January 18, 2021
Should COVID restrictions meet people where they are?
Despite having the strictest guidelines, California leads the nation in COVID-19 cases. Some doctors are blaming inconsistencies in the messaging for leading people to form their own guidelines.

"Earlier in the pandemic, it was easier to do messaging because it was new, everyone was afraid," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease specialist at UCSF. "Right now it's very difficult. It's like saying 'don't smoke' instead of trying to meet people where they are."

While most people trust the science, they say the restrictions don't always make sense.

"(Health officials) say you can't come to the restaurants, eat outside but yet you can still go and do some shopping in some malls. The messaging could be a little better," San Francisco resident Dennis Brown told KCBS.

The latest stay-home order also prompted health officials in the Bay Area to tell people to pop their social bubble and stop gathering with anyone outside of their household. Many people are ignoring that advice.

"I do still see my mom and there's a level of trust there," said San Francisco resident Stephanie Hudson. "I mean I trust my mom more than I trust maybe some other people that I know and that's how I just, like, calculate that risk."

"I will try to wear a mask if I'm in a car with (my friends). I'll leave the windows open. I believe in ventilation. I try to be outdoors as much as possible with anybody," said San Francisco resident Jeff Ente.

Dr. Chin-Hong said "stricter" doesn't always mean "better." He said it can backfire.

"Different messaging coming through that didn't make sense to folks - like closing playgrounds or not keeping public schools open - I think that led people to wonder and question. At that point, some people just shut down," Dr. Chin-Hong said.

Story Date: January 4, 2021
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