A recent edition of the News Press presented “to date,” numbers on the pandemic that has closed everything for seven months. At this time, many things are still closed, and we are still fearful of the virus that we have been told about. But in seven months, we have learned much about this new disease.
Total cases in the county are 7,454. Total recoveries are 7,096 or a 95% recovery rate.
Of the 425,000 persons in Santa Barbara County, only 7,454 have had the virus, and that is only 1.75% of the total population. There have been 80 deaths or .02% of the population. From this published data, one can see that the COVID-19 has had a very small impact on the county.
One wonders why we have not opened up everything? Well, if we did, we are told that there would be more cases. If the cases doubled by doing this, the total effect would be 3.25% and .04% by extrapolation. These are still small numbers compared to the total population.
But in seven months, we have learned much about controlling the virus and helping those with the virus to recover. We have trained doctors and nurses and hospital wards devoted to the virus recovery and as many ventilators, as needed.
Studies show that children are not carriers of the virus as much as adults. And adults know how to protect themselves with masks, distance and cleaning. So why do we not step out and end the shutdown when we know the small effect?
We have to ask the county supervisors and their minions. All this is a tradeoff of diseases, but there are more side effects to the shutdowns that outweigh the small overall effect. These should be considered more importantly than continuously to shut it all down. Many other events happen that outweigh the overall effect of this virus. This is a medical issue not a political one. The risks are small, but when we open up, we will learn more and know how to solve this national problem.
As an 86-year-old senior, I am aware of the risks to seniors, and stay out of direct contact, but for the others, the numbers above show the reasonable route for the younger citizens.
Let’s end the lockdowns with these facts as guides. If we hesitate, and believe that COVID-19 will disappear, it may never happen, as we see with the flu virus that shows up every year and we have to take a new vaccine for the new strain.
More people have been affected by the flu virus than COVID-19 and more have died from it. So let’s not continue to refuse to act from fear but to act to end the pandemic.
The same situation exists for the state of California. The numbers are small relative to the state population and need to be used as our future guidelines in opening up the State at all levels.
Justin M. Ruhge
Lompoc scientist and engineer.
Editor’s note: The letter was submitted before the latest COVID-19 numbers for Santa Barbara County. You’ll find the latest numbers in Tuesday’s News-Press.