SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – The latest pandemic restrictions in the Bay Area have come under heavy criticism from some who don’t believe health officials are adequately following the science.
“There is no empirical evidence anywhere that I have read or that I’ve been shown that shows outdoor dining is a cause or a spreader of COVID-19,” said Dan Holder of Jack Holder’s restaurant.READ MORE: Colorful, Dramatic Atmospheric Performance At de Young Museum Wows Crowd
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) agrees. She says public health orders should be working harder to include all that we have learned about COVID-19 since March.
Dr. Gandhi said she agrees officials should try to work harder to make the orders adhere to the science. Instead of the blunt instrument of a stay-at-home order, she said they should consider a more nuanced approach.
“I’ve been thinking of it in this way — blunt — when we say the word ‘blunt’ instrument. It’s like you can either smash the rock, or use a chisel on the rock, and we’ll actually get to the same place,” she said.
Gandhi said health officials should be chiseling away at the stay-at-home order and allow certain activities like outdoor dining. She says there has been no data worldwide that says outdoor dining with proper social distancing and masking spreads the virus. The same goes for kids on playgrounds.READ MORE: UPDATE: Estrada Fire Containment 35%; Evacuation Orders Downgraded as Crews Mop Up
Ghandi believes government officials could lose the trust of the public if they don’t follow the science.
The concern of a disenchanted public appears to be the sentiment of San Mateo County health officer Scott Morrow who released a long statement Monday explaining why he has declined to follow five other Bay Area counties into a stay-at-home order.
“What we have before us is a symbolic gesture, it appears to be style over substance, without any hint of enforcement, and I simply don’t believe it will do much good,” said Morrow.
Dr. Gandhi said she agreed with the sentiment.MORE NEWS: Hollywood Movie, TV Workers Reach Deal With Producers to Avert Strike
“What I glean from that is we don’t know the effects of saying arbitrary things nine months into it, but one of the effects may be a backlash, maybe, non-compliance, maybe driving people indoors,” said Ghandi. “And so even though it’s a huge amount more work. Can we put into play chiseled recommendations that are based on the science?”