Adams County, Arapahoe County, Coronavirus, Douglas County, Exclusives, Uncategorized

Dierenbach: Bad science and the final days of Tri-County Health

In the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, three counties pooled their resources to operate a common public health authority, the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD).  For decades, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties enjoyed the economy of scale of operating a single health department.  Then Covid hit and TCHD, the people who a minute ago were organizing food drives, inspecting restaurants and tracking the occasional West Nile virus case, suddenly had the power to force hundreds of thousands of people to stay home, limit their interactions with friends and family, and force them to wear cloth over their mouths despite the fact that population wide use of cloth masks was generally seen as ineffective against the spread of respiratory diseases prior to Covid.

Such power was unprecedented.  As noted by Dr. John Douglas (at 0:40), Executive Director of TCHD, “This is the infectious disease of my career.”  Early in the pandemic, Dr. Douglas ordered people to stay home, closed playgrounds, closed businesses and closed schools.  When Governor Polis lifted statewide stay at home orders, Dr. Douglas and TCHD extended them.

This continued for 19 months as various restrictions were lifted or added depending on the political climate, and yes, it was political theater.  What other interpretation is there for Polis to adjust last call at bars statewide by an hour to “fight” Covid?   There was enough “science” out there that any position could be justified by selecting the right study.  Want to lock down everything if one case is detected?  New Zealand has the science to support you.  Want to declare Covid over and get back to normal life? Sweden has that science.

Eventually, TCHD and Dr. Douglas pushed too hard, took away too many rights, and issued too many orders.  Instead of listening to the people under his rule, Dr. Douglas commanded his subjects to follow his idea of the appropriate amount of mitigation measures.  Dr. Douglas’ idea of the balance between safety and freedom was the only valid path forward and he would enforce it even if it tore TCHD apart – which it did.

This is the story of bad science and the final days of TCHD.

No masks in schools!  Just kidding, put it back on

In the summer 2021 Colorado started to get back to normal.  Vaccines were widely available and Colorado Governor Polis lifted his emergency declaration and statewide mask mandate.  People started to feel like the worst was behind them.  School started back up and kids and teachers alike felt the euphoria of seeing each other smile and hearing each other without the muffling of masks.

TCHD quickly put an end to that.  Soon after schools started, on August 17, 2021, Dr. Douglas convinced the Board of TCHD to rule everyone ages 2-11 and anyone who interacts with them in schools or child care settings must wear a mask.  The order included masking 2 year olds and the vaccinated adults around them.  Imagine what masks do to, and take away from, 2 year olds.

People were incensed.  County Commissioner meetings were inundated with angry parents. Two of the three counties in TCHD swiftly opted out of the mask mandates.  TCHD was bombarded with thousands of comments.  Douglas County quickly announced its intention to leave TCHD.

Early in the pandemic, a lack of information and an atmosphere of fear led to obedience.  But after 18 months, bad predictions, bad science, and politically motivated reactions (BLM protests were acceptable while lockdown protests were scorned) laid waste to the trust of public health for much of the population.  When you attempt to muzzle their kids, parents become informed.  They question why their child has to play soccer with a mask on, while a mile away in the next county soccer games are mask free.  They read up on studies, they look at evidence, and they understand and see through rubbish when it is peddled by public health.

So naturally Dr. Douglas and TCHD did what any bureaucracy would do: they doubled down.  In an August 30 TCHD board meeting, Dr. Douglas pushed through resolutions removing the ability of counties to opt-out of their orders and making masks mandatory for all students and adults in all schools (unless you were wrestling or blowing through a musical instrument).

The move made no sense.  The previous order was ostensibly justified because kids under 12 weren’t eligible for vaccines.  But the new order added people who were vaccine eligible (ages 12+).  So now the counties were under the nonsensical system where vaccine eligible people could go anywhere unmasked except for schools.  People could go unmasked to gyms, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, or stores, just not schools.

To justify his actions, Dr. Douglas spent 40 minutes discussing why a mask mandate was necessary for all people in all schools.  It was a master class in cherry picked studies, statistically meaningless personal observations, selective deference to authority, misreading of studies, absurd assertions, and absolute unwillingness to let in any hint of information that rejected his narrative.

As we review Dr. Douglas’ presentation, keep in mind his level of knowledge about Covid.  When confronted by a data wielding Denver radio talk show host (at 8:41), Mandy Connell, Dr. Douglas seemed confused, saying, “Mandy, I can’t follow all that.”  At one point when Connell asked Dr. Douglas about much of Europe not masking kids in schools, Dr. Douglas replied (at 12:54), “I don’t know everything that’s happened in Europe. We need to give you a, hire you as a Tri-County associate.”

You read that right.  The person most responsible for determining how to respond to Covid doesn’t know as much about what’s going on in schools around the world as a local radio host (albeit an excellent and well-informed local radio host).  Dr. Douglas seems aware of CDC and AAP press releases that support his position, but as we’ll see, he seems unaware when these same organizations release information counter to his desired narrative.

Mask Justification Step 1: Give people a new reason to be afraid

Dr. Douglas opened up his August 30 presentation supporting mandatory masking in schools with the standard public health move of stoking fear.  He started by citing a Lancet study that claimed Delta was 2.25 times more severe than Alpha and also studies from Canada, Singapore and Scotland that claimed the Delta variant may cause more severe disease than previous variants.  This was disingenuous on several levels.

First, not one of the studies showed that Delta produced a more severe case of Covid in children.  Indeed, the AAP, which Dr. Douglas routinely cites as a source when it suits him, just days before stated, “There is no evidence that the Delta variant is causing more severe disease than previous strains.”

Second, the Lancet study Dr. Douglas cited produced a hazard ratio of Delta vs Alpha of 1.03, meaning from the raw data they were statistically indistinguishable from each other.  Delta wasn’t more severe until the hazard ratio was adjusted for, “age group, ethnicity, lower-tier local authority, calendar week of specimen, vaccination status; regression adjustment for age (linear), date (linear), sex, index of multiple deprivation, and international traveller status.”  In other words, the data had to be massaged to show Delta was more severe.

Third, data published by Public Health England, which included more than 380,000 sequenced and genotyped Delta cases, was indicating that a Delta variant case was less likely to result in hospitalization than an Alpha case (1.9% vs. 2.9%).

At one point, Dr. Douglas even admitted that he has no evidence that Delta results in more severe outcomes for children when he stated, “none of the studies have addressed Delta in kids.”

The entire Delta discussion seemed to be an effort to stoke fear.  Dr. Douglas never presented any evidence of more severe outcomes in kids as a result of the Delta variant.  He later made this explicit when, at a September 9th board meeting of TCHD, while presenting data on infections among kids, he admitted (at 1:25:35), “Honestly, again, many of these kids aren’t getting that sick.”  When one starts a sentence with “Honestly”, that is usually an indication that what follows is an admission against the speaker’s interest (As in “Honestly, I stole the cookie.”).  In this case, “many of these kids aren’t getting that sick” reads like an admission that the basis for the TCHD mask mandate isn’t about protecting kids from getting sick.

Mask Justification Step 2: Scare them with cases

After stoking fear over Delta, Dr. Douglas turned to discussing cases in Colorado and the counties of TCHD.

But Dr. Douglas didn’t start with the bottom line facts that in 18 months, CDC data shows 439 kids (as of 9/15/2021) under 18 in the United States have tragically died with Covid, while the CDC estimates that 643 kids died from flu in just the 2017-18 flu season.  On a per-year basis, the 2017-18 flu was more than twice as deadly as Covid to kids.

Nor did Dr. Douglas show how TCHD data shows the 14-Day rolling average hospitalization rate for kids in the Tri-County area remained at less than one per 100,000 for the entire pandemic.

Watching Dr. Douglas’ presentation, you would have no idea that Covid presents no extraordinary threat to children in terms of hospitalizations or deaths.  Yet Dr. Douglas spent 10 minutes and 9 slides discussing cases.  Why?  Because when public health talks of cases, it’s because the other metrics aren’t scary enough.  And if people aren’t afraid, they won’t be compliant.

Mask Justification Step 3: Scare them with hospitalizations (of other people)

Another tactic employed by Dr. Douglas was to emphasize and/or exaggerate problems in other places so people will infer that the Tri-County area was next.  Along these lines, Dr. Douglas presented a Coloradoan article headlined, “Larimer County hospitals hit max ICU capacity as COVID-19 surges.”  But looking at the article, it states that while the 81 ICU beds that Larimer County considers 100% of its ICU beds were all occupied, the article also noted that the hospitals have the ability to surge capacity to 122 beds.  Dr. Douglas didn’t provide this context, leaving the impression the next person who needed an ICU bed in Larimer County would not have gotten one.

Dr. Douglas then presented hearsay evidence without context that a colleague told him that pediatric ICU beds in Dallas became full over the weekend.  Yet this seems to be another case where the information provided by Dr. Douglas seems to be massaged to cause fear.  One article discussing pediatric ICU beds in the Dallas area on August 25, relates that health providers are also seeing an unusual number of RSV cases and “that pediatric hospitals ‘can adapt to the needs of the patients’ and use other areas to treat during high volume situations.”

When Dr. Douglas turned to report on Colorado hospitals in general, the map he showed from CDPHE showed hospital bed capacity available throughout the state, including 10% available capacity in the northeast region that includes Larimer County.

Finally, when presenting a graph of Covid hospitalizations for the Tri-County area, Dr. Douglas focused on the ages 75+ category, stating, “I think the major message here is that the biggest increase has not surprisingly been the most vulnerable.”  He barely mentioned the low, flat line along the bottom that represented the remarkably low hospitalization rate for kids.

Mask Justification Step 4: Claim masks make schools safe

Dr. Douglas began his mask discussion by presenting a spreadsheet with data on masking in Tri-County school districts.  Remarkably, the man who is perfectly comfortable dismissing randomized controlled trials that don’t support his view uttered, “So this is just an eyeball observation that that there seems to be, but this could easily change over time, a lower rate among those districts that had mask mandates.”  Yes, he was eyeballing data and deciding to mask 2 year olds based on what he thinks he sees in a spreadsheet.

But a closer look at the data shows the mask mandated school districts (4 of 14 total) represented only 7% of the students and averaged only slightly below the average of the non-mandated schools.  Public health should not be basing policy on eyeballing raw data.  The statistical significance of such differences should be determined.  For example, what is the significance in the largest of the mask mandated school districts (Westminster 50) having an incidence rate higher than the average non-mandated district?

Dr. Douglas also claimed, “Masks are approximately 50 to 70 percent effective in reducing transmission in a variety of settings.”  But the claim is an unsupported talking point that is often repeated but never substantiated.  It is a claim not made by the CDC or CDPHE.  TCHD does make a claim on their web page  that masks are 50% effective and to support the claim, they cite to a March 2020 document from Stanford University that contains no real world mask usage data.  TCHD also links to a CU document that discusses fomites and notes, “it is unlikely that wearing a homemade mask will prevent you from becoming infected if exposed to a strong source.”  Finally, TCHD cites to an April 2020 Arizona State University paper that discusses modeling of masks, but has no original research into mask effectiveness and references WHO stating the now widely discredited position that, “transmission is primarily via coarse respiratory droplets and contact routes.”

In sum, there seems to be no scientific basis for TCHD and Dr. Douglas’ claim that masks are 50 to 70% effective.  The closest Dr. Douglas and TCHD seem to get to supporting such a claim is presenting a slide of a CDC page titled “Science Brief: Community Use of Cloth Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2”.

This CDC page infamously lists as its first study proving mask effectiveness a study of two Covid positive hairdressers who had Covid and wore masks.  In the study, in the half of their clients who agreed to be tested, none tested positive for Covid.  The status of the other half of their clients remains unknown.  Meanwhile, that same page that lists the hairdressers as the first piece of evidence for mask wearing, later states that a Danish mask study involving 6,026 participants that found no statistically significant effect of mask wearing was “underpowered” because the participants only made up 0.1% of the population of Denmark (population 5,817,322).

Meanwhile, the two hairdressers and the 67 people who agreed to be tested represented 0.00002% of the U.S. population; a statistic that is completely irrelevant.  Similarly, it is completely irrelevant to downplay the Danish study because it didn’t encompass the entirety of the Danes.

By the way, when confronted with the Danish mask study by radio host Mandy Connell, Dr. Douglas said, “Let’s talk about the Danish study.”  He then proceeded not to talk about the Danish study in any detail, only speaking about it for ten seconds saying that the CDC noted its sample size and “some of the ascertainment issues involved with that.”  Dr. Douglas then went into a long diatribe, which he also did at the August 30 TCHD meeting, about how you can’t do a double blinded, placebo controlled study on masking so, “We have to rely on epidemiologic and observational studies.”

But that is the equivalent of saying I can’t afford a Rolls-Royce so I have to use a skateboard.  He is saying that observing 2 hairdressers after the fact is the best we can hope for while ignoring a randomized study with 6,026 participants that found no statistically significant effect of mask wearing.

Moreover, subsequent studies involving far more participants have shown masks to be ineffective.  In school settings, a Georgia study of over 90,000 students found no statistically significant difference in Covid incidence rates among students between schools that required mask usage and schools where mask use was optional.  A recent study that included 340,000 people in villages in Bangladesh found that wearing a cloth mask had no statistically significant effect on whether or not a person would have Covid symptoms and test positive for Covid antibodies (medically confirming a Covid diagnosis).  As Dr. Scott Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, noted, “So cloth masks are worthless according to this study.”

While the above massive studies were ignored by Dr. Douglas, in the August 30 TCHD meeting, he did point out a recent North Carolina study by the Duke Department of Pediatrics that concluded masking was effective in schools.  But that study had no non-masking control group; every student in the study was subject to mandatory masking.  The study simply observed a level of Covid in schools and concluded that masking helped achieve the observed level.  Without a control group, such a conclusion is meaningless.  Indeed, regarding the study the Wall Street Journal noted, “Such a claim requires a control group or appropriate statistical methods. The researchers might as well have attributed the low Covid rate in schools to wearing shoes.”

Despite the 6,000 participant Danish mask study, the 90,000 student Georgia study and the 340,000 participant Bangladesh study showing the ineffectiveness of cloth masks, TCHD and Dr. Douglas cling to the claim that masks are “50 to 70 percent effective in reducing transmission” and cite to the CDC for proof, even though the CDC itself makes no such claim.

Mask Justification Step 5: How masks make an unsafe school safe (not really)

But even if Dr. Douglas’ claim of 50% mask effectiveness were true, that wouldn’t stop intraschool transmission of Covid, it would just slow it down.  There would still be cases of Covid in schools and the possibility of a child getting infected with Covid in school would still exist.  Nonetheless, Dr. Douglas has deemed that the alleged reduction in infections occurring in schools due to the wearing of masks transforms schools from unsafe to safe.  That is, with little supporting data, Dr. Douglas claimed that the rate of transmission that could occur in schools without masks makes schools unsafe, while the level of transmission that would still occur in a masked school would render that school safe.  Dr. Douglas has made no mention of the threshold number of infections that delineate a safe school form an unsafe school, but he did make his position explicit in an August 13, 2021, letter to Cherry Creek School District Superintendent Christopher Smith, where Dr. Douglas stated, “schools are presently not safe for unvaccinated children.”  Five days later, Dr. Douglas signed a public health order mandating masks “for the preservation of public health, safety, and welfare.”  Thus, according to Dr. Douglas’ opinion, and without any supporting data, a school without a mask mandate is unsafe and a school with a mask mandate is safe.

Later in his presentation on masking at the August 30 TCHD board meeting, Dr. Douglas posted a chart form CDPHE that displayed case rates among ages 5-14 in Georgia for selected school districts.  This was followed by a similar slide depicting selected school districts in Indiana.  However, these graphs were presented without context and no evidence of any cause and effect relationship between masking and case rates was discussed.  Still, Dr. Douglas called these graphs “one of our best clues as to what’s going on as a result of these kind of mandates.”

The presentation of such data is disingenuous and absurd.  Without investigation and explanation, such data can be less than useless, it can be misleading.  In search of context, on September 22, 2021, I went to School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Report 2 that tracks Covid case rates for counties in Georgia. I then looked up case rates for the 5-17 age group in the counties that share the name of the school districts listed in the Georgia graph.  And indeed, the Covid case rate for school aged children in the counties listed as “Without masks” was 25% higher than the counties listed as “With masks.”  But that’s not the whole story.  I then looked up the case rates for the entire populations of those counties, and lo and behold, the Covid case rate for everybody in the counties listed as “Without masks” was 30% higher than the counties listed as “With masks.”  The in-school case rates were simply a function of their community rates.  No reasonable scientist would present such findings as proof of mask mandate efficacy in schools.  But that’s exactly what Dr. Douglas and CDPHE did.

The tactic of taking raw school data and presenting it as proof of mask mandate effectiveness was repeated in the weeks following the August 30 meeting by CDPHE using Colorado data.  It was then parroted by Dr. Douglas.

On September 23, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist for Colorado, presented a COVID-19 Media Update in which she presented a graph she claimed was showing, “A clear impact that masks are having in decreasing transmission in our school settings.”  The story was picked up locally by the Denver Post and then nationally by Forbes and NPR.  This was their “proof” that masking kids in Colorado worked.

Or was it?  There were problems with the Colorado school masking data.  One problem was there was no indication that CDPHE looked at any confounding factors such as the level of community spread, which as discussed, plagued the Georgia data.  Another is that even if masks had the effect the raw data indicated, the net effect was so small; it couldn’t possibly outweigh all of the negative effects of school mask mandates.

The data presented by CDPHE showed that schools with mask mandates saw around 250 Covid cases per 100,000 students per week while schools without mask mandates saw around 300 Covid cases per 100,000 students per week.  Let’s put aside the possible flaws in presenting the Colorado school data and assume it is accurate.  At first, 50 cases a week seems significant, and that’s why the data was presented as cases per 100,000 per week.  But when the data is put in a context more usable by a parent evaluating risk, such as the average effect a typical school could see, the data is far less impressive.

For example, for a school with 2,000 students, the touted difference would mean that a masked school would see on average five Covid cases per week (250 per 100,000 is equal to 2.5 per 1,000) while a school without a mask mandate would see six Covid cases per week (3 per 1,000).  That’s one case per week.  All of the negative physical effects of masking, all of the negative psychological effects, all of the conflict inherent in forcing masks on people including kids, all of the classroom disruptions when teachers are forced to enforce mask mandates, all of the community turmoil as parents try to unmask their kids, all of the reduction in teaching efficiency due to impaired communication and distractions due to mask wearing, all of that to reduce cases in a 2,000 student school from six cases a week to five.

Dr. Douglas’ maintenance of the mask mandate in the face of such data implies he still believes masks make schools safe.  So now we know his border between safe and unsafe: a safe 2,000 student school can have five Covid cases per week, while an unsafe school would have six.  This dividing line is absurd on its face and clearly indicates the move to mask schools is fundamentally a political action and not a public health imperative.  Alternatively, it could be the position held by an administrator and board that have become so entrenched in their pro-mask positions that changing course now would be detrimental to their careers and self-esteem.

Mask Justification Step 6: Don’t make me hit you

Dr. Douglas also tried to sell masking as the less intrusive alternative to quarantining.  Since quarantining was incredibly disruptive during the previous school year, allowing masked students and staff to avoid quarantine was embraced by parents and teachers as at least an improvement over last year.  The idea that if everyone is masked, you don’t have to quarantine because Covid won’t spread among the masked is, of course, ridiculous and instantly disproved by the fact that even in CDPHE’s best evidence previously discussed, masking only reduced Covid cases by 17% (from 3 to 2.5 per week per 1,000 students).

Masking to prevent quarantining is also absurd because last school year, TCHD demanded masking and quarantining.  Somehow, in the new school year it is now masking instead of quarantining.  What changed?  Kids under 12 are not vaccinated.  Masks have not gotten better.  The coronaviruses have not gotten bigger.  The answer is people have become less tolerant of public health measures and so Dr. Douglas changed, not the science.

But the whole idea of having to choose between universal masking and quarantining is ludicrous.  A reasonable public health authority would not demand one ineffective measure be implemented to avoid another ineffective measure.  It’s all theater.

Just how useless were last year’s quarantines?  Dr. Douglas presented data showing that of 40,547 kids kicked out of school under quarantine in the Denver Metro area, only 161, or 0.40%, ended up testing positive for Covid during quarantine.  Dr. Douglas claimed that this meant mitigation in schools was effective because so few in quarantine ended up getting Covid.  But during much of this period, the incidence of active Covid infections statewide was higher than the rate of infections for kids in quarantine.  On October 28, 2020, CDPHE estimated 0.46% of Coloradans were infectious and on December 4, CDPHE estimated 2.5% of Coloradans were infectious.  In other words, for much of the study period, quarantined kids were less likely to be Covid positive than the general population.  Dr. Douglas intimated that “lots of mitigation including high levels of mask wearing” was responsible. But if the incidence rates while in quarantine are similar to community rates, you would expect to see a similar level of infections in a randomly selected group of students due to community spread outside of school.  Particularly since kids always live in multiple member households.

In summary, if quarantined people are indistinguishable from the general population, than quarantines are ineffective and 40,547 kids unnecessarily were denied over 200,000 days of school (estimating 5 school days lost per quarantine).  Picking random kids for quarantine would have been just as effective.

Mask Justification Step 7: Acknowledge zero downsides to masks

In another clear dereliction of duty to the Tri-County community, Dr. Douglas simply displays a FAQ from Children’s Hospital that asks, “Can wearing a mask cause mental health problems?” Children’s answer is “No.”  Despite parental complaints and observations about how masks negatively affect their children, Dr. Douglas basically tells parents their own observations are wrong because the doctors at Children’s said “No.”  Dr. Douglas noted, “there has been a concern among some of our parents that masks make my kid anxious this is what’s really making mental health so bad.”  And he follows with, “This is absolutely not the opinion of behavioral health experts at Children’s hospital.”  And with that, the opinion of remote “experts” overrode the concerns of parents who see the effects of masking on their children every day.

Mask Justification Step 8: Always leave them afraid

At the end of his presentation, Dr. Douglas touched on long-Covid, which is the term for people who are infected with Covid and report long-term effects.  On this subject, Dr. Douglas called it a “pretty amorphous syndrome” and noted, “Some of that may be background noise, we don’t know, a lot of it appears to be real.” Finally, he stated, “Those studies included very few children, so I don’t think we know yet, other to say there are children with long-Covid.”  Dr. Douglas then asked a pediatrician attending the meeting if she could add anything.  She responded, “There’s no data out there yet.”

But that was untrue.  An August 3, 2021 article published in The Lancet examined long-Covid in kids and found nearly all children (98.2%) had recovered by eight weeks.  Once again, Dr. Douglas noted possible bad outcomes in adults, here stating, “best estimates are that symptomatic people may have a 20 to 25 percent risk of symptoms persisting for at least 6 weeks,” while not mentioning a study showing a radically better outcome for children.  Yet again, the data he selected for presentation was designed to sow fear and obedience.

Bad science begets bad policy

Dr. Douglas’ August 30 presentation was a disturbing, skewed, politically infused, outcome-oriented stage production.  But this is The Science of Dr. Douglas: only follow advice or present data that supports his pro-mask position and ignore or dismiss everything else.  He will follow the CDC citing 2 hairdressers and ignore the 6,000 participant, randomized controlled trial, Danish mask study.  He’ll point to raw Georgia data with no context while ignoring a 90,000 student study from Georgia showing no statistically meaningful effect of mask mandates on student case rates.  He will ignore the testimony of parents regarding what they see in their own kids and cite experts who say what the parents are seeing isn’t really happening.  He will blindly follow Fauci, who he considers (at 1:21:35) the “single most reliable voice.”

Whether it’s exaggerating the risk of Covid to kids, exaggerating the effectiveness of masks, or downplaying the harms of masking, every choice of Dr. Douglas as to what to present seems to have been designed to sow fear and anxiety over Covid in order to spur action toward the outcome he wants: masked toddlers in daycare and masked kids in schools, with no end in sight.  When asked on September 9th when mask mandates will end, Dr. Douglas declared (at 2:15:12), “The answer tonight is we don’t have an answer.”

In what is his worst transgression, Dr. Douglas wants to mask kids, including kids on their second birthday (what a birthday present!), because they are (at 39:53) “fuel for the community transmission fire.”   In a functional society, adults form shields for their children.  In Dr. Douglas’ world, kids are to be muzzled so that they become human shields to protect adults.

It was after his August 30 presentation that Dr. Douglas pushed through the order to mask everyone aged 2 years and older in indoor school and childcare settings in the Tri-County area, immediately followed by the order to not allow counties to opt out of his orders.

His actions literally destroyed TCHD: after the August 30 orders, Douglas County split from TCHD and formed its own health department.  In his quest to put a mask on every kid, Dr. Douglas has presented a skewed vision of the effects of both Covid and of public health orders on children.  Along the way, in their fervor to mask kids, Dr. Douglas and the TCHD board have pitted parents against school districts, parents against county commissioners, county commissioners against school boards, caused the threatening of teachers with criminal sanctions for not telling kids to pull their masks over their noses, and destroyed a 55 million dollar organization, all in the fight to keep kids, including 2 year olds, masked against the expressed will of parents.

It’s time to stop targeting kids, it’s time to end mask mandates and quarantining of healthy people in schools, and it’s time for Dr. Douglas to resign.

Karl Dierenbach is an engineer-turned-attorney living outside Denver. He is a member of, a group dedicated to gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information on COVID-19. Follow him on Twitter, @Dierenbach.


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