January 12, 2021
Open Letter to Assemblyman James Gallagher
Dear Assemblyman Gallagher,
You have been invited to participate in a three-day "Free and the Brave" conference scheduled for January 15-17 in Live Oak.
We have grave concern regarding the gathering of people during the unprecedented rise of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths in California. We are reaching out to find common ground so we can slow the spread and open our economy.
As you know, our communities have been severely impacted by the health crisis - physically, emotionally, and economically. Today, California is experiencing a spike in cases attributed the holidays, with an average of 45,000 new cases and 500 deaths each day in the last week. It is incumbent upon all of us to address the crisis so we can return to our normal lives and our livelihoods.
Although most people do not die and generally recover from the virus within a few weeks, the Centers for Disease Control is still uncertain about the range of short and long-term health effects associated with the coronavirus. As the pandemic unfolds, we are learning that many organs besides the lungs are affected and there are many ways the infection can affect someone’s health. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html). The long-term effects of the illness may not be understood for many years.
The social isolation resulting from the health measures is taking a toll on all of us, but especially on our children. The loss of socialization during their formative years calls into question the emotional development of an entire generation of Americans. Our children need to return to school as quickly and safely as possible. As the science tells us, children do not seem to be as acutely affected by the virus, but their teachers and substitute teachers are. The result of the continuing spread is a severe shortage of teachers and substitutes to educate our children.
The economic toll on our communities will be felt for years to come. The only effective way to re-open and re-build a prosperous economy is to contain the spread of the virus, which is to avoid large gatherings that can easily become sources of mass spread. Many local businesses have already been lost and we wish to prevent further damage by slowing the spread and re-opening economy.
In order to unify our efforts in fighting this pandemic, we must find common ground. We request your timely response to the following questions:
Do you subscribe to the science behind the CDC recommendations? If not, what scientific measures do you use?
Do you agree that basic health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing are the most effective ways to address the skyrocketing rates of infection and deaths in California? If not, what safety measures do you subscribe to?
Do you agree that to protect the health of your constituents, return our children to school, and restore our economy, we must get this pandemic under control? If not, please provide your strategy to returning the North State to a society where people can thrive?
For the sake of addressing the pandemic, we urge you to decline the invitation to the "Free and the Brave" conference, and we seek your help in preventing this gathering until it is safe. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
On behalf of all concerned North State residents,
Butte County Democratic Central Committee, Interim Chairperson