Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
The Deadly Math of Political Correctness
California is drowning in COVIID. The mitigation plan of the State lurches on, blown away by the stats in this eighth month of a two-week shutdown, with no relief in sight for its beleaguered hospitals, citizens, or small businesses. Even Governor Newsom’s new order on December 6 to ban outdoor dining, without consulting anyone in the restaurant industry, or for that matter, any scientists or physicians, has not helped a bit.
We know who is vulnerable and how to protect them by now, so why does the state persist in blanket lockdowns, especially when this method has failed to kill the virus but has succeeded in killing the livelihood of so many people?
The answer, I believe, lies in one pillar of the governing philosophy of this left-leaning state: identity politics. Scrolling down on California’s own COVID Dashboard, the graph on infections by ethnicity provides a stunning visual on the disparities in infection and death among ethnicities. Even a non-scientist can understand what this means. Latinos are tragically suffering infection, hospitalization, and death in disproportionate numbers, even as more restrictive lockdowns are imposed.
Latinos account for 58.1% of cases, with only 38.9% of the population. Whites, on the other hand, account for 19.2% of cases at 36.6% of the population. This means, roughly speaking, that three times the number of Latinos versus Whites become infected or die.
What the governor is doing to remedy this disparity is unknown; he has imposed collective punishment, however, banning entire occupations, closing schools, and issuing ever more byzantine regulations for the lucky businesses still open – all to no avail. Newsom’s Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly weakly asserted that no science suggests this latest ban would be effective, but it might keep people at home. We have heard the usual from activists about systemic racism and historical inequities but little about how to help those particular sick people now. Of course, no one mentions lifestyle.
In contrast to the state’s official silence on addressing the lifestyle issue, the adjacent county, the more conservative Orange County, has allied its Public Health Department with Latino health advocates and hospitals, is distributing DIY tests for home use in its Latino cities, along with outreach, education, and treatment; and their Latino rate is ten points below the state’s. Targeting can work. It’s a start, and worthy of emulation. To this day, Los Angeles County, with three times the population of Orange County has between five and six times the number of deaths.
Media are beginning to notice. Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano, who rose to fame with his serio-comic column, “Ask a Mexican,” has a differing view from the state. He calls out his Hispanic friends and neighbors for a culture of denial and indifference to COVID, for their everyday banda parties and bounce houses and Lakers celebrations. Even the comments bolster his observations.
The California Dashboard, however, does not call for any behavior modifications for this heavily impacted population. On the contrary, the dashboard warns us that “associating the disease with any particular group of people or ethnicity is wrong.” This is wrongheaded and deadly. The state does provide information on monetary benefits, rental rights, and medical treatment, but ignores discussion of prevention. The statewide lockdown we are all subject to, except for the ruling class and its favorites, does not seem to help the Latino infection rate, nor does it help now jobless low-income immigrant workers.
Why isn’t the state leading its own education and, yes, tough love measures? Surely there is some happy medium between arresting violators and ignoring massive gatherings. Why does the state leave it up to thoughtful journalists and the brave few Angelenos who call out their friends and family? In the face of this silence, only Latinos themselves – sadly, many from their hospital beds – warn others to take it seriously.
Perhaps this is why the elites are not talking about targeting the vulnerable. Their maskless outings to fancy dinner parties indicate they know what we know: that if you educate yourself and your family and friends and workplace and you follow the guidance on hygiene, you have a good chance to escape infection. But in California today, a paternalistic governor upholds the “marque dos” separatism of the politically correct left; that this very separatism has visited profound negative health effects on this population seems not to matter. The collective lockdown has not slowed the virus in the Latino community one bit, and now it is destroying the entry-level jobs that many Latinos start with on the way to their own American dream.
I hope that soon an enterprising reporter asks Newsom why he ignores this issue, before it’s too late. One small sliver of hope is that L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn has pushed the public health authorities to request the Mercy Ship and medical personnel that the county did not use in the last surge. A moderate Democrat, Hahn can still work with still President Trump, if the public health folks cannot. She realizes that if that Faucian dark winter does descend upon us, it will ravage not only Latino neighborhoods but everyone’s.Published in