Focus on those most vulnerable to the coronavirus rather than shut everything down, says a San Carlos resident who sees government restrictions as too broad and unconstitutional.
“The panic is coming from one place — the politicians,” Tom Ricks said. “Unfortunately it’s been exacerbated by the media.”
People older than 70 who have respiratory distress, diabetes or heart conditions represent the at-risk population, Ricks said.
“We know who it is we need to safeguard and protect,” he said.
The shutdown makes it harder to help them, the retired CPA said.
“We’re taking a meat ax,” Ricks said, “rather than a scalpel.”
He questioned the stay-at-home order by San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow, an appointed bureaucrat whose directives haven’t been subject to judicial review, Ricks said.
“I don’t ever remember voting for him,” Ricks said.
“He does have the authority under the law,” Ricks said. “I question that authority vested in an appointed official.”
Carla Schoof, San Mateo County spokeswoman, said Morrow is a health expert who focuses on the well being of the community.
Morrow’s stay-at-home order is in line with surrounding jurisdictions, the rest of California and the country, Schoof said.
“It’s not just San Mateo County,” she said. “It’s the entire nation.”
“The goal is to stop the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “There’s a lot of data that says this is the best way to do that.”
Health officers are legal authorities in their jurisdictions with broad powers to manage public health, especially during emergencies, Schoof said. The Board of Supervisors appoints the health officer in San Mateo County.
Ricks said that public health officials, thrust into the media spotlight, are reluctant to let it go. A measured response probably doesn’t get noticed, said Ricks.
Registered to vote as a Libertarian, he understands few others voice the views he has.
“I may be the lone voice in the forest,” Ricks said.
“I’m probably a minority,” he said, adding “I am a minority.”
His outlook is partly generational, Ricks said, because older Americans are less prone to agree to government directives and more likely to challenge them.
“Our generation used to do that,” he said. “We used to question a heck of a lot.”
Measures including the stay-at-home orders take place in a liberal region that believes more government is better government, he said.
Ricks said government, under the guise of trying to protect us, in fact inhibits us.
“I am a great believer in the rights of the individual,” said Ricks.
He quoted an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson stating that, “If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.”