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COVID-19 Advisory: OC Pt. II ~ Second Wave? ~ Disneyland to Reopen

June 12, 2020
To: Distribution
From: Pandemic Working Group
Re: COVID-19: OC Pt. II ~ Second Wave? ~ Disneyland to Reopen

More on the OC
As reported by the L.A. Times, within three days of the sudden resignation of Orange County Public Health officer Dr. Nichole Quick (who was being personally and publicly threatened for having issuing a mandatory face-covering order last month), the successor officer, Dr. Clayton Chau removed the mandatory order and replaced it with one which strongly recommends that the public wear cloth face-coverings “outside their home whenever they are not able to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from another person who is not a family/household member.” Upon assuming the post on Tuesday, Dr. Chau was immediately peppered with questions by elected officials, including a particularly helpful one from Supervisor Don Wagner, who asked “Are you telling us masks, in your professional opinion, are going to be necessary to the end of time?” Dr. Chau was quick to point out that “This [new order] does not diminish the importance of face coverings,” and that he stands with public health officials in the belief that they help “to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and save lives.” While this drama was unfolding, Thursday saw the third-most new daily cases in the county since the pandemic began, with the three largest single-day increases having all occurred within the past week. By contrast, hospital usage rates appear to be more favorable for the same period. Pictured above from LA Times is Dr. Chau and, yes, that is a cloth face covering on his shoulder.

Is this the Second Wave?
Good question. CNBC just happened to report on the very thing today and their answer is – no. According to scientists and infectious disease specialists, the coronavirus outbreaks occurring in about a half dozen states across the U.S. are still the first wave. According to Columbia University’s Ian Lipkin, to be defined as a second wave, the virus would need to retreat and reappear. While new cases are on the decline in earlier hot-spots like New York state, cases are on the rise in places such as Texas, Arizona and Florida. According to UMass Amherst’s Nicholas Reich, a handful of states (like New York and Massachusetts) experienced “clear first-wave outbreaks,” while many others have had more of a “first-wave plateau without a clear decline for many weeks.” This observation is confirmed by the Johns Hopkins University data, as captured in this chart from CNBC, which shows that, nationally speaking, we are holding our ground for new infections on a seven-day trailing basis while slowly reopening. At this point, then, in the manner of Mark Twain, one might say that rumors of a second wave having started are greatly exaggerated.

Happiest Place on Earth
As reported widely, but most notably in, Disney has announced plans for a staggered reopening of its southern California theme parks and attractions – July 9 for Downtown Disney, July 17 for Disneyland and California Adventure, and July 23 for a brace of Disney hotels. According to its Chief Medical Officer, Dr Pamela Hymel, Disney will continue to work with local health authorities and the CDC for the latest physical distancing measures as well as sanitation protocols, requiring facial coverings and ensuring that there are added hand-washing stations. Dr. Hymel notes that Disney Cast Members (this is what they call their employees) will be trained fully to ensure that both visitors and staff are safe. One of my reports asked whether I thought that the Disney characters would be wearing masks. Given that many of them are already wearing enormous heads made of felt and are not allowed to speak, I doubt that additional protection would be necessary. However, some of the less heavily costumed (e.g., Disney Princesses and Princes) would likely fall into line with the Cast Members. As for Donald and Daisy Duck – it would be tough to find material adequate to cover their bills, but I expect that the Imagineers at Disney might be up to the challenge. Have a great weekend. - TD

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COVID-19 Advisory: OC Pt. II ~ Second Wave? ~ Disneyland to Reopen