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Letters to the Editor

Is the lack of social distancing going to cause us problems moving forward?

Is anyone else concerned about the lack of social distancing in the coastal areas of Southern California? If you are keeping your eye on the statistics as well as the residents, you will see that both the number of new cases of COVID-19, as well as the death rate, are continuing to rise dramatically in Orange County.    

Is this trend occurring because many of our local leaders are not strongly enforcing social distancing for fear of being unpopular or is it that they simply lack determination and/or direction? Maybe the state sanctions have been withdrawn too quickly and local leaders need more support? Whatever it is, at our current rate, it seems like we will never be back to “normal.” And for all the gestures that many local leaders made to prove that they were ready to take back control of the reopening, you would think that the lack of social distancing would be much less visible. 

After all, the one strong leader in the state, the governor, who arose to the occasion by imposing sheltering in place and its resultant protocol, has been criticized by some leaders in Orange County. One even went so far as to call his leadership autocratic.   

Even if some locals want to focus exclusively on the economy of the county, they must realize that until the numbers start going down instead of up (as they have been doing lately), many of the customers that local businesses rely on will not be leaving the shelter of their home. So local leaders and businesses need to do something to make us feel safe, if the economy is to come back. 

Your younger clientele may be coming out, but as we have learned from news sources, more than half of all cases are among residents between the ages of 25 and 54, and another 18 percent are among youth 18 and under. So that means that almost 70 percent of the coronavirus cases in Orange County are among people 54 and younger. Seniors account for only 19 percent of Orange County infections. So while younger victims are getting less severe symptoms for the most part, it is still not exclusively an old person’s disease. The most reliable predictor at this point as to the severity of the illness is the underlying health of the victim. So although it seems like quite a large portion of the youth are acting as if it were immune to the disease, the statistics say otherwise. And everyone knows that as the statistics rise among our youth, they will rise for all because of the contagious factor of the disease.

And those aged 54 and under should not discount the virus because it is deadlier among seniors, because younger people can die too. Subtracting out those who died in senior care homes, those 54 and under account for almost 20 percent of the deaths in Orange County. Leaving senior care homes in the formula means that 14 percent of the deaths are among 54 and younger. But in today’s world, 55 to 64 is still relatively young and their deaths count for another 12 percent. So that means almost one third of the known deaths in Orange County have been among people 64 and younger. 

Another factor to take into consideration because of the lack of sophisticated testing, and testing in general, is that many of the cases of coronavirus that are attributed to inland areas might represent individuals who contracted the virus while they were in the beach/tourist areas of Orange County. This is a possibility because of the long gestation period of the virus, as well as for the fact that some virus victims do not experience any symptoms and thus become “silent carriers” of the disease. Particularly since the first warm weekend at the end of April, this factor needs to be considered in the coronavirus statistics.

Still another consideration for younger people, as well as seniors, is that the long-term effects of the disease are not yet fully known. According to Webmd.com, a respected medical digest, 80 percent of the cases are not severe and full recovery is expected. However, there will be people who will suffer long-term effects such as respiratory problems, dangerous immune system and blood clotting responses, as well as possible digestive system, heart, and kidney problems among others.

Finally, a startling article appeared in the LA Times on May 19th, in which it was revealed that a condition referred to as both MIS-C and PIMS, which is similar to Kawasaki disease, has become an “alarming part of the coronavirus medical response because it affects children.” Four children have been diagnosed with the disease and LA County is investigating 21 other possible cases.

To say that people should be able to decide their behavior for themselves, without government interference, in face of a pandemic, is dangerous, selfish and faulty reasoning. A pandemic requires strong leadership above all. Orange County has proven lately that without strong leadership there is no strong community cooperation. 

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

The Covid Bunch

Here’s the story of a city council

Who needed to find out quickly what they should do

Corona virus was causing public problems

Keep the beach, shut it down, who knew?

It’s the story of Mayor O’Neill,

Who set a meeting for Newport residents to call

To give their comments, and vent their anger,

Or manage not to do the remote call-in process at all! (Hello…?)

So on that day, the phone calls flooded,

And it was almost more than council folk could bear,

Joy Brenner, D Dixon, Muldoon and Herdman listened

To the endless feedback (Grace and Duffy too were there!)

When the meeting ended, they’d all decided

To keep the beaches open – with some rules

They hoped that’s what Newport Beach mostly wanted

Then Governor Newsom stepped in with his overrule!

The Covid Bunch, the Covid Bunch

That’s when Newport City Council became the Covid Bunch!

Catherine Shannon

Laguna Hill

(To the tune of the Brady Bunch theme)