March 10, 2020 Health Officer Statement
The bulk of what I want to tell you is in my slightly modified March 5 statement below. Please re-read it slowly and carefully and consider your next actions. Over the last long weeks, I have been faced with unanswerable dilemmas and conundrums daily. I have been asked to make significant policy decisions with very little information on which to base them. I have 35 years of experience as a physician, and almost 30 years of experience in local public health, more local public health experience than almost anyone in our state. If I am filled with uncertainty, I can only imagine how the general public must be feeling. People want very specific answers to their questions, and they deserve them. But in many cases, there are not satisfactory answers to give them.
I now have evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in San Mateo County. Under these circumstances, the actions advised in my March 5th statement below become that much more critical. The only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the light of having community transmission is to have everything in our society grind to a halt for an extended period of time, as you have seen done in other countries. All actions have consequences. At this moment, given what I know, I believe grinding everything to a halt would cause us more harm than good. If my opinion on this changes, I will update this statement. Again, the bulk of what I want to tell you is in my March 5 statement below. Please re-read it slowly and carefully and consider your next actions. And please remember, we are all in this together. Showing each other extra measures of kindness will go a long way.
Scott Morrow, MD, MPH
San Mateo County Health Officer
March 10, 2020