Gov. Gavin Newsom has denied a public records request, keeping coronavirus data hidden, despite promises of transparency.
On May 28, the Center for American Liberty (CAL) filed a public records request to the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency seeking the science and data that Newsom used to drive lockdown decisions from Oct. 1, 2019 until that day. CAL executive director Mark Trammell said the state had pointed the CAL back to the state website, and withheld other data under a “deliberative process” exception, used to exempt the state from its duty to release public records [Yahoo News].
On Friday, the Associated Press published a bombshell story alleging that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration had been keeping secret the data calculations by which it has justified one of the country’s longest and most stringent lockdowns. State health officials have said releasing the data would confuse the public. County officials weren’t aware of the data being used, according to San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert. “At the moment the projections are not being shared publicly,” Department of Public Health spokeswoman Ali Bay said in an email to The AP.
State officials did not describe their reasoning other than to say it was based on a projection for ICU capacity. They said they’d relied on a complex formula to determine that while Sacramento’s ICU capacity was only at 9 percent, they projected it would climb above 15% within four weeks. CHHS spokeswoman Kate Folmar said projected ICU capacity is based on multiple variables, including available beds and staffing. “These fluid, on-the-ground conditions cannot be boiled down to a single data point — and to do so would mislead and create greater uncertainty for Californians,” she said in a statement [Deadline].
Under Newsom’s lockdown order, indoor religious services are strictly forbidden. Trammell said they had, for example, requested data explaining why such services were forbidden while other retailers remained open. “If it’s safe enough to go to a marijuana dispensary or Macy’s or Costco that same standard should apply to parishioners in our congregation they should be able to sep in pews and wear a mask,” Trammell told Fox News. “The idea that just because one works for a state agency makes one more qualified or more intelligent to understand data or scientific research, it’s just delusional. If the science is so compelling to justify what the state has done, the governor should be enthusiastically looking to share this research with as many people as he can” [FOX].
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE SACRAMENTO BEE