California’s spike in cases, deaths challenges wisdom of COVID-19 lockdowns

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Just The News:

Stay-at-home orders, face covering mandate appear to have had little effect on disease’s spread in Golden State.

A recent rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in California has raised questions about whether the state’s strict pandemic mitigation measures — including a long-running lockdown, shuttering of countless businesses, and statewide mask mandate — have had much effect in countering the virus spread there. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first governor in the country to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, directing all residents on March 19 to refrain from leaving their homes indefinitely. A few days before, he had ordered all bars and nightclubs in the state to close down, and had also slashed indoor dining occupancy limits by half. 

By that time many schools across the state had closed down, and at the beginning of April Newsom indicated that they would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. 

In mid-June, about six months after the pandemic officially landed in California, Newsom ordered all state residents to begin wearing face coverings while in public. 

Despite such measures, daily new cases in the state have continued to increase, growing slowly throughout April and May before beginning to skyrocket in mid-June, according to official state data.

The accelerating rise in cases would seem to belie the Newsom administration’s claims that their mitigation efforts were critical in stopping the spread of the coronavirus in California. Six weeks after it was imposed, even Newsom’s mask mandate appears to have had little effect on the transmission of COVID-19 in his state. 


Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a population medicine scholar at Harvard, believes prolonged lockdowns until a vaccine is developed are inadvisable. In late April, Kulldorff broke from academic orthodoxy with a column at Newsweek arguing that governments should consider a middle-of-the-road strategy: Allow younger populations to resume relatively normal activities, while older and vulnerable populations are directed to isolate — all in order to reach herd immunity and neutralize the major threat the virus poses. 

“I think it has to be done gradually, because if you suddenly release all lockdowns and countermeasures, we will overwhelm the hospitals,” Kulldorff told Just the News. 

Read more at Just The News

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