San Francisco Bay Area Doctors Petition to End COVID-19 Restrictions

By Ilene Eng
Ilene Eng
Ilene Eng
Reporter
Ilene is a reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area covering Northern California news.
January 25, 2022 Updated: January 31, 2022

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—In an open letter and petition to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials, a group of Bay Area doctors called for an end to COVID-19 restrictions, saying that the strict policies are harming professional and personal lives and that children also need normalcy in schools again.

The doctors called on officials to “acknowledge the endemic nature of COVID-19 after the Omicron surge and immediately shift our public dialogue toward defining a path for removing all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in public schools.”

The Children’s Health Defense–California Chapter voiced its support for ending COVID-19 restrictions as well. Alix Mayer, the chapter’s board president, told NTD Television that it has been tracking the psychological and medical health effects on children during the lockdowns and restrictions.

“A month ago we got a call that a fourth grader had died of a heart attack. And then five minutes later, I got a text saying that a 14-year-old had died while they were sledding in Minnesota from masking and having had a shot recently, and these calls come in all day long,” Mayer said.

The open letter was signed by Jeanne Noble, director of COVID-19 response for the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF) Parnassus Emergency Department; Jennifer Nguyen, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland; Vinay Prasad, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF; Jarrett Moyer, a surgeon at UCSF; and Laura Chinnavaso, a registered nurse with the Alameda County Disaster Relief, COVID-19 Response.

The doctors wrote in the letter that the policies are negatively affecting professional and personal lives “without clear benefit nor any end in sight.”

“Present policies have driven thousands of people from this state and from our public schools, and we will continue to lose many great minds, great businesses, great families and great individuals if current policy is not righted,” the letter reads.

“We have very low rates of COVID in California, very low rates of hospitalization, a very high vaccination rate, and so at some point you just have to say, is this working or is it not working?” Mayer said.

Among the 17 things that the doctors are asking state officials to do are to acknowledge that most people are vaccinated, that there’s an educational crisis, and that children and teens are suffering from an ongoing mental health crisis due to isolation. They’re asking the officials to make masks optional indoors starting on Feb. 24 and to use “cost-benefit analysis for all COVID restrictive policies to ensure that benefit always outweighs harm.”

Earlier this month, Newsom said it was critical to keep reopening schools a top priority.

The petition on Change.org has more than 11,000 signatures as of Jan. 25.

Ilene Eng
Reporter
Ilene is a reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area covering Northern California news.