A City, If You Can Keep It: Dividing by zero

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No one is responsible for your own health but you.

My ongoing point for months now has been that we need to measure the negative impacts of the rules our government makes up and remakes every eight weeks (or more recently, three weeks).

I have never opined on medical advice, or any CDC recommendation because that is not my area of education, experience or expertise. My contribution is data analysis and interpretation of the supporting data.

I aim to shed light on the data that is being ignored by those with tunnel vision.

I strongly believe we need to be looking at our present situation from every angle, and not just treat as gospel every authoritarian ruling by one man in Sacramento.

The top down approach pushed by the Governor is A way, it is not THE way. It is also measurably failing at its supposed goal (he has yet to clearly define it) while creating additional risk that will lead to further non-COVID deaths even after the pandemic is long gone.

You have no right to demand, through government force, that other people shoulder the burden of risk so you do not have to be quite so vigilant and responsible for your own wellbeing. That is what is being done by people who cheer the closure of private businesses, most of which are the source of zero COVID cases. Such people have no skin in the game.

The focus on COVID risk, at the exclusion of all else, will be far more detrimental to our city, county, state, country and the world than COVID ever could be because the impacts will be generational.

It is time we stop focusing on only one set of numbers — the number of positive cases reported daily — and take a look at the big picture.

Here are some real numbers the news media regularly fails to report:

• Our food bank is serving 400 percent more people than last year; that is 23 percent of our city. This is a direct result of financial uncertainty due to the government restrictions.

• Calls to the county suicide hotline have increased 64 percent over last year. Seventy-five percent of students surveyed at Winters High School report feelings that indicate elevated risk of suicide. In April, an East Bay hospital had seen more suicide attempts in its ER in six weeks than they usually see in a full year.

• Dementia patient deaths are up 20 percent due to being sequestered in their homes or rooms.

• CDC says 40 percent of adults are cancelling or postponing regular medical screenings which alone could result in 10,000 preventable deaths.

• Seventeen percent of restaurants have permanently closed this year with another 10,000 projected in the next three weeks. By September, 100,000 small businesses were out of business. How many adults and children are facing food insecurity from this?

Now, lets look directly at Winters.

Even if we maintain every downtown business, we are facing an enormous reduction in City revenues. Earlier this year, there was a heated debate about how to allocate a $5.5M budget. What might that discussion look like over a $4.5M budget? How many City services will be on the chopping block.

Those who push shopping local as a solution have their hearts in the right place, but this will not sustain our neighbors’ businesses or save Winters. We do not have the population nor the disposable income to sustain our local businesses.

Let’s be clear. Businesses, like restaurants operating with safety in mind, are not contributing to the COVID case count. Forced closure of them will force people into other kinds of private gatherings, which are pushing the numbers higher.

We must return to individual accountability for our own health and reopen those businesses operating safely. Doing so will provide safe outlets for the needed mental health reprieve from lockdowns. If you are at risk, stay home. If you cannot or are unwilling to stay home, take individual precautions that are appropriate for your health situation and respect the same of the people you are around.

C.S. Lewis said, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

No one is responsible for your own health but you.

Read that again, say it out loud, then go live it.

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