Ratcheting down on the public from all sides without proof will sacrifice precious goodwill…
April 5, 2020:
Dear Dr. Kim Prather (and Surfline, the Surfrider lobby, etc),
As someone who is very close to the SARS-CoV-2 mitigation efforts (as a scientist and CEO of a biotech company developing a novel TLR7 agonist to treat SARS-CoV-2) I am very disappointed that you went to the LA Times with very strong claims about a virus you don’t have any data on and have not ever studied.
Have you published any peer reviewed articles on corona viruses and infectivity humans in the ocean?
Do you have any training in virology, public health, immunology, medicine, pandemic mitigation, etc?
Did you help scare the hell out of the public and law enforcement with a lot of claims but no data?
Yes and yes.
The total beach closures that you have promoted have directly led to significant crowding of the coastal roads and walking paths. People are so closely confined in these already constrained areas as they walk that they are spreading the virus to a far greater degree than if they were in the open water or walking along a wide beach.
Come on up to Encinitas and walk Neptune Ave or the Cardiff trail, well done.
If the public continues to get hammered with conjecture as fact from SARS-CoV-2 “experts“, such as yourself and the irrelevant Surfrider lobby, they will eventually lose faith in the necessary process of shared sacrifice and cooperation.
I now cannot walk near my house during the day.
This going to be a very long fight and the public needs to be presented with data, facts, and proof from subject matter experts before major policy changes that have grave knock-on effects are enacted.
If the public continues to get hammered with conjecture as fact from SARS-CoV-2 “experts“ such as yourself and the irrelevant Surfrider lobby, they will eventually lose faith in the necessary process of shared sacrifice and cooperation.
If just three percent of an already highly stressed public says “screw it” then the authorities will immediately lose ALL control.
Since one percent of the population has schizophrenia getting three percent to totally losing it a few months is pretty easy.
Ratcheting down on the public from all sides without proof will sacrifice precious goodwill that we’ll need down the road as the facts on the ground change.
You are not alone.
I have seen a number of others touting breakthroughs and cures with bogus promises of being to treat the public in just a few months, when such options are much further out and that assumes their ideas pan out.
Most of my friends and my childrens’ friends who surf everyday, many at crowded spots, have not gotten sick.
That’s over 100 people surfing crowded spots everyday for months and months.
And, if you account for the huge number of untested and asymptotic virus shedders in SD County, there is a huge probability they have been shedding virus while surfing with all these kids and adults.
Humans have been shedding trillions of infectious viruses and bacteria into the ocean via sewage, run off and simply by being in the ocean. Some of the pathogens that are being released all the time are: e-coli, hepatitis A, influenza, herpes, norovirus, HPV, etc.
And yet the North County surfing public is just fine.
So please, collect coastal zone data to determine if there is in fact infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles in sufficient concentrations (as compared to the crowded Cardiff rail trail) to cause an infection. Then coordinate with the relevant subject matter experts (not the LA Times) to challenge your data and conclusions – in private.
Then you can contribute to peer-reviewed journals and contribute to policy decisions and risk benefit analysis.
Unlike your familiar zone of climate change and politics, the day-to-day decisions we are making regarding SARS-CoV-2 can directly lead to many more deaths.
If the ocean is in fact how the virus can super-spread then I will run ads in the local papers warning of such dangers and happily give you all the credit you would deserve.
PS: Dear paid Surfrider activists, please shut up, shelter in place, and do not drive to my neighborhood to spy on my family.