Opinion: I’m concerned the independent report on the county’s handling of Covid has been delayed. Here’s why


Daily Post Editor

I’m concerned that the independent consulting company Santa Clara County has hired to investigate the county health department’s handling of the Covid pandemic has postponed the release of its report.

CNA Corp., which specializes in assessing government responses to disasters, originally said it would release the “after-action” report in March, but now that’s been delayed “until the summer.”

It’s important for residents to keep an eye on this investigation and not allow the county supervisors to let it fall between the cracks. It’s also important that CNA have the time to throughly investigate all aspects of the pandemic.

The big questions:

· Did the county go too far in locking down residents? Were there alternate approaches, such as isolating the vulnerable and allowing healthy people to go about their lives, that would have resulted in the same outcomes?

· Why did Santa Clara County’s health department feel it was necessary to impose more severe restrictions on businesses than other Bay Area counties?

· How do health officials, such as director Dr. Sara Cody, explain why the county had a higher per capita Covid death rate than other Bay Area counties, even with these restrictions?

· Why did school closures have to last as long as they did? While schools attempted to educate students online, students fell behind, testing showed.

· How many businesses closed permanently due to the restrictions?

· How many jobs were lost due to the restrictions?

· Who in the county administration decided it was a good idea to shut down churches – a move that drew the ire of the U.S. Supreme Court in two rulings? They wondered why Costco was open and not churches.

· Why did it take months to get the first vaccine dose to residents? Was it the best choice to give the job of distributing vaccines to the county bureaucracy, or should that task have been given to fire departments, pharmacies and doctors’ offices?

· Who thought it was a good idea to give $76 million in “hero pay” bonuses to county workers, when many of them spent the pandemic working from home, never taking any risk that would give them Covid? Is this yet another example of how the unions run the county government?

Residents should also ask “who was held accountable for mistakes?” and “how were they disciplined?”

A different county’s response

San Mateo County is taking a different approach. The Board of Supervisors held a syrupy praise-fest on March 14 during which administrators were saluted for doing a great job. I wouldn’t be surprised if the officials at the hearing are now on workers comp, due to the sore arms they got slapping one another on the back.

No mention of the nearly $10 million in PPE (personal protective equipment) that the county left out in the rain.

This is the same county that ignored pleas to get Covid tests to East Palo Alto to help residents stop from infecting their families and housemates.

It’s possible that Santa Clara County’s CNA report will be a whitewash too. That’s happened in other counties that have hired independent investigators to look into how they handled the pandemic.

But I’m hoping the investigators here interview a wide variety of people, both in the county government and outsiders, such as students, parents, hourly workers, business owners and medical experts who aren’t on the county payroll. Then I hope they’ll let the facts drive their investigation.

Let’s figure out how we can improve our response before the next outbreak hits.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears Mondays in the Daily Post.


    • I second that. Thank you Dave for being possibly the only journalist in the bay area to ask these important questions on the worst social panic in our lifetimes. The county health officials responsible for the policies that led to the destruction of lives, jobs, and educations over the past few years need to be scrutinized and punished. We should never let them forget what they did.

  1. Dave, instead of making random, wide-ranging critical references to potential bureaucratic failures concerning the efficacy of Santa Clara County’s response to the pandemic, why not wait for the final independent report in its totality, and then criticize the actual governmental failures that may be described in detail within?

  2. Santa Clara County is still pursuing litigation against a Church in San Jose for defying lockdown orders by staying open!

    Dave, the list is a very good start but far from complete. The investigation should further review the basis for:

    1) “15 days to slow the spread” lockdowns which turned into over 700 days and constantly shifting goalposts;

    2) the evidence that the vaccines were “safe and effective” when there was little to no evidence that the vaccines prevented infection or spread in any meaningful sense…and the continued vaccination requirements by the county as injuries and deaths from the vaccines were rising;

    3) The data and legality behind imposition of the mask mandates, including the harms of long-term masking. A simple review of the data would clearly show no difference in case rates between mask mandate and no-mask mandate states/countries; and

    4) The use and accuracy of PCR as a clinical diagnostic for disease when PCR or RT-PCR cannot test for live virus or active infection. The PCR “tests” were what led to the panic over “cases” and subsequent shutdown orders in the first place.

    As an aside, The CDC has admitted that “Covid only” deaths represent about 5% of the total Covid deaths, with the rest having multiple underlying conditions. If 350,000 Covid deaths were reported in 2020, the actual number of Covid only deaths would be closer to 15,000. The CDC’s own data states that annual flu deaths in the US are between 15,000-40,000 on average, with some years above 75,000. The 15,000 Covid-only number also does not discount for false positives attributed to PCR.

    Was this really a pandemic? Which makes me wonder if there was a SARS-CoV-2 virus in the first place. It is not out-of-bounds, in my opinion, to require proof of the existence of such as virus, with compelling evidence of isolation and purification of the whole virus.

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