There have been many signs over the last two months that progressives are using the pandemic to transform America into a socialist nation. We’ve watched as Democratic governors deny and defy the will of their constituents. The poster child for this movement, of course, has been Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but there are many in her league, such as Illinois Gov. Pritzker and Oregon Gov. Brown. Chicago Mayor Lightfoot belongs in this group, as well. As they cut their prison populations in half, they go after decent Americans for opening up their businesses, attending Easter services, or going to the beach.
The encroachment of our civil liberties has never been as unmistakable as it was during a presentation by the soft-spoken Health Director of Ventura County, CA, Dr. Robert Levin.
The story began on Monday. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was training as many as 20,000 people – “an army and a workforce” – to begin tracking down COVID-19 cases. PJ Media’s Victoria Taft reported this story:
Newsom announced that the “army” – his word – will start with a deployment of 3,000 and grow to the 20,000 mark to chase down who, what, where, and with whom COVID positive people have had connections. To what end? Newsom said, “the tracing component requires workforce and to identify individuals who tested positive…to ID their contacts (with privacy) and maybe quarantine individuals to stop the spread of the disease.”
He means forcible quarantine.
Speaking before the board of supervisors on Tuesday, Levin began with an update on coronavirus statistics in the county. First, with 19 recorded COVID-19 deaths, Ventura County has not been hard-hit by the pandemic. Second, with 13 new cases reported on May 6, the county is well beyond its peak.
Here’s your daily Ventura County COVID-19 update:
— Ventura County (@CountyVentura) May 7, 2020
Then Levin provides an explanation of Gov. Newsom’s new contact tracing plan. His voice is sunny. He sounds like Mr. Rogers. (His full remarks begin at 2:00 in the video below.)
At 3:20 he announces the forcible quarantine program. “We are beginning a program today. It’s a pilot program that will certainly grow into something larger and larger.“ He calls it a community contact tracing program.
He ultimately gets to the heart of the matter. “We will find everyone with COVID-19 and we will isolate every one of them and we will make sure that they stay quarantined and we will check in with them every day. In other words, what this program means is we’re going to do a more complete job, we’re going to do a more meticulous job of making it less and less possible for others in the county to run into someone with COVID-19 infection.”
He tells reporters that thousands of people will be hired to be contact investigators throughout the state.
“This is occurring in many other states as well, perhaps all of the states in our country,” Levin says. I haven’t heard of this before, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
“We will be giving intensive training to these people.” This will involve sensitivity training, because some people might have trouble with being forcibly removed from their homes. They’re right about that.
Levin said we also realize that as we get more contacts, “some of the people are going to have trouble with being isolated, for instance, if they live in a home where there’s only one bathroom, and there are three or four other people living there and those people don’t have COVID infection we’re not going to be able to keep the person in that home. Every person whom we’re isolating, for instance, needs to have, uh, their own bathroom. And so we’ll be moving people like this into other kinds of housing that we have available. They’ll also have other needs perhaps – food, whatever it’s going to be – the county will be there to back them up and to support them.”
Shortly before I posted this story, Fox News reported that Levin had issued a clarification. Levin said:
I either misspoke or it was misinterpreted – I’ll take the blame of having misspoke. Yesterday, at this conference, at the Board of Supervisors, I gave people the impression that if you were isolated, you would be taken out of your home and put into a hotel room or a motel room or sequestered in some other way.
If I did do that, I am very sorry. That is an option. That is possible. If you become infected, you don’t want to stay in your home, you’re afraid that you’ll expose other people, we’ll work with you to find a place to stay. And, it’s likely to be a hotel of a motel. We will desire for you to have your own room in your place of residence and a bathroom that can be dedicated to just you. Now, not everyone is fortunate enough to have more than one bathroom, so we’ll work with you.
Only in very, very unusual circumstances, we’ve had to put someone up in a hotel or motel and this was for reasons which have nothing to do with your choice of staying in your household.
Now, this doesn’t really add up. Because he said what he said. His words (in the video below) were quite clear.
Residents of Ventura County told RedState they believed Levin backtracked because of public pressure after his words earlier in the week.
Residents were already angry that the county hasn’t reopened for business and there have been a series of protests over the last week. My colleague, Jennifer Van Laar, posted about those protests here. Ventura County has a population of approximately 900,000 and they’ve had just over 600 cases and 19 deaths. Clearly, it is time to reopen.
Before learning of Levin’s clarification, I had written:
So, why now? Why is California implementing this rigorous plan now? This is about control, not COVID-19.
This is not paranoia. America is in an extraordinarily vulnerable state at the moment and Democrats recognize it. They will never have a better opportunity to take control and they intend to take full advantage.
Unless we stop them, this is the beginning of the loss of our freedom.
This is our generation’s call to action.
It’s time to fight.
Even after hearing Levin’s restatement, which I am convinced was spurred by anger over what was most definitely government overreach, I stand by my conclusion. For the Democrats, this is all about power.