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Orange County reaches 800 coronavirus-related deaths as anti-mask protest goes on in Costa Mesa

Anti-mask protesters stood on 19th Street and Newport Boulevard during a rally against mask orders.
Anti-mask protesters stand on 19th Street and Newport Boulevard on Saturday during a rally against mask orders implemented by the city of Costa Mesa that include a $100 fine if not wearing one in public.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

On the corner of Newport Boulevard and 19th Street in Costa Mesa, protesters touted American flags and signs that called for the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom in the latest show of resistance against masks.

Though temperatures reached 80 degrees on Saturday afternoon, protesters took to the streets to speak out against the city of Costa Mesa’s mask campaign. In late July, city officials spread through the city’s Facebook and Twitter pages that those caught in public without a mask would be cited and fined $100.

Face coverings have been required in the city since March 12, but residents pushed back against the fines and some called their bluff.

No citations have been issued, said Costa Mesa Police Department spokeswoman Roxi Fyad on Friday.

Human rights attorney Leigh Dundas spoke to attendees near Mother's Market and Kitchen during rally against mask orders.
Human rights attorney Leigh Dundas speaks to attendees near Mother’s Market and Kitchen during a rally against mask orders implemented by the city of Costa Mesa.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Event organizer Alan Hostetter, former police chief and founder of America Phoenix Project, said the event was focusing on the city because “Costa Mesa along with other cities up and down the state have gone so far as to even strengthen Gov. Newsom’s unconstitutional lockdown orders.”

Leigh Dundas, a human rights attorney in Orange County, said the event was organized “to bring awareness to the mask issue.”

“A lot of cities, counties and states have masks mandates that are actually contrary to a lot of posted science in terms of the harms of mask wearing … especially on older individuals,” Dundas said. “Just to bring awareness to the fact that we feel this is a violation of our constitutional rights and given that I’m familiar with that as an attorney, that’s why I’m here.”

Dundas said she felt the fine was atrocious, arguing that, “I mean, if I’d come up to you five months ago and I said you have to wear a burka or you have to wear a Spiderman outfit, that would have been a violation of your basic human rights and constitutional rights.”

Anti-mask protesters walked onto the crosswalks during rally against mask orders implemented by the city of Costa Mesa.
Anti-mask protesters walk onto the crosswalks during rally against mask orders on Saturday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

“At this point in the pandemic, there is no health emergency,” Hostetter said. “The numbers that were being given are completely and totally fake as far as the death count.”

As the protest continued in spite of the heatwave, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported another 513 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 new deaths on Saturday, reaching new heights of 43,367 and 809 respectively. There were 11,515 tests reported, the new total at 539,093.

There are 434 cases currently hospitalized and 138 of those cases are in intensive care units. The county agency also reported 31% of ICU beds and 57% of ventilators are available.

According to the agency, 34,115 have recovered.

Anti-mask protesters walk past Mother's Market and Kitchen and taunt drivers who wore masks.
Anti-mask protesters walk past Mother’s Market and Kitchen and taunt drivers who wear masks during rally against mask orders on Saturday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

“We’re in the middle of summer right now when we’re never talking about the flu,” Hostetter said, “and yet, this game still goes on with these masks. Masks should always be a personal choice. A store like [Mother’s Market] and Sprouts is another store that is incredibly aggressive, chasing customers down in the store and driving them out.”

“If they don’t have some hours for people that can’t wear a mask because there are plenty of people that have health issues that don’t allow them to wear a mask and if they can’t find a few hours out of the week to allow them to come in and shop without a mask, that’s just inhumane to the people who can’t wear a mask and so we’re here to protest that,” Hostetter added.

But, Hosetter added that the protest focused on the fine.

Anti-mask protesters walk past Mother's Market and Kitchen and on the crosswalks during rally against mask orders.
Anti-mask protesters walk past Mother’s Market and Kitchen and onto the crosswalks during rally against mask orders.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Here are the latest cumulative coronavirus case counts and COVID-19 deaths for select cities:

  • Santa Ana: 8,469 cases; 208 deaths
  • Anaheim: 7,390 cases; 188 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 1,914 cases; 56 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 1,420 cases; 14 deaths
  • Irvine: 1,328 cases; 12 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 938 cases; 14 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 416 cases; 8 deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 151 cases; less than five deaths

And here are case counts followed by deaths, by age group:

  • 0 to 17: 2,852 cases; zero deaths
  • 18 to 24: 6,442 cases; three deaths
  • 25 to 34: 9,560 cases; 12 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 7,010 cases; 25 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 7,100 cases; 70 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 5,252 cases; 105 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 2,550 cases; 168 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 1,444 cases; 178 deaths
  • 85 and older: 1,127 cases; 248 deaths

By race/ethnicity:

  • Latino: 10,169 cases; 343 deaths
  • White: 6,127 cases; 251 deaths
  • Asian: 1,830 cases; 112 deaths
  • Black: 310 cases; 13 deaths
  • Unknown: 20,065 cases; 11 deaths
  • Other (includes Pacific Islander, American Indian and multiple races): 4,866 cases; 79 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. For information on getting tested, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing.

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