Contra Costa supervisors declare COVID misinformation a public health crisis

The new Contra Costa County administration building is located in Martinez across the street from the 66-year-old facility it replaces. (Photo by Sam Richards/Bay City News Foundation)

In a unanimous vote, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday officially declared misinformation concerning COVID-19 a public health crisis in itself.

The resolution says there’s been more than 95,000 cases of COVID-19 countywide and 921 deaths as of Sept 25, 2021.

It also points out vaccine “misinformation has caused confusion and led to eligible people declining COVID-19 vaccines, rejecting health measures such as face coverings and physical distancing, and using unproven treatments.”

The U.S. Surgeon General, on July 15, issued an advisory describing the “urgent threat” posed by the risk of false information about COVID-19 putting lives at risk and prolonging the pandemic.

“We need to do more than simply let that misinformation stand,” Sup. John Gioia said in comments during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday before vote was held.

“You are welcome to continue saying what you wish to say. What we are saying by this resolution is that [misinformation] is incorrect,” Sup. Karen Mitchoff said, addressing constituents. “It is incumbent on us to call it out.”

“We have an obligation to make good decisions,” Sup. Federal Glover said.

The declaration will commit the board to combatting misinformation and developing and supporting policies to promote evidence-based interventions, including vaccines and using face masks. The board will also discourage misinformation and give a platform to “culturally relevant medical experts and trusted messengers.”

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