Commentary: Reopening Orange County without Newsom’s OK could worsen the public health crisis

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
(Los Angeles Times)

I knew it was only a matter of time before the businessmen (excuse me, two women, 33 men) in Orange County joined together to try to push the Board of Supervisors to come up with a plan to reopen Orange County’s economy more quickly than other counties (“Mailbag: It’s time for the Orange County board of supervisors to cautiously restart the local economy,” April 22).

I notice in their manifesto that they are not suggesting going through the proper channels by communicating with the governor because at this point they know he would turn them down. In fact, in their document, they did not mention the governor once.

That is quite an omission, since most Californians, regardless of political party, acknowledge that Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen as the head of a small group of heroes who were the first to issue social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

He is the one who saved thousands of lives in California by creating successful measures that were used as guidelines in other states. Most people know at least, to give credit where credit is due.

This group of 35 professionals, as far as I can ascertain, consists of only one doctor from Newport Beach. They are appealing to the Board of Supervisors to be the sole decision makers as to when the county can declare an end to quarantine.

They say it will be done carefully. Seemingly, they are attempting subversion of the six-stage plan developed by Newsom with the help of health care leaders and specialists. There is no mention of it in their letter.

Newsom has promised to work with local leaders as they follow the process for coming slowly out of quarantine. He will be using the six criteria developed by health leaders and epidemiologists. Not one of these criterion has been met yet by Orange County.

One of the rationale this group uses is that the pandemic did not turn out as badly as predicted. Ironically, that is only because of Newsom’s leadership and quick action, which saved thousand of lives in California and elsewhere.

Newport Beach city councilman Kevin Muldoon writes that Orange County, one of the largest metro area economies in the country, needs a plan sooner than later to reopen businesses.

So we are supposed to turn our fate over to a gaggle of businessmen who have no background in epidemiology and whose experience in handling epidemics is zero and turn our back on the governor who has saved thousands of lives by his skilled leadership?

We are just supposed to trust these men and the county supervisors to step in and take over without our or the governor’s blessing?

Having lots of money does not qualify us. We can bring the economy back but not the friends and family members we could lose by trying to end quarantine too early. Life-death decisions at this point should not be made by politicians.

The writer lives in Newport Beach.

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