California ignores public records request, keeps coronavirus data hidden 

California ignores public records request, keeps coronavirus data hidden 

Gov.

Gavin
Newsom,
despite
months-long
promises
of
transparency
in
his
coronavirus
decisions,
has
been
keeping
secret
the
data
his
administration
is
using
to
drive
state-implemented
lockdowns.

On
May
28,
the
Center
for
American
Liberty
(CAL)
filed
a
public
records
request
to
the
California
Health
and
Human
Services
(CHHS)
Agency
seeking
the
science
and
data
that
Newsom
used
to
drive
lockdown
decisions
from
Oct.
1,
2019
until
that
day.
CAL
executive
director
Mark
Trammell
said
the
state
had
pointed
the
CAL
back
to
the
state
website,
and
withheld
other
data
under
a
“deliberative
process”
exception,
used
to
exempt
the
state
from
its
duty
to
release
public
records. 

Under
Newsom’s
lockdown
order,
indoor
religious
services
are
strictly
forbidden.
Trammell
said
they
had,
for
example,
requested
data
explaining
why
such
services
were
forbidden
while
other
retailers
remained
open.
“If
it’s
safe
enough
to
go
to
a
marijuana
dispensary
or
Macy’s
or
Costco
that
same
standard
should
apply
to
parishioners
in
our
congregation
they
should
be
able
to
sep
in
pews
and
wear
a
mask,”
Trammell
told
Fox
News
in
an
interview. 

On
Friday,
The
Associated
Press
released
a

report
detailing
the
secrecy
shrouding
one
of
the
longest
and
most
stringent
lockdowns
in
the
country. 

State
health
officials
have
said
releasing
the
data
would
confuse
the
public. 


CA
HEALTH
EXPERTS
QUESTION
WHETHER
STATE’S
OUTDOOR
DINING
BAN
CONTRIBUTED
TO
CORONAVIRUS
SURGE 

California
became
a
virus
epicenter
in
December,
but
over
the
course
of
the
pandemic
has
fared
above-average compared
to
other
states,
though
the
dust
hasn’t
settled
yet.
California
is
24th
in
cases
per
capita,
with
7,773
per
100,000
population,
and

38th
in
deaths
per
capita,
at
90
per
100,000. 

Newsom,
a
Democrat,
was
the
first
to
impose
a
stay-at-home
order
in
early
March.
Until
early
December,
the
state
relied
on
a
four-tier
system
of
benchmarks
for
reopening,
instituted
on
a
county-by-county
basis. 

But
after
Thanksgiving,
the
Newsom
administration
nixed
the
locally-focused
tier
system
and
instead
created
five
regions
whose
reopening
plans
would
be
determined
by
a
single
measurement–
ICU
capacity.
Each
region
had
to
have
greater
than
15
percent
ICU
capacity
in
order
to
escape
the
stay-at-home
restriction. 

But
the
new
system
was
grayer
than
it
seemed.
Newsom
had
a
month
earlier
enacted
an
“equity
component.”
Aimed
at
tackling
racial
health
disparities,
local
officials
had
to
curb
the
virus
not
just
county-wide
but
particularly
in
lower-income
communities. 

Adding
to
the
complexity,
the
state
uses
a
weighted
percentage
to
determine
ICU
capacity.
COVID-19
patients
tend
to
need
longer
care,
penalizing
regions
like
Southern
California
that
have
a
higher
proportion.

So
when
the
state
says
Southern
California
and
San
Joaquin
Valley
regions
have
0%
ICU
capacity,
it
means
the
bulk
of
patients
in
the
ICUs
are
COVID-19
patients,
not
that
there
are
no
ICU
beds,
 Dr.
George
Rutherford,
an
epidemiologist
and
infectious-diseases
control
expert
at
University
of
California,
San
Francisco,
said. 

Asked
if
he
was
clear
how
regional
ICU
percentages
were
determined,
LA
County
Chief
Science
Officer
Paul
Simon
told
Deadline:
“I
can’t
really
comment.
I
haven’t
seen
the
news.
I’m
not
really
sure
what
considerations
were
made
in
that
threshold.”

At
the
start
of
last
week,
nowhere
in
the
Golden
State
appeared
likely
to
have
restrictions
lifted
as
their
capacity
was
well
below
15
percent.
But
suddenly
the
state
announced
that
the
Greater
Sacramento
region,
comprising
13
counties,
would
have
its
lockdown
order
lifted.  

Outdoor
dining
and
worship
services
were
allowed
again,
salons
and
other
businesses
could
reopen
and
retailers
could
allow
more
shoppers
inside.
Business
owners
wer
blindsided,
albeit
pleasantly,
by
the
reopening. 


CALIF.
DEM
PARTY
CHAIR
DUBS NEWSOM
RECALL
EFFORT
A
‘COUP’

State
officials
did
not
describe
their
reasoning
other
than
to
say
it
was
based
on
a
projection
for
ICU
capacity.
They
said
they’d
relied
on
a
complex
formula
to
determine
that
while
Sacramento’s
ICU
capacity
was
only
at
9
percent,
they
projected
it
would
climb
above
15%
within
four
weeks.

“What
happened
to
the
15%?
What
was
that
all
about?”
Rutherford
said.
“I
was
surprised.
I
assume
they
know
something
I
don’t
know.”

Even
county
officials
weren’t
aware
of
the
data
being
used,
according
to
San
Bernardino
County
spokesman
David
Wert. 

“At
the
moment
the
projections
are
not
being
shared
publicly,”
Department
of
Public
Health
spokeswoman
Ali
Bay
said
in
an
email
to
The
AP. 

CHHS
spokeswoman
Kate
Folmar
said
projected
ICU
capacity
is
based
on
multiple
variables,
including
available
beds
and
staffing.
“These
fluid,
on-the-ground
conditions
cannot
be
boiled
down
to
a
single
data
point

and
to
do
so
would
mislead
and
create
greater
uncertainty
for
Californians,”
she
said
in
a
statement.

“That
is
the
peak
of
hubris,”
Trammell
shot
back.
“The
idea
that
just
because
one
works
for
a
state
agency
makes
one
more
qualified
or
more
intelligent
to
understand
data
or
scientific
research,
it’s
just
delusional.”

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“If
the
science
is
so
compelling
to
justify
what
the
state
has
done,
the
governor
should
be
enthusiastically
looking
to
share
this
research
with
as
many
people
as
he
can.” 

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