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UCSF Doctors Say It’s Time to End ‘Mindless’ Covid Rules in Open Letter to Gov. Newsom
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

UCSF Doctors Say It’s Time to End ‘Mindless’ Covid Rules in Open Letter to Gov. Newsom

Four doctors, including the director of Covid response for UCSF Medical Center’s emergency department, are calling on state leaders to acknowledge the transition of Covid to an endemic disease and lift most masking policies for school-aged children.

The petition was first circulated Friday and currently has more than 9,500 signatures. It includes a strongly-worded open letter to Gov. Newsom and state public health and education leaders, and it notes that “restrictive policies …  have long lost their justification as necessary for prevention of serious illness and death.”

The letter focuses on the negative effect the state’s policies have on children and teens, particularly the mental health and developmental impacts caused by social isolation and masking. 

Covid-related hospitalizations in San Francisco have reached their highest point, although the 7-day average of new cases dropped from their peak earlier this month.  

Dr. Jeanne Noble, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCSF and director of Covid response for the UCSF Parnassus Emergency Department, told The Standard we are at an inflection point where public health officials should weigh how to respond once the current wave passes.

“We felt it was necessary to really put this forth as we saw the Omicron cases peak and now enter their descent,” said Noble, adding that hospitalizations have started to drop at UCSF. “Throughout this pandemic we’ve looked at our children primarily through the lens of disease control or as vectors of disease. Now, we would like to get kids first in line to enjoy the benefit of peeling back Covid restrictions.”

Other signatories of the letter include UCSF epidemiologist Dr. Vinay Prasad, UCSF surgeon and bioengineer Dr. Jarrett Moyer and Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

The California Public Health Department said in a statement responding to the letter that “vaccinations, boosters and masking remain our most effective tools in the fight against Covid-19” and pointed to their role in keeping schools and businesses open.

However, the department added that “policies must continue to adapt as the situation with the virus changes” and said to expect updates to the state’s Covid policies once the Omicron surge subsides.

Noble drew a clear distinction between patients hospitalized “for” Covid versus those admitted “with” Covid. According to UCSF data, 31% of UCSF’s admitted adult Covid patients were there for unrelated medical issues. The proportion among pediatric patients was 40% 

Among the specific policies the petition calls for are immediately allowing school children to unmask while outdoors, making masking optional indoors at schools by Feb. 24 (12 weeks after the last public school child becomes eligible for vaccination) and immediately allowing preschool and daycare teachers and students to unmask.

The letter also calls for an end to “mindless” testing of asymptomatic individuals, which some health care professionals say leads to staffing shortages due to isolation requirements. 

With Covid widespread and endemic in the population, Noble said, society should be taking similar precautions to other common respiratory diseases like the flu.

“We don’t do massive testing for the flu and try to pick up every left asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic case and send that person home,” Noble said. “The argument for chasing down asymptomatic cases and blocking transmission is really to prevent serious illness and death. We really don’t care about preventing runny noses and sore throats. Covid is a mild, non-threatening disease for the majority of people.”

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Moving forward, the petition calls for state leaders to take a “cost-benefit approach for future Covid restrictions, without disproportionately prioritizing prevention of COVID-19 transmission above all other health considerations.” 

Future Covid protection policies, like regular boosters, should be targeted for those who are most vulnerable of dying or suffering serious illness from the virus. 

The petition was organized by Laura Chinnavaso, a registered nurse with Alameda County who fills in at nursing homes and hospitals facing staffing shortages. Chinnavaso said she was inspired to start the petition advocating for looser restrictions because of the impact she’s seen on her four school-age children.

“Everything I’ve done on this has been through the lens of a parent who watched this affect my children, like my 3-year-old who doesn’t remember a world before the virus or before masking,” Chinnavaso said.

Chinnavaso and Noble said they both understand the tendency to be cautious about the virus and recommend individuals speak to their own doctor to figure out what is best for them. 

“What we need is just the lifting of mandates. We don’t need to force people to take off their masks or socialize or do anything that they feel is out of their comfort zone,” Noble said. “But I think to begin the transition towards normality, we have to stop prohibiting normal social interactions. And then the rest will follow suit.”

Kevin Truong can be reached at [email protected].
  • When students are sitting in rooms filled with their peers, but they can’t see each other’s faces — affecting their ability to form friendships and have normal interactions; it’s a moral crime against these kids. And they are suffering emotionally because of it.
    ~ a mother to 3 boys who sees this toll first hand

    • But they can see their eyes, and can make out a smile. I have not seen the response you state in my grandchildren, but I agree with the premise of the article that with this variant and trend toward milder disease, in most cases, mask mandates aren’t warranted. However, don’t confuse vaccine mandates with mask mandates. Until immunity is high enough to prevent a more lethal, highly transmissible virus, vaccines are necessary. Finally, we need to learn from Covid how to deal rapidly with novel viruses in the future, and avoid dangerous and fatal polticization.

      • Anyone who actually agrees with forcing this vaccine on people, especially children, has completely lost their mind. It’s been proven that the vaccine literally protects YOU and you alone. Don’t you dare say others need to get it just so YOU feel safe. That’s pathetic.

      • You can mask for your life, if you feel seeing the eyes is enough. We DO NOT!
        Whoever post the message above, we love you.

      • “See it in their eyes”? Really? Just stop it with your fear-mongering. You are a demon. Stop it with your anti-science. We are sick of people
        Like you.

      • And dr death of course brings up trump. Dont you have a vacation to take somewhere. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a sick individual.
        You need help

    • Don’t forget who got us here. Democrats. It isn’t like this in other parts of the world. Kids in CA are being abused daily by democrats who are using fear to tile up votes while scapegoating children and the working poor. The forced masking of children based is politics, not science.

      • OMG! Enough with the politics. The Republicans refused the initial warnings and because of misinformation many thousands of people died who shouldn’t have because they were listening to fools.

      • Who got us here is Trump, etc., who told us the virus would be gone in 2 weeks and consistently denied science, when he knew better, just to keep the economy unfazed, and resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

        Your attempt to rewrite history is remarkable but not surprising, because no one wants blood on their hands, just the other’s.

  • Newsom and our state leaders are too busy mandating all the kids get jabbed with a vaccine that the drug company says does not work against variants like omicron.

    We need to stop pretending that Democrats in this state are representing Science or even attempting to use things like common sense or data in our arguments. Democrats just don’t seem to care what the science or data says. These mandates are about control and lobby based priorities that have nothing to do with Covid-19. The only thing CA DNC will listen too are votes, and the majority of CA voters are devout democrats who are scared sh*tless of Covid-19. They are seemingly very happy with abusing children and the working poor as long as the headlines in their news feed continue to reinforce their fearful worldview.

    • This is all very insulting to children who actually being abused. This is insulting to those children who now have diabetes because of covid complications (the childhood diabetes rate has doubled since the pandemic). This is insulting to those who have died from this very real and very serious disease. I work with kids and I promise you that most of them have no problems with wearing a mask even when running around and playing tag. Seems like a bunch of butthurt adults with no sympathy for immunocomprimised people have decided that they don’t care about others enough to do the minimum to help each other and themselves. There is no going back to “normal” because this is not a common cold, and far too many are acting selfishly and callously for us to get out of a cycle of new variants. USCF should be ashamed of this article.

      • I’m curious about the childhood diabetes rate you are referring to…type I or type II??? Type II could it be due to lack of exercise, poor food quality or choices? These are two things that affected children the most during shutdowns. Being locked up due to mandates and parents unable to provide quality food due to job loss or reduction or out of fear could be the reason we are seeing type II rates increase. Please explain.

      • The diabetes link has been debunked. The study didn’t control for weight. For more details on the study, see the writing of Brown economist Emily Oster. https://emilyoster.substack.com/p/diabetes-kids-and-covid. Children have more risk from RSV and the Flu. This IS the common cold for children! This debate is not about children anymore but about scared adults (who have access to vaccines, boosters, and N95 masks) projecting their fears onto children. It is time to take responsibility for yourself and leave the children alone.

      • Everything you say is fear based. All my kids had Covid and it was nothing more than a sniffle for them. Take vitamin D and C as preventative. The Adults quickly recovered with ivermectin. Experimental Vaccines for young children is scary – how many have been harmed by it? And do we know what it will do to them in 5, 10, 15 years down the road? Reproductive problems? Cancer? I can’t believe this is happening.

      • I work with children as well in the schools and I will tell you first hand it’s bringing on issues headaches are number one in the high school, acne which leads to them leaving school and being bullied or hating the way they look, bad breathe dry mouth and cavities. It’s insulting to downplay the feeling and issues arising from the children being masked. The world is starting to go back to normal so please worry about yourself and don’t speak for children you clearly know nothing about. If you’re immune compromised take care of yourself the best way you can. No one is saying you can’t wear your mask or get vaccinated but that’s not the answer for all. Clearly!

      • You are pathetic pushing anti-science. Nobody likes you. You are selfish and should be evaluated for some sort of severe mental deficiency. And you say covid causes diabetes? You should be in jail.

    • This is clear as night and day to me. I never voted republican and now I am set to vote red up and down the ballot as soon as I get the chance this November. I feel that’s the only way this covid insanity will end. I need to send some signal and I cannot endorse the democrats after what went down the last two years. We can keep jabbing, restricting and masking until the end of the world but the virus will keep coming through. What is this vawe 6 now? Anyone with eyes should be able to see that none of this masking business does anything. And guess what most people will be just fine with getting covid. Some unfortunately will not be fine and we should take special care of them but this blanked mandates are insanity.

    • To what science do you refer? None was presented in this article. It’s little more than a blurb about an opinion movement witching the ranks of the SF medical community, nothing more.

      People of all stripes need to work at being better able to discern evidence from opinion and facts from beliefs. There’s a frustrating lack of clarity around what is and isn’t advisable relative to COVID, the bulk of which is due directly to this unfortunately reality and the cynical exploitation of it.

      Bottom line: data required but not provided (here at least).

  • Please quit the blaming. It doesn’t help. It just makes us feel separated from each other by our egos. We need to care about each other and make the best decisions possible. There was a time for masks and extreme care and now maybe a relaxing of the cautions. We are all doing the best we can.

    • Thank you! That’s how I look it too. There was a time and now it’s a different time. Vaccine are available for those that want them. I have had 3 and because in on medicine s and I’m old-er. So I deal with it. At ease people. Hope we get beyond blaming. Just keeps you stuck in mad face.

  • This all sounds like great news to everybody especially our kids.

    I’d like to see at least half this much energy and resources devoted to something far more serious: pulling over and jailing the countless aggressive and speeding drivers I see throughout our bay area freeways on a daily basis.

    This is a far greater threat to the safety of society when someone selfishly and recklessly deploys a 3000 pound bullet through others.

    It’s pretty easy to get over a sore throat being permanentlyrics in wheelchair isn’t.

    Believe it or not you’re actually decreasing your chances of getting to wherever you’re so excited to get to buy driving in that fashion.

  • Finally an article highlighting someone actually using their head and making sence. We are literally destroying ourselves so that an insanely small fraction of the population is safe. If you are scared or scared of getting someone in your family sick how about you and them stay home and the rest of us go back to living normal lives.

  • There’s nothing wrong with being safe. Stop using children to scapegoat your own selfishness. Don’t give us this “my 3-year-old who doesn’t remember a world before the virus or before masking,” kids will learn to be safe, keep others safe and overall, learn respect for others. PEOPLE, KEEP WEARING YOUR MASKS.

    • How about you take responsibility for keeping yourself ‘safe’ by whatever means will make you feel that way and let those who don’t choose to live in the fear induced hellscape get on with their lives. You do You!!!

    • Kids are SAFE!! I’m sick of people who think masks and vaccines actually do something to prevent Covid. My whole family got it in Dec and my 9 year old son didn’t even have symptoms. He doesn’t need a mask or a vaccine. We know tons of people who also recently got Covid and only a couple older people had to seek treatment. Everyone else was fine in a week or so. The kids all had less than a cold. This is ridiculous now. Let’s get back to normal.

  • Here’s a little science for you… We now know that the Omicron virus spreads quicker but that it is less severe. And this virus, in all its forms thus far have always been statistically a higher than 95% chance that healthy people who get it, will get over it without problems. We also now know that just like with the normal flu, people who have co-morbidities like diabetes, obesity, or have issues with their Immune systems (including children who have these issues) will have a tougher time with it and yes some may even die – Again just like the flu- so the people who have these health problems should protect themselves. But mandating healthy people to get vaccines every time a virus shows up doesn’t stop the spread – it only helps the people who get them, have a less severe case. And the fact that we didn’t have a plan when hospitals became overwhelmed is utterly ridicules – our Governments have been practicing for how to deal with disasters including pandemics for many years now at great expense to taxpayers and do you mean to tell me they never thought that they should have a plan ready for that???Viruses are all around us, every day – there are thousands of them at any given time (scientifically proven fact) and if the whole world got the vaccine, the viruses would not disappear they just mutate- it’s what they do! We should be working on getting people to be more healthy – especially children, and working on actual cures for things like diabetes and autoimmune diseases. Our immune systems were built to fight – that’s what keeps it working – if you try and vaccinate away everything above a cold, you won’t have a strong immune system- Kind of like what happened when they were over prescribing antibiotics- Anyway, we have to stop the fear mongering and blaming each other – The politicians (through the media) both Democrats and Republicans thrive off of keeping us all fighting and divided because as long as we’re angry with each other, we stop paying attention to what the government and its agencies are doing (or not doing). For instance, if the CDC was really interested in getting “hesitant” people to get the vaccines, they could have just made public all of the safety and efficacy studies that were done on them but instead, they refused and when a freedom of information act was filed, they still refused to allow the public to see them and actually said in their answer to the court that they would need 75 years to get us those documents because they don’t have enough administrative help right now!!! WOW, I couldn’t believe it! Now they may or may not have something to hide… but if that’s true why would they refuse transparency to the public who they say they are trying to protect? It’s no wonder so many people don’t trust the CDC anymore – and frankly it’s their own fault! All you have to do is watch late night TV commercials about law firms suing over drugs or insecticides that were approved and deemed safe by the CDC and FDA but have now been found to have caused a great number of deaths and irreparable injuries. Look, I’m a fully vaccinated Democrat but there are some huge red- flags here, certainly enough to be hesitant!!! And to take peoples jobs away because they don’t trust that the vaccines are safe is horrific! Even if you don’t agree with them, Try and understand why people feel the way the do about things- don’t jump to conclusions and call people who feel comfortable getting vaccines sheep and people who don’t want to get vaccines selfish. Love each other, and we’ll get through this- But, A house decided against itself cannot stand! So stop fighting with your friends and neighbors!

  • Here’s a little science for you… We now know that the Omicron virus spreads quicker but that it is less severe. And this virus, in all its forms thus far have always been statistically a higher than 95% chance that healthy people who get it, will get over it without problems. We also now know that just like with the normal flu, people who have co-morbidities like diabetes, obesity, or have issues with their Immune systems (including children who have these issues) will have a tougher time with it and yes may even die – Again just like the flu- so the people who have these health problems should protect themselves. But mandating healthy people to get vaccines every time a virus shows up doesn’t stop the spread – it only helps the people who get them, possibly have a less severe case. And the fact that we didn’t have a plan when hospitals became overwhelmed is utterly ridicules – our Governments have been practicing for how to deal with disasters including pandemics for many years now at great expense to taxpayers and do you mean to tell me they never thought that they should have a plan ready for that???Viruses are all around us, every day – there are thousands of them at any given time (scientifically proven fact) and if the whole world got the vaccine, the viruses would not disappear they just mutate- it’s what they do! We should be working on getting people to be more healthy – especially children, and working on actual cures for things like diabetes and autoimmune diseases. our immune systems were built to fight – that’s what keeps it working – if you try and vaccinate away everything above a cold, you won’t have a strong immune system- Kind of like what happened when they were over prescribing antibiotics- Anyway, we have to stop the fear mongering and blaming each other – the politicians (through the media) both Democrats and Republicans thrive off of keeping us all fighting – because as long as we’re angry with each other, we stop paying attention to what the government and its agencies are doing (or not doing). For instance, if the CDC was really interested in getting hesitant people to get the vaccines, they could have just made public all of the safety and efficacy studies that they did- but instead they refused and when a freedom of information act was filed they still refused to allow the public to see them and actually said in their answer to the court that they would need 75 years to get us those documents because they don’t have enough administrative help right now!!! WOW, I couldn’t believe it! Now I’m kind of afraid that I may have made the wrong choice in getting vaccinated, but I had to, to keep my job.

  • The herpes simplex virus usually enters the body through a break in the skin around or inside the mouth. It is usually spread when a person touches a cold sore or touches infected fluid—such as from sharing eating utensils or razors, kissing an infected person, or touching that person’s saliva. A parent who has a cold sore often spreads the infection to his or her child in this way. Cold sores can also be spread to other areas of the body. Luckily there is a cure for herpes. You can purchase herbs from ( worldrehabilitateclinic. com )

  • Newsom publicly demonstrated that he was done with masks more than a year ago at the French Laundry (November 6, 2020) while dining without masks with MDs and political pharma leaders. The hypocrisy is astounding.

    I plan to follow the science of leaders like Elon Musk and get out of California as soon as possible. You wouldn’t believe it but there are many states in these United States that are still free of the California nanny state totalitarian draconian rulership we see here. And the taxes and hidden tax fees are so much lower too. Try not to beat me to the exit.

  • […]I appreciate the herpes simplex cure, You can contact him [[Robinsonbu ckler]] , His name is all over google____________I believe it will helps a lot people like me …………………….

  • We are over it! Even the cdc is starting to admit what we were saying 2 yrs ago. The pcr test is very inaccurate AND this shot doesnt work. Tons of jabbed ppl have gotten sick, and their symptoms weren’t less than those of unjabbed

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