Amid resistance to California COVID shutdowns, how to rebuild trust between residents and officials

A sign outside a gas station convenience store says, “No face covering, no service. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.” Newport Beach, California, December 6, 2020. Photo by Amy Ta/KCRW

Some local lawmakers are against the latest coronavirus restrictions, and some county sheriffs and police departments say they won’t enforce them. How can public health officials fight both lockdown fatigue and the pandemic?

Dr. Monica Gandhi is a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at UCSF. She says, “Where there's a pathogen circulating like COVID or HIV … you have to acknowledge what people are feeling and doing … and think about the fact that the pathogen is not the only thing in their lives. They may be feeling profoundly lonely. … And instead, message in a way that you are meeting the people where they are, and not just only about the pathogen. And you will get more public health trust, I believe. And you will get more adherence to guidelines.”