A Q&A with San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine kicked off SSMC’s second virtual happy hour Thursday night, April 16. He addressed questions on the County’s public health and economic responses to COVID, and what it will take to get back to normal.
“Time has taken on a whole different pace during this COVID crisis. It feels like we’ve all been immersed in this for many years,” reflected Supervisor Pine. “I’m looking forward to a time when we’ll get back to normal and can get back to some of our core work on sustainability and climate change efforts but right now it’s all COVID-19.”
To slow the spread, “San Mateo County and 5 other Bay Area counties were the first in the nation to do the shelter in place and that was a move that saved thousands of lives,” noted Pine.
Now to address the profound economic consequences, the County has initiated several programs including establishing the $3 million San Mateo Strong Fund to provide public assistance to families, small businesses and nonprofits, and recruiting over 1,600 volunteers to help in the community.
The County is also concerned with vulnerable seniors in care facilities, homeless individuals, those who live paycheck to paycheck, and undocumented citizens.
Looking forward, County officials are figuring out how we operate until a vaccine is developed and we build so-called herd immunity.
As infections and hospital rates stabilize, Supervisor Pine believes we will see some relaxations in shelter-in-place rules but it will be a long and complex process. “It’s easier to shut everything down than to think about how to phase it back in,” said Pine. “The decisions [to relax the rules] will be driven by a combination of public health considerations, economic considerations, and equity considerations.”
If you’re feeling stressed by the shelter in place, you’re not alone. Supervisor Pine acknowledged that he’s concerned about how much the public can do and admitted that the past month has been hard even in his own home.