From the beginning of the pandemic in California Governor Gavin Newsom has pushed back against those who wish to open their businesses and send their kids to school by insisting he will only follow the science and the data. His implication all this time has been that those who oppose closing businesses as an effective COVID strategy are not following the science and in fact are selfish and ignorant for wanting to feed their families and send their children to school.
Newsom has repeatedly assured California residents that his ever-changing COVID reopening plan is based on nothing more than solid data and science.
Unfortunately, there has been no way to really verify his reasoning on business closures as his administration has kept data from the over 10,000 contact tracers around California hidden from the public.
Now comes evidence that Newsom’s administration has been using a secret model for reopenings and purposefully kept COVID data out of the public eye to avoid scrutiny.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that state health officials revealed they have been using a “very complex” formula that the public is just too stupid to understand, thus they need to keep it under wraps for the good of all Californians.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has from the start said his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public to provide maximum transparency.
But with the state starting to emerge from its worst surge, his administration won’t disclose key information that will help determine when his latest stay-at-home order is lifted.
State health officials said they rely on a very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public if they were made public.
California Health and Human Services Agency spokeswoman Kate Folmar went full-on politico in a statement, saying her agency is “committed to transparency” and then saying that releasing all the data would be too confusing for Californians.
California Health and Human Services Agency spokeswoman Kate Folmar said officials are committed to transparency, providing twice-weekly updates on whether certain regions can relax restrictions. But she said projected ICU capacity is based on multiple variables including available beds and staffing that change regularly.
“These fluid, on-the-ground conditions cannot be boiled down to a single data point — and to do so would mislead and create greater uncertainty for Californians,” she said in a statement.
Condie’s association won in court last month after a judge ordered Los Angeles County to provide data supporting its restaurant dining closure order. No data existed, the county acknowledged.
Writing for the AP, Don Thompson questions the validity of the information Newsom has used to keep California closed so far. He also took the rare step as a mainstream reporter of asking what has changed in the last two weeks that has prompted Newsom to allow the reopening of outdoor restaurant and worship services as well as salons.
Of course, we know what has changed, and it isn’t the mysteriously hidden data.
As cases surged after Thanksgiving, Newsom tore up his playbook. Rather than a county-by-county approach, he created five regions and established a single measurement — ICU capacity — as the determination for whether a region was placed under a stay-at-home order.
In short order, four regions — about 98% of the state’s population — were under the restrictions after their capacity fell below the 15% threshold. A map updated daily tracks each region’s capacity.
At the start of last week, no regions appeared unlikely to have the stay-at-home order lifted soon because their capacity was well below 15%. But within a day, the state announced it was lifting the order for the 13-county Greater Sacramento area.
Suddenly, outdoor dining and worship services were OK again, hair and nail salons and other businesses could reopen, and retailers could have more shoppers inside.
Local officials and businesses were caught off guard. State officials did not describe their reasoning other than to say it was based on a projection for ICU capacity.
“It was a good surprise, but we just didn’t see it coming,” California Restaurant Association president and CEO Jot Condie said. “We just don’t know what happens behind the curtain. It’s created logistical difficulties for the industry,” which scrambled to rehire staff and order food.
State health officials relied on a complex formula to project that while the region’s intensive care capacity was below 10%, it would climb above 15% within four weeks. On Thursday, it was 8%, roughly the same as when the order was lifted.
“What happened to the 15%? What was that all about?” asked Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious-diseases control expert at University of California, San Francisco. “I was surprised. I assume they know something I don’t know.”
Per usual, Governor Newsom has chosen to play political games with the lives and livelihoods of law-abiding, taxpaying Californians in order for his personal and political gain. His level of contempt for the people of his own state is unparalleled. It hardly seems surprising that the Recall Newsom campaign has suddenly surged and looks well on its way to advancing to the next step.
If the recall isn’t successful it is very likely Gavin Newsom will be making his way to the White House very soon, either as a future presidential candidate or Kamala Harris’ appointed VP if and when Joe Biden calls a lid on his precarious presidency.
*To join the Recall Gavin movement, go to recallgavin2020.com to find the petition location nearest you. Petitions must be signed in person. Share the website and tell others where you were able to find a petition in person. The deadline for signatures is March 1st.