County managers are not public health officers, but messaging from all government officials during this pandemic, which is by no means over as the resurgence in Oregon and Washington illustrate, needs to make public health and safety paramount.

“We will not move into the yellow tier next week or probably any time soon,” said San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy. “It’s just unfortunate.” [“County stuck in orange tier,” Daily Journal, Thursday, April 29].

It’s neither fortunate nor unfortunate but reflective of the health metrics described by Sierra Lopez in the article. Not only has San Mateo County not met the case incidence metric for advancing, but it is actually higher than when she last reported on it (“Yellow tier possible next month,” Daily Journal, April 21.)

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday that the city is on track to enter the yellow, or minimal risk tier.

“If current COVID-19 trends hold, city officials expect to hit the threshold Tuesday, when the state’s health department updates tier assignments,” reported Aiden Vaziri. He noted that Marin County also expects to move to the state’s least restrictive tier on Tuesday.

The state’s reopening framework, appropriately named the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, is working. It is one of the main reasons why California has the lowest case incidence in the nation.

San Mateo County is not stuck in the orange tier, as Callagy asserted. We’re in the moderate risk tier because the virus is still circulating among us.

Irvin Dawid


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(4) comments

Irvin D.

It's great to see yesterday's reporting indicate that there's a good chance that San Mateo County will move into the yellow tier next week if the case rate doesn't increase. So I guess the county is not "stuck" after all.

Terence Y

Mr. Dawid - increasing traffic and increasing numbers of people going out and living their lives would indicate that people may not pay attention to these arbitrary color-coded tiers. Maybe businesses care, at least the ones still standing, since their livelihoods may depend on the continued whims of the state, but most people may not. In a poll of random people, I’m betting most would not know which tier they’re in, or if they did, what it actually means.

Irvin D.

If the tier is so inconsequential as you say it is, why was last Thursday's article, "Stuck in the orange tier," on the front page? Say what you will about Callagy's messaging skills, he recognizes that the tier assignments have enormous consequences for our local merchants.

Terence Y

Irvin - I read the article but other than, “… will likely not see additional business restrictions…” there is no description on what business restrictions would be lifted. In the article, what follows is a discussion on the threshold to move to a different tier. Does the average person care about these arbitrary thresholds and tiers, or the numbers required to move between them? They’re more interested in knowing if a place is, or will be, open, and if not, they’ll find a place in another county, or just stay away, regardless of the tier. Business owners may be more invested and may wonder if this two new case limit tier is an upper limit or whether a 2.4 new case rate can be rounded down to 2. Significant digits and all.

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