Submitted by Brad Willis
A letter to Coronado City Manager Blair King
Like many, I was surprised at the city council’s split decision to keep our beaches open, albeit with some restrictions.
During my years as a war correspondent, I often consulted with infectious disease specialist Dr. Leonard C. Marcus, who received his degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine with post-graduate training in tropical diseases and public health.
His specialty included zoonoses (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) which is how this pandemic started. Now retired, he worked approximately 45 years in government, academia and private practice. He was a past president of the clinical committee in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Because of my concern over the council’s decision yesterday, I contacted Dr. Marcus this morning. He was alarmed at the decision and his expert opinion was that it increases the risks of transmission, disease and death in our community. He added that while most people going to a beach would probably look well, they could be asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus and transmit it by aerosol or contaminating surfaces like door handles, gasoline pumps, store shelves, etc. It is thought that the virus can remain in an aerosol for an hour, so you could walk 6 feet behind an infected person in an enclosed space like a grocery store and get infected by being in their air space.
Also today, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warns as many as 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms. Social distancing at the beach is only part of the issue. Some visitors coming to our beach will likely visit liquor or grocery stores, get takeout from our restaurants, etc. It is axiomatic that this can only contribute to the pandemic.
I ask the council to reconsider its decision, close the beaches for a minimum of two weeks, and consult infectious disease experts of their own choosing before reopening them.