Mailbag: Greetings from Spain, where they are taking the virus more seriously than American beachgoers

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Spain
Workers disinfect a volunteer and a police car at a police station in norther Spain.
(Alvaro Barrientos / AP)

I am a lifetime Newport Beach resident and attended Newport Elementary School in the early 1950s, through Newport Harbor High in 1963.

I am currently in Cadiz, Spain, where I have been sheltered in place. I made no effort to return home as I felt that what I was doing was the smartest thing to do.

During the past couple of weeks I have been watching closely the difference between Newport and here. And finally, yesterday, a friend sent me a photo of the Newport Pier area showing the beach area crammed with people, which has prompted this note.


After watching the news and keeping an eye on the statistics, I am convinced that the U.S. is in for a rude awakening and that my friends and neighbors should not be so blase about.

Unlike the U.S., the federal government here in Spain put out strict orders concerning social distancing, and while the confirmed cases have continued to rise, they are rising at a much lower rate. The rates are particularly low in the province of Cadiz.

What concerns me is that it seems as if some people in authority, notably one, have, until last Monday, downplayed the potential risk, giving our citizens a false sense of security, allowing brazen behavior not in the best interests of everyone.

The results here are dramatic. No one gets anywhere less than three feet of each other, and everyone is treating everyone else with respect. There is no hoarding because there is no need to hoard and certainly there is not a run on weapons.


The same amount of food is being produced and distributed as was before. The markets only let a handful of people in at once, and before you go in and your hands are sprayed with disinfectant and plastic gloves are provided.

Trust me, everyone is OK with that, as there is a commonality of the population to change the curve on the number of new cases.

I hope my friends and neighbors in Newport get with it sooner than later.

James “Buzz” Person
Newport Beach

Diedre Nguyen is the right choice for Assembly

I live in Huntington Beach in the 74th Assembly District. For the past year and a half, I have been wonderfully represented by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).

She is gold in getting things done in Sacramento and gold in representing us in our community. She is respected and supported by a majority in her district, as her primary results have shown.

My friends across town in the 72nd Assembly District have not been so fortunate. They have suffered under partisan mediocrity with little accomplished over the same period.

Now they have a chance to be fairly and effectively represented by Democrat Diedre Nguyen, who is poised to take on Republican Janet Nguyen for that seat.


Diedre Nguyen has Petrie-Norris-style warmth, intelligence and drive. Unlike her opponent, she would be able to get things done in Sacramento and be a positive force for her constituents.

Results matter, and Huntington Beach would be well-served by a team of Petrie-Norris and Nguyen.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

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