Flaming public comment sessions have become regular at board of supervisors meetings in San Diego County, with many speakers addressing the county’s response to the pandemic and even the coronavirus itself.
As part of a growing effort to curb the spread of disinformation about COVID-19, which the county has already declared a public health crisis, the watchdog has invited a group of doctors to verify the facts during the Tuesday meeting.
Click here for instructions on how to watch or listen to Tuesday’s meeting.
NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda shares snippets of passionate comments made by the audience at Tuesday’s Supervisory Board meeting.
“You have to try to fight it,” said board chairman Nathan Fletcher. “Look, I understand that we don’t agree on some things; different values, different perspectives, different opinions, but much of today’s debate is all about objectively wrong things.
The panel will carefully monitor and listen to the meeting with supervisors or members of the public and report what they find on Wednesday.
During a White House briefing Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy shared his new take on the dangers of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supervisor Fletcher has led a charge against misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Last month, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged San Diego County’s first anti-misinformation policy.
“What we’re going to do is fight back and push back the information that drives people to make decisions that literally cost them their lives,” Fletcher said.
Tuesday’s panel will be chaired by the county’s chief medical officer and will include doctors from Sharp, UC San Diego Health, Family Health Centers of San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital.
“All we’re trying to do is give the public better information, better sources of information, better context,” Fletcher added. “If there’s one person who listens to a doctor and makes an informed, medically relevant decision and it saves their life, then it’s all worth it. “
After a 3 p.m. meeting with much opposition and heated remarks from members of the public, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to declare the COVID-19 misinformation “a public health crisis.”
The President reiterated that public comments are always open and accessible to all.
“You can come down and curse, you can say offensive things, you can say wrong things. All of this is protected by the First Amendment, ”he said.
At the same time, the county launched a website that sought to debunk any false claims about COVID-19.
Following the county’s anti-disinformation statement at a meeting in August, members of the public attacked the policy.
Comparing county supervisors to the Taliban, saying local leaders are “about to open a pit of hell” and describing public health officials as Nazis. To say that last night’s supervisory board meeting was contentious would be an understatement. The meeting lasted six hours and was filled with rants from community members about the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m a certified personal trainer, studied nutrition and wellness at Cornell and Yale, and I’m a Taurus too, so I know a bit about BS,” one commenter said.
“You are guilty of misinforming the public,” said one woman. “Trials will take place, you will be held responsible for your crimes against humanity. “