‘I’m Not Sure We Know What We’re Doing,’ Says a Newly Skeptical California Lockdown Advocate

San Mateo County Health Officer Scott Morrow, who supported last spring’s stay-at-home orders, airs his misgivings about reviving that policy.

by Jacob Sullum

San Mateo County, California, was one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to fight the COVID-19 epidemic with sweeping restrictions on social and economic activity. It joined five other San Francisco Bay Area counties in issuing “shelter in place” orders on March 16, three days before Gov. Gavin Newsom made California the first state to impose a COVID-19 lockdown. San Mateo County Health Officer Scott Morrow’s misgivings about reviving that policy are therefore especially striking. “I’m not sure we know what we’re doing,” Morrow confesses in a remarkable statement he posted on the San Mateo County health department’s website this week.

“During the first Shelter in Place order, which I wholeheartedly endorsed, the virus was brand new and had the capability of spreading exponentially due to zero immunity and people’s complete lack of awareness,” Morrow says. The order “was very much consistent with my long-held views about the judicious use of power.…

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