County Supervisor Jim Desmond Criticizes Blanket Bans on Businesses that have Operated Safely

Written by Julianne Foster

Last week, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond was interviewed on KUSI News about recent concerns over the county’s advanced reopening, which has been halted with Gov. Newsom’s forced closure of bars in certain counties. Desmond doesn’t think San Diego reopened too quickly, and still believes the county can safely continue reopening businesses and entities. 

“I’m not a health professional, I’m a numbers guy and the numbers just don’t match up to the hysteria,” said Supervisor Desmond. 

He explained that the 19 percent increase in hospitalizations is not a direct outcome of businesses reopening, but rather from multiple other factors as well. Testing has doubled in the past 14 days, with increases in the percentage of positive tests resulting from those concerned that they have COVID-19 symptoms being more likely to take advantage of widely available testing. Those who are filling hospitals in the county aren’t necessarily all San Diegans, as people are coming from Imperial County and Mexico as well.

The businesses that have safely reopened do not solely correlate to the growing number of those testing positive, which deems the county’s recent decisions to take steps back unreasonable. Even state officials did not see San Diego’s progress as a threat since the county was not on the monitoring list and was not named in Newsom’s list of counties forced or recommended to close their bars last week.

With the rate of people testing positive at six percent, Supervisor Desmond broke down the numbers in the interview. “If you took about five percent of the county of San Diego, that would be about 160,000 people testing positive for the virus,” he explained. “We only have about 450 in the hospitals; that is only half of one percent of those being hospitalized versus those that have the potential of having the virus.”

The blanket attempt to shut down all bars again—as officials did when the pandemic broke out—harms businesses owners who have struggled and worked to comply with health guidelines to reopen. The businesses openly disobeying orders and risking the lives and livelihoods of others are the ones that should be punished. 

Desmond clearly supported this exact point in a subsequent tweet on Monday. He described this as approaching the situation with a scalpel to directly work on needed areas, instead of throwing a grenade on the economy as officials have been doing with the blanket system.

“There’s going to be some speed bumps, there’s going to be some spikes, but to go in and say this group cannot be open—to me—is overreach,” Desmond added.

According to Supervisor Desmond, their decisions should be impacted by the number of patients dying instead of merely the number of those testing positive. He is primarily concerned with protecting the most vulnerable, and the numbers show that the amount of people over the age of 80 dying from the virus has decreased. Desmond’s careful consideration of all the data is vital as he works to continue getting San Diegans safely back to work, school, and other activities.