Harmful Coverage of COVID-19 – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Even in relatively vaccine-compliant Santa Cruz County, COVID-19 compliance policies are on public display.
For example, in many local churches, anti-vaxxers who refuse to wear masks sit around fully vaccinated people who wear masks indoors, even when not required.
Which of course they are now in the county.
Santa Cruz County was an outlier in the larger Bay Area, but as of Saturday, everyone in the county will be required to wear a mask or other face covering indoors.
Even if they are vaccinated.
The instruction from Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel came as local COVID-19 cases and hospital stays increased, largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant. The regulation requires companies and government agencies to require employees to wear masks and post signs at highly visible indoor entry points informing the public of the requirement.
Newel’s order came several weeks after health officials in other Bay Area counties stopped wearing masks and hospitals in rural, remote areas of Northern California reported last week they were treating more COVID-19 patients than they were before the fatal surge last week Winter, at a time when smoke from raging forest fires has left residents vulnerable to respiratory and circulatory diseases.
Newel initially resisted, however, saying that voluntarily wearing masks is sufficient as COVID-19 rates in the county are not as high as other counties and that 60% of the total population is fully vaccinated.
She also said the county will continue to focus on getting more people to be fully vaccinated rather than enforcing unpopular mask requirements. However, pressure to introduce binding restrictions increased, including a petition hosted on Change.org.
However, based on informal surveys and anecdotal evidence, the new restrictions will continue to be a difficult selling point and a new burden on business owners for some residents – and undoubtedly difficult to enforce.
Pushing back unvaccinated individuals, or those who avoid masks for political, religious, conspiratorial, and convenience reasons, will be enhanced by the announcement of a new rule for California on Wednesday that requires evidence of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 Minutes, advanced hours, to attend an indoor event with 1,000 or more people.
The vaccination test for concerts, congresses and sporting events starts next month. In addition, there are other vaccination requirements in cities – San Francisco will soon prohibit anyone from entering restaurants, entertainment venues, museums and gyms without proof of a full vaccination – and the words “vaccination record” are in the tongues of officials and civilians alike.
And vaccination certificates smell exactly like the kind of heightened government scrutiny that already suspicious people believe the ruling class is trying to impose on them.
So you can understand a governor’s reluctance to impose further rounds of restrictions amid a recall election and local health officials.
But what should you do? Do you sit back and let people get sick and die? Make it so bad that there will be lockdowns again and schools will be closed?
Absolutely not. Wearing masks indoors shouldn’t be optional until the virus is brought under agreed control. Vaccines are the effective way out of this mess.
Yet political battles over vaccines and masks continue in the US and across the planet. After President Joe Biden’s administration announced last week that it would recommend boosters for Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines eight months after receiving the second dose starting September 20, the World Health Organization described the move as “vaccine nationalism.”
The government has also launched a battle against several GOP governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Texas’s Greg Abbott, for banning school districts from prescribing masks and threatening to suspend federal K-12 funds in the March spending bill for eight to cut republican-led states that have banned school mask mandates.