I’ve repeated this often over the last few months. We have lost sight of the goal. I think it’s reasonable for everyone to take a step back and say how did we end up here? How did we go from we need to flatten the curve for the month of April, to “we are going to shut your business down in September and October if you decide to stay open?”
In California, the goalposts continue to move. At the beginning, the goal was to make sure we had enough hospital beds, make sure we had enough PPE equipment, make sure we weren’t having to choose between who could live and who couldn’t. Thankfully, because of the people of San Diego and the great work from our local public health officials, we never had any of those problems.
Now though, the goal has changed. In California, we have a flawed color-coded system and that doesn’t even have a green tier with full openings. Businesses are going to limited in capacity for an indefinite period.
We’ve been told that life won’t get back to normal until there’s a vaccine. So, if the goal truly is to keep everyone locked down until there is a vaccine, we have to start being honest. An Axios/Ipsos poll was done last week that said only 13 percent of Americans would be willing to try the vaccine when it comes out.
Trust is decreasing, and now more and more people are becoming suspicious of what is coming out from the government. Almost all business owners set goals, whether it’s financial or other factors. They set goals as a way to look towards the future.
I look to Governor Newsom and Sacramento and I wonder, what is the goal? Is it hospital capacity? Is it a vaccine and extinction of the virus?
Yes, we should be working on a vaccine, but we should not base our economic future solely on it. We need to learn to live with this virus. If a vaccine is the goal, we need to win the trust back of the public. We need to let them get back to a life as normal as possible. We need to give them the facts.
The facts are, if you are under the age of 50 you have a 99.98% chance of surviving COVID-19. If you are below 70 you have a 99.5% chance. In San Diego County, 6% of our hospital beds are COVID-19 patients, and we have thousands of open hospital beds available in case of an increase. Those are the facts.
We need to quit playing with the emotions of business owners and with flawed color-coded systems. We need to start being honest when it comes to the goals for dealing with COVID-19, because we are quickly losing the trust of the people.
Jim Desmond is a San Diego County supervisor.