California Globe filed a Public Records Request May 13th with the California Health and Human Services Agency Director Mark Ghaly, Chief Information Officer Adam Dondro, and General Counsel Gabriel Ravel seeking documents, facts, opinions, data, and analysis, that have been used to guide or inform on the public health justification for the latest of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s updates on California’s re-opening policy, as well as state or local social distancing measures to prevent Covid-19, as well as 2020 California mortality data.
The Specific documents requested in the CPRA include:
- Details on the Public Health Justification for latest (May 4, 2020) Governor Newsom Update on California Reopening policy (https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/05/04/governor-newsom-provides-update-on-californias-progress-toward-stage-2-reopening/)
- Daily data on California total mortality (deaths from major causes and all causes) by county since January 1, 2020, equivalent to the daily California state death data contained in the CDC NCHS NVSS Report (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm)
- Documents describing alternate social distancing scenarios that have been considered by the state
- Minutes of meetings of intra or inter-agency meetings to discuss alternative scenarios
Within hours of sending the records request in, we received a written response back from Attorney Michael Palmisano, Office of the Agency General Counsel for the California Health and Human Services Agency. In a dismissive letter, Mr. Palmisano responded:
“CHHS has determined it possesses no documents responsive to your request. By providing you with this information, CHHS considers your Public Records Act request fulfilled, and the file is now closed. Thank you for your interest in this matter.”
We aren’t sure if Mr. Palmisano is saying the agency doesn’t have the records we requested because they are not using data to justify the statewide shutdown, and the re-opening policy. Or if Mr. Palmisano doesn’t feel he has to turn the documents over to the Globe.
We have been in contact with Epidemiologists, Professors of Medicine and Public Health, Professors of Medicine and Research scientists who say they know that these records must indeed exist. Some of these medical professionals have been public health officers who say they never issued such a dismissive letter to a public records request.
So is Gov. Gavin Newsom really using science and data to base his decisions on the ever-expanding re-opening of California, as he says in every daily briefing? Is Health and Human Services Agency Director Mark Ghaly M.D. basing his recommendations on data, or are both Ghaly and Newsom still using the flawed, discredited models, and not considering total mortality?
While most other states are beginning to safely relax Coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Newsom is doubling down with each vague video press conference and additional Executive Order he writes.
“The CDC has stated that the number of flu hospitalizations estimated for this season is lower than total hospitalization estimates for any season since the CDC began making these estimates,” the Daily Signal reported. “Furthermore, it’s possible that the lethality of COVID-19 is no greater than that of the seasonal flu.”
California Globe will follow up on this California Public Records Act request, as well as Gov. Newsom’s ongoing four stage re-opening plan.