Category Archives: Dr. Scott Morrow

Half Moon Bay Beaches OPEN Labor Day Weekend.

By Michael G. Stogner

Half Moon Bay City Council voted 5-0 last night to keep the Beaches in Half Moon Bay Open while Monterey County, Santa Cruz County and the City of Pacifica have decided to Close Beaches and Parking Lots.

There is a Worldwide PANDEMIC, No Cure, No Treatment, No Vaccine but that has never been a concern for San Mateo County Leadership. They have consistently been dedicated to Staying off of the States Watchlist, or Getting Off of the States Watchlist. That might be why they have made so many changes to the Data Base, None of it matches.

Back to the Beaches of Half Moon Bay you can’t blame the elected officials in this case, so many moving parts and they don’t get paid for this. The City Manager, Assistant Manager, Sheriff, Chief of Police they do, the Chief who by the way said he would make some calls to see if he could get some extra staff to enforce the closure of Beaches if they voted to close. Think about that, He didn’t say Of Course I will get the extra staff I need to enforce your decision. This is San Mateo County, now known as Silicon Valley and the Police Chief says its going to be tough to enforce it. All five council members were OK with his response.

Even from a simple Math point of view, This is a very bad idea. Half Moon Bay and the SMC Coast experience Gridlock on normal weekends, watch what happens now. This is an invitation to the world the Party is in Half Moon Bay this Labor Day Weekend.

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California COVID-19 Data Glitch Fixed.

By Michael G. Stogner

San Mateo County Dashboard should be fully functional by Sunday night.

A technical glitch that has plagued the data system the state relies on to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools has been fixed but it could take up to 48 hours to get the numbers updated, California’s top health official said Friday.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that up to 300,000 records might have been backlogged — but not all of them are coronavirus cases and some may be duplicates. California reported 8,436 new confirmed cases Friday and surpassed 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

“We apologize. You deserve better, the governor demands better of us and we are committed to doing better,” Ghaly said.

County health officials say they’ve been flying blind, unable to conduct robust contact tracing or monitor health factors without timely information, especially at a time when parents are on edge about school plans.

Update: August 8, 2020 San Mateo County Website does not inform the residents that the Glitch has been corrected.

Health Officer Updates

 

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The Horse Park at Woodside, August 7-9

By Michael G. Stogner

EF3ED31950B843ADAA984DBC4001E5D0-250x250

The Horse Park at Woodside

I have asked San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos his Public Information Officer Rosemary Blankswade and San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy to comment on this subject. So far none of them have made a comment to me yet. If they do I will publish it.

As most of San Mateo County is starting to realize the County has remained off of the State Watchlist for several weeks when there was no benefit in doing so even if the Data on the County Website were true. SMC has always had SFO in County and San Jose International just to the south in Santa Clara County, Both had several non-stop flights to and from Wuhan per day. To this day we do not know how COVID-19 is transmitted, There is NO CURE, NO TREATMENT, NO VACCINE. San Mateo County Website claims it has a Testing goal of 1,800 per day, in the entire month of July they reached that goal only 2 days for the entire month.

They are expecting between 300-350 people to attend this three day event.

Now is not the time to hold this event. There is a Pandemic.

 

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Upcoming August Events at The Horse Park

     and COVID-19 Preventative Measures

The Horse Park will be hosting two major horse shows in August, which are put on by two of the West Coast’s top show producers, The Summer Event at Woodside Horse Trials (August 7-9) and Silicon Valley Equestrian Hunter/Jumper Festival (August 19-23 & 26-30). These shows are authorized under the State guidance.  Every aspect of the shows will meet the strict requirements for competition outlined in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s “Equestrian Event Resources.” These outdoor, controlled-access shows will adhere to the robust Covid-19 biosecurity protocols and compliance measures established by the national federations for the sport, specifically the United States Equestrian Federation.

The Horse Park prioritizes the safety of our members, exhibitors and surrounding community. The following are some of the things that will be strictly enforced in regard to Covid-19 preventative measures:

 

  • Every person entering the property will be screened and have their temperature taken every day. No one with Covid-19 symptoms or who has known direct exposure to Covid-19 will be allowed on property.
  • Following successful daily screening, participants will receive a daily wrist band.
  • Social distancing will be required and strictly enforced.
  • Masks are mandatory at all times except when riding a horse or consuming food or beverage.
  • No spectators are allowed.
  • No social events or gatherings are allowed.
  • Additional handwashing stations and sanitizer dispensers will be widely spread around the facility for everyone’s use.
  • Signage is posted throughout the Horse Park regarding basic rules and Covid-19 safety measures. Additional signs will be installed for even greater visibility.
  • All show attendees will sign a statement in advance agreeing to Covid-19 rules for competition and acknowledging that they will be asked to leave if they do not comply. The signed statement will also include contact information and consent for future contact tracing should that be required.
  • There will be biosecurity compliance officers walking around the property for the duration of the competition to ensure strict adherence to the rules.
  • The Horse Park will ensure ongoing cleaning of all common surfaces and areas.

 

We are pleased to support our valued equestrian constituents and host these exciting events. We will insist on participants’ compliance with the rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable competition for everyone. We continue to be impressed by the wonderful Horse Park community, and we thank you in advance for your support.

Steve Roon

Executive Director

 

 

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San Mateo County COVID-19 Data is Flawed.

By Michael G. Stogner

San Mateo County was the only County in the entire Bay Area to remain off of the State of California’s Watchlist. Why was that a goal for the Supervisors and County Manager instead of Protecting the Residents of SMC.

San Mateo County News.com has reported for weeks that the data did not add up. We also contacted County Manager Mike Callagy to explain the additional 15 ICU Beds and Staff that were reported on a single day only to disappear the next day.

His response was:

Michael,
I don’t know specifically, but I do know many hospitals now are able to easily convert rooms to ICU… it is not like the ICU wards they use to have.  Most rooms now are set up to convert to ICU.
Mike

Its fair to say that a Shut Down is in order until the real data is available.

Why would anybody believe San Mateo County with SFO and San Jose International Airport to the South not be a natural HotSpot.

 

SAN MATEO COUNTY HEALTH DATA

A significant unresolved problem with the State of California’s reporting system for communicable diseases (California Reportable Disease Information Exchange [CalREDIE]), has resulted in significant underreporting of COVID-19 testing results to San Mateo County Health and local health departments state-wide. Local health departments are receiving incomplete information regarding laboratory test results, which affects our ability to identify new cases of COVID-19, to accurately report the testing positivity rate in our community, and to identify the number of persons tested for the last few weeks. Without timely reports of all new lab results, it is impossible for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and local health officials to identify the extent to which COVID-19 is circulating in the community. It also hinders our ability to conduct effective contact tracing and case investigations to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The extent of this issue is currently unknown, and the expected resolution date is also unknown.  San Mateo County Health is in conversations with CDPH, working to rapidly resolve this issue and creating new paths for laboratory results to be reported to our County. In the meantime, we are continuing to report the testing data we do receive and will make clear to the public which data reported on our website are affected by this issue. Data currently affected are in the County Data Dashboard, the Lab Testing Data Dashboard, the Cases by City map, and the Long Term Care Facility Data Dashboard. CDPH has confirmed that although received data are incomplete, the data are valid for those results we are receiving. We expect the testing positivity rate, the daily and cumulative case counts, and other data points on the County’s COVID-19 data dashboards to change as more complete test results are reported to San Mateo County Health.

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San Mateo County Data Dashboard.

By Michael G. Stogner

How does San Mateo County Government tell you that on July 30, 2020 there were 64 New Cases. Where does that data come from? It should come from LAB TESTING DATA. When you look at LTD you’ll see there is NO DATA for July 30, 2020.

 

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 8.57.35 AM

64 New Cases July 30, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 9.07.21 AM

Last date of Data is July 29, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 9.07.59 AM

Last date of Data is July 29, 2020

 

7 Day Average Positivity Rate from July 22-28, 2020 is 8.614%

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Supervisor David Canepa is the problem.

By Michael G. Stogner

david_canepa

SMC Supervisor David Canepa

We have plenty of hospital beds and are ready for a surge. I don’t want to take a step back, but we must all be prepared. This will require an extraordinary effort at every level of government to ensure these businesses do not fail,” said Supervisor David Canepa. You can see he has shifted to protect businesses instead of Residents.

Supervisor Canepa knows his statement is Misleading and False ICU Beds are the issue not Surge Beds.

San Mateo County has 67 ICU Beds & Staff and was supposed to have 13 ICU Beds and Staff available to meet the 20% Availability Rate 67 ICU Beds & Staff x 20% = 13.4. You will see on the chart below July 23-24 the gray bar is blank the available beds & staff were 5 and 3. Does that sound like “We have plenty of hospital beds.”

Screen Shot 2020-07-29 at 4.04.32 PM

 

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San Mateo County Finally on State Watchlist.

By Michael G. Stogner

There was ZERO benefit for not being on this Watchlist since July 15, 2020. It’s difficult to find politicians who are not conflicted with the normal powers that get people elected. The Red Flags are simple to spot in a Pandemic when at first they are for protecting the residents and then the shift occurs to “We have got to get back to Work”

  • San Mateo County (has variance) is experiencing an elevated case rate that exceeds the State threshold. The County sees roots of community transmission related to social gatherings without sufficient physical distancing and wearing of facial coverings, as well as higher exposure for residents performing work that involves person-to-person contact and crowded housing conditions that make home isolation difficult.  Key actions to address the increase include: 1) expanding the case and contact investigation team that is following up on every COVID-19 positive case and related contacts to assure safe quarantine and isolation in order to break the chain of transmission; 2) developing strategies to strengthen support for those facing barriers in safely isolating or quarantining; 3) continuing to work with hospital system partners and our Medi-Cal managed care plan partner to monitor and understand hospitalizations, support effective pathways to appropriate levels of care and prepare for surge, 4) continuing to provide infection prevention expertise and specimen collection and test processing support to assist skilled nursing facilities and other congregate care facilities in protecting all residents and staff; 5) continuing to analyze the epidemiology of local spread to inform additional prevention strategies; 6) reinforcing community-wide messaging about the importance of key behaviors individuals can take (wearing facial coverings, maintaining physical distance, avoiding gatherings, washing hands and not touching one’s face) to keep themselves and the community safe; and 7) tailoring communication and outreach to the most impacted populations and communities to strengthen trust and engagement in case and contact investigation. The County continues to partner with cities, schools and community-based organizations and leaders to advocate for the longer-term policy changes that can prevent COVID-19 from exacerbating the burdens shouldered by the lowest income residents and populations of color.  San Mateo County also continues to work with the State’s decisions regarding reduced testing capacity at the Project Baseline sites and revised testing prioritization criteria that contribute to an increased positivity rate.  (Date added to CDM List: July 29, 2020) 

 

Congratulations and Stay Safe

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Thank You LATIMES, State Inspectors Not Tested.

By Michael G. Stogner

Everybody should be thanking the LATIMES for their work. Government doesn’t always get it right. Protect yourself and those you love.

LATIMES Article today.

Inspectors of nursing homes were not tested
Gov. Newsom says the state is ‘raising our standards’ after Times reported on gap in COVID screenings.
DR. MICHAEL WASSERMAN was “blown away” that workers who visit multiple facilities went unscreened. (Al Seib Los Angeles Times)
By Jack Dolan and Brittny Mejia

Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, California health officials have required nursing homes to bar entry to outsiders who might bring the coronavirus in with them and trigger a deadly outbreak among the elderly, vulnerable residents.
As a result, aging parents haven’t seen their families in months. Many have died without a final embrace from the people they loved.
But despite requiring routine testing of residents and employees , there’s one group California health officials have knowingly sent from nursing home to nursing home without first testing them for the lethal virus: state inspectors.
Interviews with eight registered nurses working as inspectors for the California Department of Public Health — all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation — revealed that the department has not provided coronavirus testing for the very people it is sending to make sure facilities comply with rules on infection control.
The inspectors said they are exposed to the virus on an almost daily basis and could easily be spreading the disease. One said she came down with a bad cough and tested positive for COVID-19 soon after visiting more than a dozen nursing homes in two days.
Public health officials said they had sent about 500 inspectors to the state’s roughly 1,200 skilled nursing facilities. Some with the worst outbreaks were visited multiple times. California was inspecting homes at triple the rate of other states, officials said.
“For them to send us in without testing or screening is unconscionable,” said an inspector in Southern California. “I think nursing homes shouldn’t let us in.”
Most of the inspectors interviewed also said they have not been provided with properly fitting personal protective equipment. One inspector said she refuses to spend more than a few minutes in a nursing home’s “red zone,” the quarantine wing reserved for COVID-positive residents, because every time she exhales wearing her ill-fitting masks, her glasses fog up.
In a brief email response to questions from The Times, California Department of Public Health Deputy Director Heidi Steinecker wrote, “We do supply our staff with proper PPE, and testing; our staff’s safety is important to us.” She did not respond to further questions.
Tony Owens, vice president of the union that represents nursing inspectors, said he was outraged at the claim that the department was providing his members with tests and adequate protective equipment.
“It doesn’t square with what we hear from the field, from the nurses themselves,” he said.
Later, health department spokeswoman Kate Folmar acknowledged that the department had not provided systematic testing but had encouraged inspectors to use their personal health insurance to seek testing on their own.
On Friday, hours after this article was published online, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would launch an aggressive testing regime for nursing home inspectors.
“We’re raising our standards,” Newsom said at a news conference, adding that nursing home inspectors will be held to the same testing standards the state requires of nursing home employees. Homes are required to test 25% of their staff every week and ensure that all employees are tested at least once a month.
The failure to provide reliable, systematic testing for inspectors is “crazy, just really alarming,” said David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. “It makes basically no sense that we’ve locked these facilities down since March, keeping families out, only to learn inspectors have been moving from facility to facility without being tested.”
Inspectors told The Times they have faced serious obstacles when they tried to get tested on their own — just like the general public. In some cases, their primary care physicians told them they didn’t meet the criteria for testing. In others, their doctors said there weren’t enough tests available.
“Why is the testing not coming to us?” one inspector asked. “We’re government employees. We’re doing this infection control … for the government.”
Nursing homes have been ground zero for the pandemic in the United States, suffering a staggering proportion of the deaths from COVID-19.
As of Monday, nearly 3,000 nursing home residents and more than 100 staff had died of COVID-19 in California, accounting for nearly 40% of the deaths statewide.
Many nursing home outbreaks are believed to have been sparked by “asymptomatic spread,” in which people who do not know they have the virus unwittingly infect others.
Some nursing home officials said they were shocked by the state’s lack of a comprehensive testing regime and worry that inspectors could be dangerously efficient spreaders of the disease.
“I’m blown away,” said Dr. Michael Wasserman, medical director of the Eisenberg Village nursing home in Reseda and president of the California Assn. of Long Term Care Medicine, which represents doctors, nurses and others working in nursing homes. “So you have inspectors going around to different facilities who haven’t been tested? It just makes no sense.”
Wasserman is not alone.
When nursing home administrators find out the inspectors haven’t been tested, “they are absolutely, visibly shocked,” an inspector from Southern California told The Times. “They only let us in because we’re the state; they’re scared to say no.”
An inspector working in Central California added: “We’re missing the whole point of public health 101, and we’re the public health department.”
The lack of testing for nursing home inspectors marks the latest failure by California health officials to take the necessary measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading to some of the state’s most vulnerable institutions.
Last month , a Times review of inspection records found that state health inspectors had carried out more than 1,700 “COVID Focused Surveys” at skilled nursing facilities but had issued just 14 infection-control citations as a result of those visits.
Time and again, inspectors sent to assess nursing homes’ ability to contain the virus found no deficiencies at facilities that were in the midst of deadly outbreaks or about to endure one.
In early April, for example, state inspectors completed a survey of Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riverside and found nothing wrong.
The next day, a fleet of ambulances lined up outside the home to evacuate all 83 residents after the staff refused to show up for work, terrified of the deadly infection already spreading within the facility.
In addition to nursing homes, the untested state inspectors have been regularly visiting a wide range of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, surgery centers, dialysis clinics and home health centers.
State health officials said they are not aware of any outbreaks that have been caused by an inspector introducing the virus.
Folmar said the department knows of six inspectors who have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Through contact tracing questions, we learned none had recently been in a facility and were working off-site at home,” she said.
But contact tracing has been spotty.
Despite coming and going from buildings with outbreaks on an almost daily basis, none of the inspectors who talked to The Times said they had been interviewed by a contact tracer since the beginning of the pandemic.
Internal emails reviewed by The Times indicate that officials at the Department of Public Health have been aware for months of complaints from inspectors about unsafe working conditions.
In early July, department officials took part in a formal exchange with SEIU Local 1000, the union that represents inspectors. Among the questions presented by the union was whether inspectors would finally get tested, noting, “This is a big concern for nurses.”
In response, a public health management representative acknowledged that everyone else working in the health facilities visited by the inspectors is required to be tested, so failing to test the inspectors creates “an inconsistency.” The representative said there was no final plan to begin testing the inspectors.
The documents also discuss a myriad of problems with personal protective equipment, including distribution issues and the lack of fit-testing of medical-grade masks, known as N95s, which are recommended for people working indoors surrounded by COVID-19 patients.
Several of the inspectors interviewed by The Times said they have attended staff meetings in which their colleagues openly discussed the possibility that they are spreading the disease to nursing homes.
“We’re the public health department; we should be testing our people,” one of them told The Times. “If it was my family in that nursing home, would I want a nurse to come in, and she’s not tested? I don’t think so.”
Times staff writer Phil Willon contributed to this report.

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SMC has 3 ICU Beds and Staff Available

By Michael G. Stogner

That number is supposed to be 13 not 3.

San Mateo County has consitantly had 67 ICU Beds and Staff until July 21, 2020. On that day the County’s Data Base showed 82 ICU Beds and Staff. I asked County Manager Mike Callagy which Hospital/s had the Beds and Staff. His response is below. Today the County says they have 64 Total ICU Beds and Staff. Why?

20% Availability of 67 ICU Beds and Staff equals 13, with the exception being 7/21/2020 16

According to the data published by San Mateo County for the last 10 days the County has not maintained the 20% availability of ICU Beds and Staff.

Below you will see ICU Beds Available 3. Remember they are supposed to have 13.

Screen Shot 2020-07-25 at 8.29.49 AM

Screen Shot 2020-07-25 at 8.29.28 AM

The above chart leaves blank (Gray) July 23-24 Staffed & Available Beds. Why?

Michael Callagy <mcallagy@smcgov.org>
To:Michael Stogner
Wed, Jul 22 at 4:48 PM
Michael,
I don’t know specifically, but I do know many hospitals now are able to easily convert rooms to ICU… it is not like the ICU wards they use to have.  Most rooms now are set up to convert to ICU.
Mike

From: Michael Stogner <michaelgstogner@yahoo.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 3:30:40 PM
To: Michael Callagy <MCallagy@smcgov.org>
Cc: Jeff Regan <jeff@ssv.com>; Ian MacDougall <ian.michael.macdougall@gmail.com>
Subject: Increased 15 ICU Beds and Staff

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of San Mateo County. Unless you recognize the sender’s email address and know the content is safe, do not click links, open attachments or reply.

Hello Mike,
Can you tell me which hospital/s added 15 more ICU beds and Staff today?
The County has had 67 ICU Beds and Staff from the beginning to yesterday, today you have 82.
Thank You
Michael G. Stogner
San Mateo County News.com

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San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy ” Pretty Good Position.”

By Michael G. Stogner

Update: July 24, 2020 San Mateo County has had 3 COVID-19 Deaths and as of this morning the County is reporting only 5 ICU Beds and Staff available. That number has been 13 up until July 21, 2020. 20% Availability of 67 = 13 on the bar graph below you will see on the far right the GRAY color is supposed to show how many ICU Beds and Staff are available, for the first time it is BLANK.

Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 7.42.11 AM

In a SMDJ article this morning titled “Keeping closures at bay in San Mateo County.”

Mr. Callagy says: “Dr. Morrow does believe that we’re in a pretty good position here that doesn’t warrant the type of measure of closing more businesses down.” 

I don’t know where Mr. Callagy got his information about Dr. Scott Morrow’s Belief’s but I do know This is exactly what Dr. Scott Morrow said. Nowhere in this statement does he mention “PRETTY GOOD POSITION.”  He said “We don’t have the resources to do case-control studies given the enormous burden on all the staff at the health department at this time.” “No gatherings outside of immediate households, use facial coverings extensively, and social distancing.”

It’s a shame the SMDJ which has 84,000 readers just promoted the PGP statement. This is a PANDEMIC.

Health Officer Statements

Message from July 20, 2020

Please read or reread my previous statements below to get a better understanding of where we find ourselves today and actions you can take to protect yourselves and your family.

Why is the virus spreading here at it’s current higher level now? I don’t know exactly, but it appears to me that there are 3 major factors. In order to understand what’s going on completely with transmission risks, we would need to do case-control studies.  We don’t have the resources to do case-control studies given the enormous burden on all the staff at the health department at this time, but we can take some educated guesses based on patterns that we are seeing here.

  1. The virus appears remarkably, even surprisingly, transmissible.  At pretty much every point over the last 6+ months, I’ve been surprised, and impressed, at how capable this virus is at moving itself between people.  It spreads in households like wildfire and it spreads in other indoor environments too.  It seems to be everywhere we look.  I know this is hard, we’re all exhausted and frustrated by having to take precautions, but the implication of this fact is that you can’t let your guard down, or be careless, even once, especially if you are at high risk.
  2. Fundamental structural failures of the US economy are being laid bare by the pandemic. These structural issues seem to be a major cause of the transmission we’re now seeing, at least in San Mateo County.  Many elements of the US economy can be viewed as illogical, even immoral in my opinion, in that so many people are forced to live lives of economic desperation, live pay check to pay check, are not paid a living wage, live with no workplace safety nets, like healthcare, like paid sick leave, or other wage protection programs.  While these structural issues are illogical in good times, they are downright inexplicable in times of a pandemic.  These structural problems are at such a massive scale, they can not be ignored.  A majority of people we are seeing infected now are front line workers (people who allow the rest of us to eat, and have electricity, and have our garbage picked up, etc), live in crowded multigenerational conditions, live with lack of trust in, and in fact have downright fear of, government.  Remember to stem the spread of this very transmissible virus, people who are infected need to be separated from others (isolation and quarantine), not go out in public, and not go to work while they are infectious.  Try getting compliance with isolation and quarantine when the infected person is the breadwinner for the family and the family will be out on the street if they don’t go to work.  And when they go to work they will, perhaps, interact at that job with you.  There is not enough enforcement capacity in the world to stop this from happening.  The implication of this is that the current business focused restrictions will do little to stem the spread of the virus when the spread is exacerbated by these conditions.  This requires rapid policy and systems changes at every level of both public and private sectors, from the feds on down, and from the largest corporations to the smallest business.  We need to see much more work in this area, and we need to have less reliance on business sector closures and restrictions, beyond getting businesses to do the basic transmission control measures.  Failure to fix some of these issues will prolong our collective pain.
  3. Complacency is the other majority factor enabling spread.  This is either born of belief systems (this is all a hoax, this isn’t that bad for me, let’s go to a party and get infected), or born of just not paying attention.  Many, many of our infections are related to fairly small gatherings of family and friends.  Birthday parties, picnics, eating at restaurants with mixed households, etc, without the basic precautions being taken.  Most of these gatherings are innocent, no doubt, not intending to spread the virus, but they do spread it, and with far reaching implications.  Please note, your seemingly innocuous get togethers are driving the spread and are a major reason why you can’t go to a restaurant, why you can’t go to the gym, why you can’t go get your hair cut, why kids can’t go to school.  Until, or unless more people get this fact, we will continue to be stuck in the situation we are in.  To get out of this situation depends on all of us.  Our collective best course of action: No gatherings outside of immediate households, use facial coverings extensively, and social distancing.

Scott Morrow, MD, MPH, MBA
San Mateo County Health Officer

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