Virus notes: May 9-10, 2020

MERCED (BLJ) – Merced Public Health Department on May 9 reported 163 cases (17 new) and three dead. The double digit increase in cases in a couple of days is undoubtedly due to more testing. But the testing is still very inadequate and if the city and county politicians have their way, it will continue to be inadequate.

California reported 64,532 cases (834 new) and 2,630 deaths (351 new since May 6).

The United States reported 1,338,988 cases (25,190 new) and 79,522 deaths (1,597 new).

The global report for May 9 is 4,008,497 cases (81,773 new) and 278,135 deaths (5,101 new).


Take this Master of the Universe and send him to his own private planet. This is California. -- blj



Orange County Register

Elon Musk threatens to move Tesla out of California, sue over coronavirus order shutting down factory

The company's CEO lashes out at Alameda County health officer on Twitter

Nico Savidge

Tesla CEO Elon Musk lashed out at Alameda County public health officials Saturday on Twitter, claiming his car company will leave California and sue the county over coronavirus lockdown orders that have shuttered its Fremont factory.

“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!” Musk tweeted Saturday morning, referring to Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan.

He continued in another tweet, “Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen (sic) on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”

Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020

Alameda County officials declined to respond directly to Musk’s threats Saturday. Instead, spokeswoman Neetu Balram wrote in a statement that county’s Public Health Department has been working with Tesla in “a collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla’s factory.”

“The team at Tesla has been responsive to our guidance and recommendations, and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon,” Balram said.

Meanwhile, Fremont’s mayor appeared to side with Tesla in calling for the health order to be loosened.

In his barrage of tweets Saturday, Musk, who has 33.9 million Twitter followers, also encouraged Tesla shareholders to file a class-action lawsuit against Alameda County and called its actions “irrational & detached from reality.” He continued to belittle Pan, writing that “Tesla knows far more about what needs to be done to be safe through our Tesla China factory experience than an (unelected) interim junior official in Alameda County.”

It’s the latest development in a now months-long dispute between Tesla and Alameda County health officers over whether the company can keep making cars at the Fremont facility through the shelter-in-place order.

In mid-March, Tesla spent days arguing with the county over whether the car company was considered an essential business under Bay Area shelter-in-place orders instituted on March 16. The company later backed down and suspended operations on March 23.

This week, Alameda County’s public health department shot down a plan Tesla officials had announced to resume operations on Friday.

Musk’s tweets refer to a distinction that confused and frustrated several local businesses as much of California begins emerging from coronavirus lockdowns: While new state rules started allowing certain retail and manufacturing businesses to resume operations on Friday, the guidelines don’t apply in the Bay Area, where more stringent county orders keeping those businesses closed remain in effect.

Tesla officials tried to contend that their company constitutes an “energy distribution” manufacturer, which revised local orders allow to operate. But the county disagreed with that argument.

“If a business does not meet the limited criteria stated in that Order to re-open, then they are out of compliance,” Balram told this news organization Friday. “Tesla has been informed that they do not meet those criteria and must not re-open.”

Tesla officials did not immediately respond Saturday to a request for more information about Musk’s lawsuit and relocation threats.

Musk has in the past downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, which as of Friday had killed 2,627 people in California and more than 70,000 across the country, and railed against sheltering orders that are meant to contain its spread, calling the lockdowns “fascist.”

Fremont Mayor Lily Mei issued a statement Saturday encouraging health officials “to come up with acceptable guidelines for re-opening our local economy.” Musk then thanked Mei for the statement.

“We know many essential businesses have proven they can successfully operate using strict safety and social distancing practices,” Mei said. “As we have done for over a decade, the city is prepared to support Tesla as soon as they are able to resume automobile manufacturing operations and are committed to a thoughtful, balanced approach to this effort that remains safe for our Fremont community.”