If you wondered just how long the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak was going to last, we’re sorry to say that we don’t have an answer for you.
No one does.
But that said, the pandemic is no doubt going to be prolonged by the actions of some local officials, and that includes those who run Los Angeles County.
While the rest of the country shuts down all but essential operations and self-isolates in an attempt to at least slow the spread of COVID-19 — and after California Gov. Gavin Newsom took the dramatic step of locking down the entire state of 40 million — L.A. County officials have given up trying to contain it.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the county’s Department of Public Health has instructed physicians to only test patients “if a positive result could change how they would be treated.”
The paper added:
The guidance, sent … to doctors on Thursday, was prompted by a crush of patients and shortage of tests, and could make it difficult to ever know precisely how many people in L.A. County contracted the virus.
This, after every Democrat-run enclave in the country, as well as most Democrats in states and in Washington, D.C., have been hammering the Trump administration for ‘coronavirus tests.’
The health department “is shifting from a strategy of case containment to slowing disease transmission and averting excess morbidity and mortality,” according to a letter sent to healthcare providers.
Doctors were advised only to test symptomatic patients when “a diagnostic result will change clinical management or inform public health response.”
How do you prepare a response when you don’t know how many are infected?
That said, the paper claims that the written guidance merely sets in stone “a reality” that has been ongoing: Namely, that a shortage of tests (for a virus no one knew about until just a few weeks ago) has meant that only symptomatic people were getting one anyway.
The paper noted that in addition to a shortage of tests, there are also a shortage of staffers at public health agencies around the country to track sources of new infections, which “drastically reduces the chances of isolating people who have been exposed” so the outbreak can be contained.
The guidance also instructs physicians not to test patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms but are healthy enough otherwise to simply be sent home to self-quarantine. But that means those patients also won’t show up in official tallies for the virus.
And frankly, that’s one of the complaints about Communist China, where the pandemic began: Officials fudging the numbers of people infected (and who were killed) by the virus.
L.A. County officials tried to downplay their effort to hide the official numbers by claiming that the Los Angeles Department of Health Services “is mobilizing all of its resources to fight the oncoming wave of COVID-19 cases expected in the coming weeks,” according to Dr. Christina Ghaly, the agency director, the Times reported.
“We are ramping up hospital capacity and taking extraordinary measures to increase supplies,” she added.
But if people with symptoms aren’t even being tested, how can officials logically plan for the ‘coming wave?’ They won’t really have an idea of how big the wave could be if they don’t identify the people who are sick — or are we missing something here?
While L.A. County officials think they’re doing the ‘practical thing’ by restricting testing, the fact that they said they’re not even focused on trying to contain the virus any longer is disturbing, not simply to Californians but to the rest of the country. There is no national travel restriction — yet — meaning Californians are free to move about the country.