Above: House Representative Mark Takano and Public Health Official Dr. Cameron Kaiser

S.E. Williams | Contributor

The very idea Riverside County officials will probably vote on Tuesday to lift the public health orders mandating the use of face coverings and social distancing to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is disturbing, but in a county run by Republicans it is not surprising.

The public health order previously set to expire was just extended on Wednesday April 29, 2020 to June 19, by the county’s Public Health Official Dr. Cameron Kaiser.

The proposal also calls for rescinding the order to keep schools closed, etc. however, the stay at home order issued by Governor Newsom would remain in effect.

“I am concerned by the Supervisors’ proposal to rescind the COVID-19 public health orders made by Dr. Cameron Kaiser to keep our communities safe,” said U.S. House Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.) who represents parts of Riverside County. “Any actions related to public health made during this pandemic without consultation with and approval by scientific and medical experts are dangerous.”

Not surprisingly, when the county supervisors stated in the background proposal for lifting the order, they had consulted with their Economic Recovery Task Force to devise plans to reopen businesses.

“While I’m sensitive to the eagerness of getting back to normal, we must ensure that any plans to reopen our local economy are supported by scientific and medical data proving that reopening businesses will not pose a danger to workers and families,” he emphasized.

Takano further stressed how important it is to successfully reopen the economy, however members of the community must feel confident in the county’s response to COVID-19 and know that proper precautions are in place to protect public health.

Covid-19 is deadly and contagious, the science is still unsettled regarding how long asymptomatic people may be contagious or how long a person who does become symptomatic is contagious before they begin to show symptoms. What we do know is although there are a couple of test treatments showing positive results, there is still significant uncertainty about how much protection those with antibodies may truly have from contracting the virus a second time—that remains an unknown.

Takano expressed his understanding of just how deadly and contagious the virus is; and how, without proper safeguards, lives could be at risk. “I oppose this proposal and urge the supervisors to reconsider it,” Takano stressed adamantly.

What is even more concerning about the board’s proposal is Riverside County continues to be among the counties in the state most impacted by COVID-19, with the second highest number of cases after Los Angeles County, and people are dying every day.

According to Takano, Dr. Kaiser’s orders and the cooperation of Riverside County residents have helped prevent a surge in our healthcare system and helped us avoid a deadly worst-case scenario, so far.

In conclusion Representative Takano declared, “We must do everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our community.”

Many agree with Takano, reopening the countys’ economy is a top concern, however following the advice of doctors and scientists should be the number one priority in light of the dangers presented by COVID-19, and  many have cautioned if there is a resurgence of the virus, there could be even greater economic loss.

Even more important; however, is the greater loss to our community if more people in the county fall ill from COVID-19 because the Board of Supervisors acted prematurely for mere partisan, political reasons. It would be even more distressing if—due to a hasty decision by the board—more members of the Riverside community end up paying the ultimate price—their lives. 

To let the board know what you think of their expected decision, email or call your county supervisor and weigh in before they meet and vote on Tuesday morning, May 5, 2020. Following is their contact information:

District 1 Supervisor Kevin Jeffries (951) 955-1010 email address: district1@rivco.org

District 2 Supervisor Karen Spiegel (951) 955-1020 email address: district2@rivco.org

District 3 Supervisor Chuck Washington (951) 955-1030 email: d3email@rivco.org

District 4 Supervisor V. Manuel Perez (760) 863-8211 email: district4@rivco.org

District 5 Supervisor Supervisor Jeff Hewitt (951) 955-1050 email: district5@rivco.org

S.E. Williams

Stephanie E. Williams is an award winning investigative reporter, editor and activist who has contributed to several Inland Empire publications. Williams spent more than thirty years as a middle-manager...

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