County Supervisor Jim Desmond Criticizes Ever-Shifting State Standards for Reopening

Written by Ainsley Jackman

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond releases regular video updates with details on what’s new in local politics. Most recently, he’s addressed the extreme hypocrisy he sees in how our state government has dealt with the pandemic.

In his video message, “The Hypocrisy of COVID and the Economy,” he discusses how although San Diego shoppers are diligently obeying safety protocols, most open businesses are still limited to 25% capacity. Further, he addresses how big businesses with thousands of customers and hundreds of employees are being allowed to thrive while small businesses are still being severely restricted.

In an effort to help mitigate this problem, Supervisor Desmond has led the County Board of Supervisors in establishing the Business Revitalization and Assistance Grant Program, which provides struggling small businesses and commercial property owners with grants of up to $8,000 to upgrade the front exterior of their buildings, to hopefully bring more customers to their outdoor businesses.

Although our local leaders are making attempts like this to combat the economic damage that state policies have caused, the constantly shifting state strategy is not making things any easier. Desmond also commented on the new four tier system, noting that not only are the rules being changed, but so are the data.

A new “case rate adjustment factor” has been implemented, which compares tests taken in San Diego to the average number of tests taken daily throughout the entire state. If the number of San Diego tests fall short of this number, our COVID-19 positive count is treated as higher than it actually is. “It really isn’t about the actual numbers that we’re getting in San Diego County anymore, now it’s against a state-wide average, and we don’t even know what that average is until after the testing is done for that day,” said Desmond.

Additionally, he points out that reaching the yellow (first) tier is statistically impossible, and extremely unlikely even if a vaccine were developed and universally available. And even if this impossible standard could be reached, businesses would realistically only be functioning at 50% capacity, with no end in sight without a green, go-back-to-normal tier. San Diego is actually in the red (third) tier and inching toward the purple at the moment, largely due to students returning to campus and rooming together, so the new system only closes us down further.

Supervisor Desmond describes our COVID-19 response as becoming “worse and worse and harder and harder to implement,” and unfortunately, he appears to be exactly right.