly drive down transmission rates. But what we have before us is a symbolic gesture, it appears to be style over substance, without any hint of enforcement, and I simply don’t believe it will do much good. I think people should stay at home, avoid all non-essential activities, wear masks, and not gather with anyone outside their households. I’ve been saying this for about 10 months now. If you didn’t listen to my (and many others) entreaties before, I don’t think you’ll likely change your behavior based on a new order. I appreciate that some of you think I (or the government) have magical abilities to change everyone’s behavior, but I assure you, I (we) do not.
4. Being in the purple tier, the State has already put significant restrictions on businesses and the public space in San Mateo County. I am aware of no data that some of the business activities on which even greater restrictions are being put into place with this new order are the major drivers of transmission. In fact, I think these greater restrictions are likely to drive more activity indoors, a much riskier endeavor. While I don’t have scientific evidence to support this, I also believe these greater restrictions will result in more job loss, more hunger, more despair and desperation (the structure of our economy is, for the most part, if you don’t work, you don’t eat or have a roof over your head), and more death from causes other than COVID. And I wonder, are these premature deaths any less worrisome than COVID deaths?
5. I don’t see us (governmental public health) looking at data other than case rates and positivity rates and hospital rates in order to make balanced decisions. When you only look at one thing, you only see one thing.
6. I look closely and frequently at our data to try to divine what they mean. Remember, our data are just a proxy of reality, not reality in and of itself. Our cases are certainly going up. But it appears to be a linear increase, with higher increases in 20-40 year olds, but the increases are across all demographics. Our hospitalizations are going up, linearly, and our hospitals feel equipped to deal with a surge, as of today.
7. There is not a good or standard method for understanding ICU capacity on a county level, much less on a regional level. Basing such extreme decisions on non-standardized and poorly understood metrics seems fraught to me.
8. Many hospitals have not yet made the basic internal policy decision of canceling elective procedures. And granted, personnel who provide services for elective procedures may not directly increase ICU capacity when they are freed up, repurposing the services these personnel provide will be required in a surge.
9. Efforts to creatively maximize regional hospital capacity have not yet begun.
10. Regulatory constraints that limit hospital capacity have yet to be addressed.
11. I have grave concerns about the unintended consequences of reducing our grocery store capacity to 20%.
12. The SAH order will make it more difficult for schools to open or to stay open. It is a very hard needle to thread to message that everyone must stay at home by strict order, but it’s ok for kids to go to school. I continue to strongly believe our schools need to be open. The adverse effects for some of our kids will likely last for generations. Schools have procedures to open safely even during a surge as evidenced by data. My earlier stated positions from June remain the same.
13. That the State considers pro sports a critical infrastructure (essential) activity undermines this whole rubric in my mind. Pro sports is very nice to have and is probably a pleasant distraction. It is not essential. (Granted, I could be very wrong on this point. Maybe keeping millions of people home watching sports on TV without mixing households is exactly what we should do more of. Of course, if folks stay home watching TV and gather with other households, it could be much worse.)
14. The new State framework is rife with inexplicable inconsistencies of logic.
15. Beyond the basic human needs for air, water, food, shelter, and safety, it has, to date, been impossible for me to define what is “essential” to the 800,000 people who live here.
There are additional reasons, but these were enough to give me pause.