Saint Lucie County Mask Update

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Covid-19, St. Lucie

On October 6th, 2020 the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners met to review the repeal of the Ordinance 2020-021 known as the mask mandate.

St. Lucie County officials Howard Tipton (County Administrator) and Clint Sperber (Administrator of Public Health Dept.) made the presentation of how great everything has been since the mask mandate was implemented.

Full Video Below Followed by Analysis

Video timestamps available in the YouTube description. Timestamps are also provided in the summary and analysis below.

Analysis of St. Lucie County Officials presentation

Howard Tipton starts praise for their actions almost immediately at the 2:30 mark

Errors in Causation vs Correlation

At the 3:30 mark Tipton uses the excuse that many counties are doing this, so should we.

Again Tipton attempts to take credit here for observation. This is extremely weak given what we have seen in Indian River County as well as Sweden. See extensive comparisons of mandate results here. This continues through 7:00 mark.

Below image used by Tipton in the presentation to show only St. Lucie County trends.

The below image shows similar trends for St. Lucie (mandate) and Indian River County (no mandate). Note: IRC has 160k people compared to 328k in SLC.

Updated COVID-19 Data Contradicts Claims

The idea that masks are the sole-factor that changed trends is questionable given updated CDC data.

“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public,” the report stated.

In addition, over 14% of people said they “often” wear a mask. People who “never” or “rarely” were a combined 7.6% of all cases.

Recent WHO data has also been updated to state that their “best estimate” of global COVID-19 infections is 10% of the population – 760 million people.

The AP reports

The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization said Monday the agency’s “best estimates” indicate roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus — more than 20 times the number of confirmed cases — and warned of a difficult period ahead.

Dr. Michael Ryan, speaking to a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board focusing on COVID-19, said the figures vary from urban to rural areas, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.” He said the pandemic would continue to evolve, but that tools exist to suppress transmission and save lives.

Most importantly the infection fatality rate (IFR) has dropped significantly with the increase in case estimates.

Just over 1 million deaths from 760 million people is an IFR of just 0.13%, significantly less than a few months ago. WHO has apparently recognized there are many more asymptomatic, mild, undiagnosed cases than originally observed, resulting in an unexplained 3.8-7.7X reduction in IFR from their August numbers.


Updated numbers from the October 5-6, 2020 of the WHO Executive Board: Special Session on the COVID-19 Response in Geneva, Switzerland:

Our current best estimates tell us that about ten percent of the global population may have been infected by this virus. This varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups.

The global population is roughly 7.8 billion people, if 10% have been infected that is 780 million cases. The global death toll currently attributed to Sars-Cov-2 infections is 1,061,539.

That’s an infection fatality rate of roughly or 0.14%. Right in line with seasonal flu and the predictions of many experts from all around the world.

0.14% is over 24 times LOWER than the WHO’s “provisional figure” of 3.4% back in March. This figure was used in the models which were used to justify lockdowns and other draconian policies.

In fact, given the over-reporting of alleged Covid deaths, the IFR is likely even lower than 0.14%, and could show Covid to be much less dangerous than flu.

This is very good news and should be celebrated. The virus is not nearly as deadly as feared, though age-targeted strategies are most appropriate given the susceptibility of cases over 70 years of age.

No End Date in Sight Could Continue thru Influenza Season

At 7:00 mark Sperber says there is no metric or KPI for when this should stop.

Again Tipton attempts to take credit here for observation. This is extremely weak given what we have seen in Indian River County as well as Sweden. See extensive comparisons of mandate results here.

At the 8:00 mark, the need to possibly keep the mandate for influenza is brought up. Officials state we may need to keep the mandate in place through the end of the flu season.

Underlying Health Conditions Contribute

When looking at comorbidities Sperber ranks the top 3 around the 9:30 mark.

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Pulmonary disease (if included smoking would be #1)
  3. Obesity

This is important information. Two County Commissioners are smokers which is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. All 3 of these can be prevented but nothing is mandated for exercise and good habits.

Over 50% of St. Lucie Deaths in Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities

Around the 10:10 mark, Sperber reports that St. Lucie has recorded the deaths of 294 people. The current county population is around 328,000.

Over 50% of the deaths have occurred in nursing home type facilities. This is troubling as St. Lucie County has recorded 2x as many deaths in these facilities as Indian River and Martin County -combined! That is when looking at the death rate per 100k people.

Tipton Comes Clean on Fake Mandate

At the 11:00 mark, Tipton states that the mandate was never really a mandate but a recommendation. The focus was on education, not enforcement.

It should be noted that not one fine has been issued in St. Lucie County. This is not because everyone complied with the mandate but because the St. Lucie County Sherriff’s Office and local police departments chose not to enforce this unconstitutional mandate.

The Board of County Commissioners should immediately repeal the mandate and issue a recommendation in its place. It has caused too many headaches and legal questions for businesses trying to operate around this. Some have even, wrongly, refused service to people who are covered under mandate exemptions.

County Administrator Tipton Says No Economic Impact from Mandate

Incredulously Tipton tries to gloss over the impact of the mandate with poor statistics and states it has not impacted employment in St. Lucie County.

Around the 11:30 mark, Tipton cites unemployment records as proof employment and the economy has not been impacted.

Unemployment in March was 5.4%

Unemployment in August was 7.4%, a 37% increase in unemployment.

Coming out of the lockdowns unemployment should have been decreasing. What Tipton fails to consider is how much stronger unemployment could have been without mandates in place. Some people are afraid to go out, others avoid going out due to confrontations over wearing a mask. Medical and dental appointments have been delayed.

Tipton continues to show just how out of touch he is with the citizens he is supposed to be serving.

Around the 12:25 mark, Tipton says that no negative impact on the economy because of gains in permits and sales tax collections.

So because home builders and home services have performed great that no impact has been had by retail, tourism, restaurants, bars, and medical offices. How possibly can unemployment not have been impacted with people afraid to go out or avoid going out because of confrontation created between businesses and consumers?

In reality, the sales tax have gone up because large corporate stores are delivering and offering pickup that local stores have difficulty implementing digitally and at their stores. Wall Street has seen great profits while unemployment continues. Many business owners have lost everything they saved and worked for, forever.

A public servant failing to see this poses serious questions about Tipton’s ability to serve the public in good faith and competence.

Tipton is seriously out of touch with what is going on in St. Lucie County.

Meanwhile, the WHO is warning of lockdowns due to economic damage.

WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro said such restrictive measures should only be treated as a last resort, the British magazine the Spectator reported in a video interview.

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro said.

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

Nabarro said tight restrictions cause significant harm, particularly on the global economy.

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

He added that lockdowns have severely impacted countries that rely on tourism.

“Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays,” Nabarro told the outlet.

“Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

Mask Mandates and Influenza Brought Up Again

At the 13:15 mark, once again Clint Sperber proposes that we may need to keep mandates in place to lighten hospital load during flu season. This is really odd as St. Lucie recently opened a new hospital in Tradition. One that was fought by existing hospitals under statement of need legalese, which serves to limit healthcare access.

We should look at reducing burdens in creating new hospitals rather than use masks to favor supply limitations.

Saint Lucie County Officials Unknowingly Make Case for Age-Targeted Strategy

Around the 14:00 mark, county officials start to make the case for an age-targeted strategy by pointing out most of the deaths occurring in the elderly.

This point is made again, this time by Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky around the 19:45 mark.

He states that almost no deaths occur in young and most occur in older adults.

This makes a strong point for younger people to forego a mask and build up immunity. At the same time, the elderly should take precautions for themselves in accordance with their risks. Thus we can build up herd immunity and allow most of the citizens to live normally while protecting those who are most vulnerable.

COVID-19 Vaccination Plans

Plans are already underway for the next phase of COVID-19, the vaccination phase according to Sperber at the 15:00 mark. They will offer vaccinations in phases and desire a large facility where they can vaccinate thousands quickly.

The 1st phase will go to essential healthcare workers while the 2nd phase will go to those who are at most risk and their caregivers.

COVID-19 on Schools Has Glaring Hole

At the 20:20 mark, Sperber brings up the work in public schools to get them open. There is a glaring hole in part of the presentation. No mention of Independence Classical Academy.

At ICA Charter School there is almost zero mask-wearing and no real social distancing in a school of over 300 students. Parents must sign a waiver for kids to go there where they learn just as they did in February 2020.

There has not been one case at Independence Classical Academy since it opened in mid-August.

More Holes Exist

In addition to ICA Charter not complying there are many more noted events where people are not wearing masks or social distancing.

Local news outlets have repeatedly shown political campaign events of people not wearing masks or social distancing. 

Even Commissioners who voted for the mandate have been caught not doing the same when they think nobody is watching.

The Wild Game Dinner recently occurred and there were about 1,700 people there. I counted 6 masks at the event where there was no social distancing. Great times.

Saint Lucie Officials Don’t Have Answers

Frannie Hutchinson questions the officials around the 21:00 mark.

Hutchinson asks for a metric or KPI for when this should all end. She notes we have all heard various non-answers and guesses but nothing to go by for making policy decisions.

Sperber has no idea when it is ok. He gives us 3 options – when the CDC says so, when herd immunity is reached or when a vaccine is available.

Herd immunity would be a great idea given human history and how the virus seems to affect the elderly most seriously while most other people survive. However, having a non-targeted policy that covers everyone limits the ability to achieve herd immunity.

The data and the science clearly indicate we should follow an age-based strategy to best mitigate the impacts of the virus across our lives and economy.

Not having answers is echoed again at the 23:40 mark. by Sperber who says, “I wish I had a better answer, but I don’t.”

Hutchinson mentions people who have had symptoms and never got tested not counting showing greater survival rate.

At the 25:50 mark, Sperber suggests that to help get clear pictures as to when the mandate can be repealed that everyone gets the flu shot. This is because the flu can give a false-positive result to COVID-19. His idea is that if everyone gets the flu shot then they can rule the flu out (though flu shot participation is not historically high.

Commissioner Cathy Townsend Makes Sense

Around the 27:00 mark, Townsend notes that you can get the flu shot and still get the flu, casting doubt on Sperber’s idea of flu shots for all to eliminate false-positives.

Townsend also expresses how shocked she is the county report said there was no economic impact. She stood up for the businesses that have closed or been hurt by pointing out their struggles. She also mentions how it is dividing the community by mandating mask-wearing. This division could be avoided through a simple recommendation.

Townsend also points out the ordinance is a joke. Law enforcement is not enforcing it and the governor has taken the teeth from the ordinance by going into Phase 3.

Townsend points out that with a population of over 320,000 and having 1/2 of the 294 deaths in nursing homes makes our numbers very low. She closes by stating without enforcement it is time to allow people to make their own decisions.

Commissioner Dzadovsky Doest Not Make Sense

At the 30:20 mark, Dzadovsky begins his comments by saying that getting the economy going is important. He notes that tourism and specifically restaurants and bars have been significantly hit. Then almost a sentence later says that the mandate has been helping them. He does not have a metric or KPI to follow but that we follow the data and the science as told to us by Sperber and the CDC, who has flip-flopped repeatedly in the last year on COVID policy.

Next Hearing Will be November 10th

The BOCC still does not have a target or clue as to when to repeal the mandate. They voted to revisit this at the next meeting on November 10th at 6 pm.

Linda Bartz did not comment, probably because she was recently caught being a hypocrite and smoking while not wearing a mask in public while not social distancing.

Townsend pushed Sperber to get a metric or KPI they can target by the next meeting.

Petition to Fire Howard Tipton

Fire Howard Tipton, St. Lucie County Administrator

Dear County Commissioner,

Recently, County Admnistartor Howard Tipton has proven to be an ineffective administrator and completely out of touch with St. Lucie County.

At the October 6th, 2020 meeting Mr. Tipton stated that the mask mandate, which he devised, has had zero impact on St. Lucie County.

I find this to be appalling and indignant to the suffering of those his policies have affected.

During that meeting, Tipton claimed zero impact on unemployment. However, his own stats show that unemployment in August was 37% higher than in March. That is a huge number of people who have lost their business, been put out of work, and unable to find new work. Many business owners lost years of hard work and savings and are dismissed without empathy or sympathy by Tipton.

St. Lucie County is made up of tens of thousands of people who have been impacted by this mandate. People have been negatively impacted from retail to tourism to restaurants and bars to medical offices.

Tipton is so out of touch with the public he is supposed to serve that he cites permits and sales tax receipts as proof there has been no impact on the community. Yes, housing and home services have done well. Big corporate stores have done well being able to scale new delivery and pickup options. Main Street businesses have not. Many have closed and will never reopen.
Yelp has done a study showing 60% of shuttered businesses will not reopen.

Mr. Tipton has significantly hurt the residents he is sworn to serve. Worse, he is clueless as to the destruction he has caused people.

In addition, Mr. Tipton has taken vast grabs of authority under the state of emergency.

I urge you to fire Mr. Tipton with haste before he does more irreparable damage to St. Lucie County.

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