Letter to the Editor

Is there a war going on in politics with COVID-19?

There would probably be more sympathy for “open” beach protesters if there were essentially not a war going on – the war against COVID-19. In that sense, it is best to think of (Governor) Newsom as the general whose main goal is to protect us from this grave threat. Those local leaders who feel like they should have been consulted before taking action, should ask themselves if a general who perceived an emergency situation, would stop and ask his lieutenants for permission to act. 

I live in Newport Beach and along with many of my peers (in keeping with the battle metaphor), salute Governor Newsom for the noteworthy job that he is doing. And personally, I am embarrassed by the lack of gratitude of the protesters and some of the leaders in Orange County. Most of us who get out of this alive will most likely be crediting Newsom for having been one of the main factors in lowering the coronavirus infection levels. Not just Californians, but residents of other states as well are benefiting from his knowledge and strategies in dealing with this grave threat. 

A poll just published Saturday (May 2) in the LA Times (UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies) finds that 70 percent of California voters approve of Governor Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and “large majorities want to go slow on ending stay-at-home orders.” Finally, “7 in 10 voters fear the possibility of getting sick with COVID-19.”

Instead of complaining about missing a few beach days, we should be more focused on how to better protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors. Despite the fact that face masks have been highly recommended by most health leaders, Newport Beach does not fully mandate face masks. So, in the photos of beach attendance last weekend, there were few if any masks in sight. Many would agree that an absence of face masks, along with compromised social distancing on the beach, made for one precarious situation. I am sure that we all hope that no one becomes a victim of what some might perceive as capricious activity.

Interestingly, as beach-goers and some vocal city and county leaders protested Newsom’s actions, on Friday California recorded the most COVID-19 deaths in a single day in over a week. Most of the new cases and deaths reported were in Southern California, including Orange County. Local protesters also often fail to point out that when beaches are open in Newport Beach, they are open for everyone, including Los Angeles residents because their beaches are closed. So beach-goers in Newport Beach are not just being exposed to contagion from Orange County residents, but from residents in other cities who have closed beaches or have no beaches.

Perhaps the leaders from Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point might want to emulate Costa Mesa who has less than half the cases of Newport Beach with a significantly larger population; one large factor is that they have mandated facial masks since April 13th for residents and businesses.

Finally, there is an ominous statistic to acknowledge from WHO: “The U.S. recorded on Friday its highest daily death toll as almost 20 states were easing their lockdown restrictions.”

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach