Guest opinion by County Supervisor Sue Frost–
With the rise in COVID cases across the world as a result of the omicron variant, local jurisdictions are struggling with how to properly react. Some areas like Sonoma County have now issued “shelter in place” orders, which means residents can only go to places for essential reasons, such as the grocery store or doctor’s office.
Any action Sacramento County takes will directly impact Citrus Heights – I strongly believe Sacramento County should not go down this path, and should do everything possible to avoid further shutdowns like the previous failed attempts.
The current rise of COVID is somewhat misleading, as the only thing the media wants to currently report on is the number of COVID cases. And while the omicron variant is extremely contagious, studies have shown that symptoms are less severe than other variants.
The whole reason that the shutdowns happened originally were because deaths were on the rise and hospitals were being overrun, and in Sacramento County neither of these two things are happening. Thankfully, COVID related deaths have remained low, and our hospitals have not exceeded capacity.
Also on The Sentinel: Frost criticizes attempt to fine businesses over COVID-19 compliance
Shutdowns do not come free, and should be avoided due to the devastating impacts they have on society. The Well Being Trust, a nonprofit working to de-stigmatize mental health issues, released a study estimating thousands of additional deaths occurred in 2020 and 2021 that were classified as “deaths of despair” – which includes suicides and overdoses. And in California, nearly one in three restaurants permanently closed as a result of the most recent shutdown.
Nowhere are these negative shutdown impacts more evident than how they have impacted children. The United Nations Children’s Fund released a report that showed the current generation of students will lose $17 trillion in lifetime earnings as a result of the learning losses suffered during the global shutdowns.
The United States Department of Education also released a report that showed the pandemic has negatively affected academic growth, has deepened the impact of disparities in access and opportunity, and heightened the risk of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence.
Politicians, the media, and government agents have stoked fears to the highest level, and we cannot blame the public for being afraid. But we must fight to keep our businesses, communities and schools open – while also needing to recognize the importance of respectful debate and compassion.
Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost formerly served as a Citrus Heights councilwoman and currently represents District 4, which includes Citrus Heights. She can be contacted at (916) 874-5491, or SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.
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