Letter to the Editor: The Negative Impact of COVID Deniers

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It was a year ago this spring and summer that some of our local leaders in Orange County, particularly in the beach cities and on the Board of Supervisors, brought attention to themselves as COVID deniers and resisters to medical science and state emergency mandates.

In the last two months our major metropolitan newspaper has run three articles on the negative impact that this resistance had on our county.

I will never forget the frustration and fear of those of us who tried to appeal to these leaders to protect their citizens by listening to national and state medical leaders and by following COVID protocol. Thus this validation by a major newspaper of the actions of some of our leaders helps confirm our perspective that they were indeed extreme in nature.

In one of the articles, the author described the extent to which this negative local action gave way to the following: “Orange County came to be seen as a hotbed of resistance to medical science and emergency health mandates. Some local leaders resisted a state order to close beaches. Orange County’s chief health officer quit after receiving death threats and little backing from a timorous Board of Supervisors.”

A third article in the same newspaper that came out on July 1 which deals with the indictment of two Orange County extremists in connection with the insurrection at the Capitol along with some other fellow Californians, also describes Orange County as “a hotbed of extremist activity.”

The year before the Capitol insurrection was characterized by “right-wing protests which spiraled into increasingly violent language against ever-larger foes. It began with protests and outlandish conspiracy theories about COVID -19 restrictions…and rallies to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom and support Trump.”

One of the community leaders from a local university contends that robust debate is healthy. He figures that the small group of resisters and deniers protesting at the beaches, particularly Huntington Beach should not influence elected officials or have been taken as “reflecting the broad sentiment of county residents.”

The conclusion that most voters consider themselves “closer to the middle than the  far reaches of either party” brings us some hope for the future.

Recently it seems that the County has calmed down from the robust resistance that was displayed by some residents as well as several local leaders a year ago.

I would like to think that the silent majority will not forget the vociferous resistance or mere inaction of some of those leaders who threatened our safety and that the memory of the painful experience of the pandemic will be reflected in our voting habits in the future.

Lynn Lorenz / Newport Beach

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