Too Much, Too Soon

Marshall Blesofsky

I just finished reading the Restart Long Beach Economic Recovery Advisory Group Report. The beginning of the report has some excellent suggestions, these include:

Testing must continue to ramp-up to a level where everyone in Long Beach can be tested, tracked and isolated if necessary.

While comprehensive testing does not need to be available on day one, the goal should be approximately 2,000 tests a day.

Testing must include the following:

Testing programs should use both tests to identify the virus itself and serological tests to identify the presence of antibodies to the virus.

Testing and tracking are the responsibility of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.

The second part of the report takes on a different tone.

The recommendations are:

Immediate opening of the beaches and parks except for Mother’s Beach and Alamitos Beach. Allowing outdoor recreation such as hiking, walking, swimming, golf, tennis, yoga and other similar activities enjoyed outdoors. Sports such as soccer and softball can only proceed with Health Department approval.

Opening in the first week in May, “car washes, floral shops, small shop apparel, sporting goods, electronics, small gyms, giftshops, hardware, jewelry, bookstores, libraries.”

As soon as two weeks later Restart Long Beach recommends opening “personal care (barbershops, hair salon, nail salons), estheticians, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, restaurants/coffee shops and like businesses.”

As a physician assistant and public health professional there are serious questions about this report. Are any of these testing requirements in place today? In order to make data-based scientific decisions, this testing and contact tracing must be in place.

According to the city’s own data, Long Beach is paralleling Los Angeles and in still peaking. The curve must be at least flat or on a downturn to reopen. Reopening without testing is a mistake and will lead to unnecessary suffering and deaths.

We all want the economy to open. Opening too soon will lead to a second peak and necessitate another shutdown. It will be a lot harder to reinstate a lockdown.

Mayor Garcia must be commended for writing “Long Beach is committed to following science and data in responding to this health care crisis…” He must – for the sake of his constituents – stay true to his word.

Guided by the Health Department the decisions must be driven by science and data, not politics and wishful thinking.



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