Both Orange County and San Diego County reported their first case of COVID-19 at the beginning of March.  Since then, residents have seen firsthand what a difference leadership makes. 

Here in Orange County, our County Supervisors — with former Irvine Mayor, Don Wagner taking the lead — wasted months refusing to close down our beaches, challenging the science behind masking,  and bullying the County’s chief Public Health Officer Nichole Quick, MD over the masking mandate, until she resigned.

On the other hand, leaders in San Diego County followed the initial warnings from health experts, closed their beaches, supported the use of masks, and established a comprehensive testing, tracing, and treatment program.

The numbers between the two counties reflect the difference in leadership styles.

As of September 23rd, Orange County has reported 52,538 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,176 deaths.

In comparison, San Diego County — with a population of nearly 200,000 more residents than Orange County — has performed 186,155 additional COVID-19 tests yet reports 7,391 fewer cases and 411 fewer deaths than Orange County.

And even though the number of new cases reported in Orange County during August was down from July, the number of deaths rose dramatically.  In fact, the three highest single-day death counts in Orange County during the pandemic all occurred during the month of August.  On August 1st, Orange County reported 31 deaths.  On August 6th, the County reported 32 deaths, and on August 27th, 29 Orange County residents died from COVID-19.  We’ve lost 196 additional lives in September.

Irvine’s leadership hasn’t been any better.  The Mayor and Council have had six months to produce a credible, comprehensive plan to protect our residents and businesses, but we still don’t have a comprehensive testing, tracing, and treatment plan.  Irvine is home to a world-class research university that has been working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis since the very beginning, yet City leaders never thought to collaborate with UCI to implement the best possible protective public health policies.

So, what has been done here in Irvine these past six months?  Councilman Mike Carroll has been promoting himself as the City’s leader on COVID-19.  Carroll’s first testing program — scheduled to begin in May — had to be canceled the day before it even began because he had the City enter into a contract with a company that was unable to produce a reliable program. 

In late July, Carroll tried again, this time with a small pilot program having limited impact. Carroll continues to promote the program as being available for all residents and workers in Irvine, but the program is only capable of testing a few thousand people each month. (Irvine has nearly 300,000 residents and an additional 200,000 workers travel into Irvine every work day.)

In the meantime, Carroll has spent $70,000 of taxpayer money on self-promotional Zoom townhalls about his “leadership” on COVID-19.  (An official complaint has been filed against Carroll for misusing taxpayer funds for these mailers which appear to be promoting Carroll’s campaign for Council.)

In the upcoming November 3rd election, voters will have the opportunity to select new leaders who will put politics and self-promotion aside, and focus on coming up with a plan to reopen our businesses and our schools safely so they can stay open.

ICNV Staff