Supervisor Federal D. Glover, District 5

Roe v. Wade: The End of an Era; 
The Beginning of Uncertainty

This morning Americans awoke to a jarring new reality. Although following an early and unprecedented leak many expected the decision, the official publication of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, which overruled the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, stunned a broad swath of the American population. 

It is a rarity in this generation or previous generations for a longstanding legal precedent (49 years in the case of Roe v. Wade) to be declared “egregiously wrong” and summarily overturned by the Supreme Court. Yet, here we are, faced with a new dawn, a new day, where the judiciary has stripped millions of American women of the right to determine what reproductive course is best for them. The conservative majority, whose thoughts are reflected in the words of Justice Samuel Alito, declared “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” 

I am not a legal scholar. My role is that of an elected official who is often tasked with creating laws and ordinances. As such, I weigh arguments that range from legal frameworks to practical implications. And as I think about this decision, there are three perspectives I have. 

First, the founders of our nation distinguished between inalienable rights (rights associated with being a human being) and statutory rights (rights granted by constitution, law, or ordinances). If a woman’s reproductive rights are tied strictly to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, that would make it a statutory right. Statutes can be established, modified, and even eliminated. It is my view that one’s right to determine what happens with one’s body is an inalienable right. Thus, it is a right that cannot be taken. In my view Roe v. Wade simply affirmed a right women have because they are human beings. 

Second, the notion that long standing precedents create safety and security is false. If after almost half a century, the Supreme Court could simply (albeit improperly) terminate a woman’s right to choose, it means other rights could also be taken. At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, it means decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education (segregation in public schools) or Obergefell v. Hodes (fundamental right to marry regardless of sex) could be challenged and overruled. Time, therefore, is not a guarantee of permanence. 

Third, it is important that our County take definitive measures to protect the inalienable and the statutory rights of our citizens, beginning with a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. Any loss of reproductive rights threatens us all, particularly women, and especially communities of color and others disproportionately affected by health inequities. I will therefore continue to push for every measure to be taken that ensure the continuation of these rights. 

This is a moment of uncertainty. For some, it’s a moment of trepidation. For me it’s a moment of renewed determination as well as a call to vigilance to protect the rights of our citizens. 

Bay Area Health Officials Urge Awareness About Monkeypox
as Summer Travel and Gatherings Begin

As the summer season begins with increased travel and major events and gatherings, Bay Area health officials urge people to protect themselves against the monkeypox virus, which spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids, such as through crowded settings or sexual contact.

 The alert from 10 health jurisdictions comes as cases – which appear on individuals as distinctive rashes and sores that can look like blisters or pimples – continue to emerge in the Bay Area, the nation and the globe. Monkeypox is not new, but this is the first time this virus has spread in so many countries at once. 

 Most cases of monkeypox resolve on their own, although they can be serious. The illness often begins with flu-like symptoms before the emergence of a rash and may last for 2 to 4 weeks. A post-exposure vaccination is available through healthcare providers.

 Unlike COVID-19 which spreads easily through the air, the risk of monkeypox to the general public is currently low unless they engage in higher-risk behaviors. Having sex with multiple sex partners can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected when monkeypox is spreading in the community. Be aware of crowded, indoor spaces where people have close skin-to-skin contact, sex, kissing, and close breathing. The virus can also be spread through shared clothing or bedding.

Many of the cases currently appearing are within networks of self-identified gay and bisexual men, trans people, and men who have sex with men. People in these networks are currently at higher risk, though people of any sexual orientation or gender identity can become infected and spread monkeypox. 

 Bay Area health officials urge the media, government officials, and the community at-large to avoid stigmatizing a particular group or person for monkeypox, but rather support those at highest risk and keep others from becoming complacent.

 "Monkeypox is not common in the Bay Area. By being mindful now about how to protect ourselves and each other, we can keep it that way," said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, Contra Costa County health officer. "We are working closely with the state, neighboring counties and our community healthcare providers to keep the public informed about how to stay safe and what to do if they have symptoms or believe they may have been exposed."

There are other contagious illnesses that can cause rash or skin lesions. For example, syphilis and herpes are much more common than monkeypox, can look similar, and should be treated too.

How to protect yourself:
  • Consider covering exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds
  • Don’t share bedding or clothing with others when possible
  • Before having close, physical contact with others, talk to your partners about their health and any recent rashes or sores 
  • Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks

How to protect others: 

If you have symptoms particularly a rash consistent with monkeypox, or if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox:

  • Stay home if you are feeling sick
  • Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation has been completed
  • Inform sex partners about any symptoms you are experiencing
  • Cover the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing
  • Wear a well-fitted mask
  • If you are contacted by public health officials, answer their confidential questions to help protect others who may have been exposed

 No cases of monkeypox have been identified in Contra Costa County as of Thursday, but several cases have been confirmed in neighboring Bay Area counties.

For more information about monkeypox:

Los oficiales de salud del Área de la Bahía piden tomar conciencia sobre la viruela del mono ahora que comienzan los viajes y las reuniones de verano

Ahora que comienza la temporada de verano y con el aumento de los viajes, los eventos y las reuniones importantes, los oficiales de salud del Área de la Bahía recomiendan que la gente se proteja contra el virus de la viruela del mono, el cual se propaga a través del contacto prolongado de piel con piel y de los fluidos corporales, como por ejemplo, en lugares concurridos o por contacto sexual.

La alerta emitida por 10 jurisdicciones de salud se debe a la cantidad de casos – cuyos síntomas incluyen erupciones y llagas distintivas que pueden parecer ampollas o granos – que se están presentando en el Área de la Bahía, en la nación y en el mundo. La viruela del mono no es nueva, pero es la primera vez que este virus se propaga en tantos países a la vez. 

La mayoría de los casos de viruela del mono desaparecen por sí solos, aunque algunos pueden ser graves. La enfermedad suele comenzar con síntomas similares a la gripe antes de que aparezca una erupción y puede durar de 2 a 4 semanas. Los proveedores de servicios de salud pueden ofrecerle una vacuna que se aplica después de la exposición a este virus.

A diferencia del COVID-19, el cual se propaga fácilmente por el aire, el riesgo de la viruela del mono para el público en general es actualmente bajo, a menos de que las personas tengan comportamientos de mayor riesgo. Tener relaciones sexuales con múltiples parejas puede aumentar el riesgo de que una persona se infecte si la viruela del mono se está propagando en la comunidad. Tenga cuidado en espacios cerrados y concurridos donde la gente esté en contacto cercano de piel a piel, así como al tener relaciones sexuales, besarse y respirar cerca de otras personas. El virus también puede propagarse al compartir ropa personal o ropa de cama.

Muchos de los casos que hay actualmente son en grupos de hombres auto-identificados como homosexuales y bisexuales, personas trans y hombres que tienen relaciones sexuales con otros hombres. Las personas de estos grupos actualmente corren un mayor riesgo, aunque las personas de cualquier orientación sexual o identidad de género pueden infectarse y contagiar la viruela del mono. 

Los oficiales de salud del Área de la Bahía recomiendan a los medios de comunicación, a los funcionarios del gobierno y a la comunidad en general que eviten estigmatizar a un grupo o a una persona en particular a causa de la viruela del mono, además de apoyar a los que están en mayor riesgo y evitar la complacencia.

"La viruela del mono no es un padecimiento común en el Área de la Bahía. Si somos conscientes ahora de cómo protegernos a nosotros mismos y a los demás, podemos hacer que siga siendo así", dijo el Dr. Ori Tzvieli, oficial de salud del Condado de Contra Costa. "Estamos trabajando de cerca con el estado, los condados vecinos y los proveedores de servicios de salud de nuestra comunidad para informar al público sobre cómo mantenerse a salvo y qué deben hacer si tienen síntomas o si creen que pueden haber estado expuestos".

Hay otras enfermedades contagiosas que pueden causar erupciones o lesiones en la piel. Por ejemplo, la sífilis y el herpes son mucho más comunes que la viruela del mono, pueden tener un aspecto similar y también deben tratarse.

Cómo protegerse a sí mismo:
  • Considere la posibilidad de cubrir la piel expuesta al estar en lugares concurridos en interiores
  • No comparta ropa personal o ropa de cama con otras personas, si es posible
  • Antes de estar en contacto físico cercano con otras personas, hable con sus parejas sobre su salud y sobre cualquier erupción o llaga reciente 
  • Esté atento si viaja a países donde hayan brotes

Cómo proteger a los demás: 

Si usted tiene síntomas, particularmente una erupción consistente con la viruela del mono, o si ha estado en contacto con alguien que ha sido diagnosticado con viruela del mono:

  • Quédese en casa si se siente enfermo
  • Póngase en contacto con un proveedor de servicios de salud tan pronto como sea posible para una valoración
  • Evite el contacto de piel con piel o el contacto cercano con otras personas, incluyendo el contacto sexual, hasta que se haya realizado una valoración médica
  • Informe a sus parejas sexuales sobre cualquier síntoma que usted tenga
  • Cubra la erupción con ropa limpia, seca y holgada
  • Utilice una mascarilla bien ajustada
  • Si los oficiales de salud pública se ponen en contacto con usted, responda a sus preguntas confidenciales para ayudar a proteger a otras personas que puedan haber estado expuestas

Hasta este jueves no se han identificado casos de viruela del mono en el Condado de Contra Costa, pero sí se han confirmado varios casos en los condados vecinos del Área de la Bahía.

Si desea obtener más información sobre la viruela del mono:

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