Dr. Sara Cody reflects on her front-and-center role during the pandemic | April 15, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - April 15, 2022

Dr. Sara Cody reflects on her front-and-center role during the pandemic

by Sue Dremann

Dr. Sara Cody faced the biggest challenge of her public health career in January 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold. Emerging from her mostly behind-the-scenes roles as Santa Clara County health officer and director of public health, Cody — a self-described introvert — was suddenly thrust into an unwelcome spotlight that made her a recognized national leader for making bold and sometimes controversial decisions.

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Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2022 at 7:50 am

Bystander is a registered user.

The first I remember seeing her was when she became a meme all over the internet for licking her finger before turning the page at a press event while she was talking about being diligent about handwashing and other actions to prevent the spread.

She definitely seemed to enjoy her power and was always on local tv much more than other counties' health officers. It appears to me that the counties did not talk to each other much as here in the north of the county we had more in common with San Mateo than Gilroy! Driving 5 minutes north for a haircut anyone?

Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2022 at 5:53 pm

ALB is a registered user.

Never forget that Dr. Sara Cody lead the public health response in Santa Clara County and the country then followed. She is a hero. I have compassion for her being in front of this pandemic and risking the wrath
of those who do not respect science. Thank you Dr. Cody — you are a star.

Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2022 at 11:20 am

Forever Name is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Additionally, what happened about the mask mandates on planes when a judge ruled on Monday and the airlines acted immediately, should have happened here in Santa Clara when everywhere else was lifting them but we still had to wear them.

I feel sure that so many of the restrictions we had here, particularly for businesses improperly posting a sign or similar other health breaches, was not legal. If anyone who has had their business ruined by these restrictions, they should sue. Oh, but they are now bankrupt, so haven't got the money to do so.

Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 20, 2022 at 10:37 pm

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

To those of you who disliked her decisions: did you stay healthy? or did you get sick? How about your friends and family? My family and friends mostly stayed healthy and I lay the "blame" for our health, happily, at Dr Cody's (and those who supported her) feet. You can complain all you like. I still wear a mask when I'm around people I don't know who have been around who knows who else. Covid is a virus. As my doctor says, viri are opportunistic. I don't intend to give any of those little buggers any opportunities I can help, to have more generations and thus mutations.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2022 at 10:43 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Virginia. As you say, we have come through this quite healthy, but have had family get sick before and also with vaccinations. These are only one side of the health story. We also have in our circle families with suicide, domestic violence, as well as increases in alcohol/drug use and chronic loneliness. There are also some failed businesses that we used to enjoy visiting.

Perhaps we should be thanking our health officials for these also.

Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2022 at 4:29 pm

Forever Name is a registered user.

Interesting that my entire post above was removed. Hmmmm....

Exhibit A:
Apparently anyone who disagrees with a Public Health Director receiving media attention, or awards, or disagrees with SCC Cody's policies specifically, must be silenced. Par for the course. In spite of the fact that some UCSF doctors, Stanford doctors, and many other actual medical doctors with clinical practices, and medical professors, at world renowned medical institutions disagreed with CA State Health Director and SCCPHD Cody's policies and publically published op eds, articles, petitions, and data supported studies to the contrary (too many to post links to here). Specifically, for example, Dr. Jean Noble UCSF, Dr. Monica Gandhi Director of Covid Response at UCSF, and Dr. Vinay Prasad UCSF, to name just a few, were outspoken critics of CAPHD and SCCPHD Cody's lockdown policies. In addition, there are 929,000 medical professionals around the world who have signed The Great Barrington Declaration to call for communities to open up and pursue Focused Protection. Ironically, this became the CDC's current strategy one year after the fact. LetThemPlay CA parent/student lawsuit won their case against CA Health Director in 2020, and CA had to settle on ALL accounts bc CA had zero data to support youth sports being shut down for an entire year - and SCC had to open sports immediately in spring 2021. And no, the rest of CA and the country did NOT follow Cody. For example, many counties in CA proceeded differently (Marin, San Mateo, northern CA like Placer County, and other CA counties in northern and southern CA). In the rest of the U.S., schools were open in many states as of Aug 2021 (TX, Ohio, FL, etc). Even Colorado's Democratic Governor ended all restrictions and state of emergency in July 2021. Along with many other states that did not subscribe to Cody's policies and whose Governors opened schools and businesses. These are facts and there is no justifiable reason to delete this post.

Posted by panative
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:03 pm

panative is a registered user.

Sara Cody is a hero, full stop. I am in awe of her, as is true of so many in my circles. It's hard to express the degree to which I have taken comfort from her calm, reasoned, expert leadership, especially early in the pandemic. I hope she knows that she has many, many people in her corner who are profoundly grateful for her service.

Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

Forever Name is a registered user.

Just one example of SCC Cody's policies that some expert practicing medical professionals opposed (in addition to lockdowns, crushing local businesses, and school closures which these doctors also publically opposed). World renowned UCSF doctors, including Dr. Jean Noble UCSF Covid Scientist, acknowledged Covid "Expert". Pres. Biden's OWN covid adviser Michael Osterholm opposed the sweeping mask mandates, and was ignored by the CDC! See below.

SF Chronicle 4/19/2022
"Four COVID experts say it’s time to accept reality: Vaccines work, mask mandates don't"
Web Link
"Unfortunately, some experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere have largely ignored this high-quality evidence and instead continued to point to lower-quality observational studies that appear to show benefit. The desire to find justification for official mandates is perhaps understandable, especially following the sudden policy shift in early 2020 toward promoting masks as a key strategy. Coronavirus expert Michael Osterholm, an adviser to President Biden, reflected on this abrupt about-face, particularly on cloth masks: “Never before in my 45-year career have I seen such a far-reaching public recommendation issued by any governmental agency ... This is an extremely worrisome precedent of implementing policies not based on science-based data or why they were issued without such data.”
"Newly released data from research in the United Kingdom warn that COVID restrictions have significantly set back physical, social and emotional developmental milestones. Citing such developmental concerns, the World Health Organization has never recommended masking children under 6, nor have Scandinavian countries for children under 12."

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2022 at 11:17 am

Bystander is a registered user.

According to Nextdoor, there was a protest on Fabian yesterday as Dr. Cody was getting her Tall Tree Award.

The fact that this protest is not mentioned as a news item causes me to raise some questions.

Is the reason it was not news in the Weekly due to police encryption, or censorship of protest against health restrictions during the pandemic? Either way, this caused problems for people trying to get where they were going and there is a video now on Nextdoor. It seems that the place to turn to news of what is going on is Nextdoor rather than local newspaper.

Additionally, it is interesting that this was happening at the same time Obama is talking about misinformation, dangers of social media for fake news, and similar concerns at Stanford. This has been widely reported. But we have to get our news from Nextdoor.

Does anyone see any irony here?

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