Daytona Beach, FL - Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood takes to the airwaves and weighs in on why local COVID-19 numbers are important, what to do about school and masks.
Ever since data regarding COVID-19 in Volusia County was available, Chitwood took to Facebook daily to post updates about how many addresses in the county were flagged by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the distribution of that data soon came to a halt. Instead of one of his usual posts regarding flagged addresses in the county, Chitwood broke the news that the number updates were no more.
"Their reasoning is that with so much community spread, the effort is too time consuming, and all first responders should be wearing personal protective equipment in all close contacts with the public," Chitwood said via Facebook. "From my perspective, this is just another failure in a long line of government failures to confront this coronavirus crisis in an effective way."
And the importance of the issue goes beyond the transparency of data. With no list of flagged addresses, there's no way for the county to properly conduct what's known as "contact tracing."
"(with the numbers) we could do our own contact tracing and find out if any law enforcement, EMS or fire fighter were there, and then we can inform those folks," said Chitwood to Riggs.
Thankfully, it wasn't long until the numbers were back in circulation. Chitwood made that announcement on Thursday (July 9th), the day after the news broke that the number distribution would stop.
Going back to his post discussing the number stoppage, another fair point was made.
In that post, Chitwood included a quote from President Ronald Reagan's 1981 inaugural speech, which said: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem." By that, he means that it's up to the residents and businesses of Volusia to help the county, not so much the government.
"In my opinion, it's up to individual Americans and the private sector to step up and take control of this crisis," wrote the Sheriff. "While the government is groping around in the dark like the 3 blind mice, we are going to have to fight our way through this."
And while Chitwood made it clear that he does not support government-enforced mandate, he says he believes the "private sector" has a chance to make a mandate that "makes sense."
"If the store tells me I need to wear a mask to come in and shop for what I need, then I'm wearing a mask. Most of us should be able to agree to that."
Another question brought up by the crew on the Morning Hog asked what parents should do about their children if they're worried about sending them back to school, which begins in August, and where can they find information that they can trust.
Chitwood stated that people should check the CDC for information regarding what to do with schools and what guidelines to follow. Still, even with that, he's still not fully sure about those numbers either, and it all stems from statements made by President Donald Trump.
"The CDC issued a list of guidelines, the president got mad, and they revised the guidelines," said Chitwood. "I don't feel comfortable when a person is standing at a podium, pounding their fist into the podium saying 'if you don't send your kids back to school, we're going to defund your school district.'"
That follows along with a tweet from President Trump regarding reopening schools during the pandemic. In a tweet that was posted on Wednesday (July 8th), President Trump stated that he may cut off funding if schools do not reopen in the fall.
You can find the full interview, plus more, by visiting the Hog's website, 957TheHog.com.
Audio and quotes courtesy of The Morning Hog.