After Chair Fletcher’s policy passed, other Electees follow his lead and U.S. Surgeon General applauds his actions
On September 1st, San Diego became the first county in the nation to declare that using health misinformation is causing a public health crisis in their community. Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, authored the policy which was passed with a 3-2 vote of the County Board of Supervisors after many hours of public testimony from mostly right-wing, anti-vaxxers.
“Combatting health misinformation needs to start on the ground, in counties and cities across our nation,” said Chair Fletcher. “San Diego County took the first step by becoming the first local jurisdiction in the country to align its policies with the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendations to fight health misinformation. Health misinformation is a national crisis, and it requires all of us to fight against it together.”
Leading experts in the field of public health view pandemic propaganda as a major contributor to rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and vaccine hesitancy. The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy recently issued an advisory entitled “Confronting Health Misinformation. ”
“The Surgeon General’s report and recommendations helped us make the case for why health misinformation needed to be declared a public health crisis,” said Chair Fletcher. “It’s an honor to have him acknowledge what we have started in San Diego County, but now it’s time to address this national issue everywhere.”
On September 2nd, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy applauded Chair Fletcher for his policy declaring medical misinformation a public health crisis. Surgeon General Murthy’s endorsement came by quote tweeting Chair Fletcher’s announcement that the medical misinformation policy passed. The Surgeon General said, “I’m grateful @SupFletcher took on this issue – it’s the kind of bold action we need to ensure we all have accurate, science-based information to inform our health.”
Chair Fletcher believes tackling pandemic propaganda needs to start on the ground, in counties and cities across our nation. He introduced the policy at a time when 83.7% of the County’s COVID-19 cases are amongst not fully vaccinated people and 96.7% of the County’s hospitalizations are amongst not fully vaccinated people since March of 2021.
Chair Fletcher’s policy will implement the following strategies cited by the U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory:
o Devote resources to identify and label health misinformation and disseminate timely health information to counter misinformation that is impeding our ability to keep our community safe,
o Modernize public health communications with investments to better understand gaps in health information, and questions and concerns of the community, especially in hard-to-reach communities. Develop targeted community engagement strategies, including partnerships with trusted messengers,
o Expand our research efforts to better define and understand the sources of health misinformation, document and trace its costs and negative impacts, and develop strategies to address and counter it across mediums and diverse communities,
o Invest in resilience against health misinformation including digital resources and training for health practitioners and health workers. Explore educational programs to help our communities distinguish evidence-based information from opinion and personal stories,
o Partner with federal, state, territorial, tribal, private, nonprofit, research, and other local entities to identify best practices to stop the spread of health misinformation and develop and implement coordinated recommendations,
o Identify resource gaps to combating health misinformation and working with state and federal partners to meet ongoing needs, and
o Work with the medical community and local partners to develop a website that will serve as a central resource for combating health misinformation in our community.
Declaring Health Misinformation a Public Health Crisis aligns with Chair Nathan Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County. The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.
On September 3rd, the California State Assembly approved a measure brought forward by Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber. Joining the fight, Supervisor Luis Alejo from Monterey County and Supervisor Phil Serna from Sacramento County both led measures to bring forward medical misinformation policies in their communities.
“I am thrilled Assemblymember Weber, Supervisor Alejo and Supervisor Serna are joining the fight against health misinformation,” said Chair Fletcher. “Medical misinformation is prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic nationally, and it requires all of us coming together to fight back and slow the spread of misinformation. We are ready to work with leaders at all levels to make combatting health misinformation a priority in order to maximize booster shot vaccinations later this year.”
About Chair Nathan Fletcher
Nathan Fletcher is Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and is leading a new generation of progressive policy making in San Diego County. He is committed to building diverse coalitions, fighting for equitable policy, and delivering substantial outcomes in the areas of behavioral health, child welfare, & environmental justice. He is focused on transforming the County’s approach to behavioral health by making a substantial investment in our mental health and drug treatment programs. A committed environmentalist, Chair Fletcher uses his position on the California Air Resources Board, Board of Supervisors, and as Chair of the Metropolitan Transit System to ensure we tackle climate change and work to ensure environmental justice.
To learn more visit www.SupervisorNathanFletcher.com or search social media for #ForOurFutureSD or #PorNuestroFuturoSD.