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Guest opinion: Why is COVID-19 spreading so rampantly? Here are three factors to consider.

Original post made on Jul 25, 2020

In an op-ed in the July 24 issue, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow writes about factors that are contributing to the increased spread of coronavirus.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, July 25, 2020, 8:30 AM

Comments (24)

18 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2020 at 10:30 pm

You forgot to mention that while gathering are legally limited to 10 people, in the 7 weeks since the murder of George Floyd tens of millions of people have gathered in groups of thousands to protest, and sometimes to riot. The current spike in cases began 2 weeks later and increased from there. Either that was a major cause of the explosion of cases, or the virus is smart enough to infect people with some political views while leaving those with other political views alone.

16 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 26, 2020 at 9:31 am


it also coincided with the opening of public spaces in which stupid people didn't follow proper protocols. And far more people than protesters were doing that. Just google it. There's plenty of photographic evidence to support it. Of course, it doesn't go along with your narrative, so I doubt you will.

24 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 26, 2020 at 10:04 am

1 - Lack of Personal Responsibility
Many people are still not wearing masks and/or remaining a SAFE distance from others,

2 - Lack of Leadership
When was the last time you heard any local official (except Anna Eshoo!) speak out, speak loudly and speak clearly about what we all have to do to stop this virus?

3 - Lack of Strong, Clear, Consistent Messaging
Where are the TV ads, newspaper ads, banners and signs exhorting all of us to do what we need to do to stop this killer?

4 - Lack of Testing and Contact Tracing
California has the second largest number of cases in the US and ranks 14th in the rate of testing.

In many ways this virus is an IQ/EQ/economic status test and Darwin will prevail.

13 people like this
Posted by Blame?
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2020 at 11:42 am

Obviously, mass gatherings for riot/protest increased the spread of corona virus. It's not "politically correct" to point this out, but, again, this is obvious. Mark is correct.

“It’s a perfect setup for further spread of the virus,” said Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, in early June. “I get very concerned, as do my colleagues in public health, when they see these kinds of crowds. There certainly is a risk. I can say that with confidence.”

Menlo Voter is also correct. Reopening without proper precautions would also lead to increased spread. However, the few times I've been out and about in the Bay Area, I've seen almost everyone wearing a mask.

Which contributed more? We will never know.

7 people like this
Posted by gps
a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Jul 26, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

There isn't data to suggest that protests caused a meaningful change in spread. Far far more people were busy spreading it in other ways. Realize that most people were never at protests or with people who were at protests. Even though we wanted to be. Because of the pandemic. Nobody can honestly blame protests on the wide spread we're seeing.

The so called "Mark" and "Blame?" commenting above are behaving like racist trolls abusing this quasi-anonymous forum to further inequity. They clearly haven't internalized Dr. Morrow's words about structural inequality.

7 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 26, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Sorry, there is no logic that can inform me that the riots/protests did not spread the virus, and then cause further spread be those infected going back to their neighborhoods. If it is so Scientifically proven that you are correct (protests) did not impact the "case" numbers, then why do we (government/scientists/etc.) not have any other thing proven about this virus, like at all. So mass outdoor gatherings are "safe"?

25 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 26, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Quit arguing about angels on the head of a pin.

The FACTS are that the virus is continuing to spread in San Mateo (R = 1.12)and Santa Clara (R = 1.15) counties in the absence of mass gatherings:

Web Link

Going out in public without a mask is now the moral equivalent of drunk driving.

7 people like this
Posted by PV Res
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 26, 2020 at 4:54 pm

My body, my choice. I shouldn’t have to wear a mask if I don’t want to. And I have allergies, so l do not have to because it is a valid medical condition. I get kicked out of stores in menlo for it but I stand for what I believe is right and shop with my feet. Tired of people telling me what to do—stay in your own lane. If you are afraid of the virus then you shouldn’t be out in public in the first place.

5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 26, 2020 at 7:06 pm


PVres is our resident troll. Ignore her.

6 people like this
Posted by John Muir
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 27, 2020 at 9:21 am

Dr. Morrow:

Some good points, but also a lot drivel.

I wish you would run for public office so that I could vote against you.

15 people like this
Posted by Liesel
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 27, 2020 at 10:29 am

The virus doesn't know why groups of folks are gathered and it doesn't play politics. Groups of individuals, large or small, protesting, shopping, or going to sporting events are excellent vectors to spread the virus. Given the evidence from other countries, wearing a mask helps slow down transmission, and deaths.

3 people like this
Posted by Longtime Menlo Parker
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm

Sadly, too many folks are still gathering in public and not wearing masks. Case in point: I drove on Skyline yesterday afternoon (near Alice's) and there was an informal car show/gathering on the side of the road (Mustangs, I believe) with everyone milling about admiring each other's car and taking pictures. Probably 40+ people, with NO masks :-(

8 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Since the medical community endorsed the protests from the get go (Web Link), it is not surprising that they are bending over backwards to provide “research” to say the protests are not the cause of the increase. The research I have read strains credulity. (Eg Bentley study that during protests, others stayed home to offset the number of people out— like a game of carbon offsets.). At a minimum, it seems logical that endorsing the protests set an example for other interactions and a lowering of people’s guard. You can’t tell young people not to gather to make signs after telling them they can attend a protest. The medical community should never have said some mass gathering were good... that political stand let the cow out of the barn.

One hope is that we reach herd immunity as it seems has happened in New York, New Jersey, etc.

9 people like this
Posted by stan
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jul 27, 2020 at 1:42 pm

It would certainly be politically incorrect to assert that many thousands of people gathering with and without masks, shoulder to shoulder, shouting and screaming and spitting somehow were able to convert mob behavior into herd immunity.
This really bodes well if this miracle of immunity can be repeated for football and baseball games in outdoor arenas as at least these will translate to some form of positive commerce as compared to rioting mobs that create commerce through having to replace broken windows and clean graffiti from streets and buildings.

19 people like this
Posted by Come from the place of your heart.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm

We can't blame it on only one thing, so to get caught in that argument is silly because we need to move forward and find a way to be healthy and together in this time. What we do know medically is that not wearing masks when in close proximity to other people, and especially gathering in groups that aren't socially distanced, is the most irresponsible thing we can do. It's proven on both sides of the political spectrum that not wearing a mask spreads the virus. So can we please drop politics and treat this like what it is -- an illness that affects us all?
To move forward safely, we need to look at our own actions and choices.
I was just over on the coast in Half Moon Bay this morning and there were multiple surf schools with very full classes of young kids through later teens. Everyone was on the beach for various warm-ups and initial lessons. Literally none of the kids had masks on and none of them were more than a couple feet apart. There were hoards of kids (a technical term for lots and lots). I know kids are less likely to get it, but they are very likely to spread it. Living on this side of the hill, I also know first hand (I'm a mom of a person on instagram) that a lot of the local older youth are gathering unmasked and unsocially distant and with regularity.
So, it's a choice. We can manage ourselves and manage our kids and all do our best. Or we can watch the numbers go up and people dying, often because of our own actions, and keep complaining and wanting things to be the way they were and pretending that they are.
The people in service jobs are dying because we aren't wearing masks.
So, as I can see it, here's my choice: me wearing my mask protects you, and so I'll do that for you. You wearing your mask protects me; I hope you'll do that for me.
let's stop fighting and try to keep each other healthy and alive so we can find creative ways to have fun and learn and work.

5 people like this
Posted by Sara T
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 27, 2020 at 2:57 pm

I heartily endorse the comments of "Come from the place of your heart." The ONLY important thing is to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet apart. The news of the kids at Half Moon Bay is extremely upsetting. Parents MUST be responsible for their children's actions.

8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 27, 2020 at 2:58 pm

"One hope is that we reach herd immunity as it seems has happened in New York, New Jersey, etc."

Herd immunity has NOT been reached anywhere in the US and probably nowhere in the world.

What has happened in New York and New Jersey is that so many people died there that most people knew someone who had died and and that reality changed their behavior.

Hopefully we won't need to learn the same lesson here the hard way.

Like this comment
Posted by Dr Marina Kalugina (also Kalugin)
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 27, 2020 at 3:01 pm

[Post removed due to trolling]

8 people like this
Posted by another resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm

I find depressing many of the comments on this thread, and I hope they represent the views of a minority of our community. This is a time for our community to work together to really slow the spread of this virus, so that we can get our kids back to school and workers back to work. This isn't a question of individual risk tolerance. We are wearing masks for each other, for the essential workers who cannot socially distance in their jobs, for our kids who need to go to school (and the teachers who need to be safe teaching them), for the elderly and immunocompromised. Every single one of us is either in one of these groups or closely linked to someone in one of these groups.

I agree with Peter Carpenter that we need stronger and clearer messaging from our government officials. I appreciate this thoughtful piece by Scott Morrow, but it will reach very few. I have educated and responsible friends who are not following the rules -- and they don't know they're not following the rules because the rules are so unclear and differ from county to county. In San Mateo County we're allowed to have social bubbles, but in San Francisco they can have up to 2 outdoor social meals per week. It's too confusing to understand, and there's very little effort to publicize the compliance requirements. We should have a strong marketing campaign with billboards, television, online and radio adds, etc. And these adds should be very clear.

We also should require businesses that are open to post common requirements for patrons with clearly visible -- and friendly, charming, or even funny! -- signs that remind patrons of the common rules. e.g., outdoor restaurants could have signs reminding patrons that they're open only for members of the same household or clearly defined social pods.

5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm

From: Peter Carpenter
Subject: Our silent local elected officials - PLEASE require everyone to wear a mask in any public space
Date: July 29, 2020 at 2:18:49 PM PDT

We will never contain this virus without universal masking.

No masks = No economic recovery
No masks = More deaths


Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 1, 2020 at 8:24 pm

We should recognize that San Mateo County is having to backup because of people who are not wearing masks and who are not social distancing.

The very people who demanded more "freedom" are the ones responsible for us having less freedom.

Actions and inactions have consequences.

3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 2, 2020 at 7:46 am

"The coronavirus is spreading at dangerous levels across much of the United States, and public health experts are demanding a dramatic reset in the national response, one that recognizes that the crisis is intensifying and that current piecemeal strategies aren’t working."

Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2020 at 9:12 am

We need a national strategy, but we'll never see one from captain heal spur. As long as it was killing people in blue states he was fine with it. Now that it's killing his base he's not sure what to do. Wear a mask don't wear mask? He doesn't know.

3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 10, 2020 at 10:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

We need a nationwide lockdown that is opened up only when we can test everyone and trace every positive case.

Expensive - yes.

Painful - very.

The alternative - probably over 10 million infected and 300,000 deaths AND a ruined economy.

"To save lives, and save the economy, we need another lockdown."

By Michael T. Osterholm and Neel Kashkari
Dr. Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Mr. Kashkari is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Web Link

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