Covid19 Isn’t Killing Californians. Lack of Leadership Is.

Re-Opening Is Deadly.

Governor Newsom, Please Reconsider

I am a father of three Los Angeles Unified School District students and my wife and sister-in-law are LAUSD teachers.

First, the vaccine rollout is a dismal failure at this point in the distribution. Teachers have not received the vaccine! Those same teachers and their students will return to a population of husbands, wives and children, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Secondly , the lack of a consistent response to re-opening by our Governor and board of supervisors is creating more confusion and division among maskers and anti-maskers. Folks don’t know what to take seriously. Far too many ignore stay at hone orders. This lack of regard contributes to deadly surges that place incredible strains on hospitals and frontline workers. Infections are coming not only from super spreader events, but from individual family members coming in and out of the home.

Thirdly, LAUSD students are among the most marginalized and economically challenged across the state and our nation. They are home insecure, hungry, just plain broke. There parents are suffering disproportionately with loss of jobs, lack of healthcare, little or no social safety net.

They will be forced back to work has services workers exposed to Covid19 without the guarantee of vaccine, PPE and comprehensive medical care. They can bring Covid home and young asymptomatic students will potentially bring Covid19 into to the schools.

The LAUSD population is the most at risk. Black and brown families are impacted tragically more than any other segment of the population.

Here is the salient and frankly alarming point. What could be motivating Newsom to open up California a great peril to our communities other than pressure from business groups, Chambers of Commerce and Restaurant Industry. I get the bottom line is hurting, especially with small businesses. But, people are dying. Poor people are dying.

We can’t continue to place profits over people, especially in the crisis of pandemic. We can’t beat Covid19 with inconsistent, finger in the wind decision making. Slight dips in the infection and death rates, are actually higher than previous surges. This does not warrant opening up Los Angeles. It’s still tremendously unsafe out there. A slight lull in the fight does not me it’s over. It simply provides a slight opportunity to re-adjust and get ready for the next surge that will surely come.

The frustration that most are feeling is as a result of a failure leadership. Poor decision making based on pressure from corporate lobbyists, rather than being guided by the fact, the science and the needs of the majority of working class and working poor in this state, is making us more vulnerable and more sick and more dead. Does the re-opening plan include vaccinating, busboys, servers, cooks, bartenders?” They are performing frontline services for the privileged few who have the luxury of dining out in the midst of a pandemic. These workers who need to pay their rent and feed their families are risking their lives to serve spinach dip to folks who can’t seem stay at home. This unfair and unequal.

The Governor’s and other elected officials lack of consistency, focus and intention is divisive and dangerous. Their flip flopping muddies the waters and confuses folks and divides us into near combative camps of maskers, anti-maskers, stay-at-homers vs. do what we wanters. People are wearing masks and social distancing. But, many refuse and our radical about their utter disregard for the safety and even mental well being of others. People simply trying to do the right thing are being shamed for listening to the science and they are struggling under the challenges of social distancing and other safety measures like everyone else. They contribute to the solution, rather than contributing to making the crisis worse.

Since November 2020, I have known more people that I can count, who have been stricken by Covid19 and who have had loved ones die from this virus. It is closing in on our inner networks, our families, colleagues and friends. I grow even more anxious waiting for the news that yet another friend or even an immediate family member has become sick from Covid.

Just as we think we have an understanding of the Corona Virus, new potentially stronger and definitely more contagious variants are showing up in our state. This is uncharted territory, as scientists are still weighing in on the deadliness of the new strains and their impact on the efficacy of the vaccine. The point is this thing is mutating. This virus is responding to our efforts to combat it and it is finding new ways to infect and maybe even kill.

The Corona Virus is becoming smarter with every opportunity it gets from re-openings and surges. It does not take a rocket scientist or epidemiologist to see that if we don’t get to herd immunity or eradicate Corona quickly, a new variant could develop that will resist all efforts and sweep through a population like a wildfire. The viral bomb is ticking. I fear we are in the cliched movie moment of where we are on the eve of this virus really exploding beyond control.

Calamities and disasters often transpire under our very noses and incrementally. We live in the moment, rather than thinking forward. We find ourselves believing this is the current crisis. We have been living with this pandemic for a year. Despite government inconsistency, there is a relative new normal. Like a frog in pot of water, we don’t see the potential for a real catastrophic event. In the blink of an eye this thing will break wide open and we will find ourselves with a million dead and even worse economic collapse.

We must be aware that things often happen at a grinding exhausting pace. Then what normally took a year to happen accelerates exponentially and happens in a mere months, weeks or god forbid days.

I fear for my friends, my family, my state, my city. It’s not getting better. It won’t get better with inconsistent leadership and responses. Los Angeles County and California will remain reopened based on the decisions of our governor and Board of Supervisors. It will remain reopened to our detriment until I guess, a new surge kills even more of us and pushes hospitals to the verge of a breaking point. One step forward, three steps back. I wonder how many more will have to die before our Governor reverses himself.

I respectfully urge Governor Newsom and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to re-consider the re-opening for the safety and well being of Californians and Los Angelenos.

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Lewis Myers

Lewis is a political organizer based in California. He is the founder of Two Eight Five PAC and The Ruckus political podcast.