Opinion: Common Sense


Re-Opening Laguna

By Jennifer Welsh Zeiter

President Donald Trump’s guidelines for opening up America are worth reading, containing very useful information, and calls for re-opening America on a statewide, or county-by-county basis, at the governor’s discretion. We should start with phase one of re-opening Laguna Beach by May 1.

As of Thursday, Laguna had 36 residents with confirmed cases of COVID-19 (0.16% of the city’s population), no deaths. Per Dr. Gregg DeNicola of Caduceus, last week his clinics treated only one positive case, down from the two to three per week before that, and all of his 20 patients are recovering, without hospitalization. Laguna appears on a downward trajectory of symptoms, documented cases and positive test results. Orange County hospitals are nowhere near capacity and can treat patients without crisis care. Sufficient testing capabilities are available for those with symptoms.  Data coming out of recent random antibody blood test studies in Santa Clara County (Stanford study) and LA county (USC study) are showing that the amount of people who have been exposed to or have had CVOID-19 is actually 55 – 80 times higher than the reported numbers, which means that the actual fatality rate from C-19 is more like 0.1 %, not 3 to 4%.

Let’s continue social distancing, and practice hygiene and sanitation now normalized as part of our daily behaviors. Elderly or immune-compromised, or pre-existing condition high risk should continue to minimize outside physical contact. But the rest of us should be getting back to work, slowly phasing back into business and economic re-opening. Not all at once, but headed in that direction.

I disagree with Mayor Bob Whalen’s letter to the Board of Supervisors this week asking for closure of the county’s remaining beaches and trails, and disagree with the continued closure of our beaches, parks and trails. The 37 Laguna residents with positive cases are more likely to have resulted from the infected people traveling outside of Laguna, not people coming into Laguna.  Start slow, keep parking lots closed for social distancing help, but open the beaches, parks, tennis courts and trails. As local Dr. William Anderson recently penned, opening the beaches and parks is important to our mental and physical health. The sun’s Vitamin D is good for all. Let’s not let NIMBYism take on a whole new meaning. Signage can be installed to notice requirements for social distancing, enforced by citations if needed. Use those ugly digital signs at city’s entrances to message blast visitors that social distancing will be enforced and cited. Locals already know. If residents don’t feel safe, stay home and practice your own social distancing. Borrowing a quote from Candace Owens, “my freedom doesn’t end where your fear begins.” 

I listened to Tuesday’s City Council which voted unanimously to open the Farmers’ Market. Is the Council picking shutdown winners and losers? I like the Market. But, it’s a public forum, mostly non-Laguna vendors bringing in non-local shoppers, drifting from stall to stall, selecting produce, in close quarters, handling merchandise and exchanging currency. Is it essential? No, we’ve done without it a month. Vendors agreed to take extra hygiene and distancing precautions, but so would other businesses if allowed to re-open. What standards justify the Market re-opening and not other local businesses?  Why not dry cleaners, retail stores, copy shops, others, or City Hall? Shouldn’t Laguna allow many more businesses that agree to adopt enhanced hygiene/distancing precautions to open too?

Let’s start phasing back in Laguna’s re-opening by May 1. Put precautions in place, but let’s move forward before more lives are destroyed, not by COVID-19, but by fear.

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  1. Jennifer, well said! But are we allowed to actually do anything “LOGICAL” anymore, like use common sense and accountability, even more, do we have the freedom to make up our own minds. Last year 80,000 died from the flu, not a word about it. Now while the country is at the top of it’s game economically and a coming election it is so interesting that with the current known numbers and media hype of fear has given an opportunity to further isolate and divide our country and lead us into a chaos chaser. Thank you for some common sense!
    ** AS of 4/26/2020 We have more than 3 million people in the O.C. Less than 2000 people have the virus and 38 deaths…less than last year by far…Open the beach and trails, get business back to work, we have been sequestered for 5 weeks.

  2. Thank you Jennifer for exposing the arbitrary opening of the Farmer’s Market while our Laguna businesses are left closed. While I am all for the Farmer’s Market, and this isn’t against them, I see a very blatant double standard that hurts our locals. I’m sure the justification is that they are a food supply and therefore exempt under the stay at home order but we need to get people working again safely. As you said, if they can use social distancing and proper hygiene (masks, gloves, disinfectant) to make their business work why not some of the others in town? I bought doughnuts to help support the So Lag donut shop and one person was inside buying donuts while two of us stood outside more than 6 ft. apart. Why couldn’t we do this with a dry cleaner, shoemaker etc? I just fear so much for our local merchants who are not making money right now and may have to close forever.

  3. I’m not trying to hide behind my initials (WJR III) and in consideration of this most recent event I completely agree full name disclosure is important. I have a pretty good idea who hacked your name MJ and we will get to the bottom of it. Some people have serious issues!

  4. Thank you Jennifer. I agree with your message: “We should start with phase one of re-opening Laguna Beach by May 1. Let’s continue social distancing, and practice hygiene and sanitation now normalized as part of our daily behaviors. Elderly or immune-compromised, or pre-existing condition high risk should continue to minimize outside physical contact. But the rest of us should be getting back to work, slowly phasing back into business and economic re-opening. Not all at once, but headed in that direction.”

    I have faith in the residents of LB to cooperate responsibly during this crisis. And, I want our City Manager and staff to enforce proper precautionary measures at city hall, in all resident interactions and especially with our tourists to keep us as all as safe as possible. We all must take responsibility to re-open and re-energize our town asap.

    Mary Jo (MJ) Abraham
    SL Resident
    Founder: lagunabeachchat.com

  5. Lets get down to brass tacks. Zeiter, Rathbun, Monda, and Rousseau are all fawning followers of Donald Trump. Their paramount concern, their raison d’être is to get Trump reelected. Instead of coming right out and telling us that, they resort to subterfuge.

    Zeiter tells us that, “Data …are showing…people who have been exposed to CVOID-19 is (sic) actually 55-80 times higher…than reported…which means the actual fatality rate from C-19 is more like 0.1 %, not 3 or 4%.”

    What Zeiter is not telling you, according to the New York Times in an article titled “U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll is Far Higher Than Reported, C.D.C. Data Suggests” (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/28/us/coronavirus-death-toll-total.html). A comparative analysis of deaths over the last 5 years shows the number of deaths from March 8 to April 11, 2020 range from 325% above normal in New York City to 116% above normal in Colorado. The total number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the United States may actual be 50% higher (about 90,000 instead of 60,000) than being reported.

    Zeiter is also not telling you that more people have been diagnosed and died from Covid-19 in the United States than any other country on the planet. The total number of Corvid-19 cases world wide is 3,282,349. The total number of cases in the U.S. is 1,080,210 or 32.9 % of the entire world totals. Total U.S. deaths now number officially 62,675 or 27% out of a total number of 232,182 cases world wide.

    So Zeiter et.al are playing down the actual numbers. We know they want Trump reelected. So is it worth it to gamble on killing many more people by putting people back to work so the unemployment numbers go down, corporate profits go up, and the stock market surges by the fourth quarter next October, NOVEMBER, and December?


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