Home Opinion Letter Writer Says Social Distancing Is Not Normal, This is Abnormal

Letter Writer Says Social Distancing Is Not Normal, This is Abnormal

by ECT

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Susan Morgan, resident in the City of Oakley, who shares her thoughts in bullet point format on social distancing with the Shelter-in-Place Directive and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear Editor:

What follows are some of my thoughts on our current situation. There are so few forums for public discourse on these issues, my hope is to encourage that debate here.

  • Our current situation is NOT normal (“new” or otherwise). This situation is extremely abnormal.
  • The fabric of our society and our freedoms depends upon social interactions, social gatherings, networking, rallying, and social discourse.
  • The fabric of our economy depends upon interconnections – social and physical – among people, businesses and workers.
  • The effects of the shutdown are not isolated to particular industries. They ripple out, and in time, affect all businesses. Products and services no longer purchased in one industry affect the product and service sales of another, which in turn affect others. Over time, the effects grow and magnify.
  • The economy is interdependent. At some point – you reach a tipping point. Like dominos, too many things start failing, and you can’t stop it fast enough. We’re getting close to that point now.
  • Every business is essential. Every worker is essential.
  • Businesses depend upon social gatherings – conferences to demonstrate and sell products or services, exchange ideas, develop alliances, agreements, business deals, networks and grow. The inability to gather severely curtails sales of some businesses, and completely closes down others.
  • Distancing destroys our businesses, and our economy. Distancing also destroys our voices, and our freedoms.
  • Freedom of speech is effectively gone. The way individuals exercise free speech is to gather together at a rally and show, by the force of numbers attending, that they have a common point of view to express. If the rally is large enough, the press will cover it, and the point of view is exposed, expressed, discussed, and debated. Without assembly, we lose this ability to offer a common alternative view, or show the degree of support for it, or engage in public discourse and debate over it.
  • Social input in local government has been destroyed. City councils and other governmental bodies now meet in “closed” video sessions. The public has no input into the process or decision-making, as it is ongoing. Public comments made after the fact are not a part of the decision-making process. Public comments emailed in before the meeting do not give the public a chance to see and hear what others say, and respond further at that time. Social input depends upon being there, at the meeting, and expressing views in real time, in person, to those decision-makers.
  • A single county health official can now dictate extraordinary constraints upon the population at large.
  • The requirements for everyone to wear masks, or to quarantine, are over-inclusive and unconstitutional. Officials can place specific constraints on particular individuals, where it can be shown that certain actions by those individuals pose a serious danger to the population. Officials cannot place general constraints on everybody. Those people who have already been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, whether they were symptomatic or not, are now immune, not carriers, and pose no threat to the population. They cannot legally be arbitrarily constrained by such ordinances.
  • Such over-inclusive and unconstitutional orders can be challenged in court – to protect the public from abridgement of freedoms by overzealous officials. But our courts are now closed, and not hearing such cases. We have no means to challenge unconstitutional and overarching abridgments of freedom, other than civil disobedience. Churches, and others who have engaged in this, have been fined, and threatened with jail.
  • The COVID-19 virus does not kill everyone who is exposed to it. It’s a respiratory virus, like our seasonal flu. Like a bad flu, it has serious consequences to those who are immuno-deficient or frail or susceptible due to other serious health conditions. That segment of the population deserves to be handled carefully, with appropriate measures for those visiting or working with them.
  • The COVID-19 virus is a “novel” respiratory virus – as we have no immunity it is likely that everyone will eventually be exposed to it. You cannot change that, until you have an effective vaccine. Vaccines take time – we cannot keep the country closed that long.
  • We can slow the COVID-19 virus down – and that was the point of the extraordinary measures we have taken. To slow it down enough to allow the states to build up sufficient capacity—hospital beds and ICU equipment— to accommodate that segment of the population that develops COVID-19 and ends up there.
  • California now has sufficient field hospitals and respiratory equipment to manage these cases – we are currently shipping respirators to other states, as we have more than we need.
  • The harmful potential of continuing these extraordinary measures is now worse than the harmful potential of exposure to the COVID-19 virus itself. The “cure” is worse than the disease.
  • It’s time to end the extraordinary measures that were put in place, open up all businesses, return all workers to work, end all restrictions on social gatherings, and restore all of our freedoms. Some people will get sick with this virus. Of those, the vast majority will recover within a few weeks. And be back to work— immune to further contagion or spreading.
  • We currently live in a state in which we are quarantined, cannot protest, are locked out of decision-making processes (at all levels of government), are unable to work (for many of us), business are closed or closing (some permanently), or are severely curtailed, the economy is collapsing, stimulus and other measures are unsustainable, everyone will eventually be exposed to this virus anyway, regardless (and the vast majority will survive it and go on to make a complete recovery), and we have the facilities and equipment to manage a surge of hospital cases, if needed.

So – why are we still doing this?

Susan Morgan
Resident of the City of Oakley


If you wish to submit a letter to the editor, email [email protected]

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That Guy Apr 27, 2020 - 7:40 am

Be part of the solution. Let’s open our cities back up before our beloved communities die. 14th amendment really comes into play here…

Robert C. Apr 27, 2020 - 7:47 am

“It’s time to end the extraordinary measures.” But suppose, just suppose, you are wrong? I’d rather take the advice of those with some public health expertise. And the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with this issue.

John Tumin Apr 27, 2020 - 7:55 am

Thank you Dr. Morgan for your sage commentary. Oh wait… Your degree is in what again? You should stop handing out disinformation and stay home before you infect us all.

Derrick Hooper Apr 27, 2020 - 9:24 am

When you dear Susan become an expert on infectious diseases or pandemics then maybe I will agree with you. It appears and I say this without knowledge…you may be a trump supporter, who values money over lives. I want to live and have my loved ones live. Maybe if you have someone you loved, die from this you mite feel different. And if you have, and insist on passing that pain onto others…well shame on you.

J. Pacheco Apr 28, 2020 - 4:51 am

So with all our freedom to live and prosper and all our self sufficient independance stripped from us, how is that NOT spitting on the graves of all the men & women who have DIED fighting for our freedom when our OWN country takes them away??

Suck it Apr 28, 2020 - 9:47 pm

I am a Vet and served many years and lost friends. Don’t pull the freedom and those who fought for us card. Stay the Fuck at home and stop spreading shit. Also go fuck yourself and your fake patriotic bullshit

Jg Apr 27, 2020 - 10:06 am

Too much of political influence is clouding the real issue. I do not believe half of the garbage coming from the media and political minions. It would be great to have the real truth from non bias real doctors. Right now the political leaders are running off of an overdose of power and personal agendas. Remember that at the ballot box.

Ray Apr 27, 2020 - 10:45 am

Nobody is dying from anything else but the virus!
No more cancer. No more heart attacks.
Doctors are told to put cause of death as covid19 even if THEY HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED!

Jaimoe Apr 27, 2020 - 11:52 am

Divide and conquer…..
I remember saying that on September 12, 2001.
We the people are guilty…we laid down and let it happen.

oniwy Apr 27, 2020 - 1:01 pm

What we’re seeing here is Walter MIschel’s classic marshmallow test in real life. Can responsible policymakers wait until the right moment to loosen control and maximize gains? Or do we do the “feel-good” move just because that’s what we want right now? This needs to be a fact-based decision, the result of extensive analysis and research. It’s also a real-life demonstration of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. Who’s going to be sacrificed? Will it be those oldies who have an average of 11-13 years cut from the end of their lives, or will it be the unexpected and youthful cytokine storm stroke patients who are gone in the blink of an eye? Let’s roll the dice! This isn’t a normal situation, and many people can’t begin to understand the factors in play. Patience is a virtue.

VINCE Apr 28, 2020 - 7:02 pm

We realize livelihoods are bring impacted. However, this is NOT the flu, NOT a cold.

The SIP measures are not draconian, we are not losing our rights. So a few weeks or a couple of months of not being able to do things with 10,000 of your best friends, sitting in a bar or restaurant ain’t gonna kill you. But it is possible COVID19 will, or atleast impact your ability to work for two weeks or kill you.

Keep spouting about the economy going down the tubes. An economy can and will be fixed, but a business reopening too quick, and its workers and/or customers getting sick and/or dying will definitely wreck the economy. Some of you might think 56,000 DEAD in the United States since 3 weeks ago, and that number is going up is not “fake news”, it’s reality.

So all you people complaining about how you are impacted and “it’s just not fair” — Shut up and realize the more you comply with SIP, the faster we will get out of this mess. So sit back and cool your jets.

VINCE Apr 28, 2020 - 7:09 pm

Some of you might think the reported 56 000 dead in the United States is just an exaggeration by the government, deep state to control people (conspiracy theorists), or just what is normally heard from some circles is “fake news”.

It is not either one if those. It is cold, hard facts, and with irresponsible reopening, that number will continue to rapidly increase.

mimzy Apr 29, 2020 - 6:51 pm

Hmmm, cold hard facts. exaggeration, deep state, fake news. While i have a tendency to take all news with a grain of salt, you declaring that this is “cold hard facts” makes me laugh! maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
But what you seem to imply is that if we wait and wait and wait this virus will just fly away. It won’t, think about it, as long as there are living breathing hosts it will get on with its business of what it does best and yes, more people will die after this SIP is over and others will have no more than a typical flu ( which btw kills a hell of a lot of people too) SIP is what is necessary to make sure it didn’t hit everyone at once, overwhelming resources. Whether it saves any lives in the long run is something that will be determined later.

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