Is Gov. Newsom Avoiding Science-Based Pandemic Policies?

Californians may be unaware that the state employs more than 4,000 scientists in agencies such as the Department of Public Health, CalEPA, Dept. of Natural Resources, and many more. As Katy Grimes of the California Globe reports, these scientists are complaining that Gov. Gavin Newsom has not consulted with them during the coronavirus lockdown.

Members of the California Association of Professional Scientists spoke with the Globe on condition of anonymity. “We are toxicologists, epidemiologists, and trained problem solvers. But we haven’t been engaged,” they said. In the early going of the pandemic, they offered to work with the governor but got no answer.

The scientists charge that, by avoiding them, Gov. Newsom is undermining public confidence in science. “Sound science would not have produced the outcome today in California,” they claim, “or [would have] at least effectively communicated with the public, what exactly was needed.” When they tried to protest, “everyone was told to stay in their own lane.” If any formal grievances arose, they were not mentioned in the article.

The anonymous scientists, who also claim they are underpaid, did not outline the science that would have produced a different outcome than current conditions in California. They provided no data on the true mortality rate of COVID-19, the recovery rate, or the seasonality of the coronavirus. They might have enhanced their claims with scientific analysis of the state guidelines for private gatherings that have prompted so many complaints. An epidemiologist or toxicologist who wants to be taken seriously should have something to say on that front.

On the other hand, many Californians might agree that Gov. Newsom’s zeal to issue public health edicts surpasses the need to detail the science behind his restrictions. Californians have also noted that the governor proceeded to violate the state guidelines with a bash at the upscale French Laundry in Napa County. Gov. Newsom has not detailed how many cases resulted from that violation of the rules.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.
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