In a radio interview last week, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond pushed back against Governor Newsom’s stay at home order by pointing out many of the official coronavirus “deaths” were with people with other health conditions.
“We’ve unfortunately had six pure, solely coronavirus deaths — six out of 3.3 million people,” Desmond argued. “I mean, what number are we trying to get to with those odds? I mean, it’s incredible. We want to be safe, and we can do it, but unfortunately, it’s more about control than getting the economy going again and keeping people safe.”
Desmond went further in a recent YouTube video saying that the state is “holding our jobs and the economy hostage.”
Demond posted on his YouTube channel a video of his appearance on Fox News with Laura Ingraham, adding “We need facts in order to make decisions. San Diegans and the American people deserve to know the entire story, even the facts don’t fit the narrative that others want to covey.”
San Diego Union Tribune reports County Supervisor Jim Desmond said last week on a conservative podcast critical of California’s stay-home orders that the San Diego region has only had “six pure, solely coronavirus deaths.”
The comment, which was made Tuesday on the show Armstrong & Getty Extra Large Interviews, suggested that all but six of the region’s roughly 190 deaths should be somewhat discounted because patients had underlying health conditions.
“We’ve unfortunately had six pure, solely coronavirus deaths — six out of 3.3 million people,” Desmond said on the show. “I mean, what number are we trying to get to with those odds. I mean, it’s incredible. We want to be safe, and we can do it, but unfortunately, it’s more about control than getting the economy going again and keeping people safe.”
Desmond also acknowledged the county’s official death toll during the podcast as well as in his regular video briefings.
When asked about the statement at the county’s daily press briefing Wednesday, Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten took issue with Desmond’s characterization concerning those with underlying health conditions who have died from COVID-19.
“Their life is no less valuable than someone’s life who does not have underlying medical conditions,” she said. “This is not just San Diego. This is how this is done throughout the entire nation in terms of identifying who has died of COVID-19.”
Following the news conference, Desmond said in an email: “Any loss of life, for any reason, is worth preventing.” He added: “Clearly, those with underlying circumstances are the most vulnerable. I believe we can keep people safe and responsibly open our businesses.”
Desmond’s comments about “pure” deaths echoed similar statements made in recent days by President Donald Trump, as well as other Republicans and Fox News pundits, questioning the accuracy of the official coronavirus death toll in the United States, now at roughly 84,000.
In contrast, the country’s top infection disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, has said that the death toll from COVID-19 is likely larger than what’s been officially recorded. He and other experts have warned that reopening the economy too quickly, especially before widespread testing is in place, could lead to a resurgence of the virus and a sharp increase in deaths.
One of San Diego region’s most conservative politicians and former mayor of San Marcos, Desmond has called for immediately reopening San Diego businesses, saying in a recent YouTube video that the state is “holding our jobs and the economy hostage.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom has started to slowly loosen restrictions on businesses in recent days, including for malls, office spaces, pet grooming businesses, car washes and outdoor museums. However, he’s also said that counties can only deviate from the state’s rules if they have had no COVID-19-related deaths for 14 days, among other metrics.