Former Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson asks hard questions about Solano County health policies

Elizabeth Patterson: The real masking question

Vallejo Times-Herald Letters, September 2, 2021
Elizabeth Patterson, former Mayor of Benicia

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.

— Elizabeth Patterson/Former Benicia Mayor

See also: