I have read the interview with Dr. Matyas in the Vallejo Times-Herald. He has not presented evidence-based studies to back up his stance on not masking in indoor public places.
Solano County has the highest rate of COVID of all Bay Area counties. All other counties have mandated indoor masking. Some counties have seen their rate of COVID decrease.
Evidence-based medicine is the standard for decision-making. A lengthy evidence review of face mask use during COVID-19 in the proceedings of the United States National Academy of Science on Jan. 26 concludes: “Near universal adoption of non-medical masks when out in public in combination with complementary public health measures could reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
I agree that we can not control COVID-19, but only mitigate it, We have learned to accept multiple mandates that only mitigate against death or significant injury: Seat belts, helmets for motorcycles and bicycles in children, and many more.
Masks have been documented by history to mitigate pandemics, like the 1910 Manchurian Plague.
The Solano County Department of Health is responsible to protect our citizens. People often ask for second opinions for grave illnesses. I ask that the Solano County Board of Supervisors asks for a second opinion on a mask mandate from the infectious disease heads of Kaiser and Sutter in Solano County and also consultation with either UC Davis or UC San Francisco.
The most important question asked the evening that Dr. Matyas, Solano County Public Health Officer, testified at the Benicia City Council was: “Where does the COVID virus come from that is spreading in all the homes and family gatherings, and parties?” The reason this question is critical is because Dr. Matyas claimed he was a scientist and not a politician, and that the “evidence” was clear COVID was surging in Solano County because of family gatherings and parties. And therefore, “masking up where the public gathered” such as in-door restaurants was not necessary.
This question — “Where does the virus come from that is spread at family gatherings? — is key to understanding that outside of spontaneous virus eruptions at family gatherings, the virus is caught someplace. The suggestion that it is just circulating among family and friends independent of exposure in stores or gyms is not scientific and lacks credibility.
Why then do we as a county not have masking requirements? At that same Benicia meeting and a subsequent press interview, Dr. Matyas explained that Benicia and Vallejo are more “Bay Area-like” and up county is more “Central Valley-like.” He went on to say this meant progressive against conservative ideological bases. And that is a reason he does not recommend the Solano County Board of Supervisors require masking.
Is this “let them get infected” rather than adopt the best strategy proven which is vaccinations, masking and avoiding long-term contact indoors? Does this mean that “fake COVID” cry scares officials? I’ve seen the meetings where the supervisors have endured anger and vitriol. In my experience, the way to deal with bullies is to do the right thing. The right thing is to reduce the spread of COVID by adopting proven strategies.
I like Dr. Matyas and understand his stated struggle communicating. That is his problem. Our problem is that we don’t have the best public health policies. That is the supervisors’ duty.
Over 2,000 new COVID-19 infections in the last couple weeks — primarily due to people going to parties, playing beer pong, and sharing cigarettes? So the infection and subsequent COVID death of the individual in the care facility was the result of their participation in summer parties and frat games? How about all the recent infections among the under 18 age group?
From the onset of the pandemic, the county public health department — specifically Bela Matyas — has been feeding the community misinformation. It began with his assurance to parents that kids were basically immune, continued with his social media video stating that masks weren’t necessary and the virus wouldn’t spread in confined spaces as long as you had a partition to protect you, and now, once again, he is making comments that are misleading and contradicting himself constantly in his public statements.
Until very recently he was still informing the public that COVID was primarily transmitted through droplets expelled by an infected person who coughed or sneezed or by someone touching a surface on which these droplets had settled and then touching their face and so forth. This despite the fact that in recent months the CDC and every other major medical association in the United States and the world had changed their assessment of the modes of transmission (based on lengthy, verifiable medical studies and research) to infections primarily occurring through microparticles which stay suspended in the air when people breath, talk, etc., as well as large droplets expelled when coughing and so forth. These studies are what fueled the initial spring and summer mask advisories made by the CDC. These are the “new information” which Dr. Matyas refuses to acknowledge as it validates the obvious need for indoor masking and contradicts his advisements to the public.
All of this absurdity is laughable from a distance, but for many of us living in Solano County, it’s a nightmare. When is the Solano County Board of Supervisors going to step in and do something? Do they or does anyone for that matter truly believe that every other medical professional, public health department, and health agency in the state is wrong and ours is right?
Solano County has been consistently the last in the state to be proactive and as a result, people have and are dying. We will get shut down again if basic precautions continue to go unheeded or enforced. When will the county administration stop being complicit?
Check out the growing number of letters sent in to our local print newspaper, the Benicia Herald: strong calls for racial justice, offers of praise where deserved, decrying of local incidents of racism, and opposition to racial bias and expressions of white supremacy.
Below is today’s listing of collected letters. Check back regularly for new letters at the BenIndy Anti-Racism Letters page.
ANTI-RACISM LETTERS IN THE BENICIA HERALD
Benicia is definitely NOT the happy little totally progressive, inclusive community many of us have long thought it was. Racism is real in Benicia. See the following letters which appeared in the print edition of the Benicia Herald, and a few from the Vallejo Times-Herald. (And check out Benicia Black Lives Matter: Our Voices, also published here and in the Benicia Herald.)
Two Peas in a Pod – Raley’s incident, Sheriff investigation 2 peas in a pod. Be an ally, don’t blame BLM or City hiring of Equity Mgr.
Contact the Benicia Herald – write your own letter!
To add your voice, write to Benicia Herald editor Galen Kusic at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that the Benicia Herald’s online edition is not currently being maintained. To subscribe to the print edition, email email@example.com or phone 707-745-6838. Main phone line is 707-745-0733; fax is 707-745-8583. Mail or stop by in person at 820 First St., Benicia, 94510. (Not sure of days and hours.)