Opinion: What Gov. Newsom should be doing to curb coronavirus spread

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision last week to require Californians to wear face coverings in indoor public places — and outside when they can’t physically distance — was a smart move that will save lives and help reopen the economy safely.

State Sen. Steve Glazer (Dylan Bouscher/Bay Area News Group)

But there are many more steps that Newsom and local health officials should be taking to ensure that California doesn’t follow Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, Florida and other states into a spike of COVID-19 cases that could require a second widespread shutdown just as our economy is struggling to recover.

California needs better and more-reliable data to guide decisions; we need better oversight and enforcement of the restrictions that remain in place; we need real support for vulnerable people who must stay sheltered at home; and we need more transparency about whether the steps we are taking are working or not.

Although California was an early leader in attacking the virus by limiting social and economic interaction, our progress has ended, and now things are getting worse again. The virus has not gone away. It is still all around us, spreading further as we let down our guard.

About 5,400 Californians are hospitalized with COVID-19-related symptoms, and that number has risen rapidly in the past two weeks. The number of new coronavirus cases has grown in just a week from about 4,000 per day to more than 7,000. But we have very little information about who these people are and how they got the virus, or the true level of infection among our population.

This information gap could be closed in part by collecting and analyzing a weekly, scientific sample of tests that would show us how widespread the infection is and whether the epidemic is spreading or receding. If interviews with those who test positive and their contacts also found to have the virus also include questions about the kind of interaction people have had, we would learn much more about how the virus is spreading and who is most in danger.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Health


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