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Letters to the Editor

Mayor’s “deep dive” seems to be misinterpreted by some

First, we had quarantine shaming where people posted pictures on social media of people whose action did not live up to the exacting standards of the non-medical Nexdoor Karens.

Now we have people who early on demanded that public policy be run based on data and science but are infuriated when data and science are discussed in ways that do not fit their shutdown narrative. An example of this new type of lockdown advocacy came in response to our Mayor’s recent deep dive into data.

Stu News ran a copy of Mayor Will O’Neill’s email sent through his personal account where he conducted a deep dive on the statistics of Orange County’s case counts, hospitalizations, and mortalities. They highlight what we all could intuitively sense: a broad economic shutdown is no longer warranted and hasn’t been warranted for weeks. Hospitalizations have been no higher than 4.2 percent of available beds. ICUs have been steady. Case counts have increased as testing has, but positive rates have decreased as the increased testing occurred. These are good trends.

And Mayor O’Neill’s deep dive even presciently highlighted the real threat in our communities: skilled nursing facilities (“SNFs”). Whereas SNFs represent only 11 percent of the positive cases in Orange County, they now represent 40 percent of Orange County’s deaths. Those disproportionate statistics indicate a need for targeted lockdowns and resource allocation, not one-size-fits-all lockdowns like we’ve seen.

Rather than taking this information and directing it toward actual public policies that advance the whole community health (physical and economic), there are people like (recent letter writer) Linda Watkins who attack the Mayor and others who seek an actual dialog and attempt to discuss data that leads to outcomes other than fear-based conclusions. Stu News also ran Ms. Watkins’ letter to the editor claiming that the Mayor’s discussion of statistics is “partisan,” “anti-governor,” and wasn’t sufficiently “open-minded.” She even went so far as to say that “the mayor states all the statistics of why the total lockdown wasn’t needed.” But did he say that?

No, he didn’t. He actually said: “Clearly the stay-at-home order and the economic shutdown played roles that ensured that the early projections were incredibly wrong. Showing our current statistics is not meant to spike the football on how wrong those projections were because we are still in the midst of a serious virus that we need to take seriously. But we have to be constantly vigilant probing the reasons that our Governor issued the stay-at-home order statewide.”

Nuance can be lost on people who want our government to be our parents and treat us like children. But the Mayor’s comments are straightforward and reasonable. So, for those of you who call yourselves adults, let me simply say the following: I’m with YOU. I trust you can both hold thoughts in your head acknowledging that this is serious and make your own risk assessments. I trust that you know what’s right for you more than our Governor does. More than the Mayor does. More than I do. As adults, you and I should be treated with the same respect that our Mayor treats us with when he empowers us with data and specific details. 

It’s time to push back against people who demand blind allegiance to government proclamations. It’s time to listen and act with the facts.

Peter Zak

Newport Beach

Governor’s handling of coronavirus issue should be commended

If you are alive and well in California, you can pretty much thank the Governor in large part for his quick reaction to the coronavirus threat. While far from being out of danger as many indicators will attest, our relatively successful battle with the virus so far has been a result of the Governor’s quick and resourceful actions. A large majority of Californians give Governor Newsom a 79 percent approval rate for his handling of the pandemic. Now that the first (and hopefully only) surge of cases has quieted down in most parts of the state, he is wisely turning to local leaders for their help and input in opening up to Phase 2.

Nowhere and at no time has the Governor tried to tie his success to his political party affiliation. That is why I find it so distasteful that two of our local leaders had articles this last week which are critically implying that the Governor has overreacted to the virus. I think that I could make a pretty good case for under-reaction to this grave threat by most local leaders, but I do not want to stoop to their level. To make use of a major catastrophe for political purposes, one that is responsible for 3,500 deaths in California and over 5,000 cases in Orange County, not only demeans the authors, but in my opinion, minimizes the suffering of the victims.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach