Let the waffles begin: California cities are already backtracking on June 15, the date of reopening

When California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that the state would mostly reopen by June 15, 2021, skeptics got riled up. Few people believed in the date of June 15, and for good reason; Newsom has repeatedly reneged on easing restrictions over the past 400 days of his statewide COVID lockdowns.

On Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reported that the Sacramento area “has seen coronavirus activity stagnate above state levels.”

Here is what the bee reported:

“California has made a comeback in the pandemic, posting one of the lowest infection rates in the country in recent weeks. But its capital region is in trouble.

“California Department of Public Health data updated Tuesday showed the rate of new daily COVID-19 cases in Sacramento over the previous week was 8.9 per 100,000 population, which ranks seventh among the state’s 58 counties. This is almost triple the last rates in Los Angeles or San Francisco, which were close to three per 100,000.”

Statewide data shows 4.5 per “case” of COVID-19 per 100,000 population.

Again, they are reporting “cases” when in fact they are just positive tests for coronavirus. A real “case” is a sick person in a hospital requiring treatment or a deceased person from the coronavirus.

Surprisingly, Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye blamed “the return of students to schools and the resumption of sporting events over the past few weeks to drive up Sacramento’s numbers.” Three separate studies have demonstrated the low risk of COVID-19 infection and spread in schools.

Sacramento County coronavirus dashboard. (Photo: screenshot sac-epidemiology.maps.arcgis.com)

California Globe reviewed data from Sacramento County, noting that they want people to focus on “cases” – those who test positive for the coronavirus – rather than deaths.

Sacramento County has a population of 1,578,680. The county’s coronavirus dashboard shows 1,662 deaths, with this qualifier: “Includes the total number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths in congregate settings,” casting doubt on the truth of actual COVID deaths.

Sacramento County coronavirus dashboard. (Photo: screenshot sac-epidemiology.maps.arcgis.com)

On April 24, 2021, the graph below shows there were 137 positive tests and 4,117 negative tests.

The blue color in the graph corresponds to non-positive tests; gold is positive tests.

Sacramento County coronavirus dashboard. (Photo: screenshot sac-epidemiology.maps.arcgis.com)
  • 1,653,995 Sacramento County residents have been tested for the coronavirus.
  • 1,662 Sacramento residents have died from/with coronavirus.
  • Sacramento County no longer displays total number of positive COVID tests (“cases”)

There’s no way Sacramento County has a “6.2% positivity rate.” Last week, the positivity rate was 2.5%.

  • On April 1, the positivity rate was 2.9%
  • On April 6, the positivity rate was 2.2%
  • On April 12 the positivity rate was 2.6%
  • On April 18, the positivity rate was 4.8%
  • On April 24, the positivity rate was 3.2%

“Neither Sacramento nor Placer has recorded the first of two weeks needed with a case rate low enough (less than six per day per 100,000 population) to move to the orange level.”

Sacramento County is apparently stuck in the red tier, which “maintains the closure of a few types of entertainment businesses, as well as the imposition of stricter capacity limits in places such as restaurants and movie theaters. It also means stricter attendance caps for live shows and indoor and outdoor sporting events.

But here’s the kick: “Kasirye and Placer County Chief Health Officer Dr Rob Oldham said the main way to turn the tide in a positive direction is to get more people vaccinated quickly.”

This is an attempt to vaccinate more Sacramento County residents. Because the threat is that unless others are vaccinated, Sacramento County will not fully reopen.

CDPH data shows that just over 600,000 people in Sacramento County have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or about 38% of the county’s total population and 48% of its population 16 and older. Remember, Sacramento County has a population of 1,578,680.

“None of the vaccines currently in use are licensed for children under 16,” the bee reported, but all signs from the CDC and CDPH indicate they want to vaccinate children given reopening restrictions. schools, mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing, and restricted activities.

The CDPH also states, “Large counties with a population greater than approximately 106,000 must also meet the health equity metric outlined on the Health Equity Metric page in order to transition to a less restrictive tier.”

The CDPH specifies what is needed for a department “To move forward:

  1. A county must have been in the current tier for at least three weeks.
  2. A county must meet the less restrictive escalation criteria for the previous two consecutive weeks in order to advance to the next tier; which can be achieved by any of the criteria described below:
    1. Meet the criteria for measuring adjusted case rate, test positivity, and health equity for a less restrictive tier. For small counties with populations below 106,000, the adjusted case rate and test positivity will be used for the default assessment. If a small county does not meet the adjusted case rate to gain a week toward a less restrictive level (but meets the criteria for test positivity), the CDPH will review the absolute number of new cases and whether the administration’s coverage of the vaccine in the county is less than or equal to 5% (absolute value) of the national average. More information can be found in the Small County Framework section.
    2. Meeting the criteria for moving to the next less restrictive level through health equity accelerated progress.

The measure of health equity is much more dubious. CDCH “has documented that certain communities – low-income, black, Latino, Pacific Islander and essential workers – have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in terms of higher rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths. “.

The CDPH Explains the Equity Measure – For a county with more than 106,000 residents, the county must:

    • Equity measurement. Ensure that test positivity rates in its most disadvantaged neighborhoods, called the Healthy Places Index census tract health equity quartile*, do not significantly lag behind its positivity rate overall county testing, as detailed below.

This list of criteria makes reopening a county so subjective, clearly by design.

June 15 does not look good for reopening. At all.

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Bernard P. Love