The absurdity of half-open amusement parks in California – Orange County Register

For businesses scheduled to close, California’s theme parks are attempting to sell a slew of tickets.

You can now buy admission to see the animals at SeaWorld San Diego, take your kids to play with plastic bricks and climb playgrounds at Legoland California, eat at Knott’s Berry Farm, and a drive-thru car show at Six Flags Magic to enjoy mountain. Soon, fans will also be able to dine and shop throughout Disney California Adventure.

The only thing you can’t do in these parks is sit inside and watch a show or go on any rides. Maybe an epidemiologist can explain the science to me, but I don’t understand how riskier it is to sit outside masked on a three-minute roller coaster ride than to sit unmasked, a few feet away from unmasked strangers while having dinner for an hour .

Even for those of us who know this pandemic is real — and deadly — it has been difficult to make sense of the seemingly contradictory rules. It’s okay to stuff chefs into crowded restaurant kitchens, but it’s not okay to send kids to school. It’s okay for pro and collegiate athletes to play sports, but not for kids. And it’s okay to go to an amusement park if you call it a zoo, playground, or outdoor mall, but not if it has any kind of rides.

The hard truth, however, is that America’s conflicting pandemic rules weren’t too restrictive, they were too lenient. Half a million COVID-19 deaths speak to the incompetence of America’s response to the pandemic. Nations that have taken lockdowns much harder – including New Zealand, Australia and yes, even China – have managed to stem the death toll while taking steps to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

At least California and Gov. Newsom have tried to control the spread of the disease, unlike other states whose leaders have dismissed the pandemic and its risk. This has helped keep California’s per capita mortality rate below the national average. But without a science-based response from the federal government when the pandemic hit, states were limited in what they could do to protect their residents.

How many Californians have been sickened or killed because their neighbors brought the virus with them from less restrictive states and nations? Or because the previous Washington administration failed to assemble the resources and research that California and other states needed to control the disease in their communities? We may never know.

I just know that I want this to be over. I want enough of us to be vaccinated so that COVID-19 recedes into history and we can forget the absurdity of the current situation in theme parks. But I also want enough of us to remember half a million needless deaths to elect leaders who take pandemic management seriously.

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