The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has been rightfully looking to county health officials for guidance on safely reopening. However, when those officials are handling the pandemic inconsistently, they need to be held accountable.
County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar recently spoke out criticizing health officials for inconsistencies in their guidelines for reopening. At a recent press briefing, outbreaks in community settings—three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases—were discussed. It was the first time San Diego exceeded seven outbreaks within a seven day period, certainly a cause for caution. However, three outbreaks were just cleared off of county metrics, putting us back under the necessary threshold. There’s no need for people to panic, but it’s important to understand the risks of interaction.
“What was the most disheartening to me was when the public health officer announced that there would be no gatherings until after the end of the year,” said Gaspar after hearing the county health officer’s overreaching response. “I thought that maybe we were weeks away from lifting some restrictions, to allow us to gather, have a backyard BBQ, get together for the holidays. According to our public health officer, that’s off the table.”
Gaspar’s comment was in response to County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten discussing the need for herd immunity or mass vaccination before such gatherings could take place. People are sick of the inconsistencies and arbitrary nature of many of the health guidelines being forwarded. Gatherings are allowed at restaurants, churches, and weddings, but apparently having a few neighbors over for a barbecue is a step too far.
San Diegans are now used to social distancing and have been practicing safe interaction for over several months. If we can be trusted to go to restaurants, beaches, trails, and retail stores, then we should be able to host small gatherings at our own homes following proper protocol.
Health officers may be our guides, but they can’t be immune from criticism. It’s important for people like Supervisor Kristin Gaspar to speak out when they see policy inconsistencies regarding the pandemic, in order to protect the best interests of the citizens while pushing for a safe reopening.