On Tuesday, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said he would join Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk in challenging all cities within Contra Costa County to require city employees to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.
The announcement came after Antioch has seen 804 people get infected with COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
Wilk highlighted how the county is now looking at serious numbers of COVID-19 that 98% of COVID deaths are due to people not being vaccinated and 1.7% of the deaths in Contra Costa County are people who have been vaccinated. He further stated for people who have been vaccinated, those who get infected has been deceased by 5-times and for those hospitalized, if you have been vaccinated, that has been decreased by 9-times. If you are under 65 and are vaccinated, you are 14-times less likely to be infected.
“These are numbers that just cant be ignored,” stated Wilk.
He continued by sharing data on the age groups. The number one age group infected by COVID is 19-30, and then 31-40. Third group and highest group in last 30-days are 5-12 years old.
“We need to protect our community and last week Walnut Creek made an announcement that all employees of Walnut Creek, this includes contractors and volunteers must be vaccinated as of yesterday,” said Wilk who said they saw an uptick of 5% of vaccinations within city employees.
Wilk said he spoke with Mayor Thorpe last week and challenged him to join Walnut Creek and do the same thing. He hoped they could challenge other cities in Contra Costa County and the Bay Area to join them.
Mayor Thorpe shared the community is seeing renewed challenges with the virus the delta variant.
“Getting vaccinated is the most effective way an individual can take to survive so that we can all get past the pandemic,” said Thorpe. “Health experts assert that the vaccine is safe and for those of you who may not know, its free. Its extremely important to get this life saving immunization to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community so the spread of the coronavirus can be stopped.”
He shared that in the City of Antioch, the current vaccination rate is 62% while in the last 14 days, 804 Antioch residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
“This is the highest case rate throughout the county. Antioch is the epicenter of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic right here, right now. In my opinion, 62% of vaccination rate is dangerously low. We can do better,” said Thorpe. “As a city government, If we want the residents to take vaccination seriously, then we must lead by example.
Thorpe announced he will advance a measure that aligns with the City of Walnut Creek in mandating COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for city employees, contractors or volunteers.
“I stand with Mayor Wilk in calling out all Bay Area city mayors to advance similar measures that mandate vaccinations for city employees in an expeditious manner,” said Thorpe.
He continued by talking about the mistrust in government.
“As an African American and a Latino, I’m painfully aware of the historic mistrust of our communities and the Government. There are millions of example of what Government has traumatically inflicted on communities like ours that have helped shape the experience and how we experience our life today. This is having a devastating impact on vaccination rates among African Americans and Latinos countywide.”
He said across Contra Costa County, African Americans are have a 60% vaccination rate while Latinos are at 68%. He then compared it to 90% vaccination rates of Asian Americans and other ethnic groups.
“I am calling on every African American and Latino in the City of Antioch and frankly throughout our county and throughout the Bay Area to get vaccinated now,” stated Thorpe.
A reporter asked Thorpe to speak on the mistrust that community members have other than general mistrust of government for not getting the vaccination.
Thorpe stated gaps in service, language barriers in the Latino community and it took the county a while to translate stay at home orders.
“There is always going to be gaps and there is always going to be a general mistrust but you and I know there is a unique mistrust between black people and government. Throughout this pandemic there isn’t a black person I heard who hasn’t talked about the Tuskegee experiments and so I understand that but I want to assure African Americans, Latinos and everybody I have been vaccinated about three months ago and I am fine.”
He also blamed Conservative Media and Fox News.
“I don’t think its also helping that conservative news outlet, like Fox News, are telling people not to get vaccinated or misrepresenting the truth by saying more people who are vaccinated are dying from COVID-19, that is not true, that is a bold face lie being told by Fox News” said Thorpe. “I can’t express enough the damage that these conservative news sites are doing to our communities because of the misinformation they are spreading and the hypocrisy that most of them are vaccinated telling other people not to get vaccinated.”
Wilk echoed Thorpe when it came to conservative news and websites, but also stated social media is spreading misinformation. He urged those spreading misinformation to stop and for people to get their information from trusted media sources and doctors.
“It’s reprehensible that people would be putting any kind of doubt in other peoples minds of trying not to get vaccinated or not wear masks,” said Wilk. “I can only take that if you are out there protesting against vaccination and masks, that you are on the side of covid.”
No timeline was provided during the press conference of when Thorpe will bring this item before the council or to the city.
Last week, Contra Costa Health Services announced a health order requiring first responders to verify they are fully vaccinated or test weekly for the virus.
For more information on getting the vaccination or schedule appointments, visit: www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/get-vaccinated