15 questions Sara Cody needs to answer ASAP
Santa Clara County is outraged with the unjustifiable, draconian COVID policies put in place by their Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody. I propose 15 questions that she needs to immediately answer
Here’s the video of yesterday’s Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting (Feb 8, 2022) regarding COVID-19 (3:36 through at 5:29):
The meeting featured public health officer Dr. Sara Cody.
Public testimony came from the Santa Clara firefighters and others in the community who are all outraged about the draconian measures instituted in Santa Clara County by Dr. Cody.
The short story is that Dr. Cody doesn’t cite a single piece of evidence justifying why Santa Clara County has to have more restrictive measures than the State. She assures everyone she is studying whether we can align with California’s guidelines but has no timeline for providing an answer.
At no time does she identify a single intervention she has instituted that she credits for the amazing mortality numbers she shows in her mortality chart (@3:45:13 and shown below) which is not normalized and thus misleading. But it fools some Supervisors who think she’s awesome.
It’s not clear that anything will change since the Supervisors only went as far as suggesting that she should look into aligning the County policies with the State policies to eliminate confusion. They can’t direct her to do anything. She doesn’t report to them.
This story is of special interest for those in Santa Clara County, but for those living in other areas, it helps to illustrate some of the techniques that your public health officials will use to keep you in a state of emergency. It ends by highlighting key questions your local government officials should be asking and probably aren’t.
Why this video is important
This video is important because:
Santa Clara County has some of the most draconian COVID restrictions in the County
Prior to the meeting all the Supervisors were blindly supporting whatever Sara Cody said, regardless of what the science says
By the end of the nearly 2 hour segment (Feb 8 2022 meeting: Agenda item #8 starting at 3:36 and ending at 5:29:45), it was clear that some of the Supervisors had realized that the public is very upset, but they are still not asking the right questions to get the policy change that is needed.
In short, having members of the public speak up at City Council and Board of Supervisors meetings helps, but to actually create change, at least one of the Supervisors needs to step up to the plate and have a 1:1 meeting with Dr. Cody and ask some of the hard questions that I outline at the end.
The public speaks for 45 minutes
Here is the video of the meeting, starting at 3:53 when the Supervisors stop talking and we hear from members of the public. Note that there was also a public comment section at the start of the meeting at 27:15 until 1:08:45.
The first public speaker (Collin Connors) was brilliant. He talked about the John Hopkins study showing the public interventions have virtually no effect on the pandemic, but had a huge negative effect on the public well being.
From the study:
“While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”
In short, this study, which was extremely well done, makes it crystal clear that Sara Cody caused enormous amounts of harm for no benefit. I know a highly qualified Stanford Professor that would love to debate Dr. Cody on this, but I guarantee that Dr. Cody will never accept such a debate.
None of the Supervisors mentioned this in their remarks. That’s stunning. This is one of the most important points made at the entire meeting.
The second public speaker (3:54:30) is firefighter Barry Arata who points out that the rates of COVID are virtually identical for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated firemen and police. He also points out that there isn’t a single documented case of anyone getting COVID from a first responder. He’s out of work now because of Dr. Cody’s mandate. There is no public benefit for this. Zero.
The point he makes is pretty simple: if Dr. Cody is worried about infecting the public, she should just order if you are symptomatic, you stay home, regardless of vaccination status. Period. This is because, as Dr. Fauci has pointed out, the main driver of spread is symptomatic people. See my article on asymptomatic spread for details.
The fourth speaker (Alex Bruni @ 3:58:52) points out that subjecting the unvaccinated to mandatory testing has led to skewed data. Multiple medical journals show equal chances of infection and he refers to the FOIA request that Barry Arata did showing this was true in Santa Clara County that vaccination made no difference in infection rates. SJPD had 229 positives, but only 28 were in those who were unvaccinated. The fire department had 160 positives. Only 13 were unvaccinated. The vaccinated only get tested if symptomatic, but the unvaccinated get tested twice a week regardless of symptoms. If the testing regimen was the same, we’d be seeing higher numbers among the vaccinated.
Dan Kearnan @ 4:01:03 asks the Supervisors to trust the people to do the right thing and stop the mandate.
Mike Rogers @ 4:03:12 points out the asymmetric testing skews the data collected which is why the data and conclusions in Santa Clara doesn’t match up with other areas. Says there are no exemptions for people who have been previously infected; this makes absolutely no sense.
Dr. Henry Arnold @ 4:05:17 says making vaccines available is OK, but mandating them in Santa Clara County is not. Case counts have dropped 75% in the last 3 weeks. Why are you continuing to trample people’s lives?
At 4:06:30, the President realizes there are too many speakers so just the first 15 speakers will get 2 minutes and the rest will only get 1 minute to speak.
Lydia (4:29:28) is a nurse who came out of medical leave to risk her life during the pandemic. She points out that because she’s had numerous religious exemptions granted in the past, her exemption for the COVID vaccine was not honored. That is ridiculous.
Fired Nurse (4:30:38) says most of the people she took care of for COVID were vaccinated. She risked her life at the start of the pandemic to save lives. Now the County is paying her back for that service by firing her because she wouldn’t take the vaccine.
Countyguy (4:32:36) commends Sara Cody for ruining thousands of lives. Worth a listen as he is saying things that I’m sure most people are thinking, but are too polite to verbalize.
The Board of Supervisors weighs in with their views
At 4:38:24, the Board President asks Dr. Cody where she stands on masking given the state is revising their policy.
Dr. Cody says they are looking at the data and have no decision to share at this point.
This of course is ridiculous since the masks don’t do a damn thing to reduce spread of the virus (according to science), so she’s ostensibly admitting she’s incompetent to interpret any data.
The Board President is equally clueless so he doesn’t question her on this. He asks her for a statement that he can disseminate explaining why Santa Clara County will not comply with the State’s order.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez @4:43:06 says that she believes Dr. Cody is making decisions rooted in her (Cody’s) best thinking. She apologizes to Dr. Cody that the public doesn’t support her (which proves she was actually listening to the public comments). She asks Dr. Cody why the County isn’t following the State guidelines (masking), as well as the orders affecting the first responders.
@4:45:12 Dr. Cody sidesteps the question and talks about booster shots in order to reduce infection and hospitalization among healthcare workers which would lead to a staffing shortage (which of course is exacerbated by her order to fire those workers who are unvaccinated). Those were the principles behind the booster order, but she cites NO EVIDENCE that the boosters work against Omicron.
She claims her order was built around the State’s order, but she’s confusing the issues because the state didn’t demand that firefighters and police who were unvaccinated must be fired; that is a County of Santa Clara feature.
@4:47:39 Chavez says the County should align with the State and it is really confusing and unjustified to deviate.
@4:48:40 Cody says that “we do not take these [deviations] lightly” (then laughs… I’m serious!) “They are very difficult for all of us. So they are only implemented when there really is a need IN MY JUDGMENT.” So she’s looking at the trends and layers of protection and what things look like and doesn’t have a set timeline for the booster mandate.
@4:51:25 We learn that waivers weren’t granted if the waiver request form was incomplete. Could it be re-submitted? Not answered.
@4:51:30 Chavez re-iterates her desire to align our policies with the State.
@4:57:53 Chavez voices her very valid concern about forced overtime. I was impressed she knew that. I brought up forced overtime in Santa Clara County in an earlier substack article. She ends by reiterating her desire to see alignment with the State guidelines.
@4:59:50 Vice-President Ellenberg leads off by asking about the infection rate in the jail. Then she asks about outbreaks elsewhere. Wow. Did she even listen to the 45 minutes of public comments? I sure couldn’t tell from any of her questions.
@5:04:18 Supervisor Lee focuses on testing. He said the virus used to just affect a friend of a friend and now it is infecting his direct family members. But he doesn’t make the connection that this means the vaccines do not work. Then he talks about quarantine requirements. Then asks about omicron variants. Lastly, he wants to create a “Thank you video” for vaccination workers. There is no evidence he listened to any of the public comments.’
@5:11:26 Supervisor Simitian leads off with a question about pandemic vs. endemic, when is there “yet another round of vaccinations being necessary.” Cody says the future is uncertain. Nobody agrees on the definition of endemic. Simitian says it’s important we think about what’s next.
@5:18:45 Simitian is impressed by the death toll in the county which according to the chart presented @3:45:13 is very low. This is deaths per 100,000 population on the y-axis.
It turns out this isn’t really true. Santa Clara County isn’t significantly different from the Bay Area as a whole, so this doesn’t point to Sara Cody being a genius.
Dr. Cody’s graph is simply statistical fraud. It’s not adjusted by age, obesity, and other demographics. When you do that, Santa Clara County comes out about average. That’s why nobody is following what Sara Cody says.
Sara Cody’s policies have extracted a huge unnecessary toll on this community. That first commenter who you ignored pointed this out. That Johns Hopkins study was extremely well done. It basically shows Sara did the wrong thing and caused untold harm.
There is no intervention that Sara Cody has done that is unique in Santa Clara County that could be replicated elsewhere and make a “50 to 60% difference” that you ascribe to Sara Cody. If we had the “magic secret sauce policy” that reduced death rates by 2X, everyone would be copying it.
As far as I can tell, it’s much more likely that having a young population, having top hospitals, and a generally very wealthy and healthy population has more to do with it than any of Sara’s interventions. But if I’m wrong, please let me know.
Specifically, can anyone name the Sara Cody intervention(s) that were different from the State guidelines that produced a 2X drop in mortality per 100,000 population? I didn’t think so.
Look at the deaths per 100,000 population numbers from Johns Hopkins for the top 20 countries most affected by COVID:
According to this chart, all of these countries should do “the Cody plan” because Santa Clara County is handily beating everyone.
But nobody is following Cody’s advice. Not anywhere.
There is a reason for that. Sara’s chart is a mirage, it is not even adjusted for age!
Take a look at this chart:
You want to have a low death rate from COVID? All you have to do is have a young population. Having sky high housing prices means the elderly can’t afford to live here. Get it? So Sara’s numbers look awesome!
Furthermore, Let’s look at the State statistics from a neutral source like Statistica which shows that California is at 205 which is more than double that of Hawaii. So we shouldn’t do what Cody says. We should follow what Hawaii is doing if you want to just use the numbers.
Per Cody’s chart, California is at 40 deaths per 100,000 whereas this chart below shows California at 205. Why are they off by a factor of 5?? (205/40)
And one shouldn’t just focus on COVID (which is what you are doing) since the vaccine is not without risk: it kills and disables people and none of that is even discussed. The impact of all of these interventions is NOT JUST the COVID mortality rate. Even if the vaccine was perfectly safe, the Hopkins study showed the damage Sara did… for nothing.
@5:20:30 Simitian asks about the Cody restrictions and waivers and acknowledges the pain expressed by the public speakers. This is answered at 5:22:04 where Jeff Smith says he looks at it and will give waivers if/when needed, but the problem is that if people don’t have a waiver, they take a job elsewhere. The entire vaccine mandate should be questioned in light of the FOIA stats from the first responders showing the vaccines make no difference in cases. But they don’t ask that question.
@5:26:30 Mike Wasserman asks if unrelated people can eat in a restaurant without masks, why isn’t it safe for a first responder who is unvaccinated and wearing a mask? And he knows lots of people who got Omicron and never reported it. Finally, we have 93% being vaccinated, why aren’t we at herd immunity since we were told once we got to 80% it would be over.
Clearly Wasserman and Chavez are listening to the people and are trying to help, Simitian is is also frustrated he can’t do anything, and Supervisor Lee and Vice-President Ellenberg clearly don’t seem to care about the first responders at all.
The options on the table
Certain members of the BOS are frustrated with Dr. Cody. Unfortunately, California law is designed so that there are only 4 ways to overrule Sara Cody’s orders:
You convince her she made a mistake (my impression from direct discussion and from listening to others is this has zero chance of success)
You convince her boss (Jeff Smith) to have a discussion with her (near zero chance of success; he thinks she walks on water and no amount of data will work here; we could have 100 randomized studies showing masks don’t do a damn thing and Jeff Smith will still 100% support Sara Cody; it isn’t about the science unfortunately)
You convince Mark Ghaly to overrule her (super unlikely since they will only overrule you if you are less restrictive than the State, not more restrictive so this has close to zero chance of success)
The BOS fires Jeff Smith (won’t happen over this)
The Supervisors are powerless to stop Dr. Cody and she doesn’t have to listen to anything they say.
The biggest frustration
The biggest failing we have (and it isn’t just limited to Santa Clara County) is that there is no mechanism in the law for public officials such as Sara Cody to have to actually answer any questions at all from the people that she serves.
She is given the power to effectively force us to comply with her medical interventions, but we are not allowed to question her.
Ten questions that the Supervisors should have asked
It was frustrating watching this that none of the Supervisors asked questions like these (with an “honest Sara’s” answer included)
What exactly is in the vaccine vials? Have you analyzed it? Is it ethical to mandate a vaccine that you have no idea what is inside it?
Isn’t your unadjusted mortality comparison deliberately misleading because if you look at COVID deaths since you were in charge, it is 2,092 compared to 731 in San Francisco County. The population of Santa Clara County is 1.9M vs. 873K for San Francisco. So you are actually doing 30% worse in Santa Clara County compared to San Francisco, right? (Answer: Correct.)
Isn’t your mortality chart of deaths since July 2021 misleading because it is not adjusted for the demographics of the population? Why didn’t you show the chart adjusted for demographics? (Answer: Sure, it is misleading. This is about keeping my job by convincing people I’m a genius when I’m not. An adjusted chart would show that we aren’t doing any better than anyone else. That’s why we don’t show it. We don’t have it either.)
If you claim Santa Clara County is doing so well then how come 1) the rest of the world isn’t following our policies, and 2) you can’t name a single policy or set of policies that you can prove are responsible for the difference. (Answer: our policies don’t work, that’s why nobody is following them. We can’t name a differentiator policy that works because there isn’t one)
If the vaccines are really working, how come it isn’t making any difference at all in the infection rates of first responders in Santa Clara County obtained under FOIA? (Answer: It’s not making a difference because the vaccines don’t work. Duh.)
Why are we deviating from the state in mandating a vaccine that doesn’t make a difference at all as measured in our county? (Answer: Because we want to give the impression we are better than other Counties so you’ll keep listening to whatever we say, no matter how ridiculous it is.)
Is there a single documented case of a first responder in the County spreading COVID to someone? (Answer: Of course not. We don’t need data to justify our policies. That’s not how it works. We do things that people “think” will work.)
What would happen to our numbers if we just told people who have symptoms to stay home instead of firing them? (Answer: The numbers wouldn’t change of course since only people with symptoms spread the virus. Everyone knows that, even Dr. Fauci)
How many people last month contracted COVID from a first responder and subsequently were hospitalized or died? (Answer: Zero)
Why are we solving a problem that doesn’t exist (preventing people who are treated by first responders from getting COVID) and tossing people under the bus who risk their lives for the community on a daily basis? Is that the right thing to do? (Answer: Because it makes us look like we are protecting the public. It’s the same reason we have mask mandates. The masks do nothing, but the public thinks they work and we are protecting them. So they keep following our orders).
The Hopkins study shows your policies have caused untold harm in the community (e.g., “my child hasn’t been able to attend school for 18 months”) and yet nobody is holding you accountable for the harm you have caused? (Answer: Yes, it was all for nothing, but I can attack the Hopkins paper by claiming it isn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal and doing ad hominem attacks on the authors. That will create enough doubt in the study to make it a non-issue even though the study was highly acclaimed by experts.)
How many firefighters are on unpaid leave right now? If the number is small, why not grant an exemption? If the number is large, then were we really that overstaffed?
On what randomized trial data does Sara Cody rely on for mandating masks? All the randomized trials show masks do absolutely nothing. Can she at least admit to the public that she has no data, that the science says that masks don’t work, and that she’s requiring them because she makes requirements that are based on belief, rather than science. That would be more honest.
How does Sara Cody determine decisions like following the State mask guidelines? No longer requiring first responders to be vaccinated? Why symptomatic people can’t just “test out” to go to work? (Answer: It is all black magic. There are no calculations or documentation for any of these decisions)
Data from Denmark, the UK, and Scotland all clearly show that the vaccines make you more likely to be infected with COVID. So you are actually putting the County at greater risk through your mandates, not lowering the risk. You are increasing the chance that the first responders will be infected. And you are increasing the chance that a first responder will be out sick. The science shows you are making things worse.
For more info
It’s too bad nobody is going to ask Sara Cody the questions above.
But maybe one of the Supervisors might surprise me.
In the meantime, I don’t think anything will change.