By: Supervisor Sue Frost
With the rise in COVID cases across the world as a result of the omicron variant, local jurisdictions are struggling with how to properly react. Some areas like Sonoma County have now issued “shelter in place” orders, which means residents can only go to places for essential reasons, such as the grocery store or doctor’s office. I strongly believe Sacramento County should not go down this path, and should do everything possible to avoid further shutdowns like the previous failed attempts.
The current rise of COVID is somewhat misleading, as the only thing the media wants to currently report on is the number of COVID cases. And while the omicron variant is extremely contagious, studies have shown that symptoms are less severe than other variants. The whole reason that the shutdowns happened originally were because deaths were on the rise and hospitals were being overrun, and in Sacramento County, neither of these two things are happening. Thankfully, COVID-related deaths have remained low, and our hospitals are not in danger of exceeding capacity.
Shutdowns do not come free and should be avoided due to the devastating impacts they have on society. The Wellbeing Trust, a non-profit working to de-stigmatize mental health issues, released a study that found 75,000 deaths during the recent national shutdowns were “deaths of despair” – which includes suicides and overdoses. And in California, nearly one in three restaurants permanently closed as a result of the most recent shutdown.
Nowhere are these negative shutdown impacts more evident than how they have impacted children. The United Nations Children’s Fund released a report that showed the current generation of students will lose $17 trillion in lifetime earnings as a result of the learning losses suffered during the global shutdowns. The United States Department of Education also released a report that showed the pandemic has negatively affected academic growth, has deepened the impact of disparities in access and opportunity, and heightened the risk of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence.
Politicians, the media, and government agents have stoked fears to the highest level, and we cannot blame the public for being afraid. But we must fight to keep our businesses, communities, and schools open – while also needing to recognize the importance of respectful debate and compassion.
Thank you for reading – and as always, if you want to contact me, call me at 916-874-5491, or e-mail me at SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.
Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost represents the 4th District, which includes the communities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Antelope, North Highlands, Rio Linda, Elverta, and Rancho Murieta.
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