A Kern County Public Health Services official was peppered with questions Thursday about assertions made by two local doctors the day before that COVID-19 was no worse than influenza and stay-at-home orders should be lifted immediately.

The two doctors, Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, who own Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, pointed to data from their own COVID-19 testing within their practice as well as state and national figures to argue that the current pandemic is not as bad as initially thought, and that death rates are actually quite low. They further stated that the national shutdown due to coronavirus was doing more harm than good. They pointed to surging unemployment, a potential spike in domestic abuse, alcoholism and suicide, and decreased business and staffing at hospitals — and at their own clinic — as reasons to open things back up.

On Thursday, Public Health Services spokeswoman Michelle Corson was pressed by local media to address the doctors’ claims, considering they run counter to the shelter-in-place mandate put forth by local, state and federal officials over the past month.

Was it responsible commentary from two physicians who run and operate a local urgent care group? Was the health department concerned about the message put forth, since it contradicts the stay-at-home tone that has been prevalent throughout the pandemic? Was their address, in fact, a public health and safety concern? And, when considering those factors, was Public Health’s response to the doctors’ claims Wednesday a strong enough rebuttal?

Corson, in turn, stuck to what Kern Public Health’s message has been throughout: They’ve been given orders from the state government to implement the procedures in place, they support those procedures, and until further notice, that will be the message.

“There are top medical minds in our state, in our county, in our nation that are providing this guidance to us,” Corson said. “We concur that these are actions that we should be taking right now, and we are steadfast in our recommendation to our community to continue this. This is the health of our community that is at stake.

“People are entitled to their opinion, they are entitled to speak about this topic as they wish. What our stance is, the messaging that we have been delivering remains the same. I can just strongly state that we are pleased with our community and how they responded and this is not the time to be confused. The message is loud and clear.”

On Thursday, the health department reported 16 new local COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of positive county tests since March 13 to 708. Of those, 327 of those patients have recovered from coronavirus, while there have been four deaths announced. According to the health department, 26 patients are being treated at local hospitals while 342 are isolating and recovering at home.

“This is difficult. We know this is difficult for our businesses. This is a trying time for us all,” Corson said.

“Encouraging our community to stay steadfast is incredibly important right now.”

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(14) comments


Right. This isn't about Public Health, it's about the two doctors Piggy Banks.


1,000 people were dying of COVID-19 every night in New York City. We have no immunity. the death rate is lower but the rate of infection is higher, meaning very contagious. The doctors love to "extrapolate" the numbers to prove their point. Listen to the experts. Not local businessmen, statistics can be very misleading if not interpreted correctly.

Masked 2020

I think Fox News tells the story bettter........BAKERSFIELD, CAlif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Kern County Public Health taking time Thursday morning at a press conference to respond to statements made Wednesday by two doctors at Accelerated Urgent Care.

“I’ve talked to our local head of health department, and he’s waiting for that. Even though they’re in agreement with me, they’re waiting for the powers that be to lift," Dr. Dan Erickson, of Accelerated Urgent Care, said. ... Among the topics addressed was the claim by the two physicians, Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi- who are also the owners of Accelerated Urgent Care- that the director of Kern Public Health, Matt Constantine, was in agreement with their statements to re-open Kern County. ... “The doctor at Accelerated has spoken with our director. Our director has not concurred with the statements that were made yesterday about the need to re-open at this time," Michelle Corson, Public Information Officer for Kern County Public Health, said. ... Public Health says that in order to flatten the curve and get the county moving again, maintaining social distancing for the time being is essential.

And when asked if the doctors’ remarks endanger the greater public health, Corson said they’re following the advice of the country’s best experts. ...“There are top medical minds in our state, in our county, in our nation that are providing this guidance to us. And we concur that these are actions that we should be taking right now and we are steadfast in our recommendation to our community to continue this," Corson said. ... That’s not to say that they don’t understand the frustration among many. .. But in order to get businesses moving again as quickly as possible, Public Health says staying at home a little while longer is the best way to achieve that goal.

“This is difficult. We know this is difficult on our businesses. We work with them on a daily basis and we appreciate our businesses because the majority of them are taking this very seriously, and they are doing what is being asked of them," Corson said. ... but not as well as MSDNC... or the Poorly Rated CNN or the Failing New York Times

Inconvenient Truth

Don’t be too hard on Corson. after all, she is just ‘following orders.’ (where have we heard this before?)

Anyway, Drs. Erickson and Massihi are NOT the only healthcare professionals with hard, scientific data proving the virus is FAR more prevalent than thought (and hence, has a MUCH lower mortality rate than currently believed). The science is beginning to stack up against those who would destroy what’s left of our economy by keeping it closed indefinitely:

1) Stanford Study in Santa Clara: the number of those exposed to the disease are 50 to 80 times higher than previously believed. (Note also, that we now know the first patient to die from Covid was on February 6th in Santa Clara County. This was MORE THAN A MONTH BEFORE Nancy Pelosi invited everyone down to Chinatown and lambasted President Trump for suggesting we halt flights from China)

2) The USC Study in Los Angeles that also found those with antibodies are 28 to 55 times higher than officially stated.

But, today the OTHER SHOW DROPPED:

3) Democrat NY Governor Cuomo (one of the biggest lock-down proponents) announced the results of an antibody testing study today that showed 21% OF NEW YORKERS HAVE BEEN INFECTED! This means 1.8 MILLION NEW YORKERS HAVE HAD THE VIRUS,... THIS IS MORE THAN 12 TIMES THE OFFICIAL NUMBER and reduces the mortality rate by that same factor.

To paraphrase former President Barack Obama: It’s time to return Science to its proper place.


12x as many people infected as confirmed is not too surprising. The mortality rate is still unacceptably high (in the 0.5% - 1.5% range by my best guess, at least).

In any case that was just one study, with some serious potential for bias in various directions. I actually think it's likely to be approximately right (most experts assume 10x-20x people are infected as the official "case count") but it's certainly not confident enough to base policy decisions on.

The Stanford and USC studies (never reviewed or published -- just preprints) were fatally flawed: https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/04/19/fatal-flaws-in-stanford-study-of-coronavirus-prevalence/. If you want to indeed let Science return to its proper place, please do accept the process of Science.

There's a whole bunch of prevalence studies coming out now -- happy to link to them (and meta analysis) for anyone who's interested. But safe to say there is definitely not any kind of evidence for throwing the floodgates open. We know what happens when you do that -- you get Wuhan / Italy / Spain / Iran (and all those were places that closed down -- just a little too late!).

Independent Voter

.05% is looking like the accurate rate. Open the nation and state NOW.


Go ahead. Nobody's coming. 80% of people say they still want to shelter. Open up. We ain't comin.

Independent Voter

Dweeb, how about responding to the "science" now underscored by Governor Cuomo?


Good!! Stay in your mom"s basement eating frozen pizza and playing keyboard warrior! That's your right! All I ever see on this site is your negative and politically charged comments implying that your opinion is more important than anybody elses! Those who are healthy and wish to contribute to the regrowth of our vital economy will go back to work in a safe and cautious manner.


Yay! Infection rate went down from 12.18% to 11.51%.

Daily rate was only at 3.44%. That's what we need to see. 13 more days. Keep up the good work!


Agreed! Stay home!

Independent Voter

Get off your duff and go to work, Dweeb.


More than half the testing was done by Urgent Care clinics and the two Dr's raising questions. When they finally raised questions you all (or most) called them quacks, junk science, etc. Yet you take and took the rest of the KC numbers as "real" "trully" random science before they raised questions. You can't have it both ways. You can't see it yet...mucion, tony17...blind as a Wuhan bat.

Independent Voter

Amen, Vico!

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