Cathedral City, California, May 11, 2020
The Democrats of the Desert’s Board of Director members are “shocked, saddened and scared” by the May 8, 2020 vote of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to relax existing healthcare restrictions intended to reduce the transmission of the novel Coronavirus.
The Supervisors’ decision overrules Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser’s orders that everyone, including essential workers, wear masks when leaving home, and practice social distancing.
Democrats of the Desert strongly urges the Supervisors to reconsider their decision and to follow stricter guidelines, including those put forth by Governor Newsom.
Because COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, Democrats of the Desert recommends that all Coachella Valley residents and visitors continue what has been in practice since mid-March: social isolation, wearing masks, and washing hands. The CDC emphasizes ways to protect yourself and others: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
These facts were reported by the Desert Sun on May 10, 2020: “Over the past two weeks, Riverside County's cumulative number of cases increased 45%, while cases in Coachella Valley increased 42%. During that same period, the county's total number of deaths jumped 82%, while the valley's rose 57%.:
“We represent more around 350 Democrats in our area, and most of them are over 60,” said President Dori Smith. “We feel really let down by Board of Supervisor’s Chair Manuel Perez’s decision to vote to rescind the health orders.
“Why would we throw away our hard work to mitigate the virus since mid-March? It’s like cutting off the water to a fire hose while the house is still burning down,” said Smith. “In extreme, it appears that our County leadership is willing to trade deaths for dollars.”
Smith added: “It’s not at all clear that the economy will go back to ‘business as usual’ when the virus is still dangerous because many will continue to stay home, and workers will get sick and die. It seems that special interests and greed are pushing leaders to reopen the economy too soon, no matter the number of future COVID-19 cases and deaths.
“Unfortunately, the Supervisors’ vote seems to be saying to Valley residents, especially those most vulnerable: Seniors don’t matter. People with HIV don’t matter. People with lung disease don’t matter. Disabled people with chronic illnesses don’t matter. And, now that we know about a new COVID syndrome that hits children, do children matter?”
The new syndrome that has killed three children in New York was reported by The New York Times: “The syndrome, a toxic-shock-like inflammation that affects the skin, the eyes, blood vessels and the heart, can leave children seriously ill, with some patients requiring mechanical ventilation.”
Smith said: “Numerous health experts around the country, including our U.S. Representative Dr. Raul Ruiz, support the continued wearing of masks and social distancing.”
The Center for Disease Control’s original guidelines (and Governor Newsom’s) also call for a decrease of cases for 14 days before easing restrictions. Smith cited information from an infection-prevention expert at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center:
“The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example via speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this evidence, wearing a cloth face mask or covering in public places where social distancing can’t be observed will help reduce spread of the disease. For example, in a grocery store or on a bus, if you wear a face mask, you help protect those around you in case you cough or sneeze… Social distancing and taking precautions such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer and disinfecting surfaces frequently are also appropriate measures to avoid the spread of illness.”
The Democrats of the Desert Board members believe that Riverside County needs a careful plan, based on science, which Governor Newsom is providing. Smith added. “It would be a big mistake to lurch into a rushed reopening that will lead to more COVID-19 cases and more deaths"
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