by Alan C. Miller
Open letter to Davis City Council
Dear City Council Members,
I am unclear why this testing program [Healthy Davis Together] is being rolled out to the entire population of the City of Davis, a City with a relatively low rate of Covid-19 infection. Even more to the point, why would Davis be encouraging every resident, even those with a very low chance of exposure, to be tested twice a week, which is a very frequent testing cycle and takes a lot of testing resources?
County statistics have shown that the concentrations of Covid-19 are much higher in the communities of Woodland and West Sacramento than in Davis. (Not sure about Winters.) In addition, we have been informed that the infection rate is much higher among lower-income and the Hispanic/Latino/Latinx community (sorry I don’t know the proper term for today so covering all bases).
Would it not make more sense to expand testing county-wide on a less-frequent basis, rather than have a relatively high-income, low-minority-population, low-Covid-19-infection-rate community like Davis tested twice a week? “Healthy Yolo Together” perhaps?
Additionally, since the disease can spread “exponentially”—probably the wrong use of the word, but essentially one person can spread it to multiple people without knowing they are sick—wouldn’t we actually catch more infected people in Yolo County, and save more lives, by spreading the testing throughout the county where rates are higher, and thus stop and quarantine more people and slow the spread? I would think it would be much more effective than testing a bunch of people without Covid-19 over and over again in Davis. And it’s not like people don’t travel from city to city even in lockdown, so it’s still good for Davis.
Also, I wonder about the optics of this. Here is a City often criticized for being unaffordable to many, having a low population of people-of-color, and otherwise “privileged” (not a term I’d use, but people do these days), testing their entire population frequently, while nearby, lower-income towns with higher minority populations in the same county suffer with much higher Covid-19 rates. I would think this would look bad for us. This was the first thought that struck me when I saw the “‘get tested’ ad” on YouTube for the first time yesterday.
I praise U.C. Davis for all they have done for their student population, and for extending this testing into the community. U.C. Davis has been stellar in keeping student infection rates low. But perhaps the definition of “community” needs to be expanded to “County,” rather than “City.” And if that means we in Davis get tested twice a month rather than twice a week, so be it.
Alan C. Miller is a Davis resident
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